Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Why is Nobody Listening?

So when was the last time that you were having a less than perfect day and God came down and intervened for you? If you did not answer today, then you may want to reconsider. Sis Barbara Thompson of the General Relief Society Presidency said, "there are opportunities everywhere to help those in need. I submit to you that at some time in our lives, each of us will be poor in some way and will need the help of another person. For “are we not all beggars? President Spencer W. Kimball said: “God does notice us, and he watches over us. But it is usually through another person that he meets our needs. Therefore, it is vital that we serve each other.” Okay, I can admit that the odds of God coming down and directly intervening in your life maybe not so, but I have had countless friends who without knowing and possibly without realizing what they were doing have intervened in my behalf and continue to in small ways let me know how much God loves me. I need my friends as much as almost anything, for they are for me God's hands in my life in so many ways. He does notice, He is mindful, the question then becomes, "Are we mindful and do we notice His hands in our life?" I do more and more. Thank you to all of my friends who have ever suggested a book to read, said hey, sent a text, talked with me when I needed it, or even just smiled. It means more to me than you will ever know, because to me it is a powerful sign of God's love in my life and the fact that He is aware on days that begin to feel like He is away. Thank you.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Civil Disobedience

So I may have been labeled the rebellious child of the Institute Council, but you only get to have more fun that way. Civil Disobedience is not about that at all however, it is more about active non-violence and using it to teach others. Arun Ghandi came and spoke to BYU and gave an amazing talk about the power of active non-violence. For those of you against physical enforcement of the rules this is one of the greatest stories I have ever heard. 
When Arun was a boy They never got to just go into town as it was several miles away. He had an opportunity one Saturday to go into town with his father. The car needed servicing and mother had some errands for him to run, but the rest of the day was his. He dropped his father off ran the errands and left the car to be fixed and went to the movie. He lost track of the time and was an hour late to pick his father up from the conference. his father asked him why he was late. He decided to lie and tell his father that it was because the car was delayed at the shop not realizing that his father had already called the shop to see why it was taking so long. Upon hearing this his father said, "There is something wrong with the way that I raised you so that you did not have the confidence in me to tell me the truth. I am going to walk home and think about what I have done wrong to fail you." Arun could not dissuade his father and followed behind in the car for five and a half hours thinking about what he had done for the 18 mile trek home. "I vowed that day never to lie again," said Arun.
That is the power of a righteous example. We have been taught by Master teachers every time we read the scriptures, or listen to conference, or say our prayers and how does our Father in Heaven feel, for surely if we understood we would not do all of the things that we do. if we were to comprehend his great love for us we would think twice before saying or doing certain things or going certain places. We must choose to act in accordance with the knowledge that we have.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Gratitude is an Attitude and Something More

There has been a lot of focus on gratitude recently and one thing kept coming up. In Luke 17 we are told that the leper who returned to glorify God was a Samaritan. I thought that this has many applications but one is greater than the others. Samaritans were apostate, inbred, covenant breakers, who claimed to worship Jehovah, but did not follow any of the true ordinance of the people of God. They were despised above all Gentiles, because they were apostate. Yet this man was the one who returned to glorify God. Point 1. Sometimes a bad situation can help turn us into a great person, if we have the right attitude. Point 2. Things are not always as they appear. Good people can come from bad ground. Point 3. If he was the one who returned and it is among other things a parable what does that say about the good members of the church? If the one who returned was the apostate covenant breaker then are we really any better off, if it was his faith that made him whole. Professing to follow Christ and belong to His church is noble however without the simple things the great things will never be enough. We must allow others room and opportunity to return to Christ, and we must be striving to always return to Christ. Are we not all like sheep who have gone astray? I love the fact that he emphasizes that it was a Samaritan who returned. It is a soft rebuke to those who do not return to give thanks and glorify God, as well as to those who would rebuke the sinner from coming into the fellowship of the saints. We must make sure that we are the Samaritan who returns. If not we are numbered among the nine.

