Thursday, October 29, 2015

Temple trip October 2015

We had a great time!  It is so fun having Dani and Richard in our ward--tons of fun!!  I think it is kind of like what it would feel like to have my married boys in our ward.  Of course, none of them are married yet.  So we will have to wait for that.  But Dani and Richard give me things to look forward to.

We attended with the YSA branch here.  Then we all went out to Red Robbin afterward.  We were starving and they weren't terribly happy about having to seat a party of 33 at 4:00 in the afternoon.  It was packed.  I was afraid I was going to eat the inside of my stomach, I was so hungry!  Then it was a long drive home!

And check out what Sun did during the drive:

She made a fingerless glove without a pattern just to see if she could do it!  Talented girlie!
Have a great day!!

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Why is Sexual Sin so bad?!--Alma 39

Yes, that was the assignment I was given to speak on!  Seriously!

In Alma 39, Alma is chastising his son Corianton for his behaviors during his mission which he was serving with his father.  Corianton boasted in his own strength and wisdom and then apparently left his missionary work to go and chase after the harlot Isabel.  Alma labels his son's sins as "an abomination in the sight of the Lord; yea, most abominable above all sins save it be the shedding of innocent blood or denying the Holy Ghost". 

copyright:  Karen Larsen
Our question today, is why is sexual sin, defined as any sexual relations outside of the covenant of marriage (marriage being one woman and one man), is so bad?

Well, in order to understand that, we have to know about two laws. 
The Law of Agency = I am free to choose
The Law of Opposition = I can choose between good and bad, righteousness and wickedness, happiness and misery.

Both of these laws are laid out in the doctrines, but plainly explained in 2nd Nephi 2 by the prophet Lehi to his son Jacob.

4…for the Spirit is the same, yesterday, today, and forever. And the way is prepared from the fall of man, and salvation is free.

 And men are instructed sufficiently that they know good from evil. And the law is given unto men. And by the law no flesh is justified; or, by the law men are cut off. Yea, by the temporal law they were cut off; and also, by the spiritual law they perish from that which is good, and become miserable forever.

Commentary:  All men know good from evil.  We are instructed sufficiently.  How does Heavenly Father make sure that statement is true?  We are all given the 'Light of Christ' or what the greater population calls our conscience.  We know right before we do something wrong, 'Hey, this isn't such a good idea'.  Thus, our choice to do wrong or commit evil, is a knowing choice of which we can be held accountable.  No flesh is justified because we have been instructed sufficiently to make a better choice.  And when we make a wrong choice, the law says, we are cut off from the presence of God.
copyright: Karen Larsen
  Wherefore, redemption cometh in and through the Holy Messiah; for he is full of grace and truth.

Commentary:  The only way to reconcile our wrong choices and being apart from God is through the Atonement of Jesus Christ.

 And now, my son, I would to God that ye had not been guilty of so great a crime. I would not dwell upon your crimes, to harrow up your soul, if it were not for your good.

 But behold, ye cannot hide your crimes from God; and except ye repent they will stand as a testimony against you at the last day.

 Now my son, I would that ye should repent and forsake your sins, and go no more after the lusts of your eyes, but cross yourself in all these things; for except ye do this ye can in nowise inherit the kingdom of God. Oh, remember, and take it upon you, and cross yourself in these things.

10 And because of the intercession for all, all men come unto God; wherefore, they stand in the presence of him, to be judged of him according to the truth and holiness which is in him. Wherefore, the ends of the law which the Holy One hath given, unto the inflicting of the punishment which is affixed, which punishment that is affixed is in opposition to that of the happiness which is affixed, to answer the ends of the atonement—

Commentary:  Because Christ intercedes for all, we will all be brought back into the presence of God to be judged by Him.  We may not stay there, but we will be in His presence long enough to receive our judgement, which will affix punishments to our bad choices or happiness to our good choices---because The Law is that we have consequences for bad choices and happiness for good choices.

 11 For it must needs be, that there is an opposition in all things. If not so, my firstborn in the wilderness, righteousness could not be brought to pass, neither wickedness, neither holiness nor misery, neither good nor bad. Wherefore, all things must needs be a compound in one; wherefore, if it should be one body it must needs remain as dead, having no life neither death, nor corruption nor incorruption, happiness nor misery, neither sense nor insensibility.
Going back to our original question:  If sexual relations outside of marriage is so bad, bad, bad, then because of the Law of Opposition, then sexual relations with marriage is so WHAT?  Good, good, good!  Right.

