Monthly Archives: November 2014

Fifth Sunday November 2014

Fifth Sunday November 2014

Today is the Fifth Sunday November 2014. That means we had a joint Priesthood/Relief Society Meeting.  The topic was Family History.

Some times Sunday afternoon naps interfere with the ability to go to sleep comes bed time.  Tonight is one of those nights.  Frustrating.  You feel tired so you take a nap, and then when you should feel tired, you’re too away to go to bed.  Sometimes life isn’t fair.

There are a few people whom, in my opinion, take the command to store a year’s supply a little far.  When I listen and read what we’ve been asked to do I get the impression of an impending condition where we would be required to live from what we stored.  Food, water, clothes, and “needful” items.

Now, where do they take it too far in my opinion?

In storing guns, ammunition, and preparing for a trek and living conditions that mimic 19th century living.  I’ve read about people who are building handcarts, storing cast iron stoves, and preparing to live in huge tents.  Yet, when I visit, I see nothing to indicate that the church leaders are diving us in that direction.

While each individual should prayerfully consider what they do to prepare, when I read the Doctrine and Covenants section 45, I get a picture that says we will be protected.

I have no doubt there are Latter-day Saints who live in areas that will be hard hit by civil unrest.  Yet, when I read the scriptures, I repeated read that the righteous “shall not fear.”

Getting OUT

Getting OUT

Getting out is nice.  I had to get out of the house.  So, we went to the store to buy a few items.

The shopping cart makes for a nice walker, so to speak.  Wegmans had the sodas we like on sale so we stocked up.

What really amazed me is with the glut on cranberries that they are still $2.50/pound.  Wholesale they are $7 for a barrel.  Who is making all the profit on cranberries this year?  It’s crazy that they are selling for $2.50 a pound.

I’d love to get a barrel for $7.  Imagine all of the cranberry sauce I could make!   Of course, I’d need a box of oranges to make my cranberry orange sauce (which everyone tells me is really good.  I like it, but then I wouldn’t cook it if I didn’t like it.)

Going from the car to the house and I stopped and took a picture of the icicles.  It felt nice to take a picture.   Some day.

Friday After 2014

Friday After 2014

There’s one thing I won’t call the Friday after 2014 Thanksgiving, but there’s another thing I won’t do — Go shopping on this day.

So, I went on-line because a store sent me an e-mail saying they had a great price on something I want.  Their web site was down.  I contacted them.  They got it work.  Then, their credit card processing was down.  This went on all day. If that’s going on with their web site, there is NO WAY I would go to the store today.

Stories of rudeness and violence tells me that the stores are full of moronic behaviors this day.  My daughter posted on Facebook that some lady chewed her out for buying too many movies.


No, I am not in to walking in to abuse.

Elizabethe has been working all day on testing Christmas lights.  She’s setting up her little village of houses.

Concerning shopping on this day… I guess as I’m getting older I will never understand the drive to get a “great deal” on something you don’t need, and wouldn’t have bought if it were any other day of the week.

Thanksgiving 2014

Thanksgiving 2014

This Thanksgiving 2014 just hasn’t felt the same.  Without going in to details, I think I’m getting cabin fever big time.

Elizabethe and I ended up searching most of YouTube for Bob Newhart videos.  What a funny man.  I love the Sir Walter Raleigh skit.

“And, let me guess… you stick it in your ear?” he says speaking of tobacco rolled up in paper.

A true comedic genius, Bob Newhart is a kick.

We ended up thawing what said “Turkey and gravy”.  It turned out that it was white bean chili that never got labeled as such.  Oh, well.  That’s what we’re having for dinner.  White bean chili.  No turkey.

Perhaps that’s part of my being bummed-out.  No turkey means no cranberry sauce.  That’s the entire reason for eating turkey in my book.  While I don’t mind turkey, for me it is a vehicle for delivering cranberry sauce to my mouth.

Speaking of cranberries, I read there is a glut.  The price is normally like $40 a barrel, but this year because of the glut they are down to about $7 a barrel.  SO, why aren’t they a LOT cheaper at the stores?

