Friday, December 31, 2021

BEGINNING A NEW YEAR

Tomorrow begins a New Year! I am looking forward to what 2022 has in store.  If there is anything that gives me hope for the upcoming year, is to hike with the next generation who are willing to wake up in the middle of the night and  hike in the snow in sub degree weather to see the sunrise. Here are a few photos from our hike last week. 

Starting tomorrow a large group of youth is planning on fasting to overcome the challenges that are ahead of us. A fast is a way for people to band together as a people and become one.  

Here is their invitation: 

The youth have decided to fast, and would love for everyone to join us. We have decided to fast for the Lord's guidance in our efforts to do his work. For the entire month of January, choose a fast that will challenge you individually (examples could be social media, sugar, tv, etc.. these are a few ideas, but we don't want to limit your decision. Let the spirit guide your choice). We invite you to join us in becoming united as a people of one heart and one mind. 

And it came to pass that they journeyed many days in the wilderness, and they fasted much and prayed much that the Lord would grant unto them a portion of his spirit to go with them and abide with them, that they might be an instrument in the hands of God...  

(RE Alma 12:2)








Sidenote: 

A friend of mine sent me a link to a sermon given last week by Pope Francis. I thought there were some excellent things he said. Here is one excerpt: 

“The humble are those who are concerned not simply with the past but also with the future, since they know how to look ahead, to spread their branches, remembering the past with gratitude,” Francis told them. “The proud, on the other hand, simply repeat, grow rigid and enclose themselves in that repetition, feeling certain about what they know and fearful of anything new because they cannot control it.”




Friday, December 3, 2021

When President Nelson says "GOOD JOB" to his wife and it becomes a top Church News story.

 A few weeks ago the Church News featured an article entitled  'How 2 words from the Prophet to his wife touched a missionary - and me.' It describes how inspirational it was for people in attendance to hear President Nelson say "Good Job" to his wife.  

Here is an excerpt from The Church News story that appeared on the back cover.

"The missionary also wrote about inviting friend of the Church to hear the Prophet speak. And the missionary wrote about the joy he felt when a young man walked miles to participate in the meeting. 

It was, however, another observation by the missionary that struck me. He noticed and wrote home about being touched as he heard President Nelson whisper "good job" to Sister Nelson after she spoke. 

The brief, tender exchanged - as they passes between their seats and the pulpit - was a sweet acknowledgment of her effort and his gratitude. For one second - the second before he would speak - he directed attention away from himself to her.

For the missionary, the moment was a sermon between the sermons.

It is hard to describe what that meant. It was the sweetest "good job" any one of us could have imagined. " 



 I look forward to reading the next article written when President Nelson says "THANK YOU" to his wife.

  



Thursday, December 2, 2021

DEMOLITION DAY - more sacred LDS Buildings to be torn down.

 

Last week over the Thanksgiving holiday, the Church demolished one of my favorite buildings on Temple Square, the North Visitors Center. It was built over a half a century ago. My family would go down there often to see the larger than life murals depicting scenes from the scriptures. The best was the spiral ascension walk up into the heavens to see the statue of Christ with his outstretched arms. I have great memories at Christmas when we would into this building to see the movie, Mr. Krueger's Christmas, and get warm from seeing the Christmas lights. 

It is now gone. Demolished. Only to be a fading memory. I took one last photo of the building before the wrecking crew came in last week. 



Here are some photos to remember what  the building used to be like:



I will also miss standing outside the visitors center and seeing the life sized Nativity Scene that was lit up in lights with the Christus statue visible through the glass. It was almost as if the Lord was looking down at the presentation of His birth.









This is how Temple Square looks today. You can see the demolition of the North Visitor Center in the bottom right of the photo, a historical building that was built over a half a century ago. Not only will I miss the building but also all the trees that have been cut down. Temple Square will never be the same for me.




Sidenote:

Another building on the chopping block that is slated to be torn down is the Provo Temple. I remember going to this temple frequently when I was at the MTC as well as when I went to BYU after my mission. It will be completely demolished and instead an entirely new temple will replace it.



The Church will build a new Provo Temple in it's place with a new design. The spire will no longer feature a statue of the Angel Moroni. I am reminded of what President Boyd K. Packer said in one of his talk, "Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without." I am not sure why we need to replace this temple just for the sake of making it match the other current temples that are being built. 










