Jewish Jerusalem

There is one subject that always draws the attention of any Christian, well one that knows any Old Testament and New Testament history is the restoration of the Jews.  For the most part, restoration has ceased to be a naughty word in our generation.  While most Christians now use the term ‘revival’ it has a similar meaning.  But the restoration of the Jews is one most Christians are well aware.  They and we know that the Savior’s second coming will come after their restoration to Jerusalem.  It is one of those signs we are supposed to know.  Accordingly, most have watched for the day and have even done what they could to expedite the process.  In that vein, here is a scripture I find revealing in the Book of Mormon.
“But because of priestcrafts and iniquities, they at Jerusalem will stiffen their necks against him, that he be crucified.  Wherefore, because of their iniquities, destructions, famines, pestilences, and bloodshed shall come upon them; and they who shall not be destroyed shall be scattered among all nations” (2 Nephi 10:5-6).
There is little debate this part of the sermon by Jacob has taken place.  They have surely known destruction, famine, pestilence, and the most horrid bloodshed.  The latest of which took place in the past century.  Even before then, the scattering was well under way.  If it were not for the scattering, Hitler probably would not have had so many opportunities to shed their blood.  We see the Crusades and innumerable other attacks on Jerusalem from a variety of people. Christians through the ages have recognized the need of the restoration of the Jews to the Holy Land.
Over the centuries attempt after attempt has been made to relocate them back.  The Crimean war is a great example.  The French and Russians claimed it their prerogative to convert them and protect them. The Latter-day Saints recognized a different responsibility upon their shoulders.  They were to gather in Israel.  However, the Jew was to be last.  2 Nephi gives us another twist on the take from normal Christianity.
“But behold, thus saith the Lord God: When the day cometh that they shall believe in me, that I am Christ, then have I covenanted with their fathers that they shall be restored in the flesh, upon the earth, unto the lands of their inheritance” (vs 7).
An interesting question arises here.  Who, or which of their fathers was this covenant made to?  What is more interesting is that this restoration is not supposed to start until they shall believe in Christ.  How much do they have to believe?  How many have to believe to start this gathering?  Who will start this process?  They don’t appear to believe yet, so have we really seen much of a gathering yet?
Then comes something more instructive, “And it shall come to pass that they shall be gathered in from their long dispersion, from the isles of the sea, and from the four parts of the earth; and the nations of the Gentiles shall be great in the eyes of me, saith God, in carrying them forth to the lands of their inheritance.  Yea, the kings of the Gentiles shall be nursing fathers unto them, and their queens shall become nursing mothers; wherefore, the promises of the Lord are great unto the Gentiles, for he hath spoken it, and who can dispute?” (2 Nephi 10:8-9).
They shall be gathered in from their scattering by the nations of the Gentiles.  America and Britain definitely fall into this category.  Indeed, the leaders of these Gentile nations shall nurse them because the Lord has so abundantly blessed these nations.  What an interesting observation.  We certainly know many nations have aided in the return of the Jew to their inheritance lands.  How much has this been completed?  We do not know.
On a tangent, Jacob then goes on to say there will be no kings over this nation or land, and that this land is the decreed land of Zion.  None, Jew or Gentile, shall fight against this land and prosper.  A most interesting light considering the scriptures where different nations may lead this land, but there will be no kings, and nobody will ultimately conquer it.  He also states how the seed of Lehi will be afflicted in the land. Anyhow, back to the Jews, I cannot help but think of some comments by Brigham Young.
“The decree has gone forth from the Almighty that they cannot have the benefit of the atonement until they gather to Jerusalem, for they said, let His blood be upon us and upon our children, consequently, they cannot believe in him until his second coming.  We have a great desire for their welfare, and are looking for the time soon to come when they will gather to Jerusalem, build up the city and the land of Palestine, and prepare for the coming of the Messiah.  When he comes again, he will not come as he did when the Jews rejected him; neither will he appear first at Jerusalem when he makes his second appearance on the earth; but he will appear first on the land where he commenced his work in the beginning, and planted the garden of Eden, and that was done in the land of America.  When the Savior visits Jerusalem, and the Jews look upon him, and see the wounds in his hands and in his side and in his feet, they will then know that they have persecuted and put to death the true Messiah, and then will they acknowledge him, but not till then.  They have confounded his first and second coming, expecting his first coming to be as a mighty prince instead of as a servant.  They will go back by and by to Jerusalem and own their Lord and Master.  We have no feelings against them.  I wish they were all gentlemen, men of heart and brain, and knew precisely how the Lord looks upon them” (JD 11:279).
The restoration of the Jews had not commenced yet when Brigham stated those words.    They will return to rebuild Jerusalem before he will return.  The Gentiles will take them back, but their conversion will not start.
“Jerusalem is not to be redeemed by the by the soft still voice of the Preacher of the Gospel of Peace.  Why?  Because they were once the blessed of the Lord, the Chosen of the Lord, the promised seed.  They were the people from among whom should spring the Messiah; and salvation could only be found through that tribe.  The Messiah came through them, and they killed him; and they will be the last of all the seed of Abraham to have the privilege of receiving the New and Everlasting Covenant.  You may hand out to them gold, you may feed and clothe them, but it is impossible to convert the Jews, until the Lord God Almighty does it” (JD 2:142).
“This American continent will be Zion; for it is so spoken of by the prophets.  Jerusalem will be rebuilt and will be the place of gathering, and the tribe of Judah will gather there; but this continent of America is the land of Zion” (JD 5:4).

