What About Bill O’Reilly’s “Killing Jesus?”

Tuesday, April 22nd, 2014

WHAT ABOUT BILL O’REILLLY’S “KILLING JESUS?”

One of my friends recently recommended that I should read the book “Killing Jesus” by Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard. This particular friend said: “I think they must have used your book “The Illegal Trial of Christ” as a reference, because much of what they write sounds like you explained it in your book!”

I had already read O’Reilly and Dugard’s books “Killing Lincoln” and “Killing Kennedy” and I intended to read “Killing Jesus,” too. So I did. I found the book to be well researched and well written. Because of my background as a student of the trial of Jesus Christ, as you might imagine, I was persnickety and fussy about the details! That led me to hold some reservations about some of their explanations.

Then as I continued to read, I began to realize that these authors had to maintain an unbiased, objective, and even impartial view of their account because of their background as historians and media personalities. So religion, or religious thinking didn’t creep into their dialogue and discourse. Their presentation of facts about the people and places involved was totally engaged, and I even learned some new things.

I didn’t have to be so impartial in my book. I unabashedly came out in full acceptance of the details shared by the four gospel writers of the New Testament. With my research into Hebrew and Roman law, the words used by Matthew, Mark, Luke and John became even more meaningful and persuasive in my view.

I recommend that you read “Killing Jesus” and then read “The Illegal Trial of Christ” and see if you don’t come away with new understandings—and perhaps even your own unbiased view!

What About the Movie “The Son of God?”

Wednesday, March 26th, 2014

What Did You Think of the Movie “The Son of God?”

Each Easter season for the past several years, I have invited friends and neighbors to attend my presentation about the Trial of Jesus Christ from a lawyer’s standpoint. So naturally, before giving my lecture this year, I wanted to see that new movie “The Son of God.”

My wife and I attended this movie this last weekend. The movie was very good and I recommend it. The visual imagery was glorious and the actors were exceptional. I particularly enjoyed the portrayal of Pontius Pilate. Imagine that!

I realize that the producers had to take some liberties with the timeline and the story details. I found that even though I enjoyed the movie, I had some of my own per-concieved ideas and distinct images of many of the details which were different from the movie. With my background as a student of the Trial of Christ, I found myself hoping for more detail about the violations of law by the Sanhedrin and the Romans.

But then I realized that many of the details couldn’t have made sense to many of the movie-goers without more background in relation to Hebrew and Roman law. For more details and thoroughness about the trials (there were actually four of them) you might want to find and read the book “The Illegal Trial of Christ.”

“The Illegal Trial of Christ” has specific answers to the questions: “Which Hebrew and Romans laws were violated in Christ’s trials?” “What is the real significance of the 30 pieces of silver given to Judas?” “Why was it the Romans, and not the Jews, that crucified Christ?” And even “How did Tiberius Caesar’s wedding gift to Pontius Pilate affect the trial?”

I suggest you go see the movie—then read “The Illegal Trial of Christ” to fill in some gaps. You’ll really enjoy it!

A New Verse (A Letter to the Family)

Monday, November 18th, 2013

You know I have written several books. And some of you have seem my attempts at poetry and limericks written here in camp. And I know you all love my family letters! Now I have added to my writings a new verse to a Thanksgiving Hymn.

You may want to find a Hymn book and turn to Hymn #92, “For the Beauty of the Earth,” and add this as verse 4 to that hymn. Do it now, I’ll wait for you.

I have so much to be thankful for this Thanksgiving, so I turned to the Hymn book to review some Thanksgiving songs. Just to lift my spirit. And it did. As I turned to Hymn # 92 these words just entered my mind and thoughts. Not quite perfect, but to me, beautiful. So here’s the new verse”

“For the return of man to wife,
For overcoming all the strife,
For the love of family shown,
For returning to our own.

Lord of All to Thee we raise
This our hymn of grateful praise.”

Let’s sing it together this year at our Thanksgiving celebrations. Or try to the best we can.

