All posts by hipathadmin

True Power

At our company, we had been working on ideas for a quarter-million-Watt (250kW) wireless vehicle charger for nearly two years. That is the average power consumption for approximately 200 homes, and we would be putting all of that energy wirelessly through a 7” air gap.

We were now in the final stages of bringing the system up with all but the last of our power stages verified and that stages completion only minutes away from completion. I managed the team and had personally written much of the control software and engineered many of the circuit boards for the project. Our entire team had a lot of effort invested in this project, but there was one problem. I had to leave. It was time for me to fill a promise I had made to a friend.

From my journal:

Some were feeling sorry that I would be out as it looked like they would now be able to power up our entire system for 250 kW (quarter million Watts) for the first time. My company president also said, “You of all people should be here. Will it be okay without you? Don’t you want to be here?” I told him, “I am confident our team will be fine. Of course, I want to be here, but don’t slow down on my account! If I come in tomorrow morning and you tell me you were able to transfer the power, I’ll just smile!”

Then, I left for the temple without letting people know where I was going. They only knew I had taken a half day off to help a friend. My friend was my temple co-worker who needed me to cover his shift.

That night in the temple, one of my assignments was to simply be where I could guide and assist temple patrons. While doing this simple task, I caught myself not looking very happy. I love being in the temple, but was truthfully a bit disappointed to be missing our long-anticipated work milestone. I let this disappointment go from my mind as I quietly greeted and guided the sweet brothers and sisters who had come there. It was while I was doing this that the Lord did something very special for me. He opened my eyes for a moment and gave me a glimpse of who these, His noble sons and daughters, truly were. It was so beautiful that I have no words with which I can describe it. And with this, I felt an overwhelming outpouring of love for the Lord’s children and for my Father in Heaven. The real transfer of power was happening here in the temple, and the quarter million watts paled in significance.

Can there be any greater work than that of assisting the Lord in bringing to pass “the immortality and eternal life of man.” (Moses 1:39).  Only His work prepares our hearts to receive the endowment of our Savior’s priesthood power that purifies and redeems us through saving ordinances that both seal us up against the power of the Adversary and have the binding power and authority of Heaven to seal us to our loved ones forever.

1 Nephi 14:14 “…I, Nephi, beheld the power of the Lamb of God, that it descended upon the saints of the church of the Lamb, and upon the covenant people of the Lord, who were scattered upon all the face of the earth; and they were armed with righteousness and with the power of God in great glory.”

My prayer is that we will develop hearts to perceive the power and great glory that the Lord provides, but that the world cannot see nor understand.

DEAR ONES GIVING THEIR FULL MEASURE

I had a dear temple associate that was my trainer when I first began serving in the Bountiful Temple. He passed away a week ago, but even while suffering from terminal cancer and in hospice care, he asked not to be released as a temple worker so he could possibly continue his service. He wanted to be in the Lord’s House, even in this difficult personal trial. He was always like that, skipping breaks so he would be available to offer up even a little more support.

Recently, two older brothers I have served with came and talked to me separately. One, after 20+ years of service in the temple, realized he was no longer able to accurately administer the sacred words needed for the men and women coming there. He decided that coming to the temple to be administered to was just as important, and that was how he would continue contributing to the redemption of the Lord’s children. He was giving everything, but the way he gave had to change.

A place of service…

The other brother had become increasingly immobile and he informed me that he had made the difficult decision to discontinue his service as well. I could see it troubled him. He didn’t want to give up just because it was hard. I assured him that the Lord knew his situation and had inspired him to make this transition. I will miss seeing him there, but for all three of these men, along with the heartbreak, there was also a heart-warming peace because each of them was giving all they had. For each of them, they were primarily concerned that they were doing the Lord’s will.

As I have given a full measure to Him, I have seen that everything changes. A consecrated life is not one of fanatic over-reach. Indeed, going beyond what the Spirit prompts us can be just as damaging as being paralyzed by fear and lack of faith. Giving everything means living our lives by the words of the Lord’s prophets, and bringing our lives in perfect alignment with the spiritual promptings that will surely come as we are faithful. This is our lifelong challenge.

Giving a Full Measure: Sister Longbotham:

There was a special sister named Janet Longbotham that was an example of this faithfulness. I met her just one day while she was serving her 4th mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. She had a life plagued with Grand Maul seizures and had never married, but the Lord, ever compensatory for challenges, had given her an extraordinary portion of his Spirit and had given her visions and blessings and discernment as a mortal reward for her living a life that was dedicated to the Lord. That one conversation changed my life and clarified my life’s mission. I was on a general mailing list she used to share insights with, and there I learned that she passed away in October of 2021, leaving her testimony which was read at her funeral.

For those of you who think I am dead, I am alive in Christ and shall be for eternity, as all of you will be. I close my remarks with the inspired words of Hugh B. Brown who said, “Death is not extinguishing the light, but is turning out the lamp because the dawn has come.”  Goodbye. We will all see each other in the millennium.

Janet Longbotham, Sept 18, 2021

Oh, the beauty and strength we draw from those who no longer pursue the trivialities of our day because they are fully devoted to the Lord. May we each live to give a full measure, so that when we pass the veil, we will savor that glorious dawn with the Lord and our loved ones.

Love and Forgiveness: The Easter Miracle

In approaching Easter this week, I have tried to come closer to Christ by studying the Gospel of John, of whom it is written, “the disciple who Jesus loved.” He records that at Christ’s last discourse before going to Gethsemane, Christ gave the commandment to love one another, not once, but three times before he offered up the great intercessory prayer in Luke 17 where he asks the Father to grant us eternal life, that we may be one with him and that his perfect love would be in us.

The word love is mentioned throughout John’s beautiful record. Our Savior, especially in knowing he would soon suffer for the sins of the world and be betrayed and spit upon, mocked, and crucified, focused his last discourse on love. It was the focus of his entire life and ministry and it is his focus now.

Yesterday, my wife and I completed reading, “The Hiding Place” by Corrie Ten Boom. This remarkable woman was caught up in the work of saving souls in the midst of the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands, where their family’s compassion for the suffering Jews and so many others placed her, her father Casper and her sister Betsie in prison. The Germans were willing to let their 84-year-old father return, but this man whose home had always been open to the poor, answered, “”If I go home today, tomorrow I will open my door to anyone who knocks for help”. He was not released and perished some 10-days later. Betsie and Corrie were transferred to suffering the hateful cruelty of a concentration camp, where Betsie would later die. There, she told Corrie, “What better way can there be for us to live out our lives? Corrie, if people can be taught to hate, they can be taught to love! We must find the way, you and I, no matter how long it takes.”

Just after Betsie’s death, Corrie was released due to a ‘clerical error’ that bears all the markings of divine intervention, as it occurred just prior to the remaining women her age being killed. She needed to survive so she could learn to forgive and teach others the same, as she carried her sister’s vision to heal not only the oppressed but the oppressors. Indeed, she turned her own home, over to many who had betrayed their fellow countrymen as Nazi sympathizers because they were also broken.

Perhaps the seminal moment of her life came when one of their jailers at Ravensbruck that she remembered as part of the mocking and humiliation, came and listened to her speak after the war. As the church was emptying, he approached ‘beaming and bowing’ and said,

“How grateful I am for your message Fräulein. To think that, as you say, He has washed my sins away!” His hand was thrust out to shake mine. And I, who had preached so often to people the need to forgive, kept my hand at my side.

Even as the angry, vengeful thoughts boiled through me, I saw the sin of them. Jesus Christ had died for this man; was I going to ask for more? “Lord Jesus,” I prayed, “forgive me and help me to forgive him.” I tried to smile, I struggled to raise my hand. I could not. I felt nothing, not the slightest spark of warmth or charity. And so again I breathed a silent prayer. “Jesus, I cannot forgive him. Give me Your Forgiveness.”

As I took his hand the most incredible thing happened. From my shoulder along my arm and through my hand a current seemed to pass from me to him, while into my heart sprang a love for this stranger that almost overwhelmed me. And so, I discovered that it is not on our forgiveness any more than on our goodness that the world’s healing hinges, but on His. When He tells us to love our enemies, He gives, along with the command, the love itself.”

Our world is newly inflicting wounds on families, nations and individuals. And yet, in these dark days, perhaps especially in these dark days, the injunction to “Love one another”, continues to be the Lord’s law, commandment and plea.

As, I have loved you, love one another… Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do…

Blessed is that day when, “we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.” John 3:2-3

Renewal of our hearts and souls is the message of Easter! Love one Another!