The role of music?

Here are two scriptures which caught my eye.  One of my greatest desires is the establishment of Zion.  It is with particular interest I read Isaiah and latter day scriptures about it.  These scriptures give us some insight into that celestial city.
“For the Lord shall comfort Zion, he will comfort all her waste places; and he will make her wilderness like Eden, and her desert like the garden of the Lord, joy and gladness shall be found therein, thanksgiving, and the voice of melody” (2 Nephi 8:3).
“Therefore, the redeemed of the Lord shall return, and come with singing unto Zion; and everlasting joy and holiness shall be upon their heads; and they shall obtain gladness and joy; sorrow and mourning shall flee away” (2 Nephi 8:11).
There are a couple of points from those two scriptures alone which are similar.  They both point out joy, gladness, and music.  It is very telling that these characteristics are what will be brought to Zion or shall be found of those who reside there.  The question is, how are we doing on our joy, gladness and music (voice of melody and singing)?

Scourging?

I promise I do not have a preconceived idea of what I am trying to do here.  This is not solely meant as a series of political treatises.  Perhaps these topics are on my mind and that is why the are jumping out at me.  Who knows.  Tonight’s will be one somewhat in the same vein.

Yesterday I dealt with a land that was to be one of promise.  If the people who possess the land are not righteous and keep the commandments, then the land would be given to another nation.  While that has some scary implications, I find this scripture to be a bit more troubling.

We find the Nephites have now left the Lamanites.  Of course, they are not called by those names yet, but they will be.  There is something fascinating here.  They were those who followed the Lord, kept the commandments, and had to leave their brethren due to the stress they brought upon them.  As they broke away, they did not take on the name of Jesus, or even that of Christ because these people did not know that yet.  They took on the name of Nephi, prophet.  They did not take on the name of the Almighty, Yahweh, Lord, or even Lord God.  They took Nephi.  Due to the tradition this would start, we know this would cause the disputations that would arise in 3 Nephi.  We take it for granted that the name of the church would be after Jesus Christ, but I can sense what their frustration might have been when they were trying to figure out what to call the church after Christ’s coming.  I can see some of the difficulty even in our day.  Anyhow, I am on a tangent.

Nephi takes his people and teaches them to be industrious.  They build buildings, even a temple, and a host of other occupations.  There are the smiths, the carvers, the carpenters, the miners, and the farmers.  Then they give the contrast of those who are not righteous, those who keep not the covenants/commandments.

“…they did become an idle people, full of mischief and subtlety, and did seek in the wilderness for beasts of prey.” (2 Nephi 5:24).  There are other scriptures that give us more explanation of those who keep not the covenants.  “…after they had dwindled in unbelief they became a dark, and loathsome, and a filthy people, full of idleness and all manner of abominations” (1 Nephi 12:23).  “…their hatred was fixed, and they were led by their evil nature that they became wild, and ferocious, and a blood-thirsty people, full of idolatry and filthiness; feeding upon beasts of prey; dwelling in tents, and wandering about in the wilderness with a short skin girdle about their loins and their heads shaven; and their skill was in the bow, and in the cimeter, and the ax.  And many of them did eat nothing save it was raw meat; and they were continually seeking to destroy us” (Enos 1:20).  “…after their dissensions they became more hardened and impenitent, and more wild, wicked and ferocious…giving way to indolence, and all manner of lasciviousness; yea, entirely forgetting the Lord their God” (Alma 47:36).  “….who delighted in murdering the Nephites, and robbing and plundering them; and their hearts were set upon riches, or upon gold and silver, and precious stones; yet they sought to obtain these things by murdering and plundering, that they might not labor for them with their own hands.  Thus they were a very indolent people, many of whom did worship idols, and the curse of God had fallen upon them…” (Alma 17:24-25).

While I don’t want to give an expose on the characteristics of the ungodly, we do see some of these which are in society and which Latter-day Saints are expressly told to avoid.  The Word of Wisdom is most pronounced.

The contract of the wicked are given to us.  But then comes the clencher.

“And the Lord God said unto me: They (the Lamanites) shall be a scourge unto thy seed, to stir them up in remembrance of me; and inasmuch as they will not remember me, and hearken unto my words, they shall scourge them even unto destruction” (2 Nephi 2:25).

That gives a scary scenario!  These less than obedient individuals are allowed to remain.  Moreover, they will be the one’s who will afflict the righteous when they become not so righteous.  Even more, they will scourge them unto destruction.  That sounds like a pretty good incentive not to lose your blessed and promised state.  Remember, the Lord promised them this land in safety forever if they would remain faithful.  If not, then the promise is they will be scourged, even to destruction.  We see this take place with the Jaredites, we see it with the Nephites later.  The scenario plays out throughout the Old Testament too.