Why? Because “If thou art merry, praise the Lord with singing, with music, with dancing, and with a prayer of praise and thanksgiving.” (Doctrine and Covenants 136:28).

I am so thankful that this time of my incarceration and our separation is coming to a close, that my heart is chock-full of happiness and gratitude.

I know you will all “Count Your Blessings and name them one by one, count your many blessings, see what God hath done.” (Hymn # 241).

I will be counting my blessing with many of you this year. How joyful this season will be!

With Love, Joy and Thankfulness,
Dad, Granddaddy, Steve

Be of Good Cheer

Tuesday, October 1st, 2013

Last Thursday, my request for immediate release was denied. I was devastated. I thought for sure I had met all the requirements and the warden would grant my immediate release. Not so.

Sunday, my wife sent me a list of scriptures (13 of them) that she found. They all said “Be of Good Cheer.” I was to read every one and see what I could learn from these scriptures. Here is the list:

Matt 9:2
Matt 14:27
Mark 6:50
John 16:33
Acts 23:11
Acts 27:22
Acts 27:25

Alma 17:31
3 Nephi 1:13

D&C 61:36
D&C 68:6
D&C 78:18
D&C 112:4

Here’s what I replied back to her:

I looked up all the scriptures on your list. What’s interesting is that all the quotes are from the Lord except the one in Alma 17:31, which is Ammon speaking to the servants who were worried about losing their lives from the scattering of the sheep. Ammon told them how to gather the sheep and told them to be of good cheer because they wouldn’t lose their lives.

The others are Christ himself speaking. To the man with the Palsy, who was then healed. To his apostles on the ship in the storm: “Be not afraid.” “It is I.”

And in John he declares that “the Father loves you.” So be of good cheer, because “I have overcome the world.” It’s already done, he’s overcome the world so we can be of good cheer.

The Nephites should be of good cheer because that night the sign would be given and Christ would come into the world (to overcome the world.)

In the Doctrine and Covenants, it is always Christ speaking those words. And then adding “I am in your midst.” “I am with you.” “I will lead you.” The riches of eternity are yours.

And then at last you are to be of good cheer and let the heart be of good cheer–because “thou shalt bear record of my name.”

So being of good cheer is always about Christ. He commands us to be of good cheer because He is with us, He will lead us, He has overcome the world. We are not to be afraid, but are to bear record of His Name.

And that’s what I learned today from these scriptures.
So be of good cheer. I will soon be with you.

Thanks for fasting and praying with me today. I will be of good cheer. He will be with me and He has overcome the world.
Love,
Steve

The Book of Ether as a Parable

Sunday, September 8th, 2013

As I was reading the Book of Ether this time, it seemed to me I was getting a new message on this occasion. It was a hidden message, but appeared to be hidden in plain sight. As I thought about it, it occurred to me that I had perhaps seen this message or meaning before, or maybe even heard it being taught. I really don’t know, but this particular idea was coming through loud and clear on this reading. It was so clear I thought I must have surely recognized or thought about it before. But then again, maybe not. So I thought I’d better make a note of it–to myself, if for no other purpose.

It came into my mind that the story of the Book of Ether is the story of our trip or passage through eternity. Even though this book is an account of the Jaredites, it is also an analogy, allegory or parable about our own movement from pre-mortal life to mortality and then on to eternity. An analogy is a likeness in one or more ways between things otherwise unalike. An allegory is an expression through symbolic actions or generalizations about human conduct or experience. A parable is a simple story to illuminate a moral truth, or as someone once explained, it’s an earthly story with a heavenly message. I think the Book of Ether can be all of those and more.

Yes, I understand that if you take such a story to the extremes, it doesn’t always really work all the way, you can get lost in the message. But If you consider the different parts of this example, I believe it becomes quite illuminating. Here I will attempt to explain how I have come to this determination.

To begin the record, Moroni assumes that his readers will already have an account of the creation of the earth down to the building of the great Tower, or Tower of Babel, which by the way was the capital of Babelonia (Babylon or the world). So Moroni brings us down to the building of the Tower and the confounding of the languages at the time the Tower was destroyed, by reciting in verses 6 through 32 a list of numerous names, or a genealogy.

