Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Temple Message Shared

This was forwarded to me from our friend Ed who is working in Afghanistan. It's amazing that it went around the world and then returned to us in California. It was written by a person who works at the LA Temple and brings that peace that surpasses all understanding back into our world. Heavenly Father is aware of our needs and meets them in His way.

My dear family, brothers and sisters, friends and leaders:

My heart is overflowing with joy and gratitude to our Heavenly Father for His tender mercies and mighty miracles in our behalf. I just have to share this with you. As most of you know, I am a Temple ordinance worker and work the morning shift in the LA Temple every Saturday. Today, I had the privilege of translating Sister Martz-the new assistant Matron's-message during our devotional. She started like this "The prophet Joseph Smith said that no unhallowed hand would be able to stop this Work from progressing. These past few weeks when mobs have combined and armies have gathered against the saints, the Lord has protected His house". She went on to say that those, like her, who were inside the Temple when mobs were surrounding it, did not realize how scary and terrifying this looked on TV to the rest of us, because inside the House of the Lord all was calm and there was peace abundant. After Proposition 8 passed, the Temple began receiving threatening calls and mail from those opposing it. They were warned that more than 5000 people would come to the Temple and burn it to the ground, and stop its work.

The first Thursday when the mob came, the new LA Temple President called the Salt Lake City Temple Offices for instructions. He was instructed to call the local police and to insure the safety of those attending the Temple by closing the gates. The assistant Matron said today, that it was a tender mercy from the Lord that the mob chose that Thursday to come since they had only one person coming to receive his own endowment that day, which he received in time to leave before trouble started. The LAPD and the FBI responded quickly to the Temple Presidency's summons and patrolled the grounds and kept the mob from entering the same. Most of them had never been there before and expressed their surprise at how beautiful and peaceful all around was. They were invited to come back during the Christmas season to see the lights and they promised they would.

On Thursday, November 13th, Sister Campbell, a secretary in the Temple, was opening the mail and upon opening a large manila envelope found inside a smaller one. When she opened this one, a white powder flew all around her desk. She thought this could be related to the demonstrators and feared the worst-ANTHRAX. She contacted the President, who in turn called the Salt Lake City Temple office again for instructions. The FBI, the LAPD, and even the SWAT teams were once again in the grounds to investigate, and the Temple once again had to close from around 11:30 AM to 5PM. They closed the gates and were instructed to keep all the people there wherever they were found at the time. Those in the parking lot had to remain in the parking lot. Those entering the Temple had to remain in the first floor and those already upstairs were taken to the Celestial Room.

Then, the miracles began to happen: A brother serving as a recorder that day is a Microbiologist by profession and used to deal with hazardous substances every day. He was the first to say the white powder in the envelope was only talc, and put everyone at ease. Then the sister coordinator upstairs was impressed to call upstairs to the sealing area, and said "They said we can't go down but no one said we can't go up, and I have many people in the Celestial room with their ceremonial clothes on ready to work. Could they do some sealings?" As it happened, there were four sealers present that day and they ran four sealing sessions non stop while the Temple was closed. Downstairs, someone else thought to invite those in the Lobby to do some initiatories, which they promptly did for all those hours too, brothers and sisters alike. Among those waiting in the parking lot there was a large group of young men and women with their leaders who had come to do Baptisms for the dead, and who waited patiently all those hours and decided when the Temple was reopened to go ahead and fulfill their assignment instead of driving back home. The Temple reopened in time for the 5:30 PM session.

The next day when recording the ordinances, they discovered that they had performed 2000 sacred ordinances on Thursday, only one less than the day before when three stakes had been visiting the Temple. Once again the assistant matron reminded us of the words of the prophet Joseph Smith, "No unhallowed hand can stop the Work from progressing..."

But, this is not all, a prophecy was fulfilled also. When the new LA Temple President was set apart by President Uchtdorf of the First Presidency, he received a blessing and these words were pronounced: "The time has come for the LA Temple to come out of obscurity and become an Ensign for Righteousness to the world under your presidency." The pictures of the Temple have been shown on TV, newspapers and the internet, not only in this country but worldwide. People of other
faiths have called and sent letters to the Temple thanking the Church for defending marriage and protecting the family, and commenting how impressed they are by how beautiful and majestic the Temple looks . One minister of an African American church, who by his own admission had harbored ill feelings against the Mormons before said " I am impressed by your integrity and Christ like behavior, and even if I am not ready to consider you my brothers and sisters in Christ, we can be first cousins!".

