Thursday, April 28, 2016

The Fence is Not Neutral Ground

There's a story written about how, in the battle between good and evil, everyone chose one side or the other, either God's or Satan's side.

When the sides were determined, and both Satan and Jesus had their followers come with them to their respective realms, one man remained alone, sitting on the fence that divided the two sides.

A while later, Satan came back, and the man asks if he was looking for something.

Satan replies, "No, I found you.  Come with me."

The man protests and says "But I sat on the fence, I wasn't on either side, the fence is neutral ground!"

Satan replies, "Nope!  I own the fence."

(Good advice).

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Mormon, Then Ether.

Moroni finished out his father's writings in "Mormon" after his father had been killed in battle and the Nephites were being exterminated by the Lamanites.

Once you're on the run, hiding out in a cave (I assume it's a cave he was hiding in, at least from the movies I've seen on the subject ;)  ) and nowhere to go...might as well write, right?

So, his people have been completely wiped out. 

And for as much as we can tell, there really was only one person left of the Nephite civilization to write the tale of their destruction:  Moroni.

Wow.

So why not put in Ether right after that, an account of another civilization that suffered the same, exact fate as the current author's civilization?

Put it in there as a double warning.

There is a reason that book was chosen to follow Moroni's account in "Mormon" of the extinction of the Nephites.

This was the covenant the existed with the Land, that those who inhabit it, must serve God or they would be swept off when the fullness of his wrath was come, this wasn't the first time it had happened either.   So putting it in there, to show further that these promises and covenants were true, would be the inspiration of the prophets in writing this book, further testifying that what they have been saying all along was and is true concerning this land. 

That it might serve as a warning to us even further, since we could not see what they experienced, so that we wouldn't have to if we would but listen.

And that is the power of the Book of Mormon. To, when we listen, save our civilizations from destruction, secret combinations, and whatever awaits the unrighteous and ungodly in the life following.

(Though I do laugh when I hear Moroni or Nephi refer to those who wrote "in times of old" or "ancient times" when they, themselves, to me, are ancient.)


Sunday, April 17, 2016

Faith in the Covenants

 23 Search the prophecies of Isaiah. Behold, I cannot write them. (Moroni writing in Mormon 8).

This is written to the Lamanites.

But Moroni wasn't going to include Isaiah in his book. 

That was prophesied (Isaiah) would be given to the Lamanites by the Gentiles from the Jews.

And here's Moroni telling them to read it and search it.

He was having faith in a prophesy not yet fulfilled and basing his writing of scripture on the fulfillment of that prophesy.

Just something I noticed while studying scriptures. 


Sunday, March 27, 2016

Finished Lines

When I was a boy
Still playing with toys
In a world that seemed
Flipped on its head

I decided to change it
And to rearrange it
And fix the world
Where I seemed misread.

I had an idea!
A GREAT idea!
I would make this life
better than the one I knew!

I was going to work it
Not going to shirk it
Shaping my world
To my "much better view".

"Someday" I imagined
I wouldn't be saddened
Anymore
by a flawed, flawed world

If I just paid attention
I could begin my ascension
From a life that left me
Feeling unnerved.

So I imagined perfection!
With great introspection!
And knew someday
I would achieve it!

Just a little bit farther!
Just a little bit harder!
If I tried! 
I knew I could reach it!

And so I began
my race, and I ran
For a finish-line I Knew
Lie ahead

I wasn't returning,
My dream, it was burning
and failure's thought
filled my mind with dread. 

And so I kept running
Mediocrity shunning
Someday I knew
I'd cross that line!

And yet it was distant
But I was persistent
It was coming!
Just a matter of time....

Thirty years later
My patience much greater
Still the finish line
I was awaiting

But the race, it wore on
victory, not foregone
and the running was not yet
abating

Years began to wear
My heart, start to tear
And fatigue
began to set in

But I was committed
My teeth, I had gritted
the race I determined
I'd win.

But then I looked back
What yet did I lack?
I was giving it
all that I could!

I couldn't try harder
and my soul I'd not barter.
I needed it
To enjoy what was good.

So, one day I paused
Finish line - not yet crossed
And I wondered if I'd been
Mistaken.

I couldn't quite feel,
Was this finish-line real?
Or a fools errand I'd
undertaken?

In a moment I knew
Finish-line hid from view
A different purpose lie
within this race

It wasn't the ending
That would my soul mending
Be what mattered
But it was my pace

Looking back I saw markers:
Fierce storms and safe harbors
That measured the miles
That I'd run

And over the distance
I'd gained great persistence
Strength, grace and more than just
saying "I won!"

Oh, but there is an ending!
How soon it is pending
Is anyone's guess
I don't know.

