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Wednesday, December 30, 2015

WHY ISIS?

In a recent article, (fairly short and very enlightening) a moderate Muslim (Abdullahi Ahmen An-Na’im) opines about some of the reasons many in Islam are unable to counter the efforts of ISIS or any other radical Islamic entity.  As I read the article, I was struck by a statement this gentleman made concerning the power that some Muslims take upon themselves in proclaiming jihad.

A related difficulty in this whole discussion is that according to Sharia, jihad can only be launched by a legitimate state authority.

ISIS claims to have Islamic legitimacy, but what is the basis of that secretive claim? Who nominated them, and why and how should the Caliph of ISIS have authority over the global Muslim community?

Since this authority is based on an entirely open and free process of individual choice, ISIS’ claim may succeed to the extent it is supported by a critical mass of Muslims.

Mohammed receiving revelation from angel Gabriel
Mohammed receiving his first revelation from
Gabriel.

He seemed to be saying that those who follow the Prophet Mohammed are doing the best they can but without (for the lack of a better word) certified leadership in the religion, it is impossible to find consensus on doctrine in their faith. 
So, here we have a violent off-shoot of a worldwide religion that has taken upon themselves the authority to interpret the doctrines/principles of their faith – many times in direct contradiction to the writings of their founder – and other times against the majority of adherents.  The end result being that those who would like to see a more peaceful application of doctrines and principles are left to shake their heads and wring their hands because they CAN’T dispute the interpretation of the minority.


I imagine Paul was thinking about this predicament when he said:

For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; and they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. (2 Tim. 4:3-4)

Paul also said this:

And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.  (Ephesians 4:11-13)

Without the foundations of Apostles and Prophets, the standards, principles, doctrines, and beliefs of a religion will not survive.  They will always be affected by the reasoning of man, without the inspiration of God. 

Many religions have leaders of great strength and capability.  I am always impressed by the Pope and his caring nature that guides his people, and many of the world.  He is a good man and may have some prophetic qualities. I will leave the judgment of his calling to God. Much the same can be said for other religious leaders but, again, their position with God is difficult for me to assess.

What I do know is that we have 15 living prophets on the earth today.  They are called of God and are men who are trying very hard to listen to the word of God. 

But they ARE men!!  And, for the most part, they are old (at least by worldly standards).

So how do we know they won’t do what ISIS has done (not literally, but you know what I mean)?

Because they are not just ONE person.  Nor are they just ONE part of the faith.  No one of them has any more sway in the decision process than the other.

These are 15 experienced men who have served faithfully for the majority of their lives and still serve God and Christ.  They have been presented to the body of the Church (no secret members or surprise ordinations) and have been accepted in their roles. 

And nothing happens until they all agree unanimously in their decisions.  If only one is undecided or against the proposition, it is tabled until agreement can be found.

No harboring animosities.
No political posturing.
No pouting or name-calling.

The process makes for decisions that come a little more slowly.  Nothing rash or hurried in deciding what to do or teach.

It also makes for sound, consistent doctrine and teachings that give a solid foundation for those who believe.  There is no question when it comes to the basic principles and beliefs of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Wait, I know there are some who will dispute that last statement.  We do have questions about basic things pertaining to the gospel/Church.  But the final arbiter for what is correct is always found in what the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve teach as they speak.

As an individual member, I can interpret the doctrines as I desire, but if my interpretation contradicts that of the 15 men who lead, I need to reconsider what I believe.  And as I interpret by the power of the Holy Ghost, I have discovered that my understanding will be more correct and in line with the prophets.

There must be consistency in the doctrine of any faith to maintain peace with God.  Otherwise, the results will eventually be something like what is described in the article.  Man cannot account for all the challenges that will confront religion as the world continues to spiral. 

A portrait of the First Presidency, with President Monson in a chair, President Eyring standing behind him, and President Uchtdorf seated on a bench.
The First Presidency

A portrait of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, five of them sitting in a row of chairs and the remaining seven standing behind them.
The current Quorum of the Twelve



The comfort of Prophets helps soften many of the challenges of the day.  Without Prophets, ISIS and all other ungodly entities will continue to propagate.  There is peace where there are True Prophets of God and where the people listen to their counsel.

