Saturday, April 27, 2013

Top 5

Last night, a friend asked what my top experience has been while living in Clarksville. So, in the order that they occurred, I give you my Top 5 experiences living in Tennessee (so far):

1. Cookeville Trip (including Ralph's and the Sparta Branch)
2. Blake Shelton at the Grand Ole Opry
3. Nashville Predators Game
4. Free Day at the Clarksville Musuem
5. Ride along on the night shift with some of Clarksville's finest

Monday, April 22, 2013

My Personal Revelation is Just That

It’s mine. And it’s personal.
In recent months, I have gone through a lot of changes in my life. One thing that has come up repeatedly during this time has to do with the concept of personal revelation. Now, I already knew it was important, what I didn’t realize before is how hard it can sometimes be to stick with what you have received when those around you don’t fully accept your ability to receive and act upon personal revelation on a daily basis. It’s also hard to consider those people friends. 

Revelation is defined as “something revealed or disclosed, especially a striking disclosure,  as of something not before realized”. The dictionary further provides a definition in reference to theological usage of the term; “God’s disclosure of His will to His people”. 

 Personal means “private” or “intended for use by one person” (emphasis added).  

“Personal Revelation” means we, as children of God, have the ability to receive information about God’s will for our use as individuals.  We can receive information about ourselves and our lives directly from God, so we can use it. 

The 15th president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, Gordon B. Hinckley told us:
“This gospel is an intimate thing. It is not some distant concept. It is applicable in our lives. It can change our very natures.”

If the Gospel is intimate, shouldn’t we be earnestly seeking God’s will in our lives? We should be working hard to receive information about ourselves and what God would have us do. Recently, in General Conference, Elder Richard G Scott, a member of the Quorum of the 12 Apostles, said, “Be certain that every decision you make, whether temporal or spiritual, is conditioned on what the Savior would have you do.” Peace at Home, 2013

Later in that same session of General Conference, Elder Stanley G Ellis, a member of the Quorum of the 70, spoke about personal revelation (at least that’s what I’m going to relate it to, okay?):
“…thankfully, the Lord will guide us if we seek His confirmation.

"Another question is “Where are we needed?” For 16 years I served in the presidency of the Houston Texas North Stake. Many moved to our area during those years. We would often receive a phone call announcing someone moving in and asking which was the best ward. Only once in 16 years did I receive a call asking, “Which ward needs a good family? Where can we help?”

"In the early years of the Church, President Brigham Young and others would call members to go to a certain place to build up the Church there. The irony is that even now we have faithful Church members everywhere who would go anywhere the prophet asked them to go. Do we really expect President Monson to individually tell more than 14 million of us where our family is needed? The Lord’s way is that we hearken to our leaders’ teachings, understand correct principles, and govern ourselves.” The Lord's Way, 2013

Wow. So Heavenly Father wants us to make decisions based on what He needs and wants us to do. And we can know that through personal revelation?

Uh, yeah. That’s exactly it.  The hymn “I’ll Go Where You Want Me to Go” comes to mind (LDS hymnal, 270), “I’ll go where you want me to go. I’ll say what you want me to say. I’ll be what you want me to be.”

Which leads me to one more thing, people around you are receiving personal revelation on what they should be doing and the manner in which they should be doing it. Do Not Question them. It’s their revelation, it’s God’s will for them and they need to do it, this way the ‘Smite Button’ doesn’t get pressed. 

Because Personal Revelation is Personal, there are some things to remember when dealing with it. 

  1."Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you.”  3 Nephi 14:6 

Just because it’s not your personal revelation doesn’t mean you have to know what it was and how it happened. You won’t get it, and more often than not you will ‘trample under your feet’ the very precious things that another has received. 

Personally, in my recent experiences, I have had several people do just this. I have kept my personal revelation to myself for the most part. I usually just say something vague, along the lines of, “I’m doing what I’m supposed to be doing” or "I'm following the Spirit". Unfortunately people have been making comments and jokes that degrade me, and allude to the idea that I am wrong in my decision. It wasn’t my decision to do it, it was Heavenly Father’s decision to have me do it.  

Please, please, please, don’t be the person that tramples another person under their feet, even if you are ‘just joking’.  That’s not how Heavenly Father wants us to treat each other. 

    2. Further , Elder Boyd K Packer, another member of the Quorum of the 12 Apostles has told us:
 “I have learned that strong, impressive spiritual experiences do not come to us very frequently. And when they do, they are generally for our own edification, instruction, or correction. Unless we are called by proper authority to do so, they do not position us to counsel or correct others.

“I have come to believe also that it is not wise to continually talk of unusual spiritual experiences. They are to be guarded with care and shared only when the Spirit itself prompts you to use them to the blessing of others.”  (Ensign, Jan 1983, emphasis added).

