Jacob 2 and slavery


Joe is reading a fascinating book on the “History of White People.” Meaning, how did we come to think of “white” as a race? It’s a long book that I won’t try to summarize (and that would only be a summary of his summary), but the part we were talking about today had to do with the sad, sad topic of sex slaves. It was common through much of history to travel, steal people of the whitest cultures, and sell them as slaves — the men as workers, and the women for sex. 😦 At one point, Britain was about 10% slaves — most of them as fair-skinned as could be found. It was also normal (ack!) to sell your children into slavery during a famine etc. — some as workers, but the fairest daughters? 😦 So it was normal to have a well-off family where the man had his wife, but several other women as well.

This made me think of Jacob 2-4. For example, Jacob 2:32: “I will not suffer, saith the Lord of Hosts, that the cries of the fair daughters of this people, which I have led out of the land of Jerusalem, shall come up unto me against the men of my people, saith the Lord of Hosts.”

The word “fair” here stands out to me differently this morning.

Verse 33: “For they shall not lead away captive the daughters of my people because of their tenderness, save I shall visit them with a sore curse, even unto destruction; for they shall not commit whoredoms, like unto them of old, saith the Lord of Hosts.”

The connection between “lead away captive” to “commit whoredoms” also sounds different now too.

I also appreciate that what was happening in Brigham Young’s time was so different that what had been happening all over the world before that point. What the Mormons were doing was basically monogamy multiplied, rather than one wife & family as central and many mistresses who were there largely for the man’s pleasure.

Anyway, I can see the maybe Jacob 2-4 are saying that the men in the Nephite society are starting to have mistresses for their pleasure, which act is breaking the hearts of their wives and children, and is abominable before the Lord.

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President Hinckley on counselors


My friend and newly called counselor shared this talk from President Hinckley in 1990:

(https://www.lds.org/general-conference/1990/10/in-counsellors-there-is-safety?lang=eng)

There are several cardinal principles with reference to counselors. In the first place, the presiding officer selects his own counselors. They are not chosen by others and forced upon him. However, it is necessary in most circumstances that his selections be approved by higher authority. For instance, in the organization of a stake, which occurs under direction of a General Authority, a president is carefully and prayerfully chosen. He is then asked to nominate men to serve as his counselors, and it is expected that the General Authority will approve the selection before the men are interviewed.

It is imperative that the president himself select his counselors because theirs must be a compatible relationship. He must have absolute confidence in them. They must have confidence in him. They must work together in a spirit of mutual trust and respect. The counselors are not the president. In certain circumstances, they may act in his behalf, but this is a delegated authority. What, then, are some of the duties of a counselor?

He is an assistant to his president. Regardless of the organization, the assignment of president is a heavy and burdensome one. Even for the deacons quorum president, if he performs his duty well, there is much of responsibility, for he is accountable for the activity and well-being of the boys of his quorum.

As an assistant, the counselor is not the president. He does not assume responsibility and move out ahead of his president.

In presidency meetings, each counselor is free to speak his mind on all issues that come before the presidency. However, it is the prerogative of the president to make the decision, and it is the duty of the counselors to back him in that decision. His decision then becomes their decision, regardless of their previous ideas.

The president, if he is wise, will assign to these chosen assistants particular duties and then leave them free to perform, requiring from them accountability for what happens.

A counselor is a partner. A presidency can be a wonderful relationship, a friendship where three brethren, working unitedly, have a close and satisfying fellowship. With delegation of responsibility, they move independently only to a limited degree. All three, unitedly, have responsibility for the work of the ward, the quorum, the stake, the auxiliary organization, or whatever.

Such a partnership provides a safety valve. The wise writer of Proverbs tells us that “in … counsellors there is safety.” (Prov. 11:14.) When problems arise, when difficult decisions face us, it is wonderful to have those with whom we can talk with confidence and trust.

I recall that as a boy we had our presidency meetings. Our president would present whatever business was before him. We would talk about it. And then we would go forward, having had our discussion, to work to bring about the desired result.

No president in any organization in the Church is likely to go ahead without the assurance that his counselors feel good about the proposed program. A man or woman thinking alone, working alone, arriving at his or her own conclusions, can take action which might prove to be wrong. But when three kneel together in prayer, discuss every aspect of the problem which is before them, and under the impressions of the Spirit reach a united conclusion, then we may have the assurance that the decision is in harmony with the will of the Lord.

I can assure all members of this church that in the First Presidency we follow such a procedure. Even the President of the Church, who is Prophet, Seer, and Revelator, and whose right and responsibility it is to make judgment and direct the course of the Church, invariably consults with his counselors to determine their feelings. If there is a lack of unity, there follows an absence of action. Two counselors, working with a president, preserve a wonderful system of checks and balances. They become a safeguard that is seldom, if ever, in error and affords great strength of leadership.

