Thursday, December 24, 2020

Waiting for Santa? or Celebrating the birth of Baby Jesus? or....

 Waiting for Santa? or Celebrating the birth of Baby Jesus? or better yet, Worshipping Christ the Lord? 

Today is Christmas Eve. It falls between two birthdays that we observe this week. Joseph Smith was born yesterday and we traditionally celebrate Christ's birthday tomorrow. I think Christmas Eve is one of my favorite days of the year. A day of excitement, hope and anticipation. A day that we read from the scriptures about the birth of our Savior. I wanted to share two things today. First a short essay written by my wife's relative and a short video entitled, The Shepherd. May we all fall on our knees to worship him, not because we were compelled to by catastrophe, but because we love Him. 

Three Levels of Christmas

Christmas is a beautiful time of the year. We love the excitement, the giving spirit, the special awareness of and appreciation for family and friends, the feelings of love and brotherhood that bless our gatherings at Christmastime.

In all of the joyousness it is well to reflect that Christmas comes at three levels.

Let’s call the first the Santa Claus level. It’s the level of Christmas trees and holly, of whispered secrets and colorful packages, of candlelight and rich food and warm open houses. It’s carolers in the shopping malls, excited children, and weary but loving parents. It’s a lovely time of special warmth and caring and giving. It’s the level at which we eat too much and spend too much and do too much – and enjoy every minute of it. We love the Santa Claus level of Christmas.

But there’s a higher, more beautiful level. Let’s call it the Silent Night level. It’s the level of all our glorious Christmas carols, of that beloved, familiar story: “Now in those days there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus….” It’s the level of the crowded inn and the silent, holy moment in a dark stable when the Son of Man came to earth. It’s the shepherds on steep, bare hills near Bethlehem, angels with their glad tidings, the new star in the East, wise men traveling far in search of the Holy One. How beautiful and meaningful it is; how infinitely poorer we would be without this sacred second level of Christmas.

The trouble is, these two levels don’t last. They can’t. Twelve days of Christmas, at the first level, is about all most of us can stand. It’s too intense, too extravagant. The tree dies out and needles fall. The candles burn down. The beautiful wrappings go out with the trash, the carolers are up on the ski slopes, the toys break, and the biggest day in the stores for the entire year is exchange day, December 26th. The feast is over and the dieting begins. But the lonely and the hungry are with us still, perhaps lonelier and hungrier than before.

Lovely and joyous as the first level of Christmas is, there will come day, very soon, when Mother will put away the decorations and vacuum the living room and think, “Thank goodness that this over for another year.”

Even the second level, the level of the Baby Jesus, can’t last. How many times this season can you sing, “Silent Night?” The angels and the star, and the shepherd, even the silent, sacred mystery of the holy night itself, can’t long satisfy humanity’s basic need. The man who keeps Christ in the manger will, in the end, be disappointed and empty.

No, for Christmas to last all year long, for it to grow in beauty and meaning and purpose, for it to have the power to change lives, we must celebrate it at the third level, that of the adult Christ. It is at this level—not as an infant—that our Savior brings his gifts of lasting joy, lasting peace, lasting hope. It was the adult Christ who reached out and touched the untouchable, who loved the unlovable, who so loved us all that even in his agony on the cross, he prayed forgiveness for his enemies.

This is Christ, creator of worlds without number, who wept because so many of us lack affection and hate each other – and then who willingly gave his life for all of us, including those for whom he wept. This is the Christ, the adult Christ, who gave us the perfect example, and asked us to follow him.

Accepting that invitation is the way – the only way – that all mankind can celebrate Christmas all year and all life long.

by William B. Smart,  Messages for a Happier Life, (Deseret Book, 1989), 33-34.

 The Shepherd | The Chosen







 

Monday, December 21, 2020

The Great Conjunction: Signs in the Heavens on the Winter Solstice 2020

Here are a few photos taken this evening with my family on Antelope Island, on the certified International Dark Sky parks.  One of the best place to observe the Lights in the Firmament. The sun, moon and stars(and planets) were meant to be first for signs, then for seasons, and then for days/years. We read in Genesis 1:14

"And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs and for seasons, and for days, and years"


The Great Conjunction occured tonight on the Winter Solstice. This alignment falls almost directly between the two Total Solar Eclipses that will crisscross over America. These signs in the heavens form an interesting chiasm. 

