Nice Baptism

Nice Baptism

Elizabethe and I attended a nice baptism today.  A couple, Cliff and Alice Dodge, were baptized members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  Many people from our ward attended.

Lance Camp and I talked about our missionary days.  We both served in the Colorado Denver Mission.  I served several years before he did, however, he says there was still talk of a mission president who made his missionaries spit shine their shoes and starch their shirts.  That was President Lambourne (my mission president from the start of my mission until June, 1978.)

The only overlap was Arvada.  We both served in Arvada.

Alien Skin Bug

I discovered a bug in the Alien Skin Exposure 2 software.  If you have an “@” symbol anywhere in the file’s path it won’t recognize the image.  It knows a file is there, however, it won’t open it or render a thumb nail.

They acknowledged the bug and said it will be fixed in the current version.  Once they fix it, I’m going to ask for a free copy.  After all, I found the bug, and as a result, should not be forced to buy a new version.

I keep hearing horror stories about Adobe Creative Cloud problems.  I don’t understand.  Actually, I do understand.  The same things happened at AT&T.  A company gets so big they forget who their customers are and they live off their economy of scale.

 

Macro Meetup

Macro Meetup

You can say I held a macro meetup today.  Two other photographers came over and we took macro photographs in the pub room.  I photographed a watch and some other odds and ends I have around the house.

My light table and light box work well for this stuff.  Add my Carl Zeiss macro lens and I’m ready to take on any tiny project.

copyright 2017 db walton
Macro of a Tiara

 

copyright 2017 db walton
Beadwork Macro

The First Monday Event is something I do on the 1st Monday of each month.  From 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. I gather a bunch of photographers and we take pictures.  It’s open to anyone with a camera, and it is usually free (unless there is an additional cost like lunch, paying a model, entrance fee to a museum, etc.)  Visit Palmyra Photographic Workshops for more information – www.palmyra-ny.com

Palmyra – An Impressive Place

Palmyra is an impressive place.  Some people drive through and think we’re just another hole-in-the-wall podunk village on NY State Route 31.  Members of the Church of Jesus Latter-day Saints come here thinking the only thing to see are the church historic sites.

There’s a lot of untapped potential in this town.  A lot of local folks don’t see it.  They see the 2 weeks during pageant as a windfall for some businesses, and after that… nothing.

I moved here hoping to make a difference.  I think I have to a small degree, but I still butt heads with many local folks.  I’ve joined the Chamber of Commerce and I’m now 1st Vice President of the chamber, but it is hard to get people excited about volunteering on the chamber.   We can’t change things for the better unless others get on board with this idea.

What Palmyra Needs

Palmyra Needs a few more anchor businesses.  We’re rapidly becoming a haven for 2nd hand, antique and consignment shops.  That’s okay, but let’s step it up a bit.  Let’s bring in some businesses that will keep people walking Main Street and spending money.

Here’s my wish list for the Village and Town of Palmyra…

  • A mid-scale restaurant like Olive Garden, Chili’s, Longhorn, Denny’s etc., located on the corner of Temple Road and NY SR 21 – next door to the Palmyra Inn.  (The biggest complaint that I hear about the Palmyra Inn is there is no place to eat close by.  And, even though they offer breakfast, some guests want more than they offer… like a hot breakfast.)  It’s close enough to I-90 that with some signage it could draw business a couple of miles north.
  • A fast food restaurant on the east end of the village – Taco Bell, KFC, Wendy’s, Burger King, McDonald’s, etc.
  • A local sit-down sidewalk cafe in the 200 block East Main Street.  Someplace with ample seating inside and free WiFi, and during good weather, outdoor seating.  Mark’s Pizza is good, but let’s add some variety and class it up a bit.
  • I’d like to see Lock 29 move, or class it up a bit.  They could start by not allowing smoking on the sidewalk in front of their building.  The group that hangs out in front having their smokes are a deterrent to many who walk down that street.  I’ve even had my tenants complain about the cigarette smoke coming from the Lock 29 loiterers.  Ideally, I’d like to see them move on to one of the side streets.
  • I’d like to see street performers in the 200 block during the summer.  It’s a beautiful village.  Why doesn’t the Village sell permits based on an audition tape or YouTube video and let them come and perform for tips.

