Saturday, January 30, 2010

A 3-Day Experiment

What follows are excerpts from an article that appeared in Meridian Magazine and also in The Church News today. Notice how the "experiment" was only for three days. Notice also how only one small encounter per day was requested. ....In a talk at BYU-Idaho this week, Elder Russell M. Nelson’s wife, Wendy Watson Nelson, emphasized the importance of being holy and inviting the Holy Ghost into one's life. She said that she recently e-mailed six women, ages 25 to 65, and asked them to try an experiment to do with holiness.

"I wrote, 'In thinking about how to learn about holiness, I was wondering if, for just three days, you would be willing to, just once a day, purposefully choose one activity a day and try to be more holy while doing it or to do it as a holy woman? For example, you might try welcoming your husband home, or making dinner, or reading to a child, or exercising, or eating one meal, or talking with a friend, or shopping, or praying, or doing laundry. How would a holy woman do that?" said Sister Nelson.

The thoughtful responses Sister Nelson received helped her understand the difference a desire to be holy can make.

One woman wrote about her experience with the most troublesome task she usually had during the day: brushing her 4-year-old's teeth. She said that she pictured the Savior in the room with her and felt an immense difference.

"Suddenly, I had more patience. I didn't bark orders. I felt like I had more influence over the situation. I could step back and almost see, well, how would a holy woman handle this situation?" wrote the woman to Sister Nelson.

Many of the women expressed that, after the experiment, they felt that being holy was not such an unreachable goal. They noticed how the desire to be holy affected their lives and wanted to continue to improve being more holy in their everyday lives.

"I believe that if we are really going to do what we came here to do, and that the Lord is counting on us to do, that we need to seek in every way we can to be more holy, to invite more holiness into our lives so that we really can, as the forces around us are increasing in intensity, have an equal and opposite reaction to those forces," Sister Nelson said.

Sister Nelson said that whatever it took in the past years to have a strong marriage, great family and a great life, would not be sufficient now. "I've even started to believe that what was enough last year won't be enough for this year, not as the forces around us are increasing in intensity," she said.

"It is my testimony, sisters, that it is time. It is time to take time to be holy. It is time to pray for the Lord to help us to be holy," she said. "I know the Lord is counting on us to do exactly what we said we would do that we signed up for premortally. The only way to do the things you said you would is to be increasingly holy."

Postscript from The Thinker: I think Wendy also gave us (intentionally or not) the way to go about transforming our lives: begin by trying just one small act of holiness per day, gradually increase to maybe two per day, and so on, until responding in a holy manner becomes second nature.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Fun Mysteries

Acting on a tip I heard on BYU radio, I checked out a couple of novels by “Charles Todd” from the public library a couple of weeks ago. I quickly read both novels and then went back and checked out two more books in the series. The books are murder mysteries known as the “Inspector Ian Rutledge” mysteries. The author has received several awards and his books are New York Times best sellers.

Inspector Rutledge is a policeman with Scotland Yard. The action takes place in England after World War I. The Inspector has a voice in his head—that of a fellow soldier in WWI (“Hamish”) that he had to shoot because he disobeyed an order. Hamish is quite the character, talking all the time in a Scottish brogue.

Things I’ve enjoyed in the books: There are wonderful descriptions of the English countryside; they are clean with no steamy, suggestive scenes and without crude language; trying to figure out who the murderer is before the end of the story is a great challenge (brain exercise). The books are also hard to put down once you get into them, but not so scary that they create nightmares or disturbed sleep.

I will finish the fourth book today or tomorrow.
Only about eight more to go …. !

P.S. Charles Todd is a pen name--he is really a mother and son duo!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Out of the Rubble

A two year old boy is pulled from the rubble. You can see it in his eyes, read it on his face: He had been trapped. He was hurt and bewildered. He had cried and no one came. It was so dark. There were fearsome noises. Where was Mommy? . . . .

Then, strangers, men in scary clothes, uncovered him and picked him up . . . .

There was commotion all around in the dark . . . .

But, suddenly, night turned to day. Fear turned to joy . . . .

Mommy came!

All is well!

Mommies are magic that way.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Insights on Adam and Eve

Since we are studying the Old Testament in Gospel Doctrine this year, Meridian Magazine ( published an article about Eve today, titled, “The Wisdom and Intelligence of Eve,” written by James T. Summerhays. It was a great article with intriguing insights which should elevate the sometimes mundane or humdrum class discussions about Adam and Eve and The Fall.

