The Savior's Song of Redeeming Love

By Appreciable Goodfaithpoet

Music lives in every heart,
It sings in every spirit,
Each soul deserves this godly art,
Each ear deserves to hear it.

I want each person on this earth,
And those who soon will be,
To feel the freedom like new birth,
Your song has given me.


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-Appreciable Goodfaithpoet

Tiny Coffins

By Apprecaible Goodfaithpoet

I feel that caskets shouldn't have to be
Made small enough to hold a child
These coffins really trouble me
For ones so young, and meek and mild

Why must these children die so young?
And why must we loose these little ones?
What painful songs hurting hearts have sung
While grief like a river through their home runs

Yet, the answer spoken in my soul
Brings peacefulness to my weary mind
And out of a heart that with sorrow is full
I thank God for the plan he designed

There's no good reason that children die
Yet it happens often on this flawed earth
Causing heavy hearts to sadly sigh
Who've loved these children from before their birth

And the Children's laughter continues on
In a realm of peace and joy and rest
It only seems like they are gone
Yet, really, we're gone from the place that is best

Though it's hard when little ones leave in their youth
I thank God to know that these children are free
I'm so thankful to know this wonderful truth
And ask strength now to cope with my jealousy.


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-Appreciable Goodfaithpoet

The true meaning of Easter?

Picture by Liba Dilla
Words by Appreciable Goodfaithpoet

One Easter my wife spent a considerable amount of time teaching our children the true meaning of Easter. After a question and answer session the day before Easter my wife felt that our oldest Daughter was ready. Easter came and my oldest Daughter received all of the fun things from the Easter bunny. She must have become a little confused at the same time about the lesson her Mother had been so carefully teaching her. After the mornings activities my Wife wanted to show me what a great teaching job she had done with our Daughter. As we were all sitting in the living room eating candy my Wife asked my Daughter, "What does Easter mean?" My Daughter then said very sincerely with great enthusiasm, "Jesus died for us... So that we could get lots of candy."

The Fork is mightier than the sword

Picture by Liba Dilla
Words by Appreciable Goodfaithpoet

My five-year-old son was so excited for his first field trip. His kindergarten class was going to Antelope Island. I was able to go along with them. While
Riding the bus on the way to Antelope Island. My son asked, “What will it be like?” I replied, “There will not be many trees and it will be windy and we might be able to see a beach and some buffalo.” “Can I eat one?” my son asked. I said, “We would need to kill a Buffalo in order to eat it and we didn’t bring any weapons.” My son lamented, “Oh! Why didn’t you bring a fork?!”

Doing the Right Thing

By Appreciable Goodfaithpoet

In order to have integrity we must be willing to die for it. To do what is right we must overcome the fear of death, pain and rejection. If I am determined not to steal, will my resolve include even stealing food if I am dying of starvation? In the case of starvation I would need to be more determined to endure pain from starvation even to the point of death if I am to follow through on my moral convictions. As I ponder my decision to refrain from stealing I may ponder the social constraints that stop me from committing this crime. I may reason that society will not think ill of me for my crime because I am also saving a life at the same time.
Imagine that you are the driver in a race and you loose control and spin out on the race track. If you were to regain control one second before impact and were limited to the following three choices, which would you choose? Choice number one would be to turn right and hit the concrete wall and thus destroy your car and die in the process. Choice number two would be to continue straight ahead and hit the end of a metal guard-rail and thus save your own life while destroying your car. Choice number three would be to steer the vehicle left and into the crown of spectators who have gathered to watch the event, thus saving your own life and your car and yet killing six or seven of the fans. What would you decide in the small amount of time that you would have?
Many decisions do not come with adequate time to ponder and reflect on the ethical merits of the decisions. In situations like war, one of the biggest tendencies is to just go through with the directions that you have been given with the excuse that there was not time to think about things because if you did you could have been killed yourself. In times of war indecision can be fatal; yet, is that fact an adequate reason for choosing choice number three from the race car driver example?
When we examine the life of Socrates we see a man who was willing, without question, to die for what he believed in. Socrates did have the luxury of sitting in his jail cell for some time, and then after a night of peaceful sleep to discuss his impending execution and the possibility of escape in a rational way with his friend. However, there were moral principles, values and beliefs at play in the heart of Socrates that had been refined for decades. These moments in life do not build the character of the participants so much as they reveal the character of the participants. This process is described very well in the following poem by Edgar A. Guest:

By Edgar A. Guest
Courage Isn't a brilliant dash,
A daring deed in a moment's flash;
It Isn't an instantaneous thing
Born of despair with a sudden spring;

It Isn't a creature of flickered hope
Or the final tug at a slipping rope;
But it's something deep in the soul of man
That is working always to serve some plan.

Courage Isn't the last resort
In the work of life or the game of sport;
It Isn't a thing that man can call
At some future time when he's apt to fall;

If he hasn't it now, he will have it not
When the strain is great and the pace is hot;
For who would strive for a distant goal
Must always have courage within his soul.

Brutal behavior during war as well as courageous action, demonstrate that the time of preparation in exercising sound and good moral judgment, must be cultivated long before the time of need arises. May God strengthen me in my willingness to die rather than to do evil. I hope that in the future, I will not feel the pressure of time constraints or fall into error because of the terror of experiencing death.

Eternal Joy

By Appreciable Goodfaithpoet

Standing in the twilight with you
Seeing the temple as though it were new

With glowing lights adorning its face
I thank God for such a wonderful place

The beauty of heaven has come to the earth
Helping us see our own special worth

I feel so much peace from our father above
And to you I offer my heart full of love

My sweetheart forever I hope and I pray
That I'll always remember the joy of this day

I will always obey the spirit's soft voice
I will stand with you always for this is my choice

I'm so grateful we entered the Lord's Temple doors
For throughout all the ages my darling, I'm yours.

So much love

Picture by Liba Dilla
Words by Appreciable Goodfaithpoet

Today my daughter said, "I love you sooooooooo much." Then she disappeared for a few minutes and then reappeared with her solar powered electronic play cash register. The display was full of numbers as my daughter held it up and said, "This is how much I love you... and that's a lot."

Frontier Marriages - How old were you when you tied the knot?

Although the shotgun wedding may be the first thing that comes to mind with the phrase frontier marriage, they are not synonyms. First of all, a shotgun wedding is an American colloquialism that describes a marriage where the participants wed to avoid the embarrassment of an unplanned pregnancy. The idea being that the father of the bride has to hold a shotgun to the future husband's head in order to ensure he makes his wedding vows. While shotgun weddings assuredly occurred as likely on the frontier as in the old south, the subject of this post is to give a glimpse at the marriage age on the frontier.

In 1830, when the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was organized, the Northwest Territory (organized in 1787 and encompassing the states of Ohio, Indiana, Wisconsin, Michigan and Illinois) was undergoing a massive change due to emigrants and religious fervor. While Ohio had received many new settlers, Michigan from 1830 to 1837 was the most popular destination for westward-moving pioneers. Interestingly enough, Michigan even had a pioneer song called the Emigrant's Song which was published in a Detroit paper in 1831. The words are below:

Come all ye Yankee Farmers, Who'd like to change your lot,
Who've spunk enough to travel Beyond your native spot,
And leave behind the village Where Pa' and Ma' do stay,
Come follow me and settle In Michigania.

What country ever growed up So great in little time,
Just popping from the nurs'ry Right into like its prime;
When Uncle Sam did wean her, 'Twas but the other day,
And now she's quite a Lady, This Michigania.

Then come ye Yankee Farmers, Who've mettle hearts like me,
And elbow-grease in plenty, To bow the forest tree;
Come take a "Quarter Section," And I'll be bound you'll say,
This country takes the rag off, This Michigania.

Mormon pioneers didn't head out west until 1847 although they did end up in Ohio and later in Illinois for a time from 1839 to 1846. The urge to move west was strong throughout the eastern states.

