Tribulations contemplated….

An excerpt of an e-mail with friends about tribulation and the different ways people deal with it.

After thinking about excommunicated Bishop Young, your Steve, and Uncle (that is what I will call him, your friend’s uncle) this is what I have come up with.  I think I hinted at some of it.

“And thus Laman and Lemuel, being the eldest, did murmur against their father.  And they did murmur because they knew not the dealings of that God who had created them” (1 Ne 2:12).

People murmur because they know not God.

“Do all things without murmurings and disputings:” (Philip 2:14).

“And said, Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither; the Lord gave and the Lord hath taken away; belessed be the name of the Lord.  In all this Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly” (Job 1:21-22).

The Lord gives, and he takes away.  Nowhere am I aware that the promise is given that our family will not wander.  It is not given that they have not their agency or the natural course of events don’t take place.  All people get sick, all have sufferings, all have difficulties; no matter how faithful they are.  Look at Christ, look at Joseph Smith, look at Joseph of old, look at Job, and the list goes on.

So I have been thinking about this quite a bit, obviously as I e-mailed you about it.

“And when the people complained it displeased the Lord; and the Lord heard it; and his anger was kindled; and the fire of the Lord burnt among them, and consumed them that were in the uttermost parts of the camp” (Num 11:1).

In reading the whole eleventh chapter of Numbers I think of these people I know.  They want meat, they want water, they want this, and they want that.  It just never is good enough for them.  Then when something goes wrong, they are the first ones to point a finger.  It doesn’t seem like it is God to me.  Seems like it is the person.  I mean, we are talking of Israel here, keeping the law of Moses here and very strict.  Even they in the midst of obedience seems to have something awry and still struggle.

I have come to personally believe that being righteous does not remove bad things from happening.  It in a sense takes you above the low, mean, and doggerel.  It gives the buena vista, the grand picture.  Bad things still happen.  Not that I am righteous by any means, but look at my life.  Look at my family.  Not that we are saints, but we are no more sinners than the rest, but we have our share of woes.  Don’t we all.  It is all how we view them.  Do we live by faith?

If we don’t know or understand the Lord’s way, then we complain and murmur.  It is just a given.  When we seek the Lord and his ways, then we live by the comforter, and knowing all will workout.  Peace innervates our lives.

This hit home tonight in reading the scriptures.  “His purposes fail not, neither are there any who can stay his hand.  From eternity to eternity he is the same, and his years never fail.  For thus saith the Lord – I, the Lord, am merciful and gracious unto those who fear me, and delight to honor those who serve me in righteousness and in truth unto the end.  Great shall be their reward and eternal shall be their glory.”

So, those who are faithful and serve God, they will have their reward, and will be filled with peace and light.  What is more is how the Lord continues.  “And to them shall I reveal all mysteries, yea, all the hidden mysteries of my kingdom from days of old, and for ages to come, will I make known unto them the good pleasure of my will concerning all things pertaining to my kingdom.  Yea, even the wonders of eternity shall they know, and things to come will I show them, even the things of many generations.  And their wisdom shall be great, and their understanding reach to heaven; and before them the wisdom of the wise shall perish, and the understanding of the prudent shall come to naught.  For by my Spirit will I enlighten them, and by my power will I make known unto them the secrets of my will – yea, even those things which eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor yet entered into the heart of man” (D&C 76:3-10).

I think that is easily applicable to Bishop Young, Brother Steve, and Uncle.  Those who are faithful and serve God (faithful and serve!) will be filled with peace and light.  They will know the mysteries, and I think that includes the mysteries of their family.  FOR MANY GENERATIONS, their wisdom shall be great.

Remember, those who know the dealings of that God who created them will not murmur.  So, if they were living the above, not only would they know concerning their family, but they would know the mysteries of God and not be murmuring and complaining to begin with.  Their family’s apostasy/inadequacies would be viewed in the proper perspective.

What is more, don’t forget this promise, “Yea, he that repenteth and exerciseth faith, and bringeth forth good works, and prayeth continually without ceasing—unto such it shall be given to reveal things which never have been revealed; yea, and it shall be given unto such to bring thousands of souls to repentance, even as it has been given unto us to bring these our brethren to repentance” (Alma 26:22).

