A Sacred Home

Our front room used to just be another room.

Only the home can compare with the temple in sacredness.

Bible Dictionary: Temple

The front room of our house looks like an ordinary front room that you may find in any number of homes. It has some moderately comfortable couches, a second hand piano that the kids practice on somewhat diligently, and some standard Ikea furniture. It was just another room in our home until a few weeks ago when life changed and we started staying at home because of the coronavirus. Since we have been at home, this seemingly ordinary room has transformed into a sacred place — a place where my family has felt the Spirit, worshiped Jesus Christ, sung hymns, and learned the gospel.

When we first viewed our home, our realtor jokingly referred to the front room as the “meet the preacher” room. Little did he know that this room would eventually become the nucleus of our home-centered worship. Since we have lived here we have held our weekly Family Home Evening lessons in this room. Even when there were no couches, piano, or Ikea furniture, we held our lessons in this room.

When members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints were told that we would not be holding in-person church services because of COVID-19, the purpose of this little room changed. It was elevated in our minds from our family home evening room to our sacrament meeting room. We started spending careful time on Saturdays making sure it was clean. We dusted more often. We cleaned the windows. We made space for our family to partake of the sacrament.

On the first week that we gathered as a family to partake of the sacrament in our front room, we sang a song, had an opening prayer and then I administered the sacrament to my family. As I was blessing the emblems, I felt the cleansing, sanctifying influence of the Holy Ghost come into that little front room. The children were still. The peace that attends sacred places was present in that room. Every week since, as I have knelt at our little sacrament table, I have felt that same spirit.

Our children have also sensed the change in our home. They have been prepared for our Sunday services. They have each, on separate occasions, found their way to the front room on Sunday morning to sit and be quiet. Sometimes they will sit with each other. I believe that their innocent spirits are sensitive to the Holy Ghost and enjoy being in places where He is.

I want to have that spirit in my home all of the time! How do I accomplish this? I believe the statement from the Bible Dictionary quoted earlier is true — the home compares with the temple in sacredness. So what steps can we take to make it that way all the time? Elder Gary E. Stevenson taught the following:

Imagine that you are opening your front door and walking inside your home. What do you see, and how do you feel? Is it a place of love, peace, and refuge from the world, as is the temple? Is it clean and orderly? As you walk through the rooms of your home, do you see uplifting images which include appropriate pictures of the temple and the Savior? Is your bedroom or sleeping area a place for personal prayer? Is your gathering area or kitchen a place where food is prepared and enjoyed together, allowing uplifting conversation and family time? Are scriptures found in a room where the family can study, pray, and learn together? Can you find your personal gospel study space? Does the music you hear or the entertainment you see, online or otherwise, offend the Spirit? Is the conversation uplifting and without contention?

Sacred Homes, Sacred Temples, Elder Gary E. Stevenson, April 2009

All the things we put into our home, especially the activities we choose to engage in and the way we spend our time either invite or discourage the Spirit from being in our homes.

As we, individually and in our families, consistently point our attention to Jesus Christ, our homes can be sacred places. As we exercise our faith and continually repent, the Holy Ghost will be in our homes. Will they always be quiet and peaceful sacred places? No! They are sacred laboratories. Things sometimes go wrong in these sacred places. Sometimes they are loud! They are still inhabited by imperfect people. However, as we turn our eyes to the Savior and let His light fill us, we can allow the Spirit to sanctify our homes. They can become refuges from the storms of life. They can be filled with the Spirit of God.

Review: The Case for Christ

I thoroughly enjoyed listening to this book. I appreciated the level of detail that Mr Strobel uses in presenting the material. It was approachable for someone who hasn’t spent time examining original academic sources but was in depth enough to explain those sources in a clear and convincing way.

I am a Christian and a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Later-day Saints. I was taught by my parents to believe in Christ and I don’t recall a time that I didn’t believe. This book confirmed my faith in Christ and helped to cement in my mind some of the intellectual reasons for my faith. I believe in studying things intellectually and looking for the truth in all of the evidence. I appreciated this book as an introduction to the historical evidence for Christ.

