Follow the Prophet Abraham

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What can we learn from following the Prophet Abraham?

Abraham has been called the father of nations, and father of the the faithful. His life and character show us what it means to be a good and faithful father.

There are three kinds of fathers. The same holds true for mothers.

The worst father mistreats or abandons his children. The better father loves his children and provides for their needs. The best father loves and trusts the Lord. He shows his faith to his children by precept and example.

Such a father is worthy to receive guidance and help from heaven in his sacred responsibilities to preside, provide, and protect, his children. He knows and shows that his children are also God’s children, and he treats them as such.

There is no greater need in the world today than the need for good, faithful, loving, wise fathers.

The greatest example of Abraham as a father was when the Lord commanded him to sacrifice his son Isaac as an offering to God. Surely Abraham was stunned. This went against all he had been taught and experienced about God. But he had the faith to obey. Only the intervention of an angel at the last moment stopped him from killing his precious son.

What was the point of this exercise teetering on tragedy? The Lord explained it later in his first commandment. “…thou shalt have no other Gods before me.” Nothing, not even love for other people can come between us and our Heavenly Father.

And what of Isaac. Why was he willing to die as a sacrifice? Because he trusted in his father, and his Heavenly Father.

Doubtless Abraham also taught Isaac the gospel handed down through his fathers even from Adam the father of us all.

Abraham taught Isaac the doctrine that God our heavenly Father himself would one day allow his only begotten son Jesus the Christ to be tortured, sacrificed and die so that all of us could live forever.

The best fathers teach these truths to their children by precept and example.

There is no greater need in the world today than the need for fathers such as Abraham.

Follow the Prophet Noah

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Follow the Prophet Noah

What can we learn from following the Prophet Noah?

Certainly no Bible story is more famous than Noah and the ark. It has been the subject of serious science, cartoons, plays, movies, and uncountable Sunday school lessons.

Noah was a good man from his youth. At the age of ten he received the priesthood at the hands of his grandfather Methuselah. And he was faithful his whole long life of 950 years. The Bible records some of his life on earth.

Modern revelation also tells things Noah did in the preexistence before this life. He was a valiant spirit named Gabriel.

He later appears as the Angel Gabriel to strengthen Daniel in vision and prayer. In the New Testament he announces to Zacharias and also to Mary the imminent birth of Jesus.

Living almost a thousand years may require some patience. Noah had to wait 450 years until his first son Japheth was born. Then another 42 years until Shem blessed their family. Ham must have seemed almost like a twin to Shem when he came only eight years later when his father was 500 years old.

All three boys were true to the faith, and so were called, “Sons of God.” They married women who were likewise faithful, and as a result they and their wives were saved on the ark. Unfortunately the daughters of the “Sons of God” married disbelievers who mocked the Lord and were known as “sons of men.” Apparently they all perished in the flood.

The scriptures record that a few others besides those in Noah’s ark escaped the flood. These believed and followed Noah. The Lord took them up to be with him as he did the city of Enoch.

Perhaps the most vital message Noah leaves us is don’t procrastinate. Follow the prophet when he speaks.

Noah gave the people of his day 120 years of warning. We know not what the future holds in today’s unstable society. But we are promised if we follow the words and example of the Lord’s prophet and prepare, we shall not fear.


Follow the Prophet Enoch

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What can we learn by following the prophet Enoch? We can approach the environment of Heaven if we emulate his city of Zion.

When Adam and Eve left the Garden of Eden they went from a world of food and flowers to one of weeds and wickedness. More like what we live in. Worse than that, they no longer walked and talked with Heavenly Father. They and their descendants could pray of course, but how could the Lord let his will be known to many people? He called prophets. The first was our great, great, great, great grandfather Adam.

Adam later was inspired by God to call his great grandson Enoch as a prophet. Enoch wasn’t sure he could do the job. He said, “I don’t speak well. The people hate me, and I am only a lad.” He was 65 years old when he said that.

Probably 65 seemed young to Enoch because some people in those days lived a long time, like hundreds of years. But not everybody lived a long time. Some people lived a short time because wickedness, murder, wars and bad living took them early.

Enoch trusted in the Lord, and became a great prophet. At his word mountains moved, rivers changed their courses, the wicked people, even giants who lived in the land were afraid to attack him and his people. He founded a city that became so righteous that no one was poor, or unloved, or left out. The city became so pure and holy that The Lord took it up to heaven. It will return when Jesus reigns over the earth in the millennium.

