Thursday, September 30, 2010

Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob: The 3 Patriarchs

Guest Photographer: Neil Christenson (my dad)
He took this picture with his Iphone on his recent trip to Zions National Park.
"That they may believe that the Lord God of their fathers,
the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob,
hath appeared unto thee."
Exodus 4:5

My dad just recently returned home from a trip to Zion's National Park. He showed me the pictures he took and I asked him if I could post this photo. We live in a beautiful state. Zion is an amazing place. A Methodist minister, Frederick Fisher, who was exploring Zion in 1916 named these 3 peaks, the Three Patriarches: Abraham (6990'), Isaac (6825') and Jacob (6831'). Many of the other landmarks in Zion's have spiritual/gospel/Biblical names as well like Angels' Landing, Cathedral Mountain, West Temple, Altar of Sacrifice, Great White Throne of God, the Organ, and Mount Moroni.

We know that Abraham, the first Patriarch is the father of many nations. His name was changed from Abram.. to Abraham. (meaning father of a multitude). , Isaac was his son to be sacrificed. Isaac had 2 sons and the blessings where passed onto Jacob (later named Israel) who had 12 sons.. better known as the 12 tribes of Israel.

I find it interesting to compare these 3 Patriarchs.... with the Father, the Sacrificed Son, and the Holy Ghost. Just like in the photo of the 3 distinct peaks. they are distinct, separate, yet they are unified, connected and one in purpose.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Always following the Sun/Son: The Sunflower

Photo taken on my Fall Equinox hike on September 23, 2010.
"unless a man shall endure to the end,
in following the example of the Son of the living God,
he cannot be saved.
2 Nephi 31: 16
This photo was taken on the same hike that I climbed on the Fall Equinox. In an earlier post, I talked about this hike and how all the flowers had died, and almost everything was dried up and dying.. with the exception of the SUNFLOWER. It has endured. From the picture you can see that the sunflower is somewhat tattered, the petals are not perfect, and it appears alone in a hillside of dried weeds.
The sunflower is known for the unique characteristic of always facing the sun. From sunrise to sunset the "face" of the flower follows the movement of the sun in the sky. We could learn a powerful lesson from this enduring, sun follower, sunflower.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Water Droplets

Photo of water droplets on our shower glass door on September 28, 2010

..Remember that it is upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your foundation; that when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, yea, his shafts in the whirlwind, yea, when all his hail and his mighty storm shall beat upon you, it shall have no power over you to drag you down to the gulf of misery and endless wo, because of the rock upon which ye are built, which is a sure foundation, a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall." Helaman 5: 12

Water has always been fascinating to watch. Waterfalls, streams, the ocean... even waterdroplets falling down on a window pane or shower door. Gravity is constantly pulling water down. If you watch on a window pane, as the water droplet gets bigger, the weight will eventually cause it to stream/fall down a path of least resistance. Once the droplet falls.. it usually will collide and combine with other droplets... causing the fall to be faster.

In gospel terms using the above scripture, Satan desires for us all to be dragged down to the gulf of endless misery. How then can we avoid falling when the pull of the world seems to be stronger than we have strength? I have never seen water defy gravity and flow upstream. However, only by changing it's nature can water ascend instead of descend.. it is through vaporization. By increasing the temperature, water will become a gas and will rise. It is no wonder that we are taught to build our foundation on Christ, our Redeemer and become a new creature in Him.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Sealing Power: The Process of being Preserved

Photos taken yesterday after canning peaches on September 26, 2010
Many of us are familiar with Elder David Bednar's conference talk on the "pickles". It is worth a second read. It is entitled "Ye Must Be Born Again". He talked about 5 steps: Preparing, Cleansing, Immersing, Saturating and then Sealing. Here is the link:,5232,23-1-690-8,00.html
I wanted to briefly share a couple of more insights on the process of becoming purified/preserved and then "sealed" that I learned from canning peaches.
The process to preserving the peach begins long before the very last step of "canning". For example: A seed was planted, a tree grew and through consistent nourishment, light from the sun, living water and fertile ground, the tree was ready to bear fruit....Then over the spring to fall growing cycle... a peach grew and ripened. Unfortunately, due to the storms, winds, and bird/ insects... many of the peaches fell to the ground, bruised, rotten and unusable. Thus, a process of selection was necessary to bring the right peaches to the canning process... a division had occured and not all of the peaches which had the potential to be preserved... can or will be sealed.
Continuing on, the chosen peach is washed, immersed in hot boiling water in order for the outer layer to be removed exposing the inner. The peach then looks like a "new creature". The peach is then cut in half (symbolic of a covenant meaning to "to cut"). In this cutting process, areas of the peach that were bruised, or blemished were cut away by gentle the hands of "the Master". This was a "messy" and more difficult part. The peaches are then placed in a purified/santitized vessel and then a preserving liquid mixture is then pour over them. (similar to an annointing). A lid is then placed on top of the bottle in preparation for it to be sealed so no air or other contaminating element can enter. The vessels are then placed warm water not yet boiling to make sure the bottle does not crack. Water is then brought to a boil and which changes from a liquid to a "gas".. when it begins to steam. Purification and Refining leads to the vessel being sealed.

