Thursday, November 29, 2012

Corregidor (part 2)

The Island of Corregidor-Shaped like a tadpole
  As I reviewed the pictures that I had taken on Corregidor I realized that I took over 300 of them. That wasn't the issue...the issue is which ones to share on this blog! So my task is not to bore people, to the best of my ability.

Corregidor is a tadpole shaped island. Different structures, emplacements or just areas were identified by their geographical location ie: Topside and middleside. The barracks in the pictures on the left are the Topside barracks. They are also nicknamed the Mile long barracks because if you were to walk the length of the floor from end to end and then walk the three or four stories that it was made of you would be very close to a mile in length.

Topside Barracks

Topside (Mile Long) Barracks

Eternal Flame

The picture on the right is the eternal flame that is located on the top of the island. It is where the museum is and also the monument that has been build to honor those who fought during the siege that took place there shortly after Pearl Harbor.

Parachute shaped monument

This picture, above,  is the monument built to honor those who were parachuted in to begin the battle to retake Corregidor at the end of WWII. The Japanese were expecting the Americans and the Filipinos to attack via a ship landing on the lower part of the island. They were taken by surprise as paratroopers were dropped from planes on the upper part of the island. It was a challenge and with high risk. The expectation was that 30-40% of the men who were dropped would become a casualty of some type. Fortunately that didn't happen. The monument is in the form of a parachute with a hole at the top of it as seen below.
Top of the monument 

It took the Japanese several months longer than anticipated to capture Corregidor. The defenders of this small island finally, on May 5, 1942, surrendered to the invading forces. Each year on May 5th there is a small ceremony on Corregidor, and a larger one in Bataan, remembering what had occurred those many decades ago. On May 5th the sunlight is directly over the monument and shines down on the platform that is in the middle of the monument.

Hopefully, and prayerfully, nations will remember what happened here and elsewhere. Sadly, the natural man doesn't remember much past yesterday...
Inside the monument 


Sun shining through the hole from the top. On May 5th it
shines directly on to the platform/alter in the middle.

Honoring those who fought and died.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Blessings and the Piggy Bank

Marcia at her desk
Marcia and I stay very busy here. As a therapist Marcia is constantly either on the phone counseling or in her office doing the same. We are up early in the morning preparing for what the day may bring us. We are never exactly sure as to what will happen on any given day. At times we may need to drop what we are doing, pack a bag and travel to a mission to help a mission president care for one of his missionaries.

Prior to arriving at our office in the morning we prepare ourselves the best way that we can. We study. In the evening we read together the latest talks from our Prophet, Thomas S. Monson, and from other Church leaders. In the morning we have our individual study time. Individually we choose what we will study for that day. Marcia, for the last several weeks, has been studying the manual, Preach My Gospel, and the corresponding scriptures that relate to the topics that she is studying. I am currently studying the Book of Mormon and following the direction the Spirit may lead me as I do so.

This morning I was reading the discourse of a king named Benjamin. King Benjamin understood his role as king well. He not only protected and ruled his people with fairness and justice but he also served as a teacher and as a great example. This was his final discourse to his people before he turned the reign of government over to his son, Mosiah. His discourse, although directed at his people in about 124 B.C., is as applicable today as it was then. For example- one of the principles that he taught was this:

     "And behold, I tell you these things that ye may learn wisdom; that ye may learn that when ye  are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God." (Mosiah 2:17 pp. 148-149 Book of Mormon)

Isn't this principle just as applicable today as then? Isn't that exactly the example the Savior gave us during his short three year ministry?

Back on topic!

As I was reading this morning another verse popped out at me:

     "And secondly, he doth require that you should do as he hath commanded you; for which if ye do, he doth immediately bless you; and therefore he hath paid you." (Mosiah 2:24 p 149 Book of Mormon)

What really caught my attention was- "immediately bless you." How is this so? As you think about it logic would infer that if immediate blessings, meaning commandment obeyed-blessing bestowed- were truly handed out wouldn't the world be much calmer as an immediate award would follow obedience? Wouldn't churches be much better off as congregations begin to realize the blessings that flow from the promises by the Lord made through the Old Testament Prophet Malachi:

     "Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Where-in have we robbed thee?
In tithes and offerings. Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation.
Angry Birds 'Piggy' Bank
Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it." (Malachi 3:8-10 KJV)

If you were to read this as a simple 'quid pro quo' one might assume that the Lord would bless you with some type of financial blessing for the tithes and offerings you gave. This is not the case. Although financial blessings may come- the Lord does know what our needs are- in many cases the blessings that come are in some other form.
Some of the blessings that follow paying of tithes and offerings are also listed by the Lord through Malachi:

     "And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground; neither shall your vine cast her fruit before the time in the field, saith the Lord of hosts. And all nations shall call you blessed: for ye shall be a delightsome land, saith the Lord of Hosts." (Malachi 3:11-12 KJV)

So, Jeff, why in heaven's name do you have an Angry Birds' Piggy Bank picture and what does it have to do with blessings?

That will be a post for tomorrow....


Monday, November 26, 2012


History. It is said "that those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it." (a quote attributed to Winston Churchill)

The history of the Philippines is rich. Thanks to the Spaniards it is the only Christian nation in Asia. Spain ruled this archipelago for over 300 years. Following their rule the Philippines became a territory of the United States. Within hours of Japan bombing of Pearl Harbor on December 7th, 1941, Japan began their attack on the Philippine Islands. Their expectation was to conquer the Islands within weeks. Thanks to the resilience of the Philippine people and the United States military they weren't as successful as they had hoped. It took five months of intense fighting before the Philippines succumbed to the more powerful Japanese military machine.  From my understanding it was due to the length that it took the Japanese to conquer the Philippines that spared Australia  from an invasion. The Philippinos and the U.S. military made their last stand on the island of Corregidor.

Marcia and I had the opportunity to tour the island of Corregidor earlier this month. We would highly recommend visiting the island if you are ever in Manila. It is worth the time and money.

Middleside Barracks

Shell Holes 
 Places on the island are named with respect to their location on the island. The pictures on the right are part of the Middleside Barracks.

I will post additional pictures in the next day or so with captions. I took about 300 pictures while we were there. The story behind the courageous men and women who defended this island and the Philippines is tremendous. It is one that shouldn't be forgotten because of time...

Marcia at Middleside Barraks

Munition Bunker at a gun emplacement

Rails used to carry heavy munitions to the guns

This is a door to the munition bunker with shrapnel holes in it

Jeff at the wrong end of the barrel!

Marcia and Jeff at a 12" mortar

Sunday, November 18, 2012

We believe...Article 13

"We believe in being honest, true, chaste, benevolent, virtuous, and in doing good to all men; indeed, we may say that we follow the admonition of Paul- We believe all things, we hope all things, we have endured many things, and hope to be able to endure all things. If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things."

Spencer W. Kimball
As stated earlier in these posts we, as members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, believe in living prophets. The prophet at the time that I joined the Church in 1979 was Spencer W. Kimball. This quote is from the book From the Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball p. 552:

"We say to our friends of the world, we love and admire you. We are grateful for your resolve to be righteous in an increasingly wicked world. Bring all that you have that is good and wholesome with you, and let us add to all that you have, that which we have-the fullness of the gospel and the even greater blessings that can follow unto you through membership in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints! ..."

This teaching is not unique just to President Kimball. Seventeen years later President Gordon B. Hinkley stated the following in an interview in 1996:

"We recognize the good in all people. We recognize the good in all churches, in their efforts to improve mankind and to teach principles that lead to good, stable, productive living. To people everywhere we simply say, "You bring with you all the good that you have and let us add to it. That is the principle on which we work."—From Interview by Philippines Television, April 30, 1996.

Gordon B. Hinkley
Truth is truth no matter where it is found. Fortunately there is no corner on the market on truth. It can be found- if you look hard enough. 

Next.... a wrap on the Articles of Faith.


Wednesday, November 14, 2012

We believe...Article 12

"We believe in being subject to kings, presidents, rulers, and magistrates, in obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law."

I would like to share a news release that the Church released following the election past:


The First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ 
of Latter-day Saints issued the following statement Tuesday:

"We congratulate President Obama on winning a second term as President of the United States. 

After a long campaign, this is now a time for Americans to come together. It is a long 
tradition among Latter-day Saints to pray for our national leaders in our personal prayers
and in our congregations. We invite Americans everywhere, whatever their political persuasion,
to pray for the President, for his administration and the new Congress as they lead us through 
difficult and turbulent times. May our national leaders reflect the best in wisdom and judgment
as they fulfill the great trust afforded to them by the American people.

We also commend Governor Romney for engaging at the highest level of our democratic process,
which, by its nature, demands so much of those who offer themselves for public service. We wish 
him and his family every success in their future endeavors."

It would be very easy to rant and rave about this past election. Even more so if the 
candidate that you were pulling for didn't win. It is much harder to take the high road 
and strive for unity. It is interesting to see how those in power wield it today. Compare 
that to the Savior. His motives were pure. His intent was to heal both spiritual and 
physically. He rendered unto Caesar what was Caesar's (see Matthew Matthew 22:21). 
The Savior of mankind was focused on the Kingdom of Heaven. 

The Church's mission is to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The best way to do that is by 
"obeying, honoring and sustaining the law." Perhaps that is why their are nearly 
60,000 missionaries in over 350 missions worldwide. In order for missionaries to serve 
in a country the Church is formally recognized by that government. How is that done? 
Perhaps it is by "obeying, honoring and sustaining the law."

Below is a whiteboard video shares the Churches stand on politics:

Next...Article 13

Monday, November 12, 2012

We believe...Article 11

"We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may."

Our country was founded with some basic freedoms. We refer to them as rights. These rights were derived from Heaven:

 "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness"
 (American Declaration of Independence)

Many of our forefathers came to this country seeking the opportunity to worship without fear. The irony is that when they arrived on this 'new' continent many practiced a similar religious intolerance towards those who did not share their beliefs. Catholics in Delaware were able to practice with little restriction. Cross the border into Maryland you would find much intolerance towards the Catholics from Presbyterians. These measures weren't overturned until after the American Revolution. Such freedoms as voting, bearing arms, holding public office, teaching. and public worship were not afforded Catholics in Maryland. (see Beginnings of the Catholic Church in Wilmington, Delaware by Donn Devine. Retrieved 11/12/2012 from

It is interesting to watch what is going on in the world today. People, again, are beginning to impose others with their beliefs. In some cases, if you are not like they are, you are shunned, ridiculed, and, in extreme cases, killed for holding different beliefs. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints was subject to this type of behavior early in the formation of the Church. The early Saints were driven from Ohio, Missouri, and Illinois. The state of Missouri, until 1976, had an executive order from their Governor that was used to drive the Saints from Missouri to Illinois. In part it read:

      "The Mormons must be treated as enemies, and must be exterminated or driven from the state if necessary for the public peace..."  (

I do believe that men and women have the right to worship as they will. Please don't impose your belief system on me or my family. Please don't use my tax money to interfere with natural consequences of decisions made by others. Please don't force insurance companies, those that provide for religious groups, to
make them cover for things that are contrary to their belief system.

There is a difference between amicable dialogue and imposing of beliefs. Unfortunately this country is dwelling on the latter much more than the former these days. (I have to stop now because my tongue is beginning to bleed from me biting on it...)

Next...Article 12


Saturday, November 10, 2012

Pet Peeve.... (small soap box warning!!!)

