The morning light will come

There come, immediately following the death of a loved one, those moments of peace afforded those in grief, when sorrow has yet to sink in. But sorrow does come, and with it will come the questions, and perhaps even a sense of dismay…”This isn’t fair! Why did she have to go, and leave me here alone, at a time when I need her more than ever?” A kind and loving Heavenly Father is not offended by such expressions of grief. Surely His heart is made tender by such emotions, for not all are like unto Job, who uttered with heart a breaking: ” the Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.” (1)

I don’t know the answer to why loved ones leave when they do, nor even how to comfort a heart breaking with sorrow. I do remember the courage in public my father showed upon the death of my mother, whom he dearly loved. I also remember hearing his sobs during the night time when he thought I could not hear him. It is my belief that it is in the wisdom of our God to allow sorrow, that we might in a future day experience love and joy beyond measure.

This I do know of a surety; comfort will come. At some point, however long it takes, comfort will come, for the Lord has promised, “I will not leave you comfortless. I will come to you. Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more; but ye see me: because I live ye shall live also.” (2) Comfort will come, for this He has promised, but one will not forget.

The little toy dog is covered with dust,
But sturdy and stanch he stands;
And the little toy soldier is red with rust,
And his musket moulds in his hands.
Time was when the little toy dog was new,
And the soldier was passing fair;
And that was the time when our Little Boy Blue
Kissed them and put them there.

“Now, don’t you go till I come,” he said,
“And don’t you make any noise!”
So, toddling off to his trundle-bed,
He dreamt of the pretty toys;
And, as he was dreaming, an angel song
Awakened our Little Boy Blue—
Oh! the years are many, the years are long,
But the little toy friends are true!

Ay, faithful to Little Boy Blue they stand,
Each in the same old place—
Awaiting the touch of a little hand,
The smile of a little face;
And they wonder, as waiting the long years through
In the dust of that little chair,
What has become of our Little Boy Blue,
Since he kissed them and put them there.” (3)

It is my privilege to labor in the sacred confines of a sealing room in the House of the Lord. I testify that oft times the veil is very thin. Perhaps it does not exist. The joy those beyond the veil feel in reunion cannot be measured nor confined. It is real! There is no death, there is only a temporary separation.

God bless you, you whom I love. He has not left you alone. That which we presently do not understand will be made right through the Atonement of Jesus Christ. There will come one day a glorious resurrection, and a reunion most dear. After a long night of sorrow and longing, the morning light will burst through the clouds, and a fullness of joy will come, in a glory beyond description. Of this humbly testify, in the hallowed name of Jesus Christ, amen.

(1) Job 1:21
(2) John 14: 18,19
(3) “Little Boy Blue” Eugene Field

Whom the Lord loveth

In 1914 when the inventor Thomas Edison was 67 years old, his factory in West Orange, New Jersey, went up in flames. Everything he had worked for was gone. His son Charles searched frantically for his father and finally found him, calmly watching the fire. Charles was understandably worried for his dad. “He was 67 — no longer a young man — and everything was going up in flames. When he saw me, he shouted, “Charles, where’s your mother?” When I told him I didn’t know, he said, ‘Find her. Bring her here. She will never see anything like this as long as she lives.’” What an outlook on life!

The next day, as they surveyed what was left, the great inventor remarked, “There is great value in disaster. All our mistakes are burned up. Thank God we can start anew.” What an attitude!
The problem with us is that we tend to place value on the wrong things. I have often told my martial arts students that “there is much more to life than the martial arts.” It is so with any of the mundane things we get caught up in. The material things we place such value on will not leave with us when our time comes to exit this life. Our character, forged through our attitude in facing trials and hardship certainly will. What will it be, bitterness because “life is unfair” or that quiet dignity which comes from our faith in God?

I love to look at the faces of older people. On some, there is a hard look. The ones I enjoy most are those faces which easily break into a kind smile. “That person,” I think to myself, “has endured much. Grief, heart ache, and sorrow have formed that sweet smile.” There is something to be learned from “Smile,” a song Nat King Cole made famous:

Smile though your heart is aching
Smile even though it’s breaking
When there are clouds in the sky, you’ll get by
If you smile through your fear and sorrow
Smile and maybe tomorrow
You’ll see the sun come shining through for you
Light up your face with gladness
Hide every trace of sadness
Although a tear may be ever so near
That’s the time you must keep on trying
Smile, what’s the use of crying?
You’ll find that life is still worthwhile
If you just smile

None of us ask for trials, but they will come. There are the self inflicted trials which come by way of sin and transgression. The lesson here is that in order to be truly happy, we must return to our God. Repentance is required. Let us be about that business. He awaits with open arm to receive us, as we approach him on bended knees, and a true willingness to “go and sin no more.” Only through humble and sincere repentance will peace come.

There come also the trials which are meant to refine us, for God’s own purposes. Indeed there may be scars, those spoken of by a dear friend in her battle over cancer and the scars left after surgery: “The scars show victory in the trials and tribulations I went through this past year. The scars show strength in Gods word and in His faithfulness. God keeps showing me that all of those “scars” have built up my faith, made me stronger than I ever thought..” (1) Ah yes, that is the why of it, and her attitude is the correct one.

There is the Refiner’s fire in the face of hearache in the loss of a loved one. In and through each and every trial, we are wise to inquire, “What wouldst Thou have me to learn from this, O Lord? Help me to understand, help me to endure, and in all things, Thy will be done! Help me learn the lesson thy Son exemplified in Gethsemane, when He pled before thy face: “O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.” And later He pled twice again: “O my Father, if this cup may not pass away from me, except I drink it, thy will be done” (2)

Yes, if we would be sanctified “unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ,” (3) we must be corrected and chastened, “For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth” (4)
In speaking to my children and those I love, my prayer is that each of us might accept trials for the tools of Divinity that they are. May we fully understand that “…all those who will not endure chastening, but deny me, cannot be sanctified” (5) Having learned this, may we always include in our grief laden prayers, the words “thy will be done.” May we learn to smile sweetly, and may kindness come to pervade our very soul.

(1) “One Year Later with Scars” Michelle Perzan
(2) Matthew 26:39, 42, 44
(3) Ephesians 4:13
(4) Hebrews 12:6
(5) Doctrine and Covenants 101:5 see also Hebrews 12:10

Have you known trials?

