Thursday, November 11, 2010

"Let There be Light"

The Information Age is great ain't it?  I never heard of Vera Lynn until Elder Cook told the story about how he was named.  So I go to YouTube and search for Vera Lynn and find some really neat, goose-bump-creating videos of her songs.

Here is "The White Cliffs of Dover" playing in the background to Spitfires flying.

Here is a video of her singing "When The Lights Go On Again"

Watching these videos helped me appreciate Elder Cook's talk a bit more.  In fact, I got a lump in my throat and tears welled in my eyes listening to "When the Lights Go On Again" ... I think it is fitting to watch these videos on a day we celebrate our brave veterans and remember their sacrifices.

Elder Cook's talk was excellent.  It could be summarized with an often-heard quote "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing." I did a little research on this - although the quote is attributed to Edmund Burke, he never said it (see here).  But the idea is still relevant.

We as LDS are to actively stand up and defend what is good and wholsome.  We are to actively practice our religious freedoms.  There are unabashed forces acting in this world for both good and evil.  We must engage.

I really thought this quote from Elder Cook was spot on; "Let me be clear that all voices need to be heard in the public square.  Neither religious nor secular voices should be silenced.  Furthermore, we should not expect that because some of our views emanate from religious principals, they will automatically be accepted or given preferential status.  But is is also clear such views and values are entitled to be reviewed on their merits."

I firmly believe that when both good and evil cases are presented, the good will win out.  I agree with Elder Cook's sentiment that most people believe in God and support moral values.  The rub is that we need to actively participate and defend our principals ... by living them and speaking up for them.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

"Things that Matter Most"

we can learn about life by studying nature
 Going back to the minimalism theme - as I read President Uchtdorf's talk this morning, various statements and quotes he made drove home the idea that less is indeed more.  This is a subject I am very keen and sensitive about.  I really think that people are happier when they stop and think about what is important in their lives and then direct their focus on those specific things and ignore the rest.

President Uchtdorf's talk does a fantastic job summarizing what we should all be doing.

Here are a few of the quotes that stood out as I read his talk.

it is good advice to slow down a little, steady the course, and focus on the essentials when experiencing adverse conditions.

focus on the things that matter most.

Elder Dallin H. Oaks, in a recent general conference, taught, “We have to forego some good things in order to choose others that are better or best because they develop faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and strengthen our families."

There is a beauty and clarity that comes from simplicity that we sometimes do not appreciate in our thirst for intricate solutions.

Leonardo da Vinci is quoted as saying that “simplicity is the ultimate sophistication."

He then teaches us four things that should be at the top of our list - the things that matter most.

We should develop our relationship with: 1) God & Jesus Christ, 2) Our families, 3) Our fellow-men and 4) Ourselves

The wonderful thing about the Church is that it is set up so that we can focus on these 4 things that matter most. If we read our scriptures and pray every day as we've been counseled and commanded time and time again, we will develop our relationship with God and Jesus Christ. If we hold FHE and eat dinner together and play games and spend time with our spouse, children and extended family, we will develop our relationship with our families. If we perform our hometeaching duties and we participate in church activities, we will develop better relationships with our fellow-men. And if we find and develop the talents God has given us, we will develop the relationship with ourself.

I center my goals around these areas and then I try to work on each of these areas a little bit every day. As I focus my energy on these areas, I find joy.