Sunday, June 30, 2013

Moral Agency, Rebellion and Reconciliation

This has been an eventful week. Two stories from real life have become a useful metaphor for me in helping to describe what has just happened in our country.

My wife and I took a long weekend trip to a distant city for a little R&R. We had a delightful weekend enjoying the splendor that is Southern Utah's color country. Without being too specific to protect the identity of the family we witnessed in action, a small drama played out in front of me that has some metaphorical value.

We attended a sacrament meeting while we were away. We happened to pick a ward where the ward conference was happening. Presiding at the meeting was the stake president. Their stake theme was published in the program - "Coming to understand the use of priesthood keys in the Church and our personal lives." Maybe it was because it's a topic with which I am very familiar and I've written about extensively, but I had a feeling their stake was in good hands and they were well-led by the man from whom we would be hearing later in the meeting. I was not disappointed in my early assessment.

The bishop bore a brief five-minute testimony. Then the stake president called on a youth leader and a young woman, both of whom had attended the stake girls' camp that week. They reported on the camp, their feelings about it, and what a spiritual uplift it had been in their lives.

Then a mini-drama played out in front of me. A mother and one of her daughters (it was a family of five children seated in the row in front of me), began exchanging hand-written notes on the front of the printed program. Because I was situated a row behind and between them, I could easily read their written exchanges.

The mother began, "Did you feel anything at girls' camp this week?" I should mention this was her oldest daughter whose natural hair color was red. But this daughter had dyed the front of her hair blue.

The daughter took the proffered note from her mother and returned it without comment, a look of loathing and rebellion on her face as she handed it back defiantly.

By now the stake president was at the podium and was developing a topic, ironically, of standing firm in our faith by choosing correct principles and aligning ourselves with the Lord and His admonitions through living prophets.

The mother then wrote: "You will NEVER be able to feel the spirit in your life with such a BAD ATTITUDE!"

The stake president from the pulpit: "Even God had to bow before the agency of His children in their poor choices, because He decreed that each would have the freedom to exercise moral agency. When our children rebel, it must never be because we have failed to teach them or to berate and judge them harshly for those choices. We must love and succor unconditionally as He would each of His children. His patience with us must mirror our own with our children."

The daughter had finally had enough. She grabbed the program and the pen and screamed on paper, "STOP IT!"

The stake president, continuing to develop his theme: "Obedience is the key to having the spirit in our lives to direct us. As we obey, as we love one another in our families, and as we give heed to the counsel of our living oracles, we develop the power of the priesthood in our individual lives to weather the storms of adversity and sin that will continually beat upon us until the Lord comes again."

The mother, seemingly oblivious to the counsel of their stake president and determined to have the last word with her daughter, then wrote: "You will NEVER be happy until you obey the commandments." This time the daughter refused to even pick up the program or look in her mother's direction. She simply ignored the note. The icy exchange had ended and her mother put away her program. I was struck by the fact that this blue-haired daughter had gone to girls' camp and she was sitting in Church. She could not be considered in my quick calculations as a total loss.

Another human drama between a 91-year-old father and a son who has rejected him as a father was also playing out last week. A copy of a letter from the father to the son was shared with me. This is a father whose history with this son has been tempestuous their entire lives. Now, the father, attempting a final reconciliation in the gathering sunset of his life writes in part:

"Your refusal to accept my telephone calls makes my efforts to reach you very difficult. . . I have faithfully written to you each month to express my love and to plead and beg for some response from you. All this has been to no avail and only painful silence has resulted. After a year I am still bewildered by your failure to respond [he then postulates on the possible reasons for being ignored]. . . There are other possibilities of course, but I have concluded that I cannot continue on with my practice of writing letters to you each month when I never know after a whole year whether they are even read, welcomed or useful in any respect. So, unless I receive an answer to this fervent inquiry, I will cease formal writing. Then, what are we left with? A father-son relationship that only I acknowledge and treasure. That is so saddening and empty. Only you can make it otherwise and I pray with all my heart that you will do so."

Two real-life examples of the painfully poignant feelings of distraught parents who are grappling with the rebellion and rejection by children of their parenting efforts. I would suspect these examples are not isolated. Perhaps they are universal.

