Saturday, February 18, 2017

Family Discovery Day

RootsTec 2017 was held in Salt Lake City Utah and recently concluded. RootsTec is a convention dedicated to family history and genealogy.  RootsTec is akin to other conventions such ad ComicCon or CES.  2017 Celebrity attendees included LaVar Burton, HGTV Property Brothers and Buddy Valastro (Cake Boss).

President Russell M. Nelson was the keynote speaker at a special LDS session of the conference. Elder Nelson shared an account of his grandfather AC Nelson who was visited by his recently deceased father and told of the importance of family history and temple work. Missionary work continues in the spirit world after death but those that accept the gospel cannot receive all the blessings without having their ordinances performed in holy temples by the living. The account begins at 15:00.

President Nelson invited each of us to make a commitment and sacrifice to do more family history and temple work this year. 

Saturday, February 04, 2017

Oaths and Covenants

Kindergarteners, Boy Scouts, police officers, doctors, lawyers and politicials do it.  Why do we make oaths and enter into covenants? Life will eventually give you many reasons and excuses to break your promises.  Oaths and covenants give you a divine reason not to break your promises even when life circumstances may seemingly justify it.

The selfishness, disobedience, obstinance, disloyalty and rebellion of mankind would give God every reason to allow mankind to destroy ourselves. But because of the covenant He has made with His prophets, and a few faithful of His people, He will keep His promises and preserve a remnant and eventually save and redeem mankind upon the Earth.

Here are a few oaths I made in my life:

Pledge of Allegiance: 

I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

Scout Oath, Boy Scouts of America:


On my honor, I will do my best;

To do my duty to God and my country and to obey the Scout Law; To help other people at all times; To keep myself physically strong, mentally awake and morally straight.

Hippocratic Oath (Declaration of Geneva)

University of Utah SOM:

I solemnly pledge to consecrate my life to the service of humanity.

I will practice medicine with conscience and dignity.

The health and life of my patient will be my first consideration.

I will hold in confidence all that my patients confide to me.

I will maintain the honor and noble traditions of the medical profession.

I will give respect and gratitude to my deserving teachers.

My colleagues will be as my family

I will not permit personal considerations to interfere with my duty to my patients

I will maintain the upmost respect for human life.

Even under threat I will not use my knowledge contrary to the laws of humanity

These promises I make freely and upon my honor.

Tuesday, January 03, 2017

Our Heavenly Father

Alma, a Book of Mormon prophet, wrote, “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). We can look up at the sky at night and have an idea of what Alma meant. There are millions of stars and planets, all in perfect order. They did not get there by chance. We can see the work of God in the heavens and on the earth. The many beautiful plants, the many kinds of animals, the mountains, the rivers, the clouds that bring us rain and snow--all these testify to us that there is a God.

Paul explained simply: 4 For every house is builded by some man; but he that built all things is God.

I great cartoon featuring 2 talking snowmen also expresses the absurdity of denying the existence of God.  2 snowmen were discussing where they came from when the first "Don't be absurd, noone made us, we evolved by chance from snowflakes."

The prophets have taught us that God is the Almighty Ruler of the universe. God dwells in heaven (see D&C 20:17). Through His Son, Jesus Christ, He created the heavens and the earth and all things that are in them (see 3 Nephi 9:15; Moses 2:1). He made the moon, the stars, and the sun. He organized this world and gave it form, motion, and life. He filled the air and the water with living things. He covered the hills and plains with all kinds of animal life. He gave us day and night, summer and winter, seedtime and harvest. He made man in His own image to be a ruler over His other creations (see Genesis 1:26–27).

The beauty of creation is a great testimony to the love of our heavenly father.  whenever I watch Star Wars movies I'm reminded somewhat of this.  instead of living on the earth with its temperature climate, had god not been so loving we could've been stuck on some icy snowball of a planet like Hoth, some volcanic planet like Mustafar, or some godforsaken desert planet like Jaiku or Tatooine.  

