Sunday, April 5, 2009

Starting At The Beginning (April 5, 2009)

Many times I have gone back and read in my journals. I wanted to go back and change many of the things in them. Rarely have I, though upon occasion, I might correct obvious historical errors, seldom spelling or grammar. I have occasionally deleted something of no significance to me or anyone else for that matter. Reading in my journals and my memory (that often tricks or forgets) is as close as I will get to seeing my life as a whole in this earthly experience. Most of the details have long gone. I am left with a highlight real of short clips only.

I have dreamed of seeing things eternally as God does. Everything that is could be accessed all at once. I could see my birth, death, my marriage, all of things that have long been forgotten. I could see my ancestors and what there lives were about. I could see the generations of my posterity yet to be born. I wonder what I would think of the world as a whole? Would it be just a big blue marble rotating in the solar system. A mere pin point in our galaxy and almost insignificant in the universe or non-existant in other universes.

This evening I attended General Priesthood meeting. My Prophet and the Priesthood brethren did their usual wonderful job of conveying to me my responsibilities as a representative of my God. They laid out for me by way of my righteousness and Priesthood how to exercise my Priesthood in the coming months and to magnify it. They encouraged me to press forward while correcting errors in my life that could keep me from progressing. They demonstrated an eternal love for me as God can only direct. I know that they have a bigger vision than mine and are led by our God who sees things with an eternal perspective.

My God knows ALL THINGS right from the start or the beginning. If life is one eternal round then at some point, If I continue to progress, I will see the beginning from the end with NO VOIDS in memory. A complete audio-video journal with nothing left to guess work. I worry about this at times because I know what God expects out of His Priesthood holders. Then I am reminded of the love that my Priesthood leaders have shown to me and I realize there is no reason to worry. He who knows all from the beginning is in charge with a love that truly is all penetrating, all seeing, all caring and I pray that I might be one with Him. I pray that I might convey that love to all that I come in contact with just as He and my Priesthood leaders have to me.

There are no remakes in this life for me, only future opportunities to get it right. I can't go back and correct past historical events with an eraser in my journal. I can't delete or change anything. Nor would I want to. My life is as unique as anything ever was. Uniqueness, I think, is the great thing about life. Every moment is the start or the beginning of another moment in time. Maybe. for a few moments. I would like to remember everything about each of you however. You make me happy.

My wife and You are my future and God's expression of His love for me. May you all be so blessed with such a wonderful future.

Mom (the mean old G'Ma) and Dad (the G'Paaaaa)

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Unity and Images

Historically the true church has been identified as unity in purpose by serving the true God. If God's purpose is to bring about the eternal life of His children (mankind) and no greater joy can be had, then what I have experienced in growing up as a Latter Day Saint or a Latter Day Christian makes all the sense in the world. I only had to look to his Son to know what that unity really is and how eternal life is obtained. The Savior said that if you have seen me you have, in essence, seen the Father. Christ's whole life was dedicated to teaching, healing and bringing Heavenly Father's children back to his presence if they had a desire. As our elder brother he has shown us how to unconditionally love or serve each other by putting ourselves second to the Eternal God by serving him unconditionally with all our heart, might, mind and strength. In short, we reflect the Father in all that we do and say.

Selflessness is the door opener to the kingdom of heaven. When I put myself in this position of selflessness, it gives the Savior an opportunity to CHOOSE me to serve him and return with him to the Father. When I look in the mirror now I see my reflection; an image. The Bible tells me that I was made in the image of God. I look at my children, to some degree, I see an image of myself. When I look at my father I see my image. When I serve and do good things and put myself second, I see my image in the Savior. When I teach the gospel I see the image of the Savior in myself and the brother or sister that I teach.

I have seen that there is a counter to all things in this life. When I see contention I see an image. This image is of another brother. When I see chaos I see an image. When I see lying and murder and corruption I see an image. When I see anger and deceit and vulgarity I see an image. When I stop listening, reading the scriptures, taking the sacrament and feel the urgings to stay away from the organization that brings unity to the world, I see an image.

I have been extremely blessed to know the difference between two brothers that are exact opposites. I have found that I can be a reflection of either one. I often wonder which image people see in me? I am sure they at times have seen both. I am so thankful for an opportunity to try and rid myself of some of the false images I have presented in the past. My purpose now in life is to help my family and others to know the difference between these two images, that we might be an eternal family and choose to reflect our Father that we might obtain all that he has.

