Saturday, October 18, 2008

Book Review: Wisdom of the Prophets—Temple Worship, The Perfect Gift

Wisdom of the Prophets: Temple Worship, design by Andy Goddard, printed by Leatherwood Press, 2006. Retail price: $14.95. ISBN: 978-1-59992-008-5.

Wisdom of the Prophets: Temple Worship is a beautiful, inspiring, and inviting gift book. The design of the book is so appealing that I wish it were available in a larger coffee-table sized version. The quotations throughout the beautiful pages are not just by modern prophets, also modern apostles and quotations from the Doctrine and Covenants. The photographs throughout the book are wonderful, but I wish there were more temples and less just generic nature pictures. I also wish I knew who took the photographs. Overall, the beauty of the book and inspiring selection of quotes makes Wisdom of the Prophets: Temple Worship the perfect gift for pretty much anybody—yourself, a spouse, parents, siblings, newlyweds, children, current and prospective missionaries, and nonmember friends and family.

Family Freedom Day: My Parent's Financial Legacy, by Brian Ricks

"We encourage you wherever you may live in the world to prepare for adversity by looking to the condition of your finances. We urge you to be modest in your expenditures; discipline yourselves in your purchases to avoid debt. . . . If you have paid your debts and have a financial reserve, even though it be small, you and your family will feel more secure and enjoy greater peace in your hearts."
—The First Presidency, All Is Safely Gathered In: Family Finances, Feb. 2007, 1 .

In the late 1980s, my parents had a comfortable home and my father had a high-paying job as a corporate attorney. Even though their life was very stable, my parents felt inspired that they should follow the prophet’s counsel to get out of debt and immediately pay off their modest mortgage. In order to reach this significant goal, everyone in the family had to sacrifice; we went on fewer and less-expensive vacations, cooked more meals at home instead of eating out, and found creative ways to patch our clothes instead of buying new ones. Through these lifestyle changes, and help from the Lord, my parents were able to pay off their mortgage in half the time that they had thought possible.

Not long afterwards, we understood why it was so important for us to follow the prophet’s counsel to get out of debt. My father lost his job and my youngest brother was hospitalized. Neither of these problems had quick solutions. A local employment slump meant my father did not find another job for several years. My brother remained in the hospital for almost a full year. My parents' decision to pay off our debts proved to be a double blessing. First, in a period of financial struggle, my parents no longer had to deal with a mortgage payment. Second, our family had learned a lifestyle of frugality that would last for a long time.

To commemorate the blessings of the Lord, my parents
decided to celebrate a family holiday called “Freedom Day.” Every year on the anniversary of becoming a debt-free family, we celebrate by playing games and having a special meal. My parents take this opportunity to recount the story of how they felt inspired to immediately heed the prophet’s counsel, how the Lord blessed them in their efforts to pay off their mortgage, and how being debt-free blessed them in the economically turbulent decades that followed.

Through this simple family holiday, my parents found a way to teach their children how to heed the words of the prophets and live the principle of frugality. Even though all of us children are now grown up, my parents still call on "Freedom Day" to discuss the events which this family holiday commemorates. Now that I am an adult, I realize that our Family Freedom Day was also how my parents showed consistent gratitude to the Lord for the miracles, temporal and spiritual, he has worked in their lives. As all of us children are now in a period in our lives where debt can be very tempting, my parents' reminder and legacy of fiscal principles has been a major blessing, and I look forward to when I can celebrate a Family Freedom Day with my own family.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Protect Marriage: Support Prop 8

Sergey Brin, the President of Google, has
publicly announced Google's opposition to Prop 8, which will protect the traditional definition of marriage as between a man and a woman.

While Google has a right to voice their opinion, their opposition to Prop 8 makes me not want to 
use their services. A ban on Google seems a little inconceivable, but people will write letters supporting Prop 8 to Google we could show that Google doesn't speak for all the people in our Nation.

By clicking on this link, you can send a message to Google giving your support to Prop 8.

Writing a quick message to let Google know that we support Prop 8 and marriage between a man and a woman will only take a few minutes. If you're also willing to go the second mile, you can also write a mailed letter to Google's headquarters address:

1600 Amphitheatre Parkway
Mountain View, CA 94043

If Google can take a stand against this important issue, we can certainly band together and take a stand for it.

Please send your message to Google and then forward this information to any friends who are willing to support Prop 8.

Here is my message to Google:

Dear Google,

I just want to let you know that I disagree with your position on Prop 8. While you're entitled to your opinion, I would appreciate it if you would let Google users know that not everyone agrees with you.
I understood what President Brin said about the government encroaching on people's personal lives, but on this issue I disagree.
The Declaration of Independence says that it is the duty of the Government to protect the "unalienable Rights" of the "Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness" of its people. Undermining the traditional definition of marriage as between a man and a woman infringes on the rights of those who support this view. Your counterargument, I assume, would be that passing Prop 8 and rejecting homosexual marriages is an infringement on the right to "the pursuit of Happiness" for homosexuals. You may believe this, but again I disagree. 

I feel that a key part of this passage in the Declaration of Independence is that these rights were endowed to "all men" "by their Creator." I believe in God and I believe in right and wrong. It is clear throughout the Bible, in both the Old and New Testaments, that homosexuality is against God's law. It is He who gave us these basic rights, and thus what rights we grant to one another should follow his laws.

I realize that you may not believe in the values or theology that I espouse, but I just want you to know that I disagree and I would appreciate it if your users could understand that not everyone in this nation agrees with your stance on Prop 8.

Thank you,

Jennifer Ricks