TO BE, OR NOT TO BE?

 

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Have you ever seen a rat running around lost inside a maze?  The famous Templeton rat from Charlotte’s Web comes to mind.  He is pretty much a selfish loser and utterly lost in life.  All he thinks about is his next meal.  Glutton, greed and boasting resonate within the walls of his maze.  His self absorption has him sick and miserable.  His unkindliness produces a type of stumbling stone, sadly tripping others as they ultimately loose track of their way, too.  We see these kinds of slobbering behaviors within certain celebrities in our society, on social media and in the news.  Masses drool over these peeps with an insatiable craving and covetousness and it’s not because they have an ounce of  happiness for them, but because they’re jealous.   They would give anything to eat from their rich and gluttonous smorgous board!

Many young American girls watched the Royal wedding with an enthusiastic and innocent sense or belief she has a chance to become a real life fairytale princess like Meghan Markel, my daughter being one one them. She is determined to marry the next available prince of England and become royalty.  She talks of an available nephew of Prince Harry and William who is close to her age.  She is infatuated with all things British: Dodie, Beatles, Harry Potter, Sherlock, and all things Jane Austen.  When I told her her odds are 1 in a million, her regal response was as eloquently spoken as if by Lloyd Christmas himself in the movie, Dumb and Dumber, “so you’re telling me there’s a chance”

Lloyd Christmas:
What are the chances of a guy like you and a girl like me… ending up together?

Mary Swanson:
Not good.

Lloyd Christmas:
Not good like one in a hundred?

Mary Swanson:
I’d say more like one in a million.

Lloyd Christmas:
So you’re telling me there’s a chance?

In truth, the odds are more than 1 in a million.   What If every single woman knew she had Royal blood?  If she saw herself as the princess Meghan Markel sees herself as now? Would she have the end in mind while looking upon her castle at the end of her happily ever after fairytale?  If she did, all of her choices would have a stark difference than those of Templeton.  She would have perfect faith and trust in her Royal Heavenly Father as he walks her down the processional isle called life, leading her back home to His castle prepared for her.  The sadness and pain the Templeton”ites” experience would be avoided and her destination would be ensured for her near perfect, pain-free exit made sure through prayer, listening to the prophet’s voice and especially knowing that the power of the priesthood has been restored again on earth today through the prophet Joseph Smith.

As I watched the Royal Wedding, I was in awe at the huge amount of people lining the streets in support of the couple on their wedding day as their convoy passed by.  My mind reflected upon all the different processionals we as humans conduct in our life time.  There are graduations, wedding, and funeral processionals.  Each celebrates the individual’s achievements received during specific milestones of their lives.  I realized the royals were heading to the castle to live “happily ever after”, and I wondered if the rest of us imagined where our destination would be after our last and final processional in life?

What if  ALL young men who posses priesthood power saw themselves as princes who are using their specific keys to actualize royalty within them and women, thus conducting God’s work on earth through His power. These men are equivalent to any Prince Charming or King for that matter.  The power to hold these keys has existed as long as man has walked the earth to enable all mankind to be like our Father; exalted and glorified.  From the beginning, Adam, Noah, Enoch, Abraham, Moses, Jacob, Jesus Christ, John the Baptist, and the Apostles have held specific keys to guide all people through the maze without fail so they can posses their kingdoms, principalities and dominions in the life to come where they can live with their families for eternity.  The thought of loosing even one single little prince or princess causes the soul of a royal to shutter in pain.  For this cause, last week, President and Sister Nelson urged all young men and women to enlist in the “Youth Battalion”. This means the prophet has used his keys to put forth one last effort in gathering Israel both for the living and for the dead in our Holy Temples.

“You—my dear extraordinary youth—were sent to earth at this precise time, this most crucial time in the history of the earth, to help gather Israel,” the prophet said. “There is nothing happening on this earth right now that is more important than that. There is nothing of greater consequence. Absolutely nothing. This gathering should mean everything to you. This is the mission for which you were sent to earth.”

Sister Nelson spoke about understanding and fulfilling our individual roles in this great work and reminded us that we choose whether or not we fulfill our mortal missions.

