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Sunday, June 28, 2015

324: DARKNESS BEGINS TO TRIUMPH OVER LIGHT

A week ago today was the summer solstice.  This week is the beginning when darkness begins to triumph over light. For the next six months, we will gradually lose more and more light each day. It will be three months before we get around to the time of the autumnal equinox, when darkness catches up to light and there is a brief point of balance between the two extremes. After the fall equinox, darkness will be greater than light up until the winter solstice on December 21st. After the winter solstice, light begins to triumph over darkness.

Some could point out that less than positive things have happened during the week of the summer solstice while good things happen in December. The summer solstice was at the time when Joseph Smith was killed, while it was the winter solstice when Joseph Smith was born.

This has been a historic week. On Friday, the U.S. Supreme Court issued the long-awaited ruling giving same-sex couples the right to marry in all 50 states.

The White House, the symbol of our nation's Leadership,  was lit with the colors of the rainbow Friday night in honor of the Court’s ruling that marriage equality is a constitutional right throughout the country. “Tonight, the White House was lit to demonstrate our unwavering commitment to progress and equality, here in America and around the world,” the White House said in a statement.

Many other landmarks were illuminated in gay-pride colors overnight including the spire of the 1,776-foot World Trade Center, Niagara Falls, and several city halls, including San Francisco’s and Denver’s.   Here is a link to a blog post about these colors usurped from a sacred covenant symbol.

The White House on June 26, 2015
 
The newly rebuilt World Trade Center in New York City
 


The "legalized' family structure has forever been changed in our country. Heaven Help Us.
 ......................................................................................


Sidenote: (A belated Happy Father's Day 2015 post)


A couple of days before Father's Day, I followed a family of Canadian Geese in our neighborhood. I enjoyed watching this daddy Gander teach his seven little goslings. Below are a few photos of this Dad teaching his children to walk, swim and then eventually fly.  We can learn a lot from observing nature and God's creations. Canada Geese, like swans, are monogamous and they mate for life. They raise and protect their young together and also protect each other throughout their lives. When a Canada Goose loses its mate or eggs, they have been observed to mourn. They may remove themselves from the flock and stay by themselves and swim around in despair honking mournfully. Canada Geese are extremely devoted and  look out for each other. When a mate is injured or dying, its partner will stay with them, even if the flock is moving on. Adults begin communicating with their young while they are still in the egg. When migrating they honk encouragement to each other, and indicate directions.

Teach me to walk:


photo taken of a family of Canadian Geese in our neighbors yard.
 
Teach me to walk in the light of his love;
Teach me to pray to my Father above;
Teach me to know of the things that are right;
Teach me, teach me to walk in the light.
 
Teach me to Swim:
 
photo taken of the same family of Canadian Geese in river behind our neighbors yard. 
 
Come, little child, and together we'll learn
Of his commandments, that we may return
Home to his presence, to live in his sight--
Always, always to walk in the light.
 
Teach me to Fly:
 
photo taken of the same family of Canadian Geese near our home.


Father in Heaven, we thank thee this day
For loving guidance to show us the way.
Grateful, we praise thee with songs of delight!
Gladly, gladly we'll walk in the light.

...................................

 

Saturday, June 20, 2015

323: SUMMER SOLSTICE 2015

Tomorrow is the Summer Solstice. (It is also Father's Day which I will post on later) 

Last Sunday I hiked up early with some friends to see the Sunrise. It was seven days before the summer Solstice. Here are some photos.

photo taken last Sunday on June 4th, 2015. Seven days before the Summer Solstice.


photo taken last Sunday on June 4th, 2015. Seven days before the Summer Solstice.

photo taken last Sunday on June 4th, 2015. Seven days before the Summer Solstice.

All things – our lives, our beings, our breath – comes as gifts from God. Of ourselves we have nothing. All our notions that we “own” anything is an illusion. We are not sovereign but completely dependent. Everything we have, every moment of our lives has been given to us. Our experience here on this earth is a gift from God. Everything we “own” has only been entrusted.

