Sunday, April 3, 2016
Luke: Ben! Why didn't you tell me? You told me that Darth Vader betrayed and murdered my father.
Obi-Wan: Your father... was seduced by the Dark Side of the Force. He ceased to be the Jedi Anakin Skywalker and "became" Darth Vader. When that happened, the good man who was your father was destroyed. So, what I told you was true... from a certain point of view.
Luke: A certain point of view?
Obi-Wan: Luke, you're going to find that many of the truths we cling to depend greatly on our own point of view. Anakin was a good friend. When I first met him, your father was already a great pilot. But I was amazed how strongly the Force was with him. I took it upon myself to train him as a Jedi. I thought that I could instruct him just as well as Yoda. I was wrong.
I quote this film because I was starting to realize that God wants us to tell the whole truth. While He (our maker) teaches us line upon line and precept upon precept, here a little, there a little, it is imperative that when we come to our maker with all our cards on the table. When we start out path of unrighteousness we cannot tell ourselves and others the truth from a certain point of view and keep our problems a secret. We must make the effort to bring the hard things to light. For some, the truth is like the sun to a vampire and we desperately want to coil back to the dark. The dark is our comfort, our friend and like warm mud is soothing. The problem is that its filth, our filth and in our sin, Satan mocks us. He does anything to further the experience; to push us further in that darkness that would bury us and keep us from those that love us and want to be friends of the light and knowledge that God gave us when we left his home; his side.
You and I are not in a film. We cannot tell the truth from a certain point of view. Those that would say that our sacred covenants (the Lords secrets) should not be thought of as secrets that should be kept because we cannot tell people and that should be our truth from a certain point of view. God wants us to keep our covenants and to tell the feelings of our experiences. You cannot even do that with your sin. You fail to tell people of how sin makes you feel. Is the Spirits comfort and assurance felt when you sin vs. when you are in holy places or learning holy things? You know that's not true.
When we realize that we can improve and become something that we should of been in the first place we become as Paul and Alma and do the 180 degree turn that needs to happen so that we can draw close to the Lord with more then our words. Remember the words of the hymn; of my favorite hymn, Lead Kindly Light.
This hymn causes me to choke up because this is what I feel when I sin; when I pull from God and really want to pull close to him. I want to be and enjoy being human but the frailty and persuasion to sin and do dumb things cause me to reach out for something that might save me and that is something that the people of this world need more then anything, a sense of hope that something, someone will save us from our sins.
May we all find our path with truth, not as we see it but as god sees it. We can become what God wants us to become but we must make the effort. We must begin to see what God sees in us so that we can be like him.
Have a great week.
Sunday, February 28, 2016
I recently was “pre-shopping” couches and spending time with my beloved. I realized that I was learning more about the one I love and I have been married for for almost eighteen years. I have learned so much about my wife. There is more and more layers that come out of my marriage that I never knew and I like it.
When I attempt to really dig deep in what I have done in the past part of me says write it down. We are encouraged over and over (well not strongly recently) that we should write it down. You think that your mundane life, you're wrong. I don't and you don't have a ordinary life. I find it interesting that if the roll were reversed that our ancestors would read our stories with equal interest as we do to theirs. Think about it, when I tell my kids about renting a VCR or that we didn't have a microwave growing up or walking a mile to school at the age of five, my kids are astonished. The funny thing is that I am only twenty-five years older then they are. My world is not much different then theirs. There is the same government, towns, land marks etc. That aside, the history that has happened in those twenty-five years that separate us is a big difference.
When I was a kid we race around the neighborhood and the neighbors knew us and we knew them. Our world was one were nameless authority was something less to fear then our own parents because of love and respect of family, community and county. We did all the crazy things that kids did in the '80's and it was fun.
