Search This Blog

Friday, September 30, 2016

384: THE PRE-GAME SHOW (LDS CONFERENCE)

The following are just a few photos that I took this afternoon of preparations that are underway to get downtown SLC ready for the LDS Conference tomorrow. I walked  around the Salt Lake Temple, Deseret Book and the LDS owned commercial buildings affectionately called City Creek. I offer little to no commentary and I'll let the photos speak for themselves.

Written yesterday without much time for editing.. thus there are some grammatical errors. :)
...........................................................................................................................................................

The First Presidency have all their latest books on sale at Deseret Book across the street from the Temple. At first glance they all look like children's books. Here is the list of the books in the photo I took.
  • Pres. Dieter F Uchtdorf's book, "A Summer with Great Aunt Rose" listed price 15.99.
  • Pres. Henry B Eyrings book of quotes entited, "On the Path Home" listed price 15.99
  • Pres. Thomas S Monson' s book, "One Little Match" reduced price 17.99
  • Elder M Russell Ballard's book, "One Drop at a Time" listed price 15.99

Gone are the days of doctrinal books. However the feel good, short, cute stories with one line quotes are the big sellers. I am not sure a scripture can be found in any of them.


In addition to the books, a big seller are the new one-time use oil packet that you put in your wallet in case an emergency priesthood blessing is needed. Just consecrate the packet, then open (kind of like a ketsup packet from McDonald's and give the blessing. No need to carry around your key chain oil t have to carry around an vial. Besides they look cool and styling. (personally, they actual look like something else that a young man might have in his wallet)

They sell in a pack of 10 for $9.99



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

The latest City Creek Skyscraper and upscale office building is almost complete. This is the newest addition to City Creek. It is called 111 Main. Here is the  LINK TO THE WEBSITE


I walked by the lobby and they have what looks to be at least a 50 foot flat inch movie screen with LCD projection monitor of beautiful videography. The streaming videos are of various locations around Utah. In the photo below you can see the video of  Bridal Veil Falls up Provo Canyon.


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

 It was reported in the news that an unprecedented sting to  clean up the downtown street to rid it of those who are the "unwanted".  It is being called "Operation Diversion". It happened yesterday just a couple of day before General Conference  as police officers arrested 49 homeless people. In the raid,  almost 50 people were taken to an empty bank building next to the Salt Lake City police headquarters. From that receiving center, 12 went to jail, 30 went to treatment programs and two were taken to an area hospital to receive medical attention. Officers skipped the receiving center for five people, who went directly to jail. Most of these people struggle with addition to drugs and alcohol.  In the below photo I took today they are still monitoring the problem and trying to clean up for all the conference attendees.  


Below is one of the City Creek security officers who went to get reinforcement from the Salt Lake Police Department.  


City Creek Security are now patrolling the perimeters of the Mall to make sure their is little to no homeless or panhandlers. They are not good for business since those who still have some heart might actually give money to the poor instead of buying stuff at the mall.  


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

Also at City Creek is new international advertising especially targeting  the Japanese visitors. Below is one of the advertising signs written in Japanese. Probably a smart ad campaign since I think they are the only ones who can afford shopping at the Rolex, Coach, and the other very high end stores. 

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

After walking around the Salt Lake temple today, a scripture came to mind in Mormon 8: 37
"For behold, ye do love money, and your substance, and your fine apparel, and the adorning of your churches, more than ye love the poor and the needy, the sick and the afflicted."

Thursday, September 29, 2016

383: BLACK MOON and the BLACK CANYON

Tomorrow, the final day of September will bring a rare lunar event, a Black Moon. When there are two "new" moons in one month, the second moon is called a Black Moon, also known as the "dead" moon.  Unfortunately, you won’t actually be able to see it as the moon will appear invisible. It will just be very dark. Usually at night there is some light from the moon, but when there is a "new" moon, the moon 'disappears' from the sky because it is between the earth and the sun with it's illuminated side facing away from us. Interesting that it will occur simultaneous with the first session of the LDS General Conference.

Starting a week ago at the Fall Equinox, we are rapidly losing more and more light each day. Unlike the solstices where it seems like the suns stays still, on the fall equinoxes the sun is rapidly moving across the sky and we are losing close to about 2 minutes of daylight every day. 

A few days ago I traveled down to the Black Canyon in Colorado. The canyon's name owes itself to the fact that parts of the gorge only receive 33 minutes of sunlight a day,  If you were to travel to the Black Canyon you would see some of the steepest cliffs, oldest rock, and craggiest spires in North America. In the book, Images of America: The Black Canyon of the Gunnison the author Duane Vandenbusche states, "Several canyons of the American West are longer and some are deeper, but none combines the depth, sheerness, narrowness, darkness, and dread of the Black Canyon.

