Saturday, March 25, 2017

3rd Declaration?

I read that some gay Mormons expect an Official Declaration 3. I am curious what that would look like. What would have to change to make gay people happy with the church? Is some truth missing? What doctrine is incorrect? What cultural change must be accepted.
The Official Declarations of the church changed practices, and not doctrine. Although larger in scope, they are similar to changing the age of missionaries. I don't see a practice or a doctrine that needs to change. But I will try to think of some options.
The first official declaration was about plural marriage. No doctrinal change was made with the declaration, but rather it was an affirmation that the church was complying with the law. The Republican Party was founded,  "prohibit in the Territories those twin relics of barbarism — Polygamy, and Slavery."  The prophet saw what would happen to the church if they fought this law and shift in culture. Plural marriage wasn't required so it was ended in favor of benefits to the members of continued use of the temple for other purposes.
Second Official Declaration gave all worthy the priesthood. This change ended the ban on blacks. Interesting to me is that no justification for the ban or the lifting of the ban was given. President Young started the ban and promised it would be removed. It was. No doctrinal change was made, only a practice of the church was altered.
So the first was a halt to plural marriage in order to comply with the law. The second ended a practice that had no apparent purpose, but may have been tradition only.
I don't see it going so easy for number 3. What needs to change? What doctrine is wrong? What principle is the church getting wrong? What scripture is read wrong? What part of The Family: A Proclamation is in error? The importance of family in God's plan is pretty clear. This isn't like complying with a law for cultural acceptance or ending a practice that no understood or could justify. This is pretty basic. Homosexuality is sin and only men and women can marry.
One blogger wrote that she found peace knowing that her son would just continue to be gay in heaven. Would that change in a declaration make people happy? I don't think it will happen. We all have to give up all of our sins to go to Heaven. Jesus will take them away. He will heal all. We don't get to keep them as souvenirs. Being gay is no exception to that rule.
Do people expect the Church to recognize same sex marriage? That isn't possible. Marriage is between a man and women. Should gender be ignored? Just kinda look the other way and let two men get married, without actually saying what sex they are? The proclamation on the family declares that gender is essential and eternal. We have to rely on that because no other prophet was asked this question. Apparently same sex marriage was never tried in Nephi or Isaiah's day. This appears to be a new invention. Modern prophets have declared that it is false and not compatible with the plan of God.
Could all that be ignored and allow gays to marry now and wait until the next life to sort things out? This isn't like waiting for the blacks to eventually get the priesthood as was promised? What prophet suggested that two men could be married? Who said eventually people could be sealed to whoever they wanted, regardless of gender?

Marriage is the union of complementary sexes, anything else is just pretend. Same sex marriage cannot be sealed by the power of the priesthood and the Holy Ghost and therefore all such unions will end in the grave. Two men cannot be joined in the next life. Only a married couple can enter the new and everlasting covenant and obtain the highest level of the Celestial Kingdom. That is the plan. Unless Declaration 3 will say that Joseph Smith got that wrong. Men in a legal union here will be single in heaven. Without accepting the true definition of marriage and participating in it, they can have no increase. Those that practice homosexuality are sinning in this life and will be limited in the next.
Do gay Mormons expect the plan to change, or be clarified in some way, and that somehow they will be accepted as a pair capable of producing life in the next world, even though it appears to be in violation of God's plan and the rules of nature He established? Will Official Declaration 3 claim that they can have successful and lasting relationship outside the plan of happiness established by their Creator?
My question is just what doctrine is expected to change? The family proclamation provides a great summary of Hesse issues. I don't understand what part gay Mormons expect will change. Gay Mormons or those that sympathize with them, I should say. Speaking of which, I believe we must love all. All are welcome in the church as we share this mortal experience and learn to avoid the snares of the Adversary. I hope people can find clarity on this issue and trust that our Heavenly Father wants what is best for His children. Jesus loved and made God's plan real. Jesus died for all pains and sins. He can heal all hurts. I don't think there will a third Declaration on this issue. The correction isn't required for the church but rather, must be made in individuals and in our society that perpetuates this evil.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Memories of Conrad Huss

My family was introduced to the Huss's when we moved to Tucson and joined 6th ward. Mercy taught Sunday School and influenced a whole generation with knowledge, enthusiasm, sincerity and unique insight. Conrad enjoyed working with the little ones in the nursery. Their faith and love was evident to me.

