Wednesday, August 27, 2014

An Influence for Good

Posted: 17 Aug 2014 01:31 PM PDT by James Tanner in his blog Rejoice...
Sometimes, others can influence us for good. James Tanner is this kind of person. I have not posted here for almost six months. The whole concept of my blog was "to talk often one to another." This is exactly what my friend James does wherever he is found living, whatever else he is doing, he is talking about important, sacred things and makes my heart swell with gladness, gratitude and a desire to repent. Yes, I must begin again blogging. I've been thinking about it and now I must act.

In the Old Testament at Malachi 4: 5-6 it says:
5 ¶Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord:
6 And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.
The same prophecy is recorded in the Doctrine and Covenants, Section 2: 1-3:
1 Behold, I will reveal unto you the Priesthood, by the hand of Elijah the prophet, before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord.
2 And he shall plant in the hearts of the children the promises made to the fathers, and the hearts of the children shall turn to their fathers.
3 If it were not so, the whole earth would be utterly wasted at his coming.
Again the prophecy was cited in the Doctrine and Covenants, Section 27: 9, where is states:
9 And also Elijah, unto whom I have committed the keys of the power of turning the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the hearts of the children to the fathers, that the whole earth may not be smitten with a curse;
 Yet another reference to this same prophecy is made in Joseph Smith--History, Chapter 1: 38-39, where is states:
38 And again, he quoted the fifth verse thus: Behold, I will reveal unto you the Priesthood, by the hand of Elijah the prophet, before the coming of the great and dreadful day of theLord.
39 He also quoted the next verse differently: And he shall plant in the hearts of thechildren the promises made to the fathers, and the hearts of the children shall turn to their fathers. If it were not so, the whole earth would be utterly wasted at his coming.
Elijah showed up as predicted as recorded in the Doctrine and Covenants, Section 110: 13-16:
13 After this vision had closed, another great and glorious vision burst upon us; for Elijahthe prophet, who was taken to heaven without tasting death, stood before us, and said:
14 Behold, the time has fully come, which was spoken of by the mouth of Malachi—testifying that he [Elijah] should be sent, before the great and dreadful day of the Lord come—
15 To turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the children to the fathers, lest the whole earth be smitten with a curse—
16 Therefore, the keys of this dispensation are committed into your hands; and by this ye may know that the great and dreadful day of the Lord is near, even at the doors.
 If repeating this same prophecy was not enough, it is repeated in the Doctrine and Covenants, Section 138: 47-48:
47 The Prophet Elijah was to plant in the hearts of the children the promises made to their fathers,
48 Foreshadowing the great work to be done in the temples of the Lord in the dispensation of the fulness of times, for the redemption of the dead, and the sealing of the children to their parents, lest the whole earth be smitten with a curse and utterly wasted at his coming.
I am not sure what the difference is between being cursed or utterly wasted, but I suppose both are pretty bad. But the real question here is the meaning of the verses and what, if anything, we need to do to prevent the bad consequences? I might also point out that there are very few prophecies that are repeated six or more times in the scriptures.

It is most commonly supposed that there is a connection between family history or genealogy and these quoted verses. The last quote from the Doctrine and Covenants, Section 138 is a clarification of the other verses. To further our understanding, it helps to learn about the mission Elijah fulfilled when he appeared to Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery in the Kirtland Temple. Here is part of the account:
Then, in another glorious vision, Joseph and Oliver saw the prophet Elijah (seeD&C 110:13–16). The coming of Elijah was so important that the ancient prophet Malachi had prophesied of it centuries earlier, and the Savior had repeated the prophecy to the Nephites (see Malachi 4:5–63 Nephi 25:5–626:1–2). Elijah came to commit to Joseph and Oliver the keys of sealing—the power to bind and validate in the heavens all ordinances performed on the earth. The restoration of the sealing power was necessary to prepare the world for the Savior’s Second Coming, for without it, “the whole earth would be utterly wasted at his coming” (Joseph Smith—History 1:39).
We should not take these promises and warnings lightly. Each of us has a solemn duty to seek after our ancestors. In the end, let us follow the admonition of the Doctrine and Covenants, Section 123:17:
17 Therefore, dearly beloved brethren, let us cheerfully bdo all things that lie in our power; and then may we stand still, with the utmost assurance, to see the salvation of God, and for his arm to be revealed.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Humble Before the Lord

