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JUST ANOTHER TRIP AROUND THE SUN

 

20 of 52  Trip Around The Sun – A Charger Football Game

 

Sunday, September 15, 2002

 

Have traveled about 225,000,000 miles.

 

In case anyone is able to decipher a code from the cards, here they are so far:

Week 01:    6             of Clubs

Week 02:    3             of Hearts

Week 03:    3             of Clubs

Week 04:    5             of Diamonds

Week 05: 

Week 06:    5             of Diamonds

Week 07: 

Week 08:    2             of Spades

Week 09:  Ace           of Diamonds

Week 10:    3             of Diamonds

Week 11: 

Week 12:   10            of Diamonds

Week 13:    4             of Spades

Week 14:    7             of Spades

Week 15:  Queen       of Diamonds

Week 16:    7             of Clubs

Week 17:    2             of Diamonds

Week 18:  King          of Hearts

Week 19:   10            of Clubs

 

 

Thoughts during the week:

 

One of my old bishops used to talk quite a lot about how he did not like professional football. He said the stadium was a “temple” of evil. All the games are played on Sunday, and it’s not really about the game of football. (He liked college ball.)

 

In 1988, I went to this bishop on a Sunday morning (it was Superbowl Sunday) and asked him a few questions.

 

“Football is a very rough sport, isn’t it?”

 

He answered, “Yes.”

 

“And some of the roughness is just part of the rules – tackling – blocking, etc.”

 

“Yes.”

 

“But sometimes there is roughness that is outside the rules – like when they talk in the locker room about taking out the quarterback by hitting his knee sideways.”

 

“You better believe it – that happens.”

 

“And Bishop – when they do that, it’s a sin, isn’t it?”

 

“You bet it is a sin – a bad one.”

 

“And God will punish those people that commit such sins as this – right?”

 

“Absolutely.”

 

“Well, Bishop – since God is going to be watching this Superbowl game, I think I’ll bump on down there and watch it myself.”

 

I had to go to that game. I played in it for seven minutes – I was number 55.

 

It was 1988 – San Diego – Super Bowl XXII. There were 88 grand pianos on the field at halftime – mine was number 55. I played in that Super Bowl for about 7 minutes. There are 88 keys on a piano – there were 44 Rockettes (High-Kicking dancers from Radio City Music Hall (They had 88 legs.) 88 young (high-school) dancers danced on top of the pianos.1988 – everything was 88. (I was the oldest “pianist,” but I was not 88.)

 

The subject of the following cartoon is much of what I've seen during this Trip Around The Sun - but also I've been seeing some of the opposite.

 

 

 

One of  these guys is a Jehovah's Witness. One of them is a fundamentalist "born-again" Christian. One is a Mormon. And I'll bet you can all figure out another one for the fourth.

None of them can be a Swedenborgian. None a Buddhist. These are religions which do not believe that they are the only one acceptable to God. The Swedenborgian is Christian, but they don’t believe other religions less valid.

 

There is also a middle ground - denominations that believe one must be Christian, for example - but that one is not required to be in their particular denomination. The Methodists might fit into this category.

 

We, as Mormons, are in the hardest class - not only do we teach that all the non-Christian groups are operating without any authority, (all their ordinances null and void), but that all the other Christian denominations also are without any ability to baptize acceptably, etc. Everything they do officially, will have to be done over again if it is to be of any effect. If they never convert, their ordinances are forever invalid. This hard class is also populated with Jehovah's Witnesses, many Muslim groups, to a lesser degree Jews and Catholics, etc.

 

"Follow Me To The Truth."     The truth, Exactly.    To believe one knows The Truth

is ludicrous.  Our deserved humility dictates otherwise.

 

Another thing I've noted on this trip is very disconcerting. The religions that are "exclusive," that give their members the feeling they are "The special ones," are more popular than the others. They have higher attendance and more activity. Their "success" is very misleading. Perhaps this is one reason the Savior told us there will be many going a wrong way - and only a few who find "it," the right way. But the Savior was always talking at a higher level than the letter of any law. The right way was not a straight way, but a strait way. The difference between those two is not really subtle – except for the spelling. It’s not like a straight edge of a ruler – but like the Strait of Gibraltar.

