Last Day of Pageant 2013 and Art in the Yard

Art in the Yard Sale 2013
Art in the Yard Sale 2013
Art In The Yard Sale 2013
Art In The Yard Sale 2013

It is the Art in the Yard today.

We had 10 vendors plus Pit Stop BBQ from Clyde, New York. We did get rained on, but that didn’t detour people. One vendor stated he even made a sale during the down-pour.

The Pit Stop did a fantastic job with the BBQ chicken. Some people stopped just to purchase chicken and drive away. That’s fine with me, but I do wish we would have had a few more art shoppers.

Tonight’s the last night of the Hill Cumorah Pageant. It has gone by quickly. It’s time for 2014 preparations after tonight.

Pageant Friday 2013

A friend texted me from Hill Cumorah saying it had started to rain and there was thunder and lightening. This was after he sent a text stating the anti-Mormon tent blew away.

Well, the cancelled the performance for safety reasons. This has only happened a few times. It is totally untrue that pageant has never been rained out. It does happen, but it is rare.

Elizabethe and I went to see R.E.D. 2. This is a squeal movie. It is funny and fun. Mary Louise Parker and John Malcovich steal the show with their expressions. We thoroughly enjoyed it.

Pageant Thursday 2013

They’ve started tearing down the burned-out buildings. Mark Crane, owner of Mark’s Pizzeria, is rebuilding. He says the new building will look like the old one, and his restaurant will be larger with an open green space next to it where people can eat outside. I applaud Mark for his actions. I am positive his rebuild will be an asset to this village.

We got hit by quite the monsoon today. It came late afternoon. And, of course, water came in the basement again. Ugh. No sooner as I get it dried out, another big storm hits.

I noticed an altercation between one of the anti-Mormons and a newscaster. I’m not sure what kicked it off, but the newscaster yelled something at him and pointed as if to say, “get lost”. I think some of the anti-Mormons do not understand the principle that you catch more bees with honey than you do with vinegar.

The biggest thing they try to do is convince members of the church that we are wrong because we don’t believe we are saved by grace.  Well, first off all, that’s wrong.  The Book of Mormon says, we are saved by grace, but they are quick to point out that it is followed by, “after all we can do.”

Well, duh.  After all we can do, we still come up short and that’s where grace comes in.

Of course, if you use their argument, everyone is saved.

You’re saying, “Wait, everyone who confesses Jesus is Lord is saved according to them.”

Well, that’s true.  They use Romans 10:9…

That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.

Now, before I go on, Mormons (Latter-day Saints, Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) believe this scripture too, but we also believe it does not negate the importance of keeping God’s commandments.  However, I’ve been flat-out told by a born-again Christian that if a murder confesses his belief in Jesus Christ on his death bed, that’s all that is needed for him to go to heaven.

That said, let’s read Romans 14:11…

 For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.

By their own belief, everyone will be saved… if they also believe Romans 14:11.

The bottom line is that no unclean thing can enter the Kingdom of God.  (Ephesians 5:5)

For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.

I think that’s pretty clear.  Coupling Ephesians 5:5 with Romans 14;11, one must conclude that even those who confess Jesus is their Lord, unless they become clean, they won’t enter the Kingdom of God.  And, since we are all unclean, that is where grace comes in, however, we rob the justice of God and make him a liar if we believe we can live a riotous life and still be saved.

Let’s look at a few more scriptures regarding the necessity to keep the commandments (i.e. works):

Revelation 20:13
13 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.

James 2:26
26 For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.

Matthew 5:16
16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.

James 2:24
24 Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.

1 John 3:18
18 My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.

I simply have to conclude that a mere admittance that Jesus is one’s savior is not enough.  You have to live as though you believe it, and even that will fall short, and that is where grace makes up the difference.

P.S. The Book of Mormon speaks more of Jesus Christ than the New Testament. I find it interesting that those who try to discourage people from reading it, haven’t read it themselves. I guess it is kind of like the men who tried to rob Joseph Smith of the gold plates while claiming they didn’t exist.

Pageant Wednesday 2013

I took the Bing challenge. Bing lost. But, I still prefer Bing over Google. I don’t know, for all I know Bing lets others rummage through my data too.

So, today I went to the Rochester Referral Network meeting. We had a great meeting with a presentation by our resident travel agent about Disney Vacations. I’ve never been to Disney World, but I’ve been to Disneyland countless times.

After doing some grocery shopping and making some business phone calls, Mark from the Pit Stop BBQ came by to look at the place for the Art in the Yard Sale. Slogies had to cancel due to illness in the family, and so I remember Mark from my Route 31 Road Trip. He makes a wonderful chicken.

I went over the “Hill” and took some photos.

