Friday, July 29, 2011

SEVEN DEADLY SINS: Changing these vices into virtues.

photo of a dead tree at the North Rim of the Grand Canyon taken on July 8, 2011
 The Seven deadly sins with definitions:
Wrath: selfishness or self-interest, love of justice perverted to revenge and spite, uncontrolled feelings of anger
Greed: excessive or inordinate desire to acquire or possess more than one needs, especially with respect to material wealth, status, and power
Sloth: failure to utilize one's talents and gifts, laziness and indifference
Pride: desire to be more important or attractive than others, failing to acknowledge the good work of others, and excessive love of self,
Lust: excessive love of others, which therefore rendered love and devotion to God as secondary
Envy: resent that another person has something they perceive themselves as lacking, sorrow for another's good
Gluttony: indulgence and over-consumption of anything to the point of waste (excessive desire for food causing withholding from the needy)

We need to change these vices into virtues: 
·         our Wrath into Patience.
·         our Greed into Charity
·         our Slothfulness into Diligence
·         our Pride into Humility
·         our Lust into Chastity
·         our Envy into Kindness
·         our Gluttony into Temperance.

Once we have all these virtues we will be filled with love for others. Love encompasses all the virtues. Once we have all virtues we will be able to taste Zion.
Just an interesting thing I learned. The writer of Gilligan’s island created each character to be an embodiment of one of the seven deadly sins. As you know all of them were castaways on an island needing to make it back home.

·         The Professor represented Pride.
·         Skipper represented Wrath.
·         Gilligan represented Sloth
·         Mary Ann represented Envy
·         Ginger represented Lust
·         Mr. Howell represented Greed
·         Mrs. Howell represented Gluttony.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

MINISTERING ANGELS: Physical/Spiritual.. Seen and Unseen

Photo of Mount Timpanogos Temple taken by Paul Talbot who captured this for me in my behalf
since I didn't have my camera with me.

“It is by faith that angels appear and minister unto men; wherefore,
 if these things have ceased wo be unto the children of men, for it is because of unbelief”
Moroni 7:37

Ministering angels are sometimes sent to guide, comfort, protect, and instruct the Lord’s servants and other faithful individuals in times of need. Angels who minister in our behalf—whether seen or unseen—may include departed loved ones who are aware of our circumstances and are concerned about our welfare. We do not consciously realize the extent to which ministering angels affect our lives.

This photo has special meaning for me. I usually have my camera with me, but on this particular evening I left it home. I was on my way from Salt Lake to give a blessing to a friend who had severe back problems and was incapacitated and couldn’t walk. He called me (on Father’s Day) to give him a blessing instead of his father…since he lost both his dad and mom in a tragic car accident when he was little. The sun was setting as I was driving. The clouds were turning a deep red color as I approached my friends house. Just before I arrived, I passed the Mt. Timpanogos Temple. I stopped to look at the temple with the brilliant sky in the background. Just as I was wishing I had my camera. I noticed a man on the corner (Paul Talbot) taking a picture of this scene. I asked him if he would send it to me. He did, and I post it on my blog with his permission.

Not only does the Lord send signs to us, but people who are there to help us in our time of need. A blessing was given to my friend. He was prompted to have four of us Elders to form a circle (a square within a circle which is similar to the Native America's medicine wheel) As we were giving him a blessing, we all felt the strong impressions that his dad was there with us in the room. An unseen ministering angel. After a blessing of healing was given, my friend was able to stand and give us all a hug. Faith, Healing, Miracles, and Ministering Angels.

The photo is a memory for me of that night. The red in the clouds symbolic of the Atonement of Christ who has the ability to heal us all. We partake of the sacrament every week to remember the blood that was shed for us as we all need access His mercy to be healed.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

THE MIND'S EYE: opening to understanding

photo taken of my shadow at Lake Powell on July 8, 2011

"The veil was taken from our minds, and the eyes of our understanding were opened."
Doctrine and Covenants 110:1

The phrase "mind's eye" refers to the human ability for visualization for the experiencing of visual mental imagery; in other words, one's ability to "see" things with the mind. Another term which is closely related in using our "third eye". The third eye is often associated with visions. People who have allegedly developed the capacity to utilize their third eyes are sometimes known as seers. In the last days we read in Acts and also in Joel we read.. "it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams."

