If Sunday Is The Lord’s Day Then Monday Must Be The Devil’s Day (Or 4 Ways To Pray on Sunday Without Becoming Prey Monday)

Image result for "but I don't want to go"Per Jeffrey Holland’s recent talk on “Tomorrow” or Monday where the Lord “will do great things among us”… how’s that coming for you?

Let’s face it… if we hate “Monday is Coming” on Sunday then we’re probably unhappy…maybe miserable.

And this despite putting in every effort to be successful at home, work and college?

Which begs a “True or False” question:

(1) Does Success Precede and Lead To Happiness OR

(2) Does Happiness Precede and Lead To Success

Obviously, some people are VERY happy so they are succeeding at something.

But, what I believe this question is about is whether or not, as a Christian, you’re happy with your overall life in giving to the Lord and giving to the World.

Is the balance good enough that you have BOTH producing happiness and success?  This is a VERY important “chicken/Egg-Egg/Chicken” question for Christians and I’ll address the answer below.

We are asked to LIVE our religion to produce the “fruits” of happiness and success–that come from LIVING IT–which will lead non-believers to ask, “how do you do this?”

Them:  “Hey! That person and family are PERFECTLY happy and successful. Wow. Nobody else is. I guess they must be doing something right!”

Me:  “I laugh maniacally…Bwahahahaha! (As I think:  ‘The last thing I want to do is bring someone into this You’re-NOT-DOING-ENOUGH church … but maybe they’ll want to go to Church and be unhappy with me?’ Okay, so not really, but has the thought ever crossed your mind? It’s okay you can admit it here. Nobody will know but you.)

Mad people cat said in Alice in Wonderland

If you haven’t served in leadership in the Church then you can look forward to serving a vast array of wonderful people. But, unfortunately there are many unhappy, fear-filled, MISERABLE or even resentful and mean Christians in every congregation.

Suppose you’re one of them (or you know an unhappy one), but you can honestly say that you’re:

  1. Keeping the Commandments and partaking of the Sacrament worthily on Sunday which is code for “repenting for failing at the commandments”
  2. Hyper focused on Proclamation-on-The-Family admonitions (Daily Mom/Dad and Family Roles and Duties)
  3. Daily reading scriptures and prayer
  4. Serving (magnifying) in a calling
  5. AND YOU DO A GREAT JOB in your JOB!!!

Maybe your unhappiness sounds like this:

“Hey, Lord! Its me…you know, the one pleading with you ALL THE FREAKING TIME. Look. I’m working overtime to be good. I’m one of YOURS. I’m NOT one of those heathens out there. So…where Are Those Big Blessings I Thought You Promised Me? I’m getting a bit ticked off here! How is it you can bless those people over there and not bless me? Come on, God. You’re God. Bless me. You’re my buddy. I’m your buddy. BLESS ME NOW!  Or else I might just leave you or keep whining about stuff to drive you mad.” 

Image result for pleading

Hmmm?

Back to the question of which comes first, success or happiness?  Per a review of 225 studies by Sonja Lyubomirsky she reported that…

Happiness Leads TO Success. In other words the researchers found that happiness OFTEN doesn’t follow success, but actually PRECEDES it.

To arrive at her conclusions, Sonja Lyubomirsky, Image result for sonja LyubomirskyPh.D., UC Riverside (and peers), reviewed 3 kinds of studies:

(1) those that compared diverse groups of individuals,

(2) those that followed individuals over time and

(3) those that examined controlled settings outcomes.

 

They asked: “Are happy people more successful than unhappy people? Does happiness precede success? And does positive affect lead to success-oriented behaviors?”

As stated already, the results from all three types of studies showed that happiness precedes increases of success, but why?

Ms. Lyubomirsky explains that

“happy people frequently experience positive moods and these positive moods prompt them to be more likely to work actively toward new goals and build new resources. When people feel happy, they tend to feel confident, optimistic, and energetic and others find them likable and sociable.”

Hmmm…

T Rex and Tomorrow

So, do you buy it? Do you agree that Happiness isn’t the result of success? BUT, that if you’re HAPPY you have the BIGGEST advantage at becoming successful because you are more likely to be able to do things that are hard–and required–in order succeed? Which includes even the HARD THING called MONDAY which comes around every 7 days!

