Friday, December 26, 2008

Contributing writer for Examiner.com


I am now a contributing writer for Examiner.com My articles can be found here.

I will write a few articles a week on dogs and I'll try to tie in a Phoenix flavor to most of them. Please go to the site and let me know what you think.

Thanks

Dan

Matthew 8:19-20 - Priorities

19 And a certain scribe came, and said unto him, Master, I will follow thee whithersoever thou goest.
20 And Jesus saith unto him, The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head.

(New Testament | Matthew 8:19 - 20)

I love these short and simple verses. Jesus, He who created the world, lived very humbly in it. It’s not difficult to find Ebenezer Scrooges (pre-conversion) all around. The media fawns over the rich and famous and tells us that we should idolize great wealth. Yet, He who placed the riches into the earth, never went searching after them.
I’ve heard certain televangelists boast of their great wealth as they preach the gospel of greed. We need to remember, I need to remember, that Jesus was not concerned about wealth, prestige, or fame. He lived a humble life, frequently dependent on others for His temporal welfare. He sought to do His Father’s will and not His own.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Mesa Temple at Christmas

I love going to the temples at Christmas time to see the beautiful lights and other attractions. I live near the Mesa, Arizona temple. They have musical performances every evening by local high school bands, various denominations, and other LDS musicians. Inside the temple visitor's center there are nativity scenes from around the world.

For more information and a list of who is performing when, please go here.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Christmas Devotional


Every year the LDS church has a Christmas devotional where our prophet and his counselors will share some of our views about Jesus Christ, the Savior and Redeemer of the world. If you're curious about our beliefs this would be worth watching. It will be held tonight, December 7th at 6:00 p.m. mountain time. A link to a video stream can be found here.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Hey KoC


Here's a picture of the family. There really are four of us boys in the home.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Catching up

Hi. I haven’t written in a while, life and a computer virus have kept me away so let me spend a little time catching up with what has gone on in my life for the last few weeks.



The biggest news would be that our son, Colin, returned home safely after serving two years in the Belem, Brazil mission. He struggled with his English for a while, but is quickly adapting to life back home.

Hi younger sibling Colby had his Eagle Scout court of honor. The Tempe Police Bagpipe Band, that both he and his mom belong to, played the national anthem and a few other pieces. It was a great evening.

Our daughter, Aubrey, and her husband, Curtis, came down form Logan, UT for Thanksgiving and we enjoyed our time with them immensely.

Last night, Wendy and Colby played with the bagpipe band in downtown Tempe, AZ in their festival of lights parade. There were all sorts of nice floats and stuff. Sheriff Joe Arpaio drove through in a police assault vehicle covered in Christmas lights. The crowd roared their appreciation every time the bagpipe band played Scotland the Brave.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Random Thoughts on the Passing Political Scene

Election season 2008 is over. Well, except for pending court battles which will be waged by those that lost and felt they should’ve won…

Some of the most eagerly contested issues had to do with same sex marriage. Three states, California, Arizona, and Florida had ballot initiatives to amend their state constitutions to define marriage as being between one man and one woman. My views on this subject are well known, just scroll through my recent posts and you’ll see where I blogged frequently in favor of these initiatives.

There has been a fair amount of vitriol spewed over these initiatives. Several on-line news organizations today showed protests outside the LDS temple in Los Angeles and I’ve heard that plans are underway to hold more protests at other temples as well.

We are a country of laws, of the people, by the people, and for the people. In 2000, the people of California voted by a 61% margin to define marriage as being between one man and one woman. Four activist judges decided that the will of the people should not be followed in this case and overruled the voice and will of the people.

Here again the voice of the people has expressed its will. 52% of Californians believe that marriage should be between one man and one woman. The population of California is near 38 million. The LDS population in California is about 750,000. A fair amount of those are under voting age. Our voting population makes up less than 2% of the state’s population. I’m guessing that it was more than just LDS people that passed this initiative.

Notwithstanding, we seem to be on the receiving end of most of the venom. Here is a commercial that was run by the No on 8 crowd.



Isn’t it interesting that those that scream how intolerant I am are so mind numbingly intolerant? The opponents to the proposition spoke about how deceptive our claims were, i.e. it would impact what would be taught in schools, it would impact how churches could operate, etc. Here is an article by NPR (a fairly liberal news organization) that gleefully shows where religious organizations are getting beaten back on same sex issues. There is my documentation to support my concerns over this issue. In return, the same sex crowd used lies and distortions to instill fear and paranoia in the masses.

Despite protestations to the contrary, defining marriage as being between a man and a woman is not about hating gay people.

I know that God lives and that he loves all of His children. Yes, both the straight and the gay ones. We are on earth for a purpose. God wants to bless all of His children. He has provided commandments that if we follow, we will be blessed. There are more commandments than just homosexuality by the way, and I freely admit that I am not perfect. However, I don’t expect people to accept my faults and sins and simply pat me on the back and say, “That’s okay. You just be who you are.”

Society does not accept it when we break man’s law. When we catch criminals they are prosecuted. Apparently God’s laws don’t seem to carry the same weight by some.

Clearly the difference of opinion on this issue was only settled for a while. Those in favor of same sex marriage will try to overrule the passed proposition in the courts. Three lawsuits in California have already been filed. Will they be successful? Time will tell. I would expect the cases to find their way back to the California Supreme Court, which is the same court that overruled the last law in California passed by the voters against same sex marriage.

If the cases are not resolved in favor of gay marriage proponents I would expect it to show up on ballot after ballot until it does win. As society drifts farther and farther away from God’s teachings, I would expect it to pass someday. Does that mean that I should just stop fighting? No.

President Boyd K. Packer recently said, “Some work through political, social, and legal channels to redefine morality and marriage into something unrestrained, unnatural, and forbidden. But they never can change the design which has governed human life and happiness from the beginning.”

“We do not set the standards, but we are commanded to teach them and maintain them. The standard remains abstinence before marriage and total fidelity in marriage. However out of step we may seem, however much the standards are belittled, however much others yield, we will not yield, we cannot yield.”

Also, When I think of unfair and false attacks on the church I am reminded of these words from Elder Bruce R. McConkie,
“Now, I have what every true disciple has. It is called the testimony of Jesus. In our day it includes the revealed knowledge that the earthly kingdom—The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints—will triumph. In this connection may I set before you this illustration:"

"The Church is like a great caravan—organized, prepared, following an appointed course, with its captains of tens and captains of hundreds all in place.
What does it matter if a few barking dogs snap at the heels of the weary travelers? Or that predators claim those few who fall by the way? The caravan moves on.
Is there a ravine to cross, a miry mud hole to pull through, a steep grade to climb? So be it. The oxen are strong and the teamsters wise. The caravan moves on.
Are there storms that rage along the way, floods that wash away the bridges, deserts to cross, and rivers to ford? Such is life in this fallen sphere. The caravan moves on."

"Ahead is the celestial city, the eternal Zion of our God, where all who maintain their position in the caravan shall find food and drink and rest. Thank God that the caravan moves on!"

Finally, I think of the words in Moroni 9:6

And now, my beloved son, notwithstanding their hardness, let us labor diligently; for if we should cease to labor, we should be brought under condemnation; for we have a labor to perform whilst in this tabernacle of clay, that we may conquer the enemy of all righteousness, and rest our souls in the kingdom of God.

So I will continue to fight for what I know to be true. And between now and the time that gay marriage is fully legalized I will be stocking up on my food storage.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Of Maps and Friends



I recently had a short story published on-line called Of Maps and Friends. The tale relates the account of two early teens, their quest for treasure and the ramifications their adventure had on their friendship. Ultimately it discusses those things in life that matter and those that don’t.

Please click here to read it. I’d love to hear your feedback.

The website is called Stories that Lift and caters to family friendly writing. I hope that you enjoy it.

Monday, November 3, 2008

The Gift of Tongues

Yesterday, all the stakes in Arizona had a broadcast Stake Conference. President Boyd K. Packer presided.

One of the things that I like best about Stake Conference is that I always get to sit in one of the front two rows. My wife is the designated ASL signer for those that are deaf. I sit in the corner so I can be close to her. I love watching her sign. My favortie ASL sign is "Jesus." Wendy and I refer to it as the seatbelt sign, because to me, the sign looks like someone is strapping on their seat belt in a car.