OK, it may be a stretch, but listing all those names is, to me, a token of all the people we knew and lived with in our pre-earth life. We now don’t know them all (just like we don’t know all those named here by Ether). We did, however, meet with them in that Great Council in Heaven where God’s Plan was discussed, voted on, and accepted by most of us.

The destruction of the Tower of Babel is reminiscent of the destruction of Lucifer’s plan to take God’s Honor. The Tower was built to get to God (get God’s honor) and was destroyed. Satan’s plan was to become God, remove choice and accountablity from God’s Plan, making Free Agency a moot condition. So his (Satan’s) plan was destroyed.

Jared and his brother asked that their languages not be confounded so that they would continue to be able to communicate among themselves. That request was granted and their little band remained together, and able to communicate.

We were told that when we would be sent to earth, we would be separated from God. We asked that we not be totally separated and our request was granted (well, maybe we didn’t even have to ask). We may pray to Our Father and He will listen to ouor prayers. We would also be given Apostles and Prophets at each dispensation of the earth’s existence. These Apostles and Prophets would share God’s word, which would also be caused to be written, hence the scriptures. We would also have the whisperings of the Holy Ghost to lead us aright.

The Jaredites were told they were going on a journey to a “Promised Land . . . which is choice above all other lands . . .” (Ether 1:42). They were instructed to prepare all things for the journey, including honey bees.

We were all likewise to prepare for our earthly journey, and eventually our eternal destination. Some were more faithful than others in their preparations. ” . . . being called and prepared from the foundation of the world according to the foreknowledge of God on account of their exceeding faith and good works; in the first place being left to choose good or evil;” (Alma 13:3). This earthly journey was to prepare us for our ultimate eternal destination.

The Jaredites were told they would “be free from bondage and captivity . . . if they would but serve the God of the (promised) land, who is Jesus Christ.” (Ether 2:12).

Our Eternal Father told us that we would likewise be free from bondage and captivity brought on by Adam’s transgression and the Fall of Man, because of the Atoning Sacrifice of His Only Begotten Son, Jesus Christ. And we were given specific instructions on how to manage to take advantage of this Atonement, much like instructions on how to keep and care for honey bees on a long journey on a barge!

“That by reason of transgression cometh the fall, which fall bringeth death, and inasmuch as ye were born into the world by water, and blood, and the spirit, which I have made, . . . even so ye must be born again into the kingdom of heaven, of water, and of the Spirit, and be cleansed by blood, even the blood of mine Only Begotten; that ye might be sanctified from all sin, and enjoy the words of eternal life in this world, and eternal life in the world to come, even immortal glory.” (Moses 6:59).

We fell from Father’s presence. In the same fashion or manner, the Jaredites fell from the land of their birth and were driven out–across the waters to a promised land. A Land of Promise.

They had 2 problems to solve. First, how would they have air to breathe on their journey, being confined and often submerged in their barges. God told them that he would provide air through holes to be drilled in their compartments. Second, how would they have light to see in these dark compartments? They were asked how they would propose to solve this problem. They had read about Noah’s ark and his “precious stone” or window (see Genesis 6:16, footnote) and so they asked God for a “precious stone”. They wanted God to reach out and touch some stones they had molten out of the mountain, and cause them to give light. That’s what was done. Then of course, the brother of Jared had his magnificent vision.

When we were sent to earth, we were instructed in the operation of earth, wind, fire and water. God would provide our air. God formed man and “breathed into his nostrils the breath of life.” (Moses 3:7).

God gave further light and knowledge to both us and the Jaredites through Prophets. We and they had times of prosperity and times of famine. To get to the Eternal Land of Promise we get to choose between good and evil. Our choices determine the kingdom of glory we will be assigned to in the next life.

So to me the Book of Ether is not just a story about the Jaredites, but is an allegory of our journey on god’s Plan of Salvation, to our ultimate destiny.