Monday, July 25, 2011

DAYS OF 47' PARADE: Keeping traditions alive

photo taken of the street at the beginning of parade with the police escorting 
our church and state dignitaries on Monday  July 25, 2011 
photo of President Thomas S Monson waving to the crowd

A parade is a procession of people, usually organized along a street, often in costume, and often accompanied by marching bands, floats or sometimes large balloons. Parades are held for a wide range of reasons, but are usually celebrations of some kind.

On July 24th, we celebrate the Mormon pioneers arrival into the Salt Lake Valley.  A parade was first held on July 24, 1849. It was then known as the "Pioneer Days Parade" up until 1931. From 1931 to 1946 the parade was known as the "Covered Wagon Days Parade". Since 1947 the parade has been known by its current name... the Days of 47' Parade.

 LDS ward and stakes always sponsor floats in the parade. Many hundreds of hours of volunteeer time are spent to decorate these floats depicting the theme each year.  Recently, the parade has become more inclusive, with other churches participating and celebrating their own Utah pioneers. One of the big crowd pleasers in the parade are the Anheuser-Busch Clydesdales. Television news personalities, Beauty Queens, and Government officials and the militiary also are a big part of the parade.  Of course it always includes the handcarts, horses, bands, and clowns for the children.

HOWEVER, while we keep most traditions alive. There is one tradition that has changed...which isn't surprising.. since most things change over time. Here is one example: The  Days of 47' Marathon Route. My wife and I ran this Marathon about 10 years ago. It is known by most as the Deseret News Marathon. The course was very difficult since there were grueling hills that traces the route the Mormon pioners took when they first arrived in the valley. The last miles are run along the parade route. It became known as "being too difficult".  My wife and I trained for months running parts of the course with my brother-in-law. We all finished the race. It was difficult, but the reward was great.

Over the years there has been a steady decline of runners. In order to make the race profitable and to encourage more participation, the course was changed to be alot easier. There are no more difficult mountains to summit. The course is mostly all downhill now.

We seem to avoid the difficult, the steep, and the painful.. for the easier, the gentle declines, and the more convenient. While we still have the tradition of this marathon. it is a different course. Not sure the reward is still the same however.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

LIVING UNDER A ROCK: The cliff-dwellers in Arizona

photo taken of the Cliff/Rock Dwellers in Northern Arizona on July 8, 2011
Native American home in Cliff Dwellers, located in Northern Arizona at Marble Canyon and at the foot of Vermillion Cliffs, is known for its unique shaped boulders and rugged terrain
i will write more shortly.

Friday, July 22, 2011

BECOMING CLEAN BY PROXY: from the blood of the generations

photo taken of Angel Moroni on top of Mt. Timpanogos temple on April 6, 2011
"That I may testify unto your Father, and your God, and my God,
that you are clean from the blood of this wicked generation."
Doctrine and Covenants 88:75

In computer networks, a proxy server is a computer system that acts as an intermediary for requests from one server seeking resources from another server. By definition, a proxy is a person authorized to act on behalf of another.

I haven't shared this yet after returning home from the Snowflake, Arizona Temple. Today I thought I should. I went down to Arizona for several reason, one of them was to do the temple work for 5 Native Americans. I did some of the ordinances in the Mesa Temple, and then did the rest in the Snowflake Temple. One of main reason we go to the temple is to gain further light and knowledge. In order for this progression, we must be clean from the sins and blood of past generations. As I was a proxy for one of the Native Americans, I sensed this man's overwhelming feeling of gratitude and joy in being cleansed from the traditions of his fathers and the blood of his generation. Through the Spirit,  I knew that he had shed "innocent" blood... and as his proxy I wept for him with tears of love for the mercies given to us through our Savior. There is a very real, and  the literal cleansing  that we can feel if we access the Atonement. 

