Monday, January 7, 2013

Welcome 2013!

Happy New Year!

We celebrated the New Year with our friends Norm and Sharon, and Jay and Leah.  Joseph, Peter and Libby came home from having fun over at our neighbors to be here at midnight.  Jesse and Mary had a great time at the Youth Dance.  I was released from my calling as the Stake Dance Director, so I was at that Youth Dance for three years before this one.  I kind of missed being there in the big party!

 Joseph and Peter started out the New Year right by going snowboarding.

They said it was beautiful up there.  The valley was under all these clouds.

Joseph went snowboarding again with his friend Devin on Friday night.  Although he loves snowboarding, he said that it's not a great environment up there.  He said that even though it's up in the mountains, that there's not a good feeling up there, like there usually is in the mountains.  Interesting, huh?

 Joseph and Peter have been milking every night when the temperature is under 10 degrees F.  Yikes!  That is SO cold.  Thanks for being manly men!

I have to add this picture of Mary and her friend Nathan at our swing dance class.  They were spinning and twirling - and getting all tangled up learning new moves!

The big news of this week is that we finished the Book of Mormon.

Bruce, Joseph, Jesse, Peter and I read the whole book, including reading 3 Nephi twice - in 2 weeks! 
There are a few insights that I came away with from this reading that I want to share.
First of all, the Book of Mormon truly is Another Testament of Jesus Christ.  I payed special attention to how many times it talks about prophets coming into the land and testifying of Christ and crying repentance to the people, and it was constantly happening.  Repentance!

Second of all, there is no grey area in the Book of Mormon - it's black and white.  And the prophets emphasized the need to repent in this life.  They preach and teach and exhort the people to repent and come unto Christ so that they will not die in their sins.  It is clear in the text that if you die in your sins, you will be miserable for eternity.  I know we don't like to think about that, and I don't see it emphasized in our modern way of thinking, but in the Book of Mormon - it is very clear.  That's why the prophets worked so hard to get people to repent - especially people who knew the gospel, and willfully rebelled.  It was not a pretty scene for them, if they died in their sins.  But even those who didn't have a full knowledge, such as the father of King Lamoni, even he was subject to some accountability, as Ammon notes in Alma 20:17, "But Ammon stood forth and said unto him: Behold, thou shalt not slay thy son; nevertheless, it were better that he should fall than thee, for behold, he has repented of his sins; but if thou shouldst fall at this time, in thine anger, thy soul could not be saved."  The key words here are "in thine anger".

Please don't misunderstand me here.  I have no doubt that when it comes to mercy, the Savior will be as merciful as possible, and when it comes to punishment, he will mete out the least punishment possible.  But the problem is that our choices have a great impact, and when we willfully turn away from his extended hand in this life, we will continue to do so in the next life.  He that is filthy shall be filthy still.

So what that means to me is that I want to focus on repenting in my own life - now, and working out my salvation - in this life.  This scripture sums it up:

"Yea, I would that you would come forth and harden not your hearts any longer; for behold, now is the time and the day of your salvation; and therefore, if ye will repent and harden not your hearts, immediately shall the great  plan of redemption be brought about unto you.
For behold, this life is the time for men to prepare to meet God; yea, behold the day of this life is the day for men to perform their labors."   (Alma 34:31-32)
Third, I was struck with how Moroni and Mormon beg us to "rend that veil of unbelief" and plead with us to "seek this Jesus of whom the prophets and apostles have written." (Ether 4, 12).  I want to look them in the eye at "the pleasing bar of the great Jehovah" and be able to tell them that I did that, that I sought for it all the days of my life, and I lived for it and obtained it.

Jesse and I agreed yesterday that we almost want to start reading it the same way all over again, because we loved it so much.  I have to put a shout-out for Jesse here:  She kept on task the best of anyone in the family.  She only got behind by five chapters on one day, and most days she had her reading done by ten in the morning.  She was amazing!  Good job Jesse!  And another one for Peter - his first time reading the Book of Mormon.  Well done, son!

And finally, I have to tell you what I did last night.  I was on, which is now the new Family Tree website, and I was clicking around, going back on my line, and I kept going and going, and got all the way back to Adam and Eve!!!  It was so exciting!  I have heard of other people doing that, but I've never it found it myself.  I actually found it back three different ways.  I wrote down what they were.  Here is a brief overview:

From me back through my my Dad, and his grandmother Agnes Belzora Savage, there are 63 generations back to Matthat (LZCR-RRJ is his ID number on the website).  He is the father of Joseph the Carpenter, husband to Mary.  From Matthat, there are 43 generations back to David, and from David there are 33 generations back to Abraham, and from Abraham there are 20 generations back to Peleg, and from Peleg, there are 15 generations back to Adam.

In all there are 174 generations back from me to Adam.  Interesting!!  If you average 30 years per generation, that is 5,220 years.  So add on a few years for the generations immediately following Adam, and that fits the picture nicely with what we know from Biblical history.  Now, I'm sure there are some mistakes in the line - I could see some discrepancies just going through it, but it was fun to see it nonetheless.

So I happily announced to my children this morning that I had found that they were descended from Adam!  Ha ha!

Happy New Year!

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