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Saturday, September 27, 2014

List of participants in the Ogden Utah Temple Rededication

In the Church News this weekend, there was an article featuring the names of those who participated in the Ogden Utah Temple Rededication. Since that is of historical importance to the Church, I thought that I would post a link to it and also reproduce that list here. Here's the link:

Participants in the Ogden Utah Temple Rededication

10 a.m. session
President Thomas S. Monson presided, spoke and offered the dedicatory prayer.
President Henry B. Eyring, first counselor in the First Presidency, conducted.
Elder David A. Bednar, Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
Elder L. Whitney Clayton, Presidency of the Seventy
Sister Rosemary M. Wixom, Primary general president
President Frederick Froerer III, Ogden Utah Temple president
Sister Kathleen Froerer, Ogden Utah Temple matron
Prayers offered by Elder Craig Fisher, an Area Seventy, and President W. Richards Cluny of the Evanston Wyoming South Stake.

1 p.m. session
President Eyring presided, conducted, spoke and offered the dedicatory prayer.
Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
Elder Donald L. Hallstrom, Presidency of the Seventy
Sister Bonnie L. Oscarson, Young Women general president
President Parley R. Baldwin, first counselor in the Ogden Utah Temple presidency
Sister Cathy Baldwin, Ogden Utah Temple, assistant to the matron
Prayers offered by Brother David L. Beck, Young Men general president, and President G. Doyle Obray of the North Ogden Utah Ben Lomond Stake.

4 p.m. session
President Eyring presided, conducted and offered the dedicatory prayer.
Elder Dallin H. Oaks, Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
Elder M. Russell Ballard, Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
Elder Lynn G. Robbins, Presidency of the Seventy
Sister Linda K. Burton, Relief Society general president
President Reed M. Richards, second counselor in the Ogden Utah Temple presidency
Sister Marsha R. Richards, Ogden Utah Temple, assistant to the matron
Prayers offered by President Adams J. Love of the Layton Utah Layton Hills Stake, and Brother Tad R. Callister, Sunday School general president.

 The only bad thing is that I was not able to ascertain any information I might be missing. Oh, well. I will be content to know what I have. Each session was wonderful, I'm sure. I can't wait for the next temple dedication!

Thursday, September 25, 2014

American Fork Police are Awesome!/Pre-Authorization Granted for Needed Medication/Prize from Publisher's Clearing House/Under the Weather and (Possibly) Dragging My Feet

Had an experience today that I just had to blog about. When my wife and I went out shopping, we were extremely bothered to discover that several people were parking illegally (without permit or license plate) in handicapped parking. This bothers me because I need that kind of parking when I go shopping. It bothers Amy because for the last 10+ years of her mother's life, she was wheelchair bound and often had to park elsewhere when someone thoughtlessly parked illegally in handicapped parking. Within the period of half an hour, we saw five people illegally parking. So as we left the last store we needed to go to, I phoned the American Fork Police. I spoke to the dispatcher. She patiently listened to my concerns and promised she'd have an officer contact me soon. Within 5 minutes of that phone call, I got a call from one of the American Fork Police Officers. I explained the situation to him, told him we had left the location but had wanted to make them aware so this problem could be resolved in the future, and that we had little tolerance for these types of people. The man couldn't have been nicer. He responded that he understood my frustrations fully and shared them, that he had no tolerance for people who break the law by parking illegally. He promised me that he would talk to his officers in the near future and have them patrol the business district of American Fork and look for violators a lot more consistently in the future. He also said that if I ever ran into this problem again, I shouldn't hesitate to call the police so they could cite the violators next time. He concluded by adding that it would help if next time we called from the location the violation was taking place and could somehow keep the offending car there until the police arrived to cite them. He then wished me a good day and ended the call. I couldn't have been more pleased with how that interaction turned out. The only thing that would have made it better is if Amy & I had thought to jot down the license plate numbers for the violating cars so they could be issued a citation. We will for sure do that in the future. My admiration for the American Fork Police Department knows no bounds!

