The young, uneducated, farm boy Joseph Smith was told by the angel Moroni that his “…name should be had for good and evil among all nations, kindreds, and tongues, or that it should be both good and evil spoken of among all people.” Indeed that proclamation has proven to be true. Today I express my gratitude for many witnesses from the Spirit that have taught me of the divine calling of Joseph Smith as a prophet of God. Those witnesses were renewed in my soul today as I listened to some beautiful music during our church service. As part of the piano/organ duet, there were a few measures played from the hymn, “Praise to the Man.” Those notes touched my heart and the Spirit witnessed to me again of the divinity of the calling of the prophet Joseph Smith, the prophet of the Restoration. I am grateful.
I spent quite a while with these double-crested cormorants. (Thank you to my birdipedia nephew Bradley for the identification.) Most of them waited patiently along the edge of the dock. But the one on the right would have nothing of it. He was not part of the line-up, stayed to himself, and most of the time looked in the opposite direction of the others. Yet, even he, could not help but peek when one of his buddies broke rank and jumped into the water.
The cormorants clearly exhibit diversity. It is an important part of our lives as well. Which cormorant do you most resemble?
Just over a year ago, my cousin Brian passed away, unexpectedly, at a young age. Four days ago my dear uncle Jim, Brian’s father, passed away after a long battle with cancer. Such losses can be crushing for a family without the perspective that comes through God’s plan of happiness for us.
Uncle Jim and his wife Diane married over 50 years ago in the temple of the Lord. In that sacred edifice, they made and have kept special covenants with God which will allow their marriage vows to stay binding after this life. These special covenants and ordinances in the Lord’s house not only bind husband and wife together eternally, but also bind children to their parents in an everlasting family unit.
The beautiful doctrine of eternal families is more than hopeful rhetoric. God has blessed me with strong convictions that the priesthood power to “seal” families together, in the holy temples of the Lord, is real. I know that with all of my heart and have received much comfort and hope from this spiritual truth. Such eternal family bonds are available to all who desire and prepare for these great blessings.
When an image is taken with a digital camera, data is sent to the memory card. This data must be interpreted, or processed, to show us the image that the data represents. One interpretation of the data is done by the camera itself as a version of the image is shown on the LCD screen. But there are many ways to interpret the data, beyond what the camera itself produces. Each digital image can be processed further or differently by various software programs. This is called post-processing since it occurs after the image is captured.
At the time of capture, the image shown was not inspiring. The initial interpretation of this image lacked color saturation and visibility of some of the interesting detail in the sandstone rock. But with the magic of post-processing techniques, the image from the Lower Antelope Canyon comes alive and is bold and beautiful.
Our time on earth is also a time of post-processing for the spirit within us. God sent us here with inherent beauty, talents and capacities. Initially, we may not appreciate some of the hidden gems within our souls. But God has placed us on earth where we can be post-processed to bring out the very best that is within each of us. This spiritual post-processing takes time and the experiences of life that make it possible are sometimes painful. But the final version of each of us can be bold and beautiful, beyond what we can even comprehend. May we stay close to the Lord and trust Him, the master post-processor, to help make us glorious.
Each of us is born into this world with unique interests and abilities. This diversity makes our communities and the relationships within them very interesting. Life would be uninteresting, even boring, if we all thought, desired and acted the same. Earlier tonight, I was at the famous Horseshoe Bend in Page, Arizona and it brought me joy to photograph and then process an image of this magnificent monument. At the same time I was shooting this image, my younger brother, Darin, was finishing a 50 mile run just a few miles from Horseshoe Bend. Although he is a veteran triathlon competitor, this was his first ultra-marathon and completing the run was a source of joy for him. We both found joy in our journeys today but in much different ways. What brings joy to your life? What do you admire about how others find joy in their own journeys?