Sunday, November 15, 2009

The Spirit Speaks...

I once had a stake choir director who said, "The Spirit speaks through good intonation." I heartily believe that statement. I think the Spirit also speaks through not running over time in meetings (particularly the last meeting) and not cutting verses from hymns.

Friday, October 30, 2009

The Bug

Today I killed a box elder bug... in the temple.

Is that bad?

Sunday, October 25, 2009

My Callings

I'm grateful for the callings I have, not only because I enjoy them, but also because in order to fulfill them, I must remain at church for the entire three hours plus some. I'm not saying I wouldn't stay at church if I didn't have those callings, but... sometimes such callings help.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Give to the Homeless

In Sunday School last week we were talking about giving to the needy and homeless. When talking about homeless people, or "houseless," as some prefer to be called, the inevitable statement is made, "I don't ever give money to a homeless person, because you don't know where that money's going."

Sure, it's true you don't know where that money is going. But instead of encouraging people to NOT give money, why don't you encourage them to GIVE something else?

-Give prepackaged food that is sealed so the person knows you didn't poison it or stick needles in it or whatever.

-Take the person out for a meal. A co-worker of mine did this for a man he met on the train. Granted, you should judge the individual circumstances, but it's a possibility.

-If you feel awkward taking a homeless person out for a meal, buy a take-out meal from a restaurant nearby.

-Give gift cards for restaurants or grocery stores near where that person is generally located. If you're worried about the person buying alcohol, you can pick an establishment that doesn't serve it, such as a fast-food restaurant.

-Volunteer to serve homeless dinners at local shelters and outreach programs.

-Give something else, like clothes, sanitary products, camping gear, a gift card to a clothing store, etc.

-Give a bus pass.

-Give medicine (over-the-counter) and first aid products.

Etc. Use your imagination.

And honestly, not every homeless person squanders their alms on liquor and drugs. Use the Spirit to let you know what to give.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

What You Want and Do Not Have

When you want something that you cannot have, you must either change what you want or change what you have in order to avoid falling into despair over impossible possibilities.

But what if what you want is something that you should want? What if it's something that you need, even, in order to continue to progress in God's great plan of happiness? What then? You wanting it is supposed to be a good thing, but then it's something that you want but you still don't have, and you want and you still don't have, and you still don't have, and you still don't have and you start to wonder if maybe you should change what you want, because what you have sure isn't going to change anytime soon.

That is why I choose to not think about it at all, most of the time. And thankfully, the gospel is so big and vast that it is possible to ponder many of life's mysteries without contemplating what you want and do not have.

I could write pages more on this subject, but I don't want to. Thus this is the end.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Alma the Younger

Alma the Younger was an amazing man. He's probably my favorite character in the Book of Mormon.

I knew Alma was the high priest and the chief judge in the land (Mosiah 29:42,44), until he gave up the latter post (Alma 4:18), but I never thought of him as a warrior. Well, guess what? He fought in the battle against the Amlicites (Alma 2:16). I can't figure out if he was the head of the armies, or if he just went up with the head of the armies, since he was the chief governor at the time.

Later in the book of Alma we see that Moroni is the captain of the armies (Alma 43:16,17), both while Nephihah is the chief judge (Alma 4:16,17), and also when Nephihah's son Pahoran becomes chief judge (Alma 50:39), so the two positions of chief governor and captain of the armies are not necessarily coincidental.

Also, Pahoran is stated to be the chief judge and governor (Alma 50:39), so I think those two positions are, in fact, one and the same.

Interesting stuff.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Jarom 1: 7-9

Jarom is a little book, and one that I generally don't know very well. However, in rereading it recently, I was most interested in verses 7-9:

7. And it came to pass that they came many times against us, the Nephites, to battle. But our kings and our leaders were mighty men in the faith of the Lord; and they taught the people the ways of the Lord; wherefore, we withstood the Lamanites and swept them away out of our lands, and began to fortify our cities, or whatsoever place of our inheritance.

8. And we multiplied exceedingly, and spread upon the face of the land, and became exceedingly rich in gold, and in silver, and in precious things, and in fine workmanship of wood, in buildings, and in machinery, and also in iron and copper, and brass and steel, making all manner of tools of every kind to till the ground, and weapons of war—yea, the sharp pointed arrow, and the quiver, and the dart, and the javelin, and all preparations for war.

9. And thus being prepared to meet the Lamanites, they did not prosper against us. But the word of the Lord was verified, which he spake unto our fathers, saying that: Inasmuch as ye will keep my commandments ye shall prosper in the land.

This is an instance of a people receiving a physical blessing because of their spiritual preparedness. The Nephites had a physical need: they needed to not be killed by the Lamanites. They also, I am sure, had temporal needs, which is where all the stuff in verse 8 comes in.

But to accomplish their physical need, Jarom doesn't mention the training and the drilling and the practices of the Nephites. No. He mentions that they were taught in the ways of the Lord. And in case we can't put two and two together and figure out that it was because of their spiritual preparedness that they were able to physically beat the Lamanites, he reminds us in verse nine: this is what the Lord said, and what the Lord said came true.

Sometimes we think that spiritual things are not the answer. We think that because our needs are temporal or physical, they cannot be addressed by anything spiritual. But this is not the case. All things are connected. Christ suffered physically and spiritually. And the things he says to do are not just for our spiritual well-being. They are for every aspect of our being.

It's a lot to believe sometimes, that spirituality will help in schooling, or in work, or in whatever endeavor we're undertaking. But it's true. The Lord says so, Jarom says so, and I say so.

The end.