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Spend a Minute with a Mormon 
As a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I invite you to share a minute with me and my series of spiritual thoughts. 

This is not an official Web site of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints 
19. 
 
Every week at church we have the opportunity to partake of the Sacrament, (Communion, or other 
version of The Lords' Supper, each faith might follow). Yet it only occured to me recently of the scripture which asks of us to offer up our sacraments and devotions to to the Lord. 
 
I had always thought it was us receiving His Sacrament, as we partook of the bread and water. We receive from Him a portion of the bread of life and a sip of His living water, yet we are asked to offer Him, our sacrament, not just to receive His. 
 
So each week we sit again in our Sacrament meetings and thoughts run through our mind. Maybe work or that last holiday, maybe troubles, maybe daydreams. Maybe if we are bringing with us, a broken heart and contrite spirit, our thoughts might centre on Him and his plan of repentance and forgiveness. Then, as we partake of His sacraments, that we might be blessed to always have His Spirit to be with us. As we reverently partake, we are asked to offer up our sacraments to Him. What do we give?  
 
As the Saviour gives us the companionship of His Spirit, we give him our sin. We present this as an exchange of gifts. We place our sins in a box made from our broken heart, wrapped in our contrite spirit, and exchange it with Him. It is not a fair exchange. Inside our box might be unpleasant things. We ask Him not to open the box and examine the contents, they are ugly. The box does not contain chocolate, or smell good, it contains our sin. And we have given it to the Saviour. 
 
The thing is, He paid for our sins a couple thousand years ago, when they hadn't even been commited. Then we commit them. At Sacrament meeting, maybe then, it is time to give the Saviour our burden. 
And He, our Saviour, asks us to receive the blessings of His Atonement in exchange for the box that contains our sin, that we can be cleansed through repentance.  
 
 
 
This then, is what we should be doing as we sit through our sacrament meetings. It is a special and personal time of sacred worship. It is not a time for idle thoughts, texting friends or scrolling through items on our ipads. It is not a time for other members of the congregation to be doing that either. Especially as the person next to you, besides you, in front or behind you, maybe attending to this most personal exchange. 
 
A prophet said, "that by small and simple things are great things brought to pass" . I can think of nothing much smaller nor more simple than a piece of bread and sip of water, nor how great the blessings are, of having His Spirit to always be with us. 
 
Sacrament meeting is more important than we often give it credit for, and we would be well counselled to not play fast and loose with it, but honour it with a change of heart. Recognising the suffering of our Saviour and the willingness with which he would share his life for us. 
 
I cannot think of any more important occasion, than those moments when we exchange our sacraments with His, when we give up our sins and receive the abundance of His Atonement. 
 
 
18. 
So, the editor of The Somerset Gazette asked me to write a column for the paper. It seems a few people quite like spending a Minute with a Mormon. 
 
 
17. 
 
Blessings in Disguise come in all sorts of costumes, so so clever you cannot possible see they are there. 
 
I have been digging the biggest hole in my life, to build a lake in my garden, but fail to take into account the slope of the land. With two days hire left on the JCB, I realise I have dug out a section of the swimming area, two feet too deep. However, having spent nearly twenty hours diging yesterday, I now have to replace about six hours worth of soil. 
 
It was really frustrating, but midnight is not the best time to worry. Thankfully, sleep was instant, therefore no time to mull things over. Determined to make another 5am start, and hoping the thunder storms stay away, I set my alarm.  
 
The morning was bright and clear, with no sign of rain on the ground or in the air. Ahead of me a very long day........again. Looking over this hole in the ground I realise that now, I can more easily build the shuttering for the foundations of the swimming area. I had expected to have to do these trenches (80 meters worth, with a spade. Now though, I could simply put in the stakes and screw in the timbers, above the ground. No digging. So, although I wasted six hours yesterday, and probably another six today putting much soil back.......I reckon I have saved two days hard labour. 
 
Blessings in Disguise are worth looking for when things go wrong, because yesterday ended rather gloomily, and this morning was a ray of sunshine. 
 
 
 
16. 
 