Bev as Έḇeḏ
I never thought I could understand, much less internalize, or even have an interest in reading esoteric scholarly writings. In the words of my daughter, “Mom, it’s just boring.” Over the years, I’ve discovered that what I once thought of as boring… like reading the Old Testament… is really because I didn’t understand the meaning behind the words.  Remember when you were a kid and you thought the children’s shows were fantastic and they held you enthralled for hours? On the other side of the coin do you remember that when your parents wanted to watch the news, you thought it was boring?
Teenagers still roll their eyes when their parents talk about something that they think is boring.
My first encounter with reading something that was beyond my normal reading level was when I read “Approaching Zion” by Hugh Nibley some 30 years ago. Many people think Nibley is hard to understand. Funny thing is that when taken one sentence at a time AND retaining your place in his various digressions or stories, a person can keep hold of the thread of his thought and it is mind blowing. He is a brilliant scholar and a genius. Reading his book created a paradigm shift in my spiritual thinking. It also showed me that I could probably read anything written and learn something from it. I began a lifelong love of following LDS scholarly writings.
So What the Heck Does Έḇeḏ Mean?
Jennifer C. Lane, in her essay entitled “Worship: Bowing Down and Serving the Lord,” found in “Ascending the Mountainof the Lord: Temple, Praise, and Worship in the Old Testament” a book of scholarly essays presented at the 42nd Annual Brigham Young University Sidney B. Sperry Symposium, describes Worship as a Way of Life: The Example of the Servants (p 132).
I don’t know about you but I have a hard time coming to grips with the idea of a servant bowing down to his master. In modern society the idea of bowing down and submitting oneself to the will of another rubs you the wrong way. Of course this is a cultural bias, coming out of a time where slavery was practiced, even embraced, as a way of life, any outward display of servitude seems degrading.
Hopeful and Inspiring Models of Servanthood
Lane finds a very positive status of a servant in examples found in the Old Testament, our current course of study in Sunday school this year. These examples can show us how we can live in a “true relationship with God.” I became intrigued that I might actually learn something from that ‘boring Old Testament.’
The Meaning of Έḇeḏ
          The Hebrew word for servant ‘eḇeḏ “generally expresses the position of a human being before God,” and it can also describe the servant who is an instrument in the Lord’s hands to accomplish his work and bring about his righteousness.
One phrase in my patriarchal blessing says “Sister Beverly, I bless you that you shall have a determination in your heart to ever serve the Lord… to bring to pass much righteousness upon the earth…” Hmmmm, interesting, me a servant. Give Service. To Serve… Servant. Hear me thinking?
Christ Our Exemplar as Servant
Lane says, “The image of the Suffering Servant describes the redemptive role of Christ in the prophetic writings of Isaiah.” The role of servant singles out one who has a specific task to perform. “This principle —namely, the honor of being chosen, obedient, and working as representatives of God, that of being ‘eḇeḏ in the Old Testament, describes the one who lives in the true relationship with God —always obedient, always on the Lord’s errand.”
We should ask as Paul, “Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?" (Acts 9:6)
Lane says “We do not need to have a messianic or prophetic mission in life in order to worship the Lord as his servants. In fact, recognizing that we all are called to be servants but given different missions is a humbling and also equalizing vision that can free us from envy, resentment, pride, or any desire to boast or compare.”
Worship is Something that We Do
Worship is something that we do and that we are in a relationship with the one we are worshiping. Understanding the Hebrew Old Testament vocabulary usage of the verbs hwh (bow down) and āḇaḏ (serve) that are often translated as “worship” shows they describe the physical expression of a relationship of submission to authority.
Now, I don’t know about you, but that concept or image doesn’t sit well with me. Yet upon further pondering, my bowing my head in prayer, and in the temple, it is a beautiful thing to me. So rather than it being about what “I” think, or what “I” feel, understanding worship in reality, becomes a positive uplifting way of life expressed by the physical actions of bowing down or serving. So, Bev, get over it... bow down... be humble.
Ye Are Not Your Own
The thought as expressed by Paul in 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 “Ye are not your own…for ye are bought with a price” explains that “since we belong to the Lord through the purchase price of the blood of Christ, we should not bow down and serve anyone else.”
In Psalms 5:7, “But as for me, I will come into thy house in the multitude of thy mercy: and in thy fear will I worship toward thy holy temple,” Lane illuminates, “All lands and all people were invited to be the Lord’s servants and to come before his presence in his holy house to worship and to praise. “Bowing down’ and “serving” the Lord in the context of temple worship is a commandment, but it is also an expression of love and gratitude for our redemption.”

