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I have been singing in church choirs since I was a teenager. So has Carol. I learned to read music at my mother’s insistence, when I took piano lessons at the age of eight. I think each of my sisters did as well. Music has always been an important part of my life, especially worship music. I grew up with the Tabernacle Choir. My mother would play their music in our home. We still enjoy Music and the Spoken Word each Sunday.

Here in California, we haven’t been able to attend church since March 8th. It doesn’t look like we will be able to get together again until probably after the election is over. Our ward has Zoom church meetings every few weeks, and there is usually music, but it’s just not the same. There is something special about getting together and singing hymns in a congregation. For me, it’s even more special to sing with the choir every month.

Before my mission and before I married, I sang bass. I thought it was cool to dig deep for those low notes, especially with a large group like we had in our regional young adult choir. I still sing bass on occasion, but switched to tenor shortly after we were married as the need was obvious. Singing tenor is not much harder, it just takes practice. And good tenors always seem to be appreciated by choir directors of most small ward choirs.

You Could be an Asymptomatic Carrier

Intellectually, I understand the idea behind the current restriction on singing in church, even though I disagree with the need. There are plenty of times in the past when it was obvious we passed colds among ourselves in the choir, even though we tried to stay healthy. That’s one of the most common things you hear prayed for as we close a choir practice, that we’ll all stay healthy enough to perform when the time comes.

We have friends who are adamant in sharing with us how real the need for masks is and how selfish we would be if we were to go out in public without them. We get it. I have to wear a mask every time I go in to work. You would be amazed at the hoops our company has had to go through to be able to stay open. We are part of the city and county of Los Angeles, where the numbers are the highest in the state, because we have more people.

Yes, the cases have been going up, never mind that the deaths have been going down. We are convinced the numbers are increasing because of increased testing, but that can’t be true according to the WaPo, NY Times and CNBC. And yes, we still believe this is simply the damned flu. The deaths are nowhere near the Spanish Influenza, the Asian flu or even the Hong Kong flu. Oops, is that racist to refer to them by country of origin?

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We are not Politically Correct

Carol and I are not politically correct. Nor are we very woke. The other day, an article appeared in one of our local community newspapers reporting on the deliberations of the city