Tag Archives: Book of Mormon

Inking Balls

Inking Balls

There one of those things most people can’t tell you what they are.  Yet, in the early days of printing, every book, newspaper and poster owed its value to the inking ball.

I got to photograph a pair of them today.  Looking like big maracas, this leather covered balls were used to evenly distribute ink to the typeface.

Inking Balls - copyright 2018 db walton

Inking Balls

They are part of the display at the Book of Mormon Publication site, also known as the E. B. Grandin Building.  Located just down the street from the Beckwith Mansion, this place attracts tens of thousands a year.

Hard to Know

It is hard to know what the publishers will use.  As a result, I submit lots and lots of photographs, and they choose the ones that fill the need.

Tomorrow is the Whitmer Farm.  I’m looking forward to that session because it involves a loaf of artisan bread.  (That’s a fancy way of saying, “Bread, the way they used to make it.”)  The plan is to rise early, stop at Wegman’s, and on to the Whitmer Farm.

Pork Loin

I decided to cook pork loin chops for dinner.  My sister-in-law commented how she didn’t usually like pork chops, but she likes how I cook them.  I’ve had a bad pork chop, and I can see how that would leave you not liking them.  But, cooked just right… they are good.

Focus and Priestcraft

Focus and Priestcraft

It may seem like an odd combination, Focus and priestcraft, but the one got me thinking about the other.  Focus NY is PPSNYS’ annual convention.  Priestcraft, as defined in the Book of Mormon is receiving money for preaching for the sole purpose of getting gain and popularity.

Outside the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, priestcraft is seen as something entirely different.  The diction basically defines it as what priests do.  Well, by the Book of Mormon definition, priest in other churches engage in priestcraft — not all, but many.  They get paid, and the more popular they are, the more they get paid.

What Got Me Thinking

What got me thinking is this… if a professional photographer spends more time on the road speaking to other photographers, creates most of their images at the workshops they teach at, and are in the business of being popular by making people feel good… I guess that fits the definition.

Here’s how the Book of Mormon defines it, “He commandeth that there shall be no priestcrafts; for, behold, priestcrafts are that men preach and set themselves up for a light unto the world, that they may get gain and praise of the world; but they seek not the welfare of Zion.”

When I pointed this scripture out to my wife, she commented that Oprah Winfrey fits that definition.  I have to agree.  There are many others too.


It wasn’t all the speakers at Focus NY that gave me this impression — just one.  I intentionally didn’t go to one of their programs, but chose the alternative because I remember the last time I heard them speak I had an uneasy feeling.  I couldn’t remember why, I just remembered that I did.

Then, there came a point when there wasn’t a choice, and so I went, and now I remember why… it was more of a sermon than a photographic presentation, and a lot about that person.

I just went to their website to read about their workshops.  It uses words like “nourish”, “spirit”, “meditation”, etc.    The page confirms the impressions I got, and why I get a cold feeling around this person.


I attended Focus NY to learn about my trade, and not for a substitute for religion.  I’m a deeply religious and spiritual person (and the two go hand-in-hand because you cannot have one without the other.)  So, what did I learn?

From Michael Mowbray I learned more things I can do with my MoLights, and I can’t wait to try them out.

From Rick Friedman I learned that I should buy a roll of cinefoil.  I’m not sure why I haven’t yet, but after watching his presentation, I need to buy a roll.

From Marilyn Sholin I learned ideas to market my art.

From all the others rolled together, I picked up a few ideas here and there.  Rick Friedman’s presentation impressed me the most.  He’s a master of manipulating light.

Israel Calling

Israel Calling

Do I hear Israel calling?  I do.  I hear Israel calling my name, “Come to me… Come to me…”

So, I’m going.

I have some wonderful friends.  Some how it was assumed I was going to be somewhere, or something, but anyway, I’m pleased with what happened.  Here it is in a nutshell…

John comes to pick up some portraits.  He says, “I understand you’re going to be joining us in Israel.”

Me:  I am?  (I’m really kind of confused at this point because I had written it off for early 2017.)

John then got confused and I basically told him I would if I could swing it.  Then, a couple hours later Matt calls, “Hey, buddy,” (which is how he always starts his conversations with me).  He then apologized for any confusion and invited me to join them in Israel.

I asked him to email their itineraries and if I can, I will.

Good Fortune on my Side

Good fortune is on my side.  I give God credit.  (And in nothing doth man offend God, or against none is his wrath kindled, save those who confess not his hand in all things, and obey not his commandments. — D&C 59:21)

When I checked the other day, the week was sold out at the one hostel.  Not only did they have a room, it was about 1/3rd the price.  The same thing happened with the other hostel.  Then, when I went to book a flight, while it was a tad bit more than before, the savings on my lodging more than made up for the difference.