Trials? Have you known trials? Have you felt moments of despair, and abandonment, and grief over the loss of a loved one beyond understanding? There is One who understands, even One who came before you to prepare the way. Rejected by those He came to save, He cried out in pathos and agony, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? (Matthew 27:46) He suffered “temptations, and pain of body, hunger, thirst, and fatigue, ‘even more than man can suffer”(Mosiah 3:7).

In the inspired verses of Edna St. Vincent Millay,
“Each suffering, I craved relief
With individual desire,—
Craved all in vain! And felt fierce fire…
Ah, awful weight! Infinity
Pressed down upon the finite Me!
And so beneath the weight lay I
And suffered death, but (w)ould not die.”
He suffered, yes, but “Although in agony He hung,
No murm’ring word escaped His tongue.” (Eliza R. Snow) for indeed, in the words of Elder Neal A. Maxwell, “Jesus partook of history’s bitterest cup without becoming bitter!”

My dear friend, you who have wept over the death of one you loved more than life, until you could weep no more; may the peace which surpasseth understanding descend upon you, as the dews from the heavens upon the morning grass. And know this: “If the billowing surge conspire against thee; if fierce winds become thine enemy; if the heavens gather blackness, and all the elements combine to hedge up the way; and above all, if the very jaws of hell shall gape open the mouth wide after thee, know thou, my son, that all these things shall give thee experience, and shall be for thy good. The Son of Man hath descended below them all. Art thou greater than He?” (Doctrine and Covenants 122:7,8)

Where can I turn for peace?

We live in troubled times. Trials and tribulations abound. Tragically, as if such were not enough, we often compound our troubles by trials of our own making.

“Where can I turn for peace?” the poet writes;
“Where is my solace
When other sources cease to make me whole?
Where, when my aching grows,
Where, when I languish,
Where, in my need to know, where can I run?”

We may instinctively know the solution, but turn from that which may be obvious, to seek instead the help of learned counselors and psychiatrists. The Lord answered thus, regarding trials: “In the world ye shall have tribulation, (John 16:33) but concerning our penchant for going to the world for help, (psychiatry) His counsel was “The way of peace they know not.” (Isaiah 59:8) No man can bring us peace, nor can we will it upon ourselves. Sooner or later, in this life or in the next, we will have it borne upon our souls that peace comes only through the Lord Jesus Christ.

One who suffered much, struggling for peace, described his condition in this manner: “I was like to be cast off…I was in the darkest abyss…My soul was racked with eternal torment…While I was harrowed up by the memory of my many sins, I remembered also to have heard my father prophesy unto the people concerning the coming of one Jesus Christ, a Son of God, to atone for the sins of the world. Now, as my mind caught hold upon this thought, I cried within my heart: O Jesus, thou Son of God, have mercy on me…And now, behold, when I thought this, I could remember my pains no more; yea, I was harrowed up by the memory of my sins no more. And oh, what joy, and what marvelous light did I behold; yea, my soul was filled with joy as exceeding as was my pain! (Alma 36:17-20; Mosiah 27:27, 29, in The Book of Mormon, Another Testament of Jesus Christ)

“Where can I turn for peace? Who, who can understand? He, only One.”

Song of the heart

Inspired poetry is the song of the heart; it comes from on High. Through poetry so inspired, we hear answers to questions deep and profound. But such answers come not to the mind wallowing in filth, for the Lord will cast no pearls before swine. Listen O man, for that which is of deep import comes only to the pure in heart! Did we live before birth? Unto Job the answer came in the form of a question: “Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? Declare, if thou hast understanding…When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?” (Job 38:4, 7) What value is our time on earth? Does life continue after death? Indeed, unto those of repentant and humble heart, Jesus spoke of many mansions: “In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.” (John 14:2) We look then, to the song of the heart, and the inspired verse of the poetess, for answers deep and profound.
O my Father, thou that dwellest
In the high and glorious place,
When shall I regain thy presence
And again behold thy face?
In thy holy habitation,
Did my spirit once reside?
In my first primeval childhood
Was I nurtured near thy side?
For a wise and glorious purpose
Thou hast placed me here on earth
And withheld the recollection
Of my former friends and birth;
Yet ofttimes a secret something
Whispered, “You’re a stranger here,”
And I felt that I had wandered
From a more exalted sphere.
I had learned to call thee Father,
Thru thy Spirit from on high,
But, until the key of knowledge
Was restored, I knew not why.
In the heav’ns are parents single?
No, the thought makes reason stare!
Truth is reason; truth eternal
Tells me I’ve a mother there.
When I leave this frail existence,
When I lay this mortal by,
Father, Mother, may I meet you
In your royal courts on high?
Then, at length, when I’ve completed
All you sent me forth to do,
With your mutual approbation
Let me come and dwell with you.
(Eliza R. Snow, 1804-1887)

There were further witnesses

“If a man die, shall he live again?” (Job 14:14) is a question asked by many, particularly those who grieve over the loss of a loved one. In the following poem, Tennyson is seemingly asking the same question, but as he points out, rivulet, wave, and river incessantly run their course, while no more the steps of man shall be, for ever and forever.

Flow down, cold rivulet, to the sea,
Thy tribute wave deliver:
No more by thee my steps shall be,
For ever and for ever.
Flow, softly flow, by lawn and lea,
A rivulet then a river:
Nowhere by thee my steps shall be
For ever and for ever.
But here will sigh thine alder tree
And here thine aspen shiver;
And here by thee will hum the bee,
For ever and for ever.
A thousand suns will stream on thee,
A thousand moons will quiver;
But not by thee my steps shall be,
For ever and for ever.

This beautiful poem could be taken as negative, until one realizes that Alfred Lord Tennyson in his last days sought proof that there was indeed life after death. Oh, indulge me reader as I share with you another of his beautiful poems wherein he evinces a greater hope, to see his Pilot, “face to face.”

Sunset and evening star,
And one clear call for me!
And may there be no moaning of the bar,
When I put out to sea,

But such a tide as moving seems asleep,
Too full for sound and foam,
When that which drew from out the boundless deep
Turns again home.

Twilight and evening bell,
And after that the dark!
And may there be no sadness of farewell,
When I embark;

For tho’ from out our bourne of Time and Place
The flood may bear me far,
I hope to see my Pilot face to face
When I have crost the bar.

