Friday, September 26, 2014

Week Sixty-four

WEEK SIXTY-FOUR September 22, 2014

Just completing our second week of triple digit heat here in Southern California, capping off the third year of a devastating drought with 100+ days and nearly 70% humidity. Made us happy our call was not to Sister H home state of Louisiana. At least we don’t have the bugs. Had a 2 and ½ hour transfer meeting, mercifully cut short by our MP as the A/C in the building failed in the heat as it has in the Newport Beach Temple.

Had a couple of gospel thoughts this week. One in preparing for a gospel essential’s lesson on the importance of living in a sinful society and its relation to hell. Came to the conclusion that Satan’s objective in the Garden of Eden was not that Adam and Eve would know the things of God but rather that by eating the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, they would be miserable (2 Nephi 2:17-18) forever; misery being what Hell is all about. Hell is not a fixed geography as much as it is the condition of suffering that results from our own alienation from God. It’s our choice.

Some, without the benefit of latter-day revelation, think but for Adam and Eve, we would have no sin and life as we know it would be better off. Leaving aside for a moment the consideration that there would have been no posterity but for the fall and thus no “we” to begin with, sin itself is part of the sanctifying process of we mortal beings. We must know the difference between good and evil, make the choice to be good thus a sin strewn environment is necessary to our exaltation.

Therefore the Atonement was not an afterthought to clean up the mess made by Adam and Eve. Rather sin, introduced through the fall, assists us through the Atonement to return as glorified beings in the presence of our Father in Heaven. Let me say that another way, the Atonement is not a backup plan in case we happen to fall short in the process of mortality, rather the Atonement is the ordained means whereby we gradually become complete and whole, in a sin-strewn process of sanctification through which our Father in Heaven patiently guides us. As Elder David A. Bednar said, “One of the principal purposes of our mortal existence is to be spiritually changed and transformed through the Atonement of Jesus Christ.”

Adam and Eve could have chosen misery, been overwhelmed with their guilt, given up and quit as I suppose Satan desired, rather they saw their redemption and that of all mankind arising out of their transgression through the Atonement. (Moses 5:10-11.) So their hope remained intact and happiness replaced misery.

The second gospel thought that occupied me was in preparing for a talk I never gave at Sacrament meeting. A young missionary sister and elder were to precede me and at the time I was asked to speak I suggested to the counselor in the bishopric that there would be no time. As the meeting proceeded, with a baby blessing and all, 40 minutes were consumed before the Sister arose to speak and she took 16 minutes rather than 5. The elder then took five and a counselor in the stake presidency was there to follow me with a special announcement. The announcement was that the Aliso Creek ward was going to be realigned next Sunday into two wards.

The baby blessing was for a non-member, member grandmother. As I was awaiting my time to speak the spirit spoke to me: We have witnessed a beautiful baby blessed in the name of Jesus Christ and two young missionaries bearing testimony of truth in the name of Jesus Christ. I now confirm my love for my Savior, that He lives, and I do so in his sacred and holy name even Jesus Christ. Amen.

Several said it was the best talk they have heard in a long time. But of interest was the comment of the counselor who had called me to speak, “While you were speaking the non-member family there for the blessing caught my attention. They never took their eyes off of you. Something happened to them as you spoke.” They did seek me out after the meeting to shake my hand.

The inspiration that came to me in preparation was to speak to those who, on occasion or more frequently, feel to express the Prophet Joseph Smith’s heartfelt plea: “O God, where art thou? And where is the pavilion that covereth thy hiding place?” (D&C 121:1); when it seems as if the heavens are brass, when our prayers seem to be left unanswered, and we are near despair; the heavens are silent!

In August 1831 the Prophet wrote of the nightmare in Missouri—“I cannot learn from any communication by the spirit to me. I am ignorant of the reasons for our plight and the Lord will not show me. My prayers go up to God day and night.” But silence met his anguished appeals. I considered some possible answers before dismissing all of them as the impression of the Holy Spirit revealed four standards that work in every case.

Possibilities briefly touched upon were to include sometimes God’s answers are too indirect, too oblique, for us to recognize because we are looking for something else; we impose expectations and preconditions on the kind of answer we anticipate; God may be speaking in ways we have yet to recognize as speech such as 3 Nephi 9:20 when the Lamanites “were baptized with fire and with the Holy Ghost, and they knew it not;” sometimes if may be that our expectations are too modest, not grandiose enough (we are looking for the light in the east and the whirlwind is upon us); other times our expectations are too grandiose and not modest enough (such as when the answer comes simply, or from another); maybe we are praying too much with our knees and not enough with our feet (even God cannot steer a parked car); timing is wrong (revelation comes “in his own time, and in his own way, and according to his own will” [D&C 88:68]); maybe we have not persevered long enough (“For some of us that test may come in our challenge to keep trying, to keep planting seeds and nurturing them, without feeling any clearly recognizable swelling motions, or spiritual confirmation, but simply enduring is hope and desire until, after long and patient service in love, the joyful taste of the fruit comes “as a natural sequence to the performance of duty” (Philip L. Barlow , Quoted The Crucible of Doubt, 129); or maybe it’s our inability to relinquish all our preconceptions of how God may choose to answer our entreaties.

I was going to offer these four some suggestions of how to proceed when the heavens seem as if they are brass, for some this may be their Abrahamic test—

1.       Believe that God is there. Believe that He has heard your prayer. Believe that he can and will answer your prayer. Believe in His omniscience. Believe He will succor you. Believe in all His promises. Believe regardless of circumstance.

2.       Trust your Heavenly Father. Trust that He will answer your prayer in the best way possible. Trust that He knows what and when to act. Trust His love for you as His son or daughter. Trust Him enough to allow Him to take your worries. Trust that all your afflictions will be consecrated by Him for your gain. Trust regardless of consequence.

3.       Choose to joy in other’s success. Recognize the hand of God in answering prayers of others. Seek to express gratitude for others’ success. Allow God to disseminate His blessings as He sees fit. Rejoice in all such manifestations of His love. Love God and all mankind regardless of consequence.

4.       Get off your knees and onto your feet. Make a new bow. Do what you alone can do. Do what you are able to do. Exercise the limited talents you may have. Never, never surrender your hope regardless of consequence.