August 21, 2017 Total solar eclipse.

          approximately 3 ½ years (1218 days)

               December 21, 2020 Great Conjunction

          approximately 3 ½ years (1204 days)

April 8, 2024 Total solar eclipse.







We have examples in the Book of Mormon that many of the people began to disbelieve in the signs in the heavens. Maybe because they didn't know the meaning. They became less and less astonished.  We read in 3 Nephi 2:1-2

“and the people began to forget those signs and wonders which they had heard, and began to be less and less astonished at a sign or a wonder from Heaven, insomuch that they began to be hard in their hearts and blind in their minds, and began to disbelieve all which they had heard and seen,”
Christ prophesied in Luke 21:25 that in the last days there shall be signs in the heavens. 

"And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars;"

A sign in the heaven is what is visible to our eyes without a telescope while standing on the earth and gazing into the heavens. It is meant to be seen by us. The Total Solar Eclipses, Blood Moons, Great Conjunctions that that haven't been seen for hundreds and hundreds of years. So is there any special meaning to all of these unusual signs in the heavens?  Is God trying to tell us something? Are we hearing Him? 




A few more photos from Antelope Island tonight. It was a beautiful, peaceful night to not only observe the Great Conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn but also the Winter Solstice. 

 "and let them be for signs and for seasons"





Interesting as we were driving out there was an "alignment" of birds flying across the sunset
 

Thursday, December 17, 2020

The COVID vaccine — a modern-day seagull miracle?

Received this in our ward newsletter today:

"After hearing so many medical experts marvel at how rapidly the COVID vaccine was developed and how effective the testing has been, I have commented several times that this was all obviously an outcome of Pres. Nelson’s April 2020 call for prayer and fasting for the Lord to help us overcome the pandemic.

The writer of this letter goes a step further in likening the miracle of the seagulls saving the early Pioneers in Utah with the vaccine saving the lives of so many in our time."



As a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I think one of the most beloved stories we tell is the miracle of the seagulls. The beleaguered Saints arrived to Utah in July of 1847. The lateness of the season and the parched earth of the Utah desert made for a scant harvest in the fall of 1847. The winter of 1848 was brutal. Food and hope were both scarce commodities. The potential crop of 1848 was the only thing keeping the Saints alive, physically, mentally and emotionally.

When an infestation of crickets threatened the crops, it must have felt to many like God had abandoned them. After much prayer, thousands of seagulls from the Great Salt Lake descended on the crickets, and for two weeks the seagulls ate the crickets consistently. The crops survived, saving the Saints. Many said it was a miraculous answer to their prayers.

I believe in miracles. I believe as we turn our hearts to God and unite our faith we see His hand. It’s not so much that we can change His will or awaken Him from a slumber and now draw His attention to His desperate children. More so I believe miracles are when we tune our hearts to seeing that which God was eager to do for us from the beginning.

In April 2020, President Russell M. Nelson, current president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, asked not only members of his faith, but also the world, to join in fasting for a cure for COVID-19. I think today we are seeing the beginning of another seagull-like miracle. I see how quickly this vaccine has been developed, approved and ready to be distributed as a miracle, a direct consequence of those who united their faith. Like the seagulls, this vaccine brings with it hope. This is the miracle we have been praying for. This is the seagulls of our time.

______________________________________________

I don't even know what to say after reading  something like that. I see things so much differently. Maybe the miracle might be the pandemic itself, which I view was a call for us to repent.  And as for the "modern-day seagull miracle.. maybe the miracle was the crickets themselves which the pioneers could have eaten for amazing protein, like the Indians in the area did. This story that was published in today's Deseret News is a highly exaggerated claim, not only about the perpetuating the Seagull myth but this claim about the President Nelson and the vaccine. 


Sidenote: 

The seagull-cricket miracle has been exaggerated through the years. First, ornithologists don’t regard the arrival of seagulls as particularly unusual because the seagulls around the Great Salt Lake often eat insects in the adjacent valleys. Also, some historians don’t believe that the gulls were as widespread or as effective against the insects as is often supposed. Many pioneer journals recount the frosts and the insects, but no seagulls.