Here are a few photos taken a few days ago:

If you look closely you can see the river and the white rapids close to 2000 feet below. 

This is the ledge from where the first photo was taken. 

Despite the loss of light in the world and the ever increasing darkness that we face in our life, His light can always find a way to reach us. It is amazing how a little beam or flame or ray of light can light up a dark place. Even though the days are getting darker and darker rapidly, there are moments that the Sun with shine through whether through a break in the clouds just before sunset (for example this photo below taken on the edge of the Grand Mesa ) or......



....or in the earlier morning hours through a grove of trees as seen on a morning hike early on Sunday on the Grand Mesa.



Tuesday, September 27, 2016

382: HIGH ON A MOUNTAIN TOP



In my opinion, Colorado is one of the most beautiful States in our country. For the Fall Equinox, I was asked to tag along with a few others on a quick weekend trip into the mountains of Colorado.  We experienced both the beauty of Fall and the cold temperatures of Winter. We camped at the top of a plateau at around 10,500 feet in about 4-6 inches of snow with below freezing temperatures. It was an amazing experience.

I woke up very early on Sunday morning bundled up for the cold weather and headed out on a solitary hike. There are only a few places like the mountains were you can go to get away from the light pollution from the cities and see the reality of what the heavens above look like.  In order for me to capture the below photo, I needed to set my aperture (the space through which light enters into the camera) for a long exposure time. Once the opening of the camera is set to the largest setting and it will stay open for a long duration, one can get a glimpse into the heavens from the image that is captured. The same is true for us. We are not much different than a camera. When we open ourselves up (our aperture) through prayer and fasting for a longer duration of time (exposure) we can see and receive revelation and be in better contact with Heaven.




D&C 88: 7-12
This is the light of Christ. As also he is in the sun, and the light of the sun, and the power thereof by which it was made. As also he is in the moon, and is the light of the moon, and the power thereof by which it was made; As also the light of the stars, and the power thereof by which they were made. And the earth also, and the power thereof, even the earth upon which you stand. And the light which shineth, which giveth you light, is through him who enlighteneth your eyes, which is the same light that quickeneth your understandings; Which light proceedeth forth from the presence of God to fill the immensity of space—
_________________________________________________________

Here are a few more photos taken on the past weekend trip:


Below photo of the "Swiss Alps of Colorado" taken from on top of the Grand Mesa. At the base of these majestic mountains are the cities of Ouray and Telluride.


Photo take from the western edge of the Grand Mesa near an old observation deck.



The last photos are of some of the many lakes we saw near where we camped.








Be Still and Know that I Am God.
Psalm 46:10

Thursday, September 22, 2016

381: FALL EQUINOX 2016



Fall Equinox starts on September 22, 2016 at 8:21 a.m here in Utah. Below is a photo that I just took up in the mountains. Despite everything starting to die, the gold leaves of the aspen are brilliant right now in the upper elevations of the mountains. There is an aspen tree grove called Pando in southern Utah  (Latin for "I spread") which is said to be the single largest living organism in the world because of the massive underground root system. While the grove of trees appear to be hundreds of single trees, they are united together because of the roots. In essence, the trees are of one heart and one mind. Zion.









Wednesday, September 21, 2016

380: ARE WE ROBBING THE POOR BECAUSE OF OUR FINE SANCTUARIES?


It is a marriage with the sacred and the secular. Quite the odd couple in my opinion.  Build a temple along with shopping malls and luxury apartments?

The Philadelphia Temple was dedicated a few days ago and if you can afford $2,500.00 dollars in rent each month you can live across the street and the Church can be your landlord. The Alexander is a newest high rise apartment structure that the Church has built and it is billed as a 'luxury' building complete with an indoor pool, exercise room and other amenities. A two-bedroom apartment will run about $2,500 per month, which is the going rate for such in the neighborhood now. The first two stories will feature shops such as boutiques and bakeries, drugstores and dry cleaners. It looks a lot like City Creek 2.0.

Architecture Rendering



Here is a 3D model animation of the Temple and the High Rise Building that will house shopping and luxury apartments.




Above is a photo of President Henry B. Eyring, First Counselor in the First Presidency, crossing the street near the Philadelphia Pennsylvania Temple on September 17, 2016. Instead of playing a Mormon Monopoly game,  why aren't we housing the homeless, feeding the hungry, and clothing the naked?

Sunday, September 18, 2016

379: DOES THE DIRECTION WE ARE FACING MATTER?

According to scripture, at the Second Coming the Savior will come from the east (see Matthew 24:27). The Church’s guideline concerning placement of the angel Moroni figures is that where possible, they should face eastward.

