Monday, January 5, 2015


While most of the world was sleeping in their warm beds after a long night of celebrating on New Year’s Eve, a group of us hiked up into the mountains to see the first Sunrise of the New Year. While our Western culture focuses on the parties and celebrations on New Year's Eve; in Eastern culture, the people wake before dawn on the first day of New Year and climb to a higher elevation to observe the first sunrise of the New Year. The first light of the new year is called Hatsuhinode. It is time for renewal, rebirth, and recommitment for the coming year.

Below are some photos:
First Moonrise of the New Year 2015 as it rises between the two peaks of Mount Olympus.
First Sunrise of the New Year above Guardsman Pass.
The warm sun hitting the twin peaks on a very cold New Years Morning.


 The custom of raised hands during worship can be traced to the early years of Israel. The book of Psalms speaks of raised hands: "Because thy lovingkindness is better than life, my lips shall praise thee. Thus will I bless thee while I live: I will lift up my hands in thy name." (Psalms 63.3-4).

One of my Hawaiian friends greeting the Morning Sunrise on the New Year.
Raised hands are symbolic of our dependence on someone else. Raising hands during worship can be similar to children who lift their hands to be picked up, comforted, protected, or carried. It also in modern times signify the act of surrendering to show we do not have a weapon in our hands. Thus, raised hands in worship may suggest a reaching out for God's presence, blessing, comfort, or strength as well  as our surrendering to Him.

Another significant meaning of raised hands is to bless God, much like Aaron's blessing of the people. In Psalm 63 the psalmist says he raises his hands to bless God. This symbolizes both gratefulness and joy for the blessings God has given. Indeed, many of the psalms indicate that hands are raised in song and prayer to show thankfulness and joy for God's great works. The raising of hands for this purpose is common during songs of praise.

Also, the lifting of a hand signifies a vow. This is similar to our custom of raising our hand in court and promising to tell the "truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth." This particular gesture can also be used when one wanting to make a solemn covenant with God.


R. said...

AWESOME pictures!!

Nathan Quigley said...

This is beautiful and meaningful. I want to do this next Jan 1st!

Vaughn Hughes said...

David, I just found out there was something highly unusual going on with the Sun when you took this photo. A super massive "coronal hole" (like a sunspot) suddenly appeared across its entire southern polar region right at the tick of midnight. It was 410 times the surface area of the Earth that was blacked out. Unbelievable timing.

Anonymous said...

I was reading the other day on a blog that doesn’t allow for comment. Since so many people that read that blog also read this blog, I’ve decided to comment here. The blog has to do with people forming small groups in an effort to bring people to Christ. If you don’t mind, I’d like to make a few observations.

One of the early comments was how those in the groups are collecting tithing to help the poor within the respective groups. Why hasn’t tithing been replaced with the law of consecration? Isn’t that the higher law? Someone offering more, should be restoring that which was taken away. Is anyone selling all that they have and then dividing the proceeds equally based on the respective needs? What happens when consent isn’t in common?

Wouldn’t someone offering more, bring back the laws and ordinances of Melchizedek Priesthood, instead of changing slightly the laws and ordinances of the Aaronic Priesthood, something that we already have. Someone offering more, should be restoring that which was taken away. Why aren’t you functioning in the laws and ordinances of the Melchizedek Priesthood? Could it be that the higher laws and ordinances haven’t been revealed?

My point is, how is what you are doing any different from that which is already being done. Joseph and Hyrum tried to restore that which was lost in an effort to establish Zion. I don’t see in this fellowship anything that could be construed as a restoration. Where are the new laws, the new ordinances, the new doctrine, the gathering? I’m not hearing of spiritual experiencing happening that aren’t being experienced by truth seeking members of the church.

Every spirit comes to this earth with a different level of light. The amount of light you came with largely determines your desire, ability and capacity to obtain more light as activated by the Holy Ghost. New light is given based on your capacity and desire to receive more light. As long as one is building on what they came to earth with, then, are they not headed in the right direction. This is the very reason, we are commanded not to judge. Only the Father of our spirit and Christ know the amount of light an individual has. Everyone, including leadership, understands truth at a different level.

When you remove yourself from the population because of their lack of understanding you are judging them. Instead, you should be helping those with lesser light gain greater capacity. Teaching those with lesser capacity means that you need to teach them on their level, not yours. In order to teach all who are on different levels of understanding, one has to have the ability and power from above to phrase their words in such a way that can be understood on many different levels.

Someday someone will come with power and authority to bring back the laws and ordinances that Joseph and Hyrum tried but failed to restore. One day the Time of the Gentiles will be fulfilled and a gathering will take place. Then there will be new laws, new ordinances, new doctrine and a gathering of a few from among the many. Until then, there will be many claiming authority but showing no power. There are some who have claimed to have seen Christ, yet continue to use the corrupt legal system to sue people in order to maintain a certain standard of living. Does this sound like what the Christ would have a disciple do?


A response to your questions can be found here: