Monday, May 30, 2011

MEMORIAL DAY: The bagpiper

photo taken on May 30, 2011 of bagpiper at Wasatch Memorial Lawn
Today was Memorial Day.
 Despite the rain, thousands came to the cemetary to pay tribute to loved ones, including this bagpiper dressed in his kilt barely visible under his raincoat. My father-in-law passed away a couple of years ago and a bagpiper came to his gravesite and played the song, Amazing Grace. There was some synchronicity today because right when we got to the cemetary this bagpiper was playing Amazing Grace about 50 feet away from her father's grave. As soon as he finished, he left. Timing is everything. 

I will write a little more about a couple of things I have learned about Memorial Day and the significance of this day. 

Saturday, May 28, 2011


photo taken of tree at the Grand Canyon on May 11, 2011

write more soon.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Day of Pentecost: SHAVUOT

Photo of bright sunflowers seen on the mountainside on my hike on May 26. 2011 
"And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.
And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind,
and it filled all the house where they were sitting."
Acts 2:1-3

180 degree panaroma on Lookout Peak looking west into the Salt Lake Valley
(far left is Mt. Olympus and far right is Bountiful)
 180 degree panarama looking East toward Park City (far right is Immigration Canyon)
"And the Lord came down upon mount Sinai, on the top of the mount:
and the Lord called Moses up to the top of the mount; and Moses went up."
Exodus 19:20

 A Hawk that hoovered over me for several minutes as I was ascending to the summit of the mountain.
"And John bare record, saying, I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove,
and it abode upon him."
John 1:32

Yesterday  (using the sun/solitice calendar for the Jewish holidays) was the Day of Pentecost. This day is historically and symbolicallly related to the Jewish harvest festival of Shavuot, which commemorates God giving the Ten Commandments at Mount Sinai fifty days after the exodus. It is 50 days after the Feast of the Passover.  It is also one of the day commemorating the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the disciples of Christ after the Resurrection.

This day is also called the feast of the harvest and lasted for a single day, which was a day of holy convocation. Special sacrifices were made and freewill offerings.

In modern times in the Kirkland Temple we also learn about a Pentecost:

 Joseph wrote, “The Savior made his appearance to some, while angels ministered to others, and it was a Pentecost and an endowment indeed, long to be remembered, for the sound shall go forth from this place into all the world, and occurrences of this day shall be handed down upon the pages of sacred history, to all generations.” (History of the Church, 2:427–33.)

Thursday, May 26, 2011


Photo taken of the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon taken on May 11, 2011
"And they thirsted not; he led them through the deserts;
he caused the waters to flow out of the rock for them;
he clave the rock also and the waters gushed out."
I Nephi 20:21


I have pondered a couple of things after my trip to the Grand Canyon. The amazing beauty from the interaction between rock and water.  Rock is associated with firmness, immovable, strength, and masculinity. Water is associated with Life, the most abundant and most necessary for living beings, and is considered a feminine symbol. Water when pure is colorless, transparent, and without taste or smell. Water in the cold temperatures can be converted into ice or snow, and in the heat can be converted into steam or vapor. Rock over time is transformed by water. Water is the powerful force on the earth..... yet most would think that rock is more powerful than water.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The Watchman on the Tower

"And behold, the watchman upon the tower would have seen the enemy while he was yet afar off;
 and then ye could have made ready and kept the enemy from breaking down the hedge thereof,
and saved my vineyard from the hands of the destroyer."
Doctrine and Covenants 101: 54

Overlooking the Grand Canyon sits this modern day watchtower. I was able to climb to the top where I was able to see for miles and miles.. even across the state line of Arizona into Utah. When storms are approaching, the watchmen in the tower can see long before the destruction hits, so he can warn and protect those in the storms path. Also, the watchtower was set up to guard against enemies who would come in secretly to destroy and to steal.  

In ancient times, the watchtower was a tall structure built of field stone in the midst of steep, terraced vineyards. Often the vineyard is far from the village, and needs to be protected both from natural enemies and from thieves. Sometimes the watchtower served as temporary living quarters for the owners during summer because when the grapes became ripe in July...special full time watchfulness was required before the grape harvest to guard the fruit from animals and thieves.

