Action Figures (in the best possible way)…

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Check out this article about professional baseball player Adam LaRouche:

From the article:

LaRoche, along with Brewers pitcher Blaine Boyer, spent 10 days in November in Southeast Asian brothels, wearing a hidden camera and doing undercover work to help rescue underage sex slaves. All of which raises a question: After 12 years in the big leagues, the endless days and nights in dugouts and clubhouses, how did LaRoche’s nearly cinematic level of nonconformity escape detection?

… Working through a nonprofit called the Exodus Road, LaRoche and Boyer conducted surveillance in brothels and tried to determine the age of the girls — known only by numbers pinned to bikinis — and identify their bosses.

“Something huge happened there for us,” Boyer says. “You can’t explain it. Can’t put your finger on it. If you make a wrong move, you’re getting tossed off a building. We were in deep, man, but that’s the way it needed to be done. Adam and I truly believe God brought us there and said, ‘This is what I have for you boys.’”

This was a great story.

The sheer exansiveness & scale of this crime against humanity is breathtaking.

If the last part of Adam’s story sounds familiar that’s because there are others also currently doing something about this problem:

On December 10th, 2013 Special Agent Tim Ballard turned in his Homeland Security badge and resigned from his employment with the United States government. He had spent over a decade rescuing children from child sex tourism both domestically and overseas. Though his job was difficult, he was proud that his country was one of very few in the world who was actually doing anything about this problem. However, mired in red tape and bureaucracy, Tim left to begin saving the children that he saw falling out of the purview of the US government. These children constitute over 90% of the children lost to child sex slavery and he could do nothing to help them while in the employment of the US government.

This is a story about the lost children and the OURrescue.com jump team’s exploits as they investigate and liberate enslaved children from around the world.

Also here: http://tinyurl.com/kemoh2j

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Tim Ballard and Adam LaRoche are two amazing men!
PDL

The Mother of All Living

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I recently came across a really nice essay by Diana Webb concerning Mother Eve which had some really interesting content.

Here’s a few personal highlights for me from the article.

“It is through women that souls journey to mortality and gain their agency, and in general it is through the nurturing of women … that the light of Christ is awakened within each soul.”…

“The fruit of the First Tree symbolizes the gift that women give to every soul that chooses the plan of Christ. It symbolizes the role and power of women in the Great Plan of Happiness. It was not, in this view, right or proper for Adam to partake first from the fruit of the First Tree. It was not his role to give the gift of the fruit of the First Tree to others. It is interesting to think that even Adam, who was created before Eve, entered into full mortality and full agency by accepting the gift of the First Tree from the hand of a woman. In a sense, Adam himself was born of Eve.”…

What do Latter-day Saints say? ‘Mother Eve, please eat the fruit, please, please, please eat the fruit!’ And when she did, are we crying and weeping? No, we’re shouting and celebrating!”…

“Just as the veil into this life is guarded by the women, the daughters of God, so the veil that brings us home, is administered and guarded by the sons of God.” …

First she asked Adam if he intended to keep all of God’s commandments. Of course he did! All of them? Naturally! And what, pray, was the first and foremost of those commandments? Was it not to multiply and replenish the earth, the universal commandment given to all God’s creatures? And how could they keep that commandment if they were separated? It had undeniable priority over the commandment not to eat the fruit. So Adam could only admit that she was right and go along … but it was she who made him see it. This is much more than a smart way of winning her point, however. It is the clear declaration that man and woman were put on the earth to stay together and have a family—that is their first obligation and must supersede everything else…

If the life stories of Eve and Adam, Sarah and Abraham, Rebecca and Isaac, and Rachel and Jacob are studied, the many common elements become apparent. “The inheritor of the birthright marries a woman of high standing in terms of kinship ties and social status. The couple enjoys comparative[ly] ideal living conditions: wealth, living conditions, and comely bodies. God promises, or in the case of Adam and [Eve], commands numerous posterity. The woman is afflicted with barrenness. In Sarah’s case over seventy years, Rebecca suffered seventeen years of long-term infertility, while Rachel endured seven years.”She goes on to point out another element to this pattern, which is important in interpreting Eve’s encounter with the serpent. “When it came to bearing and rearing children, the matriarchs took decidedly aggressive roles, while their husbands receded into the background as passive participants.” For example, it is Sarah who insists that Abraham take a concubine so that she might be “built up” and obtain children by adoption. Rebekah determines the passage of the birthright through “manipulation, which neither Jacob nor Isaac protested with any strength or will power.” Rachel and Leah vie for Jacob’s sexual attentions as well as for fertility herbs. Similarly, Eve takes the initiative to “transform covenant promises into reality.”…

