Saturday, May 30, 2020

Audrey Assad

Flowing Forth in Its Own Native Simplicity

The Prophet Joseph Smith
“His [Joseph Smith's] language [abounded] in original eloquence peculiar to himself—not polished—not studied—not smoothed and softened by education and refined by art; but flowing forth in its own native simplicity, and profusely abounding in variety of subject and manner. He interested and edified, while, at the same time, he amused and entertained his audience; and none listened to him that were ever weary with his discourse. I have even known him to retain a congregation of willing and anxious listeners for many hours together, in the midst of cold or sunshine, rain or wind, while they were laughing at one moment and weeping the next. Even his most bitter enemies were generally overcome, if he could once get their ears”

- Autobiography of Parley Parker Pratt, ed. Parley P. Pratt Jr. (1961), 46).

Sunday, May 10, 2020

You Can Sing This Song When I'm Gone

Like many of his songs, James Taylor's "You Can Close Your Eyes" is timeless.

It was beautiful then, and it will always be beautiful.

Well the sun is surely sinking down
But the moon is slowly rising
And this old world must still be spinning 'round
And I still love you

So close your eyes
You can close your eyes, it's all right
I don't know no love songs
And I can't sing the blues anymore
But I can sing this song
And you can sing this song
When I'm gone

Well it won't be long before another day
We're gonna have a good time
And no one's gonna take that time away
You can stay as long as you like

So close your eyes
You can close your eyes, it's all right
I don't know no love songs
And I can't sing the blues anymore
But I can sing this song
And you can sing this song
When I'm gone

So close your eyes
You can close your eyes, it's all right
I don't know no love songs
And I can't sing the blues anymore
But I can sing this song
And you can sing this song
When I'm gone

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Refuge from the Storm

Since recent events (general conference, coronavirus, earthquakes, erupting volcanos, storms, etc.) have reminded some people that we are living in the prophesied last days, and since there is no shortage of speculation or limits to the human imagination, I recommend Craig James Ostler's book Living in the Last Days: Refuge from the Storm as a good resource for anyone who is interested in better understanding the events that will precede the second coming of the Savior Jesus Christ. This book is light on conjecture, and heavy on doctrine, scripture, and the teachings of ancient and modern prophets. There is still much that we don't know, but it would be wise to acquaint ourselves thoroughly with what has already been revealed, because the coming of the Lord is near, even at the doors (Matt. 24:33): 

"And again, be patient in tribulation until I come; and, behold, I come quickly, and my reward is with me, and they who have sought me early shall find rest to their souls. Even so. Amen." (D&C 54:10)

Thursday, April 9, 2020

Come, Let Us Read

Books are keys to wisdom’s treasure;

Books are gates to lands of pleasure;

Books are paths that upward lead;

Books are friends. Come, let us read.

Monday, April 6, 2020

If Your Lips Would Keep from Slips

If you your lips would keep from slips,
Five things observe with care:
Of whom you speak, to whom you speak,
And how and when and where.

If you your ears would save from jeers,
These things keep meekly hid:
Myself and I, and mine and my,
And how I do and did. 

- Anonymous

Friday, April 3, 2020

Within my Bosom Glows Unearthly Fire

John Milton
Milton’s Prayer of Patience

I am old and blind!
Men point at me as smitten by God’s frown;
Afflicted and deserted of my kind,
Yet am I not cast down.

I am weak, yet strong;
I murmur not that I no longer see;
Poor, old, and helpless, I the more belong,
Father Supreme! to Thee.

All-merciful One!
When men are furthest, then art Thou most near,
When friends pass by, my weaknesses to shun,
Thy chariot I hear.

Thy glorious face
Is leaning toward me, and its holy light
Shines in upon my lonely dwelling-place,—
And there is no more night.

On my bended knee
I recognize Thy purpose clearly shown;
My vision Thou hast dimmed, that I may see
Thyself—Thyself alone.

I have naught to fear:
This darkness is the shadow of Thy wing;
Beneath it I am almost sacred—here
Can come no evil thing.

Oh, I seem to stand
Trembling, where foot of mortal ne’er hath been,
Wrapped in that radiance from the sinless land,
Which eye hath never seen!

Visions come and go:
Shapes of resplendent beauty round me throng;
From angel lips I seem to hear the flow
Of soft and holy song.

It is nothing now,
When heaven is opening on my sightless eyes,
When airs from Paradise refresh my brow,
That earth in darkness lies.

In a purer clime
My being fills with rapture,—waves of thought
Roll in upon my spirit,—strains sublime
Break over me unsought.

Give me now my lyre!
I feel the stirrings of a gift divine:
Within my bosom glows unearthly fire
Lit by no skill of mine.

- Elizabeth (Lloyd) Howell

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Tell Me Where is Fancy Bred?

