We all have our free agency and God holds us accountable for the way we use it in thought and deed. "Kindness, compassion, and love are powerful instruments in strengthening us to carry heavy burdens imposed without any fault of our own and to do what we know to be right." Elder Dallin H. Oaks
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The paradox of our time in history is that we have taller buildings but shorter tempers, wider freeways, but narrower viewpoints. We spend more, but have less; we buy more, but enjoy less. We have bigger houses and
smaller families, more conveniences, but less time. We have more degrees but less sense, more knowledge, but less judgment, more experts, yet more problems, more medicine, but less wellness.
We drink too much, smoke too much, spend too recklessly, laugh too little, drive too fast, get too angry, stay up too late, get up too tired, read too little, watch TV too much, and pray too seldom. We have multiplied our possessions, but reduced our values. We talk too much, love too seldom, and hate too often.
We’ve learned how to make a living, but not a life. We’ve added years to life not life to years. We’ve been all the way to the moon and back, but have trouble crossing the street to meet a new neighbor. We conquered outer space but not inner space.
We’ve done larger things, but not better things. We’ve cleaned up the air, but polluted the soul. We’ve conquered the atom, but not our prejudice. We write more, but learn less. We plan more, but accomplish less. We’ve learned to rush, but not to wait. We build more computers to hold more information, to produce more copies than ever, but we communicate less and less.
These are the times of fast foods and slow digestion, big men and small character, steep profits and shallow relationships. These are the days of two incomes but more divorce, fancier houses, but broken homes. These are days of quick trips, disposable diapers, throwaway morality, one night stands, overweight bodies, and pills that do everything from cheer, to quiet, to kill.
It is a time when there is much in the showroom window and nothing in the stockroom. A time when technology can bring this letter to you, and a time when you can choose either to share this insight, or to just hit delete.
Remember; spend some time with your loved ones, because they are not going to be around forever. Remember, say a kind word to someone who looks up to you in awe, because that little person soon will grow up and leave your side.
Remember to give a warm hug to the one next to you because that is the only treasure you can give with your heart and it doesn’t cost a cent. Remember, to say, “I love you” to your partner and your loved ones, but most of all mean it. A kiss and an embrace will mend hurt when it comes from deep inside of you. Remember to hold hands and cherish the moment for someday that person will not be there again. Give time to love, give time to speak and give time to share the precious thoughts in your mind.
(After the death of his wife. On 9/11)
Isn’t it amazing that the George Carlin – gross and mouthy comedian of the 70′s and 80′s – could write something so very eloquent…. and so very appropriate post 9-11.
It’s a product and the purpose of life. Let’s all learn from this at younger ages.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
Kansas City Missouri Temple Dedicated
The Kansas City Missouri Temple was formally dedicated Sunday in three sessions by President Thomas S. Monson of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon). The dedicatory sessions were broadcast to congregations of the Church within the temple district.
President Monson said this “stately and magnificent temple in the lovely part of the country, really the heartland of America, … will shine as a beacon of righteousness to all who will follow its light — the light of the gospel, the light of the Savior.”
Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and Elders William R. Walker and Donald L. Hallstrom of the Seventy accompanied President Monson during the weekend’s events.
The purpose of a temple dedication ceremony is to set aside the building for the work of God. A Latter-day Saint dedication ceremony includes a special prayer designating the building for Church use and asking God to bless the structure and grounds. A dedication ceremony generally also includes music and talks from Church leaders.
Prior to the dedication, President Monson sealed the temple cornerstone, a tradition marking the end of construction and the beginning of the sacred work inside the temple.
The Kansas City Missouri Temple is the Church’s 137th temple worldwide, 67th in the United States and second in Missouri. The temple will serve some 45,000 Latter-day Saints in 126 congregations throughout Kansas, Missouri and small portions of Oklahoma and Arkansas.
Plans for a temple in Kansas City were announced by the First Presidency of the Church on 4 October 2008. Construction began with a formal groundbreaking on 8 May 2010.
While tens of thousands of Church meetinghouses are open to all people who wish to attend religious services there, temples, like the Kansas City Missouri Temple, are open only to faithful Latter-day Saints after they are formally dedicated. (See a Mormon Newsroom article explaining the difference between the Church’s chapels and temples.)
Latter-day Saint temples differ from the meetinghouses or chapels where members meet for Sunday worship services. Temples are considered “houses of the Lord” where Christ’s teachings are reaffirmed through baptism and other ordinances that unite families for eternity. In the temple, Church members learn more about the purpose of life and make covenants to follow Jesus Christ and serve their fellow man.
The Church’s History in Missouri
The Church has early roots in the Kansas City area. Six months after the Church was organized in April 1830, Joseph Smith called missionaries to travel to the frontier of western Missouri to preach to Native Americans living in Indian Territory (Kansas).
Joseph Smith arrived in Independence in July 1831 and designated the area as a gathering place for Latter-day Saints. Thousands of followers soon arrived. Over the next few years, the Mormon settlement expanded beyond Jackson County into the area that is today the Country Club Plaza. In 1833 the Latter-day Saints left Jackson County, heading north into Liberty in Clay County. They later settled in Daviess and Caldwell Counties, created by the Missouri legislature specifically for the Mormons. About 15,000 Mormons left Missouri in 1838-39, settling in Nauvoo, Illinois, until 1846, when they began their journey across the plains to the Salt Lake Valley.
The Church returned to Kansas in 1895, when an office for the Central States Mission was established in St. John, Kansas. This regional office was moved to Kansas City, Missouri, in 1900 and then to Independence in 1907. Since that time, local Church membership in the metropolitan area has grown to over 22,000.
Heavenly Father desires that we find true, lasting happiness. Our happiness is the design of all the blessings He gives us—gospel teachings, commandments, priesthood ordinances, family relationships, prophets, temples, the beauties of creation, and even the opportunity to experience adversity. His plan for our salvation is often called “the great plan of happiness” (Alma 42: 8). He sent His Beloved Son to carry out the Atonement so we can be happy in this life and receive a fulness of joy in the eternities.
Testifying of God’s “eternal purposes,” the prophet Lehi taught, “Men are, that they might have joy” (2 Ne. 2: 15, 25). Many people try to find happiness and fulfillment in activities that are contrary to the Lord’s commandments. Ignoring God’s plan for them, they reject the only source of real happiness. They give in to the devil, who “seeketh that all men might be miserable like unto himself” (2 Ne. 2: 27). Eventually they learn the truth of Alma’s warning to his son Corianton: “Wickedness never was happiness” (Alma 41: 10).
Others seek only to have fun in life. With this as their main goal, they allow temporary pleasure to distract them from lasting happiness. They rob themselves of the enduring joys of spiritual growth, service, and hard work.
As we seek to be happy, we should remember that the only way to real happiness is to live the gospel. We will find peaceful, eternal happiness as we strive to keep the commandments, pray for strength, repent of our sins, participate in wholesome activities, and give meaningful service.
We call upon all families everywhere to put family first and to identify specific ways to strengthen their individual families.
We are currently experiencing major thunder storms across America. And let us never forget the refugee centers in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas that where devastated and displaced victims of Hurricane Katrina were staying as they began to try to put their lives back together. Their stories and situations are tragic and poignant in many ways, but in all that I heard, what touched me the most was the crying out for family: “Where is my mother?” “I can’t find my son.” “I’ve lost a sister.” These were hungry, frightened people who had lost everything and needed food, medical attention, and help of all kinds, but what they wanted and needed most was their families.
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Crisis or transition of any kind reminds us of what matters most. In the routine of life, we often take our families—our parents and children and siblings—for granted. But in times of danger and need and change, there is no question that what we care about most is our families! It will be even more so when we die and leave this life. Surely the first people we will seek to find there in the spirit world will be father, mother, spouse, children, and siblings.
Is your life’s mission statement for mortality “to build an eternal family?”
Here on this earth we strive to become part of extended families with the ability to create and form our own part of those families. That is one of the reasons our Heavenly Father sent us here. Not everyone will find a companion and have a family in mortality, but everyone, regardless of individual circumstances, is a precious member of God’s family.
It was then and is now a clarion call to protect and strengthen families with a stern warning to the world where declining values and misplaced priorities threaten to destroy society by undermining its basic unit of society, the family.
Many of the very things that have threatened and undermined families during the last decade reminds us of the priority and the emphasis families need if they are to survive in an environment that seems ever more toxic to traditional marriage and to parent-child relationships.
The confused and convoluted notions of our society cannot even agree on a definition of family, let alone supply the help and support parents and families need such as these:
“Marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God.”
“Gender is an essential characteristic of individual premortal, mortal, and eternal identity and purpose.”
“Husband and wife have a solemn responsibility to love and care for each other and for their children.”
“Children are entitled to birth within the bonds of matrimony, and to be reared by a father and a mother who honor marital vows with complete fidelity.”
