It should be celebrated.

Radiating the glory of the Son

Rusty

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President Thomas S. Monson – his personal touch

President Thomas S. Monson, Mormon ProphetLast night, in the General Priesthood Session for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (the Mormon Conference), President Thomas S. Monson gave the concluding address – in my memory, his best.

His talk was powerful, with a strong thread of personality elegantly woven throughout as he communicated those things that he felt mattered most for Mormon Priesthood holders to hear.

President Monson always has had an incredible knack for using stories from his life, and humor to bring life to his sermons – it’s an attribute for which he’s become so loved, and for which I think he’ll be so well known as a Prophet.

In his Priesthood address, he told a story of sitting up on the stand, some time ago, in a Sacrament meeting somewhere.  He said that as he sat there, he noticed a little boy in the audience, who was sitting exactly the way he was sitting.

He said that s he’d cross his legs, the boy would cross his legs too.  When he switched legs, the boy would imitate his very position.

He then said that he tried putting his chin in his hand (which he reenacted tonight) and true to form, the boy did the same.  Then, right before he was about to get up to address the congregation, he said he thought he’d really put the boy to the test.  So he looked the boy squarely in the eyes, so he knew he was focused only on him, and wiggled his ears! (As he said this, he paused, and with amazing dexterity, wiggled his ears).  Of course, we all laughed, and heartily.

Once we’d stopped laughing, he commented “My wife told me not to do that”.  We all laughed again.

He then continued, saying that at this point, the boy looked dumbfounded, turned and got his fathers attention, whispered something in his ear, then pointed to his own ears, and pointed back to President Monson.  He said that when the father looked up at him, he just looked back, completely solemn faced, as if nothing had happened.

Listening, and watching him reenact this in front of the largest Priesthood assembly ever in the history of the world, was simply inspiring.  The message of course was there, which he elaborated on after the story, but it was wonderfully accented by humor and personality.

Every prophet leaves behind their own legacy.  I think the legacy we’ll find from President Monson is that of his profoundly personal touch.  A wonderful trait for a prophet of God.

Rusty

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The underestimated power of faith

I’ve moved this post to my new Life-Engineering blog, dedicated to motivating people to achieve their goals and change their futures by taking control of their lives.

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The clensing gift of repentance (ctrl-z, UNDO!)

As an addendum toWhat do Mormons really believe, Part 4

Spending as much time on the computer as we do, there’s a command that we often take for granted.  The wonderful, marvelous, brilliant “ctrl-z” key combo!

I don’t know who originally thought this up, but bless them.

There you are, working away, and suddenly you realize that you’ve made a mistake.  All you have to do is hold down the control key, and hit “z” at the same time, and beautifully, your error disappears as though it never existed, and you can pick up where you last left off, or start from scratch.

A wise and loving Father in Heaven realized that as we progress through life, occasionally we’d make such mistakes.  Some might be inadvertent while others more intentional.  Therefore he gave us the marvelous mechanism of repentance – a process whereby our mistakes in life might be wiped clean from the book of life, allowing us to start over, on a clean slate.

What refreshing doctrine.

This forgiveness is made possible through the everlasting atonement of Christ, who in the Garden of Gethsemane took upon himself the sins of the world, thereby making it possible for us to repent, and invoke the efficacy of his sacrifice.  He paid the price of justice, that we might know mercy.

But how careful we must be to not take repentance flippantly, for an attitude of “sin now, repent later”, is offensive to God.  This is not a “get out of jail free” card that we can just play at will.  Repentance isn’t instantaneous, nor free.

To fully repent, we must confess and forsake of our sins.  Seek restitution from those we have wronged, and promise not to do it again.  That process can be difficult, but it is sure.  And when complete, our sins are forgiven, we are washed clean through blood of our Savior, and made whole – again worthy of the companionship of the Holy Ghost.  It’s an incomparable feeling of relief, as though a huge burden has been lifted from your shoulders.  It freshens your vision, fills you with enthusiasm, energizes your soul, and spurs you to do better, and be more.

