Heidi Baker

Heidi Baker

We just returned home from the temple when the phone rang.  It was Becca Boulware informing us that Heidi Baker passed away a few minutes earlier.  I talked to Matt, Heidi’s husband, and he invited me over to help give him a priesthood blessing.

I got there and found Matt, Sarah, DD and Sue Harris there along with Becca and her sister (DD’s daughters).  Understandably, Matt was quite torn up.  We sat around and talked until Don (one of Matt’s co-workers) came over with his wife and son, Noah.

Don, DD and I gave Matt a blessing.  Around that time the guys from the funeral home arrived.  They were loading Heidi’s body in to the hearse as I was leaving.

About Heidi

From her obituary…

Palmyra: Passed away, with her family by her side, on Tuesday evening March 21, 2017 at the age of 50. Heidi was born to James and Georgia “Smith” Hippen in Murray, Utah on June 30, 1966. She is predeceased by a nephew. She is survived by her spouse Matthew J. Baker; parents, James C. and Georgia A. Hippen; siblings; Lyle (Marcia), Eric (Ginette), Heather (Nathan) Merrill, Holly (Rob) Monson, Hillory, Seth (Karalenn) and Hanna (Eran) Bair; son, Scott O. (Emily) Miller; daughter, Sarah T. Baker; eleven nieces; eight nephews; grandchildren, Elizabeth, Heidi, Owen and William; extended family and friends.

Heidi had been a resident of Palmyra for the past eleven years. She graduated with her major in English and went on to obtain her master’s degree in education from Northern Arizona University. She loved to write and enjoyed literature. She loved drama and enjoyed going to shows with her husband Matt. Heidi was a member of the LDS church and had been a missionary in Georgia. She had a passion for education. Heidi was also a homemaker and enjoyed doing crafts. She researched duct tape crafts and found instructional video on youtube. Wallets, purses and flowers were some examples of the projects she had with duct tape. Heidi fought kidney disease from the time she was in her late teens. She survived three kidney transplants. Heidi will be missed but she has left behind a legacy that will remain with her family and friends for the rest of their lives.

Times Like This

Times like this it is natural to be sad, but we are also relieved that Heidi is finally unbound from her mortal body.  She was such a fighter there were times I thought she might surprise us and outlive many of us.

Wet Dump

Wet Dump

We got a wet dump of snow last night.  The blown snow came out of the blower like a stream of Slurpee mix.  It lacked the flavoring and coloring, but it looked like white Slurpee mix.

I break out the ManPlow still.  The snow blower doesn’t do a great job on large open areas of pavement.  So, I do what I can, and then get the ManPlow to clean up the rest of the mess.

Family Home Evening

On Monday nights throughout the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, families gather for an evening together.  We call it Family Home Evening, of FHE for short.

The temple missionaries serving in Palmyra gather on Monday nights for a Family Home Evening too.  They invited me to talk on Israel.


My presentation on Israel was in three sections:

  1. Book of Mormon Insights
  2. Traveling to Israel
  3. New Testament Insights
copyright 2017 db walton
Peter Denies Knowing Christ

My presentation went smoothly.  I didn’t have technical glitches with my equipment.  In all, the night was a success.

Puzzle Books

Elizabethe sold a dozen of her puzzle books.  Once people see the quality of their book, they tend to purchase one.   As she comes out with new volumes, I’m sure they too well sell well.

They are available at Amazon:  http://a.co/6hS3rSx

Good Comments

Good Comments

I received a lot of good comments about my presentation last night.  Several people came up to me at the temple tonight and mentioned how they appreciated my presentation and they learned a lot about Israel.

Oh, how I long to go back to Israel.  It’s a wonderful place to visit and learn.

I’ve also received some good comments on the re-work of the Chamber of Commerce website.  You can also visit our listing there (click here).

Earlier in the day I had my mission meeting.  The church is coming out with new guidelines for photos and they were presented.  It represents a raising of the bar, and a philosophical change to the types of photos we have been asked to submit in the past.  It also means it will be more difficult to find people to photograph and a bigger technical challenge.

