Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas Traditions

It is early Christmas Morning and I can't sleep. Santa is in the living room leaving gifts of love with his immeasurable service.

We had all our children (except for Garrett and Hayley - and they called from Washington State), over to our home last night for Christmas Eve, one of our families oldest Christmas Traditions. I just want to say "thank you" to my children for coming over to our house and giving of your time and sharing our Christmas tradition with De Anne and I. We want you to know how important this tradition is to us, and thank you for allowing us to keep this 35 year tradition going in our home. For De Anne it is a 57 year old tradition. It is one that we really want to keep because it means so much to us.

We had the traditional cheese soup for dinner and a few goodies afterwards.

Then came the traditional skit of the first Christmas Eve. The grand kids all did a great job with all of their parts. Most of them played multiple parts. It really helps to remind us of the true meaning of Christmas.

I listened to the First Presidency's Christmas message and was touched by their understanding and testimonies. If you didn't see it, and even if you did, I am going to repeat part of President Eyring's message with this blog. I was pleased that President Eyring told of the Christmas pageant he started with his family. The first year it was just he and his wife. He played the role of Joseph and she was Mary. The next year they added a baby Jesus. As their family grew, they decided to add the part of Samuel the Lamanite, standing boldly, as he prophesied of the birth of Christ. Latter, they added an angry crowd, armed with balls of tin foil to throw at Samuel as he stood above them and prophesied. As the angry crowd became older and stronger . . . and their aim more accurate. . .President Eyring had to give a stern reminder that Samuel could not be hit, because he was protected by God. Still it took great courage for someone to play the part of Samuel! As time went on their group is growing smaller, as their family moved away and they started their own Christmas play.

I know that might someday happen to us as well, but for now, I want you to know how much it means to us to have you all together for this great event. Especially, as we start our new life in our new, smaller surroundings!

We also did the presents. My family is awesome. There were some great gifts given. What amazed and impressed me most was the excitement of those giving the gifts, watched with anticipation, the reactions of those receiving their gifts. The giver was often more excited than the receiver. That grings great joy to our heats. DeAnne and I received some great gifts last night, and we thank you again for them. DeAnne also thanked everyone for their gift of time and energy for all the help our children gave us with our move to our new home. We could never have survived your help. Thank You!

The pajama's, nightgowns and robes, handmade by Nana, is always a highlight for us. DeAnne spends many hours getting them all ready and it is so rewarding to see the excitement of the grand kids as they open that present and then put their pajama's on and pose for pictures.

How thankful we are to all of our children, for bringing your young families and coming to our home, to share your families and their joy with us on this special night. We are so pleased that we are able to feel the spirit of Christmas and keep this simple tradition alive.

Have a Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Where is it?

Our most used phrase.

I’m sure anyone who has moved can relate to mine and DeAnne’s most used phrase these days, which is, “Have you seen the. . . Coming in as a close second is, “Do you know where we put the. . .

Let me share some examples. This is my top 10.

1. Sunday morning I couldn’t find my black shoes for church. I almost had to choose between my brown casual shoes or slippers. Status = found them just in time on Sunday Morning.
2. Has anyone seen the box with the primary stuff to give to the next Primary President? Status = found the day of the move.
3. Have you seen the box with the H.P. stuff to give to the next H.P. Group leader? Status = found Monday night. (It wasn’t supposed to have made the move.)
4. Have you seen a box cutter? We have a gazillion of them somewhere. Where are they when you need them? I think they have a hideout where they get together and laugh at us. That or they have been playing a mean game of hide-and –seek! Status = 3 have been found.
5. Have you seen the canister with the cat food? Status = Still hunting for it and cat is getting thinner! Where is her bloodhound nose? Maybe we do need a dog. I can’t believe I even thought that!
6. Do you know where I put my memory stick? Yes, I remember putting in a “special place” so it wouldn’t get damaged or lost. Now, if I could just remember where that “special place” was . . . Status = found it Tuesday morning.
7. Do you know where we put the unpaid bills? (That’s not good!) Status = found Monday night.
8. Have you seen my cordless drill? Status = still looking, but I haven’t dared look in the storage shed.
9. Have you seen the box with the medicines? We really needed the pain pills Saturday night, but didn’t find them until Sunday night. Status = we found the “Medies” box three time and lost it twice. Now we are feeling good. . .
10. Do you know what happened to my memory? Status = I have been loosing that for at least 10 years!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Giving Thanks

