Eagle Court of Honor Song

This is a song that I wrote as my sons were getting their eagle scout advancement.  The eagle badge is a metaphor for our lives. I felt it needed something special.

I have a small ensemble version of it as well. It is enhanced with a simple drumbeat, reminiscent of Indian drums…

TheFledglingEagle (music in pdf format)

Lyrics for The Fledgling Eagle

The fledgling eagle has his start,

Safe, protected in a nest,

Care and nurture give him strength,

High above the ancient forest

Fly high and strong above the mountains

Your journey calls across the land

Fly high and free, in honor be,

On wings borne up, by unseen hand

The eagle grows and tries his wing,

Sees the landscape far below

Cautiously he ventures forth

Tests the air, and then lets go.

He forges onward and he meets,

Dangers and the storms of night

He bears his setbacks patiently,

In his heart’s a noble light.

The eagle flies above the earth,

His powerful wings unfurled

In pale moonlight on silvered wing

He lets his cry be heard

His gaze is sharp his vision clear

Unmarred by earthly care,

He sets his sights on Heaven’s heights,

And fills his mission there!

The ancient eagle in the sun,

Wisdom gained through service wrought,

Feathers grayed and eyes grown dim,

He rests at last, his fight is fought.

Fly high and free above the sunset,

Your journey now a peaceful land,

Fly high and free, in honor be,

On wings borne up, by unseen hands

Step 10: Don’t Fall off the Bridge!

My young niece held my hand as we began to cross a suspension bridge consisting of a large pipe crossing a shallow canyon creek. She had easily walked on top of the gently sloped pipe where the pipe was just above the ground but as she got above the creek she started to slow and grow unsteady. I quickly said, “Don’t look down. Look ahead to where you’re going!” She raised her eyes to the opposite bank and immediately started to improve. She moved forward with confidence and safely crossed.

Step 10 is daily, or even moment-to-moment to look at our thoughts, feelings and motives and immediately change course when we see the patterns that would take us into old patterns of destructive behavior. But it is just as much about looking ahead, examining our thoughts, feelings and motives for anything that is taking our eyes off our goal and when something is amiss, we immediately repent, and turn our face to our Savior.

With addiction recovery, it is easy to become so concerned about the addiction that one becomes continually fixated on the river below rather than the path forward and the ultimate joy of recovery.  If you focus on the river… you will likely fall in the river or turn back in despair!

It is impossible to give someone the enabling power to consistently look forward and make right choices. It takes practice, just as it if one were learning art or music or a sport. Practice makes permanent! Practice right!

I am an engineer.  Whenever I pride myself on understanding a difficult concept, the Lord humbles me by bringing me to someone who is a true expert. As part of an integrated chip design team, a co-worker who had spent much of his career designing and perfecting phase locked loop circuits told me excitedly that he could teach me how these circuits worked in a way that I would never forget. I had never gone beyond the basics of these wonderful circuits that can solve critical timing issues and create output clocks with a much higher frequency than a given input clock.

He launched into the discussion with marked enthusiasm, disclosing a wealth of knowledge. Though not a member of my faith, he related there is something deeply spiritual about how when the circuit has proper gain and tuning the phase locks reliably and output jitter is suppressed. After 15-minutes or so of his analogies and technical observations, I asked him to pause as I was already missing several key points. He was visibly disappointed, saying, “But in just a few minutes, you’ll have it!”

“But I won’t,” I responded, “You have spent much of your life pondering and mastering what you are teaching. I’m very grateful. This is fascinating but I haven’t paid the price. Without doing so there are too many things I simply don’t understand.” Here he was trying to give me the treasure of his heart, and I wasn’t ready to receive it.

After over 50 years as a general authority, Boyd K. Packer said:

“Much of what I have come to know falls into the category of things which cannot be taught but can be learned.”

He continues, “Like most things of great worth, knowledge which is of eternal value comes only through personal prayer and pondering. These, joined with fasting and scripture study, will invite impressions and revelations and the whisperings of the Holy Spirit.”

Come and learn what can’t be taught!

Step 10: Continue to take personal inventory, and when you are wrong promptly admit it.

