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.