Like most scriptures in the Book of Mormon, this is not the only instance where this counsel is given.  Here are a few more.  “And if it so be that they rebel against me, they shall be a scourge unto thy seed, to stir them up in the ways of remembrance” (1 Nephi 2:24).  “…the Lord will deliver them up, that thereby they become weak like unto their brethren; and he will no more preserve them by his matchless and marvelous power, as he has hitherto preserved our fathers” (Mosiah 1:13).  “…the great slaughter which was among them, would not have happened had it not been for their wickedness and their abomination which was among them; yea, and it was among those also who professed to belong to the church of God” (Helaman 4:11).  “…because of iniquity amongst themselves, yea, because of dissensions and intrigue among themselves they were placed in the most dangerous circumstances” (Alma 53:9).  “…for it has been their quarrelings and their contentions, yea, their murderings, and their plunderings, their idolatry, their whoredoms, and their abominations, which were among themselves, which brought upon them their wars and their destructions” (Alma 50:21).  “…Surely God shall not suffer that we , who are despised because we take upon us the name of Christ, shall be trodden down and destroyed, until we bring it upon us by our own transgressions” (Alma 46:18).  “But behold, I say unto you that if ye persist in your wickedness that your days shall not be prolonged in the land, for the Lamanites shall be sent upon you; and if ye repent not they shall come in a time when you know not, and ye shall be visited with utter destruction ;and it shall be according to the fierce anger of the Lord” (Alma 9:18).  “…I will suffer my people, O house of Israel, that they shall go through among them, and shall treat them down, and they shall be as salt that hath lost its savor, which is thenceforth good for nothing but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of my people…” (3 Nephi 16:15).

If we should think this is something only Mormon, it is also Biblical.

“Know for a certainty that the Lord your God will no more drive out any of these nations from before  you; but they shall be snares and traps unto you, and scourges in your sides, and thorns in your eyes, until ye perish from off this good land which the Lord your God hath given you” (Joshua 23:13).  “…he delivered them into the hands of spoilers that spoiled them, and he sold them into the hands of their enemies round about, so that they could not any longer stand before their enemies.  Whithersoever they went out, the hand of the Lord was against them for evil, as the Lord had said, and as the Lord had sworn unto them: and they were greatly distressed” (Judges 2:14-15).  “If they obey and serve him, they shall spend their days in prosperity, and their years in pleasures.  But if they obey not, they shall perish by the sword, and they shall die without knowledge” (Job 36:11-12).  “Nevertheless they were disobedient, and rebelled against thee, and cast thy law behind their backs, and slew thy prophets which testified against them to turn them to thee, and they wrought great provocations.  Therefore thou deliveredst them into the hands of their enemies, who vexed them…they did evil again before thee: therefore lettest thou them in the hand of their enemies, so that they had the dominion over them…yet many years didst thou forbear them, and testifiedst against them by thy spirit in thy prophets: yet would they not give year: therefore gavest thou them into the hand of the people of the lands” (Nehemiah 9:26-30).  “Wherefore thus saith the Lord God of hosts, Because ye speak this word, behold, I will make my words in thy mouth fire, and this people wood, and it shall devour them.  Lo, I will bring a nation upon you from far…” (Jeremiah 5:14-15).

You get the picture.  Also take a look at Chapter 28 of Deuteronomy and Chapter 26 of Leviticus.  The Lord even tells of the time he used Israel for the destruction of another nation because of their wickedness in Deuteronomy 9:4-5, “Speak not thou in thine heart, after the Lord thy God hath cast them out from before thee, saying, For my righteousness the Lord hath brought me in to possess this land: but for the wickedness of these nations the Lord doth drive them out from before thee.  Not for thy righteousness, or for the uprightness of thine heart, dost thou go to possess their land: but for the wickedness of these nations the Lord thy God doth drive them out from before thee, and that he may perform the word which the Lord sware unto thy fathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.”

We see how yesterday we described how the Lord would supplant a nation with another nation.  A scourge could certainly be so great so as to replace a nation by violence.  It doesn’t seem that would be the plan for this nation, just that other nations are being allowed to scourge us.  It is an entirely different treatise to show that the Lord will protect and fight the battles for the righteous, perhaps I can cover some of those later (See D&C 98 for a good start).  But here we are showing that other nations can scourge us due to not being valiantly obedient.

These promises are also against those who are being allowed to scourge us.  This scripture shows that God is no respecter of persons.  Those doing the scourging can be scourged if they later reject great obedience to eternal law.

“And they shall be a scourge unto the people of this land.  Nevertheless, when they shall have received the fulness of my gospel, then if they shall harden their hearts against me I will return their iniquities upon their own heads, saith the Father” (3 Nephi 20:28).

So we are to be faithful or else have the chances of scourging.  Just how disobedient a people have to be for scourging I am not sure.  After all, one of the scriptures I referenced earlier (Helaman 4:11) stated that just having blatant disobedience AMONG them could bring upon these problems.  A bit of a Lot scenario.  Just because there are a few righteous won’t save the rest of them.

The righteous will have some scourging on no account of their own.  What are we to do then?  “…if men will smite you, or your families, once, and ye bear it patiently and revile not against them, neither seek ye revenge, ye shall be rewarded.  But if ye bear it not patiently, it shall be accounted unto you as being meted out as a just measure unto you” (D&C 98:23-24).  You go on being obedient and faithful.