Other references to watchmen on the tower are found in Isaiah and in the Doctrine and Covenants.  Isaiah prophesies that in the last days that there will be watchman that are blind, and compares them to shepherds that cannot understand since they look to their own way. (Isaiah 56: 10-11). The modern parable given to Joseph Smith in D&C 101 talks about the nobleman and the watchman on the tower that also has fallen asleep. If there every was a time of need of watchman on the tower.. the Samuel the Lamanite is now. We have prophets among us today who are not asleep, who cry repentance, who raise the warning voice, and who point us to Christ... . It seems that the portent storms that prophets have warned us about for years are now upon us. It is amazing to me to see the destruction that is taking place around the world... physical destruction from tornados, floods, earthquakes, volcanos, and tsanumis; as well as emotional destruction from divorce, abuse, pornography and debt.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011


photos taken of trees at the edge of the Grand Canyon on May 11, 2011

I saw this lone tree on top of a rocky cliff overlooking the Grand Canyon. It reminded me of a parable that I read entitled , "The Weathered Tree". Here is an excerpt from that parable.

…there is a windswept granite rock outcropping, overlooking a beautiful valley. A solitary Ponderosa Pine tree grows in a crack of this cliff. Below her, in contrast, there is a valley forest.

The tree lives in the most difficult spot of all the forest. To look at it, it appears there is too little soil for the tree to have begun life there. Once life began, it looks as if there would be too little water to sustain it. And even if its life were possible, the wind never stops blowing at the place, pushing the tree in one direction, then another, never stopping. The tree has been buffeted and blown relentlessly throughout her difficult life.

A forest grew in the sheltered valley below this granite cliff. In the forest there is rich and fertile ground for the trees, which stores water from the snows of winter and the rain of spring. Trees are sheltered by the valley and by each other from any winds which blow. The forest trees grew straight, tall and in perfect symmetry. The tree on the cliff, however is weathered and beaten. It could not grow straight, but was twisted by the buffeting of the wind as it grew. The weathered tree spiraled as she grew upward, unlike the straight trees below. Once she was struck by lightning, which charred a side of her and tore her original upward reaching arms. Though she suffered injuries which would kill most trees, she miraculously returned to life bearing a dark scar from the lightning on her side and injuries to her up reaching arms. Year after year the trees al grew. In the vally, trees reached heights over 300 feet, while the weathered tree fought for more root space in the granite in which she was planted. Her height was stunted as her energy was spent in the struggle for root space and her lack of available water. She was twisted, so that her heights was further limited by the turns her difficult life had taken.

The forest trees below mocked the weathered tree. They lived in companionship with each other, strong and straight. The solitary tree above had her shameful, twisted body on display for all the other trees to see and mock. “It was right to have this tortured tree kept apart from the rest,” they said. “for she would never fit in with our beautiful forest below”.

The years came and went, and while the weathered tree continued her difficult existence, the forest enjoyed their pleasantries. Deer and elk lived in the forest; ferns grew in its moist shade. There was harmony in the forest which went beyond the trees alone. THE FOREST WAS PROUD…..

(excerpt from the book, The Ten Parables)

Read Isaiah 53

Sunday, May 22, 2011

SOARING vs FLYING: The condor bird

 photo taken on May 11, 2011 of a condor bird soaring over the Grand Canyon.

Photo taken of same condor soaring towards the sun.

SOAR:  to rise high, to tower in thought or imagination.
FLY: to move through the air by the aid of wings.

I watched this California condor "soaring" above the Grand Canyon. This bird is an endangered species and is one of the world's rarest bird species. As of April 2011, there are 384 condors known to be living, including 181 in the wild. Unlike most birds that "fly", the condor soars. They rarely flap their wings, but use and allow the wind to guide them. They make flying look effortless. 

Some birds never fly like the ostrichs, penguins, emus.
Some birds fly and can only stay in flight by flapping their wings quickly.
and very few birds soar.

.....symbolic of  humans as well.

Here are a couple of interesting facts about the condor bird. The condor is the largest flying land bird in the Western Hemisphere. These birds may live for 50 years or more, and mate for life. The world's oldest condor died at 100. The lack of a large sternum to anchor correspondingly large flight muscles identifies it physiologically as a primary soarer. The birds flap their wings on rising from the ground after attaining a moderate elevation they seem to sail on the air. The wings of the largest, when expanded are said to extend 15 feet.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

A Natural Wonder of the World

photo taken of the Grand Canyon on the morning of May 11, 2011
"How mighty are His wonders! His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom,
and his dominion is from generation to generation."
Daniel 4:3

Almighty and Powerful

Photo taken of clouds over the Grand Canyon on May 10, 2011
"O Lord God Almighty,
hear us in these our petitions, and answer us from heaven,
thy holy habitation, where thou sittest enthroned,
with glory, honor, power, majesty, might, dominion, truth, justice, judgment, mercy,
and an infinity of fulness, from everlasting to everlasting."
Doctrine and Covenants  109: 77

"And behold, the heavens were opened,
and they were caught up into heaven, and saw and heard unspeakable things."
2 Nephi 28:13

