Friday, January 31, 2014

Utah Endangered

Earlier I noted the great rock-tipping incident that was staged out in the Utah desert.

The now-famous rock tippers of Goblin Valley Utah are now facing felony charges.  I suppose the Salt Lake Tribune can take major credit for trumpeting the alarm.  The SLTrib publishes the latest.  Not to be outdone, the Deseret News adds their documentation.

It would appear that Utah is under threat from illicit rock-tipping.  The lawlessness is out-of-control.  We need government intervention before every rock in the desert is ravaged by such evil maniacs.

Just imagine what these guys might have done if they got their hands on the iconic Rainbow Bridge, or Natural Arch.  How fortunate are we that the ever-vigilant State authorities are so busy keeping the dramatic natural features of this pretty great State safe from such evil predators.

Meanwhile, at the Utah State Capitol, homosexual advocates demand "equality".  They argue that anything that can be referred to as "love" is every bit as legitimate as any other specious rationale for State-sanctioned "marriage".  With the intent of demanding normalization for their ironic parody of "marriage", they storm around and stage petulant tantrums.  Prancing parade marchers mock the faith of the pioneer founders of Utah.  Under the complete umbrella of protection by the laws, the few members this deviant lunatic fringe invoke "free speech" rights to promote their deviancy and immorality as "normal" behavior.  All the while spewing derisive slogans justifying their perversion.

Most ironic are the common gutter epithets and slanderous smears with which they characterize their opponents.  And they have the unmitigated temerity to denigrate any attempt to utter a contradictory expression as "hate-speech". 

I am not surprised at the turn of current events.  Such things are bound to happen, in this diverse world.  What I dismay at is the disproportionate response.

On the one hand, we see a major expression of social outrage when some idiots dislodge a rock.  On the other hand, we see minority interest groups vying to overturn major foundational principles of society, that threaten the very future of mankind.  About such an absurd attack on the future welfare of the human race, we hardly hear a whimper.

Difficult to grasp.

Reiterating: Watchmen on the Tower

In the October 1999 General Conference, Elder M. Russel Ballard taught:
As Apostles of the Lord Jesus Christ, it is our duty to be watchmen on the tower, warning Church members to beware of false prophets and false teachers who lie in wait to ensnare and destroy faith and testimony. Today we warn you that there are false prophets and false teachers arising; and if we are not careful, even those who are among the faithful members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will fall victim to their deception...
False prophets and false teachers are also those who attempt to change the God-given and scripturally based doctrines that protect the sanctity of marriage, the divine nature of the family, and the essential doctrine of personal morality. They advocate a redefinition of morality to justify fornication, adultery, and homosexual relationships. Some openly champion the legalization of so-called same-gender marriages. To justify their rejection of God’s immutable laws that protect the family, these false prophets and false teachers even attack the inspired proclamation on the family issued to the world in 1995 by the First Presidency and the Twelve Apostles.

 President Joseph F. Smith:
We can accept nothing as authoritative but that which comes directly through the appointed channel, the constituted organizations of the Priesthood, which is the channel that God has appointed through which to make known His mind and will to the world.
 … And the moment that individuals look to any other source, that moment they throw themselves open to the seductive influences of Satan, and render themselves liable to become servants of the devil; they lose sight of the true order through which the blessings of the Priesthood are to be enjoyed; they step outside of the pale of the kingdom of God, and are on dangerous ground (Joseph F. Smith)

In the Book of Mormon, the prophet Samuel the Lamanite denounced the Nephite people, who had become worse than the formerly morally depraved Lamanites:
Behold ye are worse than they...
...if a man shall come among you and shall say: Do this, and there is no iniquity; do that and ye shall not suffer; yea, he will say: Walk after the pride of your own hearts; yea, walk after the pride of your eyes, and do whatsoever your heart desireth—and if a man shall come among you and say this, ye will receive him, and say that he is a prophet.
Yea, ye will lift him up, and ye will give unto him of your substance; ye will give unto him of your gold, and of your silver, and ye will clothe him with costly apparel; and because he speaketh flattering words unto you, and he saith that all is well, then ye will not find fault with him. (Helaman 13:27-28)

