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Monday, December 01, 2014

Christmas Allegory





The Geese
Author Unknown

There was once a man who didn't believe in God, and he didn't hesitate to let others know how
he felt about religion and religious holidays, like Christmas. His wife, however, did believe, and she raised their children to also have faith in God and Jesus, despite his disparaging comments.

One snowy Christmas Eve, his wife was taking their children to a Christmas Eve service in the farm community in which they lived. She asked him to come, but he refused. "That story is nonsense!" he said. "Why would God lower Himself to come to Earth as a man? That's ridiculous!" 

So she and the children left, and he stayed home.

A while later, the winds grew stronger and the snow turned into a blizzard. As the man looked out the window, all he saw was a blinding snowstorm. He sat down to relax before the fire for the evening. Then he heard a loud thump. Something had hit the window. Then another thump. He looked out, but couldn't see more than a few feet.

When the snow let up a little, he ventured outside to see what could have been beating on his window. In the field near his house he saw a flock of wild geese. Apparently they had been flying south for the winter when they got caught in the snowstorm and couldn't go on. They were lost and stranded on his farm, with no food or shelter. They just flapped their wings and flew around the field in low circles, blindly and aimlessly. A couple of them had flown into his window, it seemed.
The man felt sorry for the geese and wanted to help them. The barn would be a great place for them to stay, he thought. It's warm and safe; surely they could spend the night and wait out the storm.

So he walked over to the barn and opened the doors wide, then watched and waited, hoping they would notice the open barn and go inside. But the geese just fluttered around aimlessly and didn't seem to notice the barn or realize what it could mean for them. The man tried to get their attention, but that just seemed to scare them and they moved further away. He went into the house and came with some bread, broke it up, and made a breadcrumbs trail leading to the barn. They still didn't catch on.

Now he was getting frustrated. He got behind them and tried to shoo them toward the barn, but they only got more scared and scattered in every direction except toward the barn. Nothing he did could get them to go into the barn where they would be warm and safe.

"Why don't they follow me?!" he exclaimed. "Can't they see this is the only place where they can survive the storm?"

He thought for a moment and realized that they just wouldn't follow a human. "If only I were a goose, then I could save them," he said out loud. 

Then he had an idea. He went into barn, got one of his own geese, and carried it in his arms as he circled around behind the flock of wild geese. He then released it. His goose flew through the flock and straight into the barn, and one by one the other geese followed it to safety.

He stood silently for a moment as the words he had spoken a few minutes earlier replayed in his mind: "If only I were a goose, then I could save them!" 

Then he thought about what he had said to his wife earlier. "Why would God want to be like us? That's ridiculous!"

Suddenly it all made sense. That is what God had done. We were like the geese; blind, lost, perishing. God had His Son become like us so He could show us the way and save us. That was the meaning of Christmas, he realized. As the winds and blinding snow died down, his soul became quiet and pondered this wonderful thought.

Suddenly he understood what Christmas was all about, why Christ had come. Years of doubt and disbelief vanished like the passing storm. He fell to his knees in the snow, and prayed his first prayer: "Thank You, God, for coming in human form to get me out of the storm!"

Monday, November 24, 2014

International Day of the Bible

                                           