Personal Revelation and Real Intent

I was recently asked to speak on personal revelation in my life. This caused me deep reflection. I pondered on the times when revelation has come in my life in successive waves, repeatedly lifting and blessing me, dear friends and family, and total strangers.

Waves of Revelation – Endless and Often Easy to Miss

I have identified these as being times when either I have been pondering what I have been given in gratitude or times when I or when there has been an unmet spiritual need that I may not have even been aware of. More often, it is both.

In either case, there was always a common denominator that shaped the clarity and content of the revelation, and that was my willingness to follow the impressions that were given to me.

Real Intent

There is a famous scripture in the Book of Mormon (Moroni 10:3-5) that promises that if, after one ponders the tender mercies which God has given from the days of Adam to the present day, that if this person truly seeks with a sincere heart and real intent to know the truth of the word contained in that book, it will be given them to know.

This is a matter of fervent and sincere prayer, but increasingly the words “real intent” have come to have a deep and sacred meaning to me. To really receive revelation, a seeker of truth must have “real intent” to live according to the truth that he or she finds. If we are to receive personal revelation that will change the course of our lives for good, we must be willing to let that revelation change the course of our life.

A Fundamental Truth

Here is what I have come to feel is a fundamental truth about personal revelation:

The quest for personal revelation is nothing less than the quest to conform our will with God’s.

Receiving personal revelation is not passive. It enlists our obedience. For the Lord has said:

Abraham 3:25 – “And we will prove them herewith, to see if they will do all things whatsoever the Lord their God shall command them.”

A Journey to Bless Others

An unforgettable and unconventional journey focused on others…

In my talk, I really struggled with which experience I should share to illustrate this powerful principle. Let me share a story of a trip I took to see my sister’s wedding in another state, which was an inspired miracle in itself, but in preparing to go, I fervently asked that I could bring the blessing of the gospel to open the hearts of the people I met both there and in my travels. My real intent was to follow through on anything the Lord asked me to do.

The Lord blessed me in this. As I greeted each person on my journey, I came to know of their individual journeys and their accomplishments and struggles. In empathy, I shared life experiences that showed the Lord’s tender mercies in my life that dealt with similar struggles and without exception, on this trip, as we shared together, be it on a plane, cab or shuttle, we had powerful discussions that left us as friends.

Yes, the wedding was wonderful. My love for my sister and her new husband grew and I met many wonderful people there who I cherish, but also on the journey, the Lord brought me to 10-people, whose memories I have also come to cherish, including a shuttle driver, who I cried together with as she shared how she overcame a struggle with an addiction. I was left with many beautiful stories from beautiful children of God.

What is the Cost?

The cost of this life experience was that I delayed departing on a Saturday morning so that I could serve in the temple of God and visit loved ones before I left. The cost was that I would likely never see Mount Rushmore. The cost was that on Sunday morning, when I was uncertain of how to get to a small church branch in a distant city that the Lord had told me to go to, I chose not to eat breakfast in order to make calls to find a way, and when Uber, Lyft and the local cab companies all told me they couldn’t get me there, it cost me a prayer to tell the Lord that I had done all that I could and if I was to be at that branch, He would have to get me there. And he did.

And that is how I ended up on a late flight where I shared my mother’s experience of becoming a physician’s assistant with a young, struggling girl who so wanted a similar career. It is how I ended up on a midnight shuttle to talk to that dear sister that said, “It was no coincidence you were on my shuttle tonight.” That is how in answer to my prayer, a cab driver called me back and said that a man had just called needing pickup in the very same remote city as the branch I needed to go to and that if I was ready in a few minutes, he could get me there. That is how that same driver and I had a precious 45-minutes together to remind him of a faith that needed to be rejuvenated. It is how I arrived at the branch just in time to witness the confirmation of a new member who sat and sang with me and who the missionaries told me had needed my sincere words of encouragement. It is how a dear sister assigned to that branch from my sister’s city, gave me a 20-mile ride where I could tell her son about service in the Lord’s kingdom, such that when she dropped me off, with emotion, she thanked me for teaching her son. It is how I had precious hours with my sister walking along a riverbank in her city in long-overdue, loving reminiscing. It is how I came to speak with a man trying to overcome an addiction because in the terminal, he had forgotten his charger that I helped him with… and it went on.