The Trial Scene, 'The Merchant of Venice', Act IV, Scene 1. Oil on canvas. Robert Smirke © RSC Theatre Collection
A Few Favorite Passages from Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice

In Belmont is a lady richly left;
And she is fair, and, fairer than that word,
Of wondrous virtues: sometimes from her eyes
I did receive fair speechless messages:
Her name is Portia, nothing undervalued
To Cato's daughter, Brutus' Portia:
Nor is the wide world ignorant of her worth,
For the four winds blow in from every coast
Renowned suitors, and her sunny locks
Hang on her temples like a golden fleece;
Which makes her seat of Belmont Colchos' strand,
And many Jasons come in quest of her.
O my Antonio, had I but the means
To hold a rival place with one of them,
I have a mind presages me such thrift,
That I should questionless be fortunate!

All that glitters is not gold;
Often have you heard that told:
Many a man his life hath sold
But my outside to behold:
Gilded tombs do worms enfold.
Had you been as wise as bold,
Young in limbs, in judgment old,
Your answer had not been inscroll'd:
Fare you well; your suit is cold.
Cold, indeed; and labour lost:
Then, farewell, heat, and welcome, frost!
Portia, adieu. I have too grieved a heart
To take a tedious leave: thus losers part. 


What is here?
The fire seven times tried this:
Seven times tried that judgment is,
That did never choose amiss.
Some there be that shadows kiss;
Such have but a shadow's bliss:
There be fools alive, I wis,
Silver'd o'er; and so was this.
Take what wife you will to bed,
I will ever be your head:
So be gone: you are sped.
Still more fool I shall appear
By the time I linger here
With one fool's head I came to woo,
But I go away with two.
Sweet, adieu. I'll keep my oath,
Patiently to bear my wroth.

Music, whilst BASSANIO comments on the caskets to himself


Tell me where is fancy bred,
Or in the heart, or in the head?
How begot, how nourished?
Reply, reply.
It is engender'd in the eyes,
With gazing fed; and fancy dies
In the cradle where it lies.
Let us all ring fancy's knell
I'll begin it,--Ding, dong, bell. 


What find I here? 
Opening the leaden casket 
Fair Portia's counterfeit! What demi-god
Hath come so near creation? Move these eyes?
Or whether, riding on the balls of mine,
Seem they in motion? Here are sever'd lips,
Parted with sugar breath: so sweet a bar
Should sunder such sweet friends. Here in her hairs
The painter plays the spider and hath woven
A golden mesh to entrap the hearts of men,
Faster than gnats in cobwebs; but her eyes,--
How could he see to do them? having made one,
Methinks it should have power to steal both his
And leave itself unfurnish'd. Yet look, how far
The substance of my praise doth wrong this shadow
In underprizing it, so far this shadow
Doth limp behind the substance. Here's the scroll,
The continent and summary of my fortune. 
You that choose not by the view,
Chance as fair and choose as true!
Since this fortune falls to you,
Be content and seek no new,
If you be well pleased with this
And hold your fortune for your bliss,
Turn you where your lady is
And claim her with a loving kiss.
A gentle scroll. Fair lady, by your leave;
I come by note, to give and to receive.
Like one of two contending in a prize,
That thinks he hath done well in people's eyes,
Hearing applause and universal shout,
Giddy in spirit, still gazing in a doubt
Whether these pearls of praise be his or no;
So, thrice fair lady, stand I, even so;
As doubtful whether what I see be true,
Until confirm'd, sign'd, ratified by you.

The quality of mercy is not strain'd,
It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven
Upon the place beneath: it is twice blest;
It blesseth him that gives and him that takes:
'Tis mightiest in the mightiest: it becomes
The throned monarch better than his crown;
His sceptre shows the force of temporal power,
The attribute to awe and majesty,
Wherein doth sit the dread and fear of kings;
But mercy is above this sceptred sway;
It is enthroned in the hearts of kings,
It is an attribute to God himself;
And earthly power doth then show likest God's
When mercy seasons justice. Therefore, Jew,
Though justice be thy plea, consider this,
That, in the course of justice, none of us
Should see salvation: we do pray for mercy;
And that same prayer doth teach us all to render
The deeds of mercy. I have spoke thus much
To mitigate the justice of thy plea;
Which if thou follow, this strict court of Venice
Must needs give sentence 'gainst the merchant there.

