General Conference has come and gone, talks given by the leadership of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. I recently learned I’ve been taking notes the wrong way all these years; carrying around a stack of index cards to jot down thoughts instead of writing those thoughts into my journal, a more permanent preservation of them. I’ll have to repent in future years; at least I take notes and go back over them trying to make sense of the scribbles.
A couple of thoughts repeated over and over; regardless of the times or how difficult they might become, I’m to keep my attitude adjustment knob turned toward a cheerful setting. I jotted down another thought, which if taken out of context wouldn’t make a lot of sense, at least not at first.
In the movie, The Guns of Navarone , prior to the actual assault on the heavily fortified gun emplacement, there was a scene in which a traitor was found out and dispatched in short order. Cpl. Miller, played by David Niven, had been chosen for the operation because of his expertise in the use of explosives; but a saboteur destroyed critical elements he’d brought along making the likelihood of success doubtful.
Miller exhibited a detachment from the cares of war as if only along for the ride. He considered himself a passenger until it was time to blow up something. “Come on, Sir, be a pal to your troops, pull the trigger, Sir”, reminding Captain Mallory that the senior officer should execute the traitor.
On the other hand, Captain Mallory was deadly serious most of the time. Mallory had the weight of the operation on his shoulders at every turn. Once the traitor was shot dead by her friend, Mallory directed his frustrations toward Miller. The team was depending on Miller to make use of his skills, regardless of setbacks or lack of original equipment.
“You’re up to your neck now”, Mallory said, “You got me ready to use this…”, holding the pistol up for him to see, “…Now, by God, you better figure out how to make your end of the deal work or I’ll use it on you!” (It’s been a while since I’ve seen that movie so the line might be a tad different.) There would be no free ride; Miller had reached that point when he needed to match up with the challenges placed before him.
So, there on my note card are words the Spirit instructed me to jot down, “You’re up to your neck now”, a not so subtle reminder that I’ve been a spectator along for the ride with lots of other folks on the front lines while I’ve been in the comfort zone.
All the blessings from above were laid at my feet and I’ve had it made; the efforts of patriots long since gone the way of all the earth. It hadn’t been much of a concern; that is until the current crop of leaders took over in Washington and cranked their agenda up an extra notch or two, disregarding our constitutional form of government in order to socialize America much faster than any previous efforts.
A friend of mine reminded me of a scripture from the Book of Mormon a while back and it has stayed foremost in my thoughts ever since. Not exactly, “You’re up to your neck now”; but close enough, from Helaman 7:4-9.
“And seeing the people in a state of such awful wickedness, and those Gadianton robbers filling the judgment-seats—having usurped the power and authority of the land; laying aside the commandments of God, and not in the least aright before him; doing no justice unto the children of men;
Condemning the righteous because of their righteousness; letting the guilty and the wicked go unpunished because of their money; and moreover to be held in office at the head of government, to rule and do according to their wills, that they might get gain and glory of the world, and, moreover, that they might the more easily commit adultery, and steal, and kill, and do according to their own wills—
Now this great iniquity had come upon the Nephites, in the space of not many years; and when Nephi saw it, his heart was swollen with sorrow within his breast; and he did exclaim in the agony of his soul:
Oh, that I could have had my days in the days when my father Nephi first came out of the land of Jerusalem, that I could have joyed with him in the promised land; then were his people easy to be entreated, firm to keep the commandments of God, and slow to be led to do iniquity; and they were quick to hearken unto the words of the Lord—
Yea, if my days could have been in those days, then would my soul have had joy in the righteousness of my brethren.
But behold, I am consigned that these are my days, and that my soul shall be filled with sorrow because of this the wickedness of my brethren.”
I’ve been given this time to live and meet the challenges of this day, not those my father had; which I perceived to be better in spite of WWII or even the Great Depression. At least then our government was united in faith and purpose to protect life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness along with upholding our constitution.
Another line scribbled on my card was spoken by my friend, K.K. Ellis, in a talk she gave many years ago, “How many times are you going to take Attitude 101?” That thought was written down, mixed in with the other notes; why is that?
Dieter F. Uchtdorf, 2nd councilor in the First Presidency of the Church pulled all these thoughts together as he spoke on patience. Patience is not a passive act; but involves enduring well, mastery of your soul. Anger is the opposite of patience, an area where I have much room to grow.
I don’t look for corrupt politicians to walk away from their lucrative positions of power without a considerable dust up. How am I to help restore the America I love, confronting those who would steal liberty and freedom while at the same time keeping a cheerful countenance? That, my friends, is my challenge, our challenge in these difficult times.
This article has been cross posted to The Moral Liberal , a publication whose banner reads, “Defending The Judeo-Christian Ethic, Limited Government, & The American Constitution”.