Saturday, May 31, 2008

Over $1 Billion

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints conducts humanitarian activities worldwide. From 1985 to 2007 Humanitarian Services provided more than $1.01 billion in total assistance to needy individuals in 165 countries.

In 1996 the Church organized Latter-day Saint Charities as a non-governmental organization to facilitate humanitarian activities in selected countries.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

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 $319,000, 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 Jim Carlson. He can be reached at (801) 560-0147 or

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 Jim 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

New kitchen countertops and dishwasher

Kitchen picture #2

Main Living Room w/fireplace

Fireplace and bookshelf

There is brand new tile in the hallway, kitchen and bathrooms.

Master Bathroom

Back Patio

Front Bedroom with bench seat windows

Front Room with bench window seats

Stairs leading up to Master Bedroom and two other bedrooms

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Good, Better, Best 3 Nephi 28: 1-7

1 AND it came to pass when Jesus had said these words, he spake unto his disciples, one by one, saying unto them: What is it that ye desire of me, after that I am gone to the Father?
2 And they all spake, save it were three, saying: We desire that after we have lived unto the age of man, that our ministry, wherein thou hast called us, may have an end, that we may speedily come unto thee in thy kingdom.
3 And he said unto them: Blessed are ye because ye desired this thing of me; therefore, after that ye are seventy and two years old ye shall come unto me in my kingdom; and with me ye shall find rest.
4 And when he had spoken unto them, he turned himself unto the three, and said unto them: What will ye that I should do unto you, when I am gone unto the Father?
5 And they sorrowed in their hearts, for they durst not speak unto him the thing which they desired.
6 And he said unto them: Behold, I know your thoughts, and ye have desired the thing which John, my beloved, who was with me in my ministry, before that I was lifted up by the Jews, desired of me.
7 Therefore, more blessed are ye, for ye shall never taste of death; but ye shall live to behold all the doings of the Father unto the children of men, even until all things shall be fulfilled according to the will of the Father, when I shall come in my glory with the powers of heaven.

(Book of Mormon | 3 Nephi 28:1 - 7)

I love these verses. Jesus asks his disciples what they would like out of life. Nine of them respond that when their lives are over, that they want to return to Him quickly. He is pleased to hear this and tells them that it will be as they requested. However, the other three want something else. They want to continue to work in the Lord’s vineyard here in mortality.

They wanted something better. What I really like about this is that Jesus did not try to persuade the first nine to do the same thing. He was pleased with their righteous desire to want to be with Him. He could’ve asked those three first what they wanted, and it might have persuaded the others to follow suit, but He didn’t. It comes down to good, better, best.

We’re all here in mortality, hopefully trying to do the best that we can. As long as I am striving to do the Lord’s will and to draw closer to Him I feel His love in my life. There are undoubtedly many people that are more spiritual and better at keeping the commandments than I am. However, the Lord is patient with me, and desires what is best for me. He will save me just as fast as I let Him. Would He like me to be as righteous as my Bishop or Stake President, (or insert some other righteous person you look up to here)? I’m sure that He would. Do I want to be as righteous as my Bishop and Stake President? Yes I do. The Lord will help me along the way without beating me over the head because I’m not quite Apostle material yet.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

How the California Supreme Court got it wrong

On Thursday, May 15, 2008 That California Supreme Court overruled the state statute, voted on and approved by the citizens of California, that legally defined marriage as being between a man and a woman. The recent history of this issue in California is as follows:

On March 7, 2000, the people of California passed an initiative stating that “[o]nly marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California.”

In February 2004, the mayor of San Francisco gained international attention and ignited controversy when he directed city officials to ignore the law and issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. He justified his actions by claiming the California Constitution requires the government to allow same-sex couples to marry.
The California Supreme Court intervened and voided the illegal licenses on the ground that the mayor had no authority to disregard state law. However, the court did not decide whether the California Constitution requires the state to allow same-gender marriage. That issue became the subject of additional litigation.

In March 2005, a state trial court judge ruled that the state must allow same-gender marriage. That decision was later overturned by the Court of Appeal. The case is now before the California Supreme Court, which will make the final decision on the issue.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has joined with the California Catholic Conference, the National Association of Evangelicals, and the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of American in filing a brief to the California Supreme Court defending the established definition of marriage as the union of a man and a woman. The
is available on Newsroom.
Some of the interesting points of the brief are as follows:


Justice Stephen G. Breyer recently emphasized these themes: “[T]he Constitution [is] centrally focused upon active liberty, upon the right of individuals to participate in democratic self-government.” (Breyer, Active Liberty: Interpreting Our Democratic Constitution (2005), p. 21.) In his view, “courts should take greater account of the Constitution’s democratic nature when they interpret constitutional and statutory texts.” (Id. at 5.) Judicial restraint – i.e, “judicial modesty in constitutional decision-making” – is essential. (Id. at 37; see also id. at 17.)

Nowhere is judicial deference to democratic self-government more appropriate than in California. Here, the people have zealously retained their sovereign right to set public policy. The California Constitution places unique emphasis on democratic participation in policymaking. That emphasis represents a constitutional lens through which this Court should view its role in adjudicating these cases.