Anyway, there were several people that were hearing impaired in attendance and so I and our two boys sat in the second row. As the broadcast started we realized that whoever set up the audio had set it up to be heard in spanish. The congregation all chuckled and we wondered how long it would take to correct the problem. Wendy signed to those in front of her that the broadcast was in spanish and she didn't know how to interpret that.

However, sitting in the row behind us was a recently returned missionary that went to a spanish speaking mission. Wendy pulled him up and he whispered into Wendy's ear the translation from spanish to english and then Wendy translated it into ASL for those that needed it. This lasted for about ten minutes until the audio was fixed.

That was about the coolest thing I have ever seen in church.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Rhys' Mission Call



The letter arrived today. We have been on pins and needles as we expected the call to show up a couple of weeks ago. Rhys showed tremendous restraint, as he knew that the call was here in the middle of the day and he actually waited until everyone was home before he opened it. We had grandparents and siblings on speaker phones on everybody's cell phones.

As it turns out, I should've stuck with my first guess because it was right. However, I let logic and reason take over and after I had thought about it for a while I decided that Rhys would end up going to New York City. He's not going there. Like I said, he's going to place that I guessed first.

Intially, Rhys was hoping to be called to Fiji, but earlier today he was hoping for Mozambique. He didn't get called to either of those places.

Rhys will enter the MTC on February 4th, which coincidentally happens to be my birthday. Sending our son on a mission is a good birthday gift, but getting him back two years later will be a better one. Rhys will serve the Lord for two years in the St. Louis Missouri Mission.

He is very pleased with his call and is looking forward to getting into the field.

Congrats Rhys. We love you and are so pleased by your decision to give two years of your life to the Lord in this endeavor.

The Promise - Moroni 10:3-5



3 Behold, I would exhort you that when ye shall read these things, if it be wisdom in God that ye should read them, that ye would remember how merciful the Lord hath been unto the children of men, from the creation of Adam even down until the time that ye shall receive these things, and ponder it in your hearts.
4 And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost.
5 And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things.

(Book of Mormon | Moroni 10:3 - 5)

The promise of the Book of Mormon. I love that I can go to my God, my Heavenly Father, and seek truth from Him directly. I do not have to rely on my own wisdom and learning, or anyone else’s. The promise is made in the very last chapter of the Book of Mormon that if I want to know about its truthfulness I can pray and get an answer.

I have put this promise to the test. I have studied its words and implications. Throughout the pages of this work I have felt the love of my Savior. I have witnessed for myself to what great lengths Heavenly Father has gone to provide salvation for all of His children.

I have received a witness of the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon several times. Typically it comes to me after a period of quiet solitude and reflection. It comes after I have read a passage, perhaps a chapter, and have wondered why was this chapter put into this book?

The scriptures, i.e. The Book of Mormon, The Bible, The Doctrine and Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price, are relatively small when you consider the significance of what they hold. I love to read. I have several bookshelves full of books on many different topics and genres of writing. My scriptures make up only a fraction of the words on paper that I own.

This forces me to ask every time that I read, “What is so important about these verses that they wound up in sacred writ?” It is that contemplation that has invited the Holy Ghost to witness to my spirit the importance and the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon.

Like Moroni, I invite you to put the promise of the Book of Mormon to the test. Read the book for yourself, and think about how merciful the Lord has been to you throughout your life. If your life is like mine, you have had your ups and downs through it. You’ve had tremendous struggles, and also experiences of great joy. I can see in my life where the Lord has helped me through my struggles and challenges, and I am grateful for His guiding hand.

The Book of Mormon is true. I know this with every fiber of my being. I challenge you to find out for yourself.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

From Chandler, AZ to Provo, UT...and still pedaling

Back in July I started riding a bike to work. My intentions were twofold. First, skyrocketing gas prices were taking a toll on my finances. Second, I thought it would be a good way to get some exercise, and perhaps drop a few pounds.

Living in the greater Phoenix area, starting such an endeavor in late July proved interesting. The temperatures were typically over 90 degrees when I started my ride in the morning and had climbed to about 110 degrees by the time I decided to go home. I carried 50 oz of water both to and from work and drank most of it.

After about a month of riding I stopped getting dizzy as I rode and acclimated a bit to the challenge. My trip is a tad over 13 miles round trip each day and I ride Tuesday through Friday. On Monday, I drive all of my clothes into work for the week.

The first day after buying the bike I went on a short 2.5 mile ride. I hadn’t ridden a bicycle since my mission which was about two decades ago. Anyway, my bike has this really cool odometer/speedometer on it. On that first ride I averaged 10.5 mph and reached a top speed of 12.63 mph.

When I wrote about this on my blog I bravely suggested that someday I’d like to ride with an average speed of 14 mph. That seemed a bit unrealistic to me, but I wanted to set a high goal.

I now regularly average over 14 mph on my ride. Once I even maintained an average of 16.2 mph with a top speed of 22.92 mph. I now tend to pass the beginner riders on the road. They’re easy to spot because they look a lot like me. However, the hard core bikers, you know the ones with the bike shorts and shirts, and a bicycle that probably cost as much as my car, still pass me. It’s all good though as I simply enjoy the ride.

This afternoon the total miles ridden on my odometer said 634 miles. Curious to see how far that would be if I rode in one direction I went into Yahoo maps and started playing around.

If I road my bicycle from my home in Chandler and headed west I would hit Los Angeles and then head north. I’m currently about 20 miles past Fresno. The distance from Chandler, AZ to Las Vegas, NV is 317 miles, so I have ridden there and back. If I just head north, Provo is 634 miles from Chandler, so I just made it to my old Alma Mater.

With the savings in gas, the bike has pretty much paid for itself. Ironically, I haven’t really lost a lot of weight. However, there is muscle definition on my legs that I haven’t seen since the last time I was a student at BYU and played on their club Water Polo team.

Unfortunately, I think that I still look more like a water buoy, than the water boy I used to be. I tell friends and acquaintances (and now complete strangers in cyberspace) that I used to look like a greek god, but have since traded that body in for a more Asian deity…

Here’s the good news though. Before I started riding my bike I was on high blood pressure medicine. I was taking 60 mg of Lipitor a day to lower my cholesterol, and my sodium levels were high.

Now, my blood pressure without any meds is 120 over 68. My resting heart rate is 66 (better than average). My cholesterol meds have been decreased to 20 mg a day, and my sodium levels are normal. So I now have the Buddha body on the outside, but the sleeping athlete is starting to wake up on the inside.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Missionary e-mail 10-20-08

Hello there!

It was definitely a little more calm this week. Things are going great as usual. The assistants decided to move our splits from tomorrow to last week. The divisions went well and I was able to learn a lot from the new AP, Elder Camargo. I went over to their area (Telegrafo) and another elder from my group Elder Emery came here. I worked in Telegrafo for 8 months so I know the area better than Elder Camargo. I was able to show him around to some old investigators' houses and we found some awesome new people including some families that have really good potential.

We went back to Abaetetuba this week to do a baptismal interview for Elder Nitta. It was my first interview so I was really nervous! It went well though and she passed. Her name is Joana. Her an her sister Aldalice were baptized Sunday after church. They had another baptism of a 16 year old boy named Neilton. He is really strong in the church and has a strong testimony of the gospel but his parents, nonmembers, didn't want him to be baptized right now and wanted him to wait a little while to make sure he was ready. Just going there to Abaetetuba and back on Saturday took up our whole day. We got back late then went to a meeting with the bishop and other ward leaders.

Iago went to church again and is excited for his baptism on the 1st. He already chose me to baptize him which is a good sign that he really wants to be baptized.
Well, I gotta run. I love you all tons. Im way excited to see you all in 2 weeks!

Love,
Elder Childs

Friday, October 17, 2008

Prophetic Warnings



Tell me if President Ezra Taft Benson's words don't ring true today? He gave this speech, not as president of the church, but as a citizen of the U.S. 43 years ago.

I've posted several times recently about prop 8 in California and prop 102 in Arizona. I will use that issue to reinforce Ezra Taft Benson's words on socialism.

It has been widely reported how a first grade teacher in San Francisco took her first grade class to City Hall to watch her marriage to her same sex partner. If you don't know about this just scroll down a few posts where I discuss the issue.

Due to the recent change in California law, i.e. legalizing same sex marriage, the school felt that the field trip was, "Academically relevant."