Monday, December 14, 2015

FALL FUN & REFLECTION

Christmas is almost here so it seems like the time to share a few of our fall activities.  Nothing outstanding but things we all like to do.

A short visit to the field level
Josh called me one day and asked if I was interested in going to a football game.  Of course, I was.  We had a nice trip and I was especially surprised at how well Emma and Matt handled the game.  Impressive young people and really fun to hang with on a Saturday. 
Cosmo visited Matt and Emma and we
even got free shirts.




Our family party for November was accompanied by a little service project in Josh’s ward.  He and Heather have some friends who were in need of help so we took our whole crew down the street and frolicked in the leaves.  It was delightful to watch all the grandkids as they worked and played but focused on helping others.  It’s times like this that make an old man (and the cute young thing he married) smile in satisfaction.

If you are wondering, Josh is the supervisor -- MBA gives him
that right.
Raking is hard for little bodies.
But Joel's wife, Paula Jean endured (maroon cap).


Joel is always at his highest fashion sense
when he out amongst the people.








Lookout over the Wedge.
Our autumn adventures also included the annual trek to Grandpa Grange’s house.  I think this was the biggest group we have had in a few years.  There was horseback riding, hiking in the hills, a visit to the San Rafael Swell with all its majesty, and some repair work on Grandpa’s corral and home.  Oh, and we had some pretty good food along the way.

Teresa showing off her riding skills -- after
many years she is still pretty good.

The San Rafael River at the bottom of the canyon












Josh and Joel roofing Grandpa's corral.  There was a group on the
house but I don't have a picture.



More canyon.

Just hanging out with a great family.
Don’t know how many more of these Thanksgiving trips we will have but we are cherishing each as they come to us.  Teresa’s mom left us in May and we know it won’t be too many years before Dad goes off to be with her (I think he prefers sooner to later).  Our children and their kids have grown up going down to Huntington every year and I believe they will always remember the good feelings that accompany these excursions.

And of course, there is a project for the kids.  They are decorating
trees to put on the graves of some really special people.

Teresa and I are still relatively young but it seems many we love are starting to leave us.  Some of our good friends have lost one or both of the couple and now our own families are starting to go home.  Some days it sends me into a melancholy fugue just considering all that has happened during my time in mortality.  Then I consider the changes in the world and my personal life and recognize that God has given me a great gift.  How else can a man become what God wants him to be if there are no challenging parts to existence.

Primarily my heart is lifted by the love so many share with me.  Beginning with Teresa, and down to the last student I will ever meet, I am so blessed to know and love and be loved.  My greatest joy is our Savior and His Father.  If Teresa and I can endure and keep our wits about us, I am confident we will, one day, experience the fulfillment of the promise that says we are worthy to live with those we love the most.  The older I get, the more that means to me and the harder it drives me to try.

I hope you are coming with us – It will be no fun if anyone is missing.


Merry Christmas!!

Most of us who were there for Thanksgiving










Thursday, December 10, 2015

SOMEONE KNOWS

Recently, I was reading from the Book of Mormon as part of my nightly devotional.  Some nights my efforts are from habit more than devotion but this night I was troubled by events of the day and was seeking solace of the word in the book of Jarom.  It might seem a little unusual to look there because that is not one of the places where we seem to find deep doctrinal or spiritual enlightenment.  But it was my place of refuge that night.

An original copy of the Book of Mormon

Jarom is the great-grandson of Lehi, the prophet who initiated the events recorded in The Book of Mormon.  He (Jarom) was given the plates of Nephi by his father, Enos, and commanded to continue the record of his people.  Lamenting the struggles he witnessed among those he loved and the challenges they were having with their enemies, Jarom shared a few thoughts about God’s mercies towards the Nephites.