Every one of us can be free from the shackles of the sins by which we are beset, freed from the burdens that weigh us down and hamper our enjoyment of life.

May each one of us find the strength to repent of our sins, and make that enriching process a never-ending aspect of our daily lives.

Rusty

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Faith fitness – day 1 (Testimony)

This post is part of a series called Faith Fitness – increasing our capacity to believe.  Don’t forget to see the intro, part 1 (Testimony), part 2 (Optimism), and part 3 (Hope).

Fantastic.  You’ve all joined me again.  That must mean you’re ready to improve the fitness of your faith and increase your capacity to believe.

From now on, let us refer to ourselves as FAITH CADETS.  Oh, okay, so that’s a bit much…

Still, I want to emphasize the importance of becoming lifelong students of faith.  Faith is a foundational principle.  Our ability to understand, accept, and live accountably for the deeper principles of exaltation is directly proportional to the soundness of our faith.

Like a muscle, your faith will either grow, or atrophy depending on how much you exercise it.  When our faith falls into disuse, it too grows weaker.  That’s the unavoidable law of entropy.  Those of the strongest faith are those who use it regularly, those who make it a part of their daily lives, and not just some vague principle taught in Sunday school.   

It is up to us to take faith from principle… to practice.

Before we begin today’s exercise, we need understand an important part of faith – that faith is founded upon testimony of truth.  Faith not founded on pure doctrine is merely self-disillusionment.

So what pure doctrine must we know to exercise faith?  I propose at LEAST the following.

1. Believe in God

In order for you to exercise faith, and believe in anything (to the point where you can actually affect change, simply through belief), you must first believe in God. 

I’m not talking about a flippant “yeah, I think God is real, and I accept it because it’s been told to me so many times”.  I’m talking about a pure and solid testimony that God lives.  You have to know that at the core of your being.  You have to have sought Him out and felt His love.  You need to accept unequivocally that HE IS REAL.

This is the first and foremost step in building your capacity to believe.  No other step can be achieved successfully without this.  Even if your personal relationship with him is still young and underdeveloped, that’s okay; it will grow as you complete these exercises.

2. Believe that you are a child of God

As a child of God, He loves you.  He is interested in your success, he is omnicaring as much as he is omniscient and omnipotent, and He is anxious to help you.

It means you are of royal birth… divinity is your heritage.  It’s your nature.  You are of infinite worth.  Once you realize that you are an actual son or daughter of God, your whole bodies shall be filled with a natural self-confidence, and you’ll have a sure acceptance that you can do or be anything.  For with God, nothing is impossible.  So too with you, in partnership with Him as your Father, is nothing impossible.

You have to believe that with His help, you are capable of works far beyond that of your native capacity.

3. Perspective on weakness

For you to exercise faith fully, you must understand your own limitations, and their perspective.  Our weaknesses are not some symbolic representation of our own ineptitude.  They’re gifts from God.  God said “I give unto men weakness that they might learn to know me”.  We’ve each been given our own set of “building blocks“, and it’s up to use to learn to use (and overcome) what we’ve been given.

But we should not fall victim to the belief that we are failures, just because we have weaknesses.  We have to abandon our self-imposed limitations, those beliefs we harbor against ourselves that obstruct our progress in life. 

This perspective is crucial feeling the full effects of the testimony of God, and our relationship to Him.

As these basic beliefs become indelibly imprinted in the foundation of your soul, they will begin to pervade your subconsciousness.  Hope will flow through you and optimism will envelope you.  Faith will naturally follow.

Today’s exercise…. Make sure you have a testimony of these three core things.  A solid testimony.  And don’t forget to stretch.  For afterall, can any of us really say that we cannot better understand our relationship with god?  We must stretch ourselves, push your capacity, and build this foundation.

That will prepare you for tomorrow.

Rusty

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Placebo – the power of belief

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Don’t stare in your rear-view mirror

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It is what you make of it

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Do you want a donut? A lesson on the atonement.