Richard G. Scott has taught: “What do you do when you have prepared carefully, have prayed fervently, waited a reasonable time for a response, and still do not feel an answer? You may want to express thanks when that occurs, for it is an evidence of [Heavenly Father’s] trust. When you are living worthily and your choice is consistent with the Savior’s teachings and you need to act, proceed with trust. As you are sensitive to the promptings of the Spirit, one of two things will certainly occur at the appropriate time: either the stupor of thought will come, indicating an improper choice, or the peace or the burning in the bosom will be felt, confirming that your choice was correct. When you are living righteously and are acting with trust, God will not let you proceed too far without a warning impression if you have made the wrong decision.” (Elder Richard G. Scott of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, “Using the Supernal Gift of Prayer,” Ensign, May 2007, 10.)

We saw anew the great blessing of fellowshipping from members this week. The One family in response to a dinner party with us and two other couples from the ward said, “Dear Jan and Jerry, We wanted you both to know that we truly enjoyed the dinner party. My husband was especially pleased with your comments about how he is helping to advise his gardener Sammy. He is a good friend to people he enjoys. He really enjoys you and all those friends that were at the party. We will get a little better organized and then we'd love to have a gathering here. Hope you enjoyed a birthday bite of pie. It was really nice that everyone brought something. I loved that fruit dip with the marshmallow and whipped cream cheese that Jan made.  I'll be trying that out at another birthday party on this Saturday! Hope you guys are staying cool. Hugs!”

Following the dinner Sister H and I made a presentation and showed a video on how our actions in serving others demonstrates our commitment to the Savior. I said, “I love to embarrass those who have done good deeds” and told how Brother One had gone out of his way to advise his gardener, teaching him pricing and invoicing among other things and even gave him a flower design which the gardener used on his neighbor to win a neighborhood beautification award. Later in the week we dropped in and Brother One who was down a bit from some things that occurred in the rental of his house. He said as we left, “I always love your stopping by. We are both happier and in a better mood for your having visited us.”

In our new member discussion with Sister Thirty-Nine she shared how her sister and her always fight, “likes cats and dogs.” She then shared how when her sister was driving she ran over a large board that had fallen on the highway causing Sister Thirty-Nine shriek, which put her sister over the edge who began hollering and screaming at her. She said, “I thought I need to do what the gospel teaches. So I bit my lip and let her rant without saying anything. After some time she calmed down, surprised that I had not yelled back at her. She commented that I had changed. We talked and our relationship has been different ever since.”

Had dinner with the Two family this week. They are doing great. Their 14 year old son has been relying on the Lord to make friends at school and being a light and shared some heartwarming experiences including acing his first math examination.
Received a call from Brother Four asking if I could provide transportation for him to get to Newport Beach early one morning this week. I told him I could make some changes to make that happen and then learned he had reached a court summons for something “unknown” to him to report to the Harbor Justice Court. He had no idea what it was he said. I picked him up at 7 a.m. which started a long day that didn’t end until 3 p.m. We drove to the Superior Court building where I was finally able to read his summons. Noticing the VC designation before the file number I told him it was a Vehicle Code violation. Then he remembered. He had been given a ticket for driving on a Washington State license and a moving violation. The code was for driving without a license. I asked him how long he had been in California and he told me 18 months. I pointed out that California law requires a valid California license within 30 days. He argued his Washington license was still valid so the officer was in error. I told him that was not the case. We got to the court house and a line was forming on the north end for traffic violations and we got into line only the 11 back. There were over 200 before we got to the window when it opened. I discreetly pocketed my name tag. When we got the widow he admitted having been given the ticket, but said the officer told him he would be receiving a letter in two weeks regarding the hearing and he never received it. The clerk told him that was not why he was here. He missed the hearing date shown on the ticket and he was now here in lieu of a bench warrant and had to report to Department H8 upstairs. So we went up. In all over 100 in the courtroom. I felt comfortable there but he did not. In walks the judge, who is a member of one of the wards we serve, but who didn’t act as he recognized me in the courtroom.

Brother Four and about 15 others came to the bar for the same offense, driving without a license. They were given three options: 1) If they then had a valid DL they could plead guilty and their fine would be reduced to $30 plus fees and all moving violations waived; 2) If they didn’t have a valid DL they could plead guilty and their fine would be reduced to $100 plus fees; of 3) The could plead guilty and give a DNA sample for a $75 processing fee and all violations would be waived. Should they wish to plead not-guilty, as this was only for arraignments, a court date would be set for a trial where they could present evidence and take their chances. Brother Four saw the wisdom in offering the DNA sample.

During the first recess the clerk called for a “Mr. Haddock, the judge wants to see you in chambers.” Brother Four was very surprised as was I. I went through the well to the door and was ushered in by the bailiff. We had a good discussion in which I learned a great deal about some changes in California law. He told me that officers have been told again and again that there will be no letter, the ticket is the summons to appear. Two had been convicted of felonies, one for murder, since the DNA sample program, only in Orange county, was instituted. We next went to the District Attorney’s office for the DNA sample, then to DMV for materials to get a California license, then to lunch at Polly’s Pies before taking him home. Received the following note of appreciation: “Elder Haddock, your selfless act of generosity really confirms that there are men and women of God on this earth who are constantly be revealing God in our words and actions and without realizing that we're increasing other people's faith. Thank you for increasing mine. It had to be God's favor. We are so convinced that God is ordering our steps, that our faith is increasing daily as God moves obstacles and sends His people to answer prayers. You and your wife are true angels sent by God to deliver good news. God bless you.”

Monday, September 15, 2014

Week Sixty-three

WEEK SIXTY-THREE September 15, 2014

At our last visit with our minister friend, Brother Forty-two he left me with a book to read that is unflattering of the LDS faith. I decided to take a take twenty comments from the book and explore if they were really true, to sort of set the record straight. So I sent him the following—For over past fifty years I have listened to, watched, and read sufficient materials allowing me to render an informed opinion concerning those seeking to distort the truths of the LDS faith. I have also read the opinions of scholars, whose wisdom far surpasses my own, who have neatly put to rest each and every objection I have ever encountered. I have noticed that those seeking to distort “pretend” that no such opposing scholarship even exists as it is never acknowledged in their works. Therefore I affirm my request to you, encouraging you to review the “other side” of all these issues as well, the ones not shared in their works, and to do so honestly and sincerely, noting what truly makes sense.