Tomorrow’s a busy day with FLPP (Finger Lakes Professional Photographers) meeting.  I’m hosting the meeting here because I’m going to teach them about our website and give them some WordPress instruction.  This means I have to clean the tavern room as it is in disarray right now.  (Translation:  It’s a mess.)

Binghamton Meeting

Binghamton Meeting

Professional Photographer Society of New York State had a council meeting.  As a new delegate at large I had to drive to my Binghamton meeting and back.  That’s about 5 hours in the car (there and back).  While I want to attend the meeting, I’m not wild about the drive.  The meeting went well, and I hope some good things come from it.

From there it was back home in time to eat and then turn around and go give a presentation about Israel and Jerusalem to the Temple Missionaries.  There were about 50 of them attending and I felt it went pretty well.  It was the first time using this set of slides and of course, there were a couple out-of-place.  But, I’ll get them fixed and ready for the next time.

Tomorrow is the school board and school budget election.  I’m surprised at how hush-hush these candidates are.  About the only thing I’ve got out of the incumbents is a couple of biographies.  I’d much rather hear about the issues most homeowners in this area  are concerned about — taxes.  Yes, school taxes help our students, but the more people who leave this area the less taxes the school can collect.

Speaking of that, I recall years ago when I was taking economics in college a graph showing tax rate vs. economic growth.  While the graph showed you have to collect some taxes, it also showed that after a small percentage (I don’t recall the specific amount, but it was pretty low), there is a diminishing return.

Then there was a similar graph that showed tax rate vs taxes collected.  Now, this one was the most surprising.  Basically, the higher the taxes went, the lower the overall per capita collection of taxes.  The author basically said this phenomena is because people work harder at finding loopholes and/or they simply cheat at their taxes.

It makes me wonder when this country will wake up about taxes.

Interfaith Luncheon

Interfaith Luncheon

It was my privilege to attend the Rochester Interfaith Luncheon today… in Rochester, of course.  It was attended by members of several faiths and the topic was helping refugees.  This was my first time attending a meeting like this.

While my main goal was to capture photos of the event, I was also a participant.  There was no assigned seating so I just put my camera bag on a chair and went about taking photos.  My table filled with some people whom I know, and some who were new acquaintances.

After a buffet lunch, we heard from a couple of local people involved in refugee relief.  Both had amazing stories about their efforts, but one stood out in particular.  This was a young man who ended up sitting at a table with a lady who taught him English when his family first arrived in the states.  Remember, there were no assigned seats, and here they were, sitting near each other.

To me, it was a sweet reunion that involved the Lord’s hand.

copyright 2016 db walton - Interfaith luncheon
A Sweet Reunion

We then had discussions at our tables about how we could help refugees and what we learned from these two speakers.  What I learned was this:  Refugees need friends who can help them assimilate in to our culture and society.  Examples given were helping them with English, taking them to a museum or shopping, and stuff like that.  We take so much for granted, but for them, our traditions and ways of life may be completely foreign to them.

On the way home from the luncheon, my daughter called and asked if Elizabethe and I were up to going out to dinner with them.  We joined them for dinner at a German restaurant in Canandaigua.  We went to Rheinblick German Restaurant.  Here’s my take on the place…

Clean, friendly and good flavors.  They were a bit slow, however, with service.  And, it reminded me that if you’re going to go with German food, go for the sausages and not the regular cut meats.



Our First Monday Event today’s theme was Bottles.  Yes, we photographed bottles.  We learned it is harder than one can imagine to photograph bottles.

I ended up doing a still life set up and did a quick painting of it.

copyright 2016 db walton - bottles
A Still Life Painting

After my afternoon appointments, I grabbed a quick bite to eat and then it was off to President Black’s house for a Temple Missionary Family Home Evening.  They have asked me to speak about Israel.

There were about 50 people at the Family Home Evening.  I felt my presentation went well, and I appreciated the ice cream they had for the dessert.

Many of the missionaries are new missionaries.  We met several of them.  Most of the new ones are only here for six months.

One of the couples, Elder and Sister Mauss, were New York Rochester Mission President from 1990 to 1993.  They are obviously excited to be here as temple missionaries.