That’s enough for starters.

Puzzle Book

Puzzle Book

Elizabethe has created a puzzle book named Book of Mormon Puzzle Pages.  (Click on the link to see it at Amazon.com)  Each page corresponds to a page of the Book of Mormon.  She’s completed and published volume 1, and is now working on volume 2.

copyright 2017 Elizabethe Walton
Book of Mormon Puzzle Pages

Within 24 hours of placing it on Amazon Books she sold 5 copies.  I’m sure once the word gets out, she’ll sell more.

It will take a couple of years to complete all of them.  She figures a puzzle a day until she gets done.  That’s almost 2 years of work.

 

 

 

 

 

Temple

It’s Tuesday and that means temple.  It’s always nice to go to the temple.  It is a real break from the world.

I listened to a 1979 talk by Bruce R. McConkie today.  He talked about the wickedness of the last days.    He said, “Bands of Gadianton robbers will infest every nation, immorality and murder and crime will increase, and it will seem as though every man’s hand is against his brother.”   This is so true.

Burger King

I hear Burger King has a new burger – the Bacon King.  From what I see it has 2 1/4 pound patties, 2 slices of cheese and a fist full of bacon.

I’m going to check it out tomorrow with Tom.

P.S. Burger King, if you’re listening, please sponsor my Route 66 Tour.  Click here for more information.

Another Turns 8

Another Turns 8

Another turns 8.  Today one of our granddaughters turned 8.  Eight is a big deal in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  We call it the age of accountability.  We believe baptism isn’t necessary unless you are old enough to discern right from wrong.  Eight is the age of accountability in our church.

She’s excited about being baptized.

Snow

We had a little snow during the night.  I took the blower out again and cleaned off the driveway and sidewalks.  Now that I’m done, my back aches and so does my foot.

I’m sure there are snowblowers with steering, but you have to wrestle this thing to steer it.  It probably weighs a couple hundred pounds and it is very difficult to turn.  My ManPlow doesn’t have this problem.

I finished up with the ManPlow.  It seemed it would be easier to push the small amount missed by the blower than to attempt to steer the snowblower.

Now I realize I need to pick up another gas can to keep with the snowblower.

Temple

While I fully expected few guests at the temple (because of the weather), I am pleasantly surprised we had a few people brave the weather.

Talents

Talents

The parable of the talents has to do with stewardship.  Many assume because it uses the word talents, it means innate abilities.   However, that word doesn’t translate the same in other languages as it does English.  Had Jesus given it in modern times, in America, it would have been the parable of the dollars.  That’s not to say our innate abilities (talents) don’t apply here, it just extends beyond our talents in to other stewardships.

I wouldn’t call voting a “talent” in the form of an innate ability, however it is a stewardship.   It is a stewardship extended to some by their government.  In our republic, we elect representatives to high powers.  They in turn are given authority to rule over us, enforce laws and legislate laws.  Voting is a stewardship that affects all citizens, but the responsibility rests with each citizen qualified to vote.

I’ve taken a little flack from fellow Latter-day Saints on my stance on this matter.  It is this, and Jared Kintz said it best, “Voting for the lesser of two evils is still voting for evil. Next time, go all out and write in Lucifer on the ballot.”

Sure, as one friend pointed out, anything less of perfection (righteousness) is evil, but that’s supposed to make it okay?    We all fall short of perfection, however, when it comes to representing a nation, we should vote for the best there is.

Without Faith

Mormon refused to lead the Nephites, and while this may be a stretch, perhaps Mitt Romney has refused to run for this same reason.  He wrote,

“I, Mormon, did utterly refuse from this time forth to be a commander and a leader of this people, because of their wickedness and abomination.  Behold, I had led them, notwithstanding their wickedness I had led them many times to battle, and had loved them, according to the love of God which was in me, with all my heart; and my soul had been poured out in prayer unto my God all the day long for them; nevertheless, it was without faith, because of the hardness of their hearts.”