DeAnne and I want to tell everyone who helped us with our move how thankful we are for all of your help. We were so tired by Saturday night, we could hardly move and I could see how tired all of you were also. We would have never survived without all of your help!

And thanks for letting us take a break at the movies with all of you. (This reminds me, we still need to pay Emity and Darren for our movie tickets.)

Thanks to Jared and Liz for storing so many of our things at their house and for having Thanksgiving dinner at their house. Thanks for everyone who brought all the yummy things for Thanksgiving dinner. Thanks for letting us rest and enjoy the company of our entire family for Thanksgiving.

Thanks for your help in getting boxes, getting things boxed-up, (hours and hours of boxing), for the use of the moving van and your trucks this week and the week before. Thanks for helping us move things in and out. Thanks to Darren for putting the new pantry together. We are not sure who to thank for purchasing the new pantry, so we thank you all. We certainly needed the extra shelves.

We also want to thank Shelby for all her hard work with getting the water bottles emptied for us.

Thank you all for lifting all the heavy things and saving my back. Thanks for helping us clean our old house.

Thanks to Garrett for the great job he did in cleaning the Condo, giving us a great deal on the rent and for sacrificing his living space and giving it to us. I hope we haven’t taken over his living space completely. We probably have, please forgive us, but thanks for being so gracious and patient with us!

Thanks to those who helped us all four days of the holiday weekend plus many hours during the weeks before.

We are so grateful for the many hours that Jared and Madeline spent getting the gas and water line setup for the washer and dryer, working late into the night until it was ready to use. Jared and Liz did many things to help us when we were not even at home.

Thanks for getting the goodies for our moving crew on Friday morning. Thanks to Garrett and Hayley for the great food from Café Rio on Saturday night.

Thanks to Hayley for tending the grand children and keeping them happy and safe. It kept them out from under our feet and from getting run over by the movers.

I need to especially thank the two pregnant girls for all their hard work. We sincerely hope you didn’t over do it. Take some time to rest now!

We could go on and on about how many other things our children did for us, but there is not time right now. Just know how grateful we are for all you did for us. Some of you were able to give us more of your time than others, and your sacrifices for us did not go unnoticed. Please believe me when we say, “We are so grateful to every hour and everything all of you helped us with.” We will never be able to repay you!

I hope we were able to grow together as a family by working hard together. May we find greater peace, (not so much work) at Christmas time!

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Cruch Time!

Boy it seems that our whole family is under stress. Where do I begin?

Stress! What Stress?

Stress about everything that comes with moving.
Stress about a recent operation and not over-doing.
Trying not to forget to take your pills
That are supposed to relieve all your ills.

Leaving friends of many years, some for thirty five.
That alone makes us wonder, “How will we ever survive?”
Sometimes we can’t see through our tears,
As we remember experiences back through those years.

A suit needs some fitting
So there is no time for sitting.
We can’ find a brown dress,
Oh, what a mess!

Then there is the Christmas shopping
And it keeps us both hopping.
Remember the Christmas sewing,
And the stress keeps on growing.

At least we have nothing to fear,
As a wonderful wedding draws ever near.
They love each other so much,
They smile whenever they touch.

As I go down the list and read some of your blogs, I realize every single person in our family is living with a high level of stress right now. We need to help one another deal with the stress we each face and be careful, whenever possible not to add to one another’s stress levels.

