Monday, December 13, 2010
Sunday, October 31, 2010
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
Monday, October 25, 2010
Sunday, September 12, 2010
Sunday, August 29, 2010
Thursday, August 26, 2010
Wednesday, July 21, 2010
I was reminded recently of a story Elder Quieten L. Cook told in General Conference regarding difficult times. He said,
Last winter my daughter had a white-knuckle experience driving in a severe snowstorm. She reminded me of a similar situation I had with my two sons many years ago. My youngest son, Joe, was three years old, and my son Larry was six. We were traveling by car from San Francisco to Utah in June. The weather had been very good.
As we started our ascent to the Donner Pass summit in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, suddenly and without warning an enormous snowstorm hit us. None of the drivers was prepared. A semitruck in front of us had jackknifed and was spread across two lanes. Other trucks and cars had slid off the freeway. One lane was open, and many vehicles, including ours, were desperately trying to gain traction to avoid the other vehicles. All traffic then came to a halt.
We were not prepared for this blizzard in June. We had no warm clothing, and our fuel was relatively low. I huddled with the two boys in an effort to keep us warm. After many hours, safety vehicles, snowplows, and tow trucks began to clear up the massive logjam of vehicles.
Eventually, a tow truck hauled us to a service station on the other side of the pass. I called my wife, knowing she would be worried because she had expected a call the prior evening. She asked if she could speak to the two boys. When it was the three-year-old’s turn, with a quivering voice, he said, “Hope ya know, we had a hard time!”
I could tell, as our three-year-old talked to his mother and told her of the hard time, he gained comfort and then reassurance. Our prayers are that way when we go to our Father in Heaven. We know He cares for us in our time of need.
As we were talking about hard times with the children, trying to help them recognize suffering around us, and have a desire to do something about it, Wesley remembered the video portraying Elder Holland's experience as he attempted to move across the country. I posted it below for your convenience. Yes hard times do pass, but if we have the ability to eliminate any about of suffering someone feels, we are obligated to do so. I think the entire gospel can be summed-up in one word, charity. Charity is how we feel and act towards each other, and this determines who we become. I think the video of President Hinckley's talk, Lessons I Learned As a Boy, portrays this point very well.
Wednesday, January 6, 2010
Wesley spent New Year's Eve with about 25 youth from the ward and the YM and YW leaders. They had a great time full of clean wholesome fun. The church has produced some fabulous media in connection to New Years titled A Brand New Year. They watched just as much of the 2009 video as we did the 2010. It is marvelous to see to the faith of the youth.
Sister Dalton, Young Women General President said, "I think they need to be reminded of who they are. They need to know their identity. They are not ordinary, they are not common. They are sons and daughters of our Father in Heaven. The world wants Latter-day Saint teens to be average. Our message is to live on a higher level. The Lord is with these youth. The Lord knows who they are. He trusts them. We trust them. We have great confidence in them.” Church News Week Ending December 5, 2009
The clip below is from the 2009 DVD. It is amazing to see the Conference Center filled with youth, watching a performance consisting entirely of youth. Our youth have enjoyed singing the 2009 songs throughout the year. The 2010 DVD does not have the same feel or sing-able songs as the 2009 production, but it is powerful in its own right, hence the reason for showing both years.
Love of country is not unique to Americans, but in a democracy, sending citizens to war requires far more than a dictator's fiat. In 1861, men on both sides of the conflict were willing to lay down their lives for what they believed to be right. Southerners fought for states' rights and a society built upon human slavery, which many considered the natural order of the universe. When the war started, few volunteers in the northern army marched off to end slavery, but many were ready to fight and die to preserve the Union.
One such soldier was Major Sullivan Ballou of the Second Regiment, Rhode Island Volunteers. Then thirty-two years old, Ballou had overcome his family's poverty to start a promising career as a lawyer. He and his wife Sarah wanted to build a better life for their two boys, Edgar and Willie. An ardent Republican and a devoted supporter of Abraham Lincoln, Ballou had volunteered in the spring of 1861, and on June 19 he and his men had left Providence for Washington, D.C.
