A witness from God can be relied upon. As you read our thoughts, beliefs, and experiences, we invite you to obtain a witness for yourself. If something we say or imply does not ring true, then you should feel no obligation to accept it. Life is an individual and unique journey with God. Although we can help and encourage each other, we need to be careful not to come between God and another person.


Tuesday, April 30, 2024

The Oddest Thing

I have a friend who no one wants to fellowship with.

In fact, he has even been asked not to attend general conference.

But when it comes to holding women’s councils for the man . . . all the women want to claim they are in his home fellowship.

It’s the oddest thing.

Thursday, April 18, 2024

A Peculiar Economy

Everyone has needs, desires, and dreams. We are all dependent upon God. We are vulnerable even when we think we are secure. 

Treat others as you want to be treated. The Lord is guiding us in a path and teaching us to be like Him. He is merciful, just, and charitable. Be like Him.. 

Then Jesus answered and said unto his disciples, Thus shall you say unto them: What man among you, having a son — and he shall be standing out and shall say, Father, open your house that I may come in and eat with you — will he not say, Come in my son, for mine are yours and yours are mine? Or what man is there among you who, if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone? Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father who is in Heaven give good things unto them that ask him? Therefore, all things whatsoever you desire that men should do to you, do even so to them, for this is the law and the prophets. Matthew 3:44

The principle of Karma is not just found in Hinduism and Buddhism. It is also found in Mormonism. We are kind to ourselves when we “deal justly, judge righteously, and do good continually.” We will receive what we send out. 

And now behold, is the meaning of the word restoration to take a thing of a natural state and place it in an unnatural state? Or to place it in a state opposite to its nature? O, my son, this is not the case, but the meaning of the word restoration is to bring back again evil for evil, or carnal for carnal, or devilish for devilish; good for that which is good, righteous for that which is righteous, just for that which is just, merciful for that which is merciful. Therefore, my son, see that ye are merciful unto your brethren. Deal justly, judge righteously, and do good continually; and if ye do all these things, then shall ye receive your reward. Yea, ye shall have mercy restored unto you again, ye shall have justice restored unto you again, ye shall have a righteous judgment restored unto you again, and ye shall have good rewarded unto you again. For that which ye do send out shall return unto you again and be restored. Therefore, the word restoration more fully condemneth the sinner and justifieth him not at all. Alma 19:11

We are learning to be like our Lord. This means we get to contribute, work, and be responsible. We also get to lift, serve, and be generous. 

Everyone Works

We have a strong work ethic in our home. Our parents taught us to work, and we wanted to pass this gift on to our children. 

In 1998, we had three children, ages five, three, and one, with baby number four on the way. The children were making messes faster than I could clean. I was exhausted. In frustration, I threw up my hands to God and said, “What would You do?” 

The words came clearly to my mind, “By the sweat of thy brow, thou shall eat food all the days of thy life.” I asked how it is done with young children? The idea came to mind . . .  Give the three year old and five year old a small job before each meal. Teach your children that eating is the natural result of working. This approach worked. Twenty-six years later, all of our eleven children know how to work and are helpful.

The Idler

How does the economy of Zion work? Everyone works. The idler shall not eat the bread nor wear the garment of the laborer. We are also not to labor to gratify our pride or greed. Yes, we have physical needs and desires, but our focus is on the riches of eternity

. . .  And the inhabitants of Zion also shall remember their labors, inasmuch as they are appointed to labor, in all faithfulness, for the idler shall be had in remembrance before the Lord. Now, I the Lord am not well pleased with the inhabitants of Zion, for there are idlers among them, and their children are also growing up in wickedness. They also seek not earnestly the riches of eternity, but their eyes are full of greediness. These things ought not to be, and must be done away from among them. T&C 55:6

  • And again, you shall not be proud in your heart. Let all your garments be plain, and their beauty the beauty of the work of your own hands, and let all things be done in cleanliness before me. You shall not be idle, for he that is idle shall not eat the bread, nor wear the garment of the laborer. T&C 26:10

Righteous Government

In our current culture, the government gets its power through taxation, compulsion, and force. But in Zion, no man is able to command another man’s actions. 