Tuesday, November 9, 2021

Efficacy of Salt Lake Temple Dedicatory Prayer?

 Here is an excerpt from the Salt Lake Temple Dedicatory Prayer given on April 6, 1893 by Wilford Woodruff. 
"Preserve these buildings, we beseech Thee, from injury or destruction by flood or fire; from the rage of the elements, the shafts of the vivid lightning, the overwhelming blasts of the hurricane, the flames of consuming fire, and the upheavals of the earth-quake, O Lord, protect them."

 Do we no longer believe in the efficacy of our dedicatory prayers for our Temples? Have we found evidence that the Lord is not preserving our temples and so we need to spend hundreds of millions of dollars to solve the problems of cracks in the foundations? flooding? lightning strikes and fires? 

Here are a few photos I took of what the Salt Lake Temple looks like today and the new foundation the Church is installing.






Sidenote:
Just in case you want to go down to Temple Square  this holiday season, the Church just released this statement: https://newsroom.churchofjesuschrist.org/article/christmas-temple-square-2021
"Attendees at any events on Temple Square are required to wear masks and be vaccinated if in the eligible age categories."
So the list continues to grow. The Church/First Presidency has set forth these "vaccination" mandates thus far -

* ALL people attending ANY events on Temple Square are required to be "vaccinated".
* ALL members of the Tabernacle Choir are required to be "vaccinated".
* ALL stake patriarchs and their wives are required to be "vaccinated".
* ALL missionaries entering any of the MTC's are required to be "vaccinated".
* ALL missionaries going on foreign missions (regardless of the country they are going to) are required to be "vaccinated".

I would not be surprised in the near future for those wanting to attend the Temple (including the youth doing baptisms for the dead) will be also required to be vaccinated. 

 

Friday, October 22, 2021

INDEPENDENCE FROM A FAILING SOCIETY



This week I had the opportunity to spend some time on Antelope Island. It really is like going to another world, a perfect place to escape from modern civilization. It was a full Harvest moon that night. The Hunter's Moon always follows the Harvest Moon, and is named after the time of year when animals fatten up in preparation for the colder months ahead and hunting season is underway for hunters to stock up on meat for the winter. Later that night when the full moon was almost directly overhead, a bluish ring appeared around the moon. It lasted for about an hour. The photo below doesn't do the experience the justice. 





While hiking around on the island, I was able to see bison and wheat-like stalks, two symbols of the Hunter Moon and the Harvest Moon.




Right after I got home from Antelope Island I received an email from a friend to see if I would be willing to post a written document on this blog. I usually don't post requests public service announcement requests, since this blog is more of a personal diary than an outlet for advertising, but thought it was important to share what was asked. The document can be found HERE

I am always grateful for those who use their time and talents for the benefit of others.

Here is a closing quote:   
"In our day of abundance, we are easily be misled into thinking that the blessings of our productive society permit us to be self-reliant. Of course that is only temporary. The principles upon which our society’s abundance are built have been discarded. Therefore, our “riches will become slippery” as the fruit of true principles vanish from those who dishonor the foundation upon which prosperity is conferred.

Safety in the coming scarcity of the last-days will only be found through Zion. Because the occupants of Zion will be one, they will follow two controlling principles which create the “self-sufficiency” of Zion.

First, the counterpart to the world (or Babylon as the scriptures have nicknamed the world) is Zion. Zion will require the laborer to labor only for Zion, not for themselves.

Second, we must perform the required great labor. We cannot expect to eat or be clothed in Zion if we do not work to produce the necessities of Zion."



Monday, October 11, 2021

Latest Official Proclamation (this one from the Federal Government)

Observing Indigenous Peoples' Day instead of Columbus Day.


Today is Columbus Day. However, President Biden on Friday issued a proclamation naming today, the 2nd Monday in October as Indigenous Peoples’ Day. This new holiday is being celebrated around the country instead of or in addition to Columbus Day. For almost a century, Columbus Day has been one of the 12 federal holidays established by Congress. The first recorded celebration of Columbus Day in the U.S. was on October 12, 1792. The day marked the 300th anniversary of Columbus' landing.

Instead of remembering Columbus, people across the country have defaced, decapitated and even removed statues of Christopher Columbus. 



