31 May 2010

Circus in Vienna

We got some "free" tickets to the Circus the other day. Two free adult tickets for a Tuesday afternoon. We thought it must be a promotional thing to generate interest for the Circus, because not that many people could take an afternoon off work on a random Tuesday to go to the Circus. So we figured we were lucky and went.

Unfortunately, those trixy Circus-folk fooled us. The tickets got adults in free, but we paid 15 euros a piece for the kids! Never trust a carny...

After all that we couldn't go home, so we bought the tickets and the kids were sooooo excited.

The best part was, Elora kept leaning over and asking me, "Are you taking a picture of this? Take a picture of this."

This guy was pretty good. He got hurt really bad though at one point when he was having objects tossed to him to stack on top of this pole to balance on. We felt pretty bad... the circus took an improptu break for about 15 minutes...

Then out came the camels. This ringmaster was awesome. He was just standing in the middle smiling and barking out commands to the animals as they ran around in circles or turned around, etc.

Elora really liked the singing trappeze artist act.

The kids were so excited during the show. There was a live band on a balcony above the center of the ring. Oliver watched the band for the first half of the circus I think. Then he got really excited by all the animals running around. No lions or elephants though.

It was a pretty small circus, so we were close to the center.

Elora was definitely very sweet. She was just so excited to see everything and demanded that we take pictures the entire time. Now whenever she sees circus banners up around town, she gets all excited. 30 euros wasn't really bad to pay for a family trip to the circus, but when your expectation is "free tickets" it's a real kick in the pants!

Great talk... Marion G. Romney - Learning to Live the Lord's Way

Normally, we don't get very religious on this blog, because it's basically a "tour guide" of sorts of our life in Vienna and Europe. But I came across a talk on speeches.byu.edu I was a bit sad there wasn't a transcript, so Karen and I transcribed it for our own use. Having done that, we might as well put it out here "in the cloud" so someone else can stumble across the talk in a google search some day. Whatever one's political persuasions in the realm of secular government, this is a great talk that really gets to the heart of what it means to care for the poor and the needy in the church.

ps - It's ironic that 50+ years after he gave this talk, in which Elder Romney said he didn't want to it to be recorded, and didn't want to prepare a written talk, here I am listening to the recording, and transcribing it for him.

Click "Finish Reading" to read and/or download an mp3 audio file of the talk given in 1953.

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD THE AUDIO FILE - It's much better to listen to Elder Romney speak plainly...

Thank you very much Bishop. I can't say brothers and sisters that I am pleased to be here. I am happy to be in your presence, however. I'm grateful for your attendance. I'd be very much more at ease if I didn't know that they were recording what we say here today. I've never liked these recording machines at all, as far as they apply to me. I like to be free to move by the inspiration of the spirit and not tied to one of them. Particularly when it's an informal discussion. And I'd like to have this an informal discussion if it were possible. I don't suppose it would be, I guess there are 150 to 200 people here and so it can't be as informal as it could be if most of you stayed away and we had just the right size of a class. But I'll try to make opportunity to ask questions if you like to. I'll give you a few of my thoughts to start with.

I do not have a formal talk prepared. I don't like a formal talk when it comes to the discussion of the welfare program anyhow. And I don't know what the other Brethren have said or what those will say who come. I've read the subject. I've forgotten what it is, now what is it? Learning to live in the lord's way. At least, my wife read it to me on the way down here. I'll try to talk to what I consider the Lord's way. And I assume that of course it ties into the welfare program.

I'm quite sure that the Lord's way is not the way the world lives. I suppose we ought to limit this discussion to the economic, what we call economic or temporal living. I think the Lord set out his way for people to live in the morning of the world's temporal history. When he invited Adam and Eve out of the Garden of Eden, you'll remember and he said to them, "In the sweat of thy face shall thou eat bread."(Gen 3:19) Do you remember how long? "Until thou return to the ground." I know that's been amended now, to until thou are 65 years of age at the longest. But that isn't the way it's written in my Bible. It isn't the way the Lord said it to Adam in Eve. "In the sweat of thy face shall thou eat bread until thou return to the ground." (Gen 3:19)

And that's the first rule of living the lord's way economically. By your own efforts. By our own efforts of mind and body. In other words. Work. And I'm inclined to think that no man or woman will get into the kingdom of heaven, into the Celestial kingdom of God who doesn't practice that principle. That's the first thing I'd like to mention with respect to living the Lords way.

The Lord gave a number of commandments in this dispensation on that question. Renewing it. "Thou shalt not be idle" (DC 42:42), he said to the church in 1831, that was the year that it was organized. That is within the first year. "For he that is idle shall not eat the bread nor wear the garment of the laborer." And in November of that same year he said, "The idler shall be had in remembrance before the Lord." (DC 68:30) And that, I think had reference to church discipline. So if you want to live the Lord's way you better like to work.

Now the next principle of living the lord's way, is for families to support each other. It's the responsibility by revelation for the parents of children to take care of the children. Over and over again in the revelations, I won't take time to read them, because we'd only get part way through if we did. But the responsibility is upon a parent to take care of the children. And that attaches to them until they are grown up. That applies to the family the other way too. It's the responsibility of children to take care of the parent. And on that principle, the world has deserted the Lord's way. If anything more than it has on the first principle of trying to live from the sweat of another man's face. That's the thing that the world is trying to do today. And many of the policies of the world, many of the policies adopted in the world promote idleness and encourage it. And wherever it does, a Later-day Saint, can't be a true Later-day Saint and approve of that method. And the idea of the state taking over the parents to care for them is not in harmony with the Lord's way, within his Church. He wouldn't have it that way, He'd have the children taken care of the parents.

