Monday, July 6, 2015

The Comforter, Spirit of Truth, Mind of God

There is a passage of scripture in the New Testament that has received quite a bit of attention in recent years.  I confess I have a hard time understanding it.  I have read it again and again, and even read entire books on the subject, but still there is some ambiguity and confusion over it, however I'd like to take a moment to share a few tidbits of understanding that I gained today.

For the past two weeks, the Holy Ghost has been the topic of discussion in some way, in both Sunday School and Relief Society in our ward.  I want to consider the following verses, right off the bat.  

  • John 14:15-31
  • John 16
  • Galatians 5
  • Alma 32:28
Prior to Christ's death and resurrection, he warns his disciples of what is to come.  They don't quite understand.  Forgive me in this post as I take a little editorial leeway and capitalize one word repeatedly which is not normally capitalized.  

"But now I go my way to him that sent me; and none of you asketh me, Whither goest thou?  But because I have said these things unto you, sorrow hath filled your heart.  Nevertheless I tell you the Truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him* unto you." -John 16:5-7  
[*Side note:  the Greek translation renders each instance of the word "him" as gender neutral.  In essence, the Spirit of Truth, the Comforter, the Holy Ghost is not necessarily a male figure.  Why is the Greek translation worth considering?  See here for a solid answer.  I'll asterisk the word "he" just for kicks in this post.

Additionally, the Greek word for Comforter is παρακλητος, or paraklhtoV (pronounced par-ak'-lay-tos), and is also represented as the words helper, counselor, advocate, among others.]

He is warning them.  Saying in essence, "I'm about to go away, but none of you are willing to ask where I'm going.  But you're sorrowing nonetheless.  But this is THE TRUTH regarding the Comforter.  Let me explain..."  

A few breaths before, he also explained,   
"But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of Truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he* shall tesitfy of me:" -John 15:26

And a few breaths before that,

"If ye love me, keep my commandments.  And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he* may abide with you for ever; even the Spirit of Truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him* not, neither knoweth him*: but ye know him*; for he* dwelleth with you, and shall be in you." -John 14:15-17

And back to where we started, with preparing to be killed,
"Howbeit when he*, the Spirit of Truth, is come, he* will guide you unto All Truth: for he* shall not speak of himself*; but whatsoever he* shall hear, that shall he* speak: and he* will shew you things to come.  He* shall glorify me: for he* shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you.  All things that the Father hath are mine: therefore said I, that he*(I'm unclear if this refers to Spirit of Truth or the Father) shall take of mine, and shall shew it unto you." -John 15:13-14   

In the Lectures on Faith, which Joseph Smith dedicated significant time and effort on, we receive further light and knowledge on the nature of the Godhead.  He explains in a series of questions/answers, with attending verses as evidence.  These passages have given me greater clarity and understanding on the Spirit of Truth of which Christ speaks.  From Lecture Fifth:

"16: Do the Father and the Son possess the same mind?  They do.  John 5:30: "I [Christ] can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me."  John 6:38: "For I [Christ] came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me."  John 1-:30: "I [Christ] and my Father are one."  
17.  What is this mind?  The Holy Spirit.  John 15:26:  "But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of Truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me [Christ]."  Galatians 4:6: "And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts."  
18.  Do the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit constitute the Godhead?  They do (Lecture 5:2).  [Let the student turn and commit this paragraph to memory.]  
19. Do the believers in Christ Jesus, through the gift of the Spirit, become one with the Father and the Son, as the Father and the Son are one?  They do.  John 17:20-21: "Neither pray I for these [the apostles] alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; that they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me."  
20.  Does the foregoing account of the Godhead lay a sure foundation for the exercise of faith in him unto life and salvation?  It does."

It was important for Joseph to instruct that the Holy Spirit is equivalent with the MIND of God.  And that the Holy Spirit is the same mind that the Father and Son possess.  As we receive the Holy Spirit, is it noteworthy to consider that should we believe this, that we indeed are taking upon us the MIND of GOD?  Do we become one in mind, therefore one in intent, purpose, understanding and knowledge?

