Discovering My Cause

This will be a bit exploratory. I still understand very little of the way things work in the worlds I’m entering, but I’m learning true principles, and am seeing some ideals.

I gained understanding this morning of a few of the whats, whys, and hows of my future career and public service.

Mosiah 2:14 And even I, myself, have labored with mine own hands that I might serve you, and that ye should not be laden with taxes, and that there should nothing come upon you which was grievous to be borne—and of all these things which I have spoken, ye yourselves are witnesses this day.

King Benjamin set an example as a leader and ruler of his people of self-sustenance and service. Somehow, we’ve reached the point where public officials are being sustained by government funding, which, I believe, is sourced in taxes. When i read this verse, the thought came that I could turn down any form of pay while serving in political office. It was an inspiring, ennobling thought, and my intention was securely planted there. I pictured campaigns funded through personal means and kept frugal by the abundant use of social media and word of mouth referrals. Such a candidate would have to be respected, trusted, and honorable, and would need to truly have a cause worth fighting for. Such a candidate would also need to be so successful in their personal career that it would be able to sustain them through unpaid, time-consuming service for extended periods of time.

I also thought of the way this asset is used in the church. Men and women who are able to fund and support themselves are able to set aside personal endeavors for six months to three years for full-time missionary service. Others give their time freely in various callings and service at home, and some are called to devote themselves entirely to the Lord’s kingdom until the day they are called home.

In the Garden of Eden, after Adam and Eve’s transgression, they were given these instructions by God:

Genesis 3: 19 In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground.

I am beginning to feel that this was intended to be understood as a direct commandment, principled instruction, and not just as informative. We are to live and eat and have joy by the fruits of our own labors all the days of our lives. It’s possible, even, that this is the way joy truly comes.

One book I’ve decided to add to my list is John Huntsman Sr.’s book, Winners Never Cheat: Even in Difficult Times.

With all of this in mind:

Jacob 2:19 And after ye have obtained a hope in Christ ye shall obtain riches, if ye seek them; and ye will seek them for the intent to do good—to clothe the naked, and to feed the hungry, and to liberate the captive, and administer relief to the sick and the afflicted.

I have obtained a hope in Christ, and my intent is service in its purest forms. I don’t say this to boast by any means, but to say that I know why I’m here, and it isn’t about me.

So, my purpose for now is to become educated, informed, principled, and disciplined, and to begin to live, eat, and serve by the sweat of my brow.

I intend to become financially successful, intellectually competent, and socially aware–to enable me, not only to sustain my family and myself, but to provide an excess of means and time, enabling me to support and serve others.

Bit by bit I am finding my cause. I have much further to go in understanding it, but it’s coming. I believe I have much further to go, and of all things, that prospect excites me the most.

Please, pray for this country. Pray for its leaders and citizens. Pray that we will remember our duty to be proactive in the cause of freedom.

“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” – Edmund Burke

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“Be a rainbow in someone else’s cloud.” — Maya Angelou

A few days ago, I felt impressed that I needed to create a personal mission plan. I don’t remember how it all started, but when it came to me, I thought of the talk by Elder S. Gifford Nielsen, Hastening the Lord’s Game Plan. In that talk, he gave three suggestions for a personal mission plan that would be effective in bringing missionaries and members together in this monumental work. I thought they were an excellent place to start.

1. Pray specifically to bring someone closer to Jesus Christ and His Gospel every day

2. Pray for the missionaries in your area and their investigators by name every day.
– Greet them, look at their badge, call them by name, and ask them who they are teaching.

3. Invite a friend to activities in or out of your home. Wherever you go or whatever you do, ponder who might enjoy the occasion, and then listen to the Spirit as He directs you.

I added a bullet of my own after that, but I became really excited to start implementing these. I’ve been adding these to my prayers every day since. So far, the results have been beautiful.

But it’s that one about praying “specifically to bring someone closer to Jesus Christ and His Gospel every day” that seems to be getting me. These past two nights I’ve found myself at activities hosted by other Young Single Adult wards in the area. (Yes, we have an abundance of them.) Each night, I’ve prayed just prior to going in that I would be sensitive to notice someone in need. Each night, I’ve noticed someone on the outskirts of the activity with a darkened countenance. Each time, I’ve failed to act.

That’s hard. It’s easy enough to argue to the Lord later that it was a hard thing He had required of us. It’s a different matter entirely when you asked for the opportunity. I want to say that guilt wasn’t present as I reflected on these tonight; but sorrow was, as was worry and fear. This is a hard, sometimes ruthless world that we live in. Who knows where those two individuals were at in their lives at that moment. But even if the situation wasn’t dire, one of the most powerful lessons I’ve learned from pondering the Savior’s crucifixion is that our Heavenly Father doesn’t want us to be alone.

These past two nights, I’ve been given opportunities to help some one person not feel alone. But I’ve had my own priorities or agendas. I wanted to meet people and make friends, which, in itself, isn’t a bad goal to have. Both nights, the people I’ve enjoyed spending time with were met outside of the time when I had that opportunity to help, and with plenty of time to spare. And how do I know it isn’t that person?