Today I met a woman from Alabama who is here to go through the Salt Lake Temple with my friend. My friend will act as proxy for her son who died a year ago. Her son was 24 years old and committed suicide. What is even more tragic is that he shot himself over the grave of his father who also killed himself 5 years ago. Both the father and son suffered from clinical depression. My heart went out to the woman who has lost both her husband and son. As the blessings of the temple will be performed today, I can testify that as we accept the gospel of Jesus Christ, we can be pronounced clean from the blood that stains us in this world.


photo taken outside of Page, Arizona at the Navajo power plant.
 For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.
Romans 13:1

I give unto you power,
that whatsoever ye shall seal on earth shall be sealed in heaven;
and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven;
and thus shall ye have power among this people
Helaman 10:7

There is no greater power than the sealing power here on earth. While a nuclear plant might be one of our most powerful man-made inventions by man... having God's sealing power is greater. If a prophet is given the sealing power, they know that it is NEVER about them or what they have done in this life. It is ALL about GOD. They would never super impose their self at all, No Pride. No focusing light on themselves... it is all about glorifying our Father in Heaven. Christ was the perfect example of this.

Sidenote Info of the powerplant in the photo:
The Navajo Power Plant is located in northern Arizona on the Navajo Indian Reservation near Page, and features three 750-megawatt coal-fueled, steam-electric generating units. An electric railroad delivers coal to the plant from a mine on the Navajo and Hopi Indian Reservations at Black Mesa in northern Arizona. If someone has alot of time to read.. this talks about the travesty of taking the coal from the Hopi reservations.
It is unfortunate that the "god" of this world worships money, gain, and greed all under the pretense of helping others.

Thursday, July 21, 2011


I did NOT take this photo (I screengrabbed it from the BBC video)
Are we like the salmon or a trout?

The salmon are anadromous (migrate). They are born in fresh water, migrate to the ocean, then return to back home to fresh water. After leaving the fresh water, just before entering the salt water, their body chemistry changes, allowing them to live in the different water environment. The salmon spend about one to five years in the open ocean where they gradually become mature. The adult salmon then return back up their natal stream to spawn. While hard to believe, tracking studies show that these fish return to the exact spot where they were born.     This homing behavior has been shown to depend on their olfactory memory. (smell.. the ability to discern). Not many salmon eggs make it to maturity. Many are lost.

The trout however are content to stay where they are ... they are called "resident". They possible like the security of the pleasant, calm easy water.

In order for the salmon to return back to where they came from, they much swim upstream.. against the current. It is a difficult and strenous requiring an unrelenting force pulling them back. Trout are mainstream fish and they rarely swim against the current...content they are gradually being pulled downstream with the rest of the flow or stay in pools (not really moving up or down stream).

For the salmon, swimming against the the fast moving current is not their only challenge. Unfortunately, there are small waterfalls that they must over which requires these fish to jump out of the water (their security and environment) in order to get to the higher level of water. The Bears are very keen and smart, they stand with open mouth ready to eat the salmon as they attempt to jump past these hairy "gatekeepers" of the higher water. Many salmon do not make it past and are eaten alive.

There is beauty is seeing the salmon pierce the water, jump past the bears into the fresh water of their origin.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011


This is a beautiful story that the Native Americans have about the salmon.

This story is about when the people ignored the directions of the Creator about caring for the salmon, the salmon disappeared. The Creator taught the people how to care for this food which was created especially for them. He said, "Do not neglect this food. Be careful that you do not break the rules in taking care of this salmon. Do not take more than you need". He told them if they observed these rules, the salmon would multiply several times over as long as they lived.

At first the people diligently obeyed the rules, and they lived happily without problems. All along the river there were different bands of people living in their fishing villages, busy catching and drying their supply of salmon.

But one day something strange happened. The people became careless and they neglected to follow the instructions made by the Creator. They became greedy. They did not take care of the salmon. They let them go to waste when they caught more than they needed for their families. They would not listen to the advice from those who were trying to follow the rules. Suddenly the salmon disappeared.