In Sunday School and Relief Society, for two weeks in a row, I shared this quote:

"The Holy Ghost has no other effect than pure intelligence." - Joseph Smith
Frequently as a missionary I would share Galations 5:22-23 as a way to help investigators understand the fruits of the Spirit.  This, I would say, is how we know when we are feeling THE Spirit.  But is it THE Spirit, necessarily, when we feel these things?  I never quite explained fully what Paul was teaching in these verses, so I'd like to highlight the backstory to the verses we use so much.

"This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.  But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law.  Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in the time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.  But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.  And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.  If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.  Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another." - Galatians 5:16-26   
Here the word "truth" is not mentioned in our English translations, however we are talking about the fruits, or the things that come FROM the Holy Spirit.  If we add in the words "of Truth" after the word "Spirit", we might find a new way of looking at what Paul was getting at.  When we are in a place with pure intelligence, with Truth, with the Mind of God, we are not of the law requiring us to be carnal creatures (or are we?).  In essence, I propose what he is saying is that we are above carnal, above the law, and in connection with the pure Mind of God, the Holy Spirit of Truth, and will manifest fruits which are highlighted above in yellow.  It sounds like something higher.  We inherit (in-here-it) the kingdom of God.  Here and now.

One more verse to tie it into the Book of Mormon.

Alma compares the word to a seed.

Now, we will compare the word (aka "truth" or "good") unto a seed.  Now, if ye give place, that a seed may be planted in your heart, behold, if it be a true seed, or a good seed, if ye do not cast it out by your unbelief, that ye will resist the Spirit of the Lord, behold, it will begin to swell within your breasts; and when you feel these swelling motions (fruit), ye will begin to say within yourselves–It must needs be that this is a good seed, or that the word is good, for it beginneth to enlarge my soul (fruit); yea, it beginneth to enlighten my understanding (fruit), yea, it beginneth to be delicious (fruit) to me.  Now behold, would not this increase your faith?  I say unto you, Yea; nevertheless it hath not grown up to a perfect knowledge... And now, behold, because ye have tried the experiment, and planted the seed, and it swelleth and sprouteth, and beginneth to grow (fruit), ye must needs know that the seed is good.  And now, behold, is your knowledge perfect?  Yea, your knowledge is perfect in that thing, and your faith is dormant; and this because you know, for ye know that the word hath swelled your souls, and ye also know that it hath sprouted up, that your understanding doth begin to be enlightened, and your mind doth begin to expand."  -Alma 32:28-9, 33-4  
A friend, who inspired this post in my mind a few months ago, shared with me that she felt "the Spirit" at a local amusement park ride.  She questioned her understanding of the traditional explanation of what the Spirit is.  I hope this post helps friends like her, who are truly bewildered by the modern definitions we give in Sunday School regarding what the Holy Spirit is.  There is so much more clarity when we dig into the scriptures.  I don't understand everything, but I feel like I have learned a lot from her asking the question.  

Thursday, July 2, 2015

A Stiffnecked People, Helaman 5:3

What does "stiffnecked" mean?  This morning I was led to Helaman 5:3.

"Yea, and this was not all; they were a stiffnecked people, insomuch that they could not be governed by the law nor justice, save it were to their destruction."  

Last November I took a course on how to do deep tissue massage on the neck muscles.  There are really quite a number of minute muscles in the neck.  I always thought it'd be interesting to see if there were particular thoughts or emotions tied to given muscles of the body.  Some believe that the body, also called the temple, holds a record of the "Book of Life".  That each cell in the body records our daily occurrences, thoughts, and DNA.  So what does it mean if a people at large becomes stiffnecked?  Do they all  need bodywork?

For me, it means inflexibility.  My neck has been somewhat misaligned for the last week or so, and yesterday I went to the chiropractor.  His intention was to realign the vertebrae in my neck, however the muscles were so tight from it being out of alignment that it was nearly impossible for him to adjust it properly.  He said, "I'm just not satisfied with how it's moving," and recommended I return in a few days once it had loosened up from the current adjustment.  How does this compare spiritually?