Let’s hear the words of the prophets.  President Packer, last General Conference:

“…the end of all activity in the Church is to see that a man and a woman with their children are happy at home, sealed together for time and for all eternity…

The commandment to multiply and replenish the earth has never been rescinded. It is essential to the plan of redemption and is the source of human happiness. Through the righteous exercise of this power, we may come close to our Father in Heaven and experience a fulness of joy, even godhood. The power of procreation is not an incidental part of the plan; it is the plan of happiness; it is the key to happiness.

The desire to mate in humankind is constant and very strong. Our happiness in mortal life, our joy and exaltation are dependent upon how we respond to these persistent, compelling physical desires…..”

copyright:  Karen Larsen
..dependent upon how we respond to those compelling physical desires…what does that say?  They are compelling desires but we have a choice in how we respond to them.  Hmmm…the Law of Agency applies to those choices.

The problem with homosexuality today is that Lucifer has convinced many that they are not free to choose their sexuality, they are compelled and there is no agency…

What are the results of the ‘no agency’ theory?

Lehi tells us, 

13 And if ye shall say there is no law [of agency], ye shall also say there is no sin [If I cannot choose, then I am not accountable for my behavior--there is no sin]. If ye shall say there is no sin, ye shall also say there is no righteousness. And if there be no righteousness there be no happiness. And if there be no righteousness nor happiness there be no punishment nor misery. And if these things are not there is no God….

But, we like Lehi, know verse 14-16:

 14 And now, my sons, I speak unto you these things for your profit and learning; for there is a God, [therefore there is a right and wrong, laws that designate so] and he hath created all things, both the heavens and the earth, and all things that in them are, both things to act and things to be acted upon.

 15 And to bring about his eternal purposes in the end of man, after he had created our first parents, and the beasts of the field and the fowls of the air, and in fine, all things which are created, it must needs be that there was an opposition; …..

16 Wherefore, the Lord God gave unto man that he should act for himself.

We can choose how to respond to our compelling physical desires…

copyright:  Karen Larsen
Here is what President Packer says about responding to them righteously:

“And if you suppose that the full-blown rapture of young romantic love is the sum total of the possibilities which spring from the fountains of life, you have not yet lived to see the devotion and the comfort of longtime married love. Married couples are tried by temptation, misunderstandings, financial problems, family crises, and illness, and all the while love grows stronger. Mature love has a bliss not even imagined by newlyweds.

True love requires reserving until after marriage the sharing of that affection which unlocks those sacred powers in that fountain of life. It means avoiding situations where physical desire might take control. Pure love presupposes that only after a pledge of eternal fidelity, a legal and lawful ceremony, and ideally after the sealing ordinance in the temple are those procreative powers released in God’s eye for the full expression of love. It is to be shared solely and only with that one who is your companion forever.

When entered into worthily, this process combines the most exquisite and exalted physical, emotional, and spiritual feelings associated with the word love. That part of life has no equal, no counterpart, in all human experience. It will, when covenants are made and kept, last eternally, “for therein are the keys of the holy priesthood ordained, that you may receive honor and glory” (D&C 124:34), “which glory shall be a fulness and a continuation of the seeds forever and ever” (D&C 132:19).”

He continues:

“The spirit and the body are the soul of man” (D&C 88:15), and there are spiritual and physical laws to obey if we are to be happy. There are eternal laws, including laws relating to this power to give life, “irrevocably decreed in heaven before the foundations of this world, upon which all blessings are predicated” (D&C 130:20). These are spiritual laws which define the moral standard for mankind (see Joseph Smith Translation, Romans 7:14–15 [in the Bible appendix]; 2 Nephi 2:5; D&C 29:34; 134:6). There are covenants which bind, seal, and safeguard and give promise of eternal blessings….

“Our passion is to be controlled. When lawfully used, the power of procreation will bless and will sanctify (see Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph F. Smith [1998], 158).

“Temptations are ever present. Because the adversary cannot beget life, he is jealous toward all who have that supernal power. He and those who followed him were cast out and forfeited the right to a mortal body. 

“He seeketh that all men might be miserable like unto himself” (2 Nephi 2:27). He will tempt, if he can, to degrade, to corrupt, and, if possible, to destroy this gift by which we may, if we are worthy, have eternal increase (see D&C 132:28–31).

If we pollute our fountains of life or lead others to transgress, there will be penalties more “exquisite” and “hard to bear” (D&C 19:15) than all the physical pleasure could ever be worth.”

copyright:  Karen Larsen
The reason sexual sin outside of marriage is so bad, is because sexual relations within marriage are so very, very good.