To any who need reassurance as to life after death,and an eventual resurrection from the dead, it is recorded in divers places in holy writ that Jesus of Nazareth was resurrected from the grave.
“He appeared first to Mary Magdalene” (Mark 16:9). She saw him and heard his voice.
He appeared to Joanna, Mary (the mother of James), “and other women that were with them” (Luke 24:10). They “held him by the feet, and worshipped him” (Matt. 28:9).
He appeared to Peter (Luke 24:34).
He appeared to two disciples (Luke 24:13–32).
He appeared to his beloved Apostles at least four times.
Following His crucifixion, He was seen by “above five hundred brethren at once” (1 Cor. 15:6), according to Paul’s account.
Not only did Jesus of Nazareth arise from the dead, but following His resurrection, “the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose”

But there were further witnesses. “The testimony of two men is true” (John 8:17). If this statement is correct, then surely the testimony of Christ’s resurrection provided by a second nation cannot be overlooked. From another testament of Jesus Christ, even the Book of Mormon, we read of Christ’s post mortal appearances on the Western Hemisphere.

Near unto a temple in the land called Bountiful some 2,500 people heard a voice declare: “Behold my Beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased, in whom I have glorified my name—hear ye him” (3 Ne. 11:7). They saw a man descending out of heaven. Unto them He spake, “Behold, I am Jesus Christ, whom the prophets testified shall come into the world. And behold, I am the light and the life of the world; and I have drunk out of that bitter cup which the Father hath given me, and have glorified the Father in taking upon me the sins of the world, in the which I have suffered the will of the Father in all things from the beginning…Arise and come forth unto me, that ye may thrust your hands into my side, and also that ye may feel the prints of the nails in my hands and in my feet, that ye may know that I am the God of Israel, and the God of the whole earth, and have been slain for the sins of the world. (3 Ne. 11:10, 11, 14).

We can know for ourselves that He lives, as surely as did those who saw Him! As we put away our sins, and attempt to walk in His footsteps, by obedience to His commandments, we will surely come to say, as did the two disciples on the road to Emmaeus “… did not our heart burn within us, while He talked with us by the way?” (Luke 24:32])

I bear my personal witness that He lives, even your Redeemer and mine! I know it, with every fiber of my being, and in a future day, I shall see Him for myself. Yea, my eyes shall behold Him, and in tears of gratitude I shall behold His face, for He lives, even Jesus Christ, and then shall my joy be full!

Questions, I had questions

November 22, 2013
I was in my third week of basic training at Ft Polk, Louisiana and at post clothing supply with the rest of my company, being fitted for winter clothing, when the announcement came over the radio that President Kennedy had been shot. There was the break in the announcer’s voice. Everything got silent for a moment, and then one of our grizzled platoon sergeants, a tough old Korean War vet (in his early thirties but showing a lot of wear) announced, “well men, we’re going to war!” That was a sobering statement, but it certainly seemed credible, coming from old warrior who spoke of the bleakness of war in the bitter cold of Korea, and of setting up a .30 cal machine gun on a mountain side and firing until the barrel grew red, and changing barrels again and again, while in front of his position, the Red Chinese dead continued to pile up, but still they kept on a coming. He would know if WW III was coming. It did not. In September of 1964 the Warren Commission’s finding was that there was one shooter, one bullet, no conspiracy. I came out of the Army in 1963, and joined the Austin Police Department. A couple of years later I remember stopping at a Seven-Eleven store and seeing copies of a book written by a Captain of Police Detectives, Dallas PD, just put on the rack, about the assassination. I looked it over briefly. The Captain questioned the Commission’s findings. I didn’t have the money at the moment, but the next day when I came back for it, all the copies were gone. That struck me as odd. The store was out of the way, and not in the type of neighborhood inhabited by book readers. “Where did all the books go?” I asked the attendant. He didn’t know. “They were here yesterday.” I was a street cop, and good enough that when the head of homicide in our department, Lieutenant “Tate” Jordan, (the best APD ever had) wanted to know what was going on in East Austin, he was very likely to call on me because I knew, and he knew I knew. So here was Captain Will Fritz, a legend at Dallas PD in solving homicides, and he had begun interrogating Lee Harvey Oswald when the next day, on the 22nd, he received a call from the new President of the United States, “You’ve got your man, now we’ll take it from here.” The FBI took full control of the investigation. Please. There is not any way that the FBI or anyone else from out of town can do what a local bureau such as that one headed by Will Fritz can do. Surely Fritz had at his beck and call street cops much like myself who knew their beat, and the folks on it, and could dig up information such as no federal agent from out of town could. Questions. I had questions. Why take it out of Will Fritz’s hands? Why take the corpse out of the hands of the Dallas County Coroner and remove it to Washington DC? Later the Commission members were denied viewing the autopsy photos on the grounds “they might be too disturbing.” Yes, extremely disturbing, but such would have dispelled the one shot story. Indeed,there were reports of more than one shooter, of several shots fired, but the Warren Commission clung to one shot. (A later viewing of a film shows one shot causing the president’s head to move forward, but a second shot from the opposite direction throws his head back.) Remove Will Fritz from the investigation and the investigative process was weakened. What does a Commission made up of a bunch of men in high positions of government know about investigations? Oswald had been to Russia. He had been to Cuba. We were on the verge of war with both. What a coincidence! A man who has visited our sworn enemies assassinates the President of the United States! One of the Commission lawyers allegedly interviewed Fidel Castro, who repeatedly denied having anything to do with the assassination. Again please. Castro was a murderer. Few have mastered the art of lying as efficiently as a cold blooded murder. if indeed such interview took place, that lawyer was the proverbial babe in the presence of a wolf. The Commission was denied access to some of the witnesses. The Commission was not privy to the CIA’s covert operations in Cuba, or that they had attempted to recruit mobster Sam Giancana to carry out a hit on Castro. That knowledge would have attuned them to the possibility of a counter strike by Castro. How foolish of the CIA! Why would Giancana take action which would endanger his lucrative business interests in Havana? And then there was the hatred the mob had for Attorney General Robert Kennedy because of his on going vendetta against them. Nor was the Commission informed by the CIA of Oswald’s visits, the month prior to the assassination, to both the Soviet and Cuban Embassies in Mexico. And then, on the 24th, Jack Ruby assassinated the assassin. Some have come forth to say that Ruby had no ties with organized crime, but as the operator of a night club, he would have had contacts with all manner of people at their worst. For any investigator, to have his principle witness killed before the really important questions are asked, is at the very least an inconvenience. Please! Do conspiracies exist? Yes! Was there a conspiracy to kill the President of the United States? I am disturbed by so much evidence pointing in that direction. We are living in perilous times. There are secret combinations in our midst, and they were there in 1963. More than ever, we ought be wary. In 1941, the leadership of my church said the following in a letter to U S leaders: “Unless the people of America forsake the sins and the errors, political and otherwise, of which they are now guilty and return to the practice of the great fundamental principles of Christianity, and of Constitutional government…spiritually, and politically we shall lose our liberty and free institutions…our real threat comes from within and not from without.” I can in no way fault that pronouncement, for more than ever, it is relevant today.

