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In My Defense (I Love Being With Her!)

TheDiscipleMD

I have spent my entire lifetime in association with men and women of the church. Through the many years I have served with them I have rarely had negative interaction with them.   However, many years ago while serving as a young and inexperienced church leader I had a singular negative encounter with another local leader who I had never met.  It was probably the ugliest experience I had ever had as a church member. I spent an hour on the phone at my office in what ended up being a heated exchange of words. During the course of that exchange, words were said by me and by him that were regrettable. The words of criticism of a personal nature by him shook me up. When I got off the phone, I laid my head down on my desk and cried. I was bothered all day by the outcome of our conversation. Upon arriving home from the office, my wife met me at the door and could tell that something was bothering me. She followed me upstairs to the bedroom.  I closed the door and sat on the bed. I could barely get the story out when tears started to flow down my cheeks. I babbled on about the phone call that I had received.  As I recited the story, I told her how our conversation became very personal. In other words, the criticism was directly of me.

As I sat on the bed telling my sad tale, she jumped up, grabbed the phone beside the bed and said, “Who is this man to say such things to you. He doesn’t even know you. He has no ideal what kind of man you are. I’m going to call him right now and tell him what I think!”. There she was, phone off the hook, looking to dial with fire in her eyes. It was so funny that I started to laugh. I told her to put the phone down, which she did. I will never forget how much love I felt, seeing her fiercely standing there in my defense!  It was so opposite of her personality to act that way.  I’m  sure she really wouldn’t have made that call.  But it was nice to know she thought so much of me that she would defend me so.

Every man should be blessed with a wife like mine.  Over the past forty plus years we have had our differences. Who hasn’t! She is passionate about things. So am I. But often as we are driving along she will look at me and tell me how great I am. And even though I know it’s not true, it’s nice to hear it. She’s definitely “My Best Friend.”There is no one I would rather spend time with than her.

As we have gotten older, I seem to spend more of my time trailing behind her in the malls. But, over the years I have also come to treasure the look on her face when she finds something she likes. Or, when something she tries on fits and she can tell that I like it. Or when she holds up some shoes and asks me what I think.  I didn’t used to like to do things like that when I was younger. In reality, I really don’t love it now, but I’ve learned to pretend.  Maybe that’s not right. But in my defense, I may not really love going shopping with her, but  what I do love, is being with her!

 

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A Congressman’s Opinion Of Joseph Smith

TheDiscipleMD

“In the Winter of 1840, the Prophet Joseph Smith went to Washington, D.C., to petition the president of the United States and Congress to redress the grievances of the Saints against the people of Missouri. While at the nation’s capital he had several opportunities of speaking in public. On the evening of February 5, 1840, he addressed a large audience. Mr. M.L. Davis, a member of Congress, was present. In a letter written to his wife the day after, he give the following opinion of the Prophet.

“I went last evening to hear “Joe Smith”, the celebrated Mormon, expound his doctrine. I, with several others, had a desire to understand his tenets as explained by himself.

He is not an educated man:; but he is a plain, sensible, strong-minded man. Everything he says is said in a manner to leave an impression that he is sincere. There is no levity, no fanaticism, no want of dignity in his deportment. He is apparently from forty to forty-five years of age, rather above the middle stature, and what you ladies would call a very good-looking man. In his garb there are no peculiarities; his dress being that of a plain, unpretending citizen. He is by profession a farmer, but is evidently well read.

During the whole of his address, which occupied more than two hours, there was no opinion or belief that he expressed that was calculate, in the slightest degree, to impair the morals of society, or in any manner to degrade, and brutalize the human race. There was much in his precepts, if they were followed, that would soften the asperities of man toward man, and that would tend to make him a more rational being than he is general found to be. There was no violence, no fury, no denunciation. His religion appears to be a religion of meekness, lowliness and mild persuasion. Throughout his whole address he displayed strongly a spirit of charity and forbearance. The Mormon Bible, he said, was communicated to him direct from heaven. If there was such a thing on earth as the author of it, then he (Smith) was the author; but the idea that he wished to impress was that he had penned it as dictated by God.  I have changed my opinion of the Mormons. They are an injured and much abused people.” (Page 404, Scrapbook of Mormon Literature, Vol. II)

An interesting letter written by a learned man of congress who, coming with an open mind, came away with a different outlook and perspective on the Mormons.  While we often ask for such open-mindedness from others, we too should be willing to open our minds to others whose thoughts and concepts might be uplifting and divine.