Elder Holland likens it to a sacrament before the Lord.

The union between husband and wife is so sacred and symbolic that it is the symbol of being completely unified in everything, heart, soul, mind, body and purpose.

Genesis 2:24:  Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother and shall cleave unto his wife and they shall be one flesh.

Married couples are commanded to be one flesh.  Usually we think of that as the physical intimacy between a husband and wife and so it may be, but where else do they become one flesh?

In the lives of each and every one of their children.  We have nine little (big now) Carin and Drew flesh running around out there in the world.

“Lo children are an heritage of the Lord and the fruit of the womb is his reward.” (Psalms 127:3).

copyright:  Karen Larsen
Elder Holland:

"Does any of this help you understand why human intimacy is such a serious matter? Why it is so right and rewarding and stunningly beautiful when it is within marriage and approved of God (not just "good" but "very good," he declared to Adam and Eve), and so blasphemously wrong--like unto murder--when it is outside such a covenant? It is my understanding that we park and pet and sleep over and sleep with at the peril of our very lives. Our penalty may not come on the precise day of our transgression, but it comes surely and certainly enough, and were it not for a merciful God and the treasured privilege of personal repentance, far too many would even now be feeling that hellish pain, which (like the passion we have been discussing) is also always described in the metaphor of fire. Someday, somewhere, sometime the morally unclean will, until they repent, pray like the rich man, wishing Lazarus to "dip . . . his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame" (Luke 16:24).

Some say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice.
From what I've tasted of desire
I hold with those who favor fire.

In closing, consider this from two students of civilization's long, instructive story:

No one man [or woman], however brilliant or well-informed, can come in one lifetime to such fullness of understanding as to safely judge and dismiss the customs or institutions of his society, for these are the wisdom of generations after centuries of experiment in the laboratory of history. A youth boiling with hormones will wonder why he should not give full freedom to his sexual desires; and if he is unchecked by custom, morals, or laws, he may ruin his life [or hers] before he matures sufficiently to understand that sex is a river of fire that must be banked and cooled by a hundred restraints if it is not to consume in chaos both the individual and the group. [Will and Ariel Durant, The Lessons of History (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1968), pp. 35-36]

Or, in the more ecclesiastical words of James E. Talmage:

It has been declared in the solemn word of revelation, that the spirit and the body constitute the soul of man; and, therefore, we should look upon this body as something that shall endure in the resurrected state, beyond the grave, something to be kept pure and holy. Be not afraid of soiling its hands; be not afraid of scars that may come to it if won in earnest effort, or [won] in honest fight, but beware of scars that disfigure, that have come to you in places where you ought not have gone, that have befallen you in unworthy undertakings [pursued where you ought not have been]; beware of the wounds of battles in which you have been fighting on the wrong side. [Talmage, CR, October 1913, p. 117]
copyright:  Karen Larsen

And that was my talk.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

OK.....Here's the deal Sparky.....

Seminary is taking way more out of me than it did last semester.  Part of the reason is because I have so many more students and their needs vary so much.  Sometimes I have only four kids in class.  Other times I have 14!  I never know which day it is going to be and who is going to be there and how my lesson is going to go.  I have also been trying to teach to the needs and ability of my class and checked in with my calendar today and realized, Oh I am only two weeks behind!  Great!  And I started a week ahead of everyone else.  So that kind of gives you a clue as to how challenging things have been.  (I have had trouble doing my visiting teaching the last two months!)

All of this goes without saying the normal things going on in the home---like Oh Ya!  The toilet is backing up again.  Sheesh!  It has now been a week that my bathroom has not worked.  Which wouldn't be so bad except when I do laundry, it overflows the toilet.  Yes, I am serious.  It was working alright, I was just doing small loads and watching the toilet as the water drained.  It was working.  Then I did my smallest load of the entire day (I am talking five dress shirts for Drew for work.) and I sat down to watch a movie.  You guessed it!  The toilet overflowed while I watched the movie.  I spent the rest of the movie cleaning sewage off of the bathroom floor.  Then I took a shower and by then I was wiped and went to bed.  So first thing tomorrow, I am getting on the plumber's case, because I called him a week ago.