Now take those two stories and imagine that pathos and the disappointment of our Father in Heaven who looks down on the SCOTUS rulings against DOMA and Prop 8 in California last week, having the effect of further bolstering the LGBT agenda for gay marriage in the name of "marriage equality." He has given revelation upon revelation, following centuries, even millennia since creation's dawn, of confirming conformity from the majority of His children with respect to marriage being defined as between one man and one woman, then having His doctrine ridiculed, derided and decried as "discriminatory." Imagine the patience, the irony, the disappointment and the long-suffering of God who is also a Parent. Yet how does He react? Does He harshly condemn, berate, brow beat, work with guilt to compel His children to do what He commands? No. He bows beneath the rod of moral agency. He warns, He continues to instruct through His living oracles upon the Earth today, and He continues to patiently nurture until the day of the final harvest. He must submit, even the God of the universe, to the immutable principle of moral agency. Even He. And so must we.

There are natural consequences involved with poor choices. It is Parenting 101. Children must be taught correctly to see and to learn what those consequences will be. Sadly, they must often suffer painful experiences to learn those natural consequences. Only last night, little munchkins living for the weekend with their parents under our roof for the holiday weekend, were reminded gently by their parents that failing to eat their dinner resulted in the natural consequence of having to forego Grandma's homemade cookies for dessert. Screams of how HORRIBLE their parents were rang through the house. Screams of protest and anger, harsh judgments about their abilities as parents were rendered. "You are the MEANEST mother in the whole world!!" But the consequences stood. They were learning as little ones, not having to wait until they had dyed their hair blue, or were still stoutly refusing the impassioned entreaties of aged parents after a lifetime of rejection.

It was Kahlil Gibran who wisely stated: "We choose our joys and sorrows long before we experience them."

And so it is. The day will come when America will pay a terrible consequence in its rebellion against God and the natural law of marriage between a man and a woman. I hope before the final judgment day arrives I will be living on the other side of the green, green grass in the cemetery. There is nothing in the scriptures suggesting to me things are going to get dramatically better before we see the Second Coming.

But I am cheered by the hope that out of all this chaos will someday emerge the Zion for which I long:

"And now I give unto you a word concerning Zion. Zion shall be redeemed, although she is chastened for a little season. . . Therefore, let your hearts be comforted; for all things shall work together for good to them that walk uprightly, and to the sanctification of the church. For I will raise up unto myself a pure people that will serve me in righteousness; And all that call upon the name of the Lord, and keep his commandments, shall be saved. Even so. Amen." (D&C 100:13, 15-17).

I suspect before that day comes even young ladies with blue hair and recalcitrant sons who refuse to accept their aged father's earnest entreaties will also submit.

An additional valuable insight was reinforced the other night as we were participating in a sealing session. "I seal upon you the blessings of the holy resurrection." Fathers will someday resurrect their children. The keys of the holy resurrection are a patriarchal priesthood entitlement to the faithful. And knowing the patience of our Father in Heaven, I suspect patient patriarchs seeking to become just like Him will also wait for as long as it takes for their children to be given every possible chance to repent and align themselves with the revealed gospel of Jesus Christ even beyond the grave.

Just a thought. . . sometimes reconciliation takes a very long time, but it is ALWAYS possible.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Unlocking Corrugate Supply Chain Savings

Now there's a way to unlock all the potential savings associated with the corrugate supply chain.

Packsize has the answers:

Never before in history has the technology been so accessible and so easily integrated. To learn more, click here.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

On Demand Packaging Produces REAL Savings

This article might seem a little "obtuse" to the casual observer, but trust me, the numbers are real and the potential savings available are proven again and again by the adopters of this lean green technology. Right-sizing packaging is as simple to understand as opening the last product you received in the mail from someone you ordered it from - it likely had filler material in an over-sized box, most of which ended up headed toward a landfill somewhere. Customers are increasingly demanding that the companies who ship to them get it "right-sized" and that helps everybody - the company, the consumer and the planet.

So Just How Much Money Can On Demand Packaging® Save You?

June 19, 2013 | 0 comments
I recently came across an article written by Greg Newman of Agile Network titled "5 Reasons Your Distribution Center May Be Paying Too Much For Shipping." The article as a whole is well-written and informative, but there is one section in particular I wanted to highlight. The # 3 reason your distribution center may be paying too much for shipping is because you're "Shipping Too Much Air." To quote the article:
"Most customers have been buying cartons from the same supplier in the same sizes for many years. That’s good for the price of boxes, but it’s bad for freight costs. UPS tells us that not only do smaller tighter packed cartons cost less, but there is far less damage too. Take a look at your orders and see where you can save money. For example, the list price for a UPS Next Day Saver rate for a 15 pound 20”x12”x 14” carton from Philadelphia to Chicago is $141.19. Shave an inch off all sides, and the cost drops to $121.66 almost a $20 savings per carton!"
Sounds a little too good to be true, right? Well, that's why I went ahead and checked UPS's "Calculate Time and Cost" website on my own to try this out for myself. Take a look at my results below.
Here we have a 15 lb. box being shipped from Philly to Chicago with 20"x14"x12" dimensions:
Shipping UPS with too much air
And here is the same package with a one-inch cut on all sides of the box:
Shipping UPS with slightly less air
As you can see, the prices are a little different than the ones listed in the article (I attribute this to not knowing the exact zip code Mr. Newman used in his test), but the results of the cut are the same.
20"x14"x 12"19"x 13"x 11"Difference
Next Day Air Early AM$198.33$184.20$14.13
Next Day Air$165.33$151.20$14.13
Next Day Air Saver$157.69$136.35$21.34

