Tag Archives: Jesus Christ

Another Conference

Another Conference

And so ends another conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  It wasn’t any conference, it was THE annual conference where twelve apostles of Jesus Christ, along with the prophet and his counselors spoke.

Held on the busiest non-holiday weekend each year, General Conference is not to be missed.  I know others don’t know what they are missing.  Yet, I wonder how they manage to make it six months without such a renewal of faith.

Some of the things I came away from conference with…

  • You can love the sinner without condoning their sin.  Elder Renlund
  • We are all part of God’s choir.  Elder Holland
  • My childhood home, Pocatello, Idaho, is getting a temple!
  • Saratoga Springs, Utah, where some of my children and their families live is getting a temple!
  • Because of the troubled world we live in, a testimony of the Priesthood, the Book of Mormon, and Jesus Christ will help protect us.  President Monson

Those are just the ones from the top of my head.

Other Directions

Others tried to pull me in other directions.  For the past several years, the annual conference of my trade guild was held on General Conference weekend.  Aside from being a weekend that MANY organizations try to hold events, nothing can compete with General Conference.  I had two other events scheduled for this same weekend.  While it was a no-brainer regarding my choice to attend General Conference, I’m saddened that my voice isn’t strong enough to get those other organizations to choose other weekends for their events.

Invitation

I was invited to join a board.  Right now, I’m stretched too thin being President of Finger Lakes Professional Photographers, Vice-President of the Canal Connection Chamber of Commerce, AND running my own business, not to mention my church assignments.  As a result I declined.

In the event this invitation comes up again, my response will be thusly:

  1. Your board meetings are on the Sabbath Day.  I will not defile the Sabbath to attend.
  2. The annual conference is held during my church’s Annual General Conference.  Aside from many other conflicts on that weekend, I need assurance that the conference will be moved to another weekend.  In addition the conference should not be held on the Sabbath day.
  3. If both of those conditions are met, I will consider the position.

Dinner with the Missionaries

We have three elders in our ward.  All three joined us for dinner tonight.  I made chicken with a mushroom gravy, rice pilaf, baked sweet potatoes and a lemon raspberry cheesecake.

 

Four

Four

Getting up at four takes its toll.  In order to get Marilyn to the airport for her flight we had to get up at 4pm.   It really wasn’t hard, but I woke at 2 a.m. and couldn’t go back to sleep.  It took its toll around 4 p.m. this afternoon.

We got her to the airport on time, and on the way home looked for a place to grab breakfast.  What is it with Rochester that nothing is open before 6 a.m.?  In California that would never fly.  Here… even fast food places a Californian would find open 24 hours a day are closed here — even Dunkin Donuts was closed!!!

We finally found a McDonald’s open, but by that time it was 6 a.m.  I’m guessing they just opened.

Painting

I’m speaking at the Tri County Networkers on Thursday.  I’ve decided to speak about digital painting and how that fits in to my business model.

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Painting of Marilyn Steers

I have a bit more work to do on it, but I was in a rush because we have our temple shift tonight.  (Elizabethe and I do volunteer work at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the New York Palmyra Temple.)  I might do some more work on it tomorrow, but for now, this is where it stands.

Pageant

I’m thinking the Hill Cumorah Pageant letters haven’t gone out yet.  Normally by this time of year our phone is ringing off the wall.

If you are NOT participating in Pageant (i.e. you are not waiting for a letter), get your reservations in quickly.  Once those letters go out rooms will disappear.  (There are very few places to stay in Palmyra.  Rooms go quickly.)

And, for Pete’s sake, stay here a few days.  There’s plenty to do in the area, and we’d love having you stay in Palmyra.

 

 

Philadelphia Temple Dedication

Philadelphia Temple Dedication

Today is the Philadelphia Temple Dedication.  Elder Eyring is dedicating it after a short cornerstone ceremony this morning.  We had to get up at about 5:30am in order to get there on time.

Marathon

There’s a marathon in Philadelphia this morning.  We’ve been warned about street closures and traffic.  So, we’re heading to the temple very early.

The Wait

We got here early.  While waiting I am getting pictures of the attending guests.

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Three Brothers Await the Cornerstone Ceremony

The older of the three told me last night he “thought in his mind” about this day and how he would see the temple.  He went on to talking about how he saw himself inside the temple and all the things he invisions he would be doing.  What a wonderful testimony of the importance of temples and the impact they have on our children.