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Gilbert AZ Temple Tour

A Tour of the new Gilbert AZ Temple
Story of a Celestial Chandelier

     I have a young friend, Taylor, age 15 who lives in the difficult environment of a CPS group home in Mesa, AZ. Although I first met her when she was baptized at age 8, her tragic life has left her with little knowledge about Christ and His redeeming sacrifice for her. Each month when I go up to Mesa to see her, she will ask if we can go to the Mesa Temple Visitor’s Center where we watch videos or look at special exhibits. Or she’d request a visit to the Regional FamilySearch Library across from the Mesa Temple, where she helps me pull and copy pages from books for my own research. Of course, she also gets onto one of the computers and communicates with relatives in England via FaceBook and Messenger.
     It was a natural idea for me to ask Taylor if she’d like go along with me to visit the Open House of the nearby Gilbert Temple. On the 21st of January at 4:30pm we toured this beautiful temple. We had a photo taken in front of the temple to begin because no photos are allowed inside due to the sacred nature of it being the House of the Lord.
Taylor and Bev in front of Gilbert Temple

Taylor loves taking photographs and afterwards while the sun was setting, causing glorious lighting, she took some great photos.

     As we were leaving, there was a tent set up where people could fill out request forms to have someone come to their home to learn more about the church. Taylor was drawn into the tent because of beautiful flowers, plant arrangements and wonderful paintings on 

Crystal Chandelier Story
One of the men hosting there was a local Priesthood leader. He took a special interest in Taylor. It turns out that he and his wife and 18 year old daughter named Taylor…Can you believe that?... were asked to help put the strings of Swarovski crystal beads onto the chandelier in the celestial room of the temple.
He tells this story:
They had to wear white gloves to handle the strings. A Swarovski company had a representative on site. They had to hook the long strands of crystals around the rim and down to a center finial at the bottom. In so doing the crystals form a lovely graceful shape.
They had placed about a third of the strands before his daughter noticed that they weren’t hanging evenly. She studied out the problem and noticed some of the bows, located where they attached to the rim, were tarnished, and some were longer than the others. She told her dad that she thought she could fix the problem and asked him to pick out a perfect stand. They laid this one on the table as their guide, then he removed all of the stands and compared each one to that guide. Having selected matching stands and using only these, they rehung all of them. The result was a chandelier that was perfectly shaped.
Official Photo of the Chandelier in the Celestial Room Gilbert Arizona Temple (used by permission)

     These crystals were from Swarovski, he told us, well-known for their high quality, but what most people don’t know is that they also produce a line of crystals even better than what is commonly available. These are the ones used in the Gilbert temple lighting fixtures. Both Taylor and I had gasped at their beauty when we saw them on the tour. There truly was a remarkable difference from the normal crystal you might see elsewhere. These crystals reflected light like scintillating rainbows. I tried hard to figure out how it was done… where the light source was coming from. It was awe inspiring. Words cannot describe how exquisite they are.
Then the man asked Taylor, “What did that one perfect strand represent?”
She answered, “Jesus!”
“What do you think the other stands represent?”
“I guess they represent all of us,” she answered.
     He told her how lovely she was and how talented. She was made of the highest quality materials, in the image of her Father in heaven. In this earth life we acquire a little tarnish and find we have little differences or imperfections (like found in the bows). It is our job in this life, to work on fixing those, so we can become like Jesus, our Savior.
My Taylor IS lovely. Heavenly Father loves her very much.