The moon shines bright: in such a night as this,
When the sweet wind did gently kiss the trees
And they did make no noise, in such a night
Troilus methinks mounted the Troyan walls
And sigh'd his soul toward the Grecian tents,
Where Cressid lay that night.
In such a night
Did Thisbe fearfully o'ertrip the dew
And saw the lion's shadow ere himself
And ran dismay'd away.
In such a night
Stood Dido with a willow in her hand
Upon the wild sea banks and waft her love
To come again to Carthage.
In such a night
Medea gather'd the enchanted herbs
That did renew old AEson.
In such a night
Did Jessica steal from the wealthy Jew
And with an unthrift love did run from Venice
As far as Belmont.
In such a night
Did young Lorenzo swear he loved her well,
Stealing her soul with many vows of faith
And ne'er a true one.
In such a night
Did pretty Jessica, like a little shrew,
Slander her love, and he forgave it her.
I would out-night you, did no body come;
But, hark, I hear the footing of a man.

That light we see is burning in my hall.
How far that little candle throws his beams!
So shines a good deed in a naughty world.

Wednesday, March 4, 2020

The Genius of Communication

"The genius of communication is the ability to be both totally honest and totally kind at the same time."

- John Powell, The Secret of Staying in Love, Valencia, California: Tabor Publishing, 1974, p. 131

Sunday, February 16, 2020

Must I Not Rather Obtain for Myself?

The Prophet Joseph Smith
Respected Uncle Silas,

It is with feelings of deep interest for the well fare of mankind which fills my mind on the reflection that all were formed by the hand of him who will call the same to give an impartial account of all their works on that great day to which you and myself in common with them are bound, that I take up my pen and seat myself in an attitude to address a few though imperfect lines to you for your perusal.

I have no doubt but that you will agree with me that men will be held accountable for the things which they have and not for the things they have not or that all the light and intelligence communicated to them from their benifficen [beneficent] creator whether it is much or little by the same they in justice will be judged, and that they are required to yield obedience and improve upon that and that only which is given for man is not to live by bread alone but by every word that proceeds [p. 228] out of the mouth of God
Seeing that the Lord has never given the world to understand by anything heretofore revealed that he had ceased forever to speak to his creatures when saught unto in a proper manner why should it be thought a thing incredible that he should be pleased to speak again in these last days for their salvation Perhaps you may be surprized at this assertion that I should say for the salvation of his creatures in these last days since we have already in our possesion a vast volume of his word which he has previously given 

But you will admit that the word spoken to Noah was not sufficent for Abraham or it was not required of Abraham to leave the land of his nativity and seek an Inheritance in a strange land Country upon the word spoken to Noah but for himself he obtain ed promises at the hand of the Lord and walked in that perfection that he was called the friend of God Isaac the promised seed was not required to rest his hope upon the promises made to his father Abraham but was priviledged with the assurance of his approbation in the sight of Heaven by the direct voice of the Lord to him 

If one man can live upon the revelations given to another might not I with propriety ask why the necessity then of the Lord speaking to Isaac as he did as is record ed in the 26 chapter of Genesis for the Lord there repeats or rather promises again to perform the oath which he had previously sworn unto Abraham and why this repet[it]ion to Isaac Why was not the first promise as sure for Isaac as it was for Abraham. Was not Isaac Abraham's son And could he not place implicit confidence in the word of his father as being a man of God.

Perhaps you may say that he was a very peculiar man and different from men in these last days consequently the Lord favored him with blessings peculiar and different as he was different from men in this age I admit that he was a peculiar man and was not only peculiarly blessed but greatly bless ed. But all the peculiarity that I can discover in the [p. 229] man or all the difference between him and men in this age is that he was more holy and more perfect before God and came to him with a purer heart and more faith than men in this day.

The same might be said on the subject of Jacobs history Why was it that the Lord spake to him concerning the same promise after he had made it once to Abraham and renewed it to Isaac why could not Jacob rest contented upon the word spoken to his fathers When the time of the promise drew nigh for the deliverance of the children of Israel from the land of Egypt why was it necessary that the Lord should begin to speak to them The promise or word to Abraham was that his seed should serve in bondage and be afflicted four hundred years and after that they should come out with great substance Why did they not rely upon this promise and when they had remained in Egypt in bondage four hundred [years] come out without waiting for further revelation but act entirely upon the promise given to Abraham that they should come out.

Paul said to his Hebrew brethren that God b[e]ing more abundantly willing to show unto the heirs of his promises the immutability of his council [“]confirmed it by an oath.” He also exhorts them who throug[h] faith and patience inherit the promises.

[“]Notwithstanding we (said Paul) have fled for refuge to lay hold of the hope set before us which hope we have as an an chor of the soul both sure and steadfast and which entereth into that within the vail.” Yet he was careful to press upon them the necessity of continuing on untill they as well as those who inherited the promises might have the assurance of their salvation confirmed to them by an oath from the mouth of him who cannot could not lie for that seemed to be the example anciently and Paul holds it out to his brethren as an object attainable in his day and why not[?] 

