Monday, April 27, 2009

Saturday / Judy

We had a fun Saturday because Lloyd was home from work and we took advantage of it. First, we went to a matinee of "Les Mis" after eating lunch at Red Lobster. The play was outstanding with costumes and all the main characters doing their parts. I've been haunted by that music ever since. 

Then we got home in time to greet Lani, above with Grandpa, who drove up from L.A. She's been staying with her sister Michiko and wanted to see Grandpa while she was fairly close. Michiko and Brandon couldn't come because they were sick so she drove up by herself. She just stayed the one night, then left the next morning to see her uncle and then drove back. She and Grandpa spent all night (till she went to bed) visiting and enjoying each other's company. They didn't even need us, so we left them to it.

Tonight we're doing something kind of fun. Ben wrote a play and they are going to do a reader's theater kind of thing with it tonight for an audience. He asked some of his acting friends from school to play the parts and they've had a couple rehearsals so it should be interesting. We're looking forward to seeing it since he's been working on it for months.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Les Mis And A Web Site / Judy

If you've seen Hilary's blog, you know several of us (me and Michael, Kristen. Nathan and Jonathan, Hilary and Dave, and Liberty) saw the understudy rehearsal of Les Mis because Ben is understudying Javert, the villain. It was truly amazing! I have purposely avoided seeing that play because I knew it would be very sad, I mean, just look at the title. Ben was wonderful, both in his acting and also in his singing. He has a beautiful, powerful baritone voice that filled the theater.

There were several moving moments that brought me to tears, even the suicide scene. Up to that point, you don't like Javert at all, but still that scene is heartbreaking. And the ending is so uplifting and inspirational...I had no idea.

On to another topic. In the the grocery store the other day I saw a cookbook I nearly bought called "200 recipes under 200 calories." But I decided I didn't need another cookbook, although I may relent and get it later. However, there was a web site attached to it that I went to and it also has lots of healthy, low-calorie recipes and I'd recommend it. It's 

Saturday, April 18, 2009

More visitors / Judy

Lloyd's youngest brother, Paul, and his three oldest kids came to visit this past week since they were on Spring Break. They came on Tuesday and left Friday morning. In this photo, starting from the left is Daniel (18), Angie (16), Paul, Brenden (14), and Lloyd. 

On Wednesday Kristen and Hilary came down to visit with them, then after lunch they went to the matinee of "Les Mis" to see Ben, then had fish and chips at Pismo. Thursday they went boogie-boarding at Cayucus, then after cleaning up, they went through a tour of Hearst Castle and got back to town in time to go to the Farmers Market. 

When they left yesterday, they planned to drive to Yosemite for a couple days. I have to say it was really fun having them here and actually getting to know them, especially the kids who were a lot of fun. Grandpa loved talking to them because they were very interested in his stories and he really perked up with them around.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Ragged Point / Judy

I was premature when I wrote about our fun weekend because the fun continued on Monday, Loyd's day off. We wanted to spend the day in Cambria so we drove up the coast about mid-morning, wandered around a few of our favorite places and had lunch there. Then we thought, you know, what we really want to do is go to Ragged point and spend the night. So we did! The first picture (above) is the view from our room.

Of course we weren't really prepared. We had no extra clothes or anything, but in the car Lloyd had his toothbrush and toothpaste that he takes to work, and we bought a small deoderant, and as usual, we both had books to read, so we were good.

One problem was that our phones didn't work from Cambria north because they don't have Verizon cell towers along there. I was in the middle of a call to Jennifer when the phone went dead and the phones didn't come back to life until we returned. This made it hard to let people like Grandpa know what we were doing, and I didn't want him to worry. Fortunately, the waitress in the Ragged Point restaurant had a different cell phone (AT & T or something) and she let us call home. 

Again, the above picture was taken from our room.And this is from the fence, sea-side looking up to our room, which had a fireplace, by the way. We left the window open all night so we could hear the surf--heaven.

On the way home today we stopped at the lighthouse beach to see the elephant seals. Right now on the beach are all females and pups. We didn't see any of the big males. Notice the pup near the vegetaion on the right looking at us.

So we had a wonderful mini-vacation and floated back to earth on a sea of contentment. And now it's back to work (sigh).

Monday, April 13, 2009

Fun Weekend / Judy

On Friday I went to the Easter concert that Hilary was in and it was wonderful! It really put us all in the right mood for Easter. My favorite song was the women's chorus singing "Come and see"...the empty tomb. But I also liked the men's chorus singing "O Strengthen Me" because I thought how true it was that men often needed strengthening. They have to bear the weight of the family's well-being and I know it can be hard. And that's why we love and appreciate them. I sat with Dave and Spencer and at one point Spencer said, "My mom is simply gorgeous." 

Saturday night Lloyd had the day off so we went to the Melodrama, which is always a blast. The play was "The Nerd" and it was hilarious. Lloyd said although it was really funny, you didn't need so much "suspension of disbelief" as you usually do there. The place was full, probably sold out and that always makes it more exciting.

Sunday morning, Easter, began VERY early as Ben and I both woke up at 5:00 am to take him to the airport for his trip to Utah. He's staying with the Smalley's and also going to visit BYU to have an audition. He wants to get on the acting track in the drama department and he needs to audition for that. He'll be back Tuesday night.

I enjoyed church a lot and I also liked teaching my Sunday School class (16 and 17-year-olds). I used a lot of the information Lloyd gave in his blog and they seemed to respond well. For dinner, Michael and Matthew were here and also the Anderson's and the Kleinman's came down so there 9 adults and 11 children. Great fun and what a great way to spend Easter! 

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Rejection of the Physical Christ / Lloyd

"The Lord himself after the resurrection took the greatest care to impress the literalness of the event on the minds of all his followers."


Until I attended college and served a mission I thought that Christ’s Physical Resurrection was the point of Easter.  Away from home and family I encountered many folks who professed belief in Christ but who understood him very differently from what I knew him to be.

God and his Son Jesus Christ both have palpable, physical bodies of flesh and bones, as do we. And our bodies have marvelous God-like functions that we are permitted to experience in mortality. Not only are we permitted to experience them, but also we are directed to learn to channel appropriately the inherent body-associated passions, appetites, and desires that help make life so wonderfully worthwhile. 

The following are excerpts from Hugh Nibley, The World and the Prophets, and M. Catherine Thomas, “The Restoration of the Doctrines of Marriage and Atonement.” They illustrate the worldly pressure to slide from the concrete to the unknowable, especially regarding the physical nature of Christ. We begin to understand the unimaginable angry reaction to the boy prophet, Joseph Smith, who testified so clearly of a Physical Father and Son. 


The Search for God

"The thought that the Apostles might be searching for God is simply laughable. Yet that was one of the first danger signals to appear in the church—the predicted activity of those intellectuals who would be "ever seeking and never coming to a knowledge of the truth." Already, at the end of the first century, Ignatius of Antioch writes to the Trallians: "There are some Christ-betrayers, bearing about the name of Christ in deceit, and corrupting the word of the Gospel. . . . They do not believe in his resurrection. They introduce God as being unknown." And to the Smyrnaens he says: "Do ye, therefore, mark those who preach other doctrines, how they affirm that the Father of Christ cannot be known." The great crime of the heretics in general, according to the Apostolic Constitutions, is "that they blaspheme God by saying that he is unknowable and not the Father of Christ . . . but is indescribable, unutterable, unnamable, self-begotten. We, the sons of God [it is supposed to be the Apostles speaking] declare that there is one God alone, the Lord of the law and the prophets, the creator of things that are, the Father of Christ, not self-caused and self-begotten, as the Gnostics say, but everlasting and without beginning, dwelling in inaccessible light. He is not two or three or many, but one eternally, not unknown or unnamed but proclaimed through the Law and the Prophets." Irenaeus' first charge against the Gnostics is that "they say the Father cannot be known." (pgs 54-55)