Commentary on “One Year Later, With Scars”

Perhaps few will bother to read what follows my remarks here, the blog of my dear young friend, Michelle Perzan. Her blog touches me deeply, and it will you,if you read it. As the father of daughters so very much like Michelle, I would gladly suffer the pains and suffering any of them may have to endure, but how unwise that would be! Would I remove from those I love (and from Michelle,) trials and afflictions a wise Creator has allowed, and in so doing rob them of growth and future blessings which far outweigh the trials presently being endured? Said the Apostle Paul, “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight and glory.” (1)
Light affliction? My dear Michelle, most would not consider yours a light affliction, and as a father who loves his children, such a trial breaks my heart. But He, the Father of us all, is far wiser than I, and He loves my children and you, more, and in a way I have not yet learned. And what Paul called a light affliction encompassed beatings, stoning, imprisonment, and eventual martyrdom. We don’t know how he died, but it is supposed that he was beheaded in Rome during the era of the wicked Nero. He knew, as each of us must come to know, nothing doubting, that such “worketh for (you, and us) a far more exceeding weight and glory.”
You are not alone in this. You have Aaron. God bless your dear Aaron for his faithful and enduring love, and for his continual support. He shall have his reward, and it shall be with, and because, you are at his side. Because of your cheerfulness in the face of your trials, it is given to you to inspire many, and that is no small thing, for they love you, and pray much in your behalf.
My dear young lady, you have mentioned your departed mother. You have spoken to me of your father. Heaven is not so far away, it is but the crossing of a veil, and a thin one, for those who have spiritual eyes and purity of mind to see. Let me put myself in THEIR place, for a moment.
Suppose I were where they are now, with a vista provided me from that vantage point that is not now available to you. I would see you now as you are, in the midst of your trials. I can assure you that, like unto the Savior, I would weep with your weeping; so do they! But notwithstanding their weeping in your behalf, they are praying, not that your trials be removed, but instead that your reaction to each trial is the correct one, in the face of those terrible moments of doubt which occasionally creep in!
My dear little girl, in speaking in their behalf, may I assure you of how proud they are of you? As I live, and as you live, they rejoice in your faith in God! Your blogs, written so unselfishly, serve not only to assure them of the rightness of the direction you are headed, but to uplift others as well, and to give hope to those in similar circumstances. In the process of sanctification which such trials bring, you can only draw closer to them, and to the God who gave us life.
All that is lost to you is of short duration. There is no loss but that shall be restored in a form more glorious than can be conceived. “Ye cannot behold with your natural eyes, for the present time, the design of your God concerning those things which shall…follow after much tribulation. For after much tribulation come the blessings.”
The Lord loves you, and is pleased in you, Michelle, and in Aaron. Know that your parents are pleased, and know of their love for you, and that this separation has only intensified those feelings. Your blog will continue to grow, for as you prayerfully ponder that which you should say, the Lord will use your words as a tool to uplift and edify, strengthening those enduring similar afflictions, and drawing them to Christ.
God bless you, dear young lady, for where much is given, much is required. As you plead that your mind might be opened, He will give you wisdom from on High. Know that charity is the pure love of Christ, and that shall be your gift, to love others as He loves them, and you can ask for no greater. With a heart breaking for that which you have endured, know that what I have said concerning your mother and father is true. These things shall all be fulfilled, in the sacred name of Jesus Christ, amen.

April 15, 2015
So odd to think that one year ago today, I went in for my first surgery, my bi-lateral mastectomy. It’s really where and when everything started for me as it really became real. It’s almost like today is a day that has a meaning to it….almost of loss, also of victory and overcoming. As a woman, it’s hard to even imagine losing a part of you that makes you a woman. What do you do when you lose your breasts, by your own choice? I still remember waking up after surgery and finding out that they found more cancer than they originally thought and that they got it all………it was such a joy to hear that and to know that I made the right choice.
Still last night when I was in bed, knowing what today was, I almost could not sleep. I thought back to last year and all that happened and what I was facing a year ago. I wonder how I had all of that strength to get through the healing and the surgery and then I get to see again how God has been with me through it all. How He has been right by my side, giving me strength and His peace and love. How else could I have ever done it, surely not by my own strength.
I still look at myself differently. I still have not slept through an entire night, for having “lumps” on my chest that are not mine or natural is still something I have to get used to. I still am completely numb in a few areas including my chest and arm. I still look in the mirror and see the scars of the surgery that happened last year today. There are times that I just stare in the mirror and look at myself………with such mixed emotions. I see the scars, the figure that doesn’t even look like it belongs to me, because it is not what I grew up with. I see the scars on my stomach from the fat grafting and I see the scars under my left arm from where they took out all of my lymph nodes. There are times I just stare and think about it all with tears in my eyes……….and then just as I think it’s just too overwhelming, Gods love pours over me…..
God shows me that I am beautiful, that the scars show victory in the trials and tribulations I went through this past year. The scars show strength in Gods word and in His faithfulness. God keeps showing me that all of those “scars” have built up my faith, made me stronger than I ever thought and gives me a deeper understanding to those around me. I always knew beauty came from the inside, from peoples hearts. When you are a kind soul, it just shines from within, I believe that. I am learning to believe an see that about my self and my body as well. I’m slowly learning to embrace my scars and not be afraid or ashamed of them, because those scars make me who I am today. Those scars gave me hope, joy and taught me how to praise God through ALL things.
Today was a hard day to face for many reasons, yet in others such a happy day for it’s the day that cancer was removed from me. It’s the day I could show others how amazing God is and what He can do when you stand in faith.
Yet, when today comes I know what’s also coming in two days. Yes, two days is my husband Aarons birthday which is the light of my life. It’s also the day I came home from the hospital and found out my mama had passed away. I can’t believe that this Friday April 17th will be one year since my mama died. I can’t believe the time has gone by so quickly. It just seems like yesterday that I spoke to her on the phone and heard her voice. My heart is still so broken for losing her and even my middle son David last night was saying how much he missed “Nona” and that he wanted her back………….I couldn’t agree more with him. Our hearts are still broken and we long to see her again and share everything with her that has happened this year. I want to hear her tell me how proud she is of me and Aaron and I want to hear her say one last time how much she loves her little Einstein, her Chief and her Happy. I long to hear the words, I love you Michy….
I will do everything I can Friday to make it special for Aaron for it is about him, it’s his day and I will make sure he knows he is loved. I will also take some time in quiet to honour my mama, cry for my loss, because I need to get it out and show the boys, it’s okay to cry, and it’s okay to feel sad. It’s also important to remember all the good things and smile and laugh and remember how blessed we are that she was in our lives. That she was my mama and their Nona and we need to keep those happy thoughts in our mind so that we can think of her, and smile.
Thank you again God for not only getting me though this past year, but doing it with such love, support, strength and grace. Without the love of God and His faithfulness it really would have been hard to smile everyday. But I look at all of my blessings……Aaron, Daniel, David, Dylan……my family and friends… health and healing… can I not smile, raise my hand and praise the one where my help comes from – my help comes from the Lord, creator of Heaven and earth. For as the bible says, I can do ALL things though Christ who gives me strength….I know this for I could not have done it alone. Praise God, for He is good all the time. Amen