Step 9: Repairing what’s Broken

My company’s president was under duress. It was our company Christmas dinner party and I knew he was struggling after losing key employees in Japan where he and our main office was located. The American employees didn’t know what was happening, but I did because I had been invited to join the new company that the key employees had formed. I really did want to join them. The new company president was my dear friend, but I was feeling guilty that it would let my old company president down.

At the dinner I expressed appreciation for the meal and asked if he was alright. He replied, “そう言ってくれるのはハーパーだけです”.  The words still haunt me: “The only one who would say that to me is you.” My guilt suddenly redoubled. I was just days away from having to confirm the decision to change companies.

In my last post on Step 8, I wrote about becoming willing to forgive another who caused me pain. In this step, I desire to talk about seeking forgiveness from one who I hurt. I still feel this keenly.

Step 9: Wherever possible, make direct restitution to all persons you have harmed.

I did finally announce I would be changing jobs. At the time I was designing a key enhancement for our product line. I was surprised when my old company president flew back to our office to try and convince me to stay, but I had given what I thought was more than proper notice, with added time to train a successor to take over development. The Spirit told me I must finish that project work first, but I couldn’t get things done in the given time frame and transitioned to the new company anyway.

I had let my former president down and the trust he had put in me was broken. Part of me was broken at the same time. After some months I sent a letter of apology to him. I never heard back.

My most poignant and heart-torn feelings come when I think there may be someone I am not reconciled to in the eternities. Oh what I would give to look my dear old president in the eye and thank him and repair that breach. This is the feeling I desire for every person I have known.

There is one that I reached out to that did reach back to me:

D&C 45:4-5 “…Father, behold the sufferings and death of him who did no sin, in whom thou wast well pleased; behold the blood of thy Son which was shed, the blood of him whom thou gavest that thyself might be glorified;

 5 Wherefore, Father, spare these my brethren that believe on my name, that they may come unto me and have everlasting life.

Christ wants us back. Here is a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. He was rejected of men and yet waits with open arms to receive any who come unto him. Let us be faithful. As we really try, I know that somehow he will make everything right.

Step 8: Robotics and Relationships

I have long paused on writing about this step, possibly because I still don’t feel its complete. Of all spiritual gifts we will take with us out of this world, the relationships, including those with deity, are perhaps the most precious. Relationships are victimized by addiction, which turns one selfishly inward. It should be no wonder that recovering from addiction requires the step of turning outward to repair every offense and rebuild every sound relationship possible.

Step 8: make a written list of all people you have harmed and become willing to make restitution to them.

In so doing, there is a beautiful reminder in the ARP manual that when we seek forgiveness from others, we also need to seek to forgive. I will focus this writing on a very troubling time in my life where I needed to learn to forgive.

The first 6-years of my career were spent developing robotics equipment. My first job was in Osaka, Japan but I eventually ended up designing and supporting a line of robotic equipment in California. It was good, hard work, but a vicious split occurred in the company. The vice president in Japan started his own robotics company invited me to join him. We had developed a true friendship and I decided I wanted to keep working with him. I was excited to help bring our ideas to fruition. He became our new company president.

I wrote and tested software for the system in America, while our design team in Japan developed the hardware. Then times got really rough. Allegations of stolen design materials from the original company surfaced and our investors began playing financial hardball to buy the new company at a high discount. At that point a promoter joined our company, promising to save our operations by getting us new funding. Instead, I believe he found a means to blackmail our new company president. He began drawing an exorbitant salary while insisting our salaries be lowered.

His new finance plans were to have me create fake claims of large robotics orders that were contingent on us finishing our development. He would say, “I have a bank account containing millions of dollars. I just need the key.” He obviously felt I was an important part of that key. He tried to pressure me into many illegal actions. Sometimes international calls would come in the middle of the night when I couldn’t think straight. He would insist I do what he said, adding, “Everyone knows subordinates just have to do what they are told. You will never face legal problems for this. I am the one responsible!” I began to tense with dread every time I heard a phone ring.

