Saturday, January 6, 2018

Charity First, then Humility

In regards to my earlier post about humility, I had a chance today to be humble...and I wasn't.

Humble in this case meaning accepting of someone else's difference of opinion and handling of something that involved me. 

I was pretty upset actually. 

(Very, actually).

Well, I'd asked for the ability to be humble, and humbling myself today, just...wasn't working in terms of finding peace.

So as I reviewed the - what I believe to be a - chain of virtues listed in the Doctrine and Covenants Section Four, I realized that "charity" proceeds humility.

I think we have to love others first before we can be humble about their flaws or the things that bug us.

So...despite my best efforts to be humble about the situation which simply wasn't happening, I instead decided to do something kind for them.  I bought them their favorite snack on my time out.

Just that act of being kind softened my heart enough to where I could deal with a very upsetting situation.  It wasn't even the act, it was the decision to engage in the act, to change what I was doing about it.

As I came back to a maddening situation, my act of kindness made me feel better and made the other person happy.  Suddenly...problem solved.  Something that ate me up was over.

I think it takes humility to have charity - we have to humble ourselves to love others. 

But in this case, for me, taking the time to love them, just love them....really helped me take the steps I needed to in order to give my damaged ego a rest.

I'm going to get this....seriously, I'm going to get all this.  I'm tired of being a fireball who is agitated so easily.  I wanna be in charge starting with myself....I want to be the man President Monson was: kind, steady, steadfast, not easily shaken.

It's going to come with a love for others first.


Friday, January 5, 2018

Humility Brings Peace

I've not been a humble person in my life.

A lifetime of hurts and injuries have made strong reactions a way of life, and humility?

Well...humility is a strength.

And when your life has been one of turmoil and upheaval...quiet strength isn't always the first thing acquired.

So how do we acquire it?
Well....we can pray for humility.

...And we all know the Mormon joke about that.  Haven't you heard?

"Don't pray for humility because you'll be humbled faster than anything?"
"God loves to answer that prayer."
"He will answer that prayer so fast!"

And so on.

We've all been warned against praying to be humbled here and there in mormondom...

And asking for humility...I think that's the same as asking to be humbled.

I don't know that it's a difference in nuance, but it seemed different when I asked for: the ability to be humble, and the wisdom to recognize when it should be applied, and the knowledge of how to do it.

I really don't need my life to be blown further apart than it is right now so I can spend my time scraping up pieces and chopping my ego down and learn to pray and find my place.  Although I have learned one thing about life: it's never so bad it can't get worse.



If I look at the verse of Doctrine and Covenants Section 4 (that we all memorized as missionaries, at least in the Great Louisiana Baton Rouge Mission), the list of virtues we are told to remember, is - I believe - a chain, a series of steps.

Remember, faith, virtue, knowledge, temperance, patience, brotherly kindness, godliness, charity, humility....

Perhaps to gain humility, first we need to build all those other things, step by step, line upon line, virtue upon virtue.

After humility, we are able to be diligent - our egos no longer block us from following the Lord's will.  And once we have become diligent...at that point we are doing all we are supposed to do diligently, THEN....ask and ye shall receive, knock and it shall be opened unto you.

At that point whatever you ask will be given or done for you.

But why do I ask for the ability to be humble?

Mostly because I get tired of the emotional turmoil that accompanies not.  There's not much peace in life when we are frustrated or thinking we are above such struggles that confront us and wondering things like "why me?".

So, humility?

I ask for the ability to be humble so I can have peace and not cause my own turmoil inside myself and spreading out to those around me with my own ego-issues.

Rather than being humble through the turmoil that has always followed that prayer.

But humility?

It brings peace.

And that's why I ask to be able to have it so I can have peace.

Maybe I should just ask for peace?

But I think that relies too much on everything going well around me.  Maybe not, but I think so.

So, humility? 

It puts me in the driver's seat in my own life with my own peace.

I want the ability to have humility.

I want peace.

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

The Priesthood: Higher than Man

It is often asserted that "men" lead the LDS church.

A man by himself - just as a man - can't lead the church.  Were he to do so, the church would be about like any other secular or religious organization - without inspiration or eternal, divine authority.

The callings of the priesthood aren't something men are handed to do whatever they want with it either once they've got them.

The man may stand in the position within the church, but the calling itsself and the authority are all things higher than he is as his natural self.

When we hold the priesthood we are to aspire to the things it inspires to to lift ourselves up with - we aspire to become like Father in Heaven.

The point is simply...it's not men that lead this church.  "It matters not who lives or who dies, or who is called to lead this Church, they have got to lead it by the inspiration of Almighty God. If they do not do it that way, they cannot do it at all. …" Official Declaration 1 by Wilford Woodruff. 

It's not men who lead, eternally, it's Father, just those who lead are following him just as Christ did. 