Saturday, November 27, 2010


I was sorting my collection of General conference CD's and realized what an amazing collection of knowledge is stored in this stack of CD's. “In the seven two-hour sessions [of general conference] and in the several satellite meetings, truths were taught, doctrines expounded, exhortations given, enough to save the whole world from all its ills—and I mean from ALL its ills.” - Spencer W. Kimball
I say we re-read General Conference, just sayin'

Friday, November 26, 2010

Better Days

I find that the Black Friday is an interesting day. I was looking through all the ads this year and trying to decide if I wanted to go anywhere to get anything. I realized as I was looking through the ads that there was nothing that I really even wanted let alone could justify needing. 

And you ask me what I want this year
And I try to make this kind and clear
Just a chance that maybe we'll find better days
Cuz I don't need boxes wrapped in strings
And desire and love and empty things
Just a chance that maybe we'll find better days

So take these words
And sing out loud
Cuz everyone is forgiven now
Cuz tonight's the night the world begins again

And it's someplace simple where we could live
And something only you can give
And thats faith and trust and peace while we're alive
And the one poor child that saved this world
And there's 10 million more who probably could
If we all just stopped and said a prayer for them

So take these words
And sing out loud
Cuz everyone is forgiven now
Cuz tonight's the night the world begins again

I wish everyone was loved tonight
And somehow stop this endless fight
Just a chance that maybe we'll find better days

So take these words
And sing out loud
Cuz everyone is forgiven now
Cuz tonight's the night the world begins again
Cuz tonight's the night the world begins again
Better Days by Goo Goo Dolls

Thursday, November 25, 2010

All things, like everything?

With thanks giving and all I began to reflect on my not so distant childhood, partly not so distant because I still live in it, and remembered a time when I was trying to deliberate about which blessing to thank God for and which good things in life had come because of my abilities to apply the things that I had learned from my parents, leaders, and under the divine inspiration of the Holy Ghost. 

I know that seems extremely stupid, but it made perfect sense at the time. Then I was reading in Moroni and 
Moroni teaches, "For behold, a bitter fountain cannot bring forth good water ; neither can a good fountain bring forth bitter water; wherefore, a man being a servant of the devil cannot follow Christ; and if he follow Christ he cannot be a servant of the devil. Wherefore, all things which are good cometh of God.

All things which are good cometh of God. I was overwhelmed. I have thought about that verse for years now. Rethinking and mulling over the after effects of what that scripture implies. It is amazing in my mind to realize that God is so personally invested in each of us. Every good thing that has come into my life is from Him and every bad thing is rooted in my reluctance to follow after Him. It really is that simple. You cannot name one good thing that God has not given me which I possess. More importantly you cannot name one good thing that God has not given you which you possess. I come to realize more and more what that means. It means living a consecrated life to the Lord. It means trying to understand the world as He sees it and people as He sees them. Every good thing comes from God.

"Be thankful for the wonderful blessings that are yours.  Be grateful for the tremendous opportunities you have. Be thankful to your parents. Let them know of your gratitude. Thank your friends and your teachers. Express appreciation to everyone who does you a favor or assists you in any way.  Thank your Heavenly Father for His goodness to you.  You can express your gratitude to God by acknowledging His hand in all things, thanking Him for all that He gives you, keeping His commandments, and serving others. Thank Him for His Beloved Son, Jesus Christ. Express thanks for the Savior’s great example, for His teachings, for His outreaching hand to lift and help, for His infinite Atonement.  Thank the Lord for His restored Church. Thank Him for all that it offers you. Thank Him for friends and family. Let a spirit of thanksgiving guide and bless your days and nights. Work at being grateful. You will find that it yields wonderful results." True to the Faith pg. 79

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Fear not

There are plenty of things to fear, or are there. We are always told that it's okay to be afraid, but Joseph Smith taught us that fear and faith cannot reside in the same being at the same time. The world may ask well what if you can't handle it and what if it doesn't work out or you're not prepared to handle this on your own. Thanks for the tip I'll make sure to have Jesus Christ there with me every step of the way then. The facts are simple and the facts are these. He did it, everything. You want to talk with someone who knows what it is like to lose everything in one day, talk with God. You want to know what it is like to go hungry, talk with God, you want to know what it is like to feel sorrow so great for someone that you love that may not realize to what extent you love them, talk with God. He feels all of these things and realizing that can allow to take a few steps in God's shoes. Fear is a refusal to trust God, Faith is complete trust in God. If you don't think that you can do it on your own or that you are not prepared then why on Earth would you try anyway. Realize that you can't and do what you need to do and bring along Jesus Christ, your older Brother for the journey of a lifetime.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The Play's the Thing

The following is mostly excerpts from Elder Jeffery R Holland's talk entitled A Robe, A ring, and a Fatted Calf. We have something to be very grateful for this Thanksgiving and that is the gift of the Atonement; the gift of God's Only Begotten Son.