Follow the Prophet Adam

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What we can learn from following the Prophet Adam
Adam was not only the first man and the first prophet. In the spirit world before this one Adam was the archangel Michael. In the Great War in heaven, he commanded the spirits who followed Heavenly Father and Jesus as they fought the forces of Satan.
Michael then helped Jesus create this earth and all the plants and animals so we could live on it.
Then Heavenly Father and Jesus created Adam’s body as the first man on earth, and Eve as the first woman and his wife. They were given two instructions: To not eat the forbidden fruit, and to multiply and replenish the earth. As it turned out, they could not have children unless they ate the fruit.
They chose to eat the fruit so that we could come to this earth as part of families, and members of Adam and Eve’s great family.
Heavenly Father sent his Son Jesus to pay the price for Adam and Eve’s transgression, and to pay for our sins if we repent and accept Jesus as our Savior. Then we can live forever with our families in heaven.
Heavenly Father has a plan for this world and for each of us. If we pray to him sincerely, we can learn what He wants us to do, and he will help us do it.
After Adam and Eve left the garden Adam built an altar and offered sacrifices on it. An angel came and asked him why he did this. Adam said, “I know not save the Lord commanded me.” He then learned the reason why. Sometimes we may not know why the Lord commands, but if we obey we will be blessed.
Oh, and in case you’ve heard this story, that lump that men have in their throat which is called their “Adam’s apple,” it is not because Adam couldn’t swallow the original apple.
These are some of the things we learn by following the prophet Adam.
Duane Hiatt

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Follow the Prophet Intro

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In 1987 the Church music committee asked me to write a song for the new Primary song book. They wanted three elements in the song: 1. It should be about the Old Testament prophets. 2. It should sound like a Jewish folk song, and 3. It should be a happy song so the children would enjoy singing it. I told them I would give it my best. The third element was the biggest challenge since Diane my first wife, the mother of our 15 children had died of cancer just two weeks before. I didn’t have much happiness in me at the time, but the Lord blessed me to put joy, and even an occasional chuckle into the song.

Over the years Primaries and other groups have asked my wife Sharon and me to tell them the story of how it was written, and other stories about the song. We have enjoyed doing this, and thought these videos would help us reach others who might be interested in the song, and the subject.

I asked our children and grandchildren to participate, and some of them tell us how they feel about following the prophet.

The video is a little much to put on You Tube, so I have divided it up into ten segments, one for the introduction, and one each for the nine verses.

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I hope you enjoy it as much as we enjoyed making it.

Duane Hiatt

Epistle: Keeping the Sabbath Day Holy

You may remember the theme music for the modestly produced, and enthusiastically received motion picture, Chariots of Fire. I’ve never figured out what the title referred to, but I’ve never forgotten the effect it had on me. Eric Liddell a Scotsman with world dominating athletic abilities and a chance for Olympic glory, facing crushing pressure from his countrymen and king to go for the gold in the 100 meter yet he refuses to compromise his Christian principles and run on Sunday.

The happy ending is, the power figures finally allow him to compete in the 400 meter on another day, and he wins the gold.

We had our own charioteer of fire named Eli Herring. One of America’s premier offensive linemen. On graduation from Brigham Young University he was offered a contract in the pros for one and a half million dollars with probably millions more to come. He turned it down and became a high school math teacher for $22.000 a year. Because he would have to play on Sunday.

Unlike Eric Liddell, there is no happy ending in terms of money or glory to Eli’s story. But twenty plus years later the husband and father of seven is convinced he made the right decision for him. He also stressed he is not passing judgement on what other Christian athletes may choose to do.

Today there is much discussion about how to keep the Sabbath day holy. Some people think Sunday is a day just for fun. They sometimes quote the Prophet Isaiah’s admonition to make the Sabbath “a delight.” Surely it is a good idea to plan and do interesting, good, and yea verily even delightful things on the Sabbath and every other day. But reading the rest of the scripture, it becomes apparent that on the Sabbath our goal should be not to bring delight to ourselves, but joy, and may we even say delight, to our Father in Heaven.

He then will provide us with blessings and joys beyond our expectations. They may not include Olympic gold medals, or millionaire football player salaries, but they will include golden days and memories, and eternal riches beyond our comprehension. In every case no commandment from the Lord we keep will go unrewarded.

Epistle: Scarlet Ribbons and Red Sports Cars

Do you remember the song Scarlet Ribbons about a child who prays for scarlet ribbons, and the sad parent who can’t provide them? But in the morning they miraculously appear on her bed. That’s a lovely old song. With a heartwarming ending.

But what about the times when the scarlet ribbons don’t appear?

That is one of the oldest questions philosophers, theologians and non-believers have wrestled for as long as there have been philosophers, theologians, and non-believers. Who knows how many people have lost their faith when their view of God as a cosmic Santa Clause didn’t come through for them? When we send our grocery list up to heaven, and the bag comes back half full or empty, what then? What about when we pray for things to get better, and they get worse?

Even Job in the Bible famous for his patience cries out as his woes multiply. He finally demands of God why is there such injustice in the world?

The Lord responds in a whirlwind, asking Job, “Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth?” (Job 38) He follows with other equally difficult questions. Job realizes he is a freshman taking a post graduate level test in eternal principles. Essentially the Lord tells Job, “You can’t even understand the questions much less the answers.”

