The scripture…

Just a few thoughts in regard to this e-mail. 

Remember the responsibilities of an Elder.  “An apostle is an elder, and it is his calling to baptize; and to ordain other elders, priests, teachers, and deacons; and to administer bread and wine – the emblems of the flesh and blood of Christ – and to confirm those who are baptized into the church, by the laying on of hands for the baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost, according to the scriptures; and to teach, expound, exhort, baptize, and watch over the church; and to confirm the church by the laying on of the hands, and the giving of the Holy Ghost; and to take the lead of all meetings” (D&C 20:38-44).  This obviously extends beyond that of the family.  Their duties are expounded further as the section continues, but are to be aided or expressly done by the lesser priesthoods if they are present.  If not, the elders do them as well.  This revelation was given before the wards and stakes were organized.  It is my understanding that our elder responsibilities exist only in our ward.  So, to individuals within our ward, we have the responsibilities given to us above.  Of course we don’t take it upon ourselves, but we are assigned to these responsibilities, particularly through home teaching.  Accordingly, we must be set apart for special occurrences outside the ward.  Just like stake leaders have to be set apart for the stake level.  But an elder is not set apart for their home teaching responsibilities.  Assigned, but not set apart.  As missionaries we had to be set apart as a missionary to have the revelation and privileges necessary to be a missionary.  I have always found it interesting that our stake president sets us apart rather than the mission president.  I don’t have an answer for that one yet though.

So according to my understanding of the Melchizedek Priesthood, we are responsible specifically for our families and those we are assigned over.  But in general you are privileged to exercise those powers for members within your ward without a special dispensation from the heavens. 

Now as related to extended family, I do not believe you can receive revelation for them.  Nor will you be responsible for them.  However, you can still teach the gospel in its pure form and answer their questions accordingly.  You cannot counsel them individually or according to revelation, but you can according to your inspiration and understanding of the word of God.

Be careful comparing yourself to these individuals who you are comparing yourself to in Jacob 1:19.  They were to high priests over the whole church.  Of course they were responsible for them all.  But you are not.  They would answer for all their sins.  Just like President Hinckley is accountable for the entire world!  To teach them according to the word of God and with all diligence.  But we are home teachers and our stewardship is more limited compared to President of the church.

As for what is appropriate to teach.  I think that is one of the reasons why the Lord gives the commandment that we are to speak nothing more than repentance and to teach the word of God.  Even missionaries have very limited roles in which they can receive revelation.  They are given just enough to find the humble, to lead them to the waters of baptism, and that is it.  We cannot receive revelation on much more for our investigators.  After all, that is the Bishop’s role.  Don’t forget he is over member and non-member.  We are there to aid the responsibility of the elders already in that ward and stake.  We are not in charge of it.  The mission president meets with and counsels with the Stake Presidents concerning the work.  Only where there are districts and branches is the mission president over the work.

As concerning milk and meat.  You can give what he asks, and only according to scripture.  But you know that your job is first and foremost to teach faith and repentance.  Our key is in D&C 19, “and thou shalt declare glad tidings, yea, publish it upon the mountains, and upon every high place, and among every people that thou shalt be permitted to see.  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.  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” (verses 29-32).  It seems very direct that this pattern is for preaching the gospel, and is enough for our daily walk to the end of our lives.  We can chat about these things, but are to keep it according to the scriptures, and not more.  Perhaps too many of us are talking about deeper things when we are not exhorting faith and repentance enough.  Like President Cherrington always used to tell us, “gospel curiosity will not save us, but living the gospel.”

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.