All the wars, the captivity, the bondages, the cycles of wickedness and righteousness, and the begettings are all an analogy of our mortal existence, our need for choosing good over evil, and our family relationships.

Viewed in that manner, the Book of Ether is a parable of your life and my life. It’s an earthly story with a heavenly message. Enjoy the journey!

The Glory of God

Thursday, June 13th, 2013

I’m not sure I can articulate this in a meaningful and significant manner, but I’ll try. What has come together for me this morning seems to sum up the totality of the lesson I was sent here to learn. While preparing to write this, I noticed a pamphlet someone had left behind, near ‘my’ table. The pamphlet is titled “Our Daily Bread.” On the cover, under a picture of a forest in a Fall season, were these words: “The voice of the Lord . . . strips the forest bare and in His temple everyone says, ‘Glory!’” (Psalms 29:9).

That’s me. I’m the forest stripped bare, and I must learn to give glory to God. I believe the kind of glory God wants is related not just to honor and praise, but also to a rejoicing in triumph, to exultation, and to delight. I’m still not certain how to completely accomplish that end.

Joseph Smith taught that obtaining faith requires sacrifice. ” . . .a religion that does not require the sacrifice of all things never has power sufficient to produce the faith necessary unto life and salvation . . . . it is through the medium of sacrifice of all earthly things that men do actually know that they are doing the things that are well pleasing in the sight of God. When a man has offered in sacrifice all that he has for the truth’s sake, . . .and believing before God that he has been called to make this sacrifice because he seeks to do his will, he does know, most assuredly, that God does and will accept his sacrifice and offering . . . . Those, then, who will make this sacrifice, will have the testimony that their course is pleasing in the sight of God; and those who have this testimony will have faith to lay hold on eternal life . . .” (Lectures on Faith, sixth lecture, paragraphs 7-12, pages 58-59).

I firmly believe this is true, even for those who are forced, required, or punished to make this sacrifice, when such sacrifice is mandated or compelled for truth’s sake. In my case, I had been advocating planning for the benefit of my clients, according to my best understanding of what the law instructed based on my personal research. For truth’s sake. I always sought to do God’s will. I was sentenced to prison and deprived of all my earthly possessions.

When a person has come to this point, where sacrifice has been called for, then actions from then on, should be for the glory of God. Christ taught this: “The light of the body is the eye; if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light.” (Matthew 6:19-24).

Christ did not fully explain here, that the eye being single, means single to the glory of God. That word single means having one feature or in this case, “focus.” The focus of the eye is the honor and glory of God.

Ammon explains this well to his brothers: “Blessed be the name of our God; let us sing his praise, yea, let us give thanks to his holy name, for he doth work righteousness forever . . . . I will not boast of myself, but I will boast of my God, for in his strength I can do all things . . . . Therefore, let us glory, yea we will glory in the Lord; yea we will rejoice, for our joy is full.” (Alma 26:8, 12, 16).

And in the Doctrine and Covenants we read: “Wherefore, let no man glory in man, but rather let him glory in God, who shall subdue all enemies under his feet .” (D&C 76:61).

Sacrifices are not intended to teach one about sacrifice; they are trying to teach you about faith. That your faith in God will give you the strength to do, or to endure, all things. But that you do all things for the delight, triumph and glory of God. Not for your own honor.

This is taught a little differently in section 121 of the Doctrine and Covenants.

But first notice what Christ is saying in that quote from Matthew 6:19-24. “If the eye is single” (to the glory of God) then the “whole body shall be full of light.” In other words, this leads to more knowledge, more understanding, even more revelation.

“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.” (D&C 88:67).

And “That which is of God is light; and he that receiveth light, and continueth in God, receiveth more light; and that light groweth brighter and brighter until the perfect day.” (D&C 50:24).

So we are warned in the 121st section that “many are called, but few are chosen . . .” (or selected or preferred) “And why are they not chosen? Because their hearts are set so much upon the things of this world, and aspire to the honors of men, that they do not learn this one lesson . . .” that all the good works that they do must be for the glory of God, and not merely to complete their assignment, to get credit for their home teaching, or to shine before men.