Be Still and Know That I am God

Key Note Address delivered 11 April 2015 (Psalm 46:10)
My beloved brothers and sisters,
How marvelous has been the rendition of that sacred hymn by Sister Carol Long, with Sister Clarke at the piano. Hers is a very special gift, for through such beautiful music the Spirit is bid welcome. It is such an honor to be asked to address this multi stake gathering of you good brothers and sisters. I ask humbly that the Spirit will continue to be present, guiding my words, that I might be inspired to say the things the Lord would have me to say, that the person needing comfort might receive it.
As I was preparing my remarks, I thought with gratitude of the advantage we have over the majority of our dear brothers and sisters outside the Church; we have the big picture! But with that big picture comes a great responsibility! We understand what Elder Boyd K. Packer meant when he described life as a three act play, with us being in the second act. We know from whence we came, why we are here, and where we are going, when we leave this existence. Having said that, great is our responsibility to live worthily, for we will be judged according to what we know.
We know and are ever learning more of these matters. Amongst those gathered here today, there are varied degrees of knowledge. Know this: we are given to know as much of sacred matters as we are worthy to ingest.
We are continuously being taught through the example of others. I would like to begin by recounting the story of a beloved and now departed friend, and in so doing, to honor his memory. David Case was unto me, “like unto Nathaniel of old, pure and without guile.” He wasn’t always that way, for before he joined the Church, he told me, he was long haired and somewhat rebellious.
David moved to our area nearly two decades ago from Cisco, Texas, where he had served as superintendent of schools. He had come to the area to serve as the principal of Navarro High School in Geronimo.
I was serving as the leader of my priesthood group in the San Marcos Ward at the time, and had called David, age thirty seven, to serve as the group instructor. During one of lessons, I saw fit to correct him on a point of doctrine. The lesson he was teaching involved “Trials,” and he felt that perhaps he had a better grasp on such. You see, five years earlier he had suffered a brain tumor, which following a priesthood blessing, was now in remission. I don’t remember what point I corrected, but I do know I hurt the feelings of this very sensitive man. Given the suffering he had already endured, who was I to make a correction from the comfort zone of good health?
David walked into the hallway one way, and I followed, going the opposite direction so as to meet him in the hall. I met him in the area of the broom closet, and opening the door, pulled him in. “My dear brother,” I implored, “are we not friends? Let us not permit this to come between our friendship!” I embraced him, and we were dear friends once again, for I truly loved this man without guile, who was about to enter a period of greater trials.
The mother of one of his Latter Day Saint students was killed in a tragic accident. The entire high school student body was invited to the funeral. David took five students to the chapel in his vehicle. On the way back, he began to explain to the students what happens after we leave this life. One of the students was the daughter of a school board member.
That school board member took bitter exception to it, and I can understand that, given David’s position as the high school principal. In no time it was noised about that David was attempting to convert students to “Mormonism.” It is unbelievable how bitter the opposition to David became, as an attempt was made to force him to resign. With children in that school, I took up his defense. In one instance, the school superintendent, and the middle school principal, entered his office and threatened him with physical violence. As they turned to leave, the middle school principal turned and flung a heavy ring of keys at David. He meekly accepted such treatment, and at that point, a bit exasperated at the treatment he was receiving, I asked, “David, I need to know something. Can you fight?”
I was bowled over by his response. I found it humorous. “Brother Lopez, can I fight? You ask, can I fight? Brother Lopez, I was the Iowa State Fight Night Champion. I knocked out the star football player to win the title!” And indeed, he was still fit. My admiration for him increased. Despite his ability to take care of himself, he chose instead to turn the other cheek. With the school board and the administration against him, myself and his sweet wife faced the school board in his behalf. She was gutsy. When all seemed lost, she rose to her feet, and declared, in as dignified voice as she could manage. “The fact is, there is not one of you fit to walk in David’s shoes!”
Our efforts in his behalf were of no avail. He resigned, with his contract paid out till the end of the year. His resignation was made public, and his children attending the school were privy to such. David was now without a job. He moved with his family to the Taylor area.
About a year later, I received a phone call. David was in the hospital. The cancer had returned. I drove to Austin to see him. While there, he asked if I would give him a blessing. In blessing him, he was told that the Lord would give him enough time to settle his affairs before leaving. The tone was urgent.
At the completion of the blessing, he inquired, “So that’s it? I’m leaving? The Elders gave me a blessing earlier and told me I would live a long life.” “Perhaps,” I responded, “but that will be in eternity.”
“How long do I have?” The answer came to my mind. “You have two weeks.” He began removing the equipment he was attached to. “I’m going home to be with my family.” He passed from this life two weeks later, having prepared his wife and family, for his absence. I helped dress him in his temple clothing, and spoke at his funeral.
I have marveled that the Lord has allowed me to be acquainted with, and play a role in the life of such wonderful and marvelous men as David Case. I do not know of his past life, but this I do know. David Case passed from this life a man fit for the choicest of the blessings of Eternity.
Here was a man purified and sanctified by his trials, and indeed worthy to become a Celestial Being. Oh, the purity of this man, and the example he set for me, and for his wife and children, regarding courage in the face of adversity. Here was a man who was persecuted for his love of the Savior, by people who pretended to be Christians. He readily forgave them. Here was a man afflicted with a malignant disease which finally began to affect his thought process. In a much publicized manner, David, who had harmed no one, and was totally without guile, also endured the humiliation of being fired from his job, as well as having his six children ostracized in school because of what was taking place. All of this he bore meekly, never allowing himself to become angry, and never losing faith in the Lord. In later years, after his passing, I spoke to one of these school board members concerning David. She wept.
Life, as we know it, (and some of you know it better than others) is a test, a time to be tried. Trials have divers affect on people. Some are embittered in their trials, while others, who have the faith to look at the big picture, are mellowed and refined by them. We understand that our mortality was never intended to be a journey without opposition. Indeed, we are told in scripture, “For it must needs be, that there is an opposition in all things. If not so…righteousness could not be brought to pass, neither wickedness, neither holiness nor misery, neither good nor bad.” (1)
Now it is totally up to us, how we will confront adversity. It is up to us to decide, for our moral agency is not taken from us, but how important this decision! “Wherefore, men are free according to the flesh; and all things are given them which are expedient unto man. And they are free to choose liberty and eternal life, through the great Mediator of all men, or to choose captivity and death, according to the captivity and power of the devil…” (2)
If we endure well, the blessings in another time and another place will be commensurate with the trials we have endured here. Commensurate, did I say? Nay, a cup full and brimming over!
I am blessed to have a dear young friend, Michelle Perzan. She has had more than her share of trials, to include a double mastectomy. During all of this, her dear husband, Travis, has never left her side. May I quote her? (3)
“ I think of everything that has happened in the past year and there are times I think – how did I ever get through all of that and not lose my mind? Then I stop and know it’s ALL because of God and His faithful and amazing hand on my life for being a yielded vessel for Him.
I am so excited to go this weekend and see the women from last year, lots of whom I keep in touch with. I also know there will be emotions – that’s my hard part – I hate crying in public – I’m the private crier – some of you get it!!! I always try so hard to be strong for others that I try not to let my guard down – I have learned it’s okay to do that and to be honest, emotional and just raw and I learned a lot of that from my coaching and then I also learned a lot of that from a friend of mine Gaby.” ” It is like this sweet little girl to find someone in harder circumstances!