So, here’s my point.

John 21:15-17
So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs.
He saith to him again the second time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my sheep.
He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep.

Where is my love, and where is my loyalty? Am I willing to sacrifice my will for His? My time and my honor and comfort and pleasure, in order to feed one of His sheep?

“Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep.”

I think I’m quite ready for another adventure…

Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere. — Albert Einstein

I’m excited by the prospect of what I learned today regarding my future. I’ve been painfully aware for a while that it is uncomfortable and unnatural for me to enjoy work that is the same day-in and day-out. I’ve struggled with that thought, knowing that it would be incredibly important to my family’s well-being that I learn to manage steady work and provide a steady income.

Lately I’ve been increasing in vision bit by bit regarding my long-term aspirations. As I pondered the direction I’ve felt impressed to head in, I’ve seen a strong possibility of ending up in government and political office. Since realizing that, so many aspects of that life that would fit perfectly are becoming apparent. Today, as I studied, I realized that a career as a politician would require me to be constantly moving, constantly growing, constantly working to move higher and reach farther. I would never be able to sit back comfortably and work a routine, per se. At first, that idea unsettled me. But that only lasted a moment, and then, I became excited.

The future has become bright for me lately. There are so many things I’m happy about and excited for, and so many directions that I can take my life right now. I’ve reached a point where my decisions really are between good, better, and best. I love, love, love it.

Tonight, LaDawn brought up music as we listened to Rob Gardner’s music from the Lamb of God. It was incredibly moving, and reminded me of why I wanted to go into music composition a few years back. I felt inspired as we listened, and felt a renewed determination to put effort and heart and soul into that endeavor again. As we listened, she said, “Bennie, we need to put ourselves out there more and share our music.” My mind was already settling on the fact that I need to begin to write again. Lately I’ve felt unsure about that, and have been praying quite a bit to know what I should do. I received that confirmation this morning that this was a worthy pursuit, and that the Lord approved of my putting effort into that area.

So, with the quote at the beginning of the post, I’m working hard lately to apply logic in order to travel from many a’s to b’s and beyond. But my imagination is also running wild right now, and I feel like the world is opening up to me. My faith is bright, and the future is bright. I have much life ahead, and many, many things to do. I’m very happy, and so look forward to it all.

:mrgreen:

Family History just came to life…

A few days ago I really felt impressed to focus on gathering my family history. It has been a meaningful hobby for me in the past, and I really enjoy doing it, so it was easy for me to say “OK!”. Today I decided to really spend some time on it. I remember discussing on my mission the powerful role that prayer plays in this work. These aren’t just names and dates and information that we’re searching for, these are real people! They really lived! They STILL exist, and this work is about connecting families. So I knelt down and asked that as I searched, I would be able to draw nearer to them, and they to me. I prayed that we would know each other better.

This has been one of the most incredible experiences doing family history research that I have EVER had! I found a record hint for a WWII draft registration card, filled out by my great grandfather, Joseph Hinshaw. I started comparing dates and names and then the dates caught my eye. Joseph Hinshaw was born in 1882. The draft registration card was dated 1942. I was stunned. There had to be a mistake. I opened the image for the file and read the names, places, and then the age–59.

Age

My heart swelled and tears filled my eyes. He registered for the draft at 59? The reality of true war was brought to my mind, stories from the Book of Mormon when every man and child, and sometimes woman, who is able to wield a weapon is needed. I started thinking of his family and what it would have meant for them had he actually been called to fight.

(I had a pretty good chuckle over this line, by the way)

Work

I noticed on the draft registration card a line that asked for a “person who will always know your address”. “Ernest Frack” was chosen. Joseph and his wife Cora Mae Frack had a son named Ernest Hinshaw… I wondered if Ernest Frack was Cora’s father? I checked her family information and saw that she had a brother, 7 years younger, named Ernest Frack. Again I was struck by the spirit and my heart swelled! How close must she have been to her younger brother to name their FIRST son after him?

As I looked at Cora’s family, I realized that she had been married previously. Curiosity drew me to the dates. Her first husband, Ivan Earl Dickey, died November 11, 1916. I saw they had a son together, William Earl Dickey. I calculated the dates. Ivan Dickey, born 1888… he was 28 when he died, my age. Actually, I just did the math and he was 8 days older than I am today. Ivan and Cora were married in 1910. Six years? That’s it? They had six years together? My heart ached for them. Their son William was 4 years old when his father died. 8 months later, Cora married my great grandfather, Joseph.

I can’t describe what picturing all of this did for me! Seeing this whole story play out in my mind. A widowed mother of a 4 year old son, a man willing to love and raise him, and 6 more children together. I wish you could feel what I felt then and what I’m feeling now. My prayer was answered! That simply, that quickly, and with that much power. These weren’t the only experiences I had today. I laughed, I cried, I smiled, I felt SO MUCH a part of their lives, and I felt a connection back. I am so grateful for this experience, and I can’t wait to do it again!

Family History