I keep hearing and sensing that even though you are all grown up and gone from my daily influence, I am still your father/father-in-law, and I have a responsibility to continue teaching and advising you. The difference now is that you don't have to accept it if you don't want to. Maybe that's not so different than it used to be.... but anyway, I have decided that when I am particularly impressed with something, I need to share it with all of you. In the past I've sent emails, but now I'll just put it on the blog. That is most likely to happen on Sundays, or if I'm too busy resting on Sunday, then it will, as with this post, come sometime during the week. If you don't see a post, then I guess I haven't been impressed, or I'm resting. I've been getting better at that since you all left home. Interesting how that works. Of course, those of you with kids can only hope for such rest. Been there, done that, and what a blessing it was.
Lately for me, Sunday meetings have been a dependable source for spiritual impressions. I don't know how it works for you, but I've learned that in my case, when I'm in tune, the Spirit teaches me when I'm reading, meditating, or listening to talks in church. Sometimes the speaker or the writer will apply one word, phrase, or concept that will suddenly initiate a flurry of thoughts that will propogate in a split second through my mind into a multitude of aspects of that or some related topic, usually things I had not previously understood. I would have a difficult time putting it all into words, but if I could, it would require many pages, maybe volumes.
Lately, Tuesday evenings at the temple (you know what they say about Holy places) have also been good that way when I have time to meditate or read, which is not often enough. They keep us pretty busy there, but our new calling as temple workers has served as a catalyst for Mom and I to prayerfully contemplate the depth of meaning in the temple ordinances. Maybe being officially set apart as a temple workers has allowed us to focus on it, or allowed us a little more access to The Spirit? I'm not sure, but I do know that I for one see that process much differently than I did just a couple of months ago.
I'm a little ashamed to admit that for many years I have been a mediocre-or-worse temple patron. I have always known the Church is true, and understood, and believed that the temple allows personal blessings through covenants with the Lord and provides eternal family bonds. But beyond that, tending to be a literal person, I'm afraid I had taken the endowment presenetation too literally. Through recurrent visits, I have picked up some tidbits of symbolic nuance, but being a little lazy about the process, I have been reluctant to study or think deeply about it, and it tended to stagnate. Unfortunately, the result was that I came to see the presentation as just another old movie that I had seen before. Beyond my first few visits, when I did find it interesting, it tended to become mudane and monotonous for me. Yet having a strong sense of duty, I have followed my leaders over the years, and attended the temple regularly. Sadly though I'm not sure I allowed myself to understand it well enough to develop a dynamic or functioning testimony of it. I would dutifully go and serve proxy for some dead person, and find some degree of satisfaction in that, but otherwise I would not personally get much out of it. I seldom looked forward to going, often seeing it as another intrusive demand on my busy life. The 4-5 hours necessary to drive round-trip and attend an endowment session was a difficult sacrifice for me. Once there, I would often catch myself sleeping through the sessions, and come home spiritually void.
This is really not what I started out to blog about here. I was going to tell you about some impressions I had about the Kirtland, Ohio temple, not far from Colin and Lori's new home, but I'll save that for another blog. Maybe you'll get two this week. You're all thinking, "Oh great!"
Anyway, if any of the emotions I described above sound familiar, you may be in the same rut I was in. It doesn't make us bad people - we have done a lot of good, serving others, providing them saving ordinances as we should, but we have not been serving ourselves. I guess what I want to share with you is my new impression that the temple ordinaces are so replete with profound symbolism that we could spend our whole lives contemplating it and still not know it all. Yet they are also so relative to our eternal purpose and existence that we must try.
Consider that when the Lord walked and talked with Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, He taught them these ordinances. To affect mortality and bring mankind into the world, they obeyed that commandment by necessarily breaking another. After being cast out, what they had been taught in the garden became the focus and the center of their earthly religion, and that became the source of temple work on the earth. Father Adam, participant in the creation and first prophet and leader of all dispensations along with Mother Eve, the Mother of all Living, knew their vital but difficult role. They anticipated all pending dispensations, including our day and they loved each of us just as they did their more immediate offspring. They effectively taught those offspring so that the priesthood keys and the rites of the priesthood, i.e. the temple ordinances, would be passed down through the generations. It was all then lost and disipated during the dark ages, bits and peices of the ordinances carrying down with various emerging religions, some of them not Christian, but none of them having a fulness of the ordinances, nor priesthood authority. As we know, the fullness was ultimately restored under proper authority to the Prophet Joseph Smith (Kirtland - 1836 - D&C 110 - more later).