Monday, December 11, 2017

Sam Shovel the Private Nose

I'm posting this here because it was so hard to find.  My father used to read this to us as Scouts. Not really specific to anything in the blog other than I wanted a place to put it, and it's a reminder of my dad, so....here you go:

You've all heard of Sam Spade, private eye, well my name is Sam Shovel, Private nose.


The other day as I climbed out of the chandlers, you see I'm a light sleeper, I went to my private office, opened my private door, went in and sat behind my private desk, and my private secretary came in and poured murine all over my private eye. I picked up the phone, you see it was ringing. Right away I could tell the girl on the other end was desprate for money. She kept saying deposit 35 cents please! Then she said Dirty dealing dan dugan from dry gultch ditch. This was a case for the fashicious fumagnation of the organization of the screwball dignatails.

I needed a drink. I reached on the shelf and took down the bottle, took the cap off and drank it down. It made me feel blue, I looked again, it was a bottle of ink. I knew dirty dealing dan when I was a fighter.

We boxed chocolates together in a candy factory. Just then a tall beautiful blond walked past my window. How did I know she was tall? My office is on the second floor. She had long beautiful, blond hair all down her back. She had to have it someplace. There wasn't any on her head. There must have been something extremely fascinating about her left eye, the right one kept looking at it. Her teeth reminded me of summer, sum'er here and sum'er there. They also reminded me of sparkling water, one down and seven up.

Right away I knew she was the girl I had to follow. I left the office and as I reached the street I heard the sound of breaking glass behind me, you see I had forgotten to open the door. Never-the-less I hailed a cab. The driver got behind the wheel and 10, 20, 30, 40 times he tried to start the car. But soon we were on our way. I directed him to the last chance saloon.

As we reached our destination I went up to the bar tender and asked "Sir have you seen a man eight feet tall, green hair, fifteen fingers and a pinball machine strapped to his back?" "No " he answered, but is there anything peculiar about him? Yes I replied, the pinball machine was tilted. Look up the stairs he said. So I did, one, two, three, four, flights of stairs. My nose started to bleed, because of the altitude. I went to the door and knocked. The door opened and there was that same beautiful blond. She had a gun in her left hand, and a gun in her right hand, with a knife between her teeth. Right away I could tell something was holding her back. Oh yes her garter was caught on the door knob, but she snapped out of it. Then she kissed me. Boy what a cut up. You see she still had the knife between her teeth. I said Look baby, I came here looking for clues.

Well, she said look in the clues closet. And so I did and there was dirty dealing dan dugan. Quick, Quick, she cried, shoot him with your forty-four. I didn't have a forty-four, so I shot him twice with a twenty-two. This goes to prove that Sam Shovel always gets his man.

The Patriarchy (Link)

This is a link to an excellent article on the Patriarchal Order.

It's not my writing, but I think it highlights a lot of things that are worth considering about men, women, priesthood, the family and current attempts to destroy it.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Kill the Killer's Brother

If someone commits a crime, who gets punished?

The offender!

A murderer kills?  His life is taken.  No one elses'.

Even the scriptures say this:

11 Now there is not any man that can sacrifice his own blood which will atone for the sins of another. Now, if a man murdereth, behold will our law, which is just, take the life of his brother? I say unto you, Nay.
12 But the law requireth the life of him who hath murdered; (Alma 34).

And yet....we sin, we kill, we transgress, and who is put to death for it?

The one man who did nothing wrong.

My older brother, eternally, actually.

We talk about a perfectly just God, the Eternal Father, yet where is the justice in selecting someone completely and totally innocent out of the crowd - who did nothing - and making him pay - having him pay - for everyone else? 

Only God Himself could do such a maneuver with eternal justice and have it be just.  And then call it mercy, and have it be so.

Nobody else can shed their own blood and have it count the way his did.  Do what you will with your blood, shed it as you like - it won't do any good the way his does and did.

I find there are some things I can't put words to, but this is just a thought from my Elder's Quorum lesson that I had put together today. 






Friday, December 8, 2017

The Blessings of Formal Prayer & Small Acts of Obedience

As  a missionary I think I counted that we would - at minimum - pray about 15 times per day if it was just a regular day.

With all the praying we did, at the time, I didn't see anything special about the morning right-after-I-tumbled-out-of-bed prayer or the just-before-I-got-into-bed prayer because I spent so much time praying through the course of the day!  Nevertheless, this was a habit we kept up through our mission.

Missions end and life goes on....I haven't ever lived, or been able to live, the life of a missionary with all it's opportunities for staying so close to the Lord as I could and did then.

Keeping a prayer in my heart always is not a problem.  I pray while I commute, and am constantly checking in with the Lord about nearly every little thing.

But that formal nighttime and morning time prayer?  Setting things aside and trusting things to be okay while I kneel in prayer? 