The following story came to me in email today.  If you happen to know who originally wrote it, please let me know so I can give them credit.  Until then, thanks… somebody.

Do you want a donut?

There was a boy by the name of Steve who was attending Seminary in Utah. In this Seminary classes are held during school hours. Brother Christianson taught Seminary at this particular school. He had an open-door policy and would take in any student that had been thrown out of another class as long as they would abide by his rules. Steve had been kicked out of his sixth period and no other teacher wanted him, so he went into Brother Christianson’s Seminary class.
 
 Steve was told that he could not be late, so he arrived just seconds before the bell rang and he would sit in the very back of the room. He would also be the first to leave after the class was over.
 
 One day, Brother Christianson asked Steve to stay after class so he could talk with him. After class, Bro.
 Christianson pulled Steve aside and said, ‘You think you’re pretty tough, don’t you?’
 
 Steve’s answer was, ‘Yeah, I do.’
 
 Then Brother Christianson asked, ‘How many push-ups can you do?’
 
 Steve said, ‘I do about 200 every night.’
 
 ‘200? That’s pretty good, Steve,’ Brother Christianson said. ‘Do you think you could do 300?’
 
 Steve replied, ‘I don’t know… I’ve never done 300 at a time.’
 
 ‘Do you think you could?’ Again asked Brother Christianson.
 
 ‘Well, I can try,’ said Steve.
 
 ‘Can you do 300 in sets of 10? I need you to do 300 in sets of ten for this to work. Can you do it? I need you to tell me you can do it,’ Brother Christianson said. Steve said, ‘Well… I think I can… yeah, I can do it.’
 
 Brother Christianson said, ‘Good! I need you to do this on Friday.’
 
 Friday came and Steve got to class early and sat in the front of the ro om. When class started, Brother Christianson pulled out a big box of donuts. Now these weren’t the normal kinds of donuts, they were the extra fancy BIG kind, with cream centers and frosting swirls. Everyone was pretty excited-it was Friday, the last class of the day, and they were going to get an early start on the weekend.
 
 Bro. Christianson went to the first girl in the first row and asked, ‘Cynthia, do you want a donut?’
 
 Cynthia said, ‘Yes.’
 
 Bro. Christianson then turned to Steve and asked, ‘Steve, would you do ten push-ups so that Cynthia can have a donut?’
 
 Steve said, ‘Sure,’ and jumped down from his desk to do a quick ten. Then Steve again sat in his desk. Bro. Christianson put a donut on Cynthia’s desk.
 
 Bro. Christianson then went to Joe, the next person, and asked, ‘Joe do you want a donut?’
 
 Joe said, ‘Yes.’ Bro. Christianson asked, ‘Steve would you do ten push- ups so Joe can have a donut?’ Steve did ten push-ups, Joe got a donut.
 
 And so it went, down the first aisle, Steve did ten pushups for every person before they got their donut. And down the second aisle, till Bro. Christianson came to Scott.
 
 Scott was captain of the football team and center of the basketball team. He was very popular and never lacking for female companionship. Then Bro. Christianson asked, ‘Scott do you want a donut?’
 
 Scott’s reply was, ‘Well, can I do my own pushups?’
 
 Bro. Christianson said, ‘No, Steve has to do them.’
 
 Then Scott said, ‘Well, I don’t want one then.’
 
 Bro. Christianson then turned to Steve and asked, ‘Steve, would you do ten pushups so Scott can have a donut he doesn’t want?’
 
 Steve started to do ten pushups. Scott said, ‘HEY! I said I didn’t want one!’
 < BR> Bro. Christianson said, ‘Look, this is my classroom, my class, my desks, and my donuts. Just leave it on the desk if you don’t want it.’ And he put a donut on Scott’s desk.
 
 Now by this time, Steve had begun to slow down a little. He just stayed on the floor between sets because it took too much effort to be getting up and down. You could start to see a little perspiration coming out around his brow. Bro. Christianson started down the third row. Now the students were beginning to get a little angry.
 