I think of the scene at the crucifixion. The Christ was on the cross. Dying. Most of his followers deserted him. As the fair weather followers always desert the cause in the day of trial, but at the face of the cross was Mary, his mother and John his beloved disciple. Jesus didn't say very much while he hung on the cross. But he did say, to John, son "Behold thy mother." And said to Mary, "Woman, behold thy son." (John 19:26) Setting up between Mary and John as it were the relationship of Mother and Son. And the record says that John took Mary, the mother of Jesus, to his home and cared for her the rest of his life. I've searched the New Testament in vain to find that he took her to the welfare agency to see if she could get on an old age pension. He took her to his home to care for her.

Now that's the two first steps in learning to live the Lord's way. Take care of ourselves, take care of our family. Now the third step, in the Lord's way of living in His Church. Of course, he would be very happy if all people belonged to his Church. Where the individual cannot care for himself. And where he cannot be cared for through the help of the family. The Lord desires that his church shall take care of the members of the church. That's always been the rule. Always. Wherever the gospel has been lived, in anything like its fullness, the people have lived that law. It was lived that way by Enoch and his people. If you will recall, they lived in a time of the world's history when the world was about as wicked as our world is today. But Enoch taught the Gospel and the people who believed Enoch, built a city. A city of Zion. And they seemed to have been set off from the rest of the people. Let me read you 2-3 verses from the rest of the 7th chapter of Moses,

" There also came up a land out of the depth of the sea, and so great was the fear of the enemies of the people of God, that they fled and stood afar off and went upon the land which came up out of the depth of the sea. And the giants of the land, also, stood afar off; and there went forth a curse upon all people that fought against God; And from that time forth there were wars and bloodshed among them..." (Moses 7:14-16)

That's a good deal like our time.

"... but the Lord came and dwelt with his people, and they dwelt in righteousness. The fear of the Lord was upon all nations, so great was the glory of the Lord, which was upon his people. And the Lord blessed the land, and they were blessed upon the mountains, and upon the high places, and did flourish. And the Lord called his people Zion." (Moses 7:16-18)

Why did he call them Zion?

" because they were of one heart and one mind, and dwelt in righteousness; and there was no poor among them." (Moses 7:18)

How do you think they got rid of the poor? By turning them over to the wicked who were in the other part of the land and let them take care of them? No they didn't get rid of the poor that way, they got rid of the poor because they had all things in common. Because the people of the church who had, cared for the people of the church who didn't have. And all of them worked.

And after awhile, Zion was taken out of the world, do you remember? Up into heaven, and it still persists. And let me say parenthetically now, that there never will be a people, there never will be a civilization on this earth, that will persist on any other principle, than that. Every nation we've ever had in the world has gone down. Up until the present nations. And they're going down, very very fast. Until they can learn to live the Lord's way. They'll never persist indefinitely. We're going to have a little experience here in the lives of most of you folks that will convince to you that. Absolutely, you'll know it because it will be demonstrated before your very eyes.

And were' going to have a repetition of this experience I've just read about. There will be a day when a modern Zion will be established, and every man, according to these revelations and every man who will not take up his sword against his neighbor, must flee to Zion for safety (DC 45:68). And in Zion, we're going to be living all 3 of these principles. We're going to be working ourselves. We're going to be willing to care for our families and the church is going to care for all of those who are not taken care of in that way. We're going to have a duplication, a repetition. And the new Zion, is going to be built and the old Zion of Enoch's day is going to come back to the earth and we're going to be united, as one people.

Now I said a moment ago that this principle of the church taking care of the people, who are not able to take care of themselves of be cared for by their family has always been practiced when the gospel has been lived in anything like completeness. Let me cite you two other instances. After the Christ was crucified and the Apostles carried on his doctrine. They started to live the law. In and about Palestine and around Jerusalem. And they sold what they had according to the record. And it was distributed to every man according to his need. You'll read that in the 3rd and 4th chapters of Acts (sic Acts 2 & 4). It didn't last long. The members of the church were in the great minority. or the small minority in the Apostolic church.

But about the same time, at the same time. Over on this continent, either south our north America wherever the people were at that time, perhaps on both continents. When the Savior came after he was crucified, he taught the same doctrine then as he taught in the days of Enoch and was taught among the Apostles around Jerusalem. The same economic system.

And you'll remember at that time, the people of the earth on these continents were destroyed, the wicked ones, so that all that were left, after that great destruction at the time of the death of the Savior were people who would believe the gospel. Remember he said that all of this generation would be saved, then he explained all of those who were still living after the destruction. And by the 36th [sic] year, the record says that all the people had joined the church of Christ. And let's read a word about the condition that they lived in.

" And it came to pass in the thirty and sixth year, the people were all converted unto the Lord, upon all the face of the land, both Nephites and Lamanites, and there were no contentions and disputations among them, and every man did deal justly one with another. And they had all things common among them; therefore there were not rich and poor, bond and free, but they were all made free, and partakers of the heavenly gift. " (4 Ne 1:2-3) "..and surely there could not be a happier people among all the people who had been created by the hand of God." (4 Ne 1:16)

And for over 200 years they lived in that condition. There were no poor, there were no rich. They lived the gospel. They were living the Lord's Economic Law. That's the law that we're trying to live. And not having much success at it. Now don't put that on the record. As a whole people. We're having marvelous success at it as a few people, in the church.

