Monday, March 23, 2015

I'm going to start making posts again to this blog.  I encourage you to do the same.  I came across this several years ago.  The implications are profound especially considering the promise in DC 18:16.

DC 75:5 And thus, if ye are faithful ye shall be laden with many sheaves, and crowned with honor, and glory, and immortality, and eternal life.

Alfred Douglas Young, an early convert to the Church, was conversing with his brother on the morning of September 17, 1841, about the principles of the gospel, when he was constrained by the Spirit to go to some secret place. Out into the woods some distance from his brother’s house, he was beckoned in vision by an angelic personage to “Follow thou me”:
“He ascended upward in the direction from whence he came and I followed him. He took me into the presence of God the Father and his Son Jesus Christ. There was a rail between us; but I saw them seated on a throne. I had in my hands many sheaves of wheat of the purest white.
“There was an altar on my left hand and also one directly in front of me. The one on my left appeared to be about three feet in height, the one in front about eighteen inches. I laid the sheaves of wheat that were in my hands on the altar to my left as an offering to the Lord. I bowed myself on my knees on the altar in front of me which was also in front of the throne.
“I prayed God the Father in the name of his Son Jesus Christ to accept the offering I had laid upon the altar.
“While I prayed the rail was removed and I stood upon my feet. Jesus arose and stepped from the side of his Father and came near where I stood. I was in their Presence and I gazed upon their glory.
“Jesus then said to me, ‘Your offering is accepted, and wouldest thou know the interpretation thereof?’ I replied, ‘Yes, Lord.’ The angel, my conductor, said, ‘Look,’ and I saw as it were an innumerable company that had come up from all nations, kindreds, tongues, and peoples around the throne of God, and they fell down and worshipped Him and gave glory to Him. Jesus then said, ‘These are they thou shalt be the means of bringing into my Father’s Kingdom and this is the interpretation of the offering thou hast laid upon the altar.’” (BYU  Letters Alfred Douglas Young, “Autobiographical Journal,” 1808–1842, pp. 3–13.)  ENSIGN AUG. 1975 ‘For We Saw Him’

15 And if it so be that you should labor all your days in crying repentance unto this people, and bring, save it be one soul unto me, how great shall be your joy with him in the kingdom of my Father!
16 And now, if your joy will be great with one soul that you have brought unto me into the kingdom of my Father, how great will be your joy if you should bring many souls unto me!  DC 18: 15,16

