Saturday, December 19, 2009

Time To Start Weaning Ourselves

In studying the history of the people of the world, I have learned that liberalism, once it infects a society, will almost always take over until it proves the final destruction of a society.

I have been spending time on a phone bank making calls to generate money for the pro-life campaign. I have been reading about some of the bills in Congress, and how the democrats are trying to conceal their true intentions until it is too late to turn back. The liberal leadership appeals to the more depraved intellectual side of people to make their argument. Despite my efforts and the will of the people in this country, I believe that the pro-abortion crowd will eventually win the day.

The gay-marriage activists will not stop in their attempts to homo-sexualize our nation. Recent defeats in elections are a delay for them, not a defeat. Congress is poised to help them in their fight. Despite the efforts of the majority and the will of the people in this country, I believe that the gay-marriage crowd will win the day.

The liberals are trying to censor conservative speech. The 'fairness doctrine' is not dead; it has simply been put on the back burner in deference to the health reform bill and the freedom of choice (selfish-death) act. The mainstream media already censors conservative speech, refusing to broadcast conservative messages to the public, resulting in a mis-informed (more accurately 'deceived and lied-to') society. Despite truth and the will of the people, I believe that those who wish to silence their conservative opposition will win the day.

Hollywood and internet smut peddlers wish to turn our nation into a European-style wasteland where primetime pornography is acceptable in family media, and where all censorship is eliminated. Despite the family values of the majority and the will of the people, I believe those who promote perversion will win the day.

Because of these segmented victories by the corrupt in our nation, it is becoming increasingly difficult to exist IN the world and not be OF the world. It will soon become impossible. Because of this, I believe it is time that we begin 'weaning' ourselves from the mainstream society. The day may soon come where the prophet of the Lord will tell us to get rid of our televisions, and to filter our internet access to church-approved-only sites. Will we be ready for this? I believe the answer is much like the answer to the question: If you were asked to begin today living only on your food storage, could you do it? Perhaps this should be two questions: Could you, and Would you? If not, it is time to get conditioned to be able to. Perhaps the answer is that you aren't accustomed to living on wheat flour instead of white flour. Get used to it. Perhaps you don't have any chocolate or soda pop saved up. Get some or get used to doing without. Perhaps you have not obtained a food storage. Repent and get one. I believe those who have not heeded the warnings of our prophets with both be sorry for their disobedience (whether hungry, begging, or whatever) and embarrassed for their lack of faith.

We will be asked, if not required by the circumstances, to live apart from the rest of the world as much as possible. Will we be ready? That will require preparation. Will we be willing? That will require faith. We must have both. Time to take inventory of these, and start weaning ourselves from the world.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Watch Out BYU Fans...

Looks like Tonya Harding is playing soccer now! Watch this!

The Church's Support of Nondiscrimination Ordinance

I wonder how many people will either misunderstand the Church's position, or will simply use this as an opportunity to persecute in blatant denial of the facts.

The Church responded to the Salt Lake City Council's new ordinance which protects same-sex partners against discrimination in housing and employment issues. This is a necessary move because of constitutional challenges, but it's the right thing to do regardless.

Here is the link to the Church website article: http://newsroom.lds.org/ldsnewsroom/eng/news-releases-stories/church-supports-nondiscrimination-ordinances

Quoting the website: The Church said that while protections in housing and employment were fair and reasonable, the Church also remains “unequivocally committed to defending the bedrock foundation of marriage between a man and a woman.” Otterson also pointed out that this position was “entirely consistent with the Church’s prior position on these matters.”

Otterson added, “I represent a church that believes in human dignity, in treating others with respect even when we disagree — in fact, especially when we disagree.”

I like Otterson's comment. But I wonder how many people will use this as an attempt at persecution and say the Church is waffling in the face of social pressures.

That is rediculous, because the official statement is clear that we respect their rights even if we do not agree with their lifestyle. It's not like we are ordaining gay priesthood members, etc. Let's see how Satan uses his earthly disciples to twist the truth.

Perspective



One day, the father of a very wealthy family took his son on a trip to the country
with the express purpose of showing him how poor people live.

They spent a couple of days and nights on the farm of what would be considered a very poor family..

On their return from their trip, the father asked his son, 'How was the trip?'

'It was great, Dad..'

'Did you see how poor people live?' the father asked.

'Oh yeah,' said the son.

'So, tell me, what did you learn from the trip?' asked the father.

The son answered:

'I saw that we have one dog and they ha d four..

We have a pool that reaches to the middle of our garden and they have a creek that has no end.

We have imported lanterns in our garden and they have the stars at night.

Our patio reaches to the front yard and they have the whole horizon.

We have a small piece of land to live on and they have fields that go beyond our sight.

We have servants who serve us, but they serve others.

We buy our food, but they grow theirs.

We have walls around our property to protect us, they have friends to protect them.'

The boy's father was speechless.

Then his son added, 'Thanks Dad for showing me how poor we are..'

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

A Picture Is Worth 1,000 Words - Even For Missionaries!

What a clever way to tell the story. If they won't 'listen' with their ears, get 'em with their love of images and their curiosity!

I don't know what country or what language this is, but what a brilliant idea! I wasn't that smart or talented when I was on my mission... I'm still not!



















Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Looking For Answers In All The Wrong Places

This is sort of humorous but it is also sad. As a member of the Lord's church, it's also sort of frustrating that people will reject the gospel so quickly, yet look to whacky stuff like this.

Article: More putting economic worries in hands of psychics, astrologers
Link: http://www.azcentral.com/news/articles/2009/10/09/20091009psychiceconomy1008.html

The scriptures tell us that this will happen.

2 Timothy 4:3-4 talks about people heaping to themselves teachers, having itching ears (to hear what they want to hear), and shall turn away from the truth unto fables.

There are many others. It's just sad to see, and frustrating to know that if you try to point them in the right direction, they get mad. Or, with those 'itching ears', they will turn to another 'Christian' church that will take their money to tell them what they want to hear: that they need not make any effort to be saved. Satan really has people messed up about religion.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Elder Oaks: Religious Freedom Is Being Threatened

This link takes you to the LDS Newsroom where you can see the info on Elder Oaks' BYU address.

http://newsroom.lds.org/ldsnewsroom/eng/news-releases-stories/apostle-says-religious-freedom-is-being-threatened

Not a big surprise, but it means more to me when it comes from a prophet, seer and revelator.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Marion G. Romney on Socialism and the Welfare State

This is an excerpt from one of my all-time favorite conference talks, by President Marion G. Romney, Second Counselor in the First Presidency, as delivered at the October 1976 General Conference.

************
To emphasize the contrast between the Lord’s plan and some of the absurd practices of our day, I shall read a clipping or two from my miscellaneous file. The first concerns a hippie couple who were walking down the street. They both had long hair and were dressed in
typical hippie attire, complete with beads, sandals, and headbands. The fellow said to the girl: "I’m going over and pick up my unemployment check. Then I’ll drop in at the university to see what’s holding up my check for my federal education grant. After that I’ll pick up our food stamps. Meanwhile, you go over to the free clinic and check your tests, pick up my new glasses at the city health center, then go to the welfare department and apply for another increase on our eligibility limit.

“Then I’ll meet you at five o’clock at the federal building for the mass demonstration against this rotten establishment.”

I clipped the following from the Reader’s Digest some time ago.

“In our friendly neighbor city of St. Augustine great flocks of sea gulls are starving amid plenty. Fishing is still good, but the gulls don’t know how to fish. For generations they have depended on the shrimp fleet to toss them scraps from the nets. Now the fleet has moved. …

“The shrimpers had created a Welfare State for the … sea gulls. The big birds never bothered to learn how to fish for themselves and they never taught their children to fish. Instead they led their little ones to the shrimp nets.

“Now the sea gulls, the fine free birds that almost symbolize liberty itself, are starving to death because they gave in to the ‘something for nothing’ lure! They sacrificed their independence for a hand-out.

“A lot of people are like that, too. They see nothing wrong in picking delectable scraps from the tax nets of the U.S. Government’s ‘shrimp fleet.’ But what will happen when the Government runs out of goods? What about our children of generations to come?

“Let’s not be gullible gulls. We … must preserve our talents of self-sufficiency, our genius for creating things for ourselves, our sense of thrift and our true love of independence.” (Reader’s Digest, Oct. 1950, p. 32.)

Now a contrasting clipping entitled, “It’s a Good Thing There Wasn’t Anybody Around to Help the Pilgrims”:

“They landed in a forbidding wilderness. No Federal Housing, so they went to work and built their own. No Free Stamp Program, so they raised what food they ate, and when they didn’t raise enough, went without.

“No Free Schools, so mothers taught their children. No Recreational Programs—they were too busy working. No anti-draft riots—everyone was expected to share in the protection of his country. No Social Security—no security atall, except what each provided for himself.

“But there were compensations. No rioters demanding something for nothing. No unwashed ‘students’ telling their mothers what to teach. No wasteful bureaucrats paying themselves out of the workers’ production.

“Nothing, really, for the Pilgrims but hard work and a lot of it.

“Did it pay off?