“No one will make us,” she said. “We have our agency to choose how we spend our time and energy, our talents and resources. In fact, what we choose to do is part of our testing. The choice is yours and mine. Will we choose to do whatever it takes to fulfill the wonderful missions for which we were sent to earth?” President and Sister Nelson’s Devotional for Youth: A Call to Enlist and Gather Israel

Every woman is a princess and has God’s DNA within her.  Her virtue is the greatest power and gem on planet earth.  Through a triangular relationship with God and her spouse, she has the power through these keys to create another human. Without God, there would be no life. Without man there would be no women. Without women, mankind would cease to exist.  Without choices in our maze, there would be no happily ever after.  Without the sealing powers of the priesthood, there would be no ancestors awaiting us along the path leading to our castle as couples.

“The noblest yearning of the human heart is for a marriage that can endure beyond death.  Fidelity to a temple marriage does that.  It allows families to be together forever. This goal is glorious.  All Church activities, advancements, quorums, and classes are means to the end of an exalted family.  To make this goal possible, our Heavenly Father has restored priesthood keys in this dispensation so that essential ordinances in His plan can be performed by proper authority.  Heavenly messengers-including John the Baptist, Peter, James, and John, Moses, Elias and Elijah-have participated in that restoration.  Elder Russell M. Nelson, “Celestial Marriage”  Oct. 2008

To be, or not to be ROYAL, this is the question that I ask of thee? Should you choose Templeton’s path of misery and be lost, or God’s quick and happy exit through our processional maze? God has given us the choice as we progress onward and upward toward the temple on earth and ultimately, our unimaginable castles in heaven as we live happily ever after with all of our Royal family members both past, present and future. I hope we see the royalty and potential within ourselves like my daughter sees within herself so we can recognize it in each other, even within the Templeton”ites”.  Then we can help each other navigate through life’s maze; especially those who might be lost inside.

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Defying Gravity

 

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During recess in elementary school the boys would chase the girls and then chain us down to the ground with all their weight on each arm.  It was literally an everyday occurrence that was a bitter/sweet activity.  On the one hand, it was fun being chased by the boys because it made us girls feels special; on the other hand, it wasn’t very fun being yoked down under the weight of their captivity. The very weightiness of our mortal existence is described as defying gravity.  Through it all, we’re on a journey of enjoyment, learning and love to reason, repent and become responsible.

Learning to have the gift of reason: I  have had three foreign exchange students live in my home in the past 10 years all of whom have had their own beliefs.  My first student was my German son who one day asked me what I thought about homosexuality.  I jokingly told him God didn’t make Adam and Steve, rather Adam and Eve.  Of course, then I became serious when I told him what my real belief was based on personal revelation.  I don’t remember where I was or when I had my experience, but I’ll never forget my feelings after I asked God what He could teach me about LGBTQ.  My heart was instantly filled with such deep love that I knew at that moment how special these LGBTQ children of God are in his eyes. I have a personal witness that LGBTQ children have the capability to love like no others and only parallel to our Father in Heaven.  This is a remarkable gift.  Their ability to love others is certainly the greatest gift of all.  Defying gravity is to understand others and learn to reason through the help of God.

Learning to repent: If I could have one wish, it would be to foster this kind of charity, and the wisdom to learn from others, from God and from my own experiences.  Wisdom gives me the ability to see beyond my own self.  Would if this existence we call life was really only a mirrored image of our own making through our thoughts, desires and actions? Would if everything we see around us came about from our own doing?  That is a sobering thought and a rather frightful revelation. What would we change? How would we see others? What would be our motivating force? Would we allow our fears to be the driving source of momentum or our faith?  One Gay inactive member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints said, “We invite each other to share our stories. And then we listen.  We just listen”. Insights from an Inactive Gay Mormon by John Bonner LDS LIVINGMay/June 2018 How wonderful it would be if more people sat in the pews of our church who are different that than us. They want to come, we just need to repent from the sin of omission.