Getting Set

The media was given a 4×16 foot area.  I think there were three of us crammed in to the closest 4×4 part of that.  It was cozy.

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People were lining up early to see the cornerstone set

Claiming my space, I walked around getting pictures of the crowds.  The lines went out the gates and around the side of the block.  Everyone was reverent and polite.

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People are given footlets to keep the temple clean

Once they got near the temple, they are given white footlets and then walk on carpet runners.  This is done to keep the temple clean.

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President Eyring Address the Crowds

The cornerstone ceremony was short and sweet.  President Eyring explained the cornerstone represents Jesus Christ.  In former days, cornerstones were laid at the start of construction.  In modern construction, it is cemented in at the end as a symbolic gesture that Jesus Christ is the Chief Cornerstone of the church.

Wonderful Feeling

We left with a wonderful feeling.  Philadelphia is truly blessed to have a temple.  The saints in the temple district are thankful and happy.

 

Dedication

Dedication

Today was the dedication of the Bishop’s Storehouse on Route 21.  This new one is about 5 miles north of the previous one which was near Canandaigua.  This one is between Palmyra and Manchester.

The facility was dedicated by Presiding Bishop Caussé.  The dedication proceedings were much like a chapel dedication.  We had a few speakers, and then Bishop Caussé talked and offered a dedicatory prayer.

The article at Mormon Newsroom was written by an old friend Buddy Blankenfeld and can be found here:  Mormon Newsroom article.

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Pres. Jeff Clark and Bishop Causse

Afterwards Bishop Caussé asked if we could step outside and get a few pictures before he had to leave to catch his plane.  I caught a great picture of him talking to President Clark with President and Sister Francis in the background.

I came home and uploaded the pictures so Mormon Newsroom could use them.  Shortly after I uploaded them, they began appearing on the web site.

My next task was to teach my new camera class.  I had two ladies, both with Canon Rebel cameras, in my class.  The class went well and by the time it was over I was exhausted.  It has been a very long two days.

Dictionary

Dictionary

Have you ever wanted to buy someone a dictionary, but turned away from the idea because you know they won’t use it or read it?

(Some of you are probably thinking about my typographical errors and spelling errors.  That’s an entirely different issue.)

I’m talking about the people who think socialism is something it is not.  For them, here’s the full definition as given by Webster’s:

Full Definition of socialism

1: any of various economic and political theories advocating collective or governmental ownership and administration of the means of production and distribution of goods
2a : a system of society or group living in which there is no private property
2b : a system or condition of society in which the means of production are owned and controlled by the state
3: a stage of society in Marxist theory transitional between capitalism and communism and distinguished by unequal distribution of goods and pay according to work done

Under definition 1, a collective or governmental group has ownership of the production and distribution of goods. Under definition 2, there is no private property, and production is owned or controlled by the state.  And, under definition 3, there is an unequal distribution of goods and pay based on how much work you do.  In other words, the government, or controlling body, owns everything and they give you what they want to give you based on how hard you work.

Socialism is not humanitarian service.  Socialism is not Christianity.  Socialism is not the United Order.  Socialism does not describe the lifestyle Jesus Christ lived.  Anyone in doubt or question should go back and re-read the three definitions of socialism.

Latter-Day Prophets

I’m a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  I believe the men we have sustained through the last 186 years as prophets, seers and revelators are inspired when they speak in General Conference.  One such man who was very well versed in the Book of Mormon and the U.S. Constitution was Ezra Taft Benson.

President Benson in October 1972 General Conference called it, “the soul-destroying road of socialism.”

I think that deserves repeating anytime a Latter-day Saint speaks in favor of socialism.  Soul-destroying.  SOUL-DESTROYING.  Make no mistake, an Apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ called it soul-destroying.

Marion G. Romney said,

“As our modern societies follow the course which led to the fall of Rome and other civilizations which succumbed to the deceptive lure of the welfare state and socialism, I think it not inappropriate for me to emphasize again the Lord’s plan for the temporal salvation of His mortal children.”

Socialism is soul-destroying and a deceptive lure.

President Benson also said, “Both communism and socialism have the same effect upon the individual—a loss of personal liberty.”

Socialism is a soul-destroying, deceptive lure that leads to the loss of personal liberty.

He also referred to socialism as being a secret combination as he encouraged non-members of the church to read the Book of Mormon.

What I’m Saying

What I’m saying is this:  WAKE UP BERNIE SUPPORTERS!