“Our standard of living proves it.” (Christian Economics, Nov. 1972, p. 25.)

Friday, September 25, 2009

Scriptural Comparisons To Our Day

2 Timothy 4:3-4
3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;
4 And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.




Matthew 7:22-23
22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?
23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.



Matthew 7:15 15
Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.




1 Corinthians 3:16-17
16 Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?
17 If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are. (Ladies, try not to drool.)




Matthew 5:10
10 Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.




Isaiah 5:20
Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!







Sunday, September 20, 2009

Something to Consider About Obama’s Scrapping of the European Missile Defense System

I have a book by Roger K. Young of Idaho called “As A Thief In The Night”, in which he discusses the prophecies of the last days.

I realize that this book is not written by a general authority of the church. Much of the contents are Brother Young’s own speculations. Some of the proposed dates have come and gone. Nevertheless, one page of the book glares out at me in light of what is happening in the world today.

On page 56, he cites a vision received by President George Albert Smith, as he described it to the family of Lyman Merrill Horne in about 1946. This citation was given to Brother Young by David Hughes Horne in 1989. I quote:

“I have had a troublesome vision of another great and terrible war that made the war just ended (World War II) look like a training exercise, and people died like flies. It began at a time when the Soviet Union’s military might dwarfed that of the United States, and we, that is the United States, would have missiles that carried an atomic bomb in Europe. I saw the United States withdraw its missiles to appease the Soviet Union, and then the war began.”

“He also said that we would have big missiles in deep holes he described like grain silos which the Soviets would try to destroy by their own missiles. They would hit military installations and certain cities also….”

“Then he said, “The aftermath was dreadful. Think of the worst, most difficult times of the depression.” He turned to us children and said, “You won’t remember the depression,” which was true. He repeated to our parents, “Think of the worst condition of the depression. Can you think of something?” To which our father answered, “Oh yes!” The President Smith continued, “You know how Sunday School picnics are complete with salad, chicken, root beer, and dessert, and everyone has a wonderful time. That worst time of the depression will seem like a Sunday School picnic when compared with how conditions will be after that great war.”

The book also gives clues about the possible day of the attack and where it will begin. He also said that President Smith stated that the saints would have places of refuge for the protection of the righteous.

Now let’s take a step back and look at what has transpired this week. Obama has decided to withdraw our missile defense system from eastern Europe. Russian leadership hails the move as brave and progressive. Yet we also know that Russia has been showing signs of the old-school Soviet hardline attitude, and that they have been trying to restore much of the Soviet Union’s old military might. I don’t think this is a coincidence.

I am not saying that I believe everything I read in the book. I try to follow the Spirit as to what is true. But I have to tell you that I have a bad feeling about this. I am fairly well prepared, so I don’t fear. I have what I need to support my family for considerably more than a year if necessary.

My purpose in writing this it to remind all of us not to ‘fall asleep’ and think that all is well around us. It isn’t.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Saturday, September 5, 2009

I'm Boycotting Jack-in-the-Box... Again!

Jack in the Box continues to disappoint me with their distasteful advertising. Last year it was the commercial that showed Jack in a hot tub with another couple - obviously swingers. After Jack explained his new menu creation, the woman said, "Yeah! Let's make a Jack sandwich!" (Note: If you don't know what a swinger is or what that meant, bless you for watching the BYU channel exclusively!)

Their latest commercial, which I just saw for the first time about 10 minutes ago, is about a promotion called "Jack's Big Ripoff". How do they choose to promote it? Not through a play on words with burglars, bank robbers, or other potentially funny scenarios. They chose to show women and men stripping down to their underwear in front of Jack, and in front of the camera.

Of all the funny ideas they could have chosen, they chose immorality instead. This is becoming a pattern with Jack in the Box. I am going to boycott them AGAIN, and I invite anyone who wishes to protest the infiltration of blatant sexuality on prime time TV to join me. Frankly, since this isn't their first offense, I would like to see them apologize, not just discontinue the commercial.

Please join me in the boycott of Jack in the Box if you feel so inclined.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Michelle Duggar Expecting Her 19th Child

I read this morning that Michelle and Jim Bob Duggar are expecting their 19th child. Their most recent baby is only 8 months old.

Now the rest of the world is mocking the Duggars for overpopulating the world. Take a look at the photos, blogs and other commentaries on the issue. Who are the people that are mocking the Duggars?
I find that the critics are people of lesser moral character. The Duggars are active members of the Baptist church in their community. The family is being raised on religious principles. They read their Bible and pray as a family (see photo).
I can see by the sources of the negative comments that they come from liberals who hate conservative principles, who don't believe in God, and who are more concerned about environmental issues than the sanctity of human life.

Jim Bob Duggar recently published a list of 'tips for a happy marriage'. With 18 kids and one on the way, a man who finds happiness amid the chaos must know what he is talking about! As far as I am concerned, as long as the Duggars continue to be faithful to their religious values and not cave to the liberal degeneracy that the world is trying to teach us, let them have 50 kids! God will bless them. The world will be a better place for it. Let the degenerate critics practice population control while we God-fearing conservatives populate the world. Maybe we'll get our majority back.
Go Duggars!

















Tuesday, May 26, 2009

The California Marriage Amendment Debate Is Far From Over

The California Supreme Court announced today that it has upheld the amendment to the state constitution, Proposition 8, that defines a marriage between a man and a woman. The 6-1 vote indicates that the issue being argued - whether the vote was improperly placed in the hands of the voters rather than going to the legislature - was not a close call. I believe that the court made the correct choice from the legal perspective. It is immoral for a panel of a few judges to overturn the votes of millions of citizens, unless there is a clear error in the administration of the amendment process. California's constitution allows for such changes to be made by the voice of the people rather than just the legislature. This is true democracy at work. The result accurately represents the voice of the people, not the agendas of politicians. Regardless of the outcome of the vote, whether we support the marriage amendment or not, it is refreshing to me to know that the judicial system did not usurp power from the people. I also agree with the court ruling that the existing gay marriages should stand. Not that I agree with gay marriage, but those marriages were performed at a time when the law allowed them. They should stand.

So what does this mean for Latter-Day Saints? It means that next year, another election year, the effort to overturn Proposition 8 will begin again. I believe this time it will be more heated. It could become more hostile toward the Church. Remember the protests at the Oakland and Los Angeles Temples? Many temple patrons were frightened, and some physically shaken, by the actions and attitudes of the protesters. What will those protests by like when the demonstrators are more aggressive? Will it actually become dangerous to attend the temple?

I have learned that we cannot convince others of our righteous motives, or of our Christlike love for them, through political debate. This is especially true when the issue is as heated as gay marriage rights. The most convincing argument will not be heard or respected if it is in opposition to an angry group who feels deprived of rights. We must prayerfully learn how the Savior would have us defend our position. One thing I am trying to do is look to the Church's media relations department for examples of press releases and other communications to the public regarding controversial issues. I may not convince anyone of my position, but I can be kind, empathetic and understanding in sharing it.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

One Major Issue That Separates The Gospel of Jesus Christ From The World...

... is forgiveness, and letting the Lord judge.

I find this article, and frankly the whole story, disappointing.

Link: http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090512/ap_on_re_eu/eu_demjanjuk

The Jews still live somewhat under the Law of Moses, which calls for 'an eye for an eye'. As such, they are still trying to exact revenge against this man for war crimes that occurred 66 years ago.

There are some key issues about this story/issue that get my attention:

1) We as Latter-Day Saints accept the Lord Jesus Christ as our final judge. We realize that many, if not most, of the evils in this world will go unpunished until He, the final judge of all, will exact justice from each of us.

2) These war crimes occurred when Mr. Demjanjuk was a young man of 23 years old. He was a junior member of the SS, and he was only a guard, not a commanding officer. He was under the control, the brainwashing, and pressure, of Adolf Hitler. He probably also feared for his own life should he waiver in his allegiance to his own nation of Germany. I find it hard to believe that his actions were those of a murderer as much as they were of an obedient servant of his nation.

3) Mr. Demjanjuk has lived a peaceful, productive life since the end of World War II, having retired as an auto worker in Ohio. He poses no threat to anyone.

If the Jews are so bent on revenge for something that happened so long ago, will it make them feel satisfied to punish an 89-year-old handicapped man for simply being a guard? My opinion is that it weakens the Jewish people and diminishes their stature as victims, deserving of respect. Now they are the ones who are acting out of malice, whereas Mr. Demjanjuk probably never did act out of such malice, only out of obedience.

Thank God for the Gospel of Jesus Christ, which teaches us to forgive, and let Him be our judge for crimes gone unpunished. But let us also thank Him for providing a way that we would not have to suffer for some of our crimes if we would repent and turn to Him. What a blessing it would be to so many people if they could turn away from their lust for revenge and embrace forgiveness through the Atonement of Christ.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

What's In YOUR Wallet?

I got this poem from a former bishop:

Many cards will fill your wallet as you travel through this life,
A card that lets you borrow books, a card that lets you drive,
A card to call long distance, a card to buy your gas,
A punch card for the bread store, a discount movie pass,
A card to buy your furniture, a card to buy your clothes,
A card that lets you charge it all wherever you might go,
A card that lets you cash a check, get money from machines,
Cards that make it possible to live beyond your means.