Learning to see and love others as our Father in Heaven is an important equivalent in understanding our purpose on earth; Adam fell that man might be; and men are that they might have joy 2 Nephi 2:25  When Adam fell, sin was introduced into the equation.  Michalangelo was noted as saying, “Every block of stone has a statue inside it and it is the task of the sculptor to discover it.  I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free.  Each of us is like the block of stone.  The primary purpose of religion is to liberate us from ignorance and sin.  Jesus Christ was the great liberator and said, “Deliver us from evil.” He gave us the law of repentance.  Missionary work gets us out of comfort zone and helps us learn from other’s point of view.

Learning to be responsible: Our mortality provides us with the necessary opposition to act as carving tools that set free the angel inside each of us.  However, to be wise, we must learn from our wrong doings and build upon them to achieve the angel creation the Lord sees within each of us and abstain from evil.  We may struggle our entire lives with these challenges that are carving out our angel, but we do not ostracize others during their refining process:  “We gather and invite. We welcome and include.  We turn down the vitriol and turn up, to full volume, the actual meaning of love.  We claim each other.  And we go on claiming each other, time and time again, no matter what happens-for we are all part of the same body of Christ. In the words of Ruth, “Whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and they God my God” Ruth 1:16)”.  Insights from an Inactive Gay Mormon by John Bonner LDS LIVINGMay/June 2018

One thing we need to decipher is the difference between sin and weakness. In Ether 12:27, Moroni feared men would judge him because of his weakness in writing. “God did not tell him to repent. Instead, the Lord taught him to be humble and to have faith in Christ. As we are meek and faithful, God offers grace—not forgiveness—as the remedy for weakness. Grace is an enabling power from God to do what we cannot do on our own (see Bible Dictionary, “Grace”)—the appropriate godly remedy by which He can “make weak things become strong.” It Isn’t a Sin to Be Weak

The Lord says the whole world groans under its weight of iniquity.  In other words, gravity is literally the weightiness of sin to which we are all yoked due to our mortal existence.  Just like I hated being pinned and “chained” down by the elementary school boys because it really did hurt and sometimes I fell and skinned my knees, gravity hurts, too. Defying gravity by being lifted up is only possible through the atonement of Jesus Christ.  I might mention however; thanks to the boys chasing me, I learned to run faster, laugh, feel loved, and have joy and that is what this life is really about. Those scuffs and bruises make me tougher and help me stand back up with resolve to be better than I was yesterday through the help of our Savior.

Wisdom

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I truly love to learn from the wisdom of the GREATS! Currently I’ve been studying the words of Isaiah.  These words are clearly written for our day and time.  It is truly amazing how nearly 2700 years ago, the prophet Isaiah foretold of the coming of the Savior.  His names back then were Wonderful, Councellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace, The Master, The Great Physician, and most importantly, The Great Teacher.

I also love to learn from another very important teacher: Industry.  Industry is a parent virtue, and when we really learn how to work, then any accomplishment is placed within our reach.  Industry is one variety of genius.  it has been said that “genius is the power to make continuous effort,”  and “the secret of success is constancy of purpose.”  Obedience is a great teacher.  Faith is a great teacher.  Habit is a great teacher.  Example is a great teacher.  As the poet Valentine Vousden has said:

Example sheds a genial ray of light

Which men are apt to borrow,

So first improve yourselves today

And then improve your friends tomorrow.

Great teachers set the example for us to add upon like Tycho Brahe did for Johannes Kepler who then did for Isaac Newton who then lead us to his great and noble Law of Gravitation. Since the fall of Adam, the world has been under the heavy yoke of sin and opposition and manifests itself in the form of gravity.  “And behold, all things have their likeness, and all things are created and made to bear record of me, both things which are temporal, and things which are spiritual; things which are in the heavens above, and things which are on the earth, and things which are in the earth, and things which are under the earth, both above and beneath: all things bear record of me”.  Moses 6:63

Joseph Smith was once asked how he taught a divergent group of people, members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints from all parts of the world, he said, “I teach them correct principles, and they govern themselves.  What a novel concept, to teach men correct principles, and they govern themselves! It seems to many of us fall into the habit of laziness, even our language has become convoluted and corrupt and misused. People are more apt to go on welfare than to go out and work.  Many of us rely an depend on the government to take care of us.