Between the bones/vertebrae, the muscles, and the nerves, the neck is a major channel between the head and the rest of the body.  If you have ever awoken with a kink in the neck, you'll know how much it can irritate the whole day, or even several days, until the kink can be resolved.  Some people will even have surgery, thinking that to fuse the bones in the neck is the only fix for such things.  How sad.

Here in Helaman 5:3, we learn the people could not be governed by the law, nor by justice.  They had lost all sense of what was right.  The only direction they knew was to allow things that would prove to their destruction.  Why would a people choose such things?  Surely if they knew it would destroy them, they would choose an option which allowed for self-preservation.

The preceding verse explains a little more.  Verse 2:

"For as their laws and their governments were established by the voice of the people, and they who chose evil were more numerous than they who chose good, therefore they were ripening for destruction, for the laws had become corrupted."

It appears that choosing evil over good is a direct correlation.  Yea, and this was not all; they were a stiffnecked people that could not be governed by law nor justice.  They chose evil, knowing full well it was evil, and corrupted their own laws.

Perhaps the solution to any civilization which finds themselves in a stiffnecked predicament would be to soften the neck muscles, realign the perspective, and allow greater flow between the "head" and the "rest of the body".  How very symbolic.  When the neck is properly aligned, all parts of the body function more properly.  The digestive system, immune system, circulatory system, respiratory system, and in essence, all systems function properly when there is a proper connection, even a proper "flow", from the brain to the body.  If Christ is the head, and we, as individuals, are the "members" of the "body", a misaligned neck has all sorts of ramifications.  But fix the neck, clear the musculo-skeletal-nervine connection, and what a healthy body you will find!
   

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Radical Ideas

Once upon a time there were two groups of people.  One hated the other, so extremely that they would continuously find reasons to come and try to kill them.  One day, some men from the more peaceful of the two groups were so sincerely changed, that they had great desires to teach and share with the more hostile group, what had changed their hearts.  They took their royal desires to their father, the king of the land, and asked if they could be excused indefinitely while they went to try to preach to these hostile murders.

Their father was of course, quite afraid, and being the thoughtful, inspired man he was, he took the question to the Lord in prayer, seeking revelation.  The Lord promised that if he should permit his sons to do this thing, that He (the Lord) would protect them.  They should all return unharmed – or alive, at very least.

So the father took comfort and gave them permission to leave the relative safety of their more peaceful land and embark into hostile territory.

Long story short, as the brothers and friends took their journey, they ended up being quite successful.  In fact, extremely successful.  Thousands were converted away from their wicked ways, and turned to God.  They felt so extremely sorry for their previous murderous ways that when their fellow citizens came and tried to kill them for their crazy new spiritual views, they willingly fell down at their swords.

After one gnarly battle, so many of the hardened, murderous fellow-citizens were so touched by this lack of resistance that they too were converted to whatever it was that had changed their countrymen's hearts.

But after awhile, a more hardened group among the murderers started stirring the pot, as they didn't feel too keen on all the love and joy going around, so they came up to go against their fellowmen AGAIN.

Back to the sons of the king.  Their hearts were in turmoil, because these people who they grew to love so much were being slain for absolutely no reason, beyond a change of heart.  They thought if they might go and ask the people of their land if these new friends can come and dwell there, surely they would do something to help.  And so they asked.  And their request was granted.  The refugees were given a space of land to inherit, free of charge.  While these people were never a hindrance or burden, down the road they became a great blessing to the people of their new land.

Their story can be found in the Book of Alma, in the Book of Mormon.