What was the cost? I feel it cost me nothing, but I had to listen.

What a wonderful principle that the Lord gives us line upon line, precept upon precept as we are ready and willing to receive each tiny whisper of revelation, until the perfect day comes that we are able to recognize the constant ripples of revelation moving us to do all things that the Lord requires of us.

The joy is truly in our journey. Revelation is dynamic, not static, and it comes as we act with real intent.

What do we Really Want?

My wife and I wanted a home in Utah. We had lived overseas for some years, and had recently spent several years in California. I wanted to be back near family and Utah was where much of my family was. We drove up from California to look for a suitable place and found a wonderful model home in South Jordan that seemed perfect for us and our children.

A Home Similar to the One we Found… The Perfect Home?

I put money down on the home but, as we were driving away, the Spirit told me, “If you buy that home, you will lose one of your children.” I told my wife of the impression and she had me turn around and rescind the offer. The housing company graciously returned our money, but now we had no place to live and we returned empty-handed. My wife was still in California when I went back to Utah on a business trip with coworkers. After a difficult and busy day, I left them and drove alone to a lot I had seen advertised. It was dark and I could barely see the ground I stood on, but as I walked the dim lot, I received such a spirit of deep peace that I knew this was the lot the Lord wanted us to build on and the place he wanted us to raise our children.

The Perfect Home? It would be…

It has been a great blessing, and thus far, our children, now grown, are firm in the gospel and those with children are raising them in the ways of our savior, Jesus Christ. I can only attribute this to my wife’s good efforts and the friends and leaders who helped so much, all of which was all according to God’s tender mercy.

What did I really want? It wasn’t just a home after all. It was much more.

When we are on the Lord’s errand, we will find our superficial hopes blasted because if they don’t fit the Lord’s vision, we must either leave off His errand or determine that what we really want is what He wants. What He wants is always better!

The Saints: A Perfect Home in Kirtland?

The early Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints’ members had a ‘perfect’ home. They had built a temple at Kirtland at great personal sacrifice. This appeared to be the ‘perfect’ home. Hadn’t many recorded visitations of angels there and wasn’t it here that Moses, Elias and Elijah appeared and restored the keys of the gathering of Israel, the dispensation of Abraham and the keys of the dispensation for the redemption of both the living and the dead?

But it wasn’t the Lord’s plan to have them stay. In D&C 117, we have an account of a group of saints that began coveting the land of Kirtland. They were reluctant to move on to build Zion elsewhere. It must have come as a shock when the Lord told them, “Let them repent of all their sins, and of all their covetous desires, before me… for what is property unto me? … Let the properties of Kirtland be turned out for debts, saith the Lord. Let them go…”

6 For have I not the fowls of heaven, and also the fish of the sea, and the beasts of the mountains? Have I not made the earth? Do I not hold the destinies of all the armies of the nations of the earth?
7 Therefore, will I not make solitary places to bud and to blossom, and to bring forth in abundance? saith the Lord.
8 Is there not room enough on the mountains of Adam-ondi-Ahman, and on the plains of Olaha Shinehah, or the land where Adam dwelt, that you should covet that which is but the drop, and neglect the more weighty matters?

D&C 117:6-8

The Lord knew that the saints were not to stay there. He even knew that saints of that generation would not be in Missouri long, even though that is where they were being sent to build Zion. The Lord gives interesting hints of the Salt Lake valley as their long-term destination:

·       I can make desolate places blossom

·       Consider the mountains of Adam Ondi-Ahman

·       Consider the plains of Olaha Shinehah (the Garden of Eden)

They would cross the plains and the mountains of the Great Salt Lake would house a temple, and all nations would flow unto it. And the desolate valley would be made to blossom as the rose, just as Isaiah prophesied. It would take faith. Surely, compared to all the verdant, beautiful places the saints had called home, the Salt Lake valley laid in stark contrast. But fulfilling prophecy takes faith. And for that generation, it became the perfect home from which the gospel would go forth as a stone cut out of a mountain without hands, and it would roll forth and fill the earth. And it continues to roll forth.

Let us stop focusing on “that which is but the drop” and neglect building our eternal home.