Many people are coming to America with the habits from old countries of corrupt governments.  These leaders from the top teach people to lie and steal because that is how many countries function.  Politics in general teaches if you have enough money, you can buy power.  This is truly a sign of absolute corruption. Please do not adhere to groups who need our money to succeed.  The constitution is set up in a way to allow persons to run for office of any socioeconomic background; isn’t it interesting only the rich and famous can hold an office today?  There is no need to pay for power.  If we understand the four gospels in the Bible and the words of 1 Nephi 12-15, there won’t be much to worry about as soon as the great and abominable church who is the whore of all the earth falls.  Then money won’t buy any of them anything because Jesus will cleanse His temple by overturning the money changers table for the third time, except this time it will be for good!

Dr. Henry C. Link once said, “Nothing puts so much order into human life as to live by a set of sound principles.” The soundest principles ever known in the universe are the principles of the gospel of Jesus Christ.  Each one has an important purpose, and we receive miraculous power when we make them a part of us.

Shakespeare said:  “Assume a virtue if you have it not.” There are no copyrights or patents on virtues, ambitions, or abilities.  All good characters and personality traits may be had in common if we will only take time to develop them.

“Socrate’s secret ingredients to his successful life were his treasures of knowledge, understanding, fairness and righteousness.  His motto was, “know thyself” and whenever he met any kind of evil or was admonished to remain silent to avoid a disagreement, he said, “I cannot hold my tongue, as it would be a disobedience to a divine command.” In the Apocrypha, wisdom literature generally, and even the scriptures themselves, we find many statements to the effect that wisdom is the one virtue that is indispensable to the human being who would lead a godly life, a life of excellence. 

Ben Sira’s Book of Wisdom counsels people in every condition of life. Most of them deal with the ordinary, everyday relationships between persons, whether in regard to the rich or the poor, the oppressed, those who mourn, rules of courtesy and politeness, respect for one’s brothers, kindness, and other similar topics. Knowledge of human nature requires one’s attention in every step of our life’s journey.  Solomon, another writer of wisdom literature, pointed out, “the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” (Proverbs 9:10) By fear of the Lord is meant a personal law of God, obedience to the divine commandments, and observance of the law.  Truth is the finest expression of any wisdom literature”.  The Wealth of Wisdom Sterling W. Sills   

Of course, the best words of wisdom and philosophy are written in our holy scriptures.  If we want to learn to speak the language of God, we must learn from His voice spoken through scriptures and the living prophet on earth today.  The prophet, Russell M. Nelson is a conduit for God and he will continue to tell us what we need to hear and do in our day.  If we are unable to learn how to listen to our prophet and take heed to his council now as well as those prophets who have spoken throughout the ages in scriptures such as in the Bible, the Book of Mormon, the Pearl of Great Price and the Doctrine and Covenants, we will need more than our running shoes to keep up, we will need a rocket. It will be much easier to be wise yourselves today and then help your friends tomorrow.

 

Race?

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I wonder what it would be like if Socrates was President of the USA? He loved to reason, to think, and to understand and he devoted his life to philosophy.  His treasures of  knowledge, understanding, fairness, and righteousness were the secrets to a successful life.   “To Socrates, all wickedness was a result of either ignorance or sloth, and history seems to bear him out on this point.  Had he lived in our day he would have had his work cut out for him, for he taught that the first duty of every man was to obey the law and submit to punishment when he was judged to be in error.  Although most of his life was spent in teaching and reasoning, he never allowed his discussions to become heated or bitter.  he always kept perfect control of himself, no matter how badly the argument went against him.  Hatred had no place in his life.” The Wealth of Wisdom, Sterling W. Sills 

I just got my DNA test back and found out I’m a melting pot of diversity.  Now that I can identify my lineage to the Iberian Peninsula and the Mediterranean sea, Northern Africa, Polynesia, Finland and Russia, Middle East, Western Europe and the British Isles, to whom can I blame all my faults? Are there pureblood’s out there or are we all mudbloods?