“On the other hand, nothing shocked or scandalized the pagans more than the Christian insistence in knowing God; Celsus is outraged at such presumption, and to his charge, Origen replies that God is indeed unknown—to bad men. (pg 55)”


“The only real justification for the Christian Easter is the proposition that the resurrection of Christ actually took place—not as a symbol, a myth, a hope, a tradition, or a dream, but as a real event. The Lord himself after the resurrection took the greatest care to impress the literalness of the event on the minds of all his followers. Having risen from the dead, Christ came to his disciples and found them confused, perplexed, incredulous. He "upbraided them with their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they believed not them which had seen him after he was risen" ("Mark 16:14Mark 16:14), and showed them in detail how the ancient prophets had actually predicted what had happened. He ordered them to feel him and see for themselves that he was not a spirit, but that the flesh had been resurrected; he ordered food to be brought and ate it in their presence, inviting them to dine with him. He told them that whenever they met after his departure they should continue to eat real bread and drink real wine to remind them that he had been with them in the flesh. (pg 156) 

“There was need to make this lesson perfectly clear, for men have always been reluctant to believe it. Matthew concludes his gospel with the report that "when they saw him, they worshipped him: but some doubted" ("Matt. 28:17 Matthew 28:17). The Apostles had to rebuke members of the church who simply would not believe in the resurrection, and John noted with alarm that "many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh" ("2 Jn. 1:72 John 7). "Now if Christ be preached that he rose from the dead," writes Paul to the Corinthians, "how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead?" ("1 Cor. 15:121 Corinthians 15:12.) (pg 157)

Anti-resurrection trend in the church 

“Next, the writings of the so-called Apostolic Fathers, the oldest texts to survive after the time of the Apostles, show the spreading and deepening of the anti-resurrection trend in the church. Two charges are constantly brought against church members by the Apostolic Fathers: 1) that they are ashamed of the crucifixion, and 2) that they deny the resurrection. "I know that Christ had a body after the resurrection," cried Ignatius to the Smyrnaeans, "and I believe that he still has." (We may note in passing that there is no thought here of a "mystic" body.) Ignatius pleads with the Trallians to believe that Christ "really and truly was born, and he ate and drank, and he was really and actually sentenced under Pontius Pilate, and was actually crucified and died. . . . And that he really and truly was raised from the dead. . . . But if as certain atheists, that is, non-believers, say, he only appeared to have suffered . . . why am I going to fight beasts?" In the longer version Ignatius rebukes those who do not believe in the resurrection; others that say God cannot be known; others that think Christ was unbegotten; others who claim that the Holy Ghost is not a reality; and others who say that the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost are the same. (pg 157)

“The sorrows and alarms of the Apostolic Fathers were followed by the perplexities of the doctors. Most of the early doctors of the church were ardent Hellenists or Neoplatonists, and there was no place in such schools of thought for a God who contaminates himself by contact with the physical or limits himself by taking the form of a man. "We are stunned with the greatest amazement," wrote Origen, perhaps the most influential of all Christian philosophers next to Augustine himself, "that this the most eminent of all natures, putting off its state of majesty, should become a man. . . . It is utterly beyond human comprehension that the Word of the Father . . . should be thought of as confined within that man who appeared in Judea. But that the Wisdom of God should have entered the womb of a woman, and been born a baby, and cried and wailed just like other crying babies, and then suffered death and said that his soul was sorrowful unto death, and been led off to the most undignified of all deaths . . . seeing such things the human intellect is stopped in its tracks, so stunned with amazement that it knows not where to turn. . . . It is far beyond our powers to explain. I suppose it even goes beyond the capacity of the holy Apostles; nay, it is quite possible that the explanation of this sacrament is beyond the powers of all the celestial beings." 