As a young missionary over fifty years ago I first came in contact with Walter Martin’s book, The Rise of the Cults, (1955) and have noticed the ebb and flow and the rationalization supporting the same over the years. It seems to me the “anti-Mormon movement,” if that be an accurate label, has transitioned over time from only distorted facts and fringe doctrines as the basis for “proof,” to unsupported claims of the Bible as the final authority rather than God. It has not been hard to notice the circular logic employed here, something written even by inspired men somehow has the power to bind the all-powerful God. Why is this so? The Bible is the final authority because it is the Bible. Where in Bible does it even say it is the final authority? Well actually nowhere. So why is it the final authority? Because we say it is. Then the movement shifted back to distorted facts and a myopic view of the Journal of Discourses and now on to acceptance of faith driven events in LDS history but claiming they are of demonic source (the so called New Age Anti-Mormonism).

I include in this sequence Walter Martin and his several books, Floyd McElveen, Fran Sankey, Jerald and Sandra Tanner, Wesley Walters, Ed Decker, Loftes Tryk, and James R. Spencer. Each in turn seemingly spurred by a desire to create a divide among Christian people of God.

If I could offer a seeming generality, if the Bible says something other than their stated belief, they claim it doesn’t mean what it clearly says, has been interpreted incorrectly, the words have been used wrong, etc., etc., and on and on. All of which flies in the face of the Bible being an unerring authority upon which one can rely. I find myself coming to the conclusion as I read their works that I believe more literally in the Bible than they do.

Let me take just one example and then I will treat the Floyd McElveen book you gave me to read. It clearly states in the Bible, in several places that those who believe are saved. LDS doctrine believes that as well, but asks does the Bible say anything else? The answer clearly is that it does.

We read in the Bible that one must believe and be baptized to be saved (Mark 16:16) and when the jailer asked Paul what was required to be saved he said to believe and then took him out and baptized him (Acts 16:25-33; and there are others). So it appears to be saved we need to believe and be baptized if we are to follow the Bible. Does it say anything else?

Yes on the day of Pentecost Peter taught must also repent (Acts 2:31 and other places as well). So to be saved we are to believe, repent, and be baptized. Anything else?

Well we read we are also to receive the Holy Ghost (Acts 1:5, 11:16). So we are to believe, repent, be baptized and receive the Holy Ghost. Anything else?

Yes, the Savior himself said it is not enough just to believe but we must also do the will of our Father in Heaven (Matthew 7:21-23). So the Bible says we are to believe, repent, be baptized, receive the Holy Ghost and keep the commandments of God.

From all this one might conclude we are saved by grace absolutely and unconditionally, but we are judged by our works. Belief is the beginning. Nothing else can follow unless we first believe. Likewise baptism avails us nothing unless we first repent and choose to live obedient to God’s direction and commandments. Each of which seems to be part of the whole package of being saved. Isn’t this starting to look like the gospel taught in the Bible is the same as God restored through the Prophet Joseph Smith?

Well, as I read The Kingdom of the Cults (1965), The Maze of Mormonism (1984), God’s Will, Final, Infallible, and Forever (1985) et. al, it is clear their goal is not to inform but to distort. It is as if they have come to a conclusion and choose to only use fringe doctrines, unproved “facts,” or nebulous statements of individuals rather than actual doctrines of the Church and construct their arguments accordingly. In addition they seemingly discard such Bible verses as are problematical to them. I keep finding myself saying I believe this and so and yet hearing these authors say, “No you don’t! You believe that and the other.” It is offensive to be told what one believes, especially when it runs counter to the truth. My beliefs are between me and God. I know what they are as does the God whom I worship.

The reasoning in disrupting my peace is the claim that “your house is on fire and we are trying to protect you.” But what is really happening is my house is filled with the light of the gospel of Jesus Christ, something apparently so foreign to these authors they mistake the light and glory of God for a fire and foolishly rush to quench that which is holy, true and unquenchable. Truly did the ancient prophet Alma say of such “fire fighters”— “Why do ye go about perverting the ways of the Lord? Why do ye … interrupt their rejoicings?” (Alma 30:22). (I then followed with my little two statement treatise but have yet to hear fro Brother Forty-two as of this writing.)

Some changes are coming in the stake we serve in and I shared with our Mission President what those changes are going to be and how I felt we could best handle them. He agreed with our suggestions.

Did quite a lot of Family History for Brother Four this week which he greatly appreciated. He is looking at assisting a local pastor in bringing an outreach of fellowship into the congregation but still wants to hear our message and has finally begun reading the Book of Mormon and we had a good discussion about the chapters he has read. He asked, “So what is going to happen to me when I finish? Is this going to change my feelings about the Bible?” I told him as to the latter I hoped not, but as to the former that was a question I would have to be asking him when he finished. His wife agreed, “Honey only you will know how it changed you.”

We strolled into District Meeting a few minutes before the appointed hour at 10:30 commenting to each other that it sure looked like a lot more cars than usual only to learn it was a Zone Training meeting which started at 9 a.m. Neither the DLs of the ZLs remembered to notify us. Jan thought it was great only a two hour meeting instead of a 3 ½ hour meeting. The final exercise was on obedience. Then a punched card was passed to each one there to write on something you could get rid of to be more obedience. Which we did. Jan put on things about being more patient. Then they brought in about two dozen helium balloons which we were going to let go as a district to symbolize letting goal of those issues that got in the way of our obedience. As we went outside for the “letting go” it kept going on and on with nothing happening when Jan commented about getting things rolling. We both remembered her remark dealt with being patient and we both cracked up. Finally the balloons were released and at the end of this blog is a picture of the same.

We were able to visit for a couple of hours with family, Jan’s sister Carol and her oldest Teri Hill and her clan, at San Clemente. It was great catching up with them.

One of our granddaughter’s had some needs and I wrote a story for her about The Mouse Family. We are anxious to see what she gathered from the story.


The McDonald family lived in the town of Mapleton, a small, pastoral setting against majestic, snow clad mountains. At the end of a lane shielded on both sides by tall, leafy Maple trees, stood their house, white and imposing, rising three stories high. This was a special home because it was filled with love and caring for one another. But our story is not about the McDonald family.

Behind the small crevice at the base of the grand staircase that curved and rose triumphantly through the house, lived the Mouse family composed of Millie and Mitchell, the parents, along with their small brood of Miller, Moo, Montforth, Miranda, and Miles.

This was a happy family. You may wonder why? It was because of their love for one another and was demonstrated in the way they treated each other. This make their small home a safe place for everyone. It was as if the love generated in each heart wove itself though the fiber and being of each member of the Mouse family. Each looking after the comfort and well-being of one another caused a special light of warmth and comfort to fill every heart. It was their gifts of service, love for, and kind gentle manner of treating one another that caused the light to infuse into each member in the family.