I admit that by reading [p. 230]the scriptures of truth saints in the days of Paul could learn beyond the power of contradiction that Abraham Isaac and Jacob had the promise of eternal life confirmed to them by an oath of the Lord but that promise or oath was no assurance to them of their salvation but they could by walking in the footsteps continuing in the faith of their fathers obtain for themselves an oath for confirmation that they were meet to be partake[r]s of the inheritance with the saints in light.
If the saints in the days of the Apostles were priviledged to take the saints for example and lay hold of the same promises and attain to the same exhalted priviledges of knowing that their names were writen in the Lambs book of life and that they were sealed there as a perpetual memorial before the face of the most high will not the same faithfulness the same purity of heart and the same faith bring the same assurance of eternal life and that in the same manner to the children of men now in this age of the world[?]

I have no doubt but that the holy prophets and apostles and saints in ancient days were saved in the Kingdom of God. Neither do I doubt but that they held converse and communion with them while in the flesh as Paul said to the corinthian brethren that the Lord Jesus showed himself to above 500 saints at one time after his resuretion [resurrection]. Job said that he knew that his Redeemer lived and that he should see him in the flesh in the latter days. I may believe that Enoch walked with God I may believe that Abraham communed with God and conversed with angels. I may believe that Isaac obtained a renewal of the covenant made to Abraham by the direct voice of the Lord. I may believe that Jacob conversed with holy angels and heard the word of his Maker. that he wrestled with the angel until he prevailed and obtained a blessing I may believe that Elijah was taken to Heaven in a chariot of fire with fiery horses I may believe that the [p. 231] saints saw the Lord and conversed with him face to face aft er his resurection I may believe that the Hebrew Church came to Mount Zion and unto the city of the living God the Heavenly Jerusalem and to an inumerable company of angels. I may believe that they looked into Eternity and saw the Judge of all, and Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant; but will all this purchase an assurance for me, or waft me to the regions of Eternal day with my garments spotless, pure, and white? Or, must I not rather obtain for myself, by my own faith and dilligence, in keeping the commandments of the Lord, an assurance of salvation for myself And have I not an equal priviledge with the ancient saints? and will not the Lord hear my prayers, and listen to my cries, as soon [as] he ever did to their’s if I come to him in the manner they did or is he a respecter of persons?

I must now close this subject for the want of time; and I may say with propriety at the begining; we would be pleased to see you in Kirtland and more pleased to have you embrace the New Covenant. I remain.

Yours affectionately

Joseph Smith

JS, Letter, Kirtland, OH, to Silas Smith, Stockholm, NY, 26 Sept. 1833; in Lucy Mack Smith, History, 1845, pp. 228–232; handwriting of Martha Jane Coray; CHL. (see here)

Why the Halfling?

Gandalf Teaches Galadriel an Important Lesson

Galadriel: Mithrandir, why the halfling?

Gandalf: I do not know. Saruman believes that it is only great power that can hold evil in check, but that is not what I've found. I've found it is the small things, everyday deeds of ordinary folk that keeps the darkness at bay; simple acts of kindness and love. Why Bilbo Baggins? Perhaps it is because I am afraid, and he gives me courage.

Galadriel: Do not be afraid, Mithandir. You are not alone. If you should ever need my help, I will come.

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

In His Bright and Fiery Eye

The Man from Snowy River

There was movement at the station, for the word had passed around
That the colt from Old Regret had got away,
And had joined the wild bush horses - he was worth a thousand pound,
So all the cracks had gathered to the fray.
All the tried and noted riders from the stations near and far
Had mustered at the homestead overnight,
For the bushmen love hard riding where the wild bush horses are,
And the stock-horse snuffs the battle with delight.

There was Harrison, who made his pile when Pardon won the cup,
The old man with his hair as white as snow;
But few could ride beside him when his blood was fairly up —
He would go wherever horse and man could go.
And Clancy of the Overflow came down to lend a hand,
No better horseman ever held the reins;
For never horse could throw him while the saddle girths would stand,
He learnt to ride while droving on the plains.

And one was there, a stripling on a small and weedy beast;
He was something like a racehorse undersized,
With a touch of Timor pony — three parts thoroughbred at least —
And such as are by mountain horsemen prized.
He was hard and tough and wiry — just the sort that won't say die —
There was courage in his quick impatient tread;
And he bore the badge of gameness in his bright and fiery eye,
And the proud and lofty carriage of his head.

But still so slight and weedy, one would doubt his power to stay,
And the old man said, "That horse will never do
For a long and tiring gallop - lad, you'd better stop away,
Those hills are far too rough for such as you."
So he waited sad and wistful — only Clancy stood his friend —
"I think we ought to let him come," he said;
"I warrant he'll be with us when he's wanted at the end,
For both his horse and he are mountain bred."

"He hails from Snowy River, up by Kosciusko's side,
Where the hills are twice as steep and twice as rough,
Where a horse's hoofs strike firelight from the flint stones every stride,
The man that holds his own is good enough.
And the Snowy River riders on the mountains make their home,
Where the river runs those giant hills between;
I have seen full many horsemen since I first commenced to roam,
But nowhere yet such horsemen have I seen."

