Friday, May 27, 2005
This weekend, across the fruited plain and on both coasts, summer will officially start. Back yard BBQ's (even the one at Cordeiro Manor - if I can get it to work) will be fired up. Much carousing and festivities will take place.
It is all together fitting, proper, and American that this should happen.
Never the less, dear reader, in the midst of steak grilling, yardwork, and bargain hunting, take some time this Memorial Day to remember why it is we as a nation set aside this day from all others.
It is to remember those men and women who, in the prime of their lives, went forth to the shores of a nation and people they knew not and gave the last full measure of devotion for their country - in the service of their fellow man.
I often say I spent the first 20 years of my life in the US Army. Growing up I lived mostly on bases, both in the US and abroad. When my family finally got around to buying a house, I felt strange when my address didn't include "Presidio", "Fort", "APO" or some other military designation.
Most people I know can claim to have a hometown - someplace they grew up, went to school, and can always go back to. I don't really have that. I can claim hometowns in California, Arizona, Washington, Georgia, Utah, Colorado, and Missouri. Some years ago when I was an under-grad student, I finally found my answer to the ever posed question "Where are you from?"
My answer? "I'm from the US Army."
That, dear reader, is why the men and women of the Armed Forces are, and always shall be - to me anyway - family.
They died hard, those savage men-like wounded wolves at bay. They were filthy, and they were lousy, and they stunk. And I loved them. - General Douglas MacArthur
Thursday, May 26, 2005
Another chapter in my continuing chronicles of doctrines which I find to be very simple, yet other “intellectuals” find disturbing, offensive, and outdated.
In some countries, Great Britain being the first to come to mind, politics is a very strange animal. There is an official government, duly elected, constituted, and empowered to direct the affairs of the nation. The winning party has all the trappings of power, and conducts itself accordingly.
The losing party does not just take its place within the government as a minority power. It creates what is commonly referred to as a “Shadow Government”. Each department or ministry is mirrored by the opposing party. They then refer to themselves as the “Loyal Opposition”. I’ll add that to my dictionary of oxy-morons.
There are those who believe the Church functions in much the same manner. There are actually “shadow” churches made up of people who believe the Church has strayed too far (in one direction or another) from what they consider to be the truth. There are also those who attempt to influence the Church from within.
They consider themselves to be good, upstanding Church members. And by most definitions they probably are. That said, they believe they can influence church policy, teaching, and quite possibly doctrine. This they do in order to make the Church more acceptable to themselves and their peer group.
They hold conventions, seminars, symposiums, and have a large presence in the Bloggernacle. Through these mediums they pontificate their opinions with as much vigor as they can muster – hoping that somehow, someway, the Church will listen to, and heed, their counsel. They are learned, therefore they believe themselves to be wise.
I could here insert a reference to the folly of attempting to “steady the ark”, but that would take too much time. Look it up for yourself.
One thing they have evidently not learned, or if they learned it, it was quickly dismissed or forgotten, is one very simple concept. The Church is a Kingdom, not a Democracy. While we are governed by “Common Consent”, a rejection of a policy, teaching, or doctrine by the congregation does not mean said precept will change (or be changed) to suit the dissenters.
In a political world, you can be both loyal and opposed at the same time. That’s the way that system works. That is not the case in a patriarchal (they cringe when they read that word) order or organization. You cannot aid in building the Kingdom while at the same time taking aim at the foundation of that which you seek to build.
I’m not saying the Church is not without flaws. It is made up of imperfect people trying to manage a perfect system based on revelation. I’ve been a part of enough wards, stakes, branches, and groups to have figured that out by now.
But when I raise my hand to the square, and sustain the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles as Prophets, Seers, and Revelators, it means that I believe they are what I sustained them to be. It means they talk to God – and God talks to them. They will not, and cannot, lead me astray.
I’ll take that over Conventional Wisdom and the Philosophy of Men every single time.
Here endeth the lesson.