 

I learned this long ago in college with fraternities. (At Brigham Young University, they were called "Social Units," but it was the same.) I lived with, but did not join, the Athenians in the big "Athenian House." Each unit, especially the Athenians and the Tausigs, were very exclusive. There were girls who would date only an Athenian - and others who would date only a Tausig. At BYU, the units could not bear Greek-Letter names. The Tausigs got away with theirs, and everyone in the sciences knew it was really Tau Sigma.

 

There were other units - the so-called service units, and they were much less exclusive. There were some grade requirements, but not the stringent social requirements of not being too heavy - looking a certain way, etc.

 

Many people wanted into the exclusive units. The units accepted only a fraction of those applying. The other units had to work to get members, advertising the benefits, etc.

 

There appears to be a human need (or want) to have this exclusivity. An Athenian would tell you that he didn’t think they were any better than anyone else, but that Athenian would be lying. They most definitely thought themselves better than Tausigs, for example. Since I lived in the house, I was privy to much of what went on. They had a song which was all about helping the poor Tausigs - by buying them soap and toothpaste - and razors for shaving their legs. This, of course, was all in good fun, but I can vouch for the fact that Athenians regarded themselves as superior intellectually and otherwise to Tausigs. The Tausigs, of course, also regarded themselves as superior to Athenians, whom they regarded as square.

 

We Mormons, of course, also do not think ourselves better than others - we know there is much good in all churches. We do, however, relegate them all to being like the Lion's Club. "Much good is going on there, but there is no authority to act for God." We think of their good works as "preparatory" to later become Mormons. They are not regarded as The Church - not even as a part of The Church - nor are any of their religious ordinances regarded as valid.

 

"We are so much more blessed than they," is what we would say, rather than, "We are better than they." For the purposes of this needed exclusivity, being "blessed," with authority the others lack, is sufficient to set us apart from the others who just don’t have these things. Joseph told us that he was told, “They draw near to Him with their lips, but their hearts are far from Him.” I can testify that many of their hearts are very near Him. Some are not, as among us also.

 

"We are so blessed to be Athenians and not Tausigs," would appear clear to most of us, a statement of exclusivity. They do not need to say they are better than the Tausigs to establish that they have an opinion of superiority.

 

"I am so blessed to be an American," is similar. It may indeed be a truth, but pride in that truth can and often is a serious problem in the world. While in Australia, Leona and I saw over and over the adage, "Australia, the best country on Earth." Some of us would think that if this is the thought for each citizen of each country, that's good.

 

Pride appears to have a positive aspect, but President Kimball told us that there is no such thing as righteous pride - that all pride is wrong - in a President's Message (We are supposed to regard this as Scripture.) In accordance with this message, perhaps we should never be proud to be Mormons or Americans – or from this college or that – or this state or that. It's a very tough thing to fix, because often one is also proud to be proud - thinking it a very positive trait. The problem is that it relegates the others, who are not in these categories – to being inferior in some way.

 

 

The Visit: Charger Football game

My son, Billy, came all the way from Colorado today to have an interview tomorrow for a possible new job. He has recently been laid off. He asked me to attend the temple with him. (This is that temple my old bishop spoke of.) We went together to the Charger game and had one of the best visits we’ve had as a father and son for years. Three whole hours – just the two of us – with no telephones – and no meetings to be quiet in. Keeping the Sabbath doesn’t get much better than this. I did notice some of what appeared to be short praying on the football field – one guy crossed himself. I think some of these people believe God plays football – and is on their side. I tend to think that if He did play, He would not cheat by being a twelfth man on a team. If He helped one team or the other, that would be obvious cheating. The same goes for wars and business, etc. If we ask Him to help us be a better father – then He will help.

 

20 of 52  Trip Around The Sun – A Charger Football Game

 

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