Thursday, October 30, 2008

Random Thoughts as I sit here typing.

It has been a long day at school and I am taking a few minutes to relax and do what I enjoy. Over the years I have found it very therapeutic to write thoughts and feelings that have been running around in my head. Maybe that's why I have so many volumes to my journal. Anyway, the following is for public consumption but not necessarily pertinent to anything real or life-changing.

Have you ever noticed that certain types of music are best for certain types of work? Right now I am listening to my "car" music and it is making it little hard to focus on my task at hand. THERE, now I have changed to some softer, more relaxing tunes (Jim Brickman) and I am much less distracted. When I study I can't have anything that is too wordy or exciting because I get lost in the music and never learn anything of worth. On the other hand, if I am travelling and I have someone like James Taylor or Don McLean on for too long I start to doze off and become a hazard to other drivers (some might say it doesn't take music to cause that problem). Other times I need the beat of a good band to get some blood flowing in my system. And, if I'm doing work on the house or an outside project it takes good 'ole country stuff to help me get through the day. Thankfully there are many genres of music so I can mostly find something that will fit my situation. Now if I could just get out of the 70's and 80's with my selections.

I am currently trying to create a movie of Joel's recent musical (Pirates of Penzance) but the software (Pinnacle Studio 11) I am using is making it especially difficult. I have upgraded to the new version that is supposed to work with Vista and I have gone out to get all the patches and additions that are necessary to work on my computer. I have also purchased increased memory and added an larger hard drive to eliminate some of the other problems. But I still have major problems with the stupid software. Every time I try to create the DVD for the movie, the software either shuts down or it pretends to work and then says I have an illegal DVD that is not only illegal but it is also not blank. Yes, the system is correct that it is not blank because IT JUST LOADED A BUNCH OF STUFF ON THE DISK BUT NEVER FINISHED THE PROCESS. Usually, after wasting 3 or 4 new DVD's I get lucky and one of the works but it is getting very expensive to keep trying. Someday, somewhere, someone will write a program that will do everything it says it will without all the finagling and jury-rigging this package requires. We have had varying degrees of success with several versions of this product but all versions have had their little (or big) quirks. Unfortunately, this seems to be the best of the category (we have tried others and friends have warned us about some that are even worse) so we keep trying.

What is it about chocolate and ice cream that make them so satisfying to the human palate? I am a faithful Latter-day Saint and I do my best to observe all the commandments God has given us through the prophets but I find that those two items have become somewhat of an addiction for me. I experimented yesterday to see if I could go a whole day without either and discovered that I will not die if I do not consume these two tasty treats. There even might be some proof that a reduction in my partaking would lead to a healthier life, but it is an unthinkable thought to consider eliminating these delicious morsels from my diet on a permanent basis. Maybe chocolate was what Eve was really tempted with but the ancient prophets disguised the fact by calling it 'fruit'. Whatever the case may be, I am certain that there can be no more desirable food on the planet than chocolate and when it is added to ice cream, the combination becomes heavenly. Ahh, but like so many other good things, the after-effects are felt for a long time and must be 'worked' off so that the physical stature is not permanently damaged. That brings me to the end of this edition because I need to go run on the treadmill for a while. Maybe Teresa will let me eat some "Moose-Tracks" while I run/walk.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Election thoughts

It occurs to me that most people who know me probably think I am not very partial to politics and the attendant hoopla it provides. I seldom offer strong opinions on candidates or issues and I am not one to stand and shout when things don't go as I think they should. And despite the dearth of real choices, I am not going to change my methods very much. There is no candidate that I feel good about in the Presidential race (Obama is WAY too liberal and McCain is really a democrat in the Republican party). Despite what the media and others have said, I wish we had someone more like GWBush on the ticket so I could at least have the semblance of a choice. My biggest fear is that this race will be remembered as the beginning of the great slide into oblivion for our great nation.

The last thing needed in this time of struggle is an alarmist, but there are signs that some of the prophesied events are in the works for our world and especially this country. I don't think Obama or McCain is the anti-Christ spoken of in Revelation, nor do I think the time for the fall of Jerusalem is near, but there are other things that have been shared by modern prophets that give me cause to consider where we need to be and what we need to do.

