Wednesday, August 24, 2011


I have set up a new blog for my study journal and it seems to be working. For all future entries, go to I won't be posting on this site any more.


Sunday, August 21, 2011


While reading the Book of Mormon in the temple last December, I felt the Spirit in a particularly strong manner. I was assigned to the recommend desk which lends itself to some reading and meditation. I opened to Mosiah 18 in my guided meanderings and read the last part of the second verse which came to me with great spiritual force. I noted that Alma, in a single sentence listed the five necessary elements of the atonement at least as to the Savior's role:
1. The power, 2. The sufferings (plural), 3. The death, 4. The resurrection, 5. The ascension of Christ.

No one of these elements were adequate for the completion of the redemption. The missing element is what I must do for my own redemption.

Look at each element individually:

1. Power. My impression is that at Gethsemane and Calvary, He did not yet have all power given unto him. He did have power to perform miracles and forgive sins. He even had the power to lay down his life and to take it up again (John 10:17-18). On the cross he knew when the time was right and he shouted with a loud voice, "It is finished." "Father, into thy hands I commit my spirit," and he gave up the ghost. On the third day he was resurrected. With that power, why couldn't he just lie down and die, then three days later rise again and skip all the rest of it? Obviously, even with all that power, power, in itself was not enough.

2. Sufferings. Some have assumed that he suffered on Gethsemane because he knew his death was imminent. Yet we know he did not fear death; even as painful as death on a cross. Many people died on crosses, but they did not agonize over it to the point of bleeding from every pore.

His suffering was sufficient to pay for all our sins, pains sorrows, sicknesses and infirmities that we may be made whole if we would repent (Alma 7:11). It was suffering so great that it caused Christ, the greatest of all, to suffer both body and spirit. Pain that would be beyond anything we would ever have the capacity to endure as mortals (D&C 19:15-20). We note that the term in this verse is plural. I think both because what he endured was infinite and for all of mankind and because it was suffered both on Gethsemane and again on the cross.

3. Death. Elijah, Moses, John and the Three Nephites were transfigured rather than tasting death. Christ was transfigured before Peter, James and John, but chose to return to his mortal state and die. He had power to lay down his life and to take it up again, yet he chose to allow one the most ignominious methods of death. Death on the cross which was preceded by sham trials, scourging, humiliation, physical deprivation and exertion. He was affixed to the cross by spikes driven through his hands, wrists, and feet where the nervous systems converge to result in maximum pain and a slow, tortuous death. He was not alone in this as all who were crucified died in a similar manner. The point is that he could have avoided it, but chose not to. Why, we do not know entirely. We know that it was prophesied that his hands would be pierced. He prophesied in the book of John that he would be crucified. It was a very public event, so there were many witnesses to his death. It exacerbated suffering that began in Gethsemane. But in the end we only know that it was necessary.

But power, sufferings, and death were not enough to redeem mankind. "My God, my God why hast Thou forsaken me?" The climax of his suffering - he had to "...tread the wine press alone..." "It is finished." And death came as he allowed his Godliness to finally give way to his humanness and his heart literally broke as the necessary conclusion to the final sacrifice.

4. Resurrection. Having descended below all things through his sufferings and death, the resurrection was the necessary next step. "For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive." I Cor. 15:22 The transgression of Adam and Eve allowed for bodies to become mortal with our spirits to inhabit them, but they are subject to corruption and death. Prior to the fall there was no sickness, no injury, no aging, no sin and no death. The fullness of the atonement, the resurrection, redeemed mankind from all those maladies upon condition of our repentance and submission to the will of God.

Our own resurrection will result from that of Christ. Our corruptible bodies will be transformed in an incorruptible form. I Cor. 15:42

Our sins produce the separation of man (ourselves) from God - our spiritual death. The resurrection allows for our repentance and reconciliation with God. "For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ, our Lord." Rom. 6:23 To accomplish that a final sacrifice was necessary. Not an animal sacrifice or even a human sacrifice, but an infinite and eternal sacrifice of the Son of God. Alma 34:9-15 The sacrifice culminated in Christ's resurrection, the result of which allows us hope for eternal life through faith in Him.

5. The Ascension. Yet even the resurrection of Christ did not complete the atonement. It was necessary that Christ ascend into heaven. If he remained on the earth, less faith would be required, no person would be called upon to sacrifice in service as Christ would lead the Church and perform the miracles.

The scriptures indicate that a second coming is prophesied, but for now we live in his absence. His perfection required that he be in the presence of God the Father where no unclean thing can dwell and that He no longer dwell with man whose physical, imperfect state would be consumed in His perfect presence. There He shall reign in mighty power according to the will of the Father until he returns in glory. D&C 20:24

6. Our Redemption. Thus, the Atonement required all five elements: the power, sufferings, death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus Christ. It is His redeeming power that gives us hope to someday be with Him - perfected, purified and holy. The sixth element is our own efforts in becoming the persons who would be comfortable in His eternal presence. D&C 88:22. In the April 2011 Conference, Elder D. Todd Christopherson stated, "In all of this, God’s purpose is that we, His children, may be able to experience ultimate joy, to be with Him eternally, and to become even as He is. Some years ago Elder Dallin H. Oaks explained: 'The Final Judgment is not just an evaluation of a sum total of good and evil acts—what we have done. It is an acknowledgment of the final effect of our acts and thoughts—what we have become.'" That "becoming" I have discovered is a lifetime quest.