Let me repeat and paraphrase her with the emphasis that BECAUSE of SUNDAY (if we make it what the Lord intended it to be) we HAVE the advantage because we are

“. . . more likely to work actively toward new goals and build new resources. . . and others will find us MORE likable.”


 

I promised four ways to Pray on Sunday Without Becoming Prey on Monday…here it is (Note: Each of these will capitalize on the positive feelings you have on Sunday so that you can take them with you into Monday and beyond!)

  1. Find something to be grateful for in the thing you hate the most about Monday (or the things required of you in the world)…and dwell on THAT more than the other things. Heck, find several things. You cannot be grateful and feel miserable! And besides nobody wants to think they’re lazy dolts and that life is manhandling them, so, “Is life happening to you…or for you?” Gratitude helps us see that life is happening FOR us and not TO us. Additionally, remember, that what you focus on you get MORE of. (Oh, and can you see how this will help you to HOLD onto the positive feelings of happiness you have on Sunday and take them into Monday?)
  2. Start to employ Mantras.  Remember that Monday is NOT the Devil’s Day. It is YOUR day. It is YOUR opportunity. To take ownership employ the power mantras. For example if you repeat, “I love Monday, I love Monday, I love Monday!” you’ll eventually–by habit–start to think more positive about Monday. No, I’m not kidding. Similarly by repeating, “I like doing the dishes,” over and over you’ll eventually grow to like it. True. Honest. Why would I lie? I used this and I DO like doing the dishes. Just ask my wife. Okay, I could do better at putting dirty dishes in the dishwasher.
  3. Pray for your enemies. Do good to them. Serve them. Speak well of them. Put their names in the Temple. Fast for them. When we go back to a society of people that DIDN’T worship on Sunday we can sometimes feel a bit superior and judgmental. You’re forgiven and they’re still heathens, right? Holy Moly batman and catwoman …maybe stop judging them! Love them for crying out loud! BE THE CHANGE you want in them! SHOW them the happier life isn’t a life of ease and pleasure, but a life of joy in doing what is right AND a life of ease and pleasure. Grin!
  4. Eliminate any feeling that you’re entitled to absolute happiness just because you’re a good person. That isn’t how it works. You have to EARN happiness on Monday. It isn’t given, deeded, bequeathed, willed, paid, delivered, etc. Oh, and a bonus tip:
  5. BONUS TIP…Test this:  Move everything “toilsome” or of “thine own delight (Isaiah 58)” off Sunday including leadership meetings, homework, entertainment, parties, etc. In this way there’s a strong chance that my number 4 is false. I mean…happiness on Monday might actually BE a gift or reward that comes without compulsory means by making the Sabbath the Lord’s Delight and not ours.

Three testimonies to illustrate and defend number 5:

1 I was privileged to be a counselor to Bishop Curtis Anderson.  If you know him you know that he thinks deeply and when he speaks and acts–he is passionate and deliberate about it. A great leader. A great teacher.

He taught me and his other counselor (Robert Kofoed) that while he was serving as an Elder’s Quorum President he decided that keeping the Sabbath Day holy required him to move all his leadership meetings to a day during the week. In other words he didn’t make the lame excuse that he had to do “the Lord’s work” on Sunday which meant that he’d be gone from home not just three hours, but 5 to 6 hours or more. [For Bishoprics and other presidencies it can be 8 to 10 hours…] He knew that such an move would precipitate some men (or women in similar callings) not being able to serve. No problem: Call someone who can.

He testified that the paramount priority was to DO as the Lord Commanded and to not make excuses.Then, as he followed his plan he testified that Sunday worship became deeper and more pleasant for him. However, what he appreciated just as much was how Monday and the week became less stressful, and, get this, he looked forward to Mondays!

2 My friend, Shad Driggs, testified to me one day that when he was attending the University of Texas that he NEVER allowed himself the luxury of doing homework on Sunday. It was an absolute rule. He testified that he was able to maintain the highest level of grades and test outcomes–and that miracles occurred to help him know things on tests that he wasn’t able to study due to his commitments–to make it so. (I think this is the day that I fell in love with all things Driggs. Excellent man and excellent family!)