I’m so excited!!!

One of My Plans

One of my plans while I’m there is to take some of my Book of Mormon Action Figures (Lehi, Nephi, Laman, Lemuel) and photograph them at various locations in the Holy Land.  While this may sound strange to you, I’m jazzed about it.

copyright 2017 db walton

Lehi, Laman and Lemuel

I don’t plan to do a lot of them, just a few.  After all, most of the Book of Mormon stories take place here.  It’s only a few that take place in the Holy Land.

Perspective Frustration

Perspective Frustration

Perspective has a couple of meanings.  My perspective frustration comes from the visual definition.  I’m trying to create an army of stripling warriors, and perspective issues have crept in.

copyright 2017 db walton - perspective frustration

25 Stripling Warriors

I managed to get the lighting and depth-of-field, but it appears to be pinched (front to back) on the right side of the flank.

Other Improvements

Noticing a faint white outline on my knock-outs, I had to go back and re-extract them..  I have since fixed that.  I have also began morphing the faces, hair and bodies so they are not all identical in structure.

The end goal is to have a toolkit of Book of Mormon figures that I can drag and drop to create a composite.  I can photograph a landscape, and drag and drop these onto the landscape to create the image.

copyright 2017 db walton

Cheesy Background

When to Stop

A painter was once asked how do you known when a painting is done.  His answer was, “When you stop painting.”

When working on a creative project, I’ve found a good time to take a break is when you feel frustrated.  Since I’m frustrated with the perspective, it is time to take a break.  I’ll re-address this in a few days.  This will give my mind time to process what I should do differently.  It is like those complex math problems in college.  I’d take a break, and come back and solve the problem.

Birthday Coupon

Birthday Coupon

I used my birthday coupon at Golden Corral today.  It’s not my favorite place to eat, but the price was right. Once you know what they do well and what you like, you can have a tasty meal.  However, there are times the clientele leaves something to be desired.

We then hit Harbor Freight Tools.  I had 2 25% off coupons burning holes in my pocket.  Hmmm… I could say the same things about HFT as I did GC.  It must be those coupons.

Action Figures

My brain has been turning with ideas about photographic action figures.  They have their pros and cons when using them as models.  The pros are:  They are never late for appointments.  They hold their pose very well.  You don’t have to pay them.  The cons are:  They only have one expression.  You have to change their clothes for them.

Before I closed shop for the night, I set up a counter-high table.  Tomorrow I will photograph the Book of Mormon figures one at a time to create knock-outs for composite images.  I plan to build a toolbox of figures in various positions so I can drag-and-drop as I create a story.

My first project – 2,000 stripling warriors.




Forgetting is part of growing old.  However, forgetting your own birthday seems ridiculous.  I’m listening to the radio and the announcer reads a list of celebrity birthdays.  It didn’t hit me.  I still didn’t remember.

Perhaps the excitement of our president acknowledging Jerusalem as the capital of Israel still wows my mind.  On the other hand, it could be my wife is heading to surgery to have her gallbladder removed.  I think it is the latter.


Surgery went well.  Elizabethe slept most of the day.  She woke long enough to down a yogurt, and then went back to sleep.

With the exception of the bruising where they removed the gallbladder and the stone, she isn’t experiencing any pain to speak of.

When we got home from the hospital, there was a box from UPS.  Addressed to Elizabethe, she asked me to open it for her (she’s pretty groggy).  It is my birthday present.  She got me Book of Mormon Action Figures!

I set up Lehi, Laman and Lemuel and took a quick picture with my cell phone.  This is going to be fun.

copyright 2017 db walton

Lehi, Laman and Lemuel


Okay, it’s been a strange birthday.  I didn’t remember (neither did my wife).  My present consists of plastic action figure toys, and dinner… well, it was leftover cake from our dinner at the restaurant the other day.

I’m either getting old, senile or both.



It’s time to make chicken enchiladas for the missionaries.  I plan to make it with a white sauce and white cheddar and jack cheeses.  The nice thing about it is that it is mild and people can add their own heat (hot sauce) to it.


Our speakers at church talked about the Book of Mormon.  A comment was made about the impact it has on people’s lives.  It is so true.  As a result, reading and studying it people tend to behave better.

There are misconceptions as, well as false information, floating around about the Book of Mormon.  (The musical has nothing to do with the book, by the way.)  Thus, skeptics should put aside their bias about how we got the Book of Mormon, and read it carefully.  They discover there’s is something to it.  Careful reading dispels the myths that Joseph Smith plagiarized the book or made it up.

Sunday School

Sunday School is equally good.  Our lesson is on living prophets.  The instructor used Moses and the fiery serpents as an example. (Matt’s a great instructor.)

After Priesthood opening exercises I was asked to play the piano in Primary.  It has been a long time.  I’m rusty on many of the songs because I haven’t played them in ages.


