Sunday, March 29, 2009
Saturday, March 28, 2009
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:
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 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
Here is the article:
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
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
Hopefully the link works.
Thursday, March 12, 2009
Wednesday, March 11, 2009
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.
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
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!
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.
"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...
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)
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:
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
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?'
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
President Marion G. Romney, Second Counselor in the First Presidency, from the October 1976 General Conference of the Church:
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
Thursday, March 5, 2009
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 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
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.
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
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.
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 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'.