The Journey to Freedom

The Journey to Freedom

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Sick Day

Yesterday after lunch I was freezing. That is a little hard to do here.  We had taught our noon class and headed back to the Barlow.  I was so ache and cold I came home.  I am running a fever and I hurt everywhere.  I couldn't eat and I went to bed.  Today I am trying to stay down and keep up with Advil.  I hope to be able to teach tonight.  

Sunday, June 28, 2015


Today we finished off going through all the BYU interns for summer semester.  We had our married couples come today plus a couple from the ward that gets married on Friday.  That makes 178 people we have fed a meal to excluding our institute students that we take treats to every week.  We haven't counted them because it is not a meal but just a treat of some kind.   It has been fun to have so many great people in our home here.  We have kept track of how many we have fed around our table or at Thanksgiving around several tables at the Barlow.  We are up to 178 people.  There is something about breaking bread with a person that drops barriers and helps you understand those you work with.  Food is something that everyone needs. Food is essential in every culture and it cross cultural differences. Food builds friendships.

Washington has the most beautiful flowering trees. Here is a close up of the flower.

This is from a dirty bus window.  They are so beautiful. 

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Site Seeing Day in the Rain

Good thing the museums are inside because it rained all day.  We wanted to see two IMAX movies that Russ and Kaylyn said were really good and they were great,  the Age of Airplanes and D-Day.  The Age of Airplanes helps you appreciate how we travel.  For thousands of years man walk or rode in a wagon.  In the past 70 years there is not a place on earth a plane can't get to.  It also help me appreciate how fast cargo is moved around the world.  D-Day was wonderful.  For the first time I understood all the work and coordination that went into that invasion.  It is also sobering to see how many lives were taken.  Freedom has a huge price tag.

We got our tickets early and then we went to the Hirshhorn Museum which had a display from  Shirin Neshat (Iranian-American, b. Qazvin, 1957) it examines the nuances of power and identity in the Islamic world—particularly in her native country of Iran, where she lived until 1975. Shirin Neshat: Facing History presents an array of Neshat’s most compelling works. Her art work gave you a feel of what it was like in Iran and what it is like now. 

This is Shrin Neshat when she went to visit Iran in the 70's.

This is a picture of Shirin Neshat as a young girl. 

We also went to the National Portrait Gallery.  I loved the area where they had pictures of all the presidents of the United States. 

Benjamin Franklin

Daniel Boone

Davy Crockett

Joseph Smith 

Brigham Young 

Funny arrangement in the portrait gallery

Singer Sewing machine at the portrait gallery

Susan B. Anthony

Winston Churchill

Our bus was on a different route today because something was going on down by the mall.  We kept walking hoping to get to were they picked up.  We ended up walking the almost 4 miles home after being on our feet all day.  This being a tourist is a killer. 

Friday, June 26, 2015

This is a sad day: Supreme Court Rules in Favor of Gay Marriage

At times, we may struggle with how to defend traditional marriage while still loving those who hold contrasting values to our own. Elder Holland reminded us of the Savior's position that “there is a crucial difference between the commandment to forgive sin (which He had an infinite capacity to do) and the warning against condoning it (which He never ever did even once)."
Latter-day prophets have stated unequivocally that, “Marriage between a man and a woman is central to God’s plan for the eternal destiny of His children. As such, traditional marriage is a foundational doctrine and cannot change.”
Yet the world seeks to change both the definition of marriage and the definition of Christ-like love. In his recent conference address, Elder Neil L. Anderson shared the following.
“President Thomas S. Monson has said, ‘Where once the standards of the Church and the standards of society were mostly compatible, now there is a wide chasm between us, and it’s growing ever wider.’
“While many governments and well-meaning individuals have redefined marriage, the Lord has not. In the very beginning, God initiated marriage between a man and a woman—Adam and Eve. He designated the purposes of marriage to go far beyond the personal satisfaction and fulfillment of adults to, more importantly, advancing the ideal setting for children to be born, reared, and nurtured. Families are the treasure of heaven.”
We invite all to boldly stand with the teachings and counsel of prophets and to show compassion for the struggles that some of our own experience, as well to share your testimony of the sanctity of marriage as the Lord has defined it." Elder Neil L. Andersen. 

Five of these individuals struck a blow to this country we may never recover from.  I thank Justice Roberts for his words. 
"If you are among the many Americans—of whatever sexual orientation—who favor expanding same-sex marriage, by all means celebrate today’s decision. Celebrate the achievement of a desired goal. Celebrate the opportunity for a new expression of commitment to a partner. Celebrate the availability of new benefits.
But do not celebrate the Constitution. It had nothing to do with it.
I respectfully dissent."
-Chief Justice Roberts' dissent.