Today is International Day of the Bible. I wanted to participate somehow so  I decided to share a portion of an article found in Meridian Magazine today.  The rest of this interesting article can be found at the following link:
Confirming Evidences
Prophets commanded to record God’s words were assured that their work would stand (see Mormon’s concerns and the Lord’s response in Ether 12:23-26, for example). Moses was also promised that although his account of the creation of the world would suffer textual losses—in the latter days, his record would be restored to its original in order to further God’s work of bringing to pass the immortality and eternal life of all mankind (see Moses 1:39). The Savior declared to him: “And now, Moses, my son, I will speak unto thee concerning this earth upon which thou standest; and thou shalt write the things which I shall speak. And in a day when the children of men shall esteem my words as naught and take many of them from the book which thou shalt write, behold, I will raise up another like unto thee; and they shall be had again among the children of men—among as many as shall believe.” (Moses 1:40-41)
Nephi was similarly shown in vision that over time, many plain and precious truths would be “taken away” and other truths would be “kept back” from books in the Bible (see 1 Nephi 13:26, 32, 34, 40). But an angel assured him that in the latter days, “other books” would be brought forth, and that “these last records…shall establish the truth of the first [the books of the Bible] which are of the twelve apostles of the Lamb, and shall make known the plain and precious things which have been taken away from them; and shall make known to all kindreds, tongues, and people, that the Lamb of God is the Son of the Eternal Father, and the Savior of the world; and that all men must come unto him, or they cannot be saved.” (1 Nephi 13:39-40)
As Dr. Hugh Nibley pointed out, these other books have come and are still coming: “The substantial historicity of biblical tradition has been vindicated [by the discovery of parallel ancient documents] to an extant which few unprejudiced bystanders could…have deemed possible a generation ago.”(8)
In just the last few decades, there has a literal flood of ancient near-eastern historical and religious documents unearthed containing confirming writings verifying the authenticity of the ancient biblical record. “They’re not found as separate documents,” Dr. Nibley wrote, “but in batches—whole libraries turn up.” And their discoveries are not coincidental. “These new finds are the originals, and we’ve never had anything like this happen before….The people who hid them were aware that they were hiding them for a long term, a long rest, to come forth at a later time, so that when they would come forth they would not be distorted and changed.”(9)
Dr. Nibley pointed out that one scholar, Edward Meyer, announced in 1908 that “’twenty-five years ago there existed not a single historical document’ to confirm the early history of Israel as given in the Bible. It was quite suddenly in the late 1800s that such documents began to appear, and then it was like the coming of our spring floods, with great collections of stuff—no mere trickle—pouring out year after year in breathtaking sequence that appears not yet to have reached its crest.”(10)
Dr. Nibley further added, “The texts that have turned up with such dramatic suddenness in the past few years, as if a signal had been given, are the first ancient documents which have survived not by accident but by design. They were hidden away on purpose, to be dug up at a later date.”(11)

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Looking for a way to help?

We had a great retreat here at the Timp Lodge in Provo Canyon for the BYU student health center employees.  We did a service project and heard about the Provo City Center temple from our friends the Newitts.  What a great presentation! That building is a miracle and one of a kind project.


One of the pediatricians that works here at the health center told us about a foundation she and her brother started a few years ago in answer to a need they saw.  They are helping to feed starving LDS children in a few countries around the world.  The videos on their website are informative and short.  I had no idea of the need until I saw this.  I truly want to help them.
Check out this link

Here is another source to see their work.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Science is fun!

Here is a fascinating look at bubbles and balloons when they pop.  BYU has a "splash lab".  I think it is just an excuse for having fun and getting paid.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Love People, Not Pleasure

This was presented at our staff meeting this morning.  I think there is wisdom here.

Love People, Not Pleasure
JULY 18, 2014

By Arthur C. Brooks, NY Times contributing op-ed writer

ABD AL-RAHMAN III was an emir and caliph of C√≥rdoba in 10th-century Spain. He was an absolute ruler who lived in complete luxury. Here’s how he assessed his life:

“I have now reigned above 50 years in victory or peace; beloved by my subjects, dreaded by my enemies, and respected by my allies. Riches and honors, power and pleasure, have waited on my call, nor does any earthly blessing appear to have been wanting to my felicity.”

Fame, riches and pleasure beyond imagination. Sound great? He went on to write:

“I have diligently numbered the days of pure and genuine happiness which have fallen to my lot: They amount to 14.”

Abd al-Rahman’s problem wasn’t happiness, as he believed — it was unhappiness. If that sounds like a distinction without a difference, you probably have the same problem as the great emir. But with a little knowledge, you can avoid the misery that befell him.

What is unhappiness? Your intuition might be that it is simply the opposite of happiness, just as darkness is the absence of light. That is not correct. Happiness and unhappiness are certainly related, but they are not actually opposites. Images of the brain show that parts of the left cerebral cortex are more active than the right when we are experiencing happiness, while the right side becomes more active when we are unhappy.