A counselor is a friend. Presidencies should do more than counsel together. Occasionally, but not to excess, they and their spouses should socialize together. They should be good friends, trusted friends, in a very real sense. The counselors should be concerned for the health and well-being of their president. He should feel free to discuss with them his personal problems, if he has any, with the full assurance that they will hold in the strictest confidence all that is told them.

A counselor is a judge. He is a lesser judge than the president, but he is nonetheless a judge.

In times of disciplinary councils, the three brethren of the bishopric, or the three brethren of the stake presidency, or the three brethren of the presidency of the Church, sit together, discuss matters together, pray together, in the process of reaching a decision. I wish to assure you, my brethren, that I think there is never a judgment rendered until after prayer has been had. Action against a member is too serious a matter to result from the judgment of men alone, and particularly of one man alone. There must be the guidance of the Spirit, earnestly sought for and then followed, if there is to be justice.

In some circumstances, a counselor may serve as a proxy for his president. The power of proxy must be granted by the president, and it must never be abused by the counselor. The work must go forward notwithstanding absences of the president for reasons of illness, employment, or other factors beyond his control. In these circumstances, and in the interest of the work, the president should give his counselors authority to act with full confidence, he having trained them as they have served together as a bishopric or presidency.

It may not be easy to be a counselor. President J. Reuben Clark, Jr., who, as a counselor, had responsibility for the operation of the Church while President Heber J. Grant was ill, said to me on one occasion, “It is difficult to have responsibility without authority.”

He was saying, in effect, that he had to move forward in handling those duties which ordinarily devolve upon the President, but while doing so, he did not have the authority of the President.

I came to understand that situation in a very real way. If I may share with you some personal feelings: During the time that President Kimball was ill, President Tanner’s health failed and he passed away. President Romney was called as First Counselor, and I as Second Counselor to President Kimball. Then President Romney became ill, thus leaving to me an almost overwhelming burden of responsibility. I counseled frequently with my Brethren of the Twelve, and I cannot say enough of appreciation to them for their understanding and for the wisdom of their judgment. In matters where there was a well-established policy, we moved forward. But no new policy was announced or implemented, and no significant practice was altered without sitting down with President Kimball and laying the matter before him and receiving his full consent and full approval.

In such circumstances when I would go to visit him, I always took a secretary who kept a detailed record of the conversation. I can assure you, my beloved brethren, that I never knowingly moved ahead of my file leader, that I never had any desire to move out ahead of him in Church policy or instruction. I knew that he was the appointed Prophet of the Lord in that day. Even though I, too, had been sustained as a prophet, seer, and revelator, along with my Brethren of the Twelve, I knew also that none of us was the President of the Church. I knew that the Lord prolonged the life of President Kimball for purposes known to the Lord, and I had perfect faith that this prolonging of life was for a reason under the wisdom of Him who has greater wisdom than any man.


Moses 2:1-5 Creating & Dividing Darkness & Light


Reading Moses 2 this morning —

And the earth was without form, and void; and I caused darkness to come up upon the face of the deep; and my Spirit moved upon the face of the water; for I am God.

God caused darkness to come. I suppose when I usually think of the creation story, it’s already dark and God adds light to it. But in this verse, God brings darkness to this formless earth. What would that mean? Are there already stars around, but now there’s something blocking that light? Or clouds? Or a distance? Or another star passes away?

Why come up upon the face of the deep? What does face of the deep mean or what does it look like? What is “the deep?” Is it the waters? Is it “something formless deep in space?”

Why “up” upon? Is this darkness something that was under the deep and now is out in the open and visible? (so to speak)

And I, God, said: Let there be light; and there was light.

4a And I, God, saw the light; and that light was good.

God saw “that light was good.” That light in general is good? Did God see that this light was good? That is was created properly? Were there other lights to chose from but this was a good one? Had he created other lights in the past that didn’t go as they should, so he recognized this as good?

Are we talking about the creation of the sun?

Are we talking about how the light gets to the earth? It was getting here in a good amount of time? Or included a good amount of energy, etc.?

4b And I, God, divided the light from the darkness.

If I’m picturing a sun shining on a planet, then the light is only covering one half of that planet. It would seem that the light is already and always separate from the darkness. What if, instead of this meaning that the light and dark are separated, it means that the light and dark and mixed together in divisions. The light and dark are divvied out, portioned out, take turns. They are divided not from each other but within each other.

Now it sounds like a math problem: Let’s divide the light from (?) the darkness. If each part of darkness is divided by each part of light, how many parts will we have? No, that doesn’t work we’d still have half and half. 🙂 But anyway, I still want to think of how this could be thought of as dividing huge never-changing chunks of light and dark into smaller, rotating chunks of light and dark.

That is, into day and night. What we had before was “light half” and “dark half.” Now we have each area of the earth receiving both light and dark. The rotation of the earth is what gives both light and dark, or day and night.