God is the Supreme and Absolute Being in whom we believe and whom we worship. He is “the Great Parent of the universe,” and He “looks upon the whole of the human family with a fatherly care and paternal regard” (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith [2007], 39).

We may take it for granted that we believe and know that God is a God of love.  In Greek and Roman times, The people generally believed in a pantheon of gods who disagreed on just about everything and watched humans fight and die on the battlefield for entertainment. you may think this doesn't matter much to tell you remember that this led to the masses being entertained by savage gladiators who fought to the death in the Colosseums.   Contrast this to Enoch who witnessed God weep after being shown the wickedness and resultant suffering of the people of the Earth.  Enoch was blown away at God's reaction.  God cared deeply for His children and suffered at our suffering. 

Pearl of Great Price, Moses 7:29 And Enoch said unto the Lord: How is it that thou canst weep, seeing thou art holy, and from all eternity to all eternity?

Some people may think of God as all justice and no mercy.  They may think Heavenly Gather is the one that cannot look upon sin with the lease degree of allowance while Jesus Christ is the merciful one.  but this is to forget that Jesus did nothing on His own but only that which He saw the father do, and only that which he was specifically directed by the Father to do.  so we shouldn't forget that it's heavenly father who is just as perfectly merciful as he is just. The plan are redemption in the atonement of Jesus Christ were entirely Heavenly Father's idea. Again, even though Jesus Christ effected the creation, atonement and resurrection, all these were Heavenly Father's ideas.

The Nature of God

The creation story in Genesis in the Bible tells us unmistakably that we are created in the image of God.  Because we are made in His image (see Moses 2:26; 6:9), we know that our bodies are like His body. His eternal spirit is housed in a tangible body of flesh and bones (see D&C 130:22). God’s body, however, is perfected and glorified, with a glory beyond all description.

D&C 130:22 The Father has a body of flesh and bones as tangible as man’s; the Son also; but the Holy Ghost has not a body of flesh and bones, but is a personage of Spirit. Were it not so, the Holy Ghost could not dwell in us.

God is perfect. He is a God of righteousness, with attributes such as love, mercy, charity, truth, power, faith, knowledge, and judgment. He has all power. He knows all things. He is full of goodness.  All good things come from God. Everything that He does is to help His children become like Him. He has said, “Behold, this is my work and my glory--to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man” (Moses 1:39).

I'm not sure why our doctrine of God working to have His children become more like Him is so controversial.  This has nothing to do with Oedipus-like complex and taking God's place.  This has nothing to do with too many chiefs and no Indians.  The scriptures describe God as a King of kings and a Lord of lords.  When you compliment a doctor, you say they are the doctor's doctor. In a similar way, the exaltation of God's children brings honor and glory to our Father.  Our Heavenly Father desires to be the Father over other exalted beings like Himself who continue to serve and reverence Him and not just a smack of jelly fish. 

Why is it important for us to understand the nature of God and How can we come to know God?   

Knowing God is so important that the Savior said, “This is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent” (John 17:3).

John 1:4-5 In him was life; and the life was the light of men.  And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.

the Wicked and natural man cannot comprehend and understand God.  Gods thoughts are not our thought and Gods ways are higher than our ways.  It can be hard to understand why God wants us to live a certain way free from addictive substances, or loyal and virtuous lives.  But the key to understanding God, to living a life after the manner of happiness leading to eternal life (or life as God lives) is to fill our live with the light of Christ and the light of the God's Holy Spirit.

How can we be filled with divine light? To be filled with light, The first and greatest commandment is “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart” (Matthew 22:37).  If we love God, we must love and serve Jesus Christ. Christ taught that if we love Him we will not only accept Him as our Savior but we will also keep His commandments. We love the Father and Son by feasting upon their words in the scriptures, by listening and harkening to their words we receive by modern prophets, by praying to Our Heavenly Father in the name of Jesus Christ, and then by loving and serving our fellow man. 