As strange as it seems, being happier than average does not mean that one can’t also be unhappier than average. One test for both happiness and unhappiness is the Positive Affectivity and Negative Affectivity Schedule test. I took the test myself. I found that, for happiness, I am at the top for people my age, sex, occupation and education group. But I get a pretty high score for unhappiness as well. I am a cheerful melancholic.

So when people say, “I am an unhappy person,” they are really doing sums, whether they realize it or not. They are saying, “My unhappiness is x, my happiness is y, and x > y.” The real questions are why, and what you can do to make y > x.

If you ask an unhappy person why he is unhappy, he’ll almost always blame circumstance. In many cases, of course, this is justified. Some people are oppressed or poor or have physical ailments that make life a chore. Research unsurprisingly suggests that racism causes unhappiness in children, and many academic studies trace a clear link between unhappiness and poverty. Another common source of unhappiness is loneliness, from which about 20 percent of Americans suffer enough to make it a major source of unhappiness in their lives.

THERE are also smaller circumstantial sources of unhappiness. The Princeton psychologist Daniel Kahneman and his colleagues measured the “negative affect” (bad moods) that ordinary daily activities and interactions kick up. They found that the No. 1 unhappiness-provoking event in a typical day is spending time with one’s boss (which, as a boss, made me unhappy to learn).

Circumstances are certainly important. No doubt Abd al-Rahman could point to a few in his life. But paradoxically, a better explanation for his unhappiness may have been his own search for well-being. And the same might go for you.

Have you ever known an alcoholic? They generally drink to relieve craving or anxiety — in other words, to attenuate a source of unhappiness. Yet it is the drink that ultimately prolongs their suffering. The same principle was at work for Abd al-Rahman in his pursuit of fame, wealth and pleasure.

Consider fame. In 2009, researchers from the University of Rochester conducted a study tracking the success of 147 recent graduates in reaching their stated goals after graduation. Some had “intrinsic” goals, such as deep, enduring relationships. Others had “extrinsic” goals, such as achieving reputation or fame. The scholars found that intrinsic goals were associated with happier lives. But the people who pursued extrinsic goals experienced more negative emotions, such as shame and fear. They even suffered more physical maladies.

This is one of the cruelest ironies in life. I work in Washington, right in the middle of intensely public political battles. Bar none, the unhappiest people I have ever met are those most dedicated to their own self-aggrandizement — the pundits, the TV loudmouths, the media know-it-alls. They build themselves up and promote their images, but feel awful most of the time.

That’s the paradox of fame. Just like drugs and alcohol, once you become addicted, you can’t live without it. But you can’t live with it, either. Celebrities have described fame like being “an animal in a cage; a toy in a shop window; a Barbie doll; a public facade; a clay figure; or, that guy on TV,” according to research by the psychologist Donna Rockwell. Yet they can’t give it up.

That impulse to fame by everyday people has generated some astonishing innovations. One is the advent of reality television, in which ordinary people become actors in their day-to-day lives for others to watch. Why? “To be noticed, to be wanted, to be loved, to walk into a place and have others care about what you’re doing, even what you had for lunch that day: that’s what people want, in my opinion,” said one 26-year-old participant in an early hit reality show called “Big Brother.”

And then there’s social media. Today, each of us can build a personal little fan base, thanks to Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and the like. We can broadcast the details of our lives to friends and strangers in an astonishingly efficient way. That’s good for staying in touch with friends, but it also puts a minor form of fame-seeking within each person’s reach. And several studies show that it can make us unhappy.

It makes sense. What do you post to Facebook? Pictures of yourself yelling at your kids, or having a hard time at work? No, you post smiling photos of a hiking trip with friends. You build a fake life — or at least an incomplete one — and share it. Furthermore, you consume almost exclusively the fake lives of your social media “friends.” Unless you are extraordinarily self-aware, how could it not make you feel worse to spend part of your time pretending to be happier than you are, and the other part of your time seeing how much happier others seem to be than you?

Some look for relief from unhappiness in money and material things. This scenario is a little more complicated than fame. The evidence does suggest that money relieves suffering in cases of true material need. (This is a strong argument, in my view, for many safety-net policies for the indigent.) But when money becomes an end in itself, it can bring misery, too.