Here's the kicker. Pehaps you're thinking that you can avoid the issue altogether by just homeschooling your child. If you live in California, think again. Earlier this year a California Court of Appeals ruled that Philip and Mary Long of Lynwood, CA, could not home school their children because Mary (the mom/teacher) was not a certified teacher in CA.

From the above cited article:
"At first, there was a sense of, 'No way,' " said homeschool parent Loren Mavromati, a resident of Redondo Beach (Los Angeles County) who is active with a homeschool association. "Then there was a little bit of fear. I think it has moved now into indignation."

The ruling arose from a child welfare dispute between the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services and Philip and Mary Long of Lynwood, who have been homeschooling their eight children. Mary Long is their teacher, but holds no teaching credential.

The parents said they also enrolled their children in Sunland Christian School, a private religious academy in Sylmar (Los Angeles County), which considers the Long children part of its independent study program and visits the home about four times a year.

The Second District Court of Appeal ruled that California law requires parents to send their children to full-time public or private schools or have them taught by credentialed tutors at home.

"California courts have held that ... parents do not have a constitutional right to homeschool their children," Justice H. Walter Croskey said in the 3-0 ruling issued on Feb. 28. "Parents have a legal duty to see to their children's schooling under the provisions of these laws."

Parents can be criminally prosecuted for failing to comply, Croskey said.

"A primary purpose of the educational system is to train school children in good citizenship, patriotism and loyalty to the state and the nation as a means of protecting the public welfare," the judge wrote, quoting from a 1961 case on a similar issue.

Now back to my own thoughts:
The government is dictating how our children must be taught. Therefore, they get to decide what is taught.

What's next? Will Sunday School teachers need to be certified by the state? Some might consider that an incredible stretch that the state would never presume to impose. However, the ruling above caught the entire homeschooling community in California by surprise. And now an estimated 166,000 children are potential truants and their parents face possible prosecution.

Socialism typically deals with economic issues. The underlying principle however is that the government should dictate how goods and services are produced and distributed. When the government decides how and what should be taught to our children, regardless of our views on how our children should be taught, we are sliding down a slippery slope that we might not be able to recover from.

Vote yes on prop 8 in California and prop 102 in Arizona. Our children are too important.

Guess where Rhys will go on his mission

Hi all,

Our son Rhys should receive his mission call either today or next Friday. Feel free to post a comment and take a wild guess as to where he'll end up.

To make full disclosure I will give the following information which might be relevant, but then again, might not be...

He has studied four years of spanish in high school. His older brother is coming home from the Belem, Brazil mission on November 5th. He is secretly hoping to be sent to Fiji.

Please post a guess and we'll let you know where he's going once we find out.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

1st Graders field trip to a lesbian wedding

Yesterday, I posted a video from Tony Perkins and the Family Research Council. It talked about how in states where gay marriage was allowed, that the students would have to be taught that gay marriage in all ways is equivalent to traditional marriage. Just in case you thought I was over reacting. This hit the newswires today.

School Field Trip to Teacher's Lesbian Wedding Sparks Controversy

First-graders in San Francisco took a field trip to City Hall to celebrate the marriage of their lesbian teacher on Friday, but opponents of same-sex marriage in the state say the field trip was an attempt to “indoctrinate” the students, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

The field trip was suggested by a parent at the Creative Arts Charter School, and the school said the trip, where students tossed rose petals on their teacher and her wife as they left City Hall, was academically relevant.

"It really is what we call a teachable moment," said Liz Jaroslow, the school’s interim director, according to the newspaper. She said same-sex marriage had historic significance. "I think I'm well within the parameters."

California will vote on Nov. 4 on Proposition 8 which seeks to ban same-sex marriage in the state, and supporters of the measure say the field trip shows that allowing same-sex marriage will mean it’s taught to school children, the newspaper said.

"It's just utterly unreasonable that a public school field trip would be to a same-sex wedding," said Chip White, press secretary for the Yes on 8 campaign, told the Chronicle. "This is overt indoctrination of children who are too young to have an understanding of its purpose."

Everyone will be affected by recent court decisions in Massachusetts and California. Stand up and be heard. If you live in California, vote yes on prop 8. If you live in Arizona, vote yes on prop 102. Families are too important not to stand up for them at this defining moment in history.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Angels among us

Like many others, I thoroughly enjoyed listening to General Conference last weekend. I have a close friend that told me of an experience he had last week that reminded me of Elder Holland's talk. With his permission, I share his story:

I saw a wonderful thing this morning that God had done that I wanted to share with all of you.

I was on my weekly commute back up to Portland on the 6am flight out of Sacramento. While I am not someone to eavesdrop on a conversation I could not help but hear the two people seated behind me. This was on Horizon and thus the seats are quite close. Before we took off I could tell that the two people behind me were not together but they were talking with each other about families and such. The lady (Susan) was traveling to visit a friend in Portland though she was afraid to fly. Seated next to her was Ted from Alaska who had been in Sacramento attending a wedding. Early on Ted told her that he is a pilot of small planes so he knew about flying. He also made comment to her that he liked it when the flight was a little bumpy. Maybe in retrospect that was to comfort Susan with her anxiety about flying.

When Susan asked Ted about what he did, he said that he and his wife run a Christian camp for kids in Alaska. In the rest of the conversation they had I heard her tell him of challenges she was having with her adult son and she did not know how to help with the problems. At that point I could tell that Ted was sharing the gospel with her and telling her about Jesus. Susan was open to what he was saying throughout the conversation. When we were descending into Portland I heard Ted ask Susan if he could pray for her. We were going through a pretty good cloud layer but it was not too rough. In his prayer he asked God for help for Susan and the challenges with her son and also to be with her as she felt anxiety on the flight (and also for her flight home on Wednesday). The whole time I could hear Ted praying I was saying my own prayer not only for her but thanks to God for putting the two of them together on the flight.

After we landed I heard Susan thank Ted for praying for her. As we left the plane I had to stand in the jet way to wait for my second bag which they put in baggage on Horizon. When Ted came by I stopped him and said that I don’t normally listen in to other’s conversations but I had heard what he said and how wonderful I thought it was what he did. Ted asked if I was a believer to which I answered “Oh yes I am.” He responded with “isn’t it great what He does?”

I don’t do the send this to 10 people kind of thing, but here is what I would ask each of you to join me in doing. Please tell God thank you for a messenger like Ted and that he had the courage to reach out to a stranger with God’s word. I pray that I would someday be able to do what he did in serving God.

One last thing that shows even more of God’s hand all over this. Last night when I checked in for the flight I was looking to change seats as I saw 2 seats together and I had hoped to get an arrangement like that so I could work on a spreadsheet on my laptop during the flight. I didn’t make the change as I had a feeling I can’t really describe that told me to not make the change. If I had done the change I would have taken the seat that Ted had.

God bless Ted and I pray that what took place this morning at 30,000 feet will lead Susan to Jesus!

In Christ’s name,

Scott

Thank you Scott for sharing that with me, and allowing me to share it with others.

In Elder Holland's talk he said:

I have spoken here of heavenly help, of angels dispatched to bless us in time of need. But when we speak of those who are instruments in the hand of God, we are reminded that not all angels are from the other side of the veil. Some of them we walk with and talk with—here, now, every day. Some of them reside in our own neighborhoods. Some of them gave birth to us, and in my case, one of them consented to marry me. Indeed heaven never seems closer than when we see the love of God manifested in the kindness and devotion of people so good and so pure that angelic is the only word that comes to mind. Elder James Dunn, from this pulpit just moments ago, used that word in his invocation to describe this Primary choir—and why not? With the spirit, faces, and voices of those children in our mind and before our eyes, may I share with you an account by my friend and BYU colleague, the late Clyn D. Barrus. I do so with the permission of his wife, Marilyn, and their family.

Referring to his childhood on a large Idaho farm, Brother Barrus spoke of his nightly assignment to round up the cows at milking time. Because the cows pastured in a field bordered by the occasionally treacherous Teton River, the strict rule in the Barrus household was that during the spring flood season the children were never to go after any cows who ventured across the river. They were always to return home and seek mature help.

One Saturday just after his seventh birthday, Brother Barrus’s parents promised the family a night at the movies if the chores were done on time. But when young Clyn arrived at the pasture, the cows he sought had crossed the river, even though it was running at high flood stage. Knowing his rare night at the movies was in jeopardy, he decided to go after the cows himself, even though he had been warned many times never to do so.