Someone is making a killing and it sounds like it is not the bog owners.

Working It

Working It

Working it is the best way to get it working again.  Everyone was warning me that physical therapy is going to be painful.  Yeah, it is, but working it is the best road to recovery they say.

I’ve been participating in an emergency preparedness forum (group) on Facebook.  I am amazed at some of the… shall I say, stupid stuff that gets posted.  While it is so easy to verify information, I guess it takes some knowledge to distinguish between valid and invalid sources.

Here is an example…

Someone posted that you should NOT use oxygen absorbing packets when storing seeds you plan to grow or sprout because they sterilize the seeds.

My chemistry background immediately tells me this is FALSE.  So, I thought I’d do some research, and worse case, I’d take some of our wheat packed with oxygen packets and see if they’d sprout.  My suspicions were correct.  Oxygen packets do NOT sterilize seeds.

Another example is someone posting you should not line the bottom of your oven with foil as the foil will melt.  Again, my chemistry background tells me an oven does not get hot enough.  Foil melts at 660 degrees Fahrenheit.  Most ovens don’t go that high.

One of my favorites is the guy who claims he heats his house with 4 tiny tea-light candles.  To do that, it would defy the laws of thermo-dynamics.  There are not enough calories in 4 tea-light candles to heat an entire house.  As Jamie and Adam would say, “BUSTED.”

The, there are the people who totally ignore nutrition, science and medicine.  Of course, we have those all over the place.  People who smoke and drink and use caffeine are in that group.  But, there are those who take it to an extreme with herbs and food avoidance.  I’m not talking about people with food allergies or enzyme deficiencies, I’m talking about people who think they can cure cancer with some herbal concoction.  When challenged, they blame the F.D.A.  Yet, if they REALLY found a cure for cancer, F.D.A. involved or not, they would be receiving a Nobel Prize.

Ice Prongs

Ice Prongs

Did you know you can get little ice prongs for canes?   This little flip-down thing was only about $8 and it could save a life (or a hip, arm, leg).  It attaches to the cane just above the rubber foot, and can flip down over the rubber foot so your can will dig into the snow and ice.  Nice.

With the break in the weather, the guys came to prune the tree.  Again, same anxiety about not doing it myself drives me nuts.  I have to keep telling myself, “They do this for a living… you don’t.”

I guess that’s the same reason I don’t like sending my pictures out for someone else to retouch.  Oh, wait.  There’s a difference.  I do photography for a living.  Yeah, that’s different.

So, they go to remove a dead tree and discover it has been filled with concrete!  Wow, I’m so glad I wasn’t trying to cut it down.  I’m sure I would have busted my chainsaw.

Who fills a tree full of concrete?  And, how did they get the concrete up to where the tree was open to pour the concrete inside?

Now I have this tall wood-covered concrete pillar in my front yard.  What do I do with it?

When the lady came to the door to tell me what they ran in to, I first imagined taking dynamite to the thing.  No.  That would upset the neighbors.  I then imagined some sort of playground feature.  A climbing tree?

The evening was spent watching the first 6 episodes of Faulty Towers.  I love John Cleese.  I also like how the name keeps changing on the sign.  “Farty Towels” was my favorite.

Sucking Leaves

Sucking Leaves

I woke to the sound of sucking leaves.  I heard this noise out back, and I wasn’t able to go check it out, so I sent Elizabethe to check.  It turns out things were dry enough that they guys we asked to do our leaves were outside working.  They had their leaf blowers and lawn mowers running full-tilt.

There is kind of an unnerving feeling when people do work you usually do.  Perhaps I’m a bit of a control freak and I need to learn to be less of one.  My biggest fear was… What if they run over the cable and cut it.  Then, I won’t have Internet access!!!  (Yeah, I’ve got to call Time Warner about that.)

We bought a B.J.’s membership.  $40 for 14 months.  It sounded like a good deal.  Nearly $200 later… yeah… it’s still a good deal.  We managed to get a few food items to carry us through the winter, as well as a good price on batteries and a couple of hams.

I got to drive around in one of those electric carts.  Those things can turn on a time.  I wish they would go faster, but I understand that would be a safety issue.