“Gaby showed me that being vulnerable and open is the best for getting help and just letting people help you. She lost her little girl Zoe at the age of 4 last year and she has been honest, transparent and has reached out for prayer, help and love through each step of her grieving. I have learned so much from her and I admire her strength, her love for God and her heart. Even though she probably has no idea, she has taught me so much this past year and I’m thankful to be her friend and a part of her life.
“I’ve learned so much this past year and I’m still learning each day. I need to celebrate the victories – like the last surgery……for now. I only say that because they said I may need some more fat grafting, but we won’t know for another 9-12 months – and if I do – SO WHAT??? It’s such a small procedure and it could be so much worse……Yes, Michelle, it is like you to find victory in surgery! And what’s a little grafting? No biggie, eh?
“I am so happy that I do get to go this weekend and share what God has done in my life that past year and show others that cancer is just a word and that you CAN get through anything with faith, perseverance and a positive attitude. I am still overwhelmed at the thought of facing all these women this weekend, only because it will be emotional and that’s okay……..I’m learning that I need to just let people love on me and be there for me and it’s OKAY! I also have to remember that it’s okay to cry and show my emotions and that it doesn’t make me weak – it makes me human and it means I have a heart – a big one. It’s okay to look at what I’ve gone through the past year and celebrate and also be sad at loss, because all of that made me the strong woman I am sitting here right now……”.I am thankful for my struggles because honestly, without them, I would never have known what I could do.” And that is the crux of it! The discovery that trials strengthen; the diamond in the rough is polished! Oh, you have it dear young lady! She continues: “……”.I am thankful for my struggles because honestly, without them, I would never have known what I could do.Thank you God for your love and giving me YOUR strength……….I will praise you through it all……Michelle” (3)
Here indeed is gratitude divine! Is there not in Michelle’s sweet acceptance of adversity an example for each of us? Indeed, we have come to this life to be tried, to see if we will remain obedient through it all. “Think it not strange,” said the Apostle Peter, “concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you?” (4)
Oh! What is he saying? It is that we, as mortals, with our limited vision, are prone to cry out, “why me?” But the Lord, whose vision encompasses all things, allows such trials, that such circumstances might bring us closer to Him, as we learn more fully of the power of prayer, and become sanctified, as we walk with Him.
And what of David Case? David attained and fulfilled that which he was sent here to do. He was needed elsewhere, and there he continues his labors, as pertains to one who endured in worthiness, till the end of his mortal probation.
It was in 1838 and 1839, that the Mormons were driven from Missouri. They crossed the river into Illinois and, after draining a swamp, built up a beautiful city which within a few years rivaled Chicago in size. It was easily the most beautiful city of Illinois. In the mid 1840’s, when its population reached 16,000, the mobs came again, and drove them out of their beautiful city, in the dead of winter, and in the direst of circumstances.
One of those families was that of Stillman Pond. Taking what little the mob allowed them, the family began their trek toward a place they called Winter Quarters, where in the bitter cold, the Latter Day Saints were living in tents. Crossing the plains toward Winter Quarters, five of Stillman Pond’s children died, due to exposure to the elements.
It was but a beginning. We read in the journal of Horace K. and Helen Mar Whitney: “On Wednesday, the 2nd of December 1846, Laura Jane Pond, age 14 years, died of chills and fever.” Two days after, “Harriet M. Pond, age 11 years…died with chills.” Three days later, “Monday, the 7th of December, 1846, Abigail A. Pond, age 18 years…died with chills.” And five weeks later, we read, “Friday, the 15th of January, 1847, Lyman Pond, age 6 years…died with chills and fever.” Well, the weather finally warmed up. And on May 17, 1847, Stillman Pond’s wife, Maria Davis Pond also died. Of what? The cold was gone. We can suppose that after the death of her nine children, she died of a broken heart, and the Lord took her, to be reunited with her children.
And what of Stillman Pond? He who had paid so heavy a price to become acquainted with his God, remained faithful to the end, becoming an outstanding leader in his new community, and building up other communities as a colonizer in the Utah territories. And if you will travel to Salt Lake City, and Temple Square, you will see what sprang forth out of adversity.
How will we ever appreciate that which is sweet, save we have tasted the bitter? There is purpose most divine in adversity. In the words of beloved church leader, James E. Faust, we learn, that “When we pluck the roses, we find we often cannot avoid the thorns which spring from the same stem.”
When fiery trials encompass us, let us pray that we, like Michelle, may be strengthened, and more determined to follow the Savior. How do we remain steadfast in the face of bitter trials? Elder Neil L. Andersen put it this way: “You immerse yourself in the very things that helped build your core of faith: you exercise faith in Christ, you pray, and you ponder the scriptures, you repent, you keep the commandments, you serve others…whatever you do, don’t step away from the Church! … No trial is so large we can’t overcome it together.”
We do not discount those trials which come as a result of unwise choices or transgression. In such cases, repentance is required, that we might be back on the path of righteousness. Here we remember that “though thy sins be as scarlet, they can be white as snow…” but then, as we make our way back we can do so in the realization that in time our prayers will be heard, that they will pierce the cover which separates us from Heaven.
One may face illness, or the heart breaking loss of a child, but in each trial of the Refiner’s fire, the Lord is faithful, He will not abandon you. Perhaps someone here is facing a trial such as my brother faced a couple of decades past. His wife went into apostasy, and their marriage dissolved. For nigh unto two decades my brother was alone. Many were the tearful prayers he uttered in behalf of his now broken family. My counsel to him was, “Keep the covenants you made in the House of the Lord. It will help you to attend the House of the Lord as often as you can, to enable you to be true to your covenants.” For all of those long years, once a week, every week, my brother made a three hour trek to the Temple. He remained pure, he was faithful, and how blessed he is today for it!
The question we ought ask, through the deepest trials, and we make it with a statement of faith, and then ask the question: “Oh, my dear Lord, Thy will be done in all things, Thy will be done forever!” That is the statement. Now here is the question: “My beloved and dear Lord, what wouldst Thou have me learn from this hard experience? Bless me that I might learn and be that which Thou are molding me to be!”
Indeed, what are we to learn from our trials? We recall the words of the Prophet Alma, “A shepherd hath called after you and is still calling after you, but ye will not hearken unto his voice!”(5) Oh dear Lord, you now have now my full attention! Help me now, Beloved One of Israel! At this moment, we hear Moroni proclaim, “Ye receive no witness until after the trial of your faith.” (6) Oh, we remain faithful, we remain pure, and then what joy, when that witness comes! Tearfully we come to the sure realization that He lives, for He has been with us every step of the way!
“The trial of your faith,” says Peter, “being much more precious than of gold that perisheth…” Listen! Peter is telling us that the trials we face in faith, are more precious unto us than gold! “though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ.” (7) Is any price to great to pay, for the privilege of knowing God?
Oh my dear brothers and sisters, all ye who mourn, “Remember, … it is upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your foundation; that when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, yea, his shafts in the whirlwind, yea, when all his hail and his mighty storm shall beat upon you, it shall have no power over you to drag you down to the gulf of misery and endless wo, because of the rock upon which ye are built, which is a sure foundation, a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall.” (8)
Be faithful, be pure, keep the covenants you have made in the House of the Lord, though hard your lot may be. Know that if you will do so, no promise, no blessing promised unto the faithful will be withheld from you. No matter how difficult your darkest hour, you are never alone! He who has declared, “In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world,” (9) He will ever be there for you, for He has never left you! During the darkest of nights, in your tearful pleading, know that He will never abandon you, for He has graven you upon the palm of His hands. Then, may you hear that quiet voice which speaks to the depth of your soul, “be still and know that I am God.” (10) Shall we not love Him forever?