In other news, I received a letter on Wednesday from my insurance company granting me the prior authorization I needed to get started taking the new medication my neurologist wants me to try. We are currently trying to iron out how to get the prescription for it (she is located in Salt Lake, and hopefully they can FedEx it to me tomorrow which means I could pick it up and start using it on Saturday) and find out the information I need to be aware of before starting this new medication. But the most important thing is that we got the necessary authorization! The hope is that we might be able to eliminate or back down the dosage on some of the other medications I am taking with this new medication. So I will be anxious to see how it works for me. I almost forgot to mention that no one seems to know what is causing my increased nausea, so we may be making an appointment for me to see my neurosurgeon or his nurse in Salt Lake, just in case my shunt setting got altered somehow. I don't want to, because there's always a chance that seeing them may result in surgery, which we have neither the time nor the money nor the desire to get put through. But we will do whatever we have to.

I almost forgot to mention something kind of exciting. I have signed up with Publisher's Clearing House to win prizes from them. I keep responding to the correspondence they request and doing whatever they tell me to make me eligible for those prizes, but I haven't won anything. Or at least I hadn't won anything until late last night. I was using their search engine, PCH Search, and apparently I came at a time when they were awarding hourly prizes to winners. I don't know how I managed it, but I won a $5 gift card. At first I didn't know what to  use it for. Then I remembered I had a Kindle on my computer and that Kindle books would be far less expensive than regular books. After looking around, I was able to purchase two Kindle books with the gift card, both by Chris Heimerdinger. The first was Muckwhip's Guide to Capturing the Latter-day Soul and is kind of an LDS version of C. S. Lewis's "The Screwtape Letters", though Chris's devil, Muckwhip, apparently uses the faith and practices of a faithful LDS member against him in an effort to bring him down. I look forward to reading that. The second book I bought was one I'd read years ago and wasn't sure I'd ever buy a paperback copy of. It's "Eddie Fantastic" and tells of a boy who one day finds himself endowed with supernatural abilities.  I'm sure I will treasure having both books being part of my Kindle library, and I can recommend both as very good reads, though admittedly I am only basing my recommendation for Muckwhip on other people's reviews and not personal experience. It was good to win something from Publisher's Clearing House. I just wish I'd win one of their more substantially sized prizes. Then all our troubles would be over. I guess I'll keep responding as directed to the messages I'm sent and hope for the best.

Amy and I have been feeling under the weather again and have only felt like doing what absolutely has to be done. I feel kind of bad. We went shopping yesterday, and it was only late last night when I realized I was running low on some of the over the counter medication I have been taking for nausea. If I had known or remembered about that at the store, we could have just gotten it yesterday. As it was, we had to make a special trip today. Amy wasn't happy about that at first, and I don't blame her for that. I felt horrible asking her as sick as she was feeling to take me somewhere when all she wanted to do was use today as a day for complete rest. I will have to make it up to her somehow. Maybe buy her flowers or something. She will protest and say that's not necessary, but I owe her big time for what she did for me today.

And not just today. Amy has been an absolute sweetheart in loving and serving me our entire marriage, but especially lately. In the last two  weeks while I have been at Physical Therapy, she has sneakily used my absence to edit the Sacrament Meeting recording for me. She has watched me stumble through doing that week after week, and so while I was gone, she decided to do it for me. I don't know what I did or how I managed to deserve to get such a wonderful, selfless spouse. In so many ways, I am her complete opposite. And this is no difference. She often has to ask me, sometimes several times, to do things for her, and she does things for me all the time without me asking or saying a word. I feel like the luckiest man alive to have such a woman. At the same time, I am deeply ashamed that I am not responding in kind. As with most things in my life, I need to work on that.

Because of the way I've been feeling, I haven't felt much like applying for jobs or writing. I haven't even taken the initiative to try and go to the Deseret Industries with the recommendation our Bishop wrote for me and see if they have a paid position for me that would allow me to work as much as I can handle, bring in some money, and give me some job experience and on the job training. I don't know why I'm dragging my feet on this one. Every time I think about it, I freeze up, and I get an unsettling feeling. It's hard to tell whether this is the "stupor of thought" signifying a wrong choice or whether it is just my own fear keeping me from doing something the Lord would want me to do. I can't trust my own feelings. Amy's advice is to give the DI a try. She says the worst that can happen is that they turn me away saying they don't have anything that would fit my skills or that they could train me for. I've promised her that as soon as I apply for all the jobs Irwin (my employment counselor) has sent me, I will look into the DI, and I still intend to do so, in spite of my fears and misgivings. But I am still very worried about what my feelings mean and whether I can trust them or not. It's something I definitely need to work through, but I don't have the luxury of lots of time to do so. The longer I drag my feet, the longer we remain in our difficult situation. And Amy makes a valid point: I can't expect the Lord to bless me if I don't act on things for myself. Your prayers would be appreciated as I try to work through this jumble of thoughts. Thanks, friends!