As a lifelong member of the LDS Faith, I have read this little book numerous times but on this night I was touched by the faith and tenderness this good man expressed as he reported their circumstances.  Likewise, I was affected by the stark reality of how much his concerns mirrored the thoughts, events, and actions of our day.  Here’s an example:

v. 3 – Behold, it is expedient that much should be done among this people, because of the hardness of their hearts, and the deafness of their ears, and the blindness of their minds, and the stiffness of their necks; nevertheless, God is exceedingly merciful unto them, and has not as yet swept them off from the face of the land.

We, in the Americas, live in a promised land that is reserved for those who are followers of Christ.  As taught by many prophets in scripture and in real life, we have also been warned that if we lose our focus and turn away from the Master of this earth we will lose the protection that comes with faith in Christ.

As a purveyor of the Internet and its accompanying social media, I believe it is easy to recognize that there are many who suffer from “hardness of the heart”, “deafness of the ears” and “blindness of minds”.  And yet, God has continued to be merciful unto us and is letting us work out our own path through the landmines of mortality. 

(BTW, I am not excluding myself from the descriptions above – there are times when I have fallen and continue to fall into the trap that results from a hard heart, blind mind, and stiff neck).

I suppose that is one of the things that interested me in the history Jarom was reporting.  With a gap of more than 2 millennia, it is interesting to see that his people (and he himself) were not so different than the people of our day.  They tried to be good (most of them) but often drifted into contentious experiences.  The only thing that seemed to keep them united was a desire for protection from their enemies.

That’s all well and good, you say, but what does this have to do with me and you.  Well, I’m glad you asked because I’m about to spew forth my ramblings on the subject. 

Are you ready?

OK!!

It might be obvious that Jarom is prejudiced in the way he looks at the events of his day.  He was raised in a home where revelation and prophecy were the norm and it seems his own view of life was skewed in that direction.  It was not an unusual thing for him to see and hear prophecies (his dad and grandpa were prophets) so he had some understanding of those things.  Here is how he saw his people and their response to the challenges they were confronting:

v. 4 And there are many among us who have many revelations, for they are not all stiffnecked.  And as many as are not stiffnecked and have faith, have communion with the Holy Spirit, which maketh manifest unto the children of men, according to their faith.

I believe, like Jarom recorded, that there are many who have revelations to help them know what to do in life.
Not just prophets, but good people.
Of every religion.
Who have faith in God and are doing the best they can in life.
God will make Himself known to anyone who comes to Him for help.
He doesn’t care if they know EXACTLY who He is.
He only cares that they want to know the truth He has to offer.

But Jarom was acting as a Prophet to his people so he had a deeper need to know what God wanted the Nephites of his day to do for greater protection from their enemies.  What could Jarom teach those in his stewardship that would draw them closer to God and His protective embrace?

Ta Da!! Revelation! 

That’s how God does it. 

And it was simple.

 Not new, but simple.

v. 5 – And now, behold, two hundred years had passed away, and the people of Nephi had waxed strong in the land.  They observed to keep the law of Moses and the Sabbath day holy unto the Lord.  And they profaned not; neither did they blaspheme.  And the laws of the land were exceedingly strict.

All it takes is keeping the commandments God has given with guarantees of blessings.  Basic, effective, and proven laws founded on eternal principles.  Given by those who were called of God to guide His people. 

But sometimes there has to be a little extra in the teachings.  Not doctrinally, but emphasizingly (I know, that’s not a word)!

v. 11-12 Wherefore, the prophets, and the priests, and the teachers, did labor diligently, exhorting with all long-suffering the people to diligence; teaching the law of Moses, and the intent for which it was given; persuading them to look forward unto the Messiah, and believe in him to come as though he already was.  And after this manner did they teach them.  And it came to pass that by so doing they kept them from being destroyed upon the face of the land; for they did prick their hearts with the word, continually stirring them up unto repentance.

Had to include this in memory of
my recent experiences. :-)

Despite the gap of 2400 years, the process today is exactly the same.  In order to find peace in our time we must follow the path given by God.  Jarom knew what he was talking about.  Mormon saw the truth of the message and included it in these sacred words from God.  The answers are there if we want them.

