Homosexuality??

The conversation was very interesting. I really enjoyed it, but I did have the same question that you did. I have thought about it a little and I can
only offer a few thoughts. I have not really done anything to substantiate this, but these are my thoughts.

It is one thing for the temptations to be present, for the thoughts to enter your mind. You most surely are not accountable for them. I admit, I have temptations that come, sometimes I don’t even realize a thought process, I think it is more of an impulse, and then I realize the emotion, and have to try and talk myself out of it. Obviously, those types of thoughts in relation to it are okay. I have this weakness for ice cream. I will admit, sometimes I have the ice cream out of the freezer and am already scooping it before I think, “No, I am not going to do this.” Sometimes I am more successful than others. I really struggle with the impulses that come sometimes. They come and it is almost like I am already far down the road and it is harder to resist. I can imagine that is what it is like with quitting smoking or something. Something happens and there is almost a reflex. Converting must be an odd thing, for these old habits and impulses must come. They were not curtailed at an early age and therefore the road is paved, where when we grow up with the gospel, some roads are never traveled, in thoughts or action. I admit, there are temptations that
sometimes I think in my mind, “hmmm, what is going on, I am not going to do that, nope, nosir, stop, agh” and I am somewhere I should not be. I have to be very careful not to put myself in certain situations, I find I am weak from exposure during childhood to various things. There is a rational process, and I don’t see that as wrong. I often don’t think of the eternal scenario, but other than God doesn’t want me to do that…. Yet somehow, at times, my pride blatantly wins. I admit, I am on a kick right now that I absolutely refuse to run. I just want to, but is really my only means of cardiovascular exercise. I certainly think about doing it, and what happens to me if I don’t.

Having said all that, I think it is the desire, the thoughts that lead to desire, that will get us into trouble. There was a time, during the teenage years, where I was curious about various things. I thought about them and desired them. Those are the thoughts that make me feel bad today. Those are the thoughts that entered the heart. Oddly, those desires are now the impulses that my mind has to fight now. Once the desires were cultivated, and the seed grew and sprouted, I have spent the rest of my life since trying to uproot it, and never seem to be able to get all of it. It
definitely goes dormant, it seems to be gone, but then it reappears. It is like the blasted cancer, somehow, sadly, it always seems to creep in,
reappear, and devour somewhere else.

It seems I passed by many of the weaknesses of others without batting an eye. Yet, somehow they catch others in vicious snares. Certain things seem to catch our eye, or minds eye, and we ponder and consider those things. Many things I was fortunate to just dismiss, but those I did not, and pursued due to desire, are those things I still fight.

With any weakness, judging only from my personal experience, it was not so much the thoughts that did the damage, but the accepting of certain
thoughts, and then letting them take root, that has done the most harm.

Surely, I do not believe in leading a sheltered life. But rather, having the Spirit in such a way that I am inclined to find unwholesome things as
wanting, and therefore move on.

Funny, I have a scripture story in mind:
Mosiah 7
We are in bondage…are taxed with a tax which is grievous to be born…
Might gather themselves together to the temple, to hear the words which he should speak unto them…
O ye, my people, lift up your heads and be comforted; for behold the time is at hand or is not far distant, when we shall no longer be in subjection to our enemies, notwithstanding our many strugglings, which have been in vain; yet I trust there remaineth an effectual struggle to be made. Therefore, lift up your heads and rejoice, and put your trust in God, in that God who was the God of Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob…
And behold, it is because of our iniquities and abominations that he has brought us into bondage…

So they are in bondage, and there is an effectual struggle to be made, always to keep them from bondage. Even under the possibilities or being
slaves to the Nephites, or paying tribute to the Lamanites, it looks terrible. How did they get there?

Mosiah 8
I being over-zealous to inherit the land of our fathers…we were smitten with famine and sore afflictions; for we were slow to remember the Lord our God…

They ended up in that position because they had not followed the Spirit enough, and a desire swept them away.

Who knows, I don’t believe the gay gene exists. If it does, then the blessed day of genetic altering and gene therapy are at hand, we will soon
eradicate it. So that is not the problem. But I fear it is something more deep, something more frightening, a lessening of the Spirit of God abroad in the land, a lesser degree of inspiration in avoiding bad thoughts, the inspiration to avoid incorrect decisions, and a prolonged dwelling,
desiring, even lusting for those things we ought not. The loss of control, the lack of morals, and a more carnal, sensual (!!), and devilish world is
upon us.