“The disintegration of the family will bring upon individuals, communities, and nations the calamities foretold by ancient and modern prophets.”
The simple truth is that the family is “the fundamental unit of society.”
We call upon committed parents, grandparents, and extended family members everywhere to hold fast to the importance of The Family and to commit ourselves to live by God’s commandments and proven principles and precepts as we are all part of God’s family.
Public opinion surveys indicate that people everywhere in the world generally consider the family as the highest priority; yet in recent years the broader culture seems to ignore or misdefine the family. Consider some of the changes of the past decade:
Many larger national and international institutions that used to support and strengthen families now try to supplant and even sabotage the very families they were created to serve.
In the name of “tolerance,” the definition of family has been expanded beyond recognition to the point that “family” can be any individuals of any gender who live together with or without commitment or children or attention to consequence.
Rampant materialism and selfishness delude many into thinking that families, and especially children, are a burden and a financial millstone that will hold them back rather than a sacred privilege that will teach them to become more like God.
And yet most parents throughout the world continue to know both the importance and the joy that are attached to natural families. Suzanne and I have done much traveling and met friends, families, and parents on several continents and find that the hopes and concerns of parents are remarkably similar throughout the earth.
In India a concerned Hindu mother said, “All I want is to be a bigger influence on my children than the media and the peer group.” And a Buddhist mother in Malaysia said, “I’d like my boys to be able to operate in the world, but I don’t want them to be of the world.” Parents from all different cultures and faiths are saying and feeling the same things we are as parents of eight sons and twenty grandchildren.
The family is the basic unit of society, of the economy, of our culture, and of our government. And as Latter-day Saints, we know, the family will also be the basic unit in the celestial kingdom after this life.
As members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, our belief in the overriding importance of families is rooted in restored doctrine. We know of the sanctity of families in both directions of our eternal existence. We know that before this life we lived with our Heavenly Father as part of His family, and we know that family relationships can endure beyond death.
We live and act upon this knowledge, and invite the world to join us. Parents who place a high priority on their families will gravitate to their Churches because it offers the family structure, values, doctrine, and eternal perspective that they seek and cannot find elsewhere.
Our family-centered perspective makes us Latter-day Saints strive to be the best parents in the world. It gives us enormous respect for our children, who truly are our spiritual siblings, and it causes us to devote whatever time is necessary to strengthen our families. Indeed, nothing is more critically connected to happiness—both our own and that of our children—than how well we love and support one another within the family.
We believe the Church is a crucial “scaffolding” that helps build the individual and the family. The Church is the kingdom of God on earth, but in the kingdom of heaven, families will be both the source of our eternal progress and joy and the order of our Heavenly Father. When we have completed this life, we will be released from our jobs and occupations but if we are worthy, we will never be released from our family relationships.
One of our past Prophets, Joseph F. Smith said: “There can be no genuine happiness separate and apart from the home, and every effort made to sanctify and preserve its influence is uplifting to those who toil and sacrifice for its establishment. Men and women often seek to substitute some other life for that of the home; they would make themselves believe that the home means restraint; that the highest liberty is the fullest opportunity to move about at will. There is no happiness without service, and there is no service greater than that which converts the home into a divine institution, and which promotes and preserves family life”. (Teachings of Presidents of theChurch: Joseph F. Smith , 382).
Now, one may ask, How do we protect and preserve and strengthen our homes and families in a world pulling so hard in opposite directions? Let me make three simple suggestions:
Be consistent in holding daily family prayer and meet as a family weekly which will invite the Lord’s Spirit, and which provides the help and power we need as parents and family leaders. Read the scriptures and other good books and our Church magazines that have good ideas for things to do as a family. Also take the time to share spiritual stories and your testimonies together where parents and children can express their beliefs and feelings to each other in a private and personal setting.
Teach the gospel and basic values in your home. Establish a love for reading the scriptures together. Too many of our parents are abdicating this responsibility to the Church. While seminary, auxiliaries, and Sunday School meetings are important as a supplement to parental gospel instruction, the main responsibility rests in the home. You might want to choose one gospel subject or a family value and then watch for opportunities to teach it. Be wise and do not involve children or yourselves in so many activities out of the home that you are so busy that the Spirit of the Lord cannot be recognized or felt in giving you the promised guidance for yourself and your family.