And prophets will also emphasize the areas where we are weak so that we might progress.  That’s why our Prophets have been doing so much to increase Sabbath Day observance.  They recognize the value it will bring to our trek in mortality.  The hearts of mortals must be ‘pricked’ often to keep them aware of their duties.  Otherwise we all drift and lose sight of the important things.

Let me be a little bold for just a moment.

There is no one on earth who deserves more attention than the prophets who speak for God. These 15 men, working together, are the only hope we have for finding the path back to our Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ.  Just as Moses spoke to Israel for their benefit during the 40 year sojourn from Egypt, so we have prophets who speak during our travails through life.

They are the guides through our treacherous path of mortality.

They will help us find the way.

They are NOT infallible.  But they are united in the desire to better our lives.

And their united voice is the voice of Jesus Christ to the world.

No government program is going to change the way people pass through this existence.  We cannot legislate our way into the presence of God.

Politicians are not the answer to finding peace.  They have too many distractions and agendas.

Only One has the power to calm the storms that rage over this earth.

Thomas doubted -- but found his
way despite that moment.

Each of us is expected to find our way.  The map is available from a loving Father and His Son.  They knew we needed help and prepared enough to guide us home.  The trick is to find the manual, listen to the guides, and then follow the directions home.

Jarom got it.  I’m starting to get it.  Many of you are already well on your way. 


Happy Trails and give me a kick if you see me slacking on the road.

Friday, December 4, 2015

A STAR IS BORN

A few weeks ago, I was out in the carport working on some of our “never ending” remodel.  This night was about finishing the crown molding in the kitchen (the final step for that room).

In the midst of all my sawing and nailing and mistaking (yes, it takes me a few misses to get it right) I was approached by a somewhat familiar young lady.  She seemed nice but I couldn’t figure out why I recognized her.  Then she identified herself as a reporter from KSL Television.  I must admit that I was a bit surprised someone from the media would approach me – especially since I am a very nondescript individual.

After introducing herself, the reporter asked if I was aware of the home across the street that had been remodeled by the city.  Of course, I knew about the project (being the nosey neighbor that I am) and expressed some appreciation for the semi-wise use of our tax dollars to improve the city.  She asked if I would mind answering a few questions and I happily agreed. 

But THEN she asked if would be alright if her cameraman recorded our conversation.  Well, you can see from the following report how that all went.

Just click on the window with the arrow to see the whole thing.



I did not wake up that morning with a desire to become a star on the news, but it seems fate had other ideas for me.  Now I am wondering if I should reconsider my career options – maybe get into acting or broadcasting.  It’s obvious to me that I’m a natural and the world is being deprived of my skill as an orator and personality.  I think my first order of business is to find an agent and see what he/she can do to move me along in my newly discovered abilities. 

All of the previous paragraph was pure ‘snark’ and should not be believed as reality.

It was fun to see myself on TV (though a little frightening – I look a lot older than I think I am).  I suspect this will be the last time for such an experience.  Much like this blog, there are only a few faithful who have seen my glory, but it is the only glory I have for them to see!!


Until next time – and maybe not even then.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

FINDING ANSWERS

I suspect that most people know the story of Moses and Israel as they sought deliverance from Pharaoh.  Many movies, books, plays, and songs have been written to chronicle the events of that miraculous journey to freedom.  Even those who are not of the Christian or Jewish faith can see some the lessons taught as God led His people out of bondage to freedom.

Pondering the trials and victories of the Hebrews as they fled Egypt often brings up thoughts of how life evolves for most of us here in mortality.  We all have varying forms of bondage that keep us from receiving all the good that is available from God.  Most of us have myriad experiences working our way out of, in one form or another, that captivity.  Some efforts are amazingly successful, but others fall flat and make us wonder why we even tried.  I am ever grateful for the lessons learned from trying (and failing or succeeding) but wonder if the success ratio might be improved by following the example found in one story from the life of Moses.