 Bro. Christianson asked Jenny, ‘Jenny, do you want a donut?’
 
 Jenny said, ‘No.’
 
 Then Bro. Christianson asked Steve, ‘Steve, would you do ten pushups so Jenny can have a donut that she doesn’t want?’ Steve did ten, Jenny got a donut.
 
 By now, the students were beginning to say ‘No’ and there were all these uneaten donuts on the desks. Steve was also having to really put forth a lot of eff ort to get these pushups done for each donut. There began to be a small pool of sweat on the floor beneath his face, his arms and brow were beginning to get red because of the physical effort involved.
 
 Bro. Christianson asked Robert to watch Steve to make sure he did ten pushups in a set because he couldn’t bear to watch all of Steve’s work for all of those uneaten donuts. So Robert began to watch Steve closely. Bro. Christianson started down the fourth row.
 
 During his class, however, some students had wandered in and sat along the heaters along the sides of the room. When Bro. Christianson realized this; he did a quick count and saw 34 students in the room. He started to worry if Steve would be able to make it.
 
 Bro. Christianson went on to the next person and the next and the next. Near the end of that row, Steve was really having a rough time. He was taking a lot more time to complete each set.
 
 Steve asked Bro. Christianson, ‘Do I have to make my nose touch on each one?’
 
 Bro. Christianson thought for a moment, ‘Well, they’re your pushups. You can do them any way that you want.’ And Bro. Christianson went on.
 
 A few moments later, Jason came to the room and was about to come in when all the students yelled, ‘NO! Don’t come in! Stay out!’
 
 Jason didn’t know what was going on. Steve picked up his head and said, ‘No, let him come.’
 
 Bro. Christianson said, ‘You realize that if Jason comes in you will have to do ten pushups for him.’
 
 Steve said, ‘Yes, let him come in.’
 
 Bro. Christianson said, ‘Okay, I’ll let you get Jason’s out of the way right now. Jason, do you want a donut?’
 
 ‘Yes.’
 
 ‘Steve, will you do ten pushups so that Jason can have a donut?’ Steve did ten pushups very slowly an d with great effort. Jason, bewildered, was handed a donut and sat down.
 
 Bro. Christianson finished the fourth row, then started on those seated on the heaters. Steve’s arms were now shaking with each pushup in a struggle to lift himself against the force of gravity. Sweat was dropping off of his face and, by this time, there was not a dry eye in the room.
 
 The very last two girls in the room were cheerleaders and very popular. Bro. Christianson went to Linda, the second to last, and asked, ‘Linda, do you want a doughnut?
 
 Linda said, very sadly, ‘No, thank you.’
 
 Bro. Christianson asked Steve, ‘Steve, would you do ten pushups so that Linda can have a donut she doesn’t want?’
 
 Grunting from the effort, Steve did ten very slow pushups for Linda. Then Bro. Christianson turned to the last girl, Susan. ‘Susan, do you want a donut?’
 
 Susan, with tears flowing down her face, asked , ‘Bro. Christianson , can I help him?’
 
 Bro. Christianson, with tears of his own, said, ‘No, he has to do it alone, Steve, would you do ten pushups so Susan can have a donut?’
 
 As Steve very slowly finished his last pushup, with the understanding that he had accomplished all that was required of him, having done 350 pushups, his arms buckled beneath him and he fell to the floor.
 
 Brother Christianson turned to the room and said. ‘And so it was, that our Savior, Jesus Christ, plead to the Father, ‘Into thy hands I commend my spirit.’ With the understanding that He had done everything that was required of Him, he collapsed on the cross and died. And like some of those in this room, many of us leave the gift on the desk, uneaten.’ .
 
 When everyone in the classroom heard what the teacher meant by it and realized everything. Steve smiled on the ground where he laid in his own sweat and began to cry.