And I, God, called the light Day; and the darkness, I called Night; and this I did by the word of my power, and it was done as I spake; and the evening and the morning were the first day.


Sunday work


On the fourth Sundays of next year, the topic for RS & Priesthood meetings will be given by the 1st Presidency/Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. I thought that this was going to mean a different topic each 4th Sunday, but instead, it means the same topic every 4th Sunday until the next General Conference! The topic in January-April will be The Sabbath Day.

I’ve been to several meetings over the past few years and/or heard several conference talks over the past few years that were dedicated to recommitting us to keep the Sabbath day holy. Apparently, we’re not catching on very well as a people! 🙂

I wonder how I am doing, and how our family is doing. I have already thought of one thing that I would like to change. Sometimes Sunday night we decide to have people from the ward over to have hot chocolate or other treat. I think that’s a great thing to do on a Sunday. But the house isn’t always cleaned-up and ready, so we spend some time cleaning. Like, more than we did on other days during the week. That doesn’t seem quite right, so yesterday morning I made it a goal to have the kitchen all cleaned up and ready as if someone was coming over. It was nice to get that done. I hope to make that a regular plan.

But other than that, I don’t have anything I’ve identified. I want to, though. I think the Sabbath could be a much more rich experience than it is currently. I also think there’s something about a community honoring the Sabbath day collectively that will bring other richness and blessings than can be felt by just one person keeping the Sabbath day holy. I suppose having a family collectively doing this would be one example of a community, but I’d also love to feel a larger group collectively growing and striving.

One odd or interesting thing, to add a the end here, is that on the Sabbath day I often find myself wanting to do work that I otherwise avoid or trudge through. I don’t like doing dishes that much, but on Sunday it almost sounds fun. I have been stressing about getting the remodeling details in order, but this morning it sounds like so much fun to sit and look at pictures of 1930’s bathrooms. Is there something about removing the need or obligation to work that allows the enjoyable side to shine through?

 


Community


For our pioneer ancestors, independence and self-reliance were vital, but their sense of community was just as important. They worked together and helped one another overcome the physical and emotional challenges of their time. For the men, there was the priesthood quorum, and the women were served by the Relief Society. These outcomes have not changed in our day. (Elder Ballard)

The priesthood quorum is the Lord’s organization for men of the Church, just as the Relief Society is the Lord’s organization for women of the Church. Each has among its responsibilities, basic to its reason for being, the assisting of those in need….

It will be a marvelous day … when our priesthood quorums become an anchor of strength to every man belonging thereto, when each such man may appropriately be able to say, “I am a member of a priesthood quorum of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I stand ready to assist my brethren in all of their needs, as I am confident they stand ready to assist me in mine. Working together, we shall grow spiritually as covenant sons of God. Working together, we can stand, without embarrassment and without fear, against every wind of adversity that might blow, be it economic, social, or spiritual.” (President Hinckley)


Sister Sharon Eubank’s entire talk “Turn On Your Light”


I just reread this talk in order to pull from it some quotations. But the entire talk is bewilderingly perfect. If you haven’t listened to it, do it as soon as you can. It might be one of the best 13.41 minutes of your life. 🙂

https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2017/10/turn-on-your-light?lang=eng

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(or read it here:) Continue reading


Elder Christofferson “Preach what you practice” and other quotes to keep handy


https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2017/04/the-voice-of-warning?lang=eng

A crucial element of the parental duty to warn is to paint not only the demoralizing consequences of sin but also the joy of walking in obedience to the commandments. Recall the words of Enos about what led him to seek God, receive a remission of sins, and become converted:

“Behold, I went to hunt beasts in the forests; and the words which I had often heard my father speak concerning eternal life, and the joy of the saints, sunk deep into my heart.

“And my soul hungered; and I kneeled down before my Maker, and I cried unto him in mighty prayer and supplication.”19

Deseret News opinion editor Hal Boyd cited one example of the disservice inherent in staying silent. He noted that while the idea of marriage is still a matter of “intellectual debate” among elites in American society, marriage itself is not a matter of debate for them in practice. “‘Elites get and stay married and make sure their kids enjoy the benefits of stable marriage.’ … The problem, however, is that [they] tend not to preach what they practice.” They don’t want to “impose” on those who really could use their moral leadership, but “it is perhaps time for those with education and strong families to stop feigning neutrality and start preaching what they practice pertaining to marriage and parenting … [and] help their fellow Americans embrace it.”32

We trust that especially you of the rising generation, youth and young adults on whom the Lord must rely for the success of His work in future years, will sustain the teachings of the gospel and the standards of the Church in public as well as in private. Do not abandon those who would welcome truth to floundering and failing in ignorance. Do not succumb to false notions of tolerance or to fear—fear of inconvenience, disapproval, or even suffering. Remember the Savior’s promise:

“Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.

“Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.”33