I have a pet peeve. It deals with those who become dependent on their word processors spell check! Why in heavens name do I bring that up at this point of our mission? I'll explain.

Part of my responsibilities is to accompany missionaries who may need to return home for health issues. It doesn't happen often but it does happen. So as I write this post I am doing so from the comfort of our oldest daughter's apartment in Taylorsville, Utah. One of my other responsibilities is to carry an empty suitcase with me on my way to the states and on the way back carry a full suitcase with Walmart products.

While I was at Walmart I noticed a thank-you board that had been placed near the checkout lanes for those who may want to write thank-you notes to our veterans- specifically our Vietnam Veterans. This is a great gesture to our veterans. As tomorrow marks Veteran's day in the United States I hope all can reflect on those whose backs freedom is maintained.

Why, though, am I venting about spell check? On the table was the Presidential declaration that President Obama signed honoring those who fought and served during that war. As I read the declaration I was appalled at an error that I saw in the declaration. The word was spelled correctly but it was the wrong word!
Fortunately, before I ranted too much, I looked up the Proclamation on the internet to see how it was supposed to have read. This was how it came out of the White House:
Vietnam War Memorial in Washington D.C.

Eleven years of combat left their imprint on a generation.  Thousands returned home bearing shrapnel and scars; still more were burdened by the invisible wounds of post-traumatic stress, of Agent Orange, of memories that would never fade.  More than 58,000 laid down their lives in service to our Nation.  Now and forever, their names are etched into two faces of black granite, a lasting memorial to those who bore conflict's greatest cost.

This isn't what I saw at Walmart. What I saw at their was a declaration that someone didn't proof. It appeared that they decided to let spell check do their job for them. What I read was that 58,000 men laid down their lives in service to our Nation and that their names were etched into two faces of  "back" granite. Someone, somewhere, should be embarrassed by the lack of discipline in making sure the words are not only correct but the correct words. It was after getting to that point in the document that I stopped reading as I was pretty upset.

Full picture

Close up
Here is a photo of what I saw at the store.

To read President Obama's Proclamation click here.


Friday, November 9, 2012

We believe....Article 10

 "We believe in the literal gathering of Israel and in the restoration of the Ten Tribes; that Zion (the New Jerusalem) will be built upon the American continent; that Christ will reign personally upon the earth; and, that the earth will be renewed and receive its paradisiacal glory."

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is known today for its missionary work and missionaries. They are spread out all over the world. This is following the command of Jesus Christ as He commanded His early apostles to:

"Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen"(Matthew 28: 19-20)

There is a process that is gone through before missionaries ever enter into a country. Part of that process is the dedication of the country for the sharing of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Just as it occurred in the early part of the Church it still continues today.

Shortly after the Church was formed in the early 1830s missionaries were sent to England to share the Gospel. Unlike today the missionaries sent out then were not usually 19 year old young men. Nor did they serve for a set period of time of two years- sometimes it was shorter and sometimes longer. A number of those sent were married and left families behind to be cared for by family members and friends. The Gospel message in England was well received and hundreds and thousands of people entered the waters of baptism to join the restored Church.

Orson Hyde
Shortly after that one of the early Apostles of the Church was assigned to go to the Palestine to dedicate that land for the gathering of Israel. The Apostle's name was Orson Hyde. From April 1841 to December 1842 he was in Jerusalem. Part of his dedicatory prayer included the following:

"Now, O Lord! Thy servant has been obedient to the heavenly vision which Thou gavest him in his native land; and under the shadow of Thine outstretched arm, he has safely arrived in this place to dedicate and consecrate this land unto Thee, for the gathering together of Judah's scattered remnants, according to the predictions of the holy Prophets -- for the building up of Jerusalem again after it has been trodden down by the Gentiles so long..."

The gathering of Israel continues...


Thursday, November 8, 2012

More Fun in the Philippines...

The Philippines has an official touristy motto- It's more fun in the Philippines! It reminds me of the one Indiana decided to spend X amount of dollars to some marketing firm to come up with: Restart your Engines... I think I prefer the Philippines one!

