Tag Archive: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints


The ShepardI’m a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Some know us as Mormons. I am sure that many have heard about the Ordain Women movement that a member of our church has started. I will refrain from giving my opinion on her and the movement itself. I try to align myself with the Prophet. I have a perfect faith that God is in charge of His church and when the prophet speaks, God speaks. I do not doubt. I will however like to mention my distaste for the people who are so quick to have an opinion on a situation without them even have one iota of a clue of what is going on.

The lady that is a member of our church and started the movement of “Ordain Women” is clearly struggling with not being able to hold the priesthood in her life. I don’t know her name, because I haven’t been following any of it. Got my own issues to deal with. I of course like many have been raised in this church, know what the Priesthood is and although I do not hold it, I have access to it 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and 52 weeks a year. Thus it is not anything I believe I need to hold in my life to make me any different from what I already am. These ladies are entitled to the very same no matter their stations in life. Our church is set up to accommodate single mothers, single sisters and widowers who do not have a priesthood holder in their home. Case in point: One night I was talking to a very close acquaintance of mine. She is a single mom and has been for many years. She has really struggled with the effects of divorce and raising children. With divorce comes bitter feelings and even from her own children. She was crying one night after having an argument with one of her kids. She was telling me how hard it is to be a single mom and sometimes feeling the negative attitudes from her kids. and no husband to stand up for her or help her. She was very overwhelmed and struggling terribly. She felt like she needed a priesthood blessing, and there was no one she felt she could call to give her one. Her father lived a couple of hours away and he was the only one she had in her life to help her. When I hung up from her, I immediately called her Bishop. He made contact with her within a day and in turn called her home teachers. They came and offered her the service she so desperately needed. This is how sisters of our church have access to the priesthood.

On to what I wanted to discuss. Excommunication in our church is a serious matter. It is one that leaders do not take lightly. The church is set up to help members try to fix what is going on their lives without them having to excommunicate someone. They get many opportunities to change and set things straight. It is all up to them in what they do with those opportunities. In early periods of the church, excommunication was more prevalent than what it is now. Someone has to do some serious sins without a desire to change before the church considers excommunication. I am not an authority on it by any means. Nor do I want anyone thinking I am. It is a serious and sad situation. My father was in a bishopric where he had to be present for church disciplinary actions for young adults in the area where he served. He came home so sad and so depressed because he had seen young members of the church have to go through this. He never told us anything because it is a confidential and private matter, but  I saw firsthand how much it hurt him.  It hurt him because of the chances they were given that the didn’t take advantage of. Thank goodness there was only one he had to experience in his 4-5 years serving.

The thing I have a hard time with this Ordain Women leader is that if I were in her position and I was on the verge of losing my membership in a church that I loved with every fiber of my being, I would not go to the New York Times and tell them about it. To me, this says a lot about this person. It says a lot about what she is trying to accomplish. It says a lot about what she holds sacred and dear to her in her life. There is absolutely no way I would want the world knowing I was being kicked out of church. With that said, I do not know fully what is going on and will reserve my opinion on what I think should happen. I do know that if it happens to her, it will be a decision that will be made with a lot of thought and prayer. We love our members and hate to see any of them leave or be kicked out. We are about saving souls, not losing souls.

I have 3 young adult children. One daughter in particular has seen within her circle of friends a split that  this threat of excommunication is causing. It has saddened her greatly because a lot of her friends are automatically calling judgments on the leaders without knowing the full story. Everyone is jumping on the opinion boat to give their two cents worth and quite frankly, not one of those kids have sat in any meetings that (Ok, I am going to have to look the Ordain Women leader’s name up because I keep wanting to say Katy Perry and I know that isn’t right…just a minute..) Kate Kelly has been in with church leaders. They only read what is written, hear what is said then form their “Only true and correct” opinions off of that. It’s like trying to make good judgments based on gossip. You will never find the truth until you search the source for it and then realize that there is always two sides to every story.

Our family just went through a very difficult situation where this type of thing happened. My son was calling around asking people if they had any old metal he could haul off to the recycle place because he was trying to earn money to buy a car for an automotive class he was taking. So he and his buddy had permission from the people they called to collec this metal and haul it off. About a week after they had collected this metal, we had an officer come to our door. Apparently when one of my son’s friends had told him he could have some metal at a house they had just moved out of, unfortunately being teens the property boundaries weren’t made all that clear. Without knowing the exact boundary, or thinking he knew the boundary, my son and his friend hauled off an old cast iron sink that was buried in the mud just 4 feet from the property boundary. They also grabbed a tractor scraper in the same area. There was a ton of metal behind this area that they didn’t touch because they believed they were where they could take things.  As soon as we were alerted to the mistake, my son went the next day to the recycle place to see if it was still there. Unfortunately the sink wasn’t, but the scraper was recovered. My son even offered to mow lawns or anything to pay back for the sink, but it ended up him having to go to court where the charges were dismissed because the courts saw it as an honest mistake. In the meantime, rumors were flying around the town we lived in that he was going to jail, that he had gone into someone’s  house and took the sink out.  Basically that he was a thief. It was unbelievable some of the stuff people had been saying about him. People that he thought were his friends. Friends usually come straight to the source to get the truth. At least I would. These people knew my son. They should have known that he was not the type of person that would do that, yet they chose to listen to gossip and to spread it, instead of coming to my son and asking. The truth got more hidden every time the gossip was retold. During this time, he had also been trying to sell a jeep to help him get this car. He had someone come to the house, sign the title and pay for it and then when they went to drive off it wouldn’t start. The guy came back in and took his money back and told my son he would come back later to get it. He never came back despite my son calling him and trying to figure out what was going on. He wouldn’t return his calls or anything. After awhile we figured the guy wasn’t coming back. So we had a title he had signed which presented a problem with trying to sell it. We called the DMV and they told us we just needed a form to fill out explaining the situation. We got busy and forgot to get the form. None of us remembered we hadn’t gotten the form when my son ended up selling the jeep to a close friend of the family. The young man had only paid my son for half of what he was selling it for and my son was willing to let him pay the rest later. He took the title and none of us remembered to give them the form. My son had mentioned to the kid that we needed to get the title fixed, but we all forgot about it until the day the father of the boy showed up at our house. Pretty sure the boy forgot about it also.

I am not sure who was in more shock over the way this father reacted, my husband and I or my son. This father had a heated exchange with my son telling him that he had taken this jeep to the recycle place and because the title had someone else’s name on it he didn’t want to get charged with grand theft auto for cashing the check he got for it etc. My son felt that he was being accused of selling the jeep to someone and then turning around and selling it to someone else keeping the cash from both sales. What this father didn’t realize is that he himself was guilty of the very thing that he seemed to be accusing my son of. His son had not paid my son the other half of the money for the jeep. This father had sold something to someone else that did not fully belong to him. We could have by law taken him to court over this, but we don’t do that kind of thing. We discussed this in our home wondering if this father had heard rumors about our son and automatically assumed that my son was now a bad kid and was trying to rip him off. Only going off what he thought the situation was instead of taking the time to ask. Perhaps he was having a bad day and took it out on my son. It doesn’t matter. What matters is that what was once a cherished relationship, no longer seems to exist with this guy. We talked to our son and told him that perhaps he didn’t know that his son hadn’t paid for it in full. Which really doesn’t justify the behavior in anyway, but there are always two sides to every story. We expressed to our son the importance of not mis-treating this individual even though my son felt that he was wronged. I will not lie when I tell you that it was a very hard to deal with personally. I am still trying to get to a place where I can feel like I have fully forgiven this father.