Let’s get together this Thanksgiving and give thanks for all our blessings and have some good clean fun together. Then we can all cope better with the rest of the ‘crap’. (Crap is a Hebrew word meaning something not so pleasant.)

We love you all and want to thank you all for your help with our move!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Stand Close Together and Lift Where You Stand

“Stand Close Together and Lift Where You Stand” - Dieter F. Uchtdorf at the priesthood session of the General Conference on October 4th, 2008.

“Some years ago in our meetinghouse in Darmstadt, Germany, a group of brethren was asked to move a grand piano from the chapel to the adjoining cultural hall, where it was needed for a musical event. None were professional movers, and the task of getting that gravity-friendly instrument through the chapel and into the cultural hall seemed nearly impossible. Everybody knew that this task required not only physical strength but also careful coordination. There were plenty of ideas, but not one could keep the piano balanced correctly. They repositioned the brethren by strength, height, and age over and over again—nothing worked.

As they stood around the piano, uncertain of what to do next, a good friend of mine, Brother Hanno Luschin, spoke up. He said, ‘Brethren, stand close together and lift where you stand.’”

Besides this being one of my favorite talks of this October conference, it brought back some memories that I would like to share. Darmstadt was the first city that I served in on my mission. It was the only place on my entire mission that I served in, where we had a real meetinghouse that resembles what we have here in Utah. It was actually built by our church with all of the classrooms, chapel and cultural hall. We had a German ward and an American ward that both used the meetinghouse. There was an American Army Base in Darmstadt.

Any way, I remember Brother Hanno Luschin in Darmstadt. He was one of the prominent leaders of the church in that area. He even translated and made a couple of tapes that we could use as missionaries to use as we taught our German investigators. I don’t remember meeting Brother Uchtdorf, but I do I remember the large black grand piano. There was an Elder Call in our district, that could play any song you could hum. He played the best rendition of, “Born Free” that I have ever heard. I’m trying to think if we helped moved the piano with Brother Uchtdorf, but I don’t think so.

We once had a mission conference in that meetinghouse. There were two general authorities that came to our mission conference. One was a new seventy, named Hartman Rector Jr., who was a convert to the church. He was very fun to listen to. The other general authority, brought his wife with him. He was a relatively new Apostle by the name of Thomas S. Monson. Not only were we privileged to have them speak to us, but we were also able to have a one on one interview with them.

Ah, the memories of years long ago. What was your favorite conference talk?

What is the Testimony of Jesus?

I hope you all paid attention to the priesthood and Relief Society lesson last week. It was on “Life Beyond the Veil”. The thing that made the biggest impression upon me was that when it talked about the three degrees of glory, as found in D&C 76. In the description of who will go to all three kingdoms, it mentioned, “The testimony of Jesus”. Those in the Celestial Kingdom will be faithful and even valiant in the testimony of Jesus, while on this earth. Those in the Terrestial Kingdom will not accept the testimony of Jesus in this world, but will accept it in the next. Those in the Telestial Kingdom will reject the testimony of Jesus, both in this world and the next.

So what is the testimony of Jesus? It must be one of the key factors in determining which kingdom you will inherit. John tells us, in Revelation 19:10 - “The testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.” Joseph Smith said the spirit of prophecy is revelation.

Now we put this to the “Temple Test”. Is the need for revelation taught in the temple? You bet it is! Just think of the veil ceremony. Isn’t that the culmination of what you are taught in the endowment, and what is the reason you go to the veil?

If you receive revelation, you receive it through the Holy Ghost, which cannot dwell in unclean tabernacles, thus you are forgiven of your sins and made clean or you could not receive revelation and testimony. At that very point in time, you are pure enough to be saved and exalted! Are we valiant in receiving revelation in this life?

Love you all!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Why Do They Sit on the Back Row?