Tuesday, May 24, 2005
The Ideal Vs. The Comfortable
There are many blogs run by LDS church members – most of them affiliate themselves one way or another with a cyber-“organization” loosely referred to as “The Bloggernacle”. Content on these blogs range from testimony to cookbook sharing. Discussion ranges from the personal to conversations that stop just short (and sometimes cross right over into) profaning that which many people consider to be sacred.
That is their choice. Blogs are, after all, a medium of self-expression.
There is one blog in particular which, in my humble opinion, repeatedly makes light of many things I believe are best left to quiet conversations in private places. I will not link to them – should you wish to find them, you’re more than welcome to Google their subject matter.
One thing they continually harp on is the Church’s unceasing promotion of what they refer to as “The Ideal”.
“The Ideal”, they say, is something very much unattainable. So, dear reader, what exactly is “The Ideal”? Well, lets review:
“The Ideal” consists of a two-parent family with a Stay At Home Mom (SAHM – I’ll borrow from their glossary so as to conserve keystrokes). I could go into more of what “The Ideal” consists of, but I believe it’s best described by The First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles in The Family – A Proclamation to the World.
The Brethren are very precise and specific in their language. The Lord doesn’t waste ink, airtime, or bandwidth.
What I believe the people on this blog are doing is, instead of attempting to help the group aspire to live something close to “The Ideal”, they are rather consoling one another into becoming comfortable with living standards not much different from those found in the world today.
I believe the teachings of the Gospel exist to enable man to aspire to be more than he is – to become more than the world would have him be. The world would have us scratch the earth like turkeys when we are capable of soaring with the eagles.
“But,” they insist, “ ‘The Ideal’ is just not possible in today’s world. A family unit with two parents is rare – let alone the idea of a SAHM. Today’s reality does not permit such a standard to be lived.”
In their minds, and in the minds of many, this may be so. Never the less, the teachings of the Prophets and Apostles – both living and dead – state the fundamentals laid out in the Proclamation to be the standard set by the Lord. Is it easy? No. Is it attainable? Yes.
Regardless of what we may publicly profess, we can only testify to that which we have experience. I grew up in a family where my father was the sole breadwinner and my mother stayed at home with me and her other six children. It was not the ideal situation in a worldly sense. Tough choices had to be made – often at the expense of my mother’s worldly aspirations. For the record, my mother is one of the most brilliant women I know. She could have done most anything and been phenomenally successful at it. She chose, however to raise her children the best way she knew how – and for her that meant staying in the home.
Did her staying at home with us make a difference? Well, from the seven of us unruly children there have been seven missionaries and six temple marriages. Are we perfect? Hell no. Get us together in one place and you’re lucky if the building is still standing when all is said and done. We’re a work in progress.
“But,” they insist again, “that was your parent’s generation. Today’s reality makes “The Ideal” far more unattainable. Surely you can see anyone teaching “The Ideal” today is simply expecting the impossible”
And again, in their minds, this is the only reality they can accept. That said, up to this point my small family has been able to live something resembling “The Ideal” they say is unattainable. Is it easy? Hell, no. It is a struggle every single day because my wife is also one of the most phenomenally brilliant people I know. There are a million things she could be doing other than raising our two children. Starring on Broadway is one of them. Some days are better than others. I won’t go into details of how we make it work, because this is not the place for such a private discussion. Sufficeth me to say that we make it work – sometimes better than others.
My point, and I do have one, is this: This life is meant to be a proving ground. The Lord said as much to Abraham. We either live the principles of the Gospel as they are taught to us, or we don’t. There is no cataclysmic consequence if we don’t. We simply don’t get the blessings (both temporal, spiritual, and eternal) if we don’t obey the commandments associated with the blessings we seek.
So I'll let the rant and complain, but I won't just sit here while they attempt to portray themselves as mainstream.
Here endeth the lesson.
Thursday, May 12, 2005
Football and Testimony
East Coast Eddie penned (typed actually) a post that reminded me of something I learned a long time ago. The basic fundamentals of the gospel are really very simple. That's a good thing, because I like simple.