Stake Conference November 2014 Part II

Stake Conference November 2014 Part II

Here’s the talk I gave today for Stake Conference….

When Jesus stood before Pontius Pilot he was asked, “What is truth?”

Truth can be defined as knowledge of things as they were, as they are and as they are to come. Truth is unchanging.

In John 8:32 we read, “And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”

Free from what?

Free from the consequences of false information and false doctrine.

In various forms of racing, a “red flag” means to stop. I will use my “red flag” as I would like to propose 8 ways in which you can determine if what you are reading or hearing may not be true.

  1. If your conscience warns you something is wrong, this is a red flag. Moroni 7:16 tells us, “For behold, the Spirit of Christ is given to every man, that he may know good from evil; wherefore, I show unto you the way to judge; for every thing which inviteth to do good, and to persuade to believe in Christ, is sent forth by the power and gift of Christ “
  2. If the Holy Ghost does not testify of the truthfulness, this is a red flag. Moroni 10:5 says, “And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things.”
  3. If the person telling you is using jargon you have never heard in church, lesson manuals, the scriptures or General Conference, this is a red flag. I Corinthians 14:4 tells us, “He that speaketh in an unknown tongue edifieth himself; but he that prophesieth edifieth the church.”
  4. If it is new or foreign doctrine, and you are not hearing it from the prophet, this is a red flag. Amos 3:7 tells us, “Surely the Lord God will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets.” The current prophet is the only one authorized to receive revelation on behalf of the world. Individuals who dabble in the dreams and visions of others, and place validity on these dreams as if they were revelation for themselves or the world are on the verge of apostasy.
  5. If what you are being told does not align to what the prophets and apostles are telling us today, this is a red flag. President Benson in a 1980 BYU Devotional stated that the words of the living prophet are more vital than the words of a dead prophet, and the words of the living prophet are more vital than the standard works.
  6. Scripture, mingled with the philosophies of men is another “red flag.” Elder Hartman Rector, Jr., in the January 1974 Ensign warned, “we are not called to preach the philosophies of men mingled with scripture or our own ideas or the mysteries of the kingdom.”
  7. If someone is taking scripture out of context or ignoring the symbolism revealed, this is a red flag. We recently studied Isaiah in Gospel Doctrine. We learned that the tent spoken of in Isaiah 54 represents the church, and the stakes are the stakes of Zion. Also, in Isaiah 2:2 we learned that the “mountain of the lord” is reference to the temples. Yet, there are people who, using these scriptures in Isaiah would want you to believe that they mean we are all going to be living in the mountains, in tents.
  8. Finally, if the presenter of the information cannot back it up with a doctrinal reference, that is a “red flag”. A valid reference would be (a) chapter and verse from the standard works, (b) a statement by a prophet that has not been superseded by latter prophet, and if it has, the most recent statement should be the one cited, (c) Conference Reports, (d) Church Handbooks and Manuals and (e) the Ensign. What isn’t valid as doctrine are books written expressing personal opinions or theories, or any other source from someone who does not have the authority to represent the Lord in their speaking or writing. Again, “surely the Lord God will do nothing save he revealeth his secrets unto his servant the prophet.”

Do not be afraid to challenge a presenter of information with the statement, “Give me chapter and verse.” I had a missionary companion who taught me this. I grew up in the church, and he was a convert. Many of you may know him as until about a year ago, he lived in Canandaigua Ward. His name is Paul O’Donnell. We would be discussing some gospel topic, and I would make a claim, and Elder O’Donnell would say, “Chapter and verse, Elder, chapter and verse.” This forced me to be able to defend my claims and taught me that we should be careful that we are teaching doctrine, and not the philosophies of men.

In today’s day and age, we have the Internet. Recently, Elder Bednar gave a devotional at Education Week. In that, he encouraged us to use the Internet in a positive way. The talk can be found on I encourage you to read it and study his advice.

The Internet is being used for both good and bad, but beware, there are wolves in sheeps’ clothing who would like to feed you false information and doctrine.

How do you protect yourself?

