Sunday, October 31, 2010

Our Outer Appearance

"And it came to pass that when Laman saw me he was exceedingly frightened,
and also Lemuel and Sam. And they fled from before my presence;
for they supposed it was Laban."
I Nephi 4:28
Yesterday I took my daughters trick or treating. While a witch and a princess wearing wacky socks/shoes are not all that unusual, my other daughter dressed up as a lamp on a dresser. Her costume caused many people to either take her picture or give her extra candy for the originality. In my previous post that I wrote on the origins of Halloween, I mentioned that people wore costumes to scare off the bad spirits. In looking at my daughter's unusual costume... I can't think of anything better to ward off evil spirits than being a "light". Light expels or casts out all darkness. True light shines from within.. it however is seen outwardly in the way we treat others and follow our Savior.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Death: The Separation of the Spirit from the Physical Body

Photo taken at the Park City Cemetery on July 28, 2010

"And he will take upon him death,
that he may loose the bands of death which bind his people."

Alma 7:12

In this above photo we see a grave site, marked with a tombstone with vital information about a person.. their full name, the date of their birth and death. There is a fence surrounding the grave.. however, there is also a gate that is opened. The gate is symbolic of Christ. Only through Him can we exit out from the "fence" of death and walk through that gate ...back to life or resurrection.

On a lighter note:

Tomorrow we will be celebrating Halloween a day early... (since we want to keep the Sabbath Day holy :). Interesting since Halloween is actually a shortened version of "All Hallows' Even," the eve of All Hallows' Day. "Hallow" is an Old English word for "holy person," and All Hallow's Day is simply another name for All Saint's Day. It is a day that was suppose to commemorate all the saints, which starts at sundown on October 31. This year the fact that this holiday and the Sabbath day coinciding on the same day is interesting to me.

The origin of the holiday is typically linked to the Celtic festival of Samhain which celebrates the end of the "lighter half" of the year and beginning of the "darker half", and is sometimes regarded as the Celtic New Year. The ancient Celts beleived that the border between this world and the otherworld became thin on Samhain, allowing spirits (both harmless and harmful) to pass through. The family's ancestors were honored and invited home while harmful spirits were warded off. It is believed that the need to ward off harmful spirits led to the wearing of costumes and masks. Their purpose was to disguise oneself as a harmful spirit and thus avoid harm.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

A Spiritual Temple: Living Water mirroring a Physical Structure

Photo taken as the sun was setting on October 27, 2010
"...and a fountain shall come forth of the house of the Lord."
Joel 3: 18
So this photo is symbolic for me. I see two temples. You can see the physical structure of the temple in the background..but in the foreground I see a symbolic "spiritual" temple.. while others might just see a fountain . (however, similiar to a temple, not necessarily the Salt Lake Temple.. more like the Jordan River Temple.) Earthly structures built by man will eventually be destroyed.. just like our bodies will eventually die. What continues on is the Spirit, or actually more correct.. the intelligence which has no beginning or no end. Living water is referred to revelation.. The communication of truth to men by God Himself or in other words.. light and truth.. or adding to our intelligence.
We tend to worship and/or revere things that we create with our hands, even institutions or even others in authority and don't seek out for ourselves the living waters, higher intelligence that comes from above to us directly.

Ursa Major, the Big Dipper, on Salt Lake Temple

Photo taken of the west side of the Salt Lake Temple on October 27, 2010

"Seek him that maketh the seven stars and Orion,
and turneth the shadow of death into the morning ,
and maketh the day dark with night: that calleth for the waters of the sea,
and poureth them out upon the face of the earth:
The Lord is his name."

Amos 5:8

Ursa Major (Larger Bear"), also known as the Great Bear, is a constellation visible throughout the year in most of the northern hemisphere. It is widely recognized as the Big Dipper or Plough, which is a useful pointer toward north, and which has mythological significance in numerous world cultures.

One of the few star groups mentioned in the Bible (see above scripture), Ursa Major was also pictured as a bear by the jewish peoples.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The Stars in the Heavens: The Big Dipper

Photo taken of the Big Dipper at dawn above Mount Olympus on October 21, 2010

"And it is given unto thee to know the set time
of all the stars that are set to give light,
until thou come near unto the throne of God. "
Abraham 3: 10

Just a couple of interesting things about the big dipper. It appears on the outside of the LDS temple. I am hoping to take a picture of this and post it later this week. Also there is a relationship between the big and small dipper. The small dipper is always inverted of the big dipper. It is as if the big dipper is pouring into the little dipper and/or vice versa. It is the the giving and receiving principles. In order to receive you must give. It is also from the big dipper that you can find the North Star which is also the end of the handle of the little dipper or polaris. The lip of the Big dipper points almost directly to the polaris. It is exactly the 5 lengths of that space of the two stars that make the lip and point to the direction.

Here are the notes for the song Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star. There is a reason why we like the song and it resonates within us. It is chiastic:

C-C-G-G-A-A-G, F-F-E-E-D-D-C,
C-C-G-G-A-A-G, F-F-E-E-D-D-C

Monday, October 25, 2010

Animal Symbolism

Photo taken on October 22nd near our family cabin up Big Cottonwood Canyon.

The Moose:

· The moose is an ancient power symbol seen during Late fall/early winter before the Time of Approaching Shadows.
· This animal is viewed as a special sacred gift.
· It is a dual/contradictory animal…Awkward… yet graceful.
· Known for its invisibility; (Large/Powerful in size.. yet is able to camouflage itself)
(like the powerful magician who appears as a poor shepherd, woodcutter, or peasant)
· It has great depth perception and is known for its speed and grace negotiated through rough environment than often “trip’s up” others.
· The male moose is connected with glory/ with its crown of antlers.
· The moose itself represents the primal feminine energy.. and seen often in water (lakes and marshes).. a place of rebirth
· The female moose/ cow is very protective of their young.. it has one of the strong maternal instincts.. and no animal who knows better would attempt to get between her and her offspring.
· A moose has the ability to dive and be completely submerged in water … The moose will do this for food…representing the ability to go back into the depth of water and draw new life and nourishment. ( from life …to death and then back to life. )
· Also attributed to the moose is the ability to move from the outer world to the inner world
· Knows how to use the thin thread/veil that separates life and death to ones advantage.
· Known for the keen sense of smell.. and discernment. … represented by the large nose feature of the moose
· The Moose also represents the harvesting season, peaking in October.. a power season when a new cycle is about to begin. Mating season has already occurred.
· The moose also represents an invitation to learn to explore new depths of awareness and sensitivities within yourself and in your environment.
· Also very significant is the fact that the Baby Moose (calf) is born with her eyes open. The light has never left the baby.. but still needs to be able to trust the light.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Holding on to PURE JOY

Photo taken of my daughter Brooke down at Lake Powell in July of 2009.

I will write more shortly.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

CONTRAST: Yin and Yang. Light and Dark. Good and Evil. Half Full or Half Empty

Just took this photo five minutes ago at 7:30 PM on October 14, 2010
Yin is characterized as slow, soft, yielding, diffuse, cold, wet, or tranquil; and is associated with water, earth, the moon, femininity and nighttime

Yang, by contrast, is fast, hard, solid, focused, hot, dry, or aggressive; and is associated with fire, sky, the sun, masculinity and daytime.

I will write more shortly.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Ascension: Lessons from a Helium Balloon

Last of the pictures from last Saturday's fishing trip.. taken on October 9, 2010
"I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the Most High."
2 Nephi 24: 14
Ascend: To move upwards, to proceed from an inferior to a superior degree.
Helium gas is lighter than the oxygen (air), and when a balloon is filled with the helium.. the balloon with rise and ascend. Using the balloon as a metaphor for us.. what can we fill ourselves that will help us rise and ascent higher from this fallen world in which we live?. Is it possible to rise above this "sin-sick world" (a term used by Spencer W. Kimball). If so, how?

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Stretching our wings

Photo taken on our fishing trip in Midway, UT on October 9, 2010

"Ah, Lord, God! behold, thou hast make the heaven and the earth
by thy great power and stretched out arm,
and there is nothing too hard for thee."
Jeremiah 32: 17
The word "Stretch" defined: to draw out to greater length.
I have had the impression lately that is is important for us to all be stretched spiritually. Many of us are already being stretched in all other areas of our life (financially, pressures, time),...but probably not with things in a spirtual nature... which is probably the most important type of stretching. The physical/financial/worldly stretching sometimes hinder our spiritual stretching. We have been taught and conditioned to rely on our leaders and look to them for revelation.. not stretch ourselves..."our wings".... and fly higher like the stretched wings of birds. Many of us don't even attempt to fly at all.
Commentary of the photo:
In glancing at the might quickly see only 5 geese... wait.. oh, 6 geese. But, on closer examination.. there are actually 7 geese. Look hard and you will see. I particularly like the goose in the middle on the left side. His wings are high, stretched, and soaring.. and his neck seems to be pushing forward with all his might. Canadian Geese are known for being loyal to their mate. They always return back to the same place to raise their offspring in the spring. Now is the season for them to fly south for the winter, as a protection from the coming storms and the cold of winter.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Personal Revelation: A Line of Communication