With this special light, family members cast about the neighborhood, developing inspiring relationships with others. Sharing their love, kindness and service easily because of the blossoming light each family member enjoyed. They quickly became known in the community for their generosity, caring and service, and the community, in turn, continually reflected that same light back to the Mouse family. They learned that the more light they gave the more light they received.

However, there was also a dark force in the neighborhood who believed he could only grow in power and dominance by destroying the light found in others. He learned the easiest way to interfere with the light was to interfere with relationships. If he could get those in the community to concentrate upon their own needs, while forgetting the needs of others, the light would quickly extinguish itself. So he put his plan into practice, reminding each how important THEY were and teaching them to believe that whatever bad that happened was the fault or blame of others. “Blame everything on others,” he cried in their ears.

He tricked them into seeing only their own needs and believing their happiness could only come at the expense of those around them. He stoked their frustrations in big bold colorful letters, making them feel further diminished by the small mistakes of others. Urging them to notice that “everyone is against me.”

Millie and Mitchell could see this darkness spread through the neighborhood and were fearful it would creep into the McDonald home. They warned Miller, Moo, Montforth, Miranda, and Miles with love, scripture reading and prayers and it appeared for a time their efforts to combat the darkness was working until ……

Moo, of a sudden, began to lash out at all about her. It was as if relationships no longer mattered to her. Everything in Moo’s mind was about Moo. She, blinded by the power of darkness seeping into her life, accelerated that darkness within the family by her actions.

She wasn’t doing this on purpose. Moo’s objective was not to destroy the light the family enjoyed. She didn’t see it that way. But darkness had clouded her mind and she fought desperately to again be filled with light.

Moo could see that if she did not change she would be forever unhappy, that there was no happiness in living in the dark and seeing only her own needs. She knew she needed to extend her forgiveness and love to others, not because they needed it, but because she needed it, to bring back the light into her own life.

The power of dark reminded her again and again, “Moo, this is unfair. You are right. All others are wrong. It’s all about you isn’t it? The others, even your family, deserve to be treated this way. It’s your life after all.” But Moo who had ever been valiant knew deep down inside that only in the light could she blossom and become the daughter of God that he would have her be. This darkness couldn’t be right she reasoned with herself, because now she was feeling miserable. Moo saw that only when filled with light, and bringing light to others, could she regain the fullness of happiness that once had lifted her spirits and brought the image of Christ to her face.

So mustering all her courage, Moo set out to make the necessary changes. They came slowly because the dark had taken a strong hand and was not willing to easily let go. She began by preparing herself, immersing herself in the scriptures so she could be reinforced by the Holy Spirit, praying for her Father in Heaven to forgive her, seeking forgiveness of those she may have offended, which may have been the hardest of all, and keeping a journal of the good things Miller, Montforth Miranda and Miles did to remind her of their goodness and to build a defense for her against the forces of dark.

In the process, Moo learned unhappiness always followed when she was critical. Even when she felt justified in being critical, she was unhappy. She noticed that even in trying to be good, to serve faithfully, she would slip into being critical. How could this be?

One night as Moo poured out her heart in prayer, earnestly seeking the guidance of the Lord, the hint of an idea began to form in her mind. “Could it be that in focusing on my own personal needs I have lost focus?”

As Moo meditated upon this singular revelation to her very soul, she began to see clearly that in the pursuit of her goals maybe she was going about it the wrong way. It didn’t make sense that she could build a better self by destroying the worth of others. “Am I really loving and serving as I should be?” she asked herself.

Moo saw focusing on herself had promoted her frustrations and irritations with others. She saw “Everyone is messing up my life” had mysteriously become her mantra and she saw it was slowly leading her away from the light.

Each morning thereafter, her heart was set on discovering the needs of those around her, just as her mother Millie’s had always been, and then loving, helping and guiding them in her own special way. Moo’s objective became one of serving the Lord by serving those around her, and not one of accomplishing what only she wanted but truly loving and serving. Of a sudden the frustrations and irritations disappeared as did the dark.

As Moo allowed the promptings of the Spirit to work within her, she began to love others with all her heart, and in so doing, that love became her personal desire as well. In forgetting herself in the service of others, an immediate transformation began, almost unnoticed to her, but noticed by her family and friends—she became filled with light. So much light that she could easily share the light with others making many, many happy.

Moo learned that light and happiness are achieved only as we give ourselves in the loving and caring service of others, treating others in kindness and respect, and continually touching and blessing those about us.

At our Bible Study tonight we focused on hard things the Lord asks of His children. WE followed the elders, sisters and the ward mission leader. I wanted to show that our obedience did not necessarily have to be tied to “success” but that our success would come anyway in just being obedient. I shared Doctrine & Covenants 117:12-13 about Oliver Granger that his sacrifice would be more sacred to the Lord than his increase and 58:2-6.

Had a couple of visits with the Two family including a dinner. The young Brother Two has marveled about his blessing concerning starting a new middle school in 8th grade and how the promises have come true in making friends.

Attended the evening session of stake conference. The 2nd counselor in the Aliso Creek ward called and asked if I would speak next Sunday on prayer. During the session had some ideas of for the talk about living water. We choose to believe in prayer, real intent a willingness in advance to comply with direction to be given, eliminating pre-determined methods of how the lord must respond to us as in setting aside signs and substituting willingness, and given equal passion to desires and nevertheless willingness. Also had a thought come to my mind regarding the baiting we receive from non-members, “You mean if we don’t do this and so we can’t have that.” Which I never feel comfortable in answering. Thought was “I can’t certify what you won’t get in choosing your path, only what the Lord promises in choosing this path.”

One of the sisters was invited up to be interviewed of sorts by high councilor over missionary work. She joined the Church in March. Told us she was a member of a large mega church with a famous pastor. He encouraged the members to meet in bible study groups of 10-15 to feel part of something real as the size of the church mitigated against such feelings. Said, “We need to love and serve each other like the Mormons.” Said the sister, “You could have heard a mouse pee in the corner.” Everyone laughed. What an inspiring testimony she bore about the members of the church. We were encouraged to log on to for ideas on using social networking in missionary work which is something we have to learn about.

During both the evening session and morning one I found myself listing things I have learned as a senior missionary making me a different person. I believe they are for our homecoming talk.