Chapter notes

I wanted to add a few little notes to the closing chapter.  Since it is too late to enter the thoughts in the chapter, I can surely append them, can’t I?  Well, with permission or not, I am.
The last response on the blog was one a bit sober for me.  After all, I tend to take hard critical words that they hint at a grain of truth, if not more.  So, I attempt the thorough examination of whether or not that bit of truth was of size or consequence.
But first, I must recognize how prized some of your e-mails and comments have been to me.  Thank you for your support.  I love good people like you!
I must report that as I went back out into the field that day, to finish up my week, I felt that a whole burden had lifted.  Perhaps that is my whole qualm with the sales industry.  The pressure exerted on its sales people.
It must be reported that I very much enjoyed working with Marc Summers.  While he is cocky, certainly boastful, I found that he had an air about himself that I enjoyed.  Saying that, in his position he is dealing with increasing pressure from above.
That is what used to make Combined beautiful.  The people loved working there because it was fun and the job was great.  Combined Insurance Company of America has turned into an ugly monster.  Having gone the way of all Babylon, they now have retreated to force and pressure.  My Grandmother loved Mr. Clement Stone and the company because they had a product to sell, and according to your wishes and desires, you went and did what you wanted.  You were rewarded accordingly.  Now they have become another vicious machine, where it is no longer the individual that counts, but the program and results.
Mr. Neil Pehrson the Regional was of hope to me.  A relic of another age.  I sure like him, as I do Marc.  Both remind me of what the company used to be like.  But in company’s changes, they are exerting force down the line.  The change has increased even in the months since I have been present.  That is where I bucked.  I don’t allow for that force in my life, especially when it is voluntary.  The same reason I have some issues with the changes government is making, but that is another subject.
I even feel a bit of sadness tonight.  My heart aches for the loss.  Marc has taken this pretty hard.  He was very upset, but now I can sense a longing.  I admit, I became quite attached to the company as well.
At least once a week, I was reminded of a moment in my childhood in doing the travels with my Grandmother.  I miss her more than my heart could ever tell.  Even now I want to weep from the separation that seems to be present.  I think Combined has brought much of the past to life again for me.  I literally have relived the summers when I was growing up.  I think often of President Packer’s talk “In the light of thy childhood” and the pure chords it still resonates with me.  The classic line of Field of Dreams, heaven is where dreams come true….  Anyhow, I think I shall stop there, I don’t feel these are sentiments I should be sharing here.
Next, I had the opportunity of sharing the gospel with Mr. Marc.  He had questions.  He was curious.  I could not get him to keep his commitments, so I wonder his intentions, but I hope they were pure.  I sure enjoyed that experience.  It gave me a great measure of hope and that too provided a certain reliving of the mission.  The questions, the answers, the promptings of the Spirit.  Oh how much I loved those days.  It broke my heart for me to go into checkout today and he gave me back all the various things I had given him.  He gave me back the Book of Mormon, the Bible, the Restoration Video, and other various things.  That was hard for me.  Then again, I suppose a missionary is not totally surprised when this happens the rest of their life.
This job provided a reattachment to previous times in my life.  I don’t wish you to think I am surreal and living in the past.  I very much look forward to the future.  My past is past, but the foundation of my life must not be forgotten.  How can I hope a superstructure if I neglect the foundation.  Surely, these things must not be.
Somehow, despite the release of pressure, I feel a sad detachment.  It is like I am not only leaving my job, but my past.  I know this is not true.  There were attachments beyond just it being a ‘job’ for me.
I vow that if I ever come to lead an organization of any type, that pressure will not be the means.  People must find their own motivation.  They must be on board with the community, or business.  That motivation must come from within, from whatever source.  When it comes from without, it is so terrible and undermining.  Love unfeigned, hope, and pure knowledge are the keys to successful leadership.  Any organization would do well to take a page from the gospel of Christ.
Well, having now discarded the wagon I had for the moving of me and my family to Zion, I now have to find another means of moving through the next phase of travel.  After all, that wagon was too much of a struggle to drive.  We are now on foot, which is a terrible way to travel.  One can make out alright, but it sure makes it hard to help others.  The saddening part is those with autos don’t offer help.  Where will the means come?  Church?  I think family is too far to aid.  We will see what God will do to reveal his arm.  Until then, we wade on.
Shall we not go on in so great a cause?  Go forward and not backward.  Courage, brethren; and on, on to the victory!  Let your hearts rejoice, and be exceedingly glad.

