A few years ago Jim Croce had a hit song titled “Time in a bottle.” The thrust was it would be nice if we could store time, and then have it available for activities we enjoyed especially romantic love.
Croce abandoned the dream however as impractical and impossible.
He believed as most of us do, in the old saying “Time marches on.” We assume that one minute, hour, day, year, follows another for every person.
Enter Adam Miller, a professor of philosophy at a Texas college, and a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of latter day saints.
In his book titled, “An Early Resurrection Life in Christ Before You Die,” he proposes that time is much more malleable than we generally think. Dr. Miller notes there have been numerous books written about how to effectively use time, manage time, save time.
But philosophers start one step back from those considerations and ask, “What is time? From his point of view it is a system set up to get us through this second estate. In this he agrees with Alma in the Book of Mormon, John in the book of Revelation, and Elder Maxwell in our day. There will come a time when there is no time.
Meanwhile present time is not lock stepped throughout the world and the universe. Heavenly Father and Jesus can actually arrange time in our favor. They can stretch it out when we need it, compress it when that is the best thing for us. They can put the end in the middle the middle at the first, rearrange things in whatever way they choose. It is a mind blowing concept to me.
As you would expect, such a glorious gift from the gods does not come free. But the price is within the reach of every person. We have to, as Paul puts it, “be alive in Christ.” We must live our lives as nearly as we can following the example of Jesus Christ. And following the direction the Holy Ghost gives us.
I have not achieved that lofty state of spiritual, mental and physical ability. But even as I have drawn closer to that worthy goal, I have found I am less stressed, and seem to be accomplishing more of the really important things in my life than I was before.
How does being alive in Christ work?
We do the same things as before, but instead of time being our antagonist, it becomes our ally. Paraphrasing an example he gives,
“I am in my office I have a stack of term tests I need to grade, I am hurrying to get to a committee meeting, I have other pressing obligations of family and church,. I open my office door, and there stands a student of mine. The student says ‘I need to talk with you.’
“I invite the student in, listen to the problems, and help the student. If I am ministering like Jesus, He makes the time work.” I get the other things done.
I am no doubt simplifying his explanation to fit my modest understanding but even my undergraduate approach and application have produced some satisfying results.
Don’t expect my transfiguration into an early resurrection to appear on the obituary page anytime soon, but know that I am trying it and in the modest degree to which I am following the formula, it is working.
Third Hour Wrap Up March 24, 2019
As you know, the Church has cut off an hour from the three hour block of Sunday meetings to allow families to use the time to teach the gospel in their homes. Sharon and I got to participate in a little sample at Dan and Beth’s home.
To see a full screen version (including Grandma Phyllis} copy this search in a new tab
you tube Duane Hiatt Third Hour Wrap Up 3 18 19
Who they were and what they did
My wife Sharon and I like many other people these days are searching for our ancestors.
This is something like saying the Lone Ranger and Tonto are searching for the outlaws. That’s not to say our kinfolk were outlaws necessarily. It’s to say we resemble the masked man and his faithful Native American assistant in our modus operandi. Lone Ranger did the tactical and strategy instructions, such as “Hyo Silver,” and Tonto chipped in with helpful observations like, “Not long gone Kimo Sabe. Campfire still warm.”
I have the Tonto part and Sharon is the dogged detective. She loves to do puzzles, figure out stuff, and even works hard at figuring out me.
Sharon knows how to find the ancestors. I contribute by analyzing (or fanticizing} what they and their lives were like. The goal, as the Old Testament prophet Malachi described it is to, “…turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers” (Malachi 4:6).
The first priority is to do for them ordinances they didn’t have the opportunity to do when they were alive, but we also feel it helps us to bond with them, and they with us if we know something about the world they lived in.
In a show Sharon and I do on pioneer songs and stories I sometimes wander off into my fabricated family history. The part about our branch of the family coming from Mount Airy North Carolina is true. Most of rest is as authentic as my imagination could conjure it.
They were mountain williams to use the more formal term. The less formal is hill billies. They were very poor. So poor that they all slept in the same bed. My folks invented the family group sheet.
One day they met the Mormon missionaries. They liked what they heard about the church but grandpa was reluctant. He said “I’m not going to join any church that would have people like me in it.”
Later on he humbled himself, the family joined the church, and they went to Nauvoo Illinois to be with the Saints. Only to find that the Saints had left Nauvoo some 23 years earlier. Grandpa said, “Seems like we’re always late for church. “
Grandpa also said, We can’t even take the train, it’s already gone. See here’s its tracks“
Fortunately there was another train later. They came west and settled around Payson Utah.