In what may well be literature's most extreme and chilling observation of ... debilitating, unassuaged guilt, we watch Macbeth--cousin of the king, masterful, strong, honored, and honorable--descend through a horrible series of bloody deeds by which his very soul is increasingly "tortured by an agony which [knows no] . . . repose" (A. C. Bradley, Shakespearean Tragedy, [New York: Fawcett, 1967], p. 276). Shapes of terror appear before his eyes, and the sounds of hell clamor in his ears. His guilty heart and tormented conscience rend his days and terrify his nights so incessantly that he says to his physician:

Canst thou not minister to a mind diseas'd,
Pluck from the memory a rooted sorrow,
Raze out the written troubles of the brain,
And with some sweet oblivious antidote
Cleanse the stuff'd bosom of that perilous stuff
Which weighs upon the heart?
The doctor shakes his head over such diseases of the soul, and says:
Therein the patient
Must minister to himself.
But the anguish continues unabated until Macbeth says on the day he will die:
Out, out, brief candle!
Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage,
And then is heard no more. It is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing. [5.5.23–28]

Macbeth's murders are sins too strong for the kind of transgression you and I might discuss [tonight]. But I believe the despair of his final hopelessness can be applied at least in part to our own circumstances. Unless we believe in repentance and restoration, unless we believe there can be a way back from our mistakes--whether those sins be sexual or social or civil or academic, whether they be great or small--unless we believe we can start over on solid ground with our past put behind us and genuine hope for the future--in short, if we cannot believe in the compassion of Christ and His redemptive love, then I think we in our own way are as hopeless as Macbeth and our view of life just as depressing. We do become shadows, feeble players on a perverse stage, in a tale told by an idiot. And unfortunately, in such a burdened state, we are the idiots.

