Friday, October 31, 2008

Zion


Recently there has been so much talk about "socialism" in the political buzz in the media. I am so very much against socialism, and part of me was wondering if that was "unkind" of me. No. I do not think it is. Instead of "socialism", I believe in "generosity."


I studied this talk today:
Come to Zion
Elder D. Todd Christofferson Of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles


In his message, Elder Christofferson says:




Each of us should prayerfully consider whether we are doing what we should
and all that we should in the Lord's eyes with respect to the poor and the
needy.



In much of the world, we are entering upon unsettled economic times. Let us
look after one another the very best we can. I remember the story of a
Vietnamese family that fled Saigon in 1975 and ended up living in a small mobile
home in Provo, Utah. A young man in the refugee family became the home teaching
companion to a Brother Johnson who lived nearby with his large family. The boy
related the following:
"One day Brother Johnson noticed that our family had
no kitchen table. He appeared the next day with an odd-looking but very
functional table that fit nicely against the trailer wall across from the
kitchen sink and counters. I say odd-looking because two of the table legs
matched the tabletop and two did not. Also, several small wooden pegs stuck out
along one edge of the worn surface.
"Soon we used this unique table daily for
food preparation and for eating some quick meals. We still ate our family meals
while we sat on the floor . . . in true Vietnamese
fashion.
"One evening I stood inside Brother Johnson's front door as I waited
for him before a home teaching appointment. There in the nearby kitchen—I was
surprised to see it—was a table practically identical to the one they had given
to my family. The only difference was that where our table had pegs, the Johnsons' table had holes!
I then realized that, seeing our need, this charitable man had cut his kitchen
table in half and had built two new legs for each half.
"It was obvious that
the Johnson family could not fit around this small piece of furniture—they
probably didn't fit comfortably around it when it was
whole. . . .
"Throughout my life this kind act has been
a powerful reminder of true giving" (Son Quang Le, as told to Beth Ellis Le, "Two-of-a-Kind Table," Ensign, July 2004, 63).


I think we should give, I think we should be kind and generous, and look after each other. How wonderful it would be to have a leader of this country that would inspire generosity . Giving in this way is what brings us closer to Christ. As we give of our own free will, we are blessed with the spirit, as a little "thank you" card from God. Imagine the joy in the country, with it's population filled with the spirit of God.


I really appreciated this talk, as a personal reminder to look inward and see if I am doing all I can to care for the poor. I know that when I am in the service of others, I am serving my God.




Thursday, October 30, 2008

The Way


Today I read "The Way"- by Elder Lawrence E. Corbridge Of the Seventy.


One part of his talk that really struck me was this:





John the Baptist said that while he baptized with water, Jesus baptized
“with the Holy Ghost.”12
Nothing
in this life is of greater worth than the supernal gift of the Holy Ghost. It is
the source of joy, peace, knowledge, strength, love, and every other good thing.
With the Atonement, it is the power by which we may be changed and made strong
where we are weak. With the priesthood, it is the power by which marriages and
families are sealed together eternally.13
It is the power by which the Lord makes Himself manifest unto those who believe
in Him.14
Every good thing depends on getting and keeping the power of the Holy Ghost in
our lives. Everything depends on that.
To that end, Jesus Christ entered a
garden called Gethsemane, where He overcame sin for us. He took upon Himself our
sins. He suffered the penalty of our wrongs. He paid the price of our education.
I don’t know how He did what He did. I only know that He did and that because He
did, you and I may be forgiven of our sins that we may be endowed with His
power. Everything depends on that. What then shall we do? We will “take upon
[us] the name of [the] Son, and always remember him and keep his commandments
which he has given [us]; that [we] may always have his Spirit to be with
[us].”15
Everything depends on that.



I have been thinking a lot about the covenant of the sacrament lately. I want to have a lovely atmosphere in my home all the time. With four little children, I sometimes get frustrated with them. I need to keep his commandments, and always remember him, because I know that I need his spirit to always be with me.


Everything depends on that.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

3 Nephi 12


Today I am in 3 Nephi, chapter 12- verse 44 made me think of the divided nation that we are at this time, just a short time before the election.
44. But behold I say unto you, love your enemies, bless them that curse you,
do
good to them that hate you, and pray for them who despitefully use you and persecute you.
Love those who steel your yard signs. Serve those who are voting no where you vote yes. Pray for our nation, and everyone in it.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Protect Marriage


On a past post I received a detailed "comment" form "anonymous"- in opposition to prop 8. I went to a town hall meeting last night, and learned a lot. If I were a better blogger- I would have had my camera there, and taken some good pictures of the "opposition." It was clear which side of prop 8 they were on because, as Isiah prophesied, in Isaiah 3:9: The shew of their countenance doth witness against them.


I would now like to respond to "anonymous' comment.


Anonymous:




If Proposition 8 passes, the law will change to designate an entire class of
people as unequal to, as less than, every other class of people. In the eyes of
the law, gay people will be seen as inferior to everyone else. And when
opponents of gay rights see the idea that gays are inferior validated by the
government, it will allow them to continue on their path of dehumanizing gays
and lesbians. That's what denying a class of people an equal right does. It
dehumanizes them, and it is dangerous. It is the dehumanization of a group that
creates a culture in which people feel that it is okay to yell epithets at
others in public; that it is okay for kids to be bullied and beaten at school;
that it is okay for a jeering mob to incite a gay 17-year-old to commit suicide
by jumping off a building. (Read the news.) These things happen because gays are
demonized. And gays are demonized when they're made out to be an inferior class
of people. And they are made out to be an inferior class of people when they are
not allowed the same rights as everyone else.





My response:


Proposition 8 is very simple. There are not pages and pages of confusing information, but it is rather, just one phrase, that would be added to our state's Constitution, as it is already a part of 45 other states. It says this:

"Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid and recognized in California."


The state of California is already one of the most liberal in the union, giving the gay and lesbian community the legal rights, privileges, and protections that are saying that prop 8 will give them. This is not true. They already have those rights and protections. Prop 8 is about defining marriage. Opposition to prop 8 is about taking the word "marriage" and changing it's definition.



IN ADDITION, PROPONENTS OF PROP 8 CONTINUE TO LIE IN THEIR TELEVISION
ADS:Fiction: Teaching children about same-sex marriage will happen here unless
we pass Prop 8. Fact: Not one word in Prop 8 mentions education, and no child
can be forced, against the will of their parents, to be taught anything about
health and family issues at school. California law prohibits it, and the Yes on
8 campaign knows they are lying. Sacramento Superior Court Judge Timothy Frawley
has already ruled that this claim by Prop 8 proponents is "false and
misleading.

My response:

I really think that anonymous believed that when he or she wrote it. However, last night a the town hall meeting, it was read to me, directly from the state's education code, in two different places that "marriage" shall (not may- but shall) be taught in schools. Without the passing of proposition 8, that would include gay marriage, being taught to our children. What a horrible abuse of power, are those in authority, that know this is the case, and yet, lie to the public, saying that it is not so. The "opt out" thing also does exist, yes, but it has a "clause" that eliminates same sex issues.


Yes- prop 8 does not mention education- as I mentioned before- it is 14 words long- but the reproductions of it's not passing will be much longer.




