Monday, December 15, 2014

Revisiting: Counsel from my Dad



My dad always had good advice.  After some hospital time a while back, I asked him to send this letter to our family.

It is still good counsel.

Everybody has their own joys and sorrows, their own challenges.  I have had some hope that in spite of the day-to-day struggles, we could endure as long and through our own hardships, as my Dad.

----
9 Mar 2009
Bill Cobabe

This is the message to the family that I promised yesterday in response to Jim's request.

Dear Family,

I do not know how may of you will read this.  I think it is important that I use this medium to speak to you.  When I talked to Jim last night I asked him if there was anything I could do for him and he requested that I talk to my family and try to stop the bitter fighting that is going on via the internet.  King Benjamin (in Mosiah 4) counseled the saints to see that their children do not fight and quarrel one with another.  This is my attempt to do so.

The role of patriarch in a family is not really well defined in the scriptures.  Just because I have lived longer than any of you does not necessarily make me any wiser than you.  I guess my authority in this regard is whatever each one of you grant to me.  I regard your faith and trust as a sacred and precious gem.  I do not take it lightly.  I have lost some sleep and spent much time in prayer and I now pray that the Lord will bless me with the words I need.

In the past few days there have been bitter thoughts and words published in family blogs.  I have to think this is grievous to the Lord and gives great comfort and joy to Satan, who is the enemy to all of us.  There have been accusations and vicious attacks from many sides.   Cruel words which can never be recalled have been spoken without regard to the consequences.  I call upon each one of you to cease and desist right now!

None of us is perfect.  This is a goal we're supposed to be striving for, but will likely not achieve in this life.  To aid us in our quest the Savior has given us some clearly defined guidelines.  I'm sorry I don't have my scriptures with me, but I will try to recall some of them.  Maybe some of you can add to my list.

1.  First of all we are supposed to love each other.  "As I have loved you, love one another." (John 14)
2.  He foreknew we would fail in our attempts to live as we should and has provided a means for us to avoid the consequences of our failure.
3.  He paid dearly in Gethsemane and on the cross for our mistakes. (D&C 19)
4.  His love for us in infinite and without any qualifications.  He grants pardon -- which only He can do.  He forgives us.  Though our sins may be as scarlet, they may be as the driven snow. (Isaiah 2)
5.  Our responsibility is to forsake our sins and repent.  He promises us if we do so He will remember our sins no more. (D&C 58)
6.  He tells us that we must forgive one another of all offenses.  He says he will forgive whom he will forgive, but we are required to forgive all men (women too). (D&C 64)
7.  His brand of forgiveness is that he forgets -- I will remember your sins no more.  He tells us that if we do not forgive in the same manner that we are guilty of a greater offense than the offender. (D&C 58, D&C 64)
8.   He tells us that we are to suspend judgement ".. let the Lord judge between me and thee." (D&C 64)

Well, I guess that's enough of that.  As I said, maybe you can add to the list.  But now I want to take another direction -- the internet.  It is a modern day miracle and can be a blessing in our lives.  So much information, so much knowledge, so much good.  Also so much trash, so much ugliness, and so much evil.  The Lord blesses us with great tools to further His designs, and Satan manages to turn these tools against us.  We must be ever watchful. 

Please, I implore you, don't use this great means to accomplish the work of the devil.  Watch carefully what you write.  Guard your children carefully.  Many of them have or will have their own computers.  Perhaps some of these precious little ones have already been exposed to pornography or other evils.  I don't know enough about it to advise you how to block it, but it is imperative that you make every effort to do so.

Please believe that I love each of you.  I pray often for all of you by name; sometimes that takes a long time.  I want you to enjoy happiness and the Lord's peace in your lives.  You are my greatest source of joy -- all of you.

Finally, I testify to you that the principles that we are taught by our Savior, and by his holy prophets, are true.  His gospel is true.  He is the Only Begotten Son of our Eternal Father.  He created the heavens and earth as a place for Father's children to grow and learn -- to become as He is -- and we can do this.  He has given us the church organization and the scriptures and ordinances and inspired prophets and leaders to help us.  And he has given us a sacred charge to nurture his children in example and precept, that they too may become more like Him.

I pray that we may all succeed in our mission in life and enjoy the eternal life that awaits those who persevere in righteousness.

----

To follow this counsel is more than I have ever hoped for.  But I know that we have to try, and keep trying to the end.  Beautiful blessings will be fulfilled for those who keep their sacred promises.  This is what I pray for daily.


Saturday, December 13, 2014

Horse Marriage


A minister in Mississippi makes a relevant point.  A horse wears the wedding gown to illustrate what has happened to government rulings regarding marriage traditions.

