Saturday, December 28, 2013

Saturday, December 21, 2013

11 Ideals

Recently I have been listening to Truman G. Madsen's lectures on the Presidents of the Church.  These lectures are exceedingly well done, and exceedingly rich in testimony, and true teaching.  

Today I happened upon Brother Madsen's lecture about President George Albert Smith.  When he was 34 years old, George Albert Smith made a list of resolutions that he called his “personal creed”—11 ideals that he committed to live by:

1. I would be a friend to the friendless and find joy in ministering to the needs of the poor.
2. I would visit the sick and afflicted and inspire in them a desire for faith to be healed.
3. I would teach the truth to the understanding and blessing of all mankind.
4. I would seek out the erring one and try to win him back to a righteous and a happy life.
5. I would not seek to force people to live up to my ideals but rather love them into doing the thing that is right.
6. I would live with the masses and help to solve their problems that their earth life may be happy.
7. I would avoid the publicity of high positions and discourage the flattery of thoughtless friends.
8. I would not knowingly wound the feelings of any, not even one who may have wronged me, but would seek to do him good and make him my friend.
9. I would overcome the tendency to selfishness and jealousy and rejoice in the successes of all the children of my Heavenly Father.
10. I would not be an enemy to any living soul.
11. Knowing that the Redeemer of mankind has offered to the world the only plan that will fully develop us and make us really happy here and hereafter, I feel it not only a duty but also a blessed privilege to disseminate this truth.

President Smith lived up to these ideals of a Christ-like life, and has inspired me to strive to do the same.  These are simply excellent guidelines toward developing a Christ-like character.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Glad Tidings of Great Joy

"Now, what do we hear in the gospel which we have received? A voice of gladness! A voice of mercy from heaven; and a voice of truth out of the earth; glad tidings for the dead; a voice of gladness for the living and the dead; glad tidings of great joy. How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of those that bring glad tidings of good things, and that say unto Zion: Behold, thy God reigneth! As the dews of Carmel, so shall the knowledge of God descend upon them!" (D&C 128:19)

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

In the Bleak Midwinter

In the Bleak Midwinter

In the bleak mid-winter

Frosty wind made moan,
Earth stood hard as iron,
Water like a stone;
Snow had fallen, snow on snow,
Snow on snow,
In the bleak mid-winter
Long ago.

Our God, Heaven cannot hold Him
Nor earth sustain;
Heaven and earth shall flee away
When He comes to reign:
In the bleak mid-winter
A stable-place sufficed
The Lord God Almighty,
Jesus Christ.

Enough for Him, whom cherubim
Worship night and day,
A breastful of milk
And a mangerful of hay;
Enough for Him, whom angels
Fall down before,
The ox and ass and camel
Which adore.

Angels and archangels
May have gathered there,
Cherubim and seraphim
Thronged the air,
But only His mother
In her maiden bliss,
Worshipped the Beloved
With a kiss.

What can I give Him,
Poor as I am?
If I were a shepherd
I would bring a lamb,
If I were a wise man
I would do my part,
Yet what I can I give Him,
Give my heart.

- Christina Rossetti, written 1872, published posthumously in 1904

Grandma Hancock's Life History Interviews

Grandma Hancock's Life History Interviews

Part 1: Childhood and Early Memories

Part 2: Growing Up and Meeting Grandpa

Part 3: Family Life to Grandpa's Passing

Part 4: Grandpa's Passing to the Present and Beyond

"Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord: / And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse." (Malachi 4:5-6)

Track Summaries:

Part 1: Childhood and Early Memories (Dec. 8, 2013): a. Aunt Maj b. Parents and Grandparents c. Childhood stories, school, teachers, math, friends, drawing/art d. milking the cow, 8th grade, friends, bar dancing, story of lambs, horses, Ernie's death e. family traditions, the Gospel and the Church, pioneer legacy in the Big Horn Basin, people on the ranch f. Cal and Reba, bears, babysitting story g. music, relationship with grandmother, talents, ice skating h. Cowly i. Sue's marriage j. more on Cowly, world events k. basketball, first television l. happiest times of childhood m. shepherding and sheep n. food

Part 2: Growing Up and Meeting Grandpa (Dec. 10, 2013): a. favorite things, play b. social conditions c. Grandma meets Grandpa d. business school e. places, houses, homes f. stories g. activities that Grandpa and Grandma enjoyed together h. bowling i. cream puff story j. money matters k. sicknesses l. last words and counsel m. favorite songs n. first kiss and relationships prior to grandpa p. Shelly runs away q. meeting grandpa (repeated) r. favorite songs (repeated)

Part 3: Family Life to Grandpa's Passing (Dec. 12, 2013) : a. to remember b. beautiful things c. the Church and Joseph Smith d. prophet and president e. stories f. meeting Grandpa (repeated), what she admired about Grandpa g. marriage and starting out h. the kids i. the name "Cornel" j. new life on Mercer Island k. vacationing and boats l. bowling m. reading Gone with the Wind n. songs and the clarinet o. Grandpa's character, personality and work p. Grandpa's death

Part 4: Grandpa's Passing to the Present, and Beyond (Dec. 13, 2013): a. kids, oldest to youngest b. story of Grandma getting in a fight c. describing children and grandchildren d. on the importance of family sticking together through ups and downs e. from the time of Grandpa's death to now f. Grandpa Ikey Guthrie g. final counsel

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Monty Python Football

This is easily one of my favorite Monty Python sketches of all time.  Don't miss Socrates' amazing header to win the match. (Special thanks to Bradly Rebeiro for sharing this clip with me.)