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

All Things Testify of Christ

In teaching the Old Testament in seminary last year we as a class noticed that the Old Testament is rich in symbolism. It uses similitudes, types, shadows and patterns of Heavenly Things. The Old Testament testifies and witnesses of the coming of Christ and his mission using these kinds of imageries. When we as a class would find one, I would look up to the class and look at one of the students and say. So? Eventually one of them would say ‘ALL THINGS TESTIFY OF CHRIST’ That is the theme of my talk to today.
Some are more obvious; like Moses as a type of Christ delivering the Israelites from bondage, or Jonah coming forth from the belly of the whale after three days. Some are more subtle but they are there to be discovered; for instance the take Jacob who would be required to labor as a shepherd for seven years to marry Rachel. Jacob, was a forerunner and type of Christ. He is portrayed as a bridegroom seeking his bride from among his own brethren. We learn later in the NT Christ refers to himself as the ultimate Bridegroom; and his church, the ultimate bride.) The eventual union of bride and bridegroom begins when Jacob rolls away the stone that covers the mouth of the well and brings water to the sheep.  As the account continues, Jacob earns his bride by caring for the sheep for seven years. Significantly the inheritance of sheep will consist of the lame and spotted.
The similitude pertaining to Christ, is the well. Centuries later Christ appears at the well (identified as Jacob’s well) . After asking for a drink from a Samaritan woman at the well, Christ teaches, “If thou knewest … who it is that saith to thee, Give me drink; thou would have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water.” And in reply to the question. “Art thou greater than our father Jacob, which gave us the well?” he answers, “The water that I shall give … shall be … a well of water springing up into everlasting life” (John 4:6–14). Just as water preserves life and makes it possible, so Christ’s atonement makes possible our eternal life.
Reinforcing this theme is Nephi;
2 Nephi 11:4 4 Behold, my soul delighteth in proving unto my people the truth of the coming of Christ; for, for this end hath the law of Moses been given; and all things which have been have been given of God from the beginning of the world, unto man, are the typifying of him.
The Savior proclaimed that “all things bear record of me” (Moses 6:63). That is, all symbols teach of Christ, of his mission and relationship to us.
In the 88th Section of the DC the Savior teaches us that is creations testify of Him. But before that he teaches us that:
6 He that ascended up on high, as also he descended below all things, in that he comprehended all things, that he might be in all and through all things, the light of truth;
7 Which truth shineth. This is the light of Christ. As also he is in the sun, and the light of the sun, and the power thereof by which it was made.
41 He comprehendeth all things, and all things are before him, and all things are round about him; and he is above all things, and in all things, and is through all things, and is round about all things; and all things are by him, and of him, even God, forever and ever.
43 And their courses are fixed, even the courses of the heavens and the earth, which comprehend the earth and all the planets.
45 The earth rolls upon her wings, and the sun giveth his light by day, and the moon giveth her light by night, and the stars also give their light, as they roll upon their wings in their glory, in the midst of the power of God.
You can see the Lord’s imagery could easily refer to the orbits of the planets.
The earth spins around it's axis at about a 1000 mph. The earth moves around the sun at 65,500 mph. The sun moves around the center of the galaxy at 500,000 mph. Consider that there are something like 400 billion stars in the Milky Way not to mention 500 billion galaxies in the universe. We have all this motion going on yet;
We feel no movement. This traveling continues all day, all night, century after century. There is no evidence that the sun’s movement about the galaxy has ever increased its speed or slackened its pace. The system does not run down or lose power or momentum.
46 Unto what shall I liken these kingdoms, that ye may understand?
47 Behold, all these are kingdoms, and any man who hath seen any or the least of these hath seen God moving in his majesty and power.
AS WE CONSIDER THESE THINGS WE SHOULD SEE JESUS CHRIST. BUT THEN HE SAYS. 48 I say unto you, he hath seen him; nevertheless, he who came unto his own was not comprehended. Here is the great irony. Jesus Christ, Jehovah, Creator of Worlds.
It is difficult to comprehend Him. We know that a testimony of Jesus Christ is a spiritual gift that needs to developed.
NEIL MAXWELL MADE THIS POINT SO WELL. For Jesus, REMEMBER, irony began at His birth. Truly, He suffered the will of the Father “in all things from the beginning.” (3 Ne. 11:11.) This whole earth became Jesus’ footstool (see Acts 7:49), but at Bethlehem there was “no room … in the inn” (Luke 2:7) and “no crib for his bed” As the Creator, Christ constructed the universe, yet in little Galilee He was known merely as “the carpenter’s son.” Christ was keenly aware of this constant irony: “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head.”
The scriptures make great use of the symbol of a Wilderness. It’s used effectively in many allegories.
Adam and Eve were cast out of the garden into the Wilderness.
Moses liberated the Israelites and led them through the wilderness to the promised land.
Lehi and his family fled to the wilderness before being led to the promised land.
Wilderness and Deliverance is a pattern of Heavenly Things.
As Adam and Eve  fell from the Father’s presence into the Wilderness of the world. So have we left our Father’s presence and live in this Worldly Wilderness.
Wilderness infers a separation from God’s presence and being subject to temptation and suffering. Just as Moses delivered the Israelites from bondage and from 40 years in the Wilderness across the Jordan River to the The Promised Land. So we should be led by Christ to find our way through this worldy wilderness through the veil to ETERNAL LIFE.
The Promised Land is a similitude of Eternal Life or as we’ll see Jesus Christ.
John 10: 27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:
28 And I give unto them eternal life.
Another important depiction of the journey through Wilderness to Eternal Life is found in Lehi and Nephi’s vision of the tree of life. This is rich in symbolism. The Iron Rod leads us through A Wilderness to the tree of life whose fruit is described as HAVING MIRACULOUS FRUIT . Along the Iron Rod is also the straight and narrow path. Nephi said that ‘We are not just to cling to the iron rod, we are to press steadfastly in Christ having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men. Wherefore, if ye shall press forward, feasting upon the word of Christ, and endure to the end, behold, thus saith the Father: Ye shall have eternal life.
1 Nephi 15 23 And they said unto me: What meaneth the rod of iron which our father saw, that led to the tree?
24 And I said unto them that it was the word of God; and whoso would hearken unto the word of God, and would hold fast unto it, they would never perish;
John1: 1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
So the iron rod is the word of God. And Word is another name for Jesus Christ. Thus the iron rod is a similitude of Jesus Christ that leads us down the straight and narrow path.
Discuss Kevin’s experience teaching priesthood with Elder Holland.
verse30 But, to be short in writing, behold, he saw other multitudes pressing forward; and they came and caught hold of the end of the rod of iron; and they did press their way forward, continually holding fast to the rod of iron, until they came forth and fell down and partook of the fruit of the tree.
[Elder Holland noticed how they fell down as they partook of the fruit of the tree.]
1 Nephi 15: 36 Wherefore, the wicked are rejected from the righteous, and also from that tree of life, whose fruit is most precious and most desirable above all other fruits; yea, and it is the greatest of all the gifts of God. And thus I spake unto my brethren. Amen
The symbol of the fruit is eternal life which is the same as Jesus Christ. (why they fell down)
Elder Jeffrey R. Holland has written, "at the very outset of the Book of Mormon, in its first fully developed allegory, Christ is portrayed as the source of eternal life and joy, the living evidence of divine love, and the means whereby God will fulfill his covenant with the house of Israel and indeed the entire family of man, returning them to all their eternal promises."
Doctrine and Covenants 14:7 7 And, if you keep my commandments and endure to the end you shall have eternal life, which gift is the greatest of all the gifts of God.
It seems that everything that is of God has to come from and pass through a Wilderness. Even Jesus Christ. john 1:46
Doctrine and Covenants 33:5 5 And verily, verily, I say unto you, that this church have I established and called forth out of the wilderness.
Many of you have heard this statement. It was given in a General Conference by Wilford Woodruff, President of the Church in 1898.
[When he heard Joseph Smith preach he could not rest until he wrote it—[He] felt we were living in the most important era of the world. DESCRIBE HOW Wilford Woodruff is responsible more than any other for preserving the teachings of Joseph Smith.]  (Also that he had a gift that allowed him to remember every word Joseph spoke until he could right it down.)
"On Sunday night the Prophet called on all who held the Priesthood to gather into the little log school house they had there. It was a small house, perhaps 14 feet square. But it held the whole of the Priesthood of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who were then in the town of Kirtland, and who had gathered together to go off in Zion's camp. That was the first time I ever saw Oliver Cowdery, or heard him speak; the first time I ever saw Brigham Young and Heber C. Kimball, and the two Pratts, and Orson Hyde and many others. There were no Apostles in the Church then except Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery. When we got together the Prophet called upon the Elders of Israel with him to bear testimony of this work. Those that I have named spoke, and a good many that I have not named, bore their testimonies. When they got through the Prophet said, 'Brethren I have been very much edified and instructed in your testimonies here tonight, but I want to say to you before the Lord, that you know no more concerning the destinies of this Church and kingdom than a babe upon its mother's lap. You don't comprehend it.' I was rather surprised. He said 'it is only a little handful of Priesthood you see here tonight, but this Church will fill North and South America it will fill the world.' “The truth of God” Joseph Smith said, “will go forth boldly, nobly, and independent, till it has penetrated every continent, visited every clime, swept every country, and sounded in every ear, till the purposes of God shall be accomplished, and the Great Jehovah shall say the work is done.”
Brother Chrisney this week carries on this work of the Great Jehovah or Jesus Christ.
Isaiah also saw the Church coming out of the wilderness: After describing the Marvelous Work and a Wonder that would take place in the latter days.
ISAIAH 29: 18 ¶And in that day shall the deaf hear the words of the book, and the eyes of the blind shall see out of obscurity, and out of darkness.
Could Isaiah have better described the coming forth of Book of Mormon and the Restored Gospel. TITLE THE BOOK OF MORMON ANOTHER TESTAMENT OF JESUS CHRIST MORONI’s Title page —Which is to show unto the remnant of the house of Israel what great things the Lord hath done for their fathers; and that they may know the covenants of the Lord, that they are not cast off forever—And also to the convincing of the Jew and Gentile that Jesus is the Christ, the Eternal God, manifesting himself unto all nations.
[101 names or titles of Christ are presented in the Book of Mormon. These include the names/titles Lord God Omnipotent, Redeemer of Israel, Shepherd, and Son of the Living God, each of which is found once in the work. The names/titles Stone, True Messiah, Mighty One of Jacob, and Great Creator are each found twice; the names/titles Holy One of Israel, Lamb of God, Lord Jesus Christ, Redeemer, and Messiah each appear 10 or more times; and the names/titles Christ, God, Jesus, Lord, and Lord God are each found at least 100 times in the book. In all, the 101 names/titles of Christ are collectively presented 3,925 times in 6,607 Book of Mormon verses. 21 Black's tabulation of the names and titles shows that on average, one name or title of Christ appears once every 1.7 verses.]

Testify of the healing power of the scriptures.
ALMA 7:11 And he shall go forth, suffering pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind; and this that the word might be fulfilled which saith he will take upon him the pains and the sicknesses of his people.
12 And he will take upon him death, that he may loose the bands of death which bind his people; and he will take upon him their infirmities, that his bowels may be filled with mercy, according to the flesh, that he may know according to the flesh how to succor his people according to their infirmities. NOTE: Succor Succorrer to run to the rescue to descend below Prodigal Son.
Christ himself told us that he has descended below all things.
I know that Jesus Christ our Savior has descended below all things and runs to our rescue.
Discuss that in the parable of the prodigal son the father was a type of Christ and that he ran to his son as he turned to him.
Last night I read this scripture. May we be among those who learn to comprehend the Savior.
1 Peter 3; 15 But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:
AS THE PROPHET NEPHI SAID: 26 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.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Happy Easter

I am so grateful for the atoning sacrifice of our Savior. I truly have a testimony of the healing power of His Atonement. Sometimes I wonder if we as members of the church truly appreciate the wonderful scope of His sacrifice.

11 And he shall go forth, suffering pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind; and this that the word might be fulfilled which saith he will take upon him the pains and the sicknesses of his people.
12 And he will take upon him death, that he may loose the bands of death which bind his people; and he will take upon him their infirmities, that his bowels may be filled with mercy, according to the flesh, that he may know according to the flesh how to SUCCOR his people according to their infirmities.

This is probably my favorite Book of Mormon scripture on the Atonement. Alma tells us that His sacrifice heals us of so much more than the effects of sin. He has taken upon himself all of our pains and sufferings and infirmities. We need to know that we can turn to the Savior for any of our challenges.
I love the words and language of the Book of Mormon. They testify in so many ways of the truthfulness of the Gospel and the prophetic calling of Joseph Smith. A couple of years ago while preparing for a talk I studied the definition of the word SUCCOR in verse 12.
It originates from the French word succorer. It lists two meanings; ‘to descend below’ and ‘to run to the rescue’. Two amazing and accurate metaphors of the Savior’s atonement.
President John Taylor (1808–87) said of the condescension of Christ, “It was further necessary that He should descend below all things, in order that He might raise others above all things; for if He could not raise Himself and be exalted through those principles brought about by the atonement, He could not raise others; He could not do for others what He could not do for Himself.”
DC 88: 6 He that ascended up on high, as also he descended below all things, in that he comprehended all things, that he might be in all and through all things, the light of truth.
A great description of ‘to run to the rescue’ is the parable of the Prodigal Son. ‘And when he came to himself’ (remembered who he was) and began his journey home……….‘But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him.’
The father of course typifies Jesus Christ; thus satisfying the other metaphor of the word SUCCOR. As we ‘remember who we are’ and return to the Father he in effect ‘runs to us’.
May we always honor and never be hesitant about turning to the Savior and His Atonement to heal us from the vicissitudes of life.