More important than my mortal DNA, I like to think of my spiritual DNA which links me directly to God!  The scripture says, “…there is a spirit in man: and the inspiration of the Almighty giveth them understanding.” Job 32:8  How awesome to know each and every person on this planet earth comes directly from that same DNA.  The nearest pureblood I can think of is Jesus Christ, the greatest teacher of all time.  He taught us to follow Him and be wise when he told the parable of the wise and foolish virgins (Matt. 25:2) and the faithful and wise steward (Luke 12:42).  “Usually we don’t fall down in life because of our sins.  Our biggest problems come because we are unwise.  the more foolish things we do, the more unwise we become.  The more wise things we do, the wiser we become.  Wisdom feeds upon itself, and so do sin and foolishness and bad judgment.  If we sin today, the habit gets a little deeper and tomorrow’s sins come easier.  The Ten Commandments are wise statements, and we should make no exceptions in being obedient to their precepts.  When we make exceptions, we tear the good habits down and build the bad habits up.” The Wealth of Wisdom, Sterling W. Sills 

Martin Luther King was another stellar teacher.  He knew much about his audience, but more importantly, he knew much about himself.  His love for God and all mankind was evident when he said:  “I have a dream today.  I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted and every hill and mountain shall be made low.  the rough places will be made plain and the crooked places made straight.  and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together.  this is our hope.  This is the faith that I go back to the South with.  With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope.  With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood.  With this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.” “I have a Dream Speech” Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. at the “March on Washington” 1963

Sadly, color of skin has been the source of division that lead to civil war too many times to count in our history books.  Even after experiencing the first U.S. black president, racial divide is higher than ever before the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. gave his stirring speech. Other proof of this divide is found within the Book of Mormon.  We see two great nations rise up upon the American continent “promised land” due to a “inherent nature” of disobedience and or cursing by refusing the Gospel and delighting in the shedding of blood or other perverse sins.

The Book of Mormon also bridges the gap of the above said generalizations.  The Nephites are not aways righteous.  Color does not denote righteousness-in the Book of Mormon-or now.  As Victor Frankl said, “From all this we may learn that there are two races of men in this world, but only those two-the ‘race’ of the decent man and the ‘race’ of the indecent man.  Both are found everywhere; then penetrate into all groups of society.  No group consists entirely of decent or indecent people”.  We found that if righteous people CARE ENOUGH and are FERVENT IN THE SPIRIT and receive the HOLY GHOST IN THEIR LIVES they can effect the hardest of people.

PEOPLE CAN CHANGE! We have seen great change in equality ever since Luther’s admonition in 1963.  However, once we can clearly see, not the color of skin but the decency of the man, we will have fulfilled Martin Luther King, Jr.’s dream.  Once we stop seeing only in black and white by pulling the race card every time any adverse incidents arise and begin calling the card for what it really is, we are acting with wisdom by seeing each other for who we really are; a beautiful chromatic color scale:  Color properties allow us to distinguish and define colors. The more we know about color properties, the better we can adjust colors to our needs.  Webster’s Dictionary  

 

Lucky #3 Welcome to the Gates of the Nobles!

IMG_2245It’s a Christmas Miracle!”. These were the words exchanged between my mother and I very often during this past Christmas season as we witnessed countless miracles while she helped me with all my choir shenanigans as the Southern Utah Heritage Choir Applause chairman conducting our annual fundraiser event with all if it’s many intricate details and follow-ups.  Immediately after Christmas was over, we moved right into the next busy agenda of my daughter’s wedding, those words were replaced with, “It’s a wedding miracle!“.  Then when my mother became gravely ill and I got the flu, our words changed to, “It’s a miracle to be alive!”.   Three individual and separate miracles occurring on a daily basis where we saw the hand of God.

The only other time I’ve witnessed so many consecutive miracles was when I served as a missionary in Honduras.  My companion and I used to call ourselves, “Warriors of Light” because daily we put on The Whole Armor of God and set out on foot to bring people to Jesus Christ through faith, repentance, baptism and the gift of the Holy Ghost.  Our mission included bringing to light the knowledge of the Book of Mormon and the blessings of the temple which are a continuation of families through the Abrahamic/New and Everlasting Covenant made possible through priesthood authority.   All of these endeavors rendered MANY miracles.

