Little Epistle: Changes in the Church

As you probably know there are big changes in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, formerly called by some people the Mormons. And that’s one of the big changes. Now “Mormon” once again refers just to the compiler of the book bearing his name.

Like all changes these require some effort to be accomplished. For those who feel that using the full name of the church is a challenge, I invite you to be sympathetic with my friends the Tongans. That’s where I served my first mission. This is how you say the Church’s name in their language, Koe Siasi o Sisu Kalisi oe kau ma’onioni I he ngaahi aho ki moini.

Take a deep breath before you start on that.

Also as you may know we have combined the high priests with the elders. Our son Matt said, “We now have a quorum of the movers in the shakers.”

Brethren who have been involved in helping families move from one house to another know what he means. Picture a husky young elder hauling out a refrigerator followed by an aged high priest with a quivering stack of doilies each of them doing his best.

Also as you may know men who formerly were home teachers are now ministers, and sisters who were visiting teachers are also ministers. With the new names comes a change in the in the responsibilities. As a home teacher sometimes we brethren were content with visiting the family once a month, checking them off and then forgetting about them until the next month.

There were also some in-house jokes such as the home teacher who was asked by his leader, “Every year you faithfully get 10 out of 12 visits. Could you raise that to 12 visits for 12 months?“

Home teacher says, “Yes I suppose I could, but it would be awkward to go out on Halloween and New Year’s Eve.”

Or the brother boasting, “I always make my visits the first day of the month.”

Another responded, “Oh yeah, well I do mine the day before that.”

Even they were a cut above those who felt that if you saw your family while driving down the road and honked at them you could call that a home teaching visit.

Hopefully those were just jokes.

But today our responsibility is to get to know our families, find out how we can serve them, and pray for guidance from the Spirit to follow through. Everything from mowing lawns and fixing fences to finding sources of financial counsel, visiting them in the hospital, praying for them when hard times strike and giving priesthood blessings. I have done all these. Some took more time and resources than others, but all of them gave me the same feeling in various degrees, that in my small and weak mortal way I was following in the path of the Savior.

As I am learning my trade as a minister, I find that the Lord is involved not only in helping those to whom I minister, but in helping me.

I am still an apprentice working to become a master craftsman, but I can say this. The pay scale even at my level of expertise is spectacular. Basically the equation is if I put in a teaspoon of effort I receive back a bucketful of blessings running over.

I invite your comments and experiences on how you are affecting the ministering program, and how it is affecting you.

What’s New at the Mortuary

What’s new at the Mortuary

NOTE: This is not an insinuation of any plans I have for the near future.

Do you remember this joke attributed to Will Rogers and others? “When I die I want to go like my grandpa did, peacefully in my sleep not screaming and hollering like those other people in the car.”

Today, that’s just the beginnings of your options. This is not your grandpa’s funeral. The dying business has gone high-tech and low tech. At the high tech end, you can have yourself cremated, and then have your ashes become part of a coral reef, a tree, a diamond ring, or some other medium you may choose I assume. You can also have a computer chip embedded in your coral reef, tree, diamond ring or other resting place so that your loved ones can find you in the future.

For those who want to be buried in a more traditional way, but are concerned about adding the more permanent concrete, steel, wood and other slow dissolving materials to the earth’s underground, there’s a low tech alternative. You can have a casket made from bamboo. Then you and the casket will sooner become a part of the earth from which we sprung.

I am interested in these new alternatives for returning dust to dust. My own preference is rather personal. When I was in high school I had a 1939 mercury coupe. Even then it was dated, but it had a certain charm. It was cute. But it was also too much car I thought. Too high, too long, too bulky and round. So in my youthful enthusiasm I took care of these manufacturer miscalculations, and cut it down to the sports car I could see in my mind.

Great lesson in life which it took me several years to learn. It is much easier to remove than to replace. Cutting it down took some elbow grease and time, but nothing compared to trying to put it back together in its new form. It took me years between high school and college basketball, dating, a mission to Tonga for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, marriage, and the first few of what would be a rather large contingent of children.

I ran out of time, money, and skill. In truth I ran out of skill first.

Still the dream lives on, and I confess I have my project sequestered in a semi-secret place. Unless the dream dies before I do, I have a wafting vision of passing away peacefully in my bed not my car. Then having a mortuary finish my customizing project, and setting my last mortal remains into the driver seat with hands on the steering wheel and rolling the package into my underground plot/garage in a cemetery to triumphantly drive out in the resurrection.

So far I haven’t seen any offers from funeral homes, to take on the project, but with all these new innovations who knows?