I return in two weeks to give them part two of my presentation.  Part two will be strictly about the life of Christ and places in Israel where he ministered and lived.


Haircut and Show

Haircut and Show

Today was a day for a haircut and show.  The haircut, was as you’d expect.  The show was Elizabethe and I got together with two other couples (our bishop and my home teaching companion and their wives) and I gave them a slideshow about Israel.

It’s been a couple of years since I did a slideshow about Israel and so my “new” presentation has some kinks to work out.  But, we had fun.

How nice it would be to find a couple or a couple of couples who would enjoy me as a tag-along in Israel to take pictures of them and the scenery.  In exchange, I would give them all of the digital files.  (Click here to read more about how this would work.)

And, if there are any LDS Wards out there who would enjoy a fireside about Israel, I’d be happy to accommodate that too (once I get all the kinks ironed out.)

Let’s see… while I’m still on the subject… what little tidbits are exciting for LDS Members…

  • Israel is a symbol of the church
  • Jerusalem is a symbol for the temple
  • Before the children of Israel could pass in to the Promise Land, they passed through the River Jordan (see the first item in this list.)
  • Ceasarea Philippi was a place of idol worship and false god worship
  • Just to mention a few…

We had a good time.  They got a kick out of my pictures of food, but most laughs came from this photo…

copyright 2016 db walton
Marketplace Brass Goods

So, who wants to take me to Israel for me to be their personal photographer?

Speaking Tomorrow

I’m speaking tomorrow at Tri-County Networkers.  I’ve decided to talk to them about how to dress for a headshot and/or portrait.


The Israel Connection

The Israel Connection

What is the Israel Connection between Israel and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints?

I don’t know how many non-LDS people know that Latter-day Saints (Mormons) have a great love for Israel.  The first prophet and president of the church, Joseph Smith, sent Orson Hyde to Jerusalem in 1841 to dedicate the land for the return of Abraham’s Children.  In October, 1979, after the church had acquired the property where the dedication took place, President Spencer W. Kimbal, dedicated a memorial garden to  Orson Hyde.  That same year BYU Jerusalem Center was announced.  In 1989, BYU Jerusalem Center was dedicated by President Howard W. Hunter.

I’d go back there in a heartbeat.  I love Israel and Jerusalem.  So, when I discovered this, it made me “homesick” for the land of my fathers.

I say the “land of my fathers” because I’m a descendant of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob (Israel).  There are many people who fail to understand where they come from – Arabs – Abraham through Ishmael (most of them realize it), and Jews – Abraham through Isaac, Jacob and Judah (most of them realize this too).   What others don’t realize is that Jacob had 12 sons and the posterity of 10 of them are “lost”.  The point here is, much of the world is descended from Abraham.  So, yes, Israel is the land of my fathers.  (I’m descended from Jacob mostly through Joseph and partially through Judah.)

copyright 2016 db walton
Jerusalem at Night


Tonight is our temple night.  (Interesting talking about Israel and going to the temple.)

Okay, this is interesting.  We require members to have a recommend before they can enter the temple.  In the Old Testament in the days of Ezra, they were having a difficult time rebuilding the temple.  Some of the priests had lost their genealogy and so a proof was required.  Hmm… kind of like a recommend today.  (See Ezra 2-8).

copyright 2013 db walton
Palmyra Temple and Snow



Jesus Wasn’t a Socialist

Socialist:  Jesus Wasn’t One

Folks, Jesus wasn’t a socialist, and anyone who implies he was doesn’t know what socialism is, or doesn’t understand the teachings of Jesus.  I saw a meme today that implied that he was.  How rediculous.  And, before someone gets their knickers in a bunch, it is quite easy to explain why.

Let’s start with the definition of socialism (from Wikipedia):

Socialism is a political ideology and movement that seeks to improve society and social conditions. As a social and economic system, is characterised by social ownership and democratic control of the means of production, as well as a political theory and movement that aims at the establishment of such a system.

A socialist is someone who practices socialism.

