Beauty is in the Eye of God

I’m not sure where media came up with the idea that beauty has something to do with weight, but it’s not true. Actually, I think media has knowingly taken upon itself the role to make sure that the general population is ugly. In reality, they know nothing about beauty at all. The problem is, they’ve convinced us that their “standards” of beauty should be sought at all costs.

As a rather ugly guy, I’ve actually thought a lot about this. The world’s whole approach is to create totally meaningless standards that can only be met by the consumption of products and services that only they can provide. The only way they can keep the demand so disgustingly high is to make sure that 90% of the population is way below the expectation.

All the while, God keeps telling us, “Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; …for the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart.”

Of course, the world has to make itself louder than the voice of the Spirit in order to maintain it’s powerful status. But Beauty is NOT in the eye of the beholder. It is in the eye of God. God cares nothing about physical attractiveness, but he cares a great deal about the beauty that comes of bearing children, which naturally causes some flabbiness and increase of skin and weight.

Have you ever noticed that a mother carries a brightness in her eyes that is very obvious and beautiful – and unique to mothers? It first shows up when she is pregnant, and those who know the feature can often figure out she is pregnant before the slightest belly begins to show. And it’s beautiful! So why do we not see it? For the same reason that we turn our heads at the sound of a coin drop, while not noticing the dozens of bird songs surrounding us. The world has done its job well, training us that beauty is in features that it has chosen, and we are the unhappy recipients of its lies. There is a reason that satan is called the father of lies, as well as the prince of this world. He directs the world in its quest to keep the population depressed.

But you can be the exception. You can learn to see beyond the world’s ridiculous aspirations, and see beauty, including your own, as God sees it! The moment you ask God for His view on things, He’ll open to you a whole new vision that is so much more beautiful, so much more exciting, and so much more fulfilling than ANYTHING the world has to offer.

Once you see things that way, you may glance back, and see all the myriads clamoring for another lost pound, another lost wrinkle, or another face-lift. There’s a reason those clamorers are depressed. There’s a reason they can never seem to grasp what dangles just before them at every moment, and it’s not because they are too ugly or too fat, or even too sinful. It is simply because they have let satan distract them from something that he can NEVER have – true, eternal beauty.

Under his direction, the world shouts, “You’re too baggy, you’re hideous, you’re too wrinkly!” All the while he is silently scared to death that you will notice the real beauty that is you, because the moment you see that, he has no power over you.

That is the moment when life becomes grand and beautiful. That’s the moment that you realize that you are already living your “happily ever after.” That’s the moment you realize that all of your dreams are already being fulfilled.

Don’t let satan distract you from that. God knows who you really are, and is anxiously waiting for you to ask Him about it so He can explain it to you. You may know it already in theory, and you may have heard it over and over in Sunday school, but you should hear His personal explanation of it to you. I promise it’s worth the asking.

– and don’t let up until He tells you everything.

Taught Somewhat in All the Learning of My Father

What would Nephi’s education been like?

Well one thing for sure, traditional school’s in Nephi’s day were significantly different than they are today. Today the only thing religious that can be taught in school is the so-called constitutional “separation of church and state,” (which, interestingly, is never mentioned once in the constitution in any form). Nephi’s education would have been so immersed in the scriptures that it took precedence over math, science, art, and geography combined. He would have been taught reading, writing, and history intensely, mostly because it’ a vital part of scripture study and record keeping.

The bible dictionary talks about the kind of education Jesus would have received in His time, and I think the basic education system would have been the same in Nephi’s time.

“The divine law impressed upon parents the duty of teaching their children its precepts and principles, but little is known about the methods of teaching that were employed. Up to six years of age a child was taught at home, chiefly by the mother (cf. 2 Tim. 1: 5). The schools that all boys from six years old had to attend were generally held in the synagogues. Until a boy was ten no textbook was used but scripture. The aim was to encourage study by sense of duty rather than by reward or fear. Reading, writing, and grammar were taught, and in order that teaching might be thorough, no class even in the elementary school might exceed 25 pupils. The “religious question” could not exist in Jewish education any more than in Church schools today, for the whole purpose of education was religious. Nothing was regarded as worth learning except as it illustrated scripture. At home probably Bible stories were taught as with us, but the regular course at school began with the first seven chapters of Leviticus, so that a boy might know what outward acts were required of him; then the rest of the Pentateuch, the Prophets, and the remainder of the O.T. ”
Bible Dictionary, Education

Wouldn’t that be an awesome way to do school? What I find interesting is that Laman and Lemuel would have received the same kind of education. I guess it shows how much role agency plays in our education – secular and spiritual.