I would love to see Mr Strobel produce a book that examines the claims of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints with the same rigor that he examines Christ in this book. He has a few paragraphs in this book where he offhandedly discounts the claims of the Latter-day Saints. While I trusted his presentation of expertise on topics related directly to Christ’s historicity, that set of paragraphs cast doubt in my mind about how truly unbiased he was in his approach.

The Holy Ghost Helps Me Feel Love, Joy, and Peace

Eliza Arnesen – Primary – Sep 2019

My topic is “The Holy Ghost helps me feel love, joy and peace.” In Galatians 5:22-23 it says, “But the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.”

This means that the Spirit brings these great things into our lives.

I would like to share a story of something that happened yesterday morning. Yesterday I realized I had two CTR rings and my brother James didn’t have any. He asked me for one, but I said no. I decided I should be Christlike. The Holy Ghost helped me feel love for James.

I decided to give a CTR ring to him. I made a treasure hunt for him to find it. My brother James loved it. My heart felt so happy. I know that feeling came from the Holy Ghost. The Holy Ghost told me I made the right choice.

The Treasure Map

I’d like to bear my testimony that I know we can make right choices and that the Holy Ghost can help us feel love, joy and peace.

In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

The House by the Side of the Road

 THERE are hermit souls that live withdrawn
In the place of their self-content;
There are souls like stars, that dwell apart,
In a fellowless firmament;
There are pioneer souls that blaze the paths
Where highways never ran-
But let me live by the side of the road
And be a friend to man.

Let me live in a house by the side of the road
Where the race of men go by-
The men who are good and the men who are bad,
As good and as bad as I.
I would not sit in the scorner's seat
Nor hurl the cynic's ban-
Let me live in a house by the side of the road
And be a friend to man.

I see from my house by the side of the road
By the side of the highway of life,
The men who press with the ardor of hope,
The men who are faint with the strife,
But I turn not away from their smiles and tears,
Both parts of an infinite plan-
Let me live in a house by the side of the road
And be a friend to man.

I know there are brook-gladdened meadows ahead,
And mountains of wearisome height;
That the road passes on through the long afternoon
And stretches away to the night.
And still I rejoice when the travelers rejoice
And weep with the strangers that moan,
Nor live in my house by the side of the road
Like a man who dwells alone.

Let me live in my house by the side of the road,
Where the race of men go by-
They are good, they are bad, they are weak, they are strong,
Wise, foolish - so am I.
Then why should I sit in the scorner's seat,
Or hurl the cynic's ban?
Let me live in my house by the side of the road
And be a friend to man.
Sam Walter Foss
June 19, 1858 – February 26, 1911

I love the sentiment in this poem. I aspire to be like the speaker in this poem. We live in a world where isolation is becoming more and more the norm. We could use more people that simply are a “friend to man.” We need fewer who take the easy road of “sit[ting] in the scorner’s seat” and more who realize that “[we] are good, [we] are bad, [we] are weak, [we] are strong.”

“Bliss is Normal”

“Anyone who imagines that bliss is normal is going to waste a lot of time running around shouting that he’s been robbed. The fact is that most putts don’t drop. Most beef is tough. Most children grow up to be just ordinary people. Most successful marriages require a high degree of mutual toleration. Most jobs are more often dull than otherwise. . . .


“Life is like an old-time rail journey—delays, sidetracks, smoke, dust, cinders, and jolts, interspersed only occasionally by beautiful vistas and thrilling bursts of speed. The trick is to thank the Lord for letting you have the ride.”

Jenkin Lloyd Jones (Quoted by Gordon B. Hinckley in “A Conversation with Single Adults“)

Valid Points From Both Sides Justify a Delay of Confirmation of Judge Kavanaugh

I probably spent way too much time today watching the Kavanaugh confirmation hearing. I watched the entire hearing with Dr Ford and then the entire hearing with Judge Kavanaugh. I know that this has been discussed from virtually every angle imaginable. I simply have two thoughts to share. There were valid points made by both Democrats and Republicans at today’s hearing. After today’s hearing, I believe the right thing for the senate to do, and by implication the Republican majority which controls the process, is to delay the confirmation for one week to allow for corroborating or exculpatory evidence to be discovered.  

