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It's been awhile

In Aaron Lewis style: 'It's Been Awhile".

Things have been steady and good.  One of the clients that I have been supporting is finally coming to a close and it will be good to have that project behind me.  A lot of lessons learned.  So work is work.  Currently I am writing from Atlanta.  It was a beautiful day in SLC, and little or no weather implications across the country, yet the plane coming in from Los Angeles had some engine and mechanical problems.  2h30 m later I was on my way to a free overnighter in Atlanta.  The bad thing is there isn't an option to Maine until 2:35 PM and that puts me in after 5 PM.  I should be napping but currently I am unable to sleep.

I was recently asked to speak in church an will be doing so the last Sunday in May.  It is an interesting recurring topic that I have been asked to speak on.  I delivered a topic on the same subject while I was in New Haven Connecticut, Farmville Virginia and now in Logan, Utah.  I suspect someone really wants me to get what I am learning and then relaying across the pulpit.

It was interesting yesterday to see the flurry of young missionaries en masse in the Salt Lake City airport.  It was even more amusing to watch the panic on the faces of these young men and women when they realized they were not going to be making their connections in Atlanta Georgia to proceed to Beunos Aries.  I asked one of them where they were going and who their travel leader was and the response was that guy.  I said in passing, well just make sure he contacts the travel office at the MTC and then only follow the directions provided by that source.  All other options should be ignored, but follow the direction and counsel he received.  While the 30-40 others were like its back to the MTC and as they scurried to march out to the MTC vans that I suspect were not currently there, this young man patiently waited direction from his travel leader.  In the end, there was no return to the MTC, just some patience and maybe a lesson learned for this young man.  HE sat there patiently, received information from his young travel leader and all was well.

The mechanical failure of the engine was annoying.  It was one of those situations where the festering of others was bearing down on me and helping my nerves become unsettled also. It didn't help that every panel in the airport was blasting news of Osama Bin Ladens death nor the fact that allt he speculation and growth of mis-information beginning to be trafficked.  unfortunately there has been a lot of interesting things stated around this gentleman's demise.  He was labelled as the father of terrorism quickly after the 9/11 incident and revers hatred for this man has been festering for nearly a decade.

I share an interesting Facebook thread below:
Shane Livingston
although the death of a certain person may be justified, it doesn't provide license to desecrate the sacredness of life.....i'm witnessing some very disturbing remarks around the news of Bin Laden's death...I was hoping for more out of people...the engine of war is still war... may we be ready for the wrath of a sleeping monster, should it have just been awakened...
Commenter 1 What about the sacredness of life that he had no regard for?


Commenter 2 How does that justify our rejoicing his death?Do two wrongs make a right?


Shane Livingston neither end is justified....D&C 64:10


Commenter 3 We can forgive him as that scripture suggests, but we can also be very grateful that he has been taken off of this earth and can therefore no longer terrorize and murder thousands of innocent people.


Commenter 1 I believe that killing is never right, but also remember when Nephi was commanded to kill Laban. Sometimes it is better for one soul to perish, than to allow him to continue to lead others in wickedness. Don't get me wrong, I don't agree that people should be throwing parties for this. But I do believe they have a right to be happy that a tyrant is dead.


Shane Livingston But Nephi was not celebratory as many are at this point...in fact he belabored and struggled with this decision...i suspect that the shrinking away from the Spirit was not part of this equation, not to mention the pleading with the Lord to not have to take the sword and take his life........unfortunately justification tends to always include blame....it would be sincerely interesting to have a heart to heart with the Savior in this moment....


Shane Livingston it will be interesting to see if newsroom.lds.org posts anything on this in the morning...at this point, I suspect the big 15 to be asleep and I am off to do the same...


Commenter 3 Commenter 1, I believe this is the scripture that you are referring to:
"Behold the Lord slayeth the wicked to bring forth his righteous purposes. It is better that one man should perish than that a nation should dwindle and perish in unbelief." (1 Nephi 4:13)


Commenter 1 I believe that the Savior would be deeply saddened that Bin Laden had made so many bad choices that led to his death. I think He would also be saddened by the number of people Bin Laden ordered killed. 