My Musical Journey: The Message

When I was nine, my sister Ria had piano lessons. Being the little brother, I thought I should be able to have piano lessons, too. To me it looked like fun, and I wanted a turn. So mom signed me up.

A lady in our neighborhood, who was also in our ward, taught many kids piano lessons, and for only $3 a week, it was a pretty good way to go, though I didn’t find out until later what a generous teacher I had to charge such a small fee for those valuable lessons.

The lessons were fun, and I learned all the basic musical terms and skills, and obtained a very basic piano proficiency. By the time I had been taking lessons for a year, however, I was tired of practicing, and after a few weeks of dragging my feet, I stopped going to piano lessons.

Years went by, and I didn’t touch my piano books. They were a thing of the past, and any time I considered playing, I remembered how boring practice was, so from the time I stopped the lessons, I stopped playing the piano entirely.

As a young man of fourteen, I loved listening to music while drifting off to sleep. I would stick in a favorite cassette and let it play through to the end. However long it took me to fall asleep, I would always get completely wrapped up in the music. As I made a habit of this, I soon found that the mere act of turning on music and closing my eyes did something to me. It was as if the sounds were wrapping around me, filling me. I don’t know how to describe it, but that simple, quiet music had an overwhelming effect on my whole system.

It was at that time that I came to a realization of the power of music – just a few simple notes, played at just the right… well, everything! The tempo was perfect, the notes were perfect, played at the perfect volume at just the right moments. What was it about this mix of sounds that drew a person in so completely? Was it the flawless skill of the artist, or was it something independent of the musician? Did the music itself somehow convey the sense of completeness and power that I felt?

Much of the music I listened to was religious music, and the powerful feelings I felt while listening to that music were always accompanied by an intense spiritual high that made me want to be better, do more good, and reach out more to bless the lives of more people. But a lot of the music I listened to was simple New Age music, which at that time was sometimes called Easy Listening music.

One night, while listening to some of this gentle music, I felt something unique – or I heard something, but with my feelings rather than my ears. It was as if someone or something was sending a clear message through while my mind and heart were in such a susceptible state. The message was simply this: “You can give this gift to others.”

I lay motionless, still wrapped in the feelings and power of the music. The words had been clear. You can give this gift to others. What gift? Music? The ability to play music? The feelings that the music expressed? Though the message had been clear, I didn’t know for sure what it meant.

The more I thought about it, the more I felt that it was time to go beyond simply listening to and enjoying music. I needed to make music.

But how? I didn’t play any musical instruments, and my voice was nasally and boisterous. I would have to learn to play an instrument. A flute? A brass instrument? I didn’t have any instruments, and I didn’t have access to any instruments – except…

Yes. The piano. The family had a piano. I would would get out my old lesson books and start learning to play first thing after school the next day.

This entry is originally from…

overtones-button2

I Live in a Mansion

moon

talltab1I live in a mansion.  There are so many rooms, and so many doors, that it would take more than a lifetime to explore what is in them all.  From one room, I can explore the sciences, and watch the progression of the stars and planets.  I can chart the known universe and discover things that it has taken mankind centuries to understand.
talltab1 From another, I can learn the religions of the world, make connections with things divine, and come to a deeper understanding of why people are the way they are.
talltab1 From another, I can become my own symphony, and follow the practices of the master composers.  I can perfect the principles they have learned and carry them on to new levels.
talltab1 There is a room in my house where I can practice medicine and learn how the human body works.  In this room, I can also learn how to strengthen the powers within my own body through exercise, activity, proper nutrition and rest.
talltab1 In one of the larger wings of my mansion, I can enter a fantastic world with creatures and people that most people only meet in dreams and movies.  I can converse with them, and in essence, leave the world entirely through time machines and spaceships.
talltab1 I have rooms that bare the perfect resemblance of locations all around the globe.  I have been to Egypt, China, South America, and Africa without having to leave my home.
talltab1 In my favorite room, I have met the Savior and His prophets.  I have come to know God, and converse with Him regularly.  I have met Adam, Enoch, Abraham, and John the Baptist.  I have met the reformers and those who took part in the great restoration of the Gospel.
talltab1 I have visited many of the rooms in my mansion, and plan to visit many more.

talltab1 My house is small, and my means are meager.  But in every room, there are books.