All missionaries are bringing the world His light which conquers darkness.  How grateful we are for the blessings of protection their planted feet provide the soil thereupon.  This darkness began as a battle way before we were born.  The war was called, “The War in Heaven”.  It is between good (from the Savior) and evil (from the serpent-Satan).  Clearly, we all began as “Warriors of Light” because we are here on earth today.  Why do we need to prove ourselves again in this battle if we already proved ourselves in our pre-existence?  Is it because we were only spirit children of God and didn’t have a mortal body that would need testing?  So, here we are, and now the wages of war are:  life or death, happiness or sorrow, light or darkness, continuation of life hereafter or the end of that continuation when we die.

There are several things that are prerequisite for becoming a warrior in this war and entering the gates of the nobles: humility, a desire to lift up the gospel banner (Mosiah 2: 5-6), temple worthiness, a warning voice “every man to his neighbor” (D&C 38:41) and a desire to beckon or invite others to the “gates of the nobles (the temple portals)”.  Understanding Isaiah, Donald W. Parry, Jay A. Parry and Tina M. Peterson

There are three miracles we will see from God prior to his second coming that are known as signals.  They are: Gathering of Israel by hoisting a banner or ensign on a mountain; calling with a voice; and beckoning with the hand.  Isaiah 13:2-5. Lift ye up a banner upon the high mountain, exalt the voice unto them, shake the hand, that they may go into the gates of the nobles.  All of these signs or signals have taken place and are in full effect today! Many people are learning to understand the words of Isaiah because they know they are written to us for our day even though they are difficult to grasp.  Some people may want to give up and quit because they feel like there’s no hope.  To you, I especially say, this is for you! 

Is it worth it, or in Spanish I would ask “vale la pena?” I suppose we would need to ask these questions, why are we here, where are we going?  Do we need a Savior, is there life after life and will our conduct in this life make a difference in the next life?  If you read this link, you will witness the countless times where we know the Savior himself appeared to so many after his death and resurrection and to what purpose the Father sent Him to earth in the first place:  “And my Father sent me that I might be lifted up upon the cross; and after that I had been lifted up upon the cross, that I might draw all men unto me, that as I have been lifted up by men even so should men be lifted up by the Father, to stand before me, to be judged of their works, whether they be good or whether they be evil-and for this cause have I been lifted up; therefore, according to the power of the Father I will draw all men unto me, that they may be judged according to their works.  And it shall come to pass, that whoso repenteth and is baptized in my name shall be filled; and if he endureth to the end, behold, him will I hold guiltless before my Father at that day when I shall stand to judge the world” 3 Nephi 27:14-16.  He will to redeem us from the fall and atone for our sins and raise men up just as men raised Him up upon the cross. (John 11:25–26).

There are three things happening at this very moment that tell us these events are happening: The book of Mormon has come to light and is flooding the earth acting as a voice from the dust and inviting all the sons of Adam to become heirs of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.  Temples are on every continent populated by people.  Sanctified missionaries, who like ancient Israel soldiers, prepared for their service to Jehovah by participating in holy rituals connected with the temple.  They have been welcomed into the gates of the nobles.

There is truth when we say “things come in three’s”.  For me, enduring these past three months with all my choir duties and duties as a mother, wife/daughter/sister/friend and a fellow member of the gospel.  There is truly no possible way my mother and I could have done all the things we did to celebrate four birthdays, Thanksgiving, invitation to sing at the temple visitor’s center, three back-to-back choir Christmas concerts , conduct the Applause fundraiser, prepare and celebrate for Christmas and then have a wedding eight days later without divine help.  In hindsight, I now see why we both got sick right after, but thank the Lord we were able to endure and get through the toughest of times and then, miraculously be healed.  He will use each of us for good in the capacity of our gifts and willingness to serve as we first sanctify ourselves and then invite others to do the same.   The Savior desires for all to enter into the gates of the nobles. IMG_2164.