Every heartbeat is borrowed. Everything we dwell on or work for in this mortal world will pass away. Therefore the meaning of this life is not found in anything of this life, but only in Him who lies behind it. And the purpose of this life is not found in seeking anything of this life, but only in seeking Him who gave it.

I recently heard this song. I think the words are powerful. You can listen to the music on the link at the end of the lyrics:


Sky Spills Over

There's a rose in the desert, blooming red in the drought
There's a quenching rain in the wings of the gathering clouds
 Lift your eyes, look to the horizon now
There's still a hope for us, each up from the dust and call it down

Can you hear? Can you hear that thunder?
Sing His name, sing it out
Till the sky spills over

I may just be dry bones, stripped of sinew and skin
But the wind of His spirit, will raise me up again

I lift my eyes, I look to the horizon now
Oh, there's still a song to sing
Fall down on your knees and cry aloud

I hear the rolling thunder, Feel the pouring rain
My heart is filled with wonder, Only You remain
I see a new horizon, coming up my way

Oh, I can hear, I can hear that thunder
I'll sing Your name, sing it out
Till the sky spills over, over







Thursday, June 18, 2015

322: TOP THREE WORLD RELIGIONS

The top religion in the world is Christianity. Estimates suggest there are currently approximately two billion practicing Christians. About half of these are Catholics, and the majority shares of other Christian faiths include Protestants and Anglicans. In total, roughly 33% of those in the world practice Christianity in some form. Mormons claim to have over 15 million members. While my numbers might be off some, the world population is approximately 7,000,000,000. This means that 0.21% of the world's population is Mormon.

Islam comes in as the second most popular religion in the world, with approximately one billion members. Some Islamic people claim that there are actually more practicing Muslims than practicing Christians. This depends on how one defines the word “practicing.” A person who cites his/her religion as Christianity might not, for example, attend church regularly. This to a Muslim might seem like failure to practice the religion.

In the United States, however, Islam is the fastest growing religion. Roughly 80% of the mosques in the US were built within the last 20 years.

Today is the first day of Ramadan for the Muslim Faith.  Ramadan is observed by Muslims worldwide as a month of fasting and lasts 29–30 days based on the visual sightings of the crescent moon. Once the moon rises, a practicing Muslim begins his fast.  Once the moon sets, they can break their fast.

photo taken from our driveway this evening on June 18th, 2015


Fasting is "obligatory" for adult Muslims, except those who are suffering from an illness, travelling, are elderly, pregnant, breastfeeding, diabetic or going through menstrual bleeding. While fasting from dawn until sunset, Muslims refrain from consuming food, drinking liquids, smoking, and engaging in sexual relations with one's spouse.

Muslims are also instructed to refrain from sinful behavior that may negate the reward of fasting, such as false speech (insulting, backbiting, cursing, lying, etc.) and fighting. Food and drink is served daily, before dawn and after sunset. Spiritual rewards for fasting are also believed to be multiplied within the month of Ramadan. Fasting for Muslims during Ramadan typically includes the increased offering of prayers and reading their holy writ.

One could say that all of the above practices during Ramadan are "good fruits" ...and if so that their religion must be true. (the "good fruits = true religion" is a reference to a recent Boise talk given this past Sunday)


The third largest group of the population is considered non-religious. About one billion people consider themselves to not regularly practice any religion, or to be atheists. This is actually a diverse group, including agnostics. Atheists only represent a small portion of the one billion. Many are simply unsure what faith is the right one for them, and also may have problems with organized religion in general.

Sidenote:

One of the Christians denominations are the Baptists. They have recently taken a bold stand on some political issues recently. It was reported on FOX news that the Southern Baptists cannot and will not affirm anything that deviates from God's designs.


