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6.07.2009

Idaho Ancestors

So my mom's family lived in and settled Carey Idaho. I had never been there before May 2009. I needed to research that branch of my family tree so me and Megan went that way to go visit family in Rexburg/ Idaho Falls. My great-grandmother Vivian was born in Missouri and her siblings in Kansas in the 1890's. I found the family on several census and decided they came to Idaho in late 1909 or 1910. There is a family question about which side of the "Mormon" debate they were on. We suspect they were anti-Mormons. (At least her parents Reuben Thomas Cross and Rosa Elizabeth Pitman Cross.)
Anyway, Vivian Cross married Forest Howard Eldredge who came from several generations of Mormon Pioneer stock. His family was in Carey a bit before the Cross's arrived. The crosses settled an area called Fish creek about ten miles north west of Carey. This picture is the area around Fish Creek Dam or what was once known as Crooks Idaho. This building may have been built at the time my Cross's came to the area.


My mother remembers going to Fish Creek to fish.


At the Hailey Family History Library they have newspapers from the area on microfilm and I found some obituaries for Vivian, Forest, Reuben Thomas, and Rosa. They did come in 1910!
I found Forest and Vivian's graves in the Carey cemetery along with several other Eldredges, but not a single Cross was found there. I was beginning to think they just didn't want to be found....
I asked the Family History Center if there was a cemetery near Fish Creek. She had a book listing local cemeteries and the people buried there and we found the Cross's listed in Hailey's cemetery! So we called the guy who takes care of the cemetery and he led us to the graves.

Eureka!

5.31.2009

Equality Equals Dignity and Respect? I don't think so...

Minorities want to be treated with dignity and respect, and expect that when the majority (or white people) treats them with equality- or like they treat anyone else- they will then have dignity and respect. But when they are treated like everyone else they still cry that they are not treated with dignity and respect because they have a fantasy that white people always treat each other with dignity and respect and good communication skills! But white people still rob, murder, argue with, insult, offend, and irritate each other. We still have human limitations on our communication skills. So when white people do treat minorities the same flawed way we treat others, we get frustrated to still be called racists by those who have an unrealistic idea of what equality means. We feel pounded on by those who decry our faults as racism- when they are simple human faults and limitations that we all posses. It seems to me that it would be more constructive for minorities to stop seeing themselves as different and start focusing on elevating the human race as a whole- realizing that white people have faults and poor communication skills too.

5.18.2009

For those who are trying to have it all...

The Girl in a Whirl by 'Dr. Sue'
If you, or someone you know has ever felt overwhelmed by all they feel they need to do, Vickie Gunther of Redlands , California , wrote a hilarious poem, Dr. Seuss style, about how much LDS women try to take on. David B. Marsh used it at Women's Conference, and Vickie has given permission to share it.

The Girl in a Whirl by 'Dr. Sue' (a.k. A.. Vickie Gunther)

Look at me, look at me, look at me now!
You could do what I do if you only knew how.
I study the scriptures one hour each day;
I bake, I upholster, I scrub, and I pray.
I always keep all the commandments completely;
I speak to my little ones gently and sweetly.
I help in their classrooms! I sew all they wear!
I drive them to practice! I cut all their hair!
I memorize names of the General Authorities;
I focus on things to be done by priorities.
I play the piano! I bless with my talents!
My toilets all sparkle! My checkbooks all balance!
Each week every child gets a one-on-one date;
I attend all my meetings (on time! Never late!)
I'm taking a class on the teachings of Paul,
But that is not all! Oh, no. That is not all,
I track my bad habits 'til each is abolished;
Our t-shirts are ironed! My toenails are polished!
Our family home evenings are always delightful;
The lessons I give are both fun and insightful.
I do genealogy faithfully, too.It's easy to do all the things that I do!
I rise each day early, refreshed and awake;
I know all the names of each youth in my stake!
I read to my children! I help all my neighbors!
I bless the community, too, with my labors.
I exercise and I cook menus gourmet;
My visiting teaching is done the first day!
(I also go do it for someone who missed hers.
It's the least I can do for my cherished ward sisters.)
I chart resolutions and check off each goal;
I seek each "lost lamb" on my Primary roll.
I can home-grown produce each summer and fall.
But that is not all! Oh, no. That is not all,
I write in my journal! I sing in the choir!
Each day, I write "thank you's" to those I admire.
My sons were all Eagles when they were fourteen!
My kids get straight A's! And their bedrooms are clean!
I have a home business to help make some money;
I always look beautifully groomed for my honey.
I go to the temple at least once a week;
I change the car's tires! I fix the sink's leak!
I grind my own wheat and I bake all our bread;
I have all our meals planned out six months ahead.
I make sure I rotate our two-years' supply;
My shopping for Christmas is done by July!
These things are not hard; 'tis good if you do them;
You can if you try! Just set goals and pursue them!
It's easy to do all the things that I do!
If you plan and work smart, you can do them all, too!
It's easy!" she said and then she dropped dead

5.01.2009

America the Beautiful

This is the best video I've ever seen on American History. It perfectly expresses how I feel about the beauty of America. I love David McCullough.