Do you take this horse to be your unnatural wedded spouse to have and to hold?

Of course, this will offend many western cowboys who have long loved their horses.



We cannot identify what particular legal principle, under the current interpretation of the law, that would prohibit the recognition of any relationship based on mutual love, that would exclude it from being recognized and solemnized by the state as a legitimate marriage.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Family Thanksgiving



Recently we have spent some time with some of the finest people I have ever known.

Last Friday, my son Joey and his wife Andrea.  They shared with us the ultrasound of twin girls soon to arrive.



On Wednesday, Gene Cook, Ben, Kathryn and her infant boy Jensen Blackburn came to share lunch.









We enjoyed spending the evening with son Thomas.



Thursday we joined Carl and Cindy and their children at their home for the traditional Thanksgiving gathering.



Then on Friday we had a visit with Bill and Youngshin, with Ammon and Elise



Wednesday, November 05, 2014

Slouching Towards Bethlehem

  

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: somewhere in the sands of the desert.

A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds.


The darkness drops again; but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?  (WB Yeats, 1939)

President Barack Obama's inner circle says he remains defiant and unwilling to face the seismic post-election reality.

 

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Utah Betterment


According to an incisive and insightful new analysis at the website 24/7 Wall St., Utah ranks as the worst state in the entire nation for women.

The specifics are not all that relevant.  Obviously Utah just needs to clean up it's act, right away.  If we can just convince the "worst" women to move somewhere else, I'm sure we can field a better performance almost immediately.

Please don't be fooled by the apparent trivial nature of this rank "ranking".  What matters most is making it to the bottom 25.  Indeed, the primacy of the race to the bottom has prevailed in many important issues in this country for many years.   Some of the most popular celebrities of our time are correctly characterized as "bottom feeders".

So I'm advocating a voluntary "Utah Betterment" campaign.  Will all the "worst" women in Utah, please self-identify - and move someplace else.  California and Colorado will joyfully embrace the very worst of you.  So please don't hesitate. The sooner you are gone, the better this place will be. 

And please note - we only seek to rid Utah of the "worst" women, for the sake of a better ranking.  All those who are more moderate in their "worstness" can rest easy, no need for you to pack.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Discriminating through anti-discrimination




Another conflict between individual rights and "anti-discrimination" laws. 

Little satisfaction from "I told you so," but - I told you so.

Ordained ministers are compelled to perform homosexual "marriage" against their will, or face punitive fines or imprisonment.

It occurs to me to ask someone to explain, how exactly does this serve the cause of "anti-discrimination"?

Such laws have been proposed in Utah and are already in place in Salt Lake City.  How do they promote anything but the homosexual agenda?  I am not in favor of discrimination, but these questions obviously go far beyond any original intent.

We have little to look forward to in a future where politically-correct ideas that promote perversion and depravity become the rule of law.   When will people wake up and realize what is happening?

Thursday, October 09, 2014

Revisiting: Wolf in Sheeps Clothing



Posting again, as this issue is about to be reopened, following the newly legalized fiction of "same-sex marriage" in Utah.

Utah Senator Steven Urquhart, the sponsor of this proposed legislation that pretends to be an "anti-discrimination" measure.

As for myself, this Mormon opposes the proposed Utah Housing and Employment Opportunity Act.  The "opportunity" is a promise of future legal action against any who offend the "gayness" of a "gay".  It is only calculated to "build bridges" to future contentious litigation by minority interests and homosexual advocates.

Now the people of Utah can see where these kinds of legal instruments are taking them.  Deeper into a world where moral depravity reigns, and those who respect righteousness are subjected to more and more government regulation.

The politically-correct invention of problems related to "gender identity" has no merit, and does not belong in the body of Utah law. If Utah citizens were properly informed about the specific nature of the proposed law, instead of attempting to disguise it as somehow relating to some vague "discrimination" hand-waving, I am confident that most of them would see little purpose for devoting any more time on the consideration of such legislation.

The Deseret News article that examines this bill contains a helpful link to the proposed legislation. I believe even a cursory examination of the actual proposal will reveal what is really intended.

What moves this particular Utah Senator to promote such interests is not for me to say.  But what is being sold to Utah citizens as "anti-discrimination" is really only intended to create new legal grounds for special interest litigation.

Excerpt from the bill SB100 that has repeatedly been proposed in the Utah Congress, deceptively being touted as an "anti-discrimination" statute...


        83          (k) "Gender identity" means an individual's internal sense of gender, without regard to
             84      the individual's designated sex at birth. Evidence of gender identity may include an
             85      individual's self-identification, as well as the individual's gender-related appearance,
             86      mannerisms, and other gender-related characteristics.
     