In the Sunday session a sister shared a story about implementing the Brady Family approach. She said in the TV series an upset teenager would bound up the stairs followed quickly by one of both parents. Then a serious talk would ensure on the bed and everything resolved. She tried it. Upset she bounded up the stairs, slammed the door for point of emphasis so her mother would know she was upset and the sat on her bed waiting. She waited. Waited. Waited some more. Then came down stairs and her mother was washing dishes. She explained how upset she was that her mother didn’t even bother to come up to help her and her mother replied, “Honey, I knew you could resolve this on your own. You knew how to handle the problem. So I let you alone to handle it yourself. If there is something you can’t handle, I will be there just like a promised.” She taught about the poor results that usually follow when we do everything for our children and then they have to fend for themselves with no skills and likened it to Heavenly Father helping us to develop skills and use them. 

Monday, September 8, 2014

Week Sixty-Two

WEEK SIXTY-TWO September 8, 2014

Learned from Brother Two that their son woke up with unbearable stomach cramps and pain that wouldn’t go away. So they took him to the hospital where he was diagnosed with appendicitis. They operated immediately and were able to extract the organ before it burst. So just three small scars and home the day of surgery. How times have changed. At seven years of age I was rushed to the hospital for emergency surgery, spent a week in the hospital, and left with a long scar on my side.

This was on a Tuesday and Thursday and Friday were the first two days of school. He asked for blessing so he could attend school. His father anointed and I spoke the blessing and nearly over his mom’s objections he went to school and told us he made it through both days with no pain or discomfort whatsoever expressing his faith and testimony in the power of the priesthood.

Mom sent us this note that first night still worrying about him going to school that first day: “Thanks for stopping by yesterday and bringing the kids gifts that was really nice of you. Jacob was determined to go to school today I went ahead and let him go. He doesn't carry any books but say a prayer that he's OK and that he comes home if he needs to. I just don't want him pushing himself.”

We attended the San Diego Temple with the Fifty-five family who were going through the temple for the first time. We had taught them in the temple preparation this summer. A recent convert and her husband were their escorts. Both had big smiles on their faces as we entered the ordinance room and afterwards expressed how touched they were that we changed our schedule and made the trip down.

It was good to be in the San Diego Temple again. With all the history involved in raising funds for its construction, selecting the site, serving on the Temple Open House Committee, being an ordinance worker in the temple with my folks, a son and daughter being married there, this temple has a different feel for us. I am sure it is the coloration of our history. Enjoyed a sweet experience with the Lord in the Celestial Room following the session. Didn’t get back home until after 10 p.m. and we both were reminded of our age again.

Were able also to visit with some dear friends while passing through Encinitas which was a great joy to us.

Had a good meeting with the Twenty-One family. He auditioned and was accepted into the country band and they are holding auditions for others now. He is excited. Impressed with the lead singer, songwriter, organizer. No drugs, etc. Read together 1 Nephi 2-3 tonight and discussed thoroughly as Brother Twenty-one has struggled to understand just what is going on in the Book of Mormon. We spent a hour an done-half on just those two chapters to lay the foundation for the entire book.

Visited with the Four family tonight. He wanted me to fill him in on the Bible Study class I conducted the previous week which he missed. I’d put together a several page document specifically for him entitled They Saw God, listing bible scriptures referencing the same, then latter-day scripture and revelations regarding the same. I submitted that when faced with all these scriptures many try to explain them away, but the words say they saw God. It’s as if many think language in the bible about not seeing God in John and 1 John limits what God can do, as if he is controlled by the language of the Bible. I said I believed in a God that can do whatever His will may be and the references in question refer to man’s limitations rather than God’s. Thus man cannot see God unless invited to do so by God and protected by God such as happened to Peter, James and John on the Mount of Transfiguration. Then shared scriptures outside the bible to support my position. We had a good discussion and when he tried to explain away the words of Jacob, I said, “But his words are that he saw God. We either agree to take the words of the bible as stated or we do not. And you will notice we are not talking about a few such verses but many that deal with inspired men seeing God.”

Contacted Brother Two asking him if he felt ready to confirm his daughter following her baptism Saturday. He replied, “If you don’t mind. I would like you to confirm her. It’s a privilege a true one that I will get to baptize her. It’s a privilege to have you do that for her! I know the blessing you give her will be honored of God.”

Stretched over more than a year now Brother Two was baptized, later Sister Two, later still their oldest son and now their middle children and daughter who has just turned 8 years of age. We have been with them to receive their Patriarchal blessings; to prepare him to receive the Melchizedek Priesthood and to confirm such priesthood upon him; to prepare both of them to attend the temple; to be their escorts in going through the temple. We now claim them as part of our family.

I was asked by the stake to give the talk on the Holy Ghost for the baptism service. I described the many virtues of my father and how when his arms were around me I felt strong and protected. Then described the many virtues of my mother and how when her arms were around me I felt warm and comforted. I then described how the Holy Ghost give us both strength and protection as well as warmth and comfort and suggested that commandments were but invitations from God to enjoy strength, protection, warmth and comfort through his holy spirit. That commandments are not a list of do’s and don’ts but invitations to enjoy the companionship of the Holy Ghost.

Received the following from Sister Haddock’s cousin who is now serving with her husband—

Starting a Mission is like Dying

Being on a MLS mission, as seniors, has been a unique experience. The preparation was extremely a lot of work. Leaving our house in Wyoming and everything that entailed was daunting and difficult: getting rid of “stuff,” organizing “stuff” we’ve been collecting for 39 years, packing clothes and books and a few dishes, etc., then turning our “lives” over to our daughter and her husband. It was a crazy and exhausting time for us. But then, suddenly, we found ourselves in the MTC, wondering if we should have spent more time preparing spiritually and studying Preach My Gospel. One week later, the fast pace ended. Basically, we woke up one morning and it hit us that we are full-time missionaries! The long to-do lists are now replaced with our ward lists and phone numbers.
We are living in … a little apartment with very few material things. Our belongings are a bed, a couch, a table and chairs and the basic necessities. It is very quiet.  Each day we eat together, plan and study together, exercise together and teach together. Very gradually we quit thinking so much about our former life in Wyoming. It must be a little like dying. One leaves the clamor, the noise, and the troubles behind and suddenly finds themselves in a quiet place and wonder how they got there. There is a no longer a selfish “Bucket List.” Although we never quit praying for our family, now our thoughts and prayers are consumed with the people we have met: their sufferings, their struggling’s, their desires to reach God and gain strength to overcome their challenges. About 10:30 at night, we fall into our beds with exhaustion.