"Nevertheless they did fast and pray oft, and did wax stronger and stronger in their humility, and firmer and firmer in the faith of Christ, unto the filling their souls with joy and consolation, yea, even to the purifying and the sanctification of their hearts, which sanctification cometh because of their yielding their hearts unto God." Helaman 3:35

Friday, September 24, 2010

Spring Equinox vs Fall Equinox

This year I felt impressed to take a hike during my lunch break on both the spring equinox and on the fall equinox. Same hike, but 6 months apart. I really didn't want to hike with camera, but knew that it was important to document what I saw. I learned recently if you want to learn more about our Father in Heaven.. just step outside your front door and become as little child... open, humble, teachable, meek and submissive. All things testify of Him.. we just need to develop the eyes to see Him. Here is a few observations that I have learned about the cycles of life and which part of the cycle we are in right now in the history of the world.
See the collection of photos below:
What I saw on the spring equinox: Everything was green and growing. Many bees pollinating the flowers. I saw butterflies that had begun as a new creature from being a caterpillar. I saw birds. I saw beautiful wildflowers like the sego lily and indian paintbrush flower.
What I saw a couple of days ago on the fall equinox: Almost everything was dried up, all the beautiful flowers that I saw in the spring were gone, Instead of bees.. I saw flies. I saw thousands of crickets eating what was left of anything that was still alive. I saw a couple "dragonlike" reptile toads. I saw dead snake skin.
Hiking up this same path in the fall was not as beautiful as in the spring. I actually had a sick feeling of decay and death. Things were either dead or in the process of dying. This is the natural cycle of things.
A season of birth folllowed by a season of growing, then a season of decay and then ultimately the final season of death before a life begins again. One eternal round. We are now in the harvest season as the earth and living things begin to fall and decay.
Fall Equinox
photos taken on a hike above the SL Valley onSeptember 23rd

Spring Equinox

photos taken on the same hike on the Spring Equinox on March 19th, 2010

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Clouds of Glory

Photo taken on the beginning day of Fall, September 22, 2010

I took this picture the same day on the Fall Equinox. (See earlier post). I love watching clouds. My daughters and I like to lay on our backs and watch the clouds and point out animals or other objects that the clouds remind us of. In this above photo...rising above the dark color of the clouds below is the light and majesty of the clouds shining with the sun. It is the silver lining.. in the storms of life. The hope of a better day to come.

While he thus spake, there came a cloud, and overshadowed them, and they feared as they entered into the cloud. And there came a voice out of the cloud, saying, This is my Beloved Son: hear him. Luke 9:34-35

As ye have asked of me concerning the signs of my coming, in the day when I shall come in my glory in the clouds of heaven. D&C 45: 44

Moon setting as the Sun is rising Simultaneously

Photos of the moon "setting" as the sun is "rising"
on September 23, 2010 looking west over Oquirrah Mountains

Moon about to set in the west before the sun rises in the east

That you many be equal in the bonds of heavenly things,
yea, and earthly things also, for the obtaining of heavely things.
For if ye are not equal in earthly things
ye cannot be equal in obtaining heavenly things.
Doctrine and Covenants 78: 5-6
Today is a day of balance in the heavens, it is the Fall Equinox. As I have mentioned in an earlier post today is when the skies above, the light and dark, the day and night are "equal". I have tried to document this through photographs of the importance of this day. This morning I woke up not knowing that I would be impressed to take more photos of the moon. I think my family is starting to think I am crazy.. or possibly some kind of "werewolf" since I am always looking at the moon. :)
Despite my unusual behavior, I was once again taught this morning of things that that I couldn't quite see before and my understanding was opened.
As I took the picture of the moon "setting" over the mountain..I noticed that the sun simultaneously was "rising". You can see the sun starting to shine on the tops of the Oquirrah mountains in the top picture. It is complete Balance. Moon light fades as sun light brightens... at the exact time. So, enjoy this day of balance. We live in a world completely out of balance. In fact everything is reversed. Good is now evil.. and evil is now called good. After today. darkness starts to take over in the skies and the balances scales of light and dark are unequal.
It is important to note that as we approach the Winter Soltice of this year... the darkest day of the year.. that is will also coincide with a Total Lunar Eclipse on December 21, 2010... meaning we will not have any moonlight as well. So, For a moment in time..we will experience little to no light from the sun or moon on the darkest day of the year. It is during these total lunar eclipse that the moon appears red.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The Sunrise on the Beginning of Fall

Photos taken this morning at sunrise on September 22, 2010.

"Then shall thy light break forth as the morning,
and thine health shall spring forth speedily;
and thy righteousness shall go before thee,
the glory of the LORD shall be thy rereward."
Isaiah 58:8

This was an amazing morning. The signs in the heavens this past couple of days have been beautiful. Light breaking forth out of Darkness of the night. Words can't describe the feelings that I felt I as experienced this sunrise. The best two words would be Eternal Hope and Redeeming Love.

The Fall Equinox and Full Moon Simultaneously

All 3 of these photos were taken last night on September 21, 2010
I took the photo below when it was dark, but with a longer shutter speed and larger looks like day. Just like a camera.. the more light can enters in when we open up ourselves up to receive it.

All this photo is missing is Elliott and ET riding on a bicycle.

The Fall Equinox begins today, on September 22, 2010 starting at 9:09 PM. An Equinox lasts for a 24 hour period and occurs twice a year (Spring and Fall). It is on these two days that there is equal day hours and night hours.. ((light and dark are in balance). After today there will be gradually more darkness than sunlight. It is also interesting to note that it is also a full moon tonight. After tonight the moon will start to wane (diminish in phase or intensity) or less full and giving off less light. This is significant that these two events are happening at the same time. The number nine is also significant. (9th month at 9:09 PM). It is also the last number in the completion before we start back at 0. As the old cycle dies a new one is born again. Nine means judgement and finality. It also is being what we call FALL, we are entering into a harvest season.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Chiasmus: The Symmetry and Focal Point

Photo taken in the Cinque Terre city of Vernazza in Italy in May 2009
Genesis 7:11

"Resurrection" by Karl Bloch

Last Saturday, I attended an all day conference "Discoveries in Chiasmus". Chiasmus is a pattern in all things. Each presenter from various fields and disciplines showed this pattern in the scriptures as well as in art, literature, architecture, science, biology, and music. One of the paintings that was used to show this form was this painting by Karl Bloch. (I usually only post photographs that I have taken with the exception of this and the other Bloch painting that I posted at the beginning of my blog.)

When looking to find a photo to post today, I came across the photo of these windows which is very similiar to the Karl Bloch painting. Two shutters on either side (Two angels) of the main subject. Flowers in the lower middle of the image. A painted archway= a dooway, main subject is the windows... main focus is Christ.

I learned that the world is full of revelation. The Lord is shouting to us all around. Unfortunately many of us are too deaf and blind to see and hear. Do we open our windows of our soul to open up and see the beautiful 'flower's just outside.. or do we keep our shutters closed?

Here is a write up in the newspaper about the conference:

Thursday, September 16, 2010


Photo taken at the Parowan Gap on September 6, 2010

It has been awhile since I have posted anything new. It has been a busy week. I wanted to at least post a photo. This has significance. I will write more shortly.

Friday, September 10, 2010

September 11th: A historical day of tragedies

Photo taken at the Mountain Meadow massacre site on September 6th, 2010
"And is shall come in a day when the blood of saints shall cry unto the Lord,
because of the secret combinations and the works of darkness."
Mormon 8:27
Tomorrow we remember the tragic events that took place in our country. It happened 9 years ago. There is another tragic event that happened on September 11th, 1857 which ended in the murder of innocent men, women and children. We don't talk about this very much within the church. It is what we refer to as the Mountain Meadow Massacre. The above picture is taken of the grave memorial site that my family visited a couple of days ago.
I will write more shortly.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Ancient Writings: Parawon Gap Part 2

Photo taken at the Parowan Gap on September 6, 2010
Here are a couple of inscriptions we found on the inner rock walls of the Parawon Gap. Above is an inscription of a spiral iris eye. The "all seeing eye" is a symbol that has been used for centuries. The eye is a universal symbol representing spiritual sight, inner vision, and higher knowledge. The circle is an ancient symbol for unity, wholeness, infinity, sacred space, heaven, the sun. (And is also a symbol for female..while the square is the symbol for male) The spiral is linked to the circle but is more closely related to the universe, creation, and progression.