It seems to me that if we are faithful, repenting, and praying continually without ceasing, our family would not go astray.  However, if they did, we would have the mysteries revealed unto us, at least that all would be well and we are doing what we can.

Divorces take two, so it may not have been his fault he was divorced.  It may not have been his fault that his children divorced.  But if he really had a burning testimony, his covenants would have kept him from leaving the church.  Perhaps this was his trial to test his faith.  “Therefore, they must needs be chastened and tried, even as Abraham, who was commanded to offer up his only son” (D&C 101:4).  It seems Uncle lost his chastening and trying, for when he came to offer up his family on the altar, he fell away into forbidden paths and was lost.

I am surprised how many people seem to be outwardly doing what they are supposed to, but then don’t do the basics.  Like the whole praying and scripture study.  “They were slow to hearken unto the voice of the Lord their God; therefore, the Lord their God is slow to hearken unto their prayers, to answer them in the day of their trouble” (D&C 101:7).

Your friend recited off his accomplishments like they were credits to be raked in for the redemption when needed.  That is not the way it works.  It is what we become, not what we have done.  The Lord tests us when we have nothing to rest on.  The church exacerbated the problems, that shows he and her family were not viewing this with an eye to faith.  Doesn’t matter which church for that matter.  “Remember, remember that it is not the work of God that is frustrated, but the work of men” (D&C 3:3).  He seems a little frustrated in his work, who was he working for?  If he was working for God, he obviously wasn’t in constant communication otherwise he would have known for what purpose, or that this was the Lord’s purpose.  How narrow sighted to blame the loss of his own eternity on the church or his family.  The Lord giveth and he taketh away.  The promise is that we may have these things in eternity, I know nowhere the promise is that we have the promise to keep them while in this life.  “And every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name’s sake shall receive an hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life” (Matt 19:29).  We have to be willing to give them all up at any time.

So, now that I have thoroughly torn the person apart, what does an outsider say?  Well this seems the given of missionary work.  What do we say to anyone anywhere?  “And thou shalt do it with all humility, trusting in me, reviling not against revilers.  And of tenets thou shalt not talk, but thou shalt declare repentance and faith on the Savior, and remission of sins by baptism, and by fire, yea, even the Holy Ghost” (D&C 19:30-31).  “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 15:6).

Why is it that we feel we have to convince people of the truth?  Why do we feel we need to coax people into repentance?  Isn’t that the Spirit’s job?  Aren’t we to work by the patterns of the spirit?  Just tell it like it is?  He needs to repent and come back to the Savior.  Back to the Lord’s supper table, the Sacrament.  He needs to return and keep the covenants he made, or make them.  He needs to believe the gospel and walk in its light.  Who cares if his wife and family go to hell.  That is their choice.  We can only do so much.  We can warn them and carry the spirit to them as well.  That is between the Lord and them.

“Verily, I say unto you that ye are chosen out of the world to declare my gospel with the sound of rejoicing, as with the voice of a trump.  Lift up your hearts and be glad, for I am in your midst, and am your advocate with the Father; and it is his good will to give you the kingdom” (D&C 29:4-5).  We are to raise our voice and declare it.  How many missionaries ruined a convert by trying to convince them?  Get the Spirit to manifest to them, then you have got something.  Then the fun things happen.  “If it be some other way it is not of God”

Anyhow, it seems obvious what it is we must do.  Live and continue to be examples of the Savior.  That is it.  The issue is on his side.  The church, the prophets, the scriptures, the word (Spirit, revelation, even Christ) have been neglected in these individual’s lives.  “And all they who receive the oracles (this is more than just a person, it is the instruments, the wisdom, the whole apparatus of the church) of God, let them beware how they hold them lest they are accounted as a light thing, and are brought under condemnation thereby, and stumble and fall when the storms descend, and the winds blow, and the rains descend, and beat upon their house (and the family in the house)” (D&C 90:5).

Let our friends be our lesson.  Let us learn from their example.  Let us do what they have not done, “And he who receiveth all things with thankfulness, shall be made glorious; and the things of this earth shall be added unto him, even an hundred fold, yea, more” (D&C 78:19).