A most frightening world

D&C 1:33
And he that repents not, from him shall be taken even the light which he has received; for my Spirit shall not always strive with man, saith the Lord of Hosts.
2 Ne 26:11
For the Spirit of the Lord will not always strive with man. And when the Spirit ceaseth to strive with man then cometh speedy destruction, and this grieveth my soul.
D&C 46:7
Do all things with prayer and thanksgiving, that ye may not be seduced by evil spirits…
D&C 50:1-2
Many false spirits have gone forth in the earth…

As for a child who has already gone down that path? Well, by the time a person realized they are gay, there has been a long process of reasoning,
thinking, to come to that stage. Now I know people who are gay, but not participating. They rationalize that one simply because they have no desire to women, but none to men either. That is just a great deception to me. But those who come out and proclaim they are gay, seem to do it more for the recognition and more for the acceptance than anything. Who knows. I honestly do not know enough about these things. But it is a weakness, it is something that comes up later in life, not from childhood, and is a road that appears very, very difficult to return from. To me it seems easier to raise a child right, than to help someone already on a bad path. Most of it is the struggle of the silent chambers of their own soul. Once they are older, it seems to be between them and the Lord. Now, obviously a Bishop or Judge would play a role, but I have not seen that role played, and am not familiar with it. Any thing I needed to repent that I needed to tell a Bishop, I had ceased doing when I entered activity in the church. I confessed, but did not have the struggle that requires a Bishop. I do, and everyone has their struggles though.

Well, it has been interesting to pursue some of the thoughts. It was more rambling. If you made it this far, I am certainly impressed. I seem to say
that if a child is thoroughly acquainted and walking in the ways of the Spirit, these things will not be an issue. Perhaps that is simple minded, or hopeful, or not realistic, but nevertheless, that seems the hope of Zion.

The sexual powers are the most powerful appetite it seems to me. When it goes, or is allowed, or taken down the wrong path, it is terribly difficult
to set things right. Like trying to resurrect a fully submerged, upside down vessel. It is better to avoid the capsize, then to correct the problem
later. For those who struggle with, and overcome these things, I must take my hat off to them. I don’t have the will power to cut out the mild swear words I like to use in utter frustration (by myself, never around others) yet alone imagine a Goliath like sexual deviance. I sense a frustration and disappointment if I ever were to fall to such devices. But, nothing is too great for the Lord. Every Goliath can fall, just how to find the faith….

 

27 Aug Talk

Since there are those who wish to know about the talk on Sunday, here you go. This is the outline of quotes I had on Saturday night. I completely reordered and changed emphasis of the talk after Sunday morning prayers. I used the scripture, Jacob 4:6-8, for the scripture and about continuing revelation. The power that comes to us through the word. That power is to be used in the mission of the church, including the three part break down of that mission, and then moved into the role that priesthood has in it. So hand in hand, I only gave 1/3 of what is here in the outline, and it was by no means all at the beginning. Due to time constraints, at about the 20 minute mark I was only getting into the priesthood part, and had to end. So, I really only spoke about faith, power, and the mission of the church, with a few hints at the role of the priesthood, but by no means whatsoever doing it justice. In fact, I don’t feel I even tied in the priesthood because of my trying to insert it and end. Throughout the talk I emphasized parts of Jacob 4:6-8 (which was quite powerful because I had it memorized) and finished with it as well.Perfecting the Saints/Priesthood

D&C 19:31-32 “And of tenets thou shalt not talk, but hou shalt declare repentance and faith on the Savior, and remission of sins by baptism, and by fire, yea, even the Holy Ghost. Behold, this is a great and the last commandment which I shall give unto you concerning this matter, for this shall suffice for thy daily walk, even unto the end of thy life.”

D&C 6:9 “Say nothing but repentance unto this generation; keep my commandments, and assist to bring forth my work, according to my commandments, and you shall be blessed.”

D&C 15:6 “And now, behold, I say unto you, that the thing which will be of the most worth unto you will be to declare repentance unto this people, that you may bring souls unto me, that you may rest with them in the kingdom of my Father. Amen.”

D&C 19:4 “And surely every man (or woman) must repent or suffer, for I, God, am endless.”

D&C 29:49 “And, again, I say unto you, that whoso having knowledge, have I not commanded to repent?”

President Ezra Taft Benson, “The grand mission of the church is accomplished by proclaiming the gospel, perfecting the Saints, and redeeming the dead”

Often wondered, can one be done with the exclusion of another? These are all parts of the mission to bring souls to Christ. We cannot achieve the whole, without doing all the parts.