Here is  one quote from the Fox news article…"While affirming their love for all people — regardless of sexual orientation, the former Southern Baptist presidents said they 'cannot and will not affirm the moral acceptability of homosexual behavior or any behavior that deviates from God's design for marriage.'  'Our first duty is to love and obey God, not man.'"

I compare that bold statement  that to this new billboard that can be seen in the heart of Salt Lake City along the 1-15.


Taken on June 17th in Salt Lake City, UT



























A friend of mine emailed this thoughts yesterday,

"I think the LDS church would consider "The Family: A Proclamation to the World" a groundbreaking document in support of marriage in it's time.  I agree that perhaps it was then but I think in recent times they have found themselves reacting to the zietgiest of the population and trying to fit in rather than our the president (prophet) taking bold moral stances in a public way.  Absent a strong voice from leadership, the "proclamation" has been a great go-to document in a pinch.  If you remember, the proclamation was read by President Gordon B. Hinckley as part of his message at the General Relief Society Meeting in 1995 and he is now, dare I say, dead, so that may totally invalidate that document.  If the living prophets trumps the deceased you'd think a bold sturdy statement would be in line.  Come to think of it, I'm not really sure where the church stands on it given their statements from a few months ago - (Mormons free to back gay marriage on social media, LDS apostle says  - plus issues revolving around scouting).  Seems like in scripture the prophets were the first out of the chute to identify and teach Christ's message to any and all who would listen, even at the risk of their life let alone popularity.  We became a bit gun shy I think with prop 8 in CA.  so "luke warm" seems to be the most comfortable stance to take.  I think Christ had something to say about "luke warm" -  Anyway, it's amazing to watch."

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

321: COMPLIANCE ENFORCEMENT


The other day while driving into work,  I saw two Salt Lake Officers writing up parking ticket violations. I noticed their uniforms looked a little different than other police officers. Written across the back of their uniforms were the words, "COMPLIANCE ENFORCEMENT".


photo taken in Salt Lake City on June 2015
 
Seeing these new uniforms with the words "Compliance Enforcement" triggered an emotional response in me. It seems like there has be an incremental intensity of "power" titles given over the years to those who are to "preserve the peace" and "protect the innocent."

We have gone from Peace Officers to Compliance Enforcement.
 
 
These “Compliance Enforcers” remind me of the Stormtroopers in the Star Wars movies. A stormtrooper was a cloned Authority figure who were sent to put down revolts and protect the established Imperial authority. Their power is not to protect the innocent, but to destroy the non-compliants. Dressed in symbolic white and clean uniforms, they do the dirty work. They silence anyone who might be perceived as a threat to the “Kingdom”
  

 .

This type of enforcement is Anti-Christ. It is a tool of the Satan to use compulsion and to force compliance. It flies in the face of agency.
  
There has been a lot of commentary on the internet this week of a recent meeting held in the capital city in the State north of Utah. The meeting was recorded and after listening to it, I literally became physically sick. I am saddened by what is happening to my friends who are perceived to be threats and are being “destroyed” by those in Authority positions. These "Compliance Enforcers" are doing their duty by silencing and casting out those who don’t comply with the establishment and handbook of conduct.
  
At the time of Christ, the religious establishment, the hierarchy, the temple, the priestly class, the learned Rabbis and the schools of thought were rotting. They were nothing like what would be required to produce fruit. They were religious but heretical. They were in positions of authority and respond warmly to flattery telling them they are righteous.  When someone is sent by the Lord of the vineyard calling for repentance, those in authority reject him. They cast him out and say he is an apostate, a sinner and a false prophet.
 
"Behold ye are worse than they; for as the Lord liveth, if a prophet come among you and declareth unto you the word of the Lord, which testifieth of your sins and iniquities, ye are angry with him, and cast him out and seek all manner of ways to destroy him; yea, you will say that he is a false prophet, and that he is a sinner, and of the devil, because he testifieth that your deeds are evil. (Hel. 13: 27-28.)
 
Peace Officer vs. Compliance Enforcement