     He loves each of us, perfectly. He sent his son Jesus Christ to this earth and He died for us, so that those imperfections can be eliminated, if we repent and believe on His name, receive baptism and follow his commandments. This allow us to return to our Father in Heaven unblemished at the end of our earth life.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Worship God, The First Law of Camp Fire

Worship God
Do you know what the word “worship” means?
Worship God…the Father. This was the first Law of Camp Fire. It seemed illusive to me as a child and no adult ever told me to “do” it. We would just repeat the Camp Fire Law occasionally in our group. I didn’t know how to worship, but I desired to do so all of my life.
Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, 11th edition, 2012 page 1445 defines worship as “reverence offered a divine being or supernatural power; also an act of expressing such reverence.” Another definition was, “a form of religious practice with its creed and ritual.”
This latter description is what I would now have thought it meant I suppose… creed and ritual. This certainly was unknown to me as a child had someone even tried to define it for me. Every religion of the world has its own creed and rituals, so which ones were true?
At a very early age I began to desire to search for this truth, although I didn’t know it at the time. About the second grade…age 6-7… I began going to church with whatever neighborhood parent and childhood friend asked me. My own parents didn’t go to church. I felt good there. I like to sun coming through the stained glass windows, and the singing and the stories of Jesus. But of course, someone had to invite and take me there.
About this time while attending Webster Elementary School in Pasadena, California,
I am the second from the right in the front row

 I joined Blue Birds, the youngest age group of Camp Fire Girls.
I am the center girl in front row

I didn’t know about the Camp Fire Laws yet, but in Third grade my parents divorced.
This was taken on my 8th birthday. I am next to the teacher on the left. I am still happy.

I am fourth from left in front row. But no so happy as my parents had divorced.

At the end of my fourth grade school year, I “flew up” into Camp Fire Girls AND my mother, sister and I moved to Pomona, California where she was selling Real Estate.
I continued going to church with whatever friend was going and invited me. The big Baptist Church had a bus that came around to pick us up, so I went along. Now that I look back on it, I suppose my mother must have given permission and got me up to get dressed in time.  The Kingsley Elementary School where I went also had weekly “released time” bible study. This was fun. I to walk somewhere else for an hour or two during the week, so I went to that too.
In Junior High School I began attending church (Dutch Reformed, I think) where my friend, Toni Nash went because I could walk there. They had week day activities for the youth as well as a week-long bible school in the summer. She and I even played a clarinet duet one Sunday. 
I am in row three, fourth from right, and standing behind my friend Toni Nash
Was I a Religious Nut?
Later in life, my mother told me that my father had asked her, “Are you trying to make Beverly into a religious nut?” when he found out I was going to church regularly. She replied, “This is all her I idea, I had nothing to do with it.” I was just a normal kid, doing normal things, but I just loved how I felt on Sunday when I went to church. No I wasn't a religious nut.
In the summer before college, I went to live with my father in Artesia, California because he was going to pay for my first semester there. He served on the Cerritos College Board or a support group, or something because he was a local businessman, owning a Certified Public Accounting firm. There was a Dutch Reformed church there also, and I met neighborhood friends that went to the Wednesday night youth activities, so I went along. I can’t remember attending on Sunday, but  I suppose I must have, but the feeling of “joy or happiness” wasn’t there.
By fall I had stopped attending and during college, I was exposed to many other philosophies and began exploring them all. Mostly they didn’t “feel” right either, until I found the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints during the last semester of College at Cal State Fullerton. It was like coming home. I knew it was true. If you’d asked me then what it meant to worship God, I couldn’t have told you.
Finally I’ve Found an Explanation of the Word Worship
After almost 70 years of life, I’ve finally found the real meaning of the term worship in Daniel L. Belnap’s essay entitled “That I May Dwell Among Them,” found in the 42nd Annual BYUSidney Sperry Symposium publication “Ascending the Mountain of the Lord” page 12.
“The term worship stems from the English word worth, suggesting that worship is the process by which we recognize the worth of God and in return receive revelation concerning God’s appreciation of our worth. Just as we gain an understanding of these truths through our worship at the temple, so too ancient Israel understood the true nature of man and God, and the manner of the relationship they could have with God by their experiences in the temple and tabernacle.”
Ascending the Mountain of the Lord
This book title means a lot to me. I’ve used this phrase, Ascending the Mountain of the Lord, to describe the significance of a certain petroglyph found very near where I live in Picture Rocks, Arizona. The Native Americans who traverse the area where I live centuries ago, carved or pecked out many pictographs and petroglyphs on a stone outcropping in Saguaro National Park West, located probably three miles from me as a crow flies.