Comparing these times to Mormon’s times, I think we are going to see Hillary Clinton as our next president.  I believe the election process to have become corrupt (rigged) and controlled by a modern-day Gadianton Band.

Personal Hope

My personal hope is this…

I have been given a stewardship of one vote.  One talent to spend.  I refuse to vote for someone just because if I don’t, the other party may win.  That’s right.  I refuse to vote for Donald Trump because by so doing, Hillary Clinton might win.

I find that an utterly disgusting attitude towards voting.  In fact, so many people have that attitude on both sides that the lack the courage to do anything about it.  They lack the courage to vote their conscience.

I hear a lot of them on social media going, “Ba-a-a-a, ba-a-a-a-a, ba-a-a-a.”

As the bleating of the sheep goes on. They’ll cast their vote, and they’ll blame those who didn’t cast a binary-vote for the loss of their candidate.

Accountability

I firmly believe there will come an accounting.  The accountability for who elected an unrighteous president will fall upon each one of us individually, not collectively.  We’ll all be affected by the judgements that come upon the earth.  In fact, many of them are already here and affecting many.  That’s not the accountability I’m talking about.

The final account ability might come in the form of a question:

“What did you do with your civic responsibility?”

Personally, I will report that I studied the issues and candidates at hand, and I voted for those whom I felt would best uphold the laws of God.    I don’t want to find out that the vote I casted resulted in the persecution of my brothers and sisters.  I don’t want to find out that the vote I casted lead many astray.   I want to be prepared to account for the vote I made and stand firmly behind it.

Hyrum Smith said, “… to vote for wicked men, it would be sin.”

My blessings come from God.  It is doubless to me that my talent (vote) will be spent wisely… even if my choice of candidates doesn’t win.  I will at least know I voted for a good man, and for that, God will bless me in the light of things to come.

 

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”.)

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.

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.

 

Triple Treat

Triple Treat

What is a triple treat?  It is getting to hold Joseph Smith’s, Jr., Samuel Smith’s and Hyrum Smith’s personal copies of the Book of Mormon ALL at ONCE!

I’ll come back to that…

My day started off with a senior portrait session in Lehi.  A family friend asked if I would have time, so I made time.  We got up at the crack of dawn and the client/friend picked me up and we went to their family’s ranch and I did their daughter’s senior pictures.

After that it was off to Kneader’s for breakfast.  They make the best French toast and we need a Kneader’s in PALMYRA, NEW YORK.  Yes, Kneader’s, come build a restaurant here!

copyright 2015 db walton
French Toast at Kneader’s

We then went Provo to find this store where we were told a guy has Joseph Smith’s personal copy of the Book of Mormon.  So, we find the place and ask and are told the guy who owns  it isn’t in and he is the ONLY one who can show people.

Just as we’re leaving, who walks in?  The guy who owns it.  He proceeds to show us not one, but THREE very historic copies of the Book of Mormon.

copyright 2015 db walton
Samuel’s, Hyrum’s and Joseph’s Personal Copies of the Book of Mormon

The first one was the 1st Edition that Samuel Smith took with him as the first missionary of the church.  The second one is the one Hyrum read from the night before he and Joseph were killed, and the third was Joseph Smith’s personal copy while in Nauvoo.

What a treat that was.

We then went to a park with Natalie, Bradley, Brianna and Amber.  I took pictures of the grandchildren and my two pregnant daughters.

copyright 2015 db walton
Prego Times Two

We also stopped at Natalie’s and Ben’s, saw their house and garden.   They live in a big house with Ben’s parents and Ben’s grandmother.  Ben is going to school and Natalie works at a dental office (in addition to being in the Army Reserves.)

At the end of the day we went to Iggy’s for dinner.  I thought I’d order something small — an order of nachos from the appetizer list.  It was HUGE.  I only ate 1/4 of it and took the rest home for breakfast tomorrow.