Love Dad

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Sister Smith

I'd like to introduce you to Shirley Andelin Smith, well to me it was always Sister Smith. Sister Smith passed away last week at the age of 86. Sister Smith is the mother of a family I was close to in my youth. In the mid 60's the Smith family moved into my family's ward in Long Beach. Sister Smith's husband was a physician. He was our hometeacher for awhile. He was unassuming, funny and he was really kind. I remember how much Sister Smith loved telling stories about Dr. Smith, particularly when they were first married. I could tell she really loved him.
Dr. Smith worked in a clinic, and I remember that he was well known for
being generous treating patients that couldn't afford treatment. When I posted Sister Smith's obituary on Facebook, many recalled being treated at Dr. Smith's home in the evenings and on Saturdays. One night at 10:30 he stitched me up at their home after a basketball game.
There were 7 kids in the family. The older 4 I didn't know as well. That left Mary, and her brothers Thayne and Toni. Mary was a year older than I was and went to a different high school. There was something about Mary, haha, and we became friends. She was an accomplished student and her testimony was very strong. Even at such a young age she was as the Apostle Paul described 'grounded, rooted, and settled' in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I was probably 16 at the time. We would just hangout, sometimes doing silly dumb things, like see how many pieces of double bubble gum we could chew at once while driving around in my Volkswagen. If she was going to be at church for any reason, I would make sure I was there as well. I remember attending BYU Education Week classes with Mary at our ward building. For several days once a summer, BYU faculty would teach classes on various gospel subjects. I recall sitting on the front row with Mary listening to Truman Madsen.
Mary and her family were a positive influence in my life at a critical time. My friends were mostly basketball players at school and a lot of my church friends were pushing past some of the boundaries of obedience. I remember telling Mary that I was rushing a fraternity at my high school. She said, ' Well that's a dumb thing to do.' I realized she was right and as soon as I was accepted, I quit.
One day I'm at their house and I think it was Toni that suggested I go on their family vacation to West Yellowstone. West Yellowstone is near Idaho Falls, which is where the Smith's were from. So I went along.
It couldn't have been more than a few days when Thayne asked me if I would like to go fishing with he and his Dad on the nearby Madison River. I decided that I would rather go with Mary and her cousins to the lake so I didn't go fishing.
At the end of the day Mary and I, and some of her cousins decided to go into West Yellowstone. Mary was driving and I was in the other front seat. As we were driving along a dirt road, we saw an unknown truck approaching us from the opposite direction, it started to slow down and then stop. Thayne rushed out, waving his arms, exclaiming that their father Dr. Smith, had slipped and somehow his fishing waders had filled with water and the strong current pulled him under and downriver, all while poor Thayne at a distance could only watch. This wonderful man, the father of this very special family was gone.
I won't try to describe the scene. It was horrible. I was asked to take over for Mary and drive the truck back to the house. I made a U turn, but I miscalculated and ran the truck into the ditch running along the road breaking the front axle. I'm sure I was in shock, but I had made the situation worse. It was so heartbreaking to see each family member react to the fact that Dr. Smith had drowned.
I had never witnessed the unexpected loss of a loved one and wouldn't again until I would lose Marianne.
My parents wanted to attend the funeral so I stayed with the Smith's while they made those preparations. The funeral was an outpouring of love and affection for Dr. Smith and his family. Afterwards, Mary accompanied us to the airport. As we said goodbye I could sense her pain and heartbreak.
For a long time I felt that I had let Mary and her Mom down by not going fishing that day with Dr. Smith. I think Thayne had mentioned that things might have turned out different if I had been there. But I have since learned that with His faithful, Heavenly Father is in control.
Things were different after that. The Smith's moved away. When I went to BYU my freshman year I would see them from time to time. I took a class with Mary and I would see Sister Smith in the BYU bookstore. I remember thinking then that Sister Smith would never remarry.
When I went on my mission they were kind enough to come to the Salt Lake airport to see me off. I got a couple of letters from Mary and soon she announced that she was engaged to be married.
Mary had taught me what a wonderful thing it was to associate with a virtuous young woman. I think Heavenly Father and even ministering angels lead and guide us into situations that help prepare us. I would not have known how to get close to your Mom without my friendship with Mary.
When I came home from my mission after a couple of summer months I went back to BYU and I went to visit Sister Smith and Mary. I remember Mary and I went for a walk and she asked me if I was planning on dating a mutual friend. I told her that we had done a few things over the summer and that she was coming up to visit. Somehow Mary knew to give me some good advice. When she arrived I went to pick her up at her friends apartment and sitting at the kitchen table was Marianne Sant, who was also visiting. I didn't notice her since she was wearing curlers and a robe, but she later told me that she told her friends at that table 'why can't I date a guy like that.'
I would get another chance with your Mom a month or so later at a Thanksgiving dance in Long Beach where I would ask her to dance the last dance. The rest of that story I think you know.
Back to the present. Last week I noticed that Thayne had made a posting on Facebook that his mother had passed away. I searched online and found her obituary. It was great to see her face. My first thought was that she and Dr. Smith were together again. Since then I have been contemplating my own experiences with the Smiths all those years ago, and since then the Smith family has grown by 55 grandchildren and 135 great grandchildren. Mary and her husband Charlie have 12 children of their own, how many grand children I can only guess.
As soon as I found out, I called my parents and Kevin. My parents attended the viewing and were able to visit with many of Sister Smith's family. Kevin attended the funeral. My Dad was their Bishop for a good part of the time they were in Long Beach. I think both my parents and the Smith's really enjoyed being together. My parents told me afterwards how much Mary reminded them of Marianne, which caused me to smile. I wasn't able to attend, but my parents sent me some pictures which I saw this morning. It was good to see their faces again.

Can't wait till were all together again next week.