“Yea, and we may see at the very time when he doth prosper his people, yea, in the increase of their fields, their flocks and their herds, and in gold, and in silver, and in all manner of precious things of every kind and art; sparing their lives, and delivering out of the hands of their enemies (which he has promised to some extent); softening the hearts of their enemies that they should not declare wars against them; yea, and in fine, doing all things for the welfare and happiness of his people; yea, then is the time that they do harden their hearts, and do forget the Lord their God, and do trample under their feet the Holy One—yea, and this because of their ease, and their exceedingly great prosperity.  And thus we see that except the Lord doth chasten his people with many afflictions, yea, except he doth visit them with death and with terror, and with famine and with all manner of pestilence, they will not remember him” (Hel 12:2-3).

Not so much that the difficulties don’t come and go, but more our recognition of their passing.  Are we Teflon individuals spiritually, or do they increase and increase our drag until we fall to the earth from our lofty spheres of flying with angels?  The rugged terrain is always there, just how we endure it.

So what must we all do?  Live the gospel.  Read daily.  Pray morning, noon, and night.  Attend our church meetings.  Keep the Sabbath.  Maintain and keep the Spirit.

The old cry comes up incessantly, “it is so hard to do!”  Well, as long as we are that weak in faith, that is how long we will continue with the struggles and not have the mysteries continually lain before our eyes.  It is our decision.

One last thought that just popped in.  Uncle needs to be careful that he is doing his part with the Lord, and not just leaving the rest to family, friends, and ward members.  Perhaps part of the problem is he left the Lord out too much in his dealings.  “So Saul died for his transgression which he committed against the Lord, even against the word of the Lord, which he kept not, and also for asking counsel of one that had a familiar spirit, to enquire of it; and enquired not of the Lord; therefore he slew him, and turned the kingdom unto David the son of Jesse” (1 Chr 10:13-14).

We must be careful we do not do the same thing.  We can discuss this all the day long, but we must make sure we are keeping the word of the Lord, and seeking our counsel first to the Lord.  Then to our friends.  This applies to us, and to Uncle.

Good night.

