Sunday, November 28, 2010

Making a Difference

A while ago, I stood in a friend’s front yard and we chatted. My friend wanted to save the world. “It’s a good idea,” I said to her, but my simple affirmation was not enough—she really wanted to save the world—to make a difference in a big way.

“Is that wrong of me—I mean isn’t it rather pretentious?”

I paused as I reflected on her question, and answered, “No—if you seek to save the world for the world’s sake—and not your own.”

She heartily agreed, and I saw in her eyes that she meant it. But she was in despair that sunny morning because circumstances beyond her control prevented her from attaining her desire. Her health might be in serious jeopardy, and she wondered why the Lord would do that—the timing appeared to be off. Hadn’t she prepared herself sufficiently?—studied the right books?—took the right classes? And hadn’t she felt the whisperings of the Holy Spirit telling her that she was on the right track?—doing exactly what she was meant to do? Her eyes filled with tears and her face reflected intense anguish.

“Of course you are on the right track,” I said, “—but maybe the Lord wants you to take a longer route—learn more in order to be the best instrument in his hand when the time comes.”

She agreed, but her eyes said she was not completely convinced.

He wants all of us to take the longer route. We have the opportunity to grow in mortality in ways that no other place under the heavens can offer. With a veil placed over our memory of our former existence in heaven, where else but earth—‘the greatest reality game ever contrived, by the greatest mind that exists’—can we prove ourselves through experience?

God wants us to have the full effect of our trials, and he will stretch them out to their bitter end in order for us to receive the maximum benefit that only enduring and striving to overcome a trial can afford.

Fortunately, our sojourn on earth is short, so why not look at it that way. Eventually, we will all stand before our Maker, and account for our earthly choices, and either be the wiser from them, and blissfully overjoyed to be back in His presence; or miserably cower and grovel at His feet.

My friend sighed, “But I don’t want to be common—I want to be special!”

I looked up and down her street and asked, “Who on your street is common?”

She stared blankly at me, “No one—no one is common.”

“Oh,” I said back to her, “So, how many have saved the world?”

Her eyebrows furrowed, and then she broke into a smile.

I hugged her and whispered, “God doesn’t have any common children, does he?”

Whatever our purpose is, God will lead us to it—and nothing that we are supposed to do is ‘common’ or unimportant. We all make a difference in more than one way … find your purpose …

Sunday, November 21, 2010


A little less than 1 ½ years ago, around May 2009, Bill and I were heading west on Brown, when he jumped and pointed forward. He had just seen the tail end of a collision at Brown and Val Vista. We were among the first at the intersection, and were the first in line in the far right lane. The cars involved in the accident came to a stop on the other side of Val Vista—across from us, but in the east bound lanes. Bill hopped out of our car and ran over to help, along with two or three other people. I stayed in the car and watched.

It didn’t seem like a very bad wreck from where I was sitting, and though I was concerned for the young girl behind the wheel, and her friend in the back, I wasn’t too worried. I watched as Bill stuck his head in the driver’s side window to check on her and the other girl, and then I just played the waiting game for him to return to our car. He was over there quite awhile.

Finally, he came back, and I had lots of questions. I wish I had recorded this when it happened, because too much time has elapsed for me to accurately recall all the details, but I think Bill told me that she had lost consciousness, but I’m not sure now. However, the one thing that I do remember clearly, as if it just happened yesterday—was his response when I asked how the girl was in the back seat.

He looked at me strange and said, “There wasn’t anyone in the back seat—there wasn’t anyone else in the car.”

He was adamant about it, but I so was I. I disagreed with him for a short while, but he would not relent, and neither would I.

He was over there—he stuck his head in the car, and he was there for a long while trying to help out, and I was simply sitting across the intersection, observing.

But,I truly had seen both a girl behind the wheel and a girl looking straight ahead from the back seat.

So, who did I see?

I’ve often wondered about that—wondered if she had left her own body—and wondered why I could see her, and not Bill.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Fear is a Choice

Locations: Maine, California, Ohio, Arizona
Age: High School (and older)

I truly wish not to record these, but I know I must, for they are as much a part of my life experiences as the pleasant, peaceful, and joyous ones are.

I don’t recall how or when they began, but I think I know where. My parents bought a large two-story house and moved us from the dairy farm into town. I do not have bad feelings about that house, even though very scary things happened within its walls. I will not elaborate, or embellish with lofty words, I would much rather simply record the events and get on with it. So, it suffices to say, I saw, felt, heard, and experienced the unimaginable. Steven King hasn’t written anything close to what I went through. Fourteen nights in a row, gripped by some unseen force, jaw locked in place, visual, even actual electricity pulsating from my head to frayed electrical cords hanging from my bedroom ceiling, quarter-sized indentations in my leg, horrifying sounds. Imagining the hand of God protecting me, and sleeping with a Bible by my side were my only reprieve.

