May’s flowers

I know, I know.  It has been too long and I must do better.  Sometimes life seems like it is not worth recording, but at other times, it seems I never have time to record what I want to.  My journals obviously take precedent, but I can do better at keeping up the blog.
Just finished a weekend at Flaming Gorge with the Hemsley Family.  I had a very enjoyable experience.  I feel bad because I went with a bit of exhaustion and fatigue.  I slept and napped enough to overcome it, but at the loss to my in-laws.  I did take considerable time to read on in Rough Stone Rolling and found myself quite inspired by some of it.  Again, I think Bushman’s generalizations are far off the mark at times, but I do enjoy the historical facts and timeline.  I read the parts dealing quite a bit with the Kirtland years and was captivated.  Anyhow, fishing went well.  We got there at 2:30 AM on the first night which I was sure would kill me.  We slept in, went fly fishing, had breakfast, went back, was rained out, and came back to camp.  It was a really slow day.  However, it was great for napping and resting.  Fly fishing just did not go well though.  It was pretty dead.  Don’t know if it is my technique or what, but others around me were doing poorly as well.  However, the next day was great.  We did some fishing at the dam regular style.  I caught 6 fish in the time of the morning.  We kept two of them, both Bass.  That evening we went out again, and I caught another 6 fish.  Kept two more, both Bass.  For a side note, I ate a filet from one of my Bass last night, I enjoyed it.  However, a bit haunted by the thoughts of catching the live fish, then the memory of it being gutted, then the filet process, and now I was eating it.    I will comment about our rafting trip on the way down the Green on Saturday afternoon.  I was in the non-wild boat for making the trip.  However, the wild boat turned out to be pretty weak, and we ended up taking nearly all the rapids straight on.  It was a rush, and I very much enjoyed it.  One of the final little rapids, we went right over the rock and landed in the hole behind it.  We churned in the hole, taking on water, and spinning.  I ended up breaking my oar trying to get out of the hole.  Others claimed it could turned out to have been a dangerous situation.  I felt no fear for my life though.  I think it was just a panic they felt.  I thought it was a blast and was totally in control.  We went over, Bryan nailed me pretty hard as the boat bent, I about was knocked out then.  But I was able to pull back in, and worked at getting out.  It was hilarious the different responses people have.  The river was not very deep, and despite having waders (spelling ??) on, I did not think we were in any danger.  The other boat helped us get all of our floating objects that were flooded from our boat.  It was a great laugh.  I was dying to try it again.  Can’t wait to do the Snake or the Colorado.  Dad told me the time he went down the Colorado back in the 50’s.  Oh man, what a blast it must have been.  Spent some good time chatting with Bryan driving.  Man, he had quite a few concerns about my marrying Amanda.  I am glad they took everything in stride.  Over the weekend, I saw loads of characteristics in Bryan that Amanda possesses.  Interesting how much we get from our parents.
Last night we made the preparations for our trip to Richmond.  I contacted individuals for places to stay across the country.  I am really looking forward to it.  Our first night we will stay in Denver.  The second night we will stay in Independence, Missouri.  The next night and Sunday we will spend in Branson, Missouri.  The next night we will stay somewhere probably in Kentucky.  Don’t know where yet.  Then the next night we will stay in Lexington, Virginia.  The last day will be the ride into Richmond, unpacking, and returning our rented vehicle.  I am looking forward to it.  We will visit my family in Missouri on the Saturday, along with Liberty and Independence for church sites, and I would like to visit the Truman Library again.  We will have to see.  I visited with the Institute Director in Richmond, Virginia.  He gave me some good leads on people to contact and places to stay.  One of which I feel really good about I visited with today.  It is known there as Little Provo.  Despite my dislike for Provo, having other LDS people around, along with most of them at the dental school will be good.  Especially since Amanda can catch rides with them, and hopefully even be in classes with some of them.  The cost is a bit more than I would prefer, however, the other parts might make it worth it.  Especially if we have other people coming to visit.
Life continues well here in Provo.  I am enjoying life.  I have not any complaints.  We are still in the Primary, so we don’t deal with the rest of the ward.  It is a great blessing.  The Sunday before last we stayed with Amanda’s parents (Mother’s Day).  We got to take her grandparents back to Payson, and I enjoyed that visit.  We also had a little get together with Jill’s family.  It was good.  I enjoyed the time and stay.  I sprayed that same weekend and stopped in to see my Uncle and Aunt Ellis and Geri Jonas in Smithfield.  They are doing well.  Three of their four children’s families were all represented.  It was good to sit and visit with them all.  Life is good.  I spray again for Larry this weekend.  I am looking forward to it.  Larry let me borrow an album and a basket of pictures, of which I scanned over an hundred photos.  All on the Andra line.
Anyhow, I think I am going to close.  I have to go pick up Amanda here in a bit from work.  I continue to study for the LSAT in June.  I have spent considerable time praying about the issue and feel totally calm about it.  I feel no more panic or concern.  I will do what I can and take the test.  The outcome is whatever happens.  How can I expect to be something I am not.  I know very plainly that God will put me where he wants me, even if that might not be where I would like.  But I know Richmond is definitely the next step to pursue.  I do not know what what the future holds, even if law school is an option, but only time will tell.  Things are being prepared and laid out.  We will just have to wait and see.  We are living right and doing what we are supposed to.
Hope all is well.  Please feel free to drop me a line.  I love to hear from people.

February’s ending

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

Settling In

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