Now had I written it down, my children would have a great story to tell their own kids. Alas I have been through some trauma and memory has been lost. Now when the memories come I make an attempt to write it down so that I have something. Not all that awesome stories of a mundane person are going to be there but I am making the attempt. On Sundays I am writing in a journal (an old journal that I have not written in since '06 (before my last boy was born). When I began reading what sparse of a story I had written about myself,I realized that there was some great achievements that I like about myself. I felt so bad that I had not taken the time for me that I am now taking some time to fix it.
I know that some people take their journal to do a spot check on themselves spiritually or some place to keep their secrets but I don't like my secrets on paper. Perhaps its because I want to put my best foot forward when my children read my story. I know that when you write your personal struggles and what not, your reader can see a side of you that they can relate to but for me that a scary place; especially because my medium is here on the web.
The thing I want to walk away from this is this, you and I have a great story. Get out and make it happen. You have the greatest story that has never been told. Only you know the story from your point of view and when you think about it, the story is fantastic.
The image is from when I worked in Seattle, WA.
Sunday, August 9, 2015
Last week I wrote about some simple discoveries about the restoration and I want to continue that thought with this... What moves the gospel to places were it has never been? I mean for example what moved the princes of the Nephites to teach the gospel to the blood thirsty Lamanites? After stewing on the subject for a while I realize that what has brought the gospel to places where it has never been is faith.
Turning back to our restored car, the gospel in its completion moves a man no where, touches no nation, compels no man without the faith that moves them to do that witch they have never done. Who built boat because of faith? Nephi, Noah, Jared. Who taught the gospel to the natives? John Taylor, Aaron, Amon Omner and Himni. These are just a few examples of people who took the restored gospel (or more likely allowed the gospel to take them) to places where it needed to be.
I admit when weird things like this become my discovery that I realize that I am still being taught by God in my adulthood. I remember when one of the prophets said that they were still learning the gospel from the temple even in their senior years, I thought they were crazy but now, teaching the gospel to children has changed my view of this and perhaps even my understanding.
The stories of the Gospel are like ogres... er... onions, no they don't stink or make you cry (well most of the time) but they got layers. Sometimes you dig in and discover them sometimes its by complete blessing (I am certain that its not by accident) that these moments hit you like a ton of bricks. The spirit becomes overwhelming and you cannot deny what you just learned through the spirit and while you are not whisked away to some place like Moses or Jesus you have your own version of a vision and see things the way God intended you to learn them.
Sometimes the gospel scares me to death because it is so serious but like a good body of water you need to just jump in and absorb the moment. I am certain that there will be more moments like this. As they say God is the same yesterday, today and forever. I might change but I know that it is for the better because I have fuel to drive me.
Sunday, August 2, 2015
I find it increasingly amazing how God can teach us all so much in such a simple way. Earlier this year I was teaching the four year old class about the restoration of the gospel (something that could be compared to the complexity of the human body or American tax code). It struck me by the Holy Ghost through inspiration that I should use something physical to explain something so diverse and broad. I wanted to desperately to say that the restoration was necessary and that only God could do it through chosen servants but how?
It was then that I realize that we, the children of Adam, love restoration. We rebuild stuff all the time; cars, buildings, antiques, etc. There is nothing that we have attempted to really figure out how it was built in the first place. The inspiration continued by telling me that I should use the car as my chief example. One the day of the class I drew a busted up car on the chalk board and explained to the children that at one time the gospel was like this car. I then asked them if this car could be driven. They looked at the drawn car with its trunk smoking, tires flat, and busted up ends and with smiles on their faces coyly said no... I then asked them to explain why I could not go to the store in the car. They then began to show piece by piece why I could not go to the store.
After redrawing the car to a more perfect form I then asked them to tell me if I could then travel. There was headlights and taillights and good tires and again I asked them If I could go. The good children asked if there was gas in the car and I told them no. They immediately said that the car needed gas. I then showed them that that the Holy Ghost is like fuel in a car. Even if every aspect of the gospel is restored it means nothing if men and women are pushing the gospel to their destination. The fuel of the gospel needed to be part of the restoration.