But it isn't the crossing
Of the finish, or the glossing
of the trials that most helps
us grow.

We all have a time
When we'll cross that line
And our race we will have
completed

But it isn't the ending
That we should be commending
Most importantly, it's
How we competed.

 So I've learned in reflection
I won't find perfection
Or peace
From crossing a line

One thing is quite certain
Till life's final curtain
We must run 
While we're given the time

But it isn't a line
That says "you're doing fine!"
Or relieves us
Of life's mortal burdens

Lines many you'll cross
While in storms pitched and tossed
And perhaps more wait
For you to come further

Neither distance nor speed
Are to what we give heed
If this race we are running
as meant.

Both are only a fraction
Of the race, a distraction!
Of *how* we run
This race heaven-sent. 

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Be the Leaven!

I worry about a lot of things in our world, what with the whirlwinds of political - I often have doubts and fears for our future as Latter Day Saints, and the world we live in.

What can be done?

What is to be done?

Where is our power?

Well....Christ said that we are to be the leaven in the whole mixture - the bread - the body - the world.

What's the purpose of leaven - or yeast - in a bread?

It raises the whole loaf!  Such a small thing that does so much - a bit of yeast!  I think that's what we're expected to be like as well.  We don't have to worry about everything else or even try to control or steer it.  Just be what we are and be what we can and let that influence spread and lift things around us.

I think we have to have faith in God, to do that.  But we also have to be doing what we do and being faithful, to do it as well - and leave the rest?  To God.

Monday, February 22, 2016

Love Doesn't Have to Wait

Too often we put conditions on loving others.

And too often we put conditions on forgiving others.

I've learned and am learning that both of these things are more for us, than they are for the people we do them to and for.

As far as forgiving others goes, I have - like most people - had many times when I've been hurt and wronged and injured.

Most recently, as you may have read, I was walked out of my dream job at one of the prisons.  Wrongfully let go and cut off and escorted out.

I was *SO* infuriated!  "You can't do this to me!" and a million other such thoughts raced through my head.

But the fact is....they can. 

And they did.

Never mind that being let go was actually an answer to prayers and was God delivering me from an awful, awful fate that was going to await me eternally - a fate I now know that I would be currently entangled in were I still there - and I'm soooo thankful I was delivered - but...it was hard!

And as I've had unkind thoughts over the months since then...it's not the first time I've been wronged professionally...I tired of the counsel and advice that "you need to forgive for your sake, not theirs" and other such maxims.  Analogies of the rattlesnake poison that you need to get out of your body, rather than trying to kill the snake, and other such parables abounded in counsel from friends and family as I struggled with what happened to me over the months.  Kind of repetative and redundant.

Until...one day...

I realized that perhaps there was a way around trying to forgive when I wasn't really feeling like forgiving.  Rather than asking for blessings for people who I didn't really like or care for who they were or what they'd done....my prayers changed.

I began to pray: help me to pray for and want the right things for these people.

And you know what?  I was kind of shocked at times that I was told to just let it go and let the Lord handle it. I didn't need to focus on forgiveness and could just turn things over to him and focus on things in my own life.

But what about love?

Well...so often we put conditions on love as well. 

And if we think about it...if we only "love" someone who meets the right conditions...is it really love?

Do we only love someone when they finally become what we thought we could love the entire time?  Or do we love them while they become what we knew they could be?

And what if we don't love them while they aren't what we wanted perfectly?  Can they ever become what we wanted if we hold back love until they are "perfect?"

Love is what helps others achieve and become what they are meant to be.  It also helps us become who and what we are meant to be, here and hereafter.

Now I know not all investments of love produce the results we hope for, but I think that loving is a perishable skill - one that we can lose.  It is much more than an emotion that we feel, but is also how we treat others.

But we can't realistically expect to withhold love until things are perfect and then expect to suddenly love and have everything work out.  It would be like refusing to fertilize your crops until they grow and then suddenly to expect to harvest and farm them when you've done no farming the entire season or in your entire life.

So my point? Love doesn't have to wait. 

Actually, love can't wait. 
It needs to be done now. 
Always. 
Continuously. 
Constantly. 
In all it's forms. 

Monday, February 15, 2016

Extinct Opportunities

There were three commandments that were given in the garden of Eden that haven't been rescinded:

Be fruitful
No More Chances for You
Multiply
Replenish the earth.

And we all know why we have children in the gospel - so that Heavenly Father's children can have a mortal body and experience life.

But when we realize that animals have spirits as well, and have an eternal destiny....

What about those species that have become extinct?

What about their spirits waiting eternally and the chances they won't have?

Just a thought on why we need to be kind to the earth and good stewards not only of, but to, the animals.