More specifically, on no subject is judicial restraint more warranted than in the present challenge to the time-honored definition of marriage. “[T]he structure of society itself largely depends upon the institution of marriage.” (Marvin v. Marvin (1976) 18 Cal. 3d 660, 684.) Like generations of Californians, when penning those words in 1976, this Court understood “marriage” to be the union of a man and a woman. It understood that marriage is a social “institution,” not merely a private arrangement between two people. And it understood that what is at stake in marriage is no less than the wellbeing “of society itself.” Page 28 of 73

A. The Judiciary Is Ill-Suited to Make Basic Public Policy
Decisions. The marriage debate turns on conflicting social and moral values and competing visions of how society should be ordered. Courts are not the right forum for this far-reaching discussion. As Professor Bickel explained, the judiciary is inherently ill-equipped to make such defining public policy choices:

The judicial process is too principle-prone and principlebound – it has to be, there is no other justification or explanation for the role it plays. It is also too remote from conditions, and deals, case by case, with too narrow a slice of reality. It is not accessible to all the varied interests that are in play in any decision of great consequence. It is, very properly, independent. It is passive. It has difficulty controlling the stages by which it approaches a problem. It rushes forward too fast…

For all these reasons, it is, in a vast, complex, changeable society, a most unsuitable instrument for the formation of policy. (Bickel, The Supreme Court and the Idea of Progress (1978), p. 175.) B. California’s Constitution Places Heavy Reliance on the Active Involvement of the People in Fashioning Public
Policy. Deference to the democratic process in matters of bedrock public policy is particularly appropriate in California, where the Constitution places heavy emphasis on the reserved powers of the people and democratic decision-making.

1. The California Constitution reserves “all political power” to the people.

The California Constitution represents “the highest expression of the will of the people of the state” (Ex Parte Braun (1903) 141 Cal. 204, 211), and “the preeminent expression of California law enacted by the people.” (American Academy of Pediatrics v. Lundgren (1997) 16 Cal. 4th 307, 314.) Article 2 § 1 of the Constitution declares, “All political power is inherent in the people.” (Cal. Const., Art. II, § 1 (emphasis added).) The three branches of California’s government have only as much power as the people have delegated to them under the Constitution.

Unlike the United States Constitution, which has “no mechanism for lawmaking directly by the people” (Mannheim & Howard, A Structural Theory of the Initiative Power in California (1998) 31 Loy. L.A. L. Rev. 1165, 1167), California’s Constitution reserves to the people powerful means of directly exercising their political power. Indeed, California is “at the radical end of the direct democracy spectrum.” (Id. at 1173.) The people have reserved to themselves the right to legislate directly through the initiative process by simple majority vote. (Cal. Const., Art. II, §§ 8 & 10.) They can “approve or reject” legislation, in whole or part, through the referendum process and recall their elected officials mid-term. (Id. §§ 9 & 13.) By these and other means, the people have constitutionally placed themselves at the center of policymaking.

This constitutional emphasis on the people’s right to directly decide policy issues is an interpretive lens through which this Court should view its role in the marriage debate. It is not the function of the judiciary to create new constitutional rights or to expand existing rights beyond what the people intended. Courts have no authority to create a new constitutional right and thereby limit an arena where the people have decided to govern themselves through the ordinary democratic process. All constitutional change, including the creation of new rights, must come from the people. The people and the legislature, to the extent the people have delegated power to it, are “the creative element in the government.”
(Nougues v. Gouglass (1857) 7 Cal. 65, 70.)

2. California courts and members of this Court have repeatedly emphasized the importance of deferring to democratic bodies in matters of public policy. California courts have repeatedly emphasized the importance of allowing democratic bodies to create and implement public policy. “The determination of public policy of states resides, first, with the people as expressed in their Constitution and, second, with the representatives of the people − the state Legislature.” (Jensen v. Traders & General Ins. Co. (1959) 52 Cal. 2d 786, 794.)

Plaintiffs ask this Court to alter the basic definition of marriage and thereby change our shared understanding of this vital social institution. That would be a momentous change, one with serious consequences for married couples, children, and families. With deepest respect for this Court, when it comes to the definition of marriage the stakes are simply too high for the issue to be decided by a handful of judges, no matter how able or learned. As a matter of democratic legitimacy and judicial prudence, any such change should come from the people and their legislative representatives.

The people of California and their political institutions are fully engaged in a democratic conversation about the nature and meaning of marriage. In the best of the American democratic tradition, “we the people” are talking, deliberating, deciding. Whatever the outcome, the conversation about this basic social institution should be allowed to continue without a profoundly divisive, judicial short-circuiting of the democratic process.
Page 71 of 73

By overturning the will of the people this week, the State of California’s Supreme Court has started on a slippery slope that will lead to the break down of our moral compass, and as a consequence, the weakening of our very society.

Consider the following article that explains the benefits children receive that are raised in a home with a father and a mother that reads in part:

To be concerned with proper child development is to be concerned about making sure that children have daily access to the different and complementary ways mothers and fathers parent.

If Heather is being raised by two mommies and Brandon is being raised by Daddy and his new husband-roommate, Heather and Brandon might have two adults in their lives, but they are being deprived of the benefits found in the unique influences found in a mother and father’s differing parenting styles. Much of the value mothers and fathers bring to their children is due to the fact that mothers and fathers are different. And by cooperating together and complementing each other in their differences, they provide these good things that same-sex caregivers cannot. The important value of these gender-based differences in healthy child-development will be explored here.