The eye must be single to the glory of God. That is the lesson I’ve been called on to learn.

I sometimes liked to do things, such as speak in front of groups, write books, and even just do the right things, so I would be rewarded with notice, compliments, and the praise of others. I’ve learned it is difficult to “switch gears” and remember to do things for the right reason. All should be done with an eye single to the glory of God. It’s easier said than done!

The Lord Will Guide Us

Wednesday, May 22nd, 2013

I know you remember how I constantly talk about my miraculous journey with the Founding Fathers. I was in the right place at the right time to do what I did, including writing my “Founding Fathers” book. Home teaching John Driggs, being placed by him on the Crime Commission, being sent to PHilly in 1976, being on the high council when we were in charge of hosting the local Education Weeks, meeting with the Brother in charge of CES so I could become a part of the program. Getting acquainted with Mark McConkie who encouraged me to write the book.. On and on and on. It humbles me a little.

Considering that, here is another interesting quote from the book with daily devotionals. I just opened this one at random.

“I AM A MIGHTY GOD. Nothing is too difficult for Me. I have chosen the weak ones like you to accomplish My purposes. Your weakness is designed to open up My Power. Therefore, do not fear your limitations or measure the day’s demands against your strength. What I require of you is to stay connected to Me, living in trusting dependence on My limitless resources. when you face unexpected demands, there is no need to panic. Remember that I am with you. Talk with Me, and listen while I talk you through each challenging situation.

“I am not a careless God. When I allow difficulties to come into your life, I equip you fully to handle them. Relax in My presence, trusting My strength.”

When I finished typing this, I realized that this is the quote for today, May 13, and not the quote I meant to type up for you. Oh well, it’s pretty good, too. But the one I was referring to is the one I opened at random, March 22. So here is that quote, which will make more sense to you considering the opening paragraph above!

“REJOICE AND BE THANKFUL! As you walk with Me through this day, practice trusting and thanking Me all along the way. Trust is the channel through which My Peace flows to you. Thankfulness lifts you up above your circumstances.

“I do My greatest works through people with grateful, trusting hearts. Rather than planning and evaluating, practice trusting and thanking Me continually. This is a paradigm shift that will revolutionize your life.”

You see, some of my ‘greatest accomplishments’ came through service, being thankful, and RATHER THAN PLANNING AND EVALUATING, were given to me just because . . . God led me along the right path and opened doors that I had no business going through without His help and guidance.

Interesting, but it seems almost at odds with all the information and teaching from someone like Stephen Covey. Perhaps I am a contrarian? “Paradigm” is a word that Stephen Coven made become a part of the business language (like “win-win). He says: Plan, evaluate, organize, systematize. But in my case with my books, and my teaching at Ed Week, it didn’t get planned in advance, it was just given to me! And for that I am thankful.

This Land

Monday, April 15th, 2013

We’ve been talking about tunes that somehow creep into our consciousness, like “If ever I could leave You.” And the one you were going to send me the words to. Well, this morning, one of my favorite ballads came to my mind. “This Land is Your Land.” I believe by the Kingson Trio. Beautiful song. But listen to this.

Since I finished reading the Book of Mormon again in January, I have not started a new program of reading specifically any of the standard works. I still read at least a chapter of scripture a day, but I choose a chapter or section, or in some instances randomly open my book to a page and read what’s there. That’s what I did this morning. Opened randomly.

In light of Dave’s report on Elder Nelsons talk about the scattering and gathering of Israel, I thought this morning’s random pick was most interesting.

My scriptures opened, without any particular assistance to find a certain book (which I sometimes do), to the Book of Amos in the Old Testament. And right at chapter 9. So I read chapter 9. Here are two verses that stood out to me.

Verse 9: “For, lo, I will command, and I will sift the house of Israel among all nations, like as corn is sifted in a sieve, yet shall not the least grain fall upon the earth.” Sift like corn in a sieve. That’s pretty well sifted! Among all nations.