What's the most important card you're ever going to hold?
It's not American Express, it isn't Visa Gold!
It's the card that lets you enter where no unclean thing can be,
Where wealth is gained in gifts that last through all eternity.
You can use this card with frequency and never get a bill.
All that's asked is to live worthy, strive to do your Father's will.
Treasure this card always, never let it slip away.
It's your key to peace and safety in this harsh and troubled day.
Other cards may get you 'round the world, but in the end,
The one that gets you farthest, is your Temple Recommend!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Behold The World, And The Wickedness Thereof...

Wow! I posted a blog entry about Carrie Prejean, Miss California, and how she stood by her religious beliefs in defending marriage between a man and a woman. It cost her the Miss USA crown on Sunday night.

My blog got over 30 comments, mostly from liberals who just can't see things the Lord's way. If you want to get a glimpse of what the rest of the world thinks (and what I think, for that matter), check my political blog:

http://leftwingnuts.blogspot.com.

Look for the post about Carrie Prejean being a true American Idol.

It is amazing to me just how corrupted the world's way of thinking really is. I'm not naive about it, but every once in a while it takes something like this to remind me of where we are headed.

Mesa Temple Easter Pageant Attracts Protesters

So this is how the pro-gay-marriage group made their voices heard in Arizona. Every year at Easter, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints holds an Easter Pageant on the front lawn of the temple grounds. The pageant attracts about 12,000 people per night and runs for about 10 days.

Make that 12,020. The extra 20 were the protesters who shouted comments about the church, some of them profane, during the performance of the pageant. Attempting to detract from the message of the life and resurrection of Christ, these protestors did enjoy some success this time. But this time it has drawn the attention of those who are asking the City of Mesa to use the police to enforce the 'disturbing the peace' laws. Since the pageant is not intended as a forum for public debate, and it is not held on public property, the rights of protesters to 'peaceably assemble' under the Constitution is limited. They are staying on the public sidewalks, which are very close to the performance, but they are indeed hindering the purpose of the pageant and those who come to enjoy it.

Let's hope the City of Mesa will cooperate, and that they will enforce the laws.

I see an incredible irony in this: people protesting celebration of their Savior and Redeemer, while promoting moral perversion. That's the state our world is in. Remember Lot's wife, and let's not look back...

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Satan's New Toolbox Makes Missionary Work Harder

I was recently released as Ward Mission Leader. I have to say that it is one of the most rewarding AND most frustrating callings in the church.

It is rewarding when you see someone accept the gospel of Jesus Christ with their whole heart.

It is frustrating for me when I look at what Satan is doing in our day to blind the minds of people.
I live in a great ward, but it is not exempt from problems.

One of the most frustrating things I have had to deal with is the terrible example of two girls in our young women's program. They are so boy-crazy that they will do anything for popularity. Unfortunately, this has included teasing, mocking, or outright ignoring girls at school who are either recent converts or investigators. One of the young women who was investigating the church actually went to girl's camp for a week. I'll call her 'Alice' (all names are changed). Once she was there, Alice was largely ignored by the girl who was the Mia-Maid president 'Zoey', because Alice was not pretty like Zoey was. Our ward missionaries have tried desparately to bring Alice back. She has come to church a couple more times, but each time she has a less-than-pleasant experience. Now she won't answer the door or the phone for us. At one point she was basically ready to be baptized.

Another young lady who is a recent convert 'Kacie', is told by Zoey and her best friend 'Beth', that she is stupid and that no one likes her. We have been working on Kacie's family - a great family - for a long time and have been making some progress.

Yet another girl who was best friends with Beth, whose name is 'Anna', quit coming to church. I found out that Beth and Anna had a 'falling out'. Apparently is was so bad that even Anna's mother, who once or twice came to church to investigate, is not hostile toward the church.

These two girls, Zoey and Beth, are the children of 'leaders' in the ward, who have no idea what their daughters are doing, and who won't believe it when told. 'Oh no, my daughter would never to something like that. How dare you accuse her.' Ther's no stopping it without really ruffling feathers throughout the ward, which I am not afraid to do.

The Book of Mormon is full of stories about how the pride of the church and bad examples became a stumbling block. It's just really frustrating to experience it first-hand.

The other big problem is couples living together. Satan tells the world that sexual immorality is OK as long as you 'love each other'. As if he would know anything about love.

In the past year and a half, we have worked with five couples who, after we started working with them, we found out they were not married. Amazingly, four of the five were part-member situations, where a member guy is shacking up with his girlfriend. That makes it hard for the missionaries to teach about the law of chastity without embarrasing them. Two of these were returned missionaries. Another one was endowed but didn't serve a mission. Amazing, after having made temple covenants. I'm not naive, just disgusted. Only one of these couples got married.

I could go on with my list of frusrations about missionary work.

Satan is raging. I have felt in the past that outer darkness for eternity is too harsh. But the more I see the hatred involved, and the destruction involved, I am seeing things differently. Satan is a spiritual terrorist who can never be rehabilitated.

Pray for missionary work, because it is harder now and takes longer than ever before.

Monday, April 13, 2009

A Constant Theme By President Packer

I have become much more aware of what the prophets and apostles are preaching. You might say that I try to 'read between the lines'. There is deep meaning in what they tell us, and because they don't want to sound harsh (even if it seems that they should, for the sake of those who need it served up to them that way), they speak with kind, gentle invitation. I am not so subtle, because I don't need to be. I have a priesthood duty to warn my neighbor, and if I ruffle some feathers among those who 'have ears but won't hear', then that's not going to be my problem.

I have noticed a recurring theme with President Boyd K. Packer. Dating back to last October, where he bore his testimony in a ward in Sandy, Utah the week after General Conference, President Packer has repeated the declaration that the days of comfort and leisure are over. Coming soon (if not already here) are days of hard work, sacrifice, frugality in ways we might not thought of, and a solemn picture of what is to happen in the world. He has made it clear that the time to prepare is all but past, and the time to reap the benefit of those preparations is upon us. For those who will finally give heed to counsel only when destruction or sorrow is staring them in the face, some preparation is better than nothing. You may not have the blessings that others will have, but you might make it right before the 'doors are shut for the wedding feast'.

For those who are not prepared, NOW IS THE TIME TO PREPARE. If you are not yet prepared and you still think you have time, then you are quite simply a 'less-active' member of the church. It may be because 1) you don't have a testimony of the prophet and take his counsel seriously enough to do something about it, and/or 2) you are not in tune with the Spirit (because of other distractions in your life) and do not feel it testifying the urgency of those prophetic declarations to you.

Again, I apologize for the harshness, but I do not apologize for the genuine concern that is behind it. Nor should I.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Elder Oaks' Talk Was Right On The Mark. Read This...

Elder Dallin H. Oaks' talk at General Conference about selfishness and greed really impressed me. He identified several current societal problems. I found this article interesting after having reviewed his talk.

This news article is one of those 'DUH!' moments for committed LDS people, but is a revelation for the rest of the world. It focuses on how having kids can hurt the satisfaction in a marriage.

The article cites a Professor Scott Stanley from the University of Denver.

Article: http://news.yahoo.com/s/livescience/20090408/sc_livescience/kidscurbmaritalsatisfaction

Bottom line: it's all about selfishness... the 'ME' generation.

According to the article:
1. 90% of the 218 couples studied experienced decreased marital satisfaction after the first child was born.
(My comment: Yes, because their priorities revolved around themselves, their gratification, their things, their status, etc. Children kept them off of the golf course or away from the bar buddies, or it put a curb on their personal spending.)

2. Couples who do not have children show diminished marital quality over time.
(My comment: Gratification always diminishes over time. That's why people always need a little more of whatever they are pursuing. If a person is driven by their own selfish motives, then a decrease in marital quality is inevitable... did we need a scientific study for this?)

3. A recent study of 13,000 people found that parents are more depressed than non-parents. The scientists speculate that this problem is a modern one because parents don't get as much help at home as they did in previous generations.
(My comment: I would bet that this survey was not conducted in Utah. I would also bet that the depression was more a result of coveting the artificial life people see on primetime TV and in fashionable advertisements, and how having children 'deprives' them of the material freedom, than it is about the kids themselves.)

4. Those couples who lived together before marriage had more problems after the birth of a child than did those who lived separately before marriage.
(My comment: This should be the most obvious of all. It's all about pure selfishness and irresponsibility. And to think that some of these badly misled couples believe that having the baby will actually strenghten their selfish-based relationship! Ah, the wisdom of the world!)

5. Couples whose parents fought and divorced had more problems themselves.
(My comment: If kids learned that fighting at home is normal, then that is how they will behave. If they have seen a parent use divorce as a way out of their commitments, then they will likewise be unable to make and keep commitments.)

6. Funny how, at the end of the article, the author offers the moral position as a sort of counterpoint or sidenote: "However, some couples said their relationships were stronger post-birth. They tended to have been married longer or had higher incomes."
(My comment: This must be the minority position wherever this survey was conducted. If the survey took place in Utah, or in Gilbert, Arizona, it wouldn't say 'some couples'. It would say 'many' or 'most'.)

