The meaning of Gentile

I’ve been researching the usage of the word “Gentile” because I think it has different meanings for different people at different periods of time. For instance, I grew up in the LDS church, and associated “Gentiles” with those not of our same faith. I don’t know how I got that idea, so I’ve looked back into the history of the church, and found some discourses by Brigham Young and John Taylor where they used the term “Gentile.” Some of the times, it seems like the early members of the church used “Gentile” to refer to those outside the church....

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Parable of the Bitter Berries

It seemed no one wanted to know the mystery of the bitter berries. Few understood the value of the seemingly poisonous berries, because, in fact, if you ate them straight from the vine, they made you sick, and stories of death were still told by the villagers. On the outskirts of this prosperous village known for its obedience to God, there was an ancient vineyard, planted on rolling hills. For many a generation, it was the source of sustenance for both young and old. Wheat grew between the rows that the villagers harvested in early summer to make life-sustaining...

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Signs of September

People have been talking about the astrological sign in the sky, September 23, 2017, saying it fulfills Revelation 12. I don’t know the full significance of this sign in the sky, but I understand that many believe that they will be raptured and saved from this telestial world. I’m not expecting that. But I do find the whole thing interesting. 1 And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars: 2 And she being with child cried, travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered....

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The upside of dyslexia

“Dyslexia” — the word itself is difficult to read. But for all the bad things you hear about dyslexia, there are some good things. It’s categorized as a “learning disorder” but there’s an upside of dyslexia too. I have a son with dyslexia. I also have a husband with dyslexia. And now a granddaughter too. It’s important to look at the upside of dyslexia. Researchers have discovered a “gifted side” for those with dyslexia. My husband has always claimed that he can see the big picture in difficult engineering tasks. This was never acknowledged in school. He suffered with reading...

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Cardston Temple Vision

I found an old book on my bookshelf, entitled “Temple Manifestations” by Joseph Heinerman. I was curious if it had the account of the woman who went through the Cardston Temple before it was dedicated. Sure enough, it had a shortened version of her experience. “Mrs. Sols Guardisto was one of the 50,000 people who toured the Cardston Temple before its dedication in 1923. She was not a member of the church at the time, but has since joined.”   Pages from Edward j. Wood 2   The temple is a striking example of modern building design in the...

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Finding more meaning in the Sacrament

When you listen to the sacrament prayers and take part in the eating of the bread and the drinking of the water — what do you think about? Repenting of your weekly sins? Asking for the Lord’s spirit? Imagining that the bread and water really do have some power? I’ve been thinking about the sacrament. And how to make it more meaningful each Sabbath. There are many things we do as a congregation to prepare for the sacrament, such as singing a sad hymn about Jesus’s death, and hearing the bishop read a passage of scripture. Lately, I have...

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The City of Enoch and the Gulf of Mexico

I recently read that Joseph Smith said the City of Enoch was located where the Gulf of Mexico is today. When God translated the entire city, the gulf was created. Interesting idea, so I read up on it and the geology of that area. March 30, 1873: At evening prayer circle: President Young said Joseph the Prophet told me that the Garden [172] of Eden was in Jackson County, Missouri, and when Adam was driven out of the Garden of Eden, he went about 40 miles to the place which he named Adam ondi Ahman, and there built an...

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Joseph returned plates to cave Cumorah

Wilford Woodruff kept a journal. In one entry, he wrote that Brigham Young said that Joseph Smith returned the golden plates to a cave in the hill Cumorah. So this is not a primary source (from Joseph himself) but interesting: December 11, 1869: At School of the Prophets: President Young said in relation to Joseph Smith returning the plates of the Book of Mormon, that he did not return them to the box from where he had received them. But he went into a cave in the Hill Cumorah with Oliver Cowdery and deposited those plates upon a table...

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Clare Middlemiss, only woman private secretary

Clare Middlemiss is the only woman to hold the position of private secretary to an LDS Church president. It’s rather remarkable. When David O. McKay became the ninth president of the Church, in 1951, he did not follow suit and keep D. Arthur Haycock on as his private secretary. Haycock had held that position through the previous presidency of George Albert Smith. But, David O. McKay retained his personal secretary of 16 years — Clare Middlemiss — and for the next 19 years she was the private secretary to the president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter...

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Empathy

I love this animated video of Brene Brown’s talk about empathy. I’m sure you’ll recognize some of the people in your own life, who only look down the hole and have no empathy for your predicament. Let’s hope you’re not the one peering down the hole, but instead, the person who climbs down, and listens....

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Joseph Smith’s dreams

I’ve searched for some of Joseph Smith’s dreams, looking for primary sources. The recorded dreams and their sources follow. Source: An American Prophet’s Record: The Diaries and Journals of Joseph Smith, edited by Scott H. Faulring — 1. One day after Joseph Smith (in Kirtland, Ohio) sees in vision the Celestial Kingdom, January 21, 1836, (recorded by Warren Parish — now D&C 137), Joseph records after a long day of meetings on  Jan 22, 1836, I then observed to the brethren that it was time to retire. We accordingly /closed/ our interview and returned home at about 2 o’clock in the morning....

