Tag Archives: Latter-day Saints

Evan McMullin

Evan McMullin

My interest shifted away from Chris Keniston to Evan McMullin for President.  Even is a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, worked for the C.I.A. and a BYU graduate.  He is running as an independent.

Evan is Johnny-come-lately, but his popularity is rapidly gaining.

What I Like

What I like is he is a true conservative (in the political sense).  Trump, Clinton and Johnson are as liberal as they come politically.  Johnson and Trump have a few fiscally conservative ideas, however I can’t trust them.  Clinton is liberal both fiscally and politically.

Trump carries baggage  from the past.  It makes you wonder if those past behaviors are because of character flaws.  Johnson is morally bankrupt – drug use and living-in-sin (as we used to say).  Clinton is off the deep-end when it comes to scandals.  I’ve never in my life seen a candidate so scandal ridden.

Right now, McMullin seems to be the only candidate beyond reproach.

Temple

Tonight’s temple shift was enjoyable.  Some of the missionaries have already left, and others are about to leave.  Going to the temple is a refreshing break from the political scandals and bad stuff going on in the world.

That’s another thing…

I like a candidate whom I know goes to the temple.  While people can lie to their bishop and stake president to get a recommend, most do not.  Most are good, honorable, honest people.  I know Romney is such a man, but he isn’t running, and I believe McMullin to be such a man.

 

We Listen

We Listen

We listen to our prophet’s voice, and hear the word of God.  (paraphrasing a hymn)  Amos 3:7 is quite clear on the matter that God does nothing except he reveals his word to his servants, the prophets.

Today is the last day of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ General Conference.  I hate to see it come to an end.

Wikileaks

A newspaper reported that several videos have been leaked about the brethren discussing various issues.  Any sort of “leak”, especially when it contains digital information, is questionable.  It is questionable because it may have been obtained illegally.

Lawyers call it, “Fruit of the poisonous tree.”

Listening to a few minutes of one of the videos, I realized the following:

  1.  This is some lame attempt to make the church look bad.  It failed.
  2. The videos were obviously shown without permission.
  3. The videos may have been obtained illegally (i.e. via hacking, theft of hardware, etc.)

Simply reading the titles I thought, “So what?  These are topics leaders want to be informed about.”

Conclusions About the Leaks

No scandal, except by the person(s) who obtained and leaked the videos.  It shows the church leaders keep informed, and updated on world events.  It also shows they care about all people.

Dinner

We had leftover chili for dinner.  When I told the sisters I took my white chili to the Priesthood dinner last night she was surprised.  Her reaction was to the effect, “You fed them this!” as if to say it was too good for them.

I laughed.

Weed Trees

Weed Trees

We get lots of voluntary trees.  Most are walnut trees, others are maples.  I recently learned there is a third type of voluntary tree in my yard.

One of our tenants pointed out a tree that I thought was a voluntary walnut.  It wasn’t.  I have no idea what it is, but it is a weed.  She calls them “weed trees”.

She arranged for the missionaries from our church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, to come pull them out.  Not realizing the tap-roots on these trees are deep.  I instructed the elders to simply cut them at the ground.

I’m thankful she asked them.

Stupid Limits

I understand limits on ATM withdrawals.  The machine can only handle so much money.  What I don’t understand are limits on deposits.

Making my ATM deposits,  I came close today.  I did this once before.  It is frustrating.  When you think you’re about done, the machine says, “You have reached your maximum daily transaction limit.”

The limit is stupid.  Banks should remove it except in high traffic areas where you don’t want people hogging the machine.

Mormon Newsroom

The story on Mormon Newsroom is getting a lot of hits.   The pictures I took for the cornerstone setting are there and look great.  (Visit http://www.mormonnewsroom.org/article/philadelphia-pennsylvania-temple-dedicated )

 

 

 

Hill Activities

Hill Activities

I went to the Hill Cumorah today to observe and photograph hill activities.  I am surprised at how dry the grass is there year.  I’ve only ever seen the grass on Hill Cumorah as green; it was a shock to see it yellow.

copyright 2016 db walton - beckwith palmyra lodging

Hill Cumorah and Yellow Grass

Most of the participants must have been off doing other activities because it was pretty quiet around the Hill.  I’m never sure whether I’m going to find a few people there or a LOT of people there, but I have all next week too.

I did run in to Sister VanKampen there.  Expressed how much she enjoyed our meals and how she will always remember having goat for dinner.  It was nice to hear that and to see her cheerful smile again.