The saving grace of Job, and all of us, is this declaration, “Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him.” (Job 13:15)

That approach will also get us closer to understanding the apparent uncertainties, injustices, unfulfilled dreams and seemingly unanswered prayers of our lives.

Once we lock into an unshaken faith of the ultimate wisdom and goodness of God; once we take a perspective that continues beyond the grave into eternity then the world makes more sense.

Otherwise, as the song says “If I live to be a hundred, I will ever know from where came those ribbons, lovely ribbons, scarlet ribbons for her hair”

Nor will I know why my prayer didn’t put a new Maserati sports car in my garage. But I trust the Lord had a good reason.

What do you think?

Remembering The Three D’s

A few months ago I got to thinking, “What can I give at this point in my life?” Maybe a little nostalgia mixed with some good philosophy and soothing music.

Out of that came a program called “Remembering The Three D’s” which includes selections from albums Dick Davis, Denis Sorenson, and I recorded and also comedy shticks and music Dick and I did after Denis went into other employment; and it has music and stories Sharon and I have done for the past thirty plus years of our marriage.

The recordings I do in a form I call, “Live Sync.” I sing along with our albums. For me it is a hoot. In my mind I’m together again with my two talented friends belting out the message songs, and harmonizing on the great melodies from the golden years of folk music.

This past month Sharon and I have been in southern Utah presenting the show to gatherings of our old friends, and making new ones.

Much of the music from that era was criticizing America, our society and values. The Three D’s took the opposite position praising our land, our people, and the soldiers who have sacrificed so much to defend us. We recorded an album of some of America’s great old songs. I sang some of these along with the recorded voices of Dick and Denis to veterans in a retirement home. These aged warriors were deeply moved by the music. Sharon and I were deeply moved by the soldiers.

A few minutes of music and memories may not be much to offer, but as the song goes, “Give then for Jesus Give… There is something all can give.

On the Road Again

Sharon and I are in southern Utah for the month of December doing a show we have titled “Remembering The Three D’s.” Part of the show is excerpts from The Three D’s albums including, “Songs and Scenes from the Mormon Epoch”, Mormon pioneer folk songs; and “Songs of our American Heritage” favorite songs from American history, and the settings that made them famous.

The show also includes selections from “The D’s Dick and Duane” albums including “Rhyme, Rhythm,and Reason,” poetry set to Dick’s original music, and “Songs and Stories of the Old Testament.” It also includes some of Dick and my classic comedy shticks.

We do these in what I call “live sync”. I sing them backed by the recordings. The result is an interesting blend of music and nostalgia.

Sharon, my talented wife who I always say, “Puts couth in our act,” and I do some additional numbers together, and she accompanies me on selections from my one-man-show “OlPort, Songs and Scenes of Porter Rockwell.”

We also do a story and singalong from a program we do about how I wrote the song, “Follow the Prophet.”

The whole show is a musical, comedy, and storytelling trip through my years in entertainment. We have been presenting it to various age groups. They seem to enjoy it, and we certainly do.

Because I’m away from my creative and talented camera man James O’Neal, I don’t have a video to accompany this message. I plan to get back to that when we return.

Little Epistle Old Friends

The other day I took my friend Martin, Martin Guitar in for a tune up, the sort of thing you do with your car every 20,000 miles or so. For Martin this would be, I suppose his 100,000 song tune up.

The guitar builder and repair master met me with a smile. “Well let’s take a look.” He opened up the case, then stepped back with a start, “Wow this is an old one.”

Sixty one years and counting,” I answered. His name is Martin.

“We’ve played in Canada, Korea, Japan, Vietnam, the Caribbean, Mexico, and every state including Hawaii and Alaska. Every state that is but North Dakota. I don’t know why we haven’t been invited there.

“Martin took a hit when we landed on the deck of an aircraft carrier. The tail hook snagged us and we stopped so fast it bulged out our eyeballs, and Martin went flying past my head and crashed into the bulk head of the plane, but he survived.

“He suffered a few cracks in Portland Oregon when the baggage handlers thought it would be a good idea to put him on the bottom of the pile. I wore out the frets and had to have them replaced. The black stuff on the top is charred from my blazing picking speed.” The guitar man didn’t believe the last line.

“Not exactly a museum piece.” He paused. “Or maybe it is.”

“Maybe he and I both are,” I said.

Beauty is in the eye, and the memory of the beholder. I was picking with my cool dude Grandson Stockton a while back. He has a beautiful new guitar. He looked at Martin and said, “I want my guitar to look just like that someday.”

A young man of exceedingly good taste I thought.

“Keep picking,” I counseled.

When my first wife Diane died, and I was blessed to marry Sharon she said, “We have a wonderful marriage except for one thing. We don’t have any memories.”

We took care of that problem in the last thirty years, and she like Martin, only more so, has grown even more beautiful to me with the years.

Guitars, friends, loved ones, good reputations, fine cheese, grandchildren; some things can only be purchased with the currency of time.