Tag Archives: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Conference is Life-Changing

Conference is Life-Changing

General Conference for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is life-changing.  There’s no question about it.  Every six months, faithful members of the Chruch of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints attend a two-day life-changing conference.

Well, I hope it is life-changing for everyone.  It requires commitment, motivation to do better, and follow through.  For someone to sit there and say they didn’t get much out of General Conference is an admission that it is their own fault.

What Did I Find Life-Changing?

  • At a time in my life, due to my illness, when it is difficult to endure 3 hours of ANYTHING, the reduction from 3 hours down to 2 hours is a welcome blessing.
  • There were several references that the Second Coming is closer than we think.  I will think twice about how I spend my time.  I will also work on repenting as needed.
  • Our Heavenly Father loves us unconditionally — even when we don’t think He does.  I will work on having more confidence that the future will work itself out.
  • Stop being angry and holding grudges.
  • Don’t beat yourself up over mistakes from the past.  I need to work on understanding that God forgives, but I need to forgive myself and dismiss any regrets I have for mistakes I’ve made.
  • It “grieves” the Lord when we don’t call the church by His name.  This is one I’ve tried hard to do — even before the reiteration given earlier this year.   I will continue to remember to reference it as the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
  • Do more than just read the scriptures — study them.  Elizabethe and I will need to modify how we do our scripture “reading”.
  • Social Media Fasting – The challenge was to the sisters, but I will do it too.  I’ve already deleted those apps from my phone and tablet.  He also mentioned staying away from negative news sources.  So, I am not going to click on the “News” tab in the search engine window.
  • Even if illness or disability has struck, there are still ways to minister to others in need.  This one is harder.  My diagnosis is still new to me.  However, I plan to start thinking of ways I can serve without causing pain or weakness to my body.
  • Go to the temple more often.  This is another difficult one.  But, I got thinking… I’ve canceled most other “extra” activities because I simply can’t do them anymore.  An endowment session is no more exerting than watching TV and having to get up to go to the bathroom a couple of times during a movie.  If I can watch a 2-hour movie, I can attend an additional session once a week.

Every Six Months

Every six months is a life-changing event.  I’m thankful for living prophets who receive revelation and remind us what we need to do to return to our Heavenly Father.

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.


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.


209 Years Ago

209 Years Ago

Born 209 years ago was a man who changed history.  Joseph Smith, Jun., was born this day in Sharon, Vermont, in 1805.  Whether you like him or not, he changed the history of the world.

I was privileged to visit his birth place back in September.  A large granite obelisk commemorates the birthplace of the prophet.

copyright 2014 db walton

Joseph Smith’s Birthplace

How did he change the world?

I recommend you visit this web site dedicated to him.  (click here)  There you can read more than I can ever write about his life.

Privileged to live down the road from the homes his family lived in prior to their move to Ohio in the 1830s, Palmyra, New York, is where it all started.  It was while living here, early in the spring of 1820, that a young Joseph Smith sought answers to his prayers.

The event that changed so much was when Joseph Smith retired to a grove behind the family’s log home.  His purpose was to ask God which church to join.  What happened parallels the visions and revelations of biblical events.    Joseph, upon kneeling to pray had a heavenly manifestation unequal to anything since the first century.

Here’s a short video that summarizes things…

No Alarm

No Alarm

No alarm sounded today when it was time for me to get ready for my temple shift.  As many of you know, I volunteer my Tuesday evenings to work at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints temple here in Palmyra.  As a result of no alarm, I was late for my shift.  It turns out the alarm that normally alerts me that it is time to go is on my wife’s phone, and since she’s in California she wasn’t here to say, “We need to get going.”

I already miss her.

I got up around 3:45am this morning to take Elizabethe to the airport.  By the time I got her there and got back home it was time for a morning nap before my conference call.

The weather report on the radio says today will our last day of near 80 degree weather, that from here on it will start to cool.  It was a lovely day today.

After my morning nap, I took a walk to the post office to pickup the package (that I tried to pick up yesterday).  As I suspected, it was a pair of solar-charging batteries.

These are cool.  I’ll probably blog about them at http://blog.dbwalton.com.  They are 30 Ampere-hour batteries with a built-in solar controller and two USB outputs.  One is a 1A and the other a 2A.  Running both simultaneously will provide 10 hours of power to two devices.  That’s a lot.  My camera batteries are only 1.4 Ampere-hours.  If I could run my camera off this, my camera would operate for days.

