Sunday, August 30, 2015

A Response to Cassandra Hedelius, Fair Mormon Conference Speaker

This post by Tyson is excellent. I recommend printing it out and studying it.

I will quote an excerpt below, then I recommend you go over to his blog and read the whole post:

I wanted to discuss a few of the points. She identified a threat among Mormons as those who believe “the Church has lost its way, Church leaders are not inspired or in favor with God, so God has raised up new leaders outside the Church hierarchy whose visions and teachings are important for us to follow,”. She identifies one select group of these people as the "remnant".

She makes the claims that these people think they are more righteous and that they are elitist. This is far from the truth. When you begin to read the Book of Mormon and realize its a message not just about everyone else rather its about YOU (including me), and specifically the Latter Day Saints, YOU begin to NOT see yourself as a righteous soul. Singing songs of your righteous ancestors who failed to build Zion, despite the great sacrifices they made that preserved so much that we take for granted today, or hearing praises of flattery that you are a choosen generation begins to repulse you. When YOU begin to realize you are not actually as choosen as you first thought, YOU are not as righteous as you first thought, and YOU, just because you may have received the ordinances found in the Temple are still in jeopardy because YOU have not conversed with the Lord through the veil and redeemed your soul. When you accept the peril that is placed before you for your own soul this becomes the state of that soul. This is the reaction of the people to the message that King Benjamin delivered who sprang forth after 3-4 generations of no revelations (See Omni 1:11).

Thursday, August 20, 2015


These are thoughts I'm having as I write them, right now. I don't know where they will go.

  • "You get what you pray for."
  • "What goes around, comes around."
  • "As you sow, so shall you reap."
  • "If you ask for what you ought not, you'll regret it."
  • "You will have the desires of your heart."
  • "If you want something bad enough, you'll get it."
  • "If you have faith as a grain of mustard seed . . . ."
 Really? How do we know, since we cannot go back in time and do it over with different thoughts.

Creepy coincidences:

I was "sick and tired" of the internet one year. My younger daughter would stay up until 3 a.m. or later on it (she was around 13, I think). The schedule we had agreed on as a family wasn't working too well. I kept thinking -and even saying- that I didn't want the internet. I didn't want the computer.

Our internet came via a small satellite dish on the roof of our house.

One day, lightning struck the dish and fried our computer. When a man came to look at it and took it apart, I could see where a part of it had melted. (One of those parts you can take out of a computer and replace.) He replaced it.

Nearly a year later, I was tired of the internet again. I griped again, focusing on not wanting it. Remembering my last experience, I would say, "But I want to keep the computer. The computer can keep working."

Lightning struck the dish again. Fried the internet connection that was in the wall between the dish and the computer. The computer was fine.

I was freaked out. (As far as I know, lightning has not struck that dish again in the 7 or 8 years since that time.)

I have other examples (many of them, if I wanted to remember them all) of negative things that happened that I dwelt on.

Some examples of things in general:

Things like, I start thinking, "I'd like a new water heater (or refrigerator or whatever)," and after a while the thing starts to break down and needs to be fixed. I say, "That's NOT what I meant! I didn't say to break down!" (I wanted the means to get a better one, but let's keep the old one working until we have the money to just go out and buy a new one, okay?)

And not just things, but experiences. Experiences I have no logical control over.

When I lived in Washington, Utah in 1990, the lady I worked for had a home health aid come and give her showers. I daydreamed about going to people's homes in Washington and taking care of them like that (I was doing live-in work at the time. I could not have done that other type of work because I had no drivers' license, let alone a vehicle). Guess what I'm doing in 2015? Living in that city (about 7 or 8 blocks north of where I lived before, exactly. Same street, same side of the street) and going into people's homes to help them.

It's fitting that I am attending the same college I originally graduated from. Apparently, I was waiting for them to become a university. (They were a junior college - 2 year - when I graduated in 1978.)

