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:

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.


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!