We see not only a $20 cut to the next day saver price, but also a $14 cut to other next day shipment prices. Do you realize what a huge deal this is? If you ship a dozen or more boxes a day, the cost-savings per year quickly become astronomical! I'd like to invite you to do a little investigative research of your own and see how much you can save with right-sized boxes. Your wallet - and the environment - will thank you for it.

For more information, please visit us at We're growing, and we're hiring. Check out the jobs available on our careers tab.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

False Prophets and Christs

Today I stumbled over a stunning statement made in a General Conference sermon by Elder Harold B. Lee in 1950, one that could only be described as "prophetic" when it leaped off the page at me:

President Harold B. Lee
"False prophets and Christs (Matthew 24:24), as foretold by the Savior, may come to deceive us not alone in the name of religion, but if we can believe the history of Italy and Germany and Russia, they may come under the label of politicians or of social planners or so-called economists, deceitful in their offerings of a kind of salvation which may come under such guise."

Given the last several years and the results of the current administration, I can only draw one conclusion - he was speaking of our day.

It started me thinking about all the statements of President Harold B. Lee with which I have been familiar through the years in helping us all to discern truth and how to separate the true prophets from all the false voices. I am indebted once again to Clyde Williams, who compiled President Lee's teachings in Teachings of Harold B. Lee (hereafter "THBL"). Here's a sampling:

"When you see one who is tearing down and finding only the bad in men, seeing nothing of their good qualities, there you may see one whose heart is not pure, who finds it easy to criticize.  Shall I give you a test to try your own souls?  How did you react to the last conference?  Did you accept the declarations of the Brethren who spoke as the declarations of the prophets of the living God? Or did you make it a pastime in your private circles or around your family table to find flaws and express your displeasure at the fact that there was something said about politics or about labor and [you] wished the Brethren would keep their mouths shut about this and that?  Which was your reaction after the last conference?  You Latter-day Saints, the men who preside in this church are only prophets to those who accept them and their teachings as the prophecies from the living God.  It's great to live in a day when the prophets are leading us.  Moses, Paul, Peter — it was great in those days, but there were just as many critics and just as many who didn't receive them.  The Master said a prophet is not without honor save in his own country, and He might have added, in his own day and time (see Mark 6:4).  So today, these are prophets who lead us only if we accept them as such and apply their teachings in our lives. (THBL, 516; 50-09).

"Therein lies one of the greatest problems among those who are criticizing and finding fault and wanting exceptions, because they don't trust the Lord.  To say it another way, they are not willing to listen to the admonition of the Lord as He gave it as a preface to His revelations in this dispensation.  And these are His words:  'And the arm of the Lord shall be revealed; and the day cometh that they who will not hear the voice of the Lord, neither the voice of his servants, neither give heed to the words of the prophets and apostles, shall be cut off from among the people' (D&C 1:14). (THBL, 516; 70-18).

"Oh, you Latter-day Saints, there was never a time when you needed to look so much to the leadership of this church to know the truth.  When one comes into your midst claiming revelation, and this one on this side a new interpretation, you have the good sense to remember what Paul said to the Ephesians.  The purpose of putting prophets, teachers, pastors, and evangelists in the Church was to keep us from running to and fro as children, tossed about by every wind of doctrine (see Ephesians 4:11-14).  If you want to be guided in truth, you follow the light the Lord has given us in the leaders He has set to preside.  And the first one to go to is your bishop and your stake president; and if, through them, you need an answer from the Brethren who preside in the Church, it will be forthcoming.  That is one of the safeties to keep you in the path by which faith might come." (THBL, 516; 53-01, 354-55)

"The safety there is in this church is in listening to the counsel that comes from the authorities of this church. The Master said something else that we have not listened to very well. He said:
"Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock:
"And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock.
"And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand:
"And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it. (Matthew 7:24-27).
"What was the Master trying to say?  He was trying to present a great truth: that the storms of adversity, trying in difficulty, are going to descend upon every soul.  All of us — the good, the bad, the rich, the poor, the humble, the haughty — all are going to have the rains of difficulty, the floods of disaster, the overhanging clouds testing faith, the winds and blasts of slander, of misrepresentation.  Everybody is going to have those things.  That is a part of life.  The only ones whose houses will not fall will be those who have built their houses upon the rock.  What is the rock?  Listening to the words of God as they come from His own mouth or from the mouths of His prophets."  (THBL, 517; 53-06).