The fathering difference is explained by fathering scholar Dr. Kyle Pruett of Yale Medical School in his book Fatherneed: Why Father Care is as Essential as Mother Care for Your Child. Pruett says dads matter simply because “fathers do not mother.” Psychology Today explains, “Fatherhood turns out to be a complex and unique phenomenon with huge consequences for the emotional and intellectual growth of children.” A father, as a male parent, brings unique contributions to the job of parenting that a mother cannot.

Likewise, a mother, as a female parent, uniquely impacts the life and development of her child, as Dr. Brenda Hunter explains in her book The Power of Mother Love: Transforming Both Mother and Child. Erik Erikson explained that father love and mother love are qualitatively different kinds of love. Fathers “love more dangerously” because their love is more “expectant, more instrumental” than a mother’s love.

The following are some of the most compelling ways mother and father involvement make a positive difference in a child’s life. The first benefit is the difference itself.

“Children need mom's softness as well as dad’s roughhousing.”

Mothers and Fathers Parent Differently

This difference provides an important diversity of experiences for children. Dr. Pruett explains that fathers have a distinct style of communication and interaction with children. Infants, by 8 weeks, can tell the difference between a male or female interacting with them. Stanford psychologist Eleanor Maccoby, in her book The Two Sexes, explains mothers and fathers respond differently to infants. Mothers are more likely to provide warm, nurturing care for a crying infant. This diversity in itself provides children with a broader, richer experience of contrasting relational interactions —more so than for children who are raised by only one gender. Whether they realize it or not, children are learning at earliest age, by sheer experience, that men and women are different and have different ways of dealing with life, other adults and their children.

The above article also shows the importance of married couples striving to improve their marriages and to consider divorce as the last option as opposed to the all too frequent first option in dealing with challenges and struggles inherent in most marriages.

This post is not my intent to write an anti-gay rant. Homosexuality is not a sin that I have had to struggle with, but I’m pretty sure that I shouldn’t be casting stones at others until I am without sin. I’m not there yet, and I have this sneaking suspicion that if I do get there, I’m not going to want to cast stones anyway.

The LDS churches official position on the decision of the California Supreme Court is as follows:
“SALT LAKE CITY 16 May 2008 The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints recognizes that same-sex marriage can be an emotional and divisive issue. However, the Church teaches that marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God and that the family is the basic unit of society. Yesterday’s California Supreme Court decision is unfortunate.”

When I started researching for this post, I went to several religious websites that discussed homosexuality. Most of them said that gays will burn in hell. My thoughts were, “yeah ok maybe, but I will to if I don’t keep the commandments as well, and the last time I checked, that’s not the only commandment.” I was left wondering if the people that wrote these articles on their websites then went home kicked their dog and yelled at their wife and children. I could be wrong, but a lot of them seemed very angry. It’s always rubbed me the wrong way when people adopt an, “I’m going to heaven because I’m a (fill in your religious organization here – including Mormons, because I’ve definitely met some that feel this way), but you’re going to be miserable for eternity because you’re not like me.”

Point being, I wanted to quote more than just “LDS” thoughts on this subject. However, the best thoughts I could find were from the church’s own website. Feel free to comment and add your findings if they differ from mine.

I did find an interview with Elder Dallin H. Oaks that I liked, it reads in part:

PUBLIC AFFAIRS: At the outset, can you explain why this whole issue of homosexuality and same-gender marriage is important to the Church?

ELDER OAKS: This is much bigger than just a question of whether or not society should be more tolerant of the homosexual lifestyle. Over past years we have seen unrelenting pressure from advocates of that lifestyle to accept as normal what is not normal, and to characterize those who disagree as narrow-minded, bigoted and unreasonable. Such advocates are quick to demand freedom of speech and thought for themselves, but equally quick to criticize those with a different view and, if possible, to silence them by applying labels like “homophobic.” In at least one country where homosexual activists have won major concessions, we have even seen a church pastor threatened with prison for preaching from the pulpit that homosexual behavior is sinful. Given these trends, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints must take a stand on doctrine and principle. This is more than a social issue — ultimately it may be a test of our most basic religious freedoms to teach what we know our Father in Heaven wants us to teach.

PUBLIC AFFAIRS: Let’s say my 17-year-old son comes to talk to me and, after a great deal of difficulty trying to get it out, tells me that he believes that he’s attracted to men — that he has no interest and never has had any interest in girls. He believes he’s probably gay. He says that he’s tried to suppress these feelings. He’s remained celibate, but he realizes that his feelings are going to be devastating to the family because we’ve always talked about his Church mission, about his temple marriage and all those kinds of things. He just feels he can’t live what he thinks is a lie any longer, and so he comes in this very upset and depressed manner. What do I tell him as a parent?

ELDER OAKS: You’re my son. You will always be my son, and I’ll always be there to help you.
The distinction between feelings or inclinations on the one hand, and behavior on the other hand, is very clear. It’s no sin to have inclinations that if yielded to would produce behavior that would be a transgression. The sin is in yielding to temptation. Temptation is not unique. Even the Savior was tempted.
The New Testament affirms that God has given us commandments that are difficult to keep. It is in 1 Corinthians chapter 10, verse 13: “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.”
I think it’s important for you to understand that homosexuality, which you’ve spoken of, is not a noun that describes a condition. It’s an adjective that describes feelings or behavior. I encourage you, as you struggle with these challenges, not to think of yourself as a ‘something’ or ‘another,’ except that you’re a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and you’re my son, and that you’re struggling with challenges.
Everyone has some challenges they have to struggle with. You’ve described a particular kind of challenge that is very vexing. It is common in our society and it has also become politicized. But it’s only one of a host of challenges men and women have to struggle with, and I just encourage you to seek the help of the Savior to resist temptation and to refrain from behavior that would cause you to have to repent or to have your Church membership called into question.