I should be wrapping this up.  I cannot help but see what applications this could have to us as a people, a church, and as a nation.  As we are faithful, the Lord will fight our battles for us and keep us from harm.  I do believe this could be by giving us warning and by thwarting the adversary himself or through us.  When we find we are more and more vulnerable, perhaps we should not be so quick to point fingers, find vengeance, but to look inward.  Find out what we are doing that appears to be lessening our promises from heaven.  Does it appear we are being scourged?  9/11 looks like a scourge of some type.  The scriptures don’t say the people who scourge us are always wicked, half the time they are only ignorant of God’s laws.

Remember, if we bear it not patiently, it is meted out as just measure unto us.  Like President Kimball told of the story of the last summer.  When they found out one was going to betray them/Christ they looked inward and asked, “Is it I?”  Perhaps we should do the same.  When we are afflicted and scourged by other nations, however small, we should ask, “Is it I?”  Rather than looking at them who did the scourging with a condescension and looking for revenge, we should look inward and repent.

I know of only one politician currently running for President who subscribes to this idea.  Perhaps we should seek them out and learn more of their ideas.  After all, they appear to be the most Christian.

“But behold, the judgments of God will overtake the wicked; and it is by the wicked that the wicked are punished; for it is the wicked that stir up the hearts of the children of men unto bloodshed” (Mormon 4:5).

Giving the nation over?

The last blog entry I wrote dealt with those who come to this nation.  It appears all who come will be brought by the hand of the Lord, regardless of whether we want to do anything about it or not.  This entry seems to go along those lines.  There are several verses from the same chapter (2 Nephi 1) which give a scenario which doesn’t play well in American Manifest Destiny.
“Therefore, this land is consecrated unto him whom he shall bring…it shall be a land of liberty…wherefore, they shall never be brought down into captivity…unto the righteous it shall be blessed forever” (vs 7).
When I visit with people, this is what it seems they read from the scripture.  However, the same verse also contains the following verbage, “…if it so be that they shall serve him according to the commandments…never be brought down into captivity; if so, it shall be because of iniquity; for if iniquity shall abound cursed shall be the land for their sakes…”
This land will only be a land of liberty if those who have been brought here (by the hand of the Lord; or born) keep the commandments.  But if they do not, the land will be cursed.  Let us make sure we understand there is an ‘if’ clause in the contract.  Then we see an example of how this took previously in verse 9.
“Where, I, Lehi, have obtained a promise, that inasmuch as those whom the Lord God shall bring out of the land of Jerusalem shall keep his commandments, they shall prosper upon the face of this land; and they shall be kept from all other nations, that they may possess this land unto themselves.  And if it so be that they shall keep his commandments they shall be blessed upon the face of this land, and there shall be none to molest them, nor to take away the land of their inheritance; and they shall dwell safely forever.”
It is interested to read these comments concerning the family of Lehi and others who come from Jerusalem.  The promise was that they would dwell safely FOREVER!  That seems like a great space of time.  Not just a few years, the cycle of democracy, or even a millenium.  It was to be forever in safety if they kept the commandments.  What a great promise.
The feeling toward this nation, even before Joseph Smith, was that this society was different.  It was the light on a hill.  It was to be the example to the rest of the world.  I see no reason why these promises would not hold the same for us.  After all, God is no respecter of persons.  Even if it did not apply, I see no reason why we as a people could not obtain the same promise to apply to us.  Then comes the next verse, 10.
“But behold, when the time cometh that they shall dwindle in unbelief, after they have received so great blessings from the hand of the Lord-“
I will resume to verse, but these are some pretty remarkable blessings (promises) from the Lord.
“…having a knowledge of the creation of the earth, and all men, knowing the great and marvelous works of the Lord from the creation of the world; having power given to do all things by faith;”
This scripture would seem to apply many more times to us in our day than to those in their day.  Our knowledge of all men, of the creation of the earth, seems to be many times what they would have possessed.  Moreover, we seem so much more capable to do such marvelous and wonderful things in our day compared to theirs.  Indeed, even to do ALL things, and we know that anything we do it is by faith.
“…having all the commandments from the beginning, and having been brought by his infinite goodness into this precous land of promise-behold, I say, if the day shall come that they will reject the Holy One of Israel, the true Messiah, their Redeemer and their God, behold, the judgments of him that is just shall rest upon them.”
With such great blessings and promises given, of course there would be a consequence if we should reject them.  Well, what would they be.  The next verse gives us a haunting thought, which may be happening some even now.
“Yea, he will bring other nations unto them, and he will give unto them power, and he will take away from them the lands of their possessions, and he will cause them to be scattered and smitten.
He will bring other nations unto them, and give them power.  Doesn’t look like it will matter much what those current possessors will try to do to curb the tide of immigration, these other nations are going to come unto them.  We know we have other nations which are moving in whether we want them to or not.
Lastly, verse 12, the fate seems sealed for the nation which had promises to live safely forever if they would but live the commandments.  But if not, “Yea, as one generation passeth to another there shall be bloodsheds, and great visitations among them; wherefore, my sons, I would that ye would remember; yea, I would that ye would hearken unto my words.”
Not only will another nation come in and take over, there will be bloodsheds and great visitations.  I don’t know exactly what a great visitation is, it certainly doesn’t sound pleasant.  Could the Trade Towers be a great visitation?  Who knows.
Definitely something to think about.  Are we in this cycle?  Does it apply to us?  If it does, where are we in the cycle?