4.27.2009

How Beautiful is the Holy Ghost!

Read this wonderful article from Wally Goddard.
Welcoming Heaven into Today

The Natural Man

Here is Nick's talk about the natural man. He wrote a good talk, and did a great job giving it too!
What is the natural man?
Mosiah 3: 19 For the natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be, forever and ever, unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and putteth off the natural man and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord, and becometh as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father.
Neal A Maxwell said…
So what characterizes the natural man? Simply stated, the natural man is someone who remains in his or her fallen condition; he or she has not experienced a spiritual rebirth. At one end of the spectrum, the natural man may be a person who loves Satan more than God and thereby is carnal, sensual, and devilish (see Moses 5:13).
At the other end of the spectrum, the natural man may well be a moral and upright person bent on benevolence. Such a person, acclimated to the present fallen world, still does not enjoy the enlivening power of the Holy Ghost and does not enjoy the sanctifying power of Christ’s covenants and ordinances. Even though the light of Christ is making an impact, he or she has not followed it into the Lord’s full gospel truths.

So how can we tell if we are a natural man?
This is a list that Neal A Maxwell has to help us notice if we are being a natural man..
1. The natural man is unable or unwilling to perceive spiritual realities
1 Cor 2:14 But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.
President Brigham Young said,
“How difficult it is to teach the natural man who comprehends nothing more than that which he sees with the natural eye! … Talk to him about angels, heavens, God, immortality, and eternal lives, and it is like sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal to his ears; it has no music to him; there is nothing in it that charms his senses, soothes his feelings, attracts his attention, or engages his affections, in the least; to him it is all vanity.”

If you don’t see God in anything than that is a sign of being a natural man.
2. The natural man is proud. The natural man’s most distinguishing feature is pride. The look of the natural man is neither up (to God) nor over (to man), except as the horizontal glance allows him or her to compete with others.
Alma 4:12 he saw great inequality among the people, some lifting themselves up with their pride, despising others, turning their backs upon the needy and the naked and those who were hungry, and those who were athirst, and those who were sick and afflicted.
Pride is another common sign of a natural man.
3. The natural man is preoccupied with the rewards of this world. His or her values are derived solely from pragmatism and materialism. Such people find only temporary pleasure in having something. Soon they want more, and they want more of it than the next person.
D&C 63:48 He that sendeth up treasures unto the land of Zion shall receive an inheritance in this world, and his works shall follow him, and also a reward in the world to come.

The reward we should be looking for is an eternal reward. Not the rewards of the Earth.

I believe that we should not be looking for things of this world, but of the world to come. And even though some part of us may have problems with this, we still have a chance to fix it through the Atonement.

Red Herrings

My friend Lisa did a fabulous job of seeing the red herring in the gay marriage debate. She correctly identified the issue at the core, that is whether I have the right to disagree with homosexual acts and to act on these values. It seems that the gay rights crowd cannot separate the person from the persons actions- a strangely intolerant view point. But that's a post for another day.
The difficulty in this whole argument is that all our words are becoming corrupt - kind of like the time of the tower of Babel. Marriage must now be coupled with an adjective. Do you mean gay marriage or traditional marriage?
The gay marriage crowd will always attack the traditional marriage crowd with something like this:
They indisputably assert that gay couples are no different than traditional couples and are just as happy and capable too. The only reason you could possible oppose gay marriage is because you are a (fill in the blank with racist, bigot, homophobe, evil person). Parents or individuals who believe that centuries old traditions are desirable are evil and their children should be reprogrammed in public school, (necessitating of course the abolishment of homeschooling).
Actual example from Lisa's article:
Parents shouldn't have total control over everything their children are taught.... You are welcome to teach your children what you would like at home; the earth is 6000 years old, cookies come from elves, and gay = bad. Also, it's strange that someone wouldn't want their child to be adopted into a happy family just because the structure of that family doesn't fit in with their traditional values. Perhaps parents who put their children up for adoption should be able to prevent interracial couples or even couples of another race from adopting them if they think that is wrong?