Near as I can judge, this is a solution in search of a problem.  It is the worst kind of politically-correct psycho-babble gibberish, as coined by post-modernist progressives, who view moral values as simply another "social construct".

The idea buried in this seemingly innocent bill is insidious.  Homosexual advocates wish to create some imaginary legal "rights" that give permission for them to play whatever sexual role they fancy that day.  I don't mind humoring occasional mental instability, but this is nothing short of insanity.

What that has to do with any actual discrimination problem is difficult to tell, but it is likely that any of the Utah Congress who dared to vote against it would instantly be smeared as a "bigot," "homophobe," and "fanatic".  Who could possibly vote for in favor of "discrimination"?  It has become one of the nastiest charges in our society.



I'm still trying to wrap my mind around why the law would presume to mandate that I concern myself about possibly offending whatever "an individual's internal sense of gender" might happen be at any particular time of day.

It calls to mind a particular scene from the popular film "Ghostbusters".

Peter Venkman: Is there any history of mental illness in your family?
Librarian: I had an uncle who thought he was Saint Jerome. 
Peter Venkman: I'd take that as a yes.

We might tend to think this is a rather arbitrary bizarre aberration, but the very question has been made the issue of a number of high-profile lawsuits, being pressed by homosexual advocates - and won - in state courts throughout this country.

Utah advocates of true principles of fairness are accurately represented at "FairToAll".  I support their efforts to promote equality and fight against discrimination.   As opposed to the shameful duplicitous attempts at misrepresentation of the proponents of SB100, this group represents an honest effort that the majority of Utah residents can stand up for, and be proud of.

In contrast to the overreach of SB100, my impression of HB87, making revision to existing statutory regulations to modernize outdated language, is a fair and sensible legislative approach to implement reasonable accommodations.  

A fair summary of related issues appears in the Daily Herald, the Utah Valley newspaper




Near as I can tell, currently in the State of California, everything is either illegal, heavily regulated by the government, or the focus of some lunatic fringe interest group demonstrating on the streets in protest.  I have no interest in transforming Utah into a similar asylum of common and perennial discontentment.


Let us continue to govern ourselves, promote freedom in all prudence and wisdom, with discussion on the merits of all issues in the public square, in true democratic fashion.

Update on similar issues:  Houston Chronicle

Critics largely take issue with the rights extended to gay and transgender residents under the ordinance banning discrimination among businesses that serve the public, private employers, in housing and in city employment and city contracting. Religious institutions are exempt. Parker has agreed not to enforce the ordinance until the court issues a decision in the lawsuit, likely sometime next year.

Sound familiar?

Tuesday, October 07, 2014

Homosexual "Marriage"




Viewed from a wider perspective, nothing very dramatic actually comes with this disappointing development.  The encroachment has been gradual and incremental, since the initial "camel's nose under the tent".


 Supposedly, the Supreme Court has spoken by choosing to remain silent.  But nothing precludes revisiting the ignored appeals in the future.  Until the Court issues a specific ruling, the controversy has no closure.



Nonetheless, the homosexual players have become emboldened in their sense of accomplishment, which will result in inevitable greater sense of entitlement. Predictibly, they cannot  ever be satisfied with this concession or any other, but will continue pressing to “normalize” their deviance in other ways.  Already, homosexual partners are anticipating the next step in legal manuvering.  From a Deseret News quote, "Now that this is settled, the focus is getting adoptions done for those couples. That will be the No. 1 priority for them."


 Sadly, there is no lasting happiness to be found in the false promises of such deviant behavior.

I intend no antipathy toward any individuals – I am satisfied that the legal demands have been met, despite the majority of popular voter opposition.  But I have no obligation to recognize things as anything but what they really are.  This is strictly a legal fiction, legalizing homosexual "marriage", not some higher moral standard.



In my view, it is not and never will represent anything to do with principles of equality.  And it clearly violated democratic ideals, to have federal courts dictate what voters can approve, and have approved.

I predict that the sense of vindication and hubris will prove to be pyrrhic and ephemeral, as are the rewards of all of Satan’s enticements.



We will continue to decry and oppose the tide of evil, as with legalized abortion and other such offensive and evil abominations.

Official response from the Church as appropriate to this occasion.

I am in a difficult place, trying to reconcile the counsel for civility with current events.  But it has ever been so, even with followers of Jesus in former times...

Then said Jesus unto the twelve, Will ye also go away?
  
Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life.

And we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God.