James 2:10 “For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.”

D&C 50:28 “But no man is possessor of all things except he be purified and cleansed from all sin. And if ye are purified and cleansed from all sin, ye shall ask whatsoever you will in the name of Jesus and it shall be done.”

President Brigham Young: Some of you may ask, is there a single ordinance to be dispensed with? Is there one of the commandments that God has enjoined upon the people, that he will excuse them from obeying? Not one, no matter how trifling or small in our own estimation. No matter if we esteem them non-essential, or least or last of all the commandments of the house of God, we under obligation to observe them.

All parts of the mission of the church are constantly before us.

President Brigham Young: I never passed John Wesley’s church in London without stopping to look at it. Was he a good man? Yes, I suppose him to have been, by all accounts, as good as ever walked on this earth, according to this knowledge. Has he obtained a rest? Yes, and greater than ever entered his mind to expect, and so have thousands of others of the various religious denominations. Why could he not build up the kingdom of God on the earth? He had not the Priesthood; that was all the difficulty he labored under. Had the Priesthood been conferred upon him, he would have built up the kingdom of God in his day as it is now being built up. He would have introduced the ordinances, powers, grades, and quorums of the Priesthood. But, not holding the Priesthood, he could not do it (JD 7:5)

What is the Priesthood? Power of God given to man? What does that mean?

D&C 84:33, 35-39 “For whoso is faithful unto the obtaining these two priesthoods of which I have spoken, and the magnifying their calling, are sanctified by the Spirit unto the renewing of their bodies. And also all they who receive this priesthood receive me, saith the Lord; For he that receiveth my servants receiveth me; And he that receiveth my Father receiveth my Father’s kingdom; therefore all that my Father hath shall be given unto him. And this is according to the oath and covenant which belongeth to the priesthood.”

When we receive this priesthood, we also receive the father’s kingdom, which means we receive his work. If we do not his work, we receive not his kingdom. The work of God is to bring the power of the atonement into the lives of his children.

President Joseph Smith: God imself, finding he was in the midst of spirits and glory, because he was more intelligent saw proper to institute laws whereby the rest could have a privilege to advance like himself.

President Gordon B. Hinckley: The cause in which we are engaged is not an ordinary cause. It is the cause of Christ. It is the kingdom of God our Eternal Father. It is the building of Zion on the earth. If we are to build that Zion of which the prophets have spoken and of which the Lord has given mighty promise, we must set aside our consuming selfishness. We must rise above our love for comfort and ease, and in the very process of effort and struggle, even in our extremity, we shall become better acquainted with our God.

We need to be humble!

President Ezra Taft Benson: God will have a humble people. Either we can choose to be humble or we can be compelled to be humble.

We need to put first things first!

President Brigham Young: Stop! Wait! When you get up in the morning, before you suffer yourselves to eat one mouthful of food…bow down before the Lord, ask him to forgive your sins, and protect you through the day, to preserve you from temptation and all evil, to guide your steps aright, that you may do something that day that shall be beneficial to the kingdom of God on the earth. Have you time to do this?…this is the counsel I have for the Latter-day Saints today. Stop! Do not be in a hurry…you are in too much of a hurry, you do not go to meeting enough, you do not read the scriptures enough, you do not meditate enough, you are all the time on the wing, and in such a hurry that you do not know what to do first…Let me reduce this to a simple saying, one of the most simple and homely that can be used ‘keep your dish right side up’ so that when the shower of porridge does come you can catch your dish full.”

We need to learn our duty!

President Joseph F. Smith: We expect to see the day, if we live long enough,…when every council of the Priesthood in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will understand its duty, will assume its own responsibility,…to the uttermost, according to the intelligence and ability possessed by it. When that day shall come there will not be so much necessity for work that is now being done by the auxiliary organizations, because it will be done by the regular quorums of the Priesthood. The Lord designed and comprehended it from the beginning, and He has made every provision in the Church whereby every need may be met and satisfied through the regular organizations of the Priesthood (CR, Apr 1906, 3).

We need to have the Spirit!