. . . Zion will be produced by a journey begun in equality, pursued by equals, with no man able to command another man’s actions. Persuasion, meekness, unfeigned love, and pure knowledge are the only tools necessary for Zion . . . Glossary Zion

Although Zion was not created during King Benjamin’s reign, “with the help of [holy men], king Benjamin, by laboring with all the might of his body and the faculty of his whole soul, and also the prophets, did once more establish peace in the land.” Words of Mormon 1:6

King Benjamin is an example of righteousness. He wasn’t supported through the taxation of his people. He labored with his own hands for his support. He understood when he served his people, he was serving God.

. . . I have been suffered to spend my days in your service, even up to this time, and have not sought gold, nor silver, nor any manner of riches of you . . . And even I myself have labored with mine own hands that I might serve you, and that ye should not be laden with taxes, and that there should nothing come upon you which was grievous to be borne. And of all these things which I have spoken, ye yourselves are witnesses this day. Yet my brethren, I have not done these things that I might boast, neither do I tell these things that thereby I might accuse you; but I tell you these things that ye may know that I can answer a clear conscience before God this day. Behold, I say unto you that because I said unto you that I had spent my days in your service, I do not desire to boast, for I have only been in the service of God. Mosiah 1:7

Teach With Power and Authority

Alma commanded priests not to depend upon the people for their support. Is it not possible to please God while seeking to please men. 

For do I now please men or God? Or do I seek to please men? For if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ. But I certify to you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man, for I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it but by the revelation of Jesus Christ. Gal. 1:3 

When priests labor with their own hands, they are free to operate independently from the people they serve. They can wax strong in the spirit and teach truth because they do not need to please their audience. True servants of Christ teach with power and authority from God.

And he also commanded them that the priests whom he had ordained should labor with their own hands for their support. And there was one day in every week that was set apart that they should gather themselves together to teach the people, and to worship the Lord their God, and also as often as it was in their power to assemble themselves together. And the priests were not to depend upon the people for their support, but for their labor they were to receive the grace of God, that they might wax strong in the spirit, having the knowledge of God, that they might teach with power and authority from God. Mosiah 9:10

Most people want to hear false doctrines that stroke their egos. They want to be consoled and pacified rather than repent and change. Disingenuous pious people are eager to give their money to false priests in exchange for flattering words which soothe their conscience. Popular religious leaders grow rich as they exercise their craft.

Nehor “had gone about among the people, preaching to them that which he termed to be the word of God, bearing down against the church, declaring unto the people that every priest and teacher ought to become popular and they ought not to labor with their own hands, but that they ought to be supported by the people. And he also testified unto the people that all mankind should be saved at the last day, and that they need not fear nor tremble, but that they might lift up their heads and rejoice, for the Lord had created all men and had also redeemed all men; and in the end, all men should have eternal life. And it came to pass that he did teach these things so much that many did believe on his words, even so many that they began to support him and give him money. And he began to be lifted up in the pride of his heart and to wear very costly apparel, yea, and even began to establish a church after the manner of his preaching. Alma 1:1

Jesus was killed because of priestcrafts and iniquities. The doctrine taught by false priests was so twisted that they did not even recognize the God of miracles as He ministered among them.

For should the mighty miracles be wrought among other nations, they would repent and know that he be their God. But because of priestcrafts and iniquities, they at Jerusalem will stiffen their necks against him, that he be crucified.  2 Nephi 7:1

Laborer in Zion

Priestcrafts are that men preach and set themselves up for a light unto the world that they may get gain and praise of the world, but they seek not the welfare of Zion. Nephi reminds us of God’s command to have charity as he juxtaposes men practicing priestcrafts with the laborer in Zion who does not labor for money.

He commandeth that there shall be no priestcrafts; for behold, priestcrafts are that men preach and set themselves up for a light unto the world, that they may get gain and praise of the world, but they seek not the welfare of Zion. Behold, the Lord hath forbidden this thing; wherefore, the Lord God hath given a commandment that all men should have charity, which charity is love. And except they should have charity, they were nothing; wherefore, if they should have charity, they would not suffer the laborer in Zion to perish. But the laborer in Zion shall labor for Zion, for if they labor for money, they shall perish . . . 2 Nephi 11:17

Are all the laborers in Zion not laboring for money? No magic or sprinkling fairy dust is going to build Zion. Is land going to be purchased and the temple built without money? How do the inhabitants of Zion purchase building and farming supplies without money? How do they support their families without money? When the money system of Babylon fails, it will be different, but until then, we operate within our current world situation. 

Who is the laborer in Zion who shall not labor for money? To whom is this referring?

Without Purse or Scrip

Jesus sent forth itinerant preachers and commanded them, saying, “Go . . . to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. . . Provide neither gold, nor silver, nor brass in your purses . . . for the workman is worthy of his food. And into whatever town or city you shall enter, inquire who in it is worthy, and there abide until you go from there . . .  the laborer is worthy of his hire . . .  And he shall not go hungry, neither athirst. Therefore, take no thought for the morrow, for what you shall eat, or what you shall drink, or wherewith you shall be clothed . . . this commandment is unto all the faithful who are called of God in the church unto the ministry, therefore, let no man from this hour take purse or scrip that goes forth to proclaim this gospel of the kingdom . . . Whoever receives you receives me, and the same will feed you, and clothe you, and give you money. And he who feeds you, or clothes you, or gives you money shall in no wise lose his reward. And he that does not these things is not my disciple; by this you may know my disciple . . .”

It seems that those who labor for Zion yet are forbidden to labor for money refers to the faithful itinerant preachers who are called by God to the ministry. It makes sense why Nephi would remind us to have charity while juxtaposing traveling preachers called of God with false priests practicing priestcrafts. The false priests are amassing wealth, and God’s preachers are minimalists. We are not to suffer the laborer in Zion to perish for want of basic necessities.

These twelve Jesus sent forth and commanded them, saying, Go not into the way of the gentiles, and enter not into any city of the Samaritans, but rather go to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. And as you go, preach, saying, The kingdom of Heaven is at hand. Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils. Freely you have received, freely give. Provide neither gold, nor silver, nor brass in your purses, nor scrip for your journey, neither two coats, neither shoes, nor yet staves, for the workman is worthy of his food. And into whatever town or city you shall enter, inquire who in it is worthy, and there abide until you go from there. And when you come into a house, salute it; and if the house is worthy, let your peace come upon it; but if it is not worthy, let your peace return to you. And whoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words, when you depart out of that house or city, shake off the dust of your feet for a testimony against them. And truly I say unto you, it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment than for that city. Matthew 5:2

And again, I say unto you my friends, for from this time forth I shall call you friends, it is expedient that I give unto you this commandment that you become even as my friends in days when I was with them, traveling to preach this gospel in my power. For I suffered them not to have purse or scrip, neither two coats. Behold, I send you out to prove the world, and the laborer is worthy of his hire, and any man that shall go and preach this gospel of the kingdom and fail not to continue faithful in all things, shall not be weary in mind, neither darkened, neither in body, limb, or joint. And a hair of his head shall not fall to the ground unnoticed. And he shall not go hungry, neither athirst.

Therefore, take no thought for the morrow, for what you shall eat, or what you shall drink, or wherewith you shall be clothed. For consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they toil not, neither do they spin, and the kingdoms of the world, in all their glory, are not arrayed like one of these. For your Father who is in Heaven knows that you have need of all these things. Therefore, let the morrow take thought for the things of itself. Neither take you thought beforehand what you shall say, but treasure up in your minds continually the words of life, and it shall be given you in the very hour that portion that shall be meted unto every man.

Therefore, let no man among you, for this commandment is unto all the faithful who are called of God in the church unto the ministry, therefore, let no man from this hour take purse or scrip that goes forth to proclaim this gospel of the kingdom. Behold, I send you out to reprove the world of all their unrighteous deeds, and to teach them of a judgment which is to come. And whoever receives you, there I will be also, for 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 my angels round about you to bear you up.

Whoever receives you receives me, and the same will feed you, and clothe you, and give you money. And he who feeds you, or clothes you, or gives you money shall in no wise lose his reward. And he that does not these things is not my disciple; by this you may know my disciple. He that receives you not, go away from him, alone by yourselves, and cleanse your feet, even with water, pure water, whether in heat or in cold, and bear testimony of it unto your Father which is in Heaven, and return not again unto that man. And in whatever village or city you enter, do likewise. Nevertheless, search diligently and spare not. And woe unto that house, or that village or city that rejects you, or your words or testimony concerning me. Woe, I say again, unto that house, or that village or city that rejects you, or your words or your testimony of me. For I, the Almighty, have laid my hand upon the nations to scourge them for their wickedness. And plagues shall go forth, and they shall not be taken from the earth until I have completed my work, which shall be cut short in righteousness, until all shall know me who remain, even from the least unto the greatest, and shall be filled with the knowledge of the Lord, and shall see eye to eye, and shall lift up their voice, and with the voice together sing this new song, saying . . . T&C 82:24-27

Jesus and his disciples were itinerant preachers. In Joseph Smith’s Day, the Lord called itinerant preachers. According to pattern, the Lord will call itinerant preachers in our day who will also be required to labor for Zion but not labor for money.

. . . Christ “was in the world and the world was made by Him, and the world knew Him not”. And why did the world not know Him? The world did not know Him because the same reason why people would not know a messenger if one were sent today. Because our Lord was so very ordinary. For all the world He was just another itinerant preacher. Denver Snuffer Episode 3

Virtuous Rich Man

If the virtuous rich man would have followed the Lords’ command and sold all his possessions, what would have been the result? He would have joined the disciples who traveled without purse or scrip. He would have been left with only one coat and no money. He would have joined the poor. 

And when he had gone forth into the way, there came one running, and kneeled to him and asked him, Good Master, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life? And Jesus said unto him, Why do you call me good? None is good but one — that is, God. You know the commandments: Do not commit adultery; do not kill; do not steal; do not bear false witness; defraud not; honor your father and mother. And the man answered and said unto him, Master, all these have I observed from my youth. Then Jesus, beholding him, loved him and said unto him, One thing you lack: go your way, sell whatever you have, and give to the poor, and you shall have treasure in Heaven; and come take up the cross and follow me. And the man was sad at that saying and went away grieved, for he had great possessions. Mark 5:23

We Are All Beggars

We might not recognize the itinerant preachers of Jesus Christ. But that doesn’t matter. Look for opportunities to care for others. 

Let brotherly love continue. Be not forgetful to entertain strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares . . . Hebrews 1:58

We are all beggars. Give to those in need and do not withhold your substance when you are capable of helping another. 

And also, ye yourselves will succor those that stand in need of your succor. Ye will administer of your substance unto him that standeth in need, and ye will not suffer that the beggar putteth up his petition to you in vain, and turn him out to perish. Perhaps thou shalt say, The man has brought upon himself his misery; therefore I will stay my hand and will not give unto him of my food, nor impart unto him of my substance that he may not suffer, for his punishments are just. But I say unto you, O man, whosoever doeth this, the same hath great cause to repent; and except he repenteth of that which he hath done, he perisheth for ever and hath no interest in the kingdom of God. For behold, are we not all beggars? Do we not all depend upon the same being, even God, for all the substance which we have, for both food and raiment, and for gold, and for silver, and for all the riches which we have of every kind? And behold, even at this time ye have been calling on his name and begging for a remission of your sins. And has he suffered that ye have begged in vain? Nay, he hath poured out his spirit upon you and hath caused that your hearts should be filled with joy and has caused that your mouths should be stopped, that ye could not find utterance, so exceeding great was your joy. Mosiah 2:4

All of our deeds are measured as if we are doing them to Jesus. Be as generous with Him as you want Him to be with you.

And then shall the king say unto them on his right hand, Come, you blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry, and you gave me food. I was thirsty, and you gave me drink. I was a stranger, and you took me in; naked, and you clothed me. I was sick, and you visited me. I was in prison, and you came unto me.

Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when did we see you hungry, and fed you? Or thirsty, and gave you drink? When did we see you a stranger, and took you in? Or naked, and clothed you? Or when did we see you sick, or in prison, and came unto you? And the King shall answer and say unto them, Truly I say unto you, inasmuch as you have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, you have done it unto me.

Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, you cursed, into Everlasting fire prepared for the Devil and his angels. For I was hungry, and you gave me no food. I was thirsty, and you gave me no drink. I was a stranger, and you took me not in; naked, and you clothed me not; sick, and in prison, and you visited me not.

Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when did we see you hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto you? Then shall he answer them, saying, Truly I say unto you, inasmuch as you did it not to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it not unto me. And these shall go away into Everlasting punishment, but the righteous unto life eternal. Matthew 11:22-25

The consequences of our actions reach into eternity. The Lord is teaching us to love others as He loves us. Or in other words, to be like Him . . .  generous, charitable, benevolent, kind-hearted, obedient, industrious, responsible, and good. 

Saturday, April 13, 2024

The Movement

Eyes see, ears hear, hearts beat, blood flows, loins procreate, sinews give strength, and bowels move. These internal vital bodily functions are also used to describe functions of the spirit.

Eyes see clearly or are blind. Ears hear or are shut. Hearts are soft or are hard. Blood is sacrificed or shed. Loins bring forth fruit or are barren. Sinews unite or separate. Bowels absorb and eliminate. 

Nicknames and Affiliations

Names are used to identify people, connections, partnerships, relationships, and affiliations. The Lord’s covenant people have given themselves nicknames to identify their connection with each other. Two of these names are “The Remnant” and “The Movement”. 

The name “The Remnant” makes sense for those who hope to escape their current predicament by relying upon and returning to the mighty God. 

And it shall come to pass in that day that the remnant of Israel, and such as are escaped of the house of Jacob, shall no more again rely upon him that smote them, but shall rely upon the Lord, the Holy One of Israel, in truth. The remnant shall return, yea, even the remnant of Jacob, unto the mighty God. For though your people Israel be as the sand of the sea, yet a remnant of them shall return. The consumption decreed shall overflow with righteousness; for the Lord God of Hosts shall make a consumption, even determined, in all the land. Isaiah 5:1

But who came up with the name “The Movement”? What does it mean? It makes me think of an internal bodily function. Whether this nickname was created by accident or with intention, I do not know. But I think the name is appropriate when we look at how the bowel processes food.

Processing Food

The bowel is part of our digestive system and it works to digest the food we eat, absorb the goodness and nutrients into our bloodstream, then process and expel the waste that the body cannot use. The digestive system works by pushing food through the intestines which usually takes between 24 to 72 hours. Muscular contractions squeeze (peristalsis) the food through the different sections of the intestine. These different sections are separated by bands of muscles, or sphincters, which act as valves.

The passage of food from one area of the intestines to another is coordinated so that food stays in a specific area long enough for the gut to do a particular job – absorb fluids and nutrients, or process and expel waste. Bladder and Bowel

Gathered and Sorted

All types of food are put into the mouth and consumed, and the bowel sorts it out. In the bowel, fluids and nutrients are absorbed into the body, and waste is expelled. Angels use a similar process to sever the wicked from the just. 

Again, the kingdom of Heaven is like unto a net that was cast into the sea, and gathered of every kind, which, when it was full, they drew to shore, and sat down and gathered the good into vessels, but cast the bad away. So shall it be at the end of the world — and the world is the children of the wicked. The angels shall come forth and sever the wicked from among the just and shall cast them out into the world to be burned. There shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. Matt. 7:12

An Entire Separation

Virgins are virtuous but half of the ten virgins prove not to be righteous. What does it mean to be one of the ten virgins at this point in time, post eclipse, in 2024? What group of people are anticipating and waiting for the bridegroom? Who is seriously looking for the day when their children will grow up without sin unto salvation with the Lord in their midst as their king and lawgiver?

Are the virgins those who have been baptized and received a covenant from the Lord? If so, how comforting is it to be a virgin if half of us are going to be cast into the fire? At first we are labeled as either foolish or wise virgins, but at the hour of separation, we are called righteous or wicked. Do unwise virgins know they are unwise? In spite of all our virtue, are foolish virgins aware they are soon to become wicked? If this is the case, what would the virgins need to do or not do to warrant the designation of righteous or wicked? Can we discern our own precarious situation? Do half the virgins realize they are on the cusp of being eliminated? Are we thinking that virtue alone will get us to the wedding? 