Where is the outrage? As members of the Church, we read in our canonized scripture that Columbus was a man of God who was inspired by the Almighty to open up the pathway for people to come to the Americas. We read in the beginning pages of The Book of Mormon where Nephi tells us why Columbus sailed: “I beheld the Spirit of God, that it came down and wrought upon the man and he went forth upon the many waters. even unto the seed of my brethren, who were in the promised land.” 1 Nephi 13: 12.  

And while historians may debate his motives, we can read from Christopher Columbus's own writings why he did what he did:
"With a hand that could be felt, the Lord opened my mind to the fact that it would be possible to sail, and he opened my will to desire to accomplish the project. . . . This was the fire that burned within me. . . . Who can doubt that this fire was not merely mine, but also of the Holy Spirit . . . urging me to press forward?"
 Hugh Nibley observed, “Most of what is mysterious and contradictory in the story of Columbus comes from the refusal of the experts to believe what he tells them. They say he was an outrageous liar when he was actually telling the truth!"

While there are so many depressing and unsettling things happening in our world and especially in our country right now. I find one of the ways I can cope with everything going on is to spend time up in the mountain, especially now with the fall weather. The leaves up in the mountains this year have been some of the most spectacular displays of color that I can remember here in Utah. Here are a few photos from latest hike up Little Cottonwood Canyon. Enjoy before the snow comes.

Wednesday, September 29, 2021

ATTRACTING THE WEALTHY TO BEAUTIFY AND REPLENISH THE TEMPLE AREA

Today the LDS Church released the latest news on their website announcing the completion of  huge real estate development around the Mesa Temple. News article found here. CLICK THE LINK


This latest real estate development is called The Grove on Main. Interesting they called it "The Grove".

The project includes 240 apartments, 12 townhomes, condominiums, and detached homes with 70,000 square feet of landscaped open space, ground floor retail space and underground parking. Some of the amenities include a palm tree lined pool and recreation center. Here are a few photos. 











The reasoning given for this huge real estate venture is to enhance the grounds around the Mesa Temple. From the aerial photo below of the project, it almost dwarfs the Temple. In fact, one would be hard pressed to find the Temple (hint: it is in the top center of the photo.)


So, here is an honest question that I would love to ask at the next Face to Face event with the Brethren.

Is this helping the poor and the homeless? Or does it seem that the LDS Church is becoming more of a real estate company building homes? Is providing shelter to the homeless include charging 2000 buck a month for a two bedroom apartment? 

I wonder if we are better landlords than good Samaritans. 



Church Newsroom Video: The downtown revitalization project for which The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints broke ground in 2018 is complete — and locals say it’s helping the city find its soul.


Monday, September 13, 2021

OH THE IRONY....HOW LDS MEMBERS FOLLOW THE PROPHET IN UTAH COUNTY

Photos published in the Salt Lake Tribune of BYU Football Game this past weekend in Provo, Utah.

62,000 people without masks, not socially distanced at the BYU Football Game

...10 hours later on


Reason for the contrast: Because the Prophet only said masks needed to be worn at Church. He didn't say anything about wearing them at the BYU football game. 

____________________________

Sidenote:.. One more thing that is also two faced. 



Thursday, August 12, 2021

Some Utah Stakes now mandating wearing masks again at Church.

 Some Utah Stakes now mandating wearing masks again at Church. 




Video Announcement from a Stake President in Sandy, UT sent to members of his Stake sharing his frustration and disappointment towards who have not been vaccinated and blame them for the Delta variant surge. LINK HERE




“It is best for all of us to wear masks again while attending our Sunday worship services. We understand that returning to this mask requirement will frustrate many of you, especially those who have followed President Nelson’s council to get vaccinated and recognized this vaccination as an answer to our prayers."

"While we seriously considered requiring only unvaccinated adults to wear masks, we think unity in our stake and wards remains a critical ideal to seek and even though the data makes clear that this is now a pandemic of the unvaccinated, indeed more than 97 percent of the positive cases and hospitalizations are those of unvaccinated people in our communities."

"In all honesty, we are frustrated and disappointed as it seems the sure was completely preventable especially when our prayers of last year were answered with the vaccine rollout earlier this year. Nevertheless, we must join together and unite as brothers and sisters to do our part to end this pandemic and protect others during this surge including those who have chosen not to be vaccinated."


The First Presidency just released an email with a similar message:






Saturday, August 7, 2021

Photoshopped Media Photos of LDS Church Leaders?