When the salmon were no longer coming up the stream for the people to catch everybody frantically searched the rivers, but all in vain. There was not one salmon left to be found. Soon they became hungry, their little children were crying and the old people were forced to beg for food.

One day, while they were searching the river, they found a dead salmon lying on the bank of the river. They stared down at it in disbelief when they realized what had happened. They began to cry out in shame and lament their mistakes, "If we are given one more chance, we will do better. If only we could awaken this salmon, the other salmon might come up the stream."

The people called a council and they talked about how they could give life back to the salmon. In legendary times those with supernatural powers could revive a lifeless creature by stepping over it five times. The people tried to use their own spiritual powers to revive the salmon. One by one they each stepped over the salmon five times, but to no avail.

There was a recluse named Old Man Rattlesnake. He never went anywhere always staying off by himself. He was very ancient and all the people called him "Grandfather". Somebody said, "let's ask Grandfather to help us! He is a powerful man. Let him revive the salmon!." A messenger was sent. "Oh Grandfather, would you come and help us revive the salmon. Everybody has failed." Old Man Rattlesnake listened and said, "What makes you think I am capable of reviving this lone salmon after everyone else has failed? I am an old man, how do you expect an old man like me to possess powers to do the impossible!". The messenger was sad. "You are our last hope. Please help us, Grandfather". Finally Old Man Rattlesnake agreed, "I will do my best". He was so old it was very painful for him to move fast. He moved ever so slowly and it seemed like such a long way for one so old.

While Grandfather was on his way, Coyote (a trickster) tried desperately, using all his wily skills to convince the people he possessed supernatural powers. He was thinking to himself, "If I revive this salmon I will be a very famous person." He stepped over it four times, and just as he was stepping over the fifth time, he pushed the salmon with the tip of his toe to make it appear as though it moved. He announced loudly, "Oh, look, my people, I made the salmon come to life. Did you see it move?" But the people were wise to the ways of Coyote and they paid him no attention.

Finally, Old Man Rattlesnake arrived. Painfully he crawled over the salmon four times. The fifth time something magical happened! Grandfather disappeared into the salmon and the salmon woke up and came back to life and the salmon came back to the rivers. The people learned their lesson well and took care to protect their salmon from then on.

Today when you catch a salmon, and you are preparing it for eating or preserving, if you break the spine you will find a white membrane inside. That is old Man Rattlesnake who gave life back to the salmon.

We did not know all this by ourselves; we were told it by our fathers and grandfathers, who learned it from their fathers and grandfathers. No one knows when the Great Chief Above will overturn the mountains.

But we do know this: the spirits will return only to the remains of people who in life kept the beliefs of their grandfathers. Only their bones will be preserved under the mountains

Monday, July 18, 2011

AMERICA'S FUTURE: a viewpoint from a Native America

This might be interesting for those interested to watch.
I have spent sometime with the Hopi's and Navajos in the last couple of months.
We can learn alot from them.
Disclaimer: There is a hint of evolution at the end and Darwism that might cause some to reject this, however, I found alot of beauty in what this man says that we all are one family interconnected.

INPRISONED: Those who sit in darkness

Photo taken of the Salt Lake Jail  on July 18, 2011
 Yesterday, I visited a man in prison. It was a humbling experience for me. As you can see, this concrete walled prison does not have any windows. No light can penetrate this facility, and those captive inside are unable to see sunlight. Without light, no growth or progression can be made. Instead of natural light, artificial light from manmade electricity is used to “light” the interior. This kind of light has no life giving abilities. To be damned means to stop progression by not receiving further light and knowledge.

Unfortunately, many are imprisoned innocently or on false charges. It is truly sad. Joseph Smith and Jesus Christ were two such men wrongly accused and spent time behind bars. However, experiencing the darkness one gains a better appreciation for the light. As we know, there is only one source of Light. The Light of Christ. “I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness.” John 12: 46.

