Words, words, words

Language is not only a key instrument of memory (in addition to visual, auditory, muscular, and other forms of memory), it is essential to the characterization and comprehension of the world around us. In a very real sense, we come to understand a subject only when we have learned the vocabulary, the language that describes it. This is true not only with mundane subjects like math, mechanics, or physics, but also complex matters of the heart and spirit. Understanding then leads to application. Right words have great power to help us focus our thinking, our minds, our lives, even our faith. The following recent talk is inspiring and well worth reading:

https://speeches.byu.edu/talks/mckay-christensen_lay-hold-upon-word/

 

Best Wishes.

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Remember

One of the key tools the Lord has given us to be able to return to Him is memory. We are encouraged over and over again in the scriptures to remember the blessings of the Lord, the commandments, our covenants, and so forth. One of the most moving such admonitions was given in the Book of Mormon by the prophet Helaman to his sons shortly before his death:

And now, my sons, remember, 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)

Seeing what great importance God places on our ability to remember, it behooves us to take steps to improve and preserve memory whenever we can. That is one of the great functions of pictorial art and photography and even writing itself–preserving memory. Learning to focus, to concentrate on that which we wish to remember is also very important for our individual memory, as indicated in the following research:

https://journal.thriveglobal.com/what-all-that-multi-tasking-is-doing-to-your-brain-and-memory-ed55b0848027

Indeed, as we learned back in medical school, the brain really can do only one thing at a time. Trying to do many things at once requires rapid switching of neural networks, which become fatigued and sometimes confused and result in weakened memory. Better to do one good thing at a time, do it well, and have a clear memory of it. Let’s all make good memories, and remember the things that are important.

 

Best Wishes.

Going to Austria

A number of years ago, President Thomas S. Monson told the following story of two newly called missionaries:

Young missionaries always have an idea as to where they would love to serve. Usually it’s a faraway place with a strange-sounding name.

One day I was in the men’s suit department of a large store when I encountered two missionaries with their mothers. It isn’t difficult to spot missionaries or their mothers. The two elders were conversing, and one said to the other, “Where are you going on your mission?”

Came the reply, “I’m going to Austria.”

The first missionary responded, “You lucky dog, going to Austria! Those beautiful Austrian Alps, that wonderful music, those delightful people! I wish I were going there.”

“Where are you going?” said the missionary assigned to Austria.

“California,” came the answer. “You know, less than two hours away by plane. We go there every year for a vacation.”

I could see by the expression on the mothers’ faces and the near tears of one of the missionaries that it was time for me to intervene. “Did you say California?” I asked. “Why, I once supervised that area. You have an inspired call, Elder. Do you realize what you will have in California to help you? You’ll have chapels and stake centers that dot the land, and they’ll be filled with Latter-day Saints who can be inspired to be fellow missionaries with you in sharing the gospel. You are a very fortunate missionary to be going there.” I glanced at the other mother, who said, “Brother Monson, say something about Austria, quick!” I did so.

Young men, wherever you are called will be right for you, and you will learn to love your mission.

The rest of his talk can be found here.

Serving a mission in Austria was one of the great, maturing experiences of my life. Details are recounted in my memoir, All Enlisted. I loved Austria, but serving anywhere can and will be inspiring and life-changing, including the everyday service of Christian living. It is a privilege and joy to testify that Jesus is the Christ, that He lives, and that He speaks again in our day.

 

Best Wishes.

The Prince of Peace

The Prince of Peace

In the midst of the modern world’s turmoils there is one dependable source of peace for the world, for nations, for families, and for the soul. It is the Prince of Peace, our beloved Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. With Easter approaching, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has produced a lovely, short, and inspiring video message about the Savior. It is well worth watching:

https://www.mormon.org/?cid=HP_SU_2-4-2017_dPFD_fMORG_xLIDyL1-C_

 

 

Merry Christmas, After All

The Leftists continue to rant and rave about the election, Clinton continues to blame everyone except herself, and the climate crackpots continue to carry on despite record-breaking cold. (Oh! That’s right, any old weather “event” will do since they changed it from “global warming” to “climate change”.) In other words, things are continuing today pretty much as they were yesterday. But there is one big event in the offing, namely, The Trump Presidency, which we hope will fundamentally reverse all that fundamental transformation that the last eight years inflicted upon us. Hope and change indeed! Those had to wait for the American people to find an unlikely champion in a New York billionaire.