As the seven-year-old urged his old horse, Banner, down into the cold, swift stream, the horse’s head barely cleared the water. An adult sitting on the horse would have been safe, but at Brother Barrus’s tender age, the current completely covered him except when the horse lunged forward several times, bringing Clyn’s head above water just enough to gasp for air.

Here I turn to Brother Barrus’s own words:

“When Banner finally climbed the other bank, I realized that my life had been in grave danger and that I had done a terrible thing—I had knowingly disobeyed my father. I felt that I could redeem myself only by bringing the cows home safely. Maybe then my father would forgive me. But it was already dusk, and I didn’t know for sure where I was. Despair overwhelmed me. I was wet and cold, lost and afraid.

“I climbed down from old Banner, fell to the ground by his feet, and began to cry. Between thick sobs, I tried to offer a prayer, repeating over and over to my Father in Heaven, ‘I’m sorry. Forgive me! I’m sorry. Forgive me!’

“I prayed for a long time. When I finally looked up, I saw through my tears a figure dressed in white walking toward me. In the dark, I felt certain it must be an angel sent in answer to my prayers. I did not move or make a sound as the figure approached, so overwhelmed was I by what I saw. Would the Lord really send an angel to me, who had been so disobedient?

“Then a familiar voice said, ‘Son, I’ve been looking for you.’ In the darkness I recognized the voice of my father and ran to his outstretched arms. He held me tightly, then said gently, ‘I was worried. I’m glad I found you.’

“I tried to tell him how sorry I was, but only disjointed words came out of my trembling lips—’Thank you . . . darkness . . . afraid . . . river . . . alone.’ Later that night I learned that when I had not returned from the pasture, my father had come looking for me. When neither I nor the cows were to be found, he knew I had crossed the river and was in danger. Because it was dark and time was of the essence, he removed his clothes down to his long white thermal underwear, tied his shoes around his neck, and swam a treacherous river to rescue a wayward son.”12

My beloved brothers and sisters, I testify of angels, both the heavenly and the mortal kind. In doing so I am testifying that God never leaves us alone, never leaves us unaided in the challenges that we face. “[N]or will he, so long as time shall last, or the earth shall stand, or there shall be one man [or woman or child] upon the face thereof to be saved.”13 On occasions, global or personal, we may feel we are distanced from God, shut out from heaven, lost, alone in dark and dreary places. Often enough that distress can be of our own making, but even then the Father of us all is watching and assisting. And always there are those angels who come and go all around us, seen and unseen, known and unknown, mortal and immortal.

May we all believe more readily in, and have more gratitude for, the Lord’s promise as contained in one of President Monson’s favorite scriptures: “I will go before your face. I will be on your right hand and on your left, . . . my Spirit shall be in your [heart], and mine angels round about you, to bear you up.”14 In the process of praying for those angels to attend us, may we all try to be a little more angelic ourselves—with a kind word, a strong arm, a declaration of faith and “the covenant wherewith [we] have covenanted.”15 Perhaps then we can be emissaries sent from God when someone, perhaps a Primary child, is crying, “Darkness . . . afraid . . . river . . . alone.” To this end, I pray in the sacred name of Jesus Christ, amen.

I am grateful for heavenly help that is frequently manifested by mortal angels living among us.

Missionary e-mail 10-13-08

Hey there!

What an interesting week! I don't remember If I told you or not, but last week I was asked to conduct a multi-Zone conference with the president and the assistants. There were several zones from here in Belem. It was a great experience. It was the first time I had done that before.

This Tuesday, our zone got together and had its meeting. My companion, Elder Beames, and I had to give an hour long training on how we can work better with the members to get referrals to work with. It went really well. Afterwards, we headed over to pizza hut for an all-you-can eat, and ate away. We went on splits for 2 days with the District Leader from a place called Abaetetuba. The District Leader's companion stayed with Elder Beames in our area, and I went to work with Elder Nitta in his. We took a bus down to Ver-O-Peso then walked over to a nearby dock and took an hour long boat trip down a branch of the Amazon to a large island outside of Belem. Once there, we took a bus for an hour through the forest to the small city of Abaetetuba and then walked a half hour to their house. It was quite the trip. I really liked the area, it reminded me of when I was in Braganca a year and a half ago. It sure was a lot more quiet than Belem and a little cleaner with a lot of forest. It turns out Elder Nitta and I lived in the same stake as kids when I lived in Cypress, CA. What a small world.

This week here in Belem there was a large anual event called Cirio. I believe it's the worlds largest Catholic gathering. Every year on the second Sunday of October, over 1 million Catholics from all around the world come to Belem for this event. They have a statue of Mary on a cart thing attached to a massive cord that they pull from one church to another. The whole route they take is within my area and my last area, Telegrafo. The streets get totally packed full of people as they all try to get a turn at touching the rope. I would have loved to see the actual proccession but we work far away from where it happens. I have seen pictures and video and it is quite an interesting sight. Im sure you can find better info and pictures looking up something like "Cirio de Nazare" or "Cirio Belem" on google.

During Cirio, Belem becomes totally uncontrollable. It was pretty chaotic in our area. Those that aren't at Cirio are at home drinking their brains out. Crime rates rocket that day and the police flood the street. Last year 7 people were trampled to death during the procession. I don't know how many died this year. We had an interesting day yesterday. In the 2 hours between lunch and church, we saw 2 people shot and killed and an armed robbery during broad daylight on the side of a main road(3 different instances). What an awesome holiday... Props to whoever invented that one. Im glad things are back to normal now.

There is a nice little old lady who lives next door to us that is not a member but who loves the missionaries. She invites us over to her house every Sunday to eat cake and other desserts she makes. Im going to miss going there. Its always a great way to end the week.

Our investigators are doing well. We are currently working hard with a teenager named Iago (yes, again... I know I already baptized one... we found another) He is the son of a recent convert who has a ton of friends in the church. He was really sceptical at first when we talked about baptism but we gave him a date of the 1st of November this week. He accepted the date and when we asked him to say the prayer when we taught him, he prayed that his baptism would go well. That was great progress. I hope it does go well.

This week should be pretty busy too. We will be sitting in on a district meeting tomorrow and we will go on splits with another District Leader from our zone. It's a little closer this time. Whew. Next week we will be going on splits with the assistants. Maybe Ill be able to head back to Telegrafo to see some of my recent converts. That would be awesome. Gotta run. Love you all tons. Have a fantistic week!

Love,
Elder Childs

Gay marriage is a slippery slope to the destruction of society

Tony Perkins, President of the Family Research Council helps explain the slippery slope we’re on if we endorse gay marriage. At the end of the day, the question becomes, what is best for a child? What is best for a family? And what is best for society? Those that disagree with my views, invariably ask what is the harm to anyone if two people want to be married, regardless of their gender? The answer is PLENTY. Several studies suggest that a child is best raised in a two parent household, with both a mother and a father. My support for that comment can be found below in other posts I have written on the subject.

If we legalize same-sex marriage, then it must be taught in our school system as being morally equivalent to traditional marriage. It is now the gay rights community that is being intolerant. I affirm that God does exist and that He loves all of His children regardless of how we choose to live our lives. However, that does not diminish the fact that He wants to bless His children. He has given us commandments, that if followed, will bring us happiness and peace, in this life and the next. As always, please feel free to post your comments for or against my views.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Eight Reasons to Defend Man/Woman Marriage

Family Watch International has published a treatise called, "Eight Reasons to Defend Man/Woman Marriage. It reads in part:

Eight Reasons to Defend Man/Woman Marriage

“One can believe in same-sex marriage. One can believe that every child deserves a mother and a father. One cannot believe both.”
David Blankenhorn, Institute for American Values 1

1. Legalizing same-sex marriage severs children from their right to know and be raised by their biological parents.

Whatever you legalize, you encourage, and therefore get more of. If same-sex marriage is legalized, more children will be raised without a mother or a father. Social science research overwhelmingly proves that children do best on all measures of health and wellbeing when they are raised by their married biological parents. Man/woman marriage optimizes the chances of children being raised and cared for by both biological parents while same-sex marriages establish unions that will always deny the child the right to be raised by either a mother or a father.

