For this post, I am going to take you back to a lesson I had in church this year. For those of you in the LDS Church, it was from an Elder's Quorum lesson that we had. The person teaching was discussing Mosiah chapter 4 for our lesson. The lesson became very vocal with a lot of participation when we began talking about the people who panhandle downtown and especially at Temple Square. Of course, this can apply to anywhere. Before this lesson, I would always walk on by tell them no, even if I had money on me. Now, I know this can and will cause differing feelings amongst many, but I am going to share my experience on how I received this lesson and have applied it. I will tell you that I have changed what I now do because of it. The words from these passages of scripture have had a great impact on my life and how I look at these beggars. I now give whenever I can, whether it is a $1, $5 or $10. I have found that it is not my position to determine if they are in need or not, I feel that I am blessed for giving and it is up to them on how they use the money as they will be held accountable for their own actions. Please read the following from Mosiah chapter 4 and see if it will not change the way you look at this issue. Have a Merry Christmas and enjoy the photo I took the other night at Temple Square. From Mosiah chapter 4, King Benjamin preaches and it has made me take notice,
14 And ye will not suffer your achildren that they go hungry, or naked; neither will ye bsuffer that they transgress the laws of God, and fight and cquarrel one with another, and serve the devil, who is the master of sin, or who is the devil spirit which hath been spoken of by our fathers, he being an enemy to all righteousness.
15 But ye will ateach them to bwalk in the ways of truth and csoberness; ye will teach them to dlove one another, and to serve one another.
16 And also, ye yourselves will asuccor those that stand in need of your succor; ye will administer of your substance unto him that standeth in need; and ye will not suffer that the bbeggar putteth up his petition to you in vain, and turn him out to perish.
17 Perhaps thou shalt asay: The man has brought upon himself his misery; therefore I will stay my hand, and will not give unto him of my food, nor impart unto him of my substance that he may not suffer, for his punishments are just—
18 But I say unto you, O man, whosoever doeth this the same hath great cause to repent; and except he repenteth of that which he hath done he perisheth forever, and hath no interest in the kingdom of God.
19 For behold, are we not all abeggars? Do we not all depend upon the same Being, even God, for all the substance which we have, for both food and raiment, and for gold, and for silver, and for all the riches which we have of every kind?
20 And behold, even at this time, ye have been calling on his name, and begging for a aremission of your sins. And has he suffered that ye have begged in vain? Nay; he has poured out his bSpirit upon you, and has caused that your hearts should be filled with cjoy, and has caused that your mouths should be stopped that ye could not find utterance, so exceedingly great was your joy.
21 And now, if God, who has created you, on whom you are dependent for your lives and for all that ye have and are, doth grant unto you whatsoever ye ask that is right, in faith, believing that ye shall receive, O then, how ye ought to aimpart of the substance that ye have one to another.
22 And if ye ajudge the man who putteth up his petition to you for your substance that he perish not, and condemn him, how much more just will be your bcondemnation for withholding your substance, which doth not belong to you but to God, to whom also your life cbelongeth; and yet ye put up no petition, nor repent of the thing which thou hast done.
23 I say unto you, wo be unto that man, for his substance shall perish with him; and now, I say these things unto those who are arich as pertaining to the things of this world.
24 And again, I say unto the poor, ye who have not and yet have sufficient, that ye remain from day to day; I mean all you who deny the beggar, because ye have not; I would that ye say in your hearts that: I agive not because I bhave not, but if I had I would cgive.
25 And now, if ye say this in your hearts ye remain guiltless, otherwise ye are acondemned; and your condemnation is just for ye covet that which ye have not received.
26 And now, for the sake of these things which I have spoken unto you—that is, for the sake of retaining a remission of your sins from day to day, that ye may awalk guiltless before God—I would that ye should bimpart of your substance to the cpoor, every man according to that which he hath, such as dfeeding the hungry, clothing the naked, visiting the sick and administering to their relief, both spiritually and temporally, according to their wants.
27 And see that all these things are done in wisdom and aorder; for it is not requisite that a man should run bfaster than he has strength. And again, it is expedient that he should be diligent, that thereby he might win the prize; therefore, all things must be done in order.
