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Friday, November 11, 2011

Church History Symposium 2012

I just received word that I was accepted to present at the Church History Symposium this year.  This is awesome for a couple of reasons:

1.  My paper is on the development of thought behind D&C 138.  For those of you who don't know, President Joseph F. Smith received a vision about the ministry of Christ in the Spirit World, for the 3 days before His resurrection.  The main thoughts are on whether or not Joseph F.'s vision, showing that Christ "organized His forces" rather than visiting those in the Spirit World, were new ideas or not.

2.  No undergrad has ever been accepted.  I don't think one has ever been dumb enough to apply.  As Peter Jay Elliott once characterized me, "you're dumb enough to ask, smart enough to know you have to.

When I got the acceptance e-mail in class, I teared up.  I love this Church.  I love its prophets.  I love its history.  I love that the Church is both true and living, that things can develop and change, as needed.  And I love you all, for supporting my writing, my nerdy love of talking history, and for supporting me.  I love you all more than I can say.

I love my life.  The next step is to try and live up to the opportunities I've been given.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Jesus said "Love Everyone"

I’ve recently been listening to some favorite talks and interviews with General Authorities.  Here are two: one with President Hinckley, and one with Elder Holland:

President Hinckley: Experiences Worth Remembering 
Transcript of the full talk
“I had a long-remembered meeting with Mr. Shimon Peres of Israel. He was a former prime minister. He had seen much of conflict and trouble in his time.
I asked him whether there was any solution to the great problems that constantly seem to divide the people of Israel and the Palestinians. He replied, “Of course there is.”
As I recall, he said, “When we were Adam and Eve, we were all one. Is there any need for us now to be divided into segments with hatred for one another?”
He told a very interesting story that he said he had heard from a Muslim. The Muslim told of a Jewish rabbi who was conversing with two of his friends. The rabbi asked one of the men, “How do you know when the night is over and a new day has begun?”
His friend replied, “When you look into the east and can distinguish a sheep from a goat, then you know the night is over and the day has begun.”
The second was asked the same question. He replied, “When you look into the distance and can distinguish an olive tree from a fig tree, then you know morning has come.”
They then asked the rabbi how he could tell when the night is over and the day has begun. He thought for a time and then said, “When you look into the east and see the face of a woman and you can say, ‘She is my sister.’ And when you look into the east and see the face of a man and can say, ‘He is my brother.’ Then you know the light of a new day has come.”

The second thought, tied in with the thought above, is the transcript of aninterview that Elder Jeffrey R. Holland had with PBS, during the making of the documentary, “The Mormons.”

Where were you when you heard that the ban was lifted on blacks in the priesthood?

“I can remember exactly where I was. For us that's the "where we [were] when Kennedy was shot," this deep, deep, spiritual, emotional moment in the history of the church. I was a very young commissioner of education, still in my 30s, and I was coming over from my office in the church office building to the suite of General Authority offices for something or other. ... I walked into the office of the General Authority I was going to see, and he said, "Have you heard the news?" This was barely moments out of the temple meeting and the announcement where it was official. And I said: "What news? I haven't heard any news." And he said all worthy men -- regardless of race or status or circumstance -- all worthy men are to receive priesthood.

You're going to think all I do is cry, but this is in the same family as that missionary experience I described to you. I started to cry, and I was absolutely uncontrollable. I felt my way to a chair ... and I sort of slumped from the doorway into the chair and held my head, my face in my hands and sobbed. 

There's no issue in all my life that I had prayed more regarding -- praying that it would change, praying that it would come in due time. I was willing to have the Lord speak, and I was loyal to the position and the brethren and the whole concept, but there was nothing about which I had anguished more or about which I had prayed more. And for that to be said in my lifetime, when I wasn't sure it would happen in my lifetime, ... it was one of the absolute happiest days of my life.”

I rejoice that the gospel, with all of its blessings are available to all of God’s children.  When all worthy men were given the opportunity to receive the Priesthood, it meant that temple work could be done for all.  Men and women could be sealed in the Temple.  Because of Jesus Christ, we can return to live with our families in God’s presence.  Because of the Church’s belief that “all are alike unto God,” we should all love each other as brothers in sisters.

President Hinckley, later in the same address, said:

"I have given you a sampling of significant occasions that have forever touched my life.
They have influenced my thinking and my behavior. They have affected my life in an unforgettable manner.

You likewise will have significant experiences. I hope that you will write them down and keep a record of them, that you will read them from time to time and refresh your memory of these meaningful and significant things.

Some of them may be funny. Some may be of significance only to you. Some of them may be sacred and quietly beautiful. Some may build one upon another until they represent a lifetime of special experience."

I love the Lord, and his servants, the prophets.  Please remember your own experiences, your own favorite quotes, and share them.