So he went; they found the horses by the big mimosa clump,
They raced away towards the mountain's brow,
And the old man gave his orders, "Boys, go at them from the jump,
No use to try for fancy riding now.
And, Clancy, you must wheel them, try and wheel them to the right.
Ride boldly, lad, and never fear the spills,
For never yet was rider that could keep the mob in sight,
If once they gain the shelter of those hills."

So Clancy rode to wheel them — he was racing on the wing
Where the best and boldest riders take their place,
And he raced his stockhorse past them, and he made the ranges ring
With the stockwhip, as he met them face to face.
Then they halted for a moment, while he swung the dreaded lash,
But they saw their well-loved mountain full in view,
And they charged beneath the stockwhip with a sharp and sudden dash,
And off into the mountain scrub they flew.

Then fast the horsemen followed, where the gorges deep and black
Resounded to the thunder of their tread,
And the stockwhips woke the echoes, and they fiercely answered back
From cliffs and crags that beetled overhead.
And upward, ever upward, the wild horses held their way,
Where Mountain Ash and Kurrajong grew wide;
And the old man muttered fiercely, "We may bid the mob good day,
No man can hold them down the other side."

When they reached the mountain's summit, even Clancy took a pull -
It well might make the boldest hold their breath;
The wild hop scrub grew thickly, and the hidden ground was full
Of wombat holes, and any slip was death.
But the man from Snowy River let the pony have his head,
And he swung his stockwhip round and gave a cheer,
And he raced him down the mountain like a torrent down its bed,
While the others stood and watched in very fear.

He sent the flint-stones flying, but the pony kept his feet,
He cleared the fallen timbers in his stride,
And the man from Snowy River never shifted in his seat —
It was grand to see that mountain horseman ride.
Through the stringy barks and saplings, on the rough and broken ground,
Down the hillside at a racing pace he went;
And he never drew the bridle till he landed safe and sound,
At the bottom of that terrible descent.

He was right among the horses as they climbed the farther hill
And the watchers on the mountain standing mute,
Saw him ply the stockwhip fiercely; he was right among them still,
As he raced across the clearing in pursuit.
Then they lost him for a moment, where two mountain gullies met
In the ranges - but a final glimpse reveals
On a dim and distant hillside the wild horses racing yet,
With the man from Snowy River at their heels.

And he ran them single-handed till their sides were white with foam.
He followed like a bloodhound on their track,
Till they halted cowed and beaten, then he turned their heads for home,
And alone and unassisted brought them back.
But his hardy mountain pony he could scarcely raise a trot,
He was blood from hip to shoulder from the spur;
But his pluck was still undaunted, and his courage fiery hot,
For never yet was mountain horse a cur.

And down by Kosciusko, where the pine-clad ridges raise
Their torn and rugged battlements on high,
Where the air is clear as crystal, and the white stars fairly blaze
At midnight in the cold and frosty sky,
And where around the Overflow the reed -beds sweep and sway
To the breezes, and the rolling plains are wide,
The man from Snowy River is a household word today,
And the stockmen tell the story of his ride.

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

You Can't Call Back Your Words

Will Carleton

Boys flying kites haul in their white-winged birds;

You can call back your kites, but you can’t call back your words.

“Careful with fire” is good advice, we know;

“Careful with words” is ten times doubly so.

Thoughts unexpressed will often fall back dead. 

But God Himself can’t kill them, once they are said!

(see also here)

Saturday, December 14, 2019

Frank and Loquacious to All Men

Orson Spencer
"I firmly avow, in the presence of God, that I believe Mr. Joseph Smith to be an upright man, that seeks the glory of God in such a manner as is well pleasing to the Most High God. Naturally he is kind and obliging; pitiful and courteous; as far from dissimulation as any man; frank and loquacious to all men, friends or foes. He seems to employ no studied effort to guard himself against misrepresentation, but often leaves himself exposed to misconstructions by those who watch for faults. He is remarkably cheerful for one who has seen well-tried friends martyred around him, and felt the inflictions of calumny—the vexation of lawsuits—the treachery of intimates—and multiplied violent attempts upon his person and life, together with the cares of much business. His influence, after which you inquire, is very great. His friends are as ardently attached to him as his enemies are violently opposed. Free toleration is given to all opposing religions, but wherever he is accredited as a prophet of the living God, there you will perceive his influence must be great. That lurking fear and suspicion that he may become a dictator or despot, gradually gives place to confidence and fondness, as believers become acquainted with him." 

Thursday, October 3, 2019

Who is the Captain?

William Earnest Henley
Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from Pole to Pole,
I thank whatever gods may be,
For my unconquerable soul. 