Taco in a Bag
Taco in a Bag
Our Former Mayer, Vicki Daly, Serving Customers
Our Former Mayer, Vicki Daly, Serving Customers
Lots of Chicken
Lots of Chicken
A Neighbor Serves Up a Cheeseburger
A Neighbor Serves Up a Cheeseburger

It was very hot and muggy. My back started bothering me so I had to go home before Pageant started.

I got home, and about 10:30pm, or so, the power went out. One of our poor guests was in the shower at the time, and a neighbor texted me saying some of her guests were on the porch because the fans weren’t working.

Pageant Tuesday, 2013

Pageant Banner Across Main Street (Grandin Building in background)
Pageant Banner Across Main Street (Grandin Building in background)

The Hill Cumorah Pageant starts back up tonight.

I spent the afternoon in the village. There was a guy there who was claiming to be a minster from down the road trying to tell members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints that they are wrong. It left me wondering…

What type of minister tries to tear down the beliefs of others?

He tried to twist my ear, but I finally told him I know my beliefs are valid and walked off. He kept harping that the bible says there is no more revelation.

I personally believe in a living God who reveals his words today just as he did in ancient times. He is not dead, and he did not die after John wrote Revelations 22:18.

Having read and studied the Book of Mormon, I can plainly state that anyone who refuses to read it because they think it is of the devil are deceiving themselves. They have placed themselves in a Catch-22. Their own belief keeps them from finding the truth, the truth they will never find unless they humble themselves, read it and pray and ask God if it is true.

Speaking of the Book of Mormon, as I was reading the other day I noticed something I had not noticed before.  Having just written my first book, and having worked 18 months and produced 173 pages, I find it amazing that the translation work of the Book of Mormon was done in 65 working days (over about a 3 month period).  In the first part of the Book of Mormon, you do not hear any commentary by Mormon or Moroni; much of the commentary is by Nephi.  Commentaries then switch to Mormon later in the book.  From a writer’s standpoint, I find this very supportive of its translation (versus having been written in those 65 days).

And, speaking of the Book of Mormon from a plot standpoint…

The placement of the Book of Ether is fascinating.  It doesn’t appear when Limhi’s people first find the plates, even though Limhi asks Ammon regarding someone who can translate them.  I think it would be giving Joseph Smith and those who assisted way too much credit to come up with such a complex plot as to place the Book of Ether where it is, and to have Moroni translate it.  And, remember, Moroni translates the 24 Jaredite plates as a last resort because he hasn’t died yet.  (Mormon Chapter 9 is a farewell by Moroni, yet he goes on to translate the Book of Ether, adds some administrative text, adds a letter from his father, Mormon, and then finally closes his writing.  All along, you get the feeling that each chapter might be the last.)  Thus, the Book of Ether is obviously something that couldn’t have been conjured up.

I could go on about other things too.  Super long parenthetical statements that fit so nicely, yet would be difficult to track with modern word processing, let alone a quill pen.  Chapters written as chiasmus – something not discovered until the 1970s.  There are complex parallels, especially in the center of the book during the ministries of the Sons of Mosiah, Alma, and others.

I don’t regard any of this as proof of its truthfulness.  That proof only comes through study and prayer and divine revelation.  However, it does provide an understanding that the book is a masterpiece of complexity that exists nowhere else in literature as we know it.

On the way to the village, there were some kids selling lemonade. I had a nice chat with them and enjoyed a cold lemonade. They were raising money for the son’s hockey equipment and the other half was going to a charity. I was impressed with the young man’s understanding of self-sufficiency and self-reliance.

Lemonade
Lemonade

I also stopped by the E.B. Grandin Building (aka The Book of Mormon Publication Site). With the 90 degree heat, and 90 percent humidity, the air conditioning felt nice. One of the senior missionaries escorted us upstairs to where they had a huge jug of ice water. I sat there, rehydrating, and enjoyed a nice conversation with some of the missionaries.

Sister Smith and a Recreation of the Harmony Home
Sister Smith and a Recreation of the Harmony Home
Senior Missionary Couple at Grandin Building
Senior Missionary Couple at Grandin Building

It looks like they started demolition on the burned section. However, it also looks like they may have stopped. There are asbestos warning signs all over, so I’m wondering if they had to stop so they could take care of asbestos abatement.

Demolition Starts... and Pauses
Demolition Starts… and Pauses

Security on the Hill 2013

I spent the afternoon volunteering to help with security at the hill. I thought a Monday would a little more dealing with tourists who came to wander the hill. Well, I was wrong. It was pretty quiet on the hill. In fact, it was slower than when I’ve volunteered on Sunday’s in previous years.

Here’s an interesting observation…

My first impression was this phenomenon is due to telling our children, “Don’t talk to strangers.” But, I don’t think that any more. I think it is because of electronic media (as you sit here reading my blog, and as I sit here typing.) I blame electronic media because it doesn’t allow us to respond comfortably when people look us in the eye and say something like, “Hi, are you enjoying your visit to Hill Cumorah?”