For decades, psychologists have been compiling a vast literature on the relationships between different aspirations and well-being. Whether they examine young adults or people of all ages, the bulk of the studies point toward the same important conclusion: People who rate materialistic goals like wealth as top personal priorities are significantly likelier to be more anxious, more depressed and more frequent drug users, and even to have more physical ailments than those who set their sights on more intrinsic values.

No one sums up the moral snares of materialism more famously than St. Paul in his First Letter to Timothy: “For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.” Or as the Dalai Lama pithily suggests, it is better to want what you have than to have what you want.

SO fame and money are out. How about pleasures of the flesh? Take the canonical hedonistic pleasure: lust. From Hollywood to college campuses, many assume that sex is always great, and sexual variety is even better.

This assumption actually has a name: the “Coolidge Effect,” named after the 30th president of the United States. The story (probably apocryphal) begins with Silent Cal and Mrs. Coolidge touring a poultry farm. The first lady noticed that there were very few roosters, and asked how so many eggs could be fertilized. The farmer told her that the virile roosters did their jobs over and over again each day. “Perhaps you could point that out to Mr. Coolidge,” she told him. The president, hearing the remark, asked whether the rooster serviced the same hen each time. No, the farmer told him — there were many hens for each rooster. “Perhaps you could point that out to Mrs. Coolidge,” said the president.

The president obviously figured these must be happy roosters. And notwithstanding the moral implications, the same principle should work for us. Right?

Wrong. In 2004, two economists looked into whether more sexual variety led to greater well-being. They looked at data from about 16,000 adult Americans who were asked confidentially how many sex partners they had had in the preceding year, and about their happiness. Across men and women alike, the data show that the optimal number of partners is one.

This might seem totally counterintuitive. After all, we are unambiguously driven to accumulate material goods, to seek fame, to look for pleasure. How can it be that these very things can give us unhappiness instead of happiness? There are two explanations, one biological and the other philosophical.

From an evolutionary perspective, it makes sense that we are wired to seek fame, wealth and sexual variety. These things make us more likely to pass on our DNA. Had your cave-man ancestors not acquired some version of these things (a fine reputation for being a great rock sharpener; multiple animal skins), they might not have found enough mating partners to create your lineage.

But here’s where the evolutionary cables have crossed: We assume that things we are attracted to will relieve our suffering and raise our happiness. My brain says, “Get famous.” It also says, “Unhappiness is lousy.” I conflate the two, getting, “Get famous and you’ll be less unhappy.”

But that is Mother Nature’s cruel hoax. She doesn’t really care either way whether you are unhappy — she just wants you to want to pass on your genetic material. If you conflate intergenerational survival with well-being, that’s your problem, not nature’s. And matters are hardly helped by nature’s useful idiots in society, who propagate a popular piece of life-ruining advice: “If it feels good, do it.” Unless you share the same existential goals as protozoa, this is often flat-out wrong.

More philosophically, the problem stems from dissatisfaction — the sense that nothing has full flavor, and we want more. We can’t quite pin down what it is that we seek. Without a great deal of reflection and spiritual hard work, the likely candidates seem to be material things, physical pleasures or favor among friends and strangers.

We look for these things to fill an inner emptiness. They may bring a brief satisfaction, but it never lasts, and it is never enough. And so we crave more. This paradox has a word in Sanskrit: upadana, which refers to the cycle of craving and grasping. As the Dhammapada (the Buddha’s path of wisdom) puts it: “The craving of one given to heedless living grows like a creeper. Like the monkey seeking fruits in the forest, he leaps from life to life... Whoever is overcome by this wretched and sticky craving, his sorrows grow like grass after the rains.”

This search for fame, the lust for material things and the objectification of others — that is, the cycle of grasping and craving — follows a formula that is elegant, simple and deadly:

Love things, use people.

This was Abd al-Rahman’s formula as he sleepwalked through life. It is the worldly snake oil peddled by the culture makers from Hollywood to Madison Avenue. But you know in your heart that it is morally disordered and a likely road to misery. You want to be free of the sticky cravings of unhappiness and find a formula for happiness instead. How? Simply invert the deadly formula and render it virtuous:

Love people, use things.