Life in the world continues…

Saturday, October 04, 2014

October 2014 General Conference




October 2014 LDS General Conference


Saturday AM Session



President Monson:  Welcome to Conference

Elder Boyd K. Packer:  Repentance and the Atonement of Jesus Christ

Elder Robbins:  Which Way are you Facing?

Sister Esplin:  Sacrament

Hymn: Guide Us O Thou Great Jehovah

Elder Chi Hong Wong:  Church Members Working Together in Rescue Assignment (Cantonese)

Elder D. Todd Christofferson:  Every Subject's Soul is His Own

Choir

President Dieter F. Uchtdorf:   Our Ability to See


Notes 

 
 Elder Robbins was specially inspirational for me today.

He reiterated a message from Elder Packer about "facing the right way".

And he talked about those in Lehi's dream who pointed their fingers in scorn, causing the faithful to stumble and fall away in their feeling of shame.

When others demand approval in defiance of God’s commandments, we must always keep in mind that we are striving to be disciples of Christ, and which way we should face.

I have abandoned my attempt to take notes while watching the Conference broadcast.  This has been my custom for years.

Not up to that kind of multitasking any more, I'm afraid.  I didn't even follow through with transcribing my notes onto my blog from last April.  My capacity seems to be progressively diminishing little by little.

Sorry.  Makes me feel sad to realize.  It might be easier to simply pass on, than linger in my malingering.  Nevertheless, I will keep doing what I can, until I can't.



Saturday PM Session 



President Eyring:   Sustaining of Church Officers

Elder Dallin H. Oaks:  Love One Another

Elder Neal L. Anderson:  Bless Them That Curse You

Elder Tad R. Callister:  Teach Children to Pray

Hymn:  Redeemer of Israel

Elder Jörg Klebingat:  Principles for Righteous Living

Elder Eduardo Cabaret:  The Savior Invites Us To Follow Him (Spanish)

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland:  The Poor and Needy Shall Not Suffer

Elder L. Tom Perry:  Come Unto Me, and I Will Give You Rest

Hymn:  Abide With Me 


Notes



Elder Oaks is so reliable, a tower of strength and counsel to challenge us all.  His name so appropriate.

I almost always weep during Elder Holland's talks.  His compassionate themes are moving and spiritual.



Saturday Priesthood Session



Elder Quentin L. Cook:  Decisions and Choices

Elder Craig C. Christiansen:  Know for Youself that the Gospel is True

Elder Dean M. Davies:  Humanitarian Relief Efforts

President Deiter F. Uchtdorf:  Lord, is it I?

President Henry B. Eyring:  Priesthood Probationary State to Prepare

President Thomas S. Monson: Steering the Course

Missionary Choir:  Ye Elders of Israel


Notes 


President Uchtdorf's message hit hard, for me.  Really hard.   I need to review it when it is published.

Lord, Is It I?
 
I fear that it is...



Sunday AM Session



President Henry B. Eyring:  Personal Revelation

Elder Russel M. Nelson:  Sustaining the Prophet

Carole F. McConkie:  Women Support the Prophet

Elder Robert D. Hales:  Know Jesus Christ

Elder James J. Hamula:  Sacrament in Remembrance of Christ

President Thomas S. Monson:  Walking As Jesus Walked


Notes 

 

President Eyring made several references to his involvement in the Teton Dam Disaster in 1976.  Hearing recalled some tearful memories - I was there too.

I was impressed that Sister McConkie reiterated that faithful women in the Church support Church leaders.  It struck me as a direct refuting of the "Ordain Women" challenge.




Sunday PM Session



Elder M. Russel Ballard:  Stay in the Boat

Elder Richard D. Scott:  Opposition in All Things

Elder Carlos A Godoy:  Patriarchal Blessings (Portugese)

Elder Larry S. Kartcher:  Caught in the Riptide

Elder Allan F. Packer:  Focus on Requirements of Exaltation

Elder Hugo Martinez:  Bringing Souls to God (Spanish)

Elder David A. Bednar:  First Aid for All

President Thomas S. Monson:  Closing


Notes


Stay in the Boat - Elder Ballard.

Such a timely and appropriate message.

I am still trying to figure out exactly how this counsel dovetails with Elder Oaks' admonition for greater civility.

Another marvelous Conference, giving me a lot of cause for personal reflection.

I will ponder these things in my heart...

Sunday, September 28, 2014

United States HIV/AIDS Epidemic



Why is the Ebola scare such a media focus?   Ebola represents a potential epidemic threat.  HIV/AIDS is here now.  It seems to be the forgotten epidemic.  Not popular to talk about any more.

1 million people are currently infected with HIV/AIDS in the US.  The government estimates 50,000 new cases in the US annually, more than all the total number of Ebola infections worldwide in history

 Mr. Obama joins the scare about a potential Ebola epidemic.

"It is a marathon, but you have to run it like a sprint," Obama said. "How quickly we can contain it is within our control. If we move fast, even imperfectly, that could mean the difference between 10,000, 20,000, 30,000 deaths versus hundreds of thousands or even a million deaths."

This is unsubstantiated hyperbole.  According to WHO statistics, Ebola infection has resulted in less than 1,000 fatalities worldwide in all history.



U.S. Statistics HIV/AIDS

> 1 Million are living with HIV in the US, 1 in 6 Living with HIV are Unaware of their infection
Gay and bisexual men of all races are the most severely affected by HIV

           
About 1 in 4 new HIV infections is among youth ages 13-24. Most of them do not know they are infected, are not getting treated, and can unknowingly pass the virus on to others

HIV in the United States: At A Glance

CDC estimates that 1,144,500 persons aged 13 years and older are living with HIV infection, including 180,900 (15.8%) who are unaware of their infection1. Over the past decade, the number of people living with HIV has increased, while the annual number of new HIV infections has remained relatively stable. Still, the pace of new infections continues at far too high a level— particularly among certain groups.
HIV Incidence (new infections): The estimated incidence of HIV has remained stable overall in recent years, at about 50,000 new HIV infections per year2. Within the overall estimates, however, some groups are affected more than others. MSM continue to bear the greatest burden of HIV infection, and among races/ethnicities, African Americans continue to be disproportionately affected.
HIV Diagnoses (new diagnoses, regardless of when infection occurred): In 2011, an estimated 49,273 people were diagnosed with HIV infection in the United States. In that same year, an estimated 32,052 people were diagnosed with AIDS. Overall, an estimated 1,155,792 people in the United States have been diagnosed with AIDS3.
Deaths: An estimated 15,529 people with an AIDS diagnosis died in 2010, and approximately 636,000 people in the United States with an AIDS diagnosis have overall3. The deaths of persons with an AIDS diagnosis can be due to any cause—that is, the death may or may not be related to AIDS.

Figure1: Estimated New HIV Infections in the United States, 2010, for the Most Affected Subpopulations
This chart shows the populations most affected by HIV in 2010. In that year, there were 11,200 new HIV infections among white men who have sex with men (called MSM); 10,600 new HIV infections among black MSM; 6,700 new infections among Hispanic/Latino MSM; 5,300 new infections among black heterosexual women; 2,700 new infections among black heterosexual men; 1,300 new infections among white heterosexual women; 1,200 among Hispanic/Latino heterosexual women; 1,100 among black male injection drug users; and 850 among black female injection drug users.

By Risk Group

Gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men (MSM) of all races and ethnicities remain the population most profoundly affected by HIV.
In 2010, the estimated number of new HIV infections among MSM was 29,800, a significant 12% increase from the 26,700 new infections among MSM in 20082.
Although MSM represent about 4% of the male population in the United States4, in 2010, MSM accounted for 78% of new HIV infections among males and 63% of all new infections2. MSM accounted for 52% of all people living with HIV infection in 2009, the most recent year these data are available1.
In 2010, white MSM continued to account for the largest number of new HIV infections (11,200), by transmission category, followed closely by black MSM (10,600)2.
The estimated number of new HIV infections was greatest among MSM in the youngest age group. In 2010, the greatest number of new HIV infections (4,800) among MSM occurred in young black/African American MSM aged 13–24. Young black MSM accounted for 45% of new HIV infections among black MSM and 55% of new HIV infections among young MSM overall2.
Since the epidemic began, an estimated 302,148 MSM with an AIDS diagnosis have died, including an estimated 5,909 in 20103.
Heterosexuals and injection drug users also continue to be affected by HIV.
Since the epidemic began, almost 85,000 persons with an AIDS diagnosis, infected through heterosexual sex, have died, included an estimated 4,003 in 20103.
New HIV infections among women are primarily attributed to heterosexual contact (84% in 2010) or injection drug use (16% in 2010). Women accounted for 20% of estimated new HIV infections in 2010 and 24% of those living with HIV infection in 20091, 2. The 9,500 new infections among women in 2010 reflect a significant 21% decrease from the 12,000 new infections that occurred among this group in 20082.
Injection drug users represented 8% of new HIV infections in 2010 and 16% of those living with HIV in 20091, 2.
Since the epidemic began, nearly 182,000 injection drug users with an AIDS diagnosis have died, including an estimated 4,218 in 20103.

Followup on comment from Maggie Danhakl, Assistant Marketing Manager at "www.healthline.com".  Their web site offers good current information regarding HIV/AIDS.