A few generations before all this happened the family separated into Hiatts and Hyatts. Apparently the deal was the Hy’s would get the luxury hotels, and the Hi’s the gift of gab, and the humility.
Fair exchange I suppose. I’m not complaining, but as I’ve traveled around the country over the years I’ve sometimes looked up at a big elegant hotel and on the top the bold letters, “Hyatt House.” I’ve pondered, “There but for a Y, go I.”
But, of course, we all owe a great debt to our ancestors. Without them where would we be? Literally.
And no matter how colorful or quixotic our heritage, we are all one big family of brothers and sisters descended from noble parentage, Father Adam, and Mother Eve.
Little Epistle: Smoothing Wrinkles
One of our daughters had a traumatic occurrence recently. Looking in the mirror one morning she saw a wrinkle in her face that had not been there before at least she hadn’t seen it. And she couldn’t find a way to smooth it out.
Knowing how bright and well informed young people are today, I am reluctant to offer counsel on many subjects, but I may be an authority on wrinkles. For a while I called mine smile lines or certifications of deep thinking and mature character. But at this point I am having a hard time selling that package even to myself. They are declarations of the cumulative winters on my head. They also proclaim a skeletal structure which is shrinking and a skin covering that refuses to join in, leaving it with no alternative but to wrinkle and sag.
I might be tempted to have a face lift, but then I would need a neck lift, some leg lifts and maybe even toe skin shrinkage to make the whole package match. Otherwise I would be a youthful face stuck on an ancient carcass.
Probably I’ll just join the distinguished fraternity of Yoda, Abraham Lincoln and King Tut. Lincoln once apologized to his audience that “… I am on this side of my face and you are on that side.”
I should also follow the counsel of my sister Jeanie who has progressed from a beautiful bride to a beautiful grandmother. She says, “I worked hard to get these wrinkles. Why would I want to cover then up?
I have found one secret place to hide my sagging jowls and slack jaw. I pin then to my cheek bones with a smile. This also improves my health and outlook. As old King Solomon counseled, “A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones.” (Proverbs 17:22)
I fancy people saying as I walk by, “Wasn’t that a merry spirited young looking man.”
“Yes, and did you notice how wet his bones were.”
Little Epistle: Changes in the Church
As you probably know there are big changes in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, formerly called by some people the Mormons. And that’s one of the big changes. Now “Mormon” once again refers just to the compiler of the book bearing his name.
Like all changes these require some effort to be accomplished. For those who feel that using the full name of the church is a challenge, I invite you to be sympathetic with my friends the Tongans. That’s where I served my first mission. This is how you say the Church’s name in their language, Koe Siasi o Sisu Kalisi oe kau ma’onioni I he ngaahi aho ki moini.
Take a deep breath before you start on that.
Also as you may know we have combined the high priests with the elders. Our son Matt said, “We now have a quorum of the movers in the shakers.”
Brethren who have been involved in helping families move from one house to another know what he means. Picture a husky young elder hauling out a refrigerator followed by an aged high priest with a quivering stack of doilies each of them doing his best.
Also as you may know men who formerly were home teachers are now ministers, and sisters who were visiting teachers are also ministers. With the new names comes a change in the in the responsibilities. As a home teacher sometimes we brethren were content with visiting the family once a month, checking them off and then forgetting about them until the next month.
There were also some in-house jokes such as the home teacher who was asked by his leader, “Every year you faithfully get 10 out of 12 visits. Could you raise that to 12 visits for 12 months?“
Home teacher says, “Yes I suppose I could, but it would be awkward to go out on Halloween and New Year’s Eve.”
Or the brother boasting, “I always make my visits the first day of the month.”
Another responded, “Oh yeah, well I do mine the day before that.”
Even they were a cut above those who felt that if you saw your family while driving down the road and honked at them you could call that a home teaching visit.
Hopefully those were just jokes.
But today our responsibility is to get to know our families, find out how we can serve them, and pray for guidance from the Spirit to follow through. Everything from mowing lawns and fixing fences to finding sources of financial counsel, visiting them in the hospital, praying for them when hard times strike and giving priesthood blessings. I have done all these. Some took more time and resources than others, but all of them gave me the same feeling in various degrees, that in my small and weak mortal way I was following in the path of the Savior.
As I am learning my trade as a minister, I find that the Lord is involved not only in helping those to whom I minister, but in helping me.
I am still an apprentice working to become a master craftsman, but I can say this. The pay scale even at my level of expertise is spectacular. Basically the equation is if I put in a teaspoon of effort I receive back a bucketful of blessings running over.
I invite your comments and experiences on how you are affecting the ministering program, and how it is affecting you.