Personal Online Journal

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Embracing Grace

I know you understand my weakness; I know you know my struggles and pains; I know you know how I feel about myself; I know you love me and have bought me, anyway. From now on, I will trust your promise and, despite my continuing frustration and my continuing weakness and my continuing failures, I will bounce back each time and continue to grow. I will not despair; I will accept my weakness and imperfection and failure, knowing you don't care, because you love me, anyway. I will get back up each time I am knocked down and continue to walk toward you, until you embrace me and say, 'Well done, thou good and faithful servant' - knowing I don't deserve it and being eternally grateful for the grace that so fully you proffered me.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Two Methods of Gaining Knowledge

I am grateful to know that there are two methods of gaining knowledge — the scientific method and the spiritual method, which begins with faith in God and relies on scriptures, inspired teaching and personal revelation. There is no ultimate conflict between knowledge gained by these different methods because God, our omnipotent Eternal Father, knows all truth and beckons us to learn by them both. ("Witnesses of God", BYU-Idaho Devotional, Elder Dallin H. Oaks, Feb 25, 2014)

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Holy Sabbath, the Sabbath, Sunday or the Weekend

Eli Herring was an offensive lineman at BYU. He was very big--he kind of looked like a major appliance with legs. USA Today said that he would go first round in the NFL draft. But as the time approached, he said, "I don't want to enter the draft." The entire media said, "What!" He said, "I don't want to enter the draft." They said, "Why?" And he said, "Because. The games are on Sunday. I don't want to play on Sunday." 
Eli Herring's father, David L. Herring, explained, "Our great-grandfathers called it the Holy Sabbath day. Our grandfathers called it the Sabbath. Our fathers called it Sunday, and now we just call it the weekend. Our family feels like our great-grandfathers did about the Holy Sabbath day." 
We have to ask, "Where is it with me? Is it the Holy Sabbath, the Sabbath, Sunday, or is it just kind of the weekend?" (John Bytheway, Family Night With John Bytheway, DVD, [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 2010].)

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Despise no Man for Differing

“I have the most liberal sentiments, and feelings of charity towards all sects, parties, and denominations; and the rights and liberties of conscience, I hold most sacred and dear, and despise no man for differing with me in matters of opinion.” (Teachings of Joseph Smith. Letter from Joseph Smith to Isaac Galland, Mar. 22, 1839, Liberty Jail, Liberty, Missouri, published in Times and Seasons, Feb. 1840, pp. 55–56)

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

We become what we want to be

"We become what we want to be by consistently being what we want to become each day."
("The Transforming Power of Faith and Character", Oct 2010, Elder Richard G. Scott)

7 Crippling Parenting Behaviors That Keep Children From Growing Into Leaders

A great article on good parenting by Kathy Caprino

1. We don’t let our children experience risk
2. We rescue too quickly
3. We rave too easily
4. We let guilt get in the way of leading well
5. We don’t share our past mistakes
6. We mistake intelligence, giftedness and influence for maturity
7. We don’t practice what we preach

Sunday, February 16, 2014

A Dancing Tree

A friend of mine posted this on Facebook:
"In a heated debate.... no one will listen to reason and no one will change their opinion. When people are angry, they will not change there state of mind. .... and it is useless to have a debate.... because no one will listen. ._. Just live life the way you do, but also learn to respect others opinions/ reason."

It is really amazing when you disagree strongly with a friend and yet can still remain calm and respectful with each other.

A couple of weeks ago, my work colleagues gathered from their remote locations to look forward to possibilities for the coming year.  We went to eat pizza as a group. Religion came up in our discussion. There were not many positive expressions of religion or Mormonism.  I noticed one friend sitting with his arms folded like he was uncomfortable with the discussion.  I hadn't said much or anything at all.  I ended up talking with a good friend like we always do. He expressed why he had become atheist. I expressed the good I had found in my LDS faith. After a while the uncomfortable friend opened up and was amazed that we could have a discussion without shouting or getting mean.

It really is amazing when people can try to see things through the eyes of others. For me, it has been eye opening and sometimes a cathartic experience to see the world through new eyes. My father in law one said that he wanted to see things as they really are. That is one of my goals in my interactions with my friends of differing views. I have come to respect differing views. That they give new insights to reality and relationships and our common goal of living healthy and happy lives.

My experience at dinner with my workmates reminded me of a lecture between an evangelical Christian and a Mormon. They got further by trying to speak to each other rather than past each other. We can have strong convictions and still be civil with each other. We can respect others with strongly differing views if we can establish that each of us are acting in good faith.

Lucy Mack Smith, the mother of Joseph Smith Jr had a dream about 1803 that contrasted how her husband and his brother Jesse reacted to new ideas. They were both represented as magnificent trees.  One responded with life to the wind and breeze around him.  The other was stiff and did not move.
I saw one of them was surrounded with a bright belt that shone like burnished gold, but far more brilliantly. Presently, a gentle breeze passed by, and the tree encircled with this golden zone bent gracefully before the wind and waved its beautiful branches in the light air. As the wind increased, this tree assumed the most lively and animated appearance and seemed to express in its motions the utmost joy and happiness. If it had been an intelligent creature, it could not have conveyed by the power of language the idea of joy and gratitude so perfectly as it did; and even the stream that rolled beneath it shared, apparently, every sensation felt by the tree, for, as the branches danced over the stream, it would swell gently, then recede again with a motion as soft as the breathing of an infant, but as lively as the dancing of a sunbeam. (The Eyewitness History of the Church, W. Jeffrey Marsh,  p 268)  
Lucy's husband was the flexible one. He was willing to consider new ideas. He was filled with life and intelligence. I want to be like that. Willing to consider any good and true principle and practice.

I am grateful for the goodness and truth that I have found in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I hold many of its teachings dear to my heart. I also appreciate the goodness and truth I have found elsewhere. Much of this has come from being willing to hear my friends of differing views. To try to understand their experiences. And to seek out that which will lead to great health and contentment in my life and my loved ones.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

One Message to Share

The missionaries came over and had us write one message we would want to share with the world. Here are the messages we wrote. It was a lot of fun.

Richard: "Love Wins"
Lorenzo: "Salvation"
Victor: "Through Christ our burdens are made light"
Tim: "Live Worthy"
Sam: "God Loves"
Sara: "Act Through Love"
Josh: "Love your neighbor as you love yourself"
Steph: "Love the Lord. Love one another."
Daniel: "The Book of Mormon is True"
Laney: "You can believe in the Lamb of God"
Zanna: "Jesus loves everyone. Jesus is nice and kind"
Nathan: "Believe"
Andrew: "Families are Forever"
Elder Fackrell: "Believe in Christ"

Wednesday, February 05, 2014

"Adam was the first man of what we would call the human race"

Larry A. Witham quotes Gordon B. Hinckley in Where Darwin Meets the Bible: Creationists and Evolutionists in America (See also DN)
What the church requires is only belief 'that Adam was the first man of what we would call the human race.'
 "The story of the rib, of course, is figurative" ("The Blessings and Responsibilities of Womanhood", Ensign, March 1976, p.71)