When the Rubber meets the Road

When we visit people in their homes, things usually don’t turn out the way we had imagined. The husband may be late or not present at the meeting, the children may be crying or bouncing around and the dogs and cats jumping on us. Sometimes we search for a spot to sit down on the couch, covered with toys or laundry. We never know what to expect.  These are not “fake investigators” at the MTC, but real people with real lives. Amidst the situation we have a constant prayer in our hearts that we will be able to say something that will inspire or strengthen them in their lives. And then when we return back to our apartment, we always get a sweet feeling in our hearts that our Heavenly Father is pleased with our efforts. Our testimonies are growing. Our confidence is getting stronger.

When we read and ponder the scriptures we feel the peace and know our Savior is very near. It’s good to be serving the Lord on a mission at this time in our lives. Yes, our old lives have died, but we are being reborn.

Spent our 49th Wedding Anniversary in the Lake Forest ward. During priesthood opening exercises, among the missionary stories shared were two I really liked. One brother told about his six year old daughter receiving a birthday invitation from a girl in her class, the family explained to the parents of the girl that Sunday’s were reserved as a family day. The little girl undaunted asked the member’s daughter later why she couldn’t come to her birthday party. The girl replied, “It is a special day for Jesus.” To which the birthday girl replied, “Well, bring him too.” This opened an opportunity for a gospel discussion with this non-Christian family.

The other story was brother who described it as a Spam missionary experience. He said Costco had Spam on sale and he purchased a couple of cases. When checking out the cashier commented, “What is Spam?” In giving his answer he explained that his church believed in food storage for emergencies and that Spam was a great addition to that storage. And so began a brief missionary moment, “as long as one can be in a cashier line at Costco” said he.

Received a strong impression Sunday to bear my testimony today on the necessity for priesthood authority and its restoration sharing three experiences that had been mine.

Had a wonderful meeting with the Six family finishing the restoration i.e., Moroni’s visit in detail, the lost 116 pages and the result, restoration of the Aaronic and Melchizedek Priesthoods; why the book was named after Mormon, and what happened to the plates. I describing Mormon’s efforts to condense the writing of others, pointing out that experts now see that each author’s book carries each individual author’s imprint. Then to our surprise Brother Six then bore his testimony of the Book of Mormon to his adult daughter saying “In reading this book it is clear that no one person could have written it. Further that at that time things never known have now come to light hundreds of year later that are supportive of what the book says. I have always wondered about some of the stories in the Bible, many seem very farfetched. The book itself has passed through so many hands and scribes it is difficult for me to put a lot of trust in what is written. But the Book of Mormon hasn’t gone through all those things. It is here and now. We have it right in our hands as it was given by God without all those changes. The Book of Mormon bears witness of itself as it is read.” Wow, what a testimony. Hard to imagine that testimony can come from one who has yet to make the commitment to be baptized.

We had met with the One family earlier in the week, but accepted their invitation Sunday evening to have dinner with them. We got tied up a bit with an earlier appointment but they had waited for us. “Just want to visit with you. We love the spirit you bring.”

Friday, September 5, 2014

Week Sixty-One

WEEK SIXTY-ONE September 1, 2014

Received a call from Sister Two late Monday afternoon saying they wanted to go to the temple the next day. I suggested it was going to be pretty rushed but she brushed that aside. Learned later Brother Two is going out of town on a six-month work assignment and she wanted to have this done before he left. She had yet to make an appointment with the temple, they didn’t have clothes yet etc.

Early the next morning she made contact with the temple and arranged a session at 3 p.m. We were to meet in the morning to finish the temple preparation but they didn’t thing they had time for that. Again I mentioned the rush and my concerns which were brushed aside. The went to Distribution and picked up clothes and we all got to the temple at the appointed hour of 1:30 p.m. I was still concerned.

The temple workers were very solicitous. We first went in with them for a visit with the Temple Recorder and learned the bishop had written in her married rather than her maiden name. All was completed and we separated, Jan and I had been their escorts in the Celestial room. Brother Two was so enthusiastic about the experience as we walked back the dressing room expressing a combination of wonder and fulfillment. We only had but a few minutes after the session to briefly visit as we walked to our respective cars. All the while hoping there would be no fallout from the rush.

So I was overjoyed when I received from Brother Two: “That was truly a time to embrace we had the privilege of sharing with you today! It was a wonderful experience!” I replied, “Thank you so much for inviting us to share that wonderful opportunity with you. It was a great experience for us as well. We think so highly of you.”

But that euphoria was doused when Sister Haddock heard from Sister Two who confessed to being overwhelmed, particularly about the sacred garment. She did agree to meet with us that day so when our schedule opened up we hotfooted it over there.

A number of concerns were expressed which can be summarized as follows: None of the members of the church are perfect; The Lord is asking a lot; So much is required I need time to assimilate it all; I’m just barely holding on. “It is just asking too much. I’m thinking I may need a break.” As we talked and bore witness the crisis of the last sentence dissipated and she agreed to give everything a try. I shared with her a talk given by Elder Carlos E. Asay, “The Temple Garment,” when he was president of the Salt Lake Temple in August 1997.

Brother Two responded “Hey there! I read the meaning of sacred clothing handout you gave us. Really appreciated the message it contained! I feel grateful about the endowment and temple clothing! It’s like having a small part of the temple always by your side and a continual reminder of the covenants set with our Lord. Much thanks!” So back to euphoria again.

Then a couple of days later to our daughter, Sister Two shared all the same concerns she had raised with us earlier but mindful of her promise to give these things time. “Yes, some things are a stumbling block to me. I am just trying to give myself time to work through them. There are lots of changes, we never envisioned making before joining the church… When I got my recent recommend I told the stake president that I was feeling like I needed a break from it all with some of the things going on. … Feeling like a constant song and dance of trying to fit in… Still I know Heavenly Father will make it clear. I am trying to give myself time as I said before.”

Received another message on Sunday from Sister Two which Sister H found ominous, “Sister Haddock, are you free at any time today? Could you come by the home?” All the worries of a missionary surfaced in Sister H’s mind. We got over there first thing in the morning just after receiving her message. There had been a marital relation flare up and Brother Two had walked out. She didn’t know where he was. We talked for a long time and I gave her a blessing which Sister H said was “very sweet, powerful and positive.” I was finally able to make contact with Brother Two late Sunday night and visited with him alone for a couple of hours. He was tired and frustrated. I told him they were suffering from the “unless illness”. Both had drawn a line in the sand saying unless the other does something first they weren’t going to do their part. He left uncertain if he was going to follow my counsel and get back together. How I love this family. I dragged back home exhausted and reminded of just how much marriage relation counseling drained me as bishop.