Newport News

A few more updates for those faithful souls who still check up on me.
We just returned from a weekend in Newport News.  That is on the other side of Jamestown and Williamsburg from us.  We did not make a stop to those historic places, but hope someday in the future.
Amanda and I went out to go to church with a friend from her class.  She is a Southern Baptist and agreed to go to church with us if we would go to church with her.  So it was a deal.  We made the trek out to Newport News and spend Saturday night.  It was good to visit her home and get to know her in her own environment.  It was a little weird for me being the extra on hand, but I did okay.  Today we went to church with her.  Sunday School was about spiritual maturity.  Which I really liked, but it was like an hour on only three verses, and the guy was becoming a little redundant.  He did comment next weeks lesson was on Melchezidek and I sure did want to be there for that one.  The Bible is very lean on its teachings of that good man, and would like to see what type of whistling in the dark they would do there.  But we will not be around for that.  The main meeting was good, it was about greed.  The church made it very evident they are not meeting their budget financially.  But the talk was still very good coming from Luke 12.
Afterward, we made our way to the Denbigh ward of the Newport News Stake.  It is one of those 80′s buildings that are a bit darker with some strange designs inside.  Oh well.  We sat down and waited for Sacrament to start.  It was fast and testimony meeting, one of those meetings you came to dread and love as a missionary.  I wondered which one it was.  Well, it was one in which you had to spend considerable time with the investigator insisting we let anyone get up.  There were some powerful testimonies, and then there was the senile old lady.  One never knows what the Lord can do with adversity.  If he really wants Amanda’s friend, Jen, to come around to seeing the light, he is going to have to overcome the attending of the Denbigh Ward Sacrament Meeting.  Sunday School went pretty well.  It was from Isaiah and the teacher did a good job.  How prepared she was I do not know as she just seemed to go through the lesson without much insight.  Even the parallels which were to be drawn, or the segue between scriptures was not present.  But, I have to admit, the spirit was present and that is what is most important.  Sacrament we just squeamed for some of the talks.  Saying all that, there was a Brother Saxton who spoke directly to Jen.  Hopefully that makes all the difference.  I had a good relaxing time in Priesthood just reading the manual in class on Redeeming the Dead from Brother Wilford.  I hear that Relief Society was about the need for Living Prophets, which seems perfect for the situation and the students.  Perhaps it will have the needed influence.  Miss Jen took all types of notes in Sunday School.  I hope these things bring up questions for her that she will realize typical Christianity cannot answer.  Afterward eating dinner, she asked what happens when we die.  It was hard to tell someone who does not believe in angels, who does not believe in a Spirit World, and who believes you go directly the presence of God (What is the point of a body and resurrection if we can go directly to God?)  Anyhow, I enjoyed the Baptist Church.  Not sure I liked the worship service, the music definitely caters to emotion.  But I liked Sunday School, except for my short squatty chair that made my bottom hurt.
We came home and Amanda and I chatted.  Jen was asking what we considered election.  Amanda started explaining our definition of being born again when I realized we needed to chat about that some.  So all the way home we discussed the doctrine of election, calling and election made sure, the more sure word of prophesy, and more of those eternal, deep, mysteries of the kingdom.  It was a good chat.  I think she realized there was a whole other side to the gospel she had not even considered.  When we got home and we talked about the General Assembly and Church of the Firstborn, I think she about fell off her chair.  She insisted nobody knows about these things.  I told her as far as I knew, most missionaries did.  I think she was surprised when I showed her a few of the many scriptures that talk about these things.  Even a few in the old testament seem so vague, but taken in this light are very enlightening.
Anyhow, it was a good Sabbath Day.  If nothing else, we have come to appreciate another religion a little more.  They are good people.  We also came to realize all is not well in Zion and every ward has things they can work on.
I thought I might share a little bit from Friday night.  Amanda and I went to a company party at the Holiday Inn down Staples Mill from us.  We went in and the first person I ran into was Neil who was very happy to see me.  He started boasting about how wonderful I was doing and what great things I was going to do.  I think he sensed I had lost some of my zeal for the company.  He asked if everything was okay.  I told him pretty clearly I did not think it was all coming up roses.  He was definitely shocked by my blow to him.  The meal was more hors oeuvres (whatever) and they gave us two tickets for drinks.  The bartender thought we were a bit weird in asking for orange juice and a sprite.  Oh well.  The music was loud, a guy who was selling me Quixtar besides us, and people trying to get us to dance.  I visited with Nicole, a girl I graduated sales school with in Raleigh.  She is in the same boat I am in right now as well.  I heard that she is doing really well from Neil.  Well, things were not as peachy coming from her.  I am glad I am not the only one who struggles here.  Andy is gone.  Monica is gone.  David is gone.  Larry is gone.  I am one of the last few.  I was actually surprised Nicole made it this far.
I went to do my check in with Ted and I caught him and Neil talking in the hall about me.  They asked for my concerns and I unloaded them.  Then Neil started to tell me I just needed to take responsibility.  Somehow I thought working in the field for two months was a certain taking of responsibility.  Especially where I have done so without training.  But now it was my responsibility to do more?  Oh well.  I did my check in and Marc gave me my route for the upcoming week.  He was oblivious to the discussions and concerns I had shared with Ted and Neil.  Who knows what tomorrow morning shall bring for me?  Will they try and train me on everything in the morning?  Will Marc be upset with me because I did not tell him?  (I honestly tried, but he just ignores me and goes on talking about whatever he wants me to do)  Will I end up walking out without starting the day.  I don’t know.  We will just have to see what comes out tomorrow.
Time for me to say good night.  I think I may send out another resume or two before I crash tonight.

Hurricanes and week

It has been another long week of slaving away at work. I actually quite enjoy it. It will surely be a relief when we recover from taking a month
off and working. We dipped into our savings and spent nearly all of in in this endeavor. The move itself took half of it, and then I had the time in
training and licensing for work. This week I made over $500. Which I think is doing pretty darn well seeing I only worked 4 days. Today was a complete loss for work. There was no way I could reasonably drive all day, and be in and out of the car to homes. I was a soaked puppy after just going into the office. I figured out we probably got more rain from Ernesto than the Paul, Idaho gets in an entire year. Anyhow, if I can work consistently like this the rest of the year, we should have our savings back in place and saving more for future rainy days (literally!).