Immigration guided?

The immigration issue has been a topic of importance lately.  What is the proper decision, policy, and attitude we should take?  Open borders?  Closed borders?  Monitored immigration?  Initially when the nation was founded, immigration was open.  Any and all were welcome.  Slowly we began to regulate and require certain things of those who came into the nation.  Citizenship requirements have changed.  By the 1880’s we were numbering and giving minimums for those coming into the country.
What is the proper way to administer immigration?  If we go for the Founder’s view, it would be a pretty loose interpretation.  Basically, anything goes (or anything comes).  That certainly doesn’t seem to be anything the majority of American’s would be willing to accept at present.  Anyone’s opinion is really valid now when it comes to historical pretext.  We have covered the entire field.
What is the role of immigration with regards to what God would prefer?  I am not entirely sure.  Here is our scripture for thought.
2 Nephi 1:6
“Wherefore, I, Lehi, prophesy according to the workings of the Spirit which is in me, that there shall none come into this land save they shall be brought by the hand of the Lord.”
This scripture seems to be pretty straight forward.  NONE shall come UNLESS the Lord has brought them.  This is a Prophet speaking.  What is more, it is another Prophet who is recording the comments of another.  In a sense, we have two witnesses of this statement.  Moreover, Lehi himself states it is a prophecy.
That doesn’t leave a whole lot of room for play.  Two prophets state, in positive terms, ALL who come to this nation will be brought by the Lord.  The question is then, what about our immigration policy?  If we try to limit it, are we acting against God’s will?  For all these who come in still, even illegally, should we hold such a vindictive attitude towards them?  Are we in a sense an Uzza reaching forth to steady the ark?
The statement seems like it would be still in effect?  There doesn’t appear to be anything in the previous or following verses that would limit it to 1492 to 1827.  Certainly, the LDS would not hold such a view.  The LDS would hold this immigration lead by the hand of the Lord continued en mass at least through 1910.  Why the change?
The gathering is to Stakes of Zion rather than to a central location now.  But this doesn’t appear to be talking about a gathering, or even the covenant people.  NONE seem so be a pretty exclusive statement for those who are covenant or not.
I suppose the real question is should we open the borders and allow all to come?  Or is the Lord inspiring our politicians to limit the immigration while at the same time inspiring others to break that limiting?
LDS are expected to keep the laws of the land, but will the Lord inspire others to break those laws the Saints are expected to uphold?  We hear cries all over against the Hispanic influx.  Is this inspired and is man putting forth his puny arm to stop the flow that God has decreed?  None shall come save it be by the hand of the Lord.
I really don’t know.  But it certainly makes me think.  Personally America is the idea of a tent of charity and of good will.  To me it seems that all are welcome and we will welcome them with open arms.
In the Old Testament, the immigrant went by another name; stranger.  Reminds me of the old western movies.  Do a search of the Old Testament and you shall see quite a few laws and regulations concerning strangers.  They were expected to hold the rest of Israel’s laws faithfully.  Those out of the covenant were treated equally, but were restricted from covenant promises and practices.
One of the first scriptures that come to mind is the reminder the Lord gives to Israel.  Strangers are to be treated well, after all, all Israel was a stranger in the land of Egypt.  It is the old golden rule.  Do unto others as you would have done unto you.  “Also, thou shalt not oppress a stranger, for ye know the heart of a stranger, seeing ye were strangers in the land of Egypt” (Ex 23:9).
Strangers could buy and sell unfettered.  They could even take some of those under the covenant as slaves (Lev 25).
Strangers were to be given the same laws as the covenant folk.  Additionally, they were to be treated equally before the law.  Even in breaking the law, the stranger was to be treated the same as the children of Israel (Num 15).
Strangers could even offer up burnt offerings.  They were expected to live the same law of health (Lev 22).
Remember, Israel after wandering went into Canaan to take possession of the Land.  The Lord even told them they were being given a land wherein they were going to be the stranger.  The Lord was going to give them the land, despite what the residents thought.  It was when the current residents fought back, and the residents along the way, that they lost their lives (Gen 17:8)  They could very well have assimilated as many other societies have done.
This always brings new meaning to the stranger referenced Matthew 25.  Whatsoever you have done to the least of these, you have done to me.  But he uses the phrase ‘Stranger’ several times.  “I was a stranger and ye took me in” (vs 35).  “When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee?” (vs 38).  “I was a stranger, and ye took me not in; naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not.  Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungered, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee?” (vs 43-44).
“Love ye therefore the stranger: for ye were strangers in the Land of Egypt” (Deut 10:19).
“And thou shalt rejoice in every good thing which the Lord thy God hath given unto thee, and unto thine house, thou, and the Levite, and the stranger that is among you.  When thou hast made an end of tithing all the tithes of thine increase the third year, which is the year of tithing, and hast given it unto the Levite, the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow, that they may eat within thy gates, and be filled; Then thou shalt say before the Lord thy God, I have brought away the hallowed things out of mine house, and also have given unto the Levite, and unto the stranger, to the fatherless, and to the widow, according to all thy commandments which thou has commanded me: I have not transgressed thy commandments, neither have I forgotten them:” (Deut 26:11-13).
Indeed, the stranger is even classified among the widows and orphans in a requirement for Israel to reach out to them (Deut 24).
Strangers could not take part of temple worship or passover.  Unless, they were willing to be circumcised, then they were no more strangers (similar to citizenship??) (Ex 12).
I will leave it there.  I have turned from the degree of immigration to how we should treat the immigrant.  There doesn’t seem to be a qualification of whether they were living among Israel legally or not.  God seems no respecter of persons.  Why would we treat with harshness the stranger in our midst, legal or not?
Turning back to the original question, I would definitely lean towards open borders and open communication.  It seems most arguments against open borders are for selfish reasons.  Our jobs, our land, our territory and more.  Perhaps we should re-evaluate.

