New Year, Same Goal: Zero Fatalities

We drove down to St. George for the week after Christmas. It was two full days of driving, and our dread of all that time on the road was probably the low point of the trip. We read The Hogfather out loud in the car. The time passed pretty quickly and Snoqualmie Pass stayed open for us. We went to see Star Wars which was then cause for discussion and speculation. We went to Snow Canyon, where we hiked the petrified sand dunes, (our ears ached from the cold winds), and when we went to the slot canyon, Jason, David, and Chad showed off their climbing skills. It is still one of my most favorite places on earth, even when freezing my eardrums.

Chad loved all the Christmas snacks and treats around. Elisa kept making batches of “Christmas Crack” from saltines. She never got it exactly how she remembered.

The kids played so well with cousins. They played out in the empty lots by the house near the wash. There were piles of leftover hard-scaping supplies, rocks, gravel, sand, etc… They would sneak out to their “S.H.,” a.k.a. secret hideout. They also had a great time with their lightsabers that all died within the few days we were there.

For New Years we had the kids write goals down and tie the list to balloons to release. Eden wants to save $20; Alden wants to improve his chess game; Jasher was strong-armed into”being ready for preschool,” which means being potty-trained. The kids shared a goal and released their balloons, from oldest to youngest. Jasher caught onto the pattern and skulked away when his turn was about to come up. He had no intention of releasing his beautiful orange balloon.

On the way home we stopped at the Dinosaur Museum, at Thanksgiving Point. Near the entrance was a glass cage, so I pointed out to the kids that there was some kind of cool lizard in it. Eden has a lot of hours of wildlife TV programs that she can draw on. She responded disapprovingly, “Hmmm. I think it’s a saltwater iguana. And look at the tail! It’s started molting.”

This week I’ve had a few thoughts running through my head. I have sat through two lessons based on the conference talk from October 2015, “What Lack I Yet?”. Why on earth would I pose that question to the heavens?! I have a huge long list of all the things I lack and need to improve! The talk infuriated me—made me feel overwhelmed. Apparently I’m supposed to be in control of my life to a point that I should be seeking for more things to improve. What?! Rather than asking for another item to improve upon I can ask where to start. Throw the rest of the list out and just focus my attention on one thing. In that light the counsel is much more manageable and helpful.

I have also been trying to convince myself that there would be no negative consequences if I stopped going to church. I just don’t look forward to it. On the other hand I know myself enough that I would not spend my three hours diving into personal study. Rather I would clean the sink, sweep the floors, etc. There isn’t a better place for me during those hours. It may not be the most inspiring reasoning to attend but my spirituality is still important to me and I know I am surrounded by others who have the same goal even if their journey is different than mine.

One of my personal questions has been related to the “Church of the Lamb.” It feels like that term should encompass all churches that are making sincere efforts. But then it’s hard to delineate between the actions of our church, which is led by inspired men who sometimes make mistakes, versus any other arbitrary church, led by people who make some mistakes and get some things right. There isn’t a clear qualitative difference. I noticed that in the First Vision, Joseph Smith says that he was told that all other churches were wrong and that all the leaders’ hearts were far from God. It doesn’t feel like all leaders of all churches are far from God though. Resolving that issue would answer the original question about what distinguishes the Mormon church.

Posted by on January 4th, 2016

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