Well, that's about it for this update. I hope you, my readers, are well, and that you are enjoying reading these updates as much as I enjoy writing them. Best wishes until I post again!

Monday, September 22, 2014

A Vacation, a Temple Rededication, and Temple and Writing Progress

It has been a bit of a crazy week. On Tuesday I had a doctor's appointment scheduled in Provo @ 3 pm. Last year, we had the opportunity (since we had a little extra money to work with) to stay overnight at a motel in Park City. We've been hoping for an opportunity to do something like that again. When we were the recipients of some extra funds, Amy said she wanted to use some of it for another overnight getaway. It didn't take much to convince me. So we found a motel in Orem and booked it for Tuesday night. I also had an appointment scheduled with my new employment counselor in Provo @ 1:30. (It's ordinarily at 1, but since we didn't want to have to kill an hour doing nothing in Provo, my employment counselor graciously moved my appointment time.) Anyways, we got a late start and thus missed our chance to meet with Irwin (my employment counselor). He said he'd send me links to jobs. So we instead went to Deseret Industries and found me three new pairs of corduroy pants and a new blue suit and then went to my doctor's appointment. The news there was very good. We then backtracked to the motel.

We had the opportunity to get two great meals from Del Taco or Taco Bell (can't remember which) and Noodles and Company. We went swimming three times (twice on the night we arrived and once the next morning) and had the pool to ourselves all three times. The one thing that was kind of a bummer was that the hot tub was kind of lukewarm in the morning. We had brought my laptop along just in case, but only used it to figure out what we wanted to order from Noodles and Company for Tuesday night. We went home very happy about our overnight stay. I had a physical therapy appointment later on that day, which may have been a mistake, but I went anyways.

Then today was the rededication date for the Ogden Utah temple. I had wanted to go to the first session so we could witness the cornerstone ceremony, but we were abnormally tired and not feeling well when we woke up, so we opted to go later. We tried to make it to the 1 pm session, but again were feeling tired and unwell and needed more rest. When it came time for us to either get up and go to the 4 pm session or else miss the dedication altogether, we finally felt up to going. I will freely admit that I was still a bit out of sorts and may have zoned in and out during the services, but I think the important thing is that I was there. I remember hearing from Elders Dallin H. Oaks and M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, Elder Lynn G. Robbins of the Presidency of the Seventy, Sister Linda K. Burton (General Relief Society President), and I remember hearing from the second counselor in the temple presidency and his wife. Elder Ronald A. Rasband led us in the Hosanna Shout and President Henry B. Eyring read the beautiful dedicatory prayer. I later learned that President Thomas S. Monson had only been in attendance at the 10 am session. I hope he's doing all right.

Anyways, the temple rededication is now in the past. The next temple dedications Utah can look forward to are for the Payson and Provo City Center temples. The Payson temple is anticipated to be completed early next year, while the Provo City Center temple is anticipated to be completed late in 2015, all going well. There's a great site I use to keep track of temple progress: According to that, 2 temples under renovation will be completed next year; the Phoenix Arizona Temple will be dedicated on Sunday November 16, 2014; seven temples are predicted to be completed in 2015; five in 2016; and two in 2017 (so far). Of the twelve announced temples, eight may have their groundbreaking between now and 2017, depending on how quickly the Church can get the necessary approvals (sites already having been announced for those eight); and the final four have yet to have a site announced. I will keep my eye on the progress of temples, and you can be sure I will post them here on my blog.

For now, it's very late, and I should probably be thinking about bed. Just wanted to blog about these things while they were on my mind. Tomorrow, I will be applying for the jobs that Irwin sent me and hopefully going through my physical therapy exercises and doing a bit of writing. Many of those who have read the interview Aaron Miller did with me have asked when my first published book will be out. The answer to that is short and sweet: I don't know. One thing I do know: some authors I know have posted excerpts of their projects on their blogs, and that's something I may look into in the near future, especially if there is enough interest in it. So, what do you say, my readers? Would you be interested in that? If so, I may consider it. Until I write again, all the best.