While Bernie has commented that he isn’t going to take away private property, can you believe him?  Can you believe someone who admits they are a socialist (go back and re-read the definition), and also says, while shaking his finger, “If Congress doesn’t do the right thing, we use the executive orders of the president.”  (Okay, it is kind of creepy that he refers to himself in the 3rd person too.  This latter statement is frightening because he’s proposing he’ll be a dictator in addition to being a socialist.  That puts him in the same category as Fidel Castro and Idi Amin Dada.)

While I’m at it…

I heard Bernie Sanders say he doesn’t seek to take away personal property.  There’s a hidden message there, and it is this…  If he is a socialist (as he claims), then yes, he does seek to take away personal property because that’s what socialism is and he has lied, or if he does not seek to take away personal property then he has lied about being a socialist.  Either way you look at it, it’s a lie… unless he hasn’t read the dictionary definition of socialism in which case, he shouldn’t be president either.  Thus, he shouldn’t be president because (a) he doesn’t know what socialism is, or (b) because he knows, and he’s just lying about his intentions.

Finally…

I can honestly say it would be against my religious beliefs  to vote for Bernie Sanders.  Socialism is a secret combination, a soul-destroying, deceptive lure that leads to the loss of personal liberty.  Nor can I vote for anyone from a party that supports abortion without a justifiable cause (rape, incest or life-threatening health risks to the mother.)

 

The Day After That

The Day After That

I guess Saturday after Thanksgiving can be called the day after that.  (That being that two word title for the Friday after Thanksgiving that I despise so much.)

I decided to do some more experimentation with smoke.  I woke last night and thought… I know… I’ll move the incense around!

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A Full Moon Night

I thought this one looked like a full moon at night.

Then I got brave and started playing with different layers and color overlays.

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The Dragon

I’ve had a few people tell me it reminds them of a Chinese Dragon.   So, I’ll call it the dragon.

This has been a learning experience.

—–

I was disappointed that someone posted a meme that showed the nativity of Jesus Christ with comment about it being an “unplanned pregnancy”.  So, I posted back, “Oh, but it was planned. It was planned before the foundation of the earth.”  It surprises me that Christians would entertain such thoughts, especially if they read Isaiah!

People are funny…  You’ll see people posting that the most important thing is to be kind to one another.  While it is important, Jesus said the first commandment is to love God will all our heart, might, mind and strength, and the SECOND is like unto it.  So, no, the second most important thing is to be kind to one another.

I’ll take it a step further….  Jesus said, “If ye love me, keep my commandments.”  One can guarantee if they truly love God, they will be kind to one another because that is what the commandments are based upon.

We’ve been reading the New Testament this year and it seems obvious to me that what is done in secret has an impact on others.  In fact, the scriptures teach that our actions grow out of our thoughts.  So, yes, it does matter what someone does in the privacy of their own homes.

Does this mean we (as a society) should police people’s private actions.  No, that would be wrong too.  What it means is we shouldn’t delude ourselves in thinking that we can break a commandment in secret and it be of no consequence.  Think about it, will you?

The Enemy

The Enemy

I’ve given this a lot of thought.  This isn’t a knee-jerk reaction to current events.  The enemy is being overlooked.

There’s a flurry on Facebook about ISIS and terrorism, about allowing refugees into the USA and so forth.  The label and target has been put on their backs, yet I see very little talk about the enemy.   For the answer, I turn to the scriptures.

The Bible only mentions this once.  In Acts 13:10 it refers to “the enemy of all righteousness”, however, he is speaking to the sorcerer Elymas and the content is not fully clear.  However, in the Book of Mormon Another Testament of Jesus Christ it makes 4 specific mentions of “the enemy of all righteousness” and identifies him as the devil.  It also identifies anyone who follows that evil spirit as an enemy to all righteousness.

Surely ISIS has listed to follow that evil spirit, making them and their followers enemies of all righteousness, but we are so slow to point the finger within.  So I’m not misunderstood, I think what happened in Paris is appalling.  Don’t get me wrong.  There is, on the other hand, an enemy within that is binding us with a flaxen cord.  He makes us think sexual sin is okay, that it is okay to lie if it justifies the means, that it is okay to manipulate if it gets us what we want, that it is okay to gamble, drink, smoke and have other vices is it makes us feel good.  He makes us think if it doesn’t hurt others, then it must be okay.  He weakens marriages and families and creates self-serving followers.  The “he” I talk about is Satan — the real enemy.

