Saturday, September 17, 2011

Two Thoughts on the Sacrament

First. It occurred to me during church at some point during the last couple of weeks. In the wording of both the sacrament prayers, we are reminded that the entirety of the covenant we make is possible only through Christ’s grace. It’s not just that the Father blesses and sanctifies the bread or water and then it’s up to us to do the rest; the whole prayer is actually a plea to Heavenly Father.
. . . we ask thee . . . to bless and sanctify this bread . . . that [we] may eat in remembrance of the body of thy Son [we can’t officially, formally, eat in remembrance of Christ without the Father’s sanctifying power upon the bread], and [that we may] witness unto thee [only with the Father’s blessing and power] . . . that [we] are willing to take upon [us] the name of thy Son [a name that has to be given, bestowed—not something that can be bought or given without authority, as we learn in the New Testament], and always remember him, and [again, we’ve asked for His blessing and sanctification so that we can] keep his commandments which he hath given [us], that [we] may always have his Spirit to be with [us][—and on top of all those other things that we’re asking the Father to enable us to do, He grants us one huge blessing, which is the one we normally think of].
So, the moral of the story? I shouldn’t think of the sacrament, or the gospel generally for that matter, as one thing after another that we’re being asked to do, even though I clearly can’t do it all perfectly at this point. Instead, I should use the weekly ordinance as a time to remember all that the Atonement enables me to do. Because of what Christ did, the Father can command us to perform the sacrament in his Son’s name, to approach the King under the Prince’s authority, and receive the blessing worthy of Him whom we represent. Second. This was prompted by Daniel and Sara’s sealing (that’s Beth’s brother) last week. It started with something the sealer said but kind of blossomed in my mind. He quoted Doctrine and Covenants 109—the unique revelation of the Kirtland Temple’s dedicatory prayer, which has served as a model for all the subsequent temple dedications. Verse 22:
And we ask thee, Holy Father, that thy servants may go forth from this house armed with thy power [I’d remembered noticing that part before, but not what comes next:], and that thy name may be upon them, and thy glory round about them, and thine angels have charge over them;
In taking the sacrament, one of our covenants (made possible by the Atonement) is that we will take upon us the name of Christ. That means many things, and I think it can mean different things to different people, as the Spirit dictates. But what it meant to me when I heard it in the temple is that one way that we take Christ’s name upon us is through temple worship. In turn, that brought to mind the oft-repeated phrase from Isaiah? Joseph Smith? Obadiah, it turns out, and it’s not even the whole phrase, “Saviors on Mount Zion”:
And saviours shall come up on mount Zion to judge the mount of Esau; and the kingdom shall be the LORD’s. (Obadiah 1:21)
The composite phrase, it would seem, indeed comes from Joseph Smith:
All those who die in the faith go to the prison of spirits to preach to the dead in body, but they are alive in the spirit; and those spirits preach to the spirits [who are in prison] that they may live according to God in the spirit, and men do minister for them in the flesh; . . . and they are made happy by these means [see 1 Peter 4:6]. Therefore, those who are baptized for their dead are the saviors on Mount Zion, and they must receive their washings and their anointings for their dead the same as for themselves. (Quoted by George Laub, in compilation of excerpts from Joseph Smith’s discourses, ca. 1845; George Laub, Reminiscences and Journal Jan. 1845–Apr. 1857, p. 21, Church Archives.)
But to get to the point, we take Christ’s name and power upon us a little bit more each time we’re engaged in His work—and especially when that work directly leads to others’ salvation, as does our work in the temple. So now I need not puzzle over what I can do to take Christ’s name upon me this week; I can make the two-minute drive to the Logan Temple and get to work.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Library Science Response: 1 of 1

Dear Robert Heaton:

Congratulations on your acceptance to the online Master of Science Degree Program in Library and Information Science in The iSchool [trendy shortening of “College of Information Science and Technology”] at Drexel University. We are pleased that you have chosen Drexel for your professional study and hope that you will find the program stimulating and challenging. . . .


Dear Robert Heaton:

Congratulations on receiving an iSchool Part Time Dean’s Fellowship (Level 1) from the iSchool at Drexel University. Being selected as a Dean's Fellow reflects our recognition of your accomplishments. . . .

[FYI, Drexel University is in Philadelphia, but if I go on to complete this degree (which would require getting a job and, ideally, one related to library science), it would be completely online. Drexel’s program is rated 9th nationally by U.S. News, 6th for digital librarianship, which would be one of my specializations.]

Friday, April 08, 2011

Round Two: 9 down, 0 to go!

Dear Robert:

Congratulations! I am pleased to inform you that you have been admitted to the Graduate School of Northern Illinois University for the Fall 2011 semester to pursue a Doctoral degree in English. To accept your admission, go to the Student Center in MyNIU. Failure to do so will prohibit you from registering for classes.

You should arrange with your new department for an appointment to meet with an academic adviser prior to your first registration as a graduate student. Any deficiencies still to be resolved will be determined upon your arrival.

If you are unable to enroll for the stated semester/session, you may petition the Graduate School, in writing, to defer your admission up to but not beyond two years. Such deferment is subject to approval by your major department or program and the Graduate School, and your request must be received by the Graduate School no later than the end of the semester/session for which you have been admitted. Failure to enroll for the stated semester/session or to defer admission by the last day of classes for Fall 2011 will result in cancellation of your admission.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact the Graduate School. Again, congratulations on your admission.

Round Two: 8 down, 1 to go

Dear Mr. Heaton:

I regret to inform you that the Graduate Studies Committee, having carefully reviewed your file, has not recommended your admission to the English Graduate Program in British & American Literature. We appreciate your interest in the University of Utah and wish you success in your academic and professional endeavors.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Round Two: 7 down, 2 to go

Dear Mr. Heaton:

We were pleased to consider your application for graduate studies at the University of Notre Dame.

We are sorry to report that we are unable to admit you at this time. This decision should not be viewed as an evaluation of your acceptability as a graduate student, but rather as an indication of the degree of competition in your department.

Trusting that you will find satisfactory placement at another school of your choice, we wish you success in your future academic work. Thank you for your interest in the graduate programs of the University of Notre Dame.

Monday, March 07, 2011

Round Two: 6 down, 3 to go

Dear Mr. Heaton:

Our faculty has carefully reviewed your application, and I regret very much to inform you that we are unable to grant you admission to graduate study in the Department of English Language and Literature. Admission decisions to our graduate programs are made based on a combination of qualifications, preparation and academic fit with the faculty.

We thank you for considering the University of Chicago and sincerely hope that you will have the opportunity to pursue your academic interests in another graduate program.

Round Two: 5 down, 4 to go

Dear Mr. Heaton:

Thank you for your application to the English program at Southern Methodist University.

Admission to graduate programs at SMU is highly competitive. Although your application has much to recommend it, there are only limited spaces available in your area of interest. I regret to inform you that your application has not been accepted.

Your interest in our university is appreciated, and if you have any questions about your application, please feel free to call the department or our office. I wish you the best in your future endeavors.