Fences

This weekend my mother hen led her three adolescent chicks through my livestock fence towards the front yard. I wanted her to stay in the safety of our backyard, so I gently herded them back, but my poor fence wasn’t a big help.

A day later, I found the little ones all back in the coup at night, but no mother. I searched all the area that I thought she could be in, but didn’t find her. The next day, we found her outside the fence alive, but she had obviously been attacked and wasn’t walking.

I put her in a little box full of wood shavings and used a syringe (with no needle) to get her to drink and get her hydrated since she wouldn’t drink on her own. And I gave her a slurry made with some protein powder to try to restore her. Her best response was when she heard her little ones nearby and she called to them. I had hope she would recover and, in the morning, after keeping her in the box in our bathtub, she seemed to be doing better.

On my way back from a beautiful temple, I stopped to get her medicine, but when I arrived home, it was with sadness that I found she had already died.

The purpose of Fences

I have come to believe that the Lord’s fences, his commandments, are one of the greatest evidences of His love for us. Not one commandment is for his selfish enrichment. Every one is given to increase our capacity to receive and enjoy his riches.

“And he who receiveth all things with thankfulness shall be made glorious; and the things of this earth shall be added unto him, even an hundred fold, yea, more.” (D&C 78:19.)

“And he that receiveth me receiveth my Father; And he that receiveth my Father receiveth my Father’s kingdom; therefore all that my Father hath shall be given unto him.” (D&C 84:33–38.)

The purpose of a righteous fence is to provide a secure boundary within which we can prosper,

Allowing People Back in the Fence

We have a wonderful judge living in our neighborhood. He is very frequently required to pass judgement on people who have breached the fence.

One day, as he officiated at a marriage in his capacity as a judge, he said that the father of the bride or groom, covered with tattoos, said the words that no judge typically wants to hear on an occasion like this: “You were my judge”. Our judge was a bit nervous as he replied, “So, how was I?” As I remember, the man continued, “You were alright. What you did helped me turn my life around. I’m in a much better place today.”

This judge told us that what really has begun making a difference for good in these people is when he sincerely tells them, “I have no joy in administering this sentence to you, but I am required to administer according to our laws. I see so much potential in you. I know you can be better and I want you to succeed. I hope this sentence will give you an opportunity to begin to realize that potential.” He said that even when administering difficult sentences he’s had many people become quite emotional when they realize someone sees in them something they no longer see and that they care.

My dear friends who read this – Let us never put up a fence or barrier to people who are trying to come back. As watchmen in the tower, we may give warning of an encroaching enemy, but let us also watch for loved ones who may be fenced out and are lost and looking for the gate. Don’t compromise your protective fence, but lead them to the gate in love.

True Inclusion

I have an international family. I was born in the US and my wife overseas. This has literally brought home insights into the difference between intended inclusion and true inclusion. The very real tendency to look down on people not from our own culture or circumstance is all too often not even realized.

I use the phrase “intended inclusion” to reference a counterfeit inclusion, where our good nature tells us that we really want to be inclusive, but an often-subtle pride makes us feel we are somehow better than or should in some ways have more privilege than others and this causes us to treat them differently. Our society is clearly focused on racial differences as a root cause of this disparity, but social class, education and personal philosophies can also create powerful barriers to inclusion.

This is inconsistent with the gospel of Jesus Christ.

True inclusion is when we no longer care about these differences. True inclusion is true love, simply because we are all children of the same Father in Heaven. He loves and cherishes each of us perfectly.

The Warehouse Guy…

Ken was a worker in our warehouse many years ago, a young guy without much education. At the time, I was excited to be designing what I hoped would be a revolutionary new component of our robotics system. Being a very small branch office, we were often in our tiny lunchroom at the same time. He was genuinely curious about my project work would ask me many questions. One day, as I described a design issue that I couldn’t see a way to solve, he surprised me by saying, “Why don’t you just change this to this…” and he proceeded to present an idea that I thought was brilliant. When I told him that I would like to try the idea, but didn’t know if I could get the special circuit board pattern fabricated in time, he volunteered his mechanical skills and he actually etched and cut the part for me from a piece of FR4, and in a very short time, with his pattern, I demonstrated the design could work. I came to look forward to our conversations because I was no better than him. He was my brother. My heart cries to this day because he struggled with a drug addiction. When office laptops began to disappear, we had to let him go. I lost a dear friend that day.