Sordid thoughts on the lowly things

Here we are beginning another week.  I admit, I am torn in so many ways.  What to do?  Where to go?  These are questions that I suppose creep up in our lives when we are just not quite as sure of things as we would like.
My job has become just that.  I am not motivated by money and they keep trying to entice me with it.  Well, in the end, I find myself doing the same routine, with not much improvement.  Well, I lie.  Every week so far has been an improvement in my earnings.  This past week I made more than six hundred in a week, before taxes and all.  So I guess that is a good thing.  But that is not how I measure my effectiveness.  Never has been, never will be.  Why would I use Babylon’s measuring rod?  How many lives am I influencing?  Is my family the better for it?  Am I happy?  And then the answer comes in at a stark no.
I get to go around and meet a wide variety of people.  That is most definitely true.  However, while I do feel we have a valuable tool, and a good product for those who need supplemental insurance, I am finding many people who have this as their only insurance.  They are content to believe that this is going to cover their needs and that is not the truth.  I think most understand this is not major medical, but for the fact that these people are poor and paying for this bothers me.  Now for the craftsmen and heavy laborers who carry this, I most certainly think it is the best thing for them.  So I am touching these people’s lives, and getting to meet them.  But I am not convinced I am leaving them better off in the end.
It most certainly is a worthwhile time to visit and see all these places.  I have always been fascinated by geography and love to travel.  This job has catered to that desire.  I have been to the birthplace of Meriwether Lewis, William Clark, Thomas Jefferson, and James Monroe.  I have been to the place where John Wilkes Booth was hiding, found, shot, and killed.  The historic Northern Neck of Virginia, while slightly penetrated, has been interesting.  But all this traveling takes time and money.  By which I travel and find the homes of these people, which are literally everywhere, so the byproduct is I learn the territory.  However, I am finding that running a household, a wife in school, and other costs take one’s funds.  In the end, I can afford the $100-$130 I am spending on fuel.  But I am worried that by breaking even, I am not saving to replace or add to the vehicle that is being required to drive the minimum of 1,000 miles a week.  With 183,000 miles plus on the car, I should be saving or paying for another vehicle rather than running into the ground the only means of income and transportation, for two, I currently have.  That just seems dumb to me.  In the end, it is not making enough money to pay for a car payment a month, nor to save up for a new car at a later point.
What about the next point?  What about my family?  Well, the last week, I certainly made the most of what I have made yet with the company.  But having said that, I am leaving at 9 in the morning, and returning at 9 or 10 at night.  If I was single, that would not be so much the issue.  I have a wife that is at home.  She can surely spend the time studying or whatever else without my interference.  When I finally get home though, I am exhausted.  I need to eat and go to bed.  She is kind enough to provide the food.  By the time we read our scriptures, pray, get ready for bed, and make it in, I am beyond my bedtime.  We have spent little or no social time, and other events are just a pain.  That is fine for a little while, but it really starts to add up in the long run, and I am not willing to make that type of a sacrifice.  The job is on the altar before the wife.
Lastly, am I happy.  Well, I surely enjoy the traveling and people.  It does grow wearisome at times though.  I love meeting people, I love seeing these new places.  However, the chances of my meeting these people again are slim.  It was not like spraying lawns at all!  Many of them gripe and moan they have to pay this again, and the rest are just a pain to track down.  It wears on me.  What wears the most is that I don’t have time to do things I wish to do.  I take the LSAT this weekend and I have no time to really practice for it.  That bothers me.  What is worse that when I do get time to myself, I use it for other things than studying.  I have other things I place more importance on and since I never get to do them, then the lesser things don’t come up.  So now what?  I am not going to postpone it again.  I should have just taken it in June.
So, after seeing this whole thing now play out, I am not impressed with the fruits.  I planted the seeds, I have lingered, waited, and prayed long enough.  The fruits appear to be bitter and if I allow the tree to continue to grow, it will only grow more wearisome and bitter.
I don’t even think it is so much Combined that I am having the issues with.  I wonder how much more effective I could be if I were to be trained in how to sell.  Would that little extra bit every day make it more worth it?  Would I be able to stop earlier from working knowing I had met the monetary needs?  Who knows.  Probably.  If I could spend less time working to make the same amount, that would be good.  If I could lay some aside for other purposes, that would be helpful.  All I know, something has to change, now.
Having said all that, I wonder about the other side.  Could there be something more I am missing?
What about those who say stick with it?  Grin and bear it?  It will all work out in the end.  I have thought quite a bit about Joseph of old.  He was in prison and a very unlikeable position.  But he bore through it with faith and came out on top.  My leaders at work keep wanting to put me into executive training.  In fact, if I would have agreed, I would be in Virginia Beach all week for it.  (But what of the LSAT then?  Being gone all week seems to only compound the problems.  Best part, they don’t even pay for your being gone so I would sacrifice a week for no pay!)  So, do I endure, make my way to management, and then what?  Well, I will be expected to train.  How in the world can I train on something I have yet to learn to do?  Nobody seems to be willing to train me and I obviously have not worked it out yet.  As Marc says, I am making what money I am by pure hard diligence and work.  That is noble and all, but he makes the same I do with only half the hours.  Yet getting him to train me is like pulling teeth.  Endure….where is the line where you simply throw your hands in the air and say I am moving on?
Much on the mind lately is the thought that perhaps I am meant to be here for some reason or another.  Marc has accepted an invitation to attend General Priesthood with me on Saturday Night.  That is great news.  I would like to endure enough to see him read the Book of Mormon and join the church.  However, should I gain one soul for the kingdom and give up everything for that one?  Honestly, I don’t see anything breaking down in my relationship with Amanda, but do I want to take that chance?  It is hard to be a nice person when I am not completely satisfied with my job.  Amanda takes some of the brunt of that.  There are two reasons why I have stuck with the job so far.  Simply because I need some income to provide for those things that are essentials (granted this house is more than we need, but it is still inexpensive compared to renting an apartment).  Secondly, in the hope that Marc will feel of the Spirit and be converted.  With my being away from the company the chances of his keeping his commitments and being converted are greatly reduced.  He has no one else to challenge and teach.  I told the missionaries about him coming on Saturday.  I sure hope we can get his address and a commitment to take the missionary discussions.  That will sure take a load off of me!
Yes, I believe it is time for a change.  But where to?  What shall I do?  Where shall I go?

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.