(1) 2 Nephi 2: 11 The Book of Mormon (2) 2 (2) 2 Nephi 2:27 ibid
(3) “”
(4) 1 Peter 4:12
(5) Alma 5: 37 The Book of Mormon
(6) Ether 12:6 ibid.
(7) 1 Peter 1:7.”
(8) Helaman 5:12 The Book of Mormon
(9) John 16:33
(10) Psalm 46:10

If a man die, shall he live again?


One night, eleven years ago, around midnight, I felt a strong prompting to call my beloved daughter Stephanie, just after she left work. “Why are you calling me dad?” she asked several times, as we talked. I assured her that I wanted to be sure she made it home safely, for she and her husband Tim were expecting their first child in but a few months. I was on the phone with her when she arrived at the scene of a terrible collision. “Oh Dad, I know it’s him, I know it’s Tim!” were the first words out of her mouth.

Despite this terrible tragedy, how thoughtful, how kind, how merciful is the Lord, that He would prompt me to call and be with her via telephone during this most difficult of moments! It was not for anything I had done, but instead, knowing what she was about to endure, it was done in His love and tender solicitude for my daughter that He prompted me so strongly. Except for the prompting she would have been totally alone, for she was the first on the scene on that back country road.

The following afternoon, my sweet Stephanie asked me to drive her back to the accident scene. “Oh Daddy! Oh Daddy!” she cried out again and again as she gathered up from the crash site little mementos of their brief life together. My heart was nigh to breaking for her.

The skeptic may say, “but if He could prompt you because of the coming tragedy, could He not have prevented it?” It was impressed upon me almost immediately that He, who is merciful and kind beyond belief, had in His mercy beyond our simple understanding, taken Tim Home. I knew that this was done in the wisdom of Him who knoweth all things.

Each of us, whether Christian or non believer, want deeply to believe that there is more, that there is life beyond this one, that sweet experiences with loved ones in this life do not end with the experience we call death. We ask fervently as did Job, “If a man die, shall he live again?” (1) Is the grave the end? Or will there be a resurrection? Is there life beyond this usually painful experience we call death?

Can there be any greater message of hope than this? Jesus was resurrected from the dead! We read in the New Testament that it was given unto several women, to include Mary Magdalene, Joanna, and Mary (the mother of James), to see the resurrected Lord, but when they told the Apostles that they had seen Him, “their words seemed to them as idle tales, and they believed them not.” (2)

We are told that Peter and John literally ran to the sepulchre to see for themselves, and finding the tomb empty, (3) Peter left, “wondering in himself at that which was come to pass.” (4)Luke 24:12.