We are fortunate enough to live in a neighbornhood where we don’t have to worry about flooding. However, there are others in the area who definitely were not so lucky. There were a bunch of homes evacuated in northern Richmond. All day the rained has seemed to just pour. There is this constant roaring in the distance which is unfamiliar to me. I assume it is the wind of what is taking place elsewhere. It is a strange noise. The
wind has been gusty, but nothing too much where we are. Driving earlier it was a fit at times with the wind and rain. It was hard to even drive 30 at a couple of points.

I have been forwarded an article several times about President Bush meeting with President Hinckley for some breakfast. There is a picture of President Bush with the First Presidency. I really found the picture captivating. I wonder what they were talking about. I wonder why he was visiting with them. I could hope that it had to do with a President seeking counsel from a Prophet, but I seem to not think that was what was taking place. Sure would give great hope to this nation if such were the case.

Another thing I wanted to toss in.  I have been conversing with a co-worker about the church.  I have really enjoyed it.  What a great missionary opportunity and more, it refreshes my mind on being a missionary.  From his questions, I basically gave him the old first discussion this morning.  I gave him a copy of the Book of Mormon and the Bible.  It was great.  When he asked me about what the prophet had to say, I told him about General Conference.  He said he wants to watch it with us, but made it clear we would have loads of questions from him.  I told him that was completely fine and I welcomed it.  Now, we need to find out how we are going to get General Conference in the house and watch it.  He has some pretty big issues about revelation.  He says he cannot believe everything is coincidence and there must be a God.  But is confused as whither is truth.  I keep telling him about revelation and how the Lord will answer.  He keeps asking me that if he prays if Moroni will come to visit him.  He seems to want a big answer.  I keep warning him that isn’t what he wants as that usually entails a pretty big responsibility.  He also wants to know why President Hinckley can get revelation for him and I cannot.  I suppose our next conversation will be about the order of heaven and priesthood.  He keeps asking me why the Lord has so many conflicting reports.  Budda, Muslim, and others.  He queries me about Mohammad and if he was really a prophet.  I never have had that question before.  I remembered the First Presidency Statement from like the 70′s about all religions having good and whole principles.  I told him it was possible Mohammad was a prophet, but so far the Lord had not seen fit to tie him into The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  He asked me if he would.  I said it was likely we would some day know the exact accuracy of Mohammad being a prophet, but for now, the Lord had not spoken on that matter.  That was the best I could come up with.  But in the entailing conversating, it was easy to show that none of these religions out there, excepting the Pope, had any claim to revelation or a prophet.  He is struggling to get his head around what official doctrines are of a religion and how they are different from what the people might believe.  I took him on a walk through Calvin, Wesley, Luther, and other important people in preparing for the work.  He found that most fascinating.  It was rather enlightening to myself as well!  He was impressed by Wesley and his methodical approach and temperance in preparing for the Lord’s church to return.  It did drive the point home how much of Wesley did is no longer practiced, like the no drinking of alcohol.  Marc’s questions take us all over the religious spectrum.  We discussed the 3 kingdoms of glory the other day.  He really struggled with that, and then almost panicked that only in the celestial kingdom would we get our family.  Today though, he announced that was completely logical but wanted to know how in the world heaven and hell, which was two worlds, was confused with three.  We walked through the delineation between heaven and hell, prison and paradise.  We did not get to complete it as we ran out of time.  He did ask about those who didn’t hear the gospel and if they would go to hell.  Guess we will move onto temple work and redeeming the dead next.  He keeps emphasizing how expansive this all is, and how impressive that we have answers to all these questions.  He is amazed at the time it must take to learn all these things.  I tell him it is an ongoing thing our religion requires of us.  To learn and encompass all truth.  We shall see what he asks next.  I went through and highlighted probably 100 different passages in the Book of Mormon and Bible.  He said he would glance through it.  I am sure he will have more questions.  It has really been loads of fun and quite the adventure.  I surely hope it will take his soul elsewhere.  If he were to join the church and go to the temple, I would feel it was more successful than the entire mission.  After all, I know of no souls who I helped teach who are active, other than children.  All converts I can keep track of are not active, which very much pains me.  I surely hope one day they will return.  This experience is giving me hope that I might declare with Alma, “and all this, that perhaps we might be the means of saving some soul; and we supposed that our joy would be full if perhaps we could be the means of saving some.”