----------------------

There is a war raging in the Middle East, where believers of Christ are being murdered.  Perhaps their story is not as dramatic as the people of Anti-Nephi-Lehi, but their situation is just as perilous.  They have no defenses.  They are being killed strictly because of differing religion.  I propose that while this nation hangs in wait for a sword of destruction to fall for our unrepentant, hard, controlling hearts, that one spring of hope might be to offer a space of peace and freedom for these Christian refugees.  Perhaps God would spare us a little longer.  I have heard one Democratic senator, somewhere, propose such an idea, and I support it.  There is a lot to fear in opening up one's homeland to those of another culture, but perhaps these folks might prove to be a blessing to us, much like the Anti-Nephi-Lehies.  


Saturday, June 27, 2015

50+ Years of Love and Marriage

My dad always tells people on each birthday that he's turning 29.  Tonight my sister and family friends threw a 50th Anniversary party for my parents.  It was the cutest surprise party I think I've seen.  My mom was truly surprised.


My dad kinda caught on as he saw all the cars outside. :)  He joked with one of his friends in attendance that even though he was celebrating 50 years of marriage,  he was still 29.  He asked his friend how it felt to be 31.

Today while pretending not to be on Facebook, I read this, copied from someone who also copied someone else's quote.  I thought it was really worthwhile.  I hope they won't mind me copying it without citation.  If the author ever discovers this and would attrition, I'm happy to add their name.  I thought it was pretty interesting insight, especially regarding the concept of marriage.

My thoughts today. I saw that 'in honor of' the Supreme Court's decision today, the White House was being lit up like a rainbow tonight. What of this rainbow?
When we see the rainbow, we think we are remembering God's promise to not flood the earth, but JST teaches something different. The rainbow is really the token given to Enoch in relation to the everlasting covenant and Noah's seed:
JST Genesis 9:14 And a commandment I give unto you, Be ye fruitful and multiply; bring forth abundantly on the earth, and multiply therein. 15 And God spake unto Noah, and to his sons with him, saying, And I, behold, I will establish my covenant with you, which I made unto your father Enoch, concerning your seed after you.
21 And the bow shall be in the cloud; and I will look upon it, that I may remember the everlasting covenant, which I made unto thy father Enoch; that, when men should keep all my commandments, Zion should again come on the earth, the city of Enoch which I have caught up unto myself.
22 And this is mine everlasting covenant, that when thy posterity shall embrace the truth, and look upward, then shall Zion look downward, and all the heavens shall shake with gladness, and the earth shall tremble with joy;
23 And the general assembly of the church of the firstborn shall come down out of heaven, and possess the earth, and shall have place until the end come. And this is mine everlasting covenant, which I made with thy father Enoch.
24 And the bow shall be in the cloud, and I will establish my covenant unto thee, which I have made between me and thee, for every living creature of all flesh that shall be upon the earth.
25 And God said unto Noah, This is the token of the covenant which I have established between me and thee; for all flesh that shall be upon the earth.
Isn't it interesting that the lifestyle supported by this new rainbow completely negates the covenant God made--rendering impossible the command to multiply and replenish the earth? It is prophecied that there will come a time when the Lord's token will be withdrawn and that when that occurs the end comes quickly. Could it be that the Nation's acceptance of this new (counterfeit) symbol of the rainbow will bring about the withdrawal of the Lord's true symbol of his covenant?

Tonight I watched my parents smash cake in one another's faces in celebration of 50 years.  They both came out smiling.  I have been born of very, very goodly parents.  They have multiplied and replenished the earth.  They have held strongly to their commitments and covenants in a world of increasing confusion and moral uncertainty.  They are loving to one another despite years of trials.  They are patient, kind, impatient, forgiving, hard working Americans.  They are proud yet humble, rich yet poor, backwards yet upstanding, fine, fine souls.  I love them with all my heart, and am beyond grateful for their tireless example of motherhood and fatherhood, grandmother- and grandfatherhood.  I keep telling them that they are not permitted to die, but must be translated, because I honestly could not live without them.


Their anniversary was actually about 2 weeks ago.  They always say they have two anniversaries, because they were married one day, and then sealed in the Salt Lake Temple a year and a day later.  (Or was it two years?)

Today is also the 171st anniversary of Joseph Smith's death.  How grateful I am for him for the work which transpired through his hands.  The whole concept of my life's work and aspirations would not be remotely what they are without Joseph.  Had my parents not independently converted to the LDS Church, my life would have likely been quite different.

