Monthly Archives: May 2012

Redeemer of Israel

After going to Kirtland last year, one of my sons was obsessed with his old-style replica hymnbook. He read from it regularly, and sang many of the songs. One day he and his brother filmed the singing of Redeemer of Israel:

It’s beautiful to hear your children singing the hymns of the gospel on their own!

However, even more “fun”, is when you get a sneak peak into what really happened during the filming. Check out this “behind-the-scenes” video. My son sings the line that ends in “…Zion in love” and then immediately scolds his brother. Pretty funny stuff!

Principles From Prophets

I go for a 3-4 km walk every day at lunch. While I’m walking, I like to listen to podcasts, talks, etc. One that I’ve read and listened to is by President Monson. On September 15, 2009 he gave a BYU Devotional address called Principles From Prophets. I remember reading about it when it first was given, but it took me a while to finally listen to it.

During the devotional, President Monson shares stories about the prophets that have been alive while he has been alive. He shares a characteristic, favourite food, song, and some personal anecdotes about Heber J Grant, George Albert Smith, David O McKay, Joseph Fielding Smith, Harold B Lee, Spencer W Kimball, Ezra Taft Benson, Howard W Hunter, and Gordon B Hinckley. I love to hear some of the “behind-the-scenes” stuff that was shared. I wish we heard this sort of thing more often.

Bumper stickers references in General Conference

The other day I saw a bumper sticker which said “Get rich quick – Count your blessings”. It kind of looked like this:

It reminded me of an article I had seen on the Deseret News web site after General Conference. You will probably recall that President Uchtdorf told of seeing a bumper sticker that said “Don’t judge me because I sin differently than you.”

Well, someone  at Deseret News found at least 8 references to bumper stickers in General Conference. The oldest one seems to be from 1978.

“They walked everywhere they went”

I’m not sure where I first heard about this, but it’s cute. I guess it seemed funny to me since Mormons seem to focus so much on the length of hair of our young men:

A young boy had just gotten his driving permit. He asked his father, who was a minister, if they could discuss his use of the car. His father said to him “I’ll make a deal with you. You bring your grades up, study your bible a little and get your hair cut, then we will talk about it”

A month later the boy came back and again asked his father if they could discuss his use of the car. His father said “Son, I’m real proud of you. You have brought your grades up, you’ve studied your bible diligently, but you didn’t get hair cut!”

The young man waited a moment and replied “You know dad, I’ve been thinking about that. You know Samson had long hair, Moses had long hair, Noah had long hair and even Jesus had long hair.”

His father replied “Yes, son, and they walked everywhere they went!”

Count your blessings

We recently had a family home evening lesson about what we were grateful for. Here is a list of things that were mentioned by the 5 members of my family. You can probably guess which ones were from adults and which ones were from kids, but there are definitely some that could be either (I’ll leave it up to you to guess). Overall, it’s not a bad list. I’m pleased that we were able to think of such a wide range of things.

  • our home
  • priesthood
  • family
  • love
  • job
  • food
  • brothers and sisters
  • my best friend
  • the Church
  • toys
  • our fish
  • prayer
  • comfortable furniture
  • books
  • clothes
  • music
  • school
  • teachers
  • flowers
  • games
  • spring
  • movies
  • funny people
  • nature
  • animals
  • temple
  • scriptures
  • life
  • weather

Canada-wide Stake Conference

I was going through some drafts that I had, and this one stuck out. Apparently 2 years ago we had a Canada-wide Stake Conference that was broadcast from Salt Lake City. Well, here we are 2 years later, and we have one this coming Sunday. I figured that I might as well post the notes that I typed up (but never posted) from the conference from 2 years ago, and then I’ll post the current notes next week. Obviously I paid a lot more attention to the Saturday broadcast than the Sunday one. I was still the bishop of the ward at that time, and the Saturday session essentially took the place of the local Priesthood Leadership session.

Saturday

Elder Pace

  • We can’t receive too much counsel
  • Melchizedek Priesthood quorums are lacking because they are failing to tap into the power of the quorum
  • our leaders try to prime the pump of revelation, but we need to receive the revelation from deity

Elder Ballard

  • Q) how we do combat pornography
  • A) we draw a line in our minds over which we will never step
  • stop, repent, quit, draw the line
  • make a resolve and commitment with the Lord that you will not step over into the devil’s playground
  • pornography will destroy your spirituality
  • if this is an issue, stop it today
  • be careful on other sites as well (like Facebook)
  • stay on the Lord’s side
  • Matthew 25 – do not be a goat

President Uchtdorf

  • he has lived more of his life in districts than in stakes
  • don’t wait to make an impact in the lives of our children
  • in today’s world, don’t trust the compass the world is offering
  • trust the Holy Ghost
  • spoke of compass ambiguity as he traveled in northern Canada (has been to Frobisher Lake and Goose Lake)
  • use the time you have in your calling
  • don’t dare say “if only I was the…”
  • 1 Samuel 10 – the Lord will turn us into another man
  • there is no small calling in the Church