PUBLIC AFFAIRS: If somebody has a very powerful heterosexual drive, there is the opportunity for marriage. If a young man thinks he’s gay, what we’re really saying to him is that there is simply no other way to go but to be celibate for the rest of his life if he doesn’t feel any attraction to women?

ELDER OAKS: That is exactly the same thing we say to the many members who don’t have the opportunity to marry. We expect celibacy of any person that is not married.

PUBLIC AFFAIRS: So you are saying that homosexual feelings are controllable?

ELDER OAKS: Yes, homosexual feelings are controllable. Perhaps there is an inclination or susceptibility to such feelings that is a reality for some and not a reality for others. But out of such susceptibilities come feelings, and feelings are controllable. If we cater to the feelings, they increase the power of the temptation. If we yield to the temptation, we have committed sinful behavior. That pattern is the same for a person that covets someone else’s property and has a strong temptation to steal. It’s the same for a person that develops a taste for alcohol. It’s the same for a person that is born with a ‘short fuse,’ as we would say of a susceptibility to anger. If they let that susceptibility remain uncontrolled, it becomes a feeling of anger, and a feeling of anger can yield to behavior that is sinful and illegal.

We’re not talking about a unique challenge here. We’re talking about a common condition of mortality. We don’t understand exactly the ‘why,’ or the extent to which there are inclinations or susceptibilities and so on. But what we do know is that feelings can be controlled and behavior can be controlled. The line of sin is between the feelings and the behavior. The line of prudence is between the susceptibility and the feelings. We need to lay hold on the feelings and try to control them to keep us from getting into a circumstance that leads to sinful behavior.

In another article President Gordon B. Hinckley said:
“Nevertheless, and I emphasize this, I wish to say that our opposition to attempts to legalize same-sex marriage should never be interpreted as justification for hatred, intolerance, or abuse of those who profess homosexual tendencies, either individually or as a group. As I said from this pulpit one year ago, our hearts reach out to those who refer to themselves as gays and lesbians. We love and honor them as sons and daughters of God. They are welcome in the Church. It is expected, however, that they follow the same God-given rules of conduct that apply to everyone else, whether single or married" (“Why We Do Some of the Things We Do,” Ensign, Nov. 1999, 54).

After initially creating this post, I found this article that I also liked.

In conclusion, The State of California overstepped its bounds with its latest ruling. They should have abided by the will of the people. If the will of the people was in support of gay marriage, then that should’ve been respected as well, and my personal opinions on the subject should’ve been ignored. The vast majority of Californians justifiably could feel disenfranchised by this latest ruling, which will breed contempt for government as a whole, and the judiciary in particular.

Marriage should be defined as a union between a man and a woman. Any other definition cheapens the status that has been held by society going back to the beginning of time.

Children are best served by having a male father and a female mother. Their needs should not become subject to the whims of those that want to live in a gay lifestyle but feel that they should raise children as well. If nature doesn’t allow two men or two women to conceive between them, there’s probably a good reason for it.

Friday, May 16, 2008

8 weeks post-op x-rays on left elbow

This is an x-ray taken earlier today on my left elbow. Doctor/Brother Matthew Hansen explained the important aspects, which I have noted on the image.

In short, the places where I broke my elbow, are still broken. However, to the left of my new radial head you can see a slight hazy cloud. That would be bone that is forming on my arm that wasn't there before. If that bone continues to form over the radial head and somehow connects to the upper arm, that would be bad. It would necessitate another surgery to get rid of it, as it would prevent my arm from bending. Dr. Hansen, if you're reading this, please feel free to click on the comment section at the bottom of this post and eloborate further, if you'd like.

I have complete confidence that I am in good hands. I have received blessings from worthy priesthood holders that my arm will heal, and if you haven't read the bio on my orthopedist, Matthew Hansen, click on his name above. Dude is seriously brilliant. He specializes in elbows and shoulders. He was mentored by the man that created Tommy John surgery.

If you have elbow or shoulder issues and are anywhere near Gilbert, AZ, i.e. the Western United States, he's the guy to go to.

This is the same x-ray, but I blacked out everything but the bone.

Missionary e-mail 5-16-08

It was great to be able to talk to you all this sunday! I loved it. I cant wait to be able to talk to you all again. This week was super busy, we had another baptism on saturday but water ran out in our part of the city. Somehow, one of the neighbors of the church had water in their house so we filled up buckets one by one and filled up the baptismal font. It took about an hour and half to do but finally we got enough water in there to baptize.

Things are getting quite a bit more busy now as we are getting closer to another transfer. Things will be changing around here though as the idea of a "Transfer" will be done away with. Starting in a few weeks, transfers will be on a weekly basis instead of every 6 weeks, encouraging the missionaries to work hard all the time and not just a few weeks out of the transfer. It should make things pretty interesting around here. Ill be around just long enough to start seeing the effects of the change.