Additionally I want to express gratitude and blessings towards Denver Snuffer.  I admit I marginalized Joseph's work in large measure, believing him to only have received part of the picture before he died.  Denver has done such an immense job at reminding me that Joseph alone has seen the heavens open to such a vast degree, and there have been few if any who have accomplished what he (Joseph) has for the returning of our hearts to the fathers.  Today Denver shared a beautiful memorial of Joseph Smith's work.  Those who are not willing to give Denver's message a chance, based on someone else's poor explanations, should really consider the climate of their hearts and reconsider where their fears and their trust lie.  Through his writings I have remembered Joseph in such a degree that my life has remarkably grown increasingly awakened.  Thank you, Jesus, for allowing me to have their influence in my life.    

To my parents, here's to 50 more years!  #1MOM and #1DAD.  Love love love you.  May you live long and prosper! :) 

Friday, June 26, 2015

For Your Money You Shall be Baptized, Mormon 8:32

Sometimes I wonder if we really know which way is up anymore.

Mormon 8:32:
Yea, it shall come in a day when there shall be churches built up that shall say: Come unto me, and for your money you shall be forgiven of your sins.
The concept of using money to forgive sins used to be a really preposterous idea.  I used to think this verse was referring to the Catholic Church's practice of indulgences.  If you pay the church, you can receive "forgiveness" of your sins.  I would have never stopped to consider that there may be other instances of this since then, or in the future.  My disappointment appears when I discover that this is a practice now among Mormons.

"What???" you say?  "How can this be?  Jen's taking crazy pills again!"

In my church, we believe that remission of sins comes at baptism.  Below are two of many citations from missionary blogs, where as of last September, they are reporting that in order to be baptized, one must oblige several new key points.  Prospective members were required to attend church for three hours, three times, and pay a fast offering or tithing.



I completely understand the rationale being used by the mission presidents, however it is another literal fulfillment of what Mormon saw.  Juxtaposing the idea alongside the picture above is kind of repulsive, but even in sharing the situation with a family member, it was almost easy to dismiss.  Here are two accounts:


"WEDNESDAY, we taught Jean Franko about fasting because there is a new rule just for this ward, that the investigators need to fast and pay a fast offering in order to be baptized. interesting. it went really well and he said that he would do it. i feel like he has a need, but we just cant find it. he sort of avoids the topic of baptism, but with faith and patience i think we will get there!" - from a missionary's blog.
"They put in a couple of new rules for baptizing in this area. The investigators have to attend church three times, and they have to go to church all three hours three times before getting baptized. Also, they have to pay some sort of offering or donation before they can get baptized. It will make things a bit trickier but I can definitely see the wisdom in these rules, making sure that the converts remain active and faithful members of the church. We'll see what type of good results it brings!" - from another missionary's blog.

While this may be old news for some, as it was being reported last September, it has come up as an important issue in my mind.  I typed up these instances a few days ago, and hesitated to be discussing something that may be considered Mormon bashing.  A dear relative asked recently if I was leaving the church.  I hope anyone reading knows how much I love the church, and how much it pains and stresses my heart to see this happening.  I have spent 36 years of my life dedicated to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  Literally, dedicated it.  What I have discovered through this dedication, is that we are so deserving of the prophetic warnings described in the Book of Mormon, and we are SO oblivious as to the stains on our garments.  They are blood red.

While on a Facebook hiatus, I decided to skim over the news feed after today's gay marriage ruling by the SCOTUS.  It's interesting to me, to see how much we stress and worry about being destroyed like Sodom and Gomorrah (or about loving unabashedly), yet we are so unwilling to consider all the other prophetic warnings of potential destruction (or completely disregard them).  Is what folks do with their genitals (or our ignoring of it) the only measuring stick we use to determine our worthiness before God?  Or can there be other more heinous sins, which are more offensive to God?