Took the time to apprise Sister Two that “I believe that every issue is solvable but you need to get together and talk about it and work through the issues. We continue to pray for you both and your sweet family” The next morning she replied, “We did manage to talk on the phone last night. We really appreciate your help.” Later I learned the following day he returned home.

Had a nice meeting with the Four family where we discussed some of the discord expressed by the Church of God minister we had met with who stated if I had received impression concerning the truthfulness of the gospel they had to come from Satan. To which I replied that I was in good company as that was what the Jews said about our Savior. Brother Four a former pastor himself, was surprised that a man of God would be that dismissive of another man of God. We reviewed again the introduction Joseph Smith’s statement regarding the Bible that brother Four found offensive. In fact he has not yet, after two weeks, read a single page of the Book of Mormon although he has promised profusely. The statement offending to him because of his love for the Bible: “I told the brethren that the book of Mormon was the most correct of any book on earth, and the keystone of our religion, and a man would get nearer to God by abiding by its precepts, than by any other book.” I offered several reasons why he would make such a statement including that the transformation from ancient record to modern language was shorter and simpler and perhaps led him to believe less apt to include error. When we got home I sent to Brother Four the following additional quote, this one from Joseph Fielding Smith, "The Bible has had a greater influence on the world for good than any other book ever published." But he didn’t respond.

Received request from the stake to speak at the baptism Saturday for the daughter of the WML in the Aliso Creek ward and the Two families daughter, which I accepted and is on the Holy Ghost.

Tried to shut things down with Brother Forty-two this week on Wednesday. Pointed out that he was getting so hostile I could see no point in us having further discussions so this would be our last meeting. I prayed for him as we left thinking that was the end. Then to my surprise I received a note, Elder Haddock, I need to know more thoroughly. Even different faith, you are the best! You are my friend.” And asked if we could meet again Friday at 9 a.m. he had flown out from New York for the two meetings. I sent him the quote as well from Joseph Fielding Smith as Brother Forty-two is of the opinion that all truth is contained in the Bible and it is the final authority. If anything varies from it, well that thing is wrong. “The Holy Bible has had a greater influence on the world for good than any other book ever published. It has been printed in more editions and translated into more languages and read by more people than any other book. No other publication has been more severely and critically examined. The reason for the Bible's great influence for good is because it is inspired and contains the word of the Lord delivered to his prophets, who wrote and spoke as they were moved upon by the Holy Ghost, since the world began. (Doctrines of Salvation, 3 vols., edited by Bruce R. McConkie [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1954-1956], 3: 184)

Met a couple in the neighborhood of the Nineteen family who were willing to come and meet them but the Nineteen’s were not home.

Met with the One family with whom we are becoming fast friends. I am thinking one of the sweet blessings of a senior couple is getting out among other people and developing relationships that would never have come about without such exposure. One of the choice blessing of being a senior couple.

Asked Brother Four if he wanted to come to Bible Study with us on Thursday as his wife was busy and he replied, “Good news, bad news. Good news first. I had an appt. in LA this morning and my car actually got me there. On my way back... As soon as I got on Bake Hwy going to make my right turn onto Trabuco, I got a flat tire. I drove on it until I turned onto my street. I don't have a spare. I don't have the ability to buy a used tire and I have appointments tomorrow. I have to try to get my tire situation straight while I still have daylight and at present, I don't have a viable plan as I don't have the ability to fix my situation and I am talking to God about it. I'll have to get back to you about the bible study.”

As Sister H and I were driving to appointments, with a booked afternoon and evening we decided to stop and offer some much needed cash so the situation could be remedied. I called as we approached their apartment and asked him to come down and meet me. When I told opened my wallet and pulled out the money he was overwhelmed. “I had just been praying to God asking for help as I had no way to turn. You are the help he is providing me. You are God’s answer to my prayer.” We hugged and got on our respective ways. Later he sent us this text message, “I would have never asked for your help because I know how your church feels about individual benevolence from fulltime missionaries, so I am truly grateful for your generosity. I asked God, how? Apparently, the answer was you. God bless you, my friends.” I told him I’d learned it was never wise to hold the Lord’s direction subject to rules. He replied, “You mean you looked past church bylaws and traditions and followed the prompting of the Holy Spirit? Wow, that single act showed me that you are committed to serving the people of God... sometimes in spite of church tradition. Thank you. This means so much to me. It reminds me of when Jesus fed His disciple’s with bread from the altar. Why? Because they were hungry and they needed it. Again, thank you. You are a true man of God and I am blessed to have met you both. Sorry I didn't make it tonight, but let's do your lesson Tuesday at the bible study. AMEN? AMEN!!!” He was able to purchase two tires, make his appointments the next day and all is well. The Lord did a good thing here.

At our Bible study I made a presentation on the many versions of the First Vision suggesting that when someone brings them up to say, “Yes isn’t it wonderful and each provides another nugget of truth that we would otherwise not have, all of them completing a magnificent experience. My introduction was discussing various parts of our granddaughter Mya’s huff and puff hike from which they drew conclusions then when I said it was all the same experience they were really surprised. Each portion I told them was true but together it sounded different.

Sister Four wrote to our daughter, “Your parents have indeed brought a very special light into our lives and by extension so have you and your amazing family. Spending time with you and the rest of the family brought back such tender memories of raising my own children with all the laughing, joking, irreverence and love. I believe my husband has grown to love the time he has spent with Elder and Sister Haddock not just for their ability to share the gospel but for the character they have exemplified as God's hands and hearts walking, living and praying with us on earth. What a true reward to have been raised by such goodly parents. Thank you for sharing them with us!”

