Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Is This Idea Sacrilege?

I don't know if I'm pushing hot buttons, or posing a very inappropriate question.  I mean it in the highest form of respect.  

Due to reading yesterday that 1276 tickets were given to homeless persons last year for trespassing, when I saw a friend post this picture today, my brain/heart put two and two together.  

Would this not make a fabulous homeless shelter for those 1276 that are in need of warmth?  Maybe they might even be able to be put to work to finish it.  

I'm not playing devil's advocate.  I'm serious.  We have 140+ temples constructed or in the works.  Would just one homeless shelter sponsored by our tithes be inappropriate?  

If you object, please enlighten me as to why.  Please use scripture though.


Tuesday, November 26, 2013

In Response to the 1276 Beggars

A friend posted this article on their facebook page, and asked for thoughts of others:

I commented, and read the other comments, mostly saying to avoid and don't pay the beggars, but a few that said contrary to that.  Then someone shared this:

"This is from my buddy who is or was homeless good perspective: Don't give the people flying signs money, most of them are using the money for drugs. Give them food, clothing, single sheet flannel blankets, that's it. I would only give them money if they look like they are taking care of themselves, and you get the feeling that they look like they will put it to good use. I will see the same person in the same spot for 6 months. They aren't going anywhere. By that time, they aren't doing anything good with the money. Don't get me wrong, I am sure there is an exception.
There are much better ways to help, although they are not nearly as easy as handing out money. Donate clothing, hygeine packs (ziplock bag with hotel soap, shampoo, and whatever is affordable...some of these shelters/charities have requirements). The biggest help is in the form of pushing for completely different policy. The homeless shelter in salt lake cut its housing in half about 6 months ago, so there are going to be hundreds sleeping on the street this winter. To be honest, I think salt lake city is trying/hoping that many of these people will leave this winter...and it will work to some degree.
The police hand out thousands, no joke, of tickets to the homeless for blocking a thorough fair, because a homeless person is sitting on the curb. They handed out 1276 tickets last year, for the two blocks next to the homeless shelter for the homeless "criminally tresspassing". Most of them were for walking across a parking lot. I know, I got one of them.

Get community leaders (they aren't leaders, they are business folks with agendas) to consider and take different approaches to handling the homeless. Over half of the homeless have two showers, and two washers and driers, provided by the Catholic Church (side note: the LDS church donates blankets, but has no shelter for the poor. It's only interesting, when the LDS consider this the home base for their ideology).
Let them know of the bishops warehouse on 8th south and 7th west. They allow people to do menial work in exchange for food and clothing. Great program.

The Mission, 5th south and 4th west, provides free hot meals and clothing.

There is a health clinic, the "4th street clinic", on 4th south and 4th west that provides almost all non-emergency medical help."

I don't agree with not giving them money.  Even if they're drug addicts, they use drugs to fill a need.  It's up to you to discern what you can or can't give.  But DO SOMETHING!!!!!

No shelter???

1276 tickets???

My response on the thread:

"Hebrews 13:2: 2 Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares." I will turn around in traffic to give to a beggar, provided I don't see them texting on their iphone. Either way, I try to keep a little food in my car to offer, so if I don't have money I can at least offer food. "Are we not all beggars?" King B."
Heaven help us!!!  I feel like I'm taking crazy pills.  This is insanity.  PUT THEM UP FOR FREE IN THE MALL!!!  

Monday, November 25, 2013

JST Gen 14

Dear Josten,

I've been pondering and studying tithing for a very long time.  I don't know what has possessed me to be so fascinated with the topic.  Perhaps it has something to do with the law of consecration, feeling poor, and lots of complaints I hear from people about our church building a shopping mall with their for-profit arm.

The other day I read something for what felt like the first time.  It's the Joseph Smith Translation of Genesis 14:25-40.  I won't cite it all, but a few verses are particularly applicable to tithing.

Before I proceed, let me share the traditional narrative and counsel.  We pay the Lord first, correct?  We receive income, we pay one tenth, and then spend the rest as we need.  I have heard this lots over the pulpit, and remember sharing those thoughts myself from time to time when asked to give talks in the past.  Yet the account we generally reference never really made complete sense, as there were always for/against arguments on tithing gross or net income from various parties.

The narrative is that it is a lesser law.  The law of consecration was not able to be fully followed, so the Lord kind of gave us a break and allowed us to live this lesser law.  When we get it right, I suppose we believe we'll step up into the higher law.  Although in essence, we agree to this law at baptism: to bear one another's burdens.

Anyways... at the end of Genesis 14, there is a set of Joseph Smith Translation verses which are truly phenomenal to the doctrine.  Do we believe it, or our rational and tradition?