These inscriptions are naturally split into quadrants by the rock crevices. I have been reading a book by V. Garth Norman about the Parawon Gap. From what I have gathered, the above inscriptions that looks like alligator teeth is symbolic of the gap and waving lines are souls ascending and rising above and out of the jaws that want to engulf us. I will write more about this later.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Ancient Writings: Parowan Gap Part 1

Photo taken of road leading to the Parowan Gap on September 6, 2010.

"Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature,

shall be able to separate us from the Love of God,

which is in Christ Jesus our Lord."

Romans 8: 39

On our way home from St. George we stopped at the Parowan Gap. The road to the Parowan Gap follows an ancient trail used by Native Americans. In the narrow gap where the two mountain come together is a sacred site. In is one these rock walls that these ancients Indians inscribed petroglyphs with extreme skill and geometric precisions. These writings are called petroglyphs (not heiroglyphys).

Definition of the word "gap": separation in space, an incomplete or deficient area,

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

ALL YE THAT LABOUR: Labor Day Weekend

Photo taken of a tortoise in Snow Canyon, UT on Sept. 4, 2010.

"Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden,
and I will give you rest."
Matthew 11: 28

We just returned home from a trip to St. George with our friends, the Carlstons. On an early morning run, my wife came upon a male and female tortoise. (we called them turtles, but a tortoise is a land-dwelling turtle.. a turtle lives in or near the water)

Tortoises (Land turtles) generally have lifespans comparable with human beings. Some have been known to live longer than 150 years. Turtles have very symbolic meaning in many cultures. In the Far East, the shell is a symbol of heaven, and the square underside is a symbol of earth. The turtle unites both heaven and earth. They are aslo symbolic of fertility, immortality and dwelling places for souls making their way through progression.

The reason for posting the photo that I took was first I think it was cool to see a tortoise in the wild and natural environment instead of in a zoo. And second. I have also viewed the turtle to look burdened and heavy laden. The turtle is born with its' shell. How similiar the turtle is to us. Many of us feel weighed down with heavy loads.. I am mindful of mothers with their children. Because of these burdens we often move slow.

Christ repeats over and over that He will lift our burdens and make them light. All we need to do is Come unto Him and He will give us rest.

Thursday, September 2, 2010


Photo taken at the Salt Lake City Main Library in August 2010

But unto him that keepeth my commandments,
I will give the mysteries of my kingdom,
and the same shall be in him a well of living water
springing up unto everlasting life.
Doctrine and Covenants 63:23

Cascade: A succession of stages, processes, operations, or units. In this photo we see a succession of steps with a cascade flowing with "living water". The photo is cut in half diagonally. The upper right diagonal has living water flowing over the steps. The lower left does not.

We read in Jeremiah 17:13 ...who was prophesying about the destruction of Jerusalem

"O Lord, the hope of Israel, all that forsake thee shall be ashamed, and they that depart from me shall be written in the earth, because they have forsaken the Lord, the fountain of living waters."

Do we have living water following in our lives? Are we receiving personal revelation and learning the mysteries of the kingdom? Or are we like the steps on the bottom left without living water?

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

FREEDOM: Without Restraint or Control

Photo taken on August 26, 2010 of the view of the SLC Main Library
with the flag on top of County Building in the background.
" We do not believe that human law
has a right to interfere in prescribing rules of worship
to bind the consciences of men,
nor dictate forms for public or private devotion;
that the civil magistrate should restrain crime, but never control conscience;
should punish guilt, but never suppress the freedom of the soul."
Doctrine and Covenants 134: 4-5
The above photo is divided in half. On the left is the limitless sky.. free from any contraint. It also shows on this side, the symbol of freedom, the American Flag. On the right side is a glass building... reflecting the sky. The enviroment is contained, controlled.. and safe. We as humans like to feel safe. We like security. We have fear of the unknown, we don't like not having control. We believe that we have freedom in the United States... but we are slowing losing this freedom from those in power positions that want more control, more security. You can not have freedom and control at the same time. As soon as you give someone control.. you lose freedom. Do we want to stay in the safe, glass building? or do we want true freedom?