"Fiction: Churches could lose their tax-exemption status. Fact: Nothing in Prop
8 would force churches to do anything. In fact, the court decision regarding
marriage specifically says "no religion will be required to change its religious
policies or practices with regard to same-sex couples, and no religious
officiant will be required to solemnize a marriage in contravention of his or
her religious beliefs."


Again- untrue- any church that "rents" it's halls for marriages, and does not rent to a gay or lesbian couple would open themselves up to law suits, and the loss of their tax exempt status.



Fiction: A Massachusetts case about a parent’s objection to the school
curriculum will happen here. Fact: Unlike Massachusetts, California gives
parents an absolute right to remove their kids and opt-out of teaching on health
and family instruction they don't agree with. The opponents know that California
law already covers this and Prop 8 won't affect it, so they bring up an
irrelevant case in Massachusetts.


Again- oh how I wish this were true, as I have four young children- but the clause on the opt- out section was read to me last night, and clearly does not include same sex issues.



Fiction: Four Activist Judges in San Francisco…Fact: Prop 8 is not about courts
and judges, it's about eliminating a fundamental right. Judges didn't grant the
right--the constitution guarantees the right. Proponents of Prop 8 use an
outdated and stale argument that judges aren't supposed to protect rights and
freedoms. This campaign is about whether Californians, right now, in 2008 are
willing to amend the constitution for the sole purpose of eliminating a
fundamental right for one group of citizens.


My response: The constitution says no such thing- go read it.



Fiction: Unless Prop 8 passes, CA parents won't have the right to object to what
their children are taught in school. Fact: California law clearly gives parents
and guardians broad authority to remove their children from any health
instruction if it conflicts with their religious beliefs or moral convictions.


Again- I wish so badly this were the case- but it is not. You should read the education code- the clause was right in there. health reasons yes- but it specifically said that same sex issues were not included in the opt out.



AND, ADDITIONALLY:Fiction: Civil unions and domestic partnerships give gay
couples the same rights as married couples. Fact: In the few states in which
civil unions or similar domestic partnerships exist, same-sex couples are
granted the same rights as married couples but only on the state level. There
are hundreds upon hundreds of federal benefits that do not apply to those
couples in civil unions or domestic partnerships.PLEASE VOTE NO ON PROP 8.
Please do not allow blatant discrimination to be written into the law.
California is better, smarter, and more humane than that.


Dude- Mr/ Mrs anonymous- I think you do believe what you wrote- but you were misinformed.


Protect marriage- vote yes on 8!!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Yes on 8! (again)


The following is an experience of a fellow Californain, I thought I would pass it along:


Dear family and friends,
I had a very disturbing experience yesterday that I would like to share with
those of you that live outside of California (or outside of the San
Francisco Bay Area).

This weekend we have stake conference. Our stake conference always begins
with a stake temple session on Friday or Thursday night. Early Friday
morning I received a call from the second counselor in our bishopric to let
me know that there would be numerous protesters outside the temple, and to
remind everyone to stay calm and to drive carefully. The beautiful
Oakland Temple is located right across the bay from San Francisco , very
close to the city of Berkeley.

Apparently the opposition to proposition 8, the amendment that seeks to make
marriage in CA between a man and a woman again, has realized the deep
involvement of the church and begun to protest right outside of the temple
and harass temple patrons. The fastest way to get to the temple from our
house is to take the 680 freeway, but the exit is a bit tricky. The off
ramp is extremely short and straight uphill. You then make an almost blind
left turn, an immediate right and another left into the parking lot. As we
approached the off ramp, I realized there would be trouble. There was a
backup onto the freeway from cars stalled on the off ramp. As we moved
forward inches at a time, we realized this was due to a large group of loud
protesters who were standing on both sides of the street, yelling, screaming
and waving signs. When we got to the top of the offramp, ready to make our
turn, one protester jumped out right in front of our car. It took my
husband all his self control to carefully maneuver around him to the left
and proceed to the temple.

I tried not to listen to all they were shouting at us, but I was shaking as
I got to the temple front door. Several of the sisters, especially the ones
driving on their own, were crying (which made me snap out of it and go into
Relief Society President mode to comfort them). Later, as I was sitting in
the perfect quiet of the chapel, I couldn't help but think of Lehi's dream,
and the people who mocked the Saints from the big spacious building but
'we heeded them not.' It was a truly surreal experience, I'd never thought
that I would have to go through an angry crowd to get to the temple. As we
left late at night, the protesters had dispersed, temple security (who all
looked very large and Tongan) stood by the gates. I never saw a single
police man.

Please pray for those of us in California fighting for prop 8--it's getting
kind of scary out here!
Susanne

The True and Lving Church


I teach Relif Society- This Sunday I am teaching on The True and Living Church by President Henry B. Eyring.


First, I wanted to list the reasons that he gave, why the Church of Jesus Christ is the True and Living Church.


We have living prophet and apostles on the earth. Just as there always was in scriptures: Abraham, Moses, Peter James and John.


In this church are the keys of the priesthood. The power authority to act in God's name, as the prophets and apostles had in scriptural days. The power to heal the sick, the authority to receive revelation and guidance for the church as a whole.


In this church is the power to "seal". To bind in heaven those ordinances performed here on earth- such as marriages in the temple.


God's people have not always been worthy of the marvelous experience we have shared today. The Apostles, after the Ascension of Christ, continued to exercise the keys He left with them. But because of disobedience and loss of faith by the members, the Apostles died without the keys being passed on to successors. We call that tragic episode "the Apostasy."


In our church we believe there was this "falling away." The priesthood that was on the earth, because of a lack of righteousness, was at some point, not continued to be passed down. This is what makes us a truly unique church.


The Catholics disagree. They claim the position that there was not an Apostasy, that the priesthood of God has always been on the earth, and is found in their church.


This is where we are similar to the Catholic Church. We both see the need for the priesthood. We both have a "prophet" of sorts. (theirs of course is the Pope.)


There were those who disagreed. Martin Luther, and other reformers, saw that the Catholic church was not teaching the same Christian doctrine that Christ had taught while on the earth. The different religious sects would notice that something was amiss, and break off "protesting" the Catholic doctrine, and doing their best to teach Christ's doctrine according to the scriptures. The Baptists, for example, saw that the baptisms were not being performed by immersion, knew that according to the scriptures, this was not right, and eventually had their own church, baptising the way that Christ himself taught and was baptized.


This is where the three categories emerged.



  1. The Catholic Church- claiming to always have Christ's authority, being a constant line from Christ himself.

  2. The Protestants, or Reformers. This includes the Christian Churches which broke off from the Catholics, in an effort to "reform" or "protest" the Catholic church.

  3. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, who believe that not just a reformation, but a restoration was necessary.

My time is up- I need to go make breakfast for my kids. Have a great day!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Angels on Earth



The Ministry of Angels
Elder Jeffrey R. Holland


This was such a beautiful talk. I took out my favorite portions, but I really loved it all. Click here for the entire talk.