36 And this Melchizedek, having thus established righteousness, was called the king of heaven by his people, or, in other words, the King of peace.
37 And he lifted up his voice, and he blessed Abram, being the high priest, and the keeper of the storehouse of God;
38 Him whom God had appointed to receive tithes for the poor.
39 Wherefore, Abram paid unto him tithes of all that he had, of all the riches which he possessed, which God had given him more than that which he had need.
40 And it came to pass, that God blessed Abram, and gave unto him riches, and honor, and lands for an everlasting possession; according to the covenant which he had made, and according to the blessing wherewith Melchizedek had blessed him.
The highlighted verses struck me.  Tithes are for the poor, according to this revealed scripture.  Because we interpret it differently now than what is declared here, do we feel we can change the scripture to fit our current beliefs?  Or do we need to change our current beliefs to fit the scripture?

Yesterday on my Facebook wall, someone was well researched enough to copy and past the following.
"I tithe because I strive to be obedient and it is a covenant I have made as a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. My “task” is to be obedient – I give the Lord my tithes. Once it leaves my hands, someone else’s stewardship is to use that money wisely. It is the Lord’s money.

Tithing funds are used to support five key areas of the church: (1) Provide places of worship (2) Provide education programs including universities, seminary and institute (3) support the world wide missionary program; (4) Build and operate temples and support the family history programs and last but not least (5) support the church’s welfare programs and humanitarian aid programs – these service people all over the world whether they are members or not. (Source: )
Tithing funds are not used to build shopping centers. The church has an arm of the church that is “for profit” – and the church pays taxes on those businesses. For more information, please see, or or

There are many good organizations that can use our time and our money and we are blessed to be able to support them. How fortunate we are to have some “extra” to share with other children of our Heavenly Father."

So... tithing funds are used to provide chapels (and other places of "worship"), education programs, missionary work, temples, family history projects, and finally support the poor.  In that order?  I don't know.  Apparently it is (once again) not my reponsibility to question.  However I am commanded to give (or not give) common consent.  ("And all things shall be done by common consent in the church, by much prayer and faith, for all things you shall receive by faith. Amen." D&C 26:2)  Is it more imperative that I agree with what the living oracles of the church newsroom decide?  Or what a man who communed with God revealed through scripture?  And if those in the church newsroom and the powers that govern tithing funds decide that they can distribute offerings to whichever funds need them the most, who is to say where or how my tithing will be distributed?  But does it matter?  Am I supposed to believe, as my friend commented, that it is the Lord's money, once it leaves my hands?

Point #2:  Abram paid unto him tithes of all that he had, of all the riches which he possessed, which God had given him more than that which he had need.  Which God had given him more than that which he had need.  This hit my heart.  This is not "pay the Lord first".  This reads to me as "take care of your needs, then tithe of the excess".  IF each member knew this scripture, would there be any trouble whatsoever in members having any problem paying their tithing?  If there was no excess, there is no payment.  If there is excess, it is no struggle, no question of faith to pay a tenth.  It is, in fact, very, very generous of a loving God, to allow us this privilege.  It warms my heart.

Josten, this is a very simple way to better keep the commandments of God.  With this much leeway, if you had such excess after meeting your needs, would you not feel more inclined to give to other charities as well?
This scripture was so exciting to me that it brought me joy.  For a very long time I have deliberated this principle.  I've read others' takes on it, read the Ensign and Conference Reports.  But this is scripture, and I believe it.  I worship no man but God, and oh, what a blessing!

Next step: better understand the law of consecration.  Working on it!

Love you,

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Typhoon Missionaries

This evening I read a beautiful poetic article about LDS missionaries pulling faith from fear during Typhoon Haiyan.  You can read it here, for it is the reference point for which this post is made.

(photo source: Ravell Call, Deseret News)

The story elaborates about how several sister missionaries survived the recent storm.  Miraculously they were provided a way to escape the aftermath, which is unfolding for those who were not so fortunate to find a way out, who likely remain fighting for scraps of food in the desolation.

After reading the article, and pondering the idea that many around the world would do anything they could to be drop-shipped to the Philippines to be able to help the survivors, I am scratching my head as to why these 204 missionaries were pulled out of the country.  Death is all around.  People are desperate for food, and it's likely pouring in, although probably no where near what is needed to survive.  Maybe that's why.  Maybe they needed to get out of the devastation, and allow food and resources to go to the locals.  My mind and heart are wondering, what are missionaries for, if not to serve?  Their job is not only to teach, or is it?

Recently I read on a blog where the author had a suggestion for what they hoped would be announced at General Conference regarding missionary work.  I really liked it.  They supposed how cool it would be for missionaries to be able to dress in regular clothes, and be out ministering through service to the local communities.  At 5 pm, they would get back in their suits after dinner, and spend the evening proselyting with the help of members at a time when fathers are generally home, and the elders (at least) can get into homes without having to reschedule until there is another male present.  I really loved that idea, because it seems like knocking doors is not the most effective way, at least 24-7.  But getting out there in street clothes, tags on, asking every person they meet, "Hey, what can I do to serve/help you?" –would that not be a wondrous sight to behold?