President James E. Faust:
In our desire to be broad-minded, to be accepted, to be liked and admired, let us not trifle with the doctrines and the covenants which have been revealed to us, nor with the pronouncements of those who have been given the keys of the kingdom of God on earth. For all of us, the words of Joshua ring with increasing relevance. “Choose you this day whom ye will serve; … but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord” (Josh. 24:15). (James E. Faust, "Keeping Covenants and Honoring the Priesthood")

 Elder Dallin H. Oaks:
In our system of Church government, evil speaking and criticism of leaders by members is always negative. Whether the criticism is true or not, as Elder George F. Richards explained, it tends to impair the leaders’ influence and usefulness, thus working against the Lord and his cause. (In Conference Report, Apr. 1947)
The prophet Moses expressed another reason we should refrain from criticizing Church leaders. On one occasion, the whole congregation of the children of Israel became dissatisfied and “murmured against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness.” (Ex. 16:2.)
“What are we, that ye murmur against us?” Moses asked them. “The Lord heareth your murmurings which ye murmur against him: and what are we? your murmurings are not against us, but against the Lord.” (Ex. 16:7–8.)
Similarly, when the children of Israel ignored the prophet Samuel’s inspired warnings and begged him to appoint a king to rule over them, the Lord directed him to do as they asked, explaining: “They have not rejected thee, but they have rejected me.” (1 Sam. 8:7.) (Dallin H. Oaks, "Criticism")

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Stand For Marriage

Pro-marriage rally in the SLC State Capital on Tuesday.

Those of us who believe in standing for something should support this effort.  It is worthy and worthwhile.

Rally details from the Utah Celebration of Marriage web page.


 The pro-marriage rally at the Utah State Capitol was a successful gathering.  Several times disruptive demonstrators tried to dominate the floor, but there were many law enforcement officers present who quickly showed them the door.

The program for the evening was a bit of an overreach, and many of the audience were visibly weary by the concluding speaker.   But it was an effective show of force, and ultimately a good time was had by all.

Thanks to those who showed up, or were otherwise supportive.  We raised the roof of the Capitol a bit with our enthused shouts.  As the Utah AG Reyes informed us, this is NOT a "losing effort", though many opposing it chose to so characterize it.  Many honest men and women who believe in sticking to our ideals have expressed their approval by their acts.  It was reported that initial estimates were that the legal defense would cost Utah taxpayers over 2 million dollars.  Reyes said the most of defense team they have put together declined to receive full payment for their work, and now is estimating something in the range of $300K instead.  These are dedicated qualified legal professionals who also believe it is time to stand for something.

Other speakers at the rally gave inspirational talks.  But I am most hopeful after the good report from the State Attorney General that things are being handled properly at the legislative level.

It was also reported that the organizer of the rally, Mary Summerhays, gave over $4000 from personal funds to stage this event.  It was a generous gesture, symbolic of the sacrifices the people of Utah are willing to make in support of this effort

Coverage in the Deseret News, SLTrib, Daily Herald, Fox13Now, KSL, USA Today, KUTV, 4News.

This issue gets lots of media coverage.  Deseret News published my "letter to the editor" regarding legal support for traditional marriage.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Reiterating: Legalizing - Bad Idea

Supporters of a certain candidate in the current political campaigning have been talking up the issue of legalization of illegal drugs. Some of these self-identified "libertarians" scoff about comparing the potential harmful effects of marijuana against the known evil consequences of alcohol abuse.

We are compelled to make that comparison, obviously, because it is useful.

How could we reasonably expect that legalized marijuana would have a more benign social impact than legalized alcohol?

At one time, the people of this society supported a ban on alcohol. But it proved to be unpopular for reasons other than the fact that the consumption of alcohol has serious negative consequences. I suggest that the biggest reason prohibition failed is because it foiled Satan's purpose to ensnare us in evil habits.

In any case, it seems rather specious to argue for legalization on the basis that marijuana might prove somewhat less harmful than legalized alcohol.

Let's also not pretend that legalizing this stuff is a new idea. I was listening to the same arguments before I was in high school, and they were not new then.

There is always a running debate about whether civil law should attempt to "legislate morality". The root of this argument is itself suspect, since laws must be based in moral values, or they aren't worth much.

Creating laws that proscribe socially costly or damaging behavior has no effect on free agency. Free agents always have the ability to make their own choices. In the case of behavior that is illegal, those making a choice have added incentive toward legal alternatives. But they can still choose for themselves.

A free society does not exist in a moral or legal vacuum. In a perfectly ordered society, perfectly preserving personal freedom, everyone would voluntarily obey the laws, because we would all have the knowledge and understanding that these laws are based on correct principles.

I find the argument that legalized marijuana might be somewhat less damaging than alcohol to be less than compelling. I could argue with just as much enthusiasm that legalized machine guns would inflict less damage than legalized tactical nukes. Not a convincing rationale, either way.

I think the facts are unmistakably clear. Substances containing drugs with side-effects that alter perception or impair judgement are not suitable for legalized unrestricted consumption. We're all fully aware that the most damaging social impact from alcohol consumption has nothing to do with livers or stomachs.

As I see it, there are two obstacles which must be overcome in order to legitimize marijuana use. First, to prove that the net benefit is greater than any possible negative impact and social cost. And second, to insure that control and marketing of marijuana products don't follow the same track as, say, historical tobacco products.

A bit of additional appropriate sermonizing...

Quoting from Glenn L. Pace,"They're Not Really Happy," Ensign, Nov 1987, 39

Activities always forbidden by the Lord and for many years frowned upon by society are now accepted and promoted by that same society. The media serves up these activities in such a fashion as to make them look very desirable. Add to acceptability and desirability the power of peer pressure, and you have an extremely explosive situation.

Lehi’s vision of the tree of life is appropriate for our day. In that vision, he saw a great and spacious building, which represents the pride and temptations of the world:

“And I … beheld … a great and spacious building; …

“And it was filled with people, both old and young, … and their manner of dress was exceedingly fine; and they were in the attitude of mocking and pointing their fingers towards those who … were partaking of the fruit” (1 Ne. 8:26–27).

Even though you have a testimony and want to do what is right, it is difficult not to be drawn to the great and spacious building. From all appearances, the people in the building seem to be having a great time. The music and laughter are deafening...

They look happy and free, but don’t mistake telestial pleasure for celestial happiness and joy. Don’t mistake lack of self-control for freedom. Complete freedom without appropriate restraint makes us slaves to our appetites. Don’t envy a lesser and lower life.

An interesting side note -- In today's news it was announced that the Church officially supports a measure proposing to remove certain alcoholic beverages from the list of those approved for sale at grocery and convenience stores, "that the sale of distilled spirits....should be restricted to state liquor stores." Commentary in the Deseret News and the Salt Lake Tribune.

Even more interesting in light of current events.  Several states have embarked on the legalization experiment.   Some of them have approved "medical use".  The consequences are largely unknown.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

New Guinea

My neighbor mentioned that they have received a new missionary assignment to New Guinea, and I realized that I could not identify exactly where in the world New Guinea is located.

I found that the main island of New Guinea is located just north of Australia, southeast of the Philippines, and east of Malaysia.  It has been considered to be geographically within the grouping of numerous Pacific islands known as "Melanesia", or more generally part of the "Oceania" region.


New Guinea is the second-largest land mass categorized as an island, after Greenland.  The island is geologically of volcanic origin, and the land reflects this.  New Guinea lies within the recognized bounds of the Pacific "ring of fire" of volcanic activity.   Relatively nearby volcanic eruptions continue, in 2010 with activity in Java and current activity of Mount Sinabung in Sumatra.

The highest interior elevation reaches over 4800 meters, 16,000 feet.  The island is so large that it is considered 'nearly a continent' in terms of its biological distinctiveness.  The local ecology of New Guinea is generally characterized as "tropical rain forest".  Biodiversity on the main island and surrounding areas ranks as among the highest on Earth.  Google Maps view of New Guinea.

Papua New Guinea is in a malaria zone and travellers should take anti-malaria medication while visiting the country and for a period of time after returning home.


The island of New Guinea is politically divided down the middle, with a ruler-straight line following a history of German occupation in WWI, and subsequent Dutch and British domination.  The western part, Western Papua, is a member of the Republic of Indonesia since 1969.  Indonesia is currently governed with an elected president and a constitution.  Western Papua also has a local provincial government that consists of tribal elders.

The eastern portion of New Guinea and numerous associated islands comprise Papua New Guinea.  The government of Papua New Guinea is classified as a constitutional monarchy, with parliamentary democracy, reflecting British influence.  Papua New Guinea has been an independent government since 1975.


New Guinea population numbers over 7.5 million in a geographical area just greater than that of California, which gives it a very low relative population density.  Part of the long-term native inhabitants, known as "Papuans" appear to be indigenous from long before historic eras.  Anthropologists theorize that their ancestors settled New Guinea regions as much as 70,000 years ago.  More recent migrations, in the last few thousand years, from Asia and nearby Australia, constitute the "Austronesian" population.

Large areas of New Guinea interior have not been formally explored, and are believed to contain some of the last primitive indigenous people to be introduced to global society.  More than a dozen different ethnic groups constitute the indigenous tribes.  There have been recent accusations of government discrimination and persecution of New Guinea indigenous populations.  By some estimates more than 100,000 Papuans, one-sixth of the population, have died as a result of government-sponsored violence against West Papuans.

There are occasional reports in the media about New Guinea natives being charged with practicing cannibalism, but I am skeptical.  This may be just the product of a government campaign to stir up prejudice against the native tribes.


The capitol of the Indonesia side of New Guinea is Jayapura City.   It is located just west of the political dividing line on the north.  The population of Jayapura is approximately 200,000.

The capitol city of Papua New Guinea is Port Moresby, located on the eastern peninsula, with a population of over 300,000.  It is the largest population center on the island.  Port Moresby climate is similar to most of the island, with high temperatures averaging around 90 and lows in the 80s year round.  Annual rainfall averages 40", much of it falling in the period from December through April.

All parts of Port Moresby reportedly have serious security problems with violent attacks from criminals, causing fences and walls to be considered necessary around houses and apartment buildings and security guards to be widely employed.

The nearest large population center is Brisbane, Australia - about 1300 air miles from Port Moresby.

Language Issues

By one count, there are 1,319 languages in Melanesia, scattered across a small amount of land. The proportion of 716 sq. kilometers per language is by far the most dense rate of languages in relation to land mass in the earth, almost three times as dense as in Nigeria, a country famous for its high number of languages in a compact area.

Provided with the number of native speakers, languages which appear to be primary spoken by LDS membership in Western Province include Southern Kiwai (9,700) in the Daru area, Suki (3,510) in the Suki area, and Bamu (6,310) in the Sogere area.  Some members may also speak Gogodala (22,000) in the Sogere area and Mubami (1,730) in the Kamusi area.  LDS congregations provide excellent outreach to Bamu- and Suki-speakers as most speakers of these languages reside within close proximity to LDS congregations in Sogere and Suki.  Estimated literacy rates are very low in Western Province.  Literacy rates among languages spoken in areas with LDS congregations range from 5-25%.  Many indigenous languages have extremely few written resources and most only have portions of the Bible translated.  There are no LDS materials available in languages native to the region.  Translating basic church materials into local languages is not feasible at present as most languages have fewer than 10,000 speakers, only a small minority of the population is literate, and very few members appear capable of translating church materials into local languages.

Staging a rally

Event Permits

Provo City

Does my event require a Special Events Permit?

  • An event of any size on city property. This would include: parks, parking lots, streets and sidewalks.
  • An event with over 300 in attendance on private property.
Note: There is no guarantee that your event will be approved. It is important you are aware that any fees paid at the time of application will not be refunded due to the cost associated with the necessary approval process.
Permit Fees
[501c3 designation] organizers: $25.00
Application fee for a Level 3 Event: $150.00

Application fee for a Provo City Mass Gathering Permit: included in the Consolidated Fee Ordinance, in
addition to other application fees.

Fees are intended to cover the cost of the event review and are therefore not refunded, even if the event permit cannot be issued


Salt Lake City

Application fees are as follows (no exceptions, no non-profit discounts):
Special Events application fee: $103.70
Free Expression application fee: $5.19
Filming application fee: $103.70
Other fees or costs will be determined based on the event/activity and its impact to the City.  All cost recovery estimates will be provided in advance and payment of the estimate will be required in advance.



Utah Eagle Forum Convention

January 18
8:30 AM - 6:00 PM
Salt Lake Radisson Hotel

An impressive program is planned

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Gold: A Cautionary Tale


Prompted by discussion about gold, I am reminded of my own exploits searching for that elusive ore.  Many times in wanders about the Wild West I dreamed about stubbing my toe on that big nugget that would make me rich.  I was never selfish or self-centered about my dreaming - I always intended to share the wealth with my friends.

Well, it never has happened, but hope springs eternal - right?  I have found numerous sites with ore that contains bits of that yellow metal, but never was ambitious enough to be a miner.  The most promising was in the mountains of eastern Oregon, which seemed likely because men have already mined in all these spots and carted away.  Mostly it was ore that would cost more to mine and process than the gold yield would be worth.  Anyway, I'm not dead yet, I still have a chance!

Gold stories also remind me of the stories about Bishop Koyle and his prophetic dreams about a fabulous cache of hidden gold in the mountains above Spanish Fork, Utah, details of which were revealed to him directly from the Angel Moroni.

Koyle was excommunicated in 1947, along with a number of his closest friends, but adherents have never abandoned the idea that the Relief Mine will someday bring salvation to the Church.  Many sympathetic stories about Bishop Koyle and his dreams are found at "".

Interestingly enough, Koyles followers persist.  They have amassed a significant enclave in the mountains above Spanish Fork.

Koyle loyalists maintain that Bishop Koyle was tricked into signing a false document repudiating his claims, but then the General Authorities excommunicated him anyway.

Because the General Authorities had consummated their cleverly conceived placard, the Bishop realized that he had been exploited and betrayed. The full impact of what he had done by signing that directive was now clear to him. Under coercion and threats, he had put his trust in the arm of flesh--the General Authorities--and now he suffered the curse. Remorse and regret are the consequences of sin, and now came the Godly sorrow that only repentant sinners know. His grief nearly brought, him to death.

The stalwart followers still believe that the great wealth that still lies hidden in the Relief Mine will come forth at the crises and save the day.  They believe that the American people are to be punished for their great wickedness, and that the body of the Church is in apostasy as they disagree with the inspired prophecies of Bishop Koyle.

Some of them mourn that America is so lost in evil and depravity that they are no longer capable of discerning between what is good or bad.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Utah Traditional Marriage Support

Today in Salt Lake City, supporters of homosexual marriage staged a protest rally at the Utah State Capitol. There were reports in the Deseret News and the SL Trib. 

I for one have had enough of watching this happen without adding my own voice to the political scene. I oppose the legalization of homosexual "marriage", I support the promotion of traditional marriage between a man and a woman, and am not convinced that these practices violate any man's rights or constitute any compromises to personal freedom. We are not obligated to sit quiet and allow our own rights to be compromised, just because we constitute the greatest majority in Utah. We can no longer tolerate being silenced by the angry demands of a few.

I have expressed my beliefs and concerns on this blog page, and would welcome any ideas or suggestions that might contribute to this cause. I believe it is time for a public rally to express the beliefs that the majority of good people uphold in Utah and around this great country.

Homosexual supporters and activists reported gathering more than 58,000 signatures on petitions - some reportedly even from Utah - asking the Governor not to appeal a District Court decision legalizing homosexual "marriage".

"I care about love, just like the rest of you, that's why I did this", one of the organizers explained.

The reports actually indicate that up to 1,000 supporters attended the rally at the Capitol.

Homosexuals continue their assault on traditional marriage with the demand that same-sex unions be legally regarded as equivalent to traditional marriage between a man and woman.  Legal challenge of the Utah state law that establishes traditional marriage by statute is what brought this situation forward.  By their own idiosyncratic definition, they justify perverted behavior by perverting the true meaning of "love".

The term obviously means different things to different people. In the October 2013 General Conference, Elder Dallin H. Oaks reiterated traditional LDS doctrine - our first love is commanded to be for God, and we are commanded to have no other Gods.

Master, which is the great commandment in the law?
Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.

This is the first and great commandment. (Matthew 22:36-37)

Jesus declared plainly his definition of love.

If ye love me, keep my commandments. (John 14:15)
Elder Oaks elaborates.

Our twelfth article of faith states our belief in being subject to civil authority and “in obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law.”  But man’s laws cannot make moral what God has declared immoral. Commitment to our highest priority—to love and serve God—requires that we look to His law for our standard of behavior.  For example, we remain under divine command not to commit adultery or fornication even when those acts are no longer crimes under the laws of the states or countries where we reside.  Similarly, laws legalizing so-called “same-sex marriage” do not change God’s law of marriage or His commandments and our standards concerning it.  We remain under covenant to love God and keep His commandments and to refrain from serving other gods and priorities—even those becoming popular in our particular time and place.

Elder Oaks' counsel suggests to me that the citizens of the State of Utah have  obligation to legally promote God's standard of morality.  This would include participation and support like that organized for the California Prop 8 campaign.

I have written here previously about legislating morality.  Latter-day Saints are prompted by their ideals and their doctrine to support and promote laws that reflect our understanding of God's laws and commandments. 

I believe it is a time to stand for something.  Millions of Utah citizens have made sacred covenants with God to uphold righteous causes.   Perhaps a representative sample of supporters should organize to gather in Salt Lake and other civic centers around Utah, to counterbalance the expression of those few hundred at this "gay" rally.  What is at stake may well impinge upon the future welfare of our families.

We are people of peace. We are followers of the Christ who was and is the Prince of Peace. But there are times when we must stand up for right and decency, for freedom and civilization, just as Moroni rallied his people in his day to the defense of their wives, their children, and the cause of liberty (see Alma 48:10) (Gordon B. Hinckley, October 2001 General Conference address).

I will attempt to develop this idea further.  Any helpful suggestions would be appreciated.

The Truth Shall Make You Free

From my perspective, one of the missions of the Church is to teach the World the message of the Gospel.  The pure source of Truth is not to be found in the World.  If there is any secret conspiracy of evil, the primary goal must be to entice information seekers to believe in and invest their confidence in that which is not Truth.

The promise of Jesus is that knowing the truth brings us freedom.
Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed;

 And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.  (John 8:32)

Is it a mistake to base our actions and convictions on these Worldly information sources?  What sort of freedom is in jeopardy?  What kind of bondage do we risk?
Judging by most behavior, common sentiment is that as long as the World tends to align with our own personal notions and standards, we can find this to be justifiable and sufficient for our needs.  We rely on these information sources and make our own judgements and decisions based on the flawed and biased information that was crafted specifically with the intent to deceive.

Perhaps we feel justified in forming positive or negative impressions of those we ought to rather regard as peers, so long as we continue to select from these biased sources that appear to support our arguments.

Some seem to be strongly inclined to trust information sources even far less reputable than the mainstream, apparently with this very rationale. 

Counsel from the Church seems to belie the prudence of such tendencies. 
We must not seek guidance from the world, and if our true identity has been clouded by mistakes or sins, we can change. We can turn around and repent and return to virtue. We can climb above the willows. The Savior’s Atonement is for you and for me. He invites each of us to come unto Him.  (Elaine S. Dalton, “Come Let Us Go Up to the Mountain of the Lord”)
Some Church leaders admonish us to get as far away as possible from the influences of the World.
Above all, start by separating yourself from people, materials, and circumstances that will harm you. As those battling something like alcoholism know, the pull of proximity can be fatal. So too in moral matters. Like Joseph in the presence of Potiphar’s wife, just run—run as far away as you can get from whatever or whoever it is that beguiles you. And please, when fleeing the scene of temptation, do not leave a forwarding address. (Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, "Place No More for the Enemy of My Soul") 

The scriptural guidance is we continue our efforts to bring truth to the knowledge and understanding of men.
For there are many yet on the earth among all sects, parties, and denominations, who are blinded by the subtle craftiness of men, whereby they lie in wait to deceive, and who are only kept from the truth because they know not where to find it—
Therefore, that we should waste and wear out our lives in bringing to light all the hidden things of darkness, wherein we know them; and they are truly manifest from heaven—
These should then be attended to with great earnestness. (Doctrine and Covenants 123:12)

In light of this understanding, some political theories seem less than consistent.

Thursday, January 09, 2014

The Best Time To Plant a Tree

The best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago. The second-best time is now.
In this month's Ensign, President Uctdorf counsels, 

Now is the best time to start becoming the person we eventually want to be—not only 20 years from now but also for all eternity.  (January 2014 Ensign, First Presidency Message)

I have long resisted the idea of making "New Years Resolutions", just because it is January.  It strikes me as rather arbitrary rationale.  But I do see that there is merit in the idea of considering the present as a good launching point.  And I am quite accomplished at procrastination, so this is particularly pertinent counsel for me to consider.

I am reminded of an occasion several years ago, when there arose an issue of some controversy here in Provo.  The administrators at BYU had invited vice-president Dick Cheney to be the guest speaker at the commencement ceremony.  Some people decided that they didn't care for him, and they tried to organize protests and political sort of stuff in an attempt to block him from speaking.  It never amounted to much more than another superficial media fest, and Cheney delivered a nice speech, despite the controversy.

One point that intrigued me at the time was one of Cheney's private insights of wisdom that he shared.  I have remembered it.  He said that he had never intended to become involved in politics in the first place.  It was never one of his life ambitions.  But unexpected things kept springing up, as they do through the course of life, presenting him with many unique opportunities.  He said that setting goals was the enabling factor that prepared him to take advantage of these opportunities, when they became available.  When Mr. Bush unexpectedly called him up one day with an invitation to join with him on the presidential ticket, Mr. Cheney said was ready.

Mr. Cheney made reference to the military aphorism that "no battle plan ever survives the first contact with the enemy".  But, he asserted, he made careful plans anyway, because they enabled him to make good, intelligent choices, rather than just reacting or not.  It makes the difference between informed choice and a galvanic response.  One is considered, the other is just an automatic knee-jerk.

President Uctdorf assures us that setting goals is a "worthy endeavor", and that procrastination can "derail" our best efforts. 
Sometimes the thing that holds us back is fear. We might be afraid that we won’t succeed, that we will succeed, that we might be embarrassed, that success might change us, or that it might change the people we love.

And so we wait. Or give up.  (Ibid)
Attempting to withdraw from the struggle is obviously not the best outcome.   It is well worth the effort to press on with our intended goals despite adversity.  Another advantage of advance planning...
We almost certainly will fail—at least in the short term. But rather than be discouraged, we can be empowered because this understanding removes the pressure of being perfect right now. It acknowledges from the beginning that at one time or another, we may fall short. Knowing this up front takes away much of the surprise and discouragement of failure.  (Ibid)

Thursday, January 02, 2014

Consequences of immorality

It is contrary to the order of heaven for any soul to be locked into compulsive, immoral behavior with no way out!

It is consistent with the workings of the adversary to deceive you into believing that you are.  (Boyd K. Packer, 1986 General Conference address)

Along our way we are aided in our choices through the sustaining influence of the Spirit. Now, if we choose to act contrary to the light and understanding that we have, we will experience a bad conscience, which of course does not feel good. But a bad conscience is a blessing in that we immediately are reminded that it is time to repent. When we are humble and desire to do what is right, we will be anxious to act promptly to change our ways, while those who are proud and who may seek “to become a law unto [themselves]” (D&C 88:35) will allow Satan to lead “them by the neck with a flaxen cord, until he bindeth them with his strong cords forever” (2 Nephi 26:22) unless the spirit of repentance enters their hearts. To follow evil influences can never result in a feeling of peace simply because peace is a gift from God and it only comes through the Spirit of God. “Wickedness never was happiness” (Alma 41:10).  (Per G. Malm, 2010 General Conference address)

We are people of peace. We are followers of the Christ who was and is the Prince of Peace. But there are times when we must stand up for right and decency, for freedom and civilization, just as Moroni rallied his people in his day to the defense of their wives, their children, and the cause of liberty (see Alma 48:10).  (Gordon B. Hinckley,  2001 General Conference address)

And if it seem evil unto you to serve the Lord, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.  (Joshua 24:15)

O that ye would awake; awake from a deep sleep, yea, even from the sleep of hell, and shake off the awful chains by which ye are bound, which are the chains which bind the children of men, that they are carried away captive down to the eternal gulf of misery and woe.  (2 Nephi 1:13)

Yea, we have hid up our treasures and they have slipped away from us, because of the curse of the land.

O that we had repented in the day that the word of the Lord came unto us; for behold the land is cursed, and all things are become slippery, and we cannot hold them.

 Behold, we are surrounded by demons, yea, we are encircled about by the angels of him who hath sought to destroy our souls. Behold, our iniquities are great. O Lord, canst thou not turn away thine anger from us? And this shall be your language in those days.

But behold, your days of probation are past; ye have procrastinated the day of your salvation until it is everlastingly too late, and your destruction is made sure; yea, for ye have sought all the days of your lives for that which ye could not obtain; and ye have sought for happiness in doing iniquity, which thing is contrary to the nature of that righteousness which is in our great and Eternal Head.  (Helaman 13:32-38)

 If ye love me, keep my commandments. (John 14:15)

Wednesday, January 01, 2014

Happy New Year!

Best wishes for a Happy New Year!