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud,
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed. 

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds and shall find me unafraid. 

It matters not how straight the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate,
I am the captain of my soul.

Orson F. Whitney
Art thou in truth?
Then what of him who bought thee with his blood?
Who plunged into devouring seas
And snatched thee from the flood 

Who bore for all our fallen race
What none but him could bear--
The God who died that man might live
And endless glory share. 

Of what avail thy vaunted strength
Apart from his vast might?
Pray that his light may pierce the gloom
That thou mayest see aright. 

Men are as bubbles on the wave,
As leaves upon the tree,
Thou, captain of thy soul! Forsooth,
Who gave that place to thee? 

Free will is thine--free agency,
To wield for right or wrong;
But thou must answer unto him
To whom all souls belong. 

Bend to the dust that “head unbowed”,
Small part of life’s great whole,
And see in him and him alone,
The captain of thy soul.

(see also here)

Saturday, September 21, 2019

How Do You Think That Mother Guessed?

Which Loved Best?

"I love you, Mother," said little John;
Then, forgetting his work, his cap went on,
And he was off to the garden-swing,
And left her the water and wood to bring.

"I love you, Mother," said rosy Nell —
"I love you better than tongue can tell;"
Then she teased and pouted full half the day
Till her mother rejoiced when she went to play.

"I love you, Mother," said little Fan;
"To-day I'll help you all I can;
How glad I am school doesn't keep!"
So she rocked the babe till it fell asleep.

Then, stepping softly, she fetched the broom
And swept the floor and tidied the room;
Busy and happy all day was she,
Helpful and happy as child could be.

"I love you, Mother," again they said,
Three little children going to bed.
How do you think that mother guessed
Which of them really loved her best?

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Not a Matter of Opinion

Spencer W. Kimball
"This true way of life is not a matter of opinion. There are absolute truths and relative truths. The rules of dietetics have changed many times in my lifetime. Many scientific findings have changed from year to year. The scientists taught for decades that the world was once a nebulous, molten mass cast off from the sun, and later many scientists said it once was a whirl of dust which solidified. There are many ideas advanced to the world that have been changed to meet the needs of the truth as it has been discovered. There are relative truths, and there are also absolute truths which are the same yesterday, today, and forever—never changing. These absolute truths are not altered by the opinions of men. As science has expanded our understanding of the physical world, certain accepted ideas of science have had to be abandoned in the interest of truth. Some of these seeming truths were stoutly maintained for centuries. The sincere searching of science often rests only on the threshold of truth, whereas revealed facts give us certain absolute truths as a beginning point so we may come to understand the nature of man and the purpose of his life." 

Sunday, September 15, 2019

Nothing this Truth Can Dim

My Life is But a Weaving

“My life is but a weaving
Between my God and me.
I cannot choose the colors
He weaveth steadily.

Oft’ times He weaveth sorrow;
And I in foolish pride
Forget He sees the upper
And I the underside.

Not ’til the loom is silent
And the shuttles cease to fly
Will God unroll the canvas
And reveal the reason why.

The dark threads are as needful
In the weaver’s skillful hand
As the threads of gold and silver
In the pattern He has planned

He knows, He loves, He cares;
Nothing this truth can dim.
He gives the very best to those
Who leave the choice to Him.”

Monday, August 26, 2019

Savior, Redeemer of My Soul

Orson F. Whitney
Savior, Redeemer of My Soul

Savior, Redeemer of my soul,
Whose mighty hand hath made me whole,
Whose wondrous pow’r hath raised me up
And filled with sweet my bitter cup!
What tongue my gratitude can tell,
O gracious God of Israel.

Never can I repay thee, Lord,
But I can love thee. Thy pure word,
Hath it not been my one delight,
My joy by day, my dream by night?
Then let my lips proclaim it still,
And all my life reflect thy will.

O’errule mine acts to serve thine ends.
Change frowning foes to smiling friends.
Chasten my soul till I shall be
In perfect harmony with thee.
Make me more worthy of thy love,
And fit me for the life above.

Compact Society is Absolutely Necessary

The Prophet Joseph Smith
"As intelligence is the great object of our holy religion, it is of all things important, that we should place ourselves in the best situation possible to obtain it. And we wish it to be deeply impressed on the minds of all, that to obtain all the knowledge which the circumstances of man will admit of, is one of the principle objects the saints have in gathering together. Intelligence is the result of education, and education can only be obtained by living in compact society; so compact, that schools of all kinds can be supported, and that while we are supporting schools, we, without any exception, can be benefited thereby.

It matters not how advanced many who embrace the gospel, be in life, the true object of their calling, is to increase their intelligence; to give them knowledge and understanding in all things which pertain to their happiness and peace, both here and hereafter.— And it is therefore required, that they place themselves in a situation accordingly.