Judge Kavanaugh and Dr Ford both testified under oath to the Senate Judiciary Committee. (Image credit NBCWashington.com)

Valid Points

Both Democrats and Republicans on the Judiciary Committee made valid and important points about content and procedure in today’s hearing. Some of those points are (summarized by me) as follows:

  • Victims of sexual assault deserve to be heard.
  • Serious allegations deserve to be investigated.
  • Republicans are over eager to rush a confirmation given the seriousness of allegations leveled against Judge Kavanaugh.
  • Democrats need to transparently explain why they sat on this information instead of immediately bringing it to the hearing either in closed or open session. 

Democrats are rightfully indignant over the majority’s desire to rush through this confirmation without asking for FBI investigation of Dr Ford’s allegations. Republicans’ response to this call tended to be along the lines of “the FBI will just produce a report for us to read” or “the FBI doesn’t determine guilt.” These are true, but I find it troubling that the majority is not even willing to entertain finding more evidence through this means. The committee should want to find the truth. It should use every means necessary to find that truth. And Judge Kavanaugh should, and I believe would, cooperate. 

Republicans are also rightfully frustrated, as I see it, with the minority’s apparent lack of action. If the Democrats really cared about getting to the truth, why wait until the last minute to share the information? Why not call for an immediate investigation as soon as evidence was first presented? Why not question Judge Kavanaugh immediately on finding this evidence? Why would you help Dr Ford to find a lawyer and wait to share the information that these allegations existed? It does seem that there is at least some degree of political theater going on here. 

These are absolutely serious allegations. A person that has sexually assaulted anyone should not sit on the supreme court (or serve in any position in our government for that matter). 

While we should take serious allegations seriously, we must take care to determine when an allegation is credible.Spurious allegations of wrong doing should not be allowed to destroy the lives of honest, good, women and men. This responsibility rests on all of us: the American people, elected leaders, and the press.

A Delay

Given the seriousness of the allegations and the evidence that was presented in today’s hearing, I believe it is the right thing to do to delay the proceedings for a week to allow for a more thorough, non-partisan, investigation to take place. Directing the FBI to investigate and provide a report is in everyone’s best interest. The American people benefit by seeing our elected leaders care more about the truth than about their agenda. We benefit by preserving the integrity of the court.

An investigation will presumably discover corroborating or exculpatory evidence about these allegations. Corroborating evidence benefits Democrats by allowing them to be the public advocates for Dr Ford as a victim of sexual assault. It benefits Republicans in the same way and also allows them to take the moral high ground and tell the story of how they preserved the credibility of the Supreme Court. Exculpatory evidence benefits Republicans by allowing them to have a more sound footing for their confirmation of Judge Kavanaugh as well as to use the moral high ground narrative. It benefits Democrats similarly but in addition allows them to still take the position of advocates for Dr Ford.

Dr Ford and Judge Kavanaugh both benefit from truth that may be discovered by a delay and investigation. Although an investigation may reveal further truths that are damaging to them in the short term, in the long term the truth is better than a lie for either party. 

Humility

At the end of the day, this hearing and this confirmation reflect our collective character as Americans. I think that Senator Flake said it best when he said (addressing Judge Kavanaugh):

I am sorry for what has happened to you and your family as I am sorry for what has happened to her’s. This is not a good process but it’s all we’ve got. I would just urge my colleagues to recognize that in the end we are 21 very imperfect senators trying to do our best to provide advice and consent.

In the end there is likely to be as much doubt as certainty going out of this room today. As we make decisions going forward I hope that people will recognize that and in the rhetoric that we use and the language that we use going forward that we’ll recognize that, that there is doubt, we’ll never move beyond that. And just have a little humility on that front. 

C-SPAN Full Hearing Video – Senator Flake (Emphasis added)

In the end, it will require deep humility on the part of both Republicans and Democrats to take the right actions in this confirmation process. Each side needs to admit its mistakes and commit to moving forward in an appropriate, respectful, careful, manner.