Monday, October 19, 2009
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
Today, for Devotional Elder Oaks came to the BYU-Idaho Hart auditorium to speak. I was very impressed on what he spoke about. He admonished us to defend the principles found in the American constitution and not to let anti-religious/anti-government groups threaten or intimidate us. He mentioned Proposition 8, which if passed, would maintain traditional marriage in the State of California. Elder Oaks said it wasn't so much an attack on any religion, but more of an attack on Democracy itself. Think about it, this was a social concern, politically handled, voted on and passed with a majority of people in favor of passing prop. 8. A group of people didn't like how our government handled this democratic process so they turned to violent and hostile means to get their way. This is our democratic system and if we want to maintain the tranquility we enjoy, we need to elect wise officials, uphold virtue and integrity in our people, and honorably defend the principles of life, liberty, and property.
In the Book of Mormon, just before the Savior appeared to people in the western hemisphere, the government among the Nephites was over thrown and the people broke up into tribes. It would be like going from the constitution back to the Articles of Confederations which afforded no strong central government and rendering them powerless to tax and expand the nations commerce.
Let us stand for what we know is right: freedom of religion, free speech and press, Congress shall not pass any laws establishing religion or the antithesis, right to representation, right of due process, no illegal search or seizures, right to assemble. Let us not let our forefathers blood be spilled in vain.
Saturday, October 10, 2009
Bottomless Black Eyes
My wife Sarah’s bloody body laid there motionless with our little angel Abigail next to her on the Missouri prairie grass. They tried to out run the maniac stampede of cattle careening off our property, but the bovine’s hooves instinctively burst forward due to an unexpected set of villainous yells. A handful of soul-less, black-eyed Indians infiltrated my property, left me half-dead with their merciless tomahawks, and stole almost all of our livestock and all who were precious to me. I limped slowly toward my trampled family as the tidal wave of dust cleared and all I could see were their two lifeless, mangled bodies which I had always pressed against my chest for comfort. Half-standing with blood trailing down my face, I could do nothing but gaze down at the pathetic position my family was left in. I painfully knelt down and drew my broken family to my bosom. Tears transformed to scarlet as they rolled down my open-scarred face. I started rocking back and forth so as to miraculously cradle them back to consciousness. My tears were interrupted by the sporadic chest heaves. How long I was there, I do not know. The summer sun could have vanished or the winter snow sprinkle down, and I would not have noticed.
Five years have passed since that dark day, but I have somehow managed to bear this grim these past few agonizing years. Although my cattle ranch was almost completely depleted, I’ve supported myself with the meager provisions of food I had meticulously stored over the years. I was forced to sell the rest of my scanty herd of cattle in order to support myself. Many settlers journeyed from Missouri to the mysterious west, which made us lose many important settlers and businesses; this could not carry my financial future.
I was in St. Louis on a busy Monday morning to pick up a new saddle for my obstinate horse Bucky, when I overheard some excitement coming from the shady pub at the corner of main street. I ventured to the alley way where I hunkered down by the window in between the pub and the post office and perked up my ear to hear what all the commotion was about. There were many deep voices all conspiring in a loud whisper. They sounded like a bunch of wild, frontier men who had recently returned from the treacherous, wild west. Euphoria swelled as they spoke of a monumental discovery. I heard the muffled words of “rivers of gold” and “in the California territory”. My heart began to quicken as I listened with my ear pressed firmly on the cured wood just inches away from the dirty window. I heard other phrases such as “word is spreading fast” or “a team is assembling in the morning”. I slowly rose from my post and crept back to the dusty, crowed main street where I pondered this enlightening new discovery. Neglecting my search for the horse saddle, I strode off toward my horse Bucky, mounted his mountain like stature, and gave an assertive “yaw” as I sped fiercely home.
A feeling of warmth engulfed my body as the wind whipped past my scruffy beard. I impatiently arrived at my decade old cabin about mid-day. I tied up Bucky inside the barn at his usual hay-filled stall. I steadily walked towards the house analyzing every provision that would be useful in accompanying me in my inevitable journey towards the California territory. I took some old pieces of barn wood and forged them together with some semi-rusted nails to make some travel crates. I gathered bags of flour, wheat, potatoes, smoked meats, a few barrels of water, deer skins, ammunition, two rifles, some cooking utensils, and above all, my wife Sarah’s wedding ring and my little Abby’s favorite doll. By night fall I had gathered most of the provisions I needed into the well-built handcart I had in order to make this last journey.