Easier said than done, I realize. It requires the courage to repudiate pride and the strength to love others — family, friends, colleagues, acquaintances, God and even strangers and enemies. Only deny love to things that actually are objects. The practice that achieves this is charity. Few things are as liberating as giving away to others that which we hold dear.

This also requires a condemnation of materialism. This is manifestly not an argument for any specific economic system. Anyone who has spent time in a socialist country must concede that materialism and selfishness are as bad under collectivism, or worse, as when markets are free. No political ideology is immune to materialism.

Finally, it requires a deep skepticism of our own basic desires. Of course you are driven to seek admiration, splendor and physical license. But giving in to these impulses will bring unhappiness. You have a responsibility to yourself to stay in the battle. The day you declare a truce is the day you become unhappier. Declaring war on these destructive impulses is not about asceticism or Puritanism. It is about being a prudent person who seeks to avoid unnecessary suffering.

Abd al-Rahman never got his happiness sums right. He never knew the right formula. Fortunately, we do.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Amazing connection

Enjoy this correlation of gestation and the Jewish Holidays.  So interesting.

Human Baby Gestation - Feasts of the Lord
- Author Unknown

Zola Levitt discovered an amazing correlation between the Feasts of the Lord and the gestation of a human baby, from conception to birth. While preparing for writing a book for new parents, Zola contacted a gynecologist for some help in understanding gestation. During that session, the gynecologist showed him a series of pictures, pointed to the first one (an egg and a sperm) and said, "On the fourteenth day of the first month, the egg appears." The statement struck a chord in his Jewish mind because that was the date of Passover. He remembered the roasted egg on his family table every Passover. Now, for the first time, he knew what it meant! Not wanting to lead the gynecologist off from the subject at hand, he didn’t say anything, but continued to listen.

The gynecologist continued: "The egg must be fertilized within 24 hours, or it will pass on." This reminded Zola of the Feast of Unleavened Bread and the seed or grain that "fell into the ground and died" in order to produce a harvest, the firstfruits of which was presented to God. 

Next, the gynecologist said, "Within two to six days, the fertilized egg attaches itself to the wall of the womb and begins to grow." And, sure enough, the Jewish evangelist thought, "The Feast of Firstfruits is observed anywhere from two to six days after Passover!"

Next, he was shown a photo of an embryo showing arms, hands, fingers, legs, feet, toes, a head, eyes, etc. The caption said, "Fifty days." The gynecologist continued, "Around the fiftieth day, the embryo takes on the form of a human being. Until then, we don’t know if we have a duck or a tadpole." Zola thought, "That’s Pentecost!"

The next picture showed the embryo at seven months. The gynecologist said, "On the first day of the seventh month, the baby’s hearing is developed. For the first time, it can hear and distinguish sounds outside the womb." Zola knew that was the date for the Feast of Trumpets.

The gynecologist continued, "On the tenth day of the seventh month, the hemoglobin of the blood changes from that of the mother, to a self-sustaining baby." Zola thought, "That’s the Day of Atonement, when the blood was taken into the Holy of holies!"

Next, the gynecologist said, "On the fifteenth day of the seventh month, the lungs become fully developed. If born before then, the baby would have a hard time breathing." And Zola thought, "That’s the festival of Tabernacles, a time of celebrating the Temple, home of the Shekinah glory or Spirit of God." In the New Testament, the Greek term pneuma, normally translated as "breath," is applied to the "Holy Spirit."

Birth takes place on the tenth day of the ninth month. Eight days after birth, in Torah-observant families, a son is circumcised. Zola noted that the eight days of Hanukkah are celebrated right on schedule, nine months and ten days after Passover.

No human being could have understood the gestation period 3,500 years ago. The establishment of the Feasts of the Lord was given to Moses by Yahweh Himself. Its correlation with the human gestation period is not only remarkable; it proves ‘Intelligent Design." It proves the existence of an intelligence beyond this world. It proves that there is a Creator God that guides the affairs of man.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

In a Nutshell...