These things are the things that you must look for, and speaking after the manner of the Lord, they are now nigh at hand, and in a time to come, even in the day of the coming of the Son of Man. And until that hour there will be foolish virgins among the wise, and at that hour comes an entire separation of the righteous and the wicked, and in that day will I send mine angels to pluck out the wicked and cast them into unquenchable fire. T&C 50:12

Only those who have taken the holy spirit as their guide will be able to navigate the ever changing maze we are required to navigate. 

. . .  And at that day when I shall come in my glory shall the parable be fulfilled which I spoke concerning the ten virgins, for they that are wise and have received the truth, and have taken the holy spirit for their guide and have not been deceived, verily I say unto you, they shall not be hewn down and cast into the fire, but shall abide the day, and the earth shall be given unto them for an inheritance. And they shall multiply and wax strong, and their children shall grow up without sin unto salvation, for the Lord shall be in their midst and his glory shall be upon them, and he will be their king and their lawgiver. T&C 31:12

Mimics and Imitators 

It is difficult to differentiate between unripe wheat and young tares. But as the plants mature, the difference is plain to discern. Tares never were wheat. Wheat is internally distinct from tares. The wheat has been doing the internal work to bring forth good fruit. The tares are good imitators. Looks can be deceiving. Do the tares know they are not wheat? Or do they think they belong in a wheatfield? When they see the wheat beginning to produce good seed, do they become jealous knowing they can’t do what wheat does? 

Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of Heaven is likened unto a man who sowed good seed in his field, but while he slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat and went his way. But when the blade was sprung up and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also. So the servants of the householder came and said unto him, Sir, did not you sow good seed in your field? From where then does it have tares? He said unto them, An enemy has done this. And the servants said unto him, Do you desire then that we go and gather them up? But he said, Nay, lest while you gather up the tares, you root up also the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest, and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather together first the wheat into my barns, and the tares are bound in bundles to be burned. Matt. 7:5 

The Required Sacrifice

A broken heart and a contrite spirit is the required sacrifice to be wheat. As we offer up this sacrifice, we are baptized with fire and the holy ghost. 

. . . for I will accept none of your sacrifices and your burnt offerings; and ye shall offer for a sacrifice unto me a broken heart and a contrite spirit. And whoso cometh unto me with a broken heart and a contrite spirit, him will I baptize with fire and with the holy ghost . . . 3 Nephi 4:7

We are all weak. It is a gift. Vulnerability makes us strong in spirit. We need to be so dependent upon God that we’re always quick to ask, quick to listen, and quick to do.

. . . There is joy in Heaven over everyone who awakens. Weakness is nothing, for all are weak. It is a gift, given to break one’s heart. A broken heart qualifies man for His company. Whether a leper, an adulteress, a tax collector, or a blind man, He can heal it all. But what He cannot do — and man must alone bring to Him — is that broken heart required for salvation. The purpose of putting a man in such a dependent state before God is not to find out whether God can take care of him. God already knows what a man needs before he should even ask. But the man will, by becoming so dependent upon God, acquire a broken heart and a contrite spirit, always quick to ask, quick to listen, quick to do. Vulnerability makes a man strong in spirit. Security and wealth make a man incorrectly believe in his independence from God. He wants His disciples to be dependent upon Him. He wants them praying and grateful to Him for what He provides. He wants them, in a word, to become holy. . . Glossary of Terms Broken Heart - Contrite Spirit

A Great Opportunity for Wheat

Pain and hardship are great teachers. They will break you. Wheat grows, learns, and develops through these troubled times. Accept these heartbreaking gifts with gratitude. You have greater opportunities for growth as your opposition increases. 

The tares become angry and bitter as the challenge increases. They are not able to keep their peace when the storm is raging. They become part of the hurricane. 