(Again, thanks for whoever wrote this)
Rusty

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Someone who decided to make a difference

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Behold not the filthiness

Earlier, I’d posted “A quest for spiritual knowledge”, wherein I talked about Lehi’s grand vision of the tree of life. Still studying my way through that section of 1 Nephi in the Book of Mormon, today I stumbled accross the following passage that struck me as important, but that I’d simply read over countless times before.

Nephi had just returned from being carried away in the Spirit, receiving his own vision of the Tree of Life. Upon returning to his camp, his brothers, Laman and Lemuel began asking about the meaning of Lehi’s dream. They had just asked “What meaneth the river of water which our father saw?”

1 Nephi 15: 27

And I said unto them that the water which my father saw was filthiness; and so much was his mind swallowed up in other things that he beheld not the filthiness of the water.

It struck me that living in the world, we too are surrounded by filthiness, even as prominent as was this river of water in Lehi’s vision. But we can choose our focus. We can choose what thoughts occupy our minds.

Indeed, so much can our minds be swallowed up in the good that surrounds us, in the opportunities, in the service of others, and in the light of the Lord that we too can become impervious to the filthiness of the world.

At such a point, we live in the world, but not of the world. And then, our minds become single to the glory of God.

Doctrine and Covenants 88:67

And if your eye be single to my glory, your whole bodies shall be filled with light, and there shall be no darkness in you; and that body which is filled with light comprehendeth all things.

Therefore, sanctify yourselves that your minds become single to God, and the days will come that you shall see him; for he will unveil his face unto you, and it shall be in his own time, and in his own way, and according to his will.

Rusty

It’s a boy!!!

Yes, I know, I haven’t posted in a whole week, but for good reason.  Last Saturday, very, very, very, VERY early in the morning my darling wife gave birth to our newest little boy, Carson Ray Lindquist. 

He came a full two weeks early, but true to the mold, still weighed in at 8 lbs 7 oz, and was almost 22 inches long.

He’s now our fifth boy… much to the chagrin of my only little girl – the princess (family photo available at the bottom of “about me“).

While it’s true, most newborns look somewhat akin to aliens, I must be wearing my Daddy Lenses ‘cause I think he’s simply adorable, and squeezable, and totally sniffable (yes, I love that new-baby smell, kind of like the smell of a new car, only for humans).

So I took the week off work, did almost nothing besides partying and playing with my other kids while my wife and newborn rested up.  But, I did get lots of musing done, and have a full list of blog topics to resume my one-or-two-a-day post commitment.  I think you’ll enjoy them, and I guarantee one or two are bound to incite quite a ruckus of comments.  It’ll keep things lively at least.

Here are just a few photos of my little boy.  Click for a larger photo, click again for one even larger.

Rusty

I believe there are angels among us

Finally telling my story (the first time I’ve ever shared much of this with anyone), inspired me to share the following experience.

When I was about 3, my grandma had joined my family for a hike somewhere in the Wasatch Mountains.  At some point, I must have done something to displease my father (my biological father).

To punish me, I was told that they were going to leave me on the trail.  They told me to sit on a log, while they all walked out of sight. 

Apparently they hadn’t walked far, thinking they’d wait a while, let me learn my lesson, and then they’d come back and get me. 

Instead, and not long after, I came casually walking around the corner, looking happy as ever.  When they asked me how I’d found them, I answered that a man in white had come and explained to me that I shouldn’t be worried, and told me where to find them.

Unfortunately I don’t have much of a memory of this, but my grandma has told me this story since I was young.

Not from this instance only, but from numerous occasions throughout my life, I’ve become convinced that we’re surrounded by loved ones.  Our “guardian angels” if you will.  These are not just strangers, but people who, for some reason or another, have a divine interest in our personal well-being, family or friends who have passed before, and who are there for us.

So whatever trial you’re experiencing.  However alone you may feel in your life, in your struggles, or in your efforts, know this – that you are not alone.  There are those that you cannot see that are there to help you, and the impact of their efforts is real, if seldom recognized.

Rusty

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