Just because someone won’t tell you the reasons behind their actions doesn’t mean they haven’t had a confirmation of the Spirit that they are acting in accordance with God’s will for them.  They are only protecting themselves from being trampled and rent, as well as showing Heavenly Father that He can trust them to keep sacred things sacred, which is an important eternal principle.
      3.   Lastly, Elder Richard G Scott tells us, “When it is for the Lord’s purposes, He can bring anything to our remembrance. That should not weaken our determination to record impressions of the Spirit. Inspiration carefully recorded shows God that His communications are sacred to us. Recording will also enhance our ability to recall revelation. Such recording of direction of the Spirit should be protected from loss or intrusion by others.” How to Obtain Revelation and Inspiration for Your Personal Live, 2012  (Emphasis added). 

Like I said before, when we record, remember, and protect sacred revelations, we show Heavenly Father that we trust Him, we respect Him, and He can trust us.  Don’t be nosy, you may cause someone to unfairly lose their ability to have Heavenly Father trust them, because you coerced them to share a sacred experience or personal revelation.

Now, before I finish up, I’m going to clarify. This is all in regards to PERSONAL REVELATION. I know some of you may want to bring up another teaching in the church. President Thomas S. Monson, current President of the Church and Prophet said:

“Regarding one’s testimony, remember that which one willing shares he keeps, while that which he selfishly keeps he loses.”  Pathways to Perfection [1973] 100-101

I agree that testimony should be shared in the proper way at the proper times. But personal revelation is something that is not to be shared in the same manner, if it is shared at all.

 Remember, my personal revelation is just that. It’s mine and it’s personal.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

My Issue with "Multicultural" Dolls

Having a certain percentage of "multicultural" or "diversity" themed objects in an early childhood classroom is part of reaching accreditation standards. This can be accomplished through pictures, books, dolls, paints, etc.

But here's my issue, producers of early childhood classroom products have caught on to this accreditation standard of needing diversity in the classroom. They've started producing items and titling them with the word "Multicultural". Sounds pretty good right?

It is, don't get me wrong. But just yesterday I was thumbing through a catalog, and noticed something about all the multicultural dolls. They're not multicultural. Not really. They contained one Caucasian, one Black, one Asian, and one Hispanic.

Yes, they meet accreditation criteria of 'representation of a minimum of 3 races'. But in all honesty, how many of us work with people who fit purely into the standards of  Caucasian, Black, Asian, and Hispanic? What about Native Americans and Indians? What about all of the children I work with whose parents are different races?  (And why the heck are their "Caucasian" dolls blonde haired and blue eyed?)

These children are getting the message, that while we have a diverse and multicultural world, they don't have a place in it. As parents and educators we are having to work even harder to let these children know that they do belong, they have a place, and we want them there. 

It's a step up from where we used to be, but the manufacturers of these 'multicultural' items have a ways to go in order to win me over.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Charity Knits

A sub-goal of my Goal for the Year of knitting 13 miles worth of yarn, is to knit 13 items for charity. I am nearly done with my first, a sweater for the charity Afghans for Afghans. I was contemplating this at church today as we talked about the Law of Consecration, and wondering how in the world I would be able to meet this sub-goal.

It's the fourth month of the year, I should be 25% done with my goal, meaning 5720 yards knit. I'm at 3969, only 17.34% done. Technically I should have already knit 3.25 charity items. I'm finishing up my first.

So, my question is this, how do I reach my goals? Will I have to revise them?

I think I have a solution, and want to know what you all think.

Would it 'count' as a charity knit if I make something that cannot be donated, but I sell the item and then donate the money I make from the sale to a charity? Does that count? I think it might.

Let me know what you think and if you have any ideas or suggestions on how I can reach both of these goals :)

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Can't or Don't

I'm not sure why but something I've heard every now and then, spoken in a joking, lighthearted manner, really bothers me.

"I can't, I'm Mormon."

The 'can't'  in that statement implies there is something physically stopping you or some irrational mental process going on that is causing you to physically be unable to act.

Here's an example, because sometimes these help people understand things better.   I don't sled because I have an issue with it. Physically I could do it. Mentally, it is not going to happen. (There is a rational reason behind this, trust me.) I can't reach the top shelves in the kitchen because I'm the size of your average 11 year old. 

It's that you 'don't' because you are Mormon, you have a choice and saying you 'don't' or even 'won't' shows that you are exercising a very important ability you have. An ability that is pretty central to doctrine in the Mormon church.

It's called "Agency". Meaning the freedom to choose for yourself what you do or do not do.

You can drink alcohol, you just don't. You can swear like a sailor, you just don't. You  can drink coffee or smoke or do illegal drugs, you just don't.  You can go out and have sex before marriage, you just don't.

I just wonder if some of the misconceptions about Mormons and the way the Church is run may be tied to the use of the term "I can't", because that really makes it sound like the Church is forcing you to do something. And that really isn't the plan. It's also really not the way Jesus Christ would run the church if He were here today. Since it is His church, we should probably try to portray it accurately in all we do and say.

So please, say "I don't, I'm Mormon" instead of " I can't."