From the beginning down through the dispensations, God has used angels as
His emissaries in conveying love and concern for His children. Time in this
setting does not allow even a cursory examination of the scriptures or our own
latter-day history, which are so filled with accounts of angels ministering to
those on earth, but it is rich doctrine and rich history indeed.
Usually such
beings are not seen. Sometimes they are. But seen or unseen they are always
near. Sometimes their assignments are very grand and have significance for the
whole world. Sometimes the messages are more private. Occasionally the angelic
purpose is to warn. But most often it is to comfort, to provide some form of
merciful attention, guidance in difficult times. When in Lehi’s dream he found
himself in a frightening place, “a dark and dreary waste,” as he described it,
he was met by an angel, “a man . . . dressed in a white
robe; . . . he spake unto me,” Lehi said, “and bade me
follow him.”7
Lehi did follow him to safety and ultimately to the path of salvation.

I really had never given this topic much thought. But what a wonderful thing for us to remember- that we are not alone.



But I testify that angels are still sent to help us, even as they were sent
to help Adam and Eve, to help the prophets, and indeed to help the Savior of the
world Himself.



I ask everyone within the sound of my voice to take heart, be filled with
faith, and remember the Lord has said He “would fight [our] battles, [our]
children’s battles, and [the battles of our] children’s children.”10
And what do we do to merit such a defense? We are to “search diligently, pray
always, and be believing[. Then] all things shall work together for [our] good,
if [we] walk uprightly and remember the covenant wherewith [we] have
covenanted.”11
The latter days are not a time to fear and tremble. They are a time to be
believing and remember our covenants.


Sometimes I think that such promises are beyond me- I like how he tells us what is required to receive such blessings- to search diligently, pray always and be believing.- I can do that. We can do that.



Referring to his childhood on a large Idaho farm, Brother Barrus spoke of
his nightly assignment to round up the cows at milking time. Because the cows
pastured in a field bordered by the occasionally treacherous Teton River, the
strict rule in the Barrus household was that during the spring flood season the
children were never to go after any cows who ventured across the river. They
were always to return home and seek mature help.
One Saturday just after his
seventh birthday, Brother Barrus’s parents promised the family a night at the
movies if the chores were done on time. But when young Clyn arrived at the
pasture, the cows he sought had crossed the river, even though it was running at
high flood stage. Knowing his rare night at the movies was in jeopardy, he
decided to go after the cows himself, even though he had been warned many times
never to do so.
As the seven-year-old urged his old horse, Banner, down into
the cold, swift stream, the horse’s head barely cleared the water. An adult
sitting on the horse would have been safe, but at Brother Barrus’s tender age,
the current completely covered him except when the horse lunged forward several
times, bringing Clyn’s head above water just enough to gasp for air.
Here I
turn to Brother Barrus’s own words:
“When Banner finally climbed the other
bank, I realized that my life had been in grave danger and that I had done a
terrible thing—I had knowingly disobeyed my father. I felt that I could redeem
myself only by bringing the cows home safely. Maybe then my father would forgive
me. But it was already dusk, and I didn’t know for sure where I was. Despair
overwhelmed me. I was wet and cold, lost and afraid.
“I climbed down from old
Banner, fell to the ground by his feet, and began to cry. Between thick sobs, I
tried to offer a prayer, repeating over and over to my Father in Heaven, ‘I’m
sorry. Forgive me! I’m sorry. Forgive me!’
“I prayed for a long time. When I
finally looked up, I saw through my tears a figure dressed in white walking
toward me. In the dark, I felt certain it must be an angel sent in answer to my
prayers. I did not move or make a sound as the figure approached, so overwhelmed
was I by what I saw. Would the Lord really send an angel to me, who had been so
disobedient?
“Then a familiar voice said, ‘Son, I’ve been looking for you.’
In the darkness I recognized the voice of my father and ran to his outstretched
arms. He held me tightly, then said gently, ‘I was worried. I’m glad I found
you.’
“I tried to tell him how sorry I was, but only disjointed words came
out of my trembling lips—’Thank
you . . . darkness . . . afraid . . . river . . . alone.’
Later that night I learned that when I had not returned from the pasture, my
father had come looking for me. When neither I nor the cows were to be found, he
knew I had crossed the river and was in danger. Because it was dark and time was
of the essence, he removed his clothes down to his long white thermal underwear,
tied his shoes around his neck, and swam a treacherous river to rescue a wayward
son.”12
My
beloved brothers and sisters, I testify of angels, both the heavenly and the
mortal kind. In doing so I am testifying that God never leaves us alone, never
leaves us unaided in the challenges that we face. “[N]or will he, so long as
time shall last, or the earth shall stand, or there shall be one man [or woman
or child] upon the face thereof to be saved.”13
On occasions, global or personal, we may feel we are distanced from God, shut
out from heaven, lost, alone in dark and dreary places. Often enough that
distress can be of our own making, but even then the Father of us all is
watching and assisting. And always there are those angels who come and go all
around us, seen and unseen, known and unknown, mortal and immortal.
May we
all believe more readily in, and have more gratitude for, the Lord’s promise as
contained in one of President Monson’s favorite scriptures: “I will go before
your face. I will be on your right hand and on your
left, . . . my Spirit shall be in your [heart], and mine
angels round about you, to bear you up.”14
In the process of praying for those angels to attend us, may we all try to be a
little more angelic ourselves—with a kind word, a strong arm, a declaration of
faith and “the covenant wherewith [we] have covenanted.”15
Perhaps then we can be emissaries sent from God when someone, perhaps a Primary
child, is crying,
“Darkness . . . afraid . . . river
. . . alone.”


A few years ago, while serving as the leader of the teenage girls in my congregation, I was preparing a message for a special meeting that we were having with them. While I was preparing what I would say, I had one of the most overwhelming feelings of my life. The feeling was that I needed to tell these girls that they were not alone in their tough times-- specifically that family members who had passed away are helping them. The impression came to me to share this so strongly, and I knew that it was a thought that was not mine. This was a testimony to me that this was true. Angels do minister among us. Funny how the scripture that was the basis for the message that I was preparing was the same one that Elder Holland used in this talk: "Search diligently, pray always, and be believing, and all things shall work together for your good."


I can imagine in the future, after I have passed away, what job would I like more than to help and look after my grand children, (wait- hopefully my great great grandchildren). To comfort them, and be with them.


This talk also made me think about being an angel here on earth. Elder Holland mentions that his wife is an angel. I think I complain too much about kids and messes to warrant such a title. No, I don't think DH would describe me as an angel. But I wish he could. I will work on that.

Monday, October 20, 2008

3 Nephi 11 Carefully Listen


verse 5

And again the third time (they heard the voice from heaven) and did open their ears to hear it;


Mosiah 5:12

I would that ye should remember to retain the name written always in your hearts, that ye are not found on the left hand of God, but that ye hear and know the voice by which ye shall be called...


Harold B. Lee told the following: (Revelation and You
By President Harold B. Lee)


Elder John A. Widtsoe of the Council of the Twelve once told of a
discussion he had with a group of stake officers. In the course of the
discussion someone said to him, “Brother Widtsoe, how long has it been since the
Church received a revelation?” Brother Widtsoe rubbed his chin thoughtfully and
said in reply, “Oh, probably since last Thursday.” Brother Widtsoe undoubtedly
referred to the meeting of the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve
that is held on each Thursday.
Through the scriptures this
phrase is often repeated: “He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.” (Matt.
11:15
.) All of us are not so blessed to hear all that we ought to
hear.