I just gave you a list, but let me also add what you can do when you see a “red flag”. When you see a red-flag item, feel free to challenge the person by politely asking, “And, where did you read this?”

Recently, I was touring some of the historic sites in the area with some brethren who work in the church historic department. One of them made a claim, and his colleague asked, “What is your source for this information?”

I figure if it is good enough for them to challenge each other, should we not keep each other on the straight an narrow by asking where such information comes from? It is good for both parties. It becomes a learning experience for the student and the teacher.

Another way to protect yourself is going to the source of the information. For example, someone recently told me that our president signed an executive order that would allow the Federal Government to come seize all your food storage. Red Flag 2 went off. The Spirit told me this isn’t true. So, I asked, “May I get that executive order number?”

The conversation being on Facebook eventually resulted in about 50 or more executive order numbers along with a short description of each one.

Was this good enough for me?

No. Anyone can makeup numbers and statements. I went to the Library of Congress Web Site and I started to look up each of those executive order numbers. Every single one as signed by John F. Kennedy in the 1960s. None of them had anything to do with food. Most of them had to do with labor union contracts. I was disappointed in the person who sent this list, but more disappointed that someone would work so hard to deceive.

Learn how to validate information you receive using the Internet.

How do you know what is a valid source?

First, blogs, Facebook, pictures text over the top (called Memes), e-mails, etc., are not necessarily valid sources. If someone says it is church doctrine, go to and do some research. All of the scriptures are there as well as Ensign magazines going back to 1971, and lesson manuals and lots of other materials.

If the information is of a political or legislative nature, you have,, and the library of congress all on line.

If the information is of a scientific nature, you have sites like, the Mayo Clinic, various universities, and more all on-line.

Much information is available as a matter of public record. Learn how to discern between valid sources of information, and speculation. Of course, the best tool we have for that is the Spirit. Pray for the spirit as the spirit testifies of the truth.

For church information, we have which in the upper right corner has a search box. Once you search, you can narrow your search to scriptures, conference talks, magazines, manuals, videos, etc.

For secular information, we have search engines like Google, Bing, Yahoo!, and more. These too have options, and some even allow you to configure your search results so that you can avoid pornography.

By following the spirit, and learning how to validate information using the Internet, you can protect yourselves from the consequences of false information and doctrine.

And Ye Shall Know the Truth, and the Truth Shall Make You Free.” I testify to you in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Stake Conference November 2014

Stake Conference November 2014

It’s Stake Conference November 2014 tonight.  We learned a lot about family search and family history.  It was very informative.  It is amazing how much information is available on the Internet.

Some how, I managed to sleep in today.  Then, getting up to do my exercises and before you know it, the day’s half over.  I then check my e-mail and eat, and wash up, and before you know it…. It’s time to exercise again.  Whew.

Elizabethe made pecan chocolate chip cookies.  Oh, they are so good.  I’m glad we have chocolate chips in our food storage.  Pecans are good to store also.

I’ve been having a discussion about how many church members have followed the command to get their year’s supply.  I estimated 10%.  Someone found a talk by Bishop Burton who said 15%.  Either way, that’s not many people.

So Cold

So Cold

It is so cold today.  Well, for me it is.  I didn’t go outside, but it is cold inside.  I kept asking Elizabethe to shut the door to the room because every time she opened the door, the temperature would drop sharply.  Brrrrr.

I got my talk re-written.  I read it out loud and it was right at 10 minutes.  Wahoo!

Trying to figure out a good date night lately has been a stress.  I’m getting tired of calling out for pizza.  Elizabethe fixed some dinner and we just binge-watched The Unit.

I learned to night that my Aunt Vicki passed away two days ago.  I don’t have any more details.  She called me a couple of months ago and asked how things were going and we talked for a while.  I’m glad she called.  Aunt Vicki is Devon Gummersall’s grandma.   (Devon was in My So Called Life as well as many other TV shows and movies.  He’s my cousin Greg’s son.)

A neighbor teen came over and did some of the chores around the house.  This has been such a great help.  He’s a great kid and works hard and has an amazingly positive attitude.