I am so glad the missionaries in the Philippines are safe, but I'm a little jealous, and somewhat sad that they were not permitted to regroup, reassess, and find a way to make God's presence known.  I pray that while they're in another area of the Philippines, they can get any emotional help they might need, as they'll likely experience nightmares from the horrors of what they've seen.  Yet in the aftermath of the storm, I'm really pondering the idea that in disasters like these, we are being tested as to our resolve and interest in being an instrument in God's hands.

Love and prayers for all those affected.


Thursday, November 7, 2013

Death of a Friend

Yesterday a longtime friend of the family underwent a double mastectomy.  For those unfamiliar with medical speak, that meant that the tissue held within the breasts are removed, the breast skin sealed up, and sometimes implants are later used to replace the tissue.  It is a very painful process.

Two days ago, when I heard the news about yesterday's surgery, I also happened to unpack a box of things that had been in storage for over a year and a half.  Stuffed in the box was a pink breast cancer awareness shirt I had received as a gift from a different friend, nearly three years ago when she got diagnosed with breast cancer.  She purchased a pink shirt with the classic pink ribbon, only this one had a heart drawn with the ribbon.  She had given one to me and several other friends in her tight circle of friends.  We watched and journeyed with her through her own double mastectomy, reconstructive surgery, and healing.  I remember sitting in the hospital room as she awoke from the anesthesia, and her bedroom from time to time through her healing.  Calling it painful and arduous would be an understatement.

Karol Truman writes that cancers of the female organs are indicative of many core issues.  Some big ones are "unresolved resentments", "holding onto deep anger, resentment, hate, revenge or jealousy", or "not open to 'light' or divine help" (Feelings Buried Alive Never Die, p.235).  In my Connective Tissue courses in massage school, we learned that the chest/heart area was responsible for issues of the "heart".  (duh- lol!)  In one instance, the instructor placed her left hand on my heart under the drape, and simply told me with her eyes to "let go".  It was as if something magical happened, because I could feel all sorts of pain rushing through, being released.  I had instant tears, and didn't even quite know why.  Too bad everyone can't go to massage school – that kind of bodywork is priceless.

Regardless of the conscious or subconscious cause of breast cancer, yesterday I had cause to reflect, being so greatly reminded of the old friend (via the shirt), and the cancer of both women, and where I have been in the two years since the death of the woman who gave me the shirt.  She's very much among the living, I presume, but the friendship is deceased.  In so many ways, her passing instigated the changes in me that have taken place ever since; they have been deep and will be longer lasting than the friendship was.  

The breast contains and protects the heart.  My heart was completely broken, smashed to smithereens, and then rebuilt by God himself.  There is no other way to explain it.  It had to happen, because I would not allow for change otherwise, and openly admitted such.  I refused to move away from the woman, would never reject her phone calls, and put our visits and gatherings above the needs of my children and family, and unless the friendship was demolished, I would have stayed and stewed in Utah Valley quite possibly for the rest of my life.  When I write so frequently in my posts here about idol worship, it hits so powerfully home to me, because I was the worst of the worshipers of this graven image of a goddess.

When the friendship was smashed with an iron rod, I was gently given a pillar to lean on.  I received a blessing from God through a friend, which warned me of the dissolving of the friendship, and the opening of my heart, the pain, the tears, and the healing and metamorphosis that would take place.  In the two years since the woman wrote me a long, horridly horrifying letter, I have "shifted" in ways formerly unimaginable, such that I doubt she would recognize me, were we to talk again.  And I have no desire for her to recognize me, because I no longer worship her.

I bear no ill will, and I was actually able to wear that shirt yesterday, with a prayer in my heart for both women struck by breast cancer.  Other times when I had seen the shirt in the box, I could hardly touch it, and preferred to leave it sit there until I had the gumption to throw it away, burn it, or donate it.  Somehow, I was able to put it on my body, and my heart felt nothing but gratitude.

Without her, I would not have been so openly introduced to so many people who taught me so many wonderful things.  I hate to give her too much credit, but I would not have been introduced to energy work.  I would likely have never met my close friend and mentor, who cared to teach me muscle testing, and the cascading effects that have come from that:  I would not be a massage therapist.  I would not be working with doTERRA as a business.  I would not be rubbing shoulders with people in my upline and downline who I truly love and cherish with my entire soul, because from them too I have learned so much.  I would not have a "downline", because there was no chance in hail that I would've grown a business with it had I stayed in Utah, and I left Utah to get away from any chance of ever seeing her or her "circle" again.  I would not have 10 awesome brother-sister-friends from massage school.  I would not have a massage business in my home.  I would not be working from home.  I would not have picked up various books that are now my go-to sources for spiritual education.  I am eternally indebted and thankful for the once friendship, and two year old death of a friendship, which has changed my life.

The leaves fall
The tree waits
For a new beginning
It held all along within 

Friday, November 1, 2013


Dear Austin,

I found this so funny - had to share with you.  I'm sure you'll love it, when you're old enough to understand it yourself!

Read it.

Love you!