I noticed several people, as they would approach my station, they would pull out their phone, and look at the screen as if to say, “Don’t talk to me.” I wonder if they notice they do that. I wonder if they even realize it is anti-social behavior.

In a setting like the Hill Cumorah, you would think people would be less likely to burry themselves in their e-mail, web surfing and texting. I’ll admit, when things were slow I pulled my phone and looked at my e-mail, however, when people would approach, I’d put it away and attempt to interact with the.

Perhaps they don’t want to be bothered, but I don’t think that’s the case. I think some people just don’t know how to handle personal interaction. One young man, busy interacting with his phone, only looked up briefly and grunted, while another stopped and engaged in conversation. A third young man with no electronics in hand, actually stopped and carried on a lengthy conversation.

Latter-day Saints have heard in recent conferences that we need to put away the electronics and interact face-to-face more. I’ll admit, I use my phone for my scriptures and manuals in Sunday School and Priesthood meetings, but I’m seriously thinking about going back to my paper copies.

So, if you’re visiting somewhere, like Palmyra, and someone asks you a question like, “How are you enjoying your visit?”, or, “Where are you from?”, take time and engage in conversation. Your life will be enriched for doing so, and so will theirs. It may result in a friendship you wouldn’t have gained otherwise.

Oh, and if in Palmyra, and the guy has a high-end camera, it’s probably ME. 😉

New Mission President Speaks

Today at church the new mission president for the New York Rochester Mission and his wife spoke at church. They commented that they have a son on a mission in Cleveland and another one in St. Louis. They have 8 children in total, and 4 are here with them.

We had a full house during sacrament meeting. It was awesome to hear all those people singing while playing the organ. When people come to visit Palmyra, they are energized by the spirit and it shows.

Two of the site volunteers staying with us joined us for dinner along with Sisters Butters and Killen. I prepared a pizza burger, Elizabethe made a salad, and we had vanilla ice cream for dessert topped with a blackberry-mulberry sauce I made.

Pageant 2013 Day 2

Smith Farm Parking
Smith Farm Parking

Tonight is the second day of the Hill Cumorah Pageant. After tonight, the next performance will be on Tuesday, July 16th, and it will run every night thereafter through the 20th. (Which, by the way, July 20th, during the day is our Art in the Yard Sale!)

I just saw the uproar over some TV station that was making stupid jokes about the Asiana flight 214 pilots. I will agree that they were in bad taste, but to make such a fuss is sickening when more important things go unsaid by the media. After all, most Adam Sandler movies are in bad taste, but they don’t get this kind of publicity.

I picked a peck of peppers so Elizabethe could pickle them today. I didn’t realize she had planted two varieties. Both look like banana peppers, but one was sweet, and the other quite hot. So, our pickled peppers could either be sweet, hot or in between.

2013 Hill Cumorah Pageant Starts Tonight

The 2013 Hill Cumorah Pageant Starts tonight. This morning I could hear the horse drawn cart going down Hanson Street. They bring it out every year during pageant and Canaltown Days. (I really think a bicycle rickshaw business would rake it in during pageant.)

Did you know they are already looking for people to volunteer for 2014 Pageant? In the Hill Cumorah Visitor’s center they had this display:

Volunteer for Pageant 2014
Volunteer for Pageant 2014

 

It is really a great opportunity for people who can’t serve a 6 to 24 month mission.  You’re basically here for two weeks helping with the crowds who come to Palmyra during pageant.  Many of these 2-week missionaries have stayed with us at the Beckwith Mansion.

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I managed to get the lawn cut this morning.  A good five hours because it was damp and I was using the grass catcher.  What a job.

After a shower and a fresh change of clothes, Elizabethe and I decided to check out Golden Corral Restaurant.  This is a strange place; they have a strange business model for a restaurant.  As you enter, they have the drink machines, and you select your cup and fill your soft drink.  They all have free refills, but if you choose a larger container, you’ll pay more – go figure.

Next, you pay at the cash register.  Lunch was $8.99 + $1.99 for the beverage.  (Dinner is $11.99.)  So, figure the mid-twenties for lunch for two adults.

Once inside, the buffet has an awkward layout, and the tables position more like a large school cafeteria.  The layout and arrangement creates a very noisy environment, and it was difficult to walk around carrying your plate.  Several times I saw people drop food and plates, including the restaurant staff.  (At one point, the busgirl turned quickly and a big slice of onion went sailing across the room like small Frisbee.)

The food selection was quite varied, and the dessert bar had lots of options.  I decided to fix a taco.  The shell and meat were in one place, but I had to go searching to find salsa, cheese and tomatoes.  I can see the logic in keeping hot and cold foods separate, but they should be close enough to make it obvious (or have a sign directing you to the other fixings.)