Sunday, April 3, 2011

Some thoughts

Some of these thoughts I have shared with you before. I was reading again one of your Mom's and my favorite authors, Elder Neil Maxwell.
A mortal life may need to be 'shortened' by twenty years as we might view it, but if so, it may be done for certain services to be rendered by that individual in the spirit world, services that will benefit thousands of new neighbors with whom that individual will live in all of eternity... Our omniloving and omniscient Heavenly Father will release us when it is time to be released. But each such release of a righteous person is also a call to new labors!
Often, I have glimpses of your Mom. First, she is happy and fulfilled. She loved to be anxiously engaged in something important. She had exceptional leadership and organizational skills. But I do remember every time she received an important call in the church, she would always express to me her concern whether or not she had the ability to perform it well. Of course, she always amazed everyone with her abilities and desire to serve Heavenly Father. Again, let me say I am certain that she is involved in something challenging and fulfilling and is very happy.
Marianne's favorite pasttime was research. You probably wouldn't know this, since she had to put this aside for her family. Her favorite place at BYU was the library. I loved our time sitting next to each other in that reverent quiet place studying. I have the feeling that her current responsibilities involve research in the most beautiful library we could possibly imagine.
Marianne prefers family over everything. A testament to this is that she often fretted over the fact that she was never able to finish her Phd at BYU, since we chose not to delay having children. She even asked Uncle Merlin once to give her a blessing so that she might have peace over this great disappointment. In the blessing Merlin told her that it would not matter. You see, your Mom wanted to use her talents and be involved in something really important after her children were raised. We never really guessed that opportunity would come on the other side of the veil.
I have glimpses of Marianne surrounded by her family. I am happy she is with her Mom and Dad, and her Uncles and Aunts. I have thoughts of her getting along well with my Grandma Kimball and her faithful mother Birthe Marie Hansen, who as a young girl in Denmark was disowned by her family for joining the Church and moved to Copenhagen on her own to work as a dressmaker for several years to earn her passage to Zion.
Regarding family in the spirit world, Jedediah M. Grant once shared a vision to Heber C. Kimball, his fellow counselor to the prophet Brigham Young and our great great great grandfather.
He said to me, brother Heber, I have been into the spirit world two nights in succession, and, of all the dreads that ever came across me, the worst was to have to again return to my body, though I had to do it. But O, says he, the order and government that were there! When in the spirit world, I saw the order of righteous men and women; beheld them organized in their several grades, and there appeared to be no obstruction to my vision; I could see every man and woman in their grade and order. I looked to see whether there was any disorder there, but there was none; neither could I see any death nor any darkness, disorder or confusion. He said that the people he there saw were organized in family capacities; and when he looked at them he saw grade after grade, and all were organized and in perfect harmony. He would mention one item after another and say, “Why, it is just as brother Brigham says it is; it is just as he has told us many a time.”(Heber C. Kimball, in Journal of Discourses, 4:135–36)
I think that the one glimpse I have of Marianne over everything else is her love and concern for you and I.
In a funeral sermon, Joseph Smith declared that the spirits of righteous people who have died “are not far from us, and know and understand our thoughts, feelings, and motions, and are often pained therewith” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 326). Other latter-day prophets have made similar statements. President Ezra Taft Benson said: “Sometimes the veil between this life and the life beyond becomes very thin. Our loved ones who have passed on are not far from us” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1971, p. 18; or Ensign, June 1971, p. 33). President Brigham Young said: “Where is the spirit world? It is right here” (Discourses of Brigham Young, p. 376).
When Parley P. Pratt learned from the prophet Joseph of the doctrine of eternal marriage he soon realized that the wife of his youth who had passed away years before was now “...a kind ministering angel given to me as a comfort and a crown of glory forever and ever...”.
Whenever I pray I ask Heavenly Father to allow Marianne to be a part of each of our lives. I suggest that this is something you also ask your Heavenly Father.
We do not consciously realize the extent to which ministering angels affect our lives. President Joseph F. Smith said, “In like manner our fathers and mothers, brothers, sisters and friends who have passed away from this earth, having been faithful, and worthy to enjoy these rights and privileges, may have a mission given them to visit their relatives and friends upon the earth again, bringing from the divine Presence messages of love, of warning, or reproof and instruction, to those whom they had learned to love in the flesh.” President James E. Faust
I know that Marianne is aware and even involved in each of your lives. I see her in each of you, and each of her grandchildren. As I am sitting here watching conference, Annie has been taking notes of each conference speaker. Which of course is 'totally Marianne.'
Less than two weeks before Marianne passed away, she made a comment to me that I thought came out of nowhere and have never mentioned to any of you. 'You know Cole, you could have learned more from me than you have.' I didn't really know what to say. But I knew what she meant.
With complete confidence I know that Marianne was called to a more important calling on the other side of the veil. I want to reaffirm to each of you that this is according to Heavenly Father's plan. I suggest that you learn to live as close to the Spirit as you can. As you do this, and continue to sanctify yourselves through the Sacrament every week, the aaronic priesthood keys of the ministering of angels will bless you with the love and influence of that one ministering angel that you miss so much and know would do anything to help and protect you and your family.
Like the Linford's good friend and Apostle, Elder Scott, who lost his own wife 16 years ago, I am grateful for the extraordinary motivation I have to live the Gospel so that I might be reunited with Marianne and my Heavenly Father. Even though I miss Marianne every hour of the day, I am thrilled for her and her current circumstances. I know that we will all be blessed as an eternal family as we strive to learn from our life with her and even her continuing presence through the Spirit of the Lord.
On our night stand I have displayed one of Marianne's notes.

No talk about success can stand without a testimony of the power of the Gospel and the joy that comes from obeying commandments and living the Gospel.
Joy Nephi felt from partaking of the fruit of the tree of life.

DC 76:51-70

These things are yours. This is your your promise as the Spirit Children of our Heavenly Father. All that he requires is our humble, faithful, honest attempt to live the Gospel every day, in response to the challenge that each day brings.

I love Marianne and all of you so much. May we always count our blessings and always be together.


Sunday, April 25, 2010


This is the talk I gave in Sacrament meeting.

I've always loved the Spring. The days are longer, the flowers and shrubs return, General Conference is just around the corner, and of course there's basketball.
Marianne and I never had a gardener. She loved everything about gardening, so we landscaped four homes. She definitely had a green thumb and I had the green stains on my pants to prove it.
We spent our last day together buying and planting shrubs and flowers. In fact our last conversation was about how she wanted us to teach our children how to garden.
During the winter when it was time to prune the garden, Marianne would do the cutting and I would gather the clippings in bags. When I would come home and see the results of Marianne's pruning I would always laugh. I could tell what kind of day she had based on the how the garden looked. If she was feeling frustrated, she would take it out on those poor shrubs. But the shrubs always came back in the Spring. Each year they became larger and fuller and more beautiful.
Now it's my turn to do the pruning and I marvel every spring as the garden awakens the world seems renewed.

As I am getting older and learning more about the Savior, I realize that everything testifies of Jesus Christ.
He is the source of all light and life.
Springtime is symbolic of the Savior’s resurrection.
Just as spring inspires renewed hope and new life, so does the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Major events of our Heavenly Father's plan of salvation,, have occurred in sacred gardens: the garden of Eden, the garden of Gethsemane, and the garden of the Empty Tomb.
Even the crucifixtion took place in a garden:
For Jesus, REMEMBER, irony began at His birth. Truly, He suffered the will of the Father “in all things from the beginning.” (3 Ne. 11:11.) This whole earth became Jesus’ footstool (see Acts 7:49), but at Bethlehem there was “no room … in the inn” (Luke 2:7) and “no crib for his bed”
As the Creator, Christ constructed the universe, yet in little Galilee He was known merely as “the carpenter’s son.”
Christ was keenly aware of this constant irony: “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head.”


While preparing a lesson a week ago
I was impressed with the following scripture:
And lead the man of Christ in a strait and dnarrow course across that everlasting egulf of misery which is prepared to engulf the wicked—
  30 And land their souls, yea, their immortal souls, at the aright hand of God in the kingdom of heaven, to sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and with Jacob, and with all our holy fathers, to go no more out.

We come from the presence of our Heavenly Father AND WE HAVE BEEN FOREORDAINED TO RETURN IN GLORY.

Yet we have bodies that are weighed down by gravity illness sickness weakness and sin. Brigham Young at the funeral of his sister in contrasting our mortal body with our spirit likened our physical bodies to a clod of dirt.
We have lost all memory of our experiences and stature in the Preexistence.
We who are destined to become Heavenly parents. Yet we might find it difficult to get our kids to clean their room.
We are to be joint heirs with Christ yet we might find it hard to get to the temple or to fulfill other responsibilities.
This is actually called dramatic irony. Where the audience is aware of the plot but the characters in the play ARE NOT. WE TEND TO FORGET SOMETIMES WHO WE ARE, DON'T WE?
2 Ne. 11: 44 Behold, my soul delighteth in proving unto my people the truth of the coming of Christ; for, for this end hath the law of Moses been given; and all things which have been given of God from the beginning of the world, unto man, are the typifying of him.
If we pay attention we notice that everything around us testifies of Christ the Creator and the Resurrected Christ.
But it is the scriptures that truly testify in sometimes remarkable ways of the divinity of Jesus Christ.
This has been true since the beginning. Adam and Eve at the very beginning were told by the angel to offer animal Sacrifice in similitude of the ONLY BEGOTTEN OF THE FATHER.
Last week the Jews celebrated the Passover.
The observance of Passover was instituted to commemorate the time when DESTROYING ANGEL passed by those Israelites whose door was marked with the blood of a lamb and Israel was freed from bondage. Prophetically, each Passover lamb had to be a young male, firstborn, without blemish, slain at a specified time of day and month, unbroken in bone, roasted with fire, eaten with bitter herbs, and ultimately consumed so that nothing remained.
Christ was the Son, Firstborn, spotless above all. He was slain at the prophesied time, at the same hour when the traditional Passover lambs were being slain at the temple in Jerusalem.
Bitterness surrounded every aspect of his death—the crown of thorns, the mocking, the vinegar given when he thirsted. His bones were not broken, though those of the thieves who hung with him were.
As in the original Israelite Passover, through the shedding of blood, death was overcome and men were freed from bondage. Even the command, “And ye shall let nothing of it remain …” (Ex. 12:10) seems to have meaning. Christ’s body was placed within the tomb. Those who loved him fully expected that it would remain there. Yet a great and marvelous miracle occurred, and when the tomb was opened, “nothing remained.”

