Scars

IMG_3199I remember back to that day when my dad took off the training wheels on my bike.  I was more than ecstatic! Finally, I could ride all around the sidewalk my grandfather hand poured and engraved  with the names of his grandchildren that encircled the old house I grew up in.   Faster and faster I excelled. . .I was riding free! However, it didn’t take long before I wreaked and tumbled down on the hard surface.  That first fall was so bad! I still bare the scar on my knee.

I wonder if I’m not the only one out there whose body, especially the knees and legs, bare the scars of childhood and even adult follies?  From the time I was 9 months old and had to be admitted into the hospital while doctors and nurses kept vigil on my intestines after swallowing a bobbie pin, to landing myself a year later in that very same hospital for two surgeries to find the severed tendon in my hand after cutting my finger on a broken glass bottle, to the hideous scar on my leg that reminds me, I’m missing one of my three hamstrings which is now my new ACL.  All of these scars are reminders of my stupidity or innocent accidents, I may or may not have been able to control to some degree.

Wouldn’t it be nice if we were more like computers, where when we get bogged down and seize with the little rainbow wheel of death, or feel like we can’t go on, we can simply clean out the cookies, or click the refresh tab, or even restart our computers?  Sadly, we aren’t capable of this on our own and neither was the wisest man on earth named King Solomon.

Because he was made king of such an enumerable people at a very young age, Solomon used his time earnestly to learn everything he could about knowing and doing God’s will for him.  He was blessed with many gifts both spiritual and temporal, with knowledge, skills, and a largeness of heart:  “Give therefore thy servant an understanding heart to judge thy people, that I may discern between good and bad” (1 Kgs. 3:9).

Solomon’s selfless request pleased the Lord: “Because thou hast asked this thing, and hast not asked for thyself … behold, I have done according to thy words: lo, I have given thee a wise and an understanding heart” (1 Kgs. 3:11–12).  The Lord then gave him other great blessings and strictly charged Solomon to walk in His ways and keep His commandments.

People came from far and wide to hear and learn of King Solomon’s wisdom.  Soon, however, he gave his heart away to know wisdom, madness and folly. (Ecclesiastes 1:17)
Solomon’s wisdom turned on him as his mind became open and he saw where his search for wisdom and knowledge had lead him.  Wisdom excelleth folly, as far as light excelleth darkness.  Wise man’s eyes are in his head; but the fool walketh in darkness; As it happeneth to the fool, so it happeneth even to me…He hated his life; because the work that is wrought under the sun is grievous unto me…He hated all his labour because he knew he would have to leave it unto another man that would not be him of whom he could be sure would be foolish or wise liken unto himself.  Then he said, “For there is a man whose labour is in wisdom, and in knowledege, and in equity; yet to a man that hath not laboured therein shall he leave it for his portion. This also is vanity and a great evil”. Better is a poor and a wise child than an old and foolish king, who will no more be admonished”. (Ecclesiastes 2:3, 13-15, 17-21; 4:13)

King Solomon’s quest to know so much back fired on him, his knowledge lead him to curse his life and his vanity.  His wisdom turned rancid which lead him to folly.  “Solomon the wise man seemed to be following the procedure of many people of today who want to try out or experiment with evil.  This is a memorable example of what happens when one of the wisest, most powerful men of his day, one whom God loved, was brought down to such a low state that he destroyed the work of his life and died very much out of favor with God”. The Wealth of Wisdom Sterling W. Sills

Like Solomon, some people try so hard to avoid getting scars while young so they can be smart and avoid all the pitfalls and bumps in life.  However, we find it wasn’t until the later of years of King Solomon’s life these experiences lead him to a different kind of wisdom; wisdom I am very prone to and I bet you are, too.  When I first received my patriarchal blessing, the Lord through my Patriarch blessed me with wisdom that would invoke many far and wide to seek.  I quickly looked up in the dictionary (a real hardbound book in my parent’s library) what wisdom means.  I read that it is first-hand experience.  I certainly have had many of those, my legs serving as a physical example of what my spirit must look like inside my body.

As I diligently practiced riding my bike each day, I wreaked less and less until ultimately, I really never had another crash due to my own stupidity.  The wisdom came in learning from my mistakes, not watching how my brothers learned to ride so effortlessly.  Sure, I learned some amazing skills from them, like when I followed them on jumps, etc. But, end the end, it was up to me to learn how to ride with ease and without training wheels given to me by my parents.  True wisdom came because my parents let me soar on my own.