Lastly, a couple of scriptures on the immigration subject that I threw together last night for a friend. Hope it might be of some value to someone.

Exo 22:21
Thou shalt neither vex a stranger, nor oppress him, for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt.

Lev 19:33-34
And if a stranger sojourn with thee in your land, ye shall not vex him. But the stranger that dwelleth with you shall be unto you as one born among you, and thou shalt love him as thyself; for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God.

Exo 23:9
Also thou shalt not oppress a stranger: for ye know the heart of a stranger, seeing ye were strangers in the land of Egypt.

Lev 24:22
Ye shall have one manner of law, as well for the stranger, as for one of your own country: for I am the Lord your God.

Deut 10:19
Love ye therefore the stranger: for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt.

Deut 24:14
Thou shalt not oppress an hired servant that is poor and needy, whether he be of thy brethren, or of thy strangers that are in thy land within thy
gates.

Gen 17:8
And I will give unto thee, and to thy seed after thee, the land wherein thou art a stranger, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and there I will be their God.

Josh 8:35
There was not a work of all that Moses commanded, which Joshua read not before all the congregation of Israel, with the women, and the little ones, and the strangers that were conversant among them.

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.

 

Future of Government?

Mr. S,A government officer elected or filling a position in the government has no more authority in acting in the name of God than a priest who derives his authority from the Bible. The Bible and Constitution are both inspired and divine documents. But neither gives authority.

Having said that, just as in the world of religion, I too believe God will inspire good men. However, we are not just supposed to be good men. We are to strive for that order set up and ordained under Adam and Christ. I just cannot be content with the current system when I know there is another.

Not that we have to completely throw off the current system and try a new. I am definitely a believer in working through the system as opposed to  it. But, how can I possibly think this is the way God will do it when that is not the way he restored the gospel? He did not go through another church.

Well, then again he did. We know that the great upheaval and torment in religious tides only seemed to ferment Joseph’s mind more caldron like than anything else. He even admits he thought the Methodist religion was most like what he sought. So it was through organized religion that things  were prepared.

So too, I try to look for those principles which are given to us whereby government is to be founded. As far as I can see, I do not know of a government founded upon these principles. For what to do about this, all I can do is hope. After all, these principles have already been restored in these latter days. It is just a matter of when the Lord decrees that the kingdom will come out of the wilderness. What a glorious day that will be!

Perhaps I am too hopeful or something. Sometimes what I think seems so foreign to the current way we live that I wonder if I haven’t fallen off my rocker.

Most assuredly the United States has a foundation which is inspired. I am more prone to think that the principles of the Constitution are inspired, rather than the actual set up of the government. While the set up helps to safeguard the principles, it is easily seen that other governments can be just as enduring. Britain still has us beat by at least 500 years if you are looking only at our form of government and a form of democracy. Don’t forget we have been taught the Magna Carta was inspired. Never mind all that though, the Lord has still decreed a consummated end of all nations. Even our current beloved nation will some day give way to the Kingdom of God. But alas, the real question is how will these things come to be? Will it be through, or completely separate? I think it will be separate. After all, can you put new wine in old bottles. It just doesn’t work.

As for the current system, I tend to think that the nation could have progressed and improved far beyond where we could be. However, at some point we started to rest upon our laurels, and are at a slipping point. Perhaps even past that teetering point. Who knows, I don’t stand on a watch tower.

When it comes to the Latter-day Saint position on some topics, particularly the redemption of Zion, the law of consecration, redeeming of Zion, and  our position towards government; I wonder if 1 Sam 8 doesn’t apply to a certain degree.

