Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Flavors of Silence

Flavors of Silence
Thoughts on sharing...and withholding...our thoughts from those around us.

(What thoughts, actions, and feelings fill the space that we otherwise leave empty of sound?)

To that I say, no more silence. It's time to speak up.

(What are the many kindnesses and actions we do without marring them by speech?)

Yet...what kindnesses are marked only by our willingness not to speak? Or what peace is left undisturbed by us having the restraint to leave it be, like the moonlit meadow laid with newly-fallen snow? There are so many other ways to express ideas and feelings. When to use which?


What does silence mean, after all? It can be mean-spirited, inspired by fear, or maintained only by self-restraint.

I would like to examine this more in future posts...in the meantime, what are your thoughts on silence? What causes it? When have you wished you would have spoken? Kept your mouth shut? When is it helpful and when is it hurtful? When is it wrong to stay silent? Can we be silent while still voicing something? How do we do that? When is it best to speak, and when best to stay silent?

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Fruits of Faith

In our scripture study the other day, my husband and I read Ether 12. I had forgotten how much neat stuff is in there!

I wanted to see if I could learn more about what faith is by pulling out the things it causes. When I was writing up this blog post, I also saw that there were different phrases used to indicate that faith influenced something. See the lists below of the "fruits of faith" that I found in Ether 12.

Because of the faith of men...
  • Christ showed himself to the world. (verse 8)
  • Christ has glorified the name of the Father and prepared a way that others can be partakers of the heavenly gift. (verse 8)

By faith...
  • The law of Moses was given. (verse 11)
  • A more excellent way has been fulfilled. (verse 11)
  • Miracles are wrought. (verse 16)
  • The Brother of Jared obtained the word of God and then saw His finger, then received a promise that he would see the Lord, and then saw all things that the Lord had promised. (verse 21)
  • Their forefathers obtained a promise that the scriptures should come to their brethren through the Gentiles. (verse 22) 

William Blake [Public domain or Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

The miracles listed below were brought about by a person's (or several people's) faith.
  • "it was the faith of Alma and Amulek that caused the prison to tumble to the earth." (verse 13)
  • "it was the faith of Nephi and Lehi that wrought the change upon the Lamanites, that they were baptized with fire and with the Holy Ghost." (verse 14)
  • "it was the faith of Ammon and his brethren which wrought so great a miracle among the Lamanites." (verse 15)
  • " it was by faith that the three disciples obtained a promise that they should not taste of death" (verse 17)
In addition to telling us a sampling of the things faith has done for certain people, Moroni explains that faith will help each of us. If we have faith...
  • We can have hope and be partakers of the divine gift.(verse 9)
  • We can take part in miracles, can work miracles in God's name. (verse 16,18)
  • We might with surety hope for a better world. (verse 4)

It's interesting that there are different phrasings used--by faith, because of faith, it was the faith of ____. That seems to indicate that some things are done by the power of faith (by faith), while others happen as a result of, but not necessarily by the power of faith (because of faith).

What do you think of the phrasing used to talk about faith in Ether 12?

Some of these have close phrasing to the actual verses--I decided to forego quotation marks, since I list what verse each comes from and the source is readily available at lds.org.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Obeying - more than a moment's decision

I turned to the Topical Guide and read the first entry under "Obedience." It was a verse in the story of Noah.

It was interesting to me that Noah's story begins with the Lord being grieved by the wickedness of the people. Noah found grace in God's eyes because he was "a just man and perfect in his generations" and  "Noah walked with God" (Genesis 6:7-8).

I think it's interesting that in the same thought of Noah being a just man, it also says that he walked with God. As in, walked in the same manner God does—justly? And because of that was able to spend time learning from God. That's pretty cool.

In Genesis 6:13, God speaks to Noah and tells him what is going to happen (the people are going to be destroyed) and he tells him exactly what to do to escape that fate (built an ark of such and such a size, with these materials, etc.). It may seem strange that God would talk directly to Noah—doesn't he love the other people as well? He does love them—but they've already established that they aren't going to listen to him. They ignored his advice for so long that they are completely unwilling to listen to him, even if it costs them their lives.

Why would the Lord choose to tell Noah his plans to destroy everyone, then? Why would he tell Noah what to do to bring his family to safety? He loves them; Noah will listen to him. Noah's actions didn't bring the Lord to say that it repented him that he even created him. I think this tells us that the Lord wasn't angry for the sake of being angry—he went through the process of planning a way to save one family who still listened to him and tried to be good. Noah had established a relationship of trust with all of those walks with God (hear: all of the past of following in God's paths).

But Noah didn't get a free ticket out. At this point he still could have said it was too hard, that making that much pitch didn't really appeal to him. He could have been overwhelmed with how demanding the task was—finding a male and female of all sorts of animals, and building an ark that would house them all safely sounds difficult to me. Let alone gathering "all food that is eaten" enough to "be for food for thee, and for them [all of the animals]."

So Noah had a choice to make—would he trust that the Lord would really destroy those people? Would the flood really happen? Could he really build a sea-worthy vessel, especially one strong enough to hold all sorts of animals, as well as enough food for them AND for his family?

"'Noah and His Ark' by Charles Willson Peale, 1819" by Charles Willson Peale - Own work - Wmpearl.
 Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons
It's not clear how much doubt Noah dealt with as the Lord told him this life-changing news, but it is clear from his actions that he did trust, and acted accordingly:

"Thus did Noah; according to all that God commanded Him, so did he." (Genesis 6:22)

Monday, April 21, 2014

Comparing the Comparable

In my skimming of the news I came across this story.

Police find remains of seven babies at Utah home

My reaction was something like "How in the world could she do that? WHY would she do that?" I felt disturbed and revolted.

My next thought was "but isn't this exactly the same thing I heard people advocating for--for the right to choose whether or not the babies they have live?"

I also heard a story containing an audio of someone talking with a clinic talking about late-term abortion--even after-birth abortion. (I don't want to try searching for it--the kinds of things that search will bring up is more than I ever want to learn about--but it's out there.)

What is so different between what Huntsman did and what abortion clinics do? Is the difference that she did it herself? As far as I can see, that's really the only difference.

Can I say that something is messed up? I think I can. It seems obvious from the first story (and the comments on it) that our society considers a mother killing her babies is disturbing, wrong. Why can't we see that the SAME applies to abortion? What's getting in the way?

Some comments say she is clearly mentally ill. So does it follow that all mothers who would choose to end the life of their infant for personal convenience (and the society that makes it overly acceptable--even right--to do so) are mentally ill, not seeing things correctly?

My answer is yes. What is yours?