The poor new guy at home had yet another shocking experience to add to his list of things that have happened just this transfer. Last night, he an his comp were affronted by a man who came up to them, demanded their cell phones, and proceeded to steal it out of their pocket, then took off. He has a tenth of the time I have on the mission and he has already seen so much cool stuff. Lucky...

I gotta go. Love you guys ton. Hope you all have a great week!

Elder Childs

I'm ok, you're ok 3 Nephi 27: 9-15

9 Verily I say unto you, that ye are built upon my gospel; therefore ye shall call whatsoever things ye do call, in my name; therefore if ye call upon the Father, for the church, if it be in my name the Father will hear you;
10 And if it so be that the church is built upon my gospel then will the Father show forth his own works in it.
11 But if it be not built upon my gospel, and is built upon the works of men, or upon the works of the devil, verily I say unto you they have joy in their works for a season, and by and by the end cometh, and they are hewn down and cast into the fire, from whence there is no return.
12 For their works do follow them, for it is because of their works that they are hewn down; therefore remember the things that I have told you.
13 Behold I have given unto you my gospel, and this is the gospel which I have given unto you—that I came into the world to do the will of my Father, because my Father sent me.
14 And my Father sent me that I might be lifted up upon the cross; and after that I had been lifted up upon the cross, that I might draw all men unto me, that as I have been lifted up by men even so should men be lifted up by the Father, to stand before me, to be judged of their works, whether they be good or whether they be evil—
15 And for this cause have I been lifted up; therefore, according to the power of the Father I will draw all men unto me, that they may be judged according to their works.

(Book of Mormon | 3 Nephi 27:9 - 15)

The Lord’s church is built upon His gospel . As members of His church, we need to act in His name. That’s a great responsibility. Obviously, we are not the only church claiming divine guidance. How I act, what I say and do, should reflect my beliefs in my Savior.

Religion has a tendency to breed intolerance in many, i.e. you need to believe exactly as I do, or your going to burn in hell forever. Many churches seem to spend as much time spewing hatred against those that differ from them, as they do in building up their followers. One of my favorite phrases, which I think actually has Buddhist roots is, “A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle.” I take that phrase to mean that I don’t need to make you look bad in order to make me look good. I’m not trying to say that I’m better than anyone, and I don’t need to have others praising me for what a good person I am. Trust me, I’m around myself all day. I know how far I need to progress to become the person I want to be.

If my actions/works are in line with Heavenly Father’s will, then I will find peace and joy in my life. Conversely, if they aren’t, I might think that I’ve found happiness for a short while, but ultimately, there is no happiness there.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Sweet Dreams

Most of my postings on this blog are religiously oriented. However, I love to write and probably don't share enough of my writing with others. Here is a short story I wrote a while ago called Sweet Dreams. Please feel free to post comments telling me you liked it, hated it, how it could be better, etc. Enjoy.

“Doc, you just don’t realize how much pressure the average accountant is under. The never-ending deadlines make me crazy. You know we really have very little to do with a company’s revenues, however, when it comes to financial reports we’re expected to do magic. My boss always tells me that he expects me to make two plus two equal whatever he needs it to be. Keeping the shareholders happy is always stressed. When our stock price takes a dip, you just know that if it doesn’t turn around soon that layoffs can’t be far behind. Accountants are often considered nothing more than a necessary evil at any company. Most executives wish they could survive without us, but they know they can’t. The bankers and investors want us around, which is the only reason most of us have a job. I come home mentally exhausted everyday.”

Dr. Sayer remained impassive with his patented stoic gaze, lounging in his burgundy leather chair as he replied, “And you think this is what’s creating the dreams Colby?”

Glaring up at his psychiatrist’s white ceiling panels from the comfort of the tan leather couch he laid on, Colby replied, “How else would you explain it, Doc? I mean, it’s the same dream night after night. Very little change. Do you think that I’m crazy?”

Chuckling, which was unusual for Doctor Sayer, he looked down his wire rimmed glasses at his middle aged, haggard looking patient and stated, “I think that it means you have a healthy imagination Colby. Dreams are a part of life. Some are very vivid and we remember them for a long time. Most people will dream all night long and wake up without remembering a thing about them. Just because you remember your dreams doesn’t mean you’re suffering from some neuroses. Tell me more about your dreams. Do they frighten you? Are they violent? Are you at your job naked? What is it about your dreams that concern you?”

Sighing as he looked out the window on the Phoenix skyline, he noticed a heat shimmer creating a subtle wavy appearance that struck him as rather dream-like in nature. Colby turned back to his psychiatrist and responded, “Haven’t you been listening? It’s the same dream every time. Clearly my subconscious is trying to tell me something. Violent? No, I don’t remember anything violent in them. They’re about as far from being frightening as you can imagine. Naked? Now that you mention it, I’m not really sure. I don’t think so, but I don’t recall anyone wearing a lot of clothing. Not myself, not anyone. Does that mean something Doc?”

“Do you think that it means something Colby? How does it make you feel when no one is wearing much clothing? Please Colby. Just humor me and tell me your dream one more time.”