The professor is from the University of Denver. Denver, Colorado is one of the most liberal places in the country outside of California, Chicago and the east coast. If the population sample of the survey was in Colorado, these findings would not be surprising. Survey results indicating selfish, liberal viewpoints would be expected in such a samplng.

Regardless of the quality of the population sample, it is a sad commentary that society no longer finds family life as a popular source of 'happiness'. We have too many advertisements telling young, moldable minds that they 'deserve all the luxuries in life'. Elder Oaks' talk is worth reviewing many times over, so that we can see selfishness and greed for what they are and try to avoid them.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Great General Conference

I really appreciated General Conference... The common theme of the global economic mess was to turn to the Savior and trust Him completely. Even for those of us who already know this, a reminder call is often helpful. I personally have been hit hard by the economy, but I haven't been afraid. I know the Lord is refining me.

I really liked Elder Oaks' talk, where he 'called it like it is', talking about greed, and the me-first attitude of many in the world. When he specifically mentioned the huge executive bonuses as a form of greed, I almost cheered because of his direct condemnation of them. My mind at that moment focused on all of those executives whose companies are failing, and who still took huge bonuses... I always thought bonuses were supposed to be a reward for good performance.

Elder Holland always delivers emotionally charged testimonies of the Savior. I love him.

I appreciated President Monson's final challenge to us all to read the Conference talks in the May Ensign magazine, and to ponder them. We must remember that they are scripture - modern scripture that pertains to us in our day (D&C 68:4).

They were all good... I just wanted to post some thoughts that stuck out to me.

Friday, April 3, 2009

You May All Feel At Ease...

I didn't get a call this week from President Monson asking me to fill the vacancy in the Quorum of the Twelve. I just wanted to reassure all of you who might have been worried, that the Church is still true!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

My Photography Portfolio

People have asked that I put my photography portfolio back on the web, so I have created a blog for it.

http://rickcarpenterphotography.blogspot.com

Hope you enjoy it!

Saturday, March 28, 2009

The Lesser Of Two Evils...

I suppose I could have posted this on my political blog, but liberals just wouldn't figure it out...

I read this article where Madonna is trying to adopt another child from Malawi. I understand the good-hearted intent, especially because Malawi has such a bad AIDS problem. Here is the article:

http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20090327/us_nm/us_malawi_madonna_adoption

My dilemma is this: If the baby that Madonna wants to adopt stays in the orphanage, it will be fed and have social experiences relative to other small children in that nation. They are under Heavenly Father's care, He loves them and is giving them experience that will be for their ultimate good. If the baby dies, it is saved in the Celestial Kingdom. Nothing could be better... eternally speaking.

However, if Madonna adopts this baby, it will grow up in the home of a single mother, and one that is dysfunctional. Madonna has even admitted publicly that her personal life is unhappy and messed up. The baby will grow up as an extreme left-wing liberal, like her mother. It will grow up believing that single parenthood is normal and good, and that sexual perversion and promiscuity - which it will also learn from her mother - are acceptable. The baby will grow up in an anti-God environment, being pulled about as far away from eternal salvation as one could get without being a murderer. (Just a disclaimer about single parenthood to all those single ladies who might read this: don't get offended, because you know what I mean by this. If you are divorced because your husband was a cheater or an abuser, etc, this doesn't refer to you, because you didn't choose a life of 'privilege without responsibility'.)

In my view, neither is a happy alternative. One will likely result in more earthly suffering, but will most likely lead to the far better eternal consequences. Therefore, the lesser of the two evils appears to be leaving the baby in the orphanage, and in God's care, not Madonna's.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Could This Be A Sign Of The Times?

Check out this article about China's idea of a global currency. With the weakness of the U.S. dollar and economy, the world leaders may like this idea.

Link: http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090325/ap_on_re_as/as_china_global_currency

Could this be pushing us closer toward the 'mark of the beast', which all the world will accept except for those perceptive Christians who see it coming? I have my own ideas of what that 'mark' might be, and it has to do with a 'world economy'. If any of you are still thinking that 'all is well', it's time to notice the stench in the air... the smell of economic failure, of secret combinations, of the wicked outnumbering the righteous (thus leading to a ripening for destruction).

Are we ready? Have we adequately followed the prophets' counsel in preparing for self-reliance?

Friday, March 20, 2009

The Moral Compass is LOST

This is one of those articles that makes me just shake my head in disgust. Recent statistics show that 40% of all babies born in the U.S. in 2007 were born to unwed mothers.

Here is the article:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/time/20090320/us_time/08599188681400

Much of the article is spent talking about sex education, what works and what doesn't. I find it interesting and sad, but not surprising, that nothing is said in this article and in most others on this topic about traditional values and the social disadvantage that these illegitimate children are likely to have.

Based on other articles I have written blog entries about, I would bet that the vast majority of these unwed mothers watch prime-time TV shows that have a sexual theme. Would anyone be surprised.

'We thank thee, O God, for a prophet, to guide us in these latter-days...!'

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Thoughts on a Temple Marriage Involving a Non-Member Parent - Your Comments Are Appreciated

As I mentioned in a prior post, my son got married last weekend in the Mesa Arizona Temple. The bride's father is not a member of the church and was bothered by the fact that he could not witness the marriage of his daughter. All five of his children are married in the temple, so that means he has felt 'left out' several times.
I had a chance to talk briefly with him outside the temple, and he said he doesn't understand, because he's a good Christian man who tries to do right in his life - and I believe him, knowing the rest of his family. I struggled for the right words to say, knowing that he probably has heard it all before, and that the slightest misstatement by me could just make things worse. This was obviously one of those times where speaking without the guidance of the Holy Ghost was just plain dangerous.
My wife mentioned that it was like going into a mountain, referring to the temple being like the 'mountain of the Lord's house' etc. The bride's father responded by saying that he feels closest to God when he is in the mountains. Hmmm... where to go from here? My father-in-law, who is a sealer, and who performed the ceremony, had the opportunity to speak briefly with him. I don't know what was said, but if anyone could come up with the right words, it would be my father-in-law.
Among the many books I have reading in my personal gospel study time, I have been reading 'The Holy Temple' by President Packer. Tonight I read a passage which says that the real essence of what makes a temple special is the Spirit. There is a quote in the book that says "When the people stray from the Spirit their sanctuary ceases to be the house of the Lord." I thought of how this applies to our bodies as temples, as well as to the structures.
In 1 Corinthians 3:16-17, the Apostle Paul said: "16 Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?
17 If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.
So I conclude that it takes people who are 'living temples', where the Spirit can dwell, to enter the House of the Lord. In common terms, it takes a person who is not just 'a good person', but a person who has received the gift of the Holy Ghost, who heeds its promptings, and who has accepted sacred covenants to be much more than just a 'good person' by the world's standards.
So how do I explain this to a good Christian non-member father without offending him or sounding self-righteous? This really is a tough one for me. I have been blessed with a great ability to articulate my beliefs and to defend truth. Sometimes I run into a challenge. This issue is more than just a challenge. The only direction I can think of is to align the sacred privacy of temple marriage (and other ordinances) with the accepting of eternal covenants which the world does not understand, and that it can only be received through the restored authority of the holy priesthood. But how will that appease an alienated non-member father? Your comments and insights are welcome.

Friday, March 13, 2009

New Discovery of Book of Mormon Ruins

This link should work. Just wait through the 15 second advertisement, then watch about the new discovery of Mayan ruins. The Lamanites and Nephites were the Mayan people. Too bad these archealogists don't have the Gift of the Holy Ghost to help them to properly identify their work!

http://cosmos.bcst.yahoo.com/up/player/popup/?rn=3906861&cl=12472087&ch=4226714&src=news

Hopefully the link works.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

The Correct Answer...

This has been around for a while, but it's still funny...

video

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Sharing a Favorite Recipe - Shrimp Tacos

I am one of those unique men that likes to cook. I especially like to grill... it's like an art.

I first ate shrimp tacos at a local Mexican restaurant many years ago, and fell in love. I have concocted my own simple recipe with pineapple salsa. I get requests to cook it for people all the time.

For a normal sized family, I will use about 2 or 3 pounds of cooked frozen shrimp. You can get it at the grocery store, but if you have a Costco membership, their frozen cooked shrimp already have the tails removed. This saves a lot of time.

Ingredients:
2-3 pounds of cooked frozen shrimp - cocktail size
1 head of cabbage
2 or 3 dozen corn tortillas
8-12 ounces of Monterey Jack cheese
8 ounces picante sauce
8 ounces pineapple
2 tablespoons margarine or butter
Garlic Salt
Crushed Red Pepper (maybe)

Thaw the shrimp, and remove the tails if needed. This is much easier if the shrimp are thawed, otherwise you might feel like your fingers are getting frostbite. Warm the shrimp in a large pan. If water from thawing accumulates, pour off the water. With the shrimp in the pan, add the margarine/butter, stirring it in. Keep the heat on low to medium-low. The shrimp are already cooked and we are in no hurry. We're only adding flavor here. Salt the shrimp lightly with the garlic salt, stirring the shrimp and salting again lightly to get an even coat of salt. Don't overcook.