...There, in that place sacred in Him, the Master kneeled down and prayed,
asking the Lord to let this hour pass, and then He said, “Father, glorify thy
name.” The answer came, “I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again.”
(John
12:28
.) There were some people who heard it and said that it had thundered;
there were a few who said an angel of the Lord had spoken to Him. You see, there
were some who had ears to hear, but they didn’t hear.


At the close of Harold B. Lee's talk he lists the different ways we can "hear" the Lord in this phrase:



The thing that all of us should strive for is to so live, keeping the
commandments of the Lord, that He can answer our prayers. If we will live
worthy, then the Lord will guide us—by a personal appearance, or by His actual
voice, or by His voice coming into our mind, or by impressions upon our heart
and our soul. And oh, how grateful we ought to be if the Lord sends us a dream
in which is revealed to us the beauties of the eternity or a warning and
direction for our special comfort. Yes, if we so live, the Lord will guide us
for our salvation and for our benefit.


Russell M. Nelson, Spring Conference 1991 talked about the importance of listening to our spouses:



Husbands and wives, learn to listen, and listen to learn from one another. I was
amused to read of an experience recorded by Elder F. Burton Howard in his
biography of President Marion G. Romney: “His good-humored love for Ida was
manifested in many ways. He delighted in telling of her hearing loss. ‘I once
went to see a doctor about her hearing,’ he would say. ‘He asked me how bad it
was, and I said I didn’t know. He told me to go home and find out. The doctor
instructed me to go into a far room and speak to her. Then I should move nearer
and nearer until she does hear. Following the doctor’s instructions, I spoke to
her from the bedroom while she was in the kitchen—no answer. I moved nearer and
spoke again—no answer. So I went right up to the door of the kitchen and said,
“Ida, can you hear me?” She responded, “What is it, Marion—I’ve answered you
three times.” ’ ”
8

Even with normal hearing, some couples seem not to
listen to one another. Taking time to talk is essential to keep lines of
communication intact. If marriage is a prime relationship in life, it deserves
prime time! Yet less important appointments are often given priority, leaving
only leftover moments for listening to precious partners.


He goes on to admonish us to listen to the prophet:


“A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you … ; him shall ye hear in
all things whatsoever he shall say unto you. …
“Every soul,
which will not hear that prophet, shall be destroyed from among the people.” (Acts
3:22–23
.)
11

President J. Reuben Clark, Jr., said, “We do not lack
a prophet; what we lack is a listening ear.”


He advises to listen to our children:


When our youngest daughter was about four years of age, I came home from
hospital duties quite late one evening. I found my dear wife to be very weary. I
don’t know why. She only had nine children underfoot all day. So I offered to
get our four-year-old ready for bed. I began to give the orders: “Take off your
clothes; hang them up; put on your pajamas; brush your teeth; say your prayers”
and so on, commanding in a manner befitting a tough sergeant in the army.
Suddenly she cocked her head to one side, looked at me with a wistful eye, and
said, “Daddy, do you own me?”
She taught me an important
lesson. I was using coercive methods on this sweet soul. To rule children by
force is the technique of Satan, not of the Savior. No, we don’t own our
children. Our parental privilege is to love them, to lead them, and to let them
go.


Listen to your parents:


Several years ago, I was invited to give an important lecture at a medical
school in New York City. The night before the lecture, Sister Nelson and I were
invited to dinner at the home of our host professor. There he proudly introduced
us to an honor medical student—his beautiful daughter.
Some
weeks later, that professor telephoned me in an obvious state of grief. I asked,
“What is the matter?”
“Remember our daughter whom you met at
our home?”
“Of course,” I replied. “I’ll never forget such a
stunning young lady.”
Then her father sobbed and said, “Last
night she was killed in an automobile accident!” Trying to gain composure, he
continued: “She asked permission to go to a dance with a certain young man. I
didn’t have a good feeling about it. I told her so and asked her not to go. She
asked, ‘Why?’ I simply told her that I was uneasy. She had always been an
obedient daughter, but she said that if I could not give her a good reason to
decline, she wanted to go. And so she did. At the dance, alcoholic beverages
were served. Her escort drank a bit—we don’t know how much. While returning
home, he was driving too fast, missed a turn, and careened through a guardrail
into a reservoir below. They were both submerged and taken to their death.”
As I shared my feeling of sadness, he concluded: “My grief is
made worse because I had the distinct feeling that trouble lay ahead. Why
couldn’t I have been more persuasive?”
This experience will
not have been in vain if others can listen and learn from it. Children, honor
your parents,
5
even when they cannot give a satisfactory explanation for their feelings.
Please have faith in this scripture, which applies to all age groups: “Hear the
instruction of thy father, and forsake not the law of thy mother.” (Prov. 1:8.)


And of course, Listen to the Lord:


President Spencer W. Kimball said, “It would not hurt us, either, if we
paused at the end of our prayers to do some intense listening—even for a
moment
or two—always praying, as the Savior did, ‘not my will, but thine, be
done.’ (Luke
22:42
.)”

“Thus saith the Lord God: I will give unto the
children of men line upon
line, precept upon precept, here a little and
there a little; and blessed are
those who hearken unto my precepts, and lend
an ear unto my counsel, for they
shall learn wisdom; for unto him that
receiveth I will give more.” (2 Ne.
28:30
)

The example of Rachel Ivins Grant is inspiring to
me. She never complained
about her own deafness. Though most women in their
seventies would be completely
worn out while rearing six growing children of
another mother, she undertook
that task. Rachel’s deafness seemed to save
her from the wear and tear of noise.
Sometimes, when two were arguing,
Rachel would burst out laughing. She said they
had no idea how funny it was
to see their angry faces and hear none of their
words.
Before her son, Heber J. Grant, became the seventh
President
of the Church, she declared, “Of course the greatest trial I have is
that I
cannot hear, but I have so many blessings I cannot complain, but if we
only
will live so that we may receive the instructions of God, there is nothing
we are called to pass through but will be for our good.”

The Redeemer loves such faithful souls: “For the eyes of the
Lord are over
the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers.” (1 Pet.
3:12
.)
They qualify for this prophetic promise:
“Before
they call, I [the Lord] will answer; and while they are yet
speaking, I will
hear” (Isa.
65:24
).


I love how 3 Nephi 11 begins, it begins as I should begin, by listening.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Come What May, and Love It




Today I am reading and studying the conference talk:
Come What May, and Love It
Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin Of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles



This story totally made me lol:



Learn to Laugh



I remember when one of our daughters went on a blind date. She was all
dressed up and waiting for her date to arrive when the doorbell rang. In walked
a man who seemed a little old, but she tried to be polite. She introduced him to
me and my wife and the other children; then she put on her coat and went out the
door. We watched as she got into the car, but the car didn’t move. Eventually
our daughter got out of the car and, red faced, ran back into the house. The man
that she thought was her blind date had actually come to pick up another of our
daughters who had agreed to be a babysitter for him and his wife.
We all had
a good laugh over that. In fact, we couldn’t stop laughing. Later, when our
daughter’s real blind date showed up, I couldn’t come out to meet him because I
was still in the kitchen laughing. Now I realize that our daughter could have
felt humiliated and embarrassed. But she laughed with us, and as a result, we
still laugh about it today.