Then verse 15: “And I will plant them upon THIER land, and they shall no longer be pulled up out of their land WHICH I HAVE GIVEN THEM, saith the Lord thy God.” As “The Harbinger” and “The Covenant” both describe, they, the lost tribes of Israel, are gathered to this land of America.

So I cross referenced that, this morning, in my Bible, to 1 Nephi, chapter 2, verse 20: “And inasmuch as ye shall keep my commandments, ye shall prosper, and shall be led to a land which I have prepared for YOU; yea, a land which is choice above all other lands.”

And if that’s not enough, add 2 Ne. 1:5, where Nephi reports their successful landing in a new land: “But, said he, notwithstanding our afflictions, we have obtained a land of PROMISE, a land which is choice above all other lands; a land which the Lord God hath COVENANTED with me should be a land for the inheritance of my seed. Yea, the Lord hath COVENANTED this land unto me and to my children forever, and also all those who should be led out of other countries by the hand of the Lord.” (Emphasis added).

What about that promise in Amos? I will plant them in THIER LAND. It is a promised land. A choice land. Keep the commandments and prosper, have liberty and have the protection of the Lord.

I, myself, thought that was all pretty remarkable. So I thought I’d better share it with you and see what you think.

My Good Name

Sunday, March 3rd, 2013

You wanted me to put in writing what I said about the novel I’m currently reading (“Silent Witness,” by Richard North Patterson, 1996). Here’s just a short synopsis of what I’ve read so far. The main character is a young man, seventeen years of age, who is a high school star athlete and popular with the students. He, Tony Lord, and his best friend, Sam are football stars who had just won the game with their main rival school, by a last minute pass from Tony to Sam for a touchdown. After the game, Sam and his girlfriend, Sue, and Tony and his girlfriend, Alison Taylor went out for some time together and drinks and . . .

Eventually Tony and Alison went off together in his car and they wanted to be together again a little later. Alison had a midnight curfew. So she suggested that she would go home and check in with the parents. When they would soon go to sleep, Alison would sneak out and meet Tony in the neighboring park. Alison was later than Tony expected, so Tony went to check closer to her house, and he found her in the backyard of her house where she had been strangled to death. Alison’s parents then came out of the house and caught Tony trying to revive Alison, to no avail. They assumed the worst, thinking that Tony must have murdered their daughter. He didn’t. When the police arrived they questioned The Taylors and Tony, and looked around for any evidence, but didn’t find any.

When Alison’s death became public knowledge, with the surrounding facts, many, including most of Tony’s friends thought he may have killed his girlfriend in a rage because she wouldn’t give in to him or something. Tony was not charged by the police, but there was suspicion about who did it. Was it Tony? He couldn’t prove otherwise. He claimed he didn’t do it, but what did his friends and neighbors believe. He must have done it. No one else was there or charged with a crime. So even though Tony hadn’t killed her, he suffered under the suspicion of those around him.

A little later in the story, when there was a high school basketball game, Tony was also one of the star players. At the end of one game, Tony was fouled and shooting free-throws. The crowd was chanting “killer, killer,” to unnerve Tony. He still made the last free-throw and won that basketball game. But he was operating under the pressure of the crowd’s belief that he was a murderer.

As I explained, I felt a real connection with Tony the hero. Though he didn’t commit the murder, he was subject to disbelief and to doubt, even by those who knew him. The stigma was there and he couldn’t prove otherwise, therefore he had lost something of great value to him. His good name, his respect from his associates, his innocence.

Much that same feeling has come to me. I have been required to agree to a plea of guilty of something I didn’t do in order to save time in prison if convicted, and to quit the constant flow of money to prove my innocence. Even though my claim has been validated when I was vindicated in a civil lawsuit about the same circumstances, that stigma is still there. There may be some of my associates that still think I must have done something wrong, else why would the government prosecute me?

So I have really lost something that cannot be brought back. My good name, my activities in the Church and in the community, such as the President’s Day party for George Washington. I know most of my family, friends, and those who knew me well prior to this time stand behind me and don’t believe the charges. But that question is still in the minds of some people. I feel a real closeness to the character in the book, Tony. I feel like I know what he has been subjected to. It was striking as I read the words of this fictional story. How it looks, and how actions can affect your life. It’s sometimes hard to live with, even though I know the truth. Even as Tony knows the truth. He didn’t do it. Neither did I.