Running his hands through his hair, as if he was being asked to do something he really would rather not, he started in a mere whisper, “I can’t exactly remember how they begin, but once I become conscious of my dream and my surroundings I’m frequently flying. I have thin gossamer wings on my back. Everybody flies. It’s how we get around. The place is a tropical paradise. Multi-hued flowers bloom year round and waterfalls are everywhere.” Sighing again as he looked out onto the desert landscape just outside the window, he continued, “Imagine the most beautiful rainforest you can think of. Then multiply that thought by a thousand. The green of the trees is greener than anything I can describe; the blues, bluer, the reds, redder. Am I making any sense, Doc?”

Nodding his head, Doctor Sayer, waived his hand in a forward rolling motion and said, “Continue.”

The air conditioner hummed in a soft, monotonous, high-pitched drone. Colby found it near hypnotic as he continued without really thinking, “My life there is much different than here, Doc. I’m going nowhere fast here. I have my job, which I go to every day, sit in my cubicle and desperately hope that I can do my work without getting yelled at by my boss. When work is done, I go home, pop a frozen dinner into the microwave, vegetate for a while in front of the T.V., and then go to bed just so I can do the same thing tomorrow.”

Trying not to be intrusive, Doctor Sayer interjected, “Let’s go back to your dream, Colby. Tell me more about what it is like in the rainforest. Do you have friends? If you have a job there, what do you do? Does this tropical paradise have a name?”

“Right, right. I’m sorry Doc; I got a bit distracted there for a moment. It’s just the difference between my dreams and my existence here is so opposite that in an odd way I feel that I’m describing either place in the same sentence. One is black and the other white. My dreams are the opposite of my life. Now you really are going to think that I’m crazy, I’m important there. I’m like a…I’m a king. Ok, there you have it. Here I’m nobody, and there I’m loved and respected by everyone. The people, or creatures, or whatever that live there are my subjects. Oh, did I mention that I have a wife there. She’s gorgeous. She’s slender, with blond hair and milky, white skin. She has an ever-so-slightly high pitched voice, and when she speaks it’s as if she is singing the sweetest song you’ve ever heard.”

Colby wiped away a tear that started to form just under his eyes. He faked a cough to cover his movement as he struggled to regain his composure. “She’s a vision from heaven Doc and she loves me unconditionally. Her porcelain features give a fragile appearance and yet, she’s fiercely loyal and strong. I’ve never even had a dog that would protect me like she would. We’re madly in love with each other without a care in the world.”

“Many people would consider being a king a rather difficult job with a ton of responsibilities, Colby. Do you have any responsibilities as king, or do you see your sole reason of existence to be so others can cater to your every whim?”

“Huh, what? Responsibilities? Yes, I believe so, but really everything seems to take care of itself. People there aren’t my slaves. I’m the king, but we all live in perfect harmony. We don’t have any cares. Why should we? Everything we need is provided in the rainforest. Can you imagine Doc, no deadlines? Nobody screaming at me to reconcile their bank accounts, no one demanding that I need to find a creative way to increase bottom-line profits, no one asking me to compromise my ethics because of my profession. We sing, dance, flit here and there, no one’s worried about appeasing shareholders. The rainforest provides our food and though I’m the king, it’s almost a figurehead position. I get the chief seat at our nightly feast, that’s my job. I tell the performers and food servers what a wonderful job they do. Not too much stress there.”

Even Dr. Sayer couldn’t help but sigh in envy at the idyllic scene just described by his overly paranoid, but quite clearly healthy patient. Looking at Colby with his patented concerned, yet slight smile, he responded, “I hate to disappoint you Colby, but you sound very healthy to me. You’re not wild about your job here. You find your life to be somewhat bland. Your dreams are providing you with an outlet, an escape from the pressure and stress that you feel here. It’s all very healthy. Do you sometimes fantasize about being in your paradise even when you’re awake?”

Colby’s jaw dropped to his chest in disbelief, as he exclaimed, “Yes, I do. All of the time.” His eyes wide open in wonderment he queried, “How did you know that? You’re really good as a psychiatrist, Doc,”

Unable to contain his amusement, Doctor Sayler chortled and snorted as he replied, “Don’t be that impressed Colby. We all daydream. Me, you, and probably every person that you’ve ever come in contact with I hope spends a fair amount of time daydreaming. You see we all have our dreams. We all have our secret alter egos that can do things we as mere mortals cannot. Now if you were dressing up like the person in your dream, or if you were dancing around my office feverishly flapping your arms, screaming, ‘look at me fly, I’m flying,’ then I think that we would have issues to deal with.” The broad smile still etched on his features the psychiatrist continued, “Have you ever done any of those things, Colby?”

With a bit of dejection etched into his features, Colby responded, “No Doc, I’ve never done anything quite as crazy as that. It’s just…how do I describe it. The dreams seem so real, but that’s not all of it. I wish they were real, Doc. I really do. I wish that I could live the carefree life of my dreams.”

Almost in unison, they gazed out the window. Both seeing a heat shimmer on the skyline that made it look both liquid and otherworldly at the same time. “Yes Colby, we all feel like that sometimes.”

Just then, Colby looked back at his therapist, squinting his eyes and cocking his head to the side. The high-pitched humming sound of the air conditioner grew ever louder. For his part, Doctor Sayler just smiled as he looked back at Colby waiting to see what he would say next.