Seek for the Eternal


The dial on the wheel of sorrow eventually points to each of us. At one
time
or another, everyone must experience sorrow. No one is exempt.
Because Jesus
Christ suffered greatly, He understands our suffering. He
understands our
grief. We experience hard things so that we too may have
increased
compassion and understanding for others.

The story in the scriptures that has helped me so much with this principle is that of The people of Alma, living in the land of Helam. They were good righteous people. The Lamanites attacked them and put them in bondage. They were forced to work hard, and forbidden to pray. Sure the Lord could have protected the People of Alma. He could have kept them from being found. He could have struck them all dead. the Lord can do anything. And yet, he allowed those good righteous people to experience great trials. Why? "He trieth their patience and their faith." Mosiah 23:21. The Lord also could have helped them to escape quickly, and yet, it seemed t take a while. During which time, the people prayed in their hearts. From their first instinct, throughout their ordeal, they turned to the Lord. The result was that he eased their burdens, so they could not feel them. And then, of course, not immediately, but rather eventually, they were delivered.







Two days ago, I stopped by to say good-bye to my "super awesome neighbor" (Can I start calling her SAN?) As she had just packed her things to go with her daughter and grandchildren to Pittsburgh for a lung transplant, she was sweet, calm, normal, happy. I can imagine that someone else in the same situation could have been a mess. I could tell that the Lord was easing her burdens. I think that when the Lord eases our burdens, it is usually in this way. We don't have physical burdens on our backs like the people of Alma. But he eases our minds and thoughts. (not generally immediate deliverance) He gives us peace, even when logic tells us we shouldn't have it. SAN's daughter's name is Cammi, here is a blog that highlighted her story yesterday: Cammi.






Elder Wirthlin then talks about what he call the "principle of compensation." I had never heard this phrase before, I did a search for this phrase on LDS.org, and did not find it repeated. I had always kind of felt like it existed, but I loved having it named, defined and spelled out.






definition:


The Lord compensates the faithful for every loss. That which is taken away from
those who love the Lord will be added unto them in His own way. While it may not
come at the time we desire, the faithful will know that every tear today will
eventually be returned a hundredfold with tears of rejoicing and gratitude.



He goes on to explain that compensation sometimes comes in this life, but ALWAYS comes on the other side.



He tells of his grandson with autism:






His parents have encouraged him to participate in sports. When he first
started playing baseball, he was in the outfield. But I don’t think he grasped
the need to run after loose balls. He thought of a much more efficient way to
play the game. When a ball was hit in his direction, Joseph watched it go by and
then pulled another baseball out of his pocket and threw that one to the
pitcher.
Any reservations that his family may have had in raising Joseph, any
sacrifices they have made have been compensated tenfold. Because of this choice
spirit, his mother and father have learned much about children with
disabilities. They have witnessed firsthand the generosity and compassion of
family, neighbors, and friends. They have rejoiced together as Joseph has
progressed. They have marveled at his goodness.



The fourth point to his message was to Trust in the Father and the Son.






The same was said about the people of Alma: "whosoever putteth his trust in him the same shall be lifted up at the last day." (Mosiah 23:22) The Lord explained that eased their burdens in part so that they "may stand as a witness for me hereafter, that ye may know of a surety that I, the Lord God, do visit my people in their afflictions."









“God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son.”2
The Lord Jesus Christ is our partner, helper, and advocate. He wants us to be
happy. He wants us to be successful. If we do our part, He will step in.
He
who descended below all things will come to our aid. He will comfort and uphold
us. He will strengthen us in our weakness and fortify us in our distress. He
will make weak things become strong.3
One
of our daughters, after giving birth to a baby, became seriously ill. We prayed
for her, administered to her, and supported her as best we could. We hoped she
would receive a blessing of healing, but days turned into months, and months
turned into years. At one point I told her that this affliction might be
something she would have to struggle with the rest of her life.
One morning I
remember pulling out a small card and threading it through my typewriter. Among
the words that I typed for her were these: “The simple secret is this: put your
trust in the Lord, do your best, then leave the rest to Him.”
She did put her
trust in God. But her affliction did not disappear. For years she suffered, but
in due course, the Lord blessed her, and eventually she returned to
health.
Knowing this daughter, I believe that even if she had never found
relief, yet she would have trusted in her Heavenly Father and “[left] the rest
to Him.”






The people of Alma submitted their will to the Lord "cheerfully and with patience." In my experience, I have found that I am a bit more of a slow metronome, moving between patient and discouraged. Consistency with my scripture study helps to always bring me back to patient. I think I have a total of about 4 readers on this blog, but could you all keep Cammi in your prayers? Thanks. I know that prayer works.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Hope for things which are not seen



Today I studied the talk:


The Infinite Power of Hope
President Dieter F. Uchtdorf Second Counselor in the First Presidency


If you are ever feeling down, this is a good talk to listen to. I REALLY enjoyed it.



Toward the end of World War II, my father was drafted into the German army
and sent to the western front, leaving my mother alone to care for our family.
Though I was only three years old, I can still remember this time of fear and
hunger. We lived in Czechoslovakia, and with every passing day, the war came
nearer and the danger grew greater.
Finally, during the cold winter of 1944,
my mother decided to flee to Germany, where her parents were living. She bundled
us up and somehow managed to get us on one of the last refugee trains heading
west. Traveling during that time was dangerous. Everywhere we went, the sound of
explosions, the stressed faces, and ever-present hunger reminded us that we were
in a war zone.
Along the way the train stopped occasionally to get supplies.
One night during one of these stops, my mother hurried out of the train to
search for some food for her four children. When she returned, to her great
horror, the train and her children were gone!
She was weighed down with
worry; desperate prayers filled her heart. She frantically searched the large
and dark train station, urgently crisscrossing the numerous tracks while hoping
against hope that the train had not already departed.
Perhaps I will never
know all that went through my mother’s heart and mind on that black night as she
searched through a grim railroad station for her lost children. That she was
terrified, I have no doubt. I am certain it crossed her mind that if she did not
find this train, she might never see her children again. I know with certainty:
her faith overcame her fear, and her hope overcame her despair. She was not a
woman who would sit and bemoan tragedy. She moved. She put her faith and hope
into action.
And so she ran from track to track and from train to train until
she finally found our train. It had been moved to a remote area of the station.
There, at last, she found her children again.

My "super- awesome neighbor" left two days ago to move back east with her grown daughter and two beautiful grandchildren. to await a lung transplant for her daughter. She is #1 on the list. She said that she was trying to have more faith than fear. I could tell by her countenance that faith and hope was winning.


The scriptures say that there must be “an opposition in all things.”15
So it is with faith, hope, and charity. Doubt, despair, and failure to care for
our fellowmen lead us into temptation, which can cause us to forfeit choice and
precious blessings.
The adversary uses despair to bind hearts and minds in
suffocating darkness. Despair drains from us all that is vibrant and joyful and
leaves behind the empty remnants of what life was meant to be. Despair kills
ambition, advances sickness, pollutes the soul, and deadens the heart. Despair
can seem like a staircase that leads only and forever downward.
Hope, on the
other hand, is like the beam of sunlight rising up and above the horizon of our
present circumstances. It pierces the darkness with a brilliant dawn. It
encourages and inspires us to place our trust in the loving care of an eternal
Heavenly Father, who has prepared a way for those who seek for eternal truth in
a world of relativism, confusion, and of fear.