I guess in the end I wasn’t the key he had hoped for. Money ran low. My dear friend, the new president in Japan, suddenly disappeared with his little family. I don’t know where he went, but I believe he fled his country. Then I got a call from a respected co-worker in Japan who told me they could no longer continue paying me. My heart flooded with relief. It was finally over.

For years I struggled with hard feelings over this. It was truly traumatic for me, but I found a place of healing in the Celestial Room of the Bountiful Temple. This room filled with light and inspiration. I have seen and felt miracles occur in many rooms in multiple temples, but this room is particularly special to me. One does not go to the temple expecting miracles. One simply knows that they will occur.

Window to the Celestial Room – Bountiful Temple (C) David C. Moore 2009

Here I pondered this step and I asked myself, “Is there anyone who, if they came through the doors into this glorious room, that I wouldn’t be overjoyed to see?” This promoter came to mind and I considered the repentance process it takes to get there, to stand in this holy place that is an extension of Heaven itself. As I envisioned him completely cleansed from sin, I was able to say with my whole heart, “Oh, I would have great joy to see him here!”

I intend to live my life so that I can greet anyone in the eternities and find joy being with them. I will address the other side of this in Step 9. The question being, “Is there anyone I have offended that would feel uncomfortable being there because of me?”

If you are having a hard time forgiving others, remember that we don’t know who will have a change of heart. We need to forgive all men. Yes, you need to follow the Spirit to protect yourself and your family. Some relationships won’t be healed here. But remember, there is a brighter day:

“And that same sociality which exists among us here will exist among us there, only it will be coupled with eternal glory, which glory we do not now enjoy.” D&C 130:2

Fireside: Overcoming Personal Challenges Using the Atonement

Chad Hymus put on a special fireside Jan 15 in Farmington specifically to bless those overcoming personal challenges using the atonement. The fireside was organized by the Davis County LDS Addiction Recovery Program.

It was the result of a ‘chance’ meeting between our mission coordinators, Kent and Donna Jones and Chad at a restaurant. When he understood the addiction recovery work going on, he gladly offered, “I need to speak to your group.” It was quite an opportunity to have a nationally renown speaker.

Fireside Flyer

 

It is difficult to capture the things I always want to remember from this fireside, but here are a few:

#1 – Be proactive. Listen to the Spirit. When you see someone who needs help, don’t sit and think about it, just do it. Many are called, but few do it.

He used the example of a volunteer from the attendees that he had try to drink from a water bottle without using his hands. At the end he made the point. “I’ve tried to teach about being proactive for 30+ minutes, but I’ve failed to make the point and that’s my fault. Did any of you feel like you should have gone to help him?” Some did feel that, but none did.

#2 – Few people remember what you say but people do remember how you make them feel.  He borrowed a man’s cell phone and had him send his wife a loving text during the meeting. It was all about him thinking of her without the words, “I love you”. He said, “She will feel that love without the words because in his text to her, you will notice he never used the word, ‘I’. When I wasn’t teachable in the hospital, it was all about me. I will never walk again. I will never play ball with my sons. I won’t be able to be a good husband. Get rid of ‘I’ and get to you and us. Small 30-second messages can make all the difference”.

#3 – Change your habits. The number one cause for death among paraplegics is that they get pressure sores. For him, he had to give up boots, which was a big deal because he was an elk rancher. His father explained he would retain water in his feet, so he would have to get shoes of a style he was unaccustomed to, get them one size too big and put them on using his mouth. “It took me 2 1/2 months before I tried, and another 2-months to master it.”

Story:

The day of his accident, he was on his way home to see his son who his wife had just informed him had just taken his first steps. He stopped at his elk ranch to put out a 2500 lb bale of hay, but ignored a hydraulics warning light. “I had grown accustomed to it being okay, so I didn’t refill it.” The hay bale was lifted when the hydraulics failed and came down with crushing force. His wife first thought he had died. At the distress call 5-cowboys, state troopers and a paramedic arrived. 8-men in all released him from the pinning weight, bearing some 360 lbs apiece.

He woke up from a coma some 3+ weeks later and began a difficult recovery. His father at first could help him little until he became teachable. Then a visit from the apostle Neil A Maxwell helped pull him out of his deep stoop he was in with some pointed questions that helped him remove his real paralysis. It is a tragic and inspiring story.