More of the same; Life

Time keeps ticking by too quickly sometimes.  I have so much to write but not as much time as I would like to do it in.  Such is the limitations in the probationary game.  There are plenty of achievements to report though in the past week or two.
This evening I spoke with Gerald Neuffer in Columbia, Missouri.  In a most random turn of events, I noticed that a Jenna Neuffer became friends with my friend, Kami Lowe on Facebook.  With a name as rare as Neuffer, I knew all odds were in my favor of having a near shared ancestry.  I sent Miss Neuffer a message and asked for her Grandfather’s name and phone number.  Which she supplied.  Come to find out, I even had Gerald already in my family history.  I just had his first name Myron (Gerald is his middle name but he goes by it.  Probably due to remove confusion with his father’s name being Myron).  He knew the Andra’s well and said he remembered Millie, who was just younger than him.  Funny how small a world it is.  He went to get his PhD and never left Columbia after moving there in 1947.  We conversed for a little while he dug for information verifying I was not this total stranger calling for his family history for some other sinister reason.  He sounds like a good guy.  He asked if I was doing genealogy.  I confirmed I was and that I was the family historian.  He then happily related he was basically that for the Neuffer/Nuffer family.  I was definitely glad to hear that.  What is the chances of the Andra historian running into the Nuffer historian in Columbia Missouri?  Very far removed from Preston, Idaho!
I received a phone call from Jacqui yesterday about the Phibbs/Ross/Beachell family.  I tried returning her call and spoke with her mother for a few minutes.  I am glad she finally returned my message.  I only left it in May!  That was before we moved!
In other news, there was an e-mail that found its way to me from Robert in Fresno, California.  A most interesting question.  He asked if I knew of any of the siblings of my Constance Jorgensen.  I always felt Constance most likely had siblings but was never able to find any.  Between her parents marriage and Constance’s birth, there is twelve years.  I was sure there were other siblings.  Olavus and Hanna Mathea Jorgensen immigrated with Constance and settled in Richmond, Utah.  Constance married Ole Christiansen and gave birth to my Great Great Grandmother Martha Christiansen who is the mother of my Lillian Coley.  Constance died in Portland, Oregon while visiting and was buried there.  In the whole episode, I knew some day I would have to do some research in Norway to find the rest of this family.  Well, Robert e-mailed me asking me if his grandmother, Amanda Jorgensen Swensen could be a child of Olavus and Hanna.  He produced a copy of a hand written copy pedigree she had produced in 1935.  Sure enough, everything lined up.  Well, Amanda was born another 12 years after my Constance (24 after the marriage of the parents).  She immigrated to Utah a good 10 years after her parents and sibling came over and settled in Logan, Utah.  By the time she arrived her parents were both deceased and her sister had married.  It seems that she never knew she was only 15 miles from her parent’s graves and her sister.  The exciting news is that Amanda gave us the names of her siblings, none of which made it to America to her knowledge.  We added the 5 siblings.  Don’t know their ages, but definitely gives some more to go from.  That will give us much more to go from when the time for the Norway research begins.
I am happy to report I completed the New Testament this evening.  I am one day late.  If I had read the one chapter a day, I would have finished yesterday.  Last weekend put me just off enough that I did not catch up in time.  I completed the Book of Mormon on schedule this year on August 27th.  Now I can go through some General Conference talks and some other reading for the year.  Next year is the Doctrine and Covenants which you can almost read three times in a year.  I think I will just do it twice though.
The ward continues to blossom when it comes to family history.  It seems like people are doing their homework, research, and compiling regularly.  I have e-mails at least once or twice a week for help on something.  That is an indication something is going on.  That is definitely something which is a good thing.