Below is a photo of the Meridian Temple in Idaho that is currently under construction. On a recent trip to Idaho, we drove past it to see the progress. Angel Moroni has now been set in place on top of the Temple. I was surprised to see that Moroni is facing South with his trump pointing directly Southwest. The decision for the new orientation is for athetics so it aligns with the front entrance to the Temple. (see below the information on Angel Moroni that is posted in the Visitors Center)





This is not the first time that the orientation of Angel Moroni has been altered. Originally, the figure on the Los Angeles Temple was placed facing southwest, the same direction the temple faced, but the figure’s orientation was adjusted to face due east upon instructions from President David O. McKay.
I wonder if we eventually see the same adjustment made to the Meridian Temple.


NEXT BLOG POST WILL BE ABOUT THIS:
 Another City Creek?
PHILADELPHIA TEMPLE



Friday, September 16, 2016

378: TABLE ROCK HIKE IN BOISE, IDAHO

Last week, a group of 24 of us hiked in the early morning hours to the top of Table Rock.  Table Rock is a mountain pillar located just south-east of downtown Boise, Idaho. This beautiful natural rock was sacred to the Northern Shoshone tribe, who used the high plateau as a ceremonial meeting place. In 1959, an illuminated 60 foot cross was erected that stands on top of Table Rock. The cross can be seen from the entire valley and serves as a beacon and a symbol of “faith, moral values and integrity” for those who live in Boise.

Shortly after midnight on June 30, 2016 a fire erupted on Table Rock burning everything around the entire mountain destroying over 2,500 acres. Below is photo and video of the fire. You can see how quickly the fire spread by watching the entire video.






The trailhead begins at the Old Penitentiary, a historic jail that sits at base of the mountain. This prison held Idaho's most notorious criminals but is not longer in use. We meet there around 6:00 AM. and had prayer before we began our ascent. It was still very dark but we could see the illuminated cross as it glows brightly in the early morning hours before sunrise. 


Before the sunrise, we reached the west end of Table Rock summit. We looked over the city as well as the graffiti which was previously left by others how have little respect for nature.  Instead of staying on the west side where the cross is located, we turned around and hiked to the opposite side of Table Rock to face the sun before it rose. There on the east end is a living tree that was not burned by the fire. We gathered together, prayed and sang hymns.



We waited individually for the sun to come up as a new day began. While it looked imminent that the sun was about to rise, it took longer than expected, but we patiently waited.

The sun in all it brilliance, warmth and glory rose from the dark and black mountains. I saw a large cottontail scurry past me, a reminder of rebirth, and a symbol of Easter when we observe the Risen Lord from the grave. It is no coincidence that on the west side (representing death, the world etc stand the 60 foot cross and on the east side was signs of new life, a beautiful living tree and a cottontail. 





Descending the mountain with sun now up, we could see the burned and scorched trees and bushed. However, at the base of the once living plants, is new growth. Such is the cycle of life not only in the physical world but spiritually as well. 







Additional Photos: The burned landscape around the Table Rock in Boise Idaho.


 This is taken from within the Old Penitentiary Building. Despite it being a prison, they have tried to beautify the area. If you look close through the center window of the rock wall  you can see the cross on top of Table Rock. Below is a zoomed up photo.


If you look closely, you can see people on top of Table Rock near the 60 foot cross.



While these photos might not mean alot to others, it has alot of significance for me. I experienced them prior to a talk that was given that the speaker shared the following experience:

"I recently had a vision that began as a dream. In it I was traveling in a small car up a mountain road. The road was steep, but straight, and it grew steeper as it climbed upward. On the left side of the road there was a railroad track running parallel. As we drove the small car upward, I noticed a sharp bend in the railroad tracks ahead that interrupted the otherwise straight course of the line. I saw a train approaching from uphill in the distance coming downhill rapidly, and it seemed to be going far too fast to safely negotiate the sharp bend in the tracks. The small car we drove was not quite to the bend when the rushing train hit the bend, leapt from the tracks and violently crashed in front of us. Our little car narrowly escaped a collision, as the train’s wreckage spread about. As the small car continued upward, the train crash worsened, at first beside the car, and then as we accelerated, closely behind us. The little car got ahead of the continuing wreck of the moving train, and I could see the train was full of passengers who, uphill from the wreckage, were enjoying themselves. They were paying no attention to the disaster already befalling their train. We began to shout out the windows of our car, trying to warn the occupants in the doomed train, but they gave no heed. They laughed and partied aboard the train with no concern for their impending destruction. I could see the wreckage behind me in the mirror as the violence of the wreck threw shattered railcars about, some onto the road behind us, making the road now impassable. We  were powerless to save those aboard the train because they would not hear the warnings we shouted to them. As we reached the top of the mountain, the last of the train went by, and I stopped the little car. We got out and stood in the roadway looking down the mountain and watched as the last of the train was destroyed. While mourning over the many lives that had been lost, I awoke from the dream and sat up on my bed, but the vision continued. I next saw in the distance, beyond the wreckage, an overpowering flood, as if it was a great fire, consuming and destroying all the country coming from the east. Although we had survived the train wreck, it appeared certain we would all be killed in the coming flood. I looked about for any sign of hope we might survive, and noticed beside the roadway a great rock with an opening. I led the small party to the rock and discovered the opening was for a cavern that went upward within the shelter of the rock. We entered the cave, and climbed upward. Inside the cavity of the rock, our small group waited as the flood approached, unsure whether we would live or die. The noise of the destruction outside was deafening as the flood approached, and then the opening of the cavern went black and we were left in complete silence and darkness. We waited. In a few moments the light returned but silence remained. After a few more moments our small group emerged from the rock’s cavern to see what had transpired with the world. The scene of destruction was astounding. The entire landscape was transformed. It was destroyed. The wrecked train, the tracks and the road had all been consumed. Everything appeared barren. Then suddenly new life began to spring forth in the widespread desolation. Barren trunks brought out new limbs, blossoms and leaves. Flowers sprang from the earth. As we watched, the earth was quickly transformed, and in a short time the denuded desolation was full of life, beauty and fertility much greater than before the flood of  fire had destroyed the landscape."
...............................................................


I experience and saw the remains of an all encompassing fire, I climbed to the top of mountain. I saw through a small opening of a rock area the symbol of Christ. I saw the barren trunk of trees bringing  forth new life. I was amazing to not only hear the above dream/vision on Sunday. but to personally see and experience alot of these important symbols on this hike the day before. 

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


Sidenote Addendum : 
Within a month of the iconic Table Rock mountain in Boise catching on fire, 
Ensign Peak in Salt Lake City which is our iconic mountain also caught on fire. I find it interesting that both cities with iconic and religious  monuments at top would both burn in the same summer all within about a month of each other.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

377: FOR ME TO LIVE IS CHRIST


Video created that was shown at the Doctrine of Christ conference in Boise, Idaho.
September 9-11, 2016

Thursday, September 1, 2016

376: THE TOXIC ENVIRONMENT IN WHICH WE LIVE

 A friend of mine sent me a video a few weeks ago taken from a security camera at Utah Lake's marina. The video is uneventful for the first 15 seconds, but you will then see a huge mass of alga sweep into the marina. 

My friend  pointed out that no one even notices…they just keep coming and going totally unaware….you can see swimmers, parasailers, and paddle boarders in the distance totally oblivious to the danger.  It’s all very subtle change until you use a time-lapse camera. I find the video to be extremely symbolic.

Most are not aware that some of the lakes in the state of Utah have been contaminated this summer with this algae that contains a cyanobacteria which has left fish, wildlife and birds dead along the shores.  Utah Poison Control continues to receive numerous calls reporting illnesses associated with exposure to the contaminated water.

Yesterday, the Scofield reservoir, a popular place to fish has been closed due to the pollution of this cyanobacteria. Payson Lakes on the Nebo Loop Road have been posted with warning signs urging visitors to stay out of the water due to algal blooms there.

 Lincoln Beach on Utah Lake's southeastern shore has been closed since July 15.

Cyanbacteria monitoring efforts continues as state environmental officials try and get  handle on what the largest algal bloom in Utah's history means for Utah water quality. The concern has been that the algae bloom originating in Utah Lake has affected the Jordan River and other downstream systems. Because farmers use Utah Lake and the Jordan River to irrigate their crops. the state Department of Agriculture and Food has advised against using potentially contaminated water for crops, and advised residents to avoid eating produce watered with secondary water sourced from Utah Lake or the Jordan River. Cyanobacteria toxins may accumulate in plant tissues, according to the DEQ.

The effects of stagnation, heat and pollution are reasons that cause this toxic environment. The results of stagnation and pollution are not just found in water. We can see the effect in our personal spiritual lives as well. If we aren't continuing to learn, grow and study.. and/or learn incorrect doctrine we could be living in a spiritual toxic environment. Imagine if we could somehow do a rapid time-lapse view of all the changes that have happened in our religious institutions over the last 177 years? Possibly more people could see the stagnation and false ideas ("pollution" that have gradually creeped into our belief system and be shocked. Unfortunately like the above video shows, we continue to believe All is well like it is another day at the beach.