28 And I would that ye should remember, that whosoever among you aborroweth of his neighbor should return the thing that he borroweth, according as he doth agree, or else thou shalt commit sin; and perhaps thou shalt cause thy neighbor to commit sin also.
29 And finally, I cannot tell you all the things whereby ye may commit sin; for there are divers ways and means, even so many that I cannot number them.
30 But this much I can tell you, that if ye do not awatch yourselves, and your bthoughts, and your cwords, and your deeds, and observe the commandments of God, and dcontinue in the faith of what ye have heard concerning the coming of our Lord, even unto the end of your lives, ye must perish. And now, O man, remember, and perish not.
Here is a great quote from President Thomas S Monson. It comes from the December 1986 New Era magazine. He said,
"If we change but one word in our Christmas question, the outcome is vastly different. “What did you give for Christmas?” prompts stimulating thought, causes tender feelings to well up and memory’s fires to glow ever brighter.
Someone has appropriately said, “We make a living by what we get, but we build a life by what we give.”
Giving, not getting, brings to full bloom the Christmas spirit. Enemies are forgiven, friends remembered, and God obeyed. The spirit of Christmas illuminates the picture window of the soul, and we look out upon the world’s busy life and become more interested in people than things. To catch the real meaning of the spirit of Christmas, we need only drop the last syllable, and it becomes the spirit of Christ."
This is the photo I took of the Salt Lake Temple a couple of nights ago while viewing the lights with my family. I hope you enjoy and have a very Merry Christmas!!
This quote is a little long but well worth the read. It is a quote from President Thomas S Monson in the 2011 Christmas devotional when he in turn quoted from the book The Mansion by Henry Van Dyke. This book is a great book that will help to bring the Christmas spirit into your life. Here is the quote and a photo I took last night while at Temple Square.
"One evening John sat in his library in a comfortable chair contemplating his wealth. Before him were spread descriptions and pictures of the Weightman wing of the hospital and the Weightman Chair of Political Jurisprudence, as well as an account of the opening of the Weightman Grammar School. John Weightman felt satisfied. He had built a large fortune, and when he gave, he wanted to be recognized. His philosophy toward giving could be summed up in his own statement: “No pennies in beggars’ hats! … Try to put your gifts where they can be identified.”
He picked up the family Bible which lay on the table, turned to a passage, and read to himself the words:
“Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal:
The book seemed to float away from him. He leaned forward upon the table, his head resting on his folded hands. He slipped into a deep sleep.
As he dreamed, John Weightman was transported to the heavenly city. A guide met him and others whom he had known in life and advised that he would conduct them to their heavenly homes.
A devoted husband of an invalid wife was shown a lovely mansion, as was a mother, early widowed, who reared an outstanding family. A paralyzed young woman who had lain for 30 years upon her bed—“helpless but not hopeless”—received a lovely mansion. She had succeeded “by a miracle of courage in her single aim, never to complain, but always to impart a bit of her joy and peace to everyone who came near her.”
Pausing before a beautiful mansion, the guide said, “This is [the home] for you, [Dr. McLean.] Go in; there is no more [sickness] here, no more death, nor sorrow, nor [pain]; for your old enemies are all conquered. But all the good that you have done for others, all the help that you have given, all the comfort that you have brought, all the strength and love that you bestowed upon the suffering, are here; for we have built them all into this mansion for you.”
One after another the travelers were led to their own mansions and went in gladly; and from within, through the open doorways, came sweet voices of welcome.
By this time, John Weightman was impatient to see what mansion awaited him. As he and the guide walked on, the homes became smaller. At last they reached an open field, bare and lonely looking. In the center of the field was a tiny hut. Said the guide, “This is your mansion, John Weightman.”
Shocked, John Weightman told the guide that he must have confused him with some other John Weightman. With resentment in his voice, he cried, “Is this a suitable mansion for one so well known and devoted? Why is it so pitifully small and mean? Why have you not built it large and fair, like the others?”
Replied the guide, “That is all the material you sent us.”
John Weightman was mortified. “Have you not heard that I have built a school-house; the wing of a hospital; … three … churches.”
“Wait,” the guide cautioned. “… They were not ill done. But they were all marked and used as foundations for the name and mansion of John Weightman in the world. … Verily, you have had your reward for them. Would you be paid twice?”
A sadder but wiser John Weightman posed a sincere question: “What is it that counts here?”
Came the reply: “Only that which is truly given. … Only that good which is done for the love of doing it. Only those plans in which the welfare of others is the master thought. Only those labors in which the sacrifice is greater than the reward. Only those gifts in which the giver forgets himself.”
A quote from President Uchtdorf during the October 2011 General Conference,
"My dear brothers and sisters, it may be true that man is nothing in comparison to the greatness of the universe. At times we may even feel insignificant, invisible, alone, or forgotten. But always remember—you matter to Him!"
This photo I took a couple of years ago from the Joseph Smith Memorial Building around Christmas time. A fresh light snow was dusting the spires of the temple.
As a father of 4 beautiful children, I found this quote from Elaine Dalton's talk in the October 2011 General Conference that applies to all parents. I really like this quote from her because we as parents always want what is best for our children and as a father it has been so clearly laid out to us. The best thing we can do for our kids is not get them the latest fashions or video games. The greatest thing we can do for them above all else is love their mother. Here is her quote and a photo I took of the St George Temple.
"Love her mother so much that your marriage is celestial. A temple marriage for time and all eternity is worthy of your greatest efforts and highest priority. It was only after Nephi had completed the temple in the wilderness that he stated, “And … we lived after the manner of happiness.”2 The “manner of happiness” is found in the temple. It is covenant keeping. Don’t let any influence come into your life or your home that would cause you to compromise your covenants or your commitment to your wife and family."
Having just returned from St George, my family and I were able to take a quick trip to Zion National Park for me to be able to take some pictures and to do some hiking. You cannot help but recognize the hand of God wherever you go there. The landscape is truly one of His masterpieces and how blessed I am to be able to share that with my family and to be able to capture it with my camera. I am simply in awe at how God has carved the landscape into something so amazing and beautiful. It quite literally will take your breath away.
I love this quote by President Thomas S Monson in the October 2011 general conference when he said,
"As the winds of change swirl around us and the moral fiber of society continues to disintegrate before our very eyes, may we remember the Lord’s precious promise to those who trust in Him: “Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.”9
The Temple is the House of the Lord. I am so grateful for the temples that we have on the earth today. I am so blessed to live so close to both the Salt Lake Temple and the Bountiful Temple and I am so grateful for the blessings that we receive therein. This quote is from the April 1993 General Conference and is from President Gordon B Hinckley talking about the anniversary of the dedication of the Salt Lake Temple.
"Now let me return to April 6, 1893. A terrible storm arose that day. Rain fell in torrents, and the wind blew with savage fury. It was as if the forces of evil were lashing out in violent protest against this act of consecration.
But all was peace and quiet within the thick granite walls. The aged prophet, then eighty-six, led the way to the beautiful fifth-floor assembly room. The room was filled to capacity in this, the first of forty-one sessions. After appropriate preliminary expressions in music and speech, President Woodruff stepped to the pulpit at the east end of the room and offered the prayer of dedication.
It was a moving and powerful prayer. It was an expression of the hearts of those who love the Lord.
It was followed by a wondrous voicing of the Hosanna Shout by all assembled. The choir then burst forth with Evan Stephens’s setting of those same words of praise to the Almighty: “Hosanna, Hosanna, Hosanna to God and the Lamb!”
Then the congregation joined in singing, “The Spirit of God like a Fire is burning,” which had first been sung at the dedication of the Kirtland Temple."
Prayer is such an important part of my life. It is a time in which I get to talk with my Heavenly Father and let him know how I am doing. Just as I am interest in what my children have done and learned, so to is our Heavenly Father waiting to hear about our days. He wants to know how we are feeling and what we are thinking. He waits to bless us if we will but ask. He wants what is best for us. This quote is from Elder Russell M Nielson in the April 2011 General Conference when he said,
"If we pray with an eternal perspective, we need not wonder if our most tearful and heartfelt pleadings are heard. This promise from the Lord is recorded in section 98 of the Doctrine and Covenants:
“Your prayers have entered into the ears of the Lord … and are recorded with this seal and testament—the Lord hath sworn and decreed that they shall be granted.
“Therefore, he giveth this promise unto you, with an immutable covenant that they shall be fulfilled; and all things wherewith you have been afflicted shall work together for your good, and to my name’s glory, saith the Lord.”8
The Lord chose His strongest words to reassure us! Seal! Testament! Sworn! Decreed! Immutable covenant! Brothers and sisters, believe Him! God will heed your sincere and heartfelt prayers, and your faith will be strengthened."
From the First Presidency Message in the July 2002 Ensign, President James E Faust said,
"Francis Webster, a member of the Martin Company, stated, “Everyone of us came through with the absolute knowledge that God lives for we became acquainted with him in our extremities.”7 I hope that this priceless legacy of faith left by the pioneers will inspire all of us to more fully participate in the Lord’s work of bringing to pass the immortality and eternal life of His children."
Here is another photo I took at Martins Cove in central Wyoming. I think of those Saints there in Martins Cove exactly 155 years ago today. They were in the cove in a blizzard from November 4th to the 9th of 1856.
In life we experience many ups and downs. The adversary continually works to make sure that we stay down as much as possible. However, Heavenly Father wants us to experience joy. I love this quote from Elder Uchtdorf during the October 2011 General Conference when he said,
"But even though man is nothing, it fills me with wonder and awe to think that “the worth of souls is great in the sight of God.”7
And while we may look at the vast expanse of the universe and say, “What is man in comparison to the glory of creation?” God Himself said we are the reason He created the universe! His work and glory—the purpose for this magnificent universe—is to save and exalt mankind.8 In other words, the vast expanse of eternity, the glories and mysteries of infinite space and time are all built for the benefit of ordinary mortals like you and me. Our Heavenly Father created the universe that we might reach our potential as His sons and daughters.
This is a paradox of man: compared to God, man is nothing; yet we are everything to God. While against the backdrop of infinite creation we may appear to be nothing, we have a spark of eternal fire burning within our breast. We have the incomprehensible promise of exaltation—worlds without end—within our grasp. And it is God’s great desire to help us reach it."
Elder Neal A Maxwell said, "...unless we are filled with resolve, what will we say to the heroes and heroines of Martin’s Cove and the Sweetwater? That “we admire you, but we are reluctant to wade through our own rivers of chilling adversity”?"
This is the photo I took at Martins Cove of the statue for the Sweetwater Rescue. This was for the 3 young men who ended up giving their lives to save the lives of the Martin Company.
I want to start this post by quoting Elder Steven E Snow's talk in April General Conference. He said,
"We should never let hope be displaced by despair. The Apostle Paul wrote that we “should plow in hope” (1 Corinthians 9:10). The exercise of hope enriches our lives and helps us look forward to the future. Whether we are plowing fields to plant or plowing through life, it is imperative we, as Latter-day Saints, have hope.
In the gospel of Jesus Christ, hope is the desire of His followers to gain eternal salvation through the Atonement of the Savior.
This is truly the hope we must all have. It is what sets us apart from the rest of the world. Peter admonished the early followers of Christ to “be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you” (1 Peter 3:15).
Our hope in the Atonement empowers us with eternal perspective. Such perspective allows us to look beyond the here and now on into the promise of the eternities. We don’t have to be trapped in the narrow confines of society’s fickle expectations. We are free to look forward to celestial glory, sealed to our family and loved ones."
I am so grateful for hope in my life. I am grateful for my pioneer ancestors that relied on hope to guide them here and establish a new life for themselves. They followed the prophet, they gave up what comforts they had for a long trek west in a covered wagon. I am grateful for my wife and I have the hope that I can be as good as she is. You have to know that I definitely married up. As in the quote above, she was ready as Peter admonished to give that answer and in so doing has helped to turn a life around and to show a daughter of our Heavenly Father that He is there and that He does watch over us and is concerned about us. She told this person about prayer and talking to our Heavenly Father since He truly does want to know how we are doing.
In this picture I took recently, I think of the raging storm that rolled through downtown Salt Lake City like a freight train. The House of the Lord stands as a beacon of hope to us all of being reunited with loved one's who have passed on and most importantly of being reunited with our Heavenly Father. The storms of life will continue to rage around us but as we look to the temple, we see a rock that is unwavering, unchanging and it gives us a hope to be a better person.