My Thoughts from My Study Journal

I have been writing in my study journal that I received from Hannah for Christmas. I like the makeup of the book very much because it contains plenty of space for writing and indexing what you write. The problem is that I can't even read what I write. We picked up a little quote in Philadelphia on our family trip in the '90's that we have framed. It is from Benjamin Franklin:
"If you would not be forgotten after you are dead and rotten, write something worth the reading or do something worth the writing." I don't pretend to be so profound as to not be forgotten, but after I am dead and rotten, it would be nice if someone wanted to do so, that they could actually read what I had written.

I tried to start another blog, but because it is generated from the same computer, it picked up the information on this site and I fear it will interfere with this one and change the profile and name, so I guess I will have to just use this one. So watch this space if you are interested.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Our annual post

Well, it has been a year since Brad posted to this blog. I was in American Fork helping Hannah when Norah Jane was born. Now I'm back here and will be here for Norah Jane's first birthday on the 10th. Hannah and Maisy have pneumonia, Laurel has been running a fever, and Norah has a bad ear infection. Yesterday after talking to Hannah on the phone and realizing that she was not getting better I decided to fly here and help so she could get some rest and recuperate. Brad is always so supportive and a good sport to take care of himself while I'm gone.

We are so blessed to live in a country where we can travel wherever we wish at a moments notice. I hope we always have this freedom. I'm so thankful I am available to help when needed.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Anticipating a New One - Welcome Norah

Olivia left not long after stake conference and dinner with Jordan, Ruth and Massey, today.
she will stay with Grandma Dahl tonight then go to American Fork, UT tomorrow. On Tuesday we expect that our newest grandchild will be born. Hannah will have her hands full right away. Her twins just turned one year old in January, so she will have three who depend almost entirely upon her. Luckily, Mom can stay for a few weeks and Jeff's parents are close. Also, Cedric and Sarah; and Micah and Camille are close and very attentive, as well.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Happiest of Holidays at Stonehill

It was a magical Christmas to say the very least. The entire family was there for Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and the day after. These pictures were taken by Eden Thome, one of Anderson, Dorn & Rader's employees and a good friend. She is an amateur photographer and did a superb job on the family as a whole and the individual shots, as well.

Olivia said the days were like Girls' Camp for her where you prepare a meal, clean it up and start preparing for the next meal, but there was lots of help and it went quickly. We had so much good food, good entertainment, good gifts, good conversation and good company that the time flew by.

Christmas Eve, we held our annual family talent sharing and show. Tavan's family sang an original song; Britta and Dallin played a duet on the piano and the family sang a Christmas song; Hannah and Jeff read a story (if I remember right); Micah was hoarse, but had good intentions; Jordan read "Visit from St. Nicholas," as is his annual duty, then Ruth played a Christmas song on the piano; Cedric had a new story that he illustrated in color and presented with PowerPoint; Grandma introduced us to a new Christmas carol; and Grandpa had everyone participate in an activity poem. It was a very fun evening.

Every family had a Christmas tree in their room, so Christmas morning we each exchanged gifts in our rooms, then went upstairs for a great breakfast. After breakfast we gathered around the little Christmas forest in the great room and exchanged gifts with each other. Grandpa read an adventure story about the children in the room under the stairs and Grandma handed each grandchild a present that contained a copy of the story and either a stuffed animal or a quilt that depicted a character in the story.

The rest of the weekend was like a cruise ship with nonstop activities and abundant food of the highest quality. We had a white Christmas in Washoe County, so the sledding hill to the side of the house got lots of use. We all tried out our new presents (including the shotgun Olivia got); watched movies; played exciting, come-from-behind-to-win Cranium games, played with the babies and generated a record amount of garbage that had to be taken to the bottom of the hill by ATV so the garbage truck would take it away.

Micah's, Hannah's and, of course, Jordan's families were still here for the New Year's Eve party. To make it even more fun, the Familia Garcia joined us for the evening. They had to leave before seeing in the New Year, but they let Esther and Raquel spend the night, so they helped us usher in 2009. They made gingerbread houses, played every kind of game, watched a movie, participated in a treasure hunt and, since the city would not have a fireworks display this year, many individual families did and we watched them all from the balcony. These special girls make everywhere they are someplace special and we have loved having them in our home.

Gradually, each family began to leave and with them part of our hearts. The last family left this morning and we now face a very quiet and empty house. In a way, you could get used to that, but how we miss everyone!

We wish our families, friends and loved ones everywhere the happiest, most rewarding (in every way) 2009!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

It's Halloween

Nigel has come to visit for 12 days and he needed to see how Massey was dressing for Halloween. At first he was looking for his trusty musket, but got used to the idea that he was in the same room with a lion. Tonight he talked to his mom and dad on the Skype program. He waved and kissed and high-fived them. It was cute and kind of heart rending. They should know that he LOVED church today and charmed all the 12 - 24-month old girls. He is a happy boy and spreads the joy wherever he goes. We are learning the difference between being 30-year old parents and 60-year old parents. Really, we are loving it!