A book recently read has a few comments that have proven to be a poke in the side for me in my life. The following is taken from "The Coming of the Lord", by Gerald N. Lund (p.56-60). He refers to some statements made by Brigham Young, Joseph Smith and other prophets. See if this strikes a chord with the events we are witnessing today.

The Constitution By a Thread

One of the things that has made the United States of America unique in the annals of government is its Constitution. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints teaches that such a document is too unique to have come solely from the minds of men. The Lord has stated clearly in his revelations that he established the Constitution by raising up wise men for that very purpose.22 These principles of government by the people for the preservation of freedom are divinely inspired, and the wars and destruction that are coming will not make them any less so. But the prophets have indicated that these principles established in the Constitution will be forsaken by the country in general and that this will be an important factor in bringing about the destruction of the United States.

Many of the prophets have referred to the time when the constitutional principles would be in danger, and it has been clearly prophesied that these principles would be saved or found only in the Church. Brigham Young reported that Joseph Smith was the first to teach this doctrine. In an Independence Day celebration speech Brigham Young said:

Will the Constitution be destroyed? No: it will be held inviolate by this people; and, as Joseph Smith said, "The time will come when the destiny of the nation will hang upon a single thread. At that critical juncture, this people will step forth and save it from the threatened destruction." It will be so.23

Early in the spring of the following year, Brigham Young intimated that the holders of the priesthood would be the ones to save the Constitution.

When the Constitution of the United States hangs, as it were, upon a single thread, they will have to call for the "Mormon" elders to save it from utter destruction; and they will step forth and do it.24

Some people have argued that such a critical threat was posed to the Constitution during the Civil War and this is what the Prophet Joseph meant. However, this would not account for the "elders of the Church" saving it, for the Civil War passed over the Church with relatively minor effect. In addition, three years after the Civil War was over, Brigham Young again referred to this prophecy as yet being in the future .

How long will it be before the words of the Prophet Joseph Smith will be fulfilled? He said if the Constitution of the United States were saved at all it must be done by this people. It will not be many years before these words come to pass."25

Elder Orson Hyde of the Council of the Twelve was also present when Joseph Smith made that prophecy, but he made a slight variation in his report.

It is said that brother Joseph in his lifetime declared that the Elders of this Church should step forth at a particular time when the Constitution would be in danger, and rescue it, and save it. This may be so; but I do not recollect that he said exactly so. I believe he said something like this-that the time would come when the Constitution and the country would be in danger of an overthrow; and said he, "If the Constitution be saved at all, it will be by the elders of this Church." I believe this is about the language, as nearly as I can recollect it.

The question is whether it will be saved at all, or not. I do not know that it matters to us whether it is or not; the Lord will provide for and take care of his people, if we do every duty, and fear and honour him, and keep his commandments; and he will not leave us without a Constitution."26

President John Taylor spoke of it as a saving of the constitutional principles rather than the actual government itself.

When the people have torn to shreds the Constitution of the United States the Elders of Israel will be found holding it up to the nations of the earth and proclaiming liberty and equal rights to all men, and extending the hand of fellowship to the oppressed of all nations. This is part of the program, and as long as we do what is right and fear God, he will help us and stand by us under all circumstances.27

Orson Pratt felt that although the United States would lose the power to govern in the chaos that will be present, the spirit of the Constitution would be preserved in the government set up by the members of the Church.

. . .He will speedily fulfill the prophecy in relation to the overthrow of this nation, and their destruction. We shall be obliged to have a government to preserve ourselves in unity and peace; for they, through being wasted away, will not have power to govern; for state will be divided against state, city against city, town against town, and the whole country will be in terror and confusion; mobocracy will prevail and there will be no security, through this great Republic, for the lives or property of the people. When that time shall arrive, we shall necessarily want to carry out the principles of our great constitution and, as the people of God, we shall want to see those principles magnified, according to the order of union and oneness which prevails among the people of God.28

President J. Reuben Clark, Jr., issued a solemn warning about the costs of sacrificing the principles of the Constitution.

