Thursday, December 27, 2018

The Sun Looks Down

C.S. Lewis
“As long as we are thinking of natural values we must say that the sun looks down on nothing half so good as a household laughing together over a meal, or two friends talking over a pint of beer, or a man alone reading a book that interests him; and that all economies, politics, laws, armies, and institutions, save insofar as they prolong and multiply such scenes, are a mere ploughing the sand and sowing the ocean, a meaningless vanity and vexation of the spirit. Collective activities are, of course, necessary, but this is the end to which they are necessary.”

C.S. Lewis, “Membership” in The Weight of Glory

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

What is the Question?

We Bore Their Teaching Within Us

Marcel Proust
“All that can be said is that everything in our life happens as though we entered upon it with a load of obligations contracted in a previous existence. There is no reason arising from the conditions of our life on this earth for us to consider ourselves obliged to do good, to be tactful, even to be polite. … All these obligations whose sanction is not of this present life, seem to belong to a different world, founded on kindness, scruples, sacrifices, a world entirely different from this one, a world whence we emerge to be born on this earth, before returning thither, perhaps to live under the empire of those unknown laws we have obeyed because we bore their teaching within us without knowing who had taught us.” (Marcel Proust, La Prisonniere, as quoted in Homo Viator by Gabriel Marcel.)

Friday, December 21, 2018

When They Are Near

What is Marriage? Man and Woman: A Defense
"In a mobile age, people want continuity. Our spouses — permanent breakfast partners, reliable sources and objects of interest and affection — anchor us. What we do alone has less verve than what we share. Spouses are witnesses to our adulthoods; they are our living and dynamic diaries. We want knowing consolation and informed advice: Spouses have license to plumb our past and present and our most private ambitions. We want the security of a first responder in emergencies, ready counsel in distress, company in defeat, and, for every personal victory, a two-way tie. Spouses typically provide all these goods.

Besides, marriage itself is a school of virtue. As fear gives way to surrender, as the exhilaration of surrender gives way to laboriousness and then to the serenely familiar, we mature. Stretched across another life’s peaks and troughs, our ego is unraveled. What we want from our spouses, we learn ever more to give. In vacations and bedside vigils, grand projects and modest self-denials, our spouses call forth in us new excellences, somehow making us feel all the while that we are most at ease, and most ourselves, when they are near."

- Ryan T. Anderson, Robert P. George, and Sherif Girgis, "The Marriage Debate" (and What is Marriage? Man and Woman: A Defense, pp. 88-89)

Sunday, December 16, 2018

He Was Ever Master

Jesus the Christ
"The incident of Christ’s forcible clearing of the temple is a contradiction of the traditional conception of Him as of One so gentle and unassertive in demeanor as to appear unmanly. Gentle He was, and patient under affliction, merciful and long-suffering in dealing with contrite sinners, yet stern and inflexible in the presence of hypocrisy, and unsparing in His denunciation of persistent evil-doers. His mood was adapted to the conditions to which He addressed Himself; tender words of encouragement or burning expletives of righteous indignation issued with equal fluency from His lips. His nature was no poetic conception of cherubic sweetness ever present, but that of a Man, with the emotions and passions essential to manhood and manliness. He, who often wept with compassion, at other times evinced in word and action the righteous anger of a God. But of all His passions, however gently they rippled or strongly surged, He was ever master. Contrast the gentle Jesus moved to hospitable service by the needs of a festal party in Cana, with the indignant Christ plying His whip, and amidst commotion and turmoil of His own making, driving cattle and men before Him as an unclean herd."

- James E. Talmage, Jesus the Christ, p. 158

Monday, November 26, 2018

Make No Little Plans

Daniel Burnham
"Make no little plans; they have no magic to stir men's blood and probably themselves will not be realized. Make big plans; aim high in hope and work, remembering that a noble, logical diagram once recorded will never die, but long after we are gone be a living thing, asserting itself with ever-growing insistency. Remember that our sons and our grandsons are going to do things that would stagger us. Let your watchword be order and your beacon beauty."

- Daniel Burnham

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Thanksgiving Day Proclamations

This is a list of Thanksgiving Day Proclamations by presidents of the United States from 1789 to the present.  It includes proclamations from Washington, Adams, and Madison to Lincoln, and from Lincoln to Coolidge and Reagan.  Lincoln solidified the tradition, and each of Lincoln's successors has issued an annual Thanksgiving Day Proclamation.  Like every president before him, President Donald Trump has also issued Thanksgiving Day Proclamations. (see here, and here)

Happy Thanksgiving.

Saturday, November 10, 2018

We Are Not Bound to Say All We Think

The 2018 Neal A. Maxwell Lecture with Elder Jeffrey R. Holland
I just returned from the 2018 Neal A. Maxwell Lecture for the Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship at BYUElder Holland addressed members of the Maxwell Institute directly and specifically, and the administration, faculty, and students of Brigham Young University more generally.  The theme and the title of his address was "The Maxwell Legacy in the 21st Century."

Elder Holland began his address with four caveats to explain the context and the audience for his remarks.  He mentioned that he was speaking on behalf of the leadership of Brigham Young University.  He spoke of the challenges and opportunities of the Maxwell Institute, and he spoke specifically to the Maxwell Institute, and to BYU.  He expressed love and appreciation for every good thing that the Maxwell Institute has accomplished in seeking truth and in building faith in Christ.

Elder Holland recounted his first encounter with Elder Maxwell, then commissioner of Church Education, and he credited Elder Maxwell for providing much direction in his life as a disciple of Christ and as a scholar and a teacher.  Elder Holland made it clear that the mission of the Church and of BYU, though not the same, must be as closely aligned with each other as possible, and that the same thing must be true of the Maxwell Institute.  He challenged the Maxwell Institute to be among the best in faith promotion and world class Gospel scholarship.

Elder Holland shared many gems from the treasure trove of Elder Maxwell's teachings.  For example, Elder Maxwell taught that:

"There is as much vastness in the theology of the Restoration as in the stretching universe. 'There is space there' for the full intellectual stretching of any serious disciple. There is room 'enough and to spare' for all the behavioral development one is willing to undertake. No wonder, therefore, personal wholeness is required in discipleship. Genius without meekness is not enough to qualify for discipleship."

Elder Holland reminded his audience that discipleship precedes and informs scholarship, or, in Elder Maxwell's own words: "Though I have spoken of the disciple-scholar, in the end all the hyphenated words come off. We are finally disciples-men and women of Christ (see 3 Ne. 27:27)."  He also reminded his audience of Elder Maxwell's memorable metaphor that critics of the Church should not be allowed any "uncontested slam-dunks."