Monday, September 15, 2014

The Opportunity to hear from 3 apostles

I had a unique opportunity yesterday (Sunday) that I just had to blog about (even though it will push my Conference Predictions back a post or two). I heard from 3 of the Lord's special witnesses. This post will briefly highlight what I learned from each of them.

First, Elders Russell M. Nelson and Richard G. Scott spoke at a regional conference attended by all who live in Utah and Wasatch Counties. It was great to hear the inspiring addresses from these two men. Elder Nelson spoke of the ministering of angels, and particularly the role they played in bringing about the restoration of all things in this, the dispensation of the fulness of times. He talked of the ministering of angels as a very personal thing. What interested me most about his address is that he has had a personal experience with ministering angels. Many of you will recall an incident that happened four years ago in Mozambique. Elder Nelson was there on a church assignment when he and his wife, along with two other couples, were attacked and robbed while dining one night. Elder Nelson mentioned to us something that the news outlets didn't report--apparently there was an attempt to kidnap everyone. Through the providence of God, they escaped with merely only scrapes and bruises. In fact, news outlets reported that Elder and Sister Nelson continued their assignment in the region as scheduled after this incident. I admire their courage. I'm not sure I'd have the courage or strength to continue to fulfill an assignment after being attacked and robbed. How grateful I am that the angels were on duty to protect Elder and Sister Nelson! Elder Nelson called on his wife to speak, and she spoke on the importance of doing indexing and temple work, which was something I needed, but didn't want, to hear. With as much as I've got going on in my life, it's hard to be told I need to make time for one more thing. But then I remember the blessings I saw come into my life as I was involved in extraction and frequent temple attendance, and I can't deny that these are blessings I want back in my life again.

Elder Scott spoke on the subject of personal prayer. He has spoken on that subject a lot.  I have heard him say the same things about it over and over again, but perhaps that's because it's something I still haven't grasped and that I needed to hear again. Lately, I'm ashamed to admit, my personal prayer record has been spotty at best. I still try to pray every night before going to sleep, but I only average praying in the morning about 2-3 times a week nowadays. This will come as a shock to most people who know how religiously I used to do it. I'm ashamed to admit I've been allowing other things to get in the way of my relationship and regular daily conversations with my Father in Heaven. I know He's just waiting for me to return in prayer regularly to Him. I know it's something I need to get back to doing regularly. Definitely need to work on that.

Then tonight was a CES fireside for young adults. I missed the live broadcast but was able to watch it later on The featured speaker was Elder D. Todd Christofferson. He talked of losing our lives for the gospel's sake. Yet another thing I need to work on. I have been neglecting my daily study of the scriptures and regular study of my patriarchal blessing. I'm lucky if I take time to thumb through the Church magazines, let alone sitting down to read them. I have let worldly things take the place of heavenly things far too much in my life. I took Elder Christofferson's talk as a personal call to repentance. I know that I'm not necessarily an evil person, but I do give in to the natural man far too much, especially lately. If the Savior were here, He might very well give me the rebuke He gave Peter when Peter suggested He didn't have to suffer and die for mankind. That's a sobering thought. I'd better shape up. Thank goodness for second chances! Thank goodness for the miracles of repentance and forgiveness! I will be eternally grateful for the gift the Savior has given me of His Infinite Atonement, through which I can change and become better if I am willing to make the effort and take the time to. And how blessed I feel knowing that even if after all I can do, I fall short, if I have done my best, He will make up the difference. That is the miracle of it. I testify that He is truly our Advocate with the Father and also our merciful Judge. None of us is too far gone. As long as there's life, there's hope.

How grateful I am for the messages of these three servants of the Lord. I testify that the words of the scripture are true: "...whether by mine own voice or by the voice of my servants, it is the same." I joyfully and gratefully testify of the principles of ministering angels, prayer, and losing our lives for the gospel's sake, and I do so in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

General Conference Predictions

I was originally going to wait and do this post closer to conference time, but since other bloggers have begun to post their General Conference Predictions, I thought I'd better get busy and do the same. After each General Conference ends, I analyze special files and facts and figures I have about General Conference and make predictions about the next one. This post will reveal three such predictions: two are mine, and one I am posting a link to. My thanks to Brandon Sanderson, with whom I have shared such predictions in the past. It was his inspiration for me to post these predictions on my blog.