I am not having a party that Bin Laden is dead, and I'm not agreeing with those who are. I just hope that with the death of their leader, the terrorist will be weakened. And hopefully the war will end. But with all the calamities in the world, we can tell that the signs of the times are being fulfilled.


Commenter 3 Of course He is saddened- He loves all of us and wants us to return to Him, and I am sure it broke his heart a million times over to watch the choices that Bin Laden made as he terrorized, injured, and murdered our (and his) Brothers and Sisters here on the earth. I do believe that the Lord sees some slayings as justified, such as the one discussed in the scripture above, when Nephi was commanded to slay Laban because it was necessary "to bring forth his righteous purposes" and because "it is better that one man should perish than that a nation should dwindle and perish in unbelief". I am not standing on the street throwing a party, but I am definitely relieved that this man who chose to exact so much evil on others is off of the earth, and I am glad that we have sent this message to his fellow terrorists that there are severe consequences for their severe acts of terrorism and mass murder. It may indeed be a sleeping giant awoken, but if that is the case, we will have to deal with it appropriately- certainly we cannot sit by and allow these evil people to kill thousands of people (9/11, etc) without taking action against them. Bin Laden was given the chance to surrender and not be killed- he chose instead to fight and he lost. He has reaped what he has sowed. I, for one, am glad that he can no longer murder innocent people or lead others into destruction.


Shane Livingston What I also find interesting in the reference to Nephi and reviewing his personal battle and then following the constraints of the Spirit and the personal revelation he received specific to the Laban encounter is that this was still according to the Mosaic Law....One of the 10 commandments is "thou shall not kill"...Note, the only exemption I have come across is the Nephi Chapter 4 experience....we are then instructed further by the Savior during His mortal ministry during the Sermon on the Mount (Jerusalem) and then as a resurrected being during the Sermon at the Temple (America's 3 Nephi 11- 27) we are instructed to follow a higher law and to turn the other cheek, and further "Therefore I would that ye should be perfect even as I, or your Father who is in heaven is perfect." (3 Nephi 12:48). we all view things through different lenses and those are generally tempered by experience and other things witnessed in the first person or through shared experiences. I have come to observe similar to an old friend that when justification is present typically blame is fueling said justification..... The gospel of Jesus Christ is for everyone, and we are each agents that choose freely and we alone determine our outcomes....was the death of this man justified, most likely yes, are the flagrant remarks that go beyond gratitude, most likely no...I am keenly aware of the various gospel principles and stories centered around war, liberty, and forgiveness....I post this video link that demonstrates how someone provides a strong example of forgiveness, and may it be a poignant reminder of how we are requested to 'bridle' our passions (emotions): (link in next comment thread). my hope is that humanity yields itself to a higher standard, reaching toward the heavens like we once so that those brave men and women that surrender their own lives may be protected by those that are making righteous and just decisions......time to go through TSA security...gotta run...cheers! I will be speaking in sacrament meeting on the 5th Sunday of May for those that may be interested :)


Shane Livingston http://lds.org/ldsorg/v/index.jsp?locale=0&vgnextoid=bd163ca6e9aa3210VgnVCM1000003a94610aRCRD&channelId=bd163ca6e9aa3210VgnVCM1000003a94610aRCRD&sourceId=674240dcb9d1a210VgnVCM100000176f620a____




Commenter 3 You said "we are instructed to follow a higher law and to turn the other cheek". (Since when are you anti-war?) We are not supposed to turn the other cheek in every situation-- why then did Christ not turn the other cheek at the moneychangers in the temple? We can NOT stand by and allow this evil man to organize and carry out acts of terror and murder on us and our fellow Americans, and then just "turn the other cheek" and allow it to keep happening. Justice needs to be done, and evil needs to be stopped. If all we are supposed to do is turn the other cheek and take no action, then why does the church take positions on moral grounds? Why does it make official statements to try to stop the wrongs occurring in the world, such as gay marriage and those acts of terror committed upon other churches a few years ago? To stop the evil, rather than just standing idly by, turning the other cheek and allowing it to continue in the name of "forgiveness". Forgiveness can be done, and should be done, but that doesn't mean that we shouldn't take action to stop the evil behavior of others. I will repeat-- I am glad that this man is off of the earth so that he cannot carry out any more acts of terror and murder on others. And I am thankful for our brave military servicemen and women who courageously carried out this and all of the other missions to protect us, our families, and our fellow Americans and prevent further attacks organized by this ruthless, evil man.