I learned a new truth a short while ago. The next time you go to church, take a good look at those who sit on the back row. The people who sit on the back row have got be be the most perfect and righteous people in the entire congragation. They are able to sit on the back row only because they were the first people to get to the meeting. So why do they choose to sit on the back row? It is because they don't want to disturb the rest of us in the meeting when they are translated and taken to Heaven to join the people of the City of Enoch!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Service and it's Sanctifing Effects

We are not sanctified, or changed, until we change the reason we serve or until we have charity to those we serve.

I know God is in control. He gives His prophet insights to know who to call to leadership positions for His church; He gives that same insight to stake presidents, bishops and other ward leaders if they are in tune with the spirit. God knows which individuals He wants to serve in His church, and calls them to serve in a position, at the precise time, when it will help sanctify them and their family the most. God wants to bless us. He wants us to grow. But we still have our agency. The prophet Joseph Smith taught, we have all been foreordained by the laying on of hands in the pre-existence, to fulfill callings to serve one another, and to serve in His church.

I hope that when we are called to serve, whether it be to our family, to our neighbors or to the church, we may we eat our little book, as did John the Revelator, (Rev. 10:10-12) and that we may digest our calling, taking the bitter with the sweet. By doing so, we will move forward in our search for our own sanctification.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Garrett and Hayley

Our second youngest son, Garrett, finally found the girl of his dreams. He has been looking for her for an eternity! We are so excited! They are a great match. I think Hayley will be able to keep him in line. The are soooo in love. You can see in the way they treat each other, in the short glances they throw at each other, the smile that comes to their face when they look at each other and way they talk about each other. They are getting ready to start another eternal family! Nothing can be cooler than that. DeAnne and I are both so happy for them. Everybody make plans for Jan 17th.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Jesus The Christ

I went to class with DeAnne yesterday and thought I would share with you some things that impressed me. 1.) Jesus was the first born of Heavenly Father and Mother, in the spirit. 2.)Jesus was perfect in living all of the commandments of Heavenly Father in the Pre-Existance and became a God. He belonged to the league of Gods and became like them before he had a body of flesh and bones. 3.) Jesus Created this earth and many others, while he was yet a spirit. He showed his spirit body to Adam, Moses, Abraham, Ether and others before he came to earth. 4.) Jesus came to this earth to gain a body and earthly experiece, lived the law perfectly with no sin, suffered in Gethsemene and on the cross and became Jesus the Christ and the Savior for all His creations. 5.) Christ did not provide an atonement for all people. For example, he did not save Father Eloheim or Grandpa Eloheim or other Gods, or the people they provided an atonement for. They had some other Savior. 6.) He set the example for us to follow and said, "Come Follow Me", do as you have seen me do. 7.) You can't follow Him if you don't understand his history and his love for His Father and Mother and for His brother and sisters. (us). 8) Jesus provided the sacrifice for us and is willing to give His Father the glory. 9) Because he loves us so much, He suffered so we don't have to, if we will repent. He wants all of us to return to Heavenly Father and Mother with and live with Him and be like Him.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

What are the Chances that YOU are going to be Exalted?

What are the odds you and I will be exalted? This last chapter was very interesting to me because I want to know if there is a chance I will be able to return to Heavenly Father and Mother, live with them and also live eternally with my wife DeAnne, our children, grandchildren and the rest of our posterity and ancestors.

Here is the Answer.
You are pronounced clean up to the time of your baptism. When you are baptized you are still given the promise of the remission of your sins. Little children have not committed any sins up to that point in their life, but if you were baptized after you were over eight years old, your sins are remitted and you are pronounced clean from sin to that day of your life.

We also know, from the teachings of the prophets, that when we partake of the sacrament, we renew the covenants of baptism, meaning, if we repent, and partake of sacrament worthily, our sins are again washed away by the atonement of Jesus Christ. What is the covenant that we make with God? We don’t convent to be perfect from that time on. We can’t be! And God knows we can’t be. Read the sacrament prayer on the bread. It blesses those that are “willing” to take the name of Jesus Christ upon them and do what he taught us to do to the best of our physical abilities. The atonement and grace of God will make up the difference between “Willing” to follow Christ and being, “Perfect” in following Christ. If you are “willing” to follow Christ you are on the road to exaltation. But, if you are just sitting there on the road to exaltation, it is a lot easier for Satan to come along and pull you off. If you are constantly moving toward Christ, Satan has to hit a moving target.