Now back to frontier marriage. From a book called Michigan: A history of the Wolverine State comes the following information about frontier marriage:

Social occasions found young people engaged in the age-old quest for a
mate. Although the girls frequently sang a little ditty that announced,

I am too young, I am not fit,
I cannot leave my mamma yit,

they often said yes at the age of fourteen or fifteen if the right young
man popped the question. Weddings were big events on the frontier, occasions for
visiting, feasting, drinking, and making merry. Following the ceremony the young
couple was serenaded with all sorts of noisemaking paraphernalia a night or two
after the wedding. This was called a "shiver-ee."

The ditty mentioned above comes from a short song called Thus the Farmer Shows his Seeds. In its entirety it goes like this:


Come, my love, and go with me,
And I will take good care of thee. I am
too young, I am not fit,
I cannot leave my mamma yit.
You're old enough,
you are just right
I asked your mamma last Saturday night.

Of course the song is interesting; however, of more interest is the marriage age of 14 or 15. I've had a few questions about the age of Mormon's being wed during the early period of the Church. On the frontier, where the Mormon Church was located, marriage at such a young age was the norm. Early age marriage had more to do with living on the frontier than anything else.

Today, of course, most states have marriage laws that in 1976 allowed 16 year olds to be married without the consent of an adult; however, by 2003 48 states set the marriage age at 18, while Nebraska has it at 19 and Mississippi at 21. One interesting note comparing Utah to the US, in 1990 the average age of a first marriage in Utah was 21 for both men and women, while nationally the average age of a first marriage was 23.9 for women and 25.9 for men.

One final thought, when you search for marriage the article starts with Red Flags in your Marriage and Crash and Burn Predictors. What a way to start a marriage article, perhaps they are focused on serving the bride and groom from the shotgun wedding?

Is marriage always awesome?

"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 beef is tough, most children grow up to be just people, most marriages require a high degree of mutual tolerance, 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 the letting you have the ride."

-Gordon B. Hinckley

Honoring Ancestors - Mormon Rituals, Jewish Heritage, and why no one should be offended

Mormons perform baptisms for those that have died.

Every so often in the news we see an article about how angry some religious individuals become by the Mormon practice of having adherents act as proxies for their ancestors. Specifically in being baptized for their predessor and granting them, according to Mormon doctrine, the opportunity to accept or reject Mormonism before the final judgement and receive the fullest reward Mormonism offers.

In sundry articles authors quote various religious leaders speaking out against Mormon baptisms for the dead. A sample follows:

Bernard Kouchel wrote an article titled Mormons Hijack Dead or Alive Jewish Souls. He writes -

"From the founding of their religion in 1830, Mormons have respected Judaism as a religion. Thus in 1994, Jews were outraged when it became known that members of [the] LDS [Church] were posthumously baptizing Holocaust victims and other Jewish dead. Many followers of Judaism find the practice highly offensive, something akin to the forced baptism of Jews practiced for centuries in Europe during the Middle Ages... The wrongful baptism of Jewish dead, which disparages the memory of a deceased person is a brazen act which will obscure the historical record for future generations."

I find it interesting that Mr. Kouchel implies that in 1994 Mormons stopped respecting Judaism? Such is not the case. The Church does in fact publish Jewish Family History Resources. The House of Israel, the Pentateuch, and other Jewish authors and scholars are regularly admired and spoken of in Mormon doctrine.

The practice of baptism for the dead has been around since the early organization of the LDS faith. The question I think Mr. Kouchel should answer is what happens to those not of his faith in the after life? Does it sound intolerant of him to categorically state that just because his religion doesn't make allowance for such that no other religion should make allowance for the deceased as well? I am not sure. The variety of world religious views may be a source of friction for a long time. But the difference will not cause a rift between Jews and Mormons.

I am not a Jewish scholar and I will simply write out the following questions in hopes someone with a Jewish perspective might answer them:

  • Is it true that birth has a lot to do with being Jewish? How much weight is placed on being born Jewish as opposed to converting to Judaism?

  • I know people convert to Judaism that do not have Jewish roots. Are they adopted into the Jewish faith, and if so, what of their ancestors?