In the Village

In the village we have the same guy who year after year stands on the corner of Main and Williams Streets yelling at people and making erroneous claims about the church.

To my friends who are not members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints:

Thank you for expressing your wishes he’d go away too.  It’s nice to hear you don’t like what he is doing either.

Thank you.


Leaks

I was ready to tackle the leaking feed line to one of the toilets when I discovered we also have water coming from under the sink in that same bathroom.  Uhg.  I hate plumbing problems.  At this point, I’ve decided it is time to call in the pumber.  If I attempt the under-the-sink repairs I will probably end up re-injuring myself or making matters worse.  I might as well let the plumber fix the toilet feed line too.

 

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.

copyright 2016 db walton - Dedication

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.

Lame Arguments

Lame Arguments

I will admit that I sometimes get sucked in to arguments (or debates – they are the same).  So, I want to share some lame arguments I’ve heard in the past.  I hope you find them funny.  (Some are esoteric to Mormons, so if you’re not a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, you might not get them, but I’d be happy to explain.)

  • After showing someone where one of the latter-day prophets had said something, the other person responded to the effect, “That was before my lifetime.  None of them have said it since.”  I wanted to respond, “The first vision was before my lifetime, but I still believe it.”  I just walked away.
  • A friend couldn’t take his wife’s abuse and eventually asked for a divorce.  When he did, she said, “Well, what about where it says in the Bible, ‘Until death do you part?'”
  • Speaking of the bible, a friend posted a meme about life’s sanctity and abortion.  Someone posted a response trying to convince him that the bible says life doesn’t start until you start breathing.
  • A guy stopped me on my birthday.  He asked, “What’s today?”  I told him, “Wednesday.”  He said, “No, what is the date?”  I told him the date and then he said, “Uh-uh.  It is not.”  He then bet me $20 that the next person would give a different date (he wasn’t sure what the date was, but he knew it wasn’t the date I gave him.)    So, the next person walks up, he stops them and asks them.  They agreed with me.  He pulled out his wallet and gave me a $20.  I gave it back.  When he asked why I wouldn’t take it I told him I don’t gamble, nor do I take money from stupid people.  (Okay, I was 16 at the time… In fact, it was my 16th birthday.)
  • A woman starts arguing with my mission companion telling us that Mormons have horns.  My companion finally agreed with her and offered to let her feel his horns.  She was very reluctant.  She reached out and quickly rubbed his head.  He asked, “Did you feel them?”  “No,” she said.  “Do you feel anything?” he asked.  She said she did not, to which he replied, “Did you feel stupid?”
  • A friend at school had recently attended an anti-Mormon lecture.  The next day he tried very hard to convince me I don’t believe in Christ.  When he felt like he was failing, he asked, “Do you believe Jesus Christ is the Son of God?”  I answered, “Yes”.  In fact, I answered yes to all his questions.  “Do you believe Christ died for you?”  “Do you believe if you accept him you’ll be saved and forgiven of your sins?”  Finally he said, “Okay, you believe in Christ, but a different one than I do.”

I just thought I’d share a few chuckles.

Taxes

I’ve been adding up numbers for taxes.  Why do they make it so difficult.   I think there are two ways to make taxes more fair and easier.

Method 1:  Sales tax.  That’s right.  A national sales tax.  The only time you pay tax is when you make a purchase.  Save your money and you’re not taxed… until you spend it.

Method 2:  Flat income tax.  Just take 10% out of everyone’s check regardless of the amount.  No loopholes.  No deductions.  It’s just 10 cents on the dollar.

I’m done.  It’s time to call it a day.

Against My Religion

Against My Religion

Socialism, whether you call it Democratic Socialism, Communism (a form of Socialism) or whatever you want to call it, is against my religion.  I won’t mince words.  And, if you are a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and disagree with me, I’ll simply say, take it to the Lord after you study the topic.

Recognizing my personality type is that of protector, I felt driven today to do some further research on the subject.  This was after going to professed socialist Bernie Sanders’ Facebook page.  I noticed 11 friends “like” his page.  Of the 11, several are church members.  Now, given them the benefit of the doubt, I might think they are just following his posts.  However, when you see them posting “Bernie Sanders for President” memes on their site, you know it is more than that.

Also, the Daily Universe, the BYU Newspaper, posted about a survey claiming 30% of BYU students support Bernie Sanders for president.  Sanders, a self-proclaimed democratic socialist has caught the admiration of many young people across the nation.  It is surprising, as well as disturbing, that BYU students would get lured in to the trap of socialism.

