Friday, May 18, 2012


I had an interesting discussion about hope with some of the folks I was home teaching and I thought I'd pass it along.

It seems that it is often easy to be down ourselves, to be overly critical of our mistakes or, worst of all, to entertain thoughts where we aren't worthy to receive the blessings of the Gospel. We picture ourselves as unloved, unwanted or unfit for the most choice blessings of our Heavenly Father.
When we entertain these thoughts or let them guide our decisions, we become false prophets. The blessings our Father has for us are immeasurable, but when we decide not to hope, we are predicting an outcome for our lives (in this estate and in the next) that is contrary to the Gospel plan.
Remember that the angels tell mankind to fear not, that they are delivering glad tidings of great joy. If we choose to be prophets of doom and gloom, we are cheating ourselves and those we may have influence or stewardship over away from the light.
You are a child of God and were created in His image. Your destiny is to be great. Have hope!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

I have no pleasure in any man who despises music. It is no invention of ours: it is a gift of God. I place it next to theology.
-Martin Luther

Luther is right.  It is a gift of God.*  There are a handful of songs that really speak to me.  Not all of them are religious, of course.  They just have a familiar resonance with my soul.  As if I've always known every note, word and movement of the melody.

"Ere", as we called it in seminary, is one of those songs:

*Some of my friends would argue that music is mathematics.  But as math nerds, they also quickly admit that mathematics are also a gift of God.

Sunday, April 08, 2012

The Buck Stops Here

Today is Easter and instead of a thoughtful lesson in Church on the gift of life made possible by the sacrifice of my Savior, Jesus Christ, the class I was in had a spirited defense of the other god of this world.  In other words, money.

Don't get me wrong, the lesson did get straightened out, but it took a while.  But the discussion on money had me a little bent out of shape, of which I had to repent.

It is truly amazing to me how much we try to defend our dollars in our lives.  It is a very difficult thing to have any discussion of money without treating it like it is a living thing.  We treat it as if we have given it life.  We talk about it as if it is something that grows and needs nourishment and tender care.  How quickly and easily can money become a rival in our lives to the true God.

Discussion on money will invariably feature phrases such as, "We can't survive without money" and other justifications.  The next time these phrases are brought up in Church, substitute the word 'money' for 'cigarettes' in your imagination.  It makes the rational for riches seem thin indeed.

The Book of Mormon has, what I believe, the appropriate approach to wealth:
But before ye seek for riches, seek ye for the kingdom of God.
And after ye have obtained a hope in Christ ye shall obtain riches, if ye seek them; and ye will seek them for the intent to do good—to clothe the naked, and to feed the hungry, and to liberate the captive, and administer relief to the sick and the afflicted.
Jacob 2:18-19
Elsewhere, the Book of Mormon prophet Jacob had noted:
But to be learned is good if they hearken unto the counsels of God.
But wo unto the rich, who are rich as to the things of the world. For because they are rich they despise the poor, and they persecute the meek, and their hearts are upon their treasures; wherefore, their treasure is their god. And behold, their treasure shall perish with them also.
2 Nephi 9:29-30

The trouble with riches is that we are tempted to keep them.  But we aren't supposed to build our wealth.  We are supposed to give it away.   I believe that as we give our riches away, it will be restored to us at a rate we are not able to comprehend.  And it will be given to us for the purposes of giving it all away again.

The scriptures do not teach what is to be the threshold of where the line is supposed to be between what I need for my own survival and what amount of wealth is too much.  For this we need to use our own discretion.  Because of the easy way pride enters our lives, I personally would recommend not setting the bar to high.

We are taught that we can buy about anything with enough currency.  This is a counterfeit salvation.  Anything in the world can be ours with the cash.  But we aren't here to enjoy the fine things of the world.  LDS Church President George Albert Smith had noted,
What is our trouble? It is that we have sought the creature comforts, we have sought the honors of men, we have sought those things that selfishness puts into our souls. We have sought to set ourselves up and have preferred ourselves to our Father’s other children.
Let us not be lulled to sleep, let us not be deceived by the abundance of good things of this world; for what doth it profit a man though he should gain the whole world and lose his own soul? [See Mark 8:36.] Let not the object of our creation be overlooked; but let us labor for the salvation of our souls.
But you ask, and rightfully so, how are we to survive?  This is up to you to decide how to act appropriately before God.  His Apostles were taught to live off what was sufficient for their needs.  Doctrine and Covenants 82:22 teaches:
And now, verily I say unto you, and this is wisdom, make unto yourselves friends with the mammon of unrighteousness, and they will not destroy you.
Of course we need to be wise and prudent and careful of our money.  But it shouldn't be at the expense of the soul.  

I plan to continue to be generous with my offerings to the Lord and to the poor while taking care of myself.  If he continues to bless me with more money, I pray for the strength to continue in blessing others and not to fall into the pitfall of a windfall.

I think the parable of the sower is a good analogy for our wealth:
He also that received seed among the thorns is he that heareth the word; and the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he becometh unfruitful.
But he that received seed into the good ground is he that heareth the word, and understandeth it; which also beareth fruit, and bringeth forth, some an hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.
Matthew 13:22-23
This seed is the word of the Lord which is frequently called wisdom.  If we receive wisdom from the Lord, we can have it bear fruit, some hundredfold, some sixty and some thirty.  The analogy is a good one.  Fruit on a tree will rot if not harvested.  The best use of the fruit is to feed ourselves and give the rest away.  We cannot eat all of the fruit ourselves.  Our learning and our riches will rot with us if we do not generously share.

We had just noted Jacob's teachings on wealth.  His views on learning and wealth are identical.  Learning and riches are good to obtain if they are used to advance the work of the Lord.  Just as our learning will be counted as foolishness if we hearken not to the counsels of God (2 Nephi 9:28) our wealth will perish with us if we do not hearken to the the needy.

Friday, December 23, 2011

It seems that I need to post the 2011 Christmas card.  I must there isn't much creepy or awkward about this one.  Which is a bit unusual for me, as as the I find the 'pathetic' or 'angst-y' theme funny.   I guess I still sneak a subtle jab at the card in the text.  

This is a rare time that my 'comedy' projects are based on current events.  I like my humor independent of the headlines.  But this one seems to work for my purposes.

Anyway, here it is.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Well, that's good.

My good friend Steve has volunteered to help with my other blog.  Well, one of the other blogs.

Now if I can find someone to do my Spanish homework for me.

Sunday, October 09, 2011

Good morning!

I am looking for a co-author or contributor to my blog on the notable residents of the Salt Lake City Cemetery.  If this sounds like something you would be interested in, please drop me a line.

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