Creation, Fall, Atonement

Creation, Fall, Atonement

Matt Baker gave a great lesson in Sunday School on the Creation, Fall and Atonement.  He talked about creation, fall, atonement being the three pillars of God’s Plan.  All three are interconnected.  Without any one of them, the other two cannot support the plan of salvation.

Bruce R. McConkie was one of my favorite speakers and authors.  I got to meet him on a couple of occasions.  This tall lawyer had a very intimidating sound to his voice as he spoke with authority and conviction.  In his last General Conference address, that sound became humble and soft as he bore a final witness of Jesus Christ.

Elder McConkie in 1981 gave a talk at BYU.  It can be found here (click here). In this talk, he talks about the Atonement, Creation and Fall and ties it all together quite well.

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Looking towards Jerusalem from Gethsemane 

Without the creation, man would not be, and there would be no need for a fall or atonement.  Without the fall, only Adam and Eve would exist and the plan of the creation would have been thwarted and there would have been no death or resurrection, sin or atonement.  And, without the atonement, all mankind would be lost and in a fallen state.

What a marvelous plan!  The Plan of Salvation!

Before and After

Matt displayed a chart showing before the fall and after the fall.  After staring at it for a while I noticed something missing. (I shared with him my thoughts after class.)  The row he didn’t have was before the fall, trees produced fruit spontaneously and there were no weeds to afflict man.  After the fall, man had to labor for his food, weeds were placed to afflict man, and anyone who gardens knows plants no longer produce food spontaneously.

Great Plan of Opposition

Of course, this was all part of his lesson on the great plan of opposition as taught by Lehi (2 Ne. 2:11).  I know it is hard for people to imagine why God allows so much pain and suffering in the world, but without sorrow and pain we could not appreciate the good, nor discern good from evil.

It was a great lesson.


We fed the sisters soup from our food storage.  For dessert I made a Danish from a recipe found in Martha Stewart Living.  (Nope, won’t be making that again.)

After dinner I gave them a sheet of paper and asked Elizabethe to take them downstairs.  The paper instructed them to pick 4 items for dinner and 4 items for dessert for next week.  Yup, I’m going to do a “Chopped Challenge”.

As they were leaving, I asked, in reference to the items they chose, “Are you scared?”

They laughed and one said, “Only a little.”

It should be entertaining to see what they picked and how I prepare it.

Late Color Change

Late Color Change

This year we have a late color change.  There are still trees with green leaves, and very few with orange and red.  Fall is running a bit late this year.

Autumns in Upstate New York are beautiful.  The maples, ash, cherry, hickory, walnut and other hardwood trees turn beautiful colors as the days shorten.

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Autumn in Upstate New York

After my morning work my granddaughter and I went for a short walk along a leaf covered path.  This time of year, if the leaves aren’t raked or blown, you can only tell where the sidewalks and paved paths are by the absence of trees.  At one point, we ran into some workers blowing leaves off the pavement.  With their leaf blowers it was like they were painting a black path through the golden leaves.

She was quick to point out we did not bring any snacks or lunch for our walk.  (I really wasn’t planning on being gone long enough to worry about lunch, but I could see it was her way of hinting that she was hungry.)  So, we drove to McDonald’s where I was suckered in to buying a Happy Meal.

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A Happy Meal

We played a little game called, “If I were taking a walk, I would bring….”

We both agreed on trail mix.  In fact, my granddaughter listed off some pretty good stuff like almonds.  We both agreed on water as well as granola bars.  From our little game, I surmised that the next time we go for a walk, I better bring some food along.

Bishop and Sister Taylor came home teaching.  They started asking about some LDS themed movies.  Before long, we had loaned them several DVDs from our collection:  Suits on the Lose, The RM, The Home Teachers.  I told them though they need to come over to watch Mormons and Mobsters as that is just too funny not to share with others.

The Fall

The Fall

Last night, the fall wasn’t as bad as it could have been, but it was bad nonetheless.  I went out the back door and upon stepping on the first step down my knee decided it wasn’t going to do its job and down I went.  It has been something I’ve been fearing ever since I broke my leg and my right knee won’t lock.

So, there I am laying face down on the path.  I knew I had skinned myself up and I was hurting.  As I laid there moaning, my granddaughter stood their at the screen door calling, “Grandpa?  Grandpa?”  I felt bad for her and didn’t want to scare her, so I sat up, dusted myself off and told her I’d be inside in a bit.

It was late at night and fortunately didn’t have anything else to do for the day.  I decided to get cleaned up and inspect for damage.  I then decided to call the doctor first thing in the morning and called it a day.

So this morning I saw the doctor.  They took x-rays and said nothing was broken.  I voiced my concerns about not being able to lock my knee and this being the result.  And, since I was there, I asked about my shoulder.  So, they scheduled me for next week to have my shoulder looked at.

From there, we went and picked up our grandchildren and went to Harbor Freight Tools.  I gave them both a “free” item coupon and had them buy something with my money so they could get their free item.

Our grandson got a multi-meter and our granddaughter got a flash light.  Immediately, he had her open the flash light so he could test the batteries inside.

It Had to Rain

It Had to Rain

It had to rain today.  I was thinking I could go for a walk, but no, it had to rain.

There’s a lot of social media fallout from yesterday’s Supreme Court decision.  But what amazes me most is the pure ignorance regarding the commandments.  I’m amazed even more when it comes from active members of the church.  I question… don’t we sit in the same meetings?

Facebook has a “celebrate pride” app they put up to turn people’s avatar in to a gay-pride color scheme, and people are behaving like this is the greatest thing to happen.  While others are busy posting rebuttals to the ruling.  Either way, it is a ruling that is dividing the people.