Great Evils

Pondering the great evils of our day, and reading recent General Conference addresses, here is a list I’ve complied:

  • Pornography – we have heard it stressed over and over about the evils of pornography.
  • Attacks on Family – this includes abortion, gay marriage, divorce, cohabitation of unmarried people in sexual relationships, pornography, etc.
  • Attack on Personal Liberties – attacks on freedom of speech, freedom of religion and worship, socialism, communism, over-taxation, etc.

To My LDS Friends

So, to my LDS friends, here are a few quotes from our prophets and apostles on the very subject.  Oh, and before you say, “Well, that’s socialism, this is democratic socialism,” or, “That’s communism, this is socialism,” I think you’re going to read they are all one-in-the same.

First, from Heber J. Grant, 7th President of the Church:

“Communism and all other similar isms bear no relationship whatever to the United Order. They are merely the clumsy counterfeits which Satan always devises of the gospel plan… Latter-day Saints cannot be true to their faith and lend aid, encouragement, or sympathy to any of these false philosophies. They will prove snares to their feet.”

Second, the First Presidency, 1941, Consisting of Heber J. Grant, J. Rubin Clark, and David O. McKay:

“We believe that our real threat comes from within and not from without, and it comes from that underlying spirit common to Nazism, Fascism, and Communism, namely, the spirit which would array class against class, which would set up a socialistic state of some sort, which would rob the people of the liberties which we possess under the Constitution.

Third, from Ezra Taft Benson:

No true Latter-day Saint can be a Communist or a Socialist because Communist principles run counter to the revealed word of God and to the Constitution of this land which was established by men whom the God of Heaven raised up unto that very purpose.”

Wow, that’s some pretty strong language and should cause any Latter-day Saint to perk up their ears.

Forth, from Howard W. Hunter:

“If man will not recognize the inequalities around him and voluntarily, through the gospel plan, come to the aid of his brother, he will find that through “a democratic process” he will be forced to come to the aid of his brother. The government will take from the “haves” and give to the “have nots.” Both have last their freedom. Those who “have,” lost their freedom to give voluntarily of their own free will and in the way they desire. Those who “have not,” lost their freedom because they did not earn what they received. They got “something for nothing,” and they will neither appreciate the gift nor the giver of the gift.”

Fifth and Sixth, from the scriptures themselves:

“Wo unto you poor men, whose hearts are not broken, whose spirits are not contrite, and whose bellies are not satisfied, and whose hands are not stayed from laying hold upon other men’s goods, whose eyes are full of greediness, and who will not labor with your own hands!”  D&C 56:17

“They shall not build, and another inhabit; they shall not plant, and another eat: for as the days of a tree are the days of my people, and mine elect shall long enjoy the work of their hands.”  Issaiah 65:22

Seventh, from President Benson’s message in the 1988 Ensign:

“Now, we have not been using the Book of Mormon as we should. Our homes are not as strong unless we are using it to bring our children to Christ. Our families may be corrupted by worldly trends and teachings unless we know how to use the book to expose and combat falsehoods in socialism, rationalism, etc.”

Finally, there is plenty to be said in Church manuals about socialism versus the Law of Consecration (or United Order).  (see https://www.lds.org/manual/doctrine-and-covenants-instructors-guide-religion-324-325/the-law-of-consecration-and-stewardship-part-2-lesson-31-sections-83-85-92-104?lang=eng&query=socialism for an example).

Study the Constitution

This quote from Elder Oaks, Quorum of the Twelve, “U.S. citizens should follow the First Presidency’s counsel to study the Constitution.  They should be familiar with its great fundamentals: the separation of powers, the individual guarantees in the Bill of Rights, the structure of federalism, the sovereignty of the people, and the principles of the rule of the law. They should oppose any infringement of these inspired fundamentals,” (Ensign, Feb. 1992) has driven my wife and I to include study of the U.S. Constitution as part of our scripture study.

By so doing, studying the Constitution reinforces core values in the Constitution, and also helps us prepare to recognize when our Constitutional rights have been trampled.  Having been subject to that myself, this is something I feel very strong about.

As one reads the Constitution, they should question things like…

  • Can a president really create a law by executive order?
  • Conversely, can a president overturn a law by the same?
  • Can the Supreme Court make rulings that become new laws?
  • Can someone be tried in a court, while not being accused of a crime, and denied a trial by jury?
  • What does the Constitution say about religion and state?
  • What is the role of the President (Executive Branch)?
  • What is the role of Congress and the Senate (Legislative Branch)?
  • What is the role of the Supreme and lesser courts (Judicial Branch)?
  • Can agencies, like the FCC, USDA, etc., create law?
  • Who authorizes the spending of tax dollars?