How to Revolutionize the Course of the Universe

talltab1It was a very dull day at at the bookstore as I leaned against the counter, chin in hands, waiting for something to happen.  One of my coworkers stood only a few feet away, bored as I was.
talltab1“So,” I said, trying to break the monotony, “What should I do to revolutionize the course of the world today?”
talltab1He thought a moment.  “Got any bombs?  You could always blow up an important building somewhere.”
talltab1“That’s true.  But I don’t have any bombs.  Besides, that’s a bad thing, and there are plenty of bad things going on all the time.  I need to find something good to do.”
talltab1“That’s true,” he replied.  Then we both fell back into silence.

talltab1I began thinking more about our conversation.  What could one do to revolutionize the course of the world?  What about the universe?  Could one person effect the destiny of the universe?
talltab1There have been many people who have changed the course of life on this planet; Thomas Edison invented the light bulb.  George Washington led a revolutionary war that led to the foundation of what might be considered the most powerful nation in world history.  But did those things change the destiny of the universe?
talltab1It occurred to me that the person who best fit that description would have to be Jesus Christ.  Not only did he save the destiny of every person who would ever live, but He provided a way for us to become like His Father.
talltab1Now there’s a new approach to the question.  If I have potential to become like my Father in Heaven, then certainly I have power to effect the destiny of the universe.
So I guess the next question would have to be, what can I do today to best effect that progress?  Of course, a response as broad as “live the gospel” wasn’t really a sufficient, since I had been striving to do that my whole life.
talltab1Then I realized that I was in the process of beginning one of the major aspects of the perfecting process.  I was about to get married in the temple.  I decided that maybe the best thing I could do to work toward that goal would be to strengthen my relationship with Jenni.  How could I do that?  That question is easy.  I could be kind and loving to her.
talltab1I looked around the store.  Everything was quiet, normal, ordinary.  Customers came in and left.  Employees straightened bookshelves or stood patiently waiting for something to happen.  I had a date with Jenni scheduled for that night.  I decided that tonight I would change the course of the universe – I would show love and kindness towards her.

Tribute: I Love You, Dad!

Lunch Bucket and Grandpa

talltab1If someone had asked me in grade school what my dad did, I would probably have told them that my dad is a fisherman.  I didn’t know what he did for work, but I did know that he was a fisherman in his free time.  It was his favorite pastime, and he was really good at it.  He didn’t much go for worm fishing, and he certainly was never big on plopping the line in the water and sitting back waiting for the line to pull.  Dad was a fly fisher.

talltab1He loved fishing the rivers, outsmarting the fish using strategy and skill rather than passive chance.  With fly fishing on a river, the fisher must cast the line upstream, getting the fly to float unsuspectingly over the best part of the fishing hole.
talltab1Dad also tied his own flies.  This was itself quite a skill, as it took the most precise thread-work.  He had a cool fly-tying kit, as well as materials for making flies, such as threads, feathers, animal fur, or whatever was necessary for the desired effect.  The idea is to emulate as close as possible the look of a real fly.  I remember him making Cadiss flies, Mayflies, and even ants and grasshoppers.

talltab1He still fly-fishes and makes his own flies today.

talltab1I remember one particular fishing trip when I was young where we Continue reading Tribute: I Love You, Dad!

Let Us be Men

Let Us Be Men

talltab1We know from the scriptures that “the preaching of the word had a great tendency to lead the people to do that which was just—yea, it had had more powerful effect upon the minds of the people than the sword, or anything else, which had happened unto them…” but what about when even that is not enough?
talltab1When Alma went to preach the gospel to the Zoramites, he had great success.  But when all was said and done, there was still great wickedness among the people.  So Alma changed his approach slightly.  What did he do?

Alma 35:15-16

“Now Alma, being grieved for the iniquity of his people, yea for the wars, and the bloodsheds, and the contentions which were among them; and having been to declare the word, or sent to declare the word, among all the people in every city; and seeing that the hearts of the people began to wax hard, and that they began to be offended because of the strictness of the word, his heart was exceedingly sorrowful.

“Therefore, he caused that his sons should be gathered together, that he might give unto them every one his charge, separately, concerning the things pertaining unto righteousness. And we have an account of his commandments, which he gave unto them according to his own record.”

talltab1He went to his sons and taught them.  He went back to the Continue reading Let Us be Men

My First Music Video! Yay!

