Wednesday, October 28, 2009


William T. Sherman is a personal hero of mine, a kindred spirit and a modern-day Moroni. Here are some of my favorite quotes.
If they want eternal war, well and good; we accept the issue, and will dispossess them and put our friends in their place. I know thousands and millions of good people who at simple notice would come to North Alabama and accept the elegant houses and plantations there. If the people of Huntsville think different, let them persist in war three years longer, and then they will not be consulted. Three years ago by a little reflection and patience they could have had a hundred years of peace and prosperity, but they preferred war; very well. Last year they could have saved their slaves, but now it is too late.
All the powers of earth cannot restore to them their slaves, any more than their dead grandfathers. Next year their lands will be taken, for in war we can take them, and rightfully, too, and in another year they may beg in vain for their lives. A people who will persevere in war beyond a certain limit ought to know the consequences.
-Letter to Major Sawyer, Jan 31, 1864
Hold the fort! I am coming!  
-Signal to Gen. Corse, Oct 5 1864
You cannot qualify war in harsher terms than I will. War is cruelty, and you cannot refine it; and those who brought war into our country deserve all the curses and maledictions a people can pour out. I know I had no hand in making this war, and I know I will make more sacrifices to-day than any of you to secure peace. But you cannot have peace and a division of our country. If the United States submits to a division now, it will not stop, but will go on until we reap the fate of Mexico, which is eternal war. The United States does and must assert its authority, wherever it once had power; for, if it relaxes one bit to pressure, it is gone, and I believe that such is the national feeling.
-Letter to City Council of Atlanta, Sept 12, 1864
Boys, I've been where you are now and I know just how you feel. It's entirely natural that there should beat in the breast of every one of you a hope and desire that some day you can use the skill you have acquired here.
Suppress it! You don't know the horrible aspects of war. I've been through two wars and I know. I've seen cities and homes in ashes. I've seen thousands of men lying on the ground, their dead faces looking up at the skies. I tell you, war is hell!
-Speech to cadets at Michigan Military Academy, 1879
Rock Is Dead. Long Live Scissors!
"The presentation or 'gift' of the Holy Ghost simply confers upon a man the right to receive at any time, when he is worthy of it and desires it, the power and light of truth of the Holy Ghost, although he may often be left to his own spirit and judgment." --Joseph F. Smith (manual, p. 69)

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Conference notes from Sunday

[Priesthood notes not included since I don't have them with me.]

Sunday morning.

Sister Ann M. Dibb: (Collapsed bridge story) Get a grip, hold to the rod.

Elder Nelson: communication w/ heaven, conversion, discernment. Revelation facilitated by proper reverence for Deity. May be incremental, those who heed are given more line upon line.

Pres. Monson: Dr. Jack McConnell's father, every day at dinner, "And what did you do for someone today?" He who loses his life for my sake shall find it. Kindness. Ideal gift, "Find someone who is having a hard time, or is ill, or lonely, and do something for them." Received dozens of cards recording service rendered.

Sunday evening.

Elder Holland. Protection against personal calamity, vs. the mist of darkness. Hold to the rod. Mist of darkness descends on ALL, successful travellers resist all distractions. Divinity of the Book of Mormon. Joseph & Hyrum, Ether 12, "Thou shalt be made strong even unto the sitting down in the place which has been prepared for you in the mansions of my Father." Apostolic witness of the divinity of the book and the prophetic calling of Joseph Smith. Great-grandfather: "No wicked man could write such a book as this, and no good man would write it, unless he were commanded of God to do so." Like Christ himself, it is a stone of stumbling, a rock of offense, a barrier in the path of those who wish to disbelieve this work.

Elder Cook. Stewardships, we believe we are our brother's keeper. Story: Jewish visitors to temple square & welfare square. "Obedience to the unenforceable." Faithful stewardship exercises righteous dominion, looks to his own, cares for the poor and needy. Story: clear spring at grandfather's ranch, when not protected eventually became polluted. Was then returned to original purity and beauty. Rationalization: "The ship must sail. You can't explain to the ocean." "What happens in Vegas" vs. "What happens in Severe County, you can share with your friends." Provide family with physical security and spiritual nourishment. From abundance, impart portion unto the poor and needy. Story: as new bishop, "some will respond to every suggestion, even at great sacrifice." (Sarah on top of a ladder, at age 80, cleaning out neighbor's raingutters.) Be prudent, but also diligent.