My Old Workplace…

 An Impediment?

A man in a previous church ward I attended had some cognitive disability and spoke with a slight speech impediment. He was relatively young, and very hard-working, but he was not in a position to be independent and so he lived with and cared for needs of his aging parents. He and I were companions together in visiting the homes of members of our church, and I loved his simple and profound testimony and his willingness to speak up. As a church Sunday school meeting finished one day, we exited together and he began apologizing that the ideas he offered weren’t very good and probably didn’t make sense. I stopped him and, calling him by name, said sincerely, “I found what you said today inspiring. If I can’t learn from you, then I am surely lacking the Spirit of the Lord.” He also had become a dear friend. I felt more power from him than impediment, and once someone is in your heart, it really doesn’t matter. They have become part of you.

My inclusion test:

The real test of inclusion is not in trying to make someone feel welcome, but in coming to where, if that person were no longer there, a piece of you would be missing.

The Lord practices ultimate inclusion, and he practices it even if we really don’t deserve it.

28 Behold, hath the Lord commanded any that they should not partake of his goodness? Behold I say unto you, Nay; but all men are privileged the one like unto the other, and none are forbidden.
33 … and he inviteth them all to come unto him and partake of his goodness; and he denieth none that come unto him, black and white, bond and free, male and female; and he remembereth the heathen; and all are alike unto God, both Jew and Gentile. 

2 Nephi 26

His arm is stretched out all the day long. Only we can practice exclusion, by excluding ourselves from Him, because he wants to be one with us in our thoughts and feelings and love.

22 And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one:
23 I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me. 

John 17

A final thought…

But it is not given that one man should possess that which is above another, wherefore the world lieth in sin. 

D&C 49:20

I perceive that this scripture speaks of more than just material wealth.

I have failed to be inclusive too much of my life.

What do I think I have that I think is above another? What can I impart to be more inclusive?

Giving Blood and Learning to Listen

Receiving faith building miracles is largely contingent on our willingness to listen!

Adopting lean principles to speed up blood donation - Planet Lean

I was in Japan working for Matsushita. We heard an announcement that there would be a blood drive, and that anyone who wanted could take time to donate on the job site where a tent would be set up. I immediately thought, “No, most of the time I try to donate blood, I fail”, but then the Spirit weighed on my mind, saying “Do it”. I dread giving blood, but I finally stopped debating and signed up.

As I waited in line, a woman nurse began assisting me and getting my information. On finding I was from Utah, she mentioned that her son was taking lessons from missionaries with a Utah connection, but she was against it because Christian churches don’t allow blood donation which could save lives. She was puzzled and surprised as I told her that I had been one of those missionaries, and I was able to tell her how some very ancient scriptures that tell us not to partake of blood had been interpreted strictly by some religious groups to mean no transfusions, when in actuality, it was to prevent people from drinking blood sacrifices or the blood of victims of battle, both of which practices existed and were abominable to the Lord.

As my own blood began to flow as a donation to help save someone’s life, she was genuinely touched and we parted with a bond of friendship, and now appeared willing to recognize that these missionaries could bless her son.

I left, full of the Spirit of gratitude, and very thankful I had listened.  And so, three months later, when another opportunity to donate blood came, I decided, “Yes, I’d like to donate again…” The Spirit immediately said, “Don’t do this. It will hurt you, and the blood will ultimately be discarded…” But in the hardness of my heart, I decided to anyway. This time there was no spiritual experience. Instead, I experienced pains in my chest for quite some time after.  What a foolish man I often prove myself to be.

For Joseph Smith, perhaps his most poignant memory of disobedience came when he set aside the initial counsel of the Lord to not allow an early manuscript of the Book of Mormon be taken by his friend Martin. He continued to beg the Lord and received permission, but with very strict requirements for their protection. The Lord’s counsel was ignored and the records were lost.

This was devastating to Joseph. When Martin Harris returned, far later than he was supposed to in order to return the manuscript, he sauntered in front of the Smith home with his head down and then sat and refused to come in. When Joseph saw this, he went out and realizing what must have transpired, he cried out in anguish that their souls were lost. He had gone against the will of the Lord in letting Martin take the pages, and now they were gone. 