When morning came there was a hint of unfamiliarity in the air; almost as if I was a stranger in my own cabin. I quickly threw on my patchy, blue overalls and hat and inhaled the last bit of rock-hard bread I had baked a few days ago. I scouted the cabin one more time to affirm I had not forgotten any important provision or memory. With everything tied down I was ready to depart. I mounted Bucky and thoughtfully turned my head one last time to the cabin filled with bitter-sweet memories. I took a deep breath making sure I filled every pocket of my lungs with air, and gradually released years of pain and loneliness. I gave Bucky a half-hearted “yaw” and he abruptly began trotting down our over-grown cabin road, tugging the handcart behind us.
Travel along the Missouri trials has proven to be unexpectedly easy. Many fearless pioneers who have already traveled this rugged land have paved away most of the troublesome rocks and debris. I traveled alongside Bucky’s sweaty body while swatting away the little enigmas buzzing around my drenched face. Camping became a ritualistic task. I would travel between the chilly dawns to the scorching noon-day sun. I would usual rest near some patch of shrubbery enabling the blessing of shade for both me and Bucky. Travel would resume after about an hour and I would convince my legs to keep struggling through their fatigued state.
The Missouri river had many fast-flowing streams and rivers that I could draw fresh water from. Every three to four days, I would replace the water in my barrels for fresher water. At the end of the day, I would camp near a life-giving source of water and use the opportunity to bathe my sun burnt body in the tranquility of the sun set. I would carefully remove each article of clothing to expose my fragile, naked body and make my way down to the heavily vegetated stream. I would dip my sore and swollen toes into the fast-paced current—eagerly absorbing the coldness—and prepare my nervously-excited body for a refreshing dip. After I jumped in, it seemed that my whole body shriveled up and my breath crawled out of my lungs. My body eventually evened out with the water’s temperature. I steadily floated there, gazing upon the coming dusk and began to count the little sparkles in the twilight sky.
The next morning, I realized I was running low on my much-needed water supply, so I ventured forth with my rifle in my right arm and my water barrel in the other. I followed the stream to a nearby pond of clear water I had found the day before, where there was no significant current. I carefully examined a spot where I could secure my water barrel and let the current fill it while I searched around for any wild game. After scouting for a couple of minutes my ears caught hold of a splashing sound coming from just the other side of some thick, green trees. I stealthily, hopped from rock to rock making sure I did not produce any sound that could potentially scare off supper. I found a clearing in the thick of trees which granted me access to the unknown splash. I aimed my rifle in front of me with my slightly damp finger steadily on the cold, trigger. I quietly exhaled all of my breath and prepared my body to spring through the remaining foliage and conquer the beast waiting on the other side. Leaping through the trees I landed ankle deep in a puddle of murky water to behold the last thing I wanted in the whole world; Indians.
There was a scruffy looking woman with a water gourd clutched in her hands with a misty eyed little girl standing closely by the woman’s left side. They both gazed upon me as my rifle was aimed directly at their red faces. Neither of them made a move and seemed to mesmerize me with their bottomless black eyes. The sun partially blinded me as I stood there for what seemed like a lifetime, waiting for something to happen. The little girl looked puzzled, innocent to the situation she had unintentionally nominated herself into. The woman slowly reached for the little girl’s shoulder and gently forced the little girl behind her own body. I thought of Sarah and Abigail when suddenly my mind was transported into their bodies at the moment they were gazing into the eyes of the red-skinned braves passing by them preparing to unleash those fateful cattle. I could see the cattle charging toward me and my body refused to move; stricken with fear and no hope of ever escaping my inevitable doom. My mind shot back into my body and there I was, still firmly pointing my rifle at the woman and the little girl. The only sound I could hear was the water mechanically flowing by. Their bottomless black eyes were still indifferently fixed upon me. I slowly lowered my rifle till it rested at angle from my legs. I faintly smiled at them and deeply bowed the upper portion of my body and carefully raised it back up again. I adjourned my rifle to rest on my slightly weightless shoulder and purposefully turned away from my audience, and exited through the thick, green trees back up to where my camp site was located.
I took my time gathering my things and prepared for tomorrow’s journey. Even though I knew Indians were near, the woman and her daughter’s bottomless black eyes told me everything I needed to know. Morning came quickly and I secured everything on to the handcart and strapped in Bucky for the journey ahead. I looked carefully onto the sunrise and felt the gentleness of the morning breeze on my face while I recounted the events that had taken place the day before. For some reason, my legs felt as light as air and the next nine-hundred miles didn’t seem as endless as the day before.