Take time to read the March Ensign article about symbolism in the temple. It will help you understand why numerous of our prophets have indicated that even they continue to learn more as they attend the temple. We should all do the same. But it requires some deep concentration and persistent attendance. Because of the layered symbolism, you really cannot take all the presentation literally. If you do, it will be a nice story, and just as with parables, it will end there and your learning will stagnate. There is so much depth and so much to learn that we have to attend often and listen intently to every word, waiting for the Spirit to teach us, building time after time on what has been revealed to us before. Really, this is a process that each individual, with support of their spouse or other family members, has to do for themselves.
Combining the above sources with a few others, Mom and I have discussed all this extensively, and I now feel that I am starting to sense an inkling of what is involved. Time perimtting, maybe we can share some of that with you when we are all in the temples together for pending weddings. I have found it so interesting, that daydreaming or sleeping through endowment sessions will not be a problem. It is now not a burden to attend the temple. It is tremendously fulfilling and worth any sacrifice I have to make to go. My time is well spent, not only serving those deceased individuals, but also developing my own knowlege of eternal things. I finally feel that I have started into a dynamic and functional testimony of temple work, but there will always be more to learn. I regret that it took me this long to reach this point. I only wish someone had had this discussion with me when I was younger. Maybe they did, but if so, I did not have ears to hear. I hope you will all take it to heart, keep yourselves in tune, and find your lives immensely more fulfilling as you serve the Lord in this way.
Sorry this was so long. I hope I didn't overload the blog.
I love you all and excitedly await our meeting in May for such a special occasion,
A Little History:
Our story begins in Pocatello, Idaho, circa 1972, when the lovely Debby Christensen agreed to a first, though fateful date with admirer, David Croshaw. Long story-short, he bade her follow him, and they went arm-in-arm to the Logan, Utah temple for establishment of an eternal family unit, Generation 1, on May 23 1973.
From their first blissful summer in Salt Lake City, educational pursuits took them to Provo/Orem, Utah, birthplace of Leslie and Rebecca, and to San Francisco/Oakland California, birthplace of Colin and Matt. Then, for establishment of livelihood, expansion of the tribe with Abby and Dana, and for raising/unifying of Generation 2, it was back to the roots in Pocatello for a rewarding sojourn.
In time, driven by a raging, but commonly shared sense of adventure and independence, one-by-one, Generation 2 escaped the homeland to distant regions of the country and the world, each ultimately developing their own tribal expansions by pairing with worthy mates and initiating Generation 3.
Now sensing fulfillment of their purpose in Pocatello, Generation 1 has also left those roots and transplanted to Cascade Idaho, from which base, they anticipate more abundant contact with The Posterity, Generations 2 and 3, in the future. That contact however, awaits fulfillment of a call to LDS missionary service in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, wherein they hope to help the state of the world by sharing the love of Jesus Christ.
So now, including Generation 0 (Grandma and Grandpa Christensen) home base includes Yuma, Arizona, Pocatello, Idaho, Cascade, Idaho, Vancouver, BC, Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Spokane, Washington, Boise, Idaho, Los Angeles, California, back to Boise, Idaho, and on and on (Generation 3+) to infinity.
Our Mission Statement:
This is the blog of our eternal family unit. Initiated years ago, it served well as a journal, but even more so, as an archive of our personal interaction. It was a gathering place, a confabulation instrument, a unifying force for four generations of widely dispersed and progressively prolific posterity, and their valued associates. Though it served these purposes well for many years, it eventually took a back seat to new-kids-on-the-block, Facebook, and Instagram, and was sadly forgotten.
We now move to resurrect this blog with an added functional purpose of archiving the missionary experiences of Generation 1, of their movements and activities as they participate with The Gathering of Israel in the land northward. In so doing, we hope that via their own comments and posts, this blog will again serve to gather and unify the posterity and their friends.
As in the past, that the young and vibrant may know the old and tired, that enduring bonds may be fostered and maintained, that experience and encouragement may be openly shared, that posterity may embrace truth, and that hearts may be knit together, we must resist detachment despite our geographic divergence. We shall do so here.