This photo is right after the large thunderstorm from the previous post. The skys parted and left this beautiful sight. Temple Square is at the bottom of the picture.
I also love this quote from Elder Jeffrey R Holland,
"I testify that not one of us is less treasured or cherished of God than another. I testify that He loves each of us—insecurities, anxieties, self-image, and all. He doesn’t measure our talents or our looks; He doesn’t measure our professions or our possessions. He cheers on every runner, calling out that the race is against sin, not against each other."
I took this photo yesterday evening when a really bad thunderstorm rolled through downtown. The clouds were very ominous and when I saw how this one turned out, I really liked it. It looks as if the clouds are going to gobble up the temple, in fact it almost looks like a face looking down at the temple. The temple however, stands there boldly and nobly proclaiming the truthfulness of the gospel of Jesus Christ. In viewing this photo I can't help but think of the Standard of Truth, which states,
“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.”
This quote is from Elder Richard G Scott's talk in the April 2011 General Conference. He said,
"Pure love is an incomparable, potent power for good. Righteous love is the foundation of a successful marriage. It is the primary cause of contented, well-developed children. Who can justly measure the righteous influence of a mother’s love? What enduring fruits result from the seeds of truth that a mother carefully plants and lovingly cultivates in the fertile soil of a child’s trusting mind and heart? As a mother you have been given divine instincts to help you sense your child’s special talents and unique capacities."
I took this photo last weekend while we were with family in Provo Canyon roasting hot dogs and bratwurst. This is the Provo River looking west down the canyon. Directly to the left, out of the picture, is Bridal Veil Falls.
I really like this quote from Elder Jeffrey R Holland,
"Even if you cannot always see that silver lining on your clouds, God can, for He is the very source of the light you seek. He does love you, and He knows your fears. He hears your prayers. He is your Heavenly Father, and surely He matches with His own the tears His children shed."
I took this photo of the Bountiful Temple last night while on a hike with my beautiful daughter Maria.
I am so grateful to be a father. What greater joy can there be in this world but to have an eternal family. I look to my children and see such a wonderful and happy future for them. The world is such a wonderful and beautiful place. As I have taken my family up to the mountains or our to the west desert here in Utah or as we have traveled to California there is such beauty everywhere you go. Then when you think that it can't get any better, God paints the sky all kinds of colors with the amazing sunsets. All of these experiences are so much better when experienced with your family. So, as this father's day comes this weekend, I am posting a photo I took at Temple Square that expresses what a father's joy really his. This quote is from Howard W Hunter in a talk in the November 1994 Ensign,
“You should express regularly to your wife and children your reverence and respect for her. Indeed, one of the greatest things a father can do for his children is to love their mother.”
As Father's Day approaches, I like to reflect back on my father who has been gone now for over 14 years. He was a great example to me of how to be a man. He taught me to respect others, to work hard and to love family. All characteristics that I took for granted that everyone knows. However, in today's world we see the crumbling of the family. The adversary has slithered his way into the destruction of the family unit. As we go to celebrate Father's Day this year, I call on all fathers everywhere to step-up and be the men that we ought to be. I know that not all divorces in this world are caused by men, but I would be surprised if the majority of them are not. The Savior was asked, what matter of men ought we to be and he answered, "Even as I am." We, as men, need to put off selfishness, love our wives and our children. I am so grateful for my beautiful wife and my children. I am so grateful to be a father and a husband and I pray that I can be the man that my children look up to and that my son's can use as an example. Here is a short video that I thought was really good.
First of all, I have to give a big Happy Birthday to the Joseph Smith Memorial Building (formerly Hotel Utah). 100 years old and looking absolutely stunning for her age. I remember this building as the Hotel Utah when I was younger and then to see it tranformed into the Joseph Smith Memorial Building, it continues to welcome people from all of the world to its beautiful reception rooms, restaurants, family history center, and theater. This is a photo I took a while ago of the front lobby area of the building.