The Father and the Son are now one in purpose. I can be one in purpose with them by reflecting their image in my life. My wife and I are one with the Father and the Son united in an eternal bond of covenant and marriage that reflects their image. My children, my wife and I are one in Christ and the Father as we reflect a life of unity in faith and purpose. Now that Shawn and I might have an opportunity to serve as full time missionaries, (I feel like we have been serving as missionaries throughout our marriage) and can focus on those outside of our family, I pray that you all will be blessed with a desire to reflect the proper image and purpose that will bring you the most joy. When you don't I would hope that you will recognize it quickly and make the changes necessary to qualify to return to our Heavenly Father.

Please forgive me for any and all of my false images in the past. I pray that you might be able to look past them with forgiveneness and understanding that we might all be found spotless and in the image of our Father in Heaven. If we can do this, I know when we leave this life we will meet Him by way of his Son and be found not only in His image but united in His presence.

With Love,

The Dad

Monday, March 23, 2009

The Marriage of Christ and the Church or Us (March 22, 2009)

One of the things that has become self evident in my studying people of descent from the church is how overwhelmingly they believe that our church should be infallible along with our Prophets that are believed by them should be infallible as well. In other words the brethren never make mistakes in directing the affairs of the church or in their personal lives. Along with that is that the church should never change or go back on teachings that have been revealed. In short, change is error among the brethren and the church and supposedly are not allowed. So when we change the temple endowment or change the most correct book "The Book Of Mormon" they think that this is a sign that this is not really the true church as we purport. The dissenters couldn't be more wrong. This is living proof that the church continues to receive revelation and is being led by someone on high that is guiding us every day that it exists for our changing times. Is the church perfect? No! Or we would not need more revelation. Are the brethren perfect? no! Or we would not have the need for disciplinary councils. So why all the grief?

Now before everyone gets ready to jump ship because of our fallibility, let me share something that I learned from Martin Luther in his paper entitled "Freedom Of A Christian". Leave it to the old reformer to help us through this troubled time. Martin reads from Ephesians 5:31-32 "For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and they shall be one flesh. This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the Church." Martin then goes on to compare Christ, the bridegroom, and the Church, the bride. In the marriage covenant he points out that when married everything that the bridegroom posses is the brides and everything the bride posses is the bridegrooms. He then points out again and I quote, "Let us compare these and we shall see the inestimable benefits. Christ is full of grace, life and salvation. The soul (us or the church) is full of sins, death and damnation (or our imperfections cause this condition)............for if Christ is a bridegroom, he must take upon himself the things which are his bride's and bestow upon her the things that are his. If he gives her his body and very self, how shall he not give her all that is his? And if he takes the body of the bride, how shall he not take all that is hers?" end of quote.

In short, Christ is perfect, has overcome the world and obtained all that his father has. We give all of our sins and imperfections that are absorbed in our future marriage to the Savior of mankind and become perfect in Him and obtain all that our Father in Heaven has. That is how we, as the body. of the true and living church "The Bride" are able to be fallible and still remain the only true and living church waiting for our Bridegroom to come. We prepare for the wedding every week by partaking the sacred emblems of our Bridegroom.

I am so pleased to know that I don't have to be perfect to be a part of this church. I am so pleased that as I STRIVE for perfection that my knowledge and faith in Christ sets me free in the sense that I know that my sins will be forgiven upon the merits of true repentance. With this faith and knowledge for the future I can not help but STRIVE to follow all of the commandments and work unceasingly to bring forth that glorious day when Zion the Bride will be received and take her place along side the Savior of Mankind, our Bridegroom.

God love you all as we continue on life's journey while we build this great and marvelous work.

Mom (The mean old G'Ma) and Dad (The G'Paaaaa)
"Missionaries In The Making"

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Ye Will Not Suffer Your Children To Go Hungry (March 15, 2009)

King Mosiah is one of my all time favorite characters in the Book of Mormon. I was reading in Mosiah 4:14 where he talks about the treatment of your children (notice how he helps you tak possession of it by saying your children not just children in general). He first points out that we should take care of their temporal needs and then he goes on to say, "...neither will ye suffer that they transgress the laws of God, and fight and quarrel one with another, and serve the devil...the enemy of all righteousness." This sounds to me like we need to keep them spiritually fed as well.