… just to name a few.

Conclusion

I think we are, in general, as a people (church members) fairly naive regarding politics.  And, for good reason, we keep political discussions outside the church.  However, this is not about politics, it is about freedom and God-given rights as defined in the Constitution.  Both are discussion that do belong at church and are based on scripture, namely the Book of Mormon, and will impact our personal freedoms (including religion) for years to come.

We need to stand up and be champions of the Gospel as well as the Constitution.  And, where needed, we need to repent and rid ourselves of sin, false doctrines and champion the cause of freedom.  (Read the Book of Alma, and pay particular attention to the phrase, “cause of freedom”.)

Tender Mercy 50 Years Later

Tender Mercy 50 Years Later

I got to witness a tender mercy 50 years later.    It brought such a warm smile to my face and I was just watching.

I’m at the temple and I hear a man ask one of the temple missionaries, “Did you serve a mission when you were a young man?”

My first thought was, “That’s an interesting question, but a good conversation starter.”

copyright 2015 db walton

Sister and Elder Hinton

The temple missionary answered that he did.  The man then asked, “Where did you serve?”

The temple missionary explained that he had served in the Southern States Mission.  (I believe that mission included Florida, Georgia, Alabama and South Carolina back then.)  I think he was about to explain what that mission covered back then when the guest chimed in with, “I thought so.  I was a missionary in your district.”

I was grinning ear-to-ear hearing that.  It reminded me how special my mission was and the people I served with and taught are still shining stars in my memory.

Later in the evening, both were catching up on old times.  It’s a small world, and it gets smaller inside the church, but it is also one of God’s tender mercies — to run into an old friend and find that he (or she) is still active in the gospel.  It reminds me of one of my favorite scriptures – Alma 17:2:

Now these sons of Mosiah were with Alma at the time the angel first appeared unto him; therefore Alma did rejoice exceedingly to see his brethren; and what added more to his joy, they were still his brethren in the Lord; yea, and they had waxed strong in the knowledge of the truth; for they were men of a sound understanding and they had searched the scriptures diligently, that they might know the word of God.

It was the highlight of the evening.

In our missionary conference call today, one of the sister CSM Photographers from Mexico City was in Salt Lake City and attending the meeting in person.  I was nice to see her and listen to her talk.

Isn’t it amazing that missionaries serving all over the world can get on their computer once a week for a 2 hour webinar?

Could you imagine back in 1975 telling someone, “In 40 years, you can hold a tablet in your hand – a little smaller than a clipboard – and talk to 40 or 50 people via that tablet just like you talk on the phone today.  Only difference is, you will see their face, hear them, and there will be NO WIRES attached!”

I road the high-tech wave at its crest and I’m STILL amazed.

Another one of those tender mercies.

October 3rd 2015 Conference

October 3rd 2015 Conference

I love General Conference.  While many believe God is a myth, I know God lives and it is this time of year when those, lead by the Holy Ghost, speak to us.  October 3rd 2015 Conference starts today.

A couple of things that stood out in the morning session were Sister Marriott’s talk.  She said, “All things will workout for your good doesn’t mean all things are good.”

In contrast, Elder Quinton Cook said, “There is an increasing tendency to call evil good, and good evil.”

The rest of the day was equally as good.  After the first two sessions, we loaded the car, and headed to the stake center for the Priesthood Chili Cook-off.

This was the first time since moving here that we ran out of food.  A few years ago, we had so much chili left over that I took the leftovers home, Elizabethe canned them, and the following year I took them back and we had last year’s chili.  This year, we didn’t have enough.

Priesthood session has a theme of increasing faith.  The talks centered around examining our faith and taking action to increase our faith.  The result was one of the most edifying priesthood sessions I can remember.

I’m so very thankful that we have technology to bring General Conference to us.  It wasn’t that long ago if you wanted to see conference that you would have to travel to Salt Lake City.  Now, you can sit in the comfort of your home and watch it on TV, computer or smart phone.

 

We Are Still Here

We Are Still Here

We are still here in spite of some doomsayers.  I appreciate the announcement that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints issued about why they stress preparedness… and it had nothing to do with 9/27/2015.  I had a chance to look at some of the news stories from the weekend today, as well as all of the moon photos people posted on social media over the last couple of days.  (Whew!  I think if I see one more blood-moon photo I’m going to vomit.)