Is there a connection? Do things happen because I am affirming stuff? Because I have decided I want a certain thing? (I don't alway dwell on something. Sometimes, I simply think or decide I would like to do or have xxx.)

When did it begin? There were negative experiences I had when I was too little to have decided in advance that life was . . . you know, not so great. I guess they built on each other? I don't think I had that "power" when I was a child.

So, do we descend into this world, pick up the negative, devilish vibes or positive ones (depending on our environment) - and then we are ready to learn? If we want to. If we will. If we even figure out what's going on.

I was not convinced that I had any sort of "power" but apparently some of my children are. I looked at the tires on my daughter's car. "Don't look at my tires!" What? Why not? Well, it turns out she's afraid that I'm looking at them, worrying that they'll go flat and she doesn't want them to go flat.

She calls it my weird voodoo.

I made a "dream board" when I lived in Mesa with a friend. I wanted a small house for a study and a huge house to live in. And a certain amount of acreage (I forget how much).

After we lived here for a while, my daughter pointed out that I got what I wanted: A small place in a big place on so many acres. (A rented condo in a building on property that has at least ten such buildings.) Wasn't exactly what I was shooting for, though. But I guess that's as close as God could get at the moment.

The original Star Trek series from the 1960s had a show wherein the crew landed on a planet, and everything they talked about happened. Didn't matter whether it was good or bad, happy or scary.

God is trying to teach us faith. Faith in him. Faith to become self-existent, so that we can stop going the rounds in hell (telestial circles) and get to wherever Jesus is headed, since he has finally surpassed this world. But, what inherent abilities do we have? Are we like a tiny infant, flailing our arms and legs because we haven't yet figured out how to use them to hold things, to feed ourselves, to dress ourselves, stand, to walk, to run?

It took us "forever" to get to this point. It will take even longer to get to Jesus' point.

Maybe part of the problem is that we don't get it. We aren't getting it. We don't realize that what we focus on (or decide on) is what really comes to us. So, when we fill our minds with violence (movies, sports, games, daydreams of vengeance, whatever), that is what we reap because that is what we sow. When we fill our minds with negativity (same sources, though my experience seems to show that it comes more from my concerted efforts over the years), we reap negative experiences.

Someone once said, "I know of no more cheerful a Being in the universe [than our Lord]." Maybe the reason he was able to overcome was because of his cheer. His attitude.

Sure, he told the Church leaders exactly what he thought of them and what they were doing, but maybe there was an undercurrent of expectation that he would succeed at whatever he put his hand to.

Maybe there's a fine line between being realistic and creating success.

And, if it really is possible to effect change in one's life (or in others' lives), how do we do that? I mean, New Age thinking would tell us we have to be exact in our words. We have to be careful and, even then, we may end up with what we do not want simply because of an incorrect word.

I don't think they've quite got it, though. I mean, I was thinking, "But not the computer. I don't want the computer to stop working." By New Age thinking, that should have guaranteed the frying of the computer the second time. I think the feeling or desire (or fears) behind the words and thoughts have a lot of power. I may be saying, "But not the computer," but what I'm thinking and feeling is that the computer is good, is untouched. (No, I wasn't thinking of lightning striking twice. I wasn't thinking of any way in which I'd get what I was griping about.)

And I think we need to factor God into it somewhere. New Age stuff doesn't do that (except for the garbage of "we are God" as if we are as smart, all knowing, and all powerful as he is. What arrogance!). I think bending our will to his is a vital part of this puzzle I'm trying to put together.

For example:
I really wanted a place to live for myself and my children. I was willing to live anywhere but in Utah (and my first preference was Arizona). We did lots of living in other people's spaces (homes, back yards) and living in a place that should have been condemned and torn down. Finally, I was broken enough to say to God, "Move me wherever you want me, even if it means Utah."

Guess where I ended up?

And, speaking of that. I moved to Utah to have my second child. I didn't want to go back to Arizona to my spouse. I visualized living in St. George with my two girls (my son was not born until a couple of years later). I chose to return to my spouse because I had promised my son (back when I had decided to marry that spouse) that he could come to earth through me. So, I sacrificed what could have been so I could keep my word to my son. (Wow! That makes me seem honorable, always keeping my word, no matter what. I'm really not that honorable. But this was something important to my son.)

Since I'm looking at going to school here for the next 2-4 years, I've been toying with the idea of putting energy into owning this condo. My big thing with that is that I have a tendency to "visualize" how such things are going to happen. That seems to screw things up.

So, bottom line, maybe?
  • Be truly willing for God to make the final choice.
  • Pray real hard (agony gets more results than just praying to the ceiling, though I hope that prayers don't have to be spurred by pain or agony. Maybe when we've learned to let go of whatever it is that's holding us back, it will be different).
  • Watch out for what you're really wanting/desiring and for what you are fearing.
  • God is trying to teach us something. He wants us to be self-existent. He wants us to figure it out.
  • Don't try to figure out the "how" of the particular thing you seek.
  • Learn to trust God with everything - all experiences, all that you own, all your loved ones (and hated ones). Everything.
  • Lots of missing pieces. Lots of things I don't understand or don't have a clue exist.

I think life is just a mystery, waiting for us to figure it out. But we can't figure it out on our own and we can't figure it out unless we are stripped of pride and stripped of "having a dog in the fight." It all belongs to God. Even us, I suppose, though the Gods have given us freedom to do a great many things.

A Purpose of Trials and Sacrifices

These are some thoughts I had this morning. That doesn't mean I really know what I'm talking about. I do think, though, that this conclusion was a result of pondering about "Goliaths" evaporating once we learn to choose faith in regards to them.

We are here to learn faith in Christ.

As we learn a little faith, he gives us a little more - to push our faith forward.

The trials we have and the sacrifices he asks, including the huge sacrifice at the supposed end is just another step in learning faith and in learning to trust him.

It is for our benefit, so that -eventually- we have the faith to be self-existent. Faith to attain to the resurrection of the dead (in other words, not dependent upon a God to resurrect us - but, instead, we can resurrect those who depend upon us).

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

On Trials and Challenges - part 2

The last post was so dang long that I didn't want to make it longer.

Continuing the idea, though, when the car began to act up, it was difficult to continue believing (not that I was that good at it in the first place - I had simply agreed to do what God had suggested.)

 I was facing my troubles and trials, as I said at the beginning of the last post. It was so painful to come face to face with so many things I could not control and/or feared. This morning, I was lead to read a few pages in The Second Comforter.

Pages 74-75:
How we perceive our challenges determines how we meet them. If we see God as the overriding influence in life's challenges, then we can trust God to help us through them. ... the dilemma is never merely physical. It is always a battle between faith and skepticism. Do you see it as a fight between your own willingness to trust God to deliver you ...?  Does God care about your life's dilemmas? Will He help deliver you from your 'Goliaths?' Do you trust Him? Do you believe in Him? Do you believe He is interested and involved in your life? Will you accept the proof of His involvement as His word to you? Do you feel His proofs are not sufficient or substantial enough to have faith in them?

Faith in a distant and unconcerned God may satisfy some .... But that is not the God Nephi (or David) believed in. In Nephi's example we find a personal God involved in everyday life. We find a God who will give a challenge to us, and then walk beside us to see we succeed. Nephi is trying to teach us this is the way God operates in all of our lives. He is not distant. He is a part of each of our daily lives. We can ignore Him, or acknowledge Him. But whether we accept or reject His involvement, Nephi's view is that He is present and concerned.

If you want to have an audience with God, you must first be willing to see God as someone who does have personal, direct and onging involvement with each of our lives. You must accept Him as someone who cares enough about you that He will help you accomplish His commandments. You must be willing to accept the forms of communication He uses to facilitate this.

This example of Nephi's is not limited to retrieving a book from a hostile cousin. It should apply to any of life's challenges. ... That is how you need to see the challenges you have. No Goliath in your life will destroy you. Rather, God will destroy the Goliaths for you.

In the end, Goliaths are merely opportunities for you to demonstrate your faith. They will be swept away when they no longer serve any purpose. They are there only temporarily to provide you with an opportunity to demonstrate faith.

As I thought on this, pondered on it, it seemed to me that what I was seeing were a) my obstacles (see the questions in the first quoted paragraph) and b) that all of these troubles would evaporate once I had learned to have faith in God. They are only there to teach me to trust God. Once I learn that, they will cease to exist.

That trust, that unconditional trust is what I crave. It is what I am attempting to grasp and incorporate into my being. I hope God is truly long-suffering and patient because it looks, to me, like an exceedingly long road before I can answer any of the questions in the affirmative, let alone have enough trust and faith in him to allow my present tribulations and challenges to evaporate.

On Trials and Challenges


So, I had a challenge that broke me, having to do with my car which I desperately need (it still runs, but has me concerned that it may stop running). It was the proverbial straw.

I was sitting at the computer a few nights ago, reading forums and skype, when I felt the Lord telling me to come talk to him. I procrastinated until too close to bedtime to say much before I slept. But I did talk to him the next morning, extensively.

Last night, I got the same "feeling" and got off the computer much earlier.

(As a side note, recently (before the experience(s) I am currently relating), I prayed all night. I began around 10 or 11 p.m. At one point, said I had to sleep, but felt compelled to continue. When I noticed light coming through the blinds, I checked the time. It was just after 6 a.m. It was difficult to believe that much time had passed.)

The reason I procrastinated talking to him was because I didn't want to face what was tormenting me. I felt I would totally break with reality if I had to look at everything all at once, and I knew that's what I would be doing if I talked to him.

 The car was and is only one of many issues that have been tormenting me. It's easier not to break when you pretend nothing is there.

I looked it all square in the face as I talked to him. I admitted that I did not know how to fix any of it. Like the proverbial child who doesn't know and knows that he doesn't know. That was me.

Do This

A few months ago, I dabbled with the idea of going back to college. Just for fun. Well, I began the process. Somewhere along the line I decided I ought to go for a bachelors degree (I already have an associates degree).

Also, somewhere along the line, I talked to God about it. He told me he wanted me to go. He didn't care what classes I took; he simply wanted me to go and take what I really wanted to take. I wasn't sure what to make of it.

Then I read some words on this post that went into my mind - as if it possibly applied to me. The author was quoting someone else.

Everyone faces the identical challenge.  It seems different only because of our individual strengths and weaknesses.  The challenge is adapted to our own personality, capacity and life's history. Therefore, when you are asked to overcome something, it will fit in the framework of your life.

All are asked to make a sacrifice that shows they will not withhold anything from the Lord.  It will come to each person based on what they value and would regret to their core surrendering.  Whatever that is, you will be asked by the Lord to give it to Him.  You must decide to do that when asked.

All are asked to do something that they view as wrong, evil or inappropriate and will seem to be inconsistent with the Lord's mercy, righteousness and perfection.  The request will unmistakably come from Him.  You cannot evade the request because you doubt He is asking.  You will clearly know it is Him who asks, and that to all your understanding it will be wrong to do.  You must do it anyway.

All are asked to take a step in faith beyond where they are at the time.  Trust in Him, and only Him, as you take that step.  You will be certain that if it were something you were undertaking on your own, it could not be accomplished.  But because you are doing as He has asked, you know you will have the strength or support to do as He bids.
I could not see how it could fit what the Lord had asked me (college). I went through the points with God to see what was really being said:

First: “The challenge is adapted to our own personality, capacity and life's history. Therefore, when you are asked to overcome something, it will fit in the framework of your life.”