This being the dispensation in the fullness of times, it was certain that this Law would have to be revealed. The church wasn't 9 months old, when it was revealed. It wasn't a year old. It was only 9 months old when the principle was revealed. Some people think the welfare program was a new program. It really isn't a new program at all. It's as old as Enoch. From the record. It's older than that. It's as old as the Gospel. The Prophet hadn't yet been to Kirkland. Nauvoo of course was years away. They had never been over to Missouri. The Prophet was still at the home of Father Whitmer in New York where the church was organized in January of 1831. When the Lord revealed this principle. I want to read that to you. it's a beautiful statement.

You'll find it in the 38th section of the Doctrine and Covenants. I'm not going to read the whole section, I'll just read the parts that pertain to this doctrine. Listen to it,

"For your salvation I give unto you a commandment..."

That's a pretty good reason isn't it? For your salvation I give unto you a commandment.

"...for I have heard your prayers, and the poor have complained before me."

Already before the church was a year old, the poor were complaining to the Lord and he heard their complaints. Then he said,

" and the rich have I made, and all flesh is mine, and I am no respecter of persons." (DC 38:16)

Don't you see the doctrine in that? If that's as far as the revelation went, it seems to be it would be enough. Here are the poor complaining. The rich I've made. And all things are mine. And I'm no respecter of persons

And I have made the earth rich, and behold it is my footstool, wherefore, again I will stand upon it." (DC 38:17)

"Wherefore, hear my voice..."

this is the Redeemer speaking,

"hear my voice and follow me, and you shall be a free people, and ye shall have no laws but my laws when I come." (DC 38:22)

"And let every man esteem his brother as himself, and practice virtue and holiness before me." (DC 38:24)

Now if every man esteemed his brother as himself in this kingdom, would he let a brother go hungry? Can you imagine that? I don't know if I love my wife as I love myself or not. Doubt it. But still, I wouldn't let her go hungry. I'm sure I wouldn't. Unless, I was lots hungrier than I've ever been, I wouldn't. Can you imagine a father or a mother letting their children go hungry?

If you pardon the personal experience, I'll tell you one of my own. Brother Rasband has already told you that I was born in Mexico. I left Mexico, because I had to, because they drove us out in the exodus of 1912. And my father had seven children at the time, and 3 others were born in the next few years. And we had nothing. Many times, we'd been where my father and mother had no mattress or springs to sleep on. We'd sleep on quilts. And they didn't have very much food. And when there was a little extra food, I remember that my mother used to say, if there was some delicacy, "well I don't care for it, you children have it." Of course I didn't know so much then as I know now. I knew she was giving up what she really needed and wanted for her children.

Now I think that was the kind of love that the Father, the Lord, was here asking his church to have. To esteem their brother as themselves. And that's what he gave the saints the commandment here on the second day of January 1831. And then he gives us a parable to try to impress this on our minds:

"For what man among you having twelve sons, and is no respecter of them..."

Now you just consider your own family of 12,

"..., and is no respecter of them and they serve him obediently..."

You see the Lord never leaves a thing out. That puts the children in the position of faithful children. He's talking about the faith.

"...they serve him obediently, and he saith unto the one: Be thou clothed in robes and sit thou here; and to the other: Be thou clothed in rags and sit thou there—and looketh upon his sons and saith I am just?" (DC 38:26)

What man would do that, he says.

"Behold, this I have given unto you as a parable, and it is even as I am. I say unto you..." members of the church,

"...be one; and if ye are not one ye are not mine." (DC38:27)

Isn't that plain enough? For the Lord to put the responsibility on the church to take care of the poor of the church? Of course it is, but he didn't leave it there. He went on a little more. He said,

"And now, I give unto the church in these parts a commandment, that certain men among them shall be appointed, and they shall be appointed by the voice of the church; And they shall look to the poor and the needy, and administer to their relief that they shall not suffer; And this shall be their work, to govern the affairs of the property of this church." (DC 38:34-36)

Now that was way back as I say during the first year the church was organized. It's been interesting to me to watch what happened here. That was on the 2nd day of January. And they hadn't done it by the 9th of February. They had here 5 weeks and they hadn't done it. We've only had 15, 18 years and we haven't done it. So the Lord gave them another revelation.

"Behold, thou wilt remember the poor, and consecrate of thy properties for their support... And inasmuch as ye impart of your substance unto the poor, ye will do it unto me; and they shall be laid before the bishop of my church and his counselors..." (DC 42:30-31)

And they hadn't done after that second commandment by the end of February, so the Lord gave another revelation to spur them along. And he said to them in this revelation,

"Behold, I say unto you, that ye must visit the poor and the needy and administer to their relief, that they may be kept until all things may be done according to my law which ye have received." (DC 44:6)

By that time he had given the Law of the United Order. But that's the principle Brothers and Sisters and that's the Lord's way. Take care of yourselves by your own effort. No honest, faithful Later-day Saint will transfer from himself or herself the responsibility for their own keep if they're able to do it within their power. And families who understand the gospel, and the Lord's way of learning how to live temporally in the world will sustain each other. They'll take care of their parents, they'll take care of their brothers and sisters, they'll take care of the children. And then the church, will take care of members of the church; if the church is to be the church of God in all respects.

The welfare program of the church, as we refer to it usually, has to do with this 3rd part of the Lord's way. That is the church's activities in taking care of the people of the church. That's what we're spending our time at in the Bishop's storehouses and in the welfare projects. In all the work we're doing to try to take care of the people of the church. Our objective is to meet this requirement, of the Lord, to take care of the poor, His poor, the poor of the Church.