One Christian man wrote about his feelings.  He said he loves the sinner, as he has been taught, but cannot love sin.  He went on to say he has several gay friends, but he cannot condone homosexuality.  A friend of his posted back asking if he knew that he was, “calling homosexuality a sin.”

Uh, yeah.

The man replied to his friend with a huge list of scriptures.  And, of course, this leads to the never ending barrage of, “well the Bible says…” and they list things like eating pork and killing certain people, and so on and so forth.

I don’t need to justify my religious convictions.  I believe in a God who sent his Son.  His Son established a church lead by prophets and apostles.  They are the only ones authorized to speak for him in our times.  They have very clearly stated that homosexual activities are sinful.  There’s no debate.

Being sinful then, there is no celebration and the only pride precedes the fall.

Traditional Marriage

Traditional marriage… well… let me state that it is disheartening that we even have to preface marriage with the word traditional.  But, traditional marriage is the only form of marriage with any future – both in God’s eyes and in society.


Cold Wind Blows

Cold Wind Blows

The cold wind blows the snow around.  Brrr… It is so cold I can hardly stand being in the kitchen.  (We don’t have heat in the kitchen.)

I went out to the sitting room where it is not being heated either.  The thermometer said 34F.  That’s exactly what I keep the refrigerator at.  Brrrrrrr….

While I’m itching to get outdoors and do something, this weather is additionally prohibitive.  It’s crazy cold and icy out there.  I’ve got a few sit-at-home projects I’m working on, but I’ve always been an on-the-go and outdoors person.  In the mean time, I’m making a list of things I want to do.

Elizabethe was assigned to be at the Family History Library tonight.  I went with here and they had one patron show up for about 30 minutes.  But, Elizabethe managed to get a lot of genealogy done.

Visiting Palmyra, New York

If you plan on visiting Palmyra, New York, now is the time to make your plans and reservations.  We have plenty of openings through the spring, summer and fall currently, but these do not last.  So, plan ahead and book NOW.  (see our main page at

If you really want to treat yourself to something special, when you book your stay, book a family portrait at the same time!

Here is a list of reasons you should stay at the Beckwith Mansion:

  1. We are walking distance from the E.B. Grandin Building and Alvin Smith’s Grave
  2. We are walking distance from Palmyra restaurants – Mark’s, Nima’s, Acropolis, Athena’s, and Happiness Garden, as well as Duncan doughnuts.
  3. We are only 2 miles from the Temple, the Smith Farm and the Sacred Grove.
  4. We are only 5 miles form Hill Cumorah
  5. Although we are not a bed-and-breakfast (we are classified as a tourist home under New York State laws), you can use our kitchen to prepare foods.
  6. We have a lovely yard with a patio, BBQ and a fire pit.  (You must supply your own charcoals or wood.)
  7. You can browse our library and read some fascinating books about Palmyra and its rich history.

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.



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.


Down Came the Leaves

Down Came the Leaves

Some friends of ours took a railway tour of the Adirondacks to report the leaves were gone.  And the rains came and down came the leaves.  Leaf peeping, as they call it around here, is a risky proposition.  All it takes is a good rain to knock them to the ground.

Fortunately here, some of the leaves are still green and clinging.  The others are mostly on the ground.  And, since we haven’t had a frost yet, the colors aren’t as rich.  It takes a good freeze to lock in those rich reds and orange colors.


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Leaves on the Ground

Most of my day was spent working on wedding images and preparing them for the web site.  That takes about as much time as it does to photograph a wedding.

I was almost done with the wedding photos when I realized I still have one more card in one of my cameras.  I would have caught it eventually, but I’m glad I remembered it now… and not later.

My class for next Saturday, Super One Day, through PPA, has been cancelled.  I didn’t get any registrants.  Part of the problem is too many people requesting ON-LINE instruction.  There are many topics you just can’t learn on-line.  Of course, this would explain why so many photographers really stink at it.

The reason why on-line isn’t good is simple:  There is no feedback.   For example, say the on-line instructor tells you how to light this picture.  You go out and do it to the best of your remembrance of what the instructor said.  Who is going to tell you whether you got it right or not?

I really worry about the world of on-line college degrees being earned.  I look back at my college experience and I would never have been the type of computer programmer I was had it been on-line teaching.  Likewise, I would not be the photographer I am today without some face-to-face instruction.

Summer 2014 Closes

Summer 2014 Closes

Summer 2014 closes today.  Traditionally, the day after Labor Day marks the end of summer.  Season wise, the summer still has 3 more weeks, but schools start, people end their vacations, and basically, summer is over.

In our missionary meeting today, they reviewed and talked about the new web site.  If you have not visited it, you can go to …

  • Click on Visit and select Historic Sites
  • Click on Historic Palmyra
  • You can select one of the 3 highlights


  • Click on Stories or Places

The people in charge of the web site did most of the talking, but it was gratifying to hear them reference my work.  For example, if you go to the Places link and select the Grandin Building, most of what you will see is my work.  (

I’m working with them already on their next project.

Help Raking Leaves

Six missionaries came over today to help Elizabethe and me with raking the leaves.  At the end, one of the sisters commented that when she saw the leaves she thought there weren’t that many.  But, when we got them all done (about 3.5 hours later) she noted that it WAS a LOT of leaves.

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Sisters O’Lear and Klepinger Rake Leaves as Elizabethe Inspects
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Sisters Dumping a Tarp Full of Leaves
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Sisters Graham, Killen and Elders De La Cruz and Ipson

Mark’s Pizzeria saved the day with a big party-sized pizza for lunch.  (You can’t have missionaries over unless you feed them.  That’s Elder Walton’s rule.)

We still have a few patches of leaves, but the next time I mow I’ll probably get them sucked up.