Having dinner with the missionaries is fun.  We enjoy their company, and they enjoy the food (and hopefully our company too.)

Filling the Void

Filling the Void

I read a great blog post regarding filling the void.  Because I read it on my phone while I was battling insomnia, I am hard pressed to find it again.  Either way, I’ll share the essence of it.

The writer, in speaking about people who leave the church, pointed out that when they leave, they don’t fill that void with anything.  In fact, they become “unbelievers”.   And, in many cases, they go so far as to become antiChrists (my words, not the bloggers).  They used an example from the Book of Mormon.  Sherem , Nehor and Korihor are classic examples.

Excuses vs Divine Knowledge

My definition of divine knowledge is that knowledge that comes as a result of temperance, perseverance, faith and keeping the commandments. It’s knowledge that apostates seldom achieve, and if they did, they are as the Book of Mormon says, it will better for them to have never experienced that knowledge.  I personally don’t know if that qualifies them as Sons of Perdition, but dang close.

Excuses are those things that hid what is really going on.  The popular excuses these days are gays and the church, women and the priesthood and historical findings about early church leaders.  All three things can be overcome through study, prayer and patience.  I will be the first to admit I had to overcome all three.  In fact, before that it was blacks and the priesthood, for which I have an unalterable testimony of the divinity of everything surrounding the blacks and the priesthood.

Perhaps I could say I didn’t give up, and at the risk of sounding pretentious, that’s all it takes.  All it takes is to hang in there and not stop waiting for that answer from God.


A few excommunications have been put in the public light.  I can think of one regarding the women and the priesthood, and another about historical findings.  I’ve read the arguments of the excommunicated persons, and all I can say is… they sound more like excuses, because as arguments, they don’t hold water.  I genuinely feel bad for them.  Okay, let me rephrase that, if they truly believe what they are saying, then they truly haven’t learned and for that, I feel bad for them, and I’m sure the Lord will have mercy on them at judgement day.  But, if they are using this as an excuse to hide something else, I feel bad for them because they are in for a rude awakening.

A recent firing of a BYU-I instructor was followed by her excuse making.  I’m sorry, if you’re an instructor at a church-run university, and you preach false doctrine in your spare time, yeah, they should fire you, and as a result they should convene a church court.

Simply Put

Simply put, there are some easy ways to look at some of these controversies.

  1.  Nobody on this earth has the authority to allow gay marriages in the temple.  Not even the prophet or twelve apostles has that authority.  The authority belongs to God.  End of discussion.
  2. Women aren’t required to hold the priesthood for exaltation.  They can receive exaltation without holding it.   Nobody on earth has the authority to extend the priesthood to women.  The authority belongs to God.  End of discussion.
  3. Early, and present, church leaders are not perfect.  Joseph Smith, Junior’s, imperfections don’t change the authenticity and divine nature of the Book of Mormon and subsequent latter-day revelations.  While many negative findings about Joseph Smith fall in the category of hearsay, we still don’t know the facts of the matter.  All that aside, even if many of them were discovered to be true, it cannot negate the spiritual witness I have regarding the Book of Mormon.  For that reason, it is easy for me to ‘doubt my doubts’, but I realize it might be more difficult for those who have not received a spiritual witness of the divinity of the Book of Mormon.  For me, my witness is an end of the discussion for me.

Pray About It

Now, one could say the prophets and apostles could pray about gay marriage and women and the priesthood.  What gives them the impression that they haven’t???  I can assuredly guarantee they HAVE prayed about it — individually and collectively.  As a result we have the Family – a Proclamation to the World.  As a result, we have the Relief Society, temple sealings, endowments, and more.  Recently Elder D. Todd Christofferson of the Quorum of the Twelve was asked if there could be a time when the LDS Church would change its position on gay marriage?

He was unequivocal.  “Nope”, he said.


Going back to the blog I read…

There are many apostates who leave the church, angry at the church and its leaders, and thus believe they have found a better path… yet, they stop living the commandments.  They stop going to church on Sundays, they stop keeping the sabbath day holy, some stop living the word of wisdom, a few whom I’ve had personal knowledge have stopped living the law of chastity.  The void doesn’t get filled.  The don’t replace what they believed once to be good.  One would think they would replace it with something better (in their opinion), but they don’t even do that.  They become unbelievers.  Hypocrites in their own rite.


Dance Practice

Dance Practice

Watching the Hill Cumorah Pageant cast practice for a battle scene is like watching a dance practice.  The well choreographed moves are synchronized like a ballet.  With a cast of hundreds, I guess they would have to be.

copyright 2017 db walton

Dance Practice

See Pageant

If you have never seen the Hill Cumoraph Pageant, and you live in Western New York, you owe it to yourself.  It is FREE, and it is held on Friday, June 14th and Saturday the 15th.  It resumes Tuesday the 18th through Saturday the 22nd.