Of course, in my mind, I relate most everything to football, so I was reminded of the following story of Green Bay Packers' Coach Vince Lombardi. His team had just come off the field after losing a rather lopsided game to the Chicago Bears. Lombardi wasn't happy. He climbed on a bench and lambasted nearly every player for their shortcomings, and then announced the team would not be leaving the locker room to go home. They would return to the field to practice. They would start with the most basic fundamental principle of the game. Looking out on his team, Lombardi held aloft a pigskin and declared:
This, gentlemen, is a football. Now let's get to work.See, this is how I base my testimony.
Either Joseph Smith saw what he saw, or he didn't.
If he did, then he was a prophet, and the Book of Mormon is true. Following that logic, the Church is true, and we have a Prophet to day.
That prophet receives Revelation, which may or (most likely) may not match current Conventional Wisdom.
As for me, I'll take Revelation over Conventional Wisdom every single time.
It really is that simple.
Here endeth the lesson.
Tuesday, May 10, 2005
Who Put Me In Charge?
Someplace along the pathway of life, I became an adult. I'm not sure when it happened. I can't pin down the date. It must have been a process. I lost a lot of the Young And Irresponsible mantra when I went to serve a mission in Brazil. A little more of that mantra got lost when I married the Ravishing Mrs. Cordeiro.
I'm pretty sure the last remnants of the Mantra were obliterated with the birth of my son, Corderinho. Suddenly and irreversibly, I was (and still am) directly Responsible for the well being of a family (now consisting of the Ravishing Mrs. Cordeiro and two children).
There is part of me that misses the Young and Irresponsible Mantra. That's part of the reason I drive a Mustang. I will fight the Minivan Syndrome right down to my last breath.
So now, instead of Circuit City and Best Buy, my hard earned currency goes to Contractors and Home Depot. I go to Parent Teacher Conferences instead of movies. I watch Dora the Explorer with my daughter, Corderinha, instead of Law & Order.
That might have to change during football season.
And yes, I know. The Ravishing Mrs. Cordeiro is really the one in charge. I just pay the bills. :)
Sunday, May 08, 2005
Happy Mother's Day!
"All that I am or ever hope to be, I owe to my angel Mother."
"I remember my mother's prayers and they have always followed me. They have clung to me all my life." -- Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865)
"My mother was the most beautiful woman I ever saw. All I am I owe to my mother. I attribute all my success in life to the moral, intellectual and physical education I received from her." -- George Washington (1732-1799)
"And now I say unto you, my beloved brother Moroni, that never had I seen so great courage, nay, not amongst all the Nephites.
For as I had ever called them my sons (for they were all of them very young) even so they said unto me: Father, behold our God is with us, and he will not suffer that we should fall; then let us go forth; we would not slay our brethren if they would let us alone; therefore let us go, lest they should overpower the army of Antipus.
Now they never had fought, yet they did not fear death; and they did think more upon the liberty of their fathers than they did upon their lives; yea, they had been taught by their mothers, that if they did not doubt, God would deliver them.
And they rehearsed unto me the words of their mothers, saying: We do not doubt our mothers knew it.--Book of Mormon, Alma 56: 45-48
Wednesday, May 04, 2005
Betsey Pearl's 4th Birthday
Happy Birthday, Betsey Pearl.
I read a lot of blogs. Every now and then I come across something that makes me laugh. Sometimes I come across something that pulls at my heart strings.
Yes, I do have one.
Today, Adam Greenwood of Times and Seasons wrote a tribute to his daughter that ripped my heart right out of my ribcage and shredded it.
You see, Betsey Pearl wanted more than anything to turn four - and she did, just not on this earth.
I commend Adam's post for your reading, but bring along a big box of kleenex.
Monday, May 02, 2005
Dental Hygenist: Your gums look kind of swollen.
Me (mentally): Could that have anything to do with the IRON HOOK you're scraping along my gums?