Do you see the template? Parents are bad, they teach fairy tales, they brainwash their children with hate and they are racists. (Never mind that it is the gay marriage crowd who needs indoctrination to win- but that is an argument for another post)

Pick your issue -they all use it.

This is a dangerous ideology. If it was turned around on them they could swiftly argue against it. But they don't have to. They are the victims, and victims in America don't need to make sense. They use their victimhood as a whip against everyone. It becomes the chip on their shoulder that everyone must avoid or pay the consequences- but in reality is impossible for others to avoid because the victim deems every utterance and nuance to be about the chip....

At the bottom of this issue, if anyone has the time or attention to get to the bottom in today's crazy world, is freedom vs tyranny. Are we really free in America? Freedom means we are free to be wrong, stupid, self destructive, and offensive, and we are free to hold our own values as our conscience dictates. Freedom means that government power does not intimidate us into holding the "right" values as government dictates. Tyranny can be used by individual tyrants or by groups and right now America is being tyrannized by the gay marriage group.
They have made it a goal to change the laws in all of New England this year and they are well on their way to it. It is a brilliant strategy. If they can get many small states to do it, the number will seem larger than it really is. To westerners ten states is half the US by land. But remember that states are very large in the West. In the East, states are sometimes very small. Gay marriage advocates can rush into a small state and appear to be the majority without ever having to actually be from that state. Just wait- before long they will add to their argument that some number of states have already legalized the change and those "other" (read intolerant and bigoted)states will feel the pressure to declare their "tolerance" by making the change as well.
It's all about political pressure. Which is why political education and action is so necessary.

4.26.2009

What a Sunday!

It has been a doozy of a weekend. Without going into details, I should be distraught. I had imagined that my great grandmother who died on my birthday ten years ago or so was by my side part of last night. I fell back to sleep at abut 6am and woke up about 7:45 worried about getting everyone ready for church in time. Despite the stress, I actually woke up strangely calm. I actually felt like I could handle the situation I was in. I went to church and felt the Spirit stronger than I've maybe ever felt it. Everything was drenched in meaning for me. I felt literally propped up. I felt a strength that I do not feel very often. It wasn't a strength like my physical muscles, but deeper, bigger. I felt like the world could fall apart around me and I would be unaffected. I felt a cocoon surrounding me and buffering the despair I usually fight off in situations like this. There are really no words for me to describe how wonderful this day has been, and yet how awful it should have been. It is amazing, a wonder, more real than anything I've ever experienced. I felt like the calm in the middle of the hurricane, watching the hurricane but being insulated or like it was somehow insignificant in the grand scheme. I remembered a few times that my faith has been seriously tested this last year and felt like I was being rewarded now for passing the test. Sentences are failing me. So I will list some words or phrases:
calm, joy, hope, peaceful, protected, rewarded, carried (like the footsteps poem), above the storm yet in the middle of the storm, detached from the anxiety, (what is the opposite of utterly lonely?), eternal,
"If I were sunk into the lowest pit of Nova Scotia and all the Rocky Mountains piled on top of me, I ought not to be discouraged, but hang on, exercise faith, and keep up good courage, and I should come out on the top of the heap.” (Joseph Smith to George A. Smith) I felt like I went from sunk in that pit, to on top of that heap.
I don't' know If this makes any sense to anyone, but I wanted to try to record this because I know in the future I will need to relive it in my memory again. It's not gone, but I know from experience that it will fade, and I will be tried again. But it's ok. I know who is with me and He is stronger than those who oppose me.

Create!

I watched all of the Mormon Messages video's on You Tube. This one is probably my favorite! But it was sooo hard to pick~ this one just makes me smile alot.

Don't put off til tomorrow what you can do today.

OH wow GOOD video and song by Nickleback! I love that some current rock songs have such positive messages! Long live rock and roll like this!

4.20.2009

Monday... TGIM!