3 I can also testify to the benefits of being more prudent in what we do or allow to come into our lives on Sunday. (Remember that Prudence is the highest virtue for decision making…but I digress.) I remember when I turned off football and other sports on Sunday a decade or so ago that I had the SAME blessing come to me.  My hectic travel schedule of four, five or six flights a week with in-between connections and doing 4 major seminars or even 10 seminars in some weeks became less frazzling and more satisfying.  I started to look forward to Monday.

Image result for "but I don't want to go"I know, I know, three men who don’t have a clue about how hard it is to be consumed with children, school, laundry, dishes, house cleaning, homework, cooking, PTA, coaching, AND work, etc., to worry about.

Granted, and with respect, sisters, you DO have more on your plate that is unique and seeming impossible to prioritize. But, “what if?” What if you could see things within your vast array of concerns and worries (that men don’t have) a way to make this work via baby steps (no pun intended)?

Think: What can I control vs. what I can’t control?

Over the past two years I’ve worked with nearly three dozen women who had the same worries, complaints and issues, but they made a way.

They “cleaned up and cleared out” things that mattered least!

Eliminating just a few silver-lures that distract us can turn things around. Find just one that matters least and start eliminating.

Work at it. Strive with the idea that even if you’re a full-time mother including working out of the home that the requirements and promises also apply to you:

Image result for Isaiah 58 and the sabbath

Ahhhhhh! “Delight yourself in the Lord!”

Conclusion

The problem is that if we don’t take control of how we live Sunday and Monday that life will take control of us. Our lives will continue to be distracted and dense with far too many less or unimportant things. Hence, Sundays, with good intentions, will continue to be our

“Spiritual Cramming day.”

And Monday will fend for itself.

Let’s do what a wise man asked recently and “give back the Sabbath to the Lord”.

I promise that if we do that we’ll transform Monday from being the Devil’s Day to being a wonderful day no matter what it brings.

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Confessions of An Obedience-Challenged Mormon (Because Peace Is Rare)

The trouble with humanity is that when something wonderful come into their lives they want to share it.

Except when the wonderful “thing” requires, no, EXACTS, difficult things from them. No way do I want to share a hard-work religion with others. It just isn’t popular in our “push-button”, grace-only, secular-Christian world.

But, I’m not talking about Ephesians 2 “Mosaic works and ordinances”. I’m talking about a religion that requires it’s members to covenant to LIVE IT FULLY! And I admit, along with millions of others striving to live it, that it can be downright difficult. Let’s see…how else can I say it? It is:

Hard. Strenuous. Arduous. Laborious. Tough. Onerous. Burdensome. Demanding. Fatiguing. Inconvenient. Untimely.

Now, because of this “weighty” lifestyle of choice I sometimes find myself feeling futility. In my worst of times when I’m doubting and the devil zings me with hate and depression I sometimes can’t see logic to my choice. I “get” why “many are called, but few are chosen”. I “get” why the Church grows in vast numbers every year, but loses a percentage of them very quickly.

It isn’t because it is difficult BAD.

It is because it is difficult GOOD.

We are asked to be GOOD. Really, really GOOD. It is hard, so, we find covert means for being less-than-obedient that would stun a sophisticated escape artist.

I realized recently that I take this privilege of hard work for Godliness…for granted.

In the scheme of things NONE of us would want it any other way. In fact I believe that our most ardent enemies might, on their death beds, justify their attacks this way,

“I fought it because I didn’t think ANYONE could live it…but in the end I admire it and wish I would have tried to live it!”

Why?

Because of a childlike reality that achieving Goodness is hard work. Goodness’ works are their own reward. They form the foundation of love, caring and fairness. Thus, a Church of this order of magnitude is FAR too brilliant, important, mind-stretching, edifying and engrossing to haplessly try to dodge. And, though the world maligns it there’s really no good way to escape it.

A boyhood friend who left the Church in his early thirties told me recently that it doesn’t matter when you leave the Church…if you lived it at any given time or “if you were raised in it then you’re a ‘Mormon’ whether you like it or not.”

So, I’ve come to the conclusion again that I must give it all I’ve got, and I’m born-again-AGAIN proud of it. I’ve studied every side of it from apologist to antagonist to atheistic enemy and the fact remains that although there are good, better and best aspects of it there are also some dazzlingly odd and even crazy-weird elements that drive my non-believer friends to distraction.