"Not only does Origen not know what to think about the Lord's physical presence on earth; he does not even know what to believe about it, and in his explanations is careful to specify that he is presenting only his "suspicions rather than any manifest affirmations." And so he speculates on the resurrection of the flesh: only the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost can live without bodies, he tells us, "because it is right and proper to think of the Trinity alone as existing incorporeally." But then he considers that if one thing can live without a body, others can too, and if others, why not all? "That being the case, bodies will be dispensed with in eternity, there being no need for them. . . . To be subject to Christ is to be subject to God, and to be subject to God is to have no need of a body." Commenting on this, St. Jerome writes a century and a half later: "If all things, as this order of reasoning compels us to believe, shall live without body, the whole universe of corporeal things shall be consumed, and return again to that nothing out of which it was created." (pgs 157-159)

Educated vanity trumps humility

“Note the vanity of the schoolmen in Origen's remarks: What he cannot conceive of because of his limited experience must necessarily be beyond the grasp of Apostles, angels, and all celestial beings! It is this sublime confidence in the adequacy of one's own knowledge and the finality of one's own experience that makes the resurrection of the flesh the principal thorn in the incorporeal minds of the schoolmen. According to St. Augustine, the resurrection of the flesh is the one thing that the pagans cannot take, it is the one thing with which the philosophers have no patience, and is above all the one thing that distinguishes a Christian from a non-Christian. 

"Since it is the one doctrine that makes Christians Christians, it is alarming to learn from St. Augustine that in his day "in nothing is there so much conflict and controversy among Christians themselves as on the subject of the resurrection of the flesh." "On no other matter," he writes, "do they disagree so vehemently, so obstinately, so resolutely, or so contentiously as on the subject of the resurrection of the flesh. For as far as the immortality of the soul is concerned many a pagan philosopher too has argued about that and bequeathed us vast heaps of writings to the effect that the soul is immortal. But when it comes to the resurrection of the flesh they won't argue, but dismiss it out of hand as impossible, and that on the grounds that it is impossible for this earthly flesh to aspire to heaven." (pg 159)

“I cannot resist noting here that the objection of the pagans to the resurrection is not a physical or a biological but a philosophical one, and it is the very same objection which the Christian world today makes against the Latter-day Saint conception of God: that there can be nothing of a bodily nature in the celestial. Yet the resurrected Christ was God. Is it any wonder that the Christians could never agree among themselves on this, the central doctrine of their religion? The doctors of the later church only touch lightly upon this theme, and with obvious embarrassment. 

"St. Augustine had far more to say on the subject than any other father of the church; he speculates that the body may become spirit in the sense of acquiring unlimited mobility, but he is not sure; he does not know exactly how to take the doctrine, very popular in his day, that the resurrection was a resurrection of the spirit (anima) only, and again, he says he would like to know how he is to think of a "spiritual body" such as ours will be after the resurrection, but he does not know how, and would be glad to find someone who could teach him. This was exactly the puzzled and hesitant attitude of Augustine's great eastern counterpart, Origen. (pgs 159-60)” 


“An apostate group among the earliest Christians called Docetists (from Greek dokew, "seems") claimed that Christ only seemed to be physical. This idea invaded mainstream Christianity. Hilary of Poitiers, a fourth-century Christian theologian, wrote of Christ's suffering that "He felt the force of suffering, but without its pain," as if a weapon were to pierce water or fire or air. "The body of Christ by its virtue suffered the violence of punishment, without its consciousness. . . . He had not a nature which could feel pain." (pg 88)

“Once God lost his body and could not suffer, the mainspring of the Atonement was effectively removed. A substitute for the Atonement was devised in a practice called penance . . . Doing penance meant self-punishment rather than actually acquiring virtue. Assigned to penitential tasks by a celibate clergy, women and men sat in sackcloth and ashes at the church door, groveled at the feet of the clergy, or abstained from marital relations, sometimes for months. Through these punishments, early Christians expiated their sins. The practice of penance replaced the true doctrine that Jesus suffered and paid off the law of justice, releasing to women and men a great divine enabling power to pursue the divine nature. (pg 88)

“If we had the full text of what constituted the original Bible, I think we would see that changes have been made in at least two main doctrinal areas: first, in the doctrine of the Atonement, especially the accessibility of the grace of Jesus Christ, and, second, in the doctrine of the body of God and the relationship of the Father and the Son; and as corollary, the doctrines of the deification of mankind, eternal marriage, and eternal procreation. 