Call the Doctor!

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If I reached out with my hand, I could have nearly touched the finish line.  Although I was only thirty seconds away, try as I might, there was no stopping the nausea that instantly came over me, and my body couldn’t keep “Chuck” down!  Up until this point of the marathon, everything else seemed to be going super great, no aches, no pains, just truly enjoying every minute (easy to say after the fact).  Sadly, the cheering became muted as I felt all eyes on that poor soul who was heaving….me!  Then about the time my body ridded itself from all impurities, I heard a lady scream out from the crowd, “Call the Doctor”!

This was a new experience for me.  “Chuck” and I had never been running partners before now.  I wasn’t sure where he came from either, but what I did know was, it wasn’t because of overexertion as I was trying to take it a bit easier this year.  What I did attribute it to was a diet coke some sweet people handed out along the route.  I never drink diet anything, and I rarely drink soda, but I remember one running mentor tell me to drink coke if it is offered to you.  My body couldn’t handle the caffeine overload from all the energy gel GU’s along with the diet soda.

It warmed my heart when a random stranger saw my suffering and acted in charity, calling out for help.  When we see suffering, grievousness, pain and sorrow among our fellow brothers and sisters, is our natural instincts to feel sorrow and a desire to help them? Do we act in their behalf?  There are many people who are sick because of the vices they are putting into their bodies.  It’s dulling our senses and making us incapable of feeling and of reaching the finish line called life.  Whether it be drugs, alcohol, tobacco, pornography, gambling, filthy movies and music, and anything that promotes hatred toward our fellowmen.

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Every day we learn of more violence and bloodshed.  People seem to have lost their love of mankind.  Can an M.D. help our sick nation and world?  If so, we need to call the doctor for immediate help!  Most of us can tell when we are getting sick and take the necessary precautions to avoid getting sicker, such as, amping up our vitamins or getting more rest, etc, but how can the world get help?

Prophets are like M.D.’s because they know the symptoms and how to treat them.  In Doctrine and Covenants 45:26 & 27 we read: 26 And in that day shall be heard of wars and rumors of wars, and the whole earth shall be in commotion, and men’s hearts shall fail them, and they shall say that Christ delayeth his coming until the end of the earth.  27 And the love of men shall wax cold, and iniquity shall abound.  

Great and inspired people can help like, Valerie M. Hudson, an American professor of political science at The Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M University who said this about the sicknesses of our world, “World Peace unsettles a variety of assumptions in political and security discourse, demonstrating that the security of women is a vital factor in the security of the state and its incidence of conflict and war.”
Years before all the confusion on the traditional family our prophets were inspired to pen The Family Proclamation to the World.   Recently, we were taught in the world wide general conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints the following pertinent prescription for our time:“Often, people may condemn bullying in others, yet they cannot see it in themselves. They demand compliance with their own arbitrary rules, but when others don’t follow these random rules, they chasten them verbally, emotionally, and sometimes even physically.

The Lord has said that “when we … exercise control or dominion or compulsion upon the souls of the children of men, in any degree of unrighteousness, … the heavens withdraw themselves [and] the Spirit of the Lord is grieved….Let us set aside our fears and live instead with joy, humility, hope, and a bold confidence that the Lord is with us. Love Casteth Out Fear   President Dieter F. Uchtdorf

We are literally seeing a large scale of “Chuck” coming from poisoned people all around the globe.  The unfavorable and oppressive treatment of women and children in many cultures and the disruption of the traditional family is causing the hearts of men (and women) to wax cold.  These illnesses are bringing plagues and destruction to our people.  However, the remedy and good news is calling out from the spectator’s stand, “call the doctor” and get help for these poor sick souls, each one of us!  God is calling, His son, Jesus Christ is our healer.