Elder Holland taught that faith requires an explicit defense, and that the foundational documents of the Church and of BYU ought to be defended by the Maxwell Institute.  In light of President Nelson's recent counsel, and with good humor, Elder Holland stated that centers for "Mormon Studies" will need to find a new name.  He also referred to a personal email that he received from President Nelson in which he was encouraged to help the members of the Maxwell Institute understand who they are  and why the Maxwell Institute exists.  Although "Mormon Studies" may be a part of the Maxwell Institute, the mission of the Maxwell Institute remains separate and distinct from that of institutions for "Mormon Studies."  The Maxwell Institute is set apart from the secular premises and even the religious "richness" that is supposed to characterize institutions for "Mormon Studies."  

Why?  Elder Maxwell taught that: "A few hold back a portion of themselves merely to please a particular gallery of peers. Another might hold back a spiritual insight from which many could profit, simply wishing to have his or her 'ownership' established. Some hold back by not appearing overly committed to the kingdom, lest they incur the disapproval of particular peers who might disdain such consecration. In various ways, some give of themselves, even extensively, but not fully and unreservedly."

Elder Holland then addressed the problems inherent in "bracketing" truth claims or "bracketing" one's faith.  There are more limitations than virtues in "bracketing" one's faith or the truth claims of one's faith.  Common ground is not found on neutral ground, and "bracketing" costs credibility.  In fact, to paraphrase Elder Maxwell, we are not really learned if we neglect education in eternal truths and Divine data.  

Elder Holland suggested some topics of study for the Maxwell Institute, including the importance of family life and kinship in early America, ordinances for the dead, holy spaces, and selections from The Joseph Smith Papers.  If we err, Elder Holland taught, we must err on the side of our covenants.  

Elder Holland provided counsel regarding ways to maintain a balance with academic excellence, appropriate tone, and constant vigilance.  The Maxwell Institute cannot simply be synonymous with "Mormon Studies."  Instead, it must follow the example of the Scottish pastor George MacDonald who asked and answered his own question:

"Is every Christian expected to bear witness?  A man content to bear no witness to the truth is not in the kingdom of heaven.  One who believes must bear witness.  One who sees the truth must live witnessing to it.  Do we carry ourselves in bank, on farm, in house or shop, in study or chamber or workshop, as the Lord would, or as the Lord would not? Are we careful to be true? Do we endeavour to live to the height of our ideas? Or are we mean, self-serving, world-flattering, fawning slaves? When contempt is cast on the truth, do we smile? Wronged in our presence, do we make no sign that we hold by it? I do not say we are called upon to dispute, and defend with logic and argument, but we are called upon to show that we are on the other side. But when I say truth, I do not mean opinion: to treat opinion as if that were truth, is grievously to wrong the truth. The soul that loves the truth and tries to be true, will know when to speak and when to be silent; but the true man will never look as if he did not care. We are not bound to say all we think, but we are bound not even to look what we do not think."

Elder Holland also recalled that Elder Maxwell was fond of quoting Gandalf from J.R.R. Tolkien's appropriately named book The Return of the King:

"It is not our part to master all the tides of the world, but to do what is in us for the succour of those years wherein we are set, uprooting the evil in the fields that we know, so that those who live after may have clean earth to till. What weather they shall have is not ours to rule."

Finally, Elder Holland reminded his audience of Elder Dallin H. Oaks' clear instruction that the Maxwell Institute have no obsessions or cheering constituencies because the institute belongs to God.  I'm not sure why it is so difficult to find this particular speech online, but Spencer Fluhman has the full transcript of these remarks in his possession.  Here, at least, is an excerpt from that speech:

"The work of the Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship must be genuine and pervasive—as broad as the spiritual interests of the children of God, as faithful as eternal truth, and as bright as the light of truth within us."

That is a great challenge for all of us, but it is a challenge that particularly pertains to the members of the institute that bears the name of Elder Neal A. Maxwell.

Thursday, October 18, 2018

He Will Try Us

Lorenzo Snow

"I daresay that in the [premortal] spirit world, when it was proposed to us to come into this probation, and pass through the experience that we are now receiving, it was not altogether pleasant and agreeable; the prospects were not so delightful in all respects as might have been desired. Yet there is no doubt that we saw and understood clearly there that, in order to accomplish our exaltation and glory, this was a necessary experience; and however disagreeable it might have appeared to us, we were willing to conform to the will of God, and consequently we are here.

The Lord has determined in His heart that He will try us until He knows what He can do with us. He tried His Son Jesus. … Before He [the Savior] came upon earth the Father had watched His course and knew that He could depend upon Him when the salvation of worlds should be at stake; and He was not disappointed. So in regard to ourselves. He will try us, and continue to try us, in order that He may place us in the highest positions in life and put upon us the most sacred responsibilities."

Sunday, September 23, 2018

After All We Can Do

After All We Can Do

I’d been in that hole for a very long time –
In the dark and the damp, in the cold and the slime.
The shaft was above me; I could see it quite clear,
But there’s no way I ever could reach it from here.
Nor could I remember the world way up there,
So I lost all my hope and gave into despair.

I knew nothing but darkness, the floors, and the walls,
When from off in the distance I heard someone call,
“Get up! Get ready! There’s nothing the matter!
Take rocks and take sticks and build up a fine ladder.”
This had never occurred to me, had not crossed my mind,
So I started to stack all the stones I could find.

When I ran out of stones, the old sticks were my goal,
For some way or another I’d get out of that hole.
So I soon had a ladder that was really quite tall,
And I thought, “I’ll soon leave this place once and for all!”
Then I climbed up my ladder, it was no easy chore –
For from lifting those boulders my shoulders were sore.

So I worked and I climbed and at last had to stop,
For my ladder stopped short – some ten feet from the top.
I climbed back down the ladder and felt all around,
But there were no more boulders nor sticks to be found.
I went back to my ladder and started to cry.
I’d done all I could do; I gave my best try.

But in spite of my work, in this hole I must die,
And all I could do was to sit and think, “Why?”
Was my ladder too short? Or my hole much too deep?
Then from way up on high came a voice: “Do not weep.”
And then hope, love, and faith entered my chest,
As the voice said to me that I’d done my best.

He said, “Nothing’s the matter. There’s reason to hope.
Just climb up your ladder; I’ll throw down my rope.
You have worked very hard, and your labor’s been rough,
But the ladder you’ve built is at last tall enough.”
I climbed up the ladder, then climbed up the cord.
When I stood at the top, there stood the Lord.

I’ve never been happier; my struggle was done.
I blinked in the brightness that came from the Son.
I fell to the ground; his feet did I kiss.
I cried, “What can I do to repay thee for this?”
He looked all around Him – there were holes in the ground.
They had people inside, and were seen all around.