BEAUTY: The Destiny of Zion

photo taken on May 10, 2011 in Sedona, Arizona
"For Zion must increase in beauty, and in holiness; her borders must be enlarged;
her stakes must be strengthened; yea, verily I say unto you,
Zion must arise and put on her beautiful garments."
Doctrine and Covenants 82:14

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Destruction: The Fate of Babylon

photo taken of the remains after a fire near Flagstaff, Arizona (trees looks like toothpicks on the hill)
"Wherefore, it hath been told them concerning the destruction which should come upon them,
 immediately after my father left Jerusalem; nevertheless, they hardened their hearts;
and according to my prophecy they have been destroyed."
2 Nephi 25: 10

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Descending Below into the Dark.Ascending Above into the Light

Photos taken on May 10, 2011 at the Lava tunnel outside of Flagstaff, AZ

North of Flagstaff, about 10 miles off the beaten path is the Lava River Cave. The cave is about a mile long and the temperatures within the cave range from 32 degrees to 40 degrees all year long. There is alot of ice that is formed in the cave which  never melts and it quite dangerous to enter alone. (Probably will get a phone call after I post this from my mom when they hear that I descended into the cave alone). It is recommended that you call someone to let them know you are entering the cave and then calling back after you exit. Despite not seeing anyone within 10 miles and being complelely alone, I knew I would be protected, and was given several forms of light to take with me to reach the end of the tunnel. This was something I was to experience alone. At the half way point of the cave is a "birth cannel" which you need to get on your hands and knees and crawl in order to continue on to the end of the cave. While I was concerned about the time, I felt I needed to reach the end of the tunnel.. to then turn off all the light I had and experience the thick darkness that can only be experienced deep in the earth. Remarkable things happen when you heed the promptings of the Spirit and allow yourself to be teachable. The Lord is anxious to teach us if we only let him. I will always remember my experience in this cave. While might not seem related.. the below scripture has much more meaning to me now.

"Listen to the voice of the Lord your God, even Alpha and Omega,
the beginning and the end, whose course is one eternal round,
the same today as yesterday, and forever."
Doctrine and Covenants 35:1


photo taken of my parents at my dad's 80th Birthday Party at the Lion House

photo of my three daughters outside my dad's Birthday Party at the Lion House
"And this is mine everlasting covenant,
that when thy posterity shall embrace the truth, and look upward,
 then shall Zion look downward, and all the heavens shall shake with gladness,
and the earth shall tremble with joy."
JST Genesis 9:22

I'll continue posting pictures of my Arizona trip.. but I wanted to quickly insert these pictures and acknowledge my dad and his amazing accomplishment of turning 80 but still looking like he is 20 years younger.. same with my mom. The good look genes skipped a generation and were then passed down to my daughters. We celebrated my dad's birthday last Saturday on May 14, 2011 at the Lion House.

AWAKE and ARISE...Standing tall from the crowd

photo taken on May 10, 2011 outside of Flagstaff, Arizona

"Yea, let the cry go forth among all people: Awake and arise and go forth to meet the Bridegroom;
 behold and lo, the Bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him.
Prepare yourselves for the great day of the Lord."
Doctrine and Covenants 133:10

I drove past a forest of trees and looked over and saw this one tree.. alone, standing tall. It was as if all the other trees were asleep in mass... while this one tree was awake and standing tall in the middle of this beautiful meadow. It towered over the other trees. It seems as if it is much easier in life to stay within the pack, to go with the flow, to not make waves and settle for the status quo. In order to be ready for what is ahead, one must awake.. and arise. The Lord continues to call to us to Come, Follow Him. In those 3 words are two commandments.. to come (which requires us to stand up and act) and then to  follow Him.. Follow Him where? Follow Him to the Father. Christ's role is to take us to the Father.

Walking in Darkness at NoonDay

Photo taken on May 10, 2011 near Sedona, Arizona
"They who are not chosen have sinned a very grievous sin,
in that they are walking in darkness at noon-day."
Doctrine and Covenants 95:1-6

I took this picture just around noon time. I think I won't expand more on this but I would recommend reading all 6 verses in section 95 and also Psalms 82:6. What are the clouds/darkness symbolic of? How do we remove them so we can see the sun and walk in the Light?

A Place of Refuge: Montezuma Castle

photo taken on May 10, 2011 of Montezuma Castle in Arizona

"And that the gathering together upon the land of Zion, and upon her stakes,
may be for a defense, and for a refuge from the storm,
and from wrath when it shall be poured out without mixture upon the whole earth."
Doctrine and Covenants 115:6

This is a 20 room "village" or place of refuge that is nestled into a towering limestone cliff.  Its tells of a 1,000 year-old story of some Native American's ingenuity and need for survival in an unforgiving desert landscape. The "Castle' was home to 35 or so people of the Sinagua tribe. The name "sinagua" is a variation of the Spanish "sin agua" which means without water. The remote location built high up in the cliffs offered protection and defensibility from the elements and their enemies.