I asked the assistant matron if I could share her comments and she said to go ahead. I can only add my own testimony that I know the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints has the power and authority of God on earth. God Lives and Jesus, His only Begotten Son and our Savior is coming soon to redeem His people. I am grateful to know this and I pray we stand firm, steadfast and immobile while the prophecies of the signs before His Coming are fulfilled. "Be not afraid, only believe." He has said, and also " What I the Lord have spoken, I have spoken, and I excuse not myself; and though the heavens and the earth pass away, my word shall not pass away, but shall all be fulfilled, whether by mine own voice or by the voice of my servants, it is the same." I testify that this is true and testify it in the Holy Name of Him Whom I strive to serve, even Jesus Christ. Be faithful and safe is my humble prayer.

Your sister in Christ,
Patricia H. Arnazzi

Monday, November 3, 2008

Letter to a Friend

I recently received a letter from a friend informing me that he was voting No on 8. His reasoning was based on his desire to accept all people without judgment and was written with love for his friends in the Yes on 8 camp. There was a response from a mutual friend that outlined her beliefs on why she was voting Yes - basically that a word she knew to mean something specific was being usurped and compromised. I felt a need to respond as well but was uncertain what to say. During the night I awoke and received the following words to share. In respect to their privacy I have edited out names:

I, like A**, love you for your boldness in sharing your reasoning and admire the compassion you have for all mankind.

I have thought long & hard during the course of this struggle and gone through the same mental exercises in determining how I feel about this Proposition. I love the poem Desiderata by Max Ehrmann – ‘Go placidly amid the noise and the haste and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible, without surrender, be on good terms with all persons.’ Like many Americans I fluctuate between the ‘live and let live’ attitude and the ‘whatever’ mindset that is the greatest freedom we enjoy in this country. But the phrase without surrender seems to haunt me. Do I go along to get along and surrender my values as the price to pay?
I truly accept and empathize with others. I look at the word marriage and think, like Shakespeare ‘a rose by any other name’ – what does it matter what we call it - civil union, domestic partnership, marriage? I’d prefer my many gay friends be in committed relationships.
For me, what it first and last came down to was that I believe Heavenly Father knows best and He is the one who defined the term and set the rules. And thirteen years ago, foreseeing the path Satan would take to lead his children astray, He inspired a Prophet to clarify His position through the Declaration on the Family.
And astray, or away, is why I’m voting Yes. Because that’s what this has come to mean to me. If we move away from God’s holy, eternal definition of marriage we move away from Him. We can be tolerant and loving and accept our brothers and sisters for choosing other paths, but ultimately those choices will lead them and others farther away from true, lasting happiness.
Fair is the term that Dianne Feinstein uses in her Vote No ad. But fair is a relative term. Many times you set a rule or standard to protect your children, only to hear them whine & complain ‘That’s so NOT FAIR!’ To their limited understanding, that’s how it may appear. However, you in love and with more knowledge know that (*one son*) is too young to drive and (*another son*) is too young to drink. Because you love them you set boundaries whether they understand the reasons or not.
As a society we have set standards on marriage. Originally those standards were God-given. Over time they have been incorporated from religious reasons to moral, societal, traditional and legal boundaries. There are many forms of love – not all warranting or deserving of marriage designation: Parent-child, brother-sister, cousin-cousin, pet-pet/lover, groups of people. Last week in Japan a man launched a campaign to allow humans to marry cartoon characters because he prefers a two dimensional world. Again how do we define fair?
To me, voting yes acknowledges the God given agency to choose to live in domestic partnerships and receive all the government benefits, while at the same time allowing me to stand up for the more significant issue of family. The most important eternal unit is family. It’s interesting that Satan has worked long and hard to make his final battle strike at the very heart of the Kingdom of God. We come from a family with a Heavenly Father and Mother and brothers and sisters. Ponder on the love you have for your own children and then imagine it through Heavenly Father’s eyes. He sees us with even greater love, compassion and clarity and wants only the best for each of His children. He doesn’t want any of us to settle Esau-like for a ‘mess of pottage,’ when he has a feast planned.
My feeling about working on the Yes campaign, as challenging as it has been, was to educate others to quietly go along in their non-confrontational ways, being at peace with all men while at the same time giving courage to voters to step inside the voting booth and know that how you vote is between you and God. No one else will know. I think that’s the time to come to terms with how you stand, and ultimately where you stand and with whom you stand.
I know there are some who may be voting Yes on 8 for other reasons – there are those who are homophobic, some who abhor change and some who see a decline in societal standards. I’m voting Yes because I want to stand with God. And though that may make me appear intolerant and sets me up to the finger-pointing mockery of Lehi’s large and spacious building crowd, I know that I don’t stand alone. And the crowd I stand with includes others who have been persecuted for standing for truth.
And I’ll live with that…
I love you M**. You’re a good person and I know that God knows your heart and your intent. May you find peace and joy in this life as you exercise your God-given agency to choose how you see fit.
Take care & God Bless