More important than any of that is the event we celebrate next Sunday, the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, the Promised Messiah. May we all take time to remember Him and re-commit to follow His teachings and imitate His example. May we enjoy the company and fellowship of family and friends, enjoy the trappings of the season, enjoy the good food, and thank merciful heaven for our abundant blessings.

Here is a wonderful video depiction of The Nativity:

https://www.lds.org/bible-videos/videos/the-nativity?lang=eng

 

Best Wishes and Merry Christmas!

 

The Olive Tree

With enemies threatening on every side, it is worth remembering the great promises made to Israel–the state, the land, and the people–as well as what Jerusalem means to Christians and Jews and Muslims alike. To help raise funds for the Orson Hyde Memorial Garden on the Mount of Olives during the 1970s, my father printed, framed, and sold copies of a picture he had taken of an ancient olive tree in the Garden of Gethsemane. Here is the picture as well as the text he wrote for the back:

The Olive Tree  091

The Olive Tree Text 092

The tree is over 2,000 years old. It was present when our Lord suffered there. It was silent witness to the years of exile and persecution. It was still there when Israel was re-established as a state in 1948. Let us remember our brothers and sisters in Israel and pray for the peace of Jerusalem.

 

Best Wishes.

 

Organized . . .

Will Rogers, the witty comedian and social commentator of the early 20th century, once remarked, “I do not belong to an organized political party. I am a Democrat.” What was funny then becomes less funny now as the nature of the modern Democrat Party’s organization becomes clearer. The party of kooks, crooks, commies, and cronies has become even more sinister.

Although Snopes discounts the lengthy lists of mysterious deaths of people associated with the Clinton’s, the most recent murders of five political operatives, some of whom, like Seth Rich, were about to testify in the Hillary email and other scandals, must raise eyebrows. One might be a coincidence, maybe two, but five? What is clear to anyone following national news is that the party of slavery, segregation, and socialism is now behaving like a large family, not in a good sense.

An ancient prophet in the Book of Mormon saw similar events in his day, in his historical record, and prophetically among us. He wrote:

23 Wherefore, O ye Gentiles, it is wisdom in God that these things should be shown unto you, that thereby ye may repent of your sins, and suffer not that these murderous combinations shall get above you, which are built up to get power and gain—and the work, yea, even the work of destruction come upon you, yea, even the sword of the justice of the Eternal God shall fall upon you, to your overthrow and destruction if ye shall suffer these things to be.

24 Wherefore, the Lord commandeth you, when ye shall see these things come among you that ye shall awake to a sense of your awful situation, because of this secret combination which shall be among you; or wo be unto it, because of the blood of them who have been slain; for they cry from the dust for vengeance upon it, and also upon those who built it up.

25 For it cometh to pass that whoso buildeth it up seeketh to overthrow the freedom of all lands, nations, and countries; and it bringeth to pass the destruction of all people, for it is built up by the devil, who is the father of all lies; even that same liar who beguiled our first parents, yea, even that same liar who hath caused man to commit murder from the beginning; who hath hardened the hearts of men that they have murdered the prophets, and stoned them, and cast them out from the beginning.

26 Wherefore, I, Moroni, am commanded to write these things that evil may be done away, and that the time may come that Satan may have no power upon the hearts of the children of men, but that they may be persuaded to do good continually, that they may come unto the fountain of all righteousness and be saved.

Elsewhere he admonished us to be more wise than his people had been. We can only hope. And pray.

Best Wishes.

 

https://www.amazon.com/Federalist-Excerpts-Commentary-Roderick-Saxey/dp/0997018100/ref=sr_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1471227694&sr=1-3