"I can imagine the ridicule and scorn that Noah suffered during the months he was building a great ship out in the middle of a comparative desert to house himself and his family and the selected of earth's bounties in preparation for the flood that through his faith in God's prophetic revelation he knew was coming to destroy the earth.  Don't you be as the foolish virgins with no oil in your lamps because of your unbelief in God's warning of things to come (see Matthew 25:1-12).  Dare to listen to the leaders of the Church, the prophets of God, without a revelation to whom God said He would do nothing (see Amos 3:7), despite the jeers of the worldly and unrighteous who have no faith and who dare not, because of their own sinning, believe that these threatened judgments might be so. Through your faith in the inspired revelations, you will always be given time to build an ark of safety that will eventually land you on a Mount Ararat. (THBL, 517; 45-09, 80).

"The great historian Will Durant once said, "In my youth I wanted freedom. In my mature years I want order."  There is nothing so important in the kingdom of God as order; yet the tendency today is to resist law and order, which must be maintained in the kingdom of God if we are to be pleasing in the sight of the Lord.  "Be one," the Lord said; "and if ye are not one ye are not mine" (D&C 38:27).  The only way we can be one is by following the leadership of the Church as the Lord has directed. (THBL, 518; 71-02, 215).

"A man came in to see me and said that he had heard that some man appeared mysteriously to a group of temple workers and told them, 'You had better hurry up and store for a year, or two, or three, because there will come a season when there won't be any production.'  He asked me what I thought about it, and I said, 'Well, were you in the April conference of 1936?'  He replied, 'No, I couldn't be there.'  And I said, 'Well, you surely read the report of what was said by the Brethren in that conference?'  No, he hadn't.  'Well,' I said, 'at that conference the Lord did give a revelation about the storage of food.  How in the world is the Lord going to get over to you what He wants you to do if you are not there when He says it, and you do not take the time to read it after it has been said?'
"The Lord is going to keep His people informed, if they will listen.  As President J. Reuben Clark Jr. said in a classic talk, 'What we need today is not more prophets.  We have the prophets.  But what we need is more people with listening ears.  That is the great need of our generation.' (In Conference Report, October 1948, 82)."  (THBL, 518; 64-04, 159-60).

"When the welfare program was being structured and some of us were trying to assist, President Heber J. Grant made one of the saddest comments a President of the Church could make.  I was invited to the office of the First Presidency, and as we presented the outline of the plan that was proposed, President Grant, who had listened in silence for quite some time, said, 'Well, there is just one thing wrong with it. It won't work.'  President David O. McKay, his counselor, asked, 'Why won't it work, President Grant?'  And he said, 'I am afraid it won't work because we can't trust the membership of this church to follow our leadership.  See what they did when I pleaded with them to vote against the repeal of the liquor amendment?  Until the Saints learn to follow our counsel, there is not much we can do about it.'" (THBL, 519; 66-01, 16).

"The Master, in His Sermon on the Mount, made another very expressive declaration when He said, 'Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God' (Matthew 5:8).
"You will remember that in His lifetime there were some who saw Him only as the son of the carpenter. There were some who said that because of His words He was drunken with strong wine — that He was a winebibber.  There were some who even thought Him to be possessed of devils.  Only those who were pure in heart saw Him as the Son of God.
"There are some who look upon the leaders of this church and God's anointed as men who are possessed of selfish motives.  The words of our leaders are always twisted by them to try to bring a snare to the work of the Lord.  Mark well those who speak evil of the Lord's anointed, for they speak from impure hearts.  Only the pure in heart see the divine in man and accept our leaders as prophets of the living God."  (THBL, 519; 47-05, 223-24).

"I listened to an excerpt of a testimony of a man who was a member of the Twelve and of whom President Grant had said that he never knew a man who had a greater gift of prophecy than did this man.  There was put in my hands a quotation from a sermon that he had delivered some fifty years before, which proved to be the last sermon he had ever delivered as a member of the Twelve.  Before another conference, he was dropped from the Council of the Twelve and subsequently left the Church.  This is what he said, in that last sermon:  'That person is not truly converted unless he sees the power of God resting upon the leaders of this church and it goes down into his heart like fire.'  And I repeat that to you here today.  The measure of your true conversion and whether or not you hold fast to those ideals is whether or not you are so living that you see the power of God resting upon the leaders of this church and that testimony goes down into your heart like fire."  (THBL, 520; 73-29, 90).