When Israel had finally escaped, completely, from Egypt – remember that the Egyptians were drowned and destroyed so they could not follow – the Hebrews celebrated by writing a song in honor of Moses.  Part of the song goes like this:

The Lord is my strength and song, and he is become my salvation: he is my God, and I will prepare him an habitation; my father’s God, and I will exalt him. (Exodus 15:2)

At that moment of great joy the Children of Israel were sincere in their focus on praising their God.  He had delivered them from slavery and death by eliminating their greatest enemy.  They were headed to a land of plenty with hopes of a bright future.  From there on, life would be easy and smooth.  Or so they thought.

A mere three days later, Moses, the vaunted leader of the innumerable company, the Lord’s anointed prophet, seer, and revelator, is confronted by these same ‘children’ with another dilemma. 

So Moses brought Israel from the Red sea, and they went out into the wilderness of Shur; and they went three days in the wilderness, and found no water.  And when they came to Marah, they could not drink of the waters of Marah, for they were bitter:… And the people murmured against Moses, saying, what shall we drink? (Ex. 15:22-24)

It is a serious thing to be without water and it is not unreasonable for the people to wonder where they will find refreshment.  The trouble comes for Israel as the congregation recognizes the situation that lies ahead and decides what to do about it. 

Having just received deliverance from God in an outstanding way, it would seem appropriate to find Israel pondering about what miracle God would perform to help them through this trial.  But their response is consistent with what seems to be their level of faith.

They MURMURED.

Why?  Because murmuring is easier than doing what should be done.  Murmurers seem to derive a sense of power from their actions.  Murmuring invites a feeling of superiority because a problem has been recognized and brought to the attention of the world.  Never mind that no solution is offered – that’s a duty for another – the situation has been identified and will now be reviewed incessantly. 

It’s not always clear what brings on this malady of character, but it is often – much too often – the tool of response to difficult (or even simple) challenges.  And it isn’t just the Israel of Moses’ time that follows this path.  Every day there are examples of murmuring found in news, politics, religion, education, etc. 

How did Moses deal with the attitude of his people? 

And how can we avoid developing this habit that is so unproductive? 

It’s really pretty simple. 

Moses trusted.

Where Israel murmured,

Moses trusted. 

Not in himself or any other mortal person. 

He trusted in God.

In the story from Exodus, we learn that Moses went to God and asked what to do.  He was inspired to find a tree, cut it down, and toss it into the waters of Marah which were so bitter.  That particular tree had properties that, when submerged in the water, neutralized whatever substances were causing the bitterness that rendered the water undrinkable.  Now it was sweet.

Moses acted on his trust in God and found an answer.

Who knew a tree could fix water?
But how did Moses know what to do.  Why would God give him the idea to use the tree?  After all, he was raised in the palace of Pharaoh and was considered by many to be an Egyptian.  

Moses knew who he was and never let go of his heritage.  And when he was forced to flee Egypt, he did not abandon that heritage because things got hard.  He found others of like faith and continued to be a faithful follower of Jehovah.

In that heritage, valued by Moses so much, was a tradition that still survives today.  We find the gist of Moses’ ability for finding answers in a message of modern revelation.  Here’s what it says:

Yea, behold, I will tell you in your mind and in your heart, by the Holy Ghost, which shall come upon you and which shall dwell in your heart.  Now behold, this is the spirit of revelation; behold, this is the spirit by which Moses brought the children of Israel through the Red Sea on dry ground. (D&C 8:2-3)

Instead of turning to the worldly method for confronting challenges (murmur), Moses chose to go to God and ask for revelation.  And revelation he received!  This communication from God is available to anyone who seeks it.  Not just prophets or pastors or priests, but anyone who wants to know. 

So when the waters of Marah were too bitter to drink, Moses did exactly the same thing he did when the waters of the Red Sea stood before the whole company of Israel.  He asked God for help.  We might even consider that the previous scripture could have ended like this:

Now, behold, this is the spirit of revelation; behold this is the spirit by which Moses healed the Waters of Marah for the children of Israel so they did not die of thirst.