I’ve finally completed my first music video.  I guess it’s a little more like a music slideshow, but the piano piece is from the CD I’m planning on releasing at the end of July (If all goes well – and so far so good!) and it’s called, The Fourth Day, referring to the fourth day of creation.  That also means that this is the first time the piece has been published anywhere.  What do you think?

Copyright ©2009 Chas Hathaway, Willowrise LLC

And in case that version doesn’t work (some people’s computers don’t play it right), here’s a link to it on Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/user/chashathaway

If that doesn’t work, you can also watch it at Exposureroom.com

By the way, the giveaway where you help me come up with the name of my piano piece is still active!  Just comment with a name suggestion for the piece.  If one of the names you suggest is the one I decide on, then you get a free copy of my Dayspring CD.  It really is as simple as that, so just comment on that post with as many name suggestions as you want.  You can’t lose!

The Isaiah Barrier: Tips for Surviving Second Nephi

the-isaiah-barrier

talltab1How many times have you read first Nephi?  If you are like me, you’ve probably read it at least twice as many times as you’ve read any other book in the Book of Mormon.  Thank heaven Nephi does such a great job in his first book.  But then what happens?
talltab1You’re reading along, having a wonderful spiritual experience.  You’ve finally gotten back into the habit of reading the Book of Mormon every day.  You’re so proud… er… uh, pleased with yourself.  Then all of a sudden you read a verse that says:

“…kings shall be thy nursing fathers, and their queens thy nursing mothers; they shall bow down to thee with their faces towards the earth, and lick up the dust of thy feet…”

talltab1“Uh, okay…” you think to yourself, “I’ll just file that away into the back of my brain and get back to the good stuff.”
talltab1So you continue reading.  It doesn’t take you long to figure out that the strange Hebrew poetic writing doesn’t go away.  It lasts till the end of the chapter, then continues on to the next, and the next, and the next.  Before you know it, you’ve lost your daily habit and you’re hating yourself for not being able to work through the Isaiah barrier.
Sound familiar?

talltab1Let’s explore some ideas for getting through the Isaiah barrier without too many permanent scars.

  1. Take it in stride. Don’t expect yourself to race through it at the pace you’ve been going.  It’s not traditional English prose.  It’s not even traditional Hebrew prose.  It’s okay if your scripture study is only a few verses instead of a whole chapter.  Better to read smaller chunks than no chunks
  2. justtallGet a commentary – I’m not talking about FARMS or Hugh Nibley.  They can sometimes be as daunting as Isaiah himself.  Just get the Church Publication: Religion 302, Old Testament Student Manual 1 Kings–Malachi.  That is the Church’s old testament institute manual for the second half of the old testament.  It’s very simple and clear, and believe it or not, it makes Isaiah easy to understand!  (I bet you thought that was impossible – au contraire!)  Give it a try.  By the way, it’s also available to read online for free: http://ldsces.org/inst_manuals/ot-in-2/manualindex.asp
  3. justtallPray. Pray hard.  You’ll need all the help you can get, and who can help you better than the real author!
  4. justtallRewrite it. Okay, so this is a little more involved, and may take some help from tip 2, but give it a try.  Re-write each verse in plain English.  It’s not interpreting and rewriting the scriptures for publication, it’s putting it in your own words to help you get a grip on what’s going on.  Plus it’s kind of fun.
  5. justtallGet out the maps.  Better yet, jump on the computer and goof around on Google Earth (did you know that’s a free download?  It’s much cooler than Google maps, too.  Trust me) and punch in locations as you come across them.  Isaiah’s a real geography buff, and mentions places a lot.  Sometimes seeing it visually can help a lot.
  6. justtallFind scriptural commentary on Isaiah.  Isaiah is such a popular topic in the scriptures (especially in the Book of Mormon), that a lot of the verses are mentioned by other prophets and expounded in detail.
  7. justtallIf all else fails, skip itOh my heck, did I really just say that?  Yeah.  It’s a last resort, but if it’s a choice between losing your scripture habit and skipping the chapters, just skip them.  If you get really good at your habit, you’ll come back in the future.  The Isaiah chapters are more or less done by the end of 2 Nephi 24, so just jump to 2 Nephi 25.

talltab1Well, that’s about all I know.  Any more ideas?  How do you work your way through Isaiah?  Any tips for the rest of us?

Oh, by the way, here’s a scripture for the day!

3 Nephi 23:1

And now, behold, I say unto you, that ye ought to search these things. Yea, a commandment I give unto you that ye search these things diligently; for great are the words of Isaiah