When my children were young we had many methods for recognizing and dealing with quarrels and fights (ask the siblings they have lots of stories, some of which are actually true). Where there was only nine years separating our children it was constantly a challenge to deal with sibling rivalry and each unique situation while still having general guidelines. I remember Shawn getting so upset with them, (not that I didn't too) and when I would walk through the door she would say something to the affect, "you need to deal with this now!" That usually meant that Mom wanted DAD to paddle some little bottoms or something. Before I did deal with the problem, I usually tried to get what I could from the mama and then I would sit down with the offending party away from the mama and have a P.P.I. (Personal Priesthood Interview). Most of the time the problem was not a big deal and the mama had just had enough for one day. Once in while though I would hall off and whack the offender. This always made me feel bad in the long run and inadequate as a father. What was I feeding my children by that example. Spiritual JUNK FOOD! All they saw was an angry Dad. Quite literally a tool of the Devil. Then to save grace I would almost always apologize. The PPI method was much better. I braided my whip and was able to render righteous judgment usually with the child or children in agreement with the punishment. I remember once just so the mama would think that I had rendered righteous judgment (in her mind) taking one of the children into my bedroom and after finding out that it was not a huge problem and the child was in a penitent spirit, which they usually were at a moment of the immanent spanking, saying to them, "Now look Mom thinks you need a spanking. But I will make you a deal. If you will try never to do this again I am going to spank you, but I will put my hand on your bottom and spank my hand real loud. Now you yell real loud so that Mom thinks you got what you deserved." All parties were satisfied! It is amazing the report that I l received from my children with a little restraint at the right times and showing them spiritual food and mercy.

I am glad to be through those years, but they were by far the most memorable. So much was trial and error, but we dutifully brought our children spiritual food enough to balance out the junk food. The Lord said, "suffer the little children to come unto me" and my hope for us all is that we never get tired of the Savior's beckoning to have the children come to us. Let the little ones never fear you enough that they will not want to come unto you.

Happy Sabbath,

Mom (the mean old G'ma) and Dad (the G'Paaaaa)
"Missionaries in the Making"

Just a brief note to thank Jonathan, Sharice and Shellianne for the most appreciated feed-back pertaining to how I should distribute my Dad and Mom epistles. They will now be posted on a very nicely prepared blog that you all should have the address to now. If you would no longer like to receive them in email form, please let me know. I believe that you will receive notice of the new ones on the blog. I will continue to send them by email to those of you that prefer it that way. If you have any comments or if you have a topic that you would like us to address or any suggestions, we would much appreciate it.

Thanks Again to you all.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Missionary Service: A Holy Calling A Glorious Work (March 8, 2009)

This last week has been extremely fun and interesting as Shawn and I ventured out to Johnson City, TN to attend the blessing of Megan Kimberly. Here I thought that we were getting a taste of what missionary life might be like for us. I was not disappointed other than the fact that the church is very well organized with a large ward fully functioning with great zeal for the gospel and serving the Lord.

While there, I had an opportunity to bare my testimony in testimony meeting, go out with the missionaries and exercise Priesthood by participating in the baby blessing. All this while visiting with our dear ones Brian, Shelly, Ben, Jeff and Megan. What a glorious thing it is to know that they are well and that they are surrounded by brothers and sisters in the true church of Christ.

It is appropriate that our Priesthood lesson this week is titled, "Missionary Service: A Holy Calling A Glorious Work" As I mentioned before, I went out with the missionaries to teach a lady for the first time. Her name ironically was Jessica Ballard (nice Mormon surname eh? It gets better!). She was a half Portarican girl whose father was in the military and she also served in the military for 8 years. They had lived in Johnson City previously for a while and then moved to California. Before I went to pick the Elders up, Brian was nice enough to draw me a map on how to get to the Elders home. On the map one of the turns was just after Brother Egbert's home a member of their ward that they dearly love. They had pointed out his home earlier in the day. Through the course of discussion with Jessica about the church I mention that I was staying with my daughter and her husband off of Huffine Road. She got real excited and asked where they lived because she had lived over in that area. I said I don't know, but my son-in-law drew me a map. When I showed her the map, she pointed to where the Egbert's house was on the map and said that that is where she lived growing upin that very home. The missionaries and I told her that the people that own it are members of the church. She really wanted to go look at it, which the missionaries assured her they would more than likely be able to do.

I don't think she stands a chance of not joining the church. Too many ties to the church. She is one that has been directed to the church. I hope Brian and Shell follow up with the missionaries and let us know what happens to Jessica.

This experience has even more assured Mom and I the need to be in the mission field. We are preparing as fast as we can to bring this about. The Lord is leading the way for whatever happens. It is amazing to watch the process unfold as the Holy Ghost directs our efforts. Yesterday we rented a storage unit to put our remaining belongings in. Mom has one more Doctor appointment and then we see the Bishop and Stake President. We hope that you all will pray for us and especially for the MaMa for the strength to be able to go.