"I am reminded of an interview I had with one of you [teachers].  Maybe he is here tonight, and I am not sure but that I may have touched his soul as we talked that day.  We came around to the question as to whether or not he felt to follow the leadership of those who presided in the Church today.  He said with some hesitancy, 'Well, I didn't agree with President Clark when he gave his talk about 'Our Dwindling Sovereignty' up at the University of Utah.'  I repeated, 'I was there and I listened to President Clark.  You know, when I go to hear a great thinker on some subject, I don't go to criticize, I go to listen; but I suppose it would be difficult for a pygmy to get the viewpoint of a giant.'  And it was then that I seemed to bring him down to my level so that we could talk a little."  (THBL, 522; 68-07).

"The trouble with us today [is that] there are too many of us who put question marks instead of periods after what the Lord says.  I want you to think about that.  We shouldn't try to spend time explaining what the Lord didn't see fit to explain.  We spend useless time.
"If you would teach our people to put periods and not question marks after what the Lord has declared, we would say, 'It is enough for me to know that is what the Lord said.'"  (THBL, 522; 72-42, 108).

"We have some tight places to go before the Lord is through with this church and the world in this dispensation, which is the last dispensation, which shall usher in the coming of the Lord.  The gospel was restored to prepare a people ready to receive Him.  The power of Satan will increase; we see it in evidence on every hand.  There will be inroads within the Church.  There will be, as President [N. Eldon] Tanner has said, 'Hypocrites, those professing, but secretly are full of dead men's bones' (see Matthew 23:27).  We will see those who profess membership but secretly are plotting and trying to lead people not to follow the leadership that the Lord has set up to preside in this church. 
"Now the only safety we have as members of this church is to do exactly what the Lord said to the Church in that day when the Church was organized.  We must learn to give heed to the words and commandments that the Lord shall give through His prophet, 'as he receiveth them, walking in all holiness before me; as if from mine own mouth, in all patience and faith' (D&C 21:4-5).  There will be some things that take patience and faith.  You may not like what comes from the authority of the Church.  It may contradict your political views.  It may contradict your social views.  It may interfere with some of your social life.  But if you listen to these things, as if from the mouth of the Lord Himself, with patience and faith, the promise is that 'the gates of hell shall not prevail against you; yea, and the Lord God will disperse the powers of darkness from before you, and cause the heavens to shake for your good, and his name's glory' (D&C 21:6)."  (THBL, 526; 70-28, 126).

"As I have labored among the Brethren and have studied the history of past dispensations, I have become aware that the Lord has given tests all down through time as to this matter of loyalty to the leadership of the Church.
"I have been in a position since I was called to the Council of the Twelve to observe some things among my brethren, and I want to say to you:  Every man who is my junior in the Council of the Twelve I have seen submitted, as though by Providence, to these same tests of loyalty, and I have wondered sometimes whether they were going to pass the tests.  The reason they are here today is because they did, and our Father has honored them. 
"It is my conviction that every man who will be called to a high place in the Church will have to pass tests not devised by human hands, by which our Father numbers them as a united group of leaders willing to follow the prophets of the living God and be loyal and true as witnesses and exemplars of the truths they teach."  (THBL, 522; 50-02, 51-52).
* * *

We're going to see the day coming when the only reliable guides who can be trusted will be the leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. We are moving toward the time when all who would presume to be called "leaders" must submit to tests "not devised by human hands" and they will be found wanting. The collapse of trust in the government in the last few weeks has been stunning. I have not seen anything like it since the days of the Sixties, when rebellion against the government was rampant. When the severity of those tests becomes sufficient, all the people of good will who remain will be looking for leaders tried in the crucible of faith and I predict they will find them in the ranks of the leadership of the Restored Church of Jesus Christ.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Mormon Temples Now Dot the Earth

This fifteen minute video explains the purposes of Mormon temples, and takes you beyond the doors for an insider's view of the rooms. Temples now dot the wide expanse of the Earth in many nations. In recent years, the leaders of the Church have had the goal to make the temple available to most members so they can find a temple within 200 miles of their home. If one had to summarize the purpose of the temple in simple terms it would be the uniting families for eternity through sacred covenants administered by priesthood authority within the walls of the temples.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Being Dad

People always wonder how their fathers did it all, until they become fathers themselves. Enjoy this video to remind yourselves how it happened for you: