It’s all about me!!

Don - December 28, 2004

I’ve been teaching the Gospel Doctrine SS class for 2+ years now. I love it. Teaching is my favorite “job” in the church. I especially appreciate the preparation, I learn so much more than anyone else, I need the motivation, and I grow a lot whenever I teach. Teaching is my first love, church administration is my last love.

I purchased 2 new books on D&C and Church History, two of my daughters gave me a Church History Encyclopedia and I have a terrific book on Church history from my BYU days. I was really looking forward to this year’s classes.

The Bishop stopped by night before last and “ruined” everything. Back to administration. My wife and I have been called to be “……….” whatever that is! There is no name for this calling, because it hadn’t existed before. Our Bishop feels that there is a need to help all the singles in our ward from whatever age to as old as they go. What are we supposed to do? He doesn’t know for sure. Where can we read up or study about this calling, no place. Why do we need a calling that seems redundant and seems to duplicate what the single adult reps are supposed to be doing, or the Stake is supposed to be offering? I don’t know.

When the Bishop asked if we would accept this calling, I told him it was too late. He looked puzzled at me. I explained I already accepted this calling when I made my temple covenants.

Now before this blog sounds too negative, let me vent some more. What a challenge! We get the opportunity of going to the Lord and finding out exactly what He wants us to do. No manuals, no directions from some priesthood leader, just find out the needs, check with the Lord and serve these people. How cool is that!?

I’m not sure what our impact will be, maybe like teaching it will effect me more than it will effect them. Maybe we will literally be the ones to develop a whole new calling in the Ward, Stake, or Church to better serve the needs of the single members. It’s a growing demographic in the Church and they certainly need the blessing like the rest of us.

So again, instead of the church and my life being all about me, it turns out that it’s really all about others, which is all about me.

The end is coming

Don - December 22, 2004

Here it is almost 2005. Gowing up I always thought the end of the world was coming around the year 2,000. If you go by all the theories, the 1,000 year dispensations etc. we should now be in the Millenium.

Remember the big deal everyone made over Y2K?

Well, when is the end coming? If we count the years, we are overdue. If we count the seeming wickedness we’re overdue. Obviously God must be on a different time table…or He’s using His mercy again.

Maybe Chirst’s birth was half way thru the earth’s life and we have another 2,000 years before the end comes.

With the new year approaching I’m just grateful I’m still here with a chance to repent and become better. I’m especially grateful for two principles I learned from an inspired Stake President. First, that progression is more important than perfection. Second, that it doesn’t matter where on the path I’m at, as long as I’m facing in the right direction and I am progressing.

Hopefully I am.

Christmas, just another weird tradition

Don - December 16, 2004

Obviously Christ wasn’t born on December 25th. Almost all of the traditions we celebrate at Christmas are founded in pagan rituals, or miss-readings of the scriptures.

I asked myself the question, “If that’s the case, then why celebrate Christmas?” Sure there’s the answer about good will, peace on earth, the spirit of giving, and we don’t want to have our neighbors think bad of us if we don’t.

I then thought about traditions themselves. Traditions have always been important. They have been a binding force, keeping families and generations together. Much of our religious activities are based on tradition rather than actual proscribed doctrinal proceedure. We see the way we conduct and worship at our meetings change, yes we are given direction but different areas develop local or regional traditions based on those changes. (Does your ward / stake require…overly encourage wearing white shirts on Sunday?)

I think traditions are good. They do bind us together as a people. I reflected on the traditions of Christmas and then our family traditions. We have special family traditions, many that revolve around Christmas that bring fond memories and bind our family. (Remember the special gifts Dad would give on Christmas eve, the P.J.s mom would give, how about never having to hide presents because no one ever peeked, or not going down to the Christmas tree on Christmas morning until 8am, or visiting friends Christmas night….remember, oh remember.)

This blog is just to jog your memories, think about the importance of traditions in your life, and cherish those traditions that bind your family together, especially at this time of year when they all point to love, family and Jesus Christ.

Kulturblog

Rusty - December 13, 2004

For anyone who doesn’t know, there is a great new blog discussing all things pop culture called kulturblog. I’ve been signed on as a contributer (though I need to renegotiate my paltry salary) to write about all things design (though my schedule has allowed me to only write one article). It’s a great site to catch up on movie reviews, music reviews, Broadway insights, design stuff, and Pokemon. Well, not really Pokemon. But check it out.

Tired & Grateful

Rusty - December 11, 2004

I’m tired.

I’m sitting here at my desk (where I’ve been for the last 18 hours) getting ready to finally go to bed. I’ve been working through this proposal book for my thesis (which is basically everything that I’ve done all semester compiled into a book) and it’s due on Tuesday. I’ve been getting little sleep (going to bed at 2:00, getting up at 6:00 for seminary), am overloaded at work, and have to skip class to be able to have time to do anything on this book. At times I feel like I’m getting stupider and stupider (at times I think I have Alzheimer’s disease, my mind just goes blank), I forgot my mom’s (and sister’s) birthdays, and I increasingly have issues with the owner of the company I work for. My wife hates her job and her daily 3-hour commute. I can’t even sit down with my wife to enjoy dinner together because I have to get this thing done. I’m not even thinking about Christmas, not until Tuesday night. Frankly, I’m not even thinking about anything that’s not my thesis. All of this while we are renovating our kitchen (which means everything is out in our front room of our tiny New York City apartment and driving us mad).

Yet, I can’t help but be grateful. I mean, every trial that I mentioned is just a result of a choice that I and/or my wife made in the past. I chose to go to grad school, I chose to renovate in our small apartment, my wife chose to work at a crappy job that makes pretty good money, I chose to accept the calling as seminary teacher, I chose to work for the company that I do, and I chose to put off this stupid project till the last week. All of those things are good things. I’m not too happy about the getting stupider part and I feel really bad about forgetting birthdays, but the for the most part, life is good. I can only be grateful for the blessings the Lord has given us.

Okay, time for a few hours of sleep.

Mormon Folklore, isn’t it great?!

Don - December 8, 2004

It never ceases to amaze me at how much Mormon Folklore there is out there. Why is that?

Do we have a need to “embelish” or even create stories to make us feel good, or is it to increase our faith? Some have been in the church for years (see the blog on the Sealed portion of the Book of Mormon).

Where do they come from, why and WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE ONE?

B of M Sealed portion

Don - December 6, 2004

In studying for my SS lesson this past week the sealed portion of the Book of Mormon brought several questions to my mind.

If we take the Mormon folklore that 1/3 of the plates were sealed then that would mean we are missing about 150-200 pages of text. (our current B of M has a considerable amount of footnotes which obviously are not part of the original, so I estimate the entire text part to be about 450 – 600 pages, 300 – 400 pages of actual text in our current book plus 150 – 200 pages in the sealed portion, that makes the ratios fit).

It appears to me that isn’t enough for all the “missing” material that is in the sealed portion. Briefly Moroni says that sealed part contains the information from Adam down to Jared (approx. 2,000 years), all the blessings that Christ gave to the brother of Jared, and all the details to the end of the earth. He details that out a bit more in several different verses, but I think that covers it in general.

Covering all that time, prophecies, wars, problems etc. seems to me would take a lot more than 250 pages. Unless again we only get a condensed, hit the high points version again, and I guess that’s possible. But in reading Moroni’s descriptions I personally get the feeling that there is detail there and that detail is one of the reasons it’s sealed.

Why am I posting this? Just wondering if anyone else has had thoughts on this sealed portion, what it contains, why we don’t have it, when we’ll get it and how many pages of added scripture will we get to study when it comes. (Maybe S.S. class will have to add another year to the rotation to include it in our study cycle)

Toilet Seats

Don - December 2, 2004

Why is that men get in trouble for leaving the toilet seat up and women don’t get in trouble for leaving the toilet lid up?

Maybe women just leave the lid up in public, at home things are different.

I would say that 9 out of 10 women who use our facilities leave the lid up. We are a retail bridal store and it doesn’t matter if it’s mothers or the brides, they all do it.

As a man, leaving the seat up was a habit I had to break immediately after I got married.

Do women do it differently at home? Or men don’t care if it’s up or down, or nobody cares?

Has anyone else gone thru a toilet seat up/down problem? Or do women leave the lid up at home and away, and that’s ok?

Why are we not healed?

Don - December 1, 2004

Rusty’s blog and the comments got me thinking.

When someone calls upon the Elders to annoint and bless them what happens? If you read James the sick person is the one who needs to do the calling. And the sick person is healed because of their faith. And if they are healed their sins are forgiven them.

When Christ healed he healed, forgave their sins, and told them that it was their faith that made them whole…all at the same time.

I’m sure the faith of the person performing the blessing is important, but doesn’t appear to be essential. Especially in light of all the unworthy priesthood holders that have performed blessings that “worked”. (But maybe faith and worthiness is substance for a different blog).

So is the reason that many are not healed is because they lack the faith? Or is it that they are unwilling to “repent” so their sins can be forgiven? If I’m a non-member but would like a blessing what takes over, my faith to be healed…but I don’t want to join your church?

Can the two be seperated, faith being activated to heal – and the forgiveness of sins?

If we partake of the sacrament worthily are our sins forgiven? If so are we healed? Is that why the scripture says there are many sick amoung us, because they have partaken unworthily?

How are, and or why are they connected?