There were thousands of holes that were damp, dark, and deep.
Then the Lord turned to me and He said, “Feed my sheep.”
Then He went on His way to help other lost souls.
And I got right to work, calling down to the holes,
“Get up! Get ready! There’s nothing the matter!
Take rocks and take sticks and build up a find ladder!”

It now was my turn to spread the good word.
The most glorious message that man ever heard.
That there’s One who is willing to save one and all,
And we’ve got to be ready when He gives the call.
He’ll pull us all out of the hole that we’re in,
And save all our souls from death and from sin.
So do not lose faith; there is reason to hope:
Just build up your ladder; He’ll throw down His rope.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Be Quiet, Man

With thoughtless and impatient hands
We tangle up the plans
The Lord hath wrought.
And when we cry in pain He saith,
‘Be quiet, man, while I untie the knot.’

- Anonymous

Saturday, September 15, 2018

Tell All the Truth But Tell It Slant

Emily Dickinson

Tell all the truth but tell it slant —
Success in Circuit lies
Too bright for our infirm Delight
The Truth's superb surprise
As Lightning to the Children eased
With explanation kind
The Truth must dazzle gradually
Or every man be blind —

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

She Made Beauty All Around Her

C.S. Lewis, Till We Have Faces: A Myth Retold
"Of Psyche's beauty — at every age the beauty proper to that age — there is only this to be said, that there were no two opinions about it, from man or woman, once she had been seen. It was beauty that did not astonish you till afterwards when you had gone out of sight of her and reflected on it. While she was with you, you were not astonished. It seemed the most natural thing in the world. As the Fox delighted to say, she was 'according to nature'; what every woman, or even every thing, ought to have been and meant to be, but had missed by some trip of chance. Indeed, when you looked at her you believed, for a moment, that they had not missed it. She made beauty all round her. When she trod on mud, the mud was beautiful; when she ran in the rain, the rain was silver. When she picked up a toad — she had the strangest and, I thought, unchanciest love for all manner of brutes — the toad became beautiful."

Saturday, September 8, 2018

The Winds of Fate

Ella Wheeler Wilcox

The Winds of Fate

One ship drives east and another drives west
With the selfsame winds that blow.
’Tis the set of the sails
And not the gales
Which tells us the way to go.

Like the winds of the sea are the ways of fate,
As we voyage along through life:
’Tis the set of a soul
That decides its goal,
And not the calm or the strife.

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Stick to Your Task

Stick to your task till it sticks to you.

Beginners are many, but enders are few.

Honor, power, place and praise

Will always come to the one who stays.

Stick to your task till it sticks to you;

Bend at it, sweat at it, smile at it, too—

For out of the bend and the sweat and the smile

Will come life’s victories after awhile.

Monday, August 27, 2018

Nazareth Was a Little Place

Meade MacGuire

“Father, where shall I work today?”
And my love flowed warm and free.
Then he pointed out a tiny spot
And said, “Tend that for me.”
I answered quickly, “Oh no, not that!
Why, no one would ever see,
No matter how well my work was done.
Not that little place for me.”
And the word he spoke, it was not stern; …
“Art thou working for them or for me?
Nazareth was a little place,
And so was Galilee.”

Thursday, August 23, 2018

True Education

David O. McKay
“The Church stands for education. The very purpose of its organization is to promulgate truth among men. Members of the Church are admonished to acquire learning by study, and also by faith and prayer, and to seek after everything that is virtuous, lovely, of good report, or praiseworthy. …

“Indeed, one of the fundamental teachings of the Church is that salvation itself depends upon knowledge; for, says the revelation, ‘It is impossible for a man to be saved in ignorance,’ (D&C 131:6)” (Gospel Ideals, 440).

“Gaining knowledge is one thing and applying it, quite another. Wisdom is the right application of knowledge; and true education—the education for which the Church stands—is the application of knowledge to the development of a noble and Godlike character.

“A man may possess a profound knowledge of history and of mathematics; he may be authority in psychology, biology, or astronomy; he may know all the discovered truths pertaining to geology and natural science; but if he has not with this knowledge that nobility of soul which prompts him to deal justly with his fellow men, to practise virtue and holiness in personal life, he is not a truly educated man.

Character is the aim of true education; and science, history, and literature are but means used to accomplish the desired end. Character is not the result of chance work but of continuous right thinking and right acting.

“True education seeks, then, to make men and women not only good mathematicians, proficient linguists, profound scientists, or brilliant literary lights, but also honest men, combined with virtue, temperance, and brotherly love—men and women who prize truth, justice, wisdom, benevolence, and self-control as the choicest acquisitions of a successful life” 

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

A Single Figure Rises from the Flood

Arnold Toynbee
"This is the final result of our survey of saviours. When we first set out on our quest we found ourselves in the midst of a mighty marching host; but as we have pressed forward on our way, the marchers company by company have been falling out of the race. The first to fall were the swordsmen, the next the archaists, the next the futurists, the next the philosophers, until at length there were no more human competitors left in the running. In the last stage of all our motley host of would-be saviours, human and divine, has dwindled to a single company of none but gods; and now the strain has been testing the staying power of these last remaining runners, notwithstanding their superhuman strength. At the final ordeal of death few even of these would-be saviour-gods have dared to put their title to the test by plunging into the icy river. And now, as we stand and gaze with our eyes fixed upon the farther shore, a single figure rises from the flood and straightway fills the whole horizon. There is the Saviour; "and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand: he shall see of the travail of his soul and shall be satisfied." 

Thursday, July 5, 2018

Take Care of Your Garden

Kind hearts are the gardens,

Kind thoughts are the roots,

Kind words are the flowers.

Kind deeds are the fruits.

Take care of your garden

And keep out the weeds,

Fill it with sunshine,

Kind words and Kind deeds.

Monday, June 25, 2018

It Hits Us in the Solar Plexus

Hugh Nibley
"We recognize what is lovely because we have seen it somewhere else, and as we walk through the world, we are constantly on the watch for it with a kind of nostalgia, so that when we see an object or a person that pleases us, it is like recognizing an old friend; it hits us in the solar plexus, and we need no measuring or lecturing to tell us that it is indeed quite perfect. It is something we have long been looking for, something we have seen in another world, memories of how things should be."

- “Goods of First and Second Intent,” Collected Works of Hugh Nibley 9:528

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

A Creed

Edwin Markham

A Creed

There is a destiny that makes us brothers:
None goes his way alone:
All that we send into the lives of others
Comes back into our own.

I care not what his temples or his creeds,
One thing holds firm and fast
That into his fateful heap of days and deeds
The soul of man Is cast.