(Feb 1847) President Joseph Smith to President Brigham Young: Tell the people to be humble and faithful, and be sure to keep the Spirit of the Lord, and it will lead them right. Be careful and not turn away the small still voice; it will teach you how to do and where to go; it will yield the fruits of the kingdom. Tell the brethren to keep their hearts open to conviction, so that when the Holy Ghost comes to them, their hearts will be ready to receive it. They can tell the Spirit of the Lord from all other Spirits; it will whisper peace and joy to their souls; it will take malice, hatred, strife, and all evil from their hearts; and their whole desire will be to do good, bring forth righteousness, and build up the kingdom of God. Tell the brethren if they will follow the Spirit of the Lord they will go right. Be sure to tell the people to keep the Spirit of the Lord; and if they will, they will find themselves just as they were organized by our Father in Heaven before they came into the world. Tell the people to be sure to keep the Spirit of the Lord and follow it, and it will lead them just right.

We need to accept our callings!

President Brigham Young: Do you suppose that after a man has refused to fulfill his calling, he can maintain the Spirit of truth and stand? He cannot? They say they believe Joseph Smith was a prophet raised up to establish the work of the last days, and bring forth the Book of Mormon, and thus they deceived.

We need to recognize our Priesthood leaders and have a testimony of them!

President Brigham Young: I am more afraid that this people have so much confidence in their leaders that they will not inquire for themselves of God whether they are led by him. I am fearful they settle down in a state of self-security, trusting their eternal destiny in the hands of their leaders with a reckless confidence that in itself would thwart the purposes of God in their salvation, and weaken that influence they could give to their leaders, did they know for themselves, by the revelations of Jesus, that they are led in the right way? Let every man and woman, know by the whispering of the Spirit of God to themselves, whether their leaders are walking in the path the Lord dictates or not (JD 9:150).

The Priesthood holds the power of eternity!

President Joseph Fielding Smith: There is no salvation without accepting Joseph Smith…no man can reject that testimony without incurring the most dreadful consequences, for he cannot enter the kingdom of God (DoS, v1, pg 180).

President Brigham Young: No man or woman in the dispensation will ever enter into the celestial kingdom of God without the consent of Joseph Smith…every man and woman must have the certificate of Joseph Smith Junior as a passport to their entrance into the mansion where God and Christ are (JD 7:289).

President Brigham Young: Madam, I have this day examined the records of baptisms for the remission of sins in the church of Jesus Chrsit of Latter-day Saints, and not being able to find the name of Elizabeth Green recorded therein, I was saved the necessity of erasing your name therefrom. You may therefore consider your sins have not been remitted you and you may consequently enjoy the benefits therefrom.

President Harold B. Lee: Now…remember, that the most important of the Lord’s work that you will ever do will be the work you will do within the walls of your own home. Home teaching, bishopric’s work, and other Church duties are all important, but the most important work is within the walls of your home (Strengthening the Home movie text, pg 7)

President Hugh B. Brown: The very foundation of the kingdom of God, of righteousness, of progress, of development, of eternal life, and eternal increase in the kingdom of God is laid in the divinely ordained home (CR, 2 Oct 1966, pg 103-4).

Our family is formally extended through the duty of the Priesthood, not a calling, of home teaching!

President Harold B. Lee: Maybe the home teacher should be charged more clearly to describe his mission to watch over and to strengthen to see that members do their duty…They think themselves as teachers of the Gospel message only. Maybe we ought to be calling them home guardians or sentinels and to report their stewardship to the fathers of the ward. We must do something to change the emphasis from teaching to guardians, ‘watching over the church kind of concept.’ Until we get that into our minds, we are not going to do the kind of home teaching that is going to get results.

Spencer W. Kimball: Is it any wonder that the organization and work of the Church and its priesthood in this day are patterned after the keys it possesses? We are a missionary Church, participating to the fullest possible extent in the gathering of Israel. We are a Church founded upon families; a Church that takes care of its own, stressing the economic, intellectual, and spiritual development of its families and individual members in preparation for salvation in the kingdom of heaven. And we are a Church that is actively engaged in temple and genealogy work for ourselves and for the infinite numbers of our Father’s children who have the promise, but not as yet the opportunity, for the ordinances of salvation. This is a work that makes even more meaningful the great corresponding missionary work being carried out in the spirit world. (Ensign, Jan 1977, 3)

Capitalism

You sure have a way of sending a good variety of subjects in your e-mails don’t you?  A couple of these I have to sit and think for a minute before I answer. 

Thought I would make a comment before I go on too much. Remember, it is not so much capitalism that is a bad thing, it is the lack of morals within a system.  We believe that an individual should not be inhibited by bondage, chains, or government, but only by their conscience and their own inner moral compass.  A man is to be able to choose their life and path in life and be amenable to God. The hard fisted, strong willed governments, who rule with iron force are those we are against.  Therefore, capitalism is the system to which we look. The thing is though, that we believe that a man should be restrained by morals, the will of God.  Obedience due to love and meekness, not by force. So that changes some of the face of what you wrote in your e-mail.