Some of the assertions from the article: (1) Eve was not “tricked” by the serpent. (2) Eve was a wise prophetess and seer. (3) Paradoxically, Adam’s instruction to “rule over” Eve really meant that he was to be her servant!

1. Eve was not “tricked” by the serpent.

The original Hebrew word that was translated as beguile … suggests Eve underwent a deep internal process; she weighed, pondered, and reflected upon the ramifications of partaking of the fruit before she did so.

A second witness to the original meaning of beguile is given by the prophet Lehi, who makes commentary on the Adam and Eve story from a record much earlier than anything the King James translators had to work with—namely, the brass plates. Lehi explains that Eve was enticed by the tree of knowledge of good and evil that stood in opposition to the tree of life (2 Nephi 2:15–16). In other words, she wanted it; she chose it over the other. And it was a good tree, not inherently evil in any way. Notice all the positive terms in Genesis 3:6—“And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat.”

2. Eve was a wise prophetess and seer.

The word saw in this verse comes from the Hebrew word ra’ah, which has direct relation and root to the Hebrew word ro’eh, which means seer or vision. Such word play, which is common in Hebrew, suggests that Eve had a prophetic spirit and may have received seeric revelation from God as part of her tutoring in the garden.

Eve, who rightly may be seen as a wise prophetess and seer, came to realize that all those things—the knowledge of good and evil, the sorrow of probation, the ability to bear children—were necessary to receiving the wisdom of, and becoming like, the Gods (2 Nephi 2:22–24; Gen. 3:22). So she ate of the fruit and, technically speaking, transgressed God’s word. But in reality, she had reached into the mind of God. She saw, after partaking, that he had intended for her to eat of the forbidden fruit all along (Moses 5:11).

3. Adam’s instruction to “rule over” Eve really meant that he was to be her servant.
The original Hebrew meaning of mashal (rule) is “to have” or “to have dominion,” but it also means “to liken,” “to resemble,” and “to become like.” This intimates that Adam’s ruling meant he presided only under principles of unity and equality, and that he was to strive to “resemble” the virtues of Eve and thus “become like” her. President Gordon B. Hinckley further explained that Adam’s “ruling over” Eve as stated in Genesis means “to responsibly provide for, to protect, to strengthen and shield [his] wife.” President Spencer W. Kimball quipped: “We have heard of men who have said to their wives, ‘I hold the priesthood and you’ve got to do what I say.’ Such a man should be tried for his membership.”

It is as if God is saying here, “Sorry, Adam, but I’m afraid I’m going to have to place you at the head of the woman, which of course means you are the servant of the woman and a doulos—a slave to the woman.” In fact, Christ goes on to give the same concept about his own station in life: “Even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many people” (Mark 10:45; NIV).

This is a mere sampling from the article. I hope you will find time to read the whole article. (See the web address in the first paragraph above. It was the lead article on Friday, Jan. 8.) Food for thought, indeed.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Adventure #1 for 2010

I posted a blog a long time ago (in 2008?) about Larry Miller's son Greg who promised his children 100 ADVENTURES during the year. Remember that? I said I thought it was a great idea, so we embarked on our first adventure. As I recall it was a play at the Covey Center in Provo. Remember that???? --And remember the eye-guy who left a comment on my blog????? "YIKES"!!!!!!! LOL

In total during this past year, I think we logged less than half a dozen adventures for the entire year. (Sigh) Oh, well. It's now a NEW YEAR!

Here's a nearby quick adventure for anyone who might be interested:

The Woodbury Art Museum is at the University Mall, on the 2nd floor between Nordstroms and The Gap. It's open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and it's free.

The above photo is of a painting in their permanent exhibit. This picture is part of the Fairy Tales collection and depicts a scene from Sleeping Beauty. Other art in the collection includes pictures from Lord of the Rings and Phantom of the Opera. (I think these qualify as kid-friendly art.)

Also currently on exhibit are several Sorensen Wax Dolls. There are a dozen different "Father Christmas" dolls on display until mid-January. These dolls are carved wax and are ornately clothed. Below is a photo of "Father Frost," one of the wax dolls.

What do you think? Does it look like it might be worth a visit to the Woodbury Art Museum? (Or maybe even more than one!)

Then, afterwards there might be a stop at the ice cream place?! (Two adventures for the price of one....)