Here’s where that meme falls apart…

  1. Jesus wasn’t part of a political ideology or movement.  He was God’s son, sent to do the will of the Father.  He was probably the least political person to walk the face of the earth.  When someone attempted to trick him, his reply was straightforward, “Render therefore unto Caesar.”
  2. While be sought to improve society and conditions, he did so through the needs of the individual.
  3. Jesus did not encourage social ownership.  In fact, he instructed some to “sell everything” and to “come follow me”.

Socialist would have you believe that government (or big business) is the best caregiver.  We see socialistic implementation in our own society.  Military and police being the obvious implementations and actually needed to maintain security and protection.  Neither one being anything Jesus got involved with.

However, when it comes to caring for the sick, afflicted, the fatherless or the widow, Jesus didn’t demand others do it.  He did it himself.  He set the example of service.

Yesterday in the High Priest Group, I led a discussion about the Savior and having a Christ centered life.   At no point did I ever feel that Jesus Christ was a radical socialist.  It just didn’t fit the teachings of Christ.

Socialism requires a level of authoritarianism, and if that doesn’t work, it requires totalitarianism.  (Case in point – Cuba.)  In order for socialism to work, there have to be sanctions or penalties if people don’t conform.  Nowhere do I read in the scriptures that Jesus Christ’s behavior was that of an authoritarian or totalitarian.  In fact, his example was just the opposite.

When confronted by a rich man regarding what rich man needed to do to be saved, Christ told him, “One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me.”

There was no penalty or sanction involved.  Jesus left he decision to the man.

Joseph Smith was in Nauvoo and visited by a reporter.  Impressed with the industry of the saints, Joseph Smith was asked how he did it.  His reply was simple, “I teach them correct principles and they govern themselves.”

Smith’s summary of how the Savior taught says it all.  Socialism is a do-it-or-else situation, where true christianity is do-what-is-right-let-the-consequence-follow.

It is best said in the hymn’s chorus:

Do what is right; let the consequence follow.
Battle for freedom in spirit and might;
And with stout hearts look ye forth till tomorrow.
God will protect you; then do what is right!
Nope, Jesus wasn’t a socialist.  He definitely wasn’t a communist, nor were his actions totalitarian or authoritarian in nature.  He was a servant to all who needed him.


Instead of thinking socialism is a cure-all for societies ills, imagine what the world would be like if every person were to (on their own accord) pick out 4 households (non-relatives) and visit them and see that they are cared for?

Imagine what a difference that would make in the world.  Nope, that wouldn’t be socialism, but I bet it would make a bigger impact than a government-ran program ever could.

Defining A People

Defining A People

When it comes to defining a people, a nation, there are three factors to consider.  First factor is their race or ancestry, and the second factor is political.  However, there is another factor people fail to recognize and that is God.  No, I’m not talking about religion, per se, but our supreme creator.

It must have been about 3200 years ago (if I’ve done my math right) that God promised the land called Israel to the tribe of Judah.  Judah’s father was Israel (also known as Jacob).  Over the centuries there has been much feuding over this land.

copyright 2015 db walton
View from the Dedication Spot

Then, on  October 24, 1841, Orson Hyde, an apostle, was climbed up the Mount of Olives and dedicated the land for the gathering of Judah.  It was God’s will for the Jews to return to Israel, and here’s the prayer Elder Hyde offered.

“O Thou! who art from everlasting to everlasting, eternally and unchangeably the same, even the God who rules in the heavens above, and controls the destinies of men on the earth, wilt Thou not condescend, through thine infinite goodness and royal favor, to listen to the prayer of Thy servant which he this day offers up unto Thee in the name of Thy holy child Jesus, upon this land, where the Son of Righteousness set in blood, and thine Anointed One expired.

“Be pleased, O Lord, to forgive all the follies, weaknesses, vanities, and sins of Thy servant, and strengthen him to resist all future temptations. Give him prudence and discernment that he may avoid the evil, and a heart to choose the good; give him fortitude to bear up under trying and adverse circumstances, and grace to endure all things for Thy name’s sake, until the end shall come, when all the Saints shall rest in peace.

