Sunday, July 26, 2009

What I learned today in church

Brother and Sister Bob and Beverly McAdams spoke today. He is in his late 70’s. Looking at him, I didn’t like the idea of having to work to support myself when I get that old, but, alas, such is the plan - unless Publishers Clearinghouse Sweepstakes comes through.

They were very cool though. Bishop Young helped them with their mission papers, then we had the ward scramble and they went out from Brighton Ward, but he still claims them. Bro. McAdams rather feels betwixt and between - not really feeling totally at home in either Brighton or our ward. That will pass. They have served missions all over the world as a couple. I forget where all she said, but the earlier ones made this one sound exceedingly tame. They just got back from serving a CES (Church Education System) Mission in Montreal. Institute teaching. (University students) Not bad stuff.

They are also very cute. Individually and as a couple. He said, “Have you ever seen an angel? Why yes, I have.” Then he named the time and place - a class at BYU? I don’t remember. “And I married her.”

She talked about the importance and value of temporal education. We can and should better our situation through education. She also shared her information organization system. Any paper she wants to keep gets a number - consecutively as she gets it. She has folders labeled 1-25, 26-50, etc. The paper goes in the appropriate folder. Then she has alphabetized index cards. Tomatoes, how to grow Ah, # 13. She knows where to find it.

She quoted Marion D. Hanks, “Good Teachers Matter,” Ensign, Jul 1971, 60

Where to discover your interest and how to amass relevant information are illustrated in the story of an obscure spinster woman who insisted that she never had a chance. She muttered these words to Dr. Louis Agassiz, distinguished naturalist, after one of his lectures in London. In response to her complaint, he replied: “Do you say, madam, you never had a chance? What do you do?”

“I am single and help my sister run a boardinghouse.”

“What do you do?” he asked.

“I skin potatoes and chop onions.”

He said, “Madam, where do you sit during these interesting but homely duties?”

“On the bottom step of the kitchen stairs.”

“Where do your feet rest?”

“On the glazed brick.”

“What is glazed brick?”

“I don’t know, sir.”

He said, “How long have you been sitting there?”

She said, “Fifteen years.”

“Madam, here is my personal card,” said Dr. Agassiz. “Would you kindly write me a letter concerning the nature of a glazed brick?”

She took him seriously. She went home and explored the dictionary and discovered that a brick was a piece of baked clay. That definition seemed too simple to send to Dr. Agassiz, so after the dishes were washed, she went to the library and in an encyclopedia read that a glazed brick is vitrified kaolin and hydrous aluminum silicate. She didn’t know what that meant, but she was curious and found out. She took the word vitrified and read all she could find about it. Then she visited museums. She moved out of the basement of her life and into a new world on the wings of vitrified. And having started, she took the word hydrous, studied geology, and went back in her studies to the time when God started the world and laid the clay beds. One afternoon she went to a brickyard, where she found the history of more than 120 kinds of bricks and tiles, and why there have to be so many. Then she sat down and wrote thirty-six pages on the subject of glazed brick and tile.

Back came the letter from Dr. Agassiz: “Dear Madam, this is the best article I have ever seen on the subject. If you will kindly change the three words marked with asterisks, I will have it published and pay you for it.”

A short time later there came a letter that brought $250, and penciled on the bottom of this letter was this query: “What was under those bricks?” She had learned the value of time and answered with a single word: “Ants.” He wrote back and said, “Tell me about the ants.”

She began to study ants. She found there were between eighteen hundred and twenty-five hundred different kinds. There are ants so tiny you could put three head-to-head on a pin and have standing room left over for other ants; ants an inch long that march in solid armies half a mile wide, driving everything ahead of them; ants that are blind; ants that get wings on the afternoon of the day they die; ants that build anthills so tiny that you can cover one with a lady’s silver thimble; peasant ants that keep cows to milk, and then deliver the fresh milk to the apartment house of the aristocrat ants of the neighborhood.

After wide reading, much microscopic work, and deep study, the spinster sat down and wrote Dr. Agassiz 360 pages on the subject. He published the book and sent her the money, and she went to visit all the lands of her dreams on the proceeds of her work.

Now, as you hear this story, do you feel acutely that all of us are sitting with our feet on pieces of vitrified kaolin and hydrous aluminum silicate—with ants under them? Lord Chesterton answers: “There are no uninteresting things; there are only uninterested people.”

The Lord expexts us to stretch our intellect. We should ask questions and look for answers.

Bro. McAdams talked about the Plan of Salvation as a continual train of spiritual education. We were learning in the Spirit World - some with eager zeal, some more or less, and some less. He said even there some learned a great deal academically, but not spiritually - say, Lucifier. We have been placed on earth to our best advantage.

from Relief Society - Pray before you react. One sister, at Girl’s Camp, kept getting that thought for a couple of days. Then one evening, there was some frightening malfunction, I forget what, but I think fire was involved, and she stood up and said, “Ladies, Pray before you react.”

Our Relief Society lesson was from Allan F Packer’s talk last conference “Finding Strength in Challenging Times”
When the winds blow and the rains pour, they blow and pour on all. Those who have built their foundations on bedrock rather than sand survive the storms. There is a way to build on bedrock by developing a deep personal conversion to the gospel of Jesus Christ and knowing how to receive inspiration. We must know—and know that we know. We must stand spiritually and temporally independent of all worldly creatures. This begins by understanding that God the Father is the Father of our spirits and that He loves us, that Jesus Christ is our Redeemer and Savior, and that the Holy Ghost can communicate with our minds and our hearts. This is how we receive inspiration. We need to learn how to recognize and apply these promptings.

He talked of hearing and recognizing his coach’s voice in the tumult of a football game because he had grown to know it through all those practices and learned to trust it.

1 comment:

  1. Fascinating stuff. A couple of very smart people. To be that wise someday.