Edwin Markham

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Only a Dad

Edgar Albert Guest

Only a dad, with a tired face,
Coming home from the daily race,
Bringing little of gold or fame,
To show how well he has played the game,
But glad in his heart that his own rejoice
To see him come, and to hear his voice.

Only a dad, with a brood of four,
One of ten million men or more.
Plodding along in the daily strife,
Bearing the whips and the scorns of life,
With never a whimper of pain or hate,
For the sake of those who at home await.

Only a dad, neither rich nor proud,
Merely one of the surging crowd
Toiling, striving from day to day,
Facing whatever may come his way,
Silent, whenever the harsh condemn,
And bearing it all for the love of them.

Only a dad, but he gives his all
To smooth the way for his children small,
Doing, with courage stern and grim,
The deeds that his father did for him.
This is the line that for him I pen,
Only a dad, but the best of men.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

The Empty Pot

A long time ago in China there was a boy named Ping who loved flowers. Anything he planted burst into bloom. Up came flowers, bushes, and even big fruit trees, as if by magic!

Everyone in the kingdom loved flowers too. They planted them everywhere, and the air smelled like perfume.

The Emperor loved birds and animals, but flowers most of all, and he tended his own garden every day. But the Emperor was very old. He needed to choose a successor to the throne. Who would his successor be? And how would the Emperor choose? Because the Emperor loved flowers so much, he decided to let the flowers choose.

The next day a proclamation was issued: All the children in the land were to come to the palace. There they would be given special flower seeds by the Emperor. “Whoever can show me their best in a year’s time,” he said, “will succeed me to the throne.”

This news created great excitement throughout the land! Children from all over the country swarmed to the palace to get their flower seeds. All the parents wanted their children to be chosen Emperor, and all the children hoped they would be chosen too!

When Ping received his seed from the Emperor, he was the happiest child of all. He was sure he could grow the most beautiful flower.

Ping filled a flowerpot with rich soil. He planted the seed in it very carefully. He watered it every day. He couldn’t wait to see it sprout, grow, and blossom into a beautiful flower!

Day after day passed, but nothing grew in his pot. Ping was very worried. He put new soil into a bigger pot. Then he transferred the seed into the rich black soil. Another two months he waited. Still nothing happened.

By and by the whole year passed. Spring came, and all the children put on their best clothes to greet the Emperor. They rushed to the palace with their beautiful flowers, eagerly hoping to be chosen. Ping was ashamed of his empty pot. He thought the other children would laugh at him because for once he couldn’t get a flower to grow. 

His clever friend ran by, holding a great big plant. “Ping!” he said. “You’re not really going to the Emperor with an empty pot, are you? Couldn’t you grow a great big flower like mine?”

“I’ve grown lots of flowers better than yours,” Ping said. “It’s just this seed that won’t grow.”

Ping’s father overheard this and said, “You did your best, and your best is good enough to present to the Emperor.” 

Holding the empty pot in his hands, Ping went straight away to the palace. 

The Emperor was looking at the flowers slowly, one by one. How beautiful all the flowers were! But the Emperor was frowning and did not say a word.

Finally, he came to Ping. Ping hung his head in shame, expecting to be punished. The Emperor asked, “Why did you bring an empty pot?” 

Ping started to cry and replied, “I planted the seed you gave me and I watered it every day, but it didn’t sprout. I put it in a better pot with better soil, but still it didn’t sprout! I tended it all year long, but nothing grew. So today I had to bring an empty pot without a flower. It was the best I could do.” 

When the Emperor heard these words, a smile slowly spread over his face, and he put his arm around Ping. Then he exclaimed to one and all, “I have found him! I have found the one person worthy of being Emperor!”

“Where you got your seeds from, I do not know. For the seeds I gave you had all been cooked. So it was impossible for any of them to grow.”

“I admire Ping’s great courage to appear before me with the empty truth, and now I reward him with the entire kingdom and make him Emperor of all the land!”

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

At the Crossroads

At the Crossroads

He stood at the crossroads all alone, The sunlight in his face;
He had no thought for an evil course, He was set for a manly race.
But the road stretched east and the road stretched west,
And he did not know which road was the best;
So he took the wrong road and it lead him down,
And he lost the race and the victor's crown.
He was caught at last in an angry snare
Because no one stood at the crossroads there
To show him the better road.

Another day at the self-same place a boy with high hopes stood;
He, too, was set for a manly race; he was seeking the things that were good.
And one was there who the roads did know,
And that one showed him the way to go;
So he turned away from the road leading down,
And he won the race and the victor's crown;
He walks today on the highways fair
Because one stood at the crossroads there
To show him a better road.

- Sadie Tiller Crawley

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Spirit of God, Who Dwells Within My Heart

Spirit of God, Who Dwells Within My Heart

1 Spirit of God, who dwells within my heart,
wean it from sin, through all its pulses move.
Stoop to my weakness, mighty as you are,
and make me love you as I ought to love.

2 I ask no dream, no prophet ecstasies,
no sudden rending of the veil of clay,
no angel visitant, no opening skies;
but take the dimness of my soul away.

3 Did you not bid us love you, God and King,
love you with all our heart and strength and mind?
I see the cross - there teach my heart to cling.
O let me seek you, and O let me find!

4 Teach me to feel that you are always nigh;
teach me the struggles of the soul to bear,
to check the rising doubt, the rebel sigh;
teach me the patience of unceasing prayer.

5 Teach me to love you as your angels love,
one holy passion filling all my frame:
the fullness of the heaven-descended Dove;
my heart an altar, and your love the flame.

Friday, May 11, 2018

If Radio's Slim Fingers

If Radio's Slim Fingers

If radio's slim fingers
Can pluck a melody from night
And toss it o'er a continent or sea;
If the soft-petalled notes of a violin
Are blown o'er mountains or a city' s din;
If songs like fragrant roses
Are culled from thin blue air,
How then, can mortals wonder
If God hears prayer?

-Ethel Romig Fuller

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Talent and Character

What a Boy is Worth

God Answers Prayer

I know not by what methods rare,
But this I know, God answers prayers.
I know that He has given His Word,
Which tells me prayer is always heard,
And will be answered, soon or late,
And so I pray and calmly wait.
I know not if the blessing sought
Will come in just the way I thought;
But leave my prayers with Him alone,
Whose will is wiser than my own,
Assured that He will grant my quest,
Or send some answer far more blest.

- Eliza M. Hickok

Tuesday, May 8, 2018


Striving after Something Divine

To Write Well

The Race

The Race

Whenever I start to hang my head in front of failure’s face,
my downward fall is broken by the memory of a race.
A children’s race, young boys, young men; how I remember well,
excitement sure, but also fear, it wasn’t hard to tell.
They all lined up so full of hope, each thought to win that race
or tie for first, or if not that, at least take second place.
Their parents watched from off the side, each cheering for their son,
and each boy hoped to show his folks that he would be the one.