William Wines Phelps's Way Back
In the early years of the Church the Prophet Joseph Smith had no more faithful aide than William Wines Phelps. Brother Phelps, a former newspaper editor, had joined the Church in Kirtland and was of such assistance to those early leaders that they sent him as one of the first Latter-day Saints to the New Jerusalem--Jackson County, Missouri. There he was called by the Lord to the stake presidency of that "center stake of Zion."
But then troubles developed. First they were largely ecclesiastical aberrations but later there were financial improprieties. Things became so serious that the Lord revealed to Joseph Smith that if Phelps did not repent, he would be "removed out of [his] place" (HC 2:511). He did not repent and was excommunicated on March 10, 1838.
The Prophet Joseph and others immediately tried to love Phelps back into the fold, but he would have nothing of it. Then in the fall of that violent year W. W. Phelps, along with others, signed a deadly, damaging affidavit against the Prophet and other leaders of the Church. The result was quite simply that Joseph Smith was sentenced to be publicly executed on the town square in Far West, Missouri, Friday morning, November 2, 1838. Through the monumental courage of General Alexander Doniphan, the Prophet was miraculously spared the execution Phelps and others had precipitated, but he was not spared spending five months--November through April--in several Missouri prisons, the most noted of which was the pit known ironically as Liberty Jail.
I do not need to recount for you the suffering of the Saints through that period. The anguish of those not captive was in many ways more severe than those imprisoned. The persecution intensified until the Saints sought yet again to find another refuge from the storm. With Joseph in chains, praying for their safety and giving some direction by letter, they made their way toward Commerce, Illinois, a malaria swamp on the Mississippi River where they would try once more to build the city of Zion. And much of this travail, this torment and heartache, was due to men of their own brotherhood like W. W. Phelps.
But we're speaking today of happy endings. Two very difficult years later, with great anguish and remorse of conscience, Phelps wrote to Joseph Smith in Nauvoo.
Brother Joseph: . . . I am as the prodigal son. . . .
I have seen the folly of my way, and I tremble at the gulf I have passed. . . . [I] ask my old brethren to forgive me, and though they chasten me to death, yet I will die with them, for their God is my God. The least place with them is enough for me, yea, it is bigger and better than all Babylon. . . .
I know my situation, you know it, and God knows it, and I want to be saved if my friends will help me. . . . I have done wrong and I am sorry. . . . I ask forgiveness. . . . I want your fellowship; if you cannot grant that, grant me your peace and friendship, for we are brethren, and our communion used to be sweet.
In an instant the Prophet wrote back. I know of no private document or personal response in the life of Joseph Smith--or anyone else, for that matter--which so powerfully demonstrates the magnificence of his soul. There is a lesson here for every one of us who claims to be a disciple of Christ.
He wrote:
Dear Brother Phelps: . . . You may in some measure realize what my feelings . . . were when we read your letter . . . .
We have suffered much in consequence of your behavior--the cup of gall, already full enough for mortals to drink, was indeed filled to overflowing when you turned against us . . . .
However, the cup has been drunk, the will of our Father has been done, and we are yet alive, for which we thank the Lord. And having been delivered from the hands of wicked men by the mercy of our God, we say it is your privilege to be delivered from the powers of the adversary, be brought into the liberty of God's dear children, and again take your stand among the Saints of the Most High, and by diligence, humility, and love unfeigned, commend yourself to our God, and your God, and to the Church of Jesus Christ.
Believing your confession to be real, and your repentance genuine, I shall be happy once again to give you the right hand of fellowship, and rejoice over the returning prodigal.
"Come on, dear brother, since the war is past,
For friends at first, are friends again at last."
Yours as ever,
Joseph Smith, Jun. [HC 4:141–42, 162–64]
It only adds to the poignance of this particular prodigal's return that exactly four years later--almost to the day--it would be W. W. Phelps selected to preach Joseph Smith's funeral sermon in that terribly tense and emotional circumstance. Furthermore it would be W. W. Phelps who would memorialize the martyred prophet with his hymn of adoration, "Praise to the Man."
Having been the foolish swimmer pulled back to safety by the very man he had sought to destroy, Phelps must have had unique appreciation for the stature of the Prophet when he penned:
Great is his glory and endless his priesthood.
Ever and ever the keys he will hold.
Faithful and true, he will enter his kingdom,
Crowned in the midst of the prophets of old.
["Praise to the Man," Hymns, no. 147]
I requested that we sing a verse of that hymn this morning. Next time you sing it, remember what it meant to W. W. Phelps to be given another chance.

The Prodigal Son
Perhaps the most encouraging and compassionate parable in all of Holy Writ is the story of the prodigal son. I close with Mary Lyman Henrie's poetic expression of it entitled "To Any Who Have Watched for a Son's Returning."
He watched his son gather all the goods
that were his lot,
anxious to be gone from tending flocks,
the dullness of the fields.
He stood by the olive tree gate long
after the caravan disappeared
where the road climbs the hills
on the far side of the valley,
into infinity.
Through changing seasons he spent the light
in a great chair, facing the far country,
and that speck of road on the horizon.
Mocking friends: "He will not come."
Whispering servants: "The old man
has lost his senses."
A chiding son: "You should not have let him go."
A grieving wife: "You need rest and sleep."
She covered his drooping shoulders,
his callused knees, when east winds blew chill, until that day . . .
A form familiar, even at infinity,
in shreds, alone, stumbling over pebbles.
"When he was a great way off,
His father saw him,
and had compassion, and ran,
and fell on his neck, and kissed him." (Luke 15:20)
[Ensign, March 1983, p. 63]
God bless us to help each other come back home, where we will, in the presence of our Father, find waiting a robe, a ring, and a fatted calf, I pray in the name of Him who made it possible, even Jesus Christ. Amen.

Monday, November 22, 2010

What Have You Done with His Name?

Someday each one of us will have to account to our Savior, Jesus Christ, for what we have done with His name.