The Passover feast centered on the paschal lamb, which was a sacrificial lamb, a male without blemish and with no broken bone, even after death. Likewise, Jesus was the “Passover,” the “Lamb of God”, a male without blemish and with no broken bone, even after death .
He was the Firstborn of God in the premortal existence, sanctified in the flesh as were the firstborn of Israel , and slain even as were the firstborn of Egypt.
The Jewish Passover lasts one week. It starts on a Monday. It always begins on the 10 of the Jewish month Nissan. Our calendar the date is different from year to year. Sometimes March and sometimes in April. The earliest it can occur is March 15 the latest is April 18.
On the first day of Passover, Monday it begins by the lamb being chosen. This corresponds to the Saviors triumphal entry into Jerusalem. (Zech 9:9)Where the Jews accept Jesus temporarily albeit as their promised Messiah. It is ironic that they (the Jews) thought they were choosing a King, but in reality they were choosing to sacrifice not only paschal lambs, but the Lamb of God, Jesus Christ.
Zechariah 9:9   9 ¶ Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee: he is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon a colt.
On the following Friday the paschal lamb is sacrificed. The Jewish law required that the lamb be killed by the whole congregation of Israel. PEOPLE HAD COME TO JERUSALEM BECAUSE THE LAW REQUIRED IT. This was to occur at the temple between 3 and 5 in the afternoon by law. Of course at the same time the paschal lambs were being slain at the temple the Savior (the Lamb of God) was crucified.
Remember the Jews had gathered at Jerusalem for the Passover and they responded to a perplexed Pilate:
22 Pilate saith unto them, What shall I do then with Jesus which is called Christ? They ALL say unto him, Let him be crucified.
  23 And the governor said, Why, what evil hath he done? But they cried out the more, saying, Let him be crucified. (MATT 27)
(EMPHASIZE the Jewish leaders crucified the Savior not the Jewish people)
The next event follows the very next day SATURDAY. This is the Feast of the Passover which celebrates the liberation of the captive Israelites from Egyptian bondage. . This event corresponds to the Christ as a spirit liberating the captive from Spirit Prison.
DC 138  18 While this vast multitude waited and conversed, rejoicing in the hour of their deliverance from the chains of death, the Son of God appeared, declaring liberty to the captives who had been faithful;
  19 And there he preached to them the everlasting gospel, the doctrine of the resurrection and the redemption of mankind from the fall, and from individual sins on conditions of repentance.
The following day is Passover Sunday. This is when the Jews offer the firstfruits of their harvest to the Lord. This corresponds to the Resurrection of the Savior. He becoming as Paul described “the firstfruits fruits of them that slept.
Lehi also explained that the Savior, “being the first that should rise … is the firstfruits unto God, inasmuch as he shall make intercession for all the children of men; and they that believe in him shall be saved.” (2 Ne. 2:8–9.)'
And of course the Garden tomb was empty and “nothing remained” was fulfilled. Jesus had been resurrected and would soon show himself to Mary than his apostles and then to others.
According to Paul over 500 people in one place. And of course the Nephites testified as well.
According to Jewish law and the Jewish calendar the the celebration of the firstfruits of the harvest is always celebrated on the 16 day of Jewish month of Nissan. This would also represent the day of the Resurrection.
The closing words of the Old Testament contain Malachi’s promise that Elijah the prophet would be sent before the Messiah to fulfill an important mission:
“Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord.
“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.” (Mal. 4:5–6.)
Today the Jews still believe that Messiah will come but he will be proceeded by the coming of Elijah.
Malachi’s words were considered so important that the Savior gave to the Nephites all of chapters 3 and 4 of Malachi [Mal. 3, 4], which end with this prophecy of Elijah’s return.
Also this was among the scriptures Moroni taught Joseph Smith on his first visit even though they are quoted a little differently.
 38 And again, he quoted the fifth verse thus: Behold, I will reveal unto you the Priesthood, by the hand of Elijah the prophet, before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord.
  39 He also quoted the next verse differently: And he shall plant in the hearts of the children the promises made to the fathers, and the hearts of the children shall turn to their fathers. If it were not so, the whole earth would be utterly wasted at his coming.
The promise of Elijah, taught by the scribes in Jesus’ day, is still remembered by the Jewish people every year at Passover. A special place at table is set for him, with a cup of wine. At a prescribed time during the meal, the door is opened for him to enter.
The day of Jesus’ resurrection was important enough to commemorate beforehand in the Passover ceremony and also to celebrate afterward by changing the Sabbath to Sunday. But there was another commemoration of this important day to take place.
Even in our day, the Lord has promised that “all the days of their days, months, and years, and all their glories, laws, and set times, shall be revealed in the days of the dispensation of the fulness of times.” (D&C 121:31.)
We know that Elijah has returned. He returned on Easter Sunday Apr. 3 1836 in the Kirtland Temple. It is interesting that Apr. 3 in 1836 was also the 16 of the month Nissan, passover week and the same date that Jesus was resurrected.
There is an article in the 1985 July issue of the Ensign where a university professor of astronomy uses information about the life of Christ from the Book of Mormon, the DC and New Testament to identify Apr.3, 33AD as the date of the Savior's resurrection.
So, how often does Easter Sunday occur on both April 3 and 16 Nisan, as it did in a.d. 33? It happens less than once every century, on the average. The year 1836, April 3 was the only such occurrence in the nineteenth century.
The apostle Paul, “Now ye are the body of Christ,” and explained that all positions in the Church are important. (1 Cor. 12:12–31.)
DC 20:1 The rise of the Church of Christ in these last days, being one thousand eight hundred and thirty years since the coming of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ in the flesh, it being regularly organized and established agreeable to the laws of our country, by the will and commandments of God, in the fourth month, and on the sixth day of the month which is called April—
Presidents Harold B Lee and Spencer W Kimball each said that this date was the birth date of the Savior.
Thus the DATE of birth of the church coincides the with the DATE of birth of Christ.
Alma in the Book of Mormon uses the words restore and restoration to describe the resurrected body.
When did the restoration of the gospel become complete? When did the dispensation of the fullness of times begin. When Christ came to the Kirtland Temple and introduced Moses, Elias and Elijah. Completing the restoration of the final keys to gather Israel and to perform temple work. Thus the DATE of restoration of the Gospel coincides with the DATE of resurrection of Christ.
 A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, which stripped him of his raiment, and wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead.
Jerusalem, the holy city, represents the place of holiness, or the innocence and purity we had before coming to earth.
The journey down to Jericho represents the fall each of us experiences as we come to earth and makes wrong choices and commits sin.
The robbers are the spiritual enemies we encounter on earth.
The wounds are the real spiritual wounds we receive through sin and mortal adversity
The priest and Levite are those who could and should help us but fail to do so.
But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him,
And went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him.