Stand Independent above All Other Creatures

Bruce R. McConkie


I stand before the Church this day and raise the warning voice. It is a prophetic voice, for I shall say only what the apostles and prophets have spoken concerning our day.
It is the voice of Jesus on the Mount of Olives, of John on the Isle of Patmos, of Joseph Smith during the mobbings and murders of Missouri. It is a voice calling upon the Lord’s people to prepare for the troubles and desolations which are about to be poured out upon the world without measure.
For the moment we live in a day of peace and prosperity but it shall not ever be thus. Great trials lie ahead. All of the sorrows and perils of the past are but a foretaste of what is yet to be. And we must prepare ourselves temporally and spiritually.
Our spiritual preparation consists in keeping the commandments of God, and taking the Holy Spirit for our guide, so that when this life is over we shall find rest and peace in paradise and an ultimate inheritance of glory and honor in the celestial kingdom.
Our temporal preparation consists in using the good earth in the way the Lord designed and intended so as to supply all our just wants and needs. It is his purpose to provide for his Saints for all things are his, but, he says, it must needs be done in his own way. (See D&C 104:14–18.)
There is a common axiom among us which states: A religion that cannot save a man temporally does not have power to save him spiritually. If we cannot care for our temporal needs in this world, how can we ever succeed in spiritual things in the world to come?
Thus, speaking of temporal things—of lands and houses and crops, of work and sweat and toil, of the man Adam eating his bread in the sweat of his face (see Gen. 3:19)—the Lord says: “If you will that I give unto you a place in the celestial world, you must prepare yourselves by doing the things which I have commanded you and required of you” (D&C 78:7).
Then he commands both the Church and its members “to prepare and organize” their temporal affairs according to the law of his gospel, “that through my providence,” saith the Lord, “notwithstanding the tribulation which shall descend upon you, that the church may stand independent above all other creatures beneath the celestial world;
“That you may come up unto the crown prepared for you, and be made rulers over many kingdoms, saith the Lord God” (D&C 78:11, 14–15).
The Church, which administers the gospel, and the Saints who have received the gospel, must be independent of all the powers of earth, as they work out their salvation—temporally and spiritually—with fear and trembling before the Lord!
Be it remembered that tribulations lie ahead. There will be wars in one nation and kingdom after another until war is poured out upon all nations and two hundred million men of war mass their armaments at Armageddon.
Peace has been taken from the earth, the angels of destruction have begun their work, and their swords shall not be sheathed until the Prince of Peace comes to destroy the wicked and usher in the great Millennium.
There will be earthquakes and floods and famines. The waves of the sea shall heave themselves beyond their bounds, the clouds shall withhold their rain, and the crops of the earth shall wither and die.
There will be plagues and pestilence and disease and death. An overflowing scourge shall cover the earth and a desolating sickness shall sweep the land. Flies shall take hold of the inhabitants of the earth, and maggots shall come in upon them. (See D&C 29:14–20.) “Their flesh shall fall from off their bones, and their eyes from their sockets” (D&C 29:19).
Bands of Gadianton robbers will infest every nation, immorality and murder and crime will increase, and it will seem as though every man’s hand is against his brother.
We need not dwell more upon these things. We are commanded to search the scriptures where they are recounted with force and fervor, and they shall surely come to pass.
It is one of the sad heresies of our time that peace will be gained by weary diplomats as they prepare treaties of compromise, or that the Millennium will be ushered in because men will learn to live in peace and to keep the commandments, or that the predicted plagues and promised desolations of latter days can in some way be avoided.
We must do all we can to proclaim peace, to avoid war, to heal disease, to prepare for natural disasters—but with it all, that which is to be shall be.
Knowing what we know, and having the light and understanding that has come to us, we must—as individuals and as a Church—use our talents, strengths, energies, abilities, and means to prepare for whatever may befall us and our children.
We know that the world will go on in wickedness until the end of the world, which is the destruction of the wicked. We shall continue to live in the world, but with the Lord’s help we shall not be of the world. We shall strive to overcome carnality and worldliness of every sort and shall invite all men to flee from Babylon, join with us, and live as becometh Saints.
As the Saints of the Most High we shall strive to “stand independent above all other creatures beneath the celestial world” (D&C 78:14). Our only hope is to free ourselves from the bondage of sin, to rid ourselves from the chains of darkness, to rise above the world, to live godly and upright lives.