The whistle blew and off they flew, like chariots of fire,
to win, to be the hero there, was each young boy’s desire.
One boy in particular, whose dad was in the crowd,
was running in the lead and thought “My dad will be so proud.”
But as he speeded down the field and crossed a shallow dip,
the little boy who thought he’d win, lost his step and slipped.
Trying hard to catch himself, his arms flew everyplace,
and midst the laughter of the crowd he fell flat on his face.
As he fell, his hope fell too; he couldn’t win it now.
Humiliated, he just wished to disappear somehow.

But as he fell his dad stood up and showed his anxious face,
which to the boy so clearly said, “Get up and win that race!”
He quickly rose, no damage done, behind a bit that’s all,
and ran with all his mind and might to make up for his fall.
So anxious to restore himself, to catch up and to win,
his mind went faster than his legs. He slipped and fell again.
He wished that he had quit before with only one disgrace.
“I’m hopeless as a runner now, I shouldn’t try to race.”

But through the laughing crowd he searched and found his father’s face
with a steady look that said again, “Get up and win that race!”
So he jumped up to try again, ten yards behind the last.
“If I’m to gain those yards,” he thought, “I’ve got to run real fast!”
Exceeding everything he had, he regained eight, then ten...
but trying hard to catch the lead, he slipped and fell again.
Defeat! He lay there silently. A tear dropped from his eye.
“There’s no sense running anymore! Three strikes I’m out! Why try?
I’ve lost, so what’s the use?” he thought. “I’ll live with my disgrace.”
But then he thought about his dad, who soon he’d have to face.

“Get up,” an echo sounded low, “you haven’t lost at all,
for all you have to do to win is rise each time you fall.
Get up!” the echo urged him on, “Get up and take your place!
You were not meant for failure here! Get up and win that race!”
So, up he rose to run once more, refusing to forfeit,
and he resolved that win or lose, at least he wouldn’t quit.
So far behind the others now, the most he’d ever been,
still he gave it all he had and ran like he could win.
Three times he’d fallen stumbling, three times he rose again.
Too far behind to hope to win, he still ran to the end.

They cheered another boy who crossed the line and won first place,
head high and proud and happy -- no falling, no disgrace.
But, when the fallen youngster crossed the line, in last place,
the crowd gave him a greater cheer for finishing the race.
And even though he came in last with head bowed low, unproud,
you would have thought he’d won the race, to listen to the crowd.
And to his dad he sadly said, “I didn’t do so well.”
“To me, you won,” his father said. “You rose each time you fell.”

And now when things seem dark and bleak and difficult to face,
the memory of that little boy helps me in my own race.
For all of life is like that race, with ups and downs and all.
And all you have to do to win is rise each time you fall.
And when depression and despair shout loudly in my face,
another voice within me says, “Get up and win that race!”

The Impression of Love

John Murdock
“During the winter that I boarded with Brother Joseph … we had a number of prayer meetings, in the Prophet’s chamber. … In one of those meetings the Prophet told us, ‘If we would humble ourselves before God, and exercise strong faith, we should see the face of the Lord.’ And about midday the visions of my mind were opened, and the eyes of my understanding were enlightened, and I saw the form of a man, most lovely, the visage of his face was sound and fair as the sun. His hair a bright silver grey, curled in a most majestic form; His eyes a keen penetrating blue, and the skin of his neck a most beautiful white and he was covered from the neck to the feet with a loose garment, pure white: Whiter than any garment I have ever before seen. His countenance was most penetrating, and yet most lovely. And while I was endeavoring to comprehend the whole personage from head to feet it slipped from me, and the vision was closed up. But it left on my mind the impression of love, for months, that I never before felt to that degree.” 

Friday, April 27, 2018

Every Bird Came Back

Dr. Gustov Eckstein
"Dr. Gustov Eckstein, one of the world’s renowned ornithologists, worked in the same laboratory for over twenty-five years. He bred and crossbred species of birds. He kept meticulous records on the varieties and hybrids of birds in his laboratory. Each day when he would enter his laboratory he would go down two or three stairs to the stereo. He would put on classical music and turn the volume up very loud. Then he would go about his work. The birds would sing along with the classical music. At the end of the day, about 5:30 P.M., he would turn off the stereo and leave for home.

After twenty-five years he had to hire a new custodian. After Dr. Eckstein left the laboratory, the new custodian thought the place should be aired out, so he opened all the windows.

The next morning when Dr. Eckstein went into his laboratory he saw the open windows and noted that every bird had flown out during the night. He was devastated, his life’s work ruined. By sort of habit or instinct, he went to the stereo and turned the classical music up very loud. Then he went and sat down on the steps, put his head in his hands, and wept.

The strains of music carried out through the open windows, through the trees, and down the streets. In a few moments Dr. Eckstein heard a fluttering of wings. He looked up and saw that the birds were beginning to come back into the laboratory through the open windows.

Dr. Eckstein said, 'And every bird came back!'"

- Vaughn G. Featherstone, "The Impact Teacher"

Vaughn G. Featherstone

He is Able

He Is Able

Canst thou take the barren soil
And with all thy pains and toil
Make lilies grow?
Thou canst not. O helpless man,
Have faith in God -- He can.

Canst thou paint the clouds at eve?
And all the sunset colors weave
Into the sky?
Thou canst not. O powerless man
Have faith in God - He can.

Canst thou still thy troubled heart
And make all cares and doubts depart
From out thy soul?
Thou canst not. O faithless man,
Have faith in God - He can.

- Mrs. Charles E. Cowman

Monday, April 9, 2018

Aggrandize Others

The Prophet Joseph Smith
"I heard Joseph Smith say, something like this, 'Some people say that it is not right to seek to aggrandize one's own self, that self-aggrandizement is not a good principle,' but said he, 'I say it is a true and godlike principle; but it can be done permanently, justly and righteously in only one way or upon only one plan in order to be eternal in its durability, If any person will build up others; and permanently aggrandize others, he in turn will be aggrandized eternally, that is the only principle or plan upon which it can be done and remain forever .'" 

Friday, April 6, 2018

Intelligence and Affection

Parley P. Pratt

(from An Appeal to the Inhabitants of the State of New York, Letter to Queen Victoria, (Reprinted from the Tenth European Edition,) The Fountain of Knowledge; Immortality of the Body, and Intelligence and Affection [Nauvoo: John Taylor, Printer, 1840])

"[p.121]These, like material things, have their origin in eternal, uncreated elements; and like them, must endure forever. They are the foundations of enjoyment, the main-springs of glory and exaltation, and the fountains from which emanate a thousand streams of life, and joy, and gladness; diffused through all worlds, and extending to all extent.