So, we are clean from sin up to the day of our baptism and every time we partake of the sacrament worthily.

The same day we are baptized, or the Sunday after, you are given the Gift of the Holy Ghost. With the gift of the Holy Ghost, the odds of being exalted change tremendously for us. We are promised that if we will live worthy we can have the constant companionship of one of the members of the Godhead, the Holy Ghost to be with us.

The Holy Ghost cannot come and dwell in an unclean tabernacle. Meaning, and this is significant, whenever, you have felt the spirit of the Holy Ghost in your life, you have been pronounced clean of sin! Otherwise He couldn’t be with you!

Our good friend and neighbor, George Hicks, while he was the bishop of our ward, constantly asked and preached, “When was the last time you had a spiritual experience? If you are studying, praying, pondering, seeking for forgiveness, partaking of the sacrament, listening to good music or a talk, or have been warned or protected, or anything else where you feel that burning in your bosom, and feel that what you are receiving is from God, you, at that very instant have been pronounce clean of sin, and if, at that moment you were to die, you are going to be exalted! And if you live on after that, you have fewer and fewer things to repent of! So, the odds increase that you are going to be exalted.

So, in conclusion, we should do more good things in our life. More service to others, more service in the church, pray more, study more in the scriptures, ponder more about the meaning and purpose of life. Every time we have a spiritual experience, we are pronounced clean of sin. Our challenge is to put ourselves in situations were we can invite the spirit to be with us. The goal is have the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost. Then the odds of being exalted are a constant 100%!

Monday, August 25, 2008

How Many People are Going to be Exalted?

I finished reading chapter 2 of the “Odds Are You are Going to be Exalted”, book. In chapter two he is trying to make a point as to how many people have been and will be, exalted in the history of the earth. He listed and talked about several groups:
1. A third part of Heaven followed Satan. Note, it is not 1/3 or 33%, it is a third part. A third part of what number? A third part can be a third part of a certain group, a symbolic number meaning a fraction of people followed Satan, or an unknown number. So, in the end, there is an unknown number that will not be exalted, because they followed Satan.
2. The norm from the time of Enoch to, and including many in Noah’s day, was to translate those who became repentant, and started keeping the commandments, as best they could, and thus many of them were saved and exalted with the City of Enoch.
3. Our Church teaches all those who die before the age of accountability are exalted. According to historians, 51% of all people ever born on earth have died before the age of eight.
4. All people who are mentally handicapped are not accountable, so they are exalted.
5. Millions will live and die during the Millennium and they will be exalted.
6. Presidents Woodruff and Snow taught that most, if not all, will accept the gospel when it is taught to them in the spirit world. We are told to do their temple ordinances for them so they can be exalted. Why would Heavenly Father waste time and effort doing all those ordinances if the ordinance work won‘t be use to exalt his Children?
So that just leaves you and me, (we who are currently on earth) to be exalted. That is the next chapter!

The Plan of Happiness

I finished the introduction and the first chapter of the book Tiff gave me, “Odds are you are going to be Exalted” for the second time, and thought I would write down some of things that stand out to me, and a brief synopses of the first chapter. It was about the need and role of works and grace. Why we cannot be saved without the atonement of Christ. No matter how good we are or try to be, none of us, excepting Christ will ever be perfect in living all of the commandments. But, this life is how we gain our experience. Just like God the Father did at sometime in his progression, while He was living and experiencing his earthly life. That is why God gave us commandments. To help us gain the most from our earthly experiences. Not to keep us out of His presence, but to bless our lives and get us back home with Him.