Create meaningful family bonds that give your children an identity stronger than what they can find with their peer group or at school or anyplace else. This can be done through family traditions for birthdays, for holidays, for dinnertime, and for Sundays. It can also be done through family policies and rules with natural and well-understood consequences. Have a simple family economy where children have specific chores or household duties and receive praise or other rewards commensurate to how well they do. Teach them the importance of avoiding debt and of earning, saving, and wisely spending money. Help them learn responsibility for their own temporal and spiritual self-reliance.
In today’s world, where Satan’s aggression against the family is so prevalent, parents must do all they can to fortify and defend their families. But their efforts may not be enough. Our most basic institution of family desperately needs help and support from the extended family and the public institutions that surround us. Families, aunts and uncles, grandparents and cousins can make a powerful difference in the lives of children. Remember that the expression of love and encouragement from an extended family member will often provide the right influence and help a child at a critical time.
The Church itself will continue to be the first and foremost institution—the “scaffolding,” as it were—to help build strong families. The Church has great concern about the well-being of your families, and thus you will see increasing efforts to prioritize and to focus on family needs. Put family first and identify specific ways to strengthen you individual families.
Public institutions need to examine themselves and do less that might harm families and more that will help them.
The media must offer more that promotes traditional family values that is uplifting and supportive of families and less that popularizes immorality and materialism.
The government and political leaders need to put the needs of children and parents first and to think in terms of family impact in all legislation and policy making.
Internet providers and Web site creators need to become more responsible regarding their potential for influence and to adopt the conscious objective of protecting children from violence, pornography, filth, and sleaze.
Educational entities need to teach universal values and family and parenting skills, supporting parents in their responsibility to raise children to become the leaders of families in generations yet to come.
Church members need to reach out in love to neighbors and friends of other faiths and include them in the use of the many resources their Church has to help families. Our communities and neighborhoods will be safer and stronger as people of all faiths work together to strengthen families.
It is important to remember that all larger units of society depend on the smallest and most fundamental unit, the family. No matter who or what we are, we help ourselves when we help families.
We hold up like a banner the proclamation to the world on the family and as we live and teach the gospel of Jesus Christ, we will fulfill the measure of our creation here on earth. We will find peace and happiness here and in the world to come. We should not need a hurricane or other crisis to remind us of what matters most. The gospel and the Lord’s plan of happiness and salvation should remind us. What matters most is what lasts longest, and our families are for eternity.
Justin Osmond is of One Heart in helping the Deaf.
Suzanne and I formed a non-profit Charity to help “Strengthen Families”. Want to help us?
One Heart Foundation does NOT help, fix, or prevent heart attacks or other heart diseases! But, we mend broken hearts and contrite spirits and help change those with heardened hearts into becoming more caring, loving, and filled with unified giving service and purpose.
We “Strengthen Families Spiritually” to become a “pure hearted people.
One Heart Foundation is a public 501(c)(3) non-profit organization for “Strengthening Families”! There are many ‘ways’ and causes to help The Family.
Our mission is to provide ‘ways’ to help families and to work with other good charities and organizations by helping raise funds and awareness for worthwhile causes. By working together with others and their particular service(s) they offer, we can become more affective, and “of One Heart” in purpose.
Charity is “the pure love of Christ,” or “everlasting love” (Moroni 7:47; 8:17). The prophet Mormon taught: “Charity suffereth long, and is kind, and envieth not, and is not puffed up, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil, and rejoiceth not in iniquity but rejoiceth in the truth, beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things” (Moroni 7:45; see also 1 Corinthians 13:4-7).
Jesus Christ is the perfect example of charity. In His mortal ministry, He always “went about doing good,” teaching the gospel and showing tender compassion for the poor, afflicted, and distressed (see Matthew 4:23; Mark 6:6; Acts 10:38). His crowning expression of charity was His infinite Atonement. He said, “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13). This was the greatest act of long-suffering, kindness, and selflessness that we will ever know.
The Savior wants all people to receive His love and to share it with others. He declared to His disciples: “A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another” (John 13:34-35). In relationships with family members and others, followers of Christ look to the Savior as their example and strive to love as He loves, with unfailing compassion, patience, and mercy.
The Savior is the best example of service. Even though He came to earth as the Son of God, He humbly served all those around Him. He declared, “I am among you as he that serveth” (Luke 22:27).
The Savior used a parable to teach the importance of service. In the parable, He told of His return to the earth in His glory and of separating the righteous from the wicked. To the righteous in this parable He says: “Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me” (Matthew 25:34-36).
The righteous, who are puzzled by this declaration, ask: “Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?” (Matthew 25:37-39).