Saturday, November 30, 2013

The Armor of Light Against Darkness

Last night while playing family games, I looked around and sensed my opportunity. While my wife secretly starts listening to Christmas music about Halloween, I generally try to hold off on Christmas decorations and themes as long as possible. But with all those good kids of mine, I figured today would be December Eve and a great day to do the Christmas lights on the house and the tree up in the living room. They were helpful to a point. I took it all calmly enough with the usual jitters of my height anxiety. The end result is lookin' good!

Whether it's preparation for the solstice, the Hannakuh celebration of ights, family fun festivities, or the Christmas Spirit, there is something about the glory of light when the world turns dark and cold.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Why I'm Not Leaving the Church

This is my manifesto so my friends and family can understand and come to accept my decision. I would hope my numerous blog pieces here exposing my poor soul would have been enough. But I am still caught by surprise now and then by some who declare their intentions towards the Church.

When I was young, I went to church happily, most of the time. (I really did hate that song, "Oh What Do You Do in the Sumertime?" I never did any of those things. It rained all the time. But I was a good frog-catcher.) I was raised by parents who believed and practiced Faith. They certainly had their problems. But one thing they did right was to love us. My mom is always best when she has a project to concentrate on and the three of us kids turned out pretty well, all things considered.

I was of a curious mind. My wife notes about some of my stories from when I was very young how extraordinarily attentive to adults I must have been. And I think that's a good assessment. There was a driving compulsion to figure them out - and myself. I'm still working on that.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Did Harry Reid just save the Constitution?!

Pretty much. I'm just glad I already declared him my hero a couple of weeks back. And my wife even called it a year and a half ago!

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada (note the halo above his head)

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Order in All Things

Cottage at Heol-y-gaer by the lane heading west towards Glasbury.
© Copyright Jonathan Billinger and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.
It was a very late night as I was excited to find two documents each relating to two people in our family history. And they helped confirm the location of where one of our ancestors lived in a home that still appears to still exists in Glasbury, Wales.

This morning, we went to the Bountiful Temple after late arising and parked near the opening to the underground lot so we could get in easily in the snowfall. My wife had a couple of family names for initiatory and I went to work at the veil. It's not hard work. It is interesting that with all the "priestly class," men and women performing ordinances in the temple, there is no monetary pay. We do pay the custodians as well as the cafeteria and laundry workers. That's how the whole world should work.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

What's More American?

Flags whisking by during the program opening
We went to the Veterans Day Program tonight at the school where my daughter is teaching third grade. It was so well done and not just because my daughter was involved. There was a theme going that restores some hope for the good ole US of A!

I was a little worried with the emphasis on the idea that our military veterans give us our freedoms. No, I believe they come from God or Nature and it is dangerous to go with the notion that the military is the grantor of freedom and rights. (Just ask South America.)

So I started thinking that maybe the nearly universal honoring of Veterans in this country is the last link we have to the concept of a shared belief in our freedom and unique culture, most of which is still good. In the old days, it seemed that there was more respect for representative democracy, our governmental institutions, the President, and Congress. Even the Postman used to get more respect. I could go on about the "government is the problem" problem, but I've covered that ground sufficiently in other posts.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Priestcraftin' Palin & the Jew Who Saved Christmas

Holidays for Sale
'Tis the season to be grumpy about imaginary wars! So we're going to contrast two stories here which we hope will be picked up for a "Holiday" special on the Hallmark Channel. Both of these stories are true. Names have been changed to protect the innocent which only pertains to one of the stories.

The first is a sad, sad, story about all the evil liberals who believe that people should be free to celebrate whatever religious holiday they chose and that government should have nothing to do with it. Wait. That's not such a sad story! So why are so many people hurling the cheery words "Merry Christmas" with such anger? I for one don't like to be hit over the head with a manger as we Fall into cold and dark Winter every year. As a practicing Christian myself, I much prefer to celebrate by spending too much, eating too much, giving never enough, and doing it all with my friends and family!

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Objectivism vs. Communitarianism

"Angels Who Have Pruned on High!"
As part of our LDS Ward Fall Clean-up, our Bishop and others help take down a threatening tree limb before it falls.
I mostly worked on the leaf-raking crews as I have few heavy-equipment or chain-saw skills.
More philosophical than political today, although I'm far from being an intellectual philosopher. And for today we will just leave aside the devil's purpose regarding free agency (you can see my view here). And I relate personal experience only to say that I attempt to walk the communitarian walk.

Yesterday, I went out to help the neighborhood in our Fall clean-up project. Most of it was yard cleaning for widows and the elderly. Our Priesthood and Women's Relief Society under the direction of our bishopric prepared a list of people to visit with the needs they had. As we went around, we hit a few other homes that needed some work - those of new move-ins, less-active members of the church, even non-members. The best part of all is that some of the less-actives and a great new move-in family came out to help and then went along with us to other houses.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Cherokee Nation Will Return

Clicking away to firm up my family tree, I came across a picture I hadn't seen before.

That is my 3rd Great Grandmother, Peninah Shropshire Cotten Wood (1827-1879). She was the mother of George C. Wood (1864-1923), and the grandmother of Addie May Wood (1880-1909). My mom has long taken pride in a claim to Native-American ancestry. Not wanting to judge by someone's looks as in the picture above, I can't help but think my mom is probably right.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Fundamentals without Fundamentalism

In a recent e-mail discussion with Anonymous D, he sent me a message to which I responded: "That is so going on the blog!"

From D:

Yeah, I have a problem with the fundamentalist thing. I don’t know how to define it. By some accounts I’d be one. I mean, I believe in God and Christ as literal. I believe the Book of Mormon to be scripture and that there are such things as Angels and spiritual gifts. I believe the miracles of Jesus and those in our day. I’ve seen a few. On a certain scale I’d be thought of as a fundamentalist.