Second: “You will not withhold anything from the Lord. It is something you will regret to your core surrendering.” I know of nothing that would fit this. I have lost so much in the last 20-30 years, that anything else I lose would probably freak me out or give me a nervous breakdown, but I cannot see how I could not stop it from happening.

Third: “Whatever that is, you will be asked by the Lord to give it to Him. You must decide to do that when asked.”

Fourth: “All are asked to do something that they view as wrong, evil or inappropriate and will seem to be inconsistent with the Lord's mercy, righteousness and perfection.”

Fifth: “The request will unmistakably come from Him. You cannot evade the request because you doubt He is asking.”

And, sixth: “All are asked to take a step in faith beyond where they are at the time.  Trust in Him, and only Him, as you take that step. You will be certain that if it were something you were undertaking on your own, it could not be accomplished.”

1st: Well, it is certainly adapted to my personality, capacity, and life's history.

2nd, I've already commented on.

3rd: He did ask and I did say yes and am in the process of doing that.

4th: Here, I balked. "Lord, you know this is not evil or bad or wrong. It isn't against any scriptural law that I know of."

"Look at it closely," he said, "and tell me what you think of you doing this."

I looked at it, and I said, "Of course, it's wrong for me to go to college. Of course, it's a sin for me to pursue subjects that I have wanted to learn from my core since I was a child, because I'm not supposed to have what I want. I'm not supposed to do what I love. It's a sin - but for me, not for anyone else."

And as I kept attempting to explain, I saw that I was going in a frustrated circle. He was right. My core self believes it is the height of evil for me to do anything I would like, anything that would bring me joy and fulfillment. It's okay for others to pursue lives and careers that speak to their souls, but not for me.

We finally settled on agreeing to disagree because I was confusing myself.

5th: Even though it was quiet, even though it was simple, I was absolutely sure I was talking to the Lord.

6th: Absolutely, I could not accomplish this on my own. Not only financially (tuition, fees, books, rent and other bills, and so on), but the thing, itself. As I faced the thing square on, I saw insecurities about failing.

I finally saw that what I was supposed to do is simply give it my best, as I enjoyed it. Enjoy the journey. ("Who is this, really? God is supposed to make us do all sorts of painful sacrifices. He's supposed to make us miserable, even unto death, because that's what this life is for: suffering and sacrifice and pain.")

Knowing who the Lord Really Is

So, I was talking to him about this. Talking about the sacrifices, the ones that hurt, the ones that Brother Snuffer and others talk about.

He said to me, "I'm not going to do that to you yet. First, you have to know me enough to trust me. After you know me, then I can ask you to do other things. For now, we are working on you knowing who I really am and trusting me."

The understanding that accompanied that was seeing that I did not know his personality. I did not know him as a friend or a father. This needed to come first. And, as I recall, this message that I needed to learn to trust him, needed to learn to see and feel and believe his love for me came after the thing I wrote below.


That's the end of the post. However, below, I'm going to relate our conversation about point 4 in more detail for those who may be interested (I wrote it down soon afterward and this is a quote from what I wrote). Feel absolutely free to ignore it. [Brackets are my current insertions.]

The bit about God wanting you to do something "wrong" - well, I can't believe it but every time I don't, I'm immediately faced with my own deep conviction that - for me - it is wrong, it is a huge sin.

And I wondered why God would choose such a strange sacrifice for me. And I thought maybe God was using it to cause me to further trust him for food and such. And to trust him in general. And it was brought to my mind the time I did testing at workforce (in St. George - when my kids were ages 5/6, 8 & 10). the lady who told me my test results apologized that the IQ test only went to 126. I had surpassed that. They couldn't measure what it really was (one I'd taken a few years earlier averaged me at 144 - with the "logic" aspect being something like 168). [Note: I could have inflated that. It could have been 142 and 162 or 164.] She had noticed that I had finished the sections before others in the room (which would add points). She told me I could be anything, even a medical doctor. That experience is what came to my mind as I doubted my ability to take the languages. And I wondered why God would encourage me in such a secular thing. [The classes I signed up for are Chinese, French, and Spanish, as far as languages go.]

