Sunday, January 29, 2012

A scripture favorite (set as a poem)

a medley by Steve Marsh
a man is supple and weak when living
hard and stiff when dead

No power or influence can be maintained, except
the hard and the strong are the signs of death
the supple and changing the signs of life

by persuasion, by long suffering, by meekness and by gentleness
that which is forceful will not vanquish
that which is strong will fall to the axe

by kindness and pure knowledge
the strong fails
the supple succeeds

without hypocrisy and without guile
nothing is more submissive and weak than water
yet for breaking mountains, nothing can surpass it

Charity and virtue
that the weak overcome the strong, the
submissive the hard, all know
Yet none can put it into practice

Then the priesthood shall distill upon thy soul
as the dew from heaven and without
compulsory means dominion
shall flow unto thee

Forever and ever
Lao Tze
Tao Te Ching
Joseph Smith
Doctrine and Covenants 121

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Ok, don't click on the advertisement, but just read it.

In Memorium, January 26, 2012

I used to post annually on the death days for my daughters.  Then I let a rather nasty troll keep me from it because I did not want to deal with the pain.

But Jessica died on the 26th of January, and I do not forget her.  As for the troll, may they be cursed to hold on to their own pain, until it is consumed and frees them.

I also wanted to remember and note the passing of Mary Adams.  She was in the same industry I am in, though in Oklahoma, not North Texas, and blogged at

She died late last year, the word just got out this month. 

Finally, today is also my wedding anniversary.  I am so grateful for my wife.  She means everything to me.

The confluence of death, loss, joy and remembrance is always almost overwhelming every January 26, but it is my life.  With Win in it, it is well worth living.  With my children in it, it is well worth striving for.

May your lives be filled with things that make them worth living and worth striving.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Lessons from George Albert Smith's Disability

George Albert Smith was the eighth president of the LDS Church.  He suffered from  lupus erythematosus (an autoimmune disease) and was disabled for a period of about two years (bedridden from 1909 to 1912).

George Albert Smith was born on April 4, 1870, in Salt Lake City. His father, John Henry Smith, and grandfather, George A. Smith, had both been counselors to Church Presidents. While employed in the Federal Land Office for Utah, he was called at the age of 33 to the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. Despite fragile health and impaired eyesight, he had a distinguished career as a Church leader. He became President of the Church on May 21, 1945. He organized the Church's massive welfare assistance to Europe following World War II. ... President Smith lived that portion of his personal creed that declared, "I would be a friend to the friendless and find joy in ministering to the needs of the poor" (Improvement Era Mar. 1932, 295). After six years as President, George Albert Smith died in Salt Lake City on his eighty-first birthday, April 4, 1951. 

That is the short summary of his life. What this essay is about, however, is that he had significant disability and what I think we can learn from that disability.  You can read more about his disabilities many places (such as here and at page 120ff here).

First, he had disability issues, severe ones, in spite of being an exemplary man from an exemplary family.  His disability had nothing to do with his personal righteousness or that of his family.

Second, when he tried to just "work through" things (face his disability by just working harder) all he succeeded in doing was working himself into the ground and making things worse.  Disability is not overcome by denial or by ignoring it.

Third, before his disability lifted, his father and others had expected him to die before he was 40.  The expectation that they had was that regardless of faith or personal effort, many disabilities were things that only death could be expected to free one from (and, to be correct, he did die of lupus, albeit on his 81st birthday instead of his 40th).  We should not expect people who have disabilities to be freed from them. 

Fourth, he remained committed to caring and ministering to others, in kindness.  There is nothing about disability that prevents people from being Christlike or following Christ.  The spirit of Charity welcomes everyone.

Fifth, in spite of disability, he had a loving and full life. There is value in all life, including the lives of those with disabilities.

I think that if we approached disability more with those five points in mind, we would be more Christlike and more Christian.  Which is the lesson George Albert Smith would want us to draw from his life and his disability.