Thursday, August 11, 2011

The Trio of Benoit, Ray, And Cody: Mission Friendships That Have Endured

I've written about Benoit before. He was a guy I taught on my mission, and you can read much about him in that post.

On Facebook the other day, my old missionary companion (let's call him Ray) wrote that he had visited our dear friend, Benoit recently and said the following:

I just returned from visiting [the city in which we served] (I'm still a bit jet lagged). I was their for 10 days and had a lovely time. I hope you will smile to know that your missionary efforts of 18 years ago continue to bring about good.-- I stayed with [Benoit], his wife, and their two boys (ages 9 and 5). -- What a beautiful family! --- [Benoit's] mother (who if you remember said she would disown [Benoit] if he joined the Mormon church) was baptized earlier this year. [Benoit] now serves as the bishop of the...ward.

My goodness, that warmed my heart! To see this man get baptized, serve a mission, get married in the temple, have a family, and now serve as a bishop (and I would bet millions he's a great one) in the ward we served in when we taught him just makes me weep with joy. I thank my Father in Heaven that I was privileged enough to be involved in Benoit's initial conversion and to see how far he's come since then. It really fills me with gratitude. I am honored that God allowed me to be one of the missionaries who was there when His Holy Spirit helped Benoit gain a testimony.

I wrote Benoit on Facebook:

[Ray] said he saw you, and that you are the bishop in [the city where we served] now. He also said that you and your family are well. I am so happy that you are still strong in the gospel. I miss you a lot, my friend.

All my love,


Benoit replied:

I miss you, too, my eternal friend. I am thankful that you and [Ray] saved my life. I would love so much to see you again one day, but at the moment it isn't possible for us to come to Utah. I would love to present to you my family so that you can know them. God bless you, my friend. Lots of love.


I'd like to remind Benoit that it wasn't Ray and I that saved his life, but his loving and watchful Heavenly Father. I'm so glad that life has given Benoit everything I always thought he deserved. Yea!

Ray's brother is gay, and Ray wrote me (in the same note):

One day I want to understand your situation better (if you are willing to share). I suppose it is too complex a discussion for facebook, so perhaps we will save it for a time we get to catch-up in person. My intent is not one of simple "curiosity"-- but truly to better understand.

I shared with him some thoughts (many of which I've written in this blog). Ray then wrote:

...a theme I have picked-up on over the past several years of General Conference [is] what we do is certainly important; but more important is what we become.-- Or said in another way: we are wise to monitor how our thoughts and actions shape how charitably we feel towards others, because in the end (as the scriptures teach) we will be judge by our hearts and how charitable we have become.-- I lack the ability to put myself in your shoes, and know how you feel-- but it is impressive that you continue to focus on being kind, and loving (as Christ would be), even toward people who fail to see that their own sins of pride & selfishness are a weightier matter to God than the gender to which a man or woman feels attracted.---- Well we both have 50 more years on this planet-- during which we will have the opportunity to discuss this issue further. Until then my good friend...



I replied:

Thanks for your thoughts, [Ray]. I agree with what you've said. As for me, I'm just trying to live the best life I can and take comfort that my Father is my ultimate judge. I just hope I am doing Him proud.

Love ya lots,


to which he replied:

Your comment made me smile really big. -- I happen to love the writings of C.S. Lewis. A great quote from his book Mere Christianity says this:

"Some of us who seem quite nice people may, in fact, have made so little use of a good heredity and a good upbringing that we are really worse than those whom we regard as fiends. Can we be quite certain how we should have behaved if we had been saddled with the psychological outfit, and then with the bad upbringing, and then with the power, say, of Himmler? That is why Christians are told not to judge. We see only the results which a man's choices make out of his raw material. But God does not judge him on the raw material at all, but on what he has done with it. Most of the man's psychological makeup is probably due to his body: when his body dies all that will fall off him, and the real central man, the thing that chose, that made the best or the worst out of this material, will stand naked. All sorts of nice things which we thought our own, but which were really due to a good digestion, will fall off some of us : all sorts of nasty things which were due to complexes or bad health will fall off others. We shall then, for the first time, see every one as he really was. There will be surprises. -- Mere Christianity by C. S. Lewis"

Lewis wasn't speaking directly to the homosexual issue-- so you will forgive such terms as 'fiend'.-- I love how he points out that we all start with different "raw material"-- and God is more interested in seeing our efforts to turn our raw material into something acceptable to Him-- and less interested in what our raw material has actually become.--- In short-- He wants to see us each do the best that we can, with what we have been given.-- As Christians we should not think that each of our 'best efforts' will look the same from a surface glace.-- Lewis doesn't speak from the light of the restored gospel-- so he is not accurate in his understanding of our body not being a factor n the final judgment-- but I believe his principle is correct.

And I said:

I believe his principle is correct, too. I really like that book. Lots of good stuff in it. Thanks for sharing it.

I like C.S Lewis. He was a good man. So are Ray and Benoit.

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