Vain are the hopes of those who embrace the gospel, and then suppose, like the ignorant sectarians of the day, they have nothing more to do, but hold on to what they have gotten. Oh indeed! they think, or at least some of them do, that it is very well to have their priest educated, as well as they can; but for the people, they can serve God as well in ignorance as any other way: they can say their prayers, whether there is sense in them or not; and sing Psalms, it matters not whether they are suited to their condition or not; and thus in the most profound ignorance, with a learned blockhead, at their head, blunder on, until they blunder into heaven. But this stupid ignorance cannot exist among the saints.— It will do well enough, for creatures that know not God, and have not obeyed the gospel. But for saints it will not do. The great God when he began to work for his name’s glory, never thought of doing so, by raising up a society of ignoramuses, but of men and women of intelligence; of first intelligence. Of intelligence as high as human nature was susceptable; and by this means glorify himself.

One of the principal objects then, of our coming together, is to obtain the advantages of education; and in order to do this, compact society is absolutely necessary: it cannot be obtained without it, at most only by the few, to the exclusion of the many; which is a principle, at war with the principles of the church of Christ; for the principle of the church is, that what one has, all have; and equal privileges must be granted to all, or else it is not the church of Christ. And if those, on whom the important duty of regulating this matter devolves, should neglect to do their duty in this matter, they will be found transgressors.

We wish the saints then to be apprised of this, that in order to obtain [t]he ends of their calling, they will find [i]t, unavoidably, necessary that they should be gathered into the cities, in as compact order as possible."

- The Prophet Joseph Smith, Elders’ Journal, August 1838

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

A Pair of Scissors

C.S. Lewis
"Handing everything over to Christ does not, of course, mean that you stop trying. To trust Him means, of course, trying to do all that He says. There would be no sense in saying you trusted a person if you would not take his advice. Thus if you have really handed yourself over to Him, it must follow that you are trying to obey Him. But trying in a new way, a less worried way. 

Not doing these things in order to be saved, but because He has begun to save you already. Not hoping to get to Heaven as a reward for your actions, but inevitably wanting to act in a certain way because a first faint gleam of Heaven is already inside you.

Christians have often disputed as to whether what leads the Christian home is good actions, or Faith in Christ. I have no right really to speak on such a difficult question, but it does seem to me like asking which blade in a pair of scissors is most necessary. A serious moral effort is the only thing that will bring you to the point where you throw up the sponge. Faith in Christ is the only thing to save you from despair at that point: and out of that Faith in Him good actions must inevitably come."

Friday, August 16, 2019

I Walked a Mile

“I walked a mile with Pleasure;
She chatted all the way;
But left me none the wiser
For all she had to say.

I walked a mile with Sorrow;
And ne’er a word said she;
But, oh! The things I learned from her,
When Sorrow walked with me.”

Thursday, August 15, 2019

The Voice Like Music Fell

Orson F. Whitney

In solemn council sat the Gods; 
From Kolob's height supreme, 
Celestial light blazed forth afar 
O'er countless kokaubeam; 
And faintest tinge, the fiery fringe 
Of that resplendent day, 
'Lumined the dark abysmal realm 
Where earth in chaos lay.

Silence self-spelled; the hour was one 
When thought doth most avail; 
Of worlds unborn the destiny 
Hung trembling in the scale. 
Silence o'er all, and there arose, 
Those kings and priests among, 
A Power sublime, than whom appeared 
None nobler 'mid the throng.

A stature mingling strength with grace, 
Of meek though Godlike mien, 
The love-revealing countenance 
Lustrous as lightning sheen; 
Whiter his hair than ocean spray, 
Or frost of alpine hill. 
He spake;--attention grew more grave, 
The stillness e'en more still.

"Father!"--the voice like music fell, 
Clear as the murmuring flow 
Of mountain streamlet trickling down 
From heights of virgin snow. 
"Father," it said, "since one must die," 
Thy children to redeem, 
Whilst earth, as yet unformed and void, 
With pulsing life shall teem;

"And thou, great Michael, foremost fall, 
That mortal man may be, 
And chosen Saviour yet must send, 
Lo, here am I--send me! 
I ask, I seek no recompense, 
Save that which then were mine; 
Mine be the willing sacrifice, 
The endless glory, Thine!

"Give me to lead to this lorn world, 
When wandered from the fold, 
Twelve legions of the noble ones 
That now thy face behold; 
Tried souls, 'mid untried spirits found; 
That captained these may be, 
And crowned the dispensations all 
With powers of Deity.

"A love that hath redeemed all worlds, 
All worlds must still redeem; 
But mercy cannot justice rob-- 
Or where were Elohim? 
Freedom--man's faith, man's work, God's grace-- 
Must span the great gulf o'er; 
Life, death, the guerdon or the doom, 
Rejoice we or deplore."