I am also very grateful for the building's namesake. Joseph Smith restored the gospel of Jesus Christ to the earth. He translated the Book of Mormon which stands as another witness of Jesus Christ. I don't understand why more people don't embrace a book that testifies of our Savior and can bring such peace and happiness to our lives. The Book of Mormon contains a promise at the very end of the book that once you have read the book and you sincerely pray about it, that the Lord will manifest the truth of it unto you. It is because of the prophet Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon that I know who I am. I know the great plan of happiness. I know that my Redeemer lives and that I can live with him again. Here is a quote from Elder Jeffrey R Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles,
"Not everything in life is so black and white, but the authenticity of the Book of Mormon and its keystone role in our religion seem to be exactly that. Either Joseph Smith was the prophet he said he was, a prophet who, after seeing the Father and the Son, later beheld the angel Moroni, repeatedly heard counsel from Moroni's lips, and eventually received at his hands a set of ancient gold plates that he then translated by the gift and power of God, or else he did not. And if he did not, he would not be entitled to the reputation of New England folk hero or well-meaning young man or writer of remarkable fiction. No, nor would he be entitled to be considered a great teacher, a quintessential American religious leader, or the creator of great devotional literature. If he had lied about the coming forth of the Book of Mormon, he would certainly be none of these...
If Joseph Smith did not translate the Book of Mormon as a work of ancient origin, then I would move heaven and earth to meet the "real" nineteenth-century author. After one hundred and fifty years, no one can come up with a credible alternative candidate, but if the book were false, surely there must be someone willing to step forward-if no one else, at least the descendants of the "real" author-claiming credit for such a remarkable document and all that has transpired in its wake. After all, a writer that can move millions can make millions. Shouldn't someone have come forth then or now to cashier the whole phenomenon? "
Michelle and I took the family to see 17 Miracles last night. You can't help but let the tears flow as you watch the suffering that these Saints went through. The amazing thing is that through it all they remained faithful. They marched 12 miles a day on 10 oz of flour through snow and ice. They came wanting to gather in Zion and partake of the blessings that a Temple would give. If anything, this movie called me to repentance. I live 5-10 minutes from both the Bountiful and Salt Lake Temples. I do not go nearly enough. Here these Saints marched across the plains, starving and freezing to death in order to receive the blessings that I can so easily get by jumping in my car and getting there in such a quick time. It is because of them and the hardships that they went through that I have the blessings that I have today. My great-great-great grandfather was part of the Jesse Murphy wagon company that came across the Plains in 1860. They arrived in the Salt Lake Valley just 4 years after the Willie and Martin handcart companies. This is a long quote from President Gordon B Hinckley but well worth the time. It is from the October 2006 General Conference.
"Much has been written concerning this, and I need not go into detail. All of you are familiar with the story. Suffice it to say that those who set out on the long journey from the British Isles to the valley of the Great Salt Lake began their travel in faith. They had little or no knowledge of what they were getting into. But they moved forward. They began their journey with great expectation. That expectation gradually failed them as they moved west. As they commenced the tedious journey following the Platte River and then up the valley of the Sweetwater, the cold hand of death took its fearsome toll. Their food was rationed; their oxen died; their carts broke down; they had inadequate bedding and clothing. Storms raged. They sought shelter, but they found none. The storms beat about them. They literally starved to death. Scores died and were buried in the frozen ground.
Fortunately, they were passed by Franklin D. Richards on his way from England. He had a lightweight conveyance with horses and was able to travel much faster. He came on to this valley. It was this very season of the year. The general conference was in session. When Brigham Young received the news, he immediately stood before the congregation and said:
“I will now give this people the subject and the text for the Elders who may speak to-day and during the conference, it is this, on the 5th day of October, 1856, many of our brethren and sisters are on the plains with hand-carts, and probably many are now 700 miles from this place, and they must be brought here, we must send assistance to them. The text will be, ‘to get them here.’ I want the brethren who may speak to understand that their text is the people on the plains, and the subject matter for this community is to send for them and bring them in before the winter sets in. …
“I shall call upon the Bishops this day, I shall not wait until to-morrow, nor until [the] next day, for 60 good mule teams and 12 or 15 wagons. I do not want to send oxen, I want good horses and mules. They are in this Territory, and we must have them; also 12 tons of flour and 40 good teamsters, … 60 or 65 good spans of mules, or horses, with harness. …
“I will tell you all,” said he, “that your faith, religion, and profession of religion, will never save one soul of you in the celestial kingdom of our God, unless you carry out just such principles as I am now teaching you. Go and bring in those people now on the plains, and attend strictly to those things which we call temporal, or temporal duties, otherwise your faith will be in vain; the preaching you have heard will be in vain to you, and you will sink to hell, unless you attend to the things we tell you” (Deseret News, Oct. 15, 1856, 252).