Prepare the tortillas as doubles, with the cheese in the middle. I usually warm the tortillas on the grill on the lowest heat possible. Allow the tortillas to brown slightly with the cheese melting in the middle. Don't use too much cheese or it just oozes out and makes a mess. Overcooking the tortillas slightly is OK, it adds flavor and makes them stronger.

Mix the pineapple and picante sauce in even amounts. Crushed pineapple is best because you can just mix the two ingredients together as-is. For sliced or chunk pineapple, blend or chop it up before adding the picante sauce. If you like it spicier, add a little bit of crushed red pepper - the kind you put on pizza - and mix in thoroughly. Not too much, or it will diminish he flavor of the pineapple salsa.

Take the double tortilla, add the shrimp (not too much at a time, maybe 10 or so), add cabbage, then top with the pineapple salsa.

Once you try it, I'd like to know what you think of my shrimp taco recipe!

HBO Making a Mockery of the Temple Endowment

Have you all heard about this? Maybe it's time to speak out, protest, boycott, or whatever.

In HBO's show Big Love (I have never seen an episode and never will), one of the characters is going to go through an endowment session, and HBO will 'be there to cover it'. May Heaven have mercy on them, and especially the person who violated their covenants to help them do this.

Link: http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090311/ap_on_en_tv/tv_mormon_church_hbo

"In approaching the dramatization of the endowment ceremony, we knew we had a responsibility to be completely accurate and to show the ceremony in the proper context and with respect," a spokesman for HBO said in the article. They just don't get the fact that they don't have 'a responsibility to be completely accurate' (what a sorry excuse to violate privacy), but they have a responsibility to be respectful of our religion and not air the sacred things in the temple. This is a responsibility that their depraved agenda will not allow them to uphold.

A line in the article states, 'News of the episode has sparked an online campaign by individual Latter-day Saints, who are calling for a boycott of "Big Love" and cancellation of subscriptions to HBO, AOL and other Time Warner Inc.-owned entities.' I agree! Don't patronize them. If you have AOL for your internet service, consider changing to a company who will be respectful to your religion.

HBO has long been the moral wasteland of television. Even though this is unconscionable, it is not at all surprising from the network that brought us other 'quality' entertainment like 'Sex and the City'. This is just the latest attempt to mock Christianity by the liberal entertainment industry, and I'm sure it won't be the last.

I find it so interesting how true Isaiah's statement is (Isa. 5:20): 'Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!' Hollywood is portraying nudity as art, homosexuality as brave and progressive, and vanity and worldliness as success. Yet they portray tradition and religion as obsolete, unenlightened and bigoted.

I can't wait until the Second Coming...

Preparedness - It's Not Just About Food Storage

When Latter-Day Saints think of 'preparedness', they often think only of a year's supply of food. When 72-hour kits became popular, they actually replaced the year's supply for some people who didn't make the bigger effort. In fact, 72-hour kits were never an official Church program, but merely a 'good idea' that many people, including anxiously-engaged Relief Society groups and priesthood quorums latched onto for additional preparedness. It is unfortunate that some families 'feel prepared' with only 72-hour kits. Such are not prepared for what the prophets have been trying to warn us about, and they will suffer.

But preparedness is much more than having a storage room full of bulk food commodities. What about all those cans of wheat... do you have a way to grind it into flour? Do you think you will just use the neighbor's grinder, or the stake's grinder? What if it isn't available for some reason?

I don't want to brag or pat my own back, but I am much better prepared than most people, so I feel some sense of duty to warn and help others. If I wasn't prepared, I would be a hypocrite for even writing this blog entry. The Lord expects us to 'walk the talk' before we can help others (D&C 11:21, among others).

Here is a list of some things I have (by no means all-inclusive) and that I consider to be for the purpose of preparedness:
  • A year's supply of food
  • Enough garden seeds (fruit, vegetables and spices) to last more than three years
  • A Magic Mill wheat grinder
  • 6 portable cooking stoves - both propane and kerosene (Coleman fuel)
  • Portable oven to fit on the cooking stove
  • Lots of camp cookware
  • Several tents, sleeping bags, pads, camp chairs/stools and backpacks for everyone
  • Several small 16 oz. propane bottles
  • 6 large (20 lb.) propane tanks (planning to get several more)
  • Propane bottle adapter, so I can fill the small bottles from the larger tanks
  • Several gasoline cans, and plan to get more
  • 2 portable electrical generators
  • Hunting firearms and ammo
  • Fishing gear (plenty of it)
  • 5 or 6 wind-up flashlights
  • Wind-up lantern
  • Solar lantern (lasts 8 hours on a day's sun)
  • Water pump for pumping water into storage containers
  • Water filter/purification system with 4 extra filters
  • Assorted hand tools (no power), such as basic wrenches, saw, hammer, screwdrivers, etc.
  • Rope (plenty of it)
  • Tarps

I have a utility trailer than I can haul behind my vehicle in case we need to leave town.

I have solar panels on my roof, and an electricity-generating windmill (the second wind turbine will be built within the next two weeks). This electricity generating equipment can help provide power to my home, or at least part of it, in case of a power failure or cut-off. The gas generators are used for this purpose, too, but the solar panels and wind generators provide free electricity.

I need to get newer water containers to replace my old ones.

*******

I must admit that this is not just an issue of obedience to prophetic counsel, but it has become my hobby. I have had my fun with other hobbies, such as golf. I have beaten professional golfers before in friendly matches - I used to be a pretty good player. But that type of worldly fun pretty much went away for me as I became more interested in the last days and in following the counsel of the prophets. I do have some older jet skis, and they are still a lot of fun, and they don't cost much money at all, so I'm fine with that. But paying $75 to $100 for a day at the golf course seems like a rediculous waste now. I would especially feel that way if I was spending that kind of money on a half-day of fun but did little or nothing to prepare my family from things which are sure to happen.

We don't know exactly how or when we will be affected. We don't know whether we will be called to leave our homes to escape hardship, or if circumstances will require us to stay where we are. It seems like a good idea to be prepared in as many ways as possible. I recently read a talk by President Marion G. Romney from the October 1976 General Conference about self-reliance and independence from government programs, etc:

http://www.lds.org/ldsorg/v/index.jsp?vgnextoid=2354fccf2b7db010VgnVCM1000004d82620aRCRD&locale=0&sourceId=e4c7fd758096b010VgnVCM1000004d82620a____&hideNav=1.

President Romney makes it clear that we as a people must be independent in every way. This may not be feasible as individuals, but it is quite achievable as a community of saints, such as at the stake level. The knowledge I have gained from installing solar panels and building from scratch my wind generators, and figuring out the connections, could be a blessing to others in my community. Their talents or professional skills might bless me and my family. But what no one wants is to have to provide for healthy, able-bodied, skilled, but very foolish and slothful people who had plenty of chances to heed the warnings of the Lord through His prophets but simply failed to consider them important. We cannot deny them of our substance (see Mosiah 4:17-18), but we sure can - and should, in my opinion - acknowledge their lack of faith, their failure to obey, and make them work for what they receive in the same sense that a bishop should assign work projects to those able-bodied people who receive church assistance presently.

As Elder Ballard said in a different context in his October 2006 address about being wise, "There is no such thing as done." We should realize this when it comes to preparedness. We should store and prepare with a plan, with seriousness, with a sense of urgency but with order, and in faith. Personally, I don't want to be one of the 'five foolish virgins', caught unprepared because I didn't head the warnings that have been so plentifully and clearly given to me.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Someone To Understand Our Hard-Working Mothers and Wives


An older, tired-looking dog wandered into my yard.I could tell from his collar and well-fed belly that he had a home and was well taken care of. He calmly came over to me, I gave him a few pats on his head; he then followed me into my house, slowly walked down the hall, curled up in the corner and fell asleep.
An hour later, he went to the door, and I let him out.
The next day he was back, greeted me in my yard, walked inside and resumed his spot in the hall and again slept for about an hour.
This continued off and on for several weeks.
Curious I pinned a note to his collar: 'I would like to find out who the owner of this wonderful sweet dog is and ask if you are aware that almost every afternoon your dog comes to my house for a nap.'
The next day he arrived for his nap, with a different note pinned to his collar:
'He lives in a home with 6 children, 2 under the age of 3 - he's trying to catch up on his sleep.
Can I come with him tomorrow?'

A Family Miracle Yesterday...

My 22-year-old son got married yesterday in the Mesa Arizona Temple. All went well, except...

Since the bride's father is not a member of the church and could not attend the sealing session, the couple decided late to have a ring ceremony at the beginning of the reception. So my son, the groom, put his bride's ring in his pants pocket, since he wouldn't need it until later. Unfortunately, those pants were the white ones he rented from the temple clothing counter for the wedding. He forgot about the ring and dropped the pants through the laundry chute, only to remember later what had happened.

My older son-in-law and I went into the laundry room in the temple and began going through all of the pants pockets of all the pants that had been used that day. No luck. We looked in the locker area...no luck. We checked shirt pockets, re-checked every place we could think of, with no luck. I'm sure a lot of prayers besides my own went up for this ring to be found. The bride was totally calm through all of this. She had her man and that was all that mattered (my son is a real trophy, unlike his father!). This all took place around 2:00PM.