Be wheat. Keep your peace during these troubled times. Keep a soft heart and do not let anger overcome you. Trust, delight, commit, rest, and wait patiently. The Lord laughs and upholds the righteous. He knows this works out well for those who trust in Him. There are good reasons to be cheerful.

Fret not yourself because of evildoers, neither be envious against the workers of iniquity. For they shall soon be cut down like the grass and wither as the green herb. Trust in the Lord and do good; so shall you dwell in the land, and truly you shall be fed. Delight yourself also in the Lord and he shall give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way unto the Lord. Trust also in him and he shall bring it to pass. And he shall bring forth your righteousness as the light and your judgment as the noonday. Rest in the Lord and wait patiently for him. Fret not yourself because of him who prospers in his way, because of the man who brings wicked devices to pass. Cease from anger and forsake wrath. Fret not yourself in any way to do evil. For evildoers shall be cut off, but those that wait upon the Lord — they shall inherit the earth; for yet a little while, and the wicked shall not be. Yea, you shall diligently consider his place, and it shall not be. But the meek shall inherit the earth and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace. The wicked plots against the just and gnashes upon him with his teeth. The Lord shall laugh at him, for he sees that his day is coming. The wicked have drawn out the sword and have bent their bow to cast down the poor and needy and to slay such as be of upright conduct. Their sword shall enter into their own heart and their bows shall be broken. A little that a righteous man has is better than the riches of many wicked; for the arms of the wicked shall be broken, but the Lord upholds the righteous. The Lord knows the days of the upright and their inheritance shall be for ever. They shall not be ashamed in the evil time, and in the days of famine, they shall be satisfied. But the wicked shall perish and the enemies of the Lord shall be as the fat of lambs. They shall consume; into smoke shall they consume away. The wicked borrows and pays not again, but the righteous shows mercy and gives. For such as are blessed of him shall inherit the earth and they that are cursed of him shall be cut off. Psalms 37:1

Fortunately, We Do Not Need to Purge Each Other

Jesus knows how to succor us and heal our wounds. His bowels are filled with mercy and moved with compassion. He is doing the work. He is moving. He is purging and refining us through this movement of the bowel. He is sorting it all out . . . keeping the good, discarding the bad. He is separating His people through “The Movement” as virgins meet the test for which they have prepared, some being more prepared than others. The time is upon us to have our lamps full and burning bright. Only those who have taken the holy spirit as their guide will survive the pruning and separation.  

The prophet Alma taught and understood our Lord’s sufferings as he wrote: “. . . 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. 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. . .” Alma 5:3

O God, where are you? And where is the pavilion that covers your hiding place? How long shall your hand be stayed and your eye, yea, your pure eye, behold from the eternal Heavens the wrongs of your people and of your servants, and your ear be penetrated with their cries? Yea, O Lord, how long shall they suffer these wrongs and unlawful oppressions before your heart shall be softened towards them, and your bowels be moved with compassion towards them? 

O Lord God Almighty, maker of heaven, earth, and seas, and of all things that in them are, and who controls and subjects the Devil, and the dark and benighted dominion of Sheol, stretch forth your hand, let your eye pierce, let your pavilion be taken up, let your hiding place no longer be covered, let your ear be inclined, let your heart be softened and your bowels moved with compassion toward us, let your anger be kindled against our enemies; and in the fury of your heart, with your sword avenge us of our wrongs. Remember your suffering saint, O our God, and your servants will rejoice in your name for ever. T&C 138:4-5

The Lord shows compassion and mercy to His people as His bowels move, He eliminates the wicked. If the bowel does not move and do its job, we’re all in trouble. 

  • In the world, tares are ripening. And so I ask you, What of the wheat? Let your pride, and your envy, and your fears depart from you. I will come to my tabernacle and dwell with my people in Zion, and none will overtake it.

  • Cry peace. Proclaim my words. Invite those who will repent to be baptized and forgiven, and they shall obtain my spirit to guide them. The time is short and I come quickly, therefore open your mouths and warn others to flee the wrath which is to come as men in anger destroy one another. The wicked shall destroy the wicked, and I will hold the peacemakers in the palm of my hand and none can take them from me.