First, the one with the link. I follow a blog that tracks LDS Church Growth. The author of that blog, Matthew Martinich, has done extensive research to find out facts about LDS Church Growth. Round about Conference time, one thing he does is predict potential temple sites that may be announced in the upcoming Conference. His latest blog post highlights his current prediction. It is interesting to me that he has not changed his prediction from last time. Not totally surprising, though, considering no new temples were announced last conference. Before I post a link to his predictions, I should mention that it was also Brandon's suggestion that I suggest to Matt that Matt and I swap predictions. I heard back from Matt today, giving me permission to post a link to his predictions, as long as I gave him full credit for them. So I want to be clear that these are Matthew Martinich's predictions, not mine. That said, the link follows:
 Matthew Martinich's October 2014 Temple Announcement Predictions

Now for my predictions. First, here's what changes I predict in Church leadership for October 2014:

First Quorum of the Seventy: Elders Carlos H. Amado and William R. Walker released and granted Emeritus Status. (Both are 70.)
Area Seventies: Releases and sustainings.

 Usually, there might be more changes in Church leadership, but none of the other First Quorum members are 70, and none of the Second Quorum members have served for the average 6 year period that seems to be the standard practice nowadays. I have noticed that if a Second Quorum member is near or past 70, the First Presidency will release them unless they are on assignment somewhere. Right now Elder Koichi Aoyagi fits that description. There's always a chance that there might be a change in the Presidency of the Seventy, but they usually announce those in advance if there is going to be one in October. (It will typically be announced with the new Area Leadership Assignments within a month or so after April general conference, and the change would have taken effect on August 1.) The Young Men General Presidency (with the exception of Brother Ridd, who was called in April last year) has been serving for more than the now-standard five year period, but I notice they don't typically make changes in Auxiliary Presidencies in October. It's only happened once or twice in October that I know of.

And here's my predictions for who will speak when during general conference in October 2014:

October 2014 Conference Predictions [Text in brackets indicates what actually happened.]
Saturday Morning
President Henry B. Eyring
President Thomas S. Monson

Elder L. Tom Perry

Elder Lynn G. Robbins

Carol F. McConkie

Elder Jörg Klebingat

Elder D. Todd Christofferson

President Dieter F. Uchtdorf
Saturday Afternoon
President Dieter F. Uchtdorf
President Henry B. Eyring (Sustaining of Church Officers)

President Boyd K. Packer

Elder Dallin H. Oaks

Elder Chi Hong (Sam) Wong

Elder Larry S. Kacher

Elder Hugo E. Martinez

Elder Neil L. Andersen

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland
Saturday Priesthood
President Henry B. Eyring
Elder Quentin L. Cook

Bishop Dean M. Davies

Elder Craig C. Christensen

President Dieter F. Uchtdorf

President Henry B. Eyring

President Thomas S. Monson
Sunday Morning
President Dieter F. Uchtdorf
President Henry B. Eyring

Elder Russell M. Nelson

Cheryl A. Esplin

Elder Eduardo Gavaret

Elder Robert D. Hales

President Thomas S. Monson
Sunday Afternoon
President Henry B. Eyring
Elder M. Russell Ballard

Elder David A. Bednar

Tad R. Callister

Elder Carlos A. Godoy

Elder James J. Hamula

Elder Allan F. Packer

Elder Richard G. Scott

President Thomas S. Monson
 Again, I typically have 60-80% accuracy in my general conference predictions. Stay tuned after General Conference for an accuracy report. Oh, and here's an additional prediction that I have made but I don't have written down anywhere. Since we heard from the General Presidents (Rosemary M. Wixom, Bonnie L. Oscarson, and Linda K. Burton) of the Women's Auxiliary Organizations (Primary, Young Women, and Relief Society) and from President Henry B. Eyring, First Counselor in the First Presidency, last General Women's Meeting, I predict that this General Women's Meeting, we will likely be hearing from the First Counselors of each Women's Auxiliary (Jean A. Stevens, Carol F. McConkie, and Carole M. Stephens) and from President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, Second Counselor in the First Presidency.

Well, there you have it. All the predictions you need to follow along with for October General Conference. Please post here with any questions or comments you may have. Or you can comment on Facebook, where I will be posting a link. I hope you enjoyed reading these predictions about general conference as much as Matt and I enjoyed making them. Best wishes to all my readers until I post again!