We were deeply touched that he got his fourth child just yesterday – a little boy from Ethiopia that they have been trying to adopt for four years.

Chad Hymas Links:

Facebook

 

Step 7: Humility and the Gift of the Chinchilla

Have you ever wanted something you didn’t deserve?

I had a wonderful science teacher in junior high. He taught a summer course I was enrolled in. He taught many basic scientific principles, but what really caught my fancy were the animals he kept. There was the rattlesnake that he would allow us to feed whenever a child brought in a live mouse. The serpent invoked a sense of respectful horror when observed in action. It was always unnerving to think of that snake escaping.

At the other end of the spectrum were the chinchillas. These friendly little critters were like super-soft puff balls. A cotton-ball feels like sandpaper when compared to a chinchilla. I loved these furry grey creatures and so, when one day the teacher indicated that he would give one of the chinchillas away in exchange for a bag of feed, I could hardly contain my excitement. I immediately pressed my dad about the offer and he agreed to help. In my youthful mind, I didn’t really understand the nature of the exchange. I somehow justified in my mind that my teacher really wanted to see that we could take care of the chinchilla and so he wouldn’t mind if we kept part of the feed. My teacher was a bit disappointed in my offer, but seeing my excitement he agreed to the discounted exchange.

chinchilla

I was pretty poorly set up for this furry creature. The old cage I had wasn’t ideal, and I soon found that he wasn’t as friendly as I had thought. Being alone in an unfamiliar place in a back shop area made him nervous. He escaped me when I took him out and he disappeared into the debris of the shop… and so ended my days as a pet chinchilla owner. I didn’t deserve the gift because I hadn’t really paid for it, and now I had lost it.

The point of this cautionary tale is that special gifts require special preparation. In Step 7 we ask our Heavenly Father for a gift:

Step 7: Humbly ask Heavenly Father to remove your shortcomings.

This request drove me to my knees in tearful humility. I so wanted this gift, but I am so overwhelmed by weaknesses, but something changed deep in my soul when I asked with my whole heart, holding nothing back.

As I sat in the Salt Lake Temple waiting for a session to begin, I sought guidance in where to read and my fingers were led to section 76. The only scriptures that held my gaze were verses 92-95, where it tells of Celestial Glory excelling in all things, where all things bow in humble reverence and give God, even the Father glory forever and ever… where beings see as they are seen and know as they are known. “And he makes them equal in power, and in might, and in dominion.”

As I pondered a world with perfect discernment of all things, the spirit nudged me to move forward to D&C 78:18

And ye cannot bear all things now; nevertheless, be of good cheer, for I will lead you along. The kingdom is yours and the blessings thereof are yours, and the riches of eternity are yours.

This was given me of the Spirit and felt I was washed completely clean as the day I was baptized. I gained faith that I could eventually make it. I have to watch myself in my thoughts, heart and action (there are more steps!), but it gave me hope.

Seek this gift with your whole heart! None of us want what we deserve! With repentance, this gift that we could never claim on our own merits will be freely given.

Step 6: Change of Heart

A former Japanese boss of mine was fond of saying, “When you think you’re done, you’re half done!”

Perhaps nowhere is this truer than when striving for a change of heart!

changeof-heart1

My boss used this saying to dispel a common misconception  that once you have demonstrated a ‘working’ product, it is basically complete and requires little more effort. Life is not so simple. Unless testing is performed over extreme environmental conditions and a device is put through all of its operating states, it will likely contain hidden fatal flaws. And beyond testing, the quality of the parts used and how they are put together also affect reliability.

rubegoldbergnapkin

So it is with us. If we become comfortable with being marginally functional, we will live with the fears, regret and constant struggle of maintaining a life far below our potential.

When we know we aren’t our best, our spirit cries. Spiritual lethargy is dangerous for any of us, but in addiction recovery it can be devastating.  The first five steps, give emancipating power, providing hope, turning hearts to Christ and bringing one to recognize and confess sins. But changes in behavior are temporary unless one undergoes a true conversion and receives a new heart. This is the sanctifying blessing of true recovery.