My son took this to heart and was still patient with the man’s son, hoping that he would eventually pay him the remainder for the jeep. My son is pretty trusting, because he himself does pretty much what he says he will do so of course he assumes everyone is like him. One day while driving down the road, he saw this father pushing a 4-wheeler up the street. My son stopped to ask him if he needed  help. This man just looked at him and kept walking forward. Not once acknowledging my son’s willingness to help him out. My son told me a couple of days later what had happened. I told him how proud of him that I was that he was able to look past the bad experience between the two and reach out in friendship. This hurt my son greatly. I have not seen my son cry very often, but this made him cry. He did not understand why someone would treat him like this. To this day, this man will not look at my son. My son is determined to rise above and move on from the past. His son paid a little more on the jeep, but stills owes my son money, but he is looking past it and moving on. He told me that he isn’t sure if the kid forgot how much it was sold to him for after so long of not paying for it or what, but he is looking past that to save what relationship there is left there. I quite frankly don’t know how he does it, because it would be hard for me to keep trying after being knocked down a few times. Unfortunately this whole situation has caused some serious trust issues with my son. He has trust issues with those he once called friends. It has also opened all of our eyes to how wrong we can be with some situations if we don’t fully know the truth. My son was going through a very hard time. This man could have taken a step back and considered his approach and perhaps could have gotten the story behind what was going on. But he instead took the other road and lashed out in anger. We tried calling him, tried going to his house. We tried to contact him a few times to tell him what the situation was, but without any luck.

I bring this up because this is what happens when we are quick to make judgments without seeing the whole picture. We think we know everything, and think we are entitled to those judgments because of things we have only seen on the surface or things we have heard or because we are mad or various other reasons. I have found myself on the judgment end many times and am trying to make a vast improvement in the way I approach things. I myself hurt someone very close and his family and to this day am still having a hard time forgiving myself for it. Even though they have forgiven me. I hurt someone dear and that kind of situation is hard to recover from.

In my line of work, I meet people every day that you make quick judgments on for one thing or another. Even when someone comes in to apply for a job,  a quick judgment of that person is made without really knowing that person.

I used to work with a girl that I initially looked on her appearance and kind of  judged her, but quickly found she was a delightful young lady. After working with her for awhile I realized what a horrible life and childhood this girl had had. No child should have to go through that. To see where she was in life from what she came from was amazing. She told of a time when she was in a store with her husband. She was 19, She was about 7 months pregnant. She was wearing some leggings and had mentioned she didn’t want people seeing her underwear line, so she had chosen a more “uncomfortable” pair of underthings to wear to avoid that. As they stood in line to get their food, she  heard someone behind her say, “No wonder she is in the condition she is in with what she is wearing.” I was horrified first that someone would just say that to someone. Not to mention that the girl was married, standing with her husband. I thought to myself, “What right do they have saying something like that?”

Once I wanted to be friends with someone on Facebook. I truly wanted to get to know them. This person never accepted my “friend request”, but later informed me that they wanted to only be friends with people outside of our community. I was cool with that. Whatever. Then years later I find out that they had told someone that I didn’t like them because they hadn’t accepted my friend request. The ironic thing of it is, is that this individual is very hard to get to know. Sometimes they act like they want to talk to you, sometimes they don’t. So I am kind of the type of person that “doesn’t want to invade someone’s personal bubble”. So I am really not sure how to act around them. I very willing to talk when spoken to, but if I feel they don’t want to talk to me I back off. This person doesn’t see how they come off sometimes. In fact they have many friends on Facebook that are in the community. So if I wanted to go off of that, I could be the one seeing they didn’t like me, or didn’t want to be friends with me. They have never sent a friend request, and I have backed off from my initial request and let them use Facebook the way they seem fit.  The fact is that sometimes in relationships with others, we don’t take responsibility for our half of things not working. I could be more approachable if it wasn’t I was so cautious to not cross boundaries. Or they could perhaps say, “Hey, maybe the situation is not what it seems. Maybe she is just quiet and doing what I asked her to do”. No, we make quick judgments.

Why do we do this to each other? Why do we think we know everything about everyone without knowing anything about a lot of people and think it is our job to “enlighten” other people who then cast those same judgments on someone they don’t know? It’s a vicious cycle.

A recent article was posted in our local newspaper about a reporter being kicked out of the courtroom because her shoulders were showing and the court room had a dress code that there were no sleeveless shirts or hats to be allowed in the courtroom. Of course every feminist in the state of Utah got on the band wagon pouring out their hearts about how this court single handedly sexualized this ladies bare shoulders because they had kicked her out. Not once anyone acknowledging a dress code or rules of conduct in a courtroom. When my son was to appear in court over this sink dilemma, we were mailed a letter telling us what the dress standard would be for the court and was expecting it to be upheld. A lot of the people attributed the “Kicking out” to the LDS church policy on modesty.I have no idea what makes them think that the church went into that courtroom and demanded that that court of law abide by our modesty policy. I read some of the comments and quiet frankly laughed at a lot of them. I have never before seen a firestorm of misjudgments in my life. I was dumbfounded. I have lived in other areas of the United States and common sense tells me that every court in this country has a dress code to abide by. Feminists want the same rights as men, but they want to set the rules to by which they want equality. Such as a sleeveless tank top that a man wears to court should never been put in the same category as a woman’s sleeveless blouse. Really, sleeveless is sleeveless. That rules applies across the board and these women should be grateful they are being treated equal. I have seen Judge Judy herself rip into someone in her court for wearing more clothes than this young lady did, because she thought it was disrespectful to show up looking like they did. It was her courtroom, her rules. My job has a dress code, my children’s schools have dress codes, stores have dress codes. Can you imagine what the consequences would be if they didn’t? We would have half naked men and women parading around in front of our children without them accepting any responsibility for exposing young kids to that.

 

Our society has become nothing more than an opportunity for someone to tell you what they think and that your opinion means nothing or your side means nothing. No matter what the true story is. No one wants to search the truth and then base their opinions on their findings. They want to quickly form opinions and blast those all over the world as fast and as hurtful as they possibly can without taking responsibility for lies, gossip or the lack of truth.

Many times I have found myself on the other end of the whipping stick because I have voiced my religious beliefs. I have been called judgmental because I feel marriage is between a man and a woman. It is my opinion. I am entitled to it. It is my right as an individual in this country as much as it is their right and it is my right to practice my religion as I want, just like it is theirs. This great country gives us this ability. Society believes I am no longer entitled to my religious beliefs if it goes against someone else’s.  When I express them I am condemned. I get called bigot, racist and every other word you can imagine from people who don’t even know me. They know nothing about me. They base their judgments off the strokes of a keyboard.

My daughter who has always been a quiet, shy soul had posted a blog post about judging others that went viral. She had a lady post a comment that said that she found my daughter rude and extremely unprofessional and would not take anything she said as anything to be worth reading. My daughter has one of the kindest hearts I know. She hates to see people mistreated or ever feel like she has hurt someone’s feelings. So much so that she removed a blog post about activities she wanted to do while in young women’s because she was afraid her young women’s leaders would have taken it wrong and thought she didn’t like them. She loved all of the ones she had and didn’t want to hurt them in any way. She is very conscience about how she treats and reacts with people, yet this lady based her opinion on typed digital words that have no emotional attachment whatsoever. The Internet has given us to opportunity to interact with people all over the world, but it has also become one of the biggest tools of Satan to be hurtful, mean and to quite frankly bully anyone who goes against us. We don’t have to see these people in our lives. So we unattach ourselves to the comments we make because we don’t see the hurt we cause. We strike out with our hurtful tongue and then continue on our merry way without thinking twice of the devastation we have left behind. It is an Internet based Hit-and-Run basically.

When we as a society and people will take a step back BEFORE passing judgments or forming opinions and tell ourselves that there are always two sides of every story and take a more thought out approach to the way we communicate and deal with people, then perhaps we can save ourselves from this destructive pattern we have put ourselves in.

When Christ, our loving Brother, hung on the cross; being persecuted for things He did not do He prayed, “Father forgive them for they know not what they do.” When we as a society learn to forgive and to not be so quick to be offended, then perhaps we may start to change the hate filled culture we have created for ourselves. It starts in our homes where we have the most influence. We must teach our children to veer from this horrible destructive path we are on. We have to teach them to love and to forgive. We have to teach them to mind their tongue when on the Internet. We have to teach them to think of others when they say something, do something or respond to something. We must teach them to ask themselves, “What would Christ have me do. How would Christ have me act”. If we don’t start with our kids and try to change our own behavior we will eventually destroy ourselves.

 

 

Today I reflect upon the trials that my husband and I have gone through in the last 4 years. At times when there seemed no hope, Heavenly Father always reminded us of His presence and love for us.

Today I read a post on Facebook from a friend and neighbor of mine. I realized that even how large my problems have seemed, they pale in comparison to some.

With this said, I am including two links. I urge you to click on these links. Read them and try to help. Despite the problems this world faces, I refuse to believe that brotherly love and kindness do no exist.  There are good people out there who are wanting to do what God wants and truly follow Him in every sense of the word.

Please read and help if you can.

 

http://www.heartsforbinghams.org/

 

http://jasonandstacybingham.blogspot.com/

Facing Your Fears

This past week, I was privileged to travel with a group of about 30 youth and a few adults to Jackson Hole Wyoming for a youth conference.

In my mind I tell myself that I am an adventurous soul, but then some situations I get in I truly ask myself, “What were you thinking?”

Our first day we embarked on a river raft trip down the Snake River. I was all stoke for this until we actually got to the river. All of a sudden, I remembered the time I almost drown as a kid and I started getting really nervous. Not to mention that the entire boat contained young girls between the ages of 12 and 18. Then there were four women and on guide. In my mind I kept thinking, “Shouldn’t we have at least one more guide so if I fall in someone can help me back in, while the other guides the boat?” No, no more guides just Alex.

As we started off down the calmer part of the river, Alex was good as relieving our fears and told us he hadn’t lost anyone yet. This particular sentence wasn’t very comforting because I had a doctor tell me he had never had any problems with a certain surgery and guess what…I was his first problem and nearly died. So I kept thinking to myself, I will be the first of Alex’s “losses”.

I realized that as we conquered each wave, how I relaxed more and actually started enjoying it even though the water was only 48 degrees and I had lost all feeling in my right foot.

I came on this trip with three of my children, one daughter and two sons. I knew two of my children were the adventurous type, but my one son really surprised me. You could get a bracelet for jumping into the river at a certain point. He actually jumped into the water. My daughter was the first on our boat, which was not surprising, to jump in and my other son… He had to do it three times. I am not sure I would have been that adventurous at their age.

At one point my “safe” son was actually “riding the bull” at the front of the boat through the waves. This really surprised me. After we got on the bus, my younger “crazier” son informed me that he had ridden the bull through the lunch counter. This almost gave me a heart attack. I guess he figured it was better to do it and then ask for permission later. This kid will be the death of me.

By the time we ended the trip I was really wanting more river to conquer as was most of the girls. The whole trip was designed to get us out of our comfort zone and try new things. I was definitely out of my comfort zone and would in fact do this again. It was very fun.

That night we drove in to Jackson to play night games at the high school. I actually found this to be more out of my comfort zone than almost anything else we did just because of what happened there.

I am an extremely jumpy and paranoid person. Because of experiences growing up, I am extremely cautious when put in some situations. A couple of weeks before coming on this trip, we had a retired police officer come and speak to the girls about being safe and how to avoid bad situations. It was very informative and added to my paranoid nature.

While we were playing night games, I started to get really thirsty. I noticed a building by the football field where we were playing. I decided that I would walk over and see if there was a drinking fountain. Now it was dark and the only light came from a couple of street lights and some flashlights the kids had.

When I got to the building and noticed it was restrooms, I decided I was use the facilities while there. As I approached a door to see which bathroom I was at, a voice came out of the dark asking me what we were doing. I nearly died. I couldn’t see anyone and could only tell in what direction the voice was coming from. I knew the voice was not attached to anyone I knew so I was extremely startled. I explained that we were playing capture the flag and the person asked a couple of more questions. At this point I had a few red flags going up in my head. I decided to leave the conversation and continue on to my destination…the lady’s room. When I got to the back side of the building, I started getting more and more nervous. I realized that I had just put myself in an extremely volatile situation. I was behind a building, in the dark and a stranger knew I was there and I was pretty sure that a few or anyone even knew the stranger was there.

I decided to go into the bathroom anyway because at this point I really had to go and couldn’t wait. When I entered the bathroom, the light automatically came on, which kind of scared me because I was already on edge. I got in the stall and did my duty and as I was getting ready to go out of the stall, the lights went off. I nearly had a heart attack. I kid you not, I thought I was about to get involved in a smack down and no one would a hear a thing that happened. I stood there with hand on handle listening and waiting to see if I could hear anything.

After a couple of minutes had passed, I knew I couldn’t stay in the stall all night and that I had to come out. I slowly opened the door and tried to look in the dark for any movement. Because the stall door next to me was opened, it blocked any dim view I had of the exit. I stood there for what seemed an eternity before I finally shoved the stall door next to me hoping that if someone was on the other side of it, I would knock them out on impact.

After the door stopped swinging, I listened for noise and didn’t hear anything, so I decided to head for the exit. I took about four steps when the light came on. I stood there with a deer in the headlight look thinking I was going to see the perp in front of me who had shut off the light, but there was no one. After my heart slowed to 300 bm I realized it was possible that the lights were automatic in some way. This did not remove the fear I was feeling. I stood with hand on the exit door handle for about five minutes trying to figure out what I should do. Do I slowly open the door and look side to side or do I just bust out like the flippin’ john was on fire. I came to the conclusion that if someone was out there, they would be surprised by my bolting out of there and thus giving me an upper hand.

It was probably about 5 minutes before I had the guts to bust out. I swung that door open and flew out of there like there was no tomorrow, not looking what was behind me.

I later found out that this guy ending up being obnoxious and thus ending the kids’ night of fun. Which confirmed my suspicions of the guy to begin with. I shook for quite a while afterwards.

The next day of our adventures took us to a ropes course at in the middle of nowhere in Idaho. Here we would be facing our fears on a rock wall and zip line. I was really stoked for this and thought it would be fun. When we arrived, I soon noticed how secluded it was and how some of the trails were hard to see.  Now we had been seeing bear warning signs along the road, so in the back of my mind there was a small thought of perhaps running into one. As we were walking along this trail to a hidden pavilion, all of a sudden I see a giant brown head. I nearly dropped dead right there until I realized it was a brown lab. I told myself what a stupid idiot I was to get so scared and the chances of seeing a bear would be slim to none.

Well that fear was intensified when the advisors of the course told us that a black bear had just come through there earlier that morning. Geez! Are you kidding me? Now to add to the anxiety of the zip line, I was freaked out over seeing a bear. My mother’s cousin was mauled by a bear in Alaska and the story was published in a book. I had been reading this book earlier this year and decided that I would never come within 100 yards of an Alder bush. This whole book was about grizzly bears coming out of Alder bushes.

When we finally got to the rock wall, I was nervous but I had done a rock wall a couple of times before so it wasn’t too bad. It was when I got to the top and realized that the only way down was the zip line. I don’t know how I had ever talked myself into this, but me and heights have never been bff’s and it wasn’t about to start this day either.

I stood there in almost a frozen fear of how high I was and how it was intended for me to get down. I shook as the advisor hooked me up to the zip line, thinking how stupid I was to agree to this. We were at least 30 feet in the air and one had to walk out on this plank that was no wider than 2 feet and perhaps 2 1/2 long. It looked like 4 inches square from where I was standing. I climbed out on the plank holding on to the telephone pole behind me like a stinkin’ cat. I stood there with everyone cheering me on and trying to get up the nerve to go. I just could not get myself to jump. I kept telling myself to do it and just get it over with, but I couldn’t. Then I looked below and there stood my two sons, yelling at me “You can do it Mom!”. I knew at this point, I had to jump. They had to see that their mother was not a wuss.

I truly believe I passed out on the jump because it was a blur and then I am pretty sure I woke up the entire community of Driggs from my scream. I screamed, and screamed and screamed. Was it fun? In a sick sort of way. Would I do it again? Not entirely sure. As we were leaving the course to go to the cars, it was getting dark and I realized I was on a trail that was surrounded by what looked like Alder bushes. I nearly plowed over those in front of me trying to get to the cars. If there was anything that scared me more than that dang zip line, it would be something coming out of those bushes and getting me. So did I face my fears? I felt like I was the entire trip. Do I think I handled them well? Perhaps some of them, others not so much so.

Liberalism Wary of Mormonism

I read an article where the liberals were increasingly becoming wearing of a Mormon being a president. As I sat and contemplated this, I decided I would take the liberal belief system and compare it to the Mormon belief system and see perhaps why they are wary of us. I am only going to touch on a few of the differences.

Liberals view on abortion:

A woman has the right to decide what happens with her body.  A fetus is not a human life, so it does not have separate individual rights. The government should provide taxpayer-funded abortions for women who cannot afford them. The decision to have an abortion is a personal choice of a woman regarding her own body and the government must protect this right. Women have the right to affordable, safe and legal abortions, including partial birth abortion.

Mormons view on abortion:

As sons and daughters of God, we cherish life as a gift from Him. His eternal plan provides opportunities for His children to obtain physical bodies, to gain earthly experiences, and to realize their divine destinies as heirs of eternal life. 

With that understanding and reverence for life, we deplore the loss of life associated with warfare. The data are appalling. In World War I, more than 8 million military fatalities occurred. In World War II, more than 22 million servicemen and women died.  Together, these two wars, covering portions of 14 years, cost the lives of at least 30 million soldiers worldwide. That figure does not include the millions of civilian casualties.

These data, however, are dwarfed by the toll of another war that claims more casualties annually than did World War I and World War II combined. Worldwide reports indicate that more than 40 million abortions are performed per year. 

This war called abortion is a war on the defenseless and the voiceless. It is a war on the unborn. This war is being waged globally. Ironically, civilized societies that have generally placed safeguards on human life have now passed laws that sanction this practice.

This matters greatly to us because the Lord has repeatedly declared this divine imperative: “Thou shalt not kill.”Then He added, “Nor do anything like unto it.”  Even before the fulness of the gospel was restored, enlightened individuals understood the sanctity of human life. John Calvin, a sixteenth-century reformer, wrote, “If it seems more horrible to kill a man in his own house than in a field, … it ought surely to be deemed more atrocious to destroy a fetus in the womb before it has come to light.” 

Man-made rules have now legalized that which has been forbidden by God from the dawn of time! Human reasoning has twisted and transformed absolute truth into sound-bite slogans that promote a practice that is consummately wrong.

Concern for the health of the mother is a vital one. But circumstances in which the termination of pregnancy is necessary to save the life of the mother are very rare, particularly where modern medical care is available. Another concern applies to pregnancies resulting from rape or incest. This tragedy is compounded because an innocent woman’s freedom of choice was denied. In these circumstances, abortion is sometimes considered advisable to preserve the physical and mental health of the mother. Abortions for these reasons are also rare.

Some argue for abortion because of fear that a child may have a congenital malformation. Surely the harmful effects of certain infectious or toxic agents in the first trimester of pregnancy are real, but caution is needed in considering the termination of a pregnancy. Life has great value for all, including those born with disabilities. Furthermore, the outcome may not be as serious as postulated.

Relatively few abortions are performed for the special circumstances to which I have referred.  Most abortions are performed on demand to deal with unwanted pregnancies. These abortions are simply a form of birth control.

Elective abortion has been legalized in many countries on the premise that a woman is free to choose what she does with her own body. To an extent this is true for each of us, male or female. We are free to think. We are free to plan. And we are free to do. But once an action has been taken, we are never free from its consequences.

To understand this concept more clearly, we can learn from the astronaut. Anytime during selection or preparation, he or she is free to withdraw from the program. But once the spacecraft has lifted off, the astronaut is bound to the consequences of the previous choice to make the journey.

So it is with people who choose to embark on a journey that leads to parenthood. They have freedom of choice—to begin or not to begin that course. When conception does occur, that choice has already been made.

Yes, a woman is free to choose what she will do with her body. Whether her choice leads to an astronaut’s mission or to a baby, her choice to begin the journey binds her to the consequences of that choice. She cannot “unchoose.”

When the controversies about abortion are debated, “individual right of choice” is invoked as though it were the one supreme virtue. That could only be true if but one person were involved. The rights of any one individual do not allow the rights of another individual to be abused. In or out of marriage, abortion is not solely an individual matter. Terminating the life of a developing baby involves two individuals with separate bodies, brains, and hearts. A woman’s choice for her own body does not include the right to deprive her baby of life—and a lifetime of choices that her child would make.

As Latter-day Saints, we should stand up for choice—the right choice—not simply for choice as a method.

Nearly all legislation pertaining to abortion considers the duration of gestation. The human mind has presumed to determine when “meaningful life” begins. In the course of my studies as a medical doctor, I learned that a new life begins when two special cells unite to become one cell, bringing together 23 chromosomes from the father and 23 from the mother. These chromosomes contain thousands of genes. In a marvelous process involving a combination of genetic coding by which all the basic human characteristics of the unborn person are established, a new DNA complex is formed. A continuum of growth results in a new human being. Approximately 22 days after the two cells have united, a little heart begins to beat. At 26 days the circulation of blood begins.To legislate when a developing life is considered “meaningful” is presumptive and quite arbitrary, in my opinion.

Abortion has been legalized by governing entities without regard for God and His commandments. Scriptures state repeatedly that people will prosper only if they obey the commandments of God.  Individuals will prosper only when they walk in faith and obedience to God, who said:

“I, the Lord, … built the earth, my very handiwork; and all things therein are mine.

“And it is my purpose to provide. …

“But it must needs be done in mine own way. …

“For the earth is full, and there is enough and to spare.” 

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has consistently opposed the practice of abortion. More than a century ago, the First Presidency wrote, “We again take this opportunity of warning the Latter-day Saints against those … practices of foeticide and infanticide.” 

Early in his presidency President Spencer W. Kimball (1895–1985) said: “We have repeatedly affirmed the position of the Church in unalterably opposing all abortions, except in two rare instances: When conception is the result of forcible rape and when competent medical counsel indicates that a mother’s health would otherwise be seriously jeopardized.”Current policy now includes two other exceptions—incest and if the baby cannot survive beyond birth, as determined by competent medical counsel. Even these exceptions do not justify abortion automatically. It “should be considered only after the persons responsible have consulted with their bishops and received divine confirmation through prayer.” 

Life is precious! No one can cuddle an innocent infant, look into those beautiful eyes, feel the little fingers, and kiss that baby’s cheek without a deepening reverence for life and for our Creator. Life comes from life. It is no accident. It is a gift from God. Innocent life is not sent by Him to be destroyed. It is given by Him and is naturally to be taken by Him alone.  I testify that life is eternal as He is eternal. (Russel M. Nelson)

Liberals view on same sex-marriage:

Marriage is the union of people who love each other.  It should be legal for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender individuals, to ensure equal rights for all.  Support same-sex marriage.Opposed to the creation of a constitutional amendment establishing marriage as the union of one man and one woman.  All individuals, regardless of their sexual orientation, have the right to marry.Prohibiting same-sex citizens from marrying denies them their civil rights.

Mormons view on same sex-marriage:

The First Presidency and the Council of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, solemnly proclaim that marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God and that the family is central to the Creator’s plan for the eternal destiny of His children.

All human beings—male and female—are created in the image of God. Each is a beloved spirit son or daughter of heavenly parents, and, as such, each has a divine nature and destiny. Gender is an essential characteristic of individual premortal, mortal, and eternal identity and purpose.

In the premortal realm, spirit sons and daughters knew and worshipped God as their Eternal Father and accepted His plan by which His children could obtain a physical body and gain earthly experience to progress toward perfection and ultimately realize their divine destiny as heirs of eternal life. The divine plan of happiness enables family relationships to be perpetuated beyond the grave. Sacred ordinances and covenants available in holy temples make it possible for individuals to return to the presence of God and for families to be united eternally.

The first commandment that God gave to Adam and Eve pertained to their potential for parenthood as husband and wife. We declare that God’s commandment for His children to multiply and replenish the earth remains in force. We further declare that God has commanded that the sacred powers of procreation are to be employed only between man and woman, lawfully wedded as husband and wife.

We declare the means by which mortal life is created to be divinely appointed. We affirm the sanctity of life and of its importance in God’s eternal plan.

Husband and wife have a solemn responsibility to love and care for each other and for their children. “Children are an heritage of the Lord” (Psalm 127:3). Parents have a sacred duty to rear their children in love and righteousness, to provide for their physical and spiritual needs, and to teach them to love and serve one another, observe the commandments of God, and be law-abiding citizens wherever they live. Husbands and wives—mothers and fathers—will be held accountable before God for the discharge of these obligations.

The family is ordained of God. Marriage between man and woman is essential to His eternal plan. Children are entitled to birth within the bonds of matrimony, and to be reared by a father and a mother who honor marital vows with complete fidelity. Happiness in family life is most likely to be achieved when founded upon the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ. Successful marriages and families are established and maintained on principles of faith, prayer, repentance, forgiveness, respect, love, compassion, work, and wholesome recreational activities. By divine design, fathers are to preside over their families in love and righteousness and are responsible to provide the necessities of life and protection for their families. Mothers are primarily responsible for the nurture of their children. In these sacred responsibilities, fathers and mothers are obligated to help one another as equal partners. Disability, death, or other circumstances may necessitate individual adaptation. Extended families should lend support when needed.

We warn that individuals who violate covenants of chastity, who abuse spouse or offspring, or who fail to fulfill family responsibilities will one day stand accountable before God. Further, we warn that the disintegration of the family will bring upon individuals, communities, and nations the calamities foretold by ancient and modern prophets.

We call upon responsible citizens and officers of government everywhere to promote those measures designed to maintain and strengthen the family as the fundamental unit of society.

Liberals view on Welfare:

Support welfare, including long-term welfare.Welfare is a safety net which provides for the needs of the poor.  Welfare is necessary to bring fairness to American economic life.  It is a device for protecting the poor.

Mormons view on Welfare:

The objective of the welfare program of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is to care for the needy while teaching principles that will allow needy persons to become self-reliant and retain their self-respect. The program also provides opportunities to all other members of the Church to serve — fulfilling the commandment Jesus Christ gave to feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, take in the stranger, clothe the naked and visit the sick.

Employment resource service centers that are provided by the church help provide a place where people can receive job training, learn to enhance their résumé and find job opportunities. There are 259 centers around the world. These programs are in place to help get people off of welfare and become self-reliant to help them retain their self-respect.

Liberals view on Global Warming:

Global warming is caused by an increased production of carbon dioxide through the burning of fossil fuels (coal, oil and natural gas).  The U.S. is a major contributor to global warming because it produces 25% of the world’s carbon dioxide. Proposed laws to reduce carbon emissions in the U.S. are urgently needed and should be enacted immediately to save the planet. Many reputable scientists support this theory.

Mormons view on Global Warming:

For a brief period, following his postresurrection ministry among his disciples in the land of Jerusalem, Jesus ministered among them here in America. During the thousand years of their history they were repeatedly taught and warned by prophets—including the resurrected Lord himself—that their occupation of the land was conditioned upon their living repentant lives.

For example, Samuel, the Lamanite prophet, thus warned the Nephites some six years prior to Christ’s birth: “Behold, saith the Lord, concerning the people of the Nephites: If they will not repent, and observe to do my will, I will utterly destroy them, … and as surely as the Lord liveth shall these things be, saith the Lord.” (Hel. 15:17.)

He had before said, “Nothing can save this people save it be repentance and faith on the Lord Jesus Christ. …” (Hel. 13:6.)

All such warnings were in the end ignored. About A.D. 400 the Nephites became so hardened in iniquity that in a fratricidal war they were utterly destroyed.

Other witnesses to the truth of the message “repent or perish” are the consuming of Sodom and Gomorrah and the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70.

Against this background we will do well to ponder the Lord’s diagnosis of the predicament of the inhabitants of the earth today.

“They have strayed from mine ordinances, and have broken mine everlasting covenant,” he said.

“They seek not the Lord to establish his righteousness, but every man walketh in his own way, and after the image of his own God, whose image is in the likeness of the world, and whose substance is that of an idol, which waxeth old and shall perish in Babylon, even Babylon the great, which shall fall.

“Wherefore, I the Lord, knowing the calamity which should come upon the inhabitants of the earth, called upon my servant Joseph Smith, Jun., and spake unto him from heaven, and gave him commandments;

“And also gave commandments to others, that they should proclaim these things unto the world. …” (D&C 1:15–18.)

The commandments referred to are replete with reminders to us of this generation that we must “repent or perish.”

Here are some of those reminders:

“Prepare ye, prepare ye for that which is to come, for the Lord is nigh;

“And the anger of the Lord is kindled, and his sword is bathed in heaven, and it shall fall upon the inhabitants of the earth.

“And the arm of the Lord shall be revealed; and the day cometh that they who will not hear the voice of the Lord, neither the voice of his servants, neither give heed to the words of the prophets and apostles, shall be cut off from among the people;

“… He that repents and does the commandments of the Lord shall be forgiven;

“And he that repents not, from him shall be taken even the light which he has received; …

“Search these commandments, for they are true and faithful, and the prophecies and promises which are in them shall all be fulfilled.” (D&C 1:12–14, 32–33, 37.)

Many of the said commandments foretell in detail the manner in which the unrepentant shall perish. For example, we read in the fifth section of the Doctrine and Covenants “that woe shall come unto the inhabitants of the earth if they will not hearken unto my words;

“For a desolating scourge shall go forth among the inhabitants of the earth, and shall continue to be poured out from time to time, if they repent not, until the earth is empty, and the inhabitants thereof are consumed away and utterly destroyed by the brightness of my coming.

“Behold, I tell you these things, even as I also told the people of the destruction of Jerusalem; and my word shall be verified at this time as it hath hitherto been verified.” (D&C 5:5, 19–20.)

In the 29th section of the Doctrine and Covenants, we read that before the great and terrible day of the Lord shall come, “there shall be weeping and wailing among the hosts of men;

“And there shall be a great hailstorm sent forth to destroy the crops of the earth.

“And it shall come to pass, because of the wickedness of the world, that I will take vengeance upon the wicked, for they will not repent; for the cup of mine indignation is full; for behold, my blood shall not cleanse them if they hear me not.

“Wherefore, I the Lord God will send forth flies upon the face of the earth, which shall take hold of the inhabitants thereof, and shall eat their flesh, and shall cause maggots to come in upon them;

“And their tongues shall be stayed that they shall not utter against me; and their flesh shall fall from off their bones, and their eyes from their sockets;

“And it shall come to pass that the beasts of the forest and the fowls of the air shall devour them up.” (D&C 29:15–20.)

Although these scriptures, and numerous others to like effect, clearly and forcefully emphasize the message “repent or perish,” they are not unkind, harsh, nor flippant. Neither are they arbitrary. They express the logical and inevitable consequences of the violation of natural law—that law which was “decreed in heaven before the foundations of this world, upon which all blessings are predicated.” (D&C 130:20.)

These warnings have been declared to the world now for more than 140 years. The world is without excuse.

The signs of the times bear ominous testimony that for this generation the hour of reckoning approaches.

“He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.” (Matt. 11:15.) If we keep the foregoing scriptures in mind, they will help us understand the “signs” of our times.

As dark as the picture seems, however, there is a bright side to it. He who really listens will find that all the warnings, ancient and modern, have a silver lining that give cause for rejoicing. Both history and the scriptures are as replete with promises and proof that the repentant shall live, as they are with warnings that the unrepentant shall perish.

In the days of Adam, “the Lord God called upon men by the Holy Ghost everywhere and commanded them that they should repent;

“And as many as believed in the Son, and repented of their sins, should be saved. …” (Moses 5:14–15; italics added.)

A great lesson from the ancient world is evidenced in the contrast between the destiny of Enoch’s Zion and the fate of the wicked at the time of the flood.

In the days of Enoch “there went forth a curse upon all people that fought against God;

“And from that time forth there were wars and bloodshed among them; but the Lord came and dwelt with his people, and they dwelt in righteousness.

“The fear of the Lord was upon all nations, so great was the glory of the Lord, which was upon his people. …

“And the Lord called his people Zion, because they were of one heart and one mind, and dwelt in righteousness; …

“… And lo, Zion, in process of time, was taken up into heaven. …” (Moses 7:15–18, 21.)

The same contrast may be seen between the glorious society enjoyed by the righteous Nephites during the two centuries following the ministry of the resurrected Lord among them and their ultimate destruction.

Of them it is written:

“In the thirty and sixth year, the people were all converted unto the Lord, upon all the face of the land, … and there were no contentions and disputations among them, and every man did deal justly one with another.

“And it came to pass that there was no contention in the land, because of the love of God which did dwell in the hearts of the people.

“… and surely there could not be a happier people among all the people who had been created by the hand of God.” (4 Ne. 1:2, 15–16.)

We come now to the promises the Lord has made to us of this last dispensation:

As long ago as 550 B.C., Nephi, seeing in vision our day, was moved by the spirit of prophecy to say:

“The Lord God shall commence his work among all nations, kindreds, tongues, and people, to bring about the restoration of his people upon the earth.

“And with righteousness shall the Lord God judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth. And he shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth; and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked.

“For the time speedily cometh that the Lord God shall cause a great division among the people, and the wicked will he destroy; and he will spare his people, yea, even if it so be that he must destroy the wicked by fire.” (2 Ne. 30:8–10; italics added.)

When the Saints were being driven from Jackson County, Missouri, the Lord gave the prophet Joseph Smith a comforting revelation in which He said:

“I have sworn … that I would let fall the sword of mine indignation in behalf of my people; and even as I have said, it shall come to pass.

“Mine indignation is soon to be poured out without measure upon all nations; and this will I do when the cup of their iniquity is full.

“And in that day all who are found upon the watch-tower, or in other words, all mine Israel, shall be saved.

“Therefore, let your hearts be comforted concerning Zion; for all flesh is in mine hands; be still and know that I am God.

“Zion shall not be moved out of her place, notwithstanding her children are scattered.

“They that remain, and are pure in heart, shall return, and come to their inheritances, they and their children, with songs of everlasting joy, to build up the waste places of Zion.” (D&C 101:10–12, 16–18.)

In conclusion, I quote again from the Lord’s preface to the Doctrine and Covenants:

“Verily I say unto you, O inhabitants of the earth: I the Lord am willing to make these things known unto all flesh;

“For I am no respecter of persons, and will that all men shall know that the day speedily cometh; the hour is not yet, but is nigh at hand, when peace shall be taken from the earth, and the devil shall have power over his own dominion.

So I guess in my view as a Mormon, and most other Mormons that if you don’t repent and get rid of your lack of conscience  when you sin. Or if you repeatedly throw God, your very own Creator, to the wind and not take responsibility for your actions, then Global Warming is God’s way of saying, “I have asked and asked you to repent and be humble but since you repeatedly stiffen your necks and refuse to hear then I will compel you to be humble”. There are always consequences to our actions. Whether in this life or the next. No one gets a free ride.

So in closing if liberals are wary of Mormons it is because our belief system goes against the very core of theirs and unfortunately we have more evidence to back up the validity of our existence and why we are here, than they ever will and this puts fear in their hearts.

Enough is Enough!

Sign petition here:   http://www.gopetition.com/petitions/firing-of-lawrence-o-donnell.html

Some of you may or may not know that I am a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Or you might know us by the name Mormon. Yes, I belong to the same faith as Mitt Romney.

I am usually a peaceful person. I try to follow the teachings of God and Jesus Christ the best I can. I have my faults just like every person on this earth. I try to be accepting of all people’s beliefs and respect them for that. I rarely try to initiate conflict in any way, but something has happened that has cut me to my very core.

There are three things that I will go to my death fighting for. One: God, Two: Family, Three: America. Now if anyone messes with these three things or disses on them in any way, it will set a “sleeping lion” off in me like none other.

An attack has been made upon my belief system that I view as an attack on religion altogether in the media. Even though I have my issues with Newt Gingrich and his lack of morality in marriage, he was right when saying that the media is having an all out attack on religion.

When someone who holds the title of journalist they are held to a code of ethics. Here is the preamble for that very code:

Members of the Society of Professional Journalists believe that public enlightenment is the forerunner of justice and the foundation of democracy. The duty of the journalist is to further those ends by seeking truth and providing a fair and comprehensive account of events and issues. Conscientious journalists from all media and specialties strive to serve the public with thoroughness and honesty. Professional integrity is the cornerstone of a journalist’s credibility. Members of the Society share a dedication to ethical behavior and adopt this code to declare the Society’s principles and standards of practice.

The following is the SPJ’s code of ethics:

Seek Truth and Report It
Journalists should be honest, fair and courageous in gathering, reporting and interpreting information.

Journalists should:

— Test the accuracy of information from all sources and exercise care to avoid inadvertent error. Deliberate distortion is never permissible.
— Diligently seek out subjects of news stories to give them the opportunity to respond to allegations of wrongdoing.
— Identify sources whenever feasible. The public is entitled to as much information as possible on sources’ reliability.
— Always question sources’ motives before promising anonymity. Clarify conditions attached to any promise made in exchange for information. Keep promises.
— Make certain that headlines, news teases and promotional material, photos, video, audio, graphics, sound bites and quotations do not misrepresent. They should not oversimplify or highlight incidents out of context.
— Never distort the content of news photos or video. Image enhancement for technical clarity is always permissible. Label montages and photo illustrations.
— Avoid misleading re-enactments or staged news events. If re-enactment is necessary to tell a story, label it.
— Avoid undercover or other surreptitious methods of gathering information except when traditional open methods will not yield information vital to the public. Use of such methods should be explained as part of the story
— Never plagiarize.
— Tell the story of the diversity and magnitude of the human experience boldly, even when it is unpopular to do so.
— Examine their own cultural values and avoid imposing those values on others.
— Avoid stereotyping by race, gender, age, religion, ethnicity, geography, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance or social status.
— Support the open exchange of views, even views they find repugnant.
— Give voice to the voiceless; official and unofficial sources of information can be equally valid.
— Distinguish between advocacy and news reporting. Analysis and commentary should be labeled and not misrepresent fact or context.
— Distinguish news from advertising and shun hybrids that blur the lines between the two.
— Recognize a special obligation to ensure that the public’s business is conducted in the open and that government records are open to inspection.

Minimize Harm
Ethical journalists treat sources, subjects and colleagues as human beings deserving of respect.

Journalists should:

— Show compassion for those who may be affected adversely by news coverage. Use special sensitivity when dealing with children and inexperienced sources or subjects.
— Be sensitive when seeking or using interviews or photographs of those affected by tragedy or grief.
— Recognize that gathering and reporting information may cause harm or discomfort. Pursuit of the news is not a license for arrogance.
— Recognize that private people have a greater right to control information about themselves than do public officials and others who seek power, influence or attention. Only an overriding public need can justify intrusion into anyone’s privacy.
— Show good taste. Avoid pandering to lurid curiosity.
— Be cautious about identifying juvenile suspects or victims of sex crimes.
— Be judicious about naming criminal suspects before the formal filing of charges.
— Balance a criminal suspect’s fair trial rights with the public’s right to be informed.

Act Independently
Journalists should be free of obligation to any interest other than the public’s right to know.

Journalists should:

—Avoid conflicts of interest, real or perceived.
— Remain free of associations and activities that may compromise integrity or damage credibility.
— Refuse gifts, favors, fees, free travel and special treatment, and shun secondary employment, political involvement, public office and service in community organizations if they compromise journalistic integrity.
— Disclose unavoidable conflicts.
— Be vigilant and courageous about holding those with power accountable.
— Deny favored treatment to advertisers and special interests and resist their pressure to influence news coverage.
— Be wary of sources offering information for favors or money; avoid bidding for news.

Be Accountable
Journalists are accountable to their readers, listeners, viewers and each other.

Journalists should:

— Clarify and explain news coverage and invite dialogue with the public over journalistic conduct.
— Encourage the public to voice grievances against the news media.
— Admit mistakes and correct them promptly.
— Expose unethical practices of journalists and the news media.
— Abide by the same high standards to which they hold others.

With this said and listed I created a online petition to get Lawrence O’Donnell from MSNBC fired for his unethical reporting. His latest has been a spew of lies regarding the church I belong to. This man has in no way done his research completely to be able to accurately report on something he knows absolutely nothing about.

Mr. O’Donnell has repeatedly broken the code of ethics for the Society of Professional Journalists. When companies hire and employ people who feel that their perception of things is more truthful than the facts themselves, then they need to be removed from a position of influence to unsuspecting listeners or viewers. Mr. O’Donnell has repeatedly failed to do his homework on many of his comments and thus has broken the very code of ethics he is required to follow by his profession.

I call all to sign the petition and thus take back our country and make the Media themselves be held to a higher standard of truthful reporting. Too many misunderstandings and misinformation comes from the media and we as a people need to hold them to a higher standard because of the potential influence they have on the world.

If you have any moral fiber in your body to stand up to this type of reporting then please sign this petition and lets send a message to the media that we are tired of the lies and hatred they create in this beloved country of ours. We are here to help  one another and build this great nation,  not tear each other down and create disharmony within our own walls. This country is run by the people for the people, not by  media or by government. It was set up for the people to make change and be change. I call for action.

http://www.gopetition.com/petitions/firing-of-lawrence-o-donnell.html

Can I Embarrass Myself Enough?

I grew up in a family that enjoyed having a good time.  My brothers were constantly pranking us five girls.  Of course we would always pay back. One particular week stands out more than others when one of my brothers was off work and made our lives miserable.  In the process we all started pranking each other something terrible.  My father even got in the action.  Which was out of the norm.  Usually Mom was the one who would go toilet papering with us kids and other “various activities”, all good and legal fun (at least it was legal back then). Toilet papering was our favorite thing to do. If you got toilet papered, you were the coolest people on the block. I remember my friend and I saving up tons of paper towel and toilet paper to get a boy’s house that I had “liked”.  I remember one buying spree prompted the store checker to ask us what we were up to….we just smiled.  Admitted nothing.

This  particular week off for my brother was a nightmare for the rest of us.  We would find the neck and arm holes of our pajamas sewn shut when we put them on.  We found the legs of our nylons sewn together.  My mom found her clothes missing (that was my dad), my brother found a brazier in his gym bag while he was in the boys locker…(this was a  good one).  My sister found a fake snake in her bed and we found fake spiders (that looked very real) hanging from our ceilings.  We were renting this home and the basement was unfinished.  My father had been in the military and somewhere my parents had picked up military cots for us to sleep on.  We came home from school to find all of these nailed to the beams on the ceiling. We came home and found our beds outside..this was in the winter.  We got my brother back by hanging all of his clothes off the roof of the house, including his tidy whiteys.  We put vinegar in his cologne….(I think this made my extremely patient brother upset) At this point, things were getting out of hand. We knew my father had had enough when we built a snowman in the front yard and instead of using a broom, we used a toilet plunger.  This did not sit well with him.

One prank that went bad was my sister had put shoes above a door that led downstairs hoping that she would nail someone in the head when they opened the door.  Well she did alright….the telephone repairman.  Nailed him good she did, then she blamed it on the younger, less-defensive siblings.

Anyway..this  is kind of the way my family is.  One of my sisters imparticular will call and give any child of mine that answers the phone…including my husband….a good teasing about one thing or another before asking for me.  I pretty much do the same to her children or my other sister’s children. There have been times when she or I or another sister will pass on the street and pull the old “finger up the nose” gag to be funny.  These types of things are just normal for us.

The other day, my sister called asking me to help my nephew do his taxes.  She gave me his cell phone number and I gave him a call.  I was half way through giving him crap about how I work cheap, etc…when the voice on the other end told me I had the wrong number.  Well…that was embarrassing.  If we weren’t always trying to pull one over on each other, then things like this wouldn’t happen.  Take today for instance:

I went to help my sister do something for my father.  She left before I did, but I came upon her at an intersection.  As I came closer, I decided I was really going to get her good.  She was directly behind a truck that was waiting to make a left hand turn.  There was no one in front of me and I was going straight.  I went really slow and stopped right by her.  I stuck my finger up my nose as far as I could get it and put the stupidest look I could conjure up on my face.  I sat there right next to her knowing full well she would see the color of my car and turn and look.  Sure enough, when I turned to see the look on her face half expecting her finger to be up her nose too…I came face to face with an irate looking woman who did not resemble my sister at all.

I don’t think I have ever covered my identity as fast as I did at that moment.  I sat there thinking to myself…”idiot, idiot, idiot”.  How could I mistake that car for my sister.  I ran through my head where the car was exact make, model and color.  Her big hair looked like my sister’s big hair from the back……yada yada yada..

If I was not constantly trying to pull one over on somebody, stupid things like this would not happen to me.  Next time, I will be more cautious.  I will drive up slowly take a good look to make sure it is who I think it is…then I will shove my finger up my nose.  Problem solved.

Why I Love My Kids

Today was a very stressful day.  In the area we live in, we have been receiving a lot of rain instead of our usual snow.  It made for some very scary roads.  This morning the sun had come out and the roads were wet, but not icy. Or so we thought.

My daughter came home from school yesterday telling her father that her car acted like it was overheating.  So this morning he put some antifreeze in it and took it for a spin to see if the problem was taken care of.   He hit an unseen patch of ice and totaled her car.  He is O.K., but the car was not.  My husband was so broken hearted to have to tell his daughter what he had done to her car.

Kids have this ability to be so resilient when as adults we worry ourselves into the ground.  I happened upon the following entry that my daughter wrote in her blog.  I have to share it with you because it brought a huge smile to my face during an extremely stressful time and put what is really important into perspective.  My family.

Arianna’s Entry:

RIP, Sparky

BENSON, Utah- 1996 Dodge Intrepid “Sparky”, 16, met his demise Jan. 20, 2012 after sliding across an icy road and slamming into one heck of a mailbox post. His bumper was torn to shreds, his lights were shattered, and both of his airbags were ejected. Due to my family’s inability to pay for his medical bills, he was euthanized at Cache Valley Metals the morning of his accident.Sparky left us with a rich legacy of driving into ditches and growling like a hungry grizzly bear. He was a morose individual, always snarling unhappily when his engine came to life, skittering across the road when the snow was falling. Sparky hated winter and winter hated Sparky. He would be glad to realize that he no longer has to deal with snow again.Sparky was adopted my junior year in high school after my parents’ Intrepid exploded on their way to get him, thus, forcing them to bring him home. He was a carefree car at one point of his life, his power steering ripping you across the asphalt, his engine a gentle hum.

The day that he first drove into a ditch and had to be pulled out by a tractor was the day when part of Sparky died. He’s never been himself since.

Sparky and I had many adventures together, such as driving to BYU on the freeway for the first time and that time when I ripped off his BYU tramp stamp with a spatula. He got the nickname Sparky after his battery died at Steve’s house and the jumper cables nearly electrocuted poor Steve. His battery failed him two times that night. I thought I would lose him.