There is the testimony of Mary, poignant in its beauty, for she stood without the sepulchre weeping, to be asked by a stranger tenderly, “Woman, why weepest thou? whom seekest thou?” Supposing Him to be the gardener, she asked plaintively through tears, “Sir, if thou have borne him hence, tell me where thou hast laid him, and I will take him away.

“Jesus saith unto her, Mary. She turned herself.” (5)

Was there any Other who could speak to her in that manner? She knew in that instant, that it was her beloved Lord, even Jesus who was crucified, now risen from the dead, even as the angels had testified early that very morning, saying “He is risen.” (6)

He was the firstfruits of them that slept, as we read in 1 Cor. 15:23, but we are told that “many bodies of the saints which slept arose, and came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many.” (7)

Many are the witnesses of His resurrection, for He appeared to two of His disciples in Emmaus whose “eyes were holden that they should not know him,” (8) and they entreated him: “Abide with us: for it is toward evening, and the day is far spent. And he went in to tarry with them.” Afterwards, they asked, as they considered their time spent with the resurrected Lord, “Did not our hearts burn within us?” (9)

He tarried in the presence of His Apostles and disciples for forty days following His resurrection, and numerous and many were the witnesses proclaiming that He lives. He was also “seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present. … After that, he was seen of James; then of all the apostles.” The Apostle Paul adds, “And last of all he was seen of me.” (10)

Latter-day Saints have additional witnesses of the reality of His resurrection and a surety of life after death. One of these witnesses is the Book of Mormon, a record containing the ministry of the resurrected Christ on this, the American continent, after his death and resurrection in Jerusalem. His appearance here was announced to those gathered in by a voice as if it came out of heaven:

“And it came to pass that while they were thus conversing one with another, they heard a voice as if it came out of heaven; and they cast their eyes round about, for they understood not the voice which they heard; and it was not a harsh voice, neither was it a loud voice; nevertheless, and notwithstanding it being a small voice it did pierce them that did hear to the center, insomuch that there was no part of their frame that it did not cause to quake; yea, it did pierce them to the very soul, and did cause their hearts to burn.

And again the third time they did hear the voice, and did open their ears to hear it; and their eyes were towards the sound thereof; and they did look steadfastly towards heaven, from whence the sound came.

And behold, the third time they did understand the voice which they heard; and it said unto them:

Behold my Beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased, in whom I have glorified my name—hear ye him.

And it came to pass, as they understood they cast their eyes up again towards heaven; and behold, they saw a Man descending out of heaven; and he was clothed in a white robe; and he came down and stood in the midst of them; and the eyes of the whole multitude were turned upon him, and they durst not open their mouths, even one to another, and wist not what it meant, for they thought it was an angel that had appeared unto them.

And it came to pass that he stretched forth his hand and spake unto the people, saying:

Behold, I am Jesus Christ, whom the prophets testified shall come into the world.

And behold, I am the light and the life of the world; and I have drunk out of that bitter cup which the Father hath given me, and have glorified the Father in taking upon me the sins of the world, in the which I have suffered the will of the Father in all things from the beginning.

And it came to pass that the Lord spake unto them saying:
Arise and come forth unto me, that ye may thrust your hands into my side, and also that ye may feel the prints of the nails in my hands and in my feet, that ye may know that I am the God of Israel, and the God of the whole earth, and have been slain for the sins of the world.” (11)

There have been many other witnesses. The Heavens are by no means closed! What was valid during Old Testament times and during the time of the New Testament, is valid today. He has been seen in this dispensation on more occasions than is known, for He lives, and He is no absentee landlord! Yes, He is much engaged, for His work and His glory is in bringing to pass the immortality and eternal life of man. We read in the 3rd chapter of Amos, “surely the Lord will do nothing, but He revealeth His secrets unto His servants the prophets.” One of the choice examples of this is the powerful testimony given by the latter day Prophet Joseph Smith, and Sidney Rigdon:

“And now, after the many testimonies which have been given of him, this is the testimony, last of all, which we give of him: That he lives! For we saw him, even on the right hand of God; and we heard the voice bearing record that he is the Only Begotten of the Father—That by him, and through him, and of him, the worlds are and were created, and the inhabitants thereof are begotten sons and daughters unto God.” (12)

Yes, terrible sadness and loneliness will come to those who lose a loved one, and this is as it should be, but yet there comes, as it came to my beloved Stephanie, “that peace…which passeth understanding.” (13) It may be after a night of weeping, that the disciple of Christ may feel, between the sobs, tenderly impressed upon his or her soul, these words of comfort, “Be still and know that I am God.” (14) It has been so with my Stephanie.

On this beautiful Easter morning, I proclaim with Job of old, “I know that my Redeemer liveth, and that He shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God: Whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another; though my reins be consumed within me.” (15)

He lives, and He loves us, more than we can begin to understand! You who weep over the loss of a loved one, there is comfort in Christ. He has not forsaken you, for no matter how dark the night, morning will come, and light will break through the clouds. If you will but live worthy, joy will come again, in the presence of your loved ones. Only be faithful in Christ!

“When through the deep waters I call thee to go,
The rivers of sorrow shall not overflow;
For I will be with thee thy trouble to bless,
And sanctify to thee thy deepest distress.

“When through fiery trials thy pathway shall lie,
My grace, all-sufficient, shall be thy supply;
The flame shall not harm thee; I only design
Thy dross to consume and thy gold to refine.

“The soul that on Jesus doth lean for repose,
I will not, I will not, desert to his foes;
That soul, though all hell should endeavor to shake,
I’ll never, no never, no never forsake.” (16)

In the hallowed and sacred name of Jesus Christ, amen.

(1)Job 14:14
(2) Luke 24:11; see also Matt. 28:9–10.
(3) John 20:3–10
(4) Luke 24:12
(5) John 20:15–16
(6) Matthew 28:6
(7) Matt. 27:52–53
(8) Luke 24:16
(9) Luke 24:29, 32
(10) 1 Cor. 15:6–8
(11) The Book of Mormon, 3rd Nephi 11
(12) Doctrine and Covenants 76:22-24
(13) Phillipians 4:7
(14) Psalms 46:10
(15) Job 19:25-27
(16) How Firm a Foundation