Monday, May 16, 2011

False Traditions that begin to take over like weeds

photo taken on May 10, 2011 of a highway overgrown with weeds outside of Phoenix

photos taken on May 10th of 2 different paintings of Samuel the Lamanite 
painted by Walter Rane's on exhibit at the Mesa Temple Visitor Center 
"Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit,
after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ."
Colossians 2:8

Currently at the Visitor's Center at the Mesa Temple is the exhibit of Walter Rane's painting depicting many of the scenes from the Book of Mormon. I found it interesting that at the exhibit ...on both sides of the painting of Christ coming to the America... are these two paintings of the Lamanite prophet in the Book of Mormon sent by the Lord to teach and warn the Nephites just before the Savior’s birth. His name was Samuel. Samuel prophesied of signs relating to the birth and death of Jesus Christ and of the destruction of the Nephites. The one on the left is Samuel receiving his call to preach repentance and the one on the right is of Samuel sounding the warning call. He was to go to Zarahelma the city in which the Church was established. I find it curious to know what happened to a once righteous city that was evidentually destroyed.

On my way up to the Grand Canyon I pulled over to a rest stop to take some pictures. I notice this once traveled highway that is now overgrown with weeds. A portent storm was approaching as I was taking this picturs. How does a once beautiful well traveled road eventually become overgrown with weeds. It would seem impossible for weeds to grow up through a supposably firm foundation of concrete? But over time if we are not careful, unwanted weeds will take over.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Further Light and Knowledge

photo taken on May 10, 2011 of the Northside of the Mesa Temple

The temple is one place where we can recieve further light and knowledge. This is where I began my 1000 mile trip in Arizona. In addition to spiritual "light", I received "physical light" here (in the form of flashlights from a friend to explore caves on my way up the Grand Canyon), as well as more knowledge about  the history of the temple. In the temple there are huge murals painted of Joseph and Hyrum Smith teaching the Native Americans. The settlement of the Latter-day Saints in Arizona began in 1858 when Jacob Hamblin led a group of pioneers to the area. Jacob Hamblin became a friend to various Native American Tribes. He is sometimes referred to as the "Buckskin Apostle," or the "Apostle to the Lamanites. A charge set out by the early church to seek of the remnant for who the Book of Mormon is written for.

The Mesa Temple has carved panels at each of the four corners of the temple symbolically depicting the gathering of the various groups of converts (gathering of Israel). This temple is one of the few temples that does not have a spire nor Angel Moroni.

The temple experience was powerful since I brought Native American names with me and did the baptism and confirmations for these men.

Luke 21: 34-36

Friday, May 13, 2011

1000 Mile Loop Drive in Arizona

photo taken on May 11, 2011 of South Rim of the Grand Canyon
I have never been to the Grand Canyon. It is one of the Seven Wonders of the Natural World. I took the opportunity the past couple days to fly to Phoenix to visit some friends who live up in Snowflake. The trip ended up being an almost 1000 miles round trip that took me all over the state of Arizona. In the next couple of blogs I will share some pictures and experiences.

The Grand Canyon of the Colorado River is the largest gorge in the world-a 290-mile-long gash across the face of the Colorado Plateau in northern Arizona. John Wesley Powell in 1869 became the first to traverse the canyon by river. He wrote, "You cannot see the Grand Canyon in one view, as if it were a changeless spectacle from which a curtain might be lifted."  I think the same can be said of the gospel of Jesus Christ and the revelations we can recieve as the veil is lifted..

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Snow Canyon in the Desert: Oxymorons

Photo taken of South Entrance to Snow Canyon. St. George, Utah on April 22, 2011
Write more shortly.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

April Showers (...SNOW?) bring May Flowers

photos taken on April 30, 2011 after 8 inches of snow fell at our house.

I am behind on writing about all the photos I have been posting. Seems like I only have time to take the picture and post.. and not write about the symbolism or insight. Yesterday we woke up to a freak snow storm which left over 8 inches of snow on our lawn. This year has been a strange year for weather across much of the world. A record number of tornados this past week has killed over 300 people in the Southern States. Huge devastiting earthquakes and tsunami's killing tens of thousands of people in Japan. Everyweek there seems to be another major disaster in the news. We are worried about severe flooding in Salt lake in the next month due to all of the snow we have gotten this winter (and continue to get in Late Spring) Next month will be the first day of Summer. Seems as if the seasons have shifted.