They are the principle roots from which shoot forth innumerable branches, which bud in time, and blossom and ripen in eternity; producing a perfume more delicious than the balmy sweets of Arabia, and fruits more precious than the apples of Eden.

The human mind in infancy, like the body, is small and weak indeed. It neither possesses intelligence nor affection to any great degree; for the latter is the production of the former;—grows with its growth, and strengthens with its strength; and cannot exist independent and separate therefrom.

This infant mind commences to expand, and continues to enlarge itself just in proportion to the truths that are presented for its food, and the time and opportunity it has to digest and comprehend them. If unassociated with other intelligences, it expands but very little,–all its powers remain in a great measure inactive and dormant.

For instance, let an infant be cut off from all communication with other intelligences, let it grow to manhood entirely alone, and it still knows little more than in infancy.

One child may be raised to manhood possessing only the limited knowledge of a Hotentot, while another is made to comprehend the sublime truths of a Newton.

The human mind then, is capable of a constant and gradual expansion to an unlimited extent. In fact, its receptive powers are infinite.

Once set free from the chains of incorrect tradition; and unfettered from the limited creeds and superstition of men, and associated with beings of unlimited intelligence, it may go freely on from truth to truth; enlarge itself like the rays of the morning; circumscribe the earth, and [p.122]soar to the heavens; comprehend the mysteries of the past, and remove the veil from the future; till the wide expanse of eternity, with all its treasures of wisdom, is brought within the range of its com

It is true, that, in this life the progress of the mind in intelligence, is not only gradual, but obstructed in various ways. It has to contend, not only with its own prejudices and the errors of an opposing world, but with innumerable weaknesses, temptations, cares, and troubles, with which it is continually beset.

And finally, its organs are weakened by disease, or worn with age, till it sinks into a backward tendency–loses a portion of that which it has been able to comprehend, and partakes of a kind of secondary childhood.

From this fact, some are ready to conclude, that the mind, like the body, has its limits; its point of maturity, beyond which it can never expand; and that arriving at this climax of maturity, like a full grown plant, it is incapable of a further advance. But this is a mistake. It is not the mind itself that is thus limited and confined within a circle so narrow, but it is the circumstances in which it is placed. That is its bodily organs, once strong and vigorous, are now weakened by disease, or worn with age. Hence, the mind, while connected with them, and dependent on them, is compelled to partake of their weaknesses. And like a strong travellor with a weak companion, or a strong workman with a slender tool, it can only operate as they are able to bear.

What then is the means by which this formidable obstacle can be overcome, and the mind be enabled with renewed vigor, to continue its onward progress in the reception of intelligence?

We will best answer this question by a parable.

A certain child had continued the use of food until its teeth were worn, loosened, and decayed to that degree that they were no longer able to perform their accustomed office. On this account, its food was swallowed in such a manner as not to digest properly.

This soon caused a general weakness and disorder of the system. Some unthinking persons seeing this, came to the conclusion that the child had come to maturity—that it no longer needed its accustomed nourishment, but must gradually sink and die. But in process of time; nature provided its own remedy. The old teeth were shed, and a new set more strong and durable took their place. The system being thus restored in every part to a full, vigorous and healthy action, was enabled to make rapid progress towards perfection, and to receive and digest food far more strong and hard of digestion than before.

So with the organs of the mind. This temporary body, frail and mortal, is to the mind what the children’s teeth are to the system. Like them it answers a momentary purpose, and like them its organs become [p.123]decayed and weakened by age and use; so that many truths which present themselves to the mind, cannot be properly digested while dependent on such weak organs.

But let this feeble and decayed body share the fate of the child’s first set of teeth—let it be plucked by death, and the mind set free. Nay, rather let it be renewed in all the freshness and vigor of eternal life; with organs fresh and strong and durable as the powers of eternal intellect.

And the mind, thus provided with organs, fully adapted to its most ardent powers of action, will find itself no longer constrained to linger on the confines of its former limits, where impatient of restraint, it had struggled in vain for freedom. But like a prisoner, suddenly freed from the iron shackles and gloomy dungeons of a terrible tyrant, it will move nimbly onward with a joyous consciousness of its own liberty. It will renew with redoubled vigor its intellectual feast, and enlarge its field of operations amid the boundless sources of intelligence, till earth, with all its treasures of wisdom and knowledge, becomes too small, and the neighboring worlds too narrow to satisfy a capacity so enlarged. It will then, on wings of faith, and by the power of the spirit waft itself far beyond our visible heavens, and “far above earth’s span of sky” and explore other suns, and other systems; and hold communion with other intelligences more remote than our weak minds can possibly conceive.

In these researches and discoveries, the mind will be able by degrees to circumscribe the heavens, and to comprehend the heights and depths, and lengths and breadths of the mysteries of eternal truth, and like its maker, comprehend all things; even the deep things of God.

While the mind is thus expanding and increasing in intelligence, the affections will expand and increase in proportion, both in this life and in the life to come.

God is light, God is truth, God is love.

The reason why he loves, is because he is light and truth. Or in other words, he loves because he knows; and in proportion to the extent of his knowledge, or intelligence, so is the extent of his love; and so it is with the human mind.

In infancy, our love is as narrow as our intellectual capacity. But as our intelligence increases, so our affection grows, till from knowing and loving our mother, we begin to know and love the circle of our immediate kindred and family. We soon begin to know and love our fathers, our brothers, our sisters, and finally our uncles, aunts and cousins, and our neighbors; and so on, continuing to enlarge our knowledge and consequently our love, till it circumscribes our nation, and finally all mankind. But still, it is far from being perfect. As we advance in the knowledge of all our social connections, duties, dependences, relation-[p.124]ships, and obligations, our affections still increase; and as we raise our thoughts to worlds on high, and begin to know something of our Heavenly Father, of our Redeemer, and of angels and spirits who inhabit other and better worlds, and of our relationships to them, we begin to love them. And the more we know of them the more we love them. Thus, love or affection is dependent on knowledge, or intelligence, and can only be increased by an increase of knowledge.

These two principles are the foundations, the fountains of all real happiness.

Some persons have supposed that our natural affections were the results of a fallen and corrupt nature, and that they are “carnal, sensual, and devilish,” and therefore ought to be resisted, subdued, or overcome as so many evils which prevent our perfection, or progress in the spiritual life. In short, that they should be greatly subdued in this world, and in the world to come entirely done away. And even our intelligence also.

Such persons frequently inquire whither they shall recognise their kindred or friends in the life to come? They also caution themselves and others, lest they should love their child, their companion, their brother, sister, or mother too well; for, say they, if you love them too well, it will offend your God and he will take them from you.