Lost in thought, all Colby could do was fixate on the sound of the air conditioner as it grew louder and louder. Hypnotic he thought again. In the middle of the high-pitched sound reverberating throughout the room he heard a crystal-clear voice calling out, calling to him, “My lord, my lord Sythyx. Wake up my beloved. The day-dawn is breaking. The night shadows are racing from the rising sun. Be up and doing my love, your people anxiously await you in the Greenwood Gardens.”

Confused, lost in a thick haze of uncertainty, Colby rubbed his eyes and slowly re-opened them.

Sythyx, High Lord of Greenwood, Kingdom of the Faeries, yawned as he pulled his hands away from his eyes and stretched his arms wide. He smiled as he saw his beloved wife, sitting at his bedside next to him; her porcelain features and striking beauty still amazed him, despite their fifty years of marriage.

Contented to see recognition in his eyes, Amerelia, Queen of the Faeries, gazed down on her husband. “Did you sleep well sweet lord? You had a fearful look of concern on your features that I did not fancy. What unspoken terrors trouble you my darling? Did you have a disturbing dream, my love?”

She stretched out her hands and took a firm hold of his. Lord Sythyx brought his hand to his chin and thought hard for just a moment before saying, “I had the strangest dream my queen. I lived in a world of constant confusion. I felt empty and lost, hollow like a seashell whose owner has long deserted it. I feared and fretted about everything. Worst part of all, I was a human, unable to hie away from the horrors that haunted me. I shared my worries with a man. He seemed quite kindly, but he too was stuck in this world without merriment and mirth.”

With a protective and loving smile, Queen Amerelia peered down on her lover and stated, “T’was but a dreadful dream my love. Banish such baneful thoughts. Let’s sing and dance and play with our people, while the morning sun shines. Your nocturnal nightmare will quickly become a distant memory and then simply disappear.”

Gazing into her penetrating blue eyes, he said, “You’re right my love. T’was naught but a nightmare.”

With that said, he sprung from his bed of leaves and flowers, and grabbing his wife’s hand, together they flew out into the new day, contented with the songs of their people greeting them as they entered their garden. Not even once, did Lord Sythyx think back on his dream ever again.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Christian One-liners

My son Colby sent this to me and I thought I should share:

Many folks want to serve God, But only as advisors.


It is easier to preach ten sermons
Than it is to live one.


The good Lord didn't create anything
Without a purpose, but mosquitoes come close.


When you get to your wit's end,
You'll find God lives there.


People are funny; they want the front
Of the bus, the middle of the road, and
The back of the church.


Opportunity may knock once, but temptation
Bangs on your front door forever.


Quit griping about your church;
If it was perfect, you couldn't belong.


If the church wants a better pastor,
It only needs to pray for the one it has.

*+*+* +*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*

God Himself does not propose to judge
A man until he is dead. So why should you?


Some minds are like concrete-
Thoroughly mixed up and permanently set.


Peace starts with a smile.


I don't know why some people
Change churches; what difference does

It make which one you stay home from?


A lot of church members who are singing

'Standing on the Promises'

Are just sitting on the premises.


We were called to be witnesses,

Not lawyers or judges.

Be ye fishers of men. You catch Them -

He'll clean them.


Coincidence is when God

Chooses to remain anonymous.


Don't put a question mark

Where God put a period.


Don't wait for 6 strong men

To take you to church.


Forbidden fruits create many jams.


God doesn't call the qualified,

He qualifies the called.


God loves everyone, but

probably prefers
'fruits of the spirit' over

'religious nuts!'


God promises a safe landing,

Not a calm passage.

He who angers you, controls you!


If God is your Co-pilot - swap seats!


Don't give God instructions --

just report for duty!


The task ahead of us is never as
Great as the Power behind us.


The Will of God never takes you to
Where the Grace of God will not protect you.

We don't change the message,

The message changes us.


You can tell how big a person is

By what it takes to discourage him.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Linking the Generations 3 Nephi 25

1 FOR behold, the day cometh that shall burn as an oven; and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble; and the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith the Lord of Hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch.
2 But unto you that fear my name, shall the Son of Righteousness arise with healing in his wings; and ye shall go forth and grow up as calves in the stall.
3 And ye shall tread down the wicked; for they shall be ashes under the soles of your feet in the day that I shall do this, saith the Lord of Hosts.
4 Remember ye the law of Moses, my servant, which I commanded unto him in Horeb for all Israel, with the statutes and judgments.
5 Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord;
6 And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.

(Book of Mormon | 3 Nephi 25:1 - 6)

A good companion scripture for verse 1 can be found in D&C 64: 23-24. It also correlates well with the last chapter speaking on tithing:

23 Behold, now it is called today until the coming of the Son of Man, and verily it is a day of sacrifice, and a day for the tithing of my people; for he that is tithed shall not be burned at his coming.
24 For after today cometh the burning—this is speaking after the manner of the Lord—for verily I say, tomorrow all the proud and they that do wickedly shall be as stubble; and I will burn them up, for I am the Lord of Hosts; and I will not spare any that remain in Babylon.

That verse speaks of the second coming of the Savior, and is why in many circles we refer to paying our tithing as “fire insurance.”

I really love those passages of scripture where the LDS church seems to have a good understanding of them, and where I can’t find another church that understands that passage. Verses 5 and 6 falls into that category. Our understanding of the passage is due to continuous revelation. These verses speak of a linking of the generations through time in one form or another. This linking is being done today through genealogy work and subsequent temple work for the deceased. I know of no other organization, religious or otherwise, that does genealogy work on the scale that we do.