When I was done with my lesson, I could not believe my mind. I had taught with the spirit a lesson that I finally understood. I had taught the lesson of the broken mirror for many years on my mission but the way that it had been taught, all things could be done with a tiny mirror as with a bigger mirror, it just might of taken longer. This has been a frustration though still a good tool with teaching the gospel of Jesus Christ. Taking a step back and looking at it, it has become different and new and fresh to me.
The week that followed, I heard complements of the lesson as my four year old class had told their parents about the restored gospel and how important it was to be fully functional and working so that we all could understand Jesus and his message to the church. Some parents were very impressed that their child could understand such a concept that was sometimes vague or overwhelming. I could only give credit where it was due and thanked my Heavenly Father for teaching me the restoration.
The image is located here.
Monday, February 16, 2015
I recently gave a talk in church that was based on a talk called Living the Gospel Joyfully and while I was speaking the Lord in my mind asked me to compare the blessings that Lord attempts to give to a proverb from Star Wars; Fear leads to Anger, Anger leads to Hate, Hate leads to Suffering.
While giving this talk it came to me that when we put up our umbrella to resist the rain of blessings or the sunshine of the light of Christ shine upon us. The turn around is that when we see others get the blessings of heaven and our own sins blind us from seeing our own blessings we are quick to become fearful. Has God forgotten me? Am I worthy of no blessing at all? Our own ambitions and hesitancy keeps us from pressing in a good direction that would lead us to strengthen our faith and regain our blessings through repentance and the charity of God; we go down a path of witch many have not returned. As children of God we know all to well that the proverb of the Jedi ring true but there was no alternate so that we could avoid this path so I propose this one...
Faith leads to Trust, Trust leads to Charity, Charity leads to Happiness. I know that it might seem cheesy by making a mirror of this age old movie quote but I think that seeing its opposite opens our eyes so that we can see both the good and the evil paths and make our new choices with what we have learned.
When we are quick to judge because we decide to look at the blessings of others over what is on the other side of the scale that they are called to balance, we fail to realize the blessings we have in conjunction with our own blessings. Let us remember to have faith so that we might build upon that over fear. Lets hope that we do not listen to our fear and short comings over our faith and inner power that God has given us both to grow with and share. We have the makings of greatness in us, let us bear one another's burdens and show the strength of the Lord.
Image is found here.
Dedicated to my friend Doc Thompson, Skip LaCombe and all the gang at the Morning Blaze.
I have listened to a great guy and the zany show that started out the Doc Thompson show and was later turned to Morning Blaze with Doc Thompson and Skip LaCombe. When I first started the guys introduced me to new rules that you could live your life by and one of those rules is rule #3 Come Clean.
I am not certain but I believe that Doc and Skip would appreciate the scripture reference of my faith that says...
The Lord wants us to, as Doc says, come clean. That means to be honest in our dealing with our fellow men and with our maker. We as a race of beings spend too much time hiding our motives that they become our new identity and the truth then becomes irrelevant. Doc has on more then one occasion pointed out that although some 'preach' one thing they do another thing. Not because they might mean well but that the message is more important then the messenger. Such 'messages' if not cut clear and concise can be bleached with a blurry and poisonous undertone that overcomes the fruit of the message. The sudden need to put a clause to our message to exempt some or condition others becomes more important then what we have said.
Thankfully the Lord Jesus in his ministry was very clear to call for faith on the the Master, repentance and obedience to the commandments that our Father and God has given to us so that we might return to Him. Because we exercise obedience, we will be able to come with clean hands and a pure heart free of the sins of the world.
I am grateful to Skip and Doc for making this rule a big part of their morning show and being a clear example to what a follower of Christ should be in in deed and in thought and though this post is short I want to say that I am grateful for the message and want to pass it along.
Image is located here.
Monday, February 2, 2015
This week has been an exciting one. One filled with birthdays, super-bowls and a calling from the ward leaders mainly doing a talk in church on a talk by Utdorf that he have to the sisters in the Relief Society conference the week before General Conference. The Ward leadership have taken this time to do a bit of role reversal in that we were asked to read talks from conferences that we were not in attendance.