I love his description of the juxtaposition of hope and despair. His writing is beautiful. It makes me feel like times of pain have purpose.



The things we hope for lead us to faith, while the things we hope in lead
us to charity. The three qualities—faith, hope, and charity35—working
together, grounded on the truth and light of the restored gospel of Jesus
Christ, lead us to abound in good works.36

This was a perspective that I had never heard or thought of before. That which we hope for leads to faith, while that which we hope in lead us to charity.



Embrace and rely upon the Hope of Israel, for the love of the Son of God
pierces all darkness, softens all sorrow, and gladdens every heart.


My hope and prayers are with my "super awesome neighbor". Her example is an inspiration to me. I can see that she is embracing and relying on the Hope of Israel.
If ye have faith, ye hope for things which are not seen, which are true, Alma 32: 21
In the Bible Dictionary- under faith: Faith in Jesus Christ is the first principle of the gospel and is more than belief, since true faith always moves its possessor to some kind of physical and mental action; it carries an assurance of the fulfillment of the things hoped for.
I like that last line: an assurance of the fulfillment of the things hoped for. In order to have this we need to anchor our hope in that which will be fulfilled.





Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Sacrament Meeting



Today I read and listened to:
Sacrament Meeting and the Sacrament
Elder Dallin H. Oaks Of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles


This talk had a lot in it that I need to work on. I used to really enjoy Sacrament Meeting. Now that I have four young children, and even with the help of my super nice neighbors, and DH, I find it a very difficult hour and half, not the wonderful spiritual experience that it is supposed to be.


Frequently someone will mention some talk, and I honestly didn't hear it at all- even if I was in the room the entire time. Instead my mind was thinking.



"DH, get S2!!! don't let him go there!!! S2 is touching the man in
front of us!!! S1, sit on your BUM! stop moving around!!! D2-
this is not STORY HOUR!! No one can read out loud to you!!! Don't
talk out loud!!! S1- only take ONE piece of bread!! Where is S2? Why can't we sing one of the "good 'old songs" why do they always feel like they need to teach us new ones? The "new ones" have no melody, that is why they will never become one of the "good 'ol songs." Where did S2 go? I should just take him out.
But will DH make S1 be quiet? D1, D2, we did not have this standing hymn
so you could spread out and lay down on the pew!!! Get up! (all of this I
am motioning with my mommy sign language) D2- I whisper to her"no- I did
not bring snacks!!!- you just had lunch, go sit down! Well- if you are
hungry- remember next week to eat more lunch!!- go sit down!" She sulks
away. She can hang her head incredibly low. She has a good neck that
way. Oh no, where is S2??? he is making a run for it, I'd better go
get him-- - and I'm off, to hang out in the lobby for a while with a run away 14
month old. "


I am sure this is a poor reflection on my parenting. - but I'm just calling it how it is. Four more months and S2 will be in nursery- then I can listen to the other lessons anyway. Any advice for me???? I certainly don't find it a time to "rest from my labors"- quite the opposite.


Elder Oaks quotes




By participating weekly and appropriately in the ordinance of the sacrament we
qualify for the promise that we will “always have his Spirit to be with [us]”
(D&C 20:77). That Spirit is the foundation of our
testimony. It testifies of the Father and the Son, brings all things to our
remembrance, and leads us into truth. It is the compass to guide us on our path.
This gift of the Holy Ghost, President Wilford Woodruff taught, “is the greatest
gift that can be bestowed upon man”

This I know that I desperately need.


We are seated well before the meeting begins. “During that quiet interval,
prelude music is subdued. This is not a time for conversation or transmission of
messages but a period of prayerful meditation as leaders and members prepare
spiritually for the sacrament” (Liahona, Aug. 2004, 13; Ensign, Aug. 2004, 27).

Ohhh- this I have struggled and struggled with. "well before the meeting begins." I never used to be late for things before children- now, no matter how hard I try- two or three things happen- and --I fail. (by that I mean that S2 needs to go "potty" even though he just did, and I need to remove him from his car seat, and- good thing that I did, because I notice that S2 has REMOVED her shoes, and gotten into the car without them. Then I smell something coming from S1... then I cannot FIND S2's shoes!!! I need to try harder. )I just need to plan on being there thirty minutes early. It would not be the worst thing in the world to actually be totally early, and I guess that would be the worst case scenario, right?

In his writings on the doctrines of salvation, President Joseph Fielding Smith
teaches that we partake of the sacrament as our part of commemorating the
Savior’s death and sufferings for the redemption of the world. This ordinance
was introduced so that we can renew our covenants to serve Him, to obey Him, and
to always remember Him. President Smith adds: “We cannot retain the Spirit of
the Lord if we do not consistently comply with this commandment” (Doctrines of
Salvation, comp. Bruce R. McConkie, 3 vols. [1954–56], 2:341).

I like the way he puts that "retain the spirit of the Lord."

I know this post wasn't much of a "spiritual message." But- it is my study- however it went for the day. :) Have a good one! Feel free to give me advice!



Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Scripture Power



Today I read and listened to:


Because My Father Read the Book of Mormon
by Elder Marcos A. Aidukaitis Of the Seventy


In it, he tells the story of his father's conversion:


I admire the courage my father had to be baptized into the Church in spite of
the circumstances he faced at the time. It was not easy for him. His wife did
not get baptized with him. The vices of drinking alcohol and smoking were strong
temptations for him. He was poor. His mother was against his joining the Church,
and she told him that if he were baptized, she would no longer consider him her
son. With fewer than 300 members in Brazil, the Church did not have a single
chapel there. I am truly astonished by my father’s determination and
courage.
How could he make such a decision in the face of so many unfavorable
circumstances? The answer is simple: it was because my father read the Book of
Mormon. When he read it, he came to know of the truthfulness of the message of
the Restoration. The Book of Mormon is a proof that The Church of Jesus Christ
of Latter-day Saints is true. Preach My Gospel teaches that “the Book of Mormon, combined
with the Spirit, is [the] most powerful resource in conversion” ([2004],
104).
President Gordon B. Hinckley declared: “Those who have read [the Book
of Mormon] prayerfully, be they rich or poor, learned or unlearned, have grown
under its power. . . .
“. . . Without
reservation I promise you that if you will prayerfully read the Book of Mormon,
regardless of how many times you previously have read it, there will come into
your hearts . . . the Spirit of the Lord. There will come a
strengthened resolution to walk in obedience to his commandments, and there will
come a stronger testimony of the living reality of the Son of God” ( “The Power of the Book of Mormon,” Ensign, June 1988, 6; see
also “The Book of Mormon,” Tambuli, Oct. 1988, 7).
These promises came true
for my father and for my family. In accordance with what we have been taught, we
read the scriptures as a family every day. We have done so for many years. We
have read the Book of Mormon several times in our home, and we will continue to
do so. As promised, the Spirit of the Lord has come into the heart of our
family, and we have felt a strengthened resolution to walk in obedience to His
commandments and a stronger testimony of the living reality of the Son of God.






While I was serving as a missionary, myself, I found a consistent pattern with those individuals whom we taught. After each lesson, we would ask those we were teaching, to read, or continue reading the Book of Mormon.


In absolutely EVERY case, those individuals who continued their investigation of the church's doctrines, and chose to be baptized, were consistent in reading the Book of Mormon.


