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You might find it hard to believe if you were able to peruse some of the topics I've started over the years or some of my contributions to existing topics, but, really, I'm not that into whining and moaning about how bad I've had it or how bad I've got it, compared to anyone else:
"Tribulation Poker," anyone?
"Ha! My Royal Flush beats your Full House all to smithereens! "
But, honestly, does anyone think that 2021 will have to work all that hard to be better than 2020? Why or why not? Personally, I think that 2021 could be a "lazy, slacker year" and still be better than 2020. Agree? Disagree? Why or why not? Did you have a particularly good year in 2020, Pandemic and Pandemonium notwithstanding? How so? Discuss!
By Peppermint Patty
I know a couple of people here know my story, but I feel impressed to share it today.
I grew up in a small East Texas town on the border of Louisiana. Life was hard. It was a poor town and we were poorer still. My father left my mother when I was 7 and my brother was 5. We never saw or heard from him again. I recently found out he died in California shorly after leaving us.
After my father left, my mother struggled with alcholism and there was a short period where me and my brother were placed in a foster home until my mother completed treatment. One Saturday when I was 9 the missionaries knocked on our door. I don't remember much about what they said, but I remember being surprised my mother let them in our small apartment. Time was precious and Saturday was the only day my mother could rest and spend time with us. My mother was working two jobs and worked every single day except Saturday.
Something resonated with the missionaries and my mother. We were soon baptized and joined a small branch in our town. At the branch, my mother met and married a single Air Force officer from Utah who had recently graduated college and was stationed nearby. He was an honorable man, a great husband and provider to my mother and a great father to me and my younger brother. My mother would not have met him if it hadn't been for the missionaries. He passed away 3 years ago and my mother followed him shortly after.
Once my father's commitment to the Air Force was over, we moved to Utah. It has been my home ever since. My brother and I both graduated from college and have families. We've been able to instill in them the importance of education, family and love for the Gospel.
When I look back on my life, I am overwhelmed with a sense of gratitude and love for the Gospel. I've tried to think what my life would have been like if the missionaries never knocked on our door all those years ago. Every scenario I can think of ends with us being caught in a cycle of poverty, drugs, alchohol and broken homes. Without the Gospel we would have been trapped in that vicious cycle. I'm thankful for those two missionaries who taught my mother the Gospel and the importance of families. I'm thankful for the Gospel in leading my mother to an honorable man who was a great father.
In my life there have been times of doubt and moments when I have questions, but can't find the answers. Perhaps we are meant to struggle and I'm content knowing that these questions will probably not be solved in this life. One thing I know for certain and is the Gospel took our family out of the cycle of poverty and made us a family again.
Seems like the scriptures support ranking of certain things like sins (murder, sexual sin, etc.), which to me seems to suggest a specific amount of suffering required by the Savior in order to satisfy justice and provide forgiveness.
And in prayer: seems like our ancestors whose Temple work we give them the option to accept, can pray with more faith and more power after we complete their Temple work and they choose to accept it. No?
Seems like service (operationalized in the form of callings) might also be rank-able and quantifiable.
(Perhaps framing it as an objective event like the Second Coming would help: "Wickedness will not hasten it. Righteousness will not postpone it." - since service is an eternal process not an event, though - gives me another disconnect...
It is confusing to me then to realize that callings are not ranked and the fact that none of us "advance" in callings but instead, we progress in a nonlinear, individual path.
My wife said this is the case because we all come to earth to learn the same lessons but we learn them in different ways.
As a loyal spouse, I'm not allowed to question nor accept her advice on face value....but it seems to explain the disconnect my neurons so often confront.
Her ancestors who held callings for 20+ years, I suppose, simplified things: I was called to do x. That's what I'm doing until I'm released.
If any of you beautiful people could expound on these disconnects and my wife's wisdom, I'd be much obliged.
Several nights ago I was in my bedroom brainstorming a dialogue on this forum. I forget the thread but ion so doing I recalled this story. Obviously I did not post this story on that thread and before I forget to do it once again, I decided to sit down and get this story posted here.
Tim Zaal is a former skinhead who in his teens always looked for a fight. You can say he coveted fighting. One night Zaal and 13 of his friends cornered a young gay male and severely beat him down. That person was Mathew Boger. Zaal nearly killed him.
Thinking they had just killed a kid, Zaal and his friends drove away. Zaal put all his past in the back of his mind and moved on in life haunted over the idea that he probably killed someone. Zaal began to give talks about his past and about the need for peace. As fate had it, Zaal was asked to speak at the museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles. There Taal began to talk to the operations manager and accompanying speaker to Taal. That person was Mathew Boger.
Ex-Skinhead And His Victim Form Unlikely Alliance
The two made amends and joined together to regularly talk about their past. I do not know if they are currently together but the fact that these two joined to tour and talk about peace is to me an amazing story of forgiveness. I see Borger as having shown extraordinary forgiveness to accept Taal as his co-partner in their quest to help bring peace. I also think Taal showed great courage to leave his violent skinhead past behind and move onwards.
Here's the news video I saw from which I learned of these two.