This particular symbol is a spiral and is placed on a rock shaped like a mountain, reflecting a mountain in the distance. Martineau in his book entitled, “The Rocks Begin to Speak,” says the orientation of this spiral means to ascend or climb that mountain over there, to find further instructions.
It seems that my desire to “Worship God” has led me over the years of my life to the knowledge of how to worship, culminating in the joy of temple worship. This desire has also led me how to live my life that I might be worthy of worshiping in His house, the temple, and receiving a witness that God does recognize my worth. I know He loves me perfectly and does reveal his will for me. My life works are a testimony of His guiding hand.

Friday, January 31, 2014

Dusting Off Depression

Pick Myself Up, Dust Off the Depression
       I’ve been reading an “LDS Living” magazine article published by/as a division of Deseret Book, which I receive as a platinum customer. It has offered me a rare insight into one of the phrases listed on page 19 under the title “What God Expects of You.”

     Just this past month I’ve learned about the first law of Camp Fire, “Worship God” and now I realize that the fourth law of Camp Fire, “Pursue Knowledge” means more than I had always thought; more than being the first member of my family to complete a college education.

       My Husband’s life theme had been Doctrine and Covenants 88:77-81. Here we are commanded to gain knowledge, then teach, testify and warn our neighbors, “Of things both in heaven and in the earth, and under the earth; things which have been, things which are, things which must shortly come to pass; things which are at home, things which are abroad; the wars and the perplexities of the nations, and the judgments which are on the land; and a knowledge also of countries and of kingdoms.” 
       Seek all of this so as to fulfill your life’s mission, we are told. This gathering of knowledge is to be used serving God and our fellow man. This verse was quoted last night by my home teacher… a reminder to pick myself up, dust off the depression (the dust of daily battle) and see God’s hand in my life; to see myself as God sees me and get back to the work serving Him by serving others: the third law of Camp Fire.

This is the whole list of What God Expects of Me
… and you

1.       Be imperfect but hope to strive continually for improvement
2.       Live optimistically with obedience, hope and faith
3.       Seek Him out and allow Him into your life
4.       Forgive yourself and learn from your mistakes
5.       Be patient and kind with yourself
6.       Be His hands on earth, helping others and allowing others to help you
7.       Seek knowledge
8.       Have joy
9.       Overcome and be triumphant