Sunday

  • 111 downlink sites
  • 10 + languages
  • my son asked if there was another episode
  • Elder Pace on both days called Elder Ballard by the name Russell M Ballard
  • President Uchtdorf was very fidgety
  • Truly a united nation of the Church
  • 800+ missionaries
  • President Uchtdorf said that sometimes we have to look for something different to see the true identity. Bald Eagle, golf balls

“The Mormon way of business”

I generally try to keep up with news items in the “big” mainstream media when the Church is mentioned. The May 5, 2012 print edition of The Economist had a pretty decent one-page article about the Church and how we may have an disproportionately large number of successful business people. The article talks off by talking about the “I’m a Mormon” campaign, and then says:

The snag is, not everyone will buy the idea that Mormons are just like the rest of us. They don’t get drunk. They have large families, stable marriages and a three-month supply of food in the larder in case of Armageddon. They are usually clean-cut and neatly dressed (the facial hair in the “I’m a Mormon” ads is thankfully atypical). And they have a passion for business.

Less than 2% of Americans are Mormons, yet their commercial prominence belies their numbers. Mitt Romney founded Bain Capital, a private-equity powerhouse. Jon Huntsman senior (the father of Mr Romney’s rival for the Republican crown) founded Huntsman Corporation, an $11 billion chemicals giant. David Neeleman has founded two cut-price airlines: JetBlue in America and Azul in Brazil. Ralph Atkin started a third: SkyWest Airlines. Eric Varvel is the boss of Credit Suisse’s investment bank, Harris Simmons heads Zions Bancorporation, a more local bank, and Allan O’Bryant runs the Japanese arm of Reinsurance Group of America. J.W. Marriott runs the hotel chain his father created. Had Max Weber lived a century later, he might have made sweeping generalisations about the “Mormon work ethic”.

There obviously isn’t really a spiritual slant to the article, but I always find it interesting to read what others think about us and how we are perceived.

Parental Hypocrisy

In meetings when I was bishop, and with my wife, I have occasionally made comments about parents doing things that they don’t want their kids to do. I’m obviously not talking about parents driving and not letting their pre-teens drive. That is obviously against the law. I’m talking about parents who may say, look at, or participate in inappropriate things. Because they are “adults”, they say it’s ok, but they don’t want their kids to do it. Perhaps it is certain movies, or certain words they say, or things they see. There are some things that I don’t want my kids to see, not because they are inappropriate, but because they just don’t need to be exposed to certain things at their age. I hope you understand the difference in what I’m talking about. I guess it is kind of the “do as I say, not as I do” attitude.

Anyway, this past Sunday the concluding speaker was speaking about the role of parents (tied into Mother’s Day) and he shared a quote from President Faust. I called what I described above as “parental hypocrisy”:

When parents try to teach their children to avoid danger, it is no answer for parents to say to their children, “We are experienced and wise in the ways of the world, and we can get closer to the edge of the cliff than you.” Parental hypocrisy can make children cynical and unbelieving of what they are taught in the home. For instance, when parents attend movies they forbid their children to see, parental credibility is diminished. If children are expected to be honest, parents must be honest. If children are expected to be virtuous, parents must be virtuous. If you expect your children to be honorable, you must be honorable.

James E. Faust, “The Greatest Challenge in the World—Good Parenting,” Ensign, Nov 1990, 32

As is often the case, someone else comes up with a better way to explain the way that I feel. We really do need to practice what we preach. Our kids know when we are genuinely concerned about their exposure to something, and when we are just making excuses. If we want our children to trust us and our decisions, we need to be honorable in all things. It isn’t always easy, but it will make a different in the long run.

Using our time wisely

I don’t have any quotes from a General Authority to share, but I do have a quote to share from my wife (who in my life carries as much or more influence as the GAs). A couple of weeks ago in Sunday School we were talking about King Benjamin and his admonition to serve others. The teacher got a discussion going about having time for service, and how hard it can be. Among the comments made, my wife said the following:

“If we use our time properly, the things that don’t matter will fall out of the way or we’ll find a way to get things done. We won’t feel like we’re busy. If we find that we are busy, it is because we are focusing on the wrong things.”

I think that is one of the most profound things she has ever said, and I totally agree. If I feel myself getting bogged down with things, it is almost always because I am focused on things that don’t really matter. On the other hand, I can have a really “busy” week of Church things (my wife out on a Tuesday for a Relief Society activity, my wife out Wednesday for a YW activity, my teaching Institute on Wednesday, Ward Temple Night on a Thursday, etc), but it doesn’t feel busy. It just feels like life, and it is a good life.

Star Wars Family Tree

Some people aren’t that interested in genealogy/family history or they say they don’t have enough time to do it. Well, as you can see, family history really is for everyone!
🙂

Note: This image has a copyright from Lucasfilm, but I can’t find it on their site to link to. I found this recently on my hard drive as I was cleaning up.