Chapter 8 of “New Mormon History” is titled: “Mormons, Crickets, and Gulls: a New Look at an Old Story” by William G. Hartley.

In this heavily referenced essay, Hartley (a BYU professor of history and church history) makes the following points:

1) The gulls were not strangers to the valley. They are natural enemies to various insects including crickets.

2) Gulls habitually regurgitate the indigestible parts of insects they have swallowed.

3) Gulls did not arrive until after severe cricket damage had already occurred in 1848.

4) In 1848, Mormon crops were seriously damaged by three enemies–frost, crickets, and drought. The Gulls dealt with only one problem and too late at that.

5) The “miraculousness” of the event was not clearly recognized by contemporaries (including newspapers, diaries, and official church correspondence).

6) Since 1848, gulls frequently have been on the wing to feast on crickets and other insects, making the 1848 encounter hardly unique.

7) Like other popular accounts of important and unusual historical events, over the years the details of the 1848 crickets and gulls have been oversimplified, improved upon, and been given somewhat legendary characteristics.


-----------------------------

and before anyone rushes out to get the "miracle" vaccine, please educate yourself.

https://www.naturalnews.com/2020-12-09-fda-reveals-serious-health-conditions-from-covid-19-vaccinations.html

FDA reveals long list of serious health conditions that may result from covid-19 vaccinations, including death


Behind closed doors, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has discussed a long list of serious health problems that will be caused by new covid-19 injections. These “adverse events” are not publicized because vaccine companies and their media cohorts need everyone to believe that the vaccines are “safe and effective.”

FDA reports 22 serious health issues caused by covid-19 vaccination

These health issues include transverse myelitis, a serious nervous system disorder. The vaccine can cause the immune system to attack its own cells, interrupting the messages that the spinal cord nerves send throughout the body. This issue is similar to paralytic polio infections and can cause pain, muscle weakness, paralysis, sensory problems, or bladder and bowel dysfunction. The condition requires extensive rehabilitation and some people are left with major disabilities. This list includes other autoimmune diseases that may arise, along with arthritis and joint pain. One of the most troubling autoimmune diseases that could occur is acute disseminated encephalomyelitis, a condition marked by sudden, widespread inflammation of the brain and spinal cord.

The FDA also warns of potential for negative pregnancy and birth outcomes. The vaccine is designed to attack coronavirus spike proteins transcribed by the vaccine’s messenger RNA, but these spike proteins contain syncytin-1, a protein created by endogenous retroviruses for placenta development in humans. After covid-19 vaccination, an individual’s immune cells will be trained to attack syncytin-1, leading to potential miscarriages, birth defects and infertility.

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Dont just #givethanks... Remember the GIVING part after the THANKS

 

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving. All week faithful members have followed the prophet's "fast-acting and long-lasting" spiritual remedy for the world by posting on social media with what they are thankful for. Keeping a gratitude journal has been great advice from self-help experts and psychologists for decades to help people suffering from problems, depression and anxiety. This tool for writing down the good things in your life no matter how difficult and defeating the world becomes offers alot of benefits. 

With that being said, here is an additional suggestion to the #givethanks movement this week, especially the day before we celebrate Thanksgiving. Look above at the word, thanks-giving. It can be divided into two action verbs. Thanks and then Giving. Don't just stop at gratitude and saying thanks. We should then Give. It is a natural law that once you have received, one should then give. One of the best hymns we sing is "Because I have been given much, I too must give." For all of those who have been given more than your share, blessed with wonderful families, find someone who is alone this holiday. For those who have posted photos about how fortunate you have been, go give to those who have little to nothing.

Truly the "fast-acting and long-lasting remedy" is to forget yourself and do something for someone else. In essence, Follow Christ!  Serve the downtrodden, the lonely, the depressed, the forsaken. 

Sidenote:

For those who have been studying from the Come Follow Me Manual, the past chapters have been from the book of Ether. There are strong warnings give to us who live here in America, the Land of Promise. 