Research also shows that mothers and fathers, by nature of their genders, make unique contributions to the development of their children and that these contributions cannot be replaced by two “parents” of the same sex. If society sanctions marriages that make it impossible for children to be raised by either their mother or father, children suffer.

To use an analogy: You could pass a law that says oranges now are apples. But oranges will never look like apples or taste like apples or be apples no matter how many laws we pass, nor will they ever produce the same seeds as apples. Just because we recognize this reality does not mean we have animosity toward oranges. In fact, we can like both oranges and apples and still hold an opinion that they are different. While this example may seem silly, it illustrates that the proposed radical experiment with same-sex marriage attempts to achieve the impossible. Same-sex marriage will never bear the same fruit as man/woman marriage – no matter how many laws are passed because it is radically different.

2. Legalizing same-sex marriage encourages the creation of children through reproductive arrangements that are not in their best interest.

By the laws of nature, same-sex couples cannot have children naturally. Recognizing same-sex marriages encourages increasing use of sperm banks, surrogate mothers and a number of other artificial reproductive technologies. The “products” of these technologies (i.e., children) too often find themselves at the center of court battles to determine who are their legally recognized parents. In addition, troubling testimonies have begun to emerge from children created through sperm donation regarding the negative impact this has had on them. For example, a woman who was raised by two lesbian parents from birth stated, “… I have still felt an empty space in my life, the lack of a father, and no matter the love that I have had from both of my mothers and the rarity of...

To read the rest of their article please click here.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Who's responsible for this mess?

What are the two things that you're told you shouldn't discuss? Religion and politics. Since, I usually talk about religion on this blog, I decided to venture (briefly) into politics as well. I was e-mailed this article, and felt that I needed to post it. I couldn't find a date for when it was written. It claims that the U.S. population is 235 million. Our population is currently 305 million, so it was written a while ago, but it is just as true today as it was when it was written. Let me know what you think.

THE 545 PEOPLE
RESPONSIBLE FOR ALL
OF AMERICA'S WOES



BY CHARLEY REESE

Politicians are the only people in the world who create problems and then campaign against them.

Have you ever wondered why, if both the Democrats and the Republicans are against deficits, we have deficits? Have you ever wondered why, if all the politicians are against inflation and high taxes, we have inflation and high taxes?

You and I don't propose a federal budget. The president does. You and I don't have the Constitutional authority to vote on appropriations. The House of Representatives does. You and I don't write the tax code. Congress does. You and I don't set fiscal policy. Congress does. You and I don't control monetary policy. The Federal Reserve Bank does.

One hundred senators, 435 congressmen, one president and nine Supreme Court justices - 545 human beings out of the 235 million - are directly, legally, morally and individually responsible for the domestic problems that plague this country.

I excluded the members of the Federal Reserve Board because that problem was created by the Congress. In 1913, Congress delegated its Constitutional duty to provide a sound currency to a federally chartered but private central bank.

I excluded all but the special interests and lobbyists for a sound reason. They have no legal authority. They have no ability to coerce a senator, a congressman or a president to do one cotton-picking thing. I don't care if they offer a politician $1 million dollars in cash. The politician has the power to accept or reject it.

No matter what the lobbyist promises, it is the legislation's responsibility to determine how he votes.

A CONFIDENCE CONSPIRACY

Don't you see how the con game that is played on the people by the politicians? Those 545 human beings spend much of their energy convincing you that what they did is not their fault. They cooperate in this common con regardless of party.

What separates a politician from a normal human being is an excessive amount of gall. No normal human being would have the gall of Tip O'Neill, who stood up and criticized Ronald Reagan for creating deficits.

The president can only propose a budget. He cannot force the Congress to accept it. The Constitution, which is the supreme law of the land, gives sole responsibility to the House of Representatives for originating appropriations and taxes.

O'neill is the speaker of the House. He is the leader of the majority party. He and his fellow Democrats, not the president, can approve any budget they want. If the president vetos it, they can pass it over his veto.

REPLACE SCOUNDRELS

It seems inconceivable to me that a nation of 235 million cannot replace 545 people who stand convicted -- by present facts - of incompetence and irresponsibility.

I can't think of a single domestic problem, from an unfair tax code to defense overruns, that is not traceable directly to those 545 people.

When you fully grasp the plain truth that 545 people exercise power of the federal government, then it must follow that what exists is what they want to exist.

If the tax code is unfair, it's because they want it unfair. If the budget is in the red, it's because they want it in the red. If the Marines are in Lebanon, it's because they want them in Lebanon.

There are no insoluble government problems. Do not let these 545 people shift the blame to bureaucrats, whom they hire and whose jobs they can abolish; to lobbyists, whose gifts and advice they can reject; to regulators, to whom they give the power to regulate and from whom they can take it.

Above all, do not let them con you into the belief that there exist disembodied mystical forces like "the economy," "inflation" or "politics" that prevent them from doing what they take an oath to do.

Those 545 people and they alone are responsible. They and they alone have the power. They and they alone should be held accountable by the people who are their bosses - provided they have the gumption to manage their own employees.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Trunkie ate o po? Espero que nao

Hey everyone!

What a week. It has been quite the adjustment working in the field full time again. I have to get used to everything still, including the sore and blistered feet. I guess I had gotten weak and lazy in the office :P Im the zone leader of one of the main zones here in belem, called "Belem Zone". As a zone leader you have an elevated responsibility to work even harder and acheive higher numbers and standards than the other missionaries in your zone to show an example. We have been working hard to set that example. Although its tough, its nice having all the pressure to keep me working all the way til the last minute of my mission.

General conference this week was incredible. I dont know if I had a favorite talk... they were all so great. I enjoyed Elder Aidukaitis' talk about how he honored his father for the testimony of the Book of Mormon he had and how he did what he knew to be right even in the face of many difficulties. I'm always a big fan of Elder Holland who gave a great talk about the angels in our life that help us through our challenges. 5 new temples announced. Amongst them, Jackson County Missouri and Rome... can you say... Second Coming? Im getting tickets to the next conference in april if someone else wants to join me.

I got to see a ton of my recent converts from Telegrafo, it was great. Domingos is preparing to get the priesthood and had an interview last week. Ulisses is still going on splits with the missionaries at least once or twice a week. Breno and Gabriel went to all of the sessions.

I bought some awesome souveniers from Ver-O-Peso last week. We are going again today to do some more shopping. I already got you all your christmas presents lol. If you have any last minute requests, make them now because you only have 3 more mondays to tell me and Ill only be going there once more.

I love you all tons. I miss you and cant wait to see you all again.

Love,
Elder Childs

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Family and the sanctity of marriage

Legal battles are looming in the drive to define what is a family and what unions are allowed to be called marriage. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints' stance on this issue is unequivocal, and it can be found here.

It states in part:

"The California Supreme Court recently ruled that same-sex marriage was legal in California. Recognizing the importance of marriage to society, the Church accepted an invitation to participate in ProtectMarriage, a coalition of churches, organizations, and individuals sponsoring a November ballot measure, Proposition 8, that would amend the California state constitution to ensure that only a marriage between a man and a woman would be legally recognized. (Information about the coalition can be found at ProtectMarriage.com.

On June 20, 2008, the First Presidency of the Church distributed a letter about “Preserving Traditional Marriage and Strengthening Families,” announcing the Church’s participation with the coalition. The letter, which was read in Latter-day Saints’ church services in California, asked that Church members “do all [they] can to support the proposed constitutional amendment.”

Members of the Church in Arizona and Florida will also be voting on constitutional amendments regarding marriage in their states, where coalitions similar to California’s are now being formed.

The focus of the Church’s involvement is specifically same-sex marriage and its consequences. The Church does not object to rights (already established in California) regarding hospitalization and medical care, fair housing and employment rights, or probate rights, so long as these do not infringe on the integrity of the family or the constitutional rights of churches and their adherents to administer and practice their religion free from government interference.

The Church has a single, undeviating standard of sexual morality: intimate relations are proper only between a husband and a wife united in the bonds of matrimony.

The Church’s opposition to same-sex marriage neither constitutes nor condones any kind of hostility towards homosexual men and women. Protecting marriage between a man and a woman does not affect Church members’ Christian obligations of love, kindness and humanity toward all people."

Please take the time to read the entire article. If you do it will become evident that the church's stance is not anti-gay, as some might claim, but rather it is pro-family. It cites several examples of the benefits to having both a father and a mother in the home. It discusses the alarming rate of homes where children are raised by a single parent.

David Blankenhorn in Fatherless America: Confronting Our Most Urgent Social Problem states: "The United States is becoming an increasingly fatherless society. A generation ago, an American child could reasonably expect to grow up with his or her father. Today, an American child can reasonably expect not to. Fatherlessness is now approaching a rough parity with fatherhood as a defining feature of American childhood.

This astonishing fact is reflected in many statistics, but here are the two most important. Tonight, about 40 percent of American children will go to sleep in homes in which their fathers do not live. Before they reach the age of eighteen, more than half of our nation's children are likely to spend at least a significant portion of their childhood living apart from their fathers. Never before in this country have so many children been voluntarily abandoned by their fathers. Never before have so many children grown up without knowing what it means to have a father.

Fatherlessness is the most harmful demographic trend of this generation. It is the leading cause of declining child well-being in our society. It is also the engine driving our most urgent social problems, from crime to adolescent pregnancy to child sexual abuse to domestic violence against women. Yet, despite its scale and social consequences, fatherlessness is a problem that is frequently ignored or denied. Especially within our elite discourse, it remains largely a problem with no name."

David Popenoe In his book, Life Without Fathers, states: "The decline of fatherhood is one of the most basic, unexpected and extraordinary trends of our time. Its dimensions can be captured in a single statistic: In just three decades, between 1960 and 1990, the percentage of children living apart from their biological fathers more than doubled, from 17 percent to 36 percent. By the turn of the century, nearly 50 percent of American children may be going to sleep each evening without being able to say good night to their dads.

No one predicted this trend; few researchers or government agencies have monitored it; and it is not widely discussed, even today. But the decline of fatherhood is a major force behind many of the most disturbing problems that plague American society: crime; premature sexuality and out-of-wedlock births to teenagers; deteriorating educational achievement; depression, substance abuse and alienation among adolescents; and the growing number of women and children in poverty."

As the definition of marriage changes and is trivialized, the sanctity of human life decreases.

According to Wikipedia, the current population in the United States is 305,275,000. According to the Guttmacher Institute, 45,000,000 legal abortions were performed between 1973 and 2005. That number is an eye popping 15% of the total population.

NPR reports that in recent court battles between religious and same sex groups, that religions are losing. Some of the examples they cited include:

"Adoption services: Catholic Charities in Massachusetts refused to place children with same-sex couples as required by Massachusetts law. After a legislative struggle — during which the Senate president said he could not support a bill "condoning discrimination" — Catholic Charities pulled out of the adoption business in 2006.

Medical services: A Christian gynecologist at North Coast Women's Care Medical Group in Vista, Calif., refused to give his patient in vitro fertilization treatment because she is in a lesbian relationship, and he claimed that doing so would violate his religious beliefs. (The doctor referred the patient to his partner, who agreed to do the treatment.) The woman sued under the state's civil rights act. The California Supreme Court heard oral arguments in May 2008, and legal experts believe that the woman's right to medical treatment will trump the doctor's religious beliefs. One justice suggested that the doctors take up a different line of business.

Wedding facilities: Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association of New Jersey, a Methodist organization, refused to rent its boardwalk pavilion to a lesbian couple for their civil union ceremony. The couple filed a complaint with the New Jersey Division on Civil Rights. The division ruled that the boardwalk property was open for public use, therefore the Methodist group could not discriminate against gay couples using it. In the interim, the state's Department of Environmental Protection revoked a portion of the association's tax benefits. The case is ongoing."

Tell me, what happens when a gay couple decides that they want to be married inside of an LDS chapel, or temple? At the moment, I can't see how such a thing would be allowed. However, legal precedent is being made with frightening forward looking possibilities.

Heavenly Father loves all of his children regardless of the choices they make in life. However, He has given us commandments, that if we follow, will bless our lives.

His commandments are designed and intended to increase our joy and peace.

One of the greatest gifts we have been given on earth are families. As we continue to confuse what defines a family or a marriage, we reject the blessings He wants to give us.

What can we do?

Go to ProtectMarriage.com and sign up.

If you live in California, vote in favor of Prop 8 and encourage others to do likewise.

Arizona and Florida have similar ballot issues this fall. If you live there, vote in favor of them.

Write letters to your governmental legislators telling them that you support the definition of marriage being defined as a union between one man and one woman.

Donate of your means and times to support the ballot initiatives.

Monday, September 22, 2008

No witness until after the trial of your faith: Ether 12:6

6 And now, I, Moroni, would speak somewhat concerning these things; I would show unto the world that faith is things which are hoped for and not seen; wherefore, dispute not because ye see not, for ye receive no witness until after the trial of your faith.

(Book of Mormon | Ether 12:6)

Following along with the last post about instant gratification, here we are told that the reward comes AFTER the trial of our faith. So often we hear in movies and on TV, and perhaps we even said to ourselves, “Lord just give me a sign.”

We want the sign first. Only after the Lord has shown us that He exists we will try to do what He wants. That’s a little bit of putting the cart before the horse. Signs, in and of themselves, do not create faith. Otherwise I think that Pharaoh would’ve released the children of Israel much sooner than he did. Jesus performed many miracles while He was on earth, and then the people crucified Him.

There is a very sacrilegious movie in the theatres at the moment. The maker of the movie styles himself as a comedian and authority figure on various subjects, like religion and politics. I heard him recently on a talk show asking a Christian, “Do you really think that a serpent spoke to a person?” i.e. he was referencing the Garden of Eden.

My response to that would be that I think that he is trying to find reasons for doubt, when he should be looking for reasons to believe. A person that is looking for reasons to doubt will always find them. It doesn’t make them right.

Examine the world around you. Look out at the stars in the heavens, and at the human body in all of its intricacies. If God created those, would it really be that difficult to make a serpent speak?

For the record, I think that the serpent was figurative and not literal, BUT EVEN IF IT WASN”T, it’s still small potatoes for Him who created everything.

Look for reasons to believe and you will find them.

Yesterday, Candace Salima wrote an excellent article on personal revelation. It can be found here.. It is well worth the investment in time to read it.

As we move forward in faith, diligently striving to do the Lord’s will instead of our own, we will see His subtle hand in our lives. I bear witness that I have seen it in mine.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Marshmallows and instant gratification: Ether 12:4-5



4 Wherefore, whoso believeth in God might with surety hope for a better world, yea, even a place at the right hand of God, which hope cometh of faith, maketh an anchor to the souls of men, which would make them sure and steadfast, always abounding in good works, being led to glorify God.
5 And it came to pass that Ether did prophesy great and marvelous things unto the people, which they did not believe, because they saw them not.

(Book of Mormon | Ether 12:4 - 5)

These verses make me think about the importance of delayed gratification. We live in a society of instant gratification and disposable resources. Make no mistake, I like the fact that if I want to know something I can type a few keystrokes in Google and get an answer. That access to knowledge wasn’t available just a short while ago.

However, that ability to get whatever we want so quickly has led to a "me first" mentality. Eat, drink, and be merry for tomorrow we die, is the mantra for most of society. If it feels good do it.

These two short verses remind me that sometimes I need to put aside my instant gratification with a “hope for a better world…”

I remember hearing about a study performed several years ago about children, marshmallows, and future SAT scores. Since I too like instant gratification at times, I went into Google, and typed “marshmallows and SAT scores.”
Here’s what I found:

In one of the most amazing developmental studies ever conducted, Walter Michel of Stanford created a simple test of the ability of four year old children to control impulses and delay gratification. Children were taken one at a time into a room with a one-way mirror. They were shown a marshmallow. The experimenter told them he had to leave and that they could have the marshmallow right then, but if they waited for the experimenter to return from an errand, they could have two marshmallows. One marshmallow was left on a table in front of them. Some children grabbed the available marshmallow within seconds of the experimenter leaving. Others waited up to twenty minutes for the experimenter to return. In a follow-up study (Shoda, Mischel, & Peake, 1990), children were tested at 18 years of age and comparisons were made between the third of the children who grabbed the marshmallow (the "impulsive") and the third who delayed gratification in order to receive the enhanced reward ("impulse controlled").

The third of the children who were most impulsive at four years of age scored an average of 524 verbal and 528 math. The impulse controlled students who scored 610 verbal and 652 math! This astounding 210 point total score difference on the SAT was predicted on the basis of a single observation at four years of age! The 210 point difference is as large as the average differences between that of economically advantaged versus disadvantaged children and is larger than the difference between children from families with graduate degrees versus children whose parents did not finish high school! At four years of age gobbling a marshmallow now v. waiting for two later is twice as good a predictor of later SAT scores than is IQ.

Might I suggest that we’re all 4 year olds? We’re enduring our time where we’ve been told that if we resist the urge to indulge our baser desires for just a short while that we will be richly rewarded for doing so. If we deny ourselves all ungodliness and place our trust and faith in Him who is mighty to save, we will be blessed.

So what do you think? Should we just eat our marshmallows now, or should we hold off for a bit for the promise and sure hope of better marshmallows down the road?

Friday, September 19, 2008

The Santa Letters


Christmas is by far my favorite time of year. In fact, if you were to check my I-Tunes account you’d see that I have 6.3 hours of Christmas music loaded that I listen to year round.

I was quite thrilled then when I was asked to be part of a virtual tour for a new book called, The Santa Letters. My expectations for a Christmas story are high and this book did not disappoint. Stacy Gooch-Anderson has created a classic that will be read and re-read for years to come.

From the book’s jacket:

One year ago on Christmas Eve, William died. For Emma Jensen, the hit-and-run driver killed more than her husband; he killed her joy in Christmas and in every other day of the year.

Now, as Christmas approaches again, Emma finds herself sinking into a depression that nothing can breach – not her job, not her love for her family, and certainly not the season. The Jensen children understand that Christmas will be strained this year – all except 6-year-old McKenna. Of all the family, only she still believes in the magic of Christmas, and in miracles.

But that is about to change.

When an ornate letter and a mysterious package arrive on the doorstep, Emma and her sons find themselves joining McKenna on a magical journey to Christmas. Each day, a package and a letter signed Santa arrive for the Jensens, and as the meaning of the Santa Letters unfold, the Jensens come to realize that the joy of Christmas does not have to be lost forever – and that William may be closer than they think.

This year, the Santa Letters will take the Jensens on a Christmas experience that will show God’s love can heal any wound, no matter how deep.

The book grabbed my attention from the very beginning and didn’t let go until the last page. I went on a rollercoaster ride of emotions as I felt the Jensens’ grief and pain slowly replaced by hope and healing.

When I finished The Santa Letters I was convinced that it will quickly become a must have Christmas book for all LDS homes.

Let me pause briefly here to state that I’m an accountant by profession. Accordingly, I love to gather as much data as possible to see what the data tells me. Those stories are usually told by numbers on balance sheets and profit and loss statements. I approached this task with the same methodology.

After finishing the book and knowing what my impression was, I handed the book to my wife to see what she thought. I didn’t give her my feelings of the book, I wanted an unbiased opinion. She started the book Sunday morning.

At church that day, my wife served as a sign language interpreter during sacrament meeting. The sister that she interprets for left after sacrament meeting and I looked forward to actually being able to sit next to my wife and enjoy Gospel Doctrine class together. Though we sat together, she didn’t really pay much attention to me. She didn’t pay that much attention to the teacher either. While the rest of us studied the book of Alma, she had The Santa Letters opened in her lap as she contentedly continued on the journey Stacy Gooch-Anderson created for her.

My wife loves Gospel Doctrine class. She studies the scriptures voraciously and always has input for the weekly lessons. The fact that she took the first opportunity she had to start reading again validated my own thoughts of the book. Once you start reading it, you will not want to put it down.

So now I had two data points giving the same results. I was curious if the book would have appeal outside of the LDS community. There are definite ideas and concepts in the book that are very “Mormon.”

I took the book to work with me and asked my boss if she would do me a favor. She smiled and looked at me waiting to see what the favor would be. When I asked her to read the book she responded, “I hate to read.”

She continued, “You don’t understand Dan, I always have a million things going on at once. When I try to read a book, I find at the end of the page that my mind has wandered to those things and I have to re-read almost every page to absorb it. A normal book will take me about ten months to complete.”

When she saw that the book wasn’t too thick she reluctantly took it and said that she would give it a try. Her very first thoughts were that she didn’t like sentences that begin with the word, “And.” I never noticed them in the book, but she did.

However, she finished the book in less than a week and said that she enjoyed it very much. Like me, she said that there were parts of the story that brought her to tears. You can’t help but be moved by the tender portrayal of a family that is struggling with this kind of loss. They learned as a family that the Lord’s strengths are greater than their weaknesses. As they put their trust in Him, they, like us, can find the ability to overcome any trial or tribulation.

Lastly, let me make two recommendations for reading this book. First, make sure that you have a box of tissues nearby when you start. Second, it would probably be best if you didn’t start reading the book Sunday morning before church.

Missionary e-mail 9-19-08

What a week! A lot of interesting things happened this week. Last Saturday we went to go do a service project at a member's house. They make houses out of cement and brick here so it was pretty tough work. There were some paid workers there to help and they mixed cement out front and we hauled the mixed cement in 5 gal. buckets to fill in the floor of the house. We also had to move some 110 lb bags of cement for them to mix... it was pretty tiring.

I learned this week that cement actually wears your skin away and cuts it open... I wish I would have brought gloves lol. I couldn't even believe how sore I was the next couple days. During the project, we had an interesting experience with the military police. I'll have to tell that one after the mission though :P

After I got home last friday, I got a phone call from the office. Next week I'll be going to an area called Arsenal which is here in belem. It is the next area over so its really close to the office and everything still. My companion will be Elder Beames who is a great friend of mine from my group. We will finish our missions the same day so I hope we can manage to not get too trunkie. Im really looking forward to working with him... he's a great guy.

My P-Day is now on Mondays like it was before so you have to remember to write me Sunday nights now. I won't have P-day next week because I'll still be here in the staff on Monday. I'll leave here on Wednesday. Don't forget to write me NEXT Sunday. OK?

Domingos and his mom will be baptized tomorrow. They are way excited. I hope I can baptize my goal next transfer and finish my mission strong. I gotta run. My time is running out here in the cyber. I love you all tons. Talk to you next Monday!

Love,
Elder Childs

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

X-Rays of my left elbow - 6 months post op

six months ago yesterday I was in a horrific accident that broke both of my elbows. My right elbow suffered only a hairline fracture, but I destroyed my left elbow.

This is what my elbow looked like 2 months post-op:



This is what my left elbow looks like today:



Though I still have quite a bit of hardware in my arm, the bone has healed very well. My suppination and pronation are about equal in both arms. I still feel a bit of a stretch in my left arm when I fully suppinate it, i.e. turn it palm side up, but even that is lessening over time.

I am grateful to a very skilled orthopedist, Dr. Matthew Hansen,

and the entire staff at The Core Institute, and Mercy Gilbert Hospital.

When I first broke my elbows I posted about it here.

Ironically, that post gets more traffic than anything else I've ever written. Just in case you were curious about how much traffic it gets, go into Google and type, "X-Rays of my left elbow." I have been the number one hit in google for that going back to April 2008.

I'm not sure why everyone is so interested in my left elbow, because no on ever posts a comment to that thread..., but for some reason it seems to be very popular. I'm not scheduled to get any more x-rays of my elbow for another six months. At that time they won't be checking to see if the arm has healed, but rather to make sure that the added hardware still looks good.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

For the love of power - Ether 9: 1-7

1 AND now I, Moroni, proceed with my record. Therefore, behold, it came to pass that because of the secret combinations of Akish and his friends, behold, they did overthrow the kingdom of Omer.
2 Nevertheless, the Lord was merciful unto Omer, and also to his sons and to his daughters who did not seek his destruction.
3 And the Lord warned Omer in a dream that he should depart out of the land; wherefore Omer departed out of the land with his family, and traveled many days, and came over and passed by the hill of Shim, and came over by the place where the Nephites were destroyed, and from thence eastward, and came to a place which was called Ablom, by the seashore, and there he pitched his tent, and also his sons and his daughters, and all his household, save it were Jared and his family.
4 And it came to pass that Jared was anointed king over the people, by the hand of wickedness; and he gave unto Akish his daughter to wife.
5 And it came to pass that Akish sought the life of his father-in-law; and he applied unto those whom he had sworn by the oath of the ancients, and they obtained the head of his father-in-law, as he sat upon his throne, giving audience to his people.

(Book of Mormon | Ether 9:1 - 5)

The Lord warns Omer to leave the land. I find it interesting that the Lord warns Omer to leave the land rather than to defend himself against his son Jared. From the preceding and succeeding verses I suspect that might have more to do with the wickedness of the people than anything to do with Omer.

Jared, Omer’s son, is anointed king over the people. He had promised Akish his daughter’s hand in marriage if he got rid of Omer so that Jared could become king. This was done at the behest of his daughter, who was clearly manipulative and also greedy for power.

I find it surprising that Jared was na├»ve enough to believe that his daughter wouldn’t do exactly to him, what she had already proposed to do to her grandfather, i.e. kill the person higher than you on the social food chain so you can have their position.

Anyway, Jared’s son-in-law kills him while he is sitting on his throne.

6 For so great had been the spreading of this wicked and secret society that it had corrupted the hearts of all the people; therefore Jared was murdered upon his throne, and Akish reigned in his stead.
7 And it came to pass that Akish began to be jealous of his son, therefore he shut him up in prison, and kept him upon little or no food until he had suffered death.

(Book of Mormon | Ether 9:6 - 7)

Akish assumed the kingdom through deceit and murder. It is not surprising that he would suspect that his own children might do to him, what he and his wife did to his father-in-law. After all, that is the example that he set for them. Accordingly, since he knew that children were capable of murdering their parents to gain power, he had his own locked up in prison and given little or no food until he died.

So what did Akish accomplish exactly? He is now the king, but he has good reason not to trust anyone. So he lives his life exercising authority over the people but having to sleep with one eye open for fear of who is trying to take him out. It doesn’t seem like much of a life to me.

What do you think? What price are you willing to pay for to acquire wealth, power prestige? Not that I’m saying that there is anything wrong with any of these things individually. I’m trying to get ahead in life just like anyone else. What boundaries do you set for yourself, so that as you strive to get ahead in life, you still maintain your ethics and honor before the Lord?

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Brother against brother - Ether 7:6-9

6 Now the land of Moron, where the king dwelt, was near the land which is called Desolation by the Nephites.
7 And it came to pass that Kib dwelt in captivity, and his people under Corihor his son, until he became exceedingly old; nevertheless Kib begat Shule in his old age, while he was yet in captivity.
8 And it came to pass that Shule was angry with his brother; and Shule waxed strong, and became mighty as to the strength of a man; and he was also mighty in judgment.
9 Wherefore, he came to the hill Ephraim, and he did molten out of the hill, and made swords out of steel for those whom he had drawn away with him; and after he had armed them with swords he returned to the city Nehor and gave battle unto his brother Corihor, by which means he obtained the kingdom and restored it unto his father Kib.

(Book of Mormon | Ether 7:6 - 9)

Kib does battle with his brother and restores the kingdom to his father. The brother of Jared warned that the anointing of kings would lead the people into captivity. He was proven prophetic. Just a few generation have passed and already the people have forgotten the Lord that delivered them safely to the promised land.
Of interest in this passage is the mention of “steel” in verse 9. Many distracters to the Book of Mormon cite references like this to say the Book of Mormon must be false because steel didn’t exist at that time.

Jeff Lindsay has put together a LDS FAQs page that addresses this issue.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Missionary e-mail 9-5-08

It was a great week. We had a baptism this last saturday and it went well. I have never seen so many people in one baptism. It was totally loaded full of people. We are planning a baptism next week and the week after, and the week after. They are all doing really well including a man named Domingos who really wants to be baptized. He is keeping all the commandments and got an answer this week. He now knows the church is true and told us he wants to be baptized. I wish it were that easy with another invesitigator of ours who is really struggling to be get an answer from God. He has been going to church for some time now. He loves it but feels he hasn't gotten an answer yet. We aren't quite sure what to do... I've never had an investigator that struggled so much to get an answer.

A decision was made this week on who would take my place here in the staff. He is supposed to come in next week for me to train him how to do my job... or so I thought... Last night, president hoggan told the assistants that he wanted to keep me another transfer. I don't know how I could handle yet another 2 months here...staying 9 months in the same area is hard... I guess if that's what the Lord wants, then that's what will happen. I'll get an answer next week of what will happen to me. If I leave, I'll probably be a zone leader here close by but who knows. It would be great to get out in the field and work like a real missionary for a litle while before I head home. We'll see what happens. Well, I love you all tons, I hope you have a great week!

Love,
Elder Childs

Christmas in September?

Check back on September 20th, to learn about the Santa Letters. You won't want to miss it.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Beautiful Sandy, UT home for sale



We own a house in Sandy, UT that we have decided to sell. The house is freshly remodeled. The house is located in the High Point subdivision at 1171 Lodgepole Dr. Sandy, UT. At only $299,900 it is the lowest priced home per square foot in the High Point subdivision.

The countertops, tile, dishwasher, and microwave are all new. The realtor is Scott Robbins. He can be reached at (801) 209-1120 or scott.robbins@utahhomes.com

The house is a lovely 2 story split level home in the High Point Subdivision. Home sits at end of quiet side lane and is a very private location. There are three large bedrooms upstairs including a master bedroom with master bath. The main level is very open with a large kitchen, dining nook in a bay, and large front living room. The family room is very large and has a gas burning fireplace. Off the back of the home is a large custom deck that has been built around a large shade tree.

If you, or anyone you know, is looking for a immaculate 4 bedroom, 2.5 bath home on a private cul-de-sac should give Scott a call and set up a time to go look at the house.

Other particulars include:

Lot size: 10,454 sq ft. or a full quarter acre.
2,236 sq ft house

The neighborhood has a great central location just off of 1300 East in northern Sandy. There is easy access to the major freeways and loads of great stores near by. Four major ski resorts are a mere 30 minutes away, and Park City is only 40 minutes away. In and out access to the main 1-15 corridor is easy and near by.

Neighborhood: High Point
School District: Jordan School District
Elementary School: East Sandy
Middle School: Union
High School: Hillcrest





Thursday, August 21, 2008

Travelling on the ocean of life - Ether 6:1-3

1 AND now I, Moroni, proceed to give the record of Jared and his brother.
2 For it came to pass after the Lord had prepared the stones which the brother of Jared had carried up into the mount, the brother of Jared came down out of the mount, and he did put forth the stones into the vessels which were prepared, one in each end thereof; and behold, they did give light unto the vessels.
3 And thus the Lord caused stones to shine in darkness, to give light unto men, women, and children, that they might not cross the great waters in darkness.

(Book of Mormon | Ether 6:1 - 3)

The brother of Jared places the stones that had been touched by the finger of the Lord into their ships. These stones provide light for the travelers as they sail across the ocean to the promised land.

The Lord Jesus is the light and life of the world, see Mosiah 16: 8-9, and Alma 38:9. He is the One that provides light for us as we travel through the ocean of life. His light is a shining beacon, that if followed, will bring us back home to the promised land.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Hi, my name is Dan and I'm addicted to the Olympics (Hi Dan!)


I apologize for not having posted in a while. My spare moments in the evening have been spent enthralled as I've watched mere mortals performing inhuman acts.

Is Michael Phelps a mere mortal? I read an article last week that discussed how swimming world records were no longer relevant because they're getting broken in every race. That's not exactly true, i.e. breaking a record in every race, unless we're talking about final events that Michael Phelps has participated in. In that case it's true. Does breaking a record in every final make it any less significant?

I say no! Human bodies haven't evolved much in the last 100 years. Swimming races in the Olympics have been around for a long time. The molecular construction of water hasn't changed drastically, that I'm aware of. It's not like Michael Phelps is racing downhill or anything like that. He doesn't have the wind at his back, making his swims easier. He is simply dominating the sport in a fashion that hasn't been seen since Mark Spitz. In fact, if he keeps it up, he will earn more gold medals in one Olympics than Mark Spitz. That's a daunting task.



I have loved watching all of the events. I'm not exactly sure if those 68 pound female Chinese gymnasts are actually 16 years old, like they claim, but they are amazing to watch.



I love the Chinese names, like Guo Jingjing. They're just fun to say. I've been tempted to turn Chinese myself, just so I can have a cool name. However, I think that if I do, I'll have to take up diving, and if you look at my picture on this blog, you'll quickly realize that I might be able to specialize in cannonballs, but probably not much else.

Anyway, I'll try to post now and then over the next two weeks if I can pull myself away from the T.V. long enough to do so.