We have also had teen-age girl drama.  Sun was invited to a birthday party--slumber party the same weekend as our youth temple trip.  She knew she wasn't going to attend any of the Saturday activities because of the temple trip and we don't do any sleepovers (family rules) so she really was going to go over for pizza after school and stay until nine at night and then come home.  It was a family whose house I have visited and am comfortable with so I thought everything would be fine.  Drew wasn't sure he wanted her there by herself, just because she didn't feel comfortable walking out of a class that was offensive to her so he wasn't sure she would be able to duck out of the party if it was uncomfortable for her.  He wanted me to go with her.  So did she.  OK.  I'll go.  When the family found out I had plans on attending, they called to tell me that it would make their daughter uncomfortable to have me there.......blah, blah, blah.  OK  I certainly wouldn't want your daughter to be uncomfortable on her birthday.  So we decided to explain it to Sun, which we did and when she realized they didn't want me there, then she didn't want to be there either.  That made it a lot easier for me.  Yea for small favors.  I am hoping it won't cause any permanent damage in her relationships at school but we will see.

And the biggest reason I haven't been blogging is because I have been working on Christmas presents!  I am making homemade ones and I was just a little bit more ambitious than I think I have time or energy for, but since I have already started, I am trying to finish it out!  But I cannot tell you what it is because people I love and am making them for read this blog.  So sorry!  You'll just have to wait until it is closer to Christmas time.  But I will take photos and post them, after Christmas.  But the time I use to have for blogging is now spent making Christmas.  So be it!!

Later this week, I am hoping to post the talk I gave last week in church, but it needs a little editing to be published on the blog and maybe I'll get some other photos up from the activities last week. 

We'll see :-)  Now you are all caught up with what is going on here.  But you probably had just better prepare yourself to not hear too much from me before Thanksgiving week, when I will have a week off of seminary!  Have a great Sabbath Day!!

Tuesday, October 20, 2015


My sweet son, Sport, made these for me for Halloween :-)

I thought they were super cute!! :-)

Thursday, October 15, 2015

While my husband is at work......

My cat lives here:
Bad Kitty!!

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

FFF #33 2015 I know, I know.....

I wrote most of this post last Friday but didn't get it most of my life lately!  Happy reading.

I know.........where have I been?  To tell you the truth, I don't really know.  Life is spinning really fast right now.  I take care of a few little things, throw in a load of laundry, make a few meals, read tomorrow's lesson, think about how to manage it, go to bed because I am exhausted and then get up again and do it the next day.  I am not even sure I should highlight the crazy things that are going on.

I have written letters to family.  Tried to keep tabs on my sister who had a surgery.  We have a funeral on Saturday, a baby shower tonight.  I loved, loved, loved General Conference!
copyright:  Karen Larsen photography
That is a story in and of itself!  So about three weeks ago, we received a notice that PGandE was going to shut off the electricity on Sunday to do some work.  I didn't think it was such a big deal, but our stake presidency did, because it would also shut off the electricity at the church.  Requests were made for another shut-off day, which they accommodated.  They moved the shut-off day to the Sunday of General Conference--which worked out great for the rest of my ward, but shut our power off at our house during Conference.  Really?   The one day I can sit at home in pajamas and still attend my church meetings?  I was not happy.  Now I had to go out and couldn't even go to the church building two blocks away.  Whatever.

We did get that all worked out.  And I was able to see General Conference, though not in my own home.  But that is OK.

Tonight, Sun came home from school and shared her awful day with us---mostly it was just one awful class.  A rape crisis unit came in and taught them about gender identity, no joke.  Poor Sun.  She came home distraught at where the world is, what is being taught and how many people are buying into the lies.  She was disheartened and sad.  She shared her story with me and Speedy.  Then when her father got home, she shared it with her dad.  Then when we were attending the baby shower with her Young Women's Presidency and many of the other young moms in the ward, I asked her to share her story again.  I wanted those mothers whose children are not quite in high school yet to hear from Sun the things that were being taught to the high school youth, without parental permission or even notification, and how it was affecting her.  I also wanted Sun to know that she could share her sorrows and troubles with her sisters in Relief Society and get support.  It was a beautiful moment!  I asked her if she would share it.  She agreed.  Then I got everyone's attention and just said that Sun had had an experience today that I thought they should all hear.  Then she shared.  She got some very wise counsel from some very young mothers.  How grateful I am those women are her friends!!  How grateful I am for Relief Society--for an organization that applauds women and recognizes their strengths and nurtures their need for one another!!!

These mothers will need to fortify their children against the growing tide of evil and wickedness in the world, where people think 'there is no God, therefore, there is no law'.  They think their rhetoric is new.  It isn't.  Lehi told his son Jacob:

 13 And if ye shall say there is no law, ye shall also say there is no sin. If ye shall say there is no sin, ye shall also say there is no righteousness. And if there be no righteousness there be no happiness. And if there be no righteousness nor happiness there be no punishment nor misery. And if these things are not there is no God. And if there is no God we are not, neither the earth; for there could have been no creation of things, neither to act nor to be acted upon; wherefore, all things must have vanished away.