Monday........
Do you have a wild weekend mess on Monday? I do. Mondays have become my clean up day. I try to get laundry done, pick up the house after the whirlwind of having everyone home all weekend, and plan for the week. I get to regroup and try to remember all the things I have going on this week. My favorite thing about Monday morning is the time alone. When it's spring it's exponentially more replenishing.
This morning I woke up early to whining dogs who wanted out at about 5:00. I wasn't going back to sleep so I finally got up about 6:00. I don't usually do this, only when I wake up with a clear head and no sleepiness. This is not the norm for me! I guess it means I slept good. I got up and opened all the windows and listened to the birds sing. I heard a quail call and run around the neighborhood. I was aware of all the plants I've planted in the yard and thought about how happy I am that they all seem to be growing this spring. The sun was rising, the sky was blue, the house was quiet, and the grass was wet from the dew. It was the most fabulous feeling.
So even though it is Monday, and the house is a disaster, the sink is full of dishes, and laundry is on the docket, I am feeling very, very good. Thank Goodness It's Monday!

2.26.2009

Billions, Trillions, Quadtrillions, It's Just (your) Money!

I am both sad and outraged. Obama is changing the fabric of this nation. He is taking full advantage of the economic situation and his manipulated popularity. He is spending so much money that nobody can even comprehend the amounts.
He is a liar, and a manipulator. He has consistently said one thing and done another. Even worse he will say one thing and a minute later say the opposite! Even my 13 year old daughter sees that! Americans are throwing away the future with both hands. It is so so so sad!
Meanwhile the stock market tanks, losing half the value of our savings and retirements, universal health care is being plotted, and the banks are being nationalized, the media is still talking about what kind of DOG the President is considering!!!!!!!!!
We are skipping down the road to ruin with a big happy grin... Let's all whistle a tune because we will certainly not be whistling while we work for the government the rest of our lives.

2.13.2009

2.10.2009

Media Coverage of Prop 8 Issues

I ran across another story about the issue that will not go away- Gay Marriage. Now the media has joined the witch hunt against the LDS church. The story talks about the biased coverage of the LDS church's recent filing of what donations they made to the Yes on 8 effort. This blog was vigilant about keeping comments on track with the issue of media coverage and would not allow snide comments or off topic comments. It made the comments an actual continuation of the discussion, which I found enjoyable. I will be returning to this blog, called Get Religion, in the future. Here's comment I left:

It is sad that we can no longer trust the media coverage on almost any story. From my viewpoint, politicians are trying to impose themselves on my religion. So why is the question or accusation always that I am imposing my religion on someone else. Intimidation of a religion is an attempt to control that religion.
No rights were "taken away" by this vote. Gays have never had the right to marry. They have all the so called "rights" they say are taken away by this vote (actually they are privileges - but that's another issue). This vote was all about a word and the media complicitly went along with (and continues to go along with) the argument that this was all about removing rights.
I wish the media would tell the whole story rather than slogans, misleading sound bites, and comments that obviously leave out facts. I wonder if the MSM are afraid to do that because they do not trust in the rightness of the cause and do not trust that the public would agree with them. It is that insecurity that compels their dishonesty.


I find it so annoying that the opposite sides of issues see mirror images of the issue. Gays feel their constitutional rights are being taken ( a view I cannot understand since I cannot see that in the Constitution- not to mention the states right to regulate such things) while religious people see that intimidation is being used as a tool to remove their Constitutional rights to freedom of religion (which is int he Constitution).
It seems that lately the gap between "sides" is widening and that means that those who are on one side or the other must put strenuous effort into the choice. My guess is that we are being given ample opportunity to make our choices, change our minds and leave no doubt for the judgment day where we chose to stand. For those of us who believe in a Judgement Day we should be careful where we chose to put our efforts. I believe that it will become impossible to sit on the fence before the end comes.

2.03.2009

From The End of Heaven- Chris Stewart

"The Epic Conflict of the Last Days Rages On" in this book. Chris Stewart's third book in the Great and Terrible series is another good one. This book is full of thoughtful statements that will challenge your perceptions. Here's the opening:
"New York City, New York
Despite all of its grandeur, beauty, influence and power, it took less than two weeks for the city to die."
From the inside cover:
"The battle of good against evil intensifies in the darkness of an EMP-devastated America."
This book will realistically describe what life in America may be after an EMP attack takes out all electrical functions. Everything from the power grid to watches are dead. For me being our wards Emergency Preparedness Coordinator I was confronted with a whole new perspective of how to prepare. What happens to the people in a large violent city under normal circumstances, when they loose all hope and there is no law enforcement? Anarchy. What will our neighboring countries do? Will they help or take advantage or revenge? What will the secret combinations do?
What will become of our government when a nuclear bomb takes out Washington DC and many layers of our leadership? Who will actually be in control? When TV's don't function, news cannot function, how will the rest of the country know what is happening?
For me this brought up a myriad of questions of how we could be prepared both personally and nationally for a very plausible future EMP attack?