At 5:30PM, the temple laundry supervisor called me on my cell phone (I had just arrived at the reception location). As they were throwing the last batch of pants in the washer, they heard that distinct 'clink' sound, and sure enough, it was the missing ring.

A small miracle it was... perhaps not to my son and his bride... but I am nevertheless grateful for even the smallest of miracles. Knowing this was the only 'hiccup' of the day - one that will make for a top-quality journal entry, it was a great day to be a dad.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

The Keys To Our Social and Economic Ills

Perhaps one of the greatest talks ever given regarding the Church and socialism.

President Marion G. Romney, Second Counselor in the First Presidency, from the October 1976 General Conference of the Church:

http://www.lds.org/ldsorg/v/index.jsp?vgnextoid=2354fccf2b7db010VgnVCM1000004d82620aRCRD&locale=0&sourceId=e4c7fd758096b010VgnVCM1000004d82620a____&hideNav=1

This article should be read in its entirety, but here are some excerpts that particularly impressed me:

As our modern societies follow the course which led to the fall of Rome and other civilizations which succumbed to the deceptive lure of the welfare state and socialism, I think it not inappropriate for me to emphasize again the Lord’s plan for the temporal salvation of His mortal children.

The practice of coveting and receiving unearned benefits has now become so fixed in our society that even men of great wealth, and possessing the means to produce more wealth, are expecting the government to guarantee them a profit. Elections often turn on what the candidates promise to do for voters from government funds. This practice, if universally accepted and implemented in any society, will make slaves of its citizens.


We cannot afford to become wards of the government, even though we have a legal right to do so. It requires too great a sacrifice in self-respect and in political, temporal, and spiritual independence.

Let us work for what we need. Let us be self-reliant and independent. Salvation can be obtained on no other principle. Salvation is an individual matter, and we must work out our own salvation, in temporal as well as in spiritual things.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Prophets Speak of the Last Days - Must See This!

YouTube link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IqaesQ2EE8w&NR=1

I am deeply impressed about what is said about 'casual' church activity. That should be a wake up call to a lot of us.

Great LDS Church TV Ad!

Incredibly creative! Has anyone actually seen this one on TV?


video

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Recap: How Safe Is Your Savings? Read This!

This is a concurrent post with my political blog: leftwingnuts.blogspot.com.

Last week I posted an entry about how the FDIC, which insures our bank accounts, asked for an emergency premium payment from banks nationwide, which would generate $27 billion. That, plus heavy complaints about the new fee structure imposed by the agency, has sparked new fears for depositors and banks alike.

Here is the link to an article from today: http://www.nypost.com/seven/03052009/business/bair_stirs_fears_about_deposit_fund_158078.htm

FDIC Chairwoman Sheila Bair said in the article that without the new fees, the fund could dry up this year. Another source I heard said it could be as soon as six months.

So I ask again... how safe are your bank accounts? Perhaps a better question is: where is the safest place for your savings? Paraphrasing a well-said comment from the previous post by one of my blog followers: "Under the mattress, next to the gun."

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

The Five Bells - Our Standard of Obedience

This story was attributed to Elder Hugh B. Brown.

"The Arabians, when they are training their horses, put them to a final test of character and stamina. It is said that the finest of the Arabian horses which are kept for breeding stock are trained from the time they are colts to respond to a bell which rings intermittently at the tent of the master. Wherever they are and whatever they are doing, they must run to the tent of the master when the bell rings. Their mothers were taught it before them, and they respond, and the colt, running beside the mother, habitually as time goes on responds to the bell and knows that it is the call of duty.

When the colts are three years old, they are placed in a corral, a pole corral that they can see through. They are left there three days and nights without food or water. At the end of the third day, hay and grain and water are placed just outside the corral. You can imagine the eagerness of the young colts as they look through the bars at the food and water. When the gate is opened the young colts rush out, and just as they are about to reach the food and water, the bell rings. Only those of them that have stamina enough to respond to the bell and resist the urge of appetite are kept for the breeding stock of the future."

We as Latter-Day Saints make choices in our lives, whether to follow the counsel of the Lord as given through His prophets. A few saints respond quickly and without question. Many saints respond, but often not quickly, and often only grudgingly. Some saints do not respond at all, because they are distracted by other 'masters', such as TV, fashion, career and other worldly pursuits.

A couple of years ago, our stake president challenged us to answer not to one bell, but to five.

These bells are:
1. Daily personal and family prayer
2. Daily personal and family scripture study
3. Weekly family home evening (that's weekly, not weakly!)
4. Full tithing and generous fast offering
5. Regular temple attendance

We are promised that if we will answer to these 'Five Bells', our lives will be richly blessed.

I can testify that this is true. My family does a good job of living by these standards, thanks in large part to my wife and her unwavering faith and persistence. Consequently, we have been blessed. We are not rich, but I know we have been protected, and we have been provided for in difficult times, such as this recession that we find ourselves in.

I would challenge all to tighten our belts, increase our faith, and follow the prophets with strict obedience. We will be blessed as a people.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

An Alternative To Help Us Get Prepared...

We have been counseled by our prophets to avoid unnecessary debt. As we watch what is happening in our economy, we hopefully are realizing the wisdom of that counsel. Many people have thousands of dollars in unnecessary debt for things like boats, toy haulers (and the toys inside of them), etc. I see people on Craigslist every day trying to sell their $35,000 toy haulers (that now are worth about $20,000, but they still owe the $35K), their $60,000 boats (now worth half), etc. Clearly unnecessary debts they piled up for the sake of luxury and fun.

But what about going into a very small amount of debt, say less than $2,000, for your year's supply? Is that such a bad idea?

We have been counseled to have a year's supply - not just to do the bare minimum of getting a bunch of unusable commodities so we can say we have complied. We are to actually be prepared to live on our year's supply. Many people believe they cannot afford to get a year's supply. I have preached about the invalid nature of this excuse in previous posts, so I won't discuss that here.

But let me ask a question: if you had to choose, which counsel would you rather follow, to avoid debt and have no year's supply, or to use a little bit of debt and get that year's supply? This is an interesting conflict, but I would opt for having the year's supply. I believe it would be better to pay for a little bit of debt and know that my family was provided for, rather than be vulnerable to the times to come (and they are coming) when we will need the provisions.

Let's look at the pros and cons. If you incur a small debt to be prepared, you pay a little bit of interest. If you can't pay the bill, your credit rating might suffer a little bit, but the bank won't repossess your year's supply. You are still prepared.

If you don't incur the debt, you have no financial risk, and your credit rating is protected. But if a drought or a war or something else comes along that requires us to live on what we have, you and your family cannot survive on your credit rating.

If you truly cannot afford to part with the cash to get a year's supply (you don't have cable, high-speed internet, or cell phone bills you can cut, or other luxuries that can be sacrificed), maybe you have a credit card that can be tapped into for a small amount. Doesn't it make sense to have the protection for your and your family rather than not to have it? Which is really the lesser of two evils - debt or unpreparedness? It's worth thinking about.

Those In Power Choosing Iniquity Over Righteousness

There has been a lot of discussion about the socialist, liberal direction our nation is going. Those in power are destroying liberty and righteousness if favor of power, control and corruption. Once they obtain that power by the voice of the people, we are stuck with it.

I was reading in the Book of Mormon, and these verses in Mosiah 29 really struck me. This seems to very accurately describe what is going on in our government:

"21 And behold, now I say unto you, ye cannot dethrone an iniquitous king save it be through much contention, and the shedding of much blood.

22 For behold, he has his friends in iniquity, and he keepeth his guards about him; and he teareth up the laws of those who have reigned in righteousness before him; and he trampleth under his feet the commandments of God;

23 And he enacteth laws, and sendeth them forth among his people, yea, laws after the manner of his own wickedness; and whosoever doth not obey his laws he causeth to be destroyed; and whosoever doth rebel against him he will send his armies against them to war, and if he can he will destroy them; and thus an unrighteous king doth pervert the ways of all righteousness."

Is anyone else seeing this happening? I don't consider myself a paranoid person; I am not a 'survivalist whacko' who thinks a government conspiracy is behind everything that happens. But I also am not naive, and what I see happening will not creep up on me like it will for many people, unaware of it until they are trapped.

These are the last days... I think I see it for what it is.

Monday, March 2, 2009

I Feel Sorry For Those Who Haven't Followed The Prophets

We are in the last days, no doubt about it. Morality and virtue are not only eroding, but they are under attack. The economy is collapsing, and jobs are being lost everywhere.

The prophets of God have warned us for many years to get our homes in order - to obtain a year's supply, get out of unnecessary debt, and to be diligent in teaching the gospel to our families. Well now seems to be a good time to take inventory.

Do we have our year's supply? If not, why not? Did we think we couldn't afford it? That would be an excuse similar to saying we couldn't afford to pay our tithing. Do we pay for cell phones? Do we pay for cable TV and high-speed internet? If so, why aren't we willing to use that money - or at least some of that money - to follow the counsel of the prophets? Do we love the world more than the Lord? Do we put more credibility in the news media than in the counsel of the prophet? Do we love our conveniences more than the security of the Lord's promises?