When General Conference has come around in the past I have tweeted about it. The excitement of a communal view of the conference has been exciting. I was not aware that the woman's conference might of not got the same attention as the general conference got. Perhaps I assumed too much when I thought that the women and the leadership would be talking about women in or and the priesthood. Who would of thought (without reading the conference) that there would be a talk that could really help us all... guilty as charged.
Now getting to the subject at hand. President Utdorf's talk first starts about how he appreciative about the women in his life. The role of mother, daughter, sister etc. mean a lot to this fellow that has given a lot of credit to women in his life. To that credit, I add my own kudos to the wife, sisters, aunts, my only birthday girl, and mother and grand-mothers that have blessed my life with a ray of hope and sunshine when I needed it. Truly I have been blessed by the better half of the world.
Among some of the things that the apostle points out to the sisters (that we could take a note brethren) is that we should be diligent about keeping the commandments because as he said “The promised blessings of God to the faithful are glorious and inspiring. Among them are “thrones, kingdoms, principalities, and powers, dominions, all heights and depths”. And it takes more then a spiritual birth certificate or a “Child of God Membership Card” to quality for the incomprehensible blessings.” the strong point that the apostle made at this pint was that we must gain a willingness to obey the commandments that the Lord gives us and that we must walk the path of discipleship if we are even to start on the path of righteousness. He even points that strait is the way and narrow is the gate that leads to salvation.
One other thing that the apostle pointed out is that he was sure that “God knows what we don't”, meaning that the one that knows the whole plan and our part of the plan should know how we can improve the outcome and being obedient to His commandments. “In other words” continues the apostle, “He not only knows what is best for you; he also anxiously wants you to choose what is best for you.” Than said the man, “Should not we cherish the light posts he gives that guide us through the darkness and the trials of mortality? They mark the way back to our heavenly home!”
His greatest paragraph in his talk comes down to talking about the invisible vault of blessings and makes some kind of a 'Precious' that God would hold from his children but then turns it around and says that its like a rainfall that those that have sin in their life are using an umbrella and keeping themselves from the very thing that our Father really really wants us to have.
So then he brings it back around. Its not just doing our callings to complete them but seek a means to bless our brothers and sisters every day. This probation and we only have this one time to show Him that our Saviors sacrifice and example are truly part of our daily lives. We must realize that there is all types of testimonies and Saints in our lives and being actively involved in their lives will greatly enrich our own. Remember that “there is no sign on the door that says that your testimony must be this tall to enter”. Were that the case a lot of us (including me at times) would not be allowed in. Our lives are not a ride but it sure feels like one at times. Let us not condemn others for their ride when our own becomes slow because of our blessings. Let us bless others so that their ride can become bearable at times. We must do our best to bless others so that your own light will shine with our brother and sisters instead of in spite of our own.
So with now said let me finish my talk with the very words of an apostle of Jesus Christ has said by saying this....
“Your testimony of the living Son of God and His restored church, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints may not come as quickly as you desire, but I promise you this; if you do your part, it will come.
More than you could ever imagine, He wants you to achieve your destiny—to return to your heavenly home in honor.
I testify that the way to accomplish this is to place selfish desires and unworthy ambitions on the altar of sacrifice and service. [Brothers and ] Sisters, trust in the saving power of Jesus Christ; keep His laws and commandments. In other words—live the gospel joyful.
It is my prayer that you will experience a renewed and an expanded measure of the beautiful love of God in your lives; that you will find the faith, determination, and commitment to learn God’s commandments, treasure them in your hearts, and live the gospel joyful.
I promise that as you do so, you will discover your best self—your real self. You will discover what it truly means to be a daughter of the everlasting God, the Lord of all righteousness. Of this I testify and leave you my blessing as an Apostle of the Lord, in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.”
Image is found here.