In absolutely EVERY case, those individuals who chose to stop meeting with us, first stopped reading the Book of Mormon.

Why does this happen? Simple. The Book of Mormon is about Christ. The prophet Nephi says it this way, "We talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophesy of Christ and we write according to our prophesies.." As we study Jesus Christ, our faith in Him increases. And when that happens, a lot of things happen.

I think of this in my own life, and the life of my children. I know that staying close to Christ is an ongoing process, not a conversion that happens only once, but rather over and over, everyday our conversion can be strengthened or weakened. Just like the people who continued to progress toward baptism, were those who consistently read the Book of Mormon, I know that personally, for me to continue to progress toward Christ, I need to read the scriptures consistently. What a great talk this was, a good reminder for me of the blessings that come to my life from my study of the scriptures.


My kid's favorite song is Scripture Power. I haven't learned how to You Tube myself, so I found someone else's kid's singing it: Scripture Power.












Vote Yes on 8!




This is straight from the San Fransico Chronicle




The 18 Creative Arts Charter School students took a Muni bus and walked a block at noon to toss rose petals and blow bubbles on their just-married teacher Erin Carder and her wife Kerri McCoy, giggling and squealing as they mobbed their teacher with hugs.
Mayor Gavin Newsom, a friend of a friend, officiated.
A parent came up with the idea for the field trip - a surprise for the teacher on her wedding day.
"She's such a dedicated teacher," said the school's interim director Liz Jaroslow.
But there was a question of justifying the field trip academically. Jaroflow decided she could.
"It really is what we call a teachable moment," Jaroflow said, noting the historic significance of same-sex marriage and related civil rights issues. "I think I'm well within the parameters."
Nonetheless, the excursion offers Proposition 8 proponents fresh ammunition for their efforts to outlaw gay marriage in California, offering a real-life incident that echoes their recent television and radio ads.
"It's just utterly unreasonable that a public school field trip would be to a same-sex wedding," said Chip White, press secretary for the Yes on 8 campaign. "This is overt indoctrination of children who are too young to have an understanding of its purpose."
The trip illustrates the message promoted by the campaign in recent days, namely that unless Prop. 8 passes on Nov. 4, children will learn about same-sex marriage in school.
"It shows that not only can it happen, but it has already happened," White said.
California Education Code permits school districts to offer comprehensive sex education, but if they do, they have to "teach respect for marriage and committed relationships."
Parents can excuse their child from all or part of the instruction.
On Friday, McCoy and Carder, both in white, held hands on Newsom's office balcony overlooking the rotunda and recited their vows.
"With this ring, I thee wed!" Carder said, shouting the last word for emphasis.
After traditional photos, the two walked out City Hall's main doors where the students were lined up down the steps with bags of pink rose petals and bottles of bubbles hanging from their necks. McCoy, a conferences services coordinator, was in on the surprise and beamed as the children swarmed around Carder.
The two said they have participated in the campaign against Proposition 8 and planned to travel around San Francisco on Friday afternoon in a motorized trolley car with "Just Married" and "Vote No on 8" banners.
The two met on a dance floor two years ago.
"This is one girl I can honestly say deserves happiness, and it came in the form of Kerri," said Carder's friend Dani Starelli.
Creative Arts administrators and parents acknowledged that the field trip might be controversial, but they didn't see the big deal. Same-sex marriage is legal, they noted.
"How many days in school are they going to remember?" asked parent Marc Lipsett. "This is a day they'll definitely remember."
Carder's students said they were happy to see their new teacher married.
"She's a really nice teacher. She's the best," said 6-year-old Chava Novogrodsky-Godt, wearing a "No on 8" button on her shirt. "I want her to have a good wedding."
Chava's mothers said they are getting married in two weeks.
The students' parents are planning to make a video with the children describing what marriage is to them.
Marriage, 6-year-old Nolan Alexander said Friday, is "people falling in love."
It means, he added, "You stay with someone the rest of your life."
As is the case with all field trips, parents had to give their permission and could choose to opt out of the trip. Two families did. Those children spent the duration of the 90-minute field trip back at school with another first-grade class, the interim director said."As far as I'm concerned, it's not controversial for me," Jaroflow said. "It's certainly an issue I would be willing to put my job on the line for."






I am very concerned about the Yes on 8 campaign. I worry that too many people do look at is as "civil rights." That's not it at all.




I am most concerned about the indoctrination that is headed for my children.




In this article, the school children were given the opportunity to "opt-out" (Of course the fact that it was a field trip made that mandatory. Parents mustgive permission for any field trip.) In Massachusetts, where this has been around a little while, the attitude is different.







In 2006, a Massachusetts teacher read the book "King and King" to her
second grade class, which included Joey Wirthlin. His parents, Robert and Robin
Wirthlin, met with the school principal to request that they be given advance
notice before such material was taught to their son. The principal disagreed
that the school had any obligation to notify parents in advance.



Both the United States District Court in Massachusetts and the First District
Court of Appeals decided that schools are not required to inform parents in
advance of teaching about same-sax parents. The courts dismissed the Wirthlins'
claim that parents have a right to advance notice or to remove their children
from the classroom when such material is taught.



The Wirthlins appealed to the United States Supreme Court. On Monday, the
United States Supreme Court refused to hear their appeal, which makes the court
decision final law in Massachusetts.



California's state Education Code (Sections 51890 and 51933) requires that
teachers instruct children as young as kindergarteners about marriage. If the
California gay marriage ruling is not overturned, teachers will be required to
teach young children there is no difference between gay marriage and traditional
marriage. Proposition 8 protects children from being taught in California public
schools that same-sex marriage is the same as traditional marriage.



For another article regarding the same event, from a different source: click here.



For an article about a man being assaulted while distributing Prop 8 yard signs, click here.



For the new yes on 8 commercial, click here. Evidently, the No on 8 side has tried to convince television stations to not air the add. So far that has not happened.



To see the first commercial, or to donate to the yes campaign: click here.



The entire text of Proposition 8 is as follows:
"Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid and recognized in California."







Monday, October 13, 2008

The Faith of a Child


In Elder Anderson's talk- I really enjoyed two of the stories that he told:


You Know Enough


Elder Neil L. Andersen Of the Presidency of the Seventy



I once visited a mission in southern Europe. I arrived on the day a new
missionary was preparing to return home at his own insistence. He had his ticket
to leave the next day.
We sat together in the mission president’s home. The
missionary told me about his challenging childhood, of learning disorders, of
moving from one family to another. He spoke sincerely of his inability to learn
a new language and adapt to a new culture. Then he added, “Brother Andersen, I
don’t even know if God loves me.” As he said those words, I felt a sure and
forceful feeling come into my spirit: “He does know I love him. He knows it.”
I let him continue for a few more minutes, and then I said, “Elder, I’m
sympathetic to much of what you’ve said, but I must correct you on one thing:
you do know God loves you. You know He does.”
As I said those words to him,
the same Spirit that had spoken to me spoke to him. He bowed his head and began
to cry. He apologized. “Brother Andersen,” he said, “I do know God loves me; I
do know it.” He didn’t know everything, but he knew enough. He knew God loved
him. That priceless piece of spiritual knowledge was sufficient for his doubt to
be replaced with faith. He found the strength to stay on his mission.