Though my sickness did not warrant an M.D., I did learn a great lesson about keeping to my regular routine and avoiding excessiveness when running (oxymoron?).  I also learned there are natural occurring consequences when I don’t keep myself inline with God’s boundary for which he created me.   “The more I come to know my Heavenly Father, the more I see how He inspires and leads His children. He is not angry, vengeful, or retaliatory.4 His very purpose—His work and His glory—is to mentor us, exalt us, and lead us to His fulness.5  God described Himself to Moses as “merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth.”6  Our Father in Heaven’s love for us, His children, surpasses by far our ability to comprehend.7  Does this mean that God condones or overlooks behaviors that run contrary to His commands? No, definitely not!  But He wants to change more than just our behaviors. He wants to change our very natures. He wants to change our hearts.” President Dieter F. Uchtdorf 

Come unto Him and we can be healed!

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Power of Words

Words and wind can surely blow away the people and objects within their path.  Their power to do good is incalculable.  Both provide nourishment and breath to our world, providing electricity, life and transportation both physically and metaphorically. Without them, we would be literally at a stand still.  Why is it they inflict such harm?

Utah wind bursts (tornados) are rare, but happen from time to time.  The last and great tornado of 1999 hit Salt Lake City and did extensive damage to the state capitol building.  Then, last Thursday a wild and crazy tornado hit Lake Powell, causing some serious and tragic events near a place we had been vacationing the week prior.

Wind gusts of more than 55 mph caused some houseboats to break away from their anchoring system and become loose in the storm.  One brand new 88’x24′ houseboat’s metal anchoring cables snapped, leaving it to drift uncontrollably and ramming it onto rocks which then caused a sudden whipping action where all of the occupants where thrown to the side of the boat.  One woman’s arm got caught between the boat and the rock, instantly amputating her arm.   Several other people suffered serious injuries as well.  An entirely different houseboat was tipped onto it’s side as well and as this picture shows, its anchor cords are still intact.

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Why do bad things happen to good people?  Why are people suffering everywhere around the world?  Why would God allow natural disasters like this one to occur?   I’ve watched in my lifetime how powerful the force of mother nature has become and it’s destructive nature seems to be getting worse.  Words are like powerful storms for good and for evil.  It feels like the use of information and technology have been miraculously good in nature,  but it is beginning to feel like a tornado is sweeping away everyone and everything in it’s path with a lethal force that is meant to destroy those who are drifting away from their foundation and anchor system!   Proverbs 15:1-4

I’m writing these words because I am learning their power for both good and evil.  How important it is to be grounded upon the rock of my foundation which is Jesus Christ, for without him, I am nothing.  I can easily become offended by the words of others if I do not have charity.  If others misinterpret what is said, and become offended, often it can lead to lethal and even serious spiritual damage causing hate and mean spiritedness to arise. “Words have surprising power, both to build up and to tear down.  We can all probably remember negative words that brought us low and other words spoken with love that made our spirits soar.  Choosing to say only that which is positive about-and to-others lifts and strengthens those around us and helps others follow in the Savior’s way”. Jean B. Bingham, “I Will Bring the Light of the Gospel into My Home,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2016, 6–9

People are like houseboats, most of us are anchored with the proper foundation to get along in the world no matter what storms may arise or words are spoken.  However, if we don’t have true charity toward our fellow men, the winds and words that befall us can cause us to snap in the winds and storms of life, which then can have a serious and even fatal affect to us and to those around us.  God allows us our free agency to choose how we will take care of our boats both great and small, rich or poor.  He allows natural occurances to tempt us and to try us and most importantly, to help us learn to love one another through service, compassion, comfort, uplifting and inspired means of communication to see if we are anchored in charity one to another.

“The Prophet Joseph Smith deepened our understanding of the power of speech when he taught, “It is by words … [that] every being works when he works by faith. God said, ‘Let there be light: and there was light.’ Joshua spake, and the great lights which God had created stood still. Elijah commanded, and the heavens were stayed for the space of three years and six months, so that it did not rain. … All this was done by faith. … Faith, then, works by words; and with [words] its mightiest works have been, and will be, performed.1 Like all gifts “which cometh from above,” words are “sacred, and must be spoken with care, and by constraint of the Spirit.”2

It is with this realization of the power and sanctity of words that I wish to caution us, if caution is needed, regarding how we speak to each other and how we speak of ourselves”. The Tongue of Angels-Elder Jeffery R. Holland