Whoso should possess this land of promise, from that time henceforth and for ever should serve him, the true and only God, or they should be swept off when the fullness of his wrath should come upon them. And now we can behold the decrees of God concerning this land, that it is a land of promise, and whatsoever nation shall possess it shall serve God or they shall be swept off when the fullness of his wrath shall come upon them. And the fullness of his wrath cometh upon them when they are ripened in iniquity.. Behold, this is a choice land; and whatsoever nation shall possess it shall be free from bondage, and from captivity, and from all other nations under Heaven if they will but serve the God of the land, who is Jesus Christ, who has been manifested by the things which we have written.  Ether 1:6-7 


 Truly that it the message that has been passed down from prophet to prophet for us today.  Repent and Serve the True and Only God... or face being swept off this land. Being "swept off" is much worse than being destroyed. 

"In the Book of Mormon, to destroy did not necessarily mean annihilation. It merely meant to end the organized existence of a people or to terminate their government, deprive them of a land, and end their cultural dominance. In the Book of Mormon, a people were destroyed when they lost control over their government and land. Their ability to preserve their own values and choose the way they were governed was taken over by others. Once people were destroyed, they were oppressed and suffered. Often they were oppressed with grievous taxes and had religious liberties removed. Then they faced a choice: either repent, in which case they came through the period of oppression with another chance; or if they were angry and rebellious, they would then be “swept away.” Being destroyed is not at all the same as being “swept away.” It is possible for people to have been destroyed and not even realize it. But when they are “swept away,” they face extinction and cannot help but notice it." from the glossary of Gospel Terms




Saturday, November 21, 2020

Social Media - The New Rameumpton? #givethanks

In the last blog post, I shared a chart showing the difference between a Global Faith Leader and a Prophet of God. There were many more differences that could have been added to the list, but I didn't have room on the chart. However,  I wanted to share one more that was brought to my attention from one of my friends. It is the difference in opinions about social media. 




One says social media should become your journal. Which takes you TO the social media daily, and leads to daily habits of engaging with it. That along with deliberately stated uncertainty as to whether this fulfills promises made to Abraham. The other clearly says to turn from it, as it will fill you with lies, emotional and mental deficiencies, misinformation, vanity and foolishness.

I do think that there can be much good shared on social media. However, this is one documentary that needs to be seen before making social media your journal. It is called The Social Dilemma.  





Sidenote: 

Here is a meme that was posted on the Church's website after the worldwide talk that was given yesterday. I listened to the talk and unless I missed something, I only heard the first two on the list. mentioned as the solution to our current problems.. I think it is unfortunate that the third was never mentioned.  I wonder why that was edited out from the talk. Personally, I believe it is the most important and should be the first one the list. 



btw: I hope that over the next seven days that social media doesn't become the New Rameumpton of our day.


Gratitude

 "Now the place was called by them Rameumptom, which (being interpreted) is the holy stand. Now from this stand they did offer up, every man, the selfsame prayer unto God, thanking their God that they were chosen of him, and that he had not led them away after the tradition of their brethren, and that their hearts were not stolen away to believe in things to come, which they knew nothing about. Now when the people had all offered up thanks after their manner, they returned to their homes, never speaking of their God again, until they had assembled themselves together again to the holy stand to offer up thanks after their manner. Now when Alma saw this, his heart was grieved, for he saw that they were a wicked and a perverse people.... 

Behold, O God, they cry unto thee, and yet their hearts are swallowed up in their pride. Behold, O God, they cry unto thee with their mouths while they are puffed up, even to greatness, with the vain things of the world. Behold, O my God, their costly apparel, and their ringlets, and their bracelets, and their ornaments of gold, and all their precious things which they are ornamented with. And behold, their hearts are set upon them, and yet they cry unto thee and say, We thank thee, O God, for we are a chosen people unto thee, while others shall perish." Alma 31:17- 28





Saturday, November 14, 2020

"He's treated them all"... latest promotional video by the LDS Church

Recently my family watched all eight episodes of the first season of The Chosen, a television drama based on the life of Jesus Christ. It is the first multi-season series about the life of Christ and portrays Jesus "through the eyes of those who met him." 

Christ is portrayed as personable, good-natured, accessible, and even funny. Never have I seen our Savior  depicted with a sense of humor. 

He treats those like Simon Peter who do not feel worthy as someone who has great worth. He has treated those like Lilith (Mary Magdalene), who have felt hopeless, scared, with emotional and mental difficulties. He has treated those like Nicodemus who have doubts, and who have been a coward, stuck in false traditions. The Lord has treated those like the man with leprosy who suffers from rejection and physical pain. He has treated those like Matthew and the Samaritan women at the well who are outcast, lonely and judged.