I have an unofficial Senior missionary motto: "It's your camera-don't leave home without it!" I'll explain.

Manila traffic. Mattress anyone?

On EDSA with the mattress man!
Wednesday morning three of us were being dropped off at the airport in Manila. Two Americans and one Canadian being dropped off by Rex. Rex is the administrative assistant who works in the medical department at the PAO. As we were traveling down EDSA- the main thoroughfare through metro Manila- a trike carrying a unique cargo passed us on the right. As soon as he passed us all three of us whipped out our cameras to take a picture. I actually took two.

That is why it is More Fun in the Philippines!!

Live from SLC....


Thursday, November 1, 2012

We believe...Article 7

"We believe in the gift of tongues, prophecy, revelation, visions, healing, interpretation of tongues, and so forth."

We are God's children. What parent doesn't want to give their children gifts? The gifts that are mentioned in Article 7 are referred to as gifts of the Spirit.

As the Savior concludes His discourse to His disciples (commonly referred to as the Sermon on the Mount) He touches this particular subject:

     "Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find, knock and it shall be opened unto you:
     For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it 
     shall be opened. Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a 
     stone? Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent? If ye then, being evil, know how to give
     good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good
     things to them that ask him?" (Matthew 7:7-11)

What may be commonly heard is that such things don't exist anymore. That God is done with such things or (to me it seems a very arrogant thing to think or say) we live in the 21st century- "we don't need things such as revelation or visions." To me that is a very sad commentary on our understanding of a loving Heavenly Father.

Examples are found throughout scriptures. My favorite is of Peter teaching in the temple following their receiving the Gift of the Holy Ghost. Most are  familiar with the Lord's senior apostle. Most are also familiar that the Lord had told Peter that he, Peter, would deny the Savior three times. To this prophecy Peter strongly told the Lord that he would do no such thing. It is interesting to read about Peter's denial. He followed the Savior and His captors back to where they would interrogate Him. Peter was hanging back to see what would occur. Three times people approached him saying they had recognized him as being one who had followed the Savior. Three times he denied knowledge of the Savior (see Mathew 26; Mark 14). This was done in the dark of the night and with people who were not leaders or of consequence.

Peter Teaching at the Temple
Contrast this to the Peter who has received the Gift of The Holy Ghost. Here is a man who stands in front of hundreds, if not thousands, of people in the temple at Jerusalem. Some he stood in front of may even have  been those that had crucified the Savior. He is not ashamed of who he is or who he represents. He had been blessed with the Holy Ghost and with that blessing he was able to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

     "And when the day of Pentecost was fully 
     come, they were all with one accord in one 
     place...And they were all filled with the Holy
    Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance...Now when
    this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded, because that every
    man heard them speak in his own language. And they were all amazed and marvelled, saying
    one to another, Behold, are not all these which speak Galilaeans? And how hear we every man  
    our own tongue, wherein we were born?" (Acts 2:1,4, 6-8)

As members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints we continue to believe and claim that these gifts are still active and in use today. Our Heavenly Father does not love us any less then those who have passed on before us. We are as in much need today, or even more so, as our ancestors who have traveled before us.

David O. McKay
The Church has nearly 14 million members. These gifts are experienced through them and others. Just one example can be found with a former Prophet of our Church- David O. McKay. Having recently been called as the newest Apostle of the Church he was sent on a world-wide tour to visit the members of the Church. In one occasion those that heard him speak experienced the interpretation of tongues. "While in the Pacific Islands, Tahitian Saints were able to understand his words in their own language." During his tour in the Holy Lands he prophesied that "...although the land would run red with blood, the Jews would yet be gathered." (Presidents of the Church Student Manual, 2004. pp 144-160).  

These gifts are truly from a loving Heavenly Father. They are to bless His children. It is a wonderful time to be alive!

Next...Article 10