Step 6 is the invitation to Become entirely ready to have God remove all your character weaknesses. It is an invitation to everyone to finish the rest of the steps.

Gaining a new heart requires the sacrifice of all our pride and all our unholy and unclean thoughts, feelings and inclinations. A new heart means becoming “a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord, and become… as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love”. (Mosiah 3:19)

President Benson puts it beautifully (Refer to the ARP Guide, Step 6):

“The Lord works from the inside out.  The world works from the outside in. The world would take people out of the slums. Christ takes the slums out of people, and then they take themselves out of the slums. The world would mold men by changing their environment. Christ changes men, who then change their environment. The world would shape human behavior, but Christ can change human nature. . . .

“May we be convinced that Jesus is the Christ, choose to follow Him, be changed for Him, captained by Him, consumed in Him, and born again” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1985)

 

Here is what the Lord promises:

25 Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness…

26 A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.

27 And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them.

28 And ye shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; and ye shall be my people, and I will be your God.

(Ezekial 35:25-28)

There is no substitute source for a perfectly healed heart than our Savior, Jesus Christ.

 

 

Step 5: Confession and Spilled Paint

An early need for confession came while my mom and dad were out. Against their wishes, my siblings and I had taken out some enamel paints and were playing with and opening them in the living room. When we spilled the paints, I remember a scramble to conceal the stains. They were pretty bad. Our initial attempt to wipe it up was really just to stay out of trouble by pretending we never did anything wrong and ended up only spreading the paint wider and deeper. I believe we put a box over the carpet near our entryway to hide them.

spilledpaint2

We must have looked quite guilty and we didn’t handle our confession well. My parents initially realized something was wrong when they overheard one of us say, “Mom and Dad are going to kill us!” And yes, this was a springboard for further discussion.

Simple, honest confession is powerful. In recovery meetings we joy with those who find addiction losing its grip who speak with a confident smile, but the whole room resonates with the Spirit when a member says, “Actually, it’s been a really rough week… I need help.” The compassion and concern is palpable and weak hearts are touched and remade.

We hold nothing back in confession to priesthood leaders who represent the Lord because we know the Lord held nothing back to save us.

A person declaring bankruptcy must be thorough in disclosing all assets and debts. Anything not in the disclosure is not protected by the bankruptcy and becomes subject to the creditor’s demands. Satan makes these demands, accusing us before the throne of God night and day. It is he who would love us NOT to make a full disclosure because he knows mercy cannot be extended without sincere repentance. He doesn’t want us free of his grip.

Heartfelt confession shows the Lord we are more concerned about what He thinks than what people around us think.

24 Shall the prey be taken from the mighty, or the lawful captive delivered?

25 But thus saith the Lord, Even the captives of the mighty shall be taken away, and the prey of the terrible shall be delivered (Isaiah 49)

One application of this scripture is surely for one who repents.

Confessing what holds us back from the Lord’s mercies breaks Satan’s grip. Waiting only makes it worse… Welcome to Step 5

spilledpaint

Step 4: Undigging the Truth

My parents took a once in a lifetime visit to Greece while I was just a child. While visiting the small village of Davia where my grandfather grew up, they commented that they saw very few basements.  Relatives explained that people are hesitant to excavate because it might turn up artifacts, which could warrant a life and home-disruptive archeological dig. The excitement of finding an ancient treasure was overwhelmed by the fear of what it could mean for their well-being.

archeology_greece1

In contrast, Step 4 recognizes that full moral recovery requires fearless and careful digging into the sensitive sediment of our lives. The purpose is to unearth the events and decisions that make up the moral underpinnings of our life until we can see the very foundation stones of who we are. The action required in Step 4 is to write a searching and fearless moral inventory of your life.