The good Samaritan is our Savior, who administers wine (representing the blood of his atoning sacrifice) and oil (symbolic of the Holy Ghost). He binds up our wounds and carries us on his own beast.
The inn represents the Church, the place of safety and healing where the Lord takes us and stays with us as we begin our recovery.
The innkeeper can symbolize the leaders of the Church who represent Christ when he is gone, ministering to those in need.
The two pence (and more, if needed) represent the cost of returning us to spiritual health. The Lord pays the full price that is required
Take care of him; and whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again, I will repay thee.

MY FAVORITE description of Christ and the atonement is found in the parable of the prodigal son.
I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee,
And am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants.And he arose, and came to his father.
But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him.
And the son said unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son.
But the father said to his servants, Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet:
And bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry:
For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry.
The Father I believe represents Christ.
We all are in need of atonement. The Savior has invited us all.
Matt. 11: 28 ¶ Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
ALMA :11 And he shall go forth, suffering pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind; and this that the word might be fulfilled which saith he will ctake upon him the pains and the sicknesses of his people.
12 And he will take upon him death, that he may loose the bands of death which bind his people; and he will take upon him their infirmities, that his bowels may be filled with mercy, according to the flesh, that he may know according to the flesh how to succor his people according to their infirmities.
It was in Gethsemane that Jesus took on Himself the sins of the world, in Gethsemane that His pain was equivalent to the cumulative burden of all men, in Gethsemane that He descended below all things so that all could repent and come to Him. EZRA TAFT BENSON.
I testify all things testify of Jesus Christ and his atonement.
JOSEPH SMITH SAID TO BRIGHAM YOUNG."Tell the people to be humble and faithful, and be sure to keep the spirit of the Lord and it will lead them right. Be careful and not turn away the small still voice; it will teach you what to do and where to go; it will yield the fruits of the kingdom. Tell the brethren to keep their hearts open to conviction, so that when the Holy Ghost comes to them, their hearts will be ready to receive it. They can tell the Spirit of the Lord from all other spirits; it will whisper peace and joy to their souls; it will take malice, hatred, strife and all evil from their hearts; and their whole ****** will be to do good, bring forth righteousness and build up the kingdom of God. Tell the brethren if they will follow the spirit of the Lord they will go right. Be sure to tell the people to keep the Spirit of the Lord; and if they will, they will find themselves just as they were organized by our Father in Heaven before they came into the world."13

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Warner Family Christmas Gift Exchange

Katherine- Annie
Julia- Kristy
Maggie- Julia
Kristy- Katherine
Annie- Maggie
Bobby- Richard
Richard- Grant
Grant- Bobby

Happy Shopping! Love you guys!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Some videos I've been meaning to post.

We had a pretend birthday party. I made the Pioneer Woman Strawberry Shortcake Cake that Dad loves so much. The girls liked it a lot. They also loved the idea of a pretend birthday party for no reason at all!

Franny recently learned the Pledge of Allegiance. She started saying it over lunch one day and I caught it on video.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009


Katherine called me on my wedding anniversary. She asked me if I remembered. I had forgotten. I have always had a difficult time remembering, which is a surprise since my thoughts are always with her. Now, I mostly think of the anniversary of her passing. I guess because I now use that date as a kind of countdown to when I'll be with Marianne again.
It's amazing how fast time has gone by. In the Book of Mormon Jacob described our lives passing by as if it were a dream.
I want you to know that I feel Marianne's presence everyday. I know she is concerned about each of us and somehow has the ability to be next to us.
Joseph Smith gave this interesting observation:
“When men are prepared they are better off to go hence....The spirits of the just are exalted to a greater and more glorious work; hence they are blessed in their departure to the world of spirits. Enveloped in flaming fire, they are not far from us, and know and understand our thoughts, feelings, and motions......”
Consider what Brigham Young said:
“I can say with regard to parting with our friends, and going ourselves, that I have been near enough to understand eternity so that I have had to exercise a great deal more faith to desire to live than I ever exercised in my whole life to live. The brightness and glory of the next apartment is inexpressible. It is not that when we advance in years we have to be stubbing along and to be careful lest we fall down. We see our youth, even, frequently stubbing their toes and falling down. But yonder, how different! They move with ease and like lightning.”
Also, Orson Pratt:
“How do we know, when this spirit is freed from this mortal tabernacle, but that all our senses will be greatly enlarged? Unclothe the spirit, and instead of exposing a small portion of it about the size of a pea to the action of the rays of light, the whole of it would be exposed. I think we could then see in different directions at once...I believe we shall be freed, in the next world, in a great measure, from these narrow, contracted methods of thinking. Instead of thinking in one channel, and following up one certain course of reasoning to find a certain truth, knowledge will rush in from all quarters....informing the spirit, and giving understanding concerning ten thousand things at the same time; and the mind will be capable of receiving and returning all.
I know the pain of separation from your Mom. The Lord said, “Thou shalt live together in love, insomuch, that thou shalt weep for the loss of them that die.”
I just want to remind you that she is with us. I think more than we would ever imagine. I see her influence in each one of you. When I see Frannie get really excited about something I see Marianne. That is exactly how I remember her when we first met. She was so excited about life.
I want you to know that our Heavenly Father is aware of our family and has a plan for us. I tell my seminary kids that if they will do their best to live close to the spirit, as they look back from time to time they will notice an outline to their lives. Therefore, there is nothing to fear.
Joseph Smith wrote, "At the first organization in heaven we were all present and saw the Savior chosen and appointed and the plan of salvation made, and we sanctioned it." ...and to Brigham Young he said, "Be sure to tell the people to keep the Spirit of the Lord; and if they will, they will find themselves just as they were organized by our Father in Heaven before we came into the world.
Your Mom's passing is part of the outline of our life. I could name a dozen events that proceeded her passing to let us know that this is true. As difficult as it is to not be able to see and talk to her there is a wonderful irony. She can be with you more now than she could in mortality. I am so grateful for this knowledge. Remember the promise in her patriarchal blessing:

I bless you with the power of discernment in the raising of your children in both spiritual and temporal matters. With this power you will always know when they are troubled and in need of your help, and thus will be able to be with them during the most critical times in their lives to help them make the right decisions.



Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Happy Birthday Dad!!! We Love You!!!

I Spoke in Sacrament meeting Sunday.

In addressing the topic of remaining faithful in times of adversity I want to try to address a couple of different aspects of this topic.
First, the WHY question – why do we have trials and adversities. The second is if we understand the WHY, will it make any difference.
And finally, the HOW. When faced with adversity HOW do we remain faithful.

First – the WHY. Why do we have adversity? Why do we have trials and why are they so painfully and discouragingly hard? Elder Faust in a Conference talk just before his death posed following questions:

Why was I born with physical or mental limitations?
What did I do to deserve this heartache?
Why hasn't the Lord answered our prayers the way we wished?
[Why do] people who have done some very bad things, . . . seem to have everything they want or need?

After posing these questions Elder Faust then answered these questions by quoting Dr. Arthur Wentworth Hewitt, who said,
“First: I don't know.
Second: We may not be as innocent as we think.
Third: . . . I believe it is because [The Lord] . . . loves us so much more than He loves our happiness” (“Where Do I Stand,” 174 General Conference).

The first observation if that while the reasons for our adversities may not be immediately known or discoverable, this life is nonetheless full of them both great and small.
None of us are exempt, and none of us will be blessed with too few.
For example, consider the chilling but prophetic words found inscribed on the crypt of the infamous Black Knight entombed in Westminster Abby in London. It speaks of the certainty of pain and loss in this life.
It reads “As you are, I once was, As I am, you will be.”
If you were my seminary students I would ask, 'Is this true?
Of course not, we are destined to be Sons and Daughters of our Heavenly Father. We know that our Heavenly Father as offered to us all that he has.
This is our perspective when considering our trials and afflictions.