Christ has healed each one of them. He's treated them all.




For those who have not watched the Chosen, you can access the episodes here: https://studios.vidangel.com/the-chosen


In contrast, yesterday, the LDS Church released a new video. It is a 30 second promotional video for an upcoming 11 minute video that will be uploaded on President Nelson's social media accounts (Facebook, Instagram and Twitter) on November 20, 2020 at 11:00 am. 

Click on this link to watch: 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q6TUaXoT3oE&feature=emb_logo


Below is a still frame from the video describing President Nelson as the one who has treated them all: the Sick, the Sad, the Diseased ,the Disappointed, the Infected. the Instable, the Heart Failures, the Failing Hearts. He's treated them all. No mention at all of Jesus Christ in this promotional video. There seems to be alot more emphasis on this "Global Faith Leader", instead of Jesus Christ, the One who truly has treated them all. 




Saturday, November 7, 2020

Awake to a sense of your awful situation - The Downfall of America as we know it.



Below are two painting from a series of five created by Thomas Cole (1801-1848) called  The Course of Empire. He painted these in the years 1833–1836 just a few years after Joseph Smith translated the Book of Mormon. The five paintings depicts the growth and fall of an imaginary city that after years of freedom and prosperity, corruption would begin which would lead to inevitable decay. History repeats itself despite warnings to us from those who saw our day. In order, Thomas Cole's series of five paintings is The Commencement of the Empire, The Pastoral State, The Consummation of the Empire, The Destruction and lastly, The Desolation.


While these are just paintings of an imaginary city, these events happened to two different civilations in the Book of Mormon. We are on track to repeat their same fate. 

Moroni who saw our day addresses his words to us later generations and speaks of secret combinations in the Book of Ether: "When ye shall see these things [secret combinations] come among you that ye shall awake to a sense of your awful situation."

The Book of Mormon denounces secret combinations as "most abominable and wicked above all, in the sight of God." They are also considered to be one of the signs that a people is ripe for the Lord's vengeance, and in the last days, they will be prevalent on the earth. Moroni goes on to warn that anyone who builds up a secret combination "seeketh to overthrow the freedom of all lands, nations, and countries; and it bringeth to pass the destruction of all people, for it is built up by the devil, who is the father of all lies."

After finishing the account, Moroni tells of the effect the secret combination had upon the nation: "They have caused the destruction of this people of whom I am now speaking, and also the destruction of the people of Nephi. 

Sobering words indeed.



Sidenote:

The headlines today declare that Joe Biden has been elected  President of the United States along with the first black female Vice President, Kamala Harris despite many reports of voting irregularities and voter fraud. 

Maybe the only positive thing that I can think of from Biden declared the winner is that there has not been any reported protests in the country. No destruction of property, spray painting, broken windows, violence toward the police etc. Most likely if Trump had been declared the winner, the "blue donkeys" would have been outraged and violently protested across the country. Many of the cities were planning on a Trump victory and prepared for potential protesting.  Our own LDS owned City Creek Mall in Salt Lake boarded up their store fronts. It is a good indicator on which of the two parties is more destructive.  





Thursday, September 24, 2020

RARE "BEHIND THE SCENES" INFORMATION from Elder Ronald A. Rasband on how the Prophets and Apostles receive Revelation (the Mind and Will of the Lord)



On Sunday, Elder Ronald A Rasband spoke at the World Wide Youth Face to Face event on the movie set in Goshen, Utah. (Sidenote: the city of Goshen was formerly known as Sodom) Due to Covid-19, this special devotional was held outside in this almost to scale Jerusalem look-a-like Movie set. Here is blog post of photos I took when I visited the set. LINK . 

It is important to notice that everyone in audience sat over 6 feet apart and wore masks.  What is more unusual than that, Elder Rasband did something that I don't think has been done before. He gave us a little "peak" behind the scenes of how they receive the "mind and will of the Lord, Jesus Christ" for the Church, specifically how the 2020 Proclamation to the World came to be. The reading of the  2020 Proclamation in the Sacred Grove was the highlight of last General Conference which President Nelson said would be "not only memorable, it will be unforgettable." This new proclamation was called "a revelation to bless all people" by Elder Quentin L. Cook.