It's a very spiritualizing experience. You know it's quite a different thing for us to preach, than it is to act. Remember how brother Grant used to tell a story frequently in conference about standing in a group of men and someone had said, someone had suffered a reverse [financial setback], and the people were talking about how sorry they were for this man. And finally one of the men got tired of hearing them talk and he walked up and laid down 50 dollars and said, "Well I feel 50 dollars worth of sorrow for the man." Well, they most of them walked away. The measure of your love for your fellow man and in large measure, the measure of your love for the Lord is what you'll do for His poor.

Did you ever think of it in that way? That's a fine way to measure how much you love the Lord, is how much you give to His poor. It's a very vital thing. And there is connected with this law, of caring for the Lord's poor, great blessings. Back in the days of Isaiah the Lord taught it very plainly. Let me refer you to the 58th chapter of Isaiah. The people were complaining, that they were obeying the Lord's commandment of fasting and still they said the Lord didn't give them the guidance and the blessings that they should get from fasting. They said,

"Wherefore have we fasted, say they, and thou seest not?"

They said to Isaiah, speaking of the Lord,

"wherefore have we afflicted our soul, and thou takest no knowledge?" (Isaiah 58:3)

And then Isaiah explained to them that what they were doing was not the kind of a fast that the Lord wanted them to follow. And we went on in this way, he questioned them first,

"Is it such a fast that I have chosen? ((Isaiah 58:5)

contrasting what they were doing,

"Is not this the fast that I have chosen? to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free... Is not this the fast that I have chosen to deal thy bread to the hungry, and that thou bring the poor that are cast out to thy house? (Isaiah 58:6-7)

"Then shall thy light break forth as the morning, and thine health shall spring forth speedily: and thy righteousness shall go before thee; the glory of the Lord shall be thy reward." (Isaiah 58:8)

They had forgotten in their fasting, that object of the fast was to take care of the Lord's poor.

"Then shalt thou call, and the Lord shall answer; thou shalt cry, and he shall say, Here I am. If thou take away from the midst of thee the yoke, the putting forth of the finger, and speaking vanity; And if thou draw out thy soul to the hungry, and satisfy the afflicted soul; then shall thy light rise in obscurity, and thy darkness be as the noonday: And the Lord shall guide thee continually, and satisfy thy soul in drought, and make fat thy bones: and thou shalt be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters fail not. " (Isaiah 58:9-11)

You see there is a direct connection between what you'll do for the Lord's poor and the Lord hearing your prayers. I want to point that out too from a scripture in the Book of Mormon. In the days of Alma, he had a great companion by the name of Amulek, and he and Amulek were preaching the gospel to those who had fallen away from the faith among the Nephites. And after the Alma had given his lecture, then Amulek stood up, and gave a wonderful speech on prayer.

He told them it was time to call upon God,
"that ye may begin to exercise your faith unto repentance, that ye begin to call upon his holy name, that he would have mercy upon you;" (Alma 34:17)
And then he told them when to pray, he said,
"Cry unto him for mercy; for he is mighty to save. Yea, humble yourselves, and continue in prayer unto him. Cry unto him when ye are in your fields, yea, over all your flocks. Cry unto him in your houses, yea, over all your household, both morning, mid-day, and evening. Yea, cry unto him against the power of your enemies. Yea, cry unto him against the devil, who is an enemy to all righteousness. Cry unto him over the crops of your fields, that ye may prosper in them. Cry over the flocks of your fields, that they may increase. But this is not all; ye must pour out your souls in your closets, and your secret places, and in your wilderness. Yea, and when you do not cry unto the Lord, let your hearts be full, drawn out in prayer unto him continually for your welfare, and also for the welfare of those who are around you. " (Alma 34:18-27)

Now you would think that people that pray to the Lord that often and sincerely would be real people wouldn't they? Well it would be a wonderful thing, but that wouldn't be all. Because listen to this statement,

"And now behold, my beloved brethren, I say unto you, do not suppose that this is all; for after ye have done all these things, if ye turn away the needy, and the naked, and visit not the sick and afflicted, and impart of your substance, if ye have, to those who stand in need—I say unto you, if ye do not any of these things, behold, your prayer is vain..." (Alma 34:28)
That's quite a judgment isn't it? I wouldn't dare to say that. But he said, I say unto you
"...your prayer is vain, and availeth you nothing, and ye are as hypocrites who do deny the faith." (Alma 34:28)

You see there is a great connection between the answer to your prayers and your contribution to the Lord's poor. There isn't a more spiritualizing thing, that you can do than to go without food and give to the Lord's poor. That food which you go without. You've heard about the principle of the fast, haven't you? That's part of this great problem of learning to live the Lord's way. Is to go without 2 meals on the first Sunday of each month in a fast and take the equivalent of the meals and give it to the Bishop.

And our failure to do that as well as we might have done it under these principles of this doctrine of Amulek's and that of Isaiah that I've just read, could mean the answer or the explanation as to why are prayers are not answered more than they are. Because he said, if you pray, but you haven't given to the Lord's poor you're a hypocrite who does deny the faith.

Now it's my certain conviction, that our approach to the Lord, in large measure, depends upon our willingness to take of our substance and give it to the Lord's poor. And I'm as sure as I live, and I can say to you with certainty, that if you'll do that; if you will take from your substance and give to the Lord's poor liberally the Lord will never leave you without the necessities of life. And it might make the difference between your having homes and your being without homes. Now perhaps that sounds rather radical. I say that however, upon the authority of the record of the past. The Lord made that explanation to the Saints back in the days when they were driven away from their homes in Missouri.