Online the family history work continues to reveal new and interesting things.  I received an e-mail from a Homer Mason.  He was inquiring concerning the Jonas family in Washington State.  Come to find out, Anna Jonas is his Grandmother.  Anna was the daughter of William Jonas who was the brother to my Joseph Jonas; father to my great grandfather Joseph Nelson Jonas.  He knows very little so it has been fun introducing him to the family.  I have especially enjoyed his research on a line of the family I have not been able to crack.  It has proved not to be an easy line for him, but with his living in Yakima, he is much closer and capable of doing the work than I can.  I really hope I am accepted to the University of Idaho for Law School.  Then I could work on the Jonas, Ross, and Sharp lines in Washington State.
Stepping back to the Andra family.  This past weekend Amanda and I took a trip to Washington DC for our monthly temple visit.  But a new aspect as emerged.  My Great Uncle and Aunt, Donald and Lolane Andra, are now serving a mission in the temple.  We went up Friday night and stayed with Amanda’s Uncle and Aunt in Springfield.  Saturday we picked up Don and Lolane and made our way to Mt. Vernon.  They thoroughly enjoyed themselves.  It was the 18th Century Fair so there were masses of people.  Don and Lolane are good and quick on their feet.  Despite being in their 60’s they move well.  Don reminds me so much of my Great Grandpa.  I get a kick out of both of them.  We were limited on time as they had to be to the temple to work later in the afternoon.  We did probably the fastest walking tour of Mt. Vernon I can imagine.  We zoomed all over the grounds, through the fair, and then back up to their apartment to change and attend the temple.
On a side note, as I went into the endowment room, I noticed the officiator’s name was John Whatcott.  I looked at him and asked if he was from Kanosh.  He looked a bit surprised at me and said he grew up there.  I told him of the Whatcott’s I knew.  After the session he asked me to remain in the celestial room so we could visit.  We had a great visit.  Come to find out he knows Don and Lolane from St. George.  Small world.  Don knew which session we were on and waited for us to leave the celestial room.  He walked us down to the next floor and we parted again.  I met Don’s Home Teaching companion, Elder Toronto, while picking up Amanda’s Aunt’s glasses from the temple lost and found.  Funny how interlinked the world is, at least in the church.
I have not made mention of it yet, but I am going from contractor status to full associate status at Bank of America.  Meaning, I will be an employee of Bank of America and not an at will person filling a seat.  Many companies now do the contractor business as they can then hire on employees after they have shown their worth.  I must have done well enough for them to offer me employment starting October 1.  I am excited.  Business has been picking up.  I don’t know if it is from the crunch in the market or what.  Bank of America definitely stands on higher ground than those feeling the squeeze or sinking under the housing market.  One thing is for sure, with this rate cut, we are expecting the next month to be hectic.
My birthday came and went just like every other day or the year.  I am back to being congratulated for it being my unbirthday.  I received all sorts of e-mails (which will take me a good week to respond to them all), many messages on Facebook, and a couple of cards and gifts.  Amanda and I enjoyed a nice big meal at Chili’s for dinner.  We joked about it being our triannual beef night.  It is birthdays or anniversary that I get to eat a steak.  Monday was a 12 oz Ribeye.  Mmmm, so good.  That is of course not mentioning the Idaho potatos.  Amanda got me a shirt, a jump drive, and something else which slips me at the moment.  I also received a journal, a few checks, and some other random memorabilia.  I honestly don’t feel any different now than I think I did when I was 19.  Except the fact my knee was reconstructed in 2004 and doesn’t give me the issues it did at 19.  So I guess I feel better than at 19.  I have filled out in stature, even added a little padding in the middle,  and perhaps a little wiser.  Life is good.
My blessings continue to flow despite my inept nature.  I continue to be given the little peaceable things of the kingdom from time to time.  They make the living and endurance all worth it.  Line upon line right?  Sometimes I wish it was more page upon page, but alas, I am not the one running the show.  Church goes well.  I feel spiritually well.  Not the muscular behemoth I would like to be spiritually, but I feel strong enough to do what needs to be done and any forseeable adventure.