Alma 30:17
Korihor was teaching that since there was not a Christ, therefore no atonement, that there was not to be a curtailing or limiting of personal
action (freedom). We believe that men prosper by community, not by individual exertion. We are not for people profiting and gaining by using
their gifts (genius) and strength to the putting down of other men. They are to be used for the benefit of all.

Proverbs 16:25
The children of men are to follow the way of God, not what a man believes is right. We are to follow the commandments and way of God, not whatever a man things is right, for that is surely death.

Does that change the view and look on those scriptures? It completely changes the light of them.

Remember, the limits of men making money, also limits men who are doing good. Remember that government intervention itself takes time and money, and pulls resources away from those who are being regulated. Regardless of the laws of the land, a man cannot get away from crimes against God or humanity. They still have to answer to the great lawgiver of eternity. If we build a government, we should mimick his laws for anything more is to elevate ourselves above what God has determined. The classic saying, whatsoever is more or less is of the devil. I most surely believe there is a need for laws. Just for organization and management of a people there has to be law. Take for example the church’s law that a person must have been a member for a year before going to the temple. There are a host of laws, but there needs to be a purpose.

Anyhow, that is my thoughts on your e-mail. I will try and find your quote on bridled capitalism.

 

Nuffer family history

Today I am glad to announce that I completed the Nuffer family history.  As grand as that sounds, that actually is defined as I only finished the book that Larry gave me on the Nuffer family.  I went through and read the entire book gleaning family history information.  It was very interesting.  Much of the history of Preston, Glendale, Mapleton, Providence, and other places in Cache Valley are included.  I have built a greater relationship with my Nuffer ancestry now.  Plus I have learned a good deal about parts of the family I knew nothing about.  There are everything in there about marriages, skeletons in the family, births, deaths, places, and even records of temple ordinances (including second anointings).  It has been very interesting.
This will come as a revelation to some, but I am still typing up the journals of Lillian Coley Jonas Bowcutt.  I am now 9 months into 1961.  I hope to finish the year by the end of the week and send it out to all the family who are related.  I am excited.  I have learned some really interesting things.  She tells of her bout with cancer, having ‘her female organs’ removed, and the comings and goings of neighbors.  She tells of every family who comes to visit.  I have really enjoyed it.  She tells of my Grandma going to get a cancerous mole removed.  She tells of my Mother and some of her reactions to others.  She tells often of the baby, Jackie, and how she seems to be always sick.  She mentions how she is taking care of Ren and how he broke his hip.  She tells of her reading the Book of Mormon and how she wishes she could go to the temple with her sister Edna.  I am building a relationship with my Great Grandmother.  I wish they were a little longer and she would reflect some.  When her own mother died, she tells of the funeral and nothing more.  She tells who came to visit but nothing of the emotional side made it in really.  I wish she would tell something about Joseph Jonas.  The only mention so far is going to put flowers on his grave, and his father’s.
There are two interviews tomorrow.  Both with staffing services.  One is for a legal staffing company.  I would really like to know if they have anything available.  If there are no job offers, I think I will go ahead with the job at Combined.  I have already agreed to start training next week. I have been really impressed with Marc Summers, who is hiring me.  He has been so kind and really gone out of his way to help any concerns I have had.  Not to mention his respect of the LDS religion.  He has openly stated he wants to learn more, so I am interested in taking this job just for the missionary opportunities.  The same in traveling to visit people. I could meet more, have more opportunity, get to know Richmond more by going with Combined than ever sitting in an office.  I did always want a job that would be outside.  Geez, I don’t know why I am even second guessing this.  It seems like it could be all I could want and more.
The bad parts are that I will have training for three weeks.  The first week here in Glen Allen.  Then two weeks in Raleigh, North Carolina.  They pay for all the costs, but that doesn’t help alleviate the costs of living right now. However, once I have a job, they tell me the usual base pay for a week is at least $500.  That is if you are doing the work and just picking up premiums.  He said selling insurance on top of that will only add to that amount.  He said they like to have their people making $125 a day.  He said you can pretty easily make over that.  I think I will give it a try.  The money would not hurt, but more importantly, I need some type of income.  The best part is I love to travel, I love to meet new people, and what an opportunity to share the gospel.  You never know, I could do insurance law some day.  They said they do have a legal department and they even help to pay for some of the schooling.  Sounds like a good idea to me.  We will have to see.  I think I will go with it.  I will wait and see what these two interviews tomorrow bring for us.