This is the Savior' role:

“To open the blind eyes,
to bring out the prisoners from the prison,
and them that sit in darkness out of the prison house.”
Isaiah 42:7

On first reading this scripture, it would appear that Isaiah is referring to just prisoners in prison who are without light and are blind. But re-reading, the blind are the prisoners... AND THEM (that are “free”… outside of prison) who also sit in darkness. We are told that there are many who are walking in darkness at noon-day. Read Doctrine and Covenants 95: 5-6.
My wife at night wears a blindfold. This is for her to be able to sleep a little longer in the morning when the sun comes up. She physically places material over her eyes which will not allow light to penetrate her eyes. The blindfold work.

 Yesterday in sacrament meeting, the primary president shared an object lesson that I thought was interesting. She blind folded the children and told them to find the picture of Jesus Christ that she hung on the wall. Unable to see, the children were unable to locate the Savior. Because our Father in Heaven loves us, we who are blind and whose eyes are not yet opened, God provides us  with His word for us to hold onto. To illustrate this, the primary president held out a rod which led to the picture of the Savior. She had the blindfolded children then hold onto that rod. This helped them find where they were to go. This is faith on His world. Hopefully, as we exercise our faith,  we have have knowledge and eventually remove the blindfolds and see the Lord ourselves.

“The Lord openeth the eyes of the blind: the Lord raiseth them that are bowed down.” Psalms 146:8

Monday, July 11, 2011


photo taken of sunset/rainbow from our driveway on July 10, 2011 after the evening rainstorm

Sunday, July 10, 2011



photo taken at the North Rim of the Grand Canyon on July 8, 2011


photo taken of a sacred Navajo Canyon on July 8, 2011
"The finest workers in stone are not copper or steel tools,
but the gentle touches of air and water working at their leisure with a liberal allowance of time."

-Henry David Thoreau

RAINBOW BRIDGE: Natural Wonder of the World

photo taken on July 6, 2011 on our family trip to Lake Powell


Sunday, July 3, 2011


photo taken for the 2011 Salt Lake Parade of Homes cover on July2, 2001
"I will walk within my house with a perfect heart."
Psalms 101:2

I took some pictures yesterday of this "ideal home" for the 2011 Parade of Homes Magazine. The featured home this year is this replica home from the Pixar/Disney movie UP. (All this picture is missing is the thousands of balloon coming out the chimney.) The story from the movie "Up" is quite powerful and inspirational. It is a message of  making memories as we grow old and making good on promises. For those who haven't seen the movie here is the premise:

Carl and Ellie wed and grow old together in the old house where they first met. Unable to have children, they also try to save up for the trip to Paradise Falls but other financial obligations arise. Just as they seem to finally be able to take their trip, Ellie dies of old age, leaving Carl living alone in their home as a grumpy old man with nothing to live for and missing his wife terribly. As the years pass, the city grows around Carl's house with tall buildings and construction... but Carl refuses to move. After a tussle with a construction worker over Carl's broken mailbox, the court orders Carl to move into Shady Oaks Retirement Home. Carl comes up with a scheme to keep his promise to Ellie, and uses his old professional supplies to create a makeshift airship using tens of thousands of helium balloons that lift his house off its foundations. He and his house fly away. However he has a stowaway aboard. An 8 year old boy named Russell, who's trying to get an Assisting the Elderly badge. Together, they embark on an adventure.

My family will be making more memories this next week as probably the last trip before our baby comes. No new posts for at least a week. I have so many picture piling up that I want to talk about..I think I have enough for the rest of the year. :)

Friday, July 1, 2011


photo taken on my oldest daughter, Jessica in Florida on June 10, 2011

 "Peace be unto thy soul; thine adversity and thine afflictions shall be but a small moment."
Doctrine and Covenants 121:7

 Today is July 1st. It finally feels like summer. Our family hasn't been quite the same this week. We have been missing our oldest daughter who has been away at girls camp. Before she left, the above scripture came to mind as my daughter didn't know what to expect going to camp for the first time. She just got back hours ago. Wonderful to have her back home... especially to hear that she had a great experience.