Such persons have mistaken the source and fountain of happiness altogether. They have not one correct idea of the nature of the enjoyments, or happiness of heaven, or earth; of this life or any other. If intelligence and affection are to decrease to such a low ebb that we shall neither recognise or love our kindred and friends, then a stone, a block of wood, or a picture on the wall is as capable of the enjoyments of heaven as we are.

So far from this being the case, our natural affections are planted in us by the Spirit of God, for a wise purpose; and they are the very main-springs of life and happiness—they are the cement of all virtuous and heavenly society—they are the essence of charity, or love; and therefore never fail, but endure forever.

There is not a more pure and holy principle in existence than the affection which glows in the bosom of a virtuous man for his companion; for his parents, brothers, sisters, and children.

If there be one scene in heaven or on earth, capable of calling forth the most refined sensibilities of our nature, it is the expressions of love which kindle into rapture, and which flow out in the soul of a woman towards her infant.

So pure, so chaste, so tender and benevolent, so simple, so ardent and sincere, and so disinterested is this principle, that it could only have been kindled by the inspiration of a spirit direct from the fountain of eternal, everlasting love.

[p.125]These pure affections are inspired in our bosoms, and interwoven with our nature by an all wise and benevolent being, who rejoices in the happiness and welfare of his creatures. All his revelations to man, touching this subject, are calculated to approve, encourage, and strengthen these emotions, and to increase and perfect them; that man, enlightened and taught of God, may be more free, more social, cheerful, happy, kind, familiar, and lovely than he was before; that he may fill all the relationships of life, and act in every sphere of usefulness with a greater energy, and with a readier mind, and a more willing heart.

All the monkish austerity, all the sadness and reserve, all the unsocial feelings and doings of priests, and monks, and nuns; all the long-facedness, unsocial sadness, groanings, sighs, and mortifications of sectaries, whether of ancient convents, where men and women retire from all the busy scenes and pleasures of life, to live a life of celibacy, self-denial and devotion; or whether in the more modern and fashionable circles of the camp meetings, or the “mourners bench.”

All these, I say, are expressly and entirely opposed to the spirit, and objects of true religion; they are so many relics of superstition, ignorance, and hypocrisy, and are expressly forbidden, and condemned by our Lord and Saviour.

In all these things, man has mistaken the source of happiness; has been dissatisfied with the elements and attributes of his nature, and has tried, and sought, and prayed, in vain to make himself into a different being from what the Lord has wisely designed he should be.

The fact is, God made man, male and female; he planted in their bosoms those affections which are calculated to promote their happiness and union.

That by that union they might fulfil the first and great commandment; viz: “To multiply and replenish the earth, and subdue it.”

From this union of affection, springs all the other relationships, social joys and affections, diffused through every branch of human existence.

And were it not for this, earth would be a desert wild, an uncultivated wilderness.

Man was designed for a social being; he was made to cultivate, beautify, possess, enjoy and govern the earth; and to fill it with myriads of happy, free and social intelligences.

Woman was made for him as a help and a comfort. All the faculties of his nature, are precisely adapted to his several duties and enjoyments. He owes a duty to his wife, to his parents, to his children, to his brothers and sisters, and kindred, and finally to his neighbors, his nation, and to all mankind. He also owes a duty to the earth, and to his God. These several spheres of action are termed in modern times; political, civil, [p.126]moral, social, domestic, foreign, religious, etc., etc. But they may all be summed up in one term, viz: religious.

Pure religion, includes all these duties, they are all religious duties; and the man who fulfils his religious duties and obligation; acts well his part in every department of life; he is a good citizen, a good ruler, a good general, a good neighbor, a good father, a good husband, a good child, and a good member of society; according as his lot may be cast, or according to the trust committed to him. And he receives and imparts a portion of happiness on every sphere in which he moves.

The man who, through a mistaken zeal, or through the influence of ignorant teachings or incorrect traditions, so far mistakes the object and purpose of his being, as to withdraw from all these; to shut himself from the world, and to seek to overcome and subdue the natural affections with which God has endowed him, is not a religious man at all. On the contrary, he is opposing the will and commandments of God, and neglecting the duties of religion.

How often do we hear of persons, and even whole societies who hold that a religious man or community should have nothing to do with politics, government, and office. Such persons judge of the depth of a man’s religion by his indifference to, or retirement from the arduous duties of family, church, or state.

How different is this notion from the facts of the case, if we may judge either from common sense, or from precepts and examples set before us by God’s people.

Witness, Adam, Noah, Abraham, Joseph, Moses, Joshua, Samuel, David, Solomon, Elijah, Daniel, Mordica, Esther, and thousands of others of God’s prophets and wise men, all medling with civil religious, and political government, and with temporal duties, and financial interests! and who so well qualified as they for to forecast devices, and manage affairs for the good and salvation of man? Think of Jesus himself who came into the world for the very purpose of being a king, and who is yet waiting for the glorious time when he will descend to earth again, and reign over all the kingdoms of the world. Think of Paul, who declares that the saints shall judge the world, and judge angels, how much more than the smaller matters?

Man, know thy self,—study thine own nature,—learn thy powers of body,–thy capacity of mind. Learn thine origin, thy purpose and thy destiny. Study the true source of thine own mind. Learn thine origin, thy purpose and thy destiny. Study the true source of thine own happiness, and the happiness of all beings with which thou art associated. Learn to act in unison with thy true character, nature and attributes; and thus improve and cultivate the resources within and around thee. This will render you truly happy, and be an acceptable service to your God. And being [p.127]faithful over a few things, you may hope to be made ruler over many things

What then is sinful? I answer, our unnatural passions and affections, or in other words the abuse, the perversion, the unlawful indulgence of that which is otherwise good. Sodom was not destroyed for their natural affection; but for the want of it. They had perverted all their affections, and had given place to that which was unnatural, and contrary to nature. Thus they had lost those holy and pure principles of virtue and love which were calculated to preserve and exalt mankind; and were overwhelmed in all manner of corruption; and also hatred towards those who were good.

So it was with the nations of Canaan who were doomed to destruction by the Israelites. And so it was with the Greeks, Romans, and other Gentiles in the days of Paul. Hence his testimony against their wicked works, and his warnings to the churches to beware of these carnal sinful, corrupt and impure works of the flesh; all of which were more or less interwoven with their natures by reason of long and frequent indulgences therein. Now it was not because men’s natural affections were sinful that all these sins existed; but it was because, wicked customs, contrary to nature, had become so prevalent as to become a kind of second nature.