1.29.2009

Self Interest?

“Interest never sleeps nor sickens nor dies; it never goes to the hospital; it works on Sundays and holidays; it never takes a vacation; it never visits nor travels; it takes no pleasure; it is never laid off work nor discharged from employment; it never works on reduced hours. … Once in debt, interest is your companion every minute of the day and night; you cannot shun it or slip away from it; you cannot dismiss it; it yields neither to entreaties, demands, or orders; and whenever you get in its way or cross its course or fail to meet its demands, it crushes you.” J Reuben Clark

1.28.2009

Porkulus

This "Stimulus Bill" is NOT a stimulus bill. It is pork bill from top to bottom. The only thing being stimulated is liberal groups who are ready to have an orgy of spending! Call! Write! Don't let your Representatives do this!

1.27.2009

Follow-up: Fireproof is out on video!

Today Fireproof is out on video. I plan on buying it! It would make a great gift for a couple paired with the Love Dare Book...(Which has been a blessing in my life).
Update:
I watched the video with my kids last night. They were begging to watch it and I didn't think they would like it. BUT They LOVED it! They were upset that I had thought they wouldn't like it. It occurred to me that this movie teaches kids that marriage is not all blissful- it's hard work to keep up the good feelings. (Plus now my boys want to be firefighters!)
There are alot of extras on this disc, including clips and discussion guides for couples or groups who want to benefit from its principles. There are bloopers, deleted scenes, and actors extras. The makers talk about how they came up with this movie idea. There are previews of their other movies like Facing the Giants. (I can't wait to see "Love Like Potatoes")
This movie was work the 18.99 I paid at Costco and more!

Revolution A Manifesto- Ron Paul

After seeing Ron Paul interviewed regarding the economy several times, I decided to look into his philosophy and read his book The Revolution: A Manifesto. Now the issue I most vehemently disagreed with him was on Iraq. The second chapter of his book was about that very thing. He tied it in again at the end.
While I agree with most of his philosophy I disagree on some of the premises and assumptions he makes in getting to the actions he recommends. For instance, he blames American sanctions for the death of citizens in Iraq with nary a mention of Saddam Hussein and his brutality against his own people. Maybe Saddam was good at blaming American sanctions for the poverty of his people, but I believe Iraqis are smart enough to know that some nation thousands of miles away is not keeping the food from their mouths, and the electricity from their homes. They may not have been able to say Saddam was to blame, but how could they possibly accept that we were the culprit?
Yet there are principles he outlines that do agree with. For instance, I do believe we should not be giving out any foreign aid. I do believe that this aid does incredible damage and is ultimately not used for the intent it was given. It encourages corruption and keeps the power away from the people of the nation it proposes to aid. I also believe that the war on poverty has been as disastrous for the poor as foreign aid has been to other nations. And I do believe government has gotten drastically too big and interfering in American lives.
If Americans want to fund a good cause they will and do, and according to Mr. Paul we are more generous with our private money than our public money.

Here is the Table of Contents:
1 The false choices of American Politics
2. The Foreign Policy of the Founding Fathers
3. The Constitution
4. Economic Freedom
5. Civil Liberties and Personal Freedom
6. Money: The Forbidden Issue in American Politics
7. The Revolution

In the end it was a good enunciation of the principles of liberty. I agree with most of what he said, but not some of his leaps in logic. Perhaps there is more that he could explain, but in order to keep it simple and short he had to leave out details and make these leaps. I encourage anyone who is interested in political philosophy to read this book thoughtfully.

PS For every book lover there is a delicious list of books for further reading at the end!

Grandma Love

Ben got to spend Friday Night at Grandma's house. He got his allowance and some tooth fairy money so he was loaded! He got two kinds of ice cream and some root beer and they made root beer floats!
What a Grandma!

Click to play Starry Night
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1.22.2009

The Second Sun - Chris Stewart

This was a great book. The author is creating a series based on LDS theology about a war between God and Satan that began before the earth was created. I was not impressed with the first book, but after a friend recommended the series, I decided to give it another chance. This is actually the third one. This author being a former military pilot, has a good perspective on the military aspect of this story. This book is all political thriller. The characters range from terrorists, secret service, advisers to the President and soldiers, to average people in America and Iran. Stewart does a great job of explaining the foundation of the war. I already took the book back to the library, or I'd give you a great quote form one of the demons. He sums it up will through the thoughts of the demons and exactly what they are fighting for (misery of all people, enslavement). Stewart has a knack for describing the action. Action is vividly described from the movements of characters to the airplane maneuvers. This book takes place in modern times using modern threats. It left me trying to evaluate my own choices and preparation, both physical and spiritual. It seems like a great way to get teens thinking about how they are influenced in their choices.
The best thing about this author is that the language is clean. So many political thrillers, have great plots, while they have the most crude and unnecessary language.