 

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Being Properly Equipped!

 

When my brother left on his mission for Italy he left behind, unprotected, his baseball glove. I was a senior in high school so when he left I still had one year left of high school baseball. The glove he left behind wasn’t just any glove, it as a Wilson model A2000, the most expensive mitt on the market. I had played the year before with a Sears generic model glove.  The A2000 was a great glove. It had a big pocket and was made of the best cowhide available. It was so soft and durable. To this day I still think it is the best glove on the market. As I examined both gloves at the beginning of the season, I couldn’t resist using my brother’s superior glove. By the time my brother came home, I had not only used it in my final year of high school ball but also for American Legion that summer and college ball. I also used it in two seasons of men’s softball. There is no question in my mind that having superior equipment can make a difference in how well you play the game.

When I returned home from my mission I went out within a week and bought a new A2000 baseball glove. That was 1977. A number of years ago my wife had the glove “re-strung” for my birthday. It has been over 25 years since I bought that glove and it is so durable that I am still using it to this day. Having the best equipment is a must if you want to compete on the highest level.

A number of years ago Elder David B. Haight told of a similar experience regarding being properly equipped.

“I grew up in a small country town in Idaho. Football came to our school later than most. It was 1923. We had neither equipment nor a coach. But the great day arrived when our high school principal was able to buy twelve inexpensive football outfits—but not football shoes with cleats. We used our basketball shoes. He taught us a few simple plays and how to tackle, and then we were ready to play—or so we thought. We set off for our first game with Twin Falls, the previous year’s Idaho state champions.

We dressed and went out on the field to warm up. Their school band started to play (they had more students in the band than we had in our entire high school)—and then through the gates came their team. They kept coming and coming—all thirty-nine of them—fully equipped, and shoes with cleats. The twelve of us—a full team of eleven plus one all-round substitute, watched in amazement.The game was most interesting! To say it was a learning experience is rather mild. After just two plays, we had no desire to have the ball—so we kicked it, and they scored. Whenever they got the ball, they would run a baffling play and score. Our goal was to get rid of the ball—it was less punishing…. The final score—106 to 6!” (David B. Haight, “A Time for Preparation,” Ensign, Nov 1991).

Being properly equipped will not give us talent that we don’t have, but it will augment the talent we do have; thus allowing us to compete at the highest level of our capacities. We are all faced with daily challenges that at times force us to the brink of our abilities. It is important that we arm ourselves with the best equipment available. Why use a Sears model glove for fielding those hard grounders in life when an A2000 is available. Yes, the A2000 costs more, but is the price worth the sacrifice?

In the game of life I think the answer is the same as in a game of sports. We need to properly equip ourselves in order for us to compete with the world. The prophets have told us to pray often, read the scriptures, hold our Family Home evening, be faithful in our callings and attend our meetings. It does cost us time and even money to do these things. But, we will be better equipped to be in the spiritual game of life if we do so.

We need to put on an A2000 each day so to speak! We will find that we will be better able to handle the hard grounders, the line drives and long fly balls that come our way in the game of life by so doing!

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When Our Garden Turns Into Gethsemane

TheDiscipleMD

I learned a valuable lesson from a man who told me that a number of years ago a married brother of his had been on the verge of making a major mistake that would have a lasting negative impact on his family, as well as the extended family. With much consternation he told me that he called his father to voice his grave concerns. His father listened to his concerns and explained that he was well aware of the situation. With elevated voice he told his father over the phone, “Well, do something!” His father’s response of, “What would you like me to do, kick him out of the family?” taught him a great lesson. Of course he didn’t want his father to “kick” anybody out of the family.

This man’s impetuous statement was said out of anger with little thought as to the long-term welfare of his brother. His father, much wiser, was looking at the larger picture and was talking with and counseling his brother in a loving and kind manner. His father was following the wise words of Paul, who in writing the Colossians, wrote:

“Fathers, provoke not your children to anger, lest they be discouraged.” (3:21)

Discouraged from what? I think Paul was trying to say that when fathers close the door on communication with their children, the child becomes discouraged in having an open dialogue thereby eliminating the father’s influence in being able to turn the child from their erroneous ways.

The man finished his story by saying that his brother, with the loving support of his family, turned at the last-minute from his foolish ways adverting disaster for he and his family.

All of us need firm counsel from time to time. When this advise is given in love, the chance of it being accepted certainly improves. Kicking people out of families is not the Lord’s way. He gave families as support so that each member will be blessed at the time when their garden turns into Gethsemane.

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