Immediately horses and mules and strong wagons were offered. Flour in abundance was forthcoming. Warm clothing and bedding were quickly assembled. Within a day or two the loaded wagons were moving eastward through the snow.
When the rescuers reached the beleaguered Saints, they were like angels from heaven. People wept tears of gratitude. The handcart people were transferred into wagons so they could travel more quickly to the Salt Lake community.
Some two hundred died, but a thousand were saved.
Among those who were in dire circumstances on the plains was my wife’s great-grandmother. She was part of the Hunt wagon company.
Today, my wife’s gravesite in the Salt Lake City Cemetery looks down at the gravesite of her great-grandmother, Mary Penfold Goble, who died in the arms of her daughter as she was entering this valley on December 11, 1856. She was buried the next day. She had lost three of her children on that long journey. The feet of a surviving daughter were terribly frozen.
What a story it is. It is filled with suffering and hunger and cold and death. It is replete with accounts of freezing rivers that had to be waded through; of howling blizzards; of the long, slow climb up Rocky Ridge. With the passing of this anniversary year, it may become largely forgotten. But hopefully it will be told again and again to remind future generations of the suffering and the faith of those who came before. Their faith is our inheritance. Their faith is a reminder to us of the price they paid for the comforts we enjoy."
I am a child of God. A song I sang in Primary and have sung countless times. I never really gave it much thought until the last few years. Think about what a powerful statement that is; a child of God. This is the same God that created the Earth and all the other planets. The same God who blesses my life every single day. So, as a child of God, there is nothing good in this world that I cannot accomplish. He blesses us with so many talents that we can't help but succeed with Him as our teacher. I think too often we are afraid to try because we are afraid to fail. Guess what, that is part of the learning process. A little over 3 years ago, I picked up a camera and decided to take pictures. I have tried to learn as much as I can about how the camera works. Then I practice. Not every shot comes out the way I would like it to. A lot of my earlier work is terrible but I learned from it. I hope to continue to get better at it. I hope to share my testimony of our Savior's gospel through my photographs. The world is such a beautiful place and God's hand can be seen in all of it. He wants us to be happy like any parent does for their children. He wants us to succeed. He wants us to grow. He wants us to love one another. Now, if all of us could remember that we are a child of God and to love one another, just imagine how great a world we could have. It is right there waiting for us to take advantage of it. Let us shake off our fears, try new things, help others, and make this world a better place. Remember, we are a child of God and with that comes great power. I think President Gordon B Hinckley said it best,
"Believe in yourself. Believe in your capacity to do great and good things. Believe that no mountain is so high that you cannot climb it. Believe that no storm is so great that you cannot weather it. You are not destined to be a scrub. You are a child of God, of infinite capacity.
Believe that you can do it whatever it is that you set your heart on. Opportunities will unfold and open before you. The skies will clear when they have been dark with portent...He who is our Eternal Father has blessed you with miraculous powers of mind and body. He never intended that you should be less than the crowning glory of His creations."
This is a photo that I took Wednesday evening when I was downtown. I love the reflecting pool in front of the temple.
This photo was from last night while I was downtown. The temperatures are finally warming up and it was a great evening for photos. The wind was blowing quite a bit so there was a lot of movement in the trees. I really like this photo because it almost looks like the Temple is sparkling near the top where the lights begin.
"When the real history of mankind is fully disclosed, will it feature the echoes of gunfire or the shaping sound of lullabies? The great armistices made by military men or the peacemaking of women in homes and in neighborhoods? Will what happened in cradles and kitchens prove to be more controlling than what happened in congresses? When the surf of the centuries has made the great pyramids so much sand, the everlasting family will still be standing, because it is a celestial institution, formed outside telestial time."