My dad always had the highest respect for Conrad and spoke of his excellent reputation in the mining community. I was first introduced to M3 when Conrad took us as part of the career night activity. I think it was for scouts in 1987. He walked us through the building on Ruthrauff and demonstrated the cad stations, which I thought was fascinating. My father, grandfather and uncles were engineers so I was very interested. Conrad showed another path how that could be done. I spoke with about various engineering degrees, trying to decide between chemical/materials like my dad or environmental, which was my interest at the time. He convinced me that I could do both- or anything that I wanted - as a mechanical engineer. I went with it. His influence in that decision had a great impact on my life.
I started working at M3 as a student, after my mission to Germany, while I was trying to finish my degree. I got to see a lot of different projects and disciplines while there. His opportunity taught me many skills I still use and made it possible to finish school with a young family.

Conrad gave good advice. He said not to waste money on expensive cars. He suggested stretching on a mortgage payment because it was a good investment. He was an excellent mentor who stressed the importance of hard work, education and quality work. He was clearly proud of his heritage and his family. He had an excellent memory, which was scary at times because I knew he would also remember my mistakes. However, he was forgiving and had a good perspective. I made a costly design mistake at work, so bad I thought my employment would be in jeopardy. He told me to learn from it and move on. It was a great relief but also a good lesson on how to live.

It was an honor to be invited into his home and eat with him and his family. I joined him as we visited some people in need and then he had me speak to some young scouts about careers and engineering. I explained the lesson that Conrad had taught me, that education and hard work will pay off. It was fun to complete that circle and try to lead another generation into the field of engineering.

Conrad was a great man, and helped to guide and influence my life. I valued his wisdom and good counsel second only to my father. I will miss him.

Father's funeral

I shared these thoughts at my father's funeral:

I am sad because my dad liked to teach and I still have so much to learn. He offered wisdom, without judgement. He gave an example of love and service that is tough to follow. We would talk about things we had learned learned and he would often look for the principle. I would get lost in expressing some crazy engineering idea and he would simply listen. 

We would have liked to keep him here longer. But that isn’t really the point. We would have liked that he attend more baptisms and blessings and ballgames. We desire endless association with family. That is the deepest longing of our soul, to be together with family. Living together with our eternal Father in Heaven is eternal life. Our emotions sometimes get confused on that issue of association, we want here what can truly only be perfected in Heaven. It will come in time. 

Jesus broke the bands of death and the grave has no victory. As Elder Nelson said in April 2012 conference, it is part of God’s work that we live and die and that the Savior prepared the way. 

“If the body’s capacity for normal function, defense, repair, regulation and regeneration were to prevail without limit, life here would continue in perpetuity. Yes, we would be stranded here on earth! Mercifully for us, our Creator provided for aging and other processes that would ultimately result in our physical death.”

Each pain, wound and illness is a reminder that our loving Father wants us home for his glory. There we will enjoy the association that we yearn for today. Elder Nelson quoted dad’s favorite scripture. My dad knew this.

