Dear Friends and Family,

I hope you will not be disappointed if I deprive you of news and updates for a second consecutive week and again share a brief message with you. There is much news that I could and will report, but on this occasion there is something I would like to speak briefly about.

Do you remember where you were on September 11, 2001? It was a Tuesday, if I remember correctly. I had been awake for maybe forty-five minutes when my mother called me into her bedroom and turned my attention to the television, where one of the world trade center buildings was smoking. She told me that something had happened, something terrible, but she didn:t really know what it was. I agreed that it was terrible, but her reaction seemed extreme to me. I had often heard her remark upon the awful, violent things reported on the news on a daily basis. I was young and had no perspective on the nature of the world. If terrible things on the news were so frequent, then why was today any different?

I was in the afternoon track that year at Northridge Elementary School, which means that I went to school at 9:30 in the morning, rather than 8 with most of my friends. After my friend Rilee had moved away the year before, I felt little desire to remain in the morning track and chose instead to spend time that year with a different group of friends. On my way to school I met up with one of them and told her what had happened. She, like me, was unsure how to react.

My first class of the day was Mr. Bandley:s Social Studies class. He explained to us a little bit about what had happened. That was the first time I heard that the buildings had fallen down. I am unsure if I knew that airplanes were involved prior to that time. What I do remember was that after twenty minutes or so of class time, the principal came over the intercom and explained to the faculty and students what had happened. And then the most shocking thing happened.

The principal asked us to observe a moment of silence, and that in that moment, if prayer was something we practiced, to please pray for the people whose lives were lost and for the emergency workers who were courageously trying to rescue them. In the age of secularism and political correctnessin which I had grown up, I thought it illigal to even whisper the word prayer in school. I:m not exaggerating. I was taught by television and by public education that spiritual things were to be discussed only in Church, and that there was no room for such things in the public square. And I believed it, too. To hear the principal mention, and even request prayer revealed to me something I had never experienced: the adults in my life were scared.

Fear was never something I had experienced before, at least, not like this. There are some things you take for granted in life.

I did not personally know anyone whose lives were lost that day. I did not lose loved ones, at least not permanently, in the violent struggle that ensued thereafter. Some might ask how I can justify saying that 9/11 changed everything. For me, the answer to that question is that this was the day in which my childhood ended. I experienced for the first time the harsh realities of this mortal world.

In that hour, I had to take a good look at myself and decide what I believed. Belief was something that I had thrown around, perhaps haphazardly. I was not at that time, nor am I now ready to admit that the substance of my imagination is as inconsequential as the adults in my life believed it to be, nevertheless I did need to come to grips with what was real and what is not. Many of the realities in this world are not immediately visible. To ignorantly make the claim that truth is only that which can be seen, measured, tested, quantified, and proven, is to deny the existence of things such as gravity, magnetism, energy, wind, consciousness, imagination, love. These are all things whose influence is readily visible, but the exact nature and definite existence thereof remains unproven. Followed to its ultimate reason, one cannot empirically prove that empiracle proof exists at all. Nhilism is not only logically unsound but practically impossible. We all must decide what we believe and what we are willing to accept, without empiracle proof. This is true of our political views, the extent to which we trust in the fluctuating laws and theories of the various sciences, as well as our religious convictions, or our lack thereof.

So, if we set aside the false presupposition that knowledge is derived from empiracle proof and rather accept the axiom that knowledge basically derrives from convictions of personal experience, I will tell you what I know. I know that God lives, that He is the grandest and Most High governor of all the universe. Further, He is the father of the spirits of mankind, and our relationship to Him is derrived from that essential fact. I know that as we walk in His ways, He blesses us with power and with prosperity, in accordance with His divine will and eternal perspective. I know that Jesus of Nazareth, who was slain for the sins of the world, lives again. He is the Son of God the Father, and He and the Father are one in their love and mercy to mankind. I know that through the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ, we can be saved – from sin, from death, from pain, from weakness, from every concievable frailty of mortality. Through His grace, we can and must minister unto our neighbors and alleviate suffering of every physical and spiritual variety.

My calling, of prophetic origin, is not to the people who lost loved ones in the fires of 9/11. It is to the Japanese, who have their own collective challenges and trials. I have the power of faith and the gift of the Holy Ghost, which is in me, and which I have been commissioned to give unto every soul who will accept it. The message I carry has the power to transform hearts and change lives, to bring happiness, fulfillment, hope, and prosperity. I love The Lord and I love this people. I need no empirical proof of that. My hope is to continue to serve them with all dilligence and help them recieve the blessings of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. This is my desire. I express it along with my testimony, which I seal with my heart, might, mind, and strength, in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Elder Tobler


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