Oh the Greatness of God

Well, we are about at the ending of another week.  Nevertheless, I am still feeling the influence of the last weekend.  How wonderful it is to have prophets upon the earth.  What a wonderous day we live in.  We are blessed so exceedingly!  We have prophets, apostles, and the priesthood.  I guess it is more the other way around, we have the priesthood, which gives us prophets, apostles, and all the church.  Everything is governed under the authority and power of the Father and Son.  What a wonderful and magnificent thing it is to behold.
This weekend I had the privilege of standing in on a blessing.  It was great, what an honour.  Even better, we have the capacity and capability of doing these things.  I stood in on a baby blessing a few weeks ago.  How wonderful.  I sat in General Conference in the presence of the Lord’s called Apostles and Prophets.  Again, I saw our dearly beloved prophet stand up, waddle to the stand, and speak.  My heart swells with joy and gratitude.  We can hear the Lord’s direction for us, for me, for you, for us individually.  How unique and personal that makes the Atonement, the Church, and God.
In reading the scriptures, I find myself ever shaking my head.  Can we be wiser?  Can we learn from the teachings and mistakes?  We are finishing 2 Samuel tomorrow night.  We have read of Saul, and David, and Absalom, and even Samuel.  Each were amazing men, but made some horrible mistakes.  Even Samuel’s own children would not follow the Lord.  We finished Mosiah last night in the Book of Mormon.  There are some individuals who turned to the Lord, the sons of Alma and Mosiah.  Mosiah instructed the people about proper government and how to do things.  I find it amazing that people say what is the proper way of government, even in the church, yet they obviously know not the scriptures.  I hold the Book of Mormon of being of great worth in bringing much light and truth to our generation.  It is the applicator of the Bible.  I would declare that without reading and being familiar with the Old and New Testament, you will not understand the full import and value of the Book of Mormon.  Without the Bible and Book of Mormon, one will not understand the Doctrine and Covenants.  So many tell me that the law of consecration is vague and not clear.  I say to those people read Deuteronomy and the Doctrine and Covenants again.  If they can say that then, they have not understood what they read.  It is so stark and clear!  Without prophets and apostles, we would not have the Book of Mormon or Doctrine and Covenants.  Even then, I fear most of the Christian world do not know their own Bible.  If they do, they do not believe it or live its teachings.
Prayer is such an amazing thing.  My experiences are so valued to me.  I would not trade them for anything.  But for people who tell me I do not know these things are true, I say they have not experienced prayer.  They know not heaven or how to communicate with it (or don’t wish to).  Our blessings are amazing.  The counsel comes to us as the dews from heaven.  They descend, and some allow them to run on by, others lap them up and hold tightly to what falls upon our heads.  We don’t have the option, they are coming.  What will we do with them?
Well, I close for now.  I love you, I know the church is true!