In 1834, the saints of the church were small, but it did have two states. One of them was located in Jackson county Missouri, the other was located in Kirtland, Ohio. The prophet Joseph Smith was in Kirtland with some of the saints. Bishop Partridge and others were in Jackson county Missouri. And the mob violence became so great in Jackson county, which we call Zion, that the Saints were expelled from their homes.

And the Prophet and those who were with him were greatly concerned about it and they raised an army. We call it in church history Zion's Camp. And they went from Kirtland Ohio in a very hazardous trek across Ohio and Indiana and Illinois and into Jackson County Missouri. And they went with the thought in mind that they were going to put the saints back into their homes by force, I guess. They talked about the objective of their expedition as being to redeem Zion, by which they meant restore the people to their homes. But when they got over there, they didn't put the saints back in their homes, and the men who were with the Prophet were very disappointed. They thought their cause had failed and they had been following a Prophet.

And so the Prophet prayed to the Lord and asked him why it was they couldn't put the saints back in their homes. And he got a revelation, which is recorded in the 105 section of the D&C. And this is what the Lord said to him,
"Verily I say unto you who have assembled yourselves together that you may learn my will concerning the redemption of mine afflicted people..."
and I suppose that this next verse was a great shock to them, because they were undoubtedly like we are, and tend to blame the other fellow or other conditions for our failures and I don't think they were quite ready for this next verse, but the Lord said to them
"Behold, I say unto you, were it not for the transgressions of my people..."
speaking concerning the church and not individuals,
"...they might have been redeemed even now." (D&C 105:1-2)
And that was the equivalent in my thinking to saying, it's the fault of the church. The people of the church.
"But behold, they have not learned to be obedient to the things which I required at their hands, but are full of all manner of evil..."
now he specifies this particular thing that they were guilty of.
"and do not impart of their substance, as becometh saints, to the poor and afflicted among them; and are not united..."
Remember that first scripture that I read, "be one"? Well they had failed to impart of their substance to the poor and afflicted among them and therefore they
"are not united according to the union required by the law of the celestial kingdom; And Zion..." (D&C 105:3 -4)
That was the place from which they had been driven in this revelation, that's the city, the place where the city of Zion will be built,
" And Zion cannot be built up unless it is by the principles of the law of the celestial kingdom; otherwise I cannot receive her unto myself. And my people must needs be chastened until they learn obedience, if it must needs be, by the things which they suffer." (D&C 105:5-6)

Now there's an instance where the failure on the part of the people to live this law of imparting of their substance to take care of the Lord's poor was the reason, as specified by the Lord, why they were driven from their homes. And the Prophet even with his men with Zion's camp were unable to put the people back in their homes.

And when will we build Zion, this second Zion that is going to meet the Zion of Enoch? When we learn obedience to that law. I may be radical on this thing, I know lots of people in the church think I am. But I believe with all the energy of my soul, that if the people could live the law of the welfare program, give of their time and their substance as becometh saints, that we'd hasten in the advent of the millennium. And I want it to come. I don't want the saints to have to suffer an longer under this statement of the Lord's that they must be chastened until they learn obedience if it must needs be by the things that they suffer. As far as I'm concerned we've had all the suffering that I need, that I want. I wish the saints could come to this.

I remember on night sitting here on one of these chairs when President Clark was standing here at this pulpit and we had this house filled with welfare workers from this region in this area. This was in Feb of 1944. Brother Lee was here and we were traveling about the church holding welfare regional meetings. And President Clark made this statement, almost verbatim as I shall now make it from this stand.

And he said, "It has always been interesting to me that the Lord revealed the welfare program just 100 years after he had given the law of the United Order." It was in the 1830s when he gave the United order and now it was in the 1930s that the welfare program came forth. And he said, "the Lord took the commandment from the people to live the United Order because of their selfishness and their greed and their love of idleness. Had they lived it they would have brought in the millennium."
I am sure he got support for that from the revelation I have just read from. And then he said this,
"If we don't live the welfare program, the Lord will take from us the requirement to live it. And if he does, it will be because of our selfishness and greed and love of idleness. If that shall happen 100 years from now, the people will look back upon us as we look back upon the people who were given the United Order law, and they'll say of us, 'they had the welfare program, if they'd have lived it, they'd have brought in the millennium'" I wonder if we are going to live it.

Well, the time is up. I want to say one more thing, however, before we close. I'll go this far. I think that when the Master comes, and the people are divided the sheep from the goats, that the measure, the test of the division will be made on this principle that we've been talking about. As to whether the people were willing to give of their substance to the poor. And I believe that from what the Savior said to the Apostles. As he spent one of the last interviews with them before the crucifixion. He said, when the son of man shall come in his glory, and God grant that day will come soon,
"When the Son of Man shall come in his glory and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory. And before him shall be gathered all nations. And he shall separate them one from another. As a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats. And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left." (Matt 25:31-33)

I had an interesting experience with this scripture, by the way, that verse one day when I was in South Carolina. I went down there for a conference when the Stake was organized to talk to them about the welfare program. Before I went, the people told me that was that land of tobacco, and I better not say anything about the word of wisdom when I was down there. And so I spent most of my time talking about the word of wisdom, and particularly about tobacco, and I quoted a little poem to them if I can remember one verse which said, "That man is the only living creature who pervades this veil of tears who like the blooming threshing engine puffs smoke from nose and ears..." and so forth and told them that no animal would chew tobacco or smoke tobacco and at noon one of the brethren came up to me and told me "Brother Romney, you're wrong about that, you don't know the South Carolina goats, they chew tobacco.." In the afternoon I picked up this scripture and unexpectedly ran onto this statement that in that great division that the shepherd would divide the sheep from the goats and he would set the sheep on the right hand and the goats on the left hand, and I was glad that that's where the goats were going.