Revelation is not magic.

Revelation is not a mystery.

Revelation is asking in faith and waiting on the Lord for the answer.

Revelation is available to every one of God’s children.

Too many good people revert to murmuring when difficult questions or experiences arise. 

Murmuring eliminates or reduces any chance for revelation. 

Without revelation, we cannot know what God would have us do.  We are then left to our own devices, ideas, or prejudices for the answer.

As Israel continued to find fault with Moses and Aaron, the Lord inspired the Prophet to issue this challenge:

…the Lord heareth your murmurings which ye murmur against him; and what are we? Your murmurings are not against us, but against the Lord. (Ex. 16:8)

It is one thing to issue condemnations against mortal men, but when we start to contend against the God of this earth, we are placing ourselves in a dangerous situation. 

There is a God in heaven who communicates directly with His children if they will ask.  He will tell the least of us what He wants if we will but ask.  His prophets guide the Church and give us counsel on how we can find happiness. 

When we choose to murmur instead of seek revelation, we place ourselves outside the protection of a loving Father.  Our actions tell Him that we aren’t ready to understand His truth.

He wants us to know. 
And He will tell us if we ask. 
He did it for Moses.

He will do it for us.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

NO CAN DO!

I originally had a much longer title to this post but decided it might be too wordy.  Of course, being who I am, (sarcasm alert) wordiness is anathema to me so the title was changed.  Anyways, this is not about my predilections to communicate using too many words, but about the state of my thinking concerning certain political motives.  My musings are preliminary but I don’t see them changing much in the near future.


But who knows!!  So here goes.


It is a given that when election time come I WILL NOT be offering my vote to any of the Democratic candidates currently running.  It seems the Dems are insistent on nominating the other half of the Clinton family (though I use that last word loosely).  She has shown no ability to lead in any position and seems to only believe she should be President because she is a woman.  Frankly, I would prefer just about ANYONE besides her.

Nothing is her fault -- she's a woman.


While I am not enamored with Bernie Sanders and his Socialist agenda, at least he is being honest about what he wants for America.  There are grave doubts about what Hilary desires (besides the title) in her campaign to ‘lead’ and the consequences of her election may inflict greater damage on this nation than the current fellow caused when he ascended to his throne.

Socialism is his game.

I will not vote for Hilary!!!


There is only one instance in which I might voting for Bernie Sanders.


And this is where the title of the post resonates.


It doesn’t matter who else is chosen for the Republican nominee, if Donald Trump is the victor, I will not vote for him.  Reservations abound with all the other candidates from that party but Mr. Trump has nothing for me.  There is nothing he spews that resonates with truth for me.


Therefore, if D.T. is the candidate from the red side, this young man will probably not vote for any of the current candidates.  That may change if more information comes into play but it is doubtful there will be enough to change this mind.


You may ask me, “Why are you so adamant against the Trumpster?”


Lots of faces but not much substance.
My answer would be, “because there is nothing in his character, business dealings, family relationships, societal associations, television experiences, etc., that gives me cause to trust he will do what needs to be done to make America a better place to live.  He has no experience dealing with political entities (much like Obama and Carson) and everything he does will be for the first time.”


But you say, “Why would you vote for Carson if he has the same limitations in political savvy?”

Don't know him well but he seems
to have a moral backbone.


Because, as best I can tell, Ben Carson is a moral man who wants to make the world better – not just see how much he can get for himself.


I have grave doubts concerning the morality of Mr. Trump.  And without morality, we are back to the days of Mr. Clinton.  


Not a good place to go.


This is definitely a judgment made without all the facts, but judgment can only be decided by what is shown.  And Donald Trump has not impressed me as having integrity during his moments of fame.


So, if it comes to pass that Donald Trump is the nominee for the Presidency of the United States of America, I will have to take my vote somewhere else or abstain completely.