“These changes in doctrine influenced the whole subsequent development of mainstream Christianity, as we can see today in the enduring practices of penance and celibacy and perhaps in our own possible discomfort in thinking of Jesus in a married relationship. (pg 88) 

“Because the doctrine of God's body is so pivotal, it is often the first doctrine that has to be restored before an apostasy can begin to be healed. In the Sacred Grove, Joseph could obviously see that there were two separate, glorified, anthropomorphic beings in the Godhead before either of the Gods had said a thing. In a split second Joseph grasped a truth that could end eighteen hundred years of speculation and pointless philosophizing, centuries of making mysteries out of plainness." (pgs 88 – 89)

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Random Musings / Judy

Last weekend Michiko and Branden came to visit and they were all excited about seeing conferenced at home on TV. On Saturday Brandon took Grandpa to the priesthood session, which was nice for him. It was fun to have them here; I'm glad they live close enough to visit once in a while.  As usual, conference was wonderful. Probably my favorite talk was Elder Holland's.

We had a sad thing in our ward lately. A week ago Saturday, the 45-year-old daughter of a friend of ours died of Leukemia, then on Monday (9 days later) our friend's husband died. I think he died of a heart attack and I wonder if it was brought on by the death of his daughter. I feel so bad for my friend; talk about a one-two punch.

Tonight is the opening for "Les Miserables" at PCPA and Ben has been working hard on it. He grew his hair long and now has mutton-chop sideburns, which actually don't look as wierd as you'd think. Also, he's been putting in long hours writing a play that some students will put on in a couple weeks (like a reader's theater) and Lloyd and I will be able to go see it. 

And that is all that is happening around here--hardly enough for a decent post, but what can you do?

Sunday, April 5, 2009

My Working Retirement / Lloyd

Atascadero State Hospital: A half-mile of main hallway

Atascadero State Hospital: Group discussion

I suppose that I could look ahead and be discouraged.  At age 65 I have a working retirement with 15 years to go before I qualify for full benefits.  I’m a shift lead at a maximum security forensic psychiatric hospital, where I coordinate the efforts of 7-10 colleagues in caring for 32 high-acuity patients. Often patients harm themselves and other patients, and sometimes staff.
Yet I do not despair, rather I am grateful.  First, I have been prompted that this is where Heavenly Father wants me to serve.  Second, each day presents new challenges with interesting situations to confront and solve. Many times I have thought, “This can’t be done.” And almost always, by the end of the shift we have found successful closure and we return home unharmed. 
Most important of all, I know we’ve been blessed beyond our own ability.  I can say quite clearly, “We doubt not the Lord nor his goodness. We’ve proved him in days that are past. So I find that I look forward to work, interested, intrigued, and delighted to see how Heavenly Father will see us through the predictably unforeseen and unexpected.
Without this overriding purpose each day and hope based on experience I could see myself lingering in bed, not sleeping to rest but sleeping to escape and never ever feeling rested. I could see myself dithering away my life as I allowed insignificant routines and rituals to fill the day and wonder why nothing of importance ever got done. My rheumatoid arthritis and allergies and depression, like so many weeds, would gradually take over, and ill health and lack of energy would become the focus of my life. I have allowed this to happen before.
Without my challenges and opportunity to work and serve I too easily could become like a character in one of my favorite books, the cautionary tale Dead Souls by Ukrainian novelist Nikolai Gogol.
Really, enduring to the end means serving to the end, not moping to the end.  Consider this scripture that either happiness or unhappiness will be restored to us in the resurrection:
And then cometh the judgment of the Holy One upon them; and then cometh the time that he that is filthy shall be filthy still; and he that is righteous shall be righteous still; he that is happy shall be happy still; and he that is unhappy shall be unhappy still. (Mormon 9:14) (Emphasis added)
I appreciate President Monson’s comments today in General Conference, “Fear not, be of good cheer. Your future will be as bright as your faith.”

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