Arrive around dinner time and buy dinner from the Rotary or Lion’s Clubs (look for the big tent south of the seating area).  The pageant (play) starts around 9pm.  There is plenty of seating.

What to expect

Expect to be greeted by cast members while you are waiting for the pageant to start.  Ask them who they portray.  They will also have printed programs for you.

Expect a musical theatrical soundtrack that accompanies the actors on stage.  You will see pyrotechnics and bursts of water that add to the realism.

You can expect to get an overview of a 1,000 year history (600 B.C. to A.D. 400) of what lead up to Hill Cumorah being a pivotal  landmark.  There will also be a tie in to local history in the early 1800s.  As a result, you get a basic understanding of what is covered in the Book of Mormon.

Expect a clean, family environment.  You’ll want to dress modestly (i.e. shorts are okay, but not short-shorts, t-shirts are okay, but I’d avoid crop-tops and tank-tops.)

What not to expect

Don’t expect to be proselytize.  You might be asked if you’ve seen Pageant before, or if you’ve read the Book of Mormon.  As a result, you might be asked if you want a free copy of the Book of Mormon.   You won’t be pressured in to anything.

Don’t expect to be asked for a donation.  The ONLY place you’ll be asked for money is when you buy food.  Nobody will come and ask you to donate money.  (And, if they do, you might let security know.)




Speaking about anxiety, in the latest issue of the Ensign there is a great article.  Since my accident a couple of years ago I’ve struggled with anxieties and PTSD.  Whether you have anxieties or know someone who does, this article is worth reading.  (click here)

If you don’t know someone who suffers from this, I would still read it.  I would read it so you have a better understanding of the seriousness of mental illnesses like this.  They are real.

Unlike depression, anxiety is typically a result of life events and experiences.  Chronic depression is often a chemical imbalance in the brain.  Depression can cause anxiety, but so can a serious accident, divorce, abandonment, and other things we experience.

I encourage you to read the article.

Flaxen Cord

The other day I was thinking about secret combinations that may be closer than we think.  After reading a couple of online articles about homosexuality and church members, I was struck by the thought that Satan is working hard to infiltrate the church membership.

Love the Sinner – Hate the Sin

We’ve heard the saying, “Love the sinner, but hate the sin.”

Nowhere have I ever read in the scriptures that we should, “Love the sinner, and embrace their sin.”

That’s where I felt uneasy while reading this article.  While I agreed 100% about loving those who suffer with same-sex attraction, the underlying message was this… This man felt attracted to other men, so why should he feel guilty when he’s with the man he loves.

I guess that would depend on what they do when they are together.  The article made no mention of living the law of chastity.  It implied the man came to the conclusion he could be active in the church if he shoved aside his guilt and had physical intimacy with another man.  No, it didn’t come out and say that, but it didn’t deny it either.  I guess we’ve entered the relhm of don’t ask, don’t tell.

Secret Combinations

Nephi talks about secret combinations in 2 Nephi 26:22.  He writes, “And there are also secret combinations, even as in times of old, according to the combinations of the devil, for he is the founder of all these things; yea, the founder of murder, and works of darkness;”

He continues in that same verse, “yea, and he leadeth them by the neck with a flaxen cord, until he bindeth them with his strong cords forever.”

Isn’t it interesting he uses secret combinations and flaxen cord in the same verse?

Smell of Smoke

I think it was President Kimball who commented about the smell of cigarette smoke being a welcome smell at church.  He was talking about the penitent sinner making an honest attempt to come back to church.  The message being we should help them on the road to repentance and welcome them when they come to church.

I think of Brother Hook in my old ward.  When I met him he was a heavy smoker and not a member of the church; his wife was.  He joined the church and struggled with quitting smoking, but he did.  The ward embraced him, but they didn’t embrace his smoking.


There is a valid concern about the embracing of homosexuality.  Sex between anyone except a man and a woman who are married is a sin.  Period.  There’s no debate inside the church about that.  But, to say we should treat it differently than any other sin is a flaxen cord.

It Doesn’t Stop Here

It doesn’t stop here.  I’ve also seen articles online that speculate about church doctrines and policies.  While on the surface they appear academic, underneath they have the appearance of destroying trust, belief and faith.

The Cure

The cure in my opinion is reading the Book of Mormon.  I find it amazing how often I read one of these articles and immediately a scripture from the Book of Mormon comes to mind.  (Just like 2 Nephi 26:22 did.)  It’s hard to be deceived when you’re reading the Book of Mormon daily.  I’m not implying you’re not going to sin by so doing, but I am claiming you’ll notice suspicious doctrines.