Relying always on the Lord, we must become independent of the world. We must be self-reliant. Using the agency God has given us, we must work out our own economic and temporal problems.
We are here on earth to work—to work long, hard, arduous hours, to work until our backs ache and our tired muscles knot, to work all our days. This mortal probation is one in which we are to eat our bread in the sweat of our faces until we return to the dust from whence we came.
Work is the law of life; it is the ruling principle in the lives of the Saints. We cannot, while physically able, voluntarily shift the burden of our own support to others. Doles abound in evils. Industry, thrift, and self-respect are essential to salvation.
We must maintain our own health, sow our own gardens, store our own food, educate and train ourselves to handle the daily affairs of life. No one else can work out our salvation for us, either temporally or spiritually.
We are here on earth to care for the needs of our family members. Wives have claim on their husbands for their support, children upon their parents, parents upon their children, brothers upon each other, and relatives upon their kin.
It is the aim of the Church to help the Saints to care for themselves and, where need be, to make food and clothing and other necessities available, lest the Saints turn to the doles and evils of Babylon. To help care for the poor among them the Church must operate farms, grow vineyards, run dairies, manage factories, and ten thousand other things—all in such a way as to be independent of the powers of evil in the world.
We do not know when the calamities and troubles of the last days will fall upon any of us as individuals or upon bodies of the Saints. The Lord deliberately withholds from us the day and hour of his coming and of the tribulations which shall precede it—all as part of the testing and probationary experiences of mortality. He simply tells us to watch and be ready.
We can rest assured that if we have done all in our power to prepare for whatever lies ahead, he will then help us with whatever else we need.
He rained manna from heaven upon all Israel, six days each week for forty years, lest they perish for want of bread, but the manna ceased on the morrow after they ate of the parched corn of Canaan. Then they were required to supply their own food. (See Ex. 16:3–4, 35.)
During forty years in the wilderness the clothes worn by all Israel waxed not old and their shoes wore not out, but when they entered their promised land, then the Lord required them to provide their own wearing apparel. (See Deut. 29:5.)
When there was a famine in the land, at Elijah’s word, a certain barrel of meal did not waste, and a certain cruse of oil did not fail, until the Lord sent again rain on the earth. And it is worthy of note, as Jesus said, that though there were many widows in Israel, unto one only was Elijah sent. (See 1 Kgs. 17:10–16.)
We do not say that all of the Saints will be spared and saved from the coming day of desolation. But we do say there is no promise of safety and no promise of security except for those who love the Lord and who are seeking to do all that he commands.
It may be, for instance, that nothing except the power of faith and the authority of the priesthood can save individuals and congregations from the atomic holocausts that surely shall be.
And so we raise the warning voice and say: Take heed; prepare; watch and be ready. There is no security in any course except the course of obedience and conformity and righteousness.
For thus saith the Lord: “The Lord’s scourge shall pass over by night and by day, and the report thereof shall vex all people; yea, it shall not be stayed until the Lord come; …
“Nevertheless, Zion shall escape if she observe to do all things whatsoever I have commanded her,” saith the Lord.
“But if she observe not to do whatsoever I have commanded her, I will visit her according to all her works, with sore affliction, with pestilence, with plague, with sword, with vengeance, with devouring fire.” (D&C 97:23, 25–26.)
O God, our Father, wilt thou grant us peace and security and safety in the days of tribulation that shall come like a whirlwind upon all the earth.
Wilt thou hedge up the evil powers, and open up the way before us, thy people, that as individuals and as a Church we may stand independent of every creature beneath the celestial world.
And wilt thou enfold us everlastingly in the arms of thy love; and finally, wilt thou save us with an everlasting salvation in thy kingdom—for all of which we pray.
In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, amen

Monday, May 12, 2014

Fun discovery



Talked to niece Kim Anderson tonight at her grandma's viewing.  She mentioned that Brad, her husband was in Houston giving a keynote address for Microsoft today and felt bad that he had to miss the family gathering. Sounded like he was doing some pretty important stuff so I decided to google him.  Check this out.  He even plays 007 in a video clip at the end of the article.  Fun discovery for me.  Way to go Brad!