I’ve read the Book of Mormon Another Testament of Jesus Christ over 30 times.  The story is real clear.  It’s called the cycle of apostasy.  It goes like this…

  1. A nation becomes rich and powerful because they worship God and keep his commandments.
  2. Jealousy kicks in, along with pride, and people begin to contend with each other.
  3. Sexual sins, murder and secret combinations follow.
  4. War follows that and before you know it, a nation is either in bondage to another nation, or completely destroyed.
  5.  The once righteous-turned-to-evil nation’s survivors humble themselves, and turn to Christ and we go back to step 1.

I believe this is WHY the Book of Mormon was written and then hidden until our times.  It is to show us this cycle and warn us to avoid it.  I read it and I think, “Wow!  This is happening right now!!!”

Revelations also warn us that this cycle I talked about is not going to continue.  I believe we, as a nation (U.S.A.) are in it for the last cycle before the Saviour returns.  I really wonder if we’ll go back to step 1 again.  (Okay, the entire world will go back to 1 when the Saviour returns, but I think we’re in step 4 and we’re not going to come out of step 4 until the Saviour’s return.)

There is only one way this is all going to stop and that is, as the Book of Mormon promises, if we all keep the commandments of God.  (Ironic that there are factions within our own country who want to hid any public display of the 10 Commandments.)

I’ll start with myself.  As I have many times, I’m going to re-read Alma 5.    I call it the self-assessment chapter.  If we all read it, and acted upon those questions, we wouldn’t have evil in the world.

Interesting Comment

Interesting Comment

Someone made an interesting comment in Sunday School today.  It was regarding something a general authority of the church said recently, and to the effect that the world is evil enough for the second coming of Jesus Christ, but the saints need to be more righteous.  My left-brain says the balance of evil vs good is leaning more towards the evil and there needs to be more of a balance first.  While, my heart asks, “Is my own personal worthiness contributing to a delay in the Savior’s return?”

It’s a thought worth pondering.

It was my turn to teach the High Priest Group today.  Our lesson was on raising righteous children.  Given most of the men in the class have already raised their children and are now dealing with grandchildren, it was a good discussion.

Still fighting this cough, I went straight to bed after church and slept for a couple of hours.  If this keeps up, I’m contacting the doctor tomorrow.

At first, the sister missionaries had an appointment that conflicted with their dinner appointment.  They called and said their appointment cancelled on them.

I made some Chinese BBQ ribs, rice, zucchini and Asian salad for dinner.  But, the real treat was dessert.  I’ve been in a mood for some sort of waffle dessert.   I made waffles with sesame seeds and pecans and topped them with a ginger peach topping and a scoop of ice cream.  It was VERY tasty!

—–

An acquaintance sent me a message today regarding the webcast of her wedding.  I won’t be watching it, or any webcast wedding for that matter.  In fact, I find the entire entertainment factor of weddings disturbing.  Yes, I can see the value of a webcast for a distant family member or close friend, but an open webcast to the general public… no thanks.

To each their own, as we used to say.

In many ways, the older I get, the more tolerant I am of certain childish and playful practices.  On the other hand, the older I get, the more I see the sacredness of other traditions.  Weddings are one of them.  I could go on about how I find it very distasteful and disrespectful of cake-fights at the cake-cutting portion of a wedding reception, or drunken attendants making fools of themselves in front of the rest of the guests.  Perhaps I’m old fashioned, but there was a lot less divorce back in the day when weddings were happy quiet affairs followed by some cake and punch and the throwing of some rice.

Lots of Uploads

I’ve been uploading photos all day to vineyard.lds.org.  Lots of uploads.  The uploading part isn’t the tedious work; giving them search words and titles is the tedious part.

We also had our district meeting today.  One of the church photographers addressed us about getting various angles.  It was good validation.

Check out this wood carving by Omar in Jerusalem.  The front is the Savior, and the back is the Tree of Life. I think I’ll just leave it with this for today’s post. Here’s your 2000 words worth…

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Front – The Savior – Jesus Christ

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Back – the Tree of Life

Israel Day 4 – The Garden Tomb

Yesterday I forgot to mention we tried to find the Garden Tomb. Well, we found it, but we couldn’t find where to park. So, today we went back with renewed determination to find it.