Later as a freshman at USC, while waiting for friends to come back to the car, I heard the frightful wail of wild dogs growling and gnashing their teeth, first off in the distance, and then surrounding the car that I sat in. I could see nothing outside the vehicle, but could only hear the terrible sounds just outside the car window. I prayed, and the sound went away, but came back twice.

In Ohio, when I went downstairs into Bill’s parent’s family room, I saw a plant rocking rhythmically back and forth. And one evening, I saw just the head of a very frightening apparition—with wild, wicked eyes, in full horrific color, floating above me in my bed.

I’ve seen other spirits, as well. Two of the spirits were alarming, one was not, with her long gray hair, and quiet demeanor. And one was a young girl of about 10 or 12. I’ve seen her at least three times in different locations, once with a young boy, dark hair, slightly older and taller than she.

Why me? Why not everyone? Maybe I needed to experience the evil to appreciate and choose the good. Maybe I’m chosen to stand as a witness that these things do exist. Maybe I was just in the wrong place at the wrong time. Or, maybe I can help someone understand that they need not fear the unknown, for that is what I have learned.

Fear is a choice.

In the premortal existence, those who chose to follow Lucifer were cast out of heaven with him, and became forever damned. Doomed to roam the earth as wicked spirits, never to receive their own body. They love nothing more than to torment us, if we give them that power, for the only way they have power is through our consent. So don't give it to them.

I am not afraid, now that I understand. They were my brothers and sisters in the premortal existence. It was their choice to follow Lucifer. I have more power than they do, because I chose to follow God.

All things have purpose.

Nothing is without a cause, and all things can be explained and understood. There is sweet and comforting peace in knowledge and faith.

For more information see article- Things As They Really Are - Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Message from Beyond

Dover-Foxcroft, Maine
Batavia, Ohio
Chicago Temple
Date: 1990-91

My brother Donnie and I were “Irish Twins”, which means that we shared the same birth age for a few days every year. When I was born, he hadn’t had his first birthday yet, and when he turned one, I was only thirty-eight days old. When I turned one, he still had thirty-eight days left until he turned two. It was fun being the same age with him for a few days each year.

I sure do miss him. He died in 1988 as a result of driving under the influence.

About a year after he died, I had an incredible experience. We were living in Maine. I had fallen asleep and in my “dream”, I opened a door and entered a pristine waiting room. Donnie entered a door from the other side of the room. He was radiant. The colors of his face; his blue eyes, and white teeth were unlike any colors that I had ever seen before—far greater augmented, and more brilliant than any earthly hues. He called me by my name, and we embraced. I can’t remember anything else, and don’t believe that I was meant to, but when I awoke I had a smile on my face that was so intense that it hurt.

Was it a dream? I don’t think so. The colors were nothing like anything I had ever experienced here in mortality, and the exquisite joy I had upon awakening needs no confirmation, nor explanation.

About a year later, we moved to Ohio. Bill’s parent’s ward was sending several of their youth ahead of the adults to the Chicago Temple to do baptisms for the dead. Jason and Mandee went with them. After they left, and had already arrived at the temple, I realized that Jason could do Donnie’s baptism, so I called the temple and requested that he be allowed to do my brother’s work. Proper protocol was to send a family group sheet along, and I hadn’t. Someone in the Chicago Temple decided to call Salt Lake—which surprised and delighted me as Jason got special permission from Salt Lake to perform Donnie’s baptism.

One of the sisters in my ward that witnessed it told me that Jason had already performed his fifteen baptisms and had redressed, but they had him change back into baptismal clothing again to participate in Donnie’s baptism. She said it was very spiritual. Jason had known Donnie all of his young life.

The next day, we arrived to do the rest of the temple ordinances, and in a special part of the temple, my brother spoke to me, just like in my dream, calling me by name. I recognized his voice instantly, and turned to see him, but could not, as I’m sure I would not have maintained the quiet reverence one ought to in a holy temple.

We are meant to live by faith, and I do, but in some things in my life, I have knowledge. I know, without a doubt for I witnessed it, that my brother Donnie was there in the temple that day, and continues to work hard on the other side of the veil in behalf of his loved ones—every one of them.

How can I question the reality of things not seen? The Lord has blessed me above measure with many peculiar experiences that testify to me of life beyond this life.

For those of you unfamiliar with the purpose for baptisms for the dead see Ensign Article, A Temple-Motivated People