Marlin K Green obituary

Marlin K Green was born 26 January 1939 in Logan, UT to Marlin R Green and Iva May Rollins. He passed away on 2 September 2016 in Provo, UT. He was married to the love of his life, Judy A (Daniell), 27 Aug 1960 and sealed in SLC Temple June 1962. He would light up when she walked in the room.
He is survived by his wife and 7 children:Marlin K Green was born 26 January 1939 in Logan, UT to Marlin R Green and Iva May Rollins. He passed away on 2 September 2016 in Provo, UT. He was married to the love of his life, Judy A (Daniell), 27 Aug 1960 and sealed in SLC Temple June 1962. He would light up when she walked in the room.
He is survived by his wife and 7 children:
Danette (Kelly) Hillman of Tucson, AZ
Whitney (Harry) Belliston of San Antonio, TX
Marlin (Lisa) Green of Queen Creek, AZ
Sorena (Chris) Marble of Salem, UT
Jeanene (Dan) Snell of Tucson, AZ
Michael (Linette) Green of Queen Creek, AZ
Jared (Melanie) Green of Cedar City, UT
Marlin leaves a beautiful legacy of 38 faithful grandchildren and 5 great grand-children and is believed to be counseling with more great grands. The oldest of his siblings, he is survived by a brother and 4 sisters:
Phil (Margie) Green of Billings, MT
Karen (Norm) Bennett of Hayden Lake, ID
Judy Pafford of Noxon, MT
Marlene (Mike) Lauritzen of Woodland Hills, UT
Janet (Craig) Christian of Richland, WA
Marlin earned a BS, Ceramic Engineering (Material Science) from the University of Washington in 1966. Later he earned an MBA from Western New Mexico University in 2001.
Through his work, Marlin had the privilege of living in many places and worked for many engineering and mining companies, specializing in ceramics, oil and copper mining. He travelled the world helping to document processes and improve quality. Travel included Canada, Mexico, South America, South Africa, Scandinavia, Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, China.
Marlin was a collector. His family teased him often about his “things.”  He enjoyed a variety of interests including water skiing and hunting when he was younger and, more recently, gardening and ham radio. He had a wide array of skills that were useful for everyone’s projects: concrete, carpentry, plumbing, tile, fixing computers and cars, for example. He loved learning and enjoyed teaching.
Marlin was a faithful member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He found great joy in serving and was a great example as he served in a variety of  callings, such as Young Men president, Sunday School president, Sunday school teacher. He taught as a seminary teacher in Jackson, CA and Eagle River, AK. He served as a branch president in Ione, CA and as a bishop in Great Falls, MT and Silver City, NM.  He also served as High Priest group leader in San Manuel, AZ. He served on the high council in Columbine, CO and Silver City, NM. He served in the first stake presidency in Wasilla, AK. He served a mission in 2009-2010 with his wife in Tucson, AZ.  He was currently serving in the Payson temple. In his retirement, this gave him much joy. Marlin was a loving husband, father and grandfather. He will be greatly missed by his family and friends. He is preceded in death by his parents and brother, Chick.
Funeral services will be Thursday, September 8, 2016, 1:00 p.m., in the Salem, Utah 7th Ward Chapel, 25 West Appleblossom Way. Friends may call at the Walker Mortuary, 187 South Main Street, Spanish Fork, Wednesday, 6-8:00 p.m. or at the church Thursday, 11:45 a.m. – 12:45 p.m. Burial will be in the Salem City Cemetery.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

How to make the bathroom issue worse

A copy of my Facebook comments in opposition to this article on Patheos about bathroom issue.

This article is so poor. First line is false. Last line is a lie. Is it intentionally bad? Yes, I think so. A silly attempt to make an emotional appeal and cloud the situation, not provide insight. The argument for safety is consistent. This is pretty simple. Use the bathroom that matches your plumbing and stop dressing like the opposite sex.