As we improve, progress, and purify our lives to live closer to how God desires that His children live, as we tirelessly feed His sheep, love our neighbor, and build His kingdom on the Earth, His divine light with grow within us and which will grow brighter and brighter until the perfect day.  And as His light grows within us, our understanding of God and truth will be magnified. 

Jesus Christ taught us in the Doctrine and Covenants through Joseph Smith:  

45 Let thy bowels also be full of charity towards all men, and to the household of faith, and let virtue garnish thy thoughts unceasingly; then shall thy confidence wax strong in the presence of God; and the doctrine of the priesthood shall distil upon thy soul as the dews from heaven.

46 The Holy Ghost shall be thy constant companion, and thy scepter an unchanging scepter of righteousness and truth; and thy dominion shall be an everlasting dominion, and without compulsory means it shall flow unto thee forever and ever.

Monday, December 26, 2016

Garden Equity Lesson

2 Nephi 26:33 and he inviteth them all to come unto him and partake of his goodness; and he denieth none that come unto him, black and white, bond and free, male and female; and he remembereth the heathen; and all are alike unto God, both Jew and Gentile.

I am a proud father of 5 girls.  While modern LDS women are among the most blessed and free of any women, I recognize there is not complete equity in all things in the Church. When it comes to priesthood, God has designated different groups to hold and exercise His authority.  Before Moses, the priesthood was passed down from father to eldest son. After Moses, priesthood authority was reserved exclusively to the tribe of Levi.  During the time of Christ, the priesthood was given first to male Jews and later Gentiles.  Then following the Latter-day Restoration, the priesthood was extended to all worthy males. But if "all are alike" unto God, why still exclude women from some priesthood duties? 

While, I do know that God loves men and women equally, and I don't doubt that the current Church could do better to foster a more gender-equitable community, we should take care how we go about suggesting and making changes. The recent policy change to involve the entire Ward Council in planning sacrament meetings was definitely inspired. Our Relief Society, Primary and Young Women's leaders have made awesome and inspired contributions. 

While additional policy changes could be made, we should be careful about how we go about advocating for those changes. I was reading and pondering on the Adam and Eve story and was thinking the issues of gender-equality might parallel the garden story.

God put Adam and Eve into the garden both naked and forgetful. Satan was also placed in the garden to tempt Adam and Eve.  Ignorance is bliss, and Adam and Eve were no doubt enjoying the garden until Satan promptly pointed out their shortcomings.  The problem in the garden was how Adam and Eve responded to their criticism.  Instead of turning to God for help, Adam and Eve heeded Satan 's dietary and fashion advice. As we contemplate policy changes in Christ's Church, we need to similarly take care who we are listening to, and correct any shortcomings God's way and in God's time.

Ether 12:27 And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them.

Monday, December 19, 2016

True Faith

Occasionally we will have a patient in the hospital who is on a breathing machine who is on four different pressers to keep their heart beating and they are clinically brain dead. However, when it comes to conveying this reality to the family, some don't accept the reality and say instead, "If we just believe strong enough, God will heal them".

I think this is a misunderstanding of faith. Faith is not the strength of our own will or strength of belief in God giving us what we want or to change Gods mind. Faith is aligning our will with God.

And what does God want? God wants to establish a perfect people and society built upon a foundation of temples and His priesthood authority where He can send his children to family who will raise them up "without sin unto salvation". 

When your purposes are aligned with God in this manner, like the Brother of Jared, you can move mountains.  I think this is why the Brother of Jared was said to have such great faith.  After God had destroyed Babel, Jared and His brother desired to establish a perfect society according to the design and will of God.


Matt 6:25 Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?

When we pray, we are to pray over our flocks and fields.  But, do we spend most of the time concerned with personal temporal matters instead of praying about others and accomplishing God's purposes?