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Find Your Family Crest and Coat of Arms

This is a fun website, for those of you who would would like to find your family crest / coat of arms, and the history of your family name.  At least, I can use the ancient crest from the British Isles to design my own modern version someday:

Monday, December 9, 2013

The Oak Tree

The Oak Tree
by Johnny Ray Ryder Jr  

A mighty wind blew night and day
It stole the oak tree's leaves away
Then snapped its boughs and pulled its bark
Until the oak was tired and stark

But still the oak tree held its ground
While other trees fell all around
The weary wind gave up and spoke.
How can you still be standing Oak?

The oak tree said, I know that you
Can break each branch of mine in two
Carry every leaf away
Shake my limbs, and make me sway

But I have roots stretched in the earth
Growing stronger since my birth
You'll never touch them, for you see
They are the deepest part of me

Until today, I wasn't sure
Of just how much I could endure
But now I've found, with thanks to you
I'm stronger than I ever knew

Thursday, December 5, 2013

All Things Denote There is a God

Last night a friend and I attended an Interfaith Panel Discussion at the Springville Museum of Art.  The theme of the discussion was "Art & Worship," and the panel featured representatives from several faiths, including Catholicism, Islam, Hinduism, Judaism, Presbyterianism and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  After brief presentations by each of the representatives, the members of the panel answered questions and drew further parallels between worship and the creative arts.

The presentations were instructive and edifying, as was the discussion following the presentations.  At the conclusion of the event, the woman representing the LDS faith made the point that much of the best loved iconography of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has been produced by people of different faiths.  In fact, the religious art of Carl Bloch, Heinrich Hoffman, and Frans Schwartz is now on display at the BYU Museum of Art in an exhibit entitled "Sacred Gifts".

As the representatives for each faith presented a brief history and commentary on the role of art in worship, it became clear that each considered God to be the Supreme Artist, and that one of the purposes of art is to glorify the God as the Great Creator of the universe and of mankind.  Although each faith tradition and each individual artist is unique, the process of creation is itself a reflection of divinity.  In the words of the Prophet Alma:

"The scriptures are laid before thee, yea, and all things denote there is a God; yea, even the earth, and all things that are upon the face of it, yea, and its motion, yea, and also all the planets which move in their regular form do witness that there is a Supreme Creator." (Alma 30:44, see also D&C 88:47)

As beings created in the image and likeness of God, we have been endowed, though currently on a much smaller scale, with the ability and the capacity to create.  There is already much of beauty and wonder that is on display in the universe, and on this earth, but the creations of God are without number and without end:

"And worlds without number have I created; and I also created them for mine own purpose; and by the Son I created them, which is mine Only Begotten." (Moses 1:33)

"And as one earth shall pass away, and the heavens thereof even so shall another come; and there is no end to my works, neither to my words.

For behold, this is my work and my glory—to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man." (Moses 1:38-39)

After the Lord had created the earth and everything in it, He pronounced it good (Genesis 1:25).  But not until God had created man in His own likeness and image, and woman, the pinnacle of creation, could He pronounce it very good (Genesis 1:31).  And not until the due time of the Lord will His work be finished:

"The Standard of Truth has been erected; no unhallowed hand can stop the work from progressing; persecutions may rage, mobs may combine, armies may assemble, calumny may defame, but the truth of God will go forth boldly, nobly, and independent, till it has penetrated
every continent, visited every clime, swept every country, and sounded in every ear, till the purposes of God shall be accomplished, and the Great Jehovah shall say the work is done." (Joseph Smith, History of the Church, 4:540)
As the Lord declared in the record of Nephi:

"And I do this that I may prove unto many that I am the same yesterday, today, and forever; and that I speak forth my words according to mine own pleasure. And because that I have spoken one word ye need not suppose that I cannot speak another; for my work is not yet finished; neither shall it be until the end of man, neither from that time henceforth and forever." (2 Ne. 29:9)

Or, as the the Prophet Joseph Smith wrote in his Wentworth Letter:

"We believe all that God has revealed, all that He does now reveal, and we believe that He will yet reveal many great and important things pertaining to the Kingdom of God." (Articles of Faith 1:9)

In other words, many masters of music, drawing, painting, sculpture, theater, film, literature, poetry and dance have already added their contributions of beauty and truth to the world, and it is well that we study and become familiar with their works.  But, in many ways, the work of creation is just beginning (see The Arts and the Spirit of the Lord).


Who Does God's Work Will Get God's Pay

Who Does God's Work Will Get
                 God's Pay
Who does God's work will get God's pay
However long may seem the day
However weary be the way
No mortal hand, God's hand can stay
He may not pay as others pay
In gold or skills or raiment's gay
In goods that perish and decay
But his high wisdom knows a way
And this is sure let come what may
Who does God's work will get God's pay

- Dennis McCarthy