But to go on with the rest of this scripture as to the test with which Christ will divide the sheep from the goats here in addition to the chewing of tobacco, he said
"Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me." (Matt 25:34-40)
And you know the rest of the scripture, how he said unto the wicked, on his left hand,
"Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire" (Matt 25:41)
They wanted to know what was the reason and he said, Well, I was hungry and thirsty and naked and ye didn't minister unto me. And they said When, when Lord? We never saw you in that condition.
"Inasmuch, as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me." (Matt 25:45)
And then he ended this great sermon by saying And these on the left,
" shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal." (Matt 25:46)

Do you ever think about that when the Deacons come around for fast offerings? Or when you are asked to work on a welfare project? When you pay the bishop an average of $.03 cents a meal for fast offerings and you realize that you are feeding the Savior on $.03 a meal?

I thought of this scripture with great force when we were conducting those drives for clothing to send to the saints in Europe. I went down to the square and opened some of the boxes. Do you know what kind of a box came from President Grant's house? A box with three suits in it. I'm sure they'd never been worn more than once or twice. They were pressed, and ready to put on. I opened some boxes that had shirts in them, that were all laundered and done up in cellophane wrappers so that they were clean.

And then I opened other boxes that were full of dirty filthy rags. with the buttons all gone if they were shirts, and holes in them. And then I thought of this scripture, "Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me." And I wondered how I'd feel if my contributions should have been put on the Redeemer and I'd a had a chance to see it.

You see, we belong to the Kingdom of God. We're trying to live the celestial laws. It will bring us back to his presence. The celestial economic law I've tried to explain to you, as it applies to earth life. Sustaining yourselves. Sustaining your own folks. Supporting the church's plan to take care of the Lord's poor is the law of the celestial kingdom as it applies today to our earth life in this temporal matter. When we've lived it, when we can do it, when we can step out of the world, when we can let them keep their subsidies, when we can take care of our own mothers and fathers and not leave them on the public relief. When we've got the courage to stand on these principles the Lord has given us, we'll be ready to build the new Jerusalem, be taken out of the world's wars and destructions, and have the Lord come and dwell with us, as he came to dwell with Enoch and his people. God speed the day, I humbly pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.

Learning to Live the Lord's Way - Marion G. Romney

30 May 2010

Windy Park Day

One windy day, the rain took a break and Chris wanted to try out the kite again. I thought maybe it was too windy, but I don't know how to fly a kite, so I went along with the plan...

Oliver was so excited about the kite, he decided to carry it to the park all by himself.

Here are the kids hiking through the "jungle" as Oliver likes to call it, up to the park on the huge hill by our house.

Here is Oliver's super excited face while Chris got out the kite and got it ready to fly.

Here is Chris attempting to fly the kite. The wind in Vienna is so weird - it changes directions, blows suddenly and then stops completely, and pretty much never stays consistent in any way. So the kite flying did not go real well. But honestly, it doesn't matter because the kids get super excited when it flies for even two seconds. Chris however, knows what a kite is supposed to do when it flies, and wanted to keep trying until it worked...

The kids gave up on the kite and hung out in the bird's nest swing. They LOVE to swing. And they don't get to do it much, because I rarely bring them to this park, I always go to the one closer to our house because of the little slide and bouncers that Oliver can go on all by himself. This is how they spent the remainder of our time at the park on this windy day.

Oliver trying to get his hat back so he can throw it on the ground again... He doesn't want to wear the hat, he just wants to have the chance to yell "MINE!" while grabbing something. That is his new favorite word, and we don't allow him to say the toys are his (they belong to everyone!), but we let him claim the hat as his own....

Daddy finally gave up on the kite and hung out in the bird's nest with the kids. I love Oliver's crazy windblown hair, and Elora's awesome hat. But most of all I love being able to hang out outside with my favorite people in the world!

27 May 2010

More Momo!

Oliver hates being covered in the "plastic bubble" as we affectionatly call the stroller rain cover. He always pulls it off, so we had to strap it to the stroller to keep him inside. But we found a way out through the air vents. I guess he likes to feel the rain on his face! Elora however likes to continuously tell Oliver to get back inside!

We went to Om and Saritas house to make momo again! They had some friends come over who make "the best momo". We actually got to observe the entire process and know all the ingredients now! Here is the meat filling. Ground pork and beef, onions, green onions, and a whole lot of spices!

I got to try out a new way of folding the momo. This way is supposed to taste better, but is harder to do well. Om (the momo pro) says he can't do it this way, but I thought I would give it a go.

Some of the finished momos in the background look a little better than others, as mine were not so pretty. But by the end of rolling out 50+ momos, I was getting pretty good. We had the Elders over with us too, and had them try to help. Elder Boyer had a rough time, but kept trying, and Chris tried to make one and gave up! He gets to separate the dough into small pieces... A very important job too.

Sarita rolling out the dough while everyone else attempts to fold the filled momos.

Om occupied the kids with his Iphone - it has fun games and spongebob on it, so that kept the kids amused for a good solid hour. The kids love Om, and whenever we talk about Om at home, Oliver perks up and yells, "momo!" Which is especially funny because Oliver doesn't even eat momo, he just knows that the rest of us like it!

Chris horking down the finished momo! It was super yummy, especially on a cold rainy night. We are trying to enjoy it while the weather is cold, because Om and Sarita insist you just can't eat momo when it is hot outside. It is for keeping you warm inside on a cold day!