Like giving our computers a good clean up, we can thank the Lord for His atonement that is effective for Solomon, for me, and for you! When I and others repent, every scar we bare on our souls and bodies will be taken up in Christ because no matter how smart or reckless we are in life, we can learn from our mistakes and improve.  That is what I call true wisdom!

Some day, Solomon will be able to teach us that his greatest learning didn’t come through knowing everything in his youth, rather it came on his deathbed when he wished to rescind all his mistakes that had humbled him and taught him not to rely on his own wisdom, but God’s!

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Roar

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Recently I visited a Zoo like no other.  Rather than wander past cages of sleepy animals, visitors were invited to enter the pens and pet the animals. Following the trainer, we made our way into the enclosure prepared for the large lions and petted them while they seemed to ignore us.

I asked the trainers how they had convinced those giant beasts to not eat us. They called my attention to several little dogs that likewise inhabited the pens. When the lions were small, those yappy dogs chased the lions mercilessly and nipped at their heels. The lion cubs became accustomed to cowering in the corner, afraid of the dogs.

When the lions grew, they continued to cower in fear. With the flick of a paw, they could easily have sent those dogs flying, but the lions didn’t see themselves as they really were. They were unaware of their regal identity and potential. (story by Sterling W. Sills)

We all face pesky little dogs that steal our confidence and keep us cowering in figurative corners. Here is one example:

“For years, Democrats really haven’t had an answer to successful conservative policies, so they’ve been increasingly reduced to identity politics. Their essential message is that many of Trump’s policies may be working, but he and his supporters are racists, sexists and homophobes. Their shtick is growing tired, and people, including some minorities, are getting wise to it.

Now we are seeing almost daily violence or threats of violence from these characters, who are openly, even proudly, displaying their fascism for the world to see. Recent examples, from Trump officials being driven from public restaurants to a Democratic congresswoman calling for violence against Trump officials, are too numerous to deny that there is a pattern. The left’s inability to conceal its hatred and fascism is a glorious collateral benefit of Trump’s electoral and policy victories. Thank the Lord that a majority of the American people still remain uncomfortable with such behavior, which means that Democrats are seriously damaging themselves”. David Limbaugh, Creators Syndicate, Spectrum News

Like barking dogs trying to corner a much stronger and more powerful beast in a corner against the wall, those of the Liberals whose nature is to bully need to be faced by an all God fearing people who recognize their self-worth and Divine Nature, and who use their powerful and unifying voices-“roars” for good; whose acts are kindness, love, charity, long-suffering, patience, temperance, meekness, and virtue.  Isaiah’s roaring Lion metaphor is the ammo against CLS (cowering lion syndrome):

“Their roaring shall be like a lion, they shall roar like young alions: yea, they shall roar, and lay hold of the bprey, and shall carry it away safe, and none shall deliver it”. Isaiah 5: 29

When our adversaries persecute people of righteousness through conspiracy, the very act of being good is our protection:

“And although their influence shall cast thee into trouble, and into bars and walls, thou shalt be had in honor; and but for a small moment and thy voice shall be more terrible in the midst of thine enemies than the fierce lion, because of thy righteousness; and thy God shall stand by thee forever and ever”. Doctrine and Covenants 122:4 

Though we are poor in spirit and influence, even the smallest acts of goodness can have enormous effect:

 And my people who are a remnant of Jacob shall be among the Gentiles, yea, in the midst of them as a lion among the beasts of the forest, as a young lion among the flocks of sheep, who, if he go through both treadeth down and teareth in pieces, and none can deliver.  Their hand shall be lifted up upon their adversaries, and all their enemies shall be cut off”. 3 Nephi 21:12-13

Let’s stop cowering in the corner to barking dogs and lend our voices in one powerful roar. This power comes from being true to our Divine Nature. Let us remember the words of the Apostle Peter:  

Simon Peter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ, to them that have obtained like precious faith with us through the righteousness of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ: Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord, According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge;  And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.  For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ”. 2 Peter 1-8

The other day, I went to Chick-Fil-A and told the worker there that I wanted to pay the order for the guy behind me. The reason I even thought about it was because someone had done the same thing for me. This is just one of the many small ways our “roar” can be felt and heard in a world of hate and identity confusion from our Divine Nature.

Let our goodness be the Lion within as we go about our lives showing love, not hatred.  This is how we can defeat the loader and most annoying voices all around us who are working so hard to bring us down to their level.  We are better than that, we are LIONS, HEAR US ROAR! Jesus Christ is the zoo keeper and trainer, he will not lead us contrary to the Divine Nature within each one of us if we learn to have faith and trust in Him and His example.

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.