  • What are the rites, procedures, or processes for one to convert to Judaism? Can these be performed, inherited, or spread to ones ancestors and/or desendants?

Mr. Kouchel goes on to describe one of his major issues is the obscuring of the historical record for future generations. In this he does err.

As a user of and other LDS family history libraries one can easily tell whether one was baptized during their lifetime or whether they were baptized by proxy. No, I do not believe posterity will be mixed up or confused by Mormon databases.

In fact, I think this particular issue may inspire more individuals to fill in the blanks by writing in their journals, publishing family history's, or finding out from where they came. Family Search only has birth date and location, christenings, deaths, marriages and location performed and other date information, there is nothing on religion or narrative family history to fill in the details of an individual's life. The narrative family history is the place to fill in all the details of the individual.

Do I reject my six ancestors because they were of a different religion when they arrived in America on the Mayflower? Of course not, however, I would have loved to read their personal history's to find out their beliefs, thoughts, and how they approached life using their religion. I suspect we might not be so different. The "Mormon databases" do not include those details. If you want them included, you'll have to write them down yourself.

In conclusion, Mr. Kouchel claims to know what the dead want. Specifically he states "We don't want to be saved, redeemed, forgiven, reincarnated, resurrected, or enraptured. We just want to be left alone." If Mr. Kouchel can tell what the dead want, why can't Mormons tell as well? But more importantly, the LDS Church has a different world view than Judaism and Mr. Kouchel nailed it on the head when he said, "[Family History databases with proxy baptism entries] do not reflect changes in religious choice or practice of our deceased ancestors."

Per LDS thought, the decision to accept proxy baptism is left to the agency of those deceased persons. However, Mormon doctrine specifies that baptism must occur in the flesh. Thus, baptisms for our ancestors performed by proxy in the flesh may be accepted (but as Mr. Kouchel points out, also rejected) by those for whom it was performed. Lorenzo Snow, a Mormon prophet, said, "When we go back into the other life and find our dead friends living there, if we have not performed the labor that is necessary for their exaltation and glory we shall not feel very happy and it will not be a very pleasant meeting." Mormons believe baptisms performed for their ancestors are a sacred integral part of their worship of a generous, merciful God that cares for all the generations of humankind, not only those born into their faith.

My final question: Should a religion that claims all are the children of God not have some provision for those not of their faith? What does your religion do for those that never had an opportunity to accept your faith?

Read more:

Religious Freedom Allows Both Mormons and Jews to Honor Their Ancestors, D. Todd Christofferson, Nov 10, 2008.

Back to FAQ

Mormon on challenges

Just when all seems to be going right, challenges often come in multiple doses applied simultaneously. When those trials are not consequences of your disobedience, they are evidence that the Lord feels you are prepared to grow more. He therefore gives you experiences that stimulate growth, understanding, and compassion which polish you for your everlasting benefit. To get you from where you are to where He wants you to be requires a lot of stretching, and that generally entails discomfort and pain.

-Richard G. Scott

I think that not only will God strengthen a person in their trials, but He will also allow experience to occur that strengthen His people. Unfortunately, some give in to addiction and flounder - while those that wade through and on become stronger and can confront the next turbulence with confidence gained from a successful completion of past hills. I don't think I've seen a person who has lost all of their hope or faith, have you?

Christmas Reverence

By Appreciable Goodfaithpoet

The winter sun goes early to bed
As Christmas lights shine warm and bright
All passing eyes with the lights are led
To the manger scene a wondrous sight

My daughter was out in the evening air
In the quiet coolness of the winter snow
She went and got herself a chair
And sat before the mangers glow

She sat a long time with reverence resounding
and quietly looked at the little Christ Child
Love and joy in my heart was full and abounding
To see her sitting out there so meek and so mild

I saw her through the window and when she had returned
I asked what she was thinking to see what she had learned

My six-year-old daughter's response was thus...
"I was thinking about how he died for us."

Yes, when we see a manger scene let's try to do the same
To think about Lord Jesus and praise his holy name.