Here’s my summary:

Service – 3 (It’s a buffet, what more can I say.)
Atmosphere – 1 (very noisy – worse than a Chucky Cheese)
Cleanliness – 5 (for a buffet, it was pretty clean – but then, they only just opened)
Menu Choices – 5
Food taste – 4 (everything I tried had good flavor, but some meat items were a little over-cooked.)

I can’t say I’ll be back there any time soon.  It was just way too noisy and for the atmosphere, I think it is over-priced.  I can spend a little less and eat at a quiet Asian buffet down the road.  I’d describe Golden Corral like this:  If you want a place where little kids can yell and scream and nobody gives a hoot, then take them to Golden Corral.  However, if you want a quite lunch or dinner, then you don’t want to go to Golden Corral.

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We had some friends of my cousin come by the house to see us.  They were from St. George, Utah, and driving across the U.S.A.  It turns out he’s a photographer too so we spent time talking about photography related stuff and looking at his photographs.

Hill Cumorah Pagent 2013 Dress Rehersal

Tonight is the dress rehearsal for the 2013 Hill Cumorah Pageant. The performances run tomorrow and Saturday, and then they resume on Tuesday next week, and run through Saturday night.

I recommend getting there around dinner time, and purchasing dinner from one of the many community organizations that will be selling food. Enjoy your dinner while holding down your seat for the performance, and meet some of the cast members.

The Pageant performance is free and open to the public. There are no tickets or reservations. You just show up and find a seat. The food concessions are sold by local non-profit organizations to raise funds for their group.

Hill Cumorah Pageant
Hill Cumorah Pageant

 

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I started a topic yesterday, and would like to continue…

It is one thing, as naïve as it is, to say, “There is no God,” instead of saying, “I don’t believe there is a God.”

The chain of events as presented in scriptures is that a person first has hope, which leads to a belief. Belief, when acted upon develops faith. Faith, through endurance and continued action eventually results in knowledge.

Few people will walk up to you and say, “I know there’s is a God because I’ve seen him face-to-face.” We have recorded testimonies of those who have, and as many as try to dispute their testimonies, think for a second how absurd it must sound to the testator.

For instance, take the testimony of Joseph Smith, Junior, who wrote:

“So it was with me. I had actually seen a light, and in the midst of that light I saw two Personages, and they did in reality speak to me; and though I was hated and persecuted for saying that I had seen a vision, yet it was true; and while they were persecuting me, reviling me, and speaking all manner of evil against me falsely for so saying, I was led to say in my
heart: Why persecute me for telling the truth? I have actually seen a vision; and who am I that I can withstand God, or why does the world think to make me deny what I have actually seen? For I had seen a vision; I knew it, and I knew that God knew it, and I could not deny it, neither dared I do it; at least I knew that by so doing I would offend God, and come under condemnation.”

Subjective?  Perhaps to you, but not to Joseph Smith, who, by the way, held to this to his dying day, as did all the others who received heavenly messengers.  This is not the same with Fox sisters who claimed to be able to speak to the spirits of the dead, and then near the ends of their lives, admitted it was a hoax.  Further, there is no indication that Joseph Smith was afflicted with some sort of ailment or drug use that caused him to hallucinate.  In fact, he executed a strict code of health on the church that is well known today for the abstention of drugs as mild as coffee and tea.  There was nothing subjected about Joseph’s visitation.

Others have recorded testimonies that were withheld by divine request – only to be made known after their death.  (The Book of Mormon is a great example.  In fact, the Hill Cumorah Pageant summarizes many of the stories told in the Book of Mormon.)  I’ve often wondered why that is.  (Why would someone receive a divine visit, and then be told, “Share this with no one?”)  I think the answer is simple:  Unless the message is for the world, it is a personal witness.

Read this comment by President Boyd K. Packer, “I know the Lord lives, and I know the Lord.”  (Special Broadcast given June, 2013 – click here to listen to the entire talk.)  What a powerful statement.  As to the best of my knowledge, he has never gone in to any details as to the last part of that sentence.  It’s simple, and to the point, “I know the Lord.”

Too often people attribute their own understanding to God’s attributes.  If you think doesn’t exist because of your self-attributed attributes, well then you’ve definitely misunderstood who he is, how he works, and what power he has.  I don’t know how many times I have heard people say, “I can’t believe in a God who would let that happen.”  (That might be war, the death of a child, inhumane treatment of people, etc.)  Then, yeah.  That god you’ve created in your mind probably doesn’t exist.

God’s plan is not very complex, and it requires effort on the believer’s part.  Agreeably, some search so hard in vain that they, like Giovanni Schiaparelli believing he saw canals on Mars, begin to have subjective experiences.  (In Schiaparelli’s case, the canals he wanted to see turned out to be the blood vessels in his retina.)  But, sought correctly, patiently, humbly, one can come to know God.