Here is a very short clip of Elder Rasband's words of him giving us this little peak "behind the scenes."



for the hearing impaired, here are his words:

"Now I would like to give you a little peak behind the scenes and tell you what we did for the month and months leading up to the Proclamation. In President Nelson's wonderful way, he allowed all of the prophets and apostles, all 15 of us, to work on putting together the Proclamation. We wrote it out, we edited it. I even think I have a couple of words in that proclamation that I may have contributed. But in the end, I want you all to know that we reached unity. And we knew that what we were doing in preparing that Proclamation to the World was the Mind and Will of the Lord, Jesus Christ. And then our dear prophet with his prophetic mantle finished the Proclamation and prepared it for his reading in the Sacred Grove at General Conference. It was a wonderfully, special, revelatory experience. And I bear my witness to all of you tonight that it is a true Proclamation of what the Lord Jesus Christ would have us know."
---------------

What many of you might not  know is that 50 years before Elder Rasband and the other 14 prophets and apostles spent months on writing and editing the new 2020 Proclamation to the World another Proclamation in 1980 was presented to the Church by President Hinckley in a special memorable General Conference broadcasted from the farm house of Peter Whitmer. Below is a side by side comparison of the content of these two Proclamations. The one on the left is the 1980 document in exact order.  The one on the right is the 2020 proclamation with some liberty to match up side by side to almost the exact same content. I have color coded to easily recognize the common themes and words. You can notice that the 1980 one is a lot longer and more detailed. It is interesting to read it, and compare it to the 2020 proclamation. It seems like the wording in the 1980 Proclamation is more bold and assertive.  Today there seems to be a softening, words like "we declare" instead of  "we testify", we "affirm" instead of  "we solemnly affirm", etc. I am sure there are more differences to be found that would be interesting to study. Here it is:


I think the purpose of sharing this is to highlight how today the Mind and Will of the Lord is received. It seems like instead of receiving the words from God himself, our leaders spend months writing and editing.  They then come together and if there is unity, they then call that revelation and the Mind and Will of the Lord, Jesus Christ. If I misunderstood anything, I would love to be corrected. Seems like alot has changed since Joseph Smith when he received the word of the Lord directly and now it is almost like revelation by committee. 




Tuesday, September 22, 2020

CONNECTING WITH THE HEAVENS: Autumnal Equinox 2020

Today is September 22, 2020. At 7:30 AM this morning, the sun crossed the celestial equator, or an imaginary line that projects Earth's equator into space.   At that exact moment, the Northern and Southern hemispheres recieved an equal amount of sunshine, and the length of day and night will be approximately equal around the world — hence the term "equinox," which is derived from the Latin phrase meaning "equal night" After the Fall equinox, nights become longer than days, bringing us into a period of darkness. 

I woke up early and hiked to a mountain summit to see the sunrise this morning. Here are a few photos. 






Also... a new video called Three Great Things Left Undone was posted today on the Fall Equinox. It is the 3rd installment of seven videos in the series "The Heavens are Open Again". Here is the link:




Sidenote: 

Interesting experience that happened on my hike. As I was hiking up in the dark,  I passed a man sitting off the side of the trail who also had camera equipment. While it was still fairly dark, you could tell that the sky was cloudy. I told him that I hoped he gets some good photos of the sunrise. He responded back and said, "I don't think we will be able to see the sunrise today because of the clouds."  He decided not to hike any farther up the mountain. 

I wished him well and continued to hike up. I reach the summit just before sunrise at 7:15 am. To my disappointment, it was as if a giant "hand' was blocking the sun as it came over the horizon. However, the dark cloud "hand" began to move and at 7:30 AM, the sun peaked up over the clouds right at the time of the Equinox. 




Thursday, September 10, 2020

An unexpected event on President Nelson's Birthday - Category 2- 3 Hurricane-like storm in SLC


Thousands Fill Conference Center to Celebrate Church President Russell M. Nelson's  95th Birthday

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Church did not plan a worldwide gala celebration for President Nelson's Birthday on September 9th.  Good thing they didn't. Unlike last year when President Nelson personally invited all to his Birthday gala celebration, this year his birthday was marked by a extremely unusual and devastating Category 2 hurricane-like storm. Starting on the eve of his Birthday  lasting throughout his big day, 100 plus mile winds caused destruction and uprooted century old trees around the Temple Square and the Church Office Building as well as up and down the Wasatch Front. Some areas reported actual wind gust of 112 miles an hour which would be a Category 3 hurricane wind. 