One such doomsday supporter has decided to set away from the public eye (understandably so).  I just think of the scriptures that tell us no man knows the hour.  I find it odd that so many Christians would buy in to someone “predicting” such events when the scriptures are very clear on the subject.  I admit, the scriptures tell us to watch for the signs, but I think we need to be careful how we react to the signs.

It’s been a day of doing paper work (uhg).  Now, I enjoy writing, but I hate dealing with red-tape.  Needless to say, I got through all my red-tape dealings for the day just in time for a relaxing evening at the temple.

The temple has been closed for two weeks for its semi-annual cleaning.  I’ve missed it.  I hungered to get inside and bask in that feeling of safety and peace.  The feeling is indescribable.  Imagine, if you would, the security gate at the airport.  Now, image that metal scanner as having some high-tech ability to remove all your worries and cares when you pass through it.  Well, that’s kind of what I feel when I enter the temple.

Speaking of which, there was a cute story in Meridian Magazine about temples contributing to the leading cause of death in Utah.  (You can read the story by clicking here.)  And, to the author’s comments, I’ll add that while sitting quietly in the Oakland temple about nine years ago, I memorized the entire 36th chapter of Alma.  It was kind of a self-challenge that if I ever became a temple ordinance worker, I’d have to be able to remember a LOT.  Well, I did it and it was a boost to my confidence that I could memorize the temple ordinances.

I’ve already mentioned the feeling of peace and safety.  Years ago, I recall going to the Oakland Temple and I had so much on my mind.  I walked in the entrance, showed my recommend, and as I passed the recommend desk and started heading down the hall, it was as though I knew everything was going to be okay.  (Again, going back to my analogy about the metal detector.)  It wasn’t gradual, it was an immediate feeling.

To quote Janice Kapp Perry:

I love to see the temple.
I’m going there someday
To feel the Holy Spirit,
To listen and to pray.
For the temple is a house of God,
A place of love and beauty.
I’ll prepare myself while I am young;
This is my sacred duty.

I love to see the temple.
I’ll go inside someday.
I’ll cov’nant with my Father;
I’ll promise to obey.
For the temple is a holy place
Where we are sealed together.
As a child of God, I’ve learned this truth:
A fam’ly is forever.

My first love of the temple came when my family moved to Fair Oaks, California, and we drove to see the Oakland Temple one weekend.  At that time, there were only 9 temples in the world.  I thought, of those nine, the Oakland Temple was the most beautiful.

A few years later, when I was 12, I remember going with all of the young men and young women from our ward to do proxy baptisms.  I think we each did 35 names that day.  It was an all-day affair.  But what I remember most of all, is the feeling I had when we entered the temple.  At 12 years old, I didn’t have a lot of cares and worries, but I remember the feeling of peace.

copyright 2015 db walton

Provo City Center Temple

Today, there are close to 175 temples operating, under construction, or announced.  Many people in the world live within a couple of hours of a House of the Lord (another name for a temple).  These sacred edifices are attended by worthy Latter-day Saints.  (By worthy, attendees must go through two interviews (two witnesses) and attest to there having kept certain commandments (namely moral cleanliness, abstaining from illegal drugs and not abusing other drugs, abstaining from family/spousal abuse, being honest in their business dealings, just to name a few) and obtain a written document signed by themselves and the two interviewers.  We call it a “temple recommend”.)

Temples are not our “meeting houses” where we hold church on Sunday.  Like Solomon’s Temple of old, it is a place where sacred ordinances take place.  Now, Jesus’ atoning sacrifice put an end to the killing of an unblemished lamb.  No, there are no blood sacrifices that take place in the temple.  Instead, the temple is where we receive instruction.  We come with a broken heart and contrite spirit, and we covenant with God to keep his commandments.  In return, specific blessings are promised to us.  And, it is no surprise to me that those 90-year olds talked about in that Meridian Magazine story have made it to 90.

It was also nice to enter the temple and be greeted by friends.  One of our summer (soon to be going home) missionaries came up to me, shook my hand, and said, “I am so glad to see you.”  His smile warmed my heart and I though how we only met a few months ago, and we only see each other at the temple, but I can call this man friend.  Later I learned that his grandson had been seriously injured.  As I took notice of him and his wife during the evening I learned that their presence in the temple was bringing them them same sort of peace I feel when I’m there too.

I love the spirit that resides in the temple.  I look forward to my next visit.