While reading the many discussions among LDS and non LDS, I will say I am just as completely undecided about gay marriage as I was decided against it a few years ago.  I have no idea how God will sort this out, or if he really even cares.  But what I do know is that if I believe the Book of Mormon and Bible, I have to begin considering that there are so many instances in which I can sin, and it's time for me to stop being distracted with other people's sins.  I am worrying about my own, at least for the time being.  Please know I am not at odds with the LDS Church, but that I am deeply concerned regarding the prophetic forecasts which are coming true before my very eyes.

For more missionary blogs, referencing this fulfillment of Mormon's prophesy, see here.


Friday, June 19, 2015

So Busy You Can't Hear God

This should be a much longer post, but I do not feel the liberty to take much time to write it.

Be still, and know that I am God.

Please do not allow yourself to be so busy that you cannot hear God.

Be careful to fill your life with so many activities that you neglect what is most important.

What is most important to you and your salvation?

What is most important for your family and their salvation?

Are you too tied up in Facebook or social media to realize that you are neglecting your family?

Are you too busy with activities and having fun that you are too tired to study, to learn, to hear the voice of God speaking in your life?

If you are too busy, it is time to slow down.  When we refuse to slow down, God will give us greater incentive to do so.

Time is short.  Please use it as best you can.  But please also remember that "eat, drink, and be merry" was not a complimentary description in any scripture.

Sending love. 

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Truck in the House

Two or so nights ago I had a dream.  There are periods where I dream quite frequently, and lots of the time they don't make much sense.  Sometimes I dream, and I realize I am influenced by my own hopes or fears.  This one did not have any of those normal influences.  When I was awoken from this dream, I knew its meaning, and understood that I was to share.  I also knew it was not a fluff dream, nor something simply reflective of my inner thoughts and feelings.    

It is very short and simple.  I was in our kitchen, and saw down the hallway to the front door.  A medium sized, semi-dirty monster truck had pulled into the front door area, and somehow the space accommodated this.  (In real life it does not.)  The truck entered the home, and began accelerating down the hallway, towards the kitchen area.  As it accelerated, I began yelling at it, commanding it to stop, but it only grew faster.  Although I didn't see it smash into/through the wall and out the back side of the house, I knew that was its path.  I was awoken by my alarm clock before I saw it collide.  I wondered if the Lord had the dream interrupted at this point intentionally, as surely the Powers that 
Be must have some control of what content is revealed through dreams.   

The dirty destruction is upon us.  It has entered our doors, and we are in its wake, whether we like it or not.  It is accelerating towards us, but will not destroy us completely.  (I suppose the "us" would be negotiable, depending upon who is reading this, and what their interpretation is.)  We cannot use our power to stop it; it will come.  God willing, we will survive.  

Sorry it's not a more inspiring message.  

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Runaway Laws and School Systems

My son has missed an exorbitant amount of school this year.  Last week he missed 4.5 days, and just this evening I realized I neglected to get an excusal note turned in within the 3 day window required by law.  If I had turned the note in by 2:45 pm this afternoon (8 or so hours ago), it would have been excused.  I wrote his principal asking for a reprieve, and he said that by law, he cannot accept my excusal note after hours.

Fortunately, though, one of the 4 days last week was excused, because I signed him out early (???).  The other three, were not excused, and therefore my son has quickly expended the 3 unexcused absences permitted by law.    Not because he was running around with riff-raff or anything, and not because I couldn't submit a note, but because I simply forgot.  Human error.  Had one of those four days not been excused, we would be facing a $300+ fine from the school district.

At the end of the day last Friday, I received an email from one of his many teachers, indicating that he should have had a project turned in by the end of the day, as the marking period was closing.  So I had to navigate how to maneuver that issue, as he had been recovering from illness, had not completed the work, and I had no idea of how to turn it in.  The policy shown to us at the beginning of the year was that the students would have equal time to turn in their work to the time that they missed.  So having missed four days of school, he should have four days upon return to complete the work.  But they were not applying their own policy, leaving us scrambling.