I use the term 'we' so I don't point fingers too harshly. Please know that although I am not perfect, I have avoided as much debt as possible. Other than my mortgage and my student loans for law school - both of which are 'approved' by church standards - I only have a very small car payment of $256 and a small personal loan payment of $35. Compared to the hundreds of dollars per month that I see other people paying out to cover their luxuries, I'm OK. I have my years supply, and then a lot more besides food. I have saved a lot of camping gear, hunting and fishing supplies, portable tools, etc. I even have built windmill turbines for generating electricity in case we need to produce our own power. I also have solar panels on my roof which generate additional electricity. Althouth one may never feel totally prepared - especially since we don't always know exactly what to prepare for - I feel like I have done a pretty good job of it. I have been out of work for a while because of the economy, but I do not fear because I am prepared. Remember the Lord said "If ye are prepared ye shall not fear". (D&C 38:30)

It is to the point for many that it is too late to be fully prepared, unless they are willing to take drastic measures in order to catch up. It al depends on how important the Lord and His prophets are in relation to the conveniences and cares of the world. It's time to take a spiritual inventory.

Time To Pray for California... Again

The Prop 8 Marriage Amendment will reach the California Supreme Court this Thursday, with advocates of gay marriage attempting to have the will of the people overturned.

Based on my knowledge of law (being a third-year law student and having already studied constitutional law), the state Supreme Court will have the final say. The U.S. Supreme Court will not have jurisdiction over this matter in California.

I must be honest and say that, despite my wishes, I believe Prop 8 will be overturned. The California Supreme Court (that should read Supremely Liberal Court) overturned the will of the people on this issue just last year.

I wish it would be otherwise, but in considering the fact that we are in the last days, and the world will become increasingly wicked, it only makes prophetic sense to me that evil will prevail until the Savior comes.

I am reminded of what Mormon wrote about his people as they dwindled in unbelief. From Mormon chapter 1:13, 19 -

13 But wickedness did prevail upon the face of the whole land, insomuch that the Lord did take away his beloved disciples, and the work of miracles and of healing did cease because of the iniquity of the people.

19 And it came to pass that there were sorceries, and witchcrafts, and magics; and the power of the evil one was wrought upon all the face of the land, even unto the fulfilling of all the words of Abinadi, and also Samuel the Lamanite.

Mormon 5:2 -
2 But behold, I was without hope, for I knew the judgments of the Lord which should come upon them; for they repented not of their iniquities, but did struggle for their lives without calling upon that Being who created them.

So, instead of praying for California, perhaps instead we should pray for the members of the church, along with all of those others who supported Prop 8. Particularly in the latter group were the majority of blacks and Catholics, both of whom took the brave stand in defense of traditional marriage.

I can't reiterate enough that we are witnessing the last days, and the signs of final chaos and destruction cannot be far off.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

The Movie "Corpus Christi"

My sister e-mailed this to me. She is careful not to send 'junk' along to people such as those 'warm and fuzzy' chain letters and other spam generators. This is worth reading...

The movie Corpus Christi is due to be released this June to August.I totally agree with the message below.

Let's stand for what we believe in and stop the mockery of Jesus Christ our Savior. where do we stand as Christians?At the risk of a bit of inconvenience, I'm forwarding this to all I think would appreciate it too. Please help us prevent such offenses against our Lord. It will take you less than 2 minutes! If you are not interested, and do not have the 2 Minutes it will take to do this, please don't complain when God does not have time for you, because He is far busier than we are.
A disgusting film set to appear in America later this year depicts Jesus and his disciples as homosexuals! As a play, this has already been in theatres for a while. It's called Corpus Christi ' which means 'The Christ Body.' It's revolting mockery of our Lord. But we can make a difference. That's why I am sending this e-mail to you.If you do send this around, we will be able to prevent this film from showing in America and South Africa .

Hey, it's worth a shot! Apparently, some regions in Europe have already banned the film. All we need is a lot of prayer and a lot of e-mails. Remember, Jesus said 'Deny Me on earth and I'll deny you before my Father'.

Friday, February 27, 2009

How Safe Are Your Bank Accounts? REALLY? Read This!

This is a concurrent post from my political blog, leftwingnuts.blogspot.com.

THIS IS SCARY!

Today the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), the government insurer of bank deposits, called on banks nationwide to pay an emergency premium. This would raise $27 Billion for the FDIC to offset more bad loans.Now let's think about what this means...

Less than a week ago President Obama told the nation that their bank deposits are safe, that they are insured. But here we find that the insurer is desperate for money to cover its obligations. I'm not faulting the president here, he is trying his best to reassure a frightened nation. But it is also misleading.

How many more 'emergency premiums' will the FDIC require to remain solvent?

President Boyd K. Packer, in an unofficial statement made on October 12, 2008, referred to our current situation as the 'collapse of the economy'.

Got your 'seatbelt' on tight? Here we go!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

How Cool Is This!

The fog and inversion layer that SLC has been experiencing may be a pain for many, but I guess that depends on your perspective! Photo taken from the observation deck of the Church Office Building.

Defending Our Religion Before a Godless World-Pt 3

Part 3
Arguments and Answers. Sorry this is so long, but it is interesting and powerful.

Argument: There is no proof that God exists.
Answer: First, let’s call it evidence, not proof. Unless you have personally seen God, you cannot have ‘proof’. However, there is plenty of evidence. You simply must be willing to look outside your own boundaries to see it. You do not get to choose what is or is not evidence. That evidence either does or does not exist, with or without your opinion.

The fact that ancient scripture even exists, especially in so many different languages, and in different forms (book, scroll, stone tablets, metal plates, papyrus, etc.) which provide first-hand accounts of people who witnessed miracles performed by Jesus Christ, is solid evidence. Many of these people were there and personally saw Him, and personally witnessed these miracles. Most of these writings have been authenticated by scholars even in our day. Their evidence of His existence, and the miraculous power he possessed, far outweigh the so-called evidence, or doubts, of our time that attempt to contradict these original testimonies. If you reject the testimonies of those who personally witnessed Christ and His miracles, you simply reject evidence, having presented nothing to ‘prove’ otherwise.

Further, the fact that our calendar year is based on the birth of Christ, approximately 2009 years ago at this writing, is evidence of the powerful influence He had in the world.

There is evidence of the flood in Noah’s day. Sedimentary rings exist on mountains high above sea level. Fossilized sea life has been found in some of these mountains. I refer to modern species, not fossils of prehistoric creatures.

The fact that our solar system is in perfect equilibrium, and that our planet is in the perfect position to support life is evidence to me that ‘something or someone’ created it just that way (see Alma 30:44). If our planet was even slightly closer to or further from the sun than it is, we would not be able to survive. The atmosphere has just the right combination of gases to breathe and survive. Plants and animals provide just the right nutrients for our health. The evidence that this was planned outweighs the notion that such a perfect, stable situation just happened by chance.

There is far more evidence to support the existence of God than there is to deny it. To deny it is to reject the evidence in favor of one’s personal agenda instead of what is most likely true.

Albert Einstein, arguably the greatest scientist of modern times, believed in the existence of God. If fact he stated that the more he learned about space, energy and nature, the more he believed that there was a God who created it all for our discovery. To reject Einstein’s conclusion about the existence of God would be to discredit much of his work.

Argument: Religious people believe that God created man out of dust, but there is proof that man evolved from primitive life forms.
Answer: There is no ‘proof’ that man evolved, only theory. Scientists have arrived at their conclusions by creating a timeline of skeletal remains based on carbon-dating, size, posture, and skeletal development. This is not ‘proof’. The theory of evolution cannot be proven, because none of us were in existence during the times when these primitive beings were said to exist. It may be convincing ‘evidence’ based on interpolation of fossilized remains, but that is all it is. Carbon dating is susceptible to environmental influences and is not perfectly accurate. The fact that scientists consider evolution ‘proof’ instead of theory is a contradiction of their own self-proclaimed scientific integrity.

We base the belief that God created man in his image, as stated in the bible. We do not believe there is a direct link between some of the primitive ‘caveman’ beings and humans. Science has not found such a link, but assumes it to be so and then calls it fact. This again is a corruption of their otherwise purely scientific approach. We cannot offer any more evidence of this version of creationism than what is available through the scriptures and through spiritual revelation, but that is one of the forms of evidence available to all – personal spiritual revelation. Without it, nothing in this entire debate will go beyond simple argument. The form of evidence called personal revelation will be discussed hereafter.

Regarding making man out of ‘dust’, we know from our own scientific studies that the human body is composed of existing elements, not some other mysterious substance. The term ‘dust’ simply refers to the natural elements. That is not inconsistent with evolution or common sense.