1.19.2009

The Only True and Living Church

Yesterday at church I heard a great talk. Emily Jensen spoke about our belief in a “true and living” church. While I have always felt the things she explained, I could not seem to put them into words like she did. She used the old “body and spirit like a glove and hand” analogy- which fit perfectly!

 

There are many churches on the earth.  They are easy to identify, most of the time.  They are beautiful buildings and they seek to teach those who attend better ways to live.  There is something that makes our church different from other churches.  Our church is a living church.  Last week in Primary, Sister Smith taught a lesson about our bodies and spirits.  She compared the body to a glove and the spirit to a hand.  She taught that without our spirits, our bodies cannot perform any actions.  They are dead.  With the power of a spirit inside it, our bodies can do amazing things.  The church is like that.  Without a special power, the church cannot perform special actions, like ordinances and it, or its works, are dead.  With a special power inside it, the church can perform every necessary action to help its members have joy and happiness in this life and in the next life.  The power inside our church that gives our church life to operate is the priesthood.

 

I had not thought about what made the church living. I would have likely said prophets, apostles, revelation or something like that. She incorporated all this under the heading of the priesthood. It reminded me about an experience I had years ago when a non LDS uncle who was a minister in the Methodist church, asked me what made our church different from others. I told him that we believed the priesthood had been lost and that it needed to be restored to the earth from God. I’m not sure how he felt about a young woman telling him his life’s work was invalid. But he took it graciously.

 

When we talk about something being alive, like the church being alive and able to act for our salvation, we have to remember where life comes from.  Jesus Christ taught us that he himself is life.  He told his disciples in the Bible, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (John 14:6).  When Lazarus died and his sisters were sad, thinking they would only see their brother again at the resurrection, Jesus Christ comforted them by explaining, “I am the resurrection and the life.”  Mary and Martha didn’t have to wait for the resurrection to see Lazarus again—the one who could give him life was right there, prepared to do so.  He could give Lazarus life because He is life.  The power or life that we have in this church so that it can operate, is the power of Jesus Christ.  Priesthood power is the power of Jesus Christ and Heavenly Father.  They created the earth through the priesthood power.  This is the power to move mountains.  It is an incredible, sacred power.  No other church has that priesthood power in it.

 

In fact, when 14 year-old Joseph Smith was trying to decide which church he should join, he was told to join none of them because the churches in 1830 not only didn’t have the priesthood power—they “denied the power thereof” or denied the power of the priesthood, saying the miracles, revelations, and visions received through the priesthood in the past “had ceased with the apostles, and that there would never be any more of them.”  Can you imagine our lives with no revelation?  Members of the Church of Jesus Christ have received many revelations through our prophets over the past 179 years.  Many of these revelations are written in the Doctrine and Covenants, the Friend, The Ensign, and other places.  They occur daily.  Can you imagine no miracles?  I have had miracles in my life through the power of the priesthood.  One recurring miracle through the priesthood I have received is my patriarchal blessing.  It has been a guide and inspiration to me for more than 13 years.  It helps me remember what I should do and who I am.  It fills me with hope and gratitude when I read it.  I love the Lord for sharing his priesthood power with us.  I know that those who say the miracles of the priesthood have ceased are missing out on so much. 

 

Jesus Christ gave the priesthood to Joseph Smith and to Oliver Cowdery in 1829.  John the Baptist, who baptized Jesus Christ, ordained Joseph Smith to the Aaronic priesthood when Joseph Smith was 23.  Our worthy young men receive the priesthood when they are just 12.  That is a big responsibility and blessing.  You deacons are able to do at age 12 some of the wonderful things Joseph Smith didn’t get to do until he was much older.  Shortly after John the Baptist appeared to Joseph Smith, the apostles, Peter, James, and John, who served with Jesus Christ when he was on the earth, ordained Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery to the  Melchezedek priesthood.  With these two priesthoods, our church is very alive.  The church has the power to perform all the ordinances and other actions necessary, so that through Jesus Christ’s atonement, everyone on the earth can be saved.