We all shouted for joy when God presented his plan, because it provided a way for us to not only return back to his presence, but also to become like Him. His plan was calculated to provide a way for a most of us to come back and live with Him and Mother Eloheim. We wouldn’t have shouted for joy if He had announced, “I have some good news and bad news. The good news is, I have a plan to satisfy justice, but most of you won’t make it back.” He called it the “Plan of Happiness”, not the “Plan of Elimination”.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Parable of the Mustard Seed and the Temple

Here are some of the things that I gained during my studying the Priesthood and Relief Society manual:
Joseph Smith compares the parable of the muster seed to the coming forth of the Book of Mormon, not just to faith. The seed, (Book of Mormon), was planted in a field by a man, (Moroni), who had faith that it would come forth out of the ground, (taken out of the ground by Joseph Smith), and sprout into a large tree, (temple), with many branches, (many Temples and Saints), where birds, (angles), could come to teach and bless all mankind. See JS priesthood manual, lesson #11 page 142.

Also Joseph Smith, in connection with the teaching above, said that the mountains, (Temples) will melt down, (be available to all people) and the valley be exalted. To me, meaning that people who are down, (in the valley – down in spirit and down in the eyes of the world) will have the temples melt down or come down from the mountains where God dwells, and be built in their own countries and cities, so that they will be given the chance to attend the temple and be lifted up to receive the same temple blessings God has promised to all his children.

I discussed the above teaching of Josephe Smith with DeAnne. She has wonderful spiritual insights and I love to talk to her about the gospel and the doctrine and get her input and listen to her thoughts on the topics I bring up with her. You are wonderfully, amazing DeAnne! I Love You!

Monday, August 18, 2008

What I Believe

I want to create this blog as a means of interacting and sharing ideas about my religion with anyone who might be interested and as a way to teaching and testifying to my children and grandchildren. From time to time I will post new items that I feel are important and about which I have received some insights and understanding. I hope my family and friends and anyone else will find some value from my study and learning. It is my wish that anyone with questions or comments will feel free to post them so we can have an honest free exchange of ideas.

I am active in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, often referred to as the “Mormon Church”. We believe the Bible to be the word of God, in addition we also believe the Book of Mormon to be the word of God. That it contains a record of Christ’s dealings with his people on the American Continent.

Just as most Christian churches, we believe the Bible to be a record of Gods dealings with his people, written by His prophets who lived in and near Jerusalem, from the time of Adam and Eve to the time of Christ and his Apostles. When Christ’s apostles were killed their writings ceased.

Mormons believe there were groups of people that left Jerusalem and came to the American continent. These groups were Christians, who believed the Bible. They had copies of it and brought it with them when they left Jerusalem. They also taught of Christ and looked forward to His coming to the earth in the flesh. Prophets led these groups, and kept records of the things God taught them. One of the last of these prophets, a man named Mormon, condensed many of the earlier records that were kept by his people, up to his day. He then added his history and testimony to the record. This record, he then passed on to his son, Moroni, who guarded it until he felt it would no longer be safe from his enemies. Having no one else to pass it on to Moroni, buried it before he died. Hundreds of years later, he appeared as a resurrected being to a young fourteen-year-old boy, by the name of Joseph Smith. This record came to be known as the Book of Mormon. It is a second witness of Jesus Christ.

I have a testimony that God does live. That Jesus Christ is His only begotten Son and through Christ’s sacrifice and atonement, we can be saved and return to their presence. I know they both love us and know our names. I also believe they know more about us than we know about ourselves.

I know the Bible and the Book of Mormon both testify of Christ and they are both the word of God given to us by holy prophets. I gained this testimony by reading, studying, pondering and praying about these things. My answers came not by logic to my mind, but by a feeling of peace and joy in my heart. I don’t ask you to take my word for any of the things I have said, but rather to find out for yourself, by asking God if these things are true. He will bring that same assurance to you if you sincerely ask Him.