1. There is no movement to make peeing while trans illegal. False.
2.People could always use the bathroom of their gender. Charlotte wanted to change that.
3.Forces on the right are not working tirelessly to make it illegal for trans to use the bathroom of their gender. False. Charlotte city council was trying to create a new protected class and it was poorly written, which would invite abuse of the rule. The state stepped in to correct it.
4.There is no issue of male violence. False. This is not the source of the bathroom issue.
5.It is possible that people would abuse the rule and enter the wrong bathroom. This is being reported where ever the rule is changed and the behavior allowed. This is not a fear but reality.
6.People should be safe in bathrooms. However, that is rarely a problem. This is as much about modesty. It isn’t too much to ask to ask men to use the men’s room. No one on the right said there is not a price too high to pay for safety of our families in the bathroom. It is false to equate this imaginary radical position to the left saying we need common sense gun regulations.
7.It is true that criminals don’t obey gun laws.
8.We should promote safety, both in the bathrooms and with guns. This isn’t a selfish protection of my rights over someone else’s rights. Men should use the men’s room and most gun owners are not a threat to anyone.
9.No one knew or cared about transgender using the bathroom until Charlotte city council got involved and created a mess.
10.Everyone believes that we should protect children. I even grant this to the left, even though the author says that the right doesn’t actually believe in protecting children. (which is absurd) The idea that all good is on the left, and no good is on the right is hardly worth countering. And people say that the right see things in black and white? This declaration of absolute moral superiority is the nuanced position. Just to be clear, I think there are good people on the right and left, and I assume that all adults are interested in the care of children. Hopefully rational people can agree on this position.
11.Recall it was the left on the Charlotte council that started this mess, not the state. They promoted this nonexistent problem.
“... ignoring the growing pile of dead children we seem to amass on a weekly basis from gun violence.” False - and yes that is a quote from the author. Just to be clear, no one, on right or left, would ignore a growing pile of dead children. But also there is NO growing pile of dead children we seem to amass on a weekly basis from gun violence. Obviously, claiming that the author is exaggerating is at the risk of verifying the claim that I am ignoring it. No, I realize that children have been killed. But it doesn’t happen weekly. And no one ignores it when it happens.
12.No one claimed transgenders will snap and assault people while washing hands.
13. “If these folks actually cared about the safety of our children, they’d be focused on what’s killing them on a daily basis” False. Another great quote. Both right and left care about the safety of children. This is a silly argument. Remember that the leading cause of death for children is traffic accidents. Following the example of the author one might accuse the country of ignoring the clear risk of not banning cars. 
14.The right is not transphobic. That is another made up word with a fabricated problem to match. Phobia is an irrational fear. We do not fear transgender people. We just don’t want men in the girl’s room and that is not irrational.

Friday, April 15, 2016

Don't nationalize party elections

In reply to some questions about fixing the problems with the party elections…..

I do not want a standardized national primary nomination process. This is entirely a matter for the political parties. It requires no government involvement. Americans may have lost faith in government but the solution isn’t regulating parties. Perhaps a better solution would be ignoring them. But the fix is likely to be involvement in political parties to make them more effective. The founders didn’t want parties but I think it is just human nature. Parties have power because concentrated votes can make a difference. They were entrenched with our second president and won’t go away. So we need to make them work. This is a societal function in my view, not a governmental one. The party isn’t the government, we aren’t Chinese communists.

There are two problems with nationalization. My greatest apprehension of more regulation is an attack on sovereignty of states.  This attack is continuing to erode an important constitutional check and balance, which is the power of the states that create the federal government. First, I don’t want national anything. States need to be strong. I don’t want a national nomination process at all that ignores them, treating them perhaps as districts. When that happens then local involvement is not required. Second, I think it is just a setup to attack the Electoral College.  The Electoral College is designed to protect liberty. Don’t mess with it. If the parties are standardized then I think the Electoral College will be next. It will be attacked as archaic, undemocratic, unnecessary etc. None of these are true but ignorant attacks must still be rebutted.

I have zero desire to make all the states the same. What is the benefit? I prefer that they are different.  This isn’t corruption, it is variety and diversity. (The good kind of diversity.) Running 50 different campaigns appears to be a decent test of organizational skills required to run the executive and a trail run of people that will assist in the organization.

The parties may pick their candidates however they choose. The voters are not required. A district choice or caucus works. This year Arizona changed the name to preference election to clarify that the election is not a primary. I don’t think the delegates to the convention are even selected yet. We don’t know will go to Ohio to represent the state. Anything in the process viewed as abnormalities must be corrected by members of the party. Complaints from outside are silly. Journalists complaining about a lack of vote in Colorado is as relevant as them trying to give direction to the Camry design team on changes to the length of the vehicle. They don’t care what you think. Why do even bother? If you don’t like it, then don’t buy. It happens to work for they want to accomplish. Nothing wrong or illegal happened in Colorado. The delegates were selected by committee as the party agree to. Each precinct and district made their choice. The best way to fight the power of political parties is to keep it local. Make each delegate matter by forcing the candidates to deal with every single district chairman. 
The process isn't broken so don't fix it.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Lehi vs Lex

The movie Batman vs Superman makes a religious claim that is false. In Luthor’s rant to justify his attempt at killing Superman he says he must because God must be brought down. Sure, he might have just been talking about Clark Kent in a cape but the assertion must be addressed from a Christian point of view.  Lex says,  If God is all powerful, he cannot be all good, And if he is all good, he cannot be all powerful.”