We each take upon us the name of the Savior in one way or another or many ways throughout life; when we reach out to someone suffering, when we take upon ourselves sacred covenants, when we do the things that Jesus did. What have we done with His name. I think of it as a really nice, powerful car; if we cannot take care of it we will eventually lose it by our own neglect, whether we destroy it or crash it. If we are just given such a car the probability of that increases. The name of Christ is such a vessel. He does not just give it to us though, in every way he expects us to earn at least some of it. We have to do something. The more we realize who we are the more we realize that we have the unalterable potential to become as He is. It will lift us on the wings of eagles to come closer to Him. But as we do so we are commanded to lift others with us. What have we done in His name?
But that is not the only thing that counts in this game. The Savior said, "Many will asay to me in that day: Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name, and in thy name have cast out devils, and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will aI profess unto them: I never bknew you; cdepart from me, ye that work iniquity. (III Nephi 14:22-23) Why we do it is more important. What is the condition of your heart? Why do we want to take upon us the name of Christ? Are we tired of the kind of life that sin yields? Are we ready to come unto Him and become like Him? Or are we ready to realize that we have the greatness of eternity already rested upon our souls and that it is only through His atoning sacrifice that we can uncouple the awesome power that is within us. 
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small doesn’t serve the world. There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We are born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us, it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” - The above speech by Nelson Mandela was orignally written by Marianne Williamson
We are to show others who Christ is by showing them who we are. We are not to cower behind some false idea of who we are but we are to stand up and embrace the eternal who we are, and with the help of Christ allow others to do the same.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

That is just amazing

So for those of you who don't know I pretty much have the most amazing stake President ever who dedicated this mornings meeting to the gathering of Israel.
Jeremiah 16:14-17

 14 ¶ Therefore, behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that it shall no more be said, The aLord liveth, that brought up the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt;

  15 But, The Lord liveth, that abrought up the children of Israel from the land of the bnorth, and from all the clands whither he had driven them: and I will dbring them again into their eland that I gave unto their fathers.

  16 ¶ Behold, I will send for many afishers, saith the Lord, and they shall fish them; and after will I send for many hunters, and they shall hunt them from every mountain, and from every hill, and out of the holes of the rocks.

  17 For mine eyes are upon all their ways: they are not hid from my face, neither is their ainiquity hid from mine eyes.
I absolutely loved the first two verses since I hardly ever hear them quoted. The exodus was a miracle of millions en mas. The gathering is that much a greater miracle because it is a miracle of millions one by one. We come to the Lord one by one. We bring other souls to Him one by one. That is the great miracle, conversion of millions one at a time, by small and simple means. We now get to chose if we will be part of it. Will we be gathered? Will we answer the call to go and gather? For those who are gathered comes the promise, for mine eyes are upon all their ways:they are not hid from my face, neither is their iniquity hid from mine eyes. He is constantly aware of us and out imperfections and can use them to accomplish His great purposes. We must trust Him to do so.

Saturday, November 20, 2010


 "We need not say to you that the floodgates of our hearts were lifted and our eyes were a fountain of tears, but those who have not been enclosed in the walls of prison without cause or provocation, can have but little idea how sweet the voice of a friend is; one token of friendship from any source whatever awakens and calls into action every sympathetic feeling it brings up in an instant everything that is passed; it seizes the present with the avidity of lightning; it grasps after the future with the fierceness of a tiger; it moves the mind backward and forward, from one thing to another until finally all enmity, malice and hatred, and past differences, misunderstandings and mismanagements are slain victorious at the feet of hope; and when the heart is sufficiently contrite, then the voice of inspiration steals along and whispers.
                                                  -Joseph Smith Jr.
 I love my friends.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Fate, Destiny...?

