Minds Matter

January 30, 2012    By: Jeff G @ 11:20 am   Category: Life

(This is part 2/9 of the series, “Paradigms Lost”)

“And now the serpent was more subtle than any beast of the field … and he sought also to beguile [Adam and] Eve, for he knew not the mind of God.”

S: Well, Adam, you have a new world here.

A: Yes, but I know almost nothing of this world.

S: Oh, I see, your eyes are not yet opened.  You must have some of the fruit of this tree in order to gain such knowledge.

A: And what knowledge is that?

S: Knowledge concerning this world and everything in it, what it is made of, how it came to be and how it continues to exist… For example, in the beginning this world was populated by nothing except unorganized matter in meaningless motion.  And yet, after a great deal of time there arose certain patterns in the matter that tended to reliably replicate themselves when in the stable presence of the appropriate energy and materials. (more…)

The Wisdom of Creation

January 16, 2012    By: Jeff G @ 5:28 pm   Category: Life

(This is part 1/9 of the series, “Paradigms Lost”.)

“And worlds without number have I created; and I also created them for mine own purpose… Here is wisdom and it remaineth in me.”

E: Adam, it has been some time now that we have been dressing and keeping this garden of ours.  So long, in fact, that I now struggle to recall more and more of the details regarding the lives we had before coming here.

A: I too can sense the veil growing thick, Eve, but I still retain a few bits and pieces, fleeting memories of time served and lessons learned under the careful guidance of our Forefathers and Elders.  Alas, while these precious few fragments remain fairly vibrant in my heart and mind, I too have forgotten how they fit together or otherwise relate to one another.  Hopefully your recollection has not faded to the point that you can remember nothing of those things they taught us?

E: Thankfully, no.  While it is true that I have nearly forgotten everything our Elders taught us about this world, the principles by which we were taught to live remain curiously vivid and pristine within my mind.  And yet, I cannot deny that certain questions irresistibly crowd in, finding refuge in the vacant spaces once held by high and noble doctrines: How did we get here? How did this world with everything in it come to be?  For what purpose are we, along with everything else here?  Do you have any memory of such things?

A: I do recall a handful of points regarding these matters, but any attempt at filling in the spaces between them would be as arbitrary as marking out the constellations in the heavens.  What I do know is this:  This world was not an accident but was deliberately organized as part of a great plan which was conceived and refined in the grand councils before this world was.  I also know that this is not the only world which was created in this manner, for worlds without number, we were told, have also come and gone according to such deliberate planning.  But as for this particular creation, I know that it was not entirely wrought instantaneously, but instead unfolded in a progressive manner over the course of various stages.  I know that in these stages there was a time before life was to be found on this planet at all, after which the more simple forms of life were introduced and allowed to multiply and replenish the earth, followed, in turn, by the more complex forms.  Most of all, I know that however this deliberate and intentional process was accomplished, it was good and according to that great plan.

How I intend to teach George Albert’s Smith’s mental illness.

January 6, 2012    By: Matt W. @ 11:34 am   Category: PH/RS Lessons

If it’s in italics, George said it. If it’s in bold, it’s from the Manual. If it’s underlined, it’s from Mary Woodger’s JMH article. Otherwise, it’s annotated or my own notes…

In preparing for this lesson, I have thought long and hard about the material within, and today I would like to focus not just on what President Smith said about living what we believe, but also on how he lived what he believed.

[An] observer wrote of George Albert Smith: “His religion is not doctrine in cold storage. It is not theory. It means more to him than a beautiful plan to be admired. It is more than a philosophy of life. To one of his practical turn of mind, religion is the spirit in which a man lives, in which he does things, if it be only to say a kind word or give a cup of cold water. His religion must find expression in deeds. It must carry over into the details of daily life.”

George Albert Smith is well known throughout the church for his religious conviction and for his compassion and careful shepherding of the world after WW1 as an apostle and after WW2 as President of the Church. But did you know he was nearly blind?

When he was 18, he found work with a railway surveying party. While working this job, the glare from the sun on the desert sands damaged his eyes. This left George Albert’s vision permanently impaired, making it difficult for him to read and causing him discomfort throughout his life.

George’s eyesight, for most of his life was so bad that he needed to have others write for him and read to him, because it gave him terrible headaches to try and focus and read. This in a time and place where there was limited technology, and so his responsibilities perpetually required reading and writing. None would have blamed Smith if he had given up. Yet Smith’s own conviction which he preached was that: (more…)