You may find seasons in your life when it is time to stop serving in a calling, or a even a time when we are unable or temporarily disqualified from being able to participate in an activity or association that blesses us. The Lord has his timing. Like Joseph, if we find certain privileges taken for a season, it will be for our own good. 

Joseph was told that his gift was taken for a season to protect him from those who would use his work at that time to destroy him. It wasn’t punishment. It was preparation.

And so let us use these seasons cut off from association to prepare… to listen with exactness. Don’t second guess the Spirit. When the Spirit says to do something, let us “Do It!”. And when the Spirit says not to: Don’t!

We live in a difficult day. We need to learn to listen! #HearHim

We Talk of Christ

I seek to do as my Savior did, He “went about doing good.” He wasn’t concerned about power or politics. He was concerned with lifting the hands that hung down, comforting the comfortless and elevating people out of their traps of self-deception. His acts and his teaching frequently flew in the face of popularity and prominence, but in the end his enemies could not refute that, “Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, to visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.” Jesus Christ was the epitome of this scripture. Today, I talk of Christ.

Recently, Neil L Andersen pointed to a general decline in the number of people who believe in the divinity of Jesus Christ. He mentioned a study predicting that in the next 10-years, twice as many people will abandon faith in Christ as those who will receive Him.

He then asks us:

If the world is going to speak less of Him, who is going to speak more of Him? We are! Along with other devoted Christians!

October 2020 General Conference

I pray that we will speak more of Him.

One of my favorite paintings of Christ hangs in a stairwell of the Bountiful Temple. It was done by Danish painter, Carl Bloch, and has been a great comfort to me over the years. The picture depicts a small child holding a branch, and he is being gently comforted by our Savior. A brother in the temple surprised me one day, saying the picture troubled him. “I feel like Christ is looking at me sternly and saying, ‘Why aren’t you taking care of my children?’” I replied, “I guess I’ve never thought of it that way. I’ve always felt I am the little child: a bit insecure, and holding onto my simple cares that are somehow important to him because they are important to me. And even when I’m unaware, he is standing there comforting me.”

Yes, I’ve often felt insecure and even hopeless. I have felt I just couldn’t make it, but I was wrong. Like so many others in my work in addiction recovery, I have found that Christ is the hope of the hopeless. It is only in and through him that any of us have hope.

I remember a woman named Kelly who spoke to us at an open addiction recovery meeting about her difficult struggles with drug addiction. She said, “And so there I was at rock bottom and my sister is telling me I need to let Christ in my life. I felt like screaming, ‘I have a real problem! I need real help! I can’t depend on an imaginary friend!’” Well, she gradually changed and let this real friend into her life. After the fireside her sister told me, “You know, I spent a lot of years trying to be a kind of savior to my sister, but until she turned to our Savior, there was nothing I could really do.”  What was true for Kelly is true for each one of us. As I spoke with Kelly, I felt the deep love and converting power of one who has begun to come to know the Lord and my soul wept with joy.

One of my dearest friends, I really came to know after he was sent to prison. He had been one of my senior patrol leaders when I was an assistant scoutmaster. He was a pleasant young man, but a few months before he was to leave on a mission, I remember meeting him in a store and feeling that something was very wrong. He went on his mission, but that ‘something’ that was very wrong kept pricking his conscience. He was teaching people about repentance and faith in the Lord, Jesus Christ, and he knew he needed to make a confession. When he did, that confession placed him in jail for six-months, but choosing the harder path was exactly what he needed.  See his story in my blog here “Friendship and Redemption”.

After that extremely trying time for him, he texted me the following:

I am part of the fellowship of the unashamed.  The die has been cast!  I have stepped over the line.  The decision has been made; I am a disciple of Jesus Christ. I won’t look back, let up, slow down, or be still.  My past has been redeemed, my present makes sense, and my future is secure.  I’m finished and done with low living, small planning, smooth knees, colorless dreams, tainted visions, worldly talking, cheap giving, and dwarfed goals.  I no longer need pre-eminence, positions, promotions, plaudits or popularity.  I now live by faith, lean on His presence, walk with patience, am lifted by prayer, and labor with power.  My face is set, my gait is fast, and my goal is Heaven. My road is narrow, my way is rough, my companions are few, my guide is reliable, my mission is clear.  I cannot be bought, compromised, detoured, lured away, divided or delayed.  I will not flinch in the face of sacrifice, hesitate in the presence of the adversary, negotiate at the table of the enemy, ponder at the pool of popularity, or meander in the maze of mediocrity.  I won’t give up, shut up, or let up, until I have stayed up, stored up, and paid up for the cause of Christ.  I must go till he comes, give till I drop, preach till I know, and work till he stops me.  And when He returns for His own, He will have no problem recognizing me.  My banner will be clear.