No just postponing the inevitable I suppose. Eventually small glimpses of me are going t leak onto my Blog but that's what it's about I suppose. I hope that the older I get the less that I regret is really true for the most part. Not because I don't do some crazy/stupid things, but because I like who I am well enough to realize that if you take part of me you also get the sporadic ADD part of me too. If we really knew better we would most likely make better informed decisions. That is the popular idea anyhow.  If we knew to what extent we would hurt someone we really wouldn't say it, but we often don't and do. Regret is not an effective emotion. Sorrow is extremely effective however. Regret focuses on what we wish we knew and did not and never will have, it is done. Sorrow brings us to realize that what we did was wrong even if we did not realize the full extent. It brings us know how God feels, to appreciate what He suffers when we do wrong. It is not a passive resignation, that is regret. Believing that somehow had we known it would have been different. Possibly, but what is that to build on. The truth is if we were perfect then it would not have happened. Regret simply shifts the blame from us, even if only to our ignorance, If I only would have known. Whether or not we realized the full extent of our decision we knew that it was not fully right which in turn makes it fully wrong. Accepting the blame for what we do is part of growing to be perfect like God is. Saying I am sorry will not heal the wounds that are forged deep in the heart, but that is not ours to do. He are not called as healers of the soul. There is only one that can pay the price for what we have done and offer full recompense to the offended. Ours is to repair that which we can and then it is between the one who is hurt and God to heal. There is often much we can do to make things better, but never anything that we can do to make it right, that wonder was won in the life of Christ. It neither begins in Bethlehem nor ends at the hill called Golgatha. The bonum sumum of His life is what lets him heal our hearts, and the hearts of those whom we grievously wound. The more we know what it means to feel like he feels the more adept we will be to tread carefully upon the sacred ground of another's soul. When we fail to do so we have simply lost sight of what it is like to see the world as God sees the world and to see the souls of men the same.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Rorrim of Desire

What do I most desire? And, how do I get it? These are the questions that torments me most from day to day. It is a hard thing to always need something and Harry Potter has a start in the right direction as usual. When you look into a mirror you see that which is your greatest  desire. When Dumbledore looks into it he sees himself holding a pair of thick, woolen socks. I don't think so but it's a nice thought. I don't think that our deepest desires are something that we can share frivolously with others.
But who can we really trust with our greatest desires? Are not these what we are supposed to hold closest and most dear? Should you share them with anyone?
C.S. Lewis wrote Christ says, "Give me All. I don't want so much of your money and so much of your work: I want You. I have not come to torment your natural self, but to kill it. No half-measures are any good. I don't want to cut off a branch here and a branch there, I want to have the whole tree down. I don't want to drill the tooth, or crown it, or stop it, but to have it out. Hand over the whole natural self, all the desires which you think innocent as well as the ones you think wicked-the whole outfit. I will give you a new self instead. In fact, I will give you myself: My own will shall become yours."
Maybe we don't really know what we want or what we should want until we have done something else first.

Problem or pleasure?

Have you ever been helping out with something and someone thanks you and you say, "Not a problem." The thing I want to know is what is not a problem. Is it the fact that the thing they asked you to do was so small that it doesn't merit any thanks or the idea that they weren't really overburdening you and you would have helped anyway. I have noticed that when the people sitting around me at work end a call they usually end with "not a problem."

Bro. Kauffman from Orem institute once pointed out to me the difference between not a problem, and it's my pleasure. When I would go to help with anything and he said thank you I would say it's my pleasure. I didn't really recognize the significance until he told me his feelings I just got tired of saying what everybody almost always says. Bro. Kauffman told me that the main difference is that when you say it was your pleasure you indicate that it took something to accomplish what you did and that you appreciate them acknowledging your efforts and that you enjoyed the opportunity to help/assist.

I found that after a couple of weeks of working around the people on my team I began to say the dreaded not a problem. I think I really began to notice when the people I was talking to weren't as happy when I ended the call. I realized it and began switching back to it's my pleasure and noticed that the people I had been talking with were significantly happier.

This is what I draw from that: You may think that you can be in an environment that goes against what you believe and who you are but it will effect you eventually. It doesn't have to be a sin or anything big, but you will begin to say things and do things and think like the people that you associate with. Secondly, the need to scrutinize my own feelings about service in the church. Am I one of the kinds of people that say it's my pleasure or not a problem. Thirdly, your attitude can influence others. Attitude responsibly.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Leave a message after the beep...

Have you ever heard someone's answering machine and thought that it seemed an eternity long and then decided to leave them an equally long message and you thought that it had been forever and in total it was under five minutes.