I can now see why the Lord is hastening the work. The show down between good and evil are growing wider and wider. I can not support a life style that ultimately would destroy our society. We have opened the door that will bring every corruptible practice to fight for their right to openly sin in their chosen way.
John Adams said it best.   


-President John Adams to the Officers of the First Brigade of the Third Division of the Militia of Massachusetts, 1798.1

When we visited the Constitution Hall Museum in Philadelphia recently they told us of the struggle that has gone on to bring this people the freedom and the constitution to direct those people.  At the very end they ask this question.  What will you do with the freedom you have been given? What are we doing?  I fear for the freedom of people to follow their conscience.   

What happened to a government by the people.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Mormon Tabernacle Choir

What a fun day.  Our mission got to go to the first performance of the Mormon Tabernacles tour.  They are going to Bethesda, Maryland which is where we heard them today.  Then to Bethel Woods, New York, Saratoga Springs, New York, Carnegie Hall, Yankee Stadium and Boston Massachusetts. They were fabulous.  The whole mission had to take mass transit which was fine by us but it took most of the day.  They have such a special spirit about them.  They had a wonderful variety of music and the symphony with them is so amazing.   I feel like the spirit was just poured on us today.

I got a call from the Spanish Ward Bishop that heard us speak last night.  He wants me to give the same talk in his ward on July 26.  It happens to be Susana's Ward the lady that does our maintenance on our building.  I tried to talk him into waiting until August 16th when Crystal would be here and she would give my talk in Spanish because I will need a translator.  That is their high counsel Sunday. So I won't throw my talk away yet.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Girls Camp

Faith in your feelings and revelation can be demonstrated by Melissa. So you are sitting in a stake meeting talking about who your speaker is going to be for girls camp for four stakes and you remember that your teacher from your internet class at BYU-I has parents serving in this area.  You say I know who we can get.  She has never met us or heard us.  In the past they have a general authority come and speak. Would you dare invite them to come and speak.  Your stake is over that part of girls camp.  I don't think I would be brave enough to pursue that.   She contacts Crystal and Crystal says to get us and her counselor in the Stake Presidency agrees. They clear it with our mission president and we are on.  When we got there President Walter reminds us that the Annapolis, MD, Centreville, VA, Washington DC, and the Waynesboro, VA stakes are all there and with their leaders we should expect 650 people.  That doesn't calm your nerves.  Melissa had invited us to dinner at their camp but their noodles never got done for the alfredo sauce so the ward next to us fed us chicken wraps and we headed to the meeting.  We had done everything in our power to prepare spiritually and with our talks.  We had our names on the prayer roll.  Crystal even texted this morning to let us know that she was also praying for us.  How could we fail?  Things went really well.

The Lord is amazing.  We had a line of girls come up after to talk to us.  I will sleep really well tonight.

On the way to girls camp just a few miles from the camp is where the Battle of Bull Run occurred.   We left early so we could stop and learn more about that great battle ground.  This was the first major land battle of the armies in Virginia. On July 16, 1861, the untried Union army under Brig. Gen. Irvin McDowell marched from Washington against the Confederate army, which was drawn up behind Bull Run beyond Centreville. On the 21st, McDowell crossed at Sudley Ford and attacked the Confederate left flank on Matthews Hill. Fighting raged throughout the day as Confederate forces were driven back to Henry Hill. Late in the afternoon, Confederate reinforcements extended and broke the Union right flank. The Federal retreat rapidly deteriorated into a rout. Thomas J. Jackson earned the the name “Stonewall.” By July 22, the shattered Union army reached the safety of Washington. There were 4,878 casualties.  The Confederates won the battle.    An 82 year old lady died in the conflict when her home was hit by a cannon ball. 

Postwar house on site of Judith Henry house in Manassas. Judith is the 82 year old that died in battle and they buried her in her garden. 

Battle field

Stonewall Jackson. 

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Temple Tuesday

It was so great to go back to having our own temple cards.  Thank you Lisa for sending all this temple work to work on.  It gives even greater purpose to our temple attendance.  It was a different day for me.  I have gotten a bladder infection and I didn't feel very well today.  So we had to go wait in an Insta Care for several hours waiting to be seen.  Then we went to Costco to fill the prescription and it took them  35 minutes.  By the time we got home I really wasn't feeling very well.  I took the next couple of hours to lay down and try to get in shape to teach tonight.  It went well. Tomorrow we head to girls camp.

We received a referral three weeks ago.  A young man grew up with Mormons in California.  All his friends went on missions and he is here to do an internship.   His friends father sent his name to us.  As soon as I got the referral I assigned our mission leader to call him and invite him to an activity.  I reported back to the father and he said be careful take it easy on him.  Well the missionaries grab him and started teaching him and tonight they told me he is getting baptized next month.  I about fainted.  He looks just a member and he doesn't have any bad habits.  The Barlow students love him.  We are so excited about his commitment.

Our bed bug turned out to be just a beetle.  Our pest control guy search and he didn't find any bed bugs.  He sprayed the place so I guess we are at the end of our bed bug adventure.  

Monday, June 22, 2015

The Church is a Tight Family

Tonight for home evening I am sitting next to a young man that does not live at the Barlow but he is from BYU and he hangs around the Barlow for some of our events.  He told me tonight that he went to Jerusalem.  I asked him when he was there.  I asked him if he knew Brother and Sister Clayton.  He said yes!!  She taught me organ lessons.  I said she is my sister.  He told me how much he loved Brother and Sister Clayton.

You never know who you will run into, so you best be on your best behavior.
Our  bed bug saga is not over yet.  One of our interns caught a little bug on her bed. She is the one that was bit.  I don't know if it is a bed bug but the exterminator will be out tomorrow.  He can identify it.  I told our intern that this is what the Lord meant when he said man would be tormented and afflicted.  But we have only begun to fight.

In all honesty I got a little paranoid today.  I have never washed our mattress pad so I decided to wash everything on our bed and strip it down and look at it.  You wash your sheets then dry them twice.  So as we have gone in and out today I have been putting in loads of sheets and mattress pads.  I haven't seen one thing.  I haven't even seen spiders or anything else in our condo except our mouse friend that is no longer with us.

Our class went well today.  We are getting a more consistent group.  I receive emails from two missionaries I use to teach.  I get their email's on Monday.  At the end of one of the emails was this quote, "It is impossible to fail when you do your best when you are on the Lord's errand."  Elder M. Russell Ballard.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Double Post Day

A couple of things I wanted to remember about this day.  David was confirmed today in sacrament meeting.  Elder Anthony was in the circle.  When Elder Ord said receive the Holy Ghost I felt the Spirit swell in my chest.  I had been telling the Lord during the sacrament how badly I needed the Spirit this week as we talked to the young women at girls camp.  The young lady next to me made comment to me that she also had felt the Spirit so strong when David was confirmed.

Elder Anthony gave another blessing tonight.  This is an aspect of our calling that we did not anticipate.  He is asked often by interns to give them a blessing.  I am always amazed when we get to see these young people the way the Lord sees them.  They are so incredible.  It is like you are given a little glimpse into the window of their soul.  This is the second blessing he has given this week.  What a humbling privileged this has been.

I have been worried about Hazel.  Her parents are trying to submarine her progress in the gospel.  I got a text last week asking us to pray for her.  Our prayers and thoughts have been on Hazel.  She is going to girls camp this week.  I was so happy to see this picture with the heading my new family.

She is at an institute class.  Just where she should be.  I hope her parents come to know that the gospel will make Hazel a better person and a better Christian and a better daughter.

I want to share the great wisdom of this young lady.  We were texting and I asked if she loved girls camp. She said it was this week.  I told her you have been on my mind this week.  Me: We are actually speaking at a young women camp this Wednesday.  Hazel: Oh really that's super cool.  Me: I have been worried about that talk.  Hazel: Why are you worried?  Me:  There are suppose to be 400 there.  I will really need to have the Spirit or I am going to fail. Hazel's amazing wisdom:  That's a bunch of baloney.  You never fail when you have the Spirit by your side.  You always have the Spirit with you.  You are the most amazing woman I have ever met.  You can speak like no one else can and you are unique and made in His image and amazing and awesome in your own way.  The way you spoke at my baptism was unforgettable and if you do half as good as you do at that talk everyone is still going to love what you talked about.  I have a feeling that you're gonna do great.  Remember that everyone there wants to hear what you have you have to say.  They are all LDS.  They all love Heavenly Father the same that you do.  They want to hear your perspective on it. Me:Thank you for your shot of confidence.  You are so right.  I think I needed to hear that.  I forgot they would come wanting to hear.  Hazel: Text me if you need a teens perspective. Me: That is what I needed.  Hazel: you can do anything if you put your heart and soul into it.  Me: That comment is from someone that knows.  You have done amazing things.  Hazel: I've done some things that I am proud of.  However, nothing as great as serving a mission or teaching seminary.  Me: You have done harder things.  You are a pioneer in your family in accepting the gospel and fighting to have to live the gospel.  Hazel:  Thank you. I really appreciate that.

Isn't Hazel an amazing young lady.  How can you help but love her.

Happy Father's Day

I am grateful I had such a great father.  I didn't know there were fathers that were abusive and unkind.  I had total trust in my father and I knew that he loved me and wanted only the best for me.  My father taught me about my Father in Heaven.  Not from the lessons he taught me but from the way he treated me and loved me.

I love all the great fathers all around me.

Future Father

Another future father. 

My hero.  My Grandfather. 

There is no substitute for a father.  In a society that puts fatherhood down I hope these men I love will continue to lead their families in righteousness. I love this example that shows our need for fathers.  I salute the father of my children and the fathers of my grandchildren.

In the Absence of Fathers: A Story of Elephants and Men

Some years ago, officials at the Kruger National Park and game reserve in South Africa were faced with a growing elephant problem. The population of African elephants, once  endangered, had grown larger than the park could sustain. So measures had to be taken to thin the ranks. A plan was devised to relocate some of the elephants to other African game reserves. Being enormous creatures, elephants are not easily transported.  So a special harness was created to air-lift the elephants and fly them out of the park using helicopters.
The helicopters were up to the task, but, as it turned out, the harness wasn’t. It could handle the juvenile and adult female elephants, but not the huge African bull elephants. A quick solution had to be found, so a decision was made to leave the much larger bulls at Kruger and relocate only some of the female elephants and juvenile males.
The problem was solved. The herd was thinned out, and all was well at Kruger National Park. Sometime later, however, a strange problem surfaced at South Africa’s other game reserve, Pilanesburg National Park, the younger elephants’ new home.
Rangers at Pilanesburg began finding the dead bodies of endangered white rhinoceros. At  first, poachers were suspected, but the huge rhinos had not died of gunshot wounds, and their precious horns were left intact. The rhinos appeared to be killed violently, with deep puncture wounds. Not much in the wild can kill a rhino, so rangers set up hidden cameras throughout the park.
The result was shocking. The culprits turned out to be marauding bands of aggressive juvenile male elephants, the very elephants relocated from Kruger National Park a few years earlier. The young males were caught on camera chasing down the rhinos, knocking them over, and stomping and goring them to death with their tusks. The juvenile elephants were terrorizing other animals in the park as well. Such behavior was very rare among elephants. Something had gone terribly wrong.
Marauding Elephants
Some of the park rangers settled on a theory. What had been missing from the relocated herd was the presence of the large dominant bulls that remained at Kruger. In natural circumstances, the adult bulls provide modeling behaviors for younger elephants, keeping them in line.
Juvenile male elephants, Dr. Horn pointed out, experience “musth,” a state of frenzy triggered by mating season and increases in testosterone. Normally, dominant bulls manage and contain the testosterone-induced frenzy in the younger males. Left without elephant modeling, the rangers theorized, the younger elephants were missing the civilizing influence of their elders as nature and pachyderm protocol intended.
To test the theory, the rangers constructed a bigger and stronger harness, then flew in some of the older bulls left behind at Kruger. Within weeks, the bizarre and violent behavior of the juvenile elephants stopped completely. The older bulls let them know that their behaviors were not elephant-like at all. In a short time, the younger elephants were following the older and more dominant bulls around while learning how to be elephants.
In his terrific article, “Of Elephants and Men,” Dr. Wade Horn went on to write of a story very similar to that of the elephants, though it happened not in Africa, but in New York’s Central Park. The story involved young men, not young elephants, but the details were eerily close. Groups of young men were caught on camera sexually harassing and robbing women and victimizing others in the park. Their herd mentality created a sort of frenzy that was both brazen and contagious. In broad daylight, they seemed to compete with each other, even laughing and mugging for the cameras as they assaulted and robbed passersby. It was not, in any sense of the term, the behavior of civilized men.
Appalled by these assaults, citizens demanded a stronger and more aggressive police presence. Dr. Horn asked a more probing question. “Where have all the fathers gone?” Simply increasing the presence of police everywhere a crime is possible might assuage some political pressure, but it does little to identify and solve the real social problem behind the brazen Central Park assaults. It was the very same problem that victimized rhinos in that park in Africa. The majority of the young men hanging around committing those crimes in Central Park grew up in homes without fathers present.
That is not an excuse. It is a social problem that has a direct correlation with their criminal behavior. They were not acting like men because their only experience of modeling the behaviors of men had been taught by their peers and not by their fathers. Those who did have fathers had absent fathers, clearly preoccupied with something other than being role models for their sons. Wherever those fathers were, they were not in Central Park.
Dr. Horn pointed out that simply replacing fathers with more police isn’t a solution. No matter how many police are hired and trained, they will quickly be outnumbered if they assume the task of both investigating crime and preventing crime. They will quickly be outnumbered because  presently in our culture, two out of every five young men are raised in fatherless homes, and that disparity is growing faster as traditional family systems break down throughout the Western world.
Real men protect the vulnerable, not assault them. Growing up having learned that most basic tenet of manhood is the job of fathers, not the police.