Let me state the obvious. In our lives......
*Everyone at some time will be separated from their loved ones, i.e., separated from mother, father, husband, wife, children or friends, by death – either ours or theirs;
*Everyone of us and all of our loved ones will suffer life ending injuries or disease;
*Everyone will suffer disappointment because of poor choices of our own making or the choices of loved ones;
*And finally, at some point in our lives, all of us will be faced with the deep loneliness that comes because of separation from loved ones.

Through these observations, I am not trying to be unduly negative. It's just that an essential element of this life is that regardless of how good we are or how hard we try to do the right things there will be trials, and they will be very, very difficult.
The other obvious observation that I can make is that the effect that these trials have on us is exactly, exactly what our Heavenly Father wants.
For example, we know from the Book of Mormon that through adversities our Father in Heaven wants us to know opposition in all things. In 2 Nephi 2:15 we read: “it must needs be that there was an opposition; even the forbidden fruit in opposition to the tree of life; the one being sweet and the other bitter.” When you have a minute go back and reflect on this scripture and notice as between the “forbidden fruit” and the “tree of life” which is sweet and which is bitter. While the fruit of the tree of life is described by Adam and Eve as “most precious and desirable” (1 Nephi 15:36) it is not described as “sweet.”

The scriptures also teach us that the Lord wants a people “tried in all things” (Doctrine and Covenants 136:31), how specifically will we be tried? He tells us, “Nevertheless the Lord seeth fit to chasten his people; yea, he trieth their patience and their faith” (Mosiah 23:21). Some of us, Elder Neal A. Maxwell, has said will have “trials to pass through, while still others have allotments they are to live with. Paul, the great apostle, for example, lived with his ‘thorn in the flesh’
(2 Corinthians 12:7)”
8 For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me.
9 And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am cweak, then am I strong.
Ether 12:
27 And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I bgive unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my cgrace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them.

Elder Maxwell goes on to explain that mortality presents us with numerous opportunities to cope with those of life's challenges which are ‘common to man[kind]’ (1 Corinthians 10:13). In addition, there are also our customized trials such as experiencing illness, . . ., persecution, betrayal, irony, poverty, false witness, [and] unreciprocated love, . . . . If endured well, ‘all these things’ can be for our good and can ‘greatly enlarge the soul,’ by excavating the soul we are promised an enlarged capacity for joy (Doctrine and Covenants 122:7; 121:42).
Important in all of this is that our Heavenly Father knows what he want for us and from us ….
and the trials we are given are intended to create the kind of person that the Lord expects us to be.
It is the fact that he knows us and sees us that makes our trials – while not any more understandable – maybe more acceptable.
We know from modern revelation that our Heavenly Father knows the beginning from the end (3 Nephi 9:18, Doctrine and Covenants 35:1) –he knows how everything turns out, how we turn out.
Since he already knows how all of this turns out why do we have to go through this?
Adversities and trials tend to reveal who we are and they reveal the import of what the Lord wants of us and for us.
Peter said“the trial of [our] faith . . . [is] much more precious than gold . . ” (1 Peter 1:7)
In coming to know ourselves: our trials are the best teachers, since such learning is very, very personal.
In 1 Corinthians 13, Paul describes for us the challenging nature of personal growth. He begins in verse 11 by saying:
When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.
Then in the all important and often quoted verse 12 he explains:
For now we see through a glass darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.
To better understand this important scripture, lets go through it line by line and reflect on it a little more carefully.
We know that we are here to grow and to experience all of the joys and pains of growth.
This applies to both our physical and spiritual growth. As verse 11 indicates we move from being a child to an adult and in doing so we put off certain childish things –
Sometimes this is not easy maybe even painful,
But we know that it is absolutely necessary.
Verse 12 is often quoted but IS NOT well understood. Again it begins: “For now we see through a glass darkly.”
Strangely this is usually all of this verse that is quoted and the rest is left out. This part of the scripture is usually interpreted as an observation concerning the great difficulty we have seeing or understanding the world around us thus leaving us to blunder and grope through the darkness.
While this may certainly be true, I don’t think that this is what this scripture is talking about.
In this scripture it is important to understand what the “we” are looking at. The scripture says that “For now we see through a glass darkly.” What is a glass? Since the King James version of the Bible draws from 16th Century English, think of how the word glass is used in English stories such as “Alice through the looking Glass.”
A glass in this instance is not a window with the implication that we are looking out on the world – but it is a mirror. WE ARE LOOKING AT OURSELVES AND IT IS US WE ARE TRYING TO 'KNOW'
With that understanding let’s look at the rest of verse 12. Paul goes on to describe more about coming to know ourselves when he says“but then face to face: now I know in part, but then shall I know even as I am known.”
We are known by our Heavenly Father. Our challenge IS to see us as our Heavenly Father knows us. I think that's what Paul is talking about. To recognize who we really are. Paul tells us this takes time and experience.
But we can be assured that Heavenly Father has his eye on us. He knows us and he knows us perfectly. And we are promised that we will come to know ourselves, see ourselves, as our Heavenly Father knows and sees us.
To know that we are known and known perfectly is so important when we are faced with difficult trials.

To help understand a little better the importance of having a creator who clearly sees and knows our trials let me give you an example that I find helpful.
Michelangelo was once asked how he sculptured his amazing statuary. He responded provocatively by saying......
“I see the angel in the marble and carve until I have set it free”
I think that is a very interesting statement regarding his creative process.
To free the angel from the marble the sculptor must clearly see what the material contains.
Vision therefore is the starting point of the creative process.

I am sure that you can follow THIS ANALOGY. We are beautiful even exquisite material from which the Lord has a plan to make us into something.
In our case we even know what we are to be – beautiful sons and daughters full of perfection.
BUT IT CAN BE DIFFICULT TO have a clear view of what the end result is to look like and …....
we do not always appreciate how difficult and painful the process of freeing the angel really is.

Joseph Smith described his refining process a little differently, he said:
I am like a huge, rough stone . . . and the only polishing I get is when some corner gets rubbed off by coming in contact with something else, striking with accelerated force. . . . Thus I will become a smooth and polished shaft in the quiver of the Almighty (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, sel. Joseph Fielding Smith [1976], 304).

'Striking with accelerated force' I think beautifully describes this process.

Elder Hugh B. Brown reports the following personal story that illustrates the point I am trying to make. He states:
I was living up in Canada. I had purchased a farm. It was run-down. I went out one morning and saw a berry bush. It had grown up over six feet high. It was going all to wood. There were no blossoms and no berries.
I was raised on a fruit farm in Salt Lake before I went to Canada, and I knew what ought to happen to that berry bush. So I got some pruning shears and clipped it back until there was nothing left but stumps. It was just coming daylight, and I thought I saw on top of each of these little stumps what appeared to be a tear, and I thought the berry bush was crying. I looked at it and smiled and said,
“What are you crying about?”
You know, I thought I heard that berry bush say this: “How could you do this to me? I was making such wonderful growth. I was almost as big as the shade tree and the fruit tree that are inside the fence, and now you have cut me down. Every plant in the garden will look down on me because I am not as big as they. How could you do this to me? I thought you were the gardener here.”
That’s what he thought he heard the berry bush say, and he thought it so much that he answered.
He said, “Look, berry bush, I am the gardener here, and I know what I want you to be. I didn’t intend you to be a fruit tree or a shade tree. I want you to be a berry bush, and someday, little berry bush, when you are laden with fruit, you are going to say, “Thank you, Mr. Gardener, for loving me enough to cut me down. Thank you, Mr. Gardener.”
For Jesus, REMEMBER, irony began at His birth. Truly, He suffered the will of the Father “in all things from the beginning.” (3 Ne. 11:11.) This whole earth became Jesus’ footstool (see Acts 7:49), but at Bethlehem there was “no room … in the inn” (Luke 2:7) and “no crib for his bed”
As the Creator, Christ constructed the universe, yet in little Galilee He was known merely as “the carpenter’s son.”
Christ was keenly aware of this constant irony: “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head.”