This is an old philosophical argument that even has its own name.  Theodicy. It is a discussion about apparent paradox between good and power.  It questions why God would allow evil if he is good. It appears in all periods of history when people have lost the truth that God loves them but wants them to learn and grow. God is good but allows evil so we can experience it. Our test is how we react to it. This is part of our Heaven Father’s plan for our progression. As Lehi said,
22. And now, behold, if Adam had not transgressed he would not have fallen, but he would have remained in the garden of Eden. And all things which were created must have remained in the same state in which they were after they were created; and they must have remained forever, and had no end.

 23 And they would have had no children; wherefore they would have remained in a state of innocence, having no joy, for they knew no misery; doing no good, for they knew no sin.
 24 But behold, all things have been done in the wisdom of him who knoweth all things.

 25 Adam fell that men might be; and men are, that they might have joy.
 26 And the Messiah cometh in the fulness of time, that he may redeem the children of men from the fall. And because that they are redeemed from the fall they have become free forever, knowing good from evil; to act for themselves and not to be acted upon

Read the whole chapter, it is quite good and could have solved the problem for people like Luthor, and saved a lot of trouble and anguish.

The idea of experience and agency is one that sometimes gets lost in the philosophy of men. But a clear head will find the truth.

Wednesday, April 06, 2016

Three times that I changed my mind

I always want to fight. But sometimes I am told not to. That is confusing at first but usually the best course. Three recent examples where older and wiser voices prevailed in my thinking.

1.       When the ranchers protested in Oregon I wanted to fight. I think the federal government is wrong and that it is illegal for them to own land in a state. They abuse the ranchers and make life difficult. If someone was going to stand up to the feds then I wanted to support them. However, the church denounced the armed rebellion and said this isn’t the way to go. I agree. We need to use legal means to right wrongs.   

2.       When the Supreme Court ruled wrong on marriage I wanted to fight. When the Supreme Court is wrong then bad things happen. For example, I think the Dred Scott decision, that also negated the compromise of 1850, spun the country into Civil War. When the court changed the definition of marriage then a county clerk protested by refusing to issue licenses. Seemed a good way to make a point and stick it to them. However, the counter argument was given that we must do our sworn duty to uphold the law. Again, you shouldn’t use illegal means.

3.       When the young muslim men streamed into Europe I wanted to fight. These rude, ungrateful invaders needed to be controlled before they hurt more people. Kick them out, I thought. However, I learned that there are also some real refugees in the crowd, women and children fleeing destruction. The best way to solve the problem is to serve.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Snow machine story

A story of a Snow machine on Mirror Lake. We used to take the snow machine to Mirror Lake after a fresh snowfall. I loved racing full throttle. To me it was like trying to break the sound barrier across the salt flats. I also went up a few trails on the other side of the lake. I was racing between the tall trees up a hill, trying to get enough speed to jump at the top when I had a quick vision of danger. If someone was coming the other way, it would be ugly. I had the impression to get off the trail. I couldn’t see over the ridge ahead. I was afraid to leave the trail because if I got stuck in the deep snow I might never get back on the trail. I reluctantly slowed and pulled to the side, short of the top of the hill. A snow machine flew over the ridge and landed next to me on the trail and continued on. Had I continued we would have met at the peak, boxed in by the trees on either side, with no time to react. I was able to continue on. I finished my ride and returned to give someone else a turn and wondered about what had happened. It was nice to be spared the emergency room visit. But I figured there must be a reason. If God didn’t want me to die then he must want me to do something. So I spent some time trying to figure that out. 

Thoughts on Faith

Elder Neil L Andersen spoke about faith in the priesthood session of the last general conference. He began by saying-
The Savior perceived the strength or weakness in the faith of those around Him. To one, He said approvingly, “Great is thy faith.”1 He lamented to another, “O ye of little faith.”2 He questioned others, “Where is your faith?”3 And Jesus distinguished yet another with, “[In all Israel] I have not found so great faith.”4
I ask myself, “How does the Savior see my faith?” And I ask you, “How does the Savior see your faith?”

Elder Andersen gives a description of faith. 

Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ is not something ethereal, floating loosely in the air. Faith does not fall upon us by chance or stay with us by birthright. It is, as the scriptures say, “substance … , the evidence of things not seen.”5 Faith emits a spiritual light, and that light is discernible.

So how does the Savior see my faith? How does the Savior see your faith?  Faith is a gift. Faith grows or diminishes based on our choices.  The Savior knows us but we must learn to perceive our faith and know where we stand. 
Elder Andersen addressed his comments to men of the priesthood, in that conference session. He said we must have faith and that we have an obligation of service. We are no longer on neutral ground, he said. We are different and have to protect our faith because the adversary wants to destroy it. 

Elder Andersen gave several examples of people who required faith and exhibited it. You may recall the story of four members of a family in Utah that were killed in an airplane crash. The bishop’s son was on a mission and continued to serve while others helped care for his younger brothers.  His seventeen year old brother spoke at the funeral and expressed his faith that families are forever.  Their faith was by choice.

Another young man wanted to serve a mission after joining the church in Brazil. As he prepared, it was discovered that his mother was dying of cancer. He had to stay and take care of his family. He worked and saved everything he could. Later however, he received inspiration that he should go.  Through several miracles his younger sisters and brother were able to live without him while he left to preach. His faith was by choice. 

These hard times remind me of one of my favorite talks - Come What May, and Love it by Elder Joseph B Wirthlin. Conference Oct 2008. He says that the way we react to adversity can be a major factor in how happy and successful we can be in life.  His mother taught him when he was young, when he lost a game or fell down, to come what may and love it. This advice stayed with him all his life. 

His advice is first,  to learn to laugh. Linette has that one down. She loves to laugh when people fall. Katherine use to expect applause after her tumbles. It is normal in our house to laugh first when someone gets hurt. As Elder Wirthlin explains, when everyone participates then no one is hurt and we can enjoy the moment later. 
Seek for Eternal perspective - As with the family that died or the missionary who almost couldn’t serve we need to have an eternal perspective when dealing with our problems. No one is exempt. Elder Wirthlin says that some people assume that the General Authorities don’t experience problems, disappointments, suffering.  But that is not true. A man not of our faith said, that “the only people without any problems are people we don’t know well”. Even Jesus suffered. When we learn that afflictions shall be but a small moment then we can take comfort. Jesus suffering can heal our own.
There is a Principle of Compensation. The Lord compensates the faithful for their losses. Death cannot separate us from God and all the blessings he has for us. 
Trust in the Father and the Son - God loves us and gave his Son. Men are that they might have joy. God wants us to be happy. Jesus descended below all things so that he could lift us up. He knows the worst of what we will go through. We need to trust in his relief. 

Going through hard times in our life, while difficult to bear, stretches our understanding, builds our character and increases our compassion for others. 

My sister recently sent me a quote - “Faith and fear both require us to believe in something you haven’t seen yet. You choose which to believe.” 

We are choosing everyday to be faithful or fearful.   For me, faith is translated as hopeful and happy. I can deal with setbacks because I am optimistic about the future and my abilities to handle the problems.  I don’t think that means fear, like some people are afraid of spiders, but rather an anxiety over future outcomes. Fear for me isn’t shrieking at the sight of a nasty critter but rather, fear is a shrinking perspective, losing sight of my goals, because I can’t see past the current sorrow. Like a child that can’t see the beauty of the Grand Canyon as I hike along the path because all I can think about is the little rock in my shoe. Fear is thinking that no solution will work. It reminds me of one of my favorite hymns: Abide With Me
Swift to its close ebbs out life's little day;
Earth's joys grow dim; its glories pass away;
Change and decay in all around I see;
O Thou who changest not, abide with me.

Change and decay. Sometimes that is what life looks like. Like everything in the house is broken. For me, fear is a depression that limits my ability to think and to react properly. Fear is the opposite of faith and represents a lack of hope that my Savior can save me or that an all knowing God forgot where I am. BUT we can choose faith, as Elder Andersen said. God does not change and will abide with us. Come what may, and love it. This puts President Monson’s quote in perspective. He said:

“Fear not. Be of good cheer. The future is as bright as your faith.” -President Thomas S Monson, That from another great talk on joy and faith in hard times from April 2009 conference. We know the outcome in the end. Faith is remembering that loving end today, in the middle of all the mess. 