It’s a cool device to have in a 72-hour kit.  There are so many USB devices out there that you can charge a boatload of devices.  Oh, and it came with a lot of adaptors for various phones.  It’s battery can also be charged off a computer’s USB port or any USB charger.  It’s about the same size of my Wolverine hard drives so it will make a good companion to them when doing an all-day photography event.

No more dead phone batteries for me (or Elizabethe – I bought her one too.)


Mission Tortilla

Mission Tortilla

You really have to do something remarkable or really screw up to make the title of my blog.  In the case of Mission Tortilla they really screwed up.  I thought being a big brand name in a New York store I’d be safe buying them.  Wow.  Was I wrong.

Being from California, I’m a little picky about my Mexican cuisine.  Imagine my surprise when I went to make a burrito with a Mission Tortilla to have it about disintegrate in my hands.

I inspected the package and it said something like, “Super Soft”.

Okay, flour tortillas are soft.  They don’t need any weird treatment to get softer.  And, as these tortillas demonstrated, you get them too soft and they won’t stand up to those already soft frijoles.

Why do they feel the need to make a “softer” flour tortilla?

The answer to that question will baffle Mexican food lovers until the disappear from the market.


A guy in a forum on LinkedIn asked what he should do with his dysfunctional camera.  I told him to put it on Prozac.


He obviously meant nonfunctional.  I explained the difference.  I hope he takes it the right way.  And, I also explained how Canon will give him a trade-in allowance or buy it back.  For that, I should earn his good graces.

Or, maybe he will think me dysfunctional.

Cover of LDS.org

I made the cover of LDS.org today.  Here’s a screen capture…

copyright 2014 db walton

My Work on LDS.org

President Francis, Sisters Tran and Johnson are the real stars.  I posted it on FB and after about 5-6 hours it only had a few hits.  Sister Tran posted it on FB and in about 15 minutes she had 44 likes.  I see who’s more popular.

This motivated me to go to the Grandin Building for a walk and take a few pictures.

copyright 2014 db walton

Sister Missionary Writes in Her Journal

And Now For Something Completely Different

I received a very disturbing flyer in the mail from the Democratic Party.  (Not sure how I got on their list.)  It was denigrating the a republican candidate because his handgun was used to kill two people.  At first glance you think, “OH, MY!”  But upon close inspection (and reading) you read in the facts.

1)  His gun was in a locked vehicle
2)  It was NOT in plain site, but in a duffle bag
3)  His vehicle was broken in to and the gun stolen
4)  The perps who broken in and stole the gun perpetrated the murders

The idiotic flyer goes on to say that the candidate should have had his gun locked up and not left laying around where someone could see it.  Yet, by the same, it points out that he wasn’t in plain sight and it was locked up.

Here is why I find it disturbing.  The information is there for all to read that the candidate did nothing wrong.  Yet, the flyer’s bold print twists the facts to make it sound like he’s a criminal.  It is disturbing because it is a smear campaign from an incumbent/career-politician who doesn’t represent his constituents views.  (I fail to see how the guy got elected again after losing to Ann Burkle a couple of terms ago.  I made this comment to a friend and his theory is was because he courted the student votes in Syracuse.)

The more I see stuff like this, the more I realize what those founding fathers were thinking when they wanted to limit voting rights to the owners of land.  I wonder how those same students would vote if things got as bad as they are in some socialist countries where you don’t get to decide where you live.  Instead, it is decided by the state.

I digress.  Smear campaigns are a sign that the candidate doing the smearing is worried about losing… and for very good reasons.

October 2014 General Conference

October 2014 General Conference

I love General Conference too much to miss it because I had to work on Saturday.  I recorded Saturday’s October 2014 General Conference and watched all the sessions TODAY.

I started watching the 1st Saturday session, but then the 1st Sunday session started.  So, I paused that, watched the Sunday morning session, and then went back and finished the Saturday morning session.  Then, I started the Saturday afternoon session, but didn’t get it finished when the Sunday afternoon session started.  This went back and forth until about 9:45pm when I finished watching the Priesthood session.

My favorite talk was by Elder Robbins.  He’s a straight talker and I like people who don’t mince words and get right to the point.  He’s always been that way.

We’re entering a period where things are going to get tough.  The talks were evidence of that.

Somewhere during the day we managed to feed the sister missionaries.  We made shwarma with pork.  I know… not very kosher.  And, we just used Mexican style tortillas instead of pitas or shwarma bread.  I think Elizabethe and I will be eating shwarma again this week.  We had lots of leftover stuff.