Photo taken over Heber Valley on Saturday October 9, 2010."This personal line of communication with our Heavenly Father
through His Holy Spirit is the source of our testimony of truth,
of our knowledge, and of our personal guidance from a loving Heavenly Father.
It is an essential feature of His marvelous gospel plan,
which allows each one of His children to receive a personal witness of its truth."
Elder Dallin H. Oaks, October 2010 Conference.
I took my daughter fishing on Saturday. Driving up to the lake, my daughter looked out the window and said, "Look Dad, it looks like Jesus is coming down". I pulled over and luckily had my camera with me and took this picture.
Communication is defined as the act of imparting, conferring, or delivering, from one to another knowledge, opinions or facts. The best form of communication is face to face, but we also use other forms like the writing, phones calls ... and now days "texting" each other. All with the goal to "communicate" with each other.
Back in the day a fun experiment was to take two cans connected with a string. One person would speak into the can, the other would hold the can to their ear. The vibrations send along the string would transmit the voice. In order for this too work, the string needed to be a direct line, completely straight and tight... If there were knots or other interferences with the string, the message could not be understood.
In this photo... Dark clouds cover the entire sky. The sun is not visible except in one place. One can see the direct beam of light descending down from heaven. One must be perfectly aligned with heaven in order to be able to see the sun directly over head.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Mercy versus Justice: Parable of the Bed

Photograph taken this morning of my oldest daughters bed after
her younger sisters made it for her.
"What, do ye suppose that mercy can rob justice?
I say unto you, Nay; not one whit. If so, God would cease to be God."
Alma 42: 25
It has been a busy week for me...with very little time to post anything. However, I needed to quickly share an teaching experience that happened this morning. At the beginning of the school year, we created a rule in our family that the girls needed to make their beds prior to leaving for school. If their bed was not made.. then they would receive a strike. If they got three strikes.. then dad would come to school, get them out of class and bring them back home to make their bed. The rule has been set, and everyone knew the consequences. Many of my daughters friends also know about our family rule.. and look forward to the day when the third strike happens and witness my daughter getting pulled out of class..(by then, maybe the whole school will know what is happening when a dad comes looking for one of his daughters.)
My oldest daugther has had 2 strikes against her for a couple of weeks now. This morning.. she recieved the third strike. Her Bed was not made. Justice needed to be served. However.. not wanting the unthinkable to happen to their sister.. my two younger daughters made their older sister's bed ...fulfulling the demands of Justice. They played the role of a Savior , balanced the scales with Mercy. My oldest daugther is now indebted to her younger sisters without having to pay the penalty of Dad embarrassing her at school.
In a simple ordinary experience of making a bed, the atonement is taught to my daughters. Grateful for our Savior's life of mercy for me that justice was fulfilled and all He asked of me is to repent and follow Him.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Friday, October 1, 2010

General Conference Weekend

Photos of the LDS Conference Center inside and out taken on October 1, 2010
Behold, we have built sanctuaries,
and we do assemble ourselves together to worship
We do believe that God will save all men.
Alma 21:6
You will notice in both of these photographs that not a single person is visible.. however starting tomorrow this place will be packed and swarming with people. Humans are social creatures.. we like to gather. Assembly Halls or Conference Centers are sometimes referred to as sanctuaries. A sanctuary is defined as a house consecrated to the worship of God, a place where divine service is performed. This weekend is the LDS Worldwide General Conference. This building will be filled to capacity.. with over 21,000 people. Amazing.
Just a sidenote...a recently took a tour of the Conference Center, the host/tour guide called the building the 8th wonder of the world. He also mentioned that is was paid for by private donations and revenue/profits from the church's owned businesses before it was finished . For some reason...I was under the impression that tithing money was used. Despite the possibility that the Saints/members didn't contribute/sacrificed to have this built.. It truly is a beautiful and fine sanctuary. In reading the Book of Mormon again recently..I have always wondered if Nephi is only referring to the Catholic church or others denominations when talking about sanctuaries that will be built up in the last days. We have a tendency to think that Nephi is never referring to us when he is giving warnings. If so, we would be wise to not be boastful of the structures we build.. and always be mindful and more concerned about feeding the poor, and helping the homeless. With all of the billions of dollars we have used in renovating and building up downtown Salt Lake around the temple, I hope we are also helping to build the "kingdom" by helping those who are less fortunate.