25 May 2010


For the past solid week and a half it has been raining, and we have spent WAY too much time inside the apartment. So we decided to meet some friends at the aquarium last week. It was so fun to get out and see all the fish!

First of all, I have never posted a picture of the aquarium (and Kristi I am so sorry, I ripped off this one from your blog because I can never remember to take a picture of it...). It was an anti-aircraft tower in WW2. There are a bunch of these all over Vienna, because they can't destroy them without wiping out all the surrounding buildings. I don't know if the others are being used for anything, but this one is a very interesting 9 story aquarium (that happens to have reptiles and monkeys too...)

On the first floor is a pool of fish that you are allowed to "pet". What really happens is you stick your fingers in the water and the fish suck on them. Elora LOVES to let the fish "kiss" her fingers. Oliver thinks it is creepy and won't stick his fingers in the water, he just watches the fish swim around.

Today the monkeys were all running about, and this one got really close to Elora.

Our friends the Mitchells came with us, and it was quite an interesting experience trying to keep track of all five kids. I have to say that the hardest to keep track of was the one missing in this photo... Oliver kept running off to go find is favorite exhibits and to climb the stairs (with nine floors, there are lots of stairs...) Here is an area with large tortoises and birds that is always a favorite for the kids.

I think seahorses are the strangest animals... kind of creepy actually...

Pretty much Zach's face right here says exactly how I feel about seahorses too... they are fascinating to watch though.

There is a large tank that is two stories high that has sharks, colorful fish, and the biggest sea turtle I have ever seen, and of course can never get a picture of. This is my favorite spot in the aquarium, and today Oliver learned a new word: shark. Now when he takes a bath with his shark bath toy, he touches the shark's teeth and says "shark sharp! Ow!"

Elora making her best fish face!

I can't believe that I got a picture where you can see the faces of all five kids! I actually got three! But this one was my favorite. Here's another though, because Oliver and Ellie look cuter in this next one:

The kids loved looking in this fishtank, while Brooke and I tried to figure out what all the fish were called. Elora was so excited to learn the names of all the fish. It was nice to go out with our friends in this crazy rainy spring!

24 May 2010


I don't usually use my blog to share my personal thoughts on life and its experiences. Usually I am a rather private person and don't enjoy having my words as a spotlight, I would prefer for people to see my beautiful children and the fun that we have together.

But recently a woman I went to church with passed away, and I attended a memorial service for her yesterday. I have had a lot to ponder about since she died. Her name is Cathy, and most of you don't know her, but she is genuinely the most beautiful person I have ever met. She was 41 years old and died of cancer, which I did not realize she has been struggling with since long before I knew her.

I just feel the need to say something about this wonderful person. I did not know her well, I actually only saw her at church. But everytime I saw her she glowed with a radiant happiness, and welcomed me like a close friend. She truly loved people in a uninhibited way. No judgements, no shyness, just honest warmth and love. She was so optimistic about life, which seems even more amazing now that I know how long she struggled with her health.

About a month ago when she was in the hospital and violently ill she sent out an email to her friends. I was privileged enough to receive it, and I just wanted to share a little of what she wrote. Because she had a faith in God that is so incredible, and there is no way I can express my feelings better than to share what she wrote.

"Did Jesus really live again after He had died? Oh Yes, and so shall I! " , I kept singing this over the weekend and each time, my heart is overwhelmed with a holy witness of this truth. I will live again. I am not my body, I will go on after this life, and I will be reunited with my perfect body again in the future. It will be a day of unspeakable joy and gladness!! It will be true for everyone!! It is because Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior made it possible. My heart swells with joy when I ponder this. :) My message is not of sadness and despair. It is of HOPE and FAITH and more importantly, of LOVE. My heart wants to testify to you of the goodness of God and how He has blessed my life."

To know what she was experiencing and to read her testimony touches me in a way I cannot express. Except to say that I also know there is a God, and in times of sadness and hardship I have felt the peace and love that only God can provide. I will miss Cathy and all the sunshine she brought into the lives of everyone who knew her. But mostly I am greatful to have known her. I am inspired to be a better person because I knew her. And I hope that I can be even a little more brave, faithful, and loving because of her example. God bless you Cathy, until we meet again.

16 May 2010

Teach your children well... how to eat on 1.77 per day

I saw an article about feeding a family on $66 per week, which is the smallest allotment for food stamps for a family of 4. A food editor, restaurant owner, and food network TV star all had a hard time staying in the budget--I felt like I could do it without eating Corn Flakes and Potato Casserole every day.

Shopping for and preparing inexpensive meals is an important skill that is becomming more rare in a time when we depend on prepacked food and eating out.

Here's a 10 minute video chronicling our weekly shopping ritual that shows how a family of 4 can eat in one of the more expensive cities in Europe for just 1.77 per adult per day. It's also culturally interesting to see how we shop in Europe!

ps - if I sound lame, I'm sorry we did it in one take!

15 May 2010

Memories from a General Conference

We had a huge crowd over for general conference. Amy and Amanda were visiting, the elders (Elder Hoehne and Elder Boyer) came over with our friend Livinus, and Chris went over to Alfin's house to wake him up so he wouldn't miss out on conference. Luckily for Ian, he was over at Alfin's house so they both got to come over!

The Berry Park

We have been having nice spring weather the last couple weeks (until yesterday when the rain came back...) so we have been spending a lot of time at the different parks near our house. When Chris is working I usually tell Elora we need to head to one of the smaller, closer parks so that I will have an easier time keeping track of the kids. The favorite little park is one Elora has named "The Berry Park" because in the fall there are berries all over the trees.