“Now, O Lord! Thy servant has been obedient to the heavenly vision which Thou gavest him in his native land; and under the shadow of Thine outstretched arm, he has safely arrived in this place to dedicate and consecrate this land unto Thee, for the gathering together of Judah’s scattered remnants, according to the predictions of the holy Prophets — for the building up of Jerusalem again after it has been trodden down by the Gentiles so long, and for rearing a Temple in honor of Thy name.  Everlasting thanks be ascribed unto Thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that Thou hast preserved Thy servant from the dangers of the seas, and from the plague and pestilence which have caused the land to mourn. The violence of man has also been restrained, and Thy providential care by night and by day has been exercised over Thine unworthy servant. Accept, therefore, O Lord, the tribute of a grateful heart for all past favors, and be pleased to continue Thy kindness and mercy towards a needy worm of the dust.

“O Thou, Who didst covenant with Abraham, Thy friend, and who didst renew that covenant with Isaac, and confirm the same with Jacob with an oath, that Thou wouldst not only give them this land for an everlasting inheritance, but that Thou wouldst also remember their seed forever. Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob have long since closed their eyes in death, and made the grave their mansion. Their children are scattered and dispersed abroad among the nations of the Gentiles like sheep that have no shepherd, and are still looking forward for the fulfillment of those promises which Thou didst make concerning them; and even this land, which once poured forth nature’s richest bounty, and flowed, as it were, with milk and honey, has, to a certain extent, been smitten with barrenness and sterility since it drank from murderous hands the blood of Him who never sinned.

“Grant, therefore, O Lord, in the name of Thy well-beloved Son, Jesus Christ, to remove the barrenness and sterility of this land, and let springs of living water break forth to water its thirsty soil. Let the vine and olive produce in their strength, and the fig-tree bloom and flourish. Let the land become abundantly fruitful when possessed by its rightful heirs; let it again flow with plenty to feed the returning prodigals who come home with a spirit of grace and supplication; upon it let the clouds distil virtue and richness, and let the fields smile with plenty. Let the flocks and the herds greatly increase and multiply upon the mountains and the hills; and let Thy great kindness conquer and subdue the unbelief of Thy people. Do Thou take from them their stony heart, and give them a heart of flesh; and may the Sun of Thy favor dispel the cold mists of darkness which have beclouded their atmosphere. Incline them to gather in upon this land according to Thy word. Let them come like clouds and like doves to their windows. Let the large ships of the nations bring them from the distant isles; and let kings become their nursing fathers, and queens with motherly fondness wipe the tear of sorrow from their eye.

“Thou, O Lord, did once move upon the heart of Cyrus to show favor unto Jerusalem and her children. Do Thou now also be pleased to inspire the hearts of kings and the powers of the earth to look with a friendly eye towards this place, and with a desire to see Thy righteous purposes executed in relation thereto. Let them know that it is Thy good pleasure to restore the kingdom unto Israel — raise up Jerusalem as its capital, and constitute her people a distinct nation and government, with David Thy servant, even a descendant from the loins of ancient David to be their king.

“Let that nation or that people who shall take an active part in behalf of Abraham’s children, and in the raising up of Jerusalem, find favor in Thy sight. Let not their enemies prevail against them, neither let pestilence or famine overcome them, but let the glory of Israel overshadow them, and the power of the Highest protect them; while that nation or kingdom that will not serve Thee in this glorious work must perish, according to Thy word — Yea, those nations shall be utterly wasted.

“Though Thy servant is now far from his home, and from the land bedewed with his earliest tear, yet he remembers, O Lord, his friend: who are there, and family, whom for Thy sake he has left. Though poverty and privation be our earthly lot, yet ah! do Thou richly endow us with an inheritance where moth and rust do not corrupt, and where thieves do not break through and steal.

“The hands that have fed, clothed, or shown favor unto the family of Thy servant in his absence, or that shall hereafter do so, let them not lose their reward, but let a special blessing rest upon them, and in Thy kingdom let them have an inheritance when Thou shalt come to be glorified in this society.