 

Our church is special because those who receive the priesthood are called to special positions of leadership in the church.  We have prophets, apostles, and bishops.  These leaders are in charge of directing ordinance work in the church.  They are responsible to serve.  They are also responsible to teach the truth and the fullness of the gospel, just as ancient prophets like Moses and Abraham did. 

 

She shows that Jesus Christ is constant and continuing in his work and how we must also continue. No coasting. No “ok I’m done”. No “God has completed his work”. No resting on our laurels.

 

That brings us to another reason this church is different from the other churches we see in our neighborhoods.  This church is true.  Do you hear that a lot in our church?  I know the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is true?  I know that too.  It is true.  What does that mean?  We can look to the Savior again to know why this church is true.  He told his disciples in the Bible, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.”  Jesus Christ is truth.  If this church is true, it must be His church to be true because He is truth.  Christ also said to his disciples, “If you continue in my word, ye are my disciples indeed, and ye shall know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8:31-32).  In this scripture Jesus told the Jews that they should continue in his word.  One thing we know about God is that He never changes.  If he spoke before, he still speaks today.  His words continue.  So truth continues as well, and we need to continue in it, as he told the Jews.  Jesus Christ made this possible when he gave Joseph Smith the Book of Mormon to translate.  The Book of Mormon is a continuation of Jesus Christ’s teachings.  When Jesus was in Israel, he taught and His teachings were written in the Bible.  He continued to teach after he died and was resurrected, and some of those teachings are in the Book of Mormon.  Jesus Christ continued to teach when Joseph Smith was alive, and many of those teachings are in the Doctrine and Covenants. 

 

Then she moved in to the explanation of why we say our church is “true”. She points out that truth is satisfying to mankind, and essential to combat Satan.

 

Why does it matter that so much truth is in this Church?  Listen carefully to Oliver Cowdery’s experience after he was visited by a messenger from God and given truth.  He said, “Man may deceive his fellow-men, deception may follow deception, and the children of the wicked one may have power to seduce the foolish and untaught, till naught but fiction feeds the many, and the fruit of falsehood carries in its current the giddy to the grave; but one touch with the finger of his love, yes, one ray of glory from the upper world, or one word from the mouth of the Savior . . . strikes it all into insignificance, and blots it forever from the mind.  The assurance that we were in the presence of an angel, the certainty that we heard the voice of Jesus, and the truth unsullied as it flowed from a pure personage, dictated by the will of God, is to me past description, and I shall ever look upon this expression of the Savior’s goodness with wonder and thanksgiving while I am permitted to tarry.”  Oliver was overcome by the blessing of truth because it had such a great power to obliterate falsehood and because it was wonderful to him.  Satan is working hard to trick us all the time, but as we stay close to the truth, we will be delivered from evil.  I love the verse in Helamen about the power of the word of God.  It says, “Yea, we see that whosoever will may lay hold upon the word of God, which is quick and powerful, which shall divide asunder all the cunning and the snares and the wiles of the devil, and lead the man of Christ in a strait and narrow course across that everlasting gulf of misery which is prepared to engulf the wicked—And land their souls, yea, their immortal souls, at the right hand of God” (Helamen 3:29-30). 

 

Those verses remind me of Nephi’s vision of the tree of life in which God’s truth and word are represented by an iron rod that leads multitudes to partake of Jesus Christ’s atonement, or the tree of life.  It leads them past a wicked building, past dangerous temptations, and past treacherous waters.  That is the power and importance of truth.  It really does make us free. 

 

And truth continues to free us today as each prophet, whether President Hinckley or our new prophet, President Monson, speaks to us.  Jesus Christ told us to consider His prophets’ words as His own.  He said, “whether by mine own voice or by the voice of my servants, it is the same.”  So even last week, when President Monson gave a talk at BYU, that was the voice of Jesus Christ.  We can continue in Jesus Christ’s word in this church.  His word never ends here.  This church is true.  I have felt that special power of truth in this church.

 

She talked about our desire, as President Hinkley tells the world, to add to the truth that they already have. We do not condemn members of another church. We hope they will love the truth enough to accept that there may be more truth elsewhere to add to what they know. And we also must be prepared for the Lord to reveal to us more truth than we presently have.

