Saturday, February 23, 2013



For those who knew me as a child and teenager, I had it ALL figured out.  I would easily find a way to a professional baseball career.  This confidence was strong.  I knew that I could do it.  This is not a story that ends in the classic "I learned that I was wrong" conclusion.  I still carry that confidence today.  I could have done it had it been what needed to happen in my life.  I've spent far too long looking for comfort and a second chance.  Truth is, I've had my second chance, and I've made it count.  I didn't take a second shot at baseball, because as much as I would have loved it, that's not what was right.  I am writing this for so many reasons, and I think it will be the most meaningful post that you'll ever see from me.

I was the typical Mormon teenager.  I went to church every week, mostly uninterested, but not a bad kid.  I put my head down most of the time because I was tired, but I had a testimony of the gospel and knew that I had great worth in God's eyes.  I was a good student, usually around a 3.5 GPA.  Since I had my future secured as a pro ball player in my mind, there wasn't a whole lot to worry about.  

Taylorsville High School has the best baseball program in the state, and one of the most consistently accomplished teams in the country.  I chose to play in their league when I turned 13, leaving my friends at Granger in the process.  After not being accepted by "the elite" for a whole year, I was finally shown some respect the following two seasons, but still being branded "the kid from Granger."  I had some good years.  I learned a ton about the game, but not much in life for those 3 years.  

Meanwhile, during my 15 year old season, I had to select a high school to attend.  My heart said Taylorsville, because that was my path to baseball opportunities.  Every other aspect, mostly the geography and transportation issues, had me going to Granger, the place I didn't wan to go.  My mother made a disappointing but true assessment, "But Devon, where will your real friends be?"  

Granger High was pretty dull when I started high school.  I did fine in school, joined the baseball team, took crap for leaving these guys for 3 years to play for the enemy.  I had a positive sophomore year, followed by an academically exciting junior year (took 6 science classes and loved them).  


Senior Year.  It truly was great heading into it, full of steam, full of anticipation.  I had gotten my first 4.0 GPA in the final term of my junior year (which was due to a few teachers giving me some extra points for always participating and being respectful).  I had one of the greatest terrible Senior years in high school history, all of my own doing.

The Good

Academics were now at my mercy!!!  I carried a 4.0 for my entire Senior year.  This is something I'm still very proud of.  I grew spiritually, and not just a little bit.  I was set on serving a mission.  I was disappointed not to be called to the Seminary Council because I thought I was a great example to many, yet humble about it.  

My friends were a HUGE part of my success.  I had been incorporated into the greatest group of peers that a kid could ask for.  We were in the low to mid teens in number, and when we would hang out on the weekends, our parents didn't have to worry what we were up to.  We were respectful, faithful, supportive, loving, and we all knew who we were, and where we came from.  These are still my best friends to this day (with the exception of my beautiful wife who I didn't meet until college).  My friends made me feel welcome, even as the most distant group member.  They were all in Advanced Placement courses together, and I was not.  I played baseball, and they did not.  They were too busy getting their first year of college done in high school, which just so happens is brilliant.  I wanted to be just like them.  They made me want to be better.  I felt such a guilt for what I knew, and they didn't.  

Physically, I lost 45 pounds in the off-season doing aerobics.  I went from 18% body fat to 7%, and I gained muscle in the process.  I got faster, a lot faster.  I was now fulfilling my dream of becoming the big money ball player, and I had a great attitude about life, school, and baseball.  I was nominated by my teammates and coaches to be the team captain, which was a great honor.

The Bad

During my Taylorsville baseball days, I was only about baseball.  In the process of spending all of my free time playing ball (which was never a bad thing for me), I had let my priorities, some of my friends, and my values slip away.  I got into some very dangerous things, and made some terrible choices.  The people I chose to hang out with didn't have the same morals that I grew up learning.  They ended up not being real friends.  They helped me to build this image of somebody who I wasn't, and I took it the distance to the point of me not knowing who I was anymore.  

Among all of the good things that happened in my final year of high school, unbearable guilt filled my soul.  Every time it would sneak up on me, I swore it would go away.  Halfway through the school year, just before baseball season, I was in the thick of it.  Guilt when I woke up, guilt when I left for school, guilt when I got there, and so on and so on until I went to sleep at night.  Truth was, I had a past that featured some things I wasn't proud of, and it didn't sit well.  

One Sunday morning, I was sitting in church when I looked up toward the front of the chapel and saw something.  My future daughter (I strongly believe) was standing there and staring straight at me.  I looked down almost immediately, feeling a great deal of fear and confusion.  I looked up again, and she was gone.  Almost immediately my mind was made; I would be getting my entire past and the guilt associated with it off my chest that very day.  When I got home from church, I told my mother and my bishop about my troublesome past.  I had support from my family right away.

My bishop recommended that I call the police myself to report what I had told him.  This was quite frightening, but I called them and set up an appointment.  I won't forget the name of the man I spoke to, Detective Angell.  He was great, understanding, helpful, and appreciative of my honesty.  

I began the juvenile court process with a hearing.  The judge saw how I was doing in school, and took into account my efforts on a sports team as the captain.  He said that I was doing what I should be doing, and that he appreciated me coming forward to take care of my legal issues.  I was back on the field that evening for baseball practice.  

I guess I didn't understand the juvenile system, because I was soon notified that I had court coming up in a few weeks.  I also found out that my judge had changed, and that I now had a loose cannon as a judge.  This was upsetting.

I played 8 games of my senior season, and put up some very impressive numbers.  I led the team, and I was living up to my own expectations.  I felt needed, important, and accomplished.  Most of all, I was having the time of my life doing what I loved most.  I was setting the stage for my dreams to come true. 

The court date came quicker that it seemed possible, and I was sent to a program to complete my community service hours.  This was a residential facility, and I was only allowed 6 minutes to call my parents each week, a one hour visit from my parents every week, and I could leave for a few hours a week to get counseling.  The biggest dagger in my heart; I was done being a baseball player.

I completed the program that I was ordered to in the shortest amount of time in the history of that specific organization.  I was released on probation 4 days before school ended.  Although I wasn't attending Granger for the final term of the school year, I was able to obtain my diploma as a Granger Lancer, and walk with my class at graduation.  This meant a lot to be back with my friends who had worried about me for months.  

After walking at graduation, I worked full-time outside in the elements moving granite and marble.  The worst part about it was that I hardly got to keep any of my money, most of it went to pay off court fees.  However, I got to see my friends more than I did while I was locked up, so things were improving.  

When the courts were paid off, I left the place that I was working before I swung at my boss, which eventually would have taken place if I had stayed.  

I started college and met my wife.  She and I had a good talk before we ever dated, and we understood each other very well.  We had some similar struggles, and both felt that we were trying to find ourselves.  We fell in love, and we got married after dating for 5 months.  It will be 7 years on St. Patrick's Day 2013!!!


The main reason for me writing this post comes right back to where we started; Baseball.  

Here I am, preparing a lesson for church, late on a Saturday night, and all of a sudden, it clicks; I know how to solve my problem.

Yesterday, my high school baseball coach held an Alumni Dinner for his former players.  Last year, we had an Alumni baseball game, and it was a blast.  It still rips my heart out to have to walk off the field and realize that I could have been more.  Anyway, we got to tour the new Granger High that is being built, and it is phenomenal.  State of the Art EVERYTHING has been put into this new facility, and it is HUGE.  The technological capabilities blow me away!!!  Yet, it is bitter sweet.  That old building that has gained lots and lots of meaning to me since I walked into it my first day of 10th grade with sadness.  I was realizing just how lucky these kids are, which was accompanied by myself, and many others, proclaiming, "Why can't I be starting high school now?"  Through the envy, I see the flaw.  I am ungrateful.  I am selfish.  Though I am thrilled for the kids who get to have this amazing place to go every day and be with friends, I wouldn't trade what I had, and what I learned from it.

After the tour of the new school, we went to the cafeteria of the old school for the dinner.  I noticed some of the other guys grabbing some old jerseys off of a table as a way to remember the playing days.  I saw one still sitting there.  I stayed in my seat for a while, and then curiosity got the best of me.  Could that be my old jersey?  I got up and immediately saw my number on the back of that jersey.  It was surreal to pick it up.  So many memories running through my head.  I played my last meaningful baseball game 9 years ago in this jersey.  This is when I realized some more hard facts; I was so good at baseball that I forgot to be a good Priesthood holder.  I cared so much about baseball that at certain times, I didn't care about my morals.  I was so caught up in this game that I would have been alright with giving up important things in life just to keep playing.

And therein lies the most important lesson:
o        If I was as good at being faithful to my God, who has given me everything, as I was at baseball, I'd feel pretty good about myself.  If I cared as much about others as I did about baseball when I was young, I would feel more worthy to meet God.  

The fact is, I am very happy with how things turned out, especially considering how much of an impact losing that game tore my soul to pieces (or so I thought).  I have an amazing wife who loves and supports me more than I ever thought possible.  I have a 3 year old son who I love unconditionally, and he loves sports as much as I do.  I have a supportive system of family and friends who would answer my call in the middle of the night if I just needed to talk (but my wife gets to hear all of my bellyaching instead).  

I love my Heavenly Father.  I love his son, and my savior, Jesus Christ.  I will serve them.  I am so happy for the kids who get to go to a new school that has everything that I wished I had, but I'll take the best lessons with me from that old, beat up school.  I have the mercy of a God that will forgive if the sinner repents with the right reasons, and with sincerity.  I have been blessed with luxuries that millions will never know, and I think we all forget this too quickly.  I am a sinner, and God still loves me, and will never give up on me.  I know that Christ lives, and loves us with a perfect love that we will never know on this Earth until he returns.

Thank you to all of you who have helped me to be who I am.  
Don't get me wrong, I miss baseball to this day, and it still sucks to walk off of a field, but I realize that it is not my rightful path, and I still have not moved on.  I think it's time.  It has done so much for me that I'm grateful for.  I owe most of my confidence as a person to a game.  

Til' next time
Devon Smith

Sunday, June 3, 2012




As an intro, I'm going to bring up those ever painful memories of doing homework.  Oh, boy. Wasn't it great when we could find answers to every odd numbered question in the back of the book?  Torture being made easier gave us hope, which was probably false hope, but still, some hope to hold on to. 

Everybody has times in their life when the answers would be awesome to have, but even if they were available, they were written in code. 

Without fail, something you can do to bring on such trials is to do what I've done far too many times to make sense of it; Pray for patience.  Why would one want to do this?  Something about becoming a better person is the only common theme that I can remember when making this choice.  Once it's done, there is no going back, you just have to take whatever comes. 

Recently, I once again asked for Heavenly Father to teach me to have more patience. It's like he sits in heaven waiting for us to ask, because these prayers seem to be answered faster than any other prayer.  This time its really got me grasping at straws.  I've really done myself in.  Now I want to take back that prayer, but even if I could, I obviously needed to work on myself, so I wouldn't take it back anyway.

And so it goes. As an answer to my prayer, I find myself in a situation that I've never been in before.  I have no idea what formula to follow, no idea of what the final outcome will be, and no clue of what the lesson to be learned will provide.  Oddly enough, I do know how to show my work while solving these problems, which ought to make my old teachers happy for me. 

The worst part of it right now is that I'm slowly finding out that many of the issues that I now face are my own fault.  What's up with that?  It's like I'm being told to turn the other cheek multiple times, but if that's what I'm supposed to do, then I'll keep doing it.  I have already hit rock bottom.  I have had thoughts and feelings that were unknown to me previously, and almost done some very stupid things.  Prayer and support have been vital to my overall health and strength. 


Tim Lambesis (As I Lay Dying), one of my heroes, gave us some insight.  "It seems our problems solve themselves, when we look beyond us, to those truly in hell."  I've tried to incorporate this thought, and it helps.  Even though this is probably the toughest trial overall that I've had the pleasure of having, doing things for others seems to ease the pain.  Doing work in the LDS temples is probably the most spiritual way to serve others.  Simply doing the extra kind thing for my family is doing a lot for me as well.  It's not so hard to do the latter, because I love them unconditionally.  If they happen to read this, I hope they hear it and know it once again. 

Sometimes we resemble a heavy metal ballad, even without knowing that we do.  We (usually our intentions) can be misunderstood, like the music that I listen to.  The words are not always heard clearly until we've heard them many times in repetition.  There is a lot of noise that is making it even harder to focus on the message.  In our lives, we have to repeat ourselves a lot when trying to convey feelings to others, and there are many distractions.  Just like a song, each person will take what is being said differently. 

There is a song by Born Of Osiris called "Singularity."  It is an extremely heavy, loud, and chaotic sounding song.  At the same time, I hear more passion in that song than so many others that I've heard.  With somebody that is not talented in the art of metal-listening, they would probably get a headache and not feel positive after hearing it.  Does that mean that the person who wrote it is unsuccessful as a musician?  That depends on their reason for writing it.  If it was written for themselves (which in this case is apparent to me), then they succeeded quite well. 


As long as we are doing what we know we should be doing, we are showing our work.  Even if we don't know the formula, the answer, or our learning objective, we will gain much.  Keeping the commandments, praying, going to the temple to do work for the dead, and shifting focus away from myself are the ways that I'm dealing with my trial.  Will it work out for me in the end?  I don't know that right now, but I'll do my best to show my work, that way when it's all said and done, I'll be able to learn whatever I needed to. 

If only I had the strength (musically or spiritually) of the band For Today, I'd be better off.  The lyrics to a song on their new album, Immortal, are encouraging and instructional:

For Today - Fearless

"We will not
We will not
We will not be afraid

I can feel the courage rising in the hearts of the sons of God,
I can feel a fire burning, across the Earth we stand as one.

Though we walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
We will fear no evil, for we know that you are near.

We will not
We will not
We will not be afraid

I guess that is why I prayed for patience. So that I can have that kind of strength.  I hope it works, but for now, it's kicking my butt :(

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Look, I'm conforming!!! Something for everyone :)

I am embarking on too many of these off-themed posts. It seems that the number of Christian metalheads following my blog is near zero, so I'm going a slightly different direction with a few posts.

In order to not entirely abandon my theme, I will be discussing metal, but I have good news for you plain rock fans......TriViuM's new album has something for EVERYONE!!!!!!!! That's right, I'm going to break down a few songs that I think could be enjoyed by any music lover.

TriViuM's 5th album, In Waves, is so broad, but so musically charged. I'm just gonna jump right into the songs I want you to try for me:

Built To Fall
Guitars mellow enough for any rock fan, great sounding vocals, and if you listen to the lyrics you can really feel Matt Heafy's passion. Kind of a song about inner struggle of letting feelings take control, but trying to be a good person. Possibly a good vs. evil song.  (Here is an amazing acoustic performance on a rooftop in France

Possibility of you liking it: 8.5 out of 10

Of All These Yesterdays
The first part of this song sounds like a male version of Evanescence. This song is more mellow and a little bit slower at first. Speeds up toward the middle and end, but I think anyone would love this song. Best vocals on the album.

Possibility of you liking it: 9 out of 10

Watch The World Burn
This has to be the happiest sounding TriViuM song ever. The beginning is pretty much a fast paced rock song, the vocals use a lot of major chords, thus sounding happy/hopeful. A little bit of screaming, but only backing vocals, not much. One of the best solos I've ever heard.

Possibility of you liking it: 7.5 out of 10

This song was the biggest surprise to me on the album. It is the most Metallica-esque. A little stronger than most of you might like, but a killer tune with a mean solo that gives you an idea of just how intense metal can be. However, very musical. A great example of why I like metal.

Possibility of you liking it: 6 out of 10

*The "possibility of you liking it" feature is my best judgement on an "average Joe" opinion. If you like rock, I'd add 1 to 2 points, it's that good.

I'll spare you the details, but it may surprise you how much you might also like:

In Waves
Inception Of The End
A Skyline's Severance
A Grey So Dark


I'm going to give you a few other bands to check out that steer more for more musical recordings, ones I think everyone should try:

Dream Theater - Sounds like (Rush, STYX, Muse, Trans-Siberian Orchestra)
Dragonforce - Instrumental work STILL blows me sky high, fastest guitars ever!
Megadeth - A lot of people choose Metallica over Megadeth (Just like I did before I actually listened to Megadeth). I will say this, Megadeth wins by a landslide in songwriting and musical flow. Still love Metallica, no disrespect.

To Close, I'm EXTREMELY EXCITED to see two of my very favorite bands in concert together later this month. TriViuM and Dream Theater will be playing at Kingsbury Hall on Sept. 30, and I can't wait.

Thanks, and REALLY DO give some of this music a shot.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Celestial Completion....An interesting view of the end!!!

Ladies and gentlemen, I have discovered a masterpiece. But before I get into that, I just want to say that it's been a few months since my last post, and I feel very incomplete. I love sharing my feelings, and it's very rewarding when someone I don't know likes what they have read. Even if these posts are more of a personal journal of what helps me in my life, one day somebody could stumble upon my thoughts and gain something valuable, and that is why I do what I do.

So, with that said, Becoming The Archetype released an album earlier this spring entitled "Celestial Completion." From what I gather it is about the end of the world, or the second coming of Christ (whatever you choose to believe). There are some awesome themes, which are mostly religious, but not entirely. Some of the themes just make the album epically fun and exciting. Let me point some things out to you:

I will take it easy with the lyrics (since it bothers so many of you), so I'm going to focus on the concepts. THERE IS SOME GREAT STUFF TO THINK ABOUT. When this world ends and is born again, how exactly is it going to happen?

We know that there will be famine and difficulties like we've never seen before, that's what the scriptures tell us. But what about that moment when the faithful are no longer mortal? This album gives a very interesting version of transfiguration/translation. The album cover alone depicts a person undergoing the change from mortal body on earth to celestial and eternal entity.

I have noticed a recurring theme in a lot of christian metal, and that is the use of the word "light" to represent the gospel or the word of God. Makes sense, doesn't it? I really like how it is used on this album. There are 3 occurrences in regards to "Celestial Completion" that are noteworthy:

"Father of lights
Shine upon us here
Take the darkness from our hearts
Make it disappear
Reflect, refract
Break me
Remake me
A mirror that reflects your glory
Break me
Remake me
A mirror that reflects you perfectly

We all want to become like our Heavenly Father. We are created in his image, but have to undergo the tests and trials of this world. Essentially, even if we don't admit it, we all came here to prove that we can start from scratch, and become like God, and live in his presence forever.

"See the darkness that conceals you
Evaporating, exposing the soul
And as the light reveals you
Let it in, let it take control
As death corrupts
Beauty is revealed
As the whole world falls apart
Broken souls are healed
We are breathing light
It sets our hearts aglow
We are breathing light
Eternal is the overflow

When I read this, I think of Joseph Smith. When he experienced Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ appearing to him in the Sacred Grove, he was overcome with the darkness of the adversary, but then, he saw "two personages, whose brightness and glory defy all description." Is that the case for all of us? I tend to think so.

Again, when Joseph was visited by the Angel Moroni, he records that a light appeared in his room that "continued to increase until the room was lighter than at noonday." He also spoke of the exquisite whiteness of the robe that Moroni wore, and that he believed no earthly thing could be made to appear so exceedingly white and brilliant.

Lastly, if you watch the music video for "The Magnetic Sky," there are a few things to notice:

0 Did they really make an RPG game for the NES system just for this video?
0 The band survived because they were not alone, and neither are we.
0 The light in the end of the video is very bright, and it is clear to me what the message was supposed to be.

Becoming The Archetype is dead even with FOR TODAY as the most religious metal band that I've ever heard. The message that I take away is always a strong one that makes me want to be a stronger and better person. I think about the fact that we are running out of time in this world, but that this world is a temporary state of existence, and that if we make the right decisions, we will get to experience all that God has and wants us to share with him.

This music is fun for me, but it also means a lot to me. For you UN-Metal types, you may enjoy the following songs from the album that are not heavy:

Breathing Light
Path of the Beam
The Magnetic Sky

Thank you all, I love you as brothers and sisters. If I'm not acting like it, please remind me.

Devon Smith

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Fine....since you asked me nicely

I was challenged by some friends to write a blog post that was not about heavy metal. I wasn't big on the idea, but I am going to give it a shot.

This might actually be easier than I thought because in the last couple of days, my time listening to metal has been cut down drastically (thanks to my headphones taking a dump). I usually go to sleep listening to something nice and heavy, as if it weighs down my eyelids. All I have for a backup plan are some really crappy headphones that sound absolutely atrocious, so I've only been listening to clips from the Radio From Hell morning show from X96.

I have actually had a lot of time to re-focus, if you will, on the pre-metalhead Devon. I have been listening to a lot of alternative, classic rock, and oldies. I still love all of the other music that I used to listen to, but I've noticed that I've been very sluggish the last few days. It probably has nothing to do with the music that I have or have not been listening to.


I've had a few experiences in the past weeks that have helped me feel my worth, and also the importance of my duties as a husband, father, and friend. In some of my previous posts, I've stressed the importance of relying on others. WE CANNOT LIVE LIFE ALONE. Isolation can lead to a lot of negatives:

- Decrease in social skills
- Increase in selfishness
- Loss of self standards
- Bad habits

I could keep going with that list, but you get the point. Nothing feels better than helping someone when they need it. Whether its a friend, family member, or stranger, when we do something good, we are serving the Lord. That is why we're here.

Imagine a man. We'll call him George. George is a decent fella. He has a family, a job, and hobbies. He is happy most of the time, and isn't a jerk to people. However, we ask George when the last time he helped somebody with a problem (a real problem, not like a scratching someones back for them). He can't remember, he thinks maybe 2 years ago. Then we ask him how many chances he's passed up to really help someone. He stands in silence. No answer. We all know that he had a lot of chances, but usually made some excuse (no time, I don't know the person, someone else will do it).

Seriously, come on. If you were in a tough spot and wanted/needed help, what happens when all of the George's in this world leave you hanging. What goes around comes around. We heard in LDS General Conference a few weeks ago that you can't "give yourself poor." To clarify, no matter what, if you give, give, and give some more, you are not going to end up poor. You are only going to be blessed with many gifts, and you will become more loving and caring.

When we are standing in front of the Lord to be judged, we probably don't want to be struck with silence when asked why we didn't help others. There are a lot of scriptures pertaining to this very principle. My two favorites are both in Matthew.

Matthew 22:37-39 "Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself."

Matthew 25:40 "And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me."

Can't argue with that.....Wouldn't dare to.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Not Alone, Not To Worry

I have had somewhat of a bad day. Not so much a bad day emotionally, but physically. I cut the top of my left foot on a piece of broken glass, my right knee is really wrenching, and to top it all off, I stepped on the plug-in piece of Brody's night light (freakin' hurts). I'm surprised that it pierced the bottom of my foot the way that it did :(

Shift Gears. Subject: ALL THAT REMAINS.

How have I not blogged about one of the first bands that brought me to Metal? My radar must have been broken. The very first song that made me believe in such a thing as Christian Metal will always be one of my favorites. The title of the song is "The Air That I Breathe." This song was so powerful to me because it made me feel like I wasn't alone, and that I have the strength to overcome temptation at all times. Proof lies beneath :

"I will not relent no, no
Never live with defeat, never falter
This like the air that I breathe
I will not choke on failure

I am a mortal man
But I'm not fallen
I'm not broken
I am a mortal man, But I'll
Hold tight to my beliefs

I have suffered defeat, pain, loss
Still I push to the edge, never falter
For this cement my beliefs
I'll will not choke on failure

I will not relent

I used to sit in church and write these lyrics in a notebook. I love the idea that I am strong enough to do the things I know I should, and not do the things I know I shouldn't.

Coincidentally, there is a song on the same album called "Not Alone." In that song, the chorus says "I'm not alone, with the touch of your hand, I am whole again." That song always made me feel really lucky to be married to such an amazing woman. When I have a really bad headache, just having her hand on my head makes me feel better. I take this song quite literally.

So, I finally got the new album called "For We Are Many..." It's a little heavier, like their older music, but I'm not complaining (I just bang my head harder in the car!!!) There just so happens to be a song on there about strength in numbers, kind of like the album title indicates. The song is called "Keepers Of Fellow Man," and here is why I love it:

"Through the years I have come to realize
That the truth is often right before our eyes
We are aware and know the hearts of fellow man
So let us act as such, and help our brothers to stand

And now we offer this small bit of wisdom
The heart it came from will set you on your way

Ignorance will crush us, destroy all that we have
So let us rejoice that, the powers in our hands
To shape us and make us keepers of fellow man
So let us rejoice that the powers in our hands

Let us find strength in our neighbors' hands


WOW!!!! Great stuff, I know, you don't have to tell me. The song closes with a very bluntly put "It is time to address the fact that alone none of us can survive" I believe that with all my heart. We are not made to be alone. If we were, we wouldn't be born to parents, we would be self-reliant from birth, and we would deny God, which some people do anyways.

I have never had a hard time putting my trust in people. I have even trusted people I wasn't close to with things that I shouldn't have, but arrest me for believing in goodwill. I have been watching a show on the BIO channel lately called "I Survived." If you have not seen it before, the victims of natural disasters, dangerous situations, and victims of violent crimes tell their stories and how they survived these horrible situations. It has really opened my eyes to the fact that people are worse than we sometimes see. It seems that half of the stories are women who were raped, beaten, and left for dead. This breaks my heart. So many of the people telling the stories end by saying things like, "You never know who you can trust," or "You wouldn't think people are capable of doing things like this."

In a world that is headed toward destruction, please be good to your fellow man. What will it hurt. If you are religious, you probably know that you will be judged by God for your actions, and if you aren't religious, what's the worst that could happen, you and the people around you will be happier? Well, that just sounds awful, doesn't it?

I love the people in my life, so if you are one of them, Congrats on being loved. Please love me back. I thank my Father in Heaven for placing you in my life, and usually at times when I need you the most. I will never question the love that I have been shown. I will try to be as forgiving as possible, because I'm commanded to and because it's healing.

For you sucky people, I hope you find what you are looking for. I don't believe in Karma, but I do believe that lies and bad attitudes come back to bite you. Good luck getting over it alone. Start loving people like you know you should.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Tender Picture For Tender Subjects

Recent events in my life have inspired some deep thinking. I've really been evaluating a lot of things concerning life choices and religous beliefs. I am very happy to be a mormon, and very happy to have a family that believes in the same things that I do. I feel for those who have made religious choices that family members or friends did not approve of or support. I guess this is one of the large blessings in my life that I have overlooked.

Some of these feelings have stemmed from the death of my grandfather. He worked hard to support his family, he stood by the values and standards of the LDS church, and was proud to be a mormon. He was happiest when he was around his family, especially his grandchildren. I want to be like my grandpa, and my dad reminds me of him more and more as time passes.

Some of the other events have been less impactful. Mostly just everyday things like seeing someone treat others with disrespect or anger, or trying to figure out why people steal, and other things of that sort. Everybody does things that they will regret later on, but it's more of the kind of behavior that you would expect someone to feel guilty about. People who make a habit of stealing probably don't see it as a big deal after they've been doing it for a while.

To get to the point I'm trying to make, a lot of the things we do depends on what we are doing RIGHT NOW!!!! I've seen this many times in life. Just like the scriptures say, we need to choose this day whom we will serve. No man can serve two masters. I've always liked this. People think that the scriptures are so confusing, but what I love about them is the simplicity. We either choose to serve the Lord, or we choose to serve Satan.

The reference to Heavy Metal that I would like to make is that a lot of songs that I listen to preach this very principle, and are a helpful and constant reminder to me that I have an obligation and responsibility to serve the Lord, Jesus Christ, with all my might, mind, and strength. It is of the utmost importance for me to do this RIGHT NOW for the following reasons:

0 I have a family, and I need to set the example
0 The second coming of the Lord is going to happen soon
0 The righteous will become more righteous, and the wicked will become more wicked
0 I want to serve the Lord, and only Him

In the music I listen to, which has primarily been Christian Heavy Metal (a growing genre of metal), I find my strength and inspiration to live in such a way. For example:

Killswitch Engage - "A Light in a Darkened World"

"I see so much corruption
And it's hard to ignore
Living on greed and possessions
Is this what we're dying for?

Now choose this day
Who you will serve
To be the light in a darkened world

Many are willing to only live for themselves
Turning away from morality
Nothing can save you now

Now choose this day
Who you will serve
To be the light in a darkened world
You feel dissolved and the water's beginning to rise
Become the light in this darkened world

Touching upon my grandfather's death once again, I had an opportunity with my dad, brother, and uncle to dress my grandpa in preparation for his funeral and burial. I didn't really know how to prepare for this, or what to expect. For the first few minutes, it was very surreal. I walked into the room thinking that my grandpa was lying there, but after a while i could feel that something was missing. With our mortal eyes, we can only see a person's body, but without their spirit inside, it is just a body. The body is here for the purpose of housing the spirit. I kept expecting my grandpa to breathe or speak, but of course he wasn't. It finally started to sink in that he wasn't there. My brother and dad were very comforting and understanding when I got emotional.

This reminds me of another song by one of my favorite Christian Metal bands, August Burns Red. They use the lyric, "Blinded by the inability to see beyond flesh and blood." I like this because it shows us that by only thinking in terms of this life, we miss out on the big picture. There is also an As I Lay Dying song called "Upside Down Kingdom" that argues that this world teaches us to live it up (eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die), and that the only consequence is regret for the things that we didn't do or try. We are taught by the philosophies of men that we're here until we die, and that's it.

I take comfort in knowing that my grandpa is with his wife after 7 years of missing her, and he is with his son that only lived for a little more than a week on this earth. We need to keep in mind that this life is like a flash compared to eternity, and that we made a choice to come to earth and live by God's commandments. I know that I want to prove to Him that I am worthy for the happiness and blessings that he wants to give to me. I am the only one who can decide if I will carry out the duties that will be given to me for this purpose. I will be the only one to blame if I am not worthy.