 14 And now, my sons, I speak unto you these things for your profit and learning; for there is a God, and he hath created all things, both the heavens and the earth, and all things that in them are, both things to act and things to be acted upon.

Alma reiterated it (although he was a little more long-winded--chapter 42):
 And now, ye see by this that our first parents were cut off both temporally and spiritually from the presence of the Lord; and thus we see they became subjects to follow after their own will.

 Now behold, it was not expedient that man should be reclaimed from this temporal death, for that would destroy the great plan of happiness.

 Therefore, as the soul could never die, and the fall had brought upon all mankind a spiritual death as well as a temporal, that is, they were cut off from the presence of the Lord, it was expedient that mankind should be reclaimed from this spiritual death.

 10 Therefore, as they had become carnal, sensual, and devilish, by nature, this probationary state became a state for them to prepare; it became a preparatory state.

 11 And now remember, my son, if it were not for the plan of redemption, (laying it aside) as soon as they were dead their souls were miserable, being cut off from the presence of the Lord.

 12 And now, there was no means to reclaim men from this fallen state, which man had brought upon himself because of his own disobedience;

 13 Therefore, according to justice, the plan of redemption could not be brought about, only on conditions of repentance of men in this probationary state, yea, this preparatory state; for except it were for these conditions, mercy could not take effect except it should destroy the work of justice. Now the work of justice could not be destroyed; if so, God would cease to be God.

 14 And thus we see that all mankind were fallen, and they were in the grasp of justice; yea, the justice of God, which consigned them forever to be cut off from his presence.

 15 And now, the plan of mercy could not be brought about except an atonement should be made; therefore God himself atoneth for the sins of the world, to bring about the plan of mercy, to appease the demands of justice, that God might be a perfect, just God, and a merciful God also.

 16 Now, repentance could not come unto men except there were a punishment, which also was eternal as the life of the soul should be, affixed opposite to the plan of happiness, which was as eternal also as the life of the soul.

 17 Now, how could a man repent except he should sin? How could he sin if there was no law? How could there be a law save there was a punishment?

 18 Now, there was a punishment affixed, and a just law given, which brought remorse of conscience unto man.

 19 Now, if there was no law given—if a man murdered he should die—would he be afraid he would die if he should murder?

 20 And also, if there was no law given against sin men would not be afraid to sin.

 21 And if there was no law given, if men sinned what could justice do, or mercy either, for they would have no claim upon the creature?

 22 But there is a law given, and a punishment affixed, and a repentance granted; which repentance, mercy claimeth; otherwise, justice claimeth the creature and executeth the law, and the law inflicteth the punishment; if not so, the works of justice would be destroyed, and God would cease to be God.

 23 But God ceaseth not to be God, and mercy claimeth the penitent, and mercy cometh because of the atonement; and the atonement bringeth to pass the resurrection of the dead; and the resurrection of the dead bringeth back men into the presence of God; and thus they are restored into his presence, to be judged according to their works, according to the law and justice.

 24 For behold, justice exerciseth all his demands, and also mercy claimeth all which is her own; and thus, none but the truly penitent are saved.

 25 What, do ye suppose that mercy can rob justice? I say unto you, Nay; not one whit. If so, God would cease to be God.

 26 And thus God bringeth about his great and eternal purposes, which were prepared from the foundation of the world. And thus cometh about the salvation and the redemption of men, and also their destruction and misery.

In our society, it would appear we have removed God from most of the equation.  When we do that, then there really is no right or wrong, just as these prophets have expressed.  And when there is no right or wrong, there is no sin, so we are really free to do whatever we want.  Unfortunately, the lie we do not recognize in that statement, is that our total and complete freedom to do whatever we choose, does not come without consequences.  When our choices impede the freedoms of others, we are acting immorally.  In order for the protection of everyone and for everyone to have the most freedoms, we have to exercise personal self-restraint.  There are some behaviors we are not free to participate in because when we do anything we want, it infringes on the rights of others.

True freedom to do what we want, means we practice self-restraints so the most people have the most freedoms.  We are only free to breath clean air if we choose not to smoke, hang around those who smoke, or don't live in places with high air pollution, due to automobiles or excess air pollution from factories and businesses.  Those who choose to use their freedom to smoke infringe on my right to breath clean air if I have to walk by where they are smoking.