Argument: Religious people believe that God actually created the earth in six days. That is absurd.
Answer: Agreed, it does sound absurd. The answer to that concern is in what your perception of a ‘day’ is, and what God’s day is in this context. We must remember that God did not live on the earth at the time of its creation. The concept of a 24-hour day is unique to our planet. A day on another planet, or any other celestial body, depends on its own rotational characteristics. It is therefore erroneous to automatically assume that God meant a 24-hour day when referring to the creation. Further, the term ‘day’ has been used by many, even God himself, to mean an era or period of time, not just one complete revolution around a planetary axis. To limit your perception of a day being a 24-hour period is your own limitation, not ours, or God’s.

Argument: Religious people believe that God created the universe. Science shows that the universe began with the Big Bang.
Answer: Science shows that stars and galaxies appear to be traveling away from a singular area in space, with the rate of travel being greater for the objects that are farthest away from that point of singularity. Much like the concept of evolution, the big bang is a theory based on interpolated, incomplete scientific findings. The big bang theory has little more than Doppler imaging to support it.

For those of us who believe God to be more than just a mysterious, magical being, the big bang theory is a viable theory. It in no way refutes the belief in God’s existence. Latter-Day Saints in particular believe that God works within the bounds of natural law, and works with natural elements to create. Even God cannot violate natural laws. The definition of God or godhood does not necessarily mean that He created everything including the elements or the natural laws of physics, and that they operate or exist haphazardly at his will and pleasure. Rather, God has a perfect knowledge of these laws and elements, and using that perfect knowledge he works with and within them to create. It could be a viable theory to believe that God initiated the big bang to begin creation in this part of the universe. Such a theory does not discredit either the existence of God, creationism, or the big bang theory.


Argument: Religion is obsolete; people who believe in God are unenlightened.
Answer: Obsolescence by definition means outdated and incapable of providing continued service or value. Religion could only be obsolete if it did not offer value to people in our present day. This assumption is clearly false. Even for people of casual faith, who may attend church or pray only occasionally, their religious beliefs set a standard of conduct by which they govern their lives. Religious people do not tend to fall into the social traps of liberalism. They rely more on tradition, which is based on proven success in societies and families before ours. If such traditions were to prove unprofitable or unproductive in some meaningful way, than the claim of obsolescence would have some merit. However, history proves that such a claim has no merit at all. Just like in science, we can measure the causes and effects of religious belief compared to a lack thereof. Here are some characteristics of religious people compared to the non-religious:

1) Less likely to commit violent crime
2) Less likely to become addicted to harmful drugs
3) Less likely to acquire sexually transmitted diseases
4) Less prone to teenage pregnancy
5) More likely to maintain marital fidelity and stability
6) Less likely to promote pornography or other forms of immodesty
7) Less likely to divorce
8) Statistically live longer
9) Statistically healthier
10) Less likely to have body piercing and/or tattoos
11) More likely to obtain higher education
12) More likely to be a contributor to society rather than a burden

Based on these findings, it is clear that the assumption that religion is obsolete is absurd. Further, it is clear that the unenlightened portion of our population are those who reject religion.


Argument: Religious people are bigots and are hateful toward people who are not just like them.
Answer: There is some truth to this statement, but the cases where this does exist can largely be isolated demographically and by religious denomination. Beyond that, this is a misperception and often an attempt at reverse-hatred or discrimination. First, the true side of the argument. There indeed are those who assume the self-exalted position of claiming superiority through their religious beliefs. They believe that any who do not embrace their narrow perspective are inferior, or even condemned. Further, they cannot accept opposing opinions from these ‘different’ groups, and often ostracize or persecute them. If such a group claims to be ‘Christian’, I must question the quality of their ‘discipleship’ as it is laden with hypocrisy and is diametrically opposed to how Christ did or would treat such people with differing views.

Regarding the rest, there is typically a misperception of hatred by religious people. This occurs when religious people are required to defend their beliefs, principles, or standards of conduct when subject to public scrutiny or criticism. This defense often leads people to the false assumption of hatred. For example, when religions united in defense of the same-sex marriage propositions in several states, those in favor of gay marriage assumed, wrongfully, that those who voted against it were showing hatred toward gays. This is not only a wrong assumption, but a failure to honestly and openly communicate by the gay rights community. Religious people were simply trying to defend their existing rights to teach their children according to their own principles and not those imposed by state law. They were trying to protect their religious institutions from the inevitable invasion of privacy by gay rights activists who have already attempted to overthrow private religion-based institutions. Most religious people, myself included, have no interest in regulating the lives of other people, regardless of the issue. If gay rights activists were interested in the facts, they could get them, rather than make false assertions about the religions and their followers, and engaging in hate speech of their own.

In Matthew chapter 9 of the New Testament, Christ dines with publicans and sinners, and is criticized for it. He said that the ‘whole need no physician, but they that are sick’. In John chapter 8, he forgave the woman caught in adultery, then told her to ‘go and sin no more’. This clearly indicates that Christ loved the sinners but not their sins. For those who act as if they ‘hate the sinner’ rather than the sin, then yes, I agree that there is an attitude of bigotry or hate. But these cases are isolated to those who, in my opinion, are not true followers of Christ. These are people who profess to be Christians in word but are not in their actions.


Argument: God’s commandments are just a bunch of scare tactics designed to keep people ‘in line’.
Answer: Not true. That is the perception of people who do not understand God or His commandments. First, a person must be willing to accept a belief in God before His commandments will have any weight or meaning. The claim that God’s commandments are scare tactics typically come from those who have no desire to live by them in the first place. God’s commandments are natural laws, with unavoidable results. They are based on God’s perfect knowledge of human nature, psychological or spiritual cause and effect, and His eternal plan for us, His children, to live with him and become like him.
The limits of these laws cannot be violated, just like natural laws. For example, we cannot escape the influence of gravity. If a person jumps from a tall building, they will fall at the maximum sustainable velocity. Without external interference such as a parachute, this is a certainty. This law cannot be violated. Likewise, if one of God’s laws is tested (broken), a consequence is certain. It may be that the consequence is a loss of spiritual strength, loss of trust, or some other result that takes us further away from our ultimate goal of eternal salvation. Whatever the consequence may be, it is certain to occur. We may not see its effects immediately, but it will inevitably surface. To understand this further or to believe in the cause-and-effect of God’s commandments or laws requires a belief in God Himself. In summary, God’s laws, for those who correctly understand them, are not laws of restriction, but rather are guidelines which lead to self-esteem, liberty through mutual respect, social harmony, and peace and happiness.

Argument: There is no way to prove that God exists or that religion is correct.
Answer: There most definitely is a way to prove it. We can even take a scientific approach to this. The way is very much like a scientific laboratory experiment.

One thing to keep in mind about scientific experiments is that, in order to achieve the desired result, the laboratory setting must always be conducive to the desired result. A successful experiment is not conducted at the convenience of the scientist or the facility, but these must adapt to the environment or nature of the experiment itself. For example, if we want to conduct an experiment regarding ozone levels at high altitude, we must be at that altitude, such as with a hot air balloon, and not in a surface-level laboratory. If we want to conduct experiments involving deep ocean environments, we must go to the deep ocean. When scientists have conducted high-speed atom splitting experiments or time-warp experiments, they were required to build the large, multi-billion dollar circular underground centrifuges, that would use magnetic levitation to accelerate a single atom to near light speed. In order to achieve success in their experiment, they were required to create the right environment. So it is with our experiment of proving that God and His church exist (see Alma 32).

The correct laboratory environment requires a relatively clean human body. Not just any human body, but one that has a genuine desire to know – a willing mind. Christ taught in the bible that signs were not for unbelievers. An attitude of unbelief or lack of genuine desire will pollute the environment of our experiment so as to render it ineffective. In the same way that a scientist will be eager to conduct an experiment properly to obtain accurate results, we must likewise be eager to conduct this experiment properly to have a chance to obtain the desired accurate result.

If we have the right person (clean body and willing mind), we are ready to proceed. By clean body I mean one that is free from impairment or addiction that would prevent it from receiving the very sensitive spiritual messages of truth that come from God.

The next step is to begin studying the word of God, the scriptures. Attend church meetings to learn more about everyday life for those who follow God. Study other forms of information, such as videos, books, informational facilities such as visitor centers, etc. Any successful experiment requires some level of research. This is your research phase for this experiment.

Once you have done a substantial amount of research (substantial amount, not an inadequate sampling), you should feel a desire to know if the information you have collected is indeed true. With this desire, you are invited to pray to God and get His personal confirmation of its truthfulness. Pray many times over several days, continuing to study the material you have collected. He has promised all of us that we will receive this witness from him, as a feeling of calm assurance in our hearts, or a ‘burning in the bosom’ as it is often referred to. With this personal witness, you will know for yourself of the existence of God and the truth of His teachings to us.

Learning that God is real is just as empirical an approach as physical science, in that there is a cause and effect that is consistent. If you honestly desire to know the truth, it will be revealed to you. The failure of most people in believing this or trying it is that they reject the laboratory setting we have described.

If you do not believe this is to be true, it is not because God does not exist, or that it cannot be proven. Millions of people throughout time have successfully employed this experiment and have successfully received their answers. Your doubts cannot invalidate their findings. The problem is simply that you reject the laboratory environment required to achieve the desired result. It is similar to expecting to learn about deep sea creatures without being willing to get wet. You are wasting your time arguing with those who already know what you refuse to learn.