These verses are brimming with information to be unpacked and digested. First of all, notice that in doling out curses, the Lord never uses the word aror—curse—when referring to Adam or Eve. He curses the serpent and the earth, but not the man or the woman. His words to them are merely descriptions of what mortal life will be like. The same Hebrew word is used in describing the consequences of mortality for both Adam and Eve. In sorrow (itsabon) will Adam eat the fruit of the ground for the rest of his life. No more random picking of self-springing pomegranates and mangoes. He will have to labor and toil, the definition of itsabon…

She will be his ezer—his rescuer, his deliverer, his strength. Elder Bruce Hafen of the Seventy concurs with this interpretation, teaching that the King James translation of Genesis 3:16 (“and he shall rule over thee”) is a mistranslation. In Hafen’s words, “over in ‘rule over’ uses the Hebrew bet, which means ruling with, not ruling over.” Elder L. Tom Perry puts the icing on the cake when he tells us, “there is not a president and a vice president in a family. We have co-presidents working together eternally for the good of their family. … They are on equal footing. They plan and organize the affairs of the family jointly and unanimously as they move forward.

I didn’t agree with all of the theses in the article but certainly had a lot to think about afterwards. Eve was certainly a very special woman who understood what needed to be done to kickstart mortality for the rest of us. I’m glad she took matters (and the fruit) into her own hands!

Check the entire article out.

Coming to Christ (the purpose of your life)

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This was one of the more impressive (weren’t they all though?) talks I heard at our recent General Conference. I found it to be inspiring and thought-provoking. I have been reflecting on it since I first heard it.

I invite you to view it again (and see what else the Holy Ghost tells you):

Here are the key nuggets I valued (these are all direct quotes from Elder Renlund):

  1. “The greater the distance between the giver and the receiver, the more the receiver develops a sense of entitlement.”
  2. The concept—“the greater the distance between the giver and the receiver, the more the receiver develops a sense of entitlement”—also has profound spiritual applications. Our Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ, are the ultimate Givers. The more we distance ourselves from Them, the more entitled we feel. We begin to think that we deserve grace and are owed blessings.
  3. While the unfairness can range from trivial to gut-wrenching, when we are distant from God, even small inequities loom large. We feel that God has an obligation to fix things—and fix them right now!
  4. The closer we are to Jesus Christ in the thoughts and intents of our hearts, the more we appreciate His innocent suffering, the more grateful we are for grace and forgiveness, and the more we want to repent and become like Him.
  5.  As the Savior told the Nephites following His Resurrection:
    “And my Father sent me that I might be lifted up upon the cross; and after that I had been lifted up upon the cross, that I might draw all men unto me,
    “And for this cause have I been lifted up; therefore, according to the power of the Father I will draw all men unto me.”
    To draw closer to the Savior, we must increase our faith in Him, make and keep covenants, and have the Holy Ghost with us. We must also act in faith, responding to the spiritual direction we receive. All of these elements come together in the sacrament. Indeed, the best way I know of to draw closer to God is to prepare conscientiously and partake worthily of the sacrament each week.
  6.  A priesthood holder came in. He knelt down, blessed some bread, and handed her a piece. She ate it. He knelt down again and blessed some water and handed her a small cup. She drank it. Thereafter, Diane had two thoughts in rapid succession: First, “Oh, he [the priesthood holder] did this just for me.” And then, Oh, He [the Savior] did this just for me.” Diane felt Heavenly Father’s love.
  7.  “And I give unto you a commandment that ye shall do these things [partake of the sacrament]. And if ye shall always do these things blessed are ye, for ye are built upon my rock.
    “But whoso among you shall do more or less than these are not built upon my rock, but are built upon a sandy foundation; and when the rain descends, and the floods come, and the winds blow, and beat upon them, they shall fall.”
    Jesus did not say if rain descends, if floods come, and if winds blow” but when. No one is immune from life’s challenges; we all need the safety that comes from partaking of the sacrament.
  8. The sacrament truly helps us know our Savior. It also reminds us of His innocent suffering.If life were truly fair, you and I would never be resurrected; you and I would never be able to stand clean before God. In this respect, I am grateful that life is not fair.
  9. Through God’s compassion, kindness, and love, we will all receive more than we deserve, more than we can ever earn, and more than we can ever hope for.
  10. I invite you to draw nearer to Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ, the Ultimate Benefactors and Givers of all that is good.  
  11. I invite you to attend sacrament meeting each week and partake of the holy emblems of the Savior’s body and blood.  
  12. I invite you to feel God’s nearness as He is made known to you, as He was to the disciples of old, in the “breaking of [the] bread.”
  13. As we draw closer to God, the enabling power of the Atonement of Jesus Christ will come into our lives. And, as with the disciples on the way to Emmaus, we will find that the Savior has been nearby all along.  

        

Thirteen incredible nuggets of truth which if followed will draw you closer to those who love YOU the most. I know they are real and indeed real close if we will but allow it…
PDL

parting shot:

 

His Grace IS Sufficient

Brad Wilcox in his book “The Continuous Conversion” talks about the power of grace in our every day lives. In the great latter-day anthem “Come Come Ye Saints” millions have sung the line “grace shall be as your day”.

Have you ever thought about what that means?

Have you ever thought of grace as a day?

When we accept the Lords atonement we become as one with Him. Brother Wilcox points out that just as we don’t earn a sunrise or sunset we can’t earn the blessings and Grace of the atonement; we just need to accept them. He states “the enabling power of heaven is-constant.

That’s some seriously great news in my opinion.  No wonder the gospel is by definition the good news!

Ridiculously Easy Genealogy

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Do you realize how easy it is to do genealogy these days? With the advent of the family search engine in collaboration with multiple genealogical services (available to LDS members and others) it is incredibly easy to find out where you came from and who those folks are that came before you. Do a Google search to see how easy it is to set up your LDS family search account with Ancestry, Find my Past and other services. It really is incredibly easy and allows you to see a lot more records. Get started today! http://tinyurl.com/nv5q6gv

 

186th World General Conference #LDSConf

We had a great weekend enjoying all the sights and sounds General Conference. 

  
It can get a little hectic with so many people trying to get in all the same places at the same time. We attended in person on Saturday and watched remotely (aka home viewing) on Sunday. So many great talks. What was your favorite? 

  
Image from the Saturday AM Session. (Terrace level)

As always many colorful characters outside as well. 

   

 

Missionary Opportunity

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So early today (Saturday) I was approached by a woman while I was pumping gas with this question: “would you like something to go along with your bible reading today?” I said “sure” and was handed a tract from the Jehovah’s Witness faith. Pretty easy. I wished I had a Mormon.org pass along card to hand her! What an excellent missed opportunity!

Choosing Eternal Life

I had the opportunity to teach the lesson in High Priest Quorum today. we discussed the recent talk given in the October 2011 General Conference entitled “Choose Eternal Life“. A brief yet powerful reminder that every choice (even no choice) we make in life has consequences. The analogy with the grandchild is especially great. We must not subsist on spiritual “ice cream and play” if we intend to return to His presence. Our Father though he loves us dearly will not change His plan to accommodate our detours. When we meet His terms and conditions the blessings really flow!

181st World General Conference

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David and I traveled from Ventura to SLC for the LDS General Conference this past weekend. We had a blast attending all of the sessions of conference and hearing the words of the living prophets.

We had tickets in hand for the Saturday AM session and the priesthood session. For the others we had to bum tickets off of others. There’s a certain way to go about this although we saw several approaches being employed. Some people just hold up the number of fingers corresponding to the number of tickets needed. Some hold up many variations of handmade signs. Some like us come prepared with ready made signs. Meanwhile many others get in the standby line vying to get in that way. We were able to get tickers for all of the other sessions by our method of holding up our uncle Sam sign. It was great.

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Atlanta Georgia Temple Open House

Today was fantastic! We traveled from Saint Marys to Sandy Springs, Georgia (Atlanta) to attend the open house of the Atlanta temple. It has been under refurbishment for the past 2 years and the transformation is incredible. The temple has been open for public tours for several weeks in advance of the re–dedication on May 1st I believe. For members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Mormon) temples are sacred & special edifices where ordinances are performed that unite families together forever. According to one of the ushers the attendance each day has been much greater (abt 2X) than anticipated. Just under 5K are visiting each day. It will be interesting to get the final tally on attendees.

There was a brief 11 minute DVD presentation prior to the walking tour. It reminded viewers that the Atlanta temple was the 1st temple in the SouthEastern US & in the 1st 20 temples overall. There is now a temple in each of the 4 adjoining states (Columbia, SC, Nashville, Tn, Birmingham, Al, Orlando, Fl)

The interior has been beautifully redone with all furnishings, painting, & carpeting having been replaced. The grounds have been redone with living quarters behind the temple, & a Stake Center (meetinghouse) being on the rear of the property.

I saw a number of paintings I hadn’t seen before & the Christ (returning in the clouds of glory) in the chapel was the largest I’ve ever seen (probably 10′ tall). The inside of the temple was exquisite in every detail. It truly is the House of the Lord. ,

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