That wasn’t quite as good an explanation as I wanted to give. You can’t really put those kinds of feelings into words. It’s something I don’t believe anyone can really understand unless they have gone through a similar experience.

Later on in the book “Silent Witness”: The one who actually killed Tony’s girlfriend was discovered. The problem was that this murderer had been robbing a convenience store and the clerk shot him with a shotgun and he died. So he was never charged or totally linked to Alison’s murder.

The story continues with Tony: “He should feel relieved, Tony knew. But what he felt was more bitterness. ‘It’s a little late, Saul (his attorney). Maybe not for them, but for me. What’s so great about being forgiven for something I didn’t do . . . .’”.

Yes, so what’s so great about being vindicated by not only one court, but two, when it makes no difference to the sentencing court? It doesn’t change things. And there are still the unbelievers because of my punishment. I do feel relieved and vindicated, but the cynicism and yes, even bitterness remains. Why must I bear this trial for something I didn’t do? I guess because I had to admit to it to avoid even greater punishment!

It’s too late, but it’s still wonderful to win that civil case.

The Election

Saturday, November 10th, 2012

Each evening before “count” and lights out, I read a little from one of my favorite books, like “The Triumph of Zion,” by John Pontius, or “Eighteen Verses,” by Denver Snuffer, or from a Conference issue of the Ensign.

Last night after it became apparent from what was being said on TV, that Barack Obama had been reelected as President for a second term, I was, of course, very disappointed, to say the least. But as is my practice, I decided to read before going to bed. I pulled out the November, 2010, issue of the Ensign to re-focus on what’s important.

I chose to read the talk given by Elder Quentin L. Cook, of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, entitled: “Let There Be Light!” It seemed appropriate “in light” of what I’ve been telling you recently about lights being turned on and off in our housing unit here (pun intended). You may want to re-read this talk yourself, but let me give you a few paragraphs quoted from this talk.

After talking about the British vocalist, Vera Lynn, age 93, who sang such popular songs as “The White Cliffs of Dover,” and “When the Lights Go On Again (all over the world),” he said:

“It is by the light of Christ that all mankind ‘may know good from evil.’

“Freedom and light have never been easy to attain or maintain. Since the War in Heaven, the forces of evil have used every means possible to destroy agency and extinguish light. The assault on moral principles and religious freedom has never been stronger.

“As Latter-day Saints, we need to do our best to preserve light and protect our families and communities from this assault on morality and religious freedom. . . .

“. . . evil forces remove light and hope from the world. The level of decadence is accelerating. . . . do not be surprised if devastating moral explosions shatter the peace which is the reward for righteous living.

“My personal experience of living and interacting with people all over the world has caused me to be optimistic. I believe that light and truth will be preserved in our time. . . .

“But make no mistake: there are also people who are determined to both destroy faith and reject any religious influence in society. Other evil people exploit, manipulate, and tear down society with drugs, pornography, sexual exploitation, human trafficking, robbery and dishonest business [and legal] practices. . . .

“In a commencement address last year, Clayton Christensen, a Harvard professor and Church leader, shared the true account of a professional colleague from another country who had studied democracy. This friend was surprised at how critically important religion is to democracy. He pointed out that in societies where the citizens are taught from a young age to feel accountable to God for honesty and integrity, they will abide by rules and practices that, while unenforceable, promote democratic ideals. In societies where this is not true, there cannot be enough policemen to enforce honest behavior.

“Clearly, moral values with respect to honesty can play a significant role in establishing light and truth and improving society and should be valued by those who do not have faith. . . .

“He believed that education and government had to be morally based . . . .

“We should both participate ourselves and support people of character and integrity to help reestablish moral values that will bless the entire community.” (“Let There Be Light!”, Elder Quentin L. Cook, Ensign, November, 2010, pages 27-30).