Oliver loves the little slide at this park because he can go up and down all by himself. (I love it too for that same reason!) On this day he was happily playing on the slide, but wouldn't come down unless I held his hand. Elora ran over and said, "I'll catch you Oliver!"

And to my surprise he slid right down to his waiting big sister!

He thought it was such a great game that he kept going up and down the slide into Elora's waiting arms. So cute. She was so excited to help him slide.

Oliver decided that he could catch Elora too! I'm not sure he really caught her, but he gave her a hug after she stood up.

Then they went down the slide together. We had such a fun time today with the kids playing so nicely together.

14 May 2010

Wiener Wanderung und Erdbeeren Topfenknödel

The weather has been really nice. The Vienna newspapers attribute the ash cloud in the atmosphere from the Iceland Volcano as making the weather about 10 degrees cooler this time of year. Either that or sunspots. We invited some friends over last week for a walk in the park. Fortunately, we live near the woods, and a stinging nettle, mosquito, allergen, tick infested hike is just a few moments away! Here we are with most of the Dulagn family, one of the families from our church. The kids are a lot of fun and really like playing with Ollie and Elora.

Oliver really enjoys having big kids around to give him some extra attention since Elora mostly insists Ollie play with her on her terms. Notice Elora hanging out in the stroller...

1...2...3! Anytime two people are holding Ollie's hands, he starts counting in preparation for blast off.

And on to the dessert. Yum! Erdbeeren Topfenknödel. It's basically a cream cheese/ricota type of cheese (actually it's Topfen the same stuff Lindsey Vonn used on her shin before winning a gold metal) used to make a dumpling with a strawberry inside. Then some breadcrumbs are toasted with butter and sugar, and topped off with some powdered sugar and whipped cream.

Elora is always more excited to eat the cream.

Super good!

BTW, how's that for a post title! We're hoping to claim the top spot on google for the thousands of people who search daily using the highly specific query "Wiener Wanderung und Erdbeeren Topfenknödel"

12 May 2010

Happy Mothers Day to Me!

My Mother's Day was a really special day this year because Elora is old enough to understand what it is! I woke up to Elora asking Chris, "Can we make mommy breakfast in bed now? Don't wake her up yet, she is sleeping!" I had some wonderful buttermilk pancakes with strawberries and buttermilk syrup - my favorite! It was fun listening to the kids in the kitchen asking for pancakes repeatedly the entire time Chris was cooking them. And he made them wait until I got mine before he gave them any! Brave man.

Chris also prepared me some lunch. He calls this the Vienna Kebap. Instead of kebap meat, he made Nurnburger bratwurst, and put them on a Semmel roll with tomato, lettuce, yogurt, and camembert cheese. It was really good. And he is so proud of his creation that if he ever has a kebap shop, he insists he will sell his newly invented Viennese Kebap along with Turkish Kebaps!

Chris' mom bought this adorable suit for Oliver. We have been waiting for him to be big enough to wear it, and decided what better day for him to wear his suit for the first time than Mother's Day? He wasn't so sure about it while we were dressing him, but we stuck him in front of a mirror with Chris and told him he was going to wear a tie just like daddy, and a white shirt just like daddy, and a jacket just like daddy! After telling him how handsome he was many times, he started showing off his new suit to everyone. So cute. I tried to convince Chris that Oliver should wear nicer shoes, but I was vetoed by Ollie.

Here we are on the U-Bahn on the way to church. Oliver loves to stand on the seats and look out the windows at the all the trains that pass by.

During Relief Society, all the primary children came in to sing a special song for the moms. It was so cute, because Elora was so obviously excited, but very shy about singing for an audience. Which is funny, because we have been told that she is the loudest singer in primary.

Here is her happy face she had while singing. She kept inching closer and closer to me while singing the song. And she was so proud of herself when they finished! She gave me a nice gift - a little bag of m&m's that came with a game to play - for each different color m&m there was a question to answer. For Elora's questions, she told me that if she could go anywhere in the world with me, she would want to go to the park because we have fun there, and one of the reasons she loves me is because "You're my special mama."

I tried really hard to get a good pic of the kids in their church clothes. This one is the best of the two of them. Elora is proudly wearing her ski medal to church every week still.

Oliver started digging in my purse and found a bag of gummy bears, which the kids shared very nicely (and ate all of...)

Ollie posing in his "big boy suit" with daddy.

Elder Hoehne is one of the missionaries in our ward, and he just got transferred. So we took a picture before he left. You can see how much Elora loves missionaries (and posing for the camera). Oliver was really tired and totally all done by this point.

But! He got a second wind when he discovered this metal grate outside that makes a fun noise when you step on it. He danced on it for 15 solid minutes before we bribed him with candy to get him into the stroller.

Here is a little video of Ollie's dancing skills. Notice his special stomp step he throws into the end his routine. He did that every time. And of course, he cheers for himself when he finishes.

Finally back home at 6:30pm after leaving for church at 12:15 today... some neighbors were outside so we talked with them for about an hour before heading inside to cook dinner. Such a late night for the kids... But they had a great time playing outside for a little while. Here is Oliver looking very handsome and standing by his favorite bush - he picks the berries off of it and enjoys throwing them.

And here is beautiful princess Elora. This is her new dress and she really loves it. She enjoyed picking flowers, and making houses for snails and bees while we played outside. What a lucky mom I am to have such sweet and happy children. They make being a mom so much fun.