My friend, “Don”

And here are Kelly’s words, from her blog, The Faith Seed, “Two years ago I was a full blown heroin and meth addict. I was near death. If the streets didn’t kill me, suicide or overdose was going to. For the first time in my life, I decided to surrender completely to the Lord. Bit by bit, with the help of Jesus Christ, I am slowly climbing out of the darkness. With the help of the Lord, I will make it. If the simple act of deciding to trust in the Lord can heal me, it can heal ANYONE from anything. Join me in my journey of new found faith.”

And we talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophesy of Christ, and we write according to our prophecies, that our children may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins.

2 Nephi 25:26

Let us look to Him in every thought, and speak of Him, and prepare the hearts of our friends and family to meet Him!

The Christ Child

Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.

John 14:27

Liberating Gratitude

The woman representing our home builder was helpful throughout the process, listening to and filling our special requests. I felt it was simply her place: to do a job we were paying her well for by purchasing the house through them. Close to closing on the home, after going through another checklist of things we expected from them, I remember her saying, “I work with a lot of different people. One is a older fellow close to retirement. He is so thankful for every small thing and every idea we discuss. I’m really going to miss him. He is such a pleasure to work with.”

The day we closed on our home, she brought over what I could tell was a somewhat obligatory fruit basket, a nice gift to ‘seal the deal’. As we did so, I felt a pang of regret. I had not been nice to her, really. I treated her as a servant or an object to get the home I wanted. I realized as I looked at the gift, that the entire process would have been so much better, if I would have been more grateful for her ideas and suggestions. It saddened me that I had not been a better steward of this interaction.

The Power of a Grateful Heart

When we are grateful, we find joy in our interactions. When we are indifferent, we treat others as a means to an end.

Observations in Japan

Japan was an interesting country to live and work in. Anciently, the culture enforced a rigid master / servant social structure.

Am I grateful for others’ service?

Even today, your manner of interaction and choice of words are dictated by where you sit in that social structure.

Our engineering team was polite and supportive of my boss, Kawaguchi San and used quite a different language to interact with him than he used with us. Then he would interact with his boss, and suddenly he was using all of the honorific language, and I remember nearly laughing out loud to hear the research director speak to him as one would to a little child, though in a way, it was endearing to see that somewhat paternal interaction.

In Japan the people serving you are expected to treat you like royalty and use words that seem to say, “I only live to serve you!” I remember thanking a server at a restaurant and being told by a coworker, “You don’t have to thank them. They’re getting paid to do this.”  I responded, “Oh, but I must thank them. They are doing such a wonderful job, and after all, this person doesn’t have to be here. He could have simply decided to be a beggar on the street and not serve at all.”

Relationships

The more engrained indifference is in our hearts, the more our precious relationships denigrate into master and slave. Gratitude liberates us and creates love. Indifference denigrates us into social caste systems and resentment.

Let us each treat our relationships with others in a way that others will want to flow to us, and we to them. When we die, surely it is the memories and relationships we will carry with us into the next world. I want each precious memory to count.

41 No power or influence can or ought to be maintained by virtue of the priesthood, only by persuasion, by long-suffering, by gentleness and meekness, and by love unfeigned;

42 By kindness, and pure knowledge, which shall greatly enlarge the soul without hypocrisy, and without guile—

45 Let thy bowels also be full of charity towards all men, and to the household of faith, and let virtue garnish thy thoughts unceasingly; then shall thy confidence wax strong in the presence of God; and the doctrine of the priesthood shall distil upon thy soul as the dews from heaven.

46 The Holy Ghost shall be thy constant companion, and thy scepter an unchanging scepter of righteousness and truth; and thy dominion shall be an everlasting dominion, and without compulsory means it shall flow unto thee forever and ever.

D&C 121:41-46

Bless you all my beloved friends! I am thankful for you!

This is a very touching presentation on gratitude, from prophet, President Russell M. Nelson:

#GiveThanks