And if I lived in a perfect world and was in charge of which candidate would win, I would most likely to pick………………….?






More on that later.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

SABBATH THOUGHTS



Today I ventured out to a meeting with our Stake Council.  This includes the Stake Presidency, High Council, and all the other organizations that direct the affairs of the stake.  Despite the early time (7:00 am), I felt like it was time to stop using my surgery as an excuse to stay home.  It was a bit of a stretch, but I made it and got some good information.


Since the April Conference of the Church, we have been receiving training from the leaders of the Church on how to be better Sabbath observers.  Our Prophet and His councilors plus the Quorum of the Twelve have been sharing ideas that are meant to help us do a better job of keeping the Sabbath holy.  Frankly, I could use some reminders from time-to-time so I appreciate the efforts.


Today was a follow-up to the previous training we received.  This time it was a little more specific in ways we can improve our worship on the Sabbath.  But rather than recycle things we have heard all our lives, our leaders shared, via a roundtable discussion, some of the things they do to help make this day important to themselves and their families.  It was good for me to listen because I have gotten a little sloppy in some areas of my worship.  I want to focus on three of the most important areas that caught my attention.



#1 – Make the Sabbath a delight!!

I remember as a kid really disliking Sunday because it was full of lots of DONT’S.

Don’t play outside.
Don’t watch movies.
Don’t turn on the TV.
Don’t have fun of any kind!!

In actuality, most of those weren’t hard and fast but they did seem to infringe on having a good day.  It seemed like we had to walk around on pins-and-needles for a whole day so we didn’t offend anyone.  And when I became a parent it was just as bad cause I became the enforcer of the don’ts.  

But as Teresa and I tried to make things better with our children, we began to realize that the day needed to be a happy one and not one of fear or misery.  So our don’t list got a little shorter and we tried to find things we could do as a family.  We made it a point to go visit some of the elderly people in our neighborhood (which seemed to help the kids be not so afraid of them).  Often times we would make cookies together or have candied popcorn while we played games.  And we even added some family appropriate TV shows that weren’t too far out of bounds for our day of worship.  It made a difference and I hope relieved some of the stress our kids felt when they were younger.


#2 – The Sabbath is meant for Worship

The most important part of Sabbath observance is attending church and partaking of the Sacrament.  Nothing is more important because that is the one time, each week, when we can renew the covenants we have made with God.  As we remember the Savior and His Atoning Sacrifice, we can reflect on the week and finalize the repentance we need for our sins that week.  The power of the Holy Ghost is abundant in that service/ordinance and will testify that we have been forgiven if we have done our part.  The worship of God the Father and His Son Jesus Christ is the main purpose of gathering together in our meetings.  When we are focused on Their efforts for us, our hearts are drawn to the things we can do to overcome the world.  Worship is the purpose of the Sabbath.


#3 – Our Sabbath commitment is a sign – a perpetual reminder of the covenant we have made as followers of Christ

When we choose to accept Jesus Christ as our Savior and declare, by baptism, that we are His followers, we make a covenant to do three things for the rest of our lives: 

1. To always remember Him and His sacrifice for our benefit
2. To keep His commandments to the best of our abilities
3. To take upon ourselves His name and act, in all things, as He would act

The Sabbath day is our day, given by God and Christ, to be different than we are every other day of the week.  Not just in the way we act (though that is part of it), but in the way we think and remember.  Sunday is God’s day and all we do is to be done for His benefit and to remember Him.

When Moses descended from Sinai with the stone tablets, there were 10 commandments engraved thereon.  The fourth was the Lord’s way of helping us be aware of the first three and save our souls from destruction.  Keeping the Sabbath day holy is not a commandment most of the world is concerned with today.  The days has become something less than it should be.  Only by remembering God and Christ, on their special day, can we bring down the blessings promised by our Heavenly Father.  

I believe that the state of the world makes it clear that we must, once again, make observance of the Sabbath a priority.  Otherwise, the blessings we desire may be withheld until we do.

Friday, October 23, 2015

BACK TO WORK



Well, I’m sort of there but not completely.