Silence once more. Then sudden rose 
Aloft a towering form, 
Proudly erect as lowering peak 
'Lumed by the gathering storm! 
A presence bright and beautiful, 
With eye of flashing fire, 
A lip whose haughty curl bespoke 
A sense of inward ire.

"Give me to go!" thus boldly cried, 
With scarce concealed disdain; 
"And hence shall none, from heaven to earth, 
That shall not rise again. 
My saving plan exception scorns; 
Man's agency unknown; 
As recompense, I claim the right 
To sit on yonder throne!"

Ceased Lucifer. The breathless hush 
Resumed and denser grew. 
All eyes were turned; the general gaze 
On one common magnet drew. 
A moment there was solemn pause; 
Then, like the thunder-burst, 
Rolled forth from lips omnipotent-- 
From Him both last and first:

"Immanuel! thou my Messenger, 
Till time's probation end. 
And one shall go thy face before, 
While twelve thy steps attend. 
And many more, on that far shore, 
The pathway shall prepare, 
That I, the First, the last may come, 
And earth my glory share.

"Go forth, thou chosen of the Gods, 
Whose strength shall in thee dwell! 
Go down betime and rescue earth, 
Dethroning death and hell 
On thee alone man's fate depends, 
The fate of beings all. 
Thou shalt not fail, though thou art free-- 
Free, but too great, to fall.

"By three in heaven, by three on earth,-- 
By blood that sanctifies, 
By water of obedience, 
Spirit that justifies; 
By every word of mine and thine, 
Through toil and travail sore, 
Man, God-redeemed, with God shall be, 
As God forevermore."

'T was done. From congregation vast 
Tumultuous murmurs rose; 
Waves of conflicting sound, as when 
Two meeting seas oppose. 
'T was finished. But the heavens wept; 
And still their annals tell 
How one was choice of Elohim, 
O'er one who fighting fell.

A stranger star that came from far, 
To fling its silver ray, 
Where, cradled in a lowly cave, 
A lowlier infant lay; 
And led by soft sidereal light, 
The Orient sages bring 
Rare gifts of gold and frankincense, 
To greet the homeless King.

Oh wondrous grace! Will Gods go down 
Thus low that men may rise? 
Imprisoned here the mighty one 
Who reigned in yonder skies? 
Hark to that chime!--a tongue sublime, 
That tells the hour of noon. 
A dying world is welcoming 
Life--light of sun and moon.

"Peace! peace!"--thy voice, eternity! 
"Peace!" echoes time's false tone. 
"Peace! peace!" Is discord then no more? 
Are earth and heaven as one? 
Peace, peace, where sparkling hosts proclaim 
A monarch manger-born; 
There ruler of unnumbered realms, 
Here throneless and forlorn.

He wandered through the faithless world, 
A prince in shepherd guise; 
He called his scattered flock, but few 
The voice did recognize; 
For minds upborne by hollow pride, 
Or dimmed by sordid lust, 
Ne'er look for kings in begger's garb, 
For diamonds in the dust.

Wept He above a city doomed, 
Her temple, walls, and towers, 
O'er palaces where recreant priests 
Usurped unhallowed powers. 
"I am the way, the life, the light!" 
Alas! 't was heeded not; 
Ignored--nay, mocked God's messenger, 
And spurned the truth He taught.

O bane of damning unbelief! 
Till now when e'er so rife? 
Thou stumbling stone, thou barrier 'thwart 
The gates of endless life! 
O love of self, and Mammon's lust! 
Twin portals to despair, 
Where bigotry, the blinded bat, 
Flaps through the midnight air.

Through these, gloom-wrapt Gethsemane! 
Thy glens of guilty shade 
Grieved o'er the sinless Son of God, 
By gold-bought kiss betrayed; 
Beheld Him unresisting dragged, 
Forsaken, friendless, lone, 
To halls where dark-browed hatred sat 
On judgment's lofty throne.

As sheep before His shearers, dumb, 
Those patient lips were mute; 
The clamorous charge of taunting tongues 
He deigned not to dispute. 
They smote with cruel palm a face 
Which felt yet bore the sting; 
Then crowned with thorns His quivering brow, 
And mocking, hailed him "King!"

Transfixt He hung,--O crime of crimes!-- 
The God whom worlds adore. 
"Father, forgive them!" Drained the dregs; 
Immanuel was no more! 
No more where thunders shook the earth, 
Where lightnings, 'thwart the gloom, 
Saw that unconquered spirit spurn 
The shackles of the tomb.

Far-flashing on its wings of light, 
A falchion from its sheath, 
It cleft the realms of darkness and 
Dissolved the bands of death; 
Hell's dungeons burst, wide open swung 
The everlasting bars, 
Whereby the ransomed soul shall win 
Those heights beyond the stars.