We love you all,

Mom (The mean old G'Ma) and Dad (The G'Paaaa)

P.S. "After all that has been said, the GREATEST and MOST important
duty is to preach the Gospel" Joseph Smith. Jr.
It's an easy thing to do when one is truly converted. You
can't help but share it. It just oozes out of you.

Seal My Heart (February 15, 2009)

In this day of ever changing family dynamics, one thing stands out in my relationship with my wife and Heavenly Father as a Latter Day Saint. An opportunity to seal my heart to them. This is not shared! It is a conscious choice of mine . My wife could decline and decide that she no longer wants it, but on my part it would still be there. This sealing power of commitment through covenants and the priesthood is offered by my wife at marriage and my Heavenly Father from the beginning of my existence. All I have to do is continue to strive to do what is right by keeping all of the commandments and becoming a covenant person. By following this pattern anyone in existence can have all that our Heavenly Father has; worlds without end and eternal happiness in this life and the next. It seems awfully simplistic, but once one understands the plan of salvation the human/God dynamic of family is no longer in question. The only question is what is one's commitment level? Has the heart been sealed without guile? The soul must be united with the Father and purified by the sealing power of the Holy Ghost.

Children are the natural blessing from our Heavenly Father through this union. This is where one experiences joy and rejoicing in posterity. This is compounded exponentially as the family grows. Abraham sought the blessings of the fathers. Children are the expression of the Abrahamic covenant. As heirs of Abraham, Latter Day Saints enjoy this same blessing through righteous living in this life and eternally. I am so pleased that I have this opportunity to progress on. It will obviously take more than this lifetime to fulfill my desire, but I pray that I might continually strive for this blessing and seal my heart to you all and our Father in Heaven.

We love you all,

Mom (the G'ma) and Dad (the GPaaaaaa)

The "Ideal Family" (January 17, 2009)

What do you think of when you hear the term "Ideal Family"?

In this life, I have looked and looked and still I have not found what I consider to be an "Ideal Family". I have seen many very good people that have raised wonderful children and accomplished many great things in their lives and yet still do not measure up to an "Ideal Family" in my mind. I knew growing up that my family was not an "Ideal Family". My parents divorced after I left the house at 19. My brothers and sisters fought a lot and had contentions on almost a daily basis. We were prone to loud disagreements that sometimes became physical and an occasional hole put into the drywall. I looked to the Bishop's family and his was not much better than mine. I looked at Presidents of the United States and they all didn't look much better either. So where could I look and come up with something that I could latch onto and understand what an "Ideal Family" was?

Daniel K. Judd says in his book "Hard Questions/Prophetic Answers" on page 104, "Striving for the "Ideal Family" can be challenging and is often discouraging for most of us". I can relate to that! He goes on, "It is important to remember that in mortality the family may not be perfect, but as a family strives for the ideal established by the Savior," ahhhh... a hint maybe. "that family can one day become perfect and eternal. Consider the story Rabbi Lehrman has told of a young boy who "walks into an office building and sees a clock too high on the wall for anyone to reach. To adjust the time, workmen must climb a tall ladder. The Boy asks his father, 'Why is the clock set so high, where nobody can reach it?' It's simple, answers the father. 'The clock used to be lower, within reach of everybody. People would pass by, look at their watch, and adjust the clock to match their watch. When they moved the clock higher, people would look at it and adjust their watches accordingly.'

"...There are no perfect families, but we as individuals and families must strive to live up to the high standards that have been set by the Lord and His servants."

Interesting! Are we lowering the clock in our families because of the challenges of life? Is that why I am seeing no "Ideal Families"? Or are we still striving to adjust to the clock up high? And is there really no "Ideal Family" in this world?

I am going to back up just a bit. Because I wasn't truthful with you at the beginning of this. You see my family that I grew up with really was the "ideal Family". "What?", you might say, "your family ended in divorce and you even have an Uncle Mark and an Aunt Kristin in it! How can they be part of the "Ideal Family"? Well here's how it works; for me anyway. First of all I was born under the covenant into the gospel. I received the blessings of the Priesthood while growing up and received an education enough to go out on my own, find an eternal companion and raise seven redheaded raunchy runt kids who have all gone to the temple of the Lord and six have been sealed for time and eternity to their wonderful eternal companions. Now how would all of that have happened if I had not been raised in an "Ideal Family"?

All of us have gotten here with our own family and life experience. I would suggest it is because of the love of the Lord for you and the challenges within your own "Ideal Families" that were made specifically for your needs with all the inherent challenges that will ultimately help you realize and raise the "Ideal Family".

We love you all and families can be together forever.

Mom (G'ma) and Dad (The G'Paaa) Heaton