(3) “And his sons walked not in his ways, but turned aside after lucre, and took bribes, and perverted judgment.” We are warned again and again on debt. Far too many of us worry about money rather than the kingdom. I know I fight it constantly. (5) “And said unto him, Behold, thou art old, and they sons walk not in thy ways: now make us a king to judge us like all the nations.” The cry is often now that we must look to other nations in how they do things. We must follow their lead. Rather than looking to God, the revealed word, we worry about what others are doing. We want socialized medicine like they have. We want to bond and live in debt like they do. We want to have luxury and raise the income of all. We want to live up to the Jones’ not for the sake of keeping gain, but so we can intimidate them into not getting more. What a hoax. We keep comparing ourselves to others, rather than living as we know we should. (7) “And the Lord said unto Samuel, Hearken unto the voice of the people in all that they say unto thee: for  they have not rejected thee, but they have rejected me, that I should not reign over them.” The Lord comes right out and tells the leaders to follow  what the people want. After all, they are following themselves. They don’t care about what the Lord is doing, so why is he going to fight it. Let them  have their debt. Let them have their battles and seeking out wars. Let them lull themselves into carnal security. Let them think they are better than  other nations because they have power or wealth. Let them go a whoring (one of my favorite Jeremiah lines) after other nations and forget their  own. (8) “According to all the works which they have done since the day that I brought them out of Egypt even unto this day, wherewith they have  forsaken me, and served other gods, so do they also unto thee.”

Let them go. The Lord understand what they desire, and he lets us have according to our desires. (9) “Now therefore hearken unto their voice:  howbeit yet protest solemnly unto them, and shew them the manner of the king that shall reign over them.” Samuel takes all the different vices that  will come upon the people. Just as Joseph, Brigham, John, Wilford and the prophets have warned us since. And now that we see it coming upon us, because of our falling from the Lord, we think that a great return will happen? That isn’t what happens every single incident I can think of in the scriptures. The whole government has to be rebuilt from scratch. The one rises while the other falls. That is all I can think of in history too. Somehow his phenomenon that we can give birth to another just doesn’t seem to jive with history. (18) “And ye shall cry out in that day because of your king which ye shall have chosen you; and the Lord will not hear you in that day. Nevertheless the people refused to obey the voice of Samuel; and they said, Nay; but we will have a king over us; That we also may be like all the nations; and that our king may judge us, and go out before us, and fight our battles. And Samuel heard all the words of the people, and herehearsed them in the ears of the Lord, And the Lord said to Samuel, Hearken unto  their voice, and make them a king. And Samuel said unto the men of Israel, Go ye every man unto his city.”

So, after the incident of Samuel, leading to the great gains and losses, especially with the likes of Saul, David, and Solomon. Even this past weeks lesson was about Solomon; Man of Wisdom, Man of Foolishness. For all the good Solomon did, he also got the Israelites into most of the wickedness that Samuel warned about. It was all because of the breaking point with Samuel and going to a king. The Lord still lead them to some degree when David, Saul, and others were fervently trying to give heed. But you know the record, the prophets fall further and further into the background. I remember as a kid, somehow I thought Saul, David, and Solomon were the prophets of their day. Ha, what a false statement.

So, concerning whether the President is inspired or not. I believe when he is diligently seeking out the inspiration of the Lord, that he can be inspired. Just as David and Solomon were. However, for every good that he does, and is even inspired to, there were many wrongs in the  background that only continued the nation to destruction. It came right after Solomon’s rule. Again, the President doesn’t have authority, and while  inspired, will not change the order of things.

I agree, anyone in their position cannot be a usurper. But without the authority, we cannot expect that the order will work for long.

You comment about you don’t know anyone that is trying to determine the righteousness of nations. A big famous quote comes to mind about the axis of evil. That is calling nations evil, judging them, and we put them as bad, while we are on the other. I definitely think there is a judgment which  the current administration seems to operate. Again, I don’t know if the scripture relates in all things or not, but if it does, we sure are in trouble. Anyhow, I think that will close for now. I hope I don’t come off too direct. Just rolling through some thoughts. I greatly appreciate your thoughts  and look forward to your response.

Yours ever,
Paul

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.