Church History

Church History

Church history (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) is fun.  Whether it be modern church history (1800s to present) or Book of Mormon archeology, I find it fascinating.

My recent trip to Vermont was prefaced by Elizabethe’s reading out loud the book Willard’s Cumorah.  Here’s an example of a fascinating fact…

About 3 miles from Hill Cumorah, a hill was discovered that had a 10′ wide by 10′ deep trench with skeletal remains that were thrown in to the grave “promiscuously” (their word).  Yet, so many people think there is no evidence of a great battle near Cumorah.  Yet, the book of Mormon talks of at least 1/4 of a million people killed in that great last Nephite battle.

Much has been done to quash the archeological findings of the area.  Some very unintentionally.  For example, one man finding a copper breastplate had it turned in to a bowl.  Prior to laws being passed regarding the finding of such relics, people did what they pleased with what they found on their property.

I’ve yet had time to research this hill that had the large ditch, but it has me curios.  The book had a photo and yes, it looked like bodies were just tossed in to a mass grave with no preparation.  Doesn’t that go along with this statement?

And it came to pass that there were ten more who did fall by the sword, with their ten thousand each; yea, even all my people, save it were those twenty and four who were with me, and also a few who had escaped into the south countries, and a few who had deserted over unto the Lamanites, had fallen; and their flesh, and bones, and blood lay upon the face of the earth, being left by the hands of those who slew them to molder upon the land, and to crumble and to return to their mother earth. (Mormon 6:15)

This was written after a battle on Hill Cumorah that left nearly 250,000 Nephites dead.  They had gathered for months for this battle, and lead by Mormon and his captains of 20,000, all by 24 men were slain.  (This did not count the opposition’s dead.)  With that many bodies, what were they left to do?  My guess is they raked them in to these big trench graves.

What comes next in the Book of Mormon is one of the saddest sections in the book.  I hate to end on a sad note, but we should accept this as a modern-day warning:

17 O ye fair ones, how could ye have departed from the ways of the Lord! O ye fair ones, how could ye have rejected that Jesus, who stood with open arms to receive you!
18 Behold, if ye had not done this, ye would not have fallen. But behold, ye are fallen, and I mourn your loss.
19 O ye fair sons and daughters, ye fathers and mothers, ye husbands and wives, ye fair ones, how is it that ye could have fallen!
20 But behold, ye are gone, and my sorrows cannot bring your return.
21 And the day soon cometh that your mortal must put on immortality, and these bodies which are now moldering in corruption must soon become incorruptible bodies; and then ye must stand before the judgment-seat of Christ, to be judged according to your works; and if it so be that ye are righteous, then are ye blessed with your fathers who have gone before you.
22 O that ye had repented before this great destruction had come upon you. But behold, ye are gone, and the Father, yea, the Eternal Father of heaven, knoweth your state; and he doeth with you according to his justice and mercy.

Vermont to Maine

Vermont to Maine

Today we are driving form Vermont to Maine.  We will pass through New Hampshire which it will be interesting to see if it is as different than Vermont.

As we were getting ready to leave, I noticed a map that had an ad for the Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream plant.  That will be a lunch-time stop.

We headed back to the Joseph Smith Birthplace Site for some more photos.  It was foggy and I was a little concerned about getting some of the photos I still needed, but the fog eventually burned off.  Before it did, I got this shot…


copyright 2014 db walton

Rays of Light on the old Smith Property

This was near one of the ginseng plants.  Joseph Smith, Senior, had gone in to business raising ginseng.  The idea was to export it to China and get rich.  Well, it didn’t happen.  He was ripped off by a business partner leaving him some $1,800 in debt.  They managed to pay off the debt and left Vermont with nothing.

Our next stop was Ben & Jerry’s.

copyright 2014 db walton

Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream

We decided to avoid the tour.  There was quite a crowd and we were just there for the ice cream anyway.  Elizabethe got a cone with some chocolate hazel nut ice cream (haze something) and I got a sundae with 5-layer coconut ice cream topped with hot caramel and walnuts.  Now, that’s a lunch.

As we drove towards Maine, we drove through Montpelier.  Yup, that’s the capital, but you’d never know it unless you spotted this beautiful building…

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Montpelier, Vermont

I say you’d never know it because the town has less than 8,000 people.  We’re talking a SMALL town.  This makes Montpelier the smallest state capital in the U.S.A.