He wrote the following letter to his wife from a camp just outside the nation's capital, and it is at once a passionate love letter as well as a profound meditation on the meaning of the Union. It caught national importance 129 years after he wrote it, when it was read on the widely watched television series, "The Civil War," produced by Ken Burns. The beauty of the language as well as the passion of the sentiments touched the popular imagination, and brought home to Americans once again what defense of democracy entailed.
Ballou wrote the letter July 14, while awaiting orders that would take him to Manassas, where he and twenty-seven of his men would die one week later at the Battle of Bull Run.
My very dear Sarah:
The indications are very strong that we shall move in a few days --perhaps tomorrow. Lest I should not be able to write you again, I feel impelled to write lines that may fall under your eye when I shall be no more.
Our movement may be one of a few days duration and full of pleasure --and it may be one of severe conflict and death to me. Not my will, but thine O God, be done. If it is necessary that I should fall on the battlefield for my country, I am ready. I have no misgivings about, or lack of confidence in, the cause in which I am engaged, and my courage does not halt or falter. I know how strongly American Civilization now leans upon the triumph of the Government, and how great a debt we owe to those who went before us through the blood and suffering of the Revolution. And I am willing -- perfectly willing -- to lay down all my joys in this life, to help maintain this Government, and to pay that debt.
But, my dear wife, when I know that with my own joys I lay down nearly all of yours, and replace them in this life with cares and sorrows -- when, after having eaten for long years the bitter fruit of orphanage myself, I must offer it as their only sustenance to my dear little children -- is it weak or dishonorable, while the banner of my purpose floats calmly and proudly in the breeze, that my unbounded love for you, my darling wife and children, should struggle in fierce, though useless, contest with my love of country?
I cannot describe to you my feelings on this calm summer night, when two thousand men are sleeping around me, many of them enjoying the last, perhaps, before that of death -- and I, suspicious that Death is creeping behind me with his fatal dart, am communing with God, my country, and thee.
I have sought most closely and diligently, and often in my breast, for a wrong motive in thus hazarding the happiness of those I loved and I could not find one. A pure love of my country and of the principles I have often advocated before the people and "the name of honor that I love more than I fear death" have called upon me, and I have obeyed.
Sarah, my love for you is deathless, it seems to bind me to you with mighty cables that nothing but Omnipotence could break; and yet my love of Country comes over me like a strong wind and bears me irresistibly on with all these chains to the battlefield.
The memories of the blissful moments I have spent with you come creeping over me, and I feel most gratified to God and to you that I have enjoyed them so long. And hard it is for me to give them up and burn to ashes the hopes of future years, when God willing, we might still have lived and loved together, and seen our sons grow up to honorable manhood around us. I have, I know, but few and small claims upon Divine Providence, but something whispers to me -- perhaps it is the wafted prayer of my little Edgar -- that I shall return to my loved ones unharmed. If I do not, my dear Sarah, never forget how much I love you, and when my last breath escapes me on the battlefield, it will whisper your name.
Forgive my many faults, and the many pains I have caused you. How thoughtless and foolish I have oftentimes been! How gladly would I wash out with my tears every little spot upon your happiness, and struggle with all the misfortune of this world, to shield you and my children from harm. But I cannot. I must watch you from the spirit land and hover near you, while you buffet the storms with your precious little freight, and wait with sad patience till we meet to part no more.
But, O Sarah! If the dead can come back to this earth and flit unseen around those they loved, I shall always be near you; in the garish day and in the darkest night -- amidst your happiest scenes and gloomiest hours -- always, always; and if there be a soft breeze upon your cheek, it shall be my breath; or the cool air fans your throbbing temple, it shall be my spirit passing by.
Sarah, do not mourn me dead; think I am gone and wait for thee, for we shall meet again.
As for my little boys, they will grow as I have done, and never know a father's love and care. Little Willie is too young to remember me long, and my blue-eyed Edgar will keep my frolics with him among the dimmest memories of his childhood. Sarah, I have unlimited confidence in your maternal care and your development of their characters. Tell my two mothers his and hers I call God's blessing upon them. O Sarah, I wait for you there! Come to me, and lead thither my children.