  • Be comforted, be of good cheer, rejoice, and look up, for I am with you who remember me, and all those who watch for me, always, even unto the end. Amen. T&C 157:64-66

Wednesday, April 10, 2024

I Am the Asshole in the Story

Most have a story to explain the events and circumstances in their life. Let me tell you the story of one sleepy-eyed traveler. [based on a true story]

It had been a long 48 hour day. Taxi cabs, trains, and now the airport. Thoughts raced through her mind as she listened to the boarding gate agent, “What? Airplane delayed again . . . for how many hours? . . . " She had been away from home too long, and was all too anxious to be safe at home.

She was dazed as she talked to the agent and knew she needed to concentrate to keep her wits about her. Her purse was slung safely over her shoulder, and she tucked her travel bag between her and the counter she leaned against. She didn’t want to lose track of the few essentials she still had. 

The agent was kind and helped her book another flight to replace the one she would miss because of the delay. She walked to the kiosk and took the opportunity to sign in early for the flight. There was a little time before boarding the plane, so she sat down and tried to get some rest. 

She reached down to put her hand on her bag, keeping it from walking off while she slept. It was gone! She’d been so careful to keep track of it, and now it was gone. Adrenaline kicked in as she looked around. In a panic, she frantically searched for her bag. As she scurried about, she thought, “Why would someone just take my bag with all the security cameras watching every move of every passenger?” 

She reported her loss to the security guard, and he seemed sympathetic to her predicament. He even helped her assess the situation, and together they determined that one of those asshole foreign tourists must have taken her bag. She carefully retraced her steps searching the area. The security guard even allowed her to leave the secured area to check the shuttle buses that were full of foreign tourists. 

The bag wasn’t impressive, but it contained the essentials she needed. She went back to her seat, cursing her stupidity and the unknown foreign tourist. She prayed and mourned as she sat in mental anguish waiting for her flight. Heroically she forgave her enemy and thanked God for her passport, cash, and credit card that were safe in the small purse she held at her side. Her favorite jacket and other essentials could be replaced. 

Finally, it was time to board the plane. As she walked with other passengers toward the gate, she walked by the check-in kiosk. She couldn’t believe her eyes. Sitting on a little bench between the wall and kiosk was her precious lost bag. It was right where she left it. No one had touched the bag during her panic-filled hour. There was no thieving, asshole, foreign tourist; just a tired, absent-minded woman who forgot where she left her bag. 

None of it was real. She felt like an idiot. All that fuss for nothing. She looked around, and no one seemed to notice her stupid blunder. No harm was done to anyone. As she sat back to consider the experience, she thought, “How many times have I convinced myself I am right when I am plainly wrong?”

People often make up stories to explain what’s happening in their life. We’ve all done it. The stories we tell ourselves may be true, but most often they are false. Our stories usually turn us into the good guy or the undeserving victim and make someone else the villain. Our opponent might also have a story to tell. It would be rare if these stories ever sounded like the same event. When we are disturbed by the events in our life, it is tempting to expand our audience by telling our stories to others. When we do, we feel better, and our story becomes more real. We feel validated. Like the sympathetic security guard, other people might even help us create a more convincing story. 

What would happen if we questioned our stories, noticed when we justify our actions, and paid attention to our defensiveness? What if these are actually signs indicating we are somehow wrong? What if an alarm was set to go off in our mind . . . ding! ding! ding!? I see I am defensive, I am justifying, I am making up stories, therefore, I might be wrong.


If we were to make ourselves look like the asshole in our defensive self-justifying stories, we would probably be closer to seeing the truth and could do something about it. 

I looked at a story I’ve been telling myself for over a decade. I blamed others, I blamed my state of mind, I blamed my circumstance. I had such a great story that I believed it myself. Well, I almost believed it. Then one day last week while I was at peace with myself, on a walk with my dogs, in an open meadow, I looked at my old story from a different perspective. When I could see clearly, I could only say, “I was wrong.” I don’t know what I can do to change the past, but there are no excuses. I asked the Lord to forgive me. I don’t ever have to tell that self-justifying story again, and if I do, it will be from the perspective, "I am the asshole in the story."