February’s ending

Life continues to go on.  Things are going very well here in Provo, Utah.  Amanda and I are enjoying life and keeping busy.  I am working full time at Meier and Frank and enjoying my time there.  I look forward to each day and every day is different.  Amanda has just switched from DownEast Outfitters to Dillards.  I agree with many things at Dillards but admit we are much more human at Meier and Frank.  Macy’s Regional Representatives visited the store yesterday and they were very kind, willing to listen, and easy to get along with.  It was an enjoyable experience.  Things are laid back and good at M&F.  Dillards has this rule that if you are tardy 8 times in 6 months, you are fired.  Ouch!  Aren’t we humans? not machines?  Amanda keeps busy with school.  She had a chemistry test today that she was not very excited about.  On the way home, she doesn’t feel she did very well.  I am continuing with my LSAT Course.  I am feeling more confident in the possibilities with the test, but still am not showing the improvements I would like to see.  Soon enough, I hope.  We finished Numbers just a day or two ago.  We are now reading on in Deuteronomy, which is one of my favorite books of the entire Bible.  I love how personable Moses is and feel like I am sitting in a General Conference talk with it.  We are ahead of the reading for Sunday School, but will lose ground as the year goes on.  We will finish in November, but at some points will even be behind where the Gospel Doctrine class is.  Oh well.  Tonight we finish 2 Nephi.  We will finish the Book of Mormon in September.  It will be good to finish that early.  We will have an opportunity to read some other books that we agree on.  I would like to read the history of Joseph Smith by his mother together.  We will see what books Amanda has in mind.  Jesus the Christ sounds good, or Articles of Faith, or perhaps some of the manuals for Priesthood/Relief Society.
Anyhow, I am rambling on about what is happening in life.  Thought you would all like to know a few things and what is going on in my head and with Amanda.
One question that I am researching lately is this.  In a conversation with a friend, we had talked about capital punishment and the comment was brought up, “That is part of the Mosaic Law” and no longer applies.  Ringing in my mind was the line about the savior fulfilling, not destroying or removing.  The whole law was to point us to Christ, so is it all bad.  Is the entire Spirit of the Law void?  I do not believe so.  It seems to me that if the Mosaic Law were all void and null, then the 10 commandments would not have been repeated over and over in every other book of scripture.  Other than their performances and ordinances, it seems that it all still applies.  I keep reading and wondering.  That is one thing I am pondering about.  We shall see.  If it is still applicable, then that changes my view of government in a couple of ways.  The setup and functioning of government is changed in some ways.  It does not change or alter anything in the church, in fact, to me it seems to fortify it a great number of times.  I believe the Book of Mormon is vital to the church, but I believe the same of the Bible.  One is a restoration scripture, and vital to our times, but the other is vital to providing background and foundation on which the Book of Mormon builds.  Knowing and reading the Old Testament fortifies the teachings and application of the Book of Mormon.  Anyhow, this is one current subject of learning.
Lately I have also been wondering about family history.  There are many aspects of it that seem to strike me a little more forcefully.  Especially as I stumbled upon several albums which belonged to my Great Grandmother and Great Great Grandmother.  It has been very revealing.  It is amazing the power of a picture.  I have gone around and visited a load of family members, especially older members, to find out who some of the photos are.  There are probably two dozen photos which nobody is old enough to recognize.  Which I find is really sad.  These are interesting photos.  I have gone through and scanned all of them and have been e-mailing them out to family members.  I hope they are valuing what I am sending.  I may at some later point when I am done with them, post them all here on the blog.  We will see.  There are quite a few and it may take too much time.  We will see.
Well, I have to be going.  Life is great.  We are very abundantly blessed.  We are very fortunate.  I hope it continues.  Oh, Amanda has been accepted to University of Maryland-Baltimore.  We await word from Virginia Commonwealth University.  Also, Amanda and I have accepted a calling to team teach in primary.  The 5-6 years old if I remember right.