Brethren, let us think about that, because I say unto you with all the soberness I can, that we stand in danger of losing our liberties, and that once lost, only blood will bring them back; and once lost, we of this church will, in order to keep the church going forward, have more sacrifices to make and more persecutions to endure than we have yet known, heavy as our sacrifices and grievous as our persecutions of the past have been.29

President David O. McKay said on more than one occasion that the maintenance of constitutional principles was one of the most important tasks that members of the Church had before them. In an editorial in The Instructor in 1956, he said: "Next to being one in worshipping God there is nothing in this world upon which this Church should be more united than in upholding and defending the Constitution of the United States."30

So it seems evident from what the prophets have said that the Constitution of the United States of America will be severely threatened in the crises that are to come, but its principles will be preserved by the members of the Church. In view of such developments as the flag burnings, "peace" marches and slogan chanting of the seventies, President John Taylor's remarks of ninety years ago are particularly appropriate.

It is our duty [to defend human rights] that our families demand of us; it is a duty that the honest in this nation demand of us, and that God demands of us; and we will try to carry it out, God being our helper. And if other people can afford to trample under foot the sacred institutions of this country, we cannot. And if other people trample upon the Constitution and pull it to pieces, we will gather together the pieces and rally around the old flag, or what is left of it, and proclaim liberty to the world, as Joseph Smith said we would.31

In this day of anarchy, bombings, violence and assassinations, it is not too difficult to see the conditions fermenting which could topple the stable government of this nation.

George Q. Cannon also spoke of the day when such factions would rend the government, and there would be no stability outside of the members of the Church.

. . . The day will come-and this is another prediction of Joseph Smith's-I want to remind you of it, my brethren and sisters, when good government, constitutional government-liberty-will be found among the Latter-day Saints, and it will be sought for in vain elsewhere; when the Constitution of this land and republican government and institutions will be upheld by this people who are now so oppressed and whose destruction is now sought so diligently. The day will come when the Constitution, and free government under it, will be sustained and preserved by this people.32

Doctrine and Covenants 101:77, 80.

Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, Vol. 7, p. 15, July 4, 1854. (Italics added)

Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, Vol. 2, p. 182, February 18, 1855.

Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, Vol. 12, p. 204, April 8, 1868.

Orson Hyde, Journal of Discourses, Vol. 6, p. 152, January 3, 1858. (Italics added)

John Taylor, Journal of Discourses, Vol. 21, p. 8, August 31, 1879. (Italics added)

Orson Pratt, Deseret Evening News, Vol. 8, no. 265, October 2, 1875. (Italics added)

J. Reuben Clark, Jr., The Improvement Era, May, 1944, p. 337. (Italics added)

David O. McKay, The Instructor, February, 1956, p. 34.

John Taylor, Journal of Discourses, Vol. 23, p. 239, August 20, 1882.

George Q. Cannon, Journal of Discourses, Vol. 23, p. 104, November 20, 1881. (Italics added)

Events in California, Massachusetts, and other states make it clear that we may be in for some exciting days ahead. The elections of 2008 may only be the precursor for a great upheaval in the land that we love.

So, what are the options we have? One idea espoused by a popular LDS author is found at the following address Some of what he offers seems a little radical, but I understand his desire to protect our rights as citizens. I guess I am more inclined to look for a different type of answer. Maybe an alternative is to look at something like the messages found in our recent LDS Conference. Two of the members of the governing body of the Church counseled us to look toward our families and the growth of the Kingdom as a way to create the Zion-like existence that will overcome the struggles of this world. Elder Todd Christofferson and Pres. Henry B. Eyring have shared some sound ideas to guide us and keep us safe from the trials that lie ahead. That is not to say we should abdicate our duties as citizens in the government process, but it does mean that the focus of our actions should be on doing the things Christ would do if He were here.

Like so many others, I am nervous about our future and the challenges we will have in the next few decades. But fear is only the tool of the adversary so I refuse to give in to his efforts. The days ahead will be glorious and there will be many wonderful experiences we will all enjoy. And if the Savior comes during my lifetime, I will welcome Him and fall at His feet with joy. But I will not wring my hands and stand quavering in the corner while the world self-destructs. Our efforts need to be to build a place where we can all be safe and where the teachings of God will be foremost in the lives of those who live with us. Not a compound where one person rules as a demi-god, but a society where God and Christ are the principle focus of all who dwell therein. When that happens, there will be no need to worry about who is President because we will have the Leader of all mankind as our Guide.