Friday, April 11, 2014

Interesting warning

This article  caught my eye today.  The plea from people to allow gay marriage for the sake of "fairness" leads to unintended consequences for our society and will probably lead to the dissolution of our country if President Joseph Fielding Smith is correct. Tell me if you disagree.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Grandma Chris

                                                        

  This is a picture of my grandmother Marie Elisabeth Miller Christensen (1893-1988).  She is the one on the right.  Her brothers Morgan and John are the other two.  This was taken about 1899, probably in Nephi, Utah.  I rediscovered a testimony she had written for a book called "Jewels in My Crown" published about 1980 or so.  I have such a love for my grandmother.  She was a great example of being valiant in the face of adversity.  Her testimony will continue to bless the lives of her posterity.  Here are her words:

     "The love that I have for the precious jewels that have been entrusted to our care, to raise to manhood and womanhood, outshine all of the crown jewels of royalty.  Each one has a distinct mark of individuality, talent, and refinement.  What more can a parent desire than that those individuals portray honesty, integrity, good citizenship of this our own United States, plus love for one another.  It is my great desire that when I am called to leave this mortal existence that my dear ones will have a greater concern for one another. Please do not let your association with one another disintegrate.
     I am very proud of my family and their accomplishments.  I love them so dearly.  At this time I have 45 grandchildren and 43 great grandchildren.  They all give me much pleasure.  I enjoy visiting my family in their homes.  I hope and pray that I will never become a burden on my loved ones.
     While I still have my mental capacity, aside from being forgetful, I want very much to leave some advice to my grandchildren and great grandchildren.  I love you all very dearly.  My life has never been what you call "eventful".  No college degree, no millions to boast of, not too colorful socially or otherwise, but a testimony of the goodness of our Heavenly Father.
     I did have eleven great events, to me they are great events.  I was criticized for having so many children.  One woman said to me, "We are going out for quality not quantity."  She only had two boys.  These things never hurt me because I was convinced I had both quality and quantity.  That same quality is carried forth in my grandchildren and great grandchildren.
     I am very much reminded that I am a child of God and that he loves me and has shown his love for me in so many, many ways.  My prayers have been answered, my trials have been faith-promoting consistently.
     Now in my late years I realize more than ever before what it means to keep the Lord's Commandments.  Study the scriptures while you are yet young, and really know what his promises are to the faithful.
     God loves you very much.  He has prepared the way to happiness and life abundant if you but follow His commandments.
     Stay close to Him through the channel of prayer.  Friends may be cool toward you and at times you may feel deserted.  Keep the line open between you and your Father in Heaven, and He will always be your friend.  Talk to him often, earnestly as you would your earthly father.  Be faithful, raise your families with a prayer on your lips.
     I bear you my testimony that I know he hears and answers your prayers in regard to raising your families and all aspects of your life.
     I love you all so dearly."

Thanks grandma.  Well said.



Monday, January 27, 2014

Interesting that we are studying his teachings this year.


Joseph Fielding Smith.jpg


"Abuse of Marriage Brings Destruction - The abuse of this ordinance has been the primary cause of the downfall of nations. When the sacredness of the marriage covenant is lost, and the vows are broken, destruction is inevitable. This principle cannot be received in the spirit of contempt and indifference. It is ordained to be more, far more, than a civil contract. No nation can survive the abuse of this principle. Rome, Greece, Babylon, Egypt, and many other nations owe their downfall to the breaking of the sacred covenant of marriage. The anger of a just God was kindled against them for their immorality. The bones of dead civilizations of this American continent bear silent but convincing evidence that it was unchastity and the disregard of this sacred covenant which brought them to their final judgment."--  Joseph Fielding Smith, The Way to Perfection, pg 233.

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