1. Nephi can give us a good example. Every time we start the Book of Mormon we encounter this hero. He appears to do everything right. He gets the Brass Plates from Laban, builds a ship and sails to the promised land, has the vision of the Tree of Life. Nephi had faith. But he had lots of trials. The way he reacted to adversity showed his faith. The account that we read is made on the plates many years later after Nephi when he was older in the promised land. That gave him perspective. We shouldn’t think that it wasn’t hard for him.  Think of the time that his brothers beat him. They were sent to get the plates so they would have the scriptures when they left. Laman went in to ask, but got thrown out. Then the brothers gathered all the treasures and were going to trade them with Laban for the plates. Laban took the gold and chased them out and tried to kill them.  They escaped the guards but Laman wanted to finish their job and was beating Nephi with a rod. An angel came to stop him.  Laman and Lemuel didn’t pay any attention to the angel and started arguing with Nephi as soon as he left so I don’t think the angel was there for them. They didn’t learn anything. My guess is that there was a real risk of death or serious harm to Nephi so the angel stepped in to make sure he could fulfill his mission. We are lucky to read Nephi’s account that he wrote probably 20 years later. If he had posted on social media we might hear complaints about his bruises, see a picture of his black eye or a video of Sam trying to get him to laugh with his broken rib. My point is that we know Nephi got beat and tied up several times and we only read the polished version written long after. Life is hard. 

Nephi’s posterity remember their ancestors being brought by the hand of the Lord to the promised land. Sounds easy. Samuel and Nephi remember traveling without fires to cook their food because it was too dangerous to light one.

2. Another story about Nephi and having perspective.  His life wasn’t easy. He was blessed with a vision of the promised land. He saw the Savior’s future birth and then the end of his people by the Lamanites. The Nephites were wiped out. Then the scattering of the Lamanites by the gentiles that came here. Nephi had faith. How does the Savior see my faith? Could he tell me that all my great grand children will be killed by my brother’s posterity and I will still praise him and think his plan is wonderful?  

Why care about current events and vote for good men as leaders when everything will fall apart before the second coming?  I have been blessed to not suffer from dramatic events like Elder Andersen described but everything we do requires faith.  Example - going on a mission to Germany during the first gulf war and right after the Berlin wall came down in 1989. Sometimes we didn’t wear name tags and spoke only in German to avoid being targets. Getting married takes faith, having children when the world is against it and we know they will grow up to be teenagers. Studying hard and finishing school is a choice of faith.  Living the gospel standards takes faith. 

Elder Andersen also talks about another aspect of faith when he said,  “Faith emits spiritual light and that light is discernible.” Remember he said faith is something that we choose. He said, “Faith never demands an answer to every question” If we could get an answer to every question then we would know and that wouldn’t require faith.   

“Faith never demands an answer to every question but seeks the assurance and courage to move forward, sometimes acknowledging, “I don’t know everything, but I do know enough to continue on the path of discipleship.”

We can get answers to all honest questions. Life is hard - and there are some hard questions. We have the tools and the instructions. “The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him.” Elder Andersen gives an example of Joseph Smith’s critics. For years, people have tried to find ways to discredit him and the events of the restoration.  The faithless won’t learn the truth. We can know that Joseph Smith was a prophet and move forward, believing that our understanding will increase in the future. For the faithful that don’t yet understand, we can study and we can pray. The Lord gave us many resources for learning. Prayer, scriptures, the spirit, fasting, parents, sunday school teachers, quorum leaders, bishopric. The Apostles and prophets receive revelation to lead the church. Guidance of the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve help protect our faith.  This will continue as Paul says,
“…Until we come to a unity of faith and knowledge of the Son of God. 

Elder Ballard reminded us that James did not say, “If any of you lack wisom, let him google.”
 Elder Anderson

“Your faith is either growing stronger or becoming weaker. Faith is a principle of power, important not only in this life but also in our progression beyond the veil.8 By the grace of Christ, we will one day be saved through faith on His name.9 The future of your faith is not by chance, but by choice.”