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The faith of the founding fathers

July 4th has become an American holiday celebrating independence. However, John Adams thought it would be July 2nd. In a letter, dated the 3rd of July, 1776, he wrote to his wife, Abigail: “The second day of July, 1776, will be the most memorable epoch in the history of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival. It ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns,...

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Do I favor one child over another?

When my kids wonder if I love one child more than another — or if they think I’m favoring one,  I remind them that I love each of them equally — “you’re like a box of fine, exquisite chocolates, and I don’t have just one favorite.” True, some days I may seem to favor the dark chocolate almonds, but then I want a butterscotch square, or a dark raspberry creme, or a bordeaux. Of course, there are those days when I have said to myself “– too many butterscotch squares today, I need a break.” I have raised kids...

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A Correct Account of the murders of Generals Joseph and Hyrum Smith

June 27, 1844 marks the day that the Prophet Joseph Smith and his brother Hyrum Smith were murdered. I read a new account of the event, recorded, and published in 1845, by an eyewitness, non-Mormon, by the name of William M. Daniels. The published work was in the LDS Church Historian vault, became available in digital format in 2003, and now resides in the Harold B. Lee Library. The following excerpts are the words of William M. Daniels, taken from his writings, A Correct Account of the Murders of Generals Joseph and Hyrum Smith: I shall avoid stating anything...

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The Book of Enoch Audible

Lately, I’ve been listening to the Book of Enoch on Audible — a great way to become familiar with this ancient text. I’ve never read the entire book — I’ve read parts of it, but I’ve always wanted to read all of the book. Here is my solution: I like to listen to books and talks on my iphone — while driving or walking, and as I wind down at the end of the day, it helps me relax and fall asleep. This Audible edition is the entire, original  Book of Enoch, read by Steve Cook — an enjoyable narrator. The...

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Baptism of Fire Resources

One of the exciting comforts of living in this chaotic world, is the promise that God will not leave you alone. Truly. He will bless you with the first comforter, the Holy Ghost, which is real. It is an event, likened to the event when you were born. Here are several good sources on the “baptism of fire” also known as being “born again” and experiencing “the mighty change” — An event that comes through the process of repenting and overcoming trials. Although some few may receive the baptism of fire at the time of the ordinance of the laying...

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How to prepare for the day of the Lord

As I sat in Sunday school, I reflected on the lesson about “Looking forth for the great day of the Lord come.” The teacher asked, “how can we prepare for the Millennium?” We skipped the part leading up to the Millennium — the dreadful day of the Lord — the destructions, the chaos, the extreme trials. We jumped to the time after Christ comes to earth during the Millennial Era. We didn’t talk about how we establish Zion or how we become worthy of Zion. In fact no one brought up Zion. We talked about how wonderful it will...

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Why do we say, “bless you ” when someone sneezes?

I sneeze loudly. My husband always wants a warning, but I can’t warn before I sneeze. He says, “bless you,” like some people. I was curious about the origins of the “Bless you,” when you sneeze.  I read that perhaps some evil spirit was catching a ride with me, or my spirit could be escaping every time I sneeze. Those are some of the mythic origins of blessing you when you sneeze. Some crazy theories about sneezing and blessing: 1.  Your spirit gets sneezed right out of your body (especially with a loud and explosive sneeze)  and the “bless you” protects your...

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Tuck me in meaning

When I was young, my parents would “tuck me into bed.” As any parent knows, kids hate to go to bed at night — in fact it’s quite amazing to hear the excuses your kids will come up with — drinks of water, trips to the bathroom, anything to delay the inevitable. I remember saying “will you tuck me into bed?” I found the source of that saying which dates back to the Saulteaux native Americans. “Tucking in” was a life-saving event before falling asleep. I was reading a book about the Cree and Saulteaux Indians. These tribes lived in...

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How Isaiah changed my life

It was the summer of 1992, Irvine, California — Avraham Gileadi was giving one of his early seminars on the Book of Isaiah. We had a copy of his book on our shelf and we eagerly looked forward to his class. It was good timing, and one example of God’s hand in my life. But like so many things, I did not see the blessings until many years later, when I could look at my life from a new perspective, after having passed through my trials of descent. The Book of Isaiah changed my life because I understood the purpose...

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“Though matter is replaced through an endless cycle of creations and dissolution, only spirit retains conscious identity, so that strictly speaking “only progeny is immortal,” each “mounting up from world to world” acquiring ever more “treasure” while “progressing towards His perfection which awaits them all.” (Nibley, Treasures in the Heavens)