Sunday, April 5, 2009

Reflections on Sunday Morning Session

Some purely personal reflections on what stood out for me in the Sunday morning session of General Conference.

Hour of Prayer

The first thing to stand out for me was--and this is unusual for me--the opening hymn, sung by the Tabernacle Choir! The hymn was "Sweet Hour of Prayer." Yes, I know that the word 'hour' here is used lyrically, to indicate something like 'an appointed time.' However, what struck me was the idea of taking it literally. I wondered: "When's the last time that I spent an hour in prayer?" It's happened, but not for a long time. Perhaps it's time to return to that practice, at least once in a while.

We Are Never Alone

In this session, this was the discourse that made me cry: Elder Holland's discourse, directed to those who are or feel alone, or abandoned.

These last nine months or so have been very rough on me. July: I discover that my mother's condition has deteriorated, and I move from the vicinity of Orlando back to New York City. October: My mother dies (multiple infections and lung cancer). October through March: I clear out my mother's apartment and house, encountering many artifacts from her life, which evokes a great deal of emotion; in addition, a great deal of conflict comes up between me and some of the surviving family. I very much appreciate the support of mi esposa Kathleen throughout this process, but overall I've felt pretty hammered: the phrase 'alone and abandoned' goes a long way towards describing my inner life of late.

In this context, it meant a lot to me to hear Elder Holland discussing how the Savior walked alone, the loneliest journey of all--the working out of the Atonement--and walked it in faith, for love of us--even for love of me. It reminded me of a poster from The New Era, originally published in 1994, captioned: "You are never alone" (above). All that ever I have felt, the Savior has felt, and suffered my pain. For this, and for His ongoing concern, I am profoundly grateful.

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1 comment:

  1. Hi Mark,
    Back in August, 1969 I was taking out my personal LDS endowments at the Salt Lake Temple. I was 19 and about to leave for Brazil on my LDS Mission. My escort was Apostle Howard W. Hunter. Every time I was asked to swear an oath, I raised my hand and said, "No". Every time Elder Hunter and I went outside the session and I opened up the scriptures and showed him that the Oath was not of God (example: Moses 5:28-30, sliting my throat was of Lucifer). Each time I was given permission to continue. At the end of the session I was asked to consecrate everything to the "Church". I again refused. This is when I went and met with members of the First Presidency. I shared with them Exodus 20:3-5 and explained I had already consecrated everything to the "Lord". I didn't want a 4 generation curse upon my family. I obtained written permission and served a great mission to Brazil, taking 5,000 copies of the Book of Mormon.
    I had a near death experience back in October, 1960 as a ten year old boy (accidently shot in the head and in a coma for three days) and received a visit from an angel and given the opportunity to live and serve a mission for the Lord, or die. For 49 years I have been true and faithful to the Mormon faith, serving as a BYU Bishop (under President Benson) and many other accomplishments.
    Back in September, 1973 I personnally met with President Harold B. Lee and Apostle Howard W. Hunter, a month after I got married in the SL Temple. I convinced them to allow Stake Centers to handle Baptisms for the Dead and to convert the 19 existing LDS Temples into research centers, open to the general public. On November 19, 1973 President Lee dissolved the Utah Corporate Sole, "President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints", a Masonic order in charge of all the tithes and offerings of the members. Five weeks later he was poisoned.
    President Kimball was a good friend of mine (I grew up in Tucson, AZ; he lived in Safford). He knew all about my near death experience and meeting with Angel Moroni in 1960 and how I wanted to restore the Original Book of Mormon as the official copy for the LDS Church. He was repenting, like President Lee. So in 1979 and 1981 he had three brain operations and became like a vegetable. President Kimball's 12 years (1981-85 under President Hinckley's control)there dedicated 21 temples, two more than all temples operating before he became President. His grandfather, Heber C. Kimball, was a Master Mason and built a York Temple back in 1835 in Mendon, New York. It was destroyed in 1826 for priestcraft.
    Secret Societies, like Freemasonry, are not of the Lord. I was able to convince the Southern Baptist Convention of this and in 1991 they renounced and publically apologized for being a part of this secret society. 1/3 of the US Freemasons were Southern Baptists at that time.


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