So it is in the present age; men who do not govern their affections so as to keep them within their proper and lawful channel; but who indulge in every vice, and in unlawful use of that which was originally good, so far pervert it that it becomes to them a minister of evil; and therefore they are led into the other extreme; and begin to accuse their nature, or him that formed them, of evil; and they seek to change their nature; and call upon God to make them into a different being from what he made them at first. In short they seek to divest themselves of a portion of the very attributes of their nature instead of seeking to govern, to improve, and to cultivate and direct their powers of mind and their affections, so as to cause them to contribute to their happiness. All these are the results of incorrect traditions, teachings and practices.

Know then Oh man, that aided and directed by the light of heaven the sources of thy happiness are within and around thee. Instead of seeking unto God for a mysterious change to be wrought, or for your affections and attributes to be taken away and subdued, seek unto him for aid, and wisdom to govern, direct and cultivate them in a manner which will tend to your happiness and exaltation, both in this world and in that which is to come. Yea, pray to him that every affection, attribute, power and energy of your body and mind may be cultivated, increased, enlarged, perfected and exercised for his glory and for the glory and happiness of yourself, and of all those whose good fortune it may be to be associated with you.

[p.128]As we said in the beginning of this subject, we say again; that our intellect and our affection, only buds in time, and ripens in eternity.

There we shall know and love our kindred and our friends: and there we shall be capable of exercising all those pure emotions of friendship and love, which fill our hearts with such inexpressible delight in this world. And not only so, but our love will be far more strong and perfect in many respects. First, because we shall know and realize more. Secondly, because our organs of thought will be more strong and durable. Thirdly, because we shall be free from those mean, selfish, groveling, envious and disagreeable influences which disturb, and hinder the free exercise of our affections in this world. And lastly, because we shall be associated with a more extensive and numerous society, of those who are filled with the same freedom of spirit and affection that we are; and therefore are objects truly worthy of our love. While those of a contrary nature will be banished to their own place, and not suffered to mingle in the society, or mar the peace of those who have gotten the victory.

Having discovered and set forth in plainness the origin, purpose, and destiny of man’s physical organization and the powers, attributes, energies, affections and capabilities of his intellect, till we find him standing erect in God-like majesty, with organs of strength beyond the reach of death: and powers of thought, capable of spaning the heavens, and comprehending all things: We must now inquire into the nature of his employment in that eternal world of joy and bliss.

On this subject as on most others, where investigation has been considered a sin, men have greatly erred.

They have supposed that this short life was the only active one; and that the world to come was a life of repose, or of inactive and eternal rest; where all our powers of body and mind would remain dormant, or only be engaged in shouts, songs and acclamations. To prove this we offer here quotations like the following:

“There is no work, nor device, nor knowledge in the grave whither thou goest.” “As the tree falleth so it lieth.” “As death leaves us, so judgment will find us.”

To the first of these we would reply that the spirit never goes to the grave; and the body does not stay in it long. And beyond it, in the regions of eternal life there is abundance of work, knowledge and device. To the second, we would say, that the tree lieth as it falleth until it is removed, and used for some other purpose. And to the third, we reply, that it is a sectarian proverb, instead of a scripture; and by the by a false one too. For death leaves us in the grave, with body and spirit separated; and judgment finds us risen from the grave, and spirit and body united.

Thus organized a new, we are prepared to enter upon a life of business and usefulness, in a sphere vastly enlarged and extended. [p.129]Possessing a priesthood after the order of Melchesideck; or, after the order of the son of God; which is after the power of an endless life, without beginning of days or ending of years, a priesthood which includes a scepter and kingly office; we are more fully than ever qualified to teach, to judge, to rule and govern; and to go and come on foreign missions. The field of our labors may then extend for aught we know to the most distant worlds–to climes where mortal eye never penetrated. Or we may visit the dark and gloomy regions of the spirits in prison, and there, like a risen Jesus, preach the gospel to those who are dead; “that they may be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit.”

Or we may be called upon, with the other sons of God to shout for joy, at the organization of new systems of worlds, and new orders of being; over which we may reign as kings, or to whom we may minister as priests.

These ideas may be considered by some as mere flights of fancy no where supported by positive evidence. But we contend that the very nature of our existence and of our priesthood is such as to warrant the conclusion to which we have arrived. But if proof were wanting, we have only to refer, as a precedent, to the active life and ministry of a risen Jesus; and to his administration as king of kings and lord of lords: as well as to the promises made by him to those whom he had sent. It appears that Jesus Christ after rising from the dead, immediately entered upon a most active ministry; in which he taught, expounded, opened the scriptures, commanded, commissioned, prophesied and blessed. By this means he laid the foundation for his kingdom to be established not only among the Jews and Gentiles; but also among the Nephites and the lost tribes of Israel. He also visited the spirits of the dead and preached the gospel unto them, as is recorded in one of the Epistles of Peter. Not only so, but he assended to realms of exalted glory, where seated on a throne, he still is active both as a king and priest. And, if we look into the future, we shall find that he has yet a great work to do upon the earth, not only as a judge, king and priest; but as an executor, warrior, and a military commander. For he will tread them in his anger and trample them in his fury, and stain his raiment with their blood; while all the armies in heaven follow him in martial splendor, mounted on white horses, and all arrayed in a uniform of spotless white. This same Jesus confered on his apostles an everlasting priesthood, after his own order: as it is written: “As the father hath sent me, even so I send you.” “And the works that I do shall you do also.”

He also promised to be with them always even unto the end of the world; and therefore is yet with them in their labors and ministry, whether as men or angels. Those who suppose a man’s office or priest-[p.130]hood to end with this life have been in the habit of applying that promise, as if it only ment them and their successors; but he said no such thing. But rather that he would be with them always unto the end of the world. If they had successors, it was then time enough for similar promises to be made to them, when they in turn should enter upon their holy and sacred office of the apostleship and priesthood.

These apostles not only hold the perpetual office of the apostleship and priesthood: but also partake of kingly power. Hence it is written “they shall sit on twelve thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.” And this too, when the son of man shall come in his glory. Then will be fulfilled that which was recorded by John, saying: “thou hast made us unto our God kings and priests; and we shall reign on the earth.” In view of an eternal kingdom, and of an immortal reign and ministry, they might well rejoice when arraigned before the dreadful tribunals of earthly tyrants, knowing as they did that they should reign in turn, and that their persecutors would be in turn arraigned before a judgment bar.

From all these and a thousand other promises made to prophets and apostles, we feel safe in the conclusion, that a field wide as eternity and boundless as the ocean of God’s benevolence, extends before the servants of God. A field where, ambition knows no check, and zeal no limits; and where the most ardent aspirations may be more than realized. A field where crowns of glory, thrones of power and dominions of immortality are the rewards of dilligence. And where man—once a weak and helpless worm of dust may sit enthroned in majesty on high, and occupy an exalted station among the councils of the sons of God."