Commenter 4 ?"When it goeth well with the righteous, the city rejoiceth: and when the wicked perish, there is shouting." -Proverbs11:10


Commenter 5 if it makes any difference, they did want him alive, but of course Bin Laden wouldn't come quietly, I to am grateful for his end of terror, and hope against hope that nothing will happen as a retribution from the Taliban, it is still intact and someone knew will step into the #1 position, just like int he chapters you all were referring to, as one lamanite king died another more vicious than the first rose up, get ready people it's gonna get crazy!!!!!!!!


So anyway.  I think the above thread really illicits many of the things I may highlight in my upcoming sacrament talk.  It is interesting how so commonly justification is fuled by blame and are almost twins in that regard.  Sure it is a good thing that an evil man has been removed from his station, but to celebrate in the fashion that many are doing at this time is ridiculous, disturbing and un-American as it were.  In many senses it is very hypocritical.  Sure our faiths are different, and the man was a radical not accepted by his own kind, but our country was founded on the principals of being able to believe what one will and practice that belief in their manner.  As he broke laws, that justice was in turn determined to be fulfilled and satisfied.  To this end his death has done just that.  I am concerned however that the reactions of many only demonstrate a hatred they so willfully despised in this man, but have failed to look into self to discover there is cleansing of the inner vessel that needs to occur internally.  I have a friend that stated that he wished that he was taken alive so we could torture him and place him in the public arena for a sensible 'flogging' as it were.   Although this approach seems desirable, it goes well beyond bridling ones passions and showing a respect to the sacredness of life.  This is a difficult topic I suppose, but what is alarming to me is to find those that subscribe to the Gospel of Jesus Christ to have such divers opinions and dogmatic forks and view points.

many different view points were cited in the above thread.  But if you whittle things down.  First in the 10 commandments we are directed : "Thou Shall Not Kill".  Later in the following books of the Law or Septanguint we are delivered certain exemptions and exceptions through Biblical situations.  In the New Testament we are instructed by Jesus Christ to follow a higher standard and law and to love our neighbors, enemies and those that hate us or despite fully use us.  This is echoed later in Jesus Christ visit in America in the Book of Mormon where he further states the same thing and invites us to be perfect as he is and his father who is in Heaven.  In Christ the Mosaic Law was fulfilled and higher standards were presented.  Through the restoration of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, the restoration of the authority of the Priesthood, or power to act in Gos's name or behalf, and the ability to worship and and do temple work, we are requested and covenant to maintain and follow these requests from the Savior.   We are requested to bridle our passions (emotions) but oft-times forget about that.  We have received counsel through the current Apostles in recent General Conference addresses that making decisions during the crucible of fire is often difficult, and careful preparation and practice will better help us make character refining choices in the crucible.  I guess I just have a different lens on this.  Yss, I am anti war, and yes I would also protect my own family.    It is interesting to note that during all the distress that Joseph Smith encountered, it seems to me he insured that it was directed directly at him and not his family. I am sure there are things that I don't know that occurred that may have placed JS in direct conflict with the requested standards, but that is why life is an iterative process and that repentance is an option for us and the Atonement is there to cleanse us of those mistakes or sins.

In the end, I would like to see people carry on.  See this as a mission accomplished and be ready for any subsequent fall out from those that heralded this man as something to be revered instead of hated.  I am hoping that humanity can come together and learn from each other, but I know it is to be quite different from that, but is it wrong to hope?  I don't think so.  I am hoping that there continue to be enough people that make righteous choices in the context and understanding of the gospel of Jesus Christ so that those young men and women that provide military service may be protected while in harms way.  I hope they understand the service they provide is appreciated and that we may demonstrate that respect by glorifying the positive as opposed to celebrating incorrectly or without respect.

I now close my rant for now....

To the Next!



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