We search out our ancestors, and when we find them we perform the ordinances necessary for salvation for them in our temples. One example of an ordinance that is necessary for salvation is baptism. Evidence of this can be found in the fact that Jesus himself was baptized and in verses like John 3:5, “Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.”

In 1 Corinthians 15:29 we read, “Else what shall they do which are baptized for the dead, if the dead rise not at all? why are they then baptized for the dead?” That is another passage of scripture uniquely understood by the LDS church. Paul plainly states that people are being baptized for the dead, and trying to prove that the resurrection is a reality, asks the question why do it, if they’re not going to rise again?

We link the fathers to the children and the children to their fathers by doing genealogy for our ancestors, and then performing the necessary ordinances for them, like baptism, so that our hearts are turned to each other.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Will a Man Rob God? 3 Nephi 24: 7-11

7 Even from the days of your fathers ye are gone away from mine ordinances, and have not kept them. Return unto me and I will return unto you, saith the Lord of Hosts. But ye say: Wherein shall we return?
8 Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say: Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings.
9 Ye are cursed with a curse, for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation.
10 Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in my house; and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of Hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing that there shall not be room enough to receive it.
11 And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground; neither shall your vine cast her fruit before the time in the fields, saith the Lord of Hosts.

(Book of Mormon | 3 Nephi 24:7 - 11)

The Lord tells His people, the children of Israel that they have turned away from Him by not keeping His ordinances. He informs them that if they return to Him, He will return to them.

He tells them that they have robbed Him in tithes and offerings. The people are cursed for not following this commandment. Conversely, He tells them to repent and if they do, He will open the windows of heaven for them, that there shall not be room enough to receive the blessings that He’ll shower on them.

In Jacob we’re taught to seek first for the kingdom of God before we seek for riches. We are taught that if we seek for riches with a pure heart and a desire to use it to serve the Lord that we will receive riches. I have put these passages to the test in my life and have found that the Lord is true to His word. Do you want to make more money? Then pay an honest tithing and a generous fast offering. The Lord has blessed me when I have served Him and contributed to His work monetarily.

In the April 2007 General Conference Elder Yoshihiko Kikuchi spoke on the blessings that come from paying an honest tithe and generous offerings.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Two new temples for Arizona!

President Monson Announces Two New Temples in Arizona

SALT LAKE CITY 28 April 2008 Plans to build two new temples in Gila Valley and Gilbert, Arizona, were announced today by Thomas S. Monson, president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. This will bring the total number of temples to 139 already in operation or in the planning and construction phases.

“It is my personal priority to make sure members of the Church have access to the blessings of the temple,” said President Monson. “It is here where members learn of their divine origin and destiny, where they are strengthened spiritually as individuals and as families. Temples are sanctuaries from the storms of life.”

To members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, temples are the house of the Lord, the most sacred place on earth. Temple services bind families together forever, teach the purpose of life and explain God's plan of salvation. Temple attendance strengthens Latter-day Saints' commitment to living Christian principles, emphasizes personal spiritual growth and increases devotion to family.

There are currently two temples in Arizona: one in Mesa and another in Snowflake.

Latter-day Saint temples differ from the tens of thousands of local meetinghouses where members typically meet for Sunday worship services and midweek social activities and where visitors are always welcome. Temples are used solely for the performance of sacred ordinances and religious instruction aimed at strengthening members’ relationships with God and their fellow man. They are closed to the public after they are dedicated.

My comments:
The church is growing by leaps and bounds here. When I first moved to Chandler, AZ six years ago, I was the Elders Quorum Secretary for Jim Anderson. Neither Jim nor I have moved in that six year period. We are now in different stakes. My ward has been split, or had the boundaries changed at least three times in the last six years. It's great to see new temples being built here. I've heard unsubstantiated rumors of where the Gilbert temple might be built. If the rumors are true, it will be about five minutes from my home. I am grateful for temples and the ordinances that are performed inside them that link generations and help the Lord to accomplish His work and glory.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Colin's e-mail 5-2-08

Hey there,

Well, like always, I didn't even realize that friday had arrived again. Things in the office have been a bit more calm than before. I managed to get all caught up in my work and used my free time to try to remember my C++ class I took in high school to be able to fix up and improve the system we use to keep track of all the missionaries. Im making a little bit of progress there.

Things around the house are pretty calm too. We are helping out the new guy, Elder Spencer, so he can learn Portuguese. He just got here from Norco, CA and is struggling a little with the language like most american elders do. The poor kid has had quite the culture shock since he got here 3 weeks ago and has already seen a guy run over by a bus, been caught up in a robbery, and seen a guy shot and killed. Soon enough, he will be as desensitized and used to it as the rest of us. I like seeing the new guys come in because I find it interesting to remember what it was like in his shoes a year and a half ago.

We have found some great investigators recently that are showing some potential, including a 15 year old boy named Jadernilson who has been visiting church for a while with his RM neighbor. His mom seems to be showing some interest too. The lawyer I mentioned last week couldn't make it to church but is excited to be there this week.

Well... not much else is going on. Im sorry things are a little boring to hear about here in the Staff. like always, I'll keep looking for something good to be able to tell you next week. I love you all tons and can't wait til the 11th!

Elder Childs

PS. Send Chapstick in the next package. Im almost out. Thanks! :)