Contrast that with long conversations with a friend. They may last for 1, 2, 3+ hours and have long silences and time of understanding, comforting, laughing, etc and it seems like 15-20 minutes.

Related to my last post about asking questions is a thought that struck me; Do I leave God messages? Do I feel that it is painstaking trying to find something to say for more than 15-20 minutes? The truth is that I used to think how in the world can Enos have prayed all night and all day? That is impossible! Truth be known had he left a message probably, but if he was actually praying he probably was about as aware of the passage of time as we are with a friend on the phone.

So what makes the difference. Why are we so vastly different? The Bible Dictionary says that once we realize the true relationship between us and God prayer becomes natural. The reason is because if you had a person who would listen to your problems for hours on end and give sympathy when appropriate and was even able to explain some of the great and not so great things about life and was even able and willing to help you fix or even just understand some of your problems it may be cheaper to just move in rather than rack up an enormous phone bill. However, we do have just such a friend. A Father that loves more than we know and is willing to hear us out and help us up and we pretend like the closest that He ever gets to us is that we can leave an occasional message on his long list of messages that He will get back to when he has time. We need to recognize that divinity that lies within ourselves and realize that He wants so badly to speak with us. Is it really ever a wonder that you hear people say, "Well he never answers my prayers." To quote Elder Bednar, "No kidding." What did you expect. When you treat God like the intergalactic plumber that has billions of other customers and you think that you have no chance of ever getting a turn, how do you expect to see it when your prayers are answered! You think that YOU did it all!

However when we realize that each day holds more blessings than we will ever comprehend that flow from God like a spring then we realize just how much we matter.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

There is no such thing as a stupid question.....

While I grant that there is no such thing as a stupid question there may be somethings that we should consider in the light of asking more intelligent questions.
1. I had a favorite teacher in high school, Mr. Strange pretty awesome name right? He was teaching us Spanish, but I recently found that he taught us more than how to conjugate 14 verb tenses, he taught us how to ask better questions. We were to come up with everything that we could and bring the remainder to him. He wanted us to explain everything we could about the word in Spanish. It got to the point that we were speaking more Spanish than not, in fact almost always the only word that was not spoken in Spanish was the word we were looking for. It would help us to find the correct word firstly, but more important it taught us how to do more than just how do you say _____? It would more often go something like, "I am looking for a word or phrase that you would use to say ______. Then a follow up question, "Is there anything that I should be aware of as far as irregularities or is it normal? Is there anytime that you would use a different verb?" I learned that this is the better way to ask questions. When I call support at my work I try to formulate the situation the best that I can. Instead of saying,  "The computer is not working what should I do?" Asking, "I have already done X, Y, Z and this is what happened. I am looking at article ##### and I think that the next best step would be too_______. Can you think of anything else that I can try?"

2. Listening more than you talk. Listening more than you talk. Elder Bednar taught us about the Spirit of Discerrnment over this last weekend. "I believe that the gift of discernment operates more effectively when we're listening as opposed to when we are talking." Wow, so if you want to make an inspired decision Elder Bednar believes that you should be listening. All throughout this panel discussion the phrase Listening more than you talk kept coming up. The discussion leader may not do very much talking at all but if he/she is leading and guiding instead of dominating they are going to be more likely to be operating under the spirit of discernment. Can we emphasize getting the listening down enough?

(You may not be in a current leadership position but I don't think that it would waste anyone's time to watch especially if you love to listen to President Monson, Elder Oaks, Elder Cook, Elder Perry, Elder Ballard, Elder Holland, Elder Bednar, Sister Beck, Elder Gonzalez, & President Packer.)

So how does asking better questions get us different answers? If you ask God can I do this? He will either say yes, no, I don't think that would be good, go ahead and try it, etc. If you go to God and say this is where I am and this is what has brought me to this point to make this conclusion. I think that this is the next step that I should take. Are there any considerations that I should make or anything that I should know before I go into this? Are you in  essence asking the same question, yes. But this second time you now have specific direction from God. Then you need to listen. If you are trying to twist what God is saying to fit what you want to hear why did you develop If you want to be in a better position, you need to listen.