Social media pressures us to look our best when we post photos. Photoshopping pictures before posting them on a social media has become a common thing among teenagers and even celebrities. Phone apps have been created to easily make you look better than you really are. While this innocent action might seem like a simple wish to enhance a look and appear our very best....let's just call it what it is.. VANITY.

__________________________________

VANITY
Excessive attention in or admiration of one's own appearance or attractiveness to others
__________________________________


Some of the enhancements that people do to their appearance is to give themselves:
  • Flawless and smooth skin
  • Whiten teeth
  • No more wrinkles or blemishes
  • Removed age spots
  • Contoured/adjusted facial features
  • Enhanced eye color
While we might think this is just a fad with the self absorbed generation with cellphones, it might surprise you who else used photoshop techniques to improve their photograph portraits.

Bishop G√©rald Causs√©, presiding bishop of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. announced last week that our three-term Utah governor, Mike Leavitt will become the next president of The Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square starting one Aug. 26. For the media announcement, the Church posted a newly taken 2021 photograph of Leavitt with photo copyright to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I was surprised at how much the promotional photographed had been photoshopped. No wrinkles, no sagging under the chin, no age spots. Here is the link to news story where the photo was published.  LINK HERE



If there is any doubt that the photo has been altered by the Church, here is side by side comparison with a photo that was taken of Mike Leavitt many years ago. LINK HERE. The photo on the right was taken no sooner than in 2017. The photo on the left was just recently taken for the Church with obvious techniques to make him look younger and better. (or at the very least, heavy amounts of makeup) Some might even say that it almost doesn't even look like the same man. 


 Last year I was surprised to see Church released photos of President Nelson where he too looked like he has some photoshop love with enhancing the color of his eyes to be more blue to maybe match his suit a little more. See below. 



Here are some video still images of President Nelson's eyes before he became the President of the Church with the new and improved blue eye color that we see. It might be that he now just has new colored contacts. 



I realize that this might be just a small thing, but I think this something interesting to point out and wonder why we feel we need to enhance reality and/or remove our blemishes and flaws. 





Friday, July 16, 2021

DO WE FIND GOD IN OUR TRIUMPHS? OR IN OUR FALLS?

This year to observe the summer solstice as well as to commemorate the martyrdom of Joseph and Hyrum Smith, a few of us hiked to the summit of King's Peak. I have always wanted to climb to the highest peak in Utah and was grateful for the invitation to hike it with guys half my age. It required a three day backpacking trip into the remote wilderness of the Uintah Mountains. Our first day we battled with adverse rainy weather hiking into base camp. We passed several hikers including a group of 50 who decided to turn back due to the weather and snow that was falling on the higher elevations. After a wrong turn, we corrected our course and arrived at Base Camp just in time for dinner. We set up our tents which provided a great shelter from the dark clouds and rain that rolled in. The next morning we woke up to blue skies and continued on the roughly 15 mile hike to the summit of King's Peak. 

It was truly a triumph to make it to the top of Kings Peak. The last couple of miles were more difficult than I anticipated, so making it to the summit felt like quite the accomplishment.

 

In addition to the wildlife we saw like on our hike, I was surprised to see so many dead pine trees. It seems like the aspen trees were healthy, but the majority of all the pine trees looked diseased and dead. Even along the banks of living water, the pine trees were dead. It was sad to see and can only imagine of the potential wild fires that could break out with just one lightning strike.  


Here are a few more photos from the hike:





Here is a photo of the last mile stretch that one must hike to get to the top. It is fraught with unstable boulders, steep inclines and sheer drop-offs near at the top.




Here is a quick video summary of our hike:  https://youtu.be/ZBmC0EAiuCg



The main reason why I wanted to post about the hike is that all too often we can glory in our accomplishments and take pride in our triumphs. But is that were we find God? Or do we find God in our struggles, our failures or our falls? Truly God wants us to succeed, but He also wants us to have a broken heart and contrite spirit. I know many who are hurting physically, struggling emotionally, straining financially, failing spiritually. I believe it is in those moments of pain that one cries out to God for help. In the end, it is a blessing to fail if it brings you closer to God. 


Sidenote: 
A week from today begins the 2021 Olympics Games. It has always been inspiration to watch the athletes overcome great obstacles and still achieve their dreams on the world stage. 

Here is short video that shows the contrast between those who win and those who fall. It is especially meaningful for me to watch those who reach down and help those get across the finish line. 

Link to the video: https://youtu.be/6iqD2cQybbc