Some of the most inspirational verses of scripture discusses the lost sheep, the lost coin and the prodigal son. Whilst they all deal with finding that which was lost, what I particularly like about them, relates to the different type of loss and how such a loss relates to members of the Saviours flock. 
 
The Lost Sheep suggests that we would all leave the nineth nine and seek after the one that is lost. The thing with sheep is they are inquisitive. Whilst they are nosing around in the corner of the field, the rest of the flock move away. Thus the one sheep finds itself lost, not because it has begun to be unfaithful or sinful, but because it became unattentive to the flock. Do we sometimes pay too little attention to the things of the gospel and gradually find the church has continued to move forward and we are left behind as we pay too little attention to the important things. 
 
Then the Lost Coin. The lady has lost the coin in the house and so she opens the window to let in the light so she can see, and she sweeps the whole house until she finds the coin. The gospel is like this. We often play fast and loose with gospel principlesor protocols. Maybe we are lazy, maybe we simply make a series of mistakes. But we recognise when we are lost and let the Saviour back into our lives, to light our way. We then work extra hard to put things right until the coin is found and faith restored. 
 
Then the Lost Son. He is one who on purpose (unlike the sheep who was inattentive, or the lady who lwas careless) does not want to be found. He takes himself away until he eventually recognises his faults and decides to return to the fold. 
 
All of these three people were lost, and in our calling as followers of Christ , we should not only follow His example and look out for all of these people who would under better circumstances, never stray from the fold. But examine where we find ourselves within the gospel to ensure we do not find oureslves becoming lost. 
 
 
15. 
 
With the recent D day celebrations I am reminded of the following story which might well be true: 
 
The Soldier was standing next to The General, when the General received a message absolutely vital to the successful outcome of the battle, which he had to get through to HQ. 
 
The General turned to the Soldier and explained how important the message was and how dangerous the task would be, but nevertheless, he needed the Soldier to get the message through tho HQ. 
 
The Soldier said, he would try. The General explained again, he didn't need the Soldier to try, he simply needed the Soldier to get the message through. The Soldier then said he would do his very best. This angered the General, who replied, Soldier, I don't need you to do your very best, I need you to get the message through. This is when the Soldier understood. 
 
The Soldier stood to attention, puffed out his chest, and said with some determination, he would get the message through , or die. Thus exasperating the General. The General ordered the Soldier. "Soldier, I don't need you to die, I just need you to get the message through". 
 
I wonder sometimes how this story might help us to recognise those things which we simply must do in our lives. Things of such importance to our faith, family or business, that these things receive our undivided attention, loyalty and integrity. Things where we don't try our best, do or die, but we simply ensure the outcome is achieved. 'Barb, shaft and feather'. 
 
 
14 
D Day 
 
So dad gets into a plane, despatches a few trainee parachutists, and the pilot flies another circuit, gaining height the whole while. The other Parachute Jump Instructor in the plane wonders what is going on as they have no more trainees to jump. At the apointed time, green light on and dad (having made an 'arrangement' with the pilot and without attaching the static line hook up), jumps out, much to every ones surprise. They watch him fall, holding the current preferred style, an upright stance..........".for a very long time". Dad completes the very first voluntary freefall in the RAF. 
 
Upon landing, he was brought to the Commanding Officer of the Parachute Training School, who gave him a right telling off. (It transpired the CO was planning exactly the same thing, and wanted to be the first). A few days later, the CO duplicated the freefall, but hurt himself upon landing. Freefalls, of course were never allowed and after that, were subsequently banned. 
 
A rather more modern take on the story : Upon landing, the PJI sees his student in a crumpled heep on the ground. He asks the first time jumper, how he felt? With all the enthusiasm (known only by those who have made that first jump), the student replies, "It was great, but the landing hurt a bit". The PJI explains, "Well next time you should remember your training (pointing to the rip cord) and pull this handle. Landings will be much softer". So, the second jump, the student remembers to pull the handle and flies an open canopy for a soft landing. It was less exiting. 
 
With parachuting, it is important to remember a few vital actions. Pulling the handle is clearly the most vital. But once you have attended to those defining actions. The 'Same Old Stuff' actions. The SOS actions, you might seek a different experience. So in looking for a different result, in the 70s, parachutists without an aeroplane, would run down step hills and try to fly their parachutes anyway. Now they can loop the loop and fly other aerobatics in their parachutes. Some have strapped themselves to wings, and even fitted jet engines on those wings. Some want to fly from the ground and wear motors on their backs. The thing is, if you want a different result, it is no good limiting your actions to the same old stuff. So, parachutists now fly wing suits at great speeds and fly miles away from their jump spot, they fly within a few feet of mountainous terrain. At least two have flown their wing suits without intending to pull the handle and have landed safely....no parachute required. 
 
So, if you seek different results, maybe in your diet, sport, business or in your faith. Perhaps you should consider (after taking care of the defining moments), doing some other stuff too. Doing things differently will often bring about a different result. 
 
Today was a good day to remember Dad, an RAF Parachute Jump Instructor during the war. He did it different. 
 
 
 
13. 
 
Somebody must have been the first to say something along the lines of, "Don't expect your marriage to be a bed of roses", now the phrase is common place. I bet you have heard it before.  
 
I say this, It's a lie. I say , "who says so?" Why on earth would marriage be the relationship ordained of God, if it were not designed on purpose, to provide the basis of the loveliest way to spend your life with the companion you love? Marriage would never have been designed if it were supposed to be horrible. Especially when we realise the eternal and everlasting purpose of it. 
 
Well, it's easy for me to say, because I have faith in such things. 
 
Nevertheless, there is no reason to believe the statement to be true. I would say to all newly wedds, that they should expect their marriage to be a bed of roses. Make sure your spouse knows such expectations, and recognises the responsibility to make it so.  
 
And who cares anyway if we occasionally prick our fingers and bleed ? Who cares if every now and again, someone comes along and dumps a ton of manure at our feet. All these things give us experience. 
 
Marriage should always be a bed of roses. That is what marriage is for. Something that enriches our lives with our loved one. Anything else falls short, even if that something else is still pretty special. 
 
 
 
 
12. 
 
My favourite pudding is Rubarb Crumble and Ice Cream. I love the contrast of hot and cold, sweet and tarty. Somehow Rubarb with Custard just won't do. It made me think of the Saviour when he asked Peter three times, whether Peter loved him. Each time Peter replied "Yes", each time the Saviour asked Peter to feed his sheep.  
 
Generally speaking, my wife Nicola, feeds me and I have no concerns whatsoever that whatever she decides to prepare, will be lovely. 
 
We recognise the Saviour did not literally have sheep to be fed, but was referring to those people that were to come unto Him. The people of His church, those who sought his gospel and those others of the community whether they exercised faith in Him or not. All were to be fed. 
 
So, what were they to be fed with? I look at the banqueting table and find it prepared with a delicious roast dinner and know for sure, I will not be leaving the table hungry. But would it matter if the table was laid for a summer evening salad? Does it matter if there is a sandwich? Either way I am being fed.  
 
I suppose a whole community of people would have different needs, so whether feeding His people with scripture and gospel doctrine, or compassionate service and a helping hand, or simply taking a beggar in the street a hot drink and bar of chocolate, all examples would be correct. 
 
So, we see those who serve in various callings across the church, whether a Bishop or Sunday School Teacher, Young Man or Young Women.......fulfilling the command to feed His sheep. All would be quite right in being inspired to prepare a roast while the other inspired to prepare a sandwich. We who see such service might simply judge the person preparing the sandwich to be less valiant in their service. For those of us who feel this way, I think we are missing the point. So, whilst I enjoy a Rubarb and Ice Cream the best, I am just as pleased to be fed anything especially if it has the most important ingredients of all, love and kindness. 
 
 
11. 
 
I wake and look over to my sweetheart, still soundly asleep. Love. Do I love her more or less than the day we married? Is there a sliding scale? For some, does this scale slide down to zero? And then what? 
Minus figures? Does this mean hate?  
 
The scriptures tell us there is opposition in all things. This might well be true, but opposition is not the same as opposite. Love is not the opposite of hate. It is the absence of hate. Just as life is not the opposite of death but the absence of death.  
 
And just think, if there is no God, life might last between a few minutes to many years, but before life, there would be nothing, then a short spell of life, and then nothing after it. How does 70 years of living ever be a balanced as an opposite to death , which would otherwise last forever before birth and forever once dead.  
 
But with a divine creator, death is just a single moment, a doorway. Death is therefore not the opposite to life but the graduation from it, to eternal life. 
 
Whilst hot is the absence cold , it sits in opposition. Like many examples, most of what we think of as opposites and not fairly balanced. They do not change equally, like up and down on a seesaw. Opposition is simply a blend , finding a new balance of ingredients. More or less of this, a little extra of that. 
 
And if the absence of love leads to minus figures of hate, I wonder how high a positive number love can be as we replace hate and some of those other nasty ingredients from our lives? 
 
 
10. 
 
Do you ever look at nature and wonder "What on earth is the point of that"? Perhaps a strange insect or sea creature.....especially the sea creature. Some are just weird. They can do things, like change their colour in an instant and some have really clever features, you would wonder why we can't all do those things too. Ugly things with strange habits catch our attention and we often ignore the beautiful things.  
 
Take the rose. Have you ever wondered why God created the rose. Is it because they look so lovely in the garden? Or is it the fragrance? Can there really be a group of flowers that smell sweeter? Just passing by one in the evening or cupping one in your hand, and you know how special they really are. And a dozen roses in a vase, was that why they were created? To make a lovely display for your table over a romantic dinner?  
 
I must say right here, I haven't bought flowers for far too long, but I do know why roses were created.I understood the true purpose of the rose, when I picked one and gave it to my sweetheart wife. Her eyes were closed and then opening them, I gave her the rose. It wasn't the twinkle in her eye or the gentle hug and kiss on the cheek that followed, that told me. 
 
But when she whispered "I Love You , it made my heart melt. That is when I understood the true purpose of the rose. And so often we see and smell them, but often we pass them by and they are almost forgotten. We take them for granted and rarely do we wonder about their purpose and how they might fullfil the full measure of their creation. And when your loved one whispers those three little words, can you imagine what that really means and where it all might all lead?  
 
 
9. 
 
I have always believed in Father Christmas. It just seems that once a year, I have a special hope causing me to carefully lay out my pillow case at the end of the bed. I awake in the morning and feel a weight by my feet. My heart races and I hear a sound of rustling as I push my toes further down the bed. I can't help but speak out "He's Been". 
 
Well, today it feels like Christmas as two rather large toys have just been delivered.......and I have ten days to play with them.  
 
It seems to me , we often become despondent in some areas of our lives when things seem not to be going as well as they should, or could, given a little more effort that would make things better. Is your kitchen in a mess and the energy required to tidy things up is simply not available, today? How about the garden? How about some personal things in your life?  
 
Sometimes things seem to over burden us and we feel powerless to put them right.....the task is simply too big, too relentless, maybe even pointless. Some big tasks need heavy machinery, decisive action 
and determination to see through till the end. But all tasks, big or small need to begin. Beginning to put things right, the way they should be. Whether you work on one task that might take a season or many tasks sorted, one every day, you will feel empowered and motivated. Your spirit loses the tension of unfinished business and that tension is replaced with freedom , depression with happiness and foreboding with comfort. 
 
And what's a long distance swimmer supposed to do all his life? Put up with a chlorine invested civic pool or settle for a plastic pool in the garden and swim tied to a leash? Well, I suppose the first idea is good and the second idea is better, but sometimes we must gird our loins with a sword and do it right. Even if just once in our lives we should do something big and make it, not good, not better, but the best. In fact, life should be full of big ideas, ones that inspire us to greater action. And if that action resolves certain difficulties in our lives, so much more empowering will it be.  
 
So today, rather than jump on a plane and spend a fortnight at the beach. I start to dig, and dig, and dig. My wife will have an unsightly area of garden transformed into a beautiful lake to ponder alongside during the day and I will soak away my woes and swim until until sunset.  
 
 
8. 
 