Remember, this talk was given more than 2 years ago. Before our Presidential electioneering.

It was then time for “lights out” in our dorm. I slept. When I awoke, this morning, I went for a walk. As I walked, I ruminated on the events of yesterday–the election.

Then in my morning scripture study, I read Ether chapters 1-8. These chapters are full of wisdom. Here’s some:

“And the Lord would not suffer that they should stop beyond the sea in the wilderness, but that they should come forth even unto the Land of Promise, which was choice above all other lands, which the Lord God had preserved for a righteous people. And he had sworn in his wrath unto the brother of Jared, that whoso should possess this land of promise, from that time henceforth and forever, should serve him, the true and only God, or they should be swept off when the fulness of his wrath should come upon them. And now, we can behold the decrees of God concerning this land, that it is a land of promise; and that whatsoever nation shall possess it shall serve God, or they shall be swept off when the fulness of his wrath cometh upon them when they are ripened in iniquity. For behold this is a land which is choice above all other lands; wherefore he that doth possess it shall serve God or shall be swept off; for it is the everlasting decree of God. And it is not until the fulness of iniquity among the children of the land, that they are swept off . . . .

“Behold, this is a choice land, and whatsoever nation shall possess it shall be free from bondage, and from captivity, and from all other nations under heaven, if they will but serve THE GOD OF THIS LAND WHO IS JESUS CHRIST. . .” (Ether 2:7-10, 12, emphasis added).

My personal footnotes to those verses refer me to Helaman 13:14, which says: “But behold, it is for the righteous’ sake that it (Zarahemla) is spared. But behold, the time cometh, sayeth the Lord, that when ye shall cast out the righteous from among you, then shall ye be ripe for destruction; . . .”

And 3 Nephi 6:18: “Now they did not sin in ignorance, for they know the will of God concerning them, for it had been taught unto them; therefore they did wilfully rebel against God.” (They had the scriptures, they had the commandments.)

In his talk previously cited, Elder Cook refers to Mosiah 29:26-27: “Now it is not common that the voice of the people desireth anything contrary to that which is right; but it is common for the lesser part to desire that which is not right; therefore, this shall ye observe and make it your law–to do your business by the voice of the people. And if the time comes that the voice of the people doth choose iniquity, then is the time that the judgments of God will come upon you; yea, then is the time he will visit you with great destruction even as he has hitherto visited this land.”

In my lifetime I have never seen an election with such a clear choice between good and evil. We have the scriptures, we have the prophets, we have the commandments of God. Our choice this election was between two Presidential candidates with diametrically opposed positions or stands on so many issues. For example, the payment for and killing of unborn children; changing the centuries long standing definition of marriage from between one man and one woman, to include same sex couples [see the Proclamation on the Family]; burdening our children and grandchildren (not to mention us) with horrendous debt to keep ourselves in the lifestyle we’ve become accustomed to [everyone should have a home, whether they can afford it or not!]; defending the Defense of Marriage Act ( discontinued by our current President); apologizing for America–a land which is choice above all other lands (or not); and on and on– including most importantly recognizing that Jesus Christ is the God of this land.

The voice of the people has sounded. It seems that the people appear to be close to the time when we will be visited with great destruction.

I believe my living conditions here at camp are just a striking microcosm (Websters: noun, an individual or community thought of as a miniature world or universe) of our current United States of America. When left with a choice, the “voice” of the residents here would prefer to have the lights turned off. They want to chose darkness rather than light. Then others can’t see what they are hiding in the way of contraband or actions. They they are less ‘uncomfortable’. After all– “it is by the light of Christ that all mankind may know good from evil.”

Has the time come in our United States of America, a land which is choice above all other lands, that “the voice of the people doth choose iniquity?” Are we now more comfortable in darkness rather than light. Who is the servant of darkness?

However, I still have hope. We do get all the light on here in our housing unit once in a while. I know that for the righteous’ sake we have not yet been destroyed. Just the same, have you seen some warning signs–such as with the recent storm “Sandy?”