Elder Brent H. Nielson. To rising generation: go ye therefore, and teach all nations, every young man prepare to serve an honorable mission. Story: Finnland (Vipori/Freiburg, praying to open the Soviet Union for the gospel, fulfilled unknowingly by son 32 years later). Jacob 5, "[labor because] this is the last time that I will prune my vineyard."

Elder [not sure]. Heart transplants, need constant attention lest rejection occur. Tendency of the natural man is to reject the changed heart and allow it to harden. Ammonites, "as many as were converted... never did fall away." How? Zeal towards God and men, perfectly upright and honest, held covenants sacred. Story: purposefully late home to skip church for a nap. Discovered he had become casual about prayers and scriptures because of schedule, heart had begun to change back to stone. Do not risk forfeiting the fruits of the ultimate operation.

Elder Michael T. Ringwood. Story, grandfather Ephraim K. Hanks heard that his brother had gone off with the Mormons, went off to retrieve him, ended up getting baptized. Lamoni's father, soft heart that that was willing to change, willing to give up both sins and kingdom. Self-reflection will times when we found it easier to believe the word of God, perhaps especially childhood. Sometimes we are like Naaman, "some great thing." Easiness and willingness to believe, soft hearts, will come from obedience to simple things.

Elder Joseph W. Sitati. Marvelous work. Last dispensation, keys of revelation, no respecter of persons. Dispensations: Enoch, Noah, Babel, Brother of Jared, Nephites, Abraham, lesser covenant under Moses, the Savior's ministry, mission to the Gentiles, last dispensation. Elder Sitati has lived to see the fulfillment of the prophecy of Xenos, all nations partaking of the gospel. Blessings he has seen at home in Africa--celestial culture is developing in homes. Able to break free from the shackles that restrict the use of agency. Singled out dowry as a specific example of one shackle.

Elder Christofferson. Story, James E. Faust in OCS. Does not battle justify relaxed standards? "In the end I simply said, 'I do not believe there is a double standard of morality.'" "This was one of the critical crossroads of my life." Moral agency must be accompanied by moral discipline, self-discipline based on moral standards. To choose the right when it is right, even when it is hard. Society: because there is no discipline, must be imposed by external control. Once gentlemanly behavior protected women from coarse behavior, now we rely on sexual harrassment laws. Recession, partly because of widespread dishonest and unethical conduct. There can never be enough rules so finely crafted as to anticipate and cover every situation, and even if there were enforcement would be impossibly expensive and burdensome. This approach leads to diminished freedom for everyone. We would not accept the yoke of Christ, so now we must tremble at the yoke of Caesar. Moral discipline. We stand with those who demonstrate virtue in their own lives and inculcate virtue in the rising generation. Teaching children: "'Then they will have gained a strength from what they are, not merely from what they know.'" Intelligent use of agency requires knowledge of the truth, knowledge of things as they really are. Satan does not promote objectivity, but is a vigorous multi- media advocate of sin. Story: candy bar. "My mother's love and discipline put an early and abrupt end to my life of crime." We do not have to yield simply because a temptation surfaces. "'Don't you want to?' The question intrigued me because it was so utterly beside the point. Mere wanting... [missed the rest of the quotation]" We cannot presume that the future will resemble the past--politically, economically, etc.--but moral discipline will be immense help to us, whatever challenges may come.

Pres. Monson. Time of permissiveness, we often find ourselves swimming against the current. Ye cannot cross this great deep, save I prepare you against the waves of the sea... and the floods which shall come. If we heed his words we will survive this time of permissiveness. He is ever mindful of us and will bless us as we do what is right. We are all in this together and every man, woman, and child has a part to play.

Rock Is Dead. Long Live Scissors!

"The presentation or 'gift' of the Holy Ghost simply confers upon a man the right to receive at any time, when he is worthy of it and desires it, the power and light of truth of the Holy Ghost, although he may often be left to his own spirit and judgment." --Joseph F. Smith (manual, p. 69)