A bit of background…

My ancestry goes back to a guy named, Joseph Smith, SENIOR. So, in one form-of-family or another I’ve been part of this American-Grown Faith since before it’s inception in 1830. Sadly, with all that comes of the pedigree I’ve actually looked for something better, but I didn’t find anything that comes close…well…unless you count some of those amazing stadium gatherings, Gospel choirs and double-drummer bands they have. (We do have the MoTab.)

So, why is it THIS Church different and important?

BeCAUSE.

Because…the relentless day-to-day, week-to-week, month-to-month, year-after-year rigor of discipleship provides something fundamentally rare that the world cannot:

Peace. Peace not as the world giveth

NOT AS THE WORLD GIVETH. This peace is unique and precious.

But, if you’re reading this and rolled your eyes (or vigorously nodded your head) you need to know that what I’m talking about isn’t imaginary or manufactured. This PEACE is real. And it makes everything required to get it worthwhile.

I’d suggest that what I am part of is truly a society of “spiritual scientists” that are just as competent and capable in context as are physicists, geologists, biochemists, etc. Most important the experiments of faith that I have tried and succeeded with are repeatable.

And the benefits and advantages are palpable.

What I admire most about my chosen Faith is that whatever it does right it does it in a big way. And whatever it seems to do wrong, by the world’s standards, or even by my own standards, it works overtime to make up with fairness and equity.

So it just keeps getting better in the midst of a rising tide of hatred toward religion.

Another thing I admire is that I get to hear from a plethora of the finest minds on the planet every six months. Our General Conferences provide us with over 25 speakers from all over the world. They range from a rare few that make me feel so bored that I’d drive a fork through my left nostril to the majority that are OUTSTANDING. ON the whole these special bi-yearly speakers bring a “peaceful and easy” feeling to me unlike anything that the world gives.

And it isn’t like I’m living in a naive cloister when it comes to speakers and change agents. My wife and I worked with several of the greatest speakers of all time and I admit that…

They’re good.

But, these Spiritual Wordsmiths are better.

One of them, Elder Jeffrey Holland, gives an OUTSTANDING  talk–on demand–every time he speaks. His aren’t slick rah-rah pep talks that wear off on the way home; they are POWERFUL and PENETRATING, SALIENT and PRACTICAL, TIMELY and TIMELESS.

We’ve come to expect this, but I think you’d love them. Here’s one:

http://tinyurl.com/Holland-tomorrow

Consider my challenge. Listen to this on Sunday and pay attention to what your Monday (tomorrow) could be like vs what it is now because if your Monday is dreadful then what he is eloquently saying…just might make Mondays utterly bearable for you.

Holland and T Rex and Monday

Smithsonian Names Joseph Smith, Jr., To Top Ten Most Significant Americans of All Time

Audacity Personified:  Joseph Smith, Jr. Joseph Smith

At 17 he said an angel appeared to him and told him he’d be famous. Joseph said, “He called me by name and said. . . my name should be had for good and evil among all people.” (https://www.lds.org/scriptures/pgp/js-h/1?lang=eng)

That was 1824.

In 2014 Smithsonian agreed. And except for one top 10 peer Joseph is in “angelically” good company:

  • Abraham Lincoln
  • Martin Luther King, Jr.
  • Pocahontas
  • Mark Twain
  • Babe Ruth
  • Frank Lloyd Wright
  • Benedict Arnold (Eh?)
  • Christopher Columbus
  • Andrew Carnegie

But, Who Says? How Did Smithsonian Arrive At This?

“Simply put, [say the editors of Smithsonian magazine] Skiena and Ward [authors of Who Is Bigger) have developed an algorithmic method of ranking historical figures, just as Google ranks web pages. But while Google ranks web pages according to relevance to your search terms, Skiena and Ward rank people according to their historical significance, which they define as ‘the result of social and cultural forces acting on the mass of an individual’s achievement.’ Their rankings account not only for what individuals have done, but also for how well others remember and value them for it.” (smithmag.co/6rSDOP)

But, where did they get their data and how does Smithsonian play into the Top 10 Most Significant Americans? 

Smithsonian Title PageFirst of all the quantity of data derives from the English-language Wikipedia of 840,000+ pages listing individuals along with data extracted from 15 million Google-scanned books.