Like I said, I found Vermont a bit strange.  You have all of that forest, but I did not see a single logging truck the entire time we were in Vermont.  It is extremely rocky and mountainous, which might have something to do with the difficulty of logging there.  It is a beautiful state this time of year.  One last comment, if you think people in the deep south talk funny, visit Vermont.

We continued on through New Hampshire.  There, things seemed more of what we are used to.  There were more businesses and places to eat, however, I was holding out for some Maine lobster.

As we entered Maine, we drove through the town of Fryeburg.  This caught Elizabethe off guard because her father was born in Fryeburg and she thought it was on the other end of the state.

Eventually we made it to her relative’s home where we would spend the night.  He welcomed us in, showed us to our room.  It’s been a long day.

The Backside

The Backside

We often don’t see the backside of many things.  For example, we don’t see the backside of our own head.  Today, I went looking for the backside of a local landmark.  Why?  Because the church requested a photo of it without any modern structures.

copyright 2014 db walton

The Backside

Although there are a few buildings and a utility pole, I can take those things out through retouching.  Without those terraces and buildings, the hill looks so small.  The idea is perhaps this is how it looked to Joseph Smith in 1823.

I’ll be going back to get more autumn colors.  Hopefully, the parts will arrive for my panoramic tripod head soon.  (I’m building my own non-nodal tripod head which will allow me to create some giga-pixel images.  The above is about a 32MP image.  I’ve got another that’s about a 148 megapixels.

In our district meeting this afternoon they showed many examples of pictures they would like to see for General Conference.  So, I’m on the search for people of all ages to pose for watching conference on technology.  (I won’t be photographing them as a group, but individually.)  I’m thinking I could use a Primary-aged child, a teenager, a young adult, an adult in their 30-40s, another in their 50-60s, and then someone in their 70-80s.

We had decent attendance at the temple again tonight.  As I was working the recommend desk, a sister from Rocklin, California, came in.  I commented that I used to ride my bicycle from Fair Oaks to Rocklin down Sierra College Boulevard just so I could ride down that long hill.  I think she was surprised to run in to someone who even knew where Rocklin was.

My remote viewer for my camera is supposed to arrive tomorrow.  I’m quite excited as I have it all figured out in my head what this rig is going to look like and how I’ll use it.  Basically, this will allow me to hoist my camera high in to the air (23′) on my painter’s pole and to be able to view and control it from the ground.  And, I can also do other “remote” camera stuff.

Another idea I had for it was a photo booth.  Hmmm… I just might try it out at some ward party or other function.  Caveat public.

Driving to Memphis

Driving to Memphis

This morning I’m driving to Memphis.    From Nashville to Memphis it takes about 3.5 hours.  It’s quite green and lots of trees.

On the way, I located the Memphis temple and took a few photos.  As I was about to leave, some sister missionaries pulled up and so I asked one to take a photo of me.  (No selfies for this guy.)

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Memphis Temple

I got to Memphis around lunch time and asked the hotel desk clerk if the Tops BBQ place down the street was any good.  She got a scowl on her face and said, “No way.”  So, she recommend Central BBQ.  I drove there and it was quite good.  I had BBQ nachos — corn chips with shredded pork and cheese.

copyright 2014 db walton

Central BBQ’s Nachos

I still had more time before my speaking engagement, so I went to the famous Beale Street.  It wasn’t far from the hotel, but too far to walk.

So, I get there, and you have to pay at the parking kiosk on the street that prints a slip you can put on your dash.  I punched in 1 hour, and it was 2:30pm.  It printed “Expires at 2:58pm”.  What?

I looked at the “Time Printed” and it said, “2:13”.  Again, what?

I looked at the “Amount of Time Purchased” and it said, “0:45”.  Triple-what?

Forget that.  I just spent my 28 minutes walking up and down Beale Street and taking a few pictures.  Of course, I had to get a picture of W.C. Handy.

copyright 2014 db walton

W.C. Handy – Father of the Blues

On the way back to the hotel I stopped and picked up a few supplies for my presentation.

When it came time to leave, I gave myself an extra 20 minutes.  I get on the freeway and within a few miles it became a parking lot.  I saw a sign that said, “Tune to 1660AM for traffic updates.”  I did and the report said the freeway was closed due to bad accident.

When I called the person in charge of their guild I was told they were running late too, so I warned them about the freeway.  It all worked out fine.  We had dinner and headed to the auditorium for my presentation and all was okay.

copyright 2014 db walton

Memphis Presentation