“Do Thou also look with favor upon all those through whose liberality I have been enabled to come to this land; and in the day when Thou shalt reward all people according to their works, let these also not be passed by or forgotten, but in time let them be in readiness to enjoy the glory of those mansions which Jesus has gone to prepare. Particularly do Thou bless the stranger in Philadelphia, whom I never saw, but who sent me gold, with a request that I should pray for him in Jerusalem. Now, O Lord, let blessings come upon him from an unexpected quarter, and let his basket be filled, and his storehouse abound with plenty, and let not the good things of the earth be his only portion, but let him be found among those to whom it shall be said, `Thou hast been faithful over a few things, and I will make thee ruler over many.’

“O my Father in heaven! I now ask Thee in the name of Jesus to remember Zion, with all her Stakes, and with all her assemblies. She has been grievously afflicted and smitten; she has mourned; she has wept; her enemies have triumphed, and have said, `Ah, where is thy God?’ Her Priests and Prophets have groaned in chains and fetters within the gloomy walls of prisons, while many were slain, and now sleep in the arms of death. How long, O Lord, shall iniquity triumph, and sin go unpunished?

“Do Thou arise in the majesty of Thy strength, and make bare Thine arm in behalf of Thy people. Redress their wrongs, and turn their sorrow into joy. Pour the spirit of light and knowledge, grace and wisdom, into the hearts of her Prophets, and clothe her Priests with salvation. Let light and knowledge march forth through the empire of darkness, and may the honest in heart flow to their standard, and join in the march to go forth to meet the Bridegroom.

“Let a peculiar blessing rest upon the Presidency of Thy Church, for at them are the arrows of the enemy directed. Be Thou to them a sun and a shield, their strong tower and hiding place; and in the time of distress or danger be Thou near to deliver. Also the quorum of the Twelve, do Thou be pleased to stand by them for Thou knowest the obstacles which they have to encounter, the temptations to which they are exposed, and the privations which they must suffer. Give us, [the Twelve] therefore, strength according to our day, and help us to bear a faithful testimony of Jesus and His Gospel, to finish with fidelity and honor the work which Thou hast given us to do, and then give us a place in Thy glorious kingdom. And let this blessing rest upon every faithful officer and member in Thy Church. And all the glory and honor will we ascribe unto God and the Lamb forever and ever. Amen.”

While the return didn’t happen very quickly, the first movement was during the Czar Nicholas II’s rule in Russia.  Jews fled Russia, but many of them came to America instead of the land of their inheritance.  Persecution again struck during World War II.  There’s no need to recount the atrocities committed against the Jews in Germany, but many returned to their homeland, and in 1948 Israel was once again declared a nation.

copyright 2015 db walton

This hotly contested strip of land, about 1/3rd the size of the state of New York, again became a target for it to be taken from the Jews.  Wars with surrounding countries threatened the Jews to have their homeland taken away.

Then, a coy plan arrose.  Create a political, self-professed people, and have them complain they have no homeland, and the Jews took it away.  Then, in 1964, a terrorist organization designed to destroy Israel arose.  By 1970, the Palestinian Liberation Organization, led by Egyptian Yasser Arafat, set out with one goal in mind — destroy Israel.

There has never been a Palestinian Nation, nor is it a lineage.  It is a self-professed political organization aimed at taking away the Jews’ homeland.  The majority of them are Arab Muslims.  While no attempts are made to rename Syria, Lebanon, Jordan or Saudi Arabia as “Palestine”, the political pressure still remains.

Since Palestinian has been defined as “self-professed”, what constitutes a Jew in terms of Israel?

Let’s start with some genealogy…

Abraham had two sons – Isaac and Ishmael.  From Ishmael we have Arabs.    From Isaac we have most of the European people through his Isaac’s son Jacob.  Jacob had 12 sons, one of which is Judah.

Thus, a Jew is defined as descendant of Judah, but it can also be defined through conversion to Judaism. However, most Jews are Jews though birth.

So, the next time someone starts in about Zionism (i.e. Jews wanting to hold on to Israel as their nation), I’d just tell them that it would be like the Native Americans wanting to take back their homeland.  The Palistinians never had a homeland, because they are a man-made organization.  Jews, on the other hand, belong to a family that God promised they would inhabit the country we know as Israel.