How Sparky could have looked in his glory days.

He is survived by me, and I don’t know how I’ll replace him. We’re all as broke as the Sphinx’s nose around here, but we’ll find some way to make do.

The world will be a lot more quiet without Sparky around to growl at it.

Here’s to you, my dear friend. May your axle be straight and your engine a proud roar in car heaven.

Game On!

For Christmas every year, we buy one or two boardgames because we love playing games as a family.  Every Sunday night we have what we call Family Home Evening and we have a lesson on gospel topics and then we plays games and have treats.  Everyone takes turns doing different things.  Family Home Evening is not Family Home Evening with the games.  We take turns picking a game and spend the night laughing or fighting if it is Pictionary.  It never fails, something about Pictionary brings the worst out of at least one person.  If you put my two daughters together on a team, guaranteed you have your work cut out for you to win.  It is like they can read each other’s minds or something.  The family joke, “Hey, I feel like fighting…let’s play Pictionary”.   Pit is also a family favorite.

This year for Christmas I found one of the funniest games.  It is called Redneck Life.  I bought it at www.newegg.com.  That was the cheapest place I found.  They also offer an expansion pack which is worth the extra cost to buy right off. This game is based on The Game of  Life only it is in redneck version.

You shake one or two dice (depending if you are using expansion pack) to see what grade you graduated from.  Then a payday comes with that education and a job i.e. Monster Truck announcer, bouncer, bass fishing guide…etc.  You roll the dice to pick your spouses name.  i.e. Big Belle, Corndog Pete….

The first time we played we were all depressed because you automatically go into debt.  You have to buy a house and a car etc.  Throughout the game you have “accidents” that make you loose teeth.  The object of the game is to see who has the most teeth at the end.  There are factors that determine this at the end.  You can gain some teeth back through various ways.

The worst part of it for me was that I ended up with 34 children and 31 of them were all named Darryl and had red hair.  This forced me to buy enough vehicles to get this family around.  There is a space you land on where you can take the kids to the babysitter (babysitter being whatever player you choose) and “forget” they are there.  Then the babysitter adds that many more kids to their kid list.  By the way, each kid you have takes away $10 from your payday.  So if your payday stunk in the beginning, it really stinks if you have a ton of kids.

We have laughed so hard during this game.  Tears streaming.  The first time we played, I landed on a square that said, “Your parents didn’t want you when you were born and left you at the hospital, start over”.  This pretty much sucked, but I did get even at the end.

This is a hilarious game.  I had to edit some of it for my kids (they are 14-19) just because I didn’t feel it was appropriate for our home but it is stuff you can work around.  The cars and houses that you have to buy are actual pictures of real homes and vehicles.  I would hope that people don’t live in things like that or drive things like that, but I have an uneasy feeling that they do.

If you want a fun game to play, this is it.

So with yesterday being the last day before everyone went back to school, we wracked our brains trying to find something to do as our last “hurrah”.  After a lot of thoughtful contemplation we decided to have a Nerf gun war.  Feeling like I do today, I wish I wouldn’t have suggested it. We got all of the guns and ammo together and found a place for the war.  We sat up the bunkers and made up teams.  After the first round we decided that the teams weren’t working for us so it suddenly became a “free-for-all”. I realized after about 45 minutes why they suggest you wear protective eyewear.  I was hit in the face 4 times.  I nailed my son right between the eyes once and just as he turned around his sister shot him in the forehead.  Ears were impaled, and heads were shot.  Nothing was sacred people, nothing. One thing that has been a problem with me for years is that if I get laughing, I quickly become immobilized.  I lose all strength in the body and can do nothing to protect myself.  This is a huge weakness of mine and it has been used against me many times. Yesterday was no exception. Some of the Nerf ammo has velcro on one end.  I shot my daughter in the butt and the ammo was just hanging there.  She could not deny I hit her, the proof was there waving to the world. I started laughing so hard that I couldn’t pull it together.  In my moment of weakness, my son shot and hit me in the tooth.  That was it.  I fell to the ground unable to move because I was laughing so hard, tears flowing.  It took me a good 10 minutes to get myself back in the game. Not once was I able to be “King of the Ring”.  I never could get everyone out so that I was the last person standing.  I seriously need to brush up on my skills.  I have to admit I pwned on loading.  I could load and shoot faster than you can say “Bob’s Yer Uncle”.  I had to, I was an easy target for everyone, which pretty much sucked. It has been decided that the war must have a second, third and fourth round at least.  I have to admit, despite the pain…it was pretty fun.  Next time…game on.  I am showing up looking like Rambo.  There will be NO survivors. Someday I will have to decide to grow up…but today is not that day.

As I look back on my most memorable Christmas’, the ones I remember are the most simplest ones.  The years that we have struggled and some dear “Angel” has come to our rescue.  I cannot begin to tell you how many times that has happened.

One year we started a family tradition of giving each brother a sister a tree ornament.  I remember the time and effort that was put into some of those.  My sister had handmade hers and they were beautiful. I cherished these ornaments.  I thought of each one of my brothers, sisters and in-laws as I would put those on the tree.  It became especially important to me after the death of my mother.  Family became the most important thing to me.

This particular year stands out to me as one of the most memorable.  We used to keep our tree and ornaments in our garage because we didn’t have enough room in the house.  As tradition, we always put up the tree on Thanksgiving or the day after.  I had my husband go out to the garage and bring out my box of beautiful ornaments.  When he came into the house the look on his face caused me alarm.  Our tree and ornaments had been invested with mice.  We live on a farm, so it is normal to have mice all over but for some particular reason this year was worse than previous years.

When I opened the boxes, I realized that nothing was salvageable.  My first response was tears.  All of the hard work that had gone into those ornaments from my family, plus all of the handmade ones my children had made for me came rushing to my memory so fast that it was overwhelming.  I was devastated.  They weren’t just ornaments, they were family memories.  After the tears passed, then came the thought of how are we going to have a tree this year.  My husband had been unemployed, his father had recently passed away and it had been a hard year financially.   We eventually found a small fake tree and decided that it was going to have to do.  We would just find something else for ornaments.

One night as we pulled into our home, I noticed a big box sitting on our back porch.  We all walked cautiously toward it not knowing why it was there and what was in it.  As I slowly opened the box, inside lay ornament after ornament.  No name, no nothing to identify the giver.  Tears filled my eyes as I looked at those ornaments.  No, they were not the handmade memories I had cried over a few days ago, but they were memories of the love I felt for this stranger who had helped make my kids Christmas a special one.

This was not the only time we have felt the love of our Father in Heaven through special people that we have in our lives.  Some we know, some we don’t.  The giving did not stop at that year.  One year we found a beautiful handmade quilt on our front porch.  No name, nothing to identify the giver only the two sets of footprints left in the snow; one big, one small.  I looked at those prints and thought to myself, someone is teaching a child the importance of giving service to another.  I have cherished that blanket ever since.  I know it had to have taken hours to make and I was overwhelmed that someone would spend that much time on a gift for us.  As we knelt in family prayer that night, we thanked our Heavenly Father for another “Angel” that was now part of our Christmas memories.

Another year of hardship, we found money taped to our front door.  A simple message of “Hope you have a merry Christmas” was all that was written on it.  As I look back on these moments, there is nothing I can do to pay these dear souls back.  We still don’t know who some of these acts of service have come from, but it instilled in us a greater desire to serve others.  So each year the “Rees” elves try to do something to make someone else’s Christmas one to remember.  We never tell who, what, where or when; that takes the fun out of it.  Today a complete stranger will hopefully feel the Spirit of Christmas from some “Angels” who are paying it forward and being the hands of a loving Father in Heaven who knows all.  He knows our sufferings and our joy and always places people in our  lives at the right time and the right place to ease that suffering.  This is going to be fun!

Merry Christmas and may you remember the blessings that you have this Christmas season and pay it forward.  This is what true happiness is all about!