Hallelujah

by J. Kirk Richards

by J. Kirk Richards

Behold the Lamb of God who taketh away the sin of the world!
John 1:29

 

 

Happy Easter, Friends.

 

 

 

 

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Do You Know a Superhero?

Do You Know a Superhero?

heroes

“My own heroes are the dreamers,
those men and women who tried
to make the world a better place
than when they found it, whether in small ways or great ones.
Some succeeded, some failed,
most had mixed results…
but it is the effort that’s heroic, as I see it.  Win or lose, I admire those who fight the good fight.”
George R.R. Martin
.

“I think a hero is any person really intent on making this a better place for all people.”
Maya Angelou

I’ve always wanted to be a superhero.  Admit it, you have too, huh.  To fly through the air at the speed of light, swooping just in the nick of time to save the day, the damsel, or the next downfall.  Pulling out some super strength like laser vision, mind melding, levitation – I don’t know, anything that defeats the super villain and restores peace and justice.

Yeah, I’ve always wanted to be a superhero.

Only the spandex suits…leeeet’s just say that the only way I’d don one of those puppies is if it were in slimming black and lined head to toe with factory grade Spanx.  Then again, this middle-aged body in spandex just might be horrifying enough to vanquish all villains for good. One look, and in Medusa-like fashion they’d turn to stone or run screaming for the hills. (Hey, I may have pegged my super power!)

True Heroes
My family is a big fan of superheroes – cinema and comic book alike. But today, I’m gearing this post toward true heroes. Unlike our masked avengers and caped crusaders, true heroes are hard to identify.  They don’t look like heroes.  For instance, let me get right to it and describe a few.

Continue reading

Nearer, My God, to Thee

Bernini Angel

Bernini Angel

Those of you who follow my daughter’s missionary blog know that the hymn Nearer, My God, to Thee has become quite meaningful to her.  She inspired me to expound on the treasure that lies within the text.
Here are the words:

Nearer, my God, to Thee, Nearer to Thee!
E’en though it be a cross That raiseth me.
Still all my song shall be Nearer, my God, to thee,
Nearer, my God, to thee, Nearer to thee!

Though like a wanderer, The sun gone down,
Darkness be over me, My rest a stone,
Yet in my dreams I’d be Nearer, my God, to thee,
Nearer, my God, to thee, Nearer to thee!

There let the way appear, Steps unto heav’n;
All that thou sendest me, In mercy giv’n;
Angels to beckon me Nearer, my God, to thee,
Nearer, my God, to thee, Nearer to thee!

Then with my waking thoughts Bright with thy praise,
Out of my stony griefs Bethel I’ll raise;
So by my woes to be Nearer, my God, to thee,
Nearer, my God, to thee, Nearer to thee!

Or if, on joyful wing Cleaving the sky,
Sun, moon, and stars forgot, Upward I fly,
Still all my song shall be Nearer, my God, to thee,
Nearer, my God, to thee, Nearer to thee!
(Sarah F. Adams, 1805-1848)

Continue reading

Guardian Angels

Stanley Alot Plays Accordion

Stanley Alot abt 1945

1  Behold, I will reveal unto you the Priesthood, by the hand of Elijah, the Prophet, before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord.
2  And he shall plant in the hearts of the children the promises made to the fathers, and the hearts of the children shall turn to their fathers.
3  If it were not so, the whole earth would be utterly wasted at his coming.
D&C 2:1-3

We’re on our third and final post in my series on the Blessings of Family History (if you’ve just joined this site and want to catch this talk from the beginning, simply scroll back 2 posts). For those of you  who have been following, thanks for sticking with me. This is where I get to the nitty-gritty of how this blesses us.

Now, there is another promise that is implied and inclusive in this passage, “hearts of the children shall turn to their father.” As our hearts turn to our forefathers, their thoughts turn to us.

President Joseph F. Smith:
“I believe [our family members who have passed on] are as deeply interested in our welfare today, if not to a greater capacity, with far more interest behind the veil, than they were in the flesh. I believe they know more; I believe surely those who have passed beyond, can see more clearly through the veil back here to us than it is possible for us to see to them from our sphere of action.”
(Conference Report, April 1917)

Elder John A. Widstoe:
“Those who give themselves with all their might and main to this work receive help from the other side, and not merely in gathering genealogies. Whoever seeks to help those on the other side receives help in return in all the affairs of life.”
(Utah Genealogical Historical Magazine, 22 (July 1931): 104)

I have a profound testimony of the fact that when you find and do the work for your ancestors, it sets them free to be highly involved in your life. Your ancestors aren’t just casual bystanders. No. They are anxious to bless, uplift, and inspire you.  They are eager to help you succeed in your life. Continue reading

Reluctant Genealogist

the picture

Marianna Gagliani and Graziano Meschi
with Salvatore abt 1888

1  Behold, I will reveal unto you the Priesthood, by the hand of Elijah, the Prophet, before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord.
2  And he shall plant in the hearts of the children the promises made to the fathers, and the hearts of the children shall turn to their fathers.
3  If it were not so, the whole earth would be utterly wasted at his coming.
D&C 2:1-3

Okay, part two in our series on the Blessings of Family History work. Now that we’ve (hopefully) established the importance of turning our hearts to our forefathers and their eagerness to have their work done, this brings us to actually rolling up our sleeves and doing it.

When we think of Family History, there are usually two obstacles that prevent us from getting started.

Obstacle 1:  My Family History is All Done
I had this excuse.  My father’s side of the family had traced the Gifford family line all the way back to Charlemagne in 750 AD. The family gave me a binder with printouts, pictures, and pedigrees. What a treasure! Now whenever a lesson or talk was given on Family History, I could raise my chin and nod confidently, Yes, this does not apply to me, for, my family history is done!

Yet, why the confidence? I didn’t do the work. I couldn’t take the credit. My saying, “Gary is the family historian and he does it all,” is a bit like saying, “I don’t go to Church, but that’s okay because Gary goes for me.” Fact is, for our hearts to be turned to our fathers, to forge that welding link that seems so important to the Lord, we need to be personally participating in the work.

Has anyone’s family history been completed? Let’s do the math. Continue reading

Hearts of the Children Shall Turn to Their Fathers

Moroni to Joseph Smith

Angel Moroni Visits Joseph Smith
by Tom Lovell

One evening Joseph Smith was visited by the angel Moroni who repeated a message three times during the night. Part of the message was this:

1  Behold, I will reveal unto you the Priesthood,
by the hand of Elijah the Prophet, before the
coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord.
2  And he shall plant in the hearts of the children the promises made to the fathers, and the hearts of the children shall turn to their fathers.
3  If it were not so, the whole earth would be utterly wasted at His coming.
D&C 2:1-3

This passage is remarkable, but one of the most amazing things about it isn’t in the text itself.  It’s in the date this revelation was given: September 21, 1823.

When we read this passage we know immediately that it has something to do with family history, temple work, and the sealing power of the priesthood. But when Moroni delivered this message to Joseph in 1823, no one knew anything about genealogy. No one had a clue about temples – especially Joseph Smith. He was only 17 years old.

•  It would be 7 years before the Church was organized.
•  13 years before Elijah would visit the Kirtland Temple to fulfill prophecy.
•  20 years later, when Joseph preached at Brother King Follett’s funeral, he had come to understand the significance of family history and temple work, but not in 1823.

In 1823, this revelation made no sense to Joseph. Continue reading