TV’s and such

It seems to be one of those weeks where there isn’t necessarily a whole lot to tell.  So to make an entry, and anything with a little length, I will offer a smattering of thoughts from all over the spectrum.
A big Happy Birthday to Chris Horsley and Amanda Smith on the 14th.  I sent them both e-mails and wished them the best.  It is my Aunt Jackie’s birthday on the 25th, so Happy Birthday ahead of time.
Tuesday night Amanda and I went to pay a visit to Doris Coley.  She lives over in Laurel Fork area.  Amanda has worked with her for some time at Macy’s.  She lured Amanda over there in pursuit of a free TV and DVD player.  I really don’t care if we own either and would actually prefer not to.  That is just a little more weight I will have to worry about moving in a year and another distraction to take away some of what little time we mortals have been given.  Somehow I had come to believe it was a venture where we would go over and pick up the newly acquired property and head back home.  We made an evening of it.  We chatted about the nice lovely pleasantries of the life at Macy’s.  Conversation turned to life in general and school.  Of course I did a full analysis to see if her Coley line could in any way be related to mine (Hers is several hundreds of years in North Carolina making at least that long of a connection seeing how mine came directly from England).
She had a nice little piano in her living room that also became conversation.  She invited me to play it and before long I was in my own land while the women pondered paths I didn’t care to walk.  Before the night had ended we sang some hymns and even ended in a discussion about religion.  I ended the evening with giving her a copy of the Book of Mormon and basically a first discussion.  Sometimes I feel I am not as bold as I once was.  Honestly, it seems that one relies upon their companion so much to bear testimony and Amanda had no clue of the missionary ways that I think that is the only reason it felt pretty weak.  Sadly, I think both of us relied on trying to convince too much rather than just bearing testimony and letting the Spirit drive it to the heart.  Amanda left thinking we had been too bold and I left thinking we had not been bold enough.  She called us a few days later and made sure we were still planning on coming back.  Either way, we don’t seem to have offended.  I look forward to a return visit and whether or not she read any of the newly introduced sacred scripture.
Tonight I paid a visit to the Family History Library outside my normal working hours.  We had a pretty severe thunderstorm this evening and the two ladies working inside decided to go watch the storm for a minute.  Sadly, they left their keys in the library.  I rushed down thinking I would find two drowned older ladies.  Luckily enough they had only locked themselves out of the library, and not the building.  So I spent some time visiting with them about the Merrick’s of Maine/Massachusetts.  They decided to leave early so I played the piano and practiced some singing until a member of the Stake Presidency appeared to practice basketball.
Tuesday night at the library also proved to be interesting.  For the second week in a row a young man who is a recent convert came into the library to do some research.  He appeared with his laptop last week with PAF newly downloaded.  He started putting in his family.  He is preparing to go to the temple and wanted to do some of his own names for baptisms in about two weeks.  He never even knew who his Dad was last week.  This week he came back with dates and places and interestingly, was able to link him into the Cosby line.  Once we did that we were able to take him back to Jamestowne and even followed the line back 1,000 years.  He comes from a noble line in England.  He was amazed to find ancestors on both of his lines whose temple work had been done.  Some as early as 1932 in the Mesa, Arizona Temple.  I look forward to seeing him this coming Tuesday when we run these names through TempleReady.
Last Sunday we had our Stake Priesthood Meeting.  We were introduced to the new Mission President, President Millburn.  I prefer him much more than the last one.  He seems much more humble and able to connect with an audience.  In addition, he gave a great talk on fishing.  He is an expert at it, that is for sure.  Who else uses a stomach pump on a fish?  President Mullins (who interrupted my singing and playing tonight) gave a talk about various topics.  One was that individuals in the stake are not carrying their weight in fast offerings.  I thought that was interesting.  None of the other talks I remember.  However, the power in the singing was easily felt.
Today I was branded again at work due to a broker’s dishonesty.  A man gave me a complete sob story about why an appraisal was sufficient.  He manipulated my inexperience in working someone else’s loan, added with the other person not recording what they had done, and my not being thorough enough to catch the little red flags has now cost the bank a loan which is considered a risk and investors will not buy it.  Due to my approving of an updated appraisal, that wasn’t really updated, and the bank always standing by their word somebody got away with money that probably would not have been approved.  Like speeding tickets with points, I have now gained my first and hope they will wear off over time…  It is a good thing I no longer have access to that broker’s information for I would surely give him a phone call and let him know how sorely disappointed I am in him.  At any rate, “Let God choose between me and thee and reward thee according to thy deeds.”
Terry McComb’s funeral is going to be this coming Saturday.  I so wish I could be there.  Alas, we can’t do everything we want in life.  His obituary appeared today in the Times News.  I looked at it this morning at work.  I am looking forward to having my own clipping from the newspaper for my records.  I guess I will just have to pay a visit to the cemetery next time I get back to Idaho.  I so planned on spending a day or two in Branson on the way home for a lesson or two.  I guess I won’t now, at least stay for lessons.
We are headed up to Washington, DC again this weekend to attend the temple.  I am very much looking forward to it.  I have very much felt my faith increase this week and my soul feeling greatly nourished after some experiences in the scriptures.  2 Peter 2 and Ether 12 were powerful this week.
We received the Church News today and I read the parts about the new Brazil Temple.  I was thinking how excited President Faust must be to have the temple dedication coming up and realized he had passed away.  I guess he will be there at any rate, but not with a mortal body.  I wonder who will be called next.  I surely hope it is someone independent from the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.  I certainly think tradition and order are a good thing but it is always nice to shake things up from time to time.  Too often people get so rigid about the way things should be done we forget the role of inspiration being mixed in the bag.  I would really like to see a President of the Church not be the most senior Apostle.  How would that be for shaking things up?  We need more John Winder’s, Reuben Clark’s, Jedediah Grant’s, Hyrum Smith’s, and Charles Nibley’s in the world.
Lastly, I will end on a political note.  I haven’t had a political candidate really catch much of the sympathies of my heart.  They seem so canned and stale I can’t stand it.  However, Obama gave a comment this week about opening up government.  Boy, if reading an article ever stopped my heart, that was one of them.  A candidate willing to give full disclosure to the public?  If that becomes his whole purpose in life, I will most certainly vote for that man.  Well, that is only after he drops universal health care.  After my experiences in England,  will never support government ran health care.  But open disclosure?  How refreshing.  That requires more effort.  That requires doing things you know the whole country can be privy to.  Where would Bill Clinton be if he had known that?  How would things be different with Bush?  Either of them?  Watergate?  Iran-Contra?  New Deal?  War?  How would the world be different?