I've only recently begun to discover the blessings of them. I once asked Father how I was doing in my personal prayers.  I got the impression that my prayers were more like someone running into the DMV and throwing a stack of papers on the desk for them to figure out before running out and hating the crowd for their inconvenience of even having to be there.

As I've slowed down in my personal prayers, I've found: 

1) They give purpose.  I'm quite scatterbrained.  But taking the time to enumerate and inventory my life gives me a chance to take stock of what I'm doing in life, whether I'm being effective or not.  It gives me the chance to see myself in the context of looking back over an entire day at nighttime, and to prepare for a day in the morning.

2) It helps to take the time to see the blessings of the day that have happened, as well as to consciously ask for them before the day begins.   Gratitude is an immense source of peace.  In a difficult life, being able to see the blessings of the day and say "Thank you" for them is such a blessing and again brings so much peace!

3) It helps me find my priorities.  I remember the prophets praying for their children.  When I take the time to pray for my children, their struggles, their needs and wants, and our family, it helps me to become a better father.  Rather than simply reacting to my children in the daytime, I have the chance to kneel and ask for their blessings and know how good I'm doing with them, what I need to do better, and what's going on with them.  Sometimes it breaks my heart to hear the things I fall short in as a father, but it's also things that I know my fathers never knew or had access to without the gospel gifts and knowledge that I have received and acquired.

I've marveled and wondered how some of my blessings I've heard will ever come to pass.  As I fasted this last Sabbath, I was pondering while general conference was being replayed on the television.  The answer came while fasting and listening and looking for revelation - simple obedience to the small things. You keep doing those, you will see them build great big things, and miracles come to follow.

Fast monthly.
Pay a fast offering.
Pay a full tithe.
Say formal prayer.
Scripture study as a family regularly.
Pray as a family regularly.
Pray as a couple regularly.
Read scriptures by yourself.
Attend your meetings.

All of these are the things that the Apostles and Prophets have done.  If you wish to be like the greats, do the things they greats do.  We can go off in search of some quest for some great thing to do as King Naaman was minded to do.  Or, we can simply do the little things and slow down and let the Lord do His work through us as we are faithful, bit by bit.

Take the time to be blessed - go see your Father and talk to him as well as listen without just dumping a pile of requests on his desk and go running out.   Be involved in your own life alongside heaven.  Get to know the Boss and work on that promotion between worlds to become like the Boss by doing the things he says to do.  Be happy in obedience through the small things, and then the great things - including returning to his presence - will come to pass as surely as the sun rises.






Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Spiritual Decoy Operations

Not all misleading voices in this world are specifically enticing us to do something wrong.

Many - perhaps most - of the voices in our world entice us to join some good cause!

But...are those causes what the Lord would have us do?

Here's where we have to judge carefully.

I honestly might simply say that if it's not the gospel of Jesus Christ...it's a distraction in this world.

Let me give an example.

Political party this or that, rah rah our side our side, hooray hooray!  Boo on that side!  Huzza for this side!  THIS side has the truth!  Let's put all our energy into defeating that side! 

WELLLLL.....

I try not to put too much faith in man-made institutions or philosophies.   The Nephites were very much focused on their side and still lost because they forgot the Lord.  Heck, we can be like the people of Coriantumr and Shiz, spend all our time gathering everyone we can to this side or that and then all perish in a massive slaughter of side-agains-side with no victor or priesthood to save our souls.

In the end...politics aren't going to save us.

Political philosphies aren't going to save us.

And whatever spiritual principles are in them, they existed before the parties ever did - truth and principles are eternal.

28 O that cunning plan of the evil one! O the vainness, and the frailties, and the foolishness of men! When they are learned they think they are wise, and they hearken not unto the counsel of God, for they set it aside, supposing they know of themselves, wherefore, their wisdom is foolishness and it profiteth them not. And they shall perish.

29 But to be learned is good if they hearken unto the counsels of God. (2 Nephi 9)


 Yup! 

We need to beware of those who set themselves up as a light to the world but who really lead us away from the gospel.

I'm always wary of the politics that don't leave room for Christ or worry about religion dividing people in the cause....  He is the inspiration for it all.

But in the end, there are decoy operations of the adversary.   For example, conspiracies about this or that historical event where people insist the government was part of this, or that people were actually a part of that...what's the truth???!!!

Looks real enough....but look closely....
Is there darkness in the world?

....Does a chicken have a beak?

So can I expect to be given the full truth about these conspiracies? 

Probably not.

But let's say I *DID* find the truth in a conspiracy....

If the world lies in darkness and ignores the principles and truths of the gospel eternally....what good will it do?

I can spend my energy on a conspiracy, find the truth, and yet...not have the truth.  And another conspiracy will happen for the lack of the truth. 

And that is just as much an effort of the adversary to get me focused on the search for truth and to ignore the most critical truths there are - and waste my priesthood and time and energy in something that won't profit me eternally - a decoy spiritual operation.