It has been seven weeks since I went under the knife/saw and survived.  Over those weeks I had therapy and walked many miles around the neighborhood (got to see, firsthand, how the city public works guys do their jobs) while recovering fairly well.  My sweetheart kept me fed (though nothing tasted good) and my kids made frequent visits so I wasn’t too bored.

Now it is time to get back to work.  This past week I started teaching again.  I couldn’t handle a whole day but I was able to take one class each day.  It was very nice to be with the kids once again.  I’m not sure they enjoyed some of my ramblings but I was excited to be out of the house and back in the classroom.

The plan is to go another week with one class a day and then add another the next week and add one per week until I’m back to a full load.

It is always surprising how much energy teaching takes.  You would think just standing and talking wouldn’t be that hard but after one lesson I am completely drained.  Most of the energy is used just trying to stay focused and help the students understand what we are studying.  Teaching is a much harder job than many people think.

It’s exciting to be back in the saddle (mostly) and I look forward to the time when I am completely back.  Thanks to those who have waited so patiently and those who have made it all possible.  Especially Teresa who helped me heal so quickly.  She is amazing.

For those who are interested, this whole experience has caused me to lose about 20 lbs.  As Teresa says, “you have not gut anymore.”  Until food starts to taste good again, I suspect I will remain as I am.  If you can believe it, I can’t stand the taste of ice cream.  Who would have thunk it possible?


Tuesday, October 13, 2015

WHAT'S THE DIFFERENCE?

As I watch the happenings of this world, I wonder why people obsessed and incensed about some events and totally ignore others.


For instance, there has been a great deal of conflict generated because of recent events in Oregon.  Many believe that withholding the right to own firearms is the only solution to the problem of madmen (and women) gunning down innocents.  They claim that by limiting access to weapons, specifically guns, there will be greater peace and happiness in the world.  While there is limited data to prove either side of the story, those who are against gun ownership for individuals are using these tragedies to bolster their “case” for revoking 2nd Amendment rights.


The root of all evil in some people's eyes.


On the other hand, many of these same citizens are shamefully silent when the spotlight shines on millions of unborn babies who are aborted each year in this country.  Those practicing this form of death like to claim that life is not viable until at least 16 weeks.  Even if that were true, and it isn’t, what about all the “late-term” (after 16 weeks) deaths that take place in Planned Parenthood and other facilities?  There are more deaths generated in those places than all the “mass-shootings” combined in the U.S. each and every year.


So what’s the difference between these two methods of death?


Why are so many people up in arms about protecting innocents from guns but only a much maligned group seem to be concerned about protecting innocents from forceps and other medical implements that tear lives apart?


I’m reminded of a circumstance in the Old Testament when Josiah— raised in an environment of idolatry that required infant sacrifice to false gods – became king at a very young age.  The experience of watching his father’s violate the worship of God had such an impact on Josiah that when he became king of Israel he outlawed such practices and tried to bring the people back to the worship of Jehovah.

Josiah destroys the idols of wickedness.

Our society is much like apostate Israel in the days of the kings.  So many things that are good have been declared evil and innumerable practices that would have brought on rebellion from the righteous in years past have become accepted.  Selfishness and self-aggrandizement are the norm and the rights of the unborn, weak, and humble are devalued by the rage of the world.

The anger towards violence that raises the hue and cry of so many when it comes to gun attacks is completely absent when the topic of millions of dead babies is broached.  Instead, there is justification because of the “rights of women” to control their own bodies (and other such nonsense).


Whatever happened to controlling bodies before inviting new life into this world?


Thus, my question is:


What is the difference between killing hundreds of people with guns in groups and killing, one at a time, MILLIONS of people with drugs, medical tools and other means?


Both end up dead!!


Both circumstances are violent and abhorrent!!


I wonder if Kelsey Grammer’s shirt isn’t right.

Would this stop those who hate babies?  I doubt it.


If abortionists were required to use guns to do their dirty work, maybe we could stop the infanticide.