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The Garden Tomb (believed to be THE tomb)

Located in a Palestinian area of town, the Garden Tomb has all the archeological signs that it was the tomb where Jesus’ body was placed when they removed it from the cross.  I won’t repeat all the information they have on their web site.  You can find it here:  http://gardentomb.com/

Our tour guide, Norm Derkson, was great.  This Canadian minister and his wife are serving at the Garden Tomb for a few months.  Norm was great because he pointed out the importance of seeking the resurrected Savior.  He repeated often, “He is not here; He is risen.”

I felt this to be a special place.  It somewhat saddened me that Golgotha is now the backdrop for an urban bus station, and topped with a wall and a tank. (if you look near the center top you can see a military tank just to the right of the obtuse corner.)

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Golgotha

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The Door They Added

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Inside the Tomb

The painted cross was added, probably by the crusaders.  Letters XC means “Christ” (short for ΧΡΙΣΤΟΣ).  Alpha and Omega are also shown – a name for the Savior.  YC for Yesu Christo.  Perhaps these ancients recognized this as the tomb of Jesus Christ.  Again, we don’t know, but all of the pieces of the puzzle come together at this location:  Golgotha, outside the city wall, a tomb of a rich man, a tomb in a garden, the body’s resting place to the right as you enter the sepulcher, a sepulcher meant for permanent rest, and not one where they remove the bones and place them in a box later, a track for a very large stone to seal the door, etc.

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A Panoramic View of the Tomb Area

 

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Our Group Outside the Tomb (Thank You Norm)

After visiting the Garden Tomb, we continued on to Absalom’s, Jehosephat’s and Zacharais’ tombs.  They are at the base of the Mount of Olives along a path that leads to the City of David near the Pool of Siloam.

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Absalom’s Tomb

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Jehosephat’s Tomb

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Zacharias’ Tomb

We then crossed the street (Road to Jericho) and went to the traditional Garden of Gethsemane.  I found it interesting that I felt a stronger spirit near the entrance to the Orson Hyde Memorial Gardens.  Although beautiful and interesting, it isn’t so much important as to whether this is the actual place of the atonement, but that the atonement is real.

39 ¶And he came out, and went, as he was awont, to the mount of Olives; and his disciples also followed him.
40 And when he was at the place, he said unto them, Pray that ye enter not into atemptation.
41 And he was withdrawn from them about a stone’s cast, and kneeled down, and prayed,
42 Saying, Father, if thou be willing, aremove this cup from me: nevertheless not my bwill, but thine, be done.
43 And there appeared an aangel unto him from heaven, strengthening him.
44 And being in an aagony he prayed more earnestly: band his sweat was as it were great drops of cblood falling down to the ground.

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Me at the Garden

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Outside a Garden of Well Maintained Olive Trees

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Inside the Church at the Garden of Gethsemane

We obviously didn’t travel based on the time-line of our Savior’s last week.  Although that would be a fun thing to do, we visited the sites based on convenience and location.  Our next stop would be Caiaphas’ house.

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Church Erected Over Caiaphas’ House

It is believed that it was here where Peter denied being one of Christ’s followers.

54 ¶Then took they him, and led him, and brought him into the high priest’s house. And Peter followed afar off. 55 And when they had kindled a fire in the midst of the ahall, and were set down together, Peter sat down among them. 56 But a certain maid beheld him as he sat by the fire, and earnestly looked upon him, and said, This man was also with him. 57 And he denied him, saying, Woman, I know him not.  58 And after a little while another saw him, and said, Thou art also of them. And Peter said, Man, I am not.  59 And about the space of one hour after another confidently affirmed, saying, Of a truth this fellow also was with him: for he is a Galilæan. 60 And Peter said, Man, I know not what thou sayest. And immediately, while he yet spake, the cock crew.  61 And the aLord turned, and looked upon Peter. And Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how he had said unto him, Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice. 62 And Peter went out, and wept bitterly.

 

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Peter Denies the Christ

It was hear where Jesus stood before the high priest Caiaphas and they took him to a pit under the house.

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The Pit

Our next stop was a church built where the “upper room” would have been.  No, this is not the same building.  In fact, the city of Jerusalem where Christ would have been is several feet below the modern city.  Remember, Jerusalem has been destroyed and rebuilt numerous times.  However, it is believed it would have been in this general area.

 

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The “Upper Room”

 

 

 

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Church of the Holy Sepulcher

 

 

 

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Kosher Pizza (No Meat with Cheese!)

 

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Aladdin Shopped Here

 

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Spices