Jacob 5:4 And it came to pass that the master of the vineyard went forth, and he saw that his olive-tree began to decay; and he said: I will prune it, and dig about it, and NOURISH it, that perhaps it may shoot forth young and tender branches, and it perish not.

As to the pain inherent in this cutting, sculpturing, and polishing process Elder Maxwell has given us a great perspective. He said:
In those moments when we feel the pain which is a necessary part of the plan of happiness, we can remember that there was an ancient time when that plan was first unveiled. Then the perceptive among us voted not secretly, but audibly – by shouting for joy! Let us not go back on those feelings now – for we saw more clearly then what we are experiencing now!

The Lord makes no secret that He will test our faith and our obedience. “We will prove them herewith,” He said, “to see if they will do all things whatsoever the Lord their God shall command them.”

O.K., so adversity and pain are part of a very important and personal plan. Does knowing and understanding that really help? I THINK it does.
This is what life is about – and we don’t get out of life without living it.

Now to the final question, HOW do we remain faithful when faced with adversity. If we understand that our Heaven Father has a plan for us and we know and believe that he “will support us in our trials . . . troubles . . . and afflictions. . .” (Alma 36:3) – what does he give to help us?

In her book called Adversity, Elaine Cannon shares this valuable example:
“An old cowboy said he had learned life’s most important lessons from Hereford cows. All his life he had worked cattle ranches where winter storms took a heavy toll among the herds. Freezing rains whipped across the prairies. Howling, bitter winds piled snow into enormous drifts. Temperatures might drop quickly to below zero degrees. Flying ice cut into the flesh. In this maelstrom of nature’s violence most cattle would turn their backs to the ice blasts and slowly drift downwind, mile upon mile. Finally, intercepted by a boundary fence, they would pile up against the barrier and die by the scores.
“But the Herefords acted differently. Cattle of this breed would instinctively head into the windward end of the range. There they would stand shoulder-to-shoulder facing the storm’s blast, heads down against its onslaught.
“ ‘You always found the Herefords alive and well,’ said the cowboy. ‘I guess it’s the greatest lesson I ever learned on the prairies—just face life’s storms’ ” (Adversity [1987], 133–34).
Similarly, if we face up to our individual adversities or hardships, they can become a source of blessing. God will not give us adversities we cannot handle, and he will bless us richly for patiently doing the best we can in the circumstances.'

Matt. 11: 28 ¶ Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
We tend to think the atonement is only for sinners.
2NEPHI 9: 21 And he cometh into the world that he may save all men if they will hearken unto his voice; for behold, he suffereth the pains of all men, yea, the bpains of every living creature, both men, women, and children, who belong to the family of Adam.
Again Elder Maxwell:

Yet while there may be … heartache, even heartbreak, there can be peace and comfort and strength from the Lord for those who follow Him. …
The Lord [has promised]: “I will go before your face. I will be on your right hand and on your left, and my Spirit shall be in your hearts, and mine angels round about you, to bear you up” (D&C 84:88). …
May we go forward with our righteous convictions. May we walk in truth and in faith and in love. For if we do so, we will be upheld and strengthened by the Lord.'

“In the gospel of Jesus Christ you have help from both sides of the veil and you must never forget that. When disappointment and discouragement strike—and they will—you remember and never forget that if our eyes could be opened we would see horses and chariots of fire as far as the eye can see riding at reckless speed to come to our protection. They will always be there, these armies of heaven, in defense of Abraham’s seed.

I would like to say a word about the ministering of angels. In ancient and modern times angels have appeared and given instruction, warnings, and direction, which benefited the people they visited. We do not consciously realize the extent to which ministering angels affect our lives. President Joseph F. Smith said, “In like manner our fathers and mothers, brothers, sisters and friends who have passed away from this earth, having been faithful, and worthy to enjoy these rights and privileges, may have a mission given them to visit their relatives and friends upon the earth again, bringing from the divine Presence messages of love, of warning, or reproof and instruction, to those whom they had learned to love in the flesh.” Many of us feel that we have had this experience.

D&C 58: 3
3 Ye cannot behold with your natural eyes, for the present time, the design of your God concerning those things which shall come hereafter, and the glory which shall follow after much tribulation.

D&C 78
17 Verily, verily, I say unto you, ye are little children, and ye have not as yet understood how great blessings the Father hath in his own hands and prepared for you;
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.
19 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.


“Come, follow me,” the Savior said. 

Then let us in his footsteps tread,

For thus alone can we be one 

With God’s own loved, begotten Son. …

For thrones, dominions, kingdoms, pow’rs, 

And glory great and bliss are ours,

If we, throughout eternity,

Obey his words, “Come, follow me.”

Thursday, April 16, 2009

just a note.......


Yes, I did get your note. Thank you so much for taking the time (and effort) to get back to me. It means so much.
Also, I wanted to tell you/remind you about something remarkable and generous and magical that your wonderful Marianne did for me so many years ago. Beyond the fact that her kindness and friendship and spirituality and... irreverence was unmatched in anyone I knew then (and few have come close since) I learned so many life lessons from her... but I remembered recently how I was trying to work and go to school at the time, and it was tough... time wise, financially, etc.
One day, right before school started for the semester, Marianne pulled a big "Gotcha" and bought all my textbooks for me. I think I came home and found them wrapped on my front porch.
I think there was actually a note that said "Gotcha!"
I'm sure she's done things like this hundreds/thousands of times for people in your life over the years, but that was unbelievable for me at the time. What a vote of confidence and gift that was.
Thanks again Cole. For your irreplaceable, shining example all those years ago. You, Marianne, your family and all those memories are a cherished part of the fabric that is me.

Wishing you a beautiful week!

xo Michelle

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Franny's Stage Debut

Here's that video I told you about Dad. Family, I may not have told you but Franny was lucky enough to be a part of a pilot program offered by a graduate student for music therapy for about eight weeks. The graduate student presented on the group at Truman University here in Kirksville and she invited me to come and listen to it. After it was over one of the other parents in the group asked me if I had heard about the puppet show that was happening that afternoon on campus. I hadn't, so I walked over to check it out and found a lot of families we love to hang out with. I called Bobby (who had just taken the girls to the park) to see if he could bring the girls to the university so we could go. He rushed over, but just so we could sit and wait for another half hour before the puppet show started. It was all worth it though. It was a very cute production and one of the dancers came and hand-picked Franny along with a few other kids to come and dance on stage! She was so thrilled. She couldn't stop talking about it all day and into the night. "Mommy, did I dance with the ballerinas?" The next day she even asked me to do her hair like the ballerinas. Now watching the video, I know what she was talking about. It was such a pleasure to watch. In fact, before she even got to go on stage, I was watching the look on her face as she watched the production. She was really into it! Just taking it all in. I remember taking that same sideways glance in similar situations just a few years ago, and noticing the difference between her gaze and those of the children around her. At that time, she often seemed disconnected and spaced out. There was no question of her connection with this performance however. Which probably had something to do with that cute ballerina coming down and asking her to dance instead of the handful of other kids sitting around her. It's really exciting to observe. It was also exciting to see how much she enjoyed being in the spotlight. We need to get that kid in dance or theater or something. She was born for the stage!

I should mention that while Franny was up there, Sophie was just miserable. She hates feeling left out by Franny. It was so sad. Poor kid. Usually just shoving a pacifier in her mouth does the trick, but this time it didn't work. I rummaged in my purse and found a half eaten chocolate protein bar and by the end of the show it was all over her face and hands. I tried to hurry and take a picture before she spread chocolate all over the place, but this was all I managed to get. It was on her pants and her shirt, too. Crazy kid.

Sunday, April 12, 2009



Thanks Dad for the beautiful dresses. The girls love them. They've been dancing around all morning.