I have noticed when I have watched a favourite film a few times, there are few surprises and little to catch my attention that I may have missed the first time around. With books things are different. As a boy, I enjoyed The Hobbit and having read it a few times since then, it has become familiar, yet always I find something that I had previously missed. The last time I read it, I came across a couple of sections that I have remembered since. Early in the first chapter, Bilbo has his home invaded by dwarves for a surprise party. The talk turns to dragons, treasure, mountains and wizards. Then as Bilbo stares out under the starry night, across the river and into the woods beyond, he sees the flicker of a travellers camp fire. The thought of dragons send shivers down his spine. Bilbo is not ready to join in with the dwarves adventure. Later he gathers his resolve to wear a sword instead of a walking stick, or "forever remain plain old Mr Baggins". 
 
We know how important that decision was for Bilbo and the peoples of Middle Earth. I wonder if, when we are called, will we be ready for our next adventure or will we be content to remain, plain old. 
 
Some time later in the book, we are introduced to Bard. He is called to be the one that destiny chooses will slay the dragon. He gathers his arrows and selects one. It is his black arrow. Handed down from generation to generation. The black arrow was forged by skilled craftsmen of old, to fly straight and true. So much had it been relied upon to hit its mark, that its owner only used it when it mattered and always it was retrieved after the battle. When it mattered, the Black Arrow always hit is mark.........but not just hitting the mark, it sunk deep into the mark, barb, shaft and feather. 
 
I think we all have a special purpose in life. I wonder, when we are called, will we respond, ready to put down our walking sticks and gird ourselves with a sword? When the time comes, when it matters, will we hit our mark with such resolve of purpose that we sink deep, barb, shaft and feather? 
 
 
7. 
 
Every time I watch The Great Escape, I always hope that Steve McQueen makes that final jump to freedom. Of course he never does. The same with William Wallace as he is being tortured on the executioners slab, and turns his head towards his friends. I somehow wish there would be a big fight scene and he would be saved by his countrymen. Then there is that famous last scene where Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid run into a hail of sepia gunshots. Of course, having seen these films a few times each, I know the endings will always be the same.  
 
There is something comforting in being able to look at situations and just know how things will turn out. I remember some years ago learning to fly paramotors. The flight instructor, Alex Ledger had driven us away from the airfield to a restaurant some miles away across rough country, covering the kind of terrain such vehicles had exactly been designed for. In the middle of nowhere, we came across a river that had become almost impassable. A fairly modern SUV had attempted the crossing and was  
now stranded mid way across. The owners standing on the bank looking rather embarrassed. We pulled up along side the waters edge and without much fuss, simply unreeled the winch on the landrover and pulled the written off vehicle out of the water. This is when the conversation got interesting. It was now our opportunity to show how a river crossing should be done.  
 
The thing is, life can be quite a thrill at times and driving across a swollen river is a good example, especially as the long way around would take an extra 10 miles. It had to be said though, it would be better to drive around this time, particularly as Alex had to drive back to England the next day. That evening was not the right evening to see how deep the landrover could manage. I suggested he should drive the long way around.  
 
Although wanting to show exactly what his landy could do, and after some teasing from others in our group, he chose to drive around.  
 
At church, we talk a lot about choosing the right, often in the face of those who might mock us. We are happy to let the consequences of right choices, follow . And if you can't make up your mind between two choices, then base your choice on choosing between the consequences instead. The consequences of our choices and actions are just like our favourite film, we usually get the ending we expect. 
 
 
 
6. 
 
Like the Buddhist story recounted yesterday, I enjoy stories that tease my thoughts and cause me to 
make small but important changes in my life. Here is one I learned from my youth. 
 
"Every year a group of friends would hire a small aeroplane to fly them into the wilds, where they would be dropped off for a few days hunting elk. At a the appointed time, the pilot would return to the group to collect them. Flying low over the mountains and forests, he would skillfully land his plane onto the glassy smooth waters of a remote mountain lake. 
 
It happened every year. This time, as usual, the pilot returned and motored his plane into the shallows where the friends would load their stores and the prize elk into the cabin. Turning into wind, the pilot would make his favourite flight checks, apply full power and the plane would majestically ascend into the thin mountain air. As usual the friends would be mesmerised by the beauty of the flight and each would agree to do the same again next year. 
 
The pilot knew the take off would be difficult in the over laden aeroplane as he struggled to clear the treetops and with the mountain peaks now fast approaching. In moments he called back to the friends to prepare for a crash landing as a sudden downdraft caused the plane to sink 50 feet and plough into the soft snow. 
 
Rather dazed, the occupants clambered from the wreckage and asked the pilot if he knew where they had come down. The pilot replied "Across the valley from where we crashed last year". 
 
It never ceases to amaze me, how we seem quite happy to repeatedly cruise around the same mountains and valleys in ours lives and suffer the consequential crash and burn.  
The folk song of the 60s comes to mind "When will we ever Learn ?" 
 
 
 
5. 
 
One day whilst spending a couple of weeks living with some friends at their beach camp on the Baja peninsula, I began to read a book called the Tibetan Book of the Living and the Dead. Early in the book I read a section which had a familiar feeling about it and it inspired me (although I must admit I was lost around half way through). 
I mentioned the story, around the camp fire that night, with my friends Aharon Solomons & MT Solomons and Mark Pardoe, whose book I had been reading. 
 
Maybe you can decide whether this shares a message of true gospel principle. 
 
(Now, I pretty much just write these messages straight as I think and type them on my lap top, so I haven’t looked the story up recently, but if I remember correctly, this is what I read 
 
‘ A young man walking to work falls into a hole. He hadn't’t seen the hole and it didn’t matter that it wasn’t his fault, regardless, the hole was deep and dark and it took much effort for the man to climb out. The next day, walking to work, the man again came upon the hole and again he fell in. He cursed his bad luck, it still wasn’t his fault. He blamed the hole, it should never have been there. Nevertheless it hurt as he fell in, and the hole was as dark and deep as before and still took as much effort to climb out. The next day, again walking to work, he cursed himself for falling in again. Realising this time his action had become a pretty bad habit, but at least he now knew where he was and climbed out of the hole. The next day, whilst walking to work, he remembered the hole, and yes, there it was right in his path. He walked around the hole. The following day, he chose to take a different route to work.’ 
 
After recounting the tale, Mark said something along the lines of, “ You can’t believe that, it’s Buddhist and you’re a Mormon “ 
 
This story teaches us that repentance follows a number of important steps. First we must recognise that a certain behaviour is wrong. Often, it is only after we suffer the consequences of wrong behaviour that we come to realise we need to make a change. But it needn’t be that way. Avoiding wrong doing is better than repentance and often only requires listening to your conscience. The most valuable step of all is of course, never returning to those bad behaviours, this demands employing resolve and integrity. 
However, the real teaching moment that peaceful evening along the shores of the Sea of Cortez was in recognising some wise teaching amongst my friends as we discussed some Buddhist writings and compared them with Mormon doctrine. Truth can be found in many places. Let us seek truth out of the best books, pay heed to wise teachers and replace some of the bad behaviours in our lives with good. 
 
 
 
 
 
 
4. 
 
Discussing LGBT issues sometimes feels like entering the lions den. You are very likely to get your head bitten off and not just by the lion. The thing is, unless you are gay, how on earth can you empathise with those who are? 
 
As a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter –day Saints the issue is particularly sensitive as we recognise the importance of chastity outside of marriage and complete fidelity once married. This cherished standard sets the church apart. No matter how one might try, it seems impossible that such a standard could ever be revised. 
 
The same applies to the definition of marriage. Considered as such a sacred and eternal principle, marriage between a man and a woman is a pillar of our faith. 
 
Things seem straight forward enough, chastity means refraining from sexual activity, regardless of whether another individual is involved or whether alone with your computer or magazine. Male or female, gay or straight, young or old, chastity applies to all. And don’t for one minute think that chastity is done away with once married. Chastity comes of age, blending itself with complete fidelity, to the degree that pornography now assumes behaviour tantamount to adultery. 
 
For those church members who are gay, the position must be an emotional, physical and spiritual turmoil. 
 
This message today is prompted by a former gay missionary, who having served in Taunton, and returning home eventually lost his faith. He now applies his life to issues surrounding various LG BT ssues. To the church member I ask a simple question, “Do you care?” 
 
We see a few long standing, faithful and gay members at church who lead their lives with integrity, honouring principles of the gospel, but have long founded aspirations of companionship with a loved one. Many will recognise such aspirations take second place when balanced against their faith. Some though, like my gay facebook friend, choose long term companionship and leave their faith behind. Spending their lives speaking up for their position in the hope the community and church will hear them and listen, even though they may be past listening to the church. 
 
I hope we are all listening. Whilst the church cannot change the position of revealed principles and must defend these, such defence can seem overwhelmingly harsh to those who suffer. 
 
We talk of toleration, but if I were gay, I wouldn’t want to be ‘tolerated’, though I would hope church members would be more tolerant. I would hate to think my behaviour was considered an abomination but instead hope church members would consider my needs for a loving companion are real. I wouldn’t want to be militant, just understood with gentleness. “Friends at first and friends at last” as Joseph Smith said. 
 
OK, so now I need to delete half of what I have written, I don’t think I will….. but this was supposed to be a one minute message. 
 
 
 
 
 
3. 
 
No matter how wonderful the Internet is, we must be very aware of its real dangers. I am told pornography is more highly addictive than many of the worlds most dangerous drugs. However, the most deadly aspect of it does not relate to its addictiveness, nor the damage it can do to us and our young people. It's real danger is found in the ease in which it is accessed. 
 
As a youth, a few of my friends and I at church figured out a great way how we would avoid pornography. It was a simple plan. If we were in Smiths, we would walk past the top shelf of the magazine rack ensuring we looked at our shoes the whole while. Until one of us suggested it would be better to walk on the other side of the shop and another to not go into the shop in the first place. Pornography was easy to avoid in the early 1970s. And eventually, we got good at avoiding it. 
 
Today things are different. Every time we or our children turn on our electronic devices, we are only a few moments away from accessing images which under normal circumstances we would all choose to avoid. 
 
As a person of faith, I recognise temptation as a slippery slope designed to carefully steal away our fidelity and how damaging pornography is to ones spirit. I also know how empowered we can all be, through our resolve, determination and integrity in avoiding it entirely. We simply need to listen to that still small voice (which often will bellow like thunder in our hearts) as it reminds us who we are, and in whose house of discipleship we have chosen to reside. 
 
 
 
 
 
2. 
 
The most poignant conversation in the Scriptures surely must be that had between Jesus and the thieves as all three were suffering the tortures of crucifixion. One thief taunts the Saviour suggesting that if "thou be Christ save thyself and us". The other thief asks for forgiveness. 
 
In the King James translation Luke chapter 23 verse 43, Jesus turns to the repentant thief and says: 
 
"...... Verily I say unto thee, To-day shalt thou be with me in Paradise." 
 
Yet, in the New World translation, the same conversation states: 
 
“Truly I tell you today, you will be with me in Paradise". 
 
Let us consider the New World translation comma , being placed after the word 'today'. The Saviour is telling the thief at that moment on that particular Friday, that at some undetermined day in the future, the thief would be in paradise and the Saviour would be with him. 
Whilst the King James translation teaches us , by placing the comma before the word 'today' that on that very day, that Friday, both the Saviour and the thief would be together in Paradise. 
 
This is an inspired teaching. Even the thief with death bed repentance would attend a place of paradise immediately death has concluded and prior to his personal resurrection. 
 
 
 
 
 
1. 
 
What of the twelve stones? 
 
As the generation which followed after that of Moses and the Exodus, crossed the River 
Jordan into the promised land, Joshua was commanded to bring twelve stones from the river. In reality, these 
must have been small boulders as they were required to be carried upon the shoulders of each man. Joshua 
chapter 4 verse 6 explains "That this may be a sign among you, that when your children ask their fathers in time 
to come, saying, What mean ye by these stones?". 
 
The stones were to be erected as a monument to show the Lords hand in blessing his people as they arrived in 
the promised land. The children would ask about the stones and their fathers would teach the children. 
 
I look to the 420 missionaries that have served in Taunton. What of them since they returned to their homes? Sadly some have died and some have lost their faith but all served to build up the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, in Taunton. The congregation stands in witness and lasting monument to their service. 
 
I have now come to an end of all the material I have been able to research concerning our missionaries. There are plenty of gaps and the work continues. 
 
Please check out the alumni and if you have more info that might assist this work in moving forward, please contact me. 
 
 
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