Sunday, June 20, 2010

Blessed by Adversity

My heart is so full after having listened to an interview with Gary Ceran on the Mormon Channel. If your life has been touched by the pain of loss, or divorce, or other earthly sorrow, Brother Ceran shares a message and a faith that will uplift and encourage you.

I remember hearing about his public loss in the news a few years ago. A drunk driver, and illegal alien, broadsided his family as they drove through a green light. It was Christmas Eve. Gary's wife and two children were killed in the accident.

I remember the anger I felt in my heart towards that man when I read the news. I remember the angry comments left online below the newspaper story.

Now I know that Gary Ceran was not angry and he was not bitter. In fact, he offered a plea in behalf of the driver at his sentencing that the judge would lighten his sentence. Gary said that he had been carried by the thousands of people praying for him and his family, but no one was praying for Carlos. He, too, had a great loss that night, and would have to live with the horror of it for the rest of his life, which should be punishment enough.

Gary's perspective on death had been shaped over the course of a lifetime. Before the car accident that took his wife and 14 year old son and 7 year old daughter, Ceran had lost 5 other children. 3 were born with a brain tumor that doctors said would never hit the same family twice. Twins died in premature birth.

He learned that God shapes us to be like him when he allows these trials to come upon us. As one of his children was struggling for life years before, the people in his community rallied around him and his family. They prayed and fasted. People came up to Gary and told him that because of his infant daughter's condition, they were coming back to church. Gary pondered all the good that had been done in people hearts as they labored in prayer and supplication for his girl. In her less than two years of life, she changed more hearts than many people will change in a full lifetime.

Gary learned not to hold a grudge against God. And he taught us all how to forgive in challenging times. It is a lesson I want to remember.

Sunday, June 06, 2010

Clark's Voice From the Past Still Relevant

J. Reuben Clark spoke in 1938 about debt. It is the talk with the famous quote that "interest never sleeps" that you've probably heard. There is a lot of really good and thought provoking stuff in there.

Speaking about retirement in old age:

"But it is a far cry from this wise principle to saying that every person reaching a fixed age shall thereafter be kept by the state in idleness. Society owes to no man a life of idleness, no matter what his age. I have never seen one line in Holy Writ that calls for, or even sanctions this. In the past no free society has been able to support great groups in idleness and live free."

About public expenditures and debt:

"I refer to the enormous expenditures of the people's money and to the ever-growing feeling and belief that a great group of the people can live off the public without working.
I should like to say again that neither the State nor the Federal Government has any funds except only such funds as it obtains from the people. Neither of them has anywhere a great pile of gold to which it can go for its money. You taxpayers must furnish it all; and every citizen is a taxpayer, either by direct or indirect taxation. Whenever governments borrow, they borrow from the taxpayers who must pay back or repudiate. To pay back large borrowings causes great hardship and burdening sacrifices; to repudiate brings economic and sometimes political chaos."

And finally this provocative thought about slavery:

"Now, as to the other point, the living of one large group without work on the industry, thrift, and sacrifice of the rest of the people. I say again this is virtual slavery for those who furnish the livelihood for the idlers. I know very well I shall be accused of being harsh, cruel, unsympathetic. I am not. But I consider the welfare of the whole people as superior to the comfortable or luxurious idleness of the part."

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Merciful Blindness

What torture it would be to live in a world where we could remember our premortality! We would stand all the time condemned by our shortcomings. How much more merciful to have a still small voice that whispers only those things we are prepared to receive.

Were we to have any measure of foreknowledge of our mortal lives, we would spend all our time dancing away from the trials that would ultimately help us grow the most.

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