This is called the “Truth” step: finding the truth of who we really are.

archeology_greece2b

The purpose of Step 4 is not to increase our shame, though we will likely find things we are ashamed of. It is to invite the Lord, the master builder to inspect our foundation so that when we find cracks and imperfections we can’t fix (and none of us can alone), we will have His reassurance that He can. Done correctly, a moral inventory will show us not only a moral failings, but also victories through a pattern of tender mercies.

crackedfoundation

I once had a dream where my home needed some reconstruction. A son began digging under an existing room to a depth that would create a whole new basement room. Floorboards were torn up in the process exposing warped wood and poor plumbing. I was surprised to see parents, church members, friends, family and my bishop become involved, giving surprising advice and adding their hands to the labor. My somewhat passable house was quickly becoming a beautiful, strong, regulated structure.

Don’t be surprised that if you turn your life over to the Savior, that He will not just apply wallpaper to cover over your sins. He is able to completely remove them and change our very heart.  To those of you who say, like I did, “I have faith in God, that he has all power and can make me clean, but I don’t have faith in me.” I tell you that you are a son or daughter of God and he did not send you here to fail.

Take this step. You will know the truth of that statement and the truth will set you free.

Step 3: Trust in God: Gophers and Guidance

Trapping gophers was not my favorite job. I have no desire to harm any creature, but I grew up on a ranch where my Grandpa was concerned about erosion from the gophers destroying the sheep range, so I was often sent to run a trap line to reduce their numbers. While preparing to go on a mission this was my task. I was paid by how many gophers I trapped and so I asked my Heavenly Father to guide me to where I could be most effective so I could raise the money I needed to be on His errand.

gophermounds

The impression came clearly: “Go to Davenport.” This was not what I wanted to hear. I prayed again, “Are you sure? Davenport has a pond, but is largely treeless so the ground is sunbaked and dry. I don’t think that is such a good idea.” I knew it was hard to set traps in dry ground. It was hard to dig, and the crumbly tunnels would cave in on the traps. The Lord was patient and once again impressed me to “go to Davenport”. I fought this impression for a full week, before finally moving my trap line there.

It was as I thought: hard work and tough going, but I hadn’t been trapping there many days when I caught an albino gopher. The only one ever recorded on that mountain. It was like the one in the picture, but lacked the faint brownish shading, being completely and uniformly white with pink eyes. For me, it was a sign that my Heavenly Father loved me enough to answer my simple prayer. I sent the gopher to a taxidermist, but was unable to follow up because the week I delayed put me into the start of my mission. The gopher disappeared, but a lesson more valuable than money (and one I’m still learning) remained:

If one seeks the Lord’s help, one’s real intent must be to follow through without delay. God loves us, but will give us a trial of our faith before sending Heaven’s blessings.

albinogopher

Welcome to Step 3 of the Addiction Recovery Program: Trust in God – “Decide to turn your will and your life over to the care of God the Eternal Father and His Son, Jesus Christ.” Please remember that I call this program a graduate course in Eternal Life Recovery. This is the decision step. Every person needs it.

My favorite quote from this step is from Boyd K. Packer, a man who I feel love and kinship for:

“Perhaps the greatest discovery of my life, without question the greatest commitment, came when finally I had the confidence in God that I would loan or yield my agency to him— without compulsion or pressure, without any duress, as a single individual alone, by myself, no counterfeiting, nothing expected other than the privilege. In a sense, speaking figuratively, to take one’s agency, that precious gift which the scriptures make plain is essential to life itself, and say, ‘I will do as you direct,’ is afterward to learn that in so doing you possess it all the more” (Obedience, Brigham Young University Speeches of the Year [Dec. 7, 1971], 4).

There is an element of hesitation and sometimes fear of overcoming anything and everything that holds us back from the being with the Lord. In addiction recovery, several honest souls admitted the real fear that they don’t know who they’d be without their addiction. “I don’t even know what it would feel like to be normal!” This applies to us all though. Innocent distractions we know are holding us back are not so innocent. “Do I really have to give up this habit I enjoy?”

And so, for those struggling with soap operas, pain killers, excessive passive activities, compulsive social media, romance novels or whatever we find holding us back, re-read Step 1 (honesty), ask “What Lack I yet?”, and then make the decision.

I promise you that whatever you lose will be, “replaced with an abundance of happiness and joy, good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over.” (President Uchtdorf, April 2014 Conference).