Saturday, December 3, 2016

Miracles Great and Small

The back entrance to Mueller Park Jr. High that my wife uses the morning after the shotgun blast.
My wife heard that the neighboring LDS Stake President initiated this effort.
There have been a series of bruises to this liberal heart since returning from the Land of my Fathers (Cymru) last summer. First, the Malheur Armed Occupiers were found not guilty. Then, somehow, America elected the most despicable woman-abusing, self-aggrandizing, klepto-capitalist to be President. And finally, a troubled kid with a shotgun blasted a hole in the ceiling of a classroom in the school where my wife teaches.

The first miracle is that in spite of significant emotional trauma to that school community (yours truly included), no blood was shed. The Washington Post noted this is in a fairly accurate article revealing some of the difficult details of he incident that I wasn't going to share, but that 's the press for you. Locally, KSL also had good coverage of the aftermath. Those details do, however, reveal how close this was to becoming a horrific tragedy. Thank Heavens and all involved who acted with good training, smarts, and compassion. No one had to shoot the poor kid down and he was unsuccessful in whatever he was attempting except that first blast.

That night I did regular duty at the North Bountiful Family History Library and we did have some patrons with whom I was able to interact. The subject of the shotgun blast at the school came up and I was quiet. They all seemed to know someone who was there.

And last night I did my bi-weekly Friday assignment in the Bountiful LDS Temple. It was a good and peaceful night. I met an old friend at the veil. Earlier, I was assigned to the Baptistry as recorder. It was a little slow, but we did have some patrons. The recorder is one of the few officials mentioned in scripture. I should note I was not the recorder at the Temple, which is a significant position, but I did get to do the recording at the font. We're all modern now with bar-code name cards to be scanned and a mini CCTV camera set over the names of the patron who serves as proxy and that of the deceased person for whom the ordinance is performed. It only broadcasts on a small TV screen at the side of the font where the authorized Priesthood brother performs the ordinance.

As I said, there is scripture for this that I reviewed last evening in the Temple:
Verily, thus saith the Lord unto you concerning your dead: When any of you are baptized for your dead, let there be a recorder, and let him be eye-witness of your baptisms; let him hear with his ears, that he may testify of a truth, saith the Lord;
That in all your recordings it may be recorded in heaven; whatsoever you bind on earth, may be bound in heaven; whatsoever you loose on earth, may be loosed in heaven D&C 127:6-7.
And continuing into the next section:
Now, the nature of this ordinance consists in the power of the priesthood, by the revelation of Jesus Christ, wherein it is granted that whatsoever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatsoever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. Or, in other words, taking a different view of the translation, whatsoever you record on earth shall be recorded in heaven, and whatsoever you do not record on earth shall not be recorded in heaven; for out of the books shall your dead be judged, according to their own works, whether they themselves have attended to the ordinances in their own propria persona, or by the means of their own agents, according to the ordinance which God has prepared for their salvation from before the foundation of the world, according to the records which they have kept concerning their dead.
It may seem to some to be a very bold doctrine that we talk of—a power which records or binds on earth and binds in heaven. Nevertheless, in all ages of the world, whenever the Lord has given a dispensation of the priesthood to any man by actual revelation, or any set of men, this power has always been given. Hence, whatsoever those men did in authority, in the name of the Lord, and did it truly and faithfully, and kept a proper and faithful record of the same, it became a law on earth and in heaven, and could not be annulled, according to the decrees of the great Jehovah. This is a faithful saying. Who can hear it? D&C 128:8-9.
And then, as often is the case, a particular passage hit me hard repeating over and over as I read and then in my mind. After recounting the numerous angelic and divine visitations, Brother Joseph said that their purpose was:
giving us consolation by holding forth that which is to come, confirming our hope! D&C 128: 21.
I'll be honest with you. I haven't seen any physical angels in the Temple, yet. But I have felt the presence of the Lord and of specific individuals of my own family, now deceased. Grandma Elinor has been with me a lot connected to all the work we are doing for her family and the fact that she helped us find the sources that she had come to America as a handcart pioneer -- an important piece of information that the family had lost for a few generations. We did not know she was here. And now we are closing in on her grave site. And all her Temple ordinances are done!

There was another presence felt last night, that of her husband John Vaughan. We've done his Temple work too and we've been to the grave site where Elinor had him placed in the ground with who knows what expectation of a glorious resurrection in the early church days. We have yet no record that he ever joined the church in life.

John's grave site is known, if unmarked. It fits in the the LLanfoist, Wales churchyard plot map we have. We just finished payment for a replacement monument for the one that was broken and lost. There is no ordinance requirement that our deceased ancestors' graves be monumented. Yet somehow that has drawn us closer across generations and the grave.
Herein is glory and honor, and immortality and eternal life—The ordinance of baptism by water, to be immersed therein in order to answer to the likeness of the dead, that one principle might accord with the other; to be immersed in the water and come forth out of the water is in the likeness of the resurrection of the dead in coming forth out of their graves; hence, this ordinance was instituted to form a relationship with the ordinance of baptism for the dead, being in likeness of the dead. D&C 128:12.
Unidentified LDS Temple Baptismal Font. This is very similar to the set-up in the Bountiful Temple.
Note the recorder's desk (w/o any cctv set up). Two chairs for witnesses.
The font rests on the backs of twelve oxen symbolizing the Tribes of Israel
For their salvation is necessary and essential to our salvation, as Paul says concerning the fathers—that they without us cannot be made perfect—neither can we without our dead be made perfect.

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