This is a photo of President Nelson at his Birthday Celebration last year. I had posted more about it HERE 

Despite Mother Nature reeking havoc on his birthday, President Nelson sent out a news release this week with a photo of him as a young boy and expressed gratitude for those who sent him Birthday Wishes this week. Here is his text and photo. No mention of the destruction that occurred in the Salt Lake Valley. 

Russell M Nelson as a young boy

“Today I am 96 years old! Many years have passed since this photo was taken when I was a young boy, and in those years I have been blessed richly with opportunities to meet and come to love God’s children all over the world. I have also witnessed many miracles and mercies from the Lord.

“Many of you have wished me a happy birthday. I wish to thank you and express my love for all who read this. The Lord loves you, and I am a witness that He is in the details of our lives.”

Also a video tribute has been posted online and members of the Quorum of the Twelve have recently shared their love for President Nelson. 

Elder Gary E Stevenson said "Latter-day Saints have been highly favored of the Lord during this time of pandemic as they have received words and counsel from a living prophet...Knowing the calamities that would come upon the world, the Lord called upon President Russell M. Nelson to guide us and help us manage these unique and perilous times."
Elder Ronald A Rasband said, "During these challenges, no one has been better at communicating the will of the Lord to the world than President Russell M Nelson"...The most important prophet, so far as we are concerned, is the one who is living in our day and age. This is the prophet who has today’s instructions from God to us. Therefore, the most crucial reading and pondering that you should do is of the latest inspired words from the Lord’s mouthpiece...Those who look to the watchman on the tower “can notch their fear index down a little, they can drop their anxiety, they can lessen their loneliness to know that this Church is in the hands of the Lord. And He is guiding and directing His Apostles and Prophets.


Sidenote: 

A few weeks ago, our Chief Watchmen on the Tower, President Nelson said the following and was printed in the Church News  last week. 

“Dear friends, the road ahead may be bumpy, but our destination is serene and secure,” he wrote. “So, fasten your seatbelt, hang on through the bumps, and do what’s right. Your reward will be eternal.”

Pretty safe bet to say that things "may" be bumpy. 

Um, maybe bumpy? may be that was a misprint. I am no prophet, but I think it would be better to say, The road ahead WILL be bumpy. 

No "maybe's" about it. 

Tuesday, September 8, 2020

Symbolic places where the 90 mph winds uprooted trees - SLC Declares State of Emergency

Hurricane-level winds blew through the Salt Lake Valley this morning. Unofficial reports at the University of Utah had the gusts as high as 112 mph. Power expected to be out 2 to 3 days in some areas. Another wind storm is expected to develop tonight. Much of downtown Salt Lake is closed to business due to power outages. The Traffic signals were malfunctioning. However, I still drove downtown and took a few photos of some key symbolic locations. The Church Office Building, The Salt Lake Temple, and the State Capital Below are some of the photos I took.

In the last place I drove past was Liberty Park. I was touched to see a few Native Americas who were weeping, chanting and performing a ceremonial ritual around the largest tree that fell in the center of this downtown park. I couldn't help think that they see the symbolism of this portent hurricane storm that left such devastating destruction to these beautiful,  majestic trees that have been swept off around symbolic buildings. 

Trees around the LDS Church Office Building:



 Uprooted Pine Trees to the East of the Salt Lake Temple:




Some of the last remaining mature trees at Salt Lake Capital




Liberty Park:






Sidenote:

This Tree was uprooted in front of this house off of Harvey Milk Blvd:



Thursday, September 3, 2020

If there was ever a time to be inspired, uplifted and motivated, it would be now!

I recently saw the documentary called 'Rising Phoenix,' which follows the story of nine Paralympians.
Each athlete showcased in the film shares their amazing story of overcoming obstacles to achieve the unthinkable.  If there was ever a time to be inspired, uplifted and motivated, it would be now. 
The human spirit is truly amazing.