Monday, October 20, 2008

A New Adventure

Since the kids have all started blogging, we have felt left out and want to rectify the situation. It's not like we have lots to say, but we do want to make our voices heard in the world. I suppose this will be a venting place or a place to share some ideas about life and its vagaries. Whatever it ends up being, our hope it that it will be entertaining and enlightening to those we love and respect.

Last Saturday I went fishing on Strawberry Reservoir with Josh and his lovely wife, Heather. This was Heather's first trip but Josh and I have been there many times. The day was pleasant and the weather was mild as we arrived and began our ministrations to the aquatic friends in our lake. It seemed, for some time, as though we had forgotten to apply the proper deodorant, for the fish were avoiding us and so were the other boaters. Heather was the first to receive notice that the finned friends were willing to collaborate with us on this mission. She pulled in a nice looking cutthroat trout and proudly held it up for us to see. Unfortunately, by the time I got the camera out the fish had flip-flopped itself back into the watery abyss from which he had come. Then it was another lengthy wait until Josh was able to raise a scaly beast from the depths of the 'agua-pura'. Again, I was struggling to get the camera ready and Josh gave up and released his catch before I could record the event (I suspect it would probably do all our posterity great service if I was not allowed to be the photographer on these little trips. That seemed to be Josh and Heather's consensus, as they took the camera from me for the rest of the day) :( .

But there is justice in the fishing world and the following will prove that fact. Our time to fish was fast approaching its close so we began the long "paddle" to the shoreline to remove ourselves and our equipment from the water. Having tried many different flies during the day and having no success, I desperately resorted to a fly purchased recently because it looked a little different from anything I had used before. I guess it was sort of a muddler/bunny combo and was in a dark green color. For some reason, we stopped near each other and I was handing something to Heather when I noticed my rod bouncing up and down with great fervor. Grabbing the rod and setting the hook, I felt the satisfying pull of a good sized fish at the end of my line. When landed, I realized that this was a healthy cutthroat and was of decent length (don't know for sure how long because my stripping apron was not on my pontoon. I would guess about 21" or so but all fishermen think their fish are larger than reality). No sooner had I sent my fly back out than I was rewarded with another fish, comparatively similar to the previous. And when I cast my offerings a third time, it was but a few short minutes until the twin brother of the second came to rest on my lap for a brief visit. Life was good and my failures as a picture taker had been removed from the history of our trip because of my fabulous success.

Ahhh, but fate (and I am sure, a loving Father) intervened to restore the humbleness that is necessary for all those who pursue the piscatorial habit. When my last fish had been released and the glow of success had begun to fade, we again prepared to return to shore. Sadly, the state of the weather had changed...and not for the good. What had been a mild and pleasant day had suddenly become a blustery, windy, nearly hurricaney afternoon. And having the larger of the three watercraft in the group, I was most susceptible to the forces of nature that fell down upon us. Oh, it is a surety that Josh and Heather struggled to push their boats through the water, but my pontoon was nearly impossible to push any closer to the shore while this typhoon was blowing away at us. It seemed that for every inch I crept closer, I was pushed back a full 12 inches away. There were moments when the flashing of life's images was beginning to start in my head and I chided myself for allowing a silly fish to take me so far away from my homeland and family. OOOOHHH, the misery and the pain that would be with my family and friends when they pulled my lifeless body from the deep of this dastardly body of water!!! If there had been paper and pen on my person, there might have been an anguished goodbye letter written to my sweetheart and companion. But alas, none were available and so the fins on my feet continued to paddle up and down and desperately try to save the wretched man that I am.

Anyway, it was hard to get to shore but we eventually made it and got loaded up and on our way. We made it home in time for Teresa and I to go to the Hale Theatre and Josh and Heather went to see a movie. My knees hurt considerably but other than that, it was a wonderful day with my two children and some of God's little fishy creations. I hope we can do this again very soon (but as I mentioned to Teresa, I will have an electric motor on the pontoon the next time I try this stunt).

My first entry seems to ramble some, but it is a good indication of how I write and how I look at things. Hope you enjoy and I really hope I can keep up with this in some orderly manner. See you next time. MW