Words of an Apostle

"Make no mistake about it, brothers and sisters, in the months and years ahead, events are likely to require each member to decide whether or not he will follow the First Presidency. Members will find it more difficult to halt longer between two opinions. President Marion G. Romney said, many years ago, that he had 'never hesitated to follow the counsel of the Authorities of the Church even though it crossed my social, professional or political life. '"This is hard doctrine, but it is particularly vital doctrine in a society which is becoming more wicked. In short, brothers and sisters, not being ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ includes not being ashamed of the prophets of Jesus Christ. . . . Your discipleship may see the time when such religious convictions are discounted. . . . This new irreligious imperialism seeks to disallow certain opinions simply because those opinions grow out of religious convictions. "Resistance to abortion will be seen as primitive. Concern over the institution of the family will be viewed as untrendy and unenlightened....Before the ultimate victory of the forces of righteousness, some skirmishes will be lost. Even in these, however, let us leave a record so that the choices are clear, letting others do as they will in the face of prophetic counsel. There will also be times, happily, when a minor defeat seems probable, but others will step forward, having been rallied to rightness by what we do. We will know the joy, on occasion, of having awakened a slumbering majority of the decent people of all races and creeds which was, till then, unconscious of itself. Jesus said that when the fig trees put forth their leaves, 'summer is nigh.' Thus warned that summer is upon us, let us not then complain of the heat."

--- Elder Neal A. Maxwell


I have always been a peaceful person. I have no problem seeing both sides of an argument and trying to understand where the other person is coming from. I can look at so many of these political contests and see what appeals to people from both perspectives.

I mention this because I have been in the company of people who can't. And to listen to their dogma is draining. To question them and to try to help them understand that no one is pure evil is taxing and to help them try to work & play well with others can be like spitting in the wind. You end up with slime all over yourself!

Which brings me back to the title of this entry. Back in the 70's Doug Stewart & Lex de Azevedo wrote a musical play entitled Saturday's Warrior which had to do with the idea that we live in the last days. It was a high school favorite with my LDS friends. Listening to our well worn LP's over and over we memorized all the lyrics and went to see it performed numerous times in Pasadena and other locations as new companies were formed. We would act out all of our favorite scenes and take turns playing Jimmy, Pam & Mack. Years later, when my children were young a new video version came out and a new generation became committed fanatics. They loved it because it was one of the few Sunday activities allowed involving the TV! But they also felt the eternal truths portrayed.

Today it hit me though that the title includes more than the reference to the timing of the last days, it also includes the condition we will face in these challenging times. Living here in California during the battle over Proposition 8 I have become acutely aware of the Warrior status that is being required of me. And I have had to shift from my peace-loving, accept everyone without pre-conditions attitude to having to stand up for the truths revealed from God to a Prophet. I have struggled with making phone calls to voters, feared my car would be keyed because of a bumper sticker and worried that every honk is a one-fingered salute. In addition I have not wanted to put people on the defensive as I sought to share my feelings about this important issue.

But I hear veteran benefits are great! And just as earthly vets get points on jobs and home loan ops. I'm hoping this battlefield time earns me a little more equity on that mansion in heaven....