On Monday when he returned, he also had detention, due to missing 12 assignments in his various classes this term.  I won't say anything about the fact that not ONE teacher could let me know that he wasn't turning in assignments.  Nor will I say anything about the fact that in the beginning of the year, when he received detention for also not turning in assignments, I specifically arranged with his homeroom teacher to alert me if he should miss just 3 homeworks.

On Monday after picking him up from detention, I checked in with the office for the second time that day, to see if they had received a faxed excusal note from my son's doctor, and they had not.

Then I went home, and found out my son missed turning in another final project, and began negotiating with his teacher via email to see if he could possibly turn it in on Tuesday.  The teacher wrote back Tuesday morning saying he could indeed turn it in, but my son decided not to complete it on Monday night, believing all was lost.  So he got a D grade for the term, but overall passed the class (PRAISE GOD!).

In the mail on Tuesday afternoon, I received a form from a different doctor of my son, which required teacher input.  It was miraculously sent to me just in the nick of time, as there were only 2 days of school left.  I scrambled (again) to write his teacher, asking if he had time to fill it out, if he could request that my son give him the form, and then again return it before the end of the year (tomorrow).  My son brought home a completed form.  Let's thank God again.  I could not imagine trying to get this completed once school is out for summer.  Once I get this form submitted, I have another 6 months of waiting to see the specialist we are attempting to see.  This specialist will hopefully give us some answers as to why my son has such a difficult time remembering things related to short-term memory.  (He will take off his shoes, and then five minutes later cannot remember where they were placed.  I will ask him three times to put his backpack in its designated space {so he can find it the next morning} and it still does not get put away.)  So this was a tender mercy, that the teacher was willing to get it done right away.

It was only at 9:20 pm this evening that I realized I never followed up on the doctor's excusal note, and never turned in what I already received from the doctor last week (a two-day excusal note, rather than 4).  My son, therefore, has three days of unlawful absences, which the principal says is nothing to worry about.  "No worries," he says.  Ok.

This really is no big deal.  It's not earthquake recovery, ebola outbreak, or Christian slaughter in the Middle East.  This is seriously first world problems, and complete nonsense.  However, it goes to show that in this country, we have become a country filled with some of the most asinine sensibilities, where common sense DOES NOT RULE, and unceasing nit-picky laws have been created to make life "better" for parents and educators trumps the little common sense left.  There is no leeway for the fact that I contacted the office TWICE in regards to this excusal note, but because I missed the window, the record is marred, and if for some reason the 4th day had be unexcused, I'd have a hefty fine.  Not that it matters, but I wonder if down the road, somehow, it might.  Regardless, what we put out in this world is returned to us.  I am tempted to warn the office staff and principal that yes, there are laws that govern things, but their rigidness will likely be returned to them tenfold.  May I not be so rigid with those I interact with.

Alma described this principle.

And now behold, is the meaning of the word restoration to take a thing of a natural state and place it in an unnatural state, or to place it in a state opposite to its nature?  
O, my son, this is not the case; but the meaning of the word restoration is to bring back again evil for evil, or carnal for carnal, or devilish for devilish - good for that which is good; righteous for that which is righteous; just for that which is just; merciful for that which is merciful.  
Therefore, my son, see that you are merciful unto your brethren; deal justly, judge righteously, and do good continually; and if ye do all these things then shall ye receive your reward; yea, ye shall have mercy restored unto you again; ye shall have justice restored unto you again; ye shall have a righteous judgment restored unto you again; and ye shall have good rewarded unto you again.  
For that which ye do send out shall return unto you again, and be restored; therefore, the word restoration more fully condemneth the sinner, and justifieth him not at all.
 Alma 41: 12-15  
My heart is concerned for their well being.  Do those of us who are obsessed with mercilessness realize that whether in this life, or in the next, that this will be returned to us?  I have been a little unmerciful to my children this week.  I wonder if the rigidity of the administration in following the rules is a restoration of the rigidity I showed to my kids this week.  

This is a sign of the times, people.  I pray we are woken up.  I am no better than the next.