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

                I would dream big and settle for whatever success would come of it. That’s what I did when I was a museum professional from age 24 to age 32. I dreamed of great exhibitions and made them happen; dreamed of grand annual outdoor art festivals and they happened; dreamed of quality publications and they came to pass.
                That’s what I did when the opportunity to restore an old Victorian house in Ontario, California fell into my lap. The result of that one actually stopped cars in the middle of the street to gawk at the results and helped raise $2000 for charity when we held an open house after it was finished. It still stands as a really beautiful small Victorian jewel of a house. It was one of the most delightful projects that I’ve ever undertaken. The results were beautiful.
That’s what I did in Arkansas as chairman for the Church’s area celebration for it’s 150th birthday when I was in charge of decorations for a Grand Ball. It was a glorious success. I painted the twelve presidents of the church in oval frames; we had fake Greek columns to dance around and many, many people came in period costumes; it got covered by the local news media with rave reviews and wonderful photographs in the paper. What a blast!
That’s what I did in Tennessee when I chaired a “Tennessee Conference on Records” in Nashville when our stake center was hit by a tornado. This was the idea I came up with to help keep family history in the public eye when we no longer had a Family History Center. The Stake and Area Presidency’s supported and publicized this event making it a huge success. It was very well attended by Western, Middle and Eastern Tennessee experts from repositories of historic records.
                That’s what I did in Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico after my family moved there when my husband retired….well, that will be another story. Suffice it to say that I organized a bi-cultural, bi-lingual symposium on family history records in Mexico. Twenty-five experts, from both sides of the border, attended this three day conference.
2013 Pulled the Rug from Under My Feet
                I was so discouraged at the end of this past year when I was setting goals for the New Year, that I determined that I would never do another large genealogical conference again, because of my age and physical limitations.
                I was so discouraged that I determined that I would not attend RootsTech 2014 for the same reasons. Last year I had determined to write a book and gather stories of members involved in this technology of family history where they saw God’s hand in their work. This book was to be called Elijah’s Warriors and aimed at our youth.  But, when I attended RootsTech 2013, I found out that the youth suffered from exactly the same malady that hinders our adult leaders … they don’t read books… or manuals. The youth want short five minute videos. I wouldn’t be able to produce the quality videos that would do the subject matter justice.
                I determined that I did not have the scholarship credentials to write a book, especially on my favorite topic of Isaiah or that book on Elijah’s Warriors.
                 You might wonder why I’ve lived my life this way: Dreaming Big. Early in my membership, I received my patriarchal blessing and have patterned by life using the blessings found there. I really sincerely desired to accomplish those things Heavenly Father sent me to earth to do. In other words, my mission in life, and I knew it had to center around family and family history. Abraham 3:25 is quoted in my blessing saying, “to see if they would do whatsoever thing the Lord commanded them.”
                This was quoted in last Sunday’s lesson from the new book, “Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: Joseph Fielding Smith.” I had always read this verse to mean something more than just keeping the traditional commandments, which I do. I wanted to learn from personal revelation what exactly God wanted me to do at any given moment in my life. I wanted to know what I promised God that I would do while I was on the earth. Then I wanted to always be found doing just that. So I kept praying and I’d get inspiring ideas, often Big Ideas.

                God has sent his prophets, messengers and given us scriptures to help us. He has given us the Holy Ghost to lead, guide, prompt and reveal His will to each of us individually. I wish to take His yoke upon me, to work out my salvation by obedience to the laws of His gospel and all of this knowing my nothingness in the grander scheme of things. Finally that it will be by His grace, after all that I can do, that I will be saved in the Kingdom of God.

It used to be that if I could dream it, I could make it happen. But not in 2013
                 During the past six months I've felt as if I see things through a glass darkly. Is this a cloud of depression that's been hovering over me? Or is it because the most important thing I could be doing this year is something Satan doesn't want me to be doing? Hah!

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

BEEgining a New Year
     Each year in December I review my journal pages, where I keep my current goals, and then ponder and pray while rereading my patriarchal blessing. Phrases stand out as I am inspired to select a theme and then slowly, the Holy Ghost reveals a pathway that I should follow during the upcoming year.
     I've repeated this process over the past twenty+ years. It is sort of like starting a new hive. Here is a wonderful ten minute video about how to start a new hive that I found while simply clicking on my computer's Word template page's "how to" selection. Amazing what you can find with just a little curiosity.
How is this post like Dan making a new hive?
     First I have done this before and I have all of the equipment I need for my new posts including my 2013 journal (new hive box), my patriarchal blessing (the honeycomb sheets) and a pound or two of bees with their queen mailed straight from California (lots of ideas and a new list of goals for 2014.) And yes, I am from California; no I am not a beekeeper. But as I have explained in earlier posts the name of my post,
BEE in the Desert,  is taken from my maiden name: Beverly Elaine Eckles AND the fact that I live in Tucson, Arizona at the edge of Saguaro National Monument a state park located on the west side of Tucson about seven miles from I-10 on Picture Rocks Road, a classic desert location. Also, when I wanted to name my blog Malachi 3:16, the program didn't like the colon and wouldn't accept that as the name of my blog.
So begins a new year of posts 2014
     Will I be more regular in posting this year? That is the big question. I've pondered why I haven't posted too much in 2013 and have decided that it was still of year of mourning for me. My goals for this year are quite simple and writing my personal history, working on finding family through descendant research in FamilySearch Family Tree using to discover new relatives that I can take to the temple, and getting into the best of health are the main categories. Blogging will help keep me on track with these and perhaps my interests will be of some value to others.
Finding Balance

Spiritual Growth               Selfless Service
     Self Improvement