Friday, November 18, 2016

Living Righteously in a Wicked World

While reading Moroni 7 this morning it occurred to me, Mormon, whom Moroni is quoting, is speaking in “Sacrament Meeting.” Moroni was old enough to take notes and remember this talk his father gave. I’ve written in previous times of the great lessons in the talk so I won’t restate them today. If you’d like to read them, here are links: Judging, and Faith, Hope and Charity.

What’s significant, is this is the time when Mormon wrote the Nephites were given over to awful depravity and wickedness. Mormon never mentions these good people and only hints at them when he recounts the awful losses at the Cumorah Massacre. So how could he speak in church in such a wicked society?

Mormon was the military commander of a nation at war. As such, he was exposed to the whole horror of a fallen people in a conflict which brought out their most wicked and vile aspects. Moroni was still at home and it's him who’s speaking now. His subjective experience of the Nephites was different. He saw and lived things which his father didn’t see. Moroni saw the righteous saints who lived in this world gone crazy with wickedness. That was the difference he needed to see this talk as important.

Because Moroni saw our day too, he felt impressed to use a lot of his precious remaining plate space to tell this story. Why? Because we would find ourselves living in a similar time. Think about it. We live in a world gone crazy where as Isaiah prophesied, “good would be called evil and evil good.” Just as those righteous few struggled to determine what was good and what wasn’t, we do too. Which is why this sermon, which touches on how to judge between good and evil, is so important.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Thanks to the Soldiers

It was an overcast day at the airport. I was on my way home from a business trip and the airliner I was flying on was pulling up to the gate. During the flight, I’d noticed the two Army officers on board the flight with us who were traveling in uniform, but hadn’t thought any thing of it. Then one of the stewardesses announced over the PA that there was another individual on this flight who was making a trip home too. She went on to say that the two Army officers were accompanying the young man and would we, the rest of the passengers, please let these two get off the plane first. For a moment there was an awkward silence. Then not knowing what else to do to let them know how we felt, we applauded them for their service to our country.

It was at that point that I turned to the window I was sitting at and saw the family. They were standing together huddled under umbrellas on the tarmac off to the side of the airplane. An honor guard formed at the airplane cargo door. Mom and Dad stepped forward and stood apart from the rest, directly inline with the open cargo door. Dad stood erect. Face set like stone as he watched the cargo ramp. Mom stood by his side, erect and grieving quietly. One hand holding a handkerchief to dab away her tears. The other holding Dad’s hand. She too, watched as her son came off the airplane.

A hearse pulled up off to their left and waited.

Slowly a flag draped coffin came down the loading ramp. The honor guard, from all branches of the military, and even one of the aircrew of the airliner we were on, snapped to attention and saluted. The pall bearers picked up the coffin bearing the returning fallen son. Taps were played as he was carried reverently first to the parents and then to the hearse. The heavens wept as it began to rain gently. The flag was taken from the coffin, then folded and presented to Mom and Dad with these words. “This flag is presented on behalf of a grateful nation as a token of appreciation for your loved one’s honorable and faithful service.”

I still weep as I think about it. So on this special day as we honor those who protect us with their all, I offer my sincere and humble "thank you" to them and to their families who also pay a price for our freedoms. For behind every soldier, there is a human story, a family.

Thank you.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Election Reflections

This post has nothing to do directly with religion or the Book of Mormon. But it's something I wanted to say and put out there just the same.

It's 0-dark-thirty in the morning. I didn't go to bed till about two this morning listening to Trump's acceptance speech. In an election that was as memorable as it is historic, this was not the end to the day I expected. A "republican" won the White House and the Republican's maintain control of not only the House but the Senate too. So, what are my thoughts?

I'm reminded of the impression I had one early morning riding a bus to work several years ago. As I sat amongst the sleeping commuters on the express bus going over the Point of the Mountain, I had the impression come to me that it was these people who would save the country. These were the people, regular people like myself, who would do the amazing and wrest the future of our country from a descent into tyranny. They would be the ones to carry the Constitution away to safety as it hung by a thread.

Did I just witness that? It's to early to tell. But this much I'm pretty certain of: the vile stench of the Clintons will not likely ever sully the White House again. For all Trump's weaknesses, they pale in comparison to the Clinton's brazen wickedness. The American electorate has spoken and saved us from her being in office. Maybe it's not the saving of the Constitution I'd hoped for, but I'll take this big step in the right direction.

Lest you think me deluded, consider these facts:

1.    Trump spoke of women in lewd terms. He's accused of groping many. Bill Clinton raped, groped, and abused women, some of whom were his political supporters WHILE IN OFFICE. His wife then defamed and destroyed them politically and socially in the name of her political aspirations. Who is worse?

2.    Trump is accused of working the tax laws to his advantage to avoid paying taxes to the IRS. Well, duh. Is that wrong? Compare that to the lost records of the Rose Law Firm and all the other shady, half-told evasions of the law which is THE Clinton legacy. While Trump used the laws to his personal advantage, the Clintons broke laws. And when they hid or destroyed the incriminating evidence, they relied upon political sycophants to protect them. Which is worse?

3.    Has Trump's business decisions destroyed the lives of other people? Sadly, yes. Compare that to the lives of US Service men and an Ambassador who lost his life because of decisions Hillory made and recommended to President Obama. Both are bad. Which is worse?

4.    Some of Trump's comments are divisive. But what of Obama's excoriation of the police? Can we say we're more united now as a nation after eight years of President Obama's pontification and involvement in race relations? Granted he's not up for re-election, but Hillory was his heir apparent. Do you think she would've been different? Not at all. Who's worse?

5.    Does anyone like Obamacare? I for one am hopeful it will now be repealed and thrown out on the dustbin of awful ideas. I am hopeful now that the coal industry in America will be revitalized. I'm hopeful the Keystone pipeline will be completed. That America will take good steps towards energy independence. I'm hopeful the strangling regulations and executive orders of the last eight years will be repealed and done away with. I'm hopeful we will see appointees to the Supreme Court and to all the lesser courts who will be more interested in defending the law than in legislating new law from the bench. Before the Trump victory and the Republican victories in the House and Senate, I had no hope for any of that.

What I do know is the American people, the little guys like me and those riding on that bus so long ago, spoke yesterday and changed the direction of this country. Given the course she was on, I'm pleased. I can live with that.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

The Jems of Ether 12

I hadn’t thought to write more. But as I read and pondered Ether 12 again this morning, I felt another entry would be appropriate.

Ether 12 is filled with many precious gems of truth, not the least is Moroni’s thought provoking account of a personal appearance of the Savior. Even now, after reading it many times, I still marvel at the expression “… and that He told me in plain humility even as a man telleth another…”. Imagine the Savior appearing and speaking in plain humility to you.

It is also a great dissertation on faith and how it works and why it is so important for us to live by faith. There is a weighty warning and a promise in the statement “…dispute not because ye see not, for ye receive no witness until after the trial of your faith.” If you ever wonder, “why hasn’t God heard my prayer?” keep this in mind. In reality, He has heard your prayer, it’s just that in His wisdom, which I strive not to second guess, He’s chosen the response He has. It’s still worth it to stay faithful… to stay in the game.

Lastly, I feel to comment on a passage in verse 37, “…if they have not charity it mattereth not unto thee, thou hast been faithful…. Because thou has seen thy weakness, thou shalt be made strong….” What a great promise to those who acknowledge their dependance upon God and remain faithful through the adversities of this life!