I like that perspective, that even just one piece of spiritual knowledge can be sufficient for doubt to be replaced with faith.


1 nephi 11:17:17 And I said unto him: I know that he loveth his children; nevertheless, I do not know the meaning of all things.


Hadley Peay is now seven years old. Hadley was born with a very serious hearing
impairment requiring extensive surgery to bring even limited hearing. Her
parents followed with tireless training to help her learn to speak. Hadley and
her family have cheerfully adapted to the challenge of her deafness.
Once,
when Hadley was four, she was standing in the checkout line at the grocery store
with her mother. She looked behind her and saw a little boy sitting in a
wheelchair. She noticed that the boy did not have legs.
Although Hadley had
learned to speak, she had difficulty controlling the volume of her voice. In her
louder voice, she asked her mother why the little boy did not have legs.
Her
mother quietly and simply explained to Hadley that “Heavenly Father makes all of
His children different.” “OK,” Hadley replied.
Then, unexpectedly, Hadley
turned to the little boy and said, “Did you know that when Heavenly Father made
me, my ears did not work? That makes me special. He made you with no legs, and
that makes you special. When Jesus comes, I will be able to hear and you will
get your legs. Jesus will make everything all right.”


I love the faith and innocence of little children. I know that Jesus does make everything all right.
I read 3 Nephi 9:22 today- a reminder of the pure faith of little children. They know enough. We know enough.

Therefore, whoso repenteth and cometh unto me as a little
child, him will I receive, for of such is the kingdom of God. Behold, for
such I have laid down my life, and have taken it up again; therefore repent,
and
come unto me ye ends of the earth, and be saved.

D2 is in Kindergarten. Her new little best friend just sent her an
invitation to her birthday party- on a Sunday. (this is her first such invitation) After our talk about how we didn't go to birthday parties on Sundays, that Sundays were for church, etc., she said, "maybe that Sunday will be General Conference again!"

DH was out of town this past weekend, and I foolishly, took all four kids to JoAnn fabrics. We were picking out yarn for scarves, and before long, I was regretting the trip.

When we got into the car, I asked,
"OK- so who was "good" in the store? "
D1 said, "I was good!"

D2 added, "I was good!"

(this was true- they were good.)

S1 (3 years old) followed with the same tone of voice as his sisters, "I was bad!"

(true, true, all true.)

I just love how children tell the truth!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Missionary Service


Go Ye Therefore,

Silvia H. Allred, first counselor in the Relief Society


Sister Allred spoke about missionary work. She gave some general, as well as some specific ways that we can be missionaries.


"Begin by being a good neighbor and a good friend. Set a example of righteousness and kindness. Let your smile radiate love, peace, and happiness. Live a gospel-centered life.
Then, be more specific in your missionary efforts. Let me suggest some ideas. You might find two or three that work for you:


  • If you have children at home, help prepare them for missionary service.

  • Prepare yourself for missionary service.

  • Invite family and friends to listen to the missionaries or to attend our Church meetings and activities.

  • Accompany the missionaries to investigators’ homes, or invite the missionaries to teach nonmembers in your home.

  • Invite people to a family home evening in your home.

  • Invite people to a family history center, or help them do family history research.

  • Give referrals to the missionaries. Members can be the greatest and best source of referrals.

  • Share your beliefs and testimony with nonmember friends and family.

  • Seek for opportunities to reach out to others.

  • Extend friendship to investigators and new converts.

  • Give your best efforts to finding those who are seeking the truth.

  • If you have family members or friends on missions, send them letters of love and encouragement, and pray for them. "

I have often thought of missionary work as a litmus test of my faith. Do I truly believe that this is the Lord's work. Believing that is also believing that He will help me. This is His work.


Jacob chapter 5 is an allegory. In it, the Lord is the "master of the vineyard." verse 61 is referring to this day and age. In it the master of the vineyard says this:


61 Wherefore, go to, and call servants, that we may labor diligently with our might in the vineyard, that we may prepare the way, that I may bring forth again the natural fruit, which natural fruit is good and the most precious above all other fruit.


I like the word "we". It reminds me that when I am engaged in this work, my companion is the Lord himself.



Saturday, October 11, 2008

Ask What not Why





A tragedy happened in our church last month. As members of our congregation stood around a tiny grave supporting a valiant couple that has had many struggles, only one thought was on our minds... Why?

Luckily this question was immediately addressed. Our kind-hearted and wise bishop made a statement that has burned a place into my thought pattern ever since. I have been searching to understand the meaning of his message, because though his words were simple, they contained such an element of peace and hope. He commented that when we are in a situation where all we can do is ask WHY, we must ask WHAT instead. What can we learn from this? What made us grow? What is God doing to help us through this? What could our passed loved ones tell us about where they are to give us hope?

This thought pattern has led to a very interesting perspective in my scripture study lately.

• 2 Nephi 2 "and out of weakness he shall be made strong."
-In this chapter Lehi, a prophet is giving his children his final message. At first glance, I saw only is sermon on the redemption, but looking closer, and asking myself that WHAT question, I saw something entirely different.

Verse 23 says "and they (Adam and Eve) would have remained in a state of innocence, having no joy, for they knew no misery".

I feel the real message of this chapter was not my original thought pattern, but it is to explain that (vs 25) "men are that they might have joy". The only way for us to feel "joy" is to have experienced the exact opposite feelings, so we know what joy feels like. If we did not experience the range of emotions, we would be in a state of innocence, being unable to feel anything. When you think of a neighbor's pain, your family member's suffering, a personal sorrow, it becomes overwhelming... Unless you see WHAT purpose it has... These things are to enable us to feel JOY-because we know WHAT it is like not to feel it-we know real pain. (vs 14) God created "both things to act, and things to be acted upon." There is a purpose, and when God has a plan, it is only ever for us to ultimately feel joy (vs 12,13).

If you take a minute to open this chapter, and read it looking for this theme, you will find a spiritual feast!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Increase Simplicity, Increase Spirituality.


Some highlights from Elder Perry's talk, "Let Him Do It With Simplicity"- from October 2008 General Conference.

"There are cycles of good and bad times, ups and downs, periods of joy and sadness, and times of plenty as well as scarcity. When our lives turn in an unanticipated and undesirable direction, sometimes we experience stress and anxiety. One of the challenges of this mortal experience is to not allow the stresses and strains of life to get the better of us—to endure the varied seasons of life while remaining positive, even optimistic."


Elder Perry repeats several times the phrase, "spiritual benefits of a simplified lifestyle". This made me think of life as a missionary. It was a very simple- no media of any kind- limited shopping and travel- same old clothes everyday- simple apartments- adequate sleep, and plenty of study. Great spiritual benefits. I do not wish to be so extreme, but I do think that increasing simplification can result in increased spirituality. So- this begs the question- where in my life can I reduce the complexity? ... I have already decided that having my kids in soccer and dance is too much- next year- no soccer. I don't watch more than an hour of television a day- but perhaps I could reduce even that- less TV- more reading. I don't know- what do you think? What are some ways of simplifying life?
Painting by Gloria's Graphics.

Vote Yes on Prop 8!













I just wasn't cut out to be a homeschool mom- but I just might... vote yes on Prop 8! Same sex marriage is legal in Massachusetts, and watch this video to see how it effects our children's education.