 

Because truth is abundant, we have to learn to recognize it.  When I hear truth spoken, I feel a special happiness inside me and I want to be better.  I want to do something about what I am hearing.  If I am learning about prayer, I want to pray more often and more sincerely, for example.  I remember once as a youth watching a sister give a talk and realizing that she smiled all the time.  I felt the Spirit tell me that that was a good thing.  After that, I tried to smile all the time—whenever I could, I looked people in the eye and smiled.  I knew I had succeeded when people started telling me that I smiled all the time.  Our church is full of little truths such as, “We should smile” and big truths, like the truths of Jesus Christ’s atonement.  I have heard so much truth in this Church.  And our church accepts all truth from wherever it may come.  For example, a great writer may say something true and our own prophets and apostles, recognizing the value of that writer’s words may quote those true sayings when they speak to us in General Conference. Other churches have portions of truth in them.  Many Christian churches use the Bible continually.  They do have significant truths, but they do not accept all truth.

 

In the Church of Jesus Christ, truth continues and will always come to us in revelations to individuals as well as to the church as a whole.  I love this scripture about the abundance of revelation in the Church of Jesus Christ.  Joseph Smith asked, “What power shall stay the heavens?  As well might man stretch forth his puny arm to stop the Missouri river in its decreed course, or to turn it up stream, as to hinder the Almighty from pouring down knowledge from heaven upon the heads of the Latter-day Saints” (D & C 121: 34-45). 

 

The two ideas come together in the gift of the Holy Ghost, which we receive through priesthood power, and which constantly updates us on the truth in our own lives. She uses a moving story from her childhood that had me in tears.

 

When we are baptized by the living priesthood power into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, men who hold the Melchezedek priesthood put their hands on our head and we are confirmed members of the church and are given a very special gift.  I bet you know what it is.  It is the gift of the Holy Ghost.  This is a wonderful gift.  It alone fills us with greater life and truth than we had before.  Joseph Smith said that when he was given the Holy Ghost that he and Oliver were “filled with the Holy Ghost and rejoiced in the God of our salvation.  Our minds being now enlightened, we began to have the scriptures laid open to our understandings, and the true meaning and intention of their more mysterious passages revealed unto us in a manner which we never could attain to previously.”  The Holy Ghost is a wonderful companion who can help us in just about any way.  He teaches truth to our souls.  He can help us know when we have done wrong and right.  He whispers to us.  He gives us promptings.

 

I remember once as a young woman being home with my younger brother alone.  He was 7 and I was 11.  I had already received the Gift of the Holy Ghost.  As the evening came upon us, my brother, Sam, suddenly had a migraine headache and was moaning and crying and walking around the house trying to cope with his great pain.  I did not know what to do.  I looked in the medicine cabinet, but I felt completely unauthorized to give any medicine to my brother.  As I stared dismayed at the medicine, a voice came to my head and said, “You need to pray.”  I took my brother into the living room with me, knelt with him, and prayed for him.  Nothing happened.  Again, I felt unsure what to do, but again I heard a voice.  This time he said, “Not you.  Him.”  I told Sam that he was the sick one, so he needed to say the prayer.  He could barely speak, he was so sick with his headache.  All he was able to cry out was, “Heavenly Father!”  Then he lay down on the carpet and fell asleep immediately.  He slept through the night and was completely at peace until my parents returned.  It was a miracle.  And miracles are what come of Jesus Christ’s true and living church.  The blessing of the gift of the Holy Ghost to children as young as 8 years-old entitled me, as I lived the commandments, to guidance no medical doctor could have given me when my brother was suffering.  And the Holy Ghost can do that for all of us.  The Holy Ghost gives wisdom, help, and peace beyond the capacity of any mortal, for He is a god.  He knows Jesus Christ, the way back to heaven, and he leads us there. 

 

I echo her closing testimony.

 

I know that Jesus Christ is the way, the truth, and the life.  I know that this is His Church and it is true and living too.  I know that Joseph Smith was the great prophet of the restoration and that we have living prophets and apostles who speak truth and hold the keys of the priesthood and the authority to administer all the ordinances of the gospel.  We are blessed beyond any blessings the world could offer by these holy truths and ordinances.  I know the Book of Mormon is a continuation of Jesus Christ’s words and it gives us power to be free from Satan.  I know Jesus Christ lives.  He is not far from us.  He is in all the workings of this church.  In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen. 

 

1.07.2009

My Beloved Grandparents

I love these pictures of my Grandparents (Humphries) from a trip to Idaho a few years ago. They catch their playful side really well.


Come to think of it, Grandpa's playfulness reminds me of Ben's dramatic playful side too!
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