According to Smithsonian:  “[Skiena and Ward] analyzed this data to produce a single score for each person, using a formula that incorporates the number of links to each page, the number of page visits, the length of each entry and the frequency of edits to each page. Their algorithms differentiate between two kinds of historical reputation, what they call ‘gravitas’ and ‘celebrity.’ . . .

“Their concept of significance has less to do with achievement than with an individual’s strength as an Internet meme—how vividly he or she remains in our collective memory.” (smithmag.co/6rSDOP)

So, obviously there might be some problems with how Wikipedia has aggregated information about individuals in America… and that is why Smithsonian’s influence is so important.

Because Smithsonian has covered American history in depth since 1970 and because they work closely with the National Museum of American History they could “synthesize” their expertise and apply the rigor of Skiena and Ward in order to bring qualitative judgment to bear on the subject–not just the results of a modern-day popularity contest.

Smithsonian narrowed the screen to just Americans and then created the 10 categories. What resulted from this was a Top 10 list in 10 categories. They assert that this combo of quantity with quality mitigates Wiki bias. (smithmag.co/6rSDOP)

Here Are The other 9:

(To read more click here:  http://tinyurl.com/pam3nul):

Pocahontas Mark Twain Martin Luther King

Frank Lloyd Wright Benedict Arnold Christopher Columbus Babe Ruth Abraham Lincoln

 And a closer look at the competition in Smithsonian’s 10 categories:

Trailblazers

Christopher Columbus
Henry Hudson
Amerigo Vespucci
John Smith
Giovanni da Verrazzano
John Muir
Meriwether Lewis and William Clark
Sacagawea
Kit Carson
Neil Armstrong
John Wesley Powell

Rebels & resisters

Martin Luther King Jr.
Robert E. Lee
Thomas Paine
John Brown
Frederick Douglass
Susan B. Anthony
W.E.B. Du Bois
Tecumseh
Sitting Bull
Elizabeth Cady Stanton
Malcolm X

Presidents

Abraham Lincoln
George Washington
Thomas Jefferson
Theodore Roosevelt
Ulysses S. Grant
Ronald W. Reagan
George W. Bush
Franklin Delano Roosevelt
Woodrow Wilson
James Madison
Andrew Jackson

First Women

Pocahontas
Eleanor Roosevelt
Hillary Clinton
Sarah Palin
Martha Washington
Hellen Keller
Sojourner Truth
Jane Addams
Edith Wharton
Bette Davis
Oprah Winfrey

Outlaws

Benedict Arnold
Jesse James
John Wilkes Booth
Al Capone
Billy the Kid
William M. “Boss” Tweed
Charles Manson
Wild Bill Hickok
Lee Harvey Oswald
John Dillinger
Lucky Luciano

Artists

Frank Lloyd Wright
Andy Warhol
Frederick Law Olmsted
James Abbott MacNeill Whistler
Jackson Pollock
John James Audubon
Georgia O’Keeffe
Thomas Eakins
Thomas Nast
Alfred Stieglitz
Ansel Adams

Religious figures

Joseph Smith Jr.
William Penn
Brigham Young
Roger Williams
Anne Hutchinson
Jonathan Edwards
L. Ron Hubbard
Ellen G. White
Cotton Mather
Mary Baker Eddy
Billy Graham

Pop icons

Mark Twain
Elvis Presley
Madonna
Bob Dylan
Michael Jackson
Charlie Chaplin
Jimi Hendrix
Marilyn Monroe
Frank Sinatra
Louis Armstrong
Mary Pickford

Empire-builders

Andrew Carnegie
Henry Ford
John D. Rockefeller
J.P. Morgan
Walt Disney
Thomas Alva Edison
William Randolph Hearst
Howard Hughes
Bill Gates
Cornelius Vanderbilt
Steve Jobs

Athletes

Babe Ruth
Muhammad Ali
Jackie Robinson
James Naismith
Arnold Schwarzenegger
Ty Cobb
Michael Jordan
Hulk Hogan
Jim Thorpe
Secretariat
Billie Jean King

Read more: http://www.smithsonianmag.com/smithsonianmag/meet-100-most-significant-americans-all-time-180953341/#DvQriokqQQEwQmM3.99