One of our granddaughter shared this experience “The weirdest thing happened in seminary today. I totally disagreed with someone. Which probably happens to you a lot, but there have only been a few situations where I thought someone was saying false doctrine. And I feel bad, because the person who said it I already didn't like because he just texts during class, and he never talks to me even though we are supposed to be partners because we sit next to each other. He also has huge sideburns and wears maroon skinny jeans... anyway, I felt my judgment was a little clouded and I do not entirely understand this particular doctrine, so I wanted to ask you about it. The discussion started when we were reading in the first chapter of Doctrine and Covenants in verse 16, "every man walketh in his own way, and after the image of his own god...and whose substance is that of an idol." My seminary teacher, asked us what the difference was between doing this scripture and being independent. We started talking about getting educations and making good decisions, which are all good. I remember mom telling me about HIP, being Happy Independent Productive people, and I thought the first part of our discussion covered that nicely. We should be getting jobs and an education, working hard, and making our own choices. I raised my hand and paraphrased 2 Nephi 7:11, which reads, "Behold all ye that kindle fire, that compass yourselves about with sparks, walk in the light of your fire and in the sparks which ye have kindled. This shall ye have of my hand- ye shall lie down in sorrow." I compared that scripture to what we were talking about, how when we walk in our own paths and do things not of the Lord, we are not making the correct choices. We have to be careful when we say "independent" because we should always be reflecting Christ's light. But then this kid, the one I described, stood up and said that he disagreed. He said that he thought we should be creating our own light, and that on earth we prepare to be self-reliant so that when we go to heaven we do not have to rely on God for light. Which was really weird to me, and it felt wrong. So I wanted to ask you about light. How do you feel about light in this sense? In my patriarchal blessing, it describes being filled with light and radiating goodness. I do not know if it is possible to create light, or even helpful to think that we do not need to rely on the Lord. Even the word "independent" in this sense seems wrong because we are so dependent on the Lord. It was just a super weird conversation.”

I replied, “You are absolutely right. He is dead wrong. We are and always will be dependent upon God for our light which is another word for glory. It is only because of him that we receive any light at all. He is the source we receive from him. Our doing good allows us to receive of his light. We don't create light. We are the candlestick, God and Christ are the light. We carry the light, are infused with the light, but we are not the light. If you want to visit further about this I would be happy to. It’s that sort of independent thinking that gently leads us to "I don't need God I can do it myself" which is never true nor ever will be true. Love Grandpa”

At our meeting today with Six family, Sister Six made a wonderful presentation on the scriptures I had left her to overcome her guilt and anguish over the actions of others. (Ether 12:34-37; Alma 8:14-15; D&C 123:17; 17:12-13) When I came in she said, “Well this lesson is going to be easy for you. I did all the work” and that she did. Later she sent us this sweet note “Just wanted to say that I cannot remember when you two were not a part of our lives - it seems like we've always known you both. You are both such gifts to us.” We enjoyed Labor Day celebration with them and some friends of theirs Turns out their friend’s dentist of 30 years was LDS and just retired, moved back to Utah and is waiting for a mission call with his wife.

Prepared some family history for Brother Four who wrote, “I didn't truly appreciate the enormity of the information you gathered until I read it all. I am overwhelmed with gratitude for this work. It actually looks like I may be able to track my family's foot print at least to slavery in this country. Is that possible? Is it possible to go even further back to my roots in Africa?”

One of our grandsons was dealing with confidence something I guess about all of us have to deal with, often repeatedly, as it seems one of the chinks the Adversary takes the most advantage of. Sent the following poem I had shared with his dad when he earlier faced the same issues.

The Race
attributed to Dr. D.H. "Dee" Groberg

Whenever I start to hang my head in front of failure’s face,
    my downward fall is broken by the memory of a race.
A children’s race, young boys, young men; how I remember well,
    excitement sure, but also fear, it wasn’t hard to tell.
They all lined up so full of hope, each thought to win that race
    or tie for first, or if not that, at least take second place.
Their parents watched from off the side, each cheering for their son,
    and each boy hoped to show his folks that he would be the one.

The whistle blew and off they flew, like chariots of fire,
    to win, to be the hero there, was each young boy’s desire.
One boy in particular, whose dad was in the crowd,
    was running in the lead and thought “My dad will be so proud.”
But as he speeded down the field and crossed a shallow dip,
    the little boy who thought he’d win, lost his step and slipped.
Trying hard to catch himself, his arms flew everyplace,
    and midst the laughter of the crowd he fell flat on his face.
As he fell, his hope fell too; he couldn’t win it now.
    Humiliated, he just wished to disappear somehow.

But as he fell his dad stood up and showed his anxious face,
    which to the boy so clearly said, “Get up and win that race!”
He quickly rose, no damage done, behind a bit that’s all,
    and ran with all his mind and might to make up for his fall.
So anxious to restore himself, to catch up and to win,
    his mind went faster than his legs. He slipped and fell again.
He wished that he had quit before with only one disgrace.
    “I’m hopeless as a runner now, I shouldn’t try to race.”

But through the laughing crowd he searched and found his father’s face
    with a steady look that said again, “Get up and win that race!”
So he jumped up to try again, ten yards behind the last.
    “If I’m to gain those yards,” he thought, “I’ve got to run real fast!”
Exceeding everything he had, he regained eight, then ten...
    but trying hard to catch the lead, he slipped and fell again.
Defeat! He lay there silently. A tear dropped from his eye.
    “There’s no sense running anymore! Three strikes I’m out! Why try?
I’ve lost, so what’s the use?” he thought. “I’ll live with my disgrace.”
    But then he thought about his dad, who soon he’d have to face.

“Get up,” an echo sounded low, “you haven’t lost at all,
    for all you have to do to win is rise each time you fall.
Get up!” the echo urged him on, “Get up and take your place!
    You were not meant for failure here! Get up and win that race!”
So, up he rose to run once more, refusing to forfeit,
    and he resolved that win or lose, at least he wouldn’t quit.
So far behind the others now, the most he’d ever been,
    still he gave it all he had and ran like he could win.
Three times he’d fallen stumbling, three times he rose again.
    Too far behind to hope to win, he still ran to the end.

They cheered another boy who crossed the line and won first place,
    head high and proud and happy -- no falling, no disgrace.
But, when the fallen youngster crossed the line, in last place,
    the crowd gave him a greater cheer for finishing the race.
And even though he came in last with head bowed low, unproud,
    you would have thought he’d won the race, to listen to the crowd.
And to his dad he sadly said, “I didn’t do so well.”
    “To me, you won,” his father said. “You rose each time you fell.”

And now when things seem dark and bleak and difficult to face,
    the memory of that little boy helps me in my own race.
For all of life is like that race, with ups and downs and all.
    And all you have to do to win is rise each time you fall.
And when depression and despair shout loudly in my face,
    another voice within me says, “Get up and win that race!"