Settling In

Some more time has passed, and I am fully engaged in a full schedule.  An LSAT Couse that I should dedicate more time to.  Full time work as a dock boy at Meier and Frank, now Macy’s.  It is funny how much more time I had for personal things when I was single.  Now, much of my free time is taken up with Amanda.  I am not complaining at all, but there are some things that just need getting done.  I try and dedicate a little time to family history a week, but I have received several letters, and some photos which have required more time.  I work a full 8 hours a day, Monday – Friday, which I very much enjoy.  However, the hours are from 6-3.  I am getting used to it, but Amanda likes to stay up late, so I usually get to bed later than I like.  That is slowly changing.  The nice thing is when I get off, I have plenty of time to get things done.
We are settled in and happy in Provo.  I am not sure we care to totally much of the ward.  Some pretty blatant false doctrines are taught in Sunday School and Elder’s Quorum.  The one two weeks ago was a classic…Did you know that God always gives conflicting commandments?  It was a new lesson to me.  He cited the appearing conflicting commandments of the Garden of Eden.  The teacher basically lectures and does not encourage class participation.  What gets me is that people just nod their heads and agree.  Being a new position I am in an awkward position of whether I should say anything.  The last time I did, the class basically attacked me.  It was completely ad hominem, rather than using scripture to back up the doctrine being taught, it was personal attacks on me.  But since I was new, they didn’t really have anything on me, so it was pretty sad.  However, the main point against me was that the devil is one who destroys and tears down, that the devil brings contention.  I was not contentious though, I promise.  I only commented that I understood differently, that the doctrine appeared incorrect, and that I would like references from the scriptures and priesthood leaders.  I also commented that professors from BYU, or other published authors do not speak for the church and were in my mind inappropriate for Sunday School.  Anyhow, some other of the doctrines which have been classics taught in Sunday School and Elder’s Quorum: If you do not use the Priesthood, you lose it!; those who are members of the church are better than those who are outside, we are more special, and should rest easy knowing we are chosen of God (sounds awfully Rameumptum to me!); and individuals being chosen by God has nothing to do with their actions (previous to this life, or current).
Well, since I have referenced them, I better tell the doctrine as I see it.
We are commanded to go forth and multiply and we are commanded that only within marriage are sexual relations to exist.  Darn it, another one of those conflicting commandments, better choose the better one and hope God will provide a Saviour for you as well.  This is so blatantly myopic that it shocks me that people just shake their heads and agree.  It is all a manner of timing.  It is the same thing with Adam and Eve, they were to multiply and replentish the earth, but without the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, they could not.  It was all a matter of time, just like we are to wait before we have children.  Remember, Satan was only doing that which was done in other worlds, giving the fruit of the tree to Adam and Eve.  He wanted to be God, the Saviour (Moses 1:19) and would obviously do what he could to take control of the plan and screw it up.  Well, he gave the fruit early.  The temple makes it so painfully obvious.
As for the Priesthood, if I fell off a cruise ship and was stranded on a deserted island, I would lose the priesthood I hold according to this doctrine, unless I was to give the turtles and trees blessings daily.  I don’t have a scripture, but I know that the only time you can lose the priesthood is if a judge in Israel removes it.  The amount you use it does not matter, but it is set forward by worthiness, not activity.
God is no respecter of persons.  This is a fundamental restored doctrine and one that is clear in the Bible as well.  Anyone, anywhere, anyhow, if worthy can return to the presence of God.  We do not believe in the jaunty iconoclasm of God playing favorites or choosing one person over another.  Then for those who are members of the church, they cannot rest easy, for with the greater light comes great responsibility (or condemnation) and it requires more work, effort, diligence, and faithfulness.  Being a member of church should make us work even harder than relaxing and resting on our laurels.
Lastly, that God calls up and makes people chosen.  The Saviour himself sets this one straight.  3 Nephi 19:20-22 makes it clear.  Those who are chosen are so because they believe.  How does God know they believe?  He knows because the pray, more than that, they commune with him through the Holy Ghost which the Saviour is teaching us about in those very verses.  What is even more, he exemplifies it in prayer himself.  (Then he identifies when we pray to Christ instead of the father, that is only when he is in person with us like in D&C 109 when Joseph switches)  So, Joseph Smith was chosen because he was a prayerful individual.  It was because of that faith (Helaman 5:41) that he was then called to be a prophet.  Anyone can be chosen, but not everyone can be called to be a prophet over the whole church.  So more appropriately, we say President Hinckley was called to be an Apostle and President of the Church, not chosen; for that has a different meaning we will not go into here.
Anyhow, I suppose if I keep going against the grain, then nobody will like me and I won’t get a calling with much reach or depth (which is both good and bad…natural or spiritual man).  I just have to prepare a bit more for Sunday School so as to have scriptures and back up for the false doctrines, because as Elder’s Quorum showed, I have no authority of myself (I did and do not claim any in setting straight false doctrines).
Meier and Frank here is turning out to be very good for me.  Not much for using my new degree, but it is work.  This job doesn’t help me get into Law School either.  But I think oh well, we shall see.  Hopefully University of Virginia is not that shallow to put that much weight onto the jobs one has before entering Law School like some universities do.  Things are good, and I enjoy the work.  Plus I just don’t sit in an office all day which nearly drives me crazy.  On the 1st, we became Macy’s.  The name change will be enacted on the 9th of September, but I won’t be around for that, so we will continue to call it Frier and Mank.  I am really enjoying some of the guys I work with as well.  All three of the main guys are salt of the earth.  Joe is an Hawaiian, Kyle is 21 and hasn’t been on a mission and can barely read and write, and Steven (the boss) works harder than the other three of us combined.  This week has been crazy in preparing for the new corporate leaders to come through (the “big wigs”).
The LSAT Course is going well enough.  I am learning all sorts of cool things, but my scores seem to keep going down.  My highest score so far is a 153, and I have descended with todays test to a 141.  Somehow I expected to head the other direction.  I will have to work harder and see what I can work.  Today’s test I had no clue on the games section.  I felt as dumb as they come.  Apparently I was not the only one, which made me feel better, but I have plenty of area to improve.  Especially if I have to get over 165 to hope of getting into Virginia.  A 170 would secure me a place pretty easy.  Yikes, this is going to be hard work.
Well, I sign off.  Things are well in Provo, Utah.  We march forward.