Isn't my job here to suffer, be miserable, never get what I really want? That's about the time the thought of "In contraries is truth made manifest" [came].

I mean, if I['m] going to go through the crap and emerge on the other side safe and whole, then there's got to be the possibility that the other side exists, right?

And, it's such a personal journey.

But I find myself suspicious. "Are you sure this is God? The devil is the one who tells us to do things we like," etc - etc.

So, you believe the devil gives you good things and I give you bad? was the gist of the reply.

And I have to admit that the answer is yes. I have learned exactly that. God gives homelessness, fear, hunger, poverty, pain, persecution, blocks any chance of having a creative outlet or doing what one loves.

It is the devil who says you should follow your dreams and desires, pursue your interests, who offers to you to never go hungry and so forth. (Not that he always delivers.)

Isn't that backwards, the "voice" [in my mind -not actually audible words] asks gently. Why would God/I give you talents and abilities only to have you sacrifice them?

Because you're a God who requires sacrifice of everything we like, of everything that makes us comfortable (food, clothing, house, safety, etc.).

True, but haven't you been doing that all along? Haven't you been suffering your whole life? Don't you think it's finally time you rested from that and learned what your soul craves (French, for example), and finally opened up to letting me provide abundantly for you - so much so that you can help others?

Me: This is really the devil I'm talking to, isn't it? Only the devil would pretend to offer me food ... [etc.].

So, you think that if you ask me bread, I'll give you a stone?

No, I think that when I have asked you for bread in the past, you have given me poison. When I've asked for a fish, you've given me worse than a fiery, poisonous serpent.

It isn't what I'd want to say to a God, but I must be honest in my perception of you.

Then why follow me? Why seek me out?

Because it's in my soul to do so. It is in my nature to  [pause] - oh.

(Smiles) [Meaning he smiled]

In my soul to seek you. In my soul to learn languages. In my soul to heal. In my soul to live with the earth, in nature, in "my" home.

I'm confused now.

You were always confused, my dear. How about you do an experiment? (I love experiments - behavioral ones, especially ...)

Just for this school year, you trust me. Maybe for two school years and one summer. You do what I say, which is to do this great "sin" of going after your dream of being a linguist - Let go and go for it.

Just for these next two years, assume (the real meaning, not the ass meaning) that I'm there for you, that I will provide for you and protect you. Sins, all, in your estimation. Do that for me, okay? (okay?)

That's a strange sacrifice you're asking of me.

It's a strange set of beliefs you carry.

Me, again: Okay. It makes no sense to me why you should ask me to do this "sin" which is only a sin to/for me. This whole thing is weird - But, okay, for you I'll do it.

[Turning attention heavenward] And, dear God, the Real God of heaven and earth, if I've been talking to the devil this whole time, please step in. I don't want to be happy if you want me miserable. I don't want to be well-nourished and in a home/land that nourishe[s] both  body and soul if you want me to be hungry, under-nourished, and either homeless or living away from nature.

God: Sigh

. . . 

So there you have it. I'm breaking out of a cycle - A cycle of misery and woe and hunger and homelessness and attracting predators and not learning/doing what is in my soul to do.

My "sacrifice" is to let God pull me out of hell and protect me and let me (make the way for me to) do what is in my soul to do.

What will happen? I'm sure I do not know. If the past indicates the future, I'll give up. I'll pull out. I'll continue the cycle of lack and misery.

The reason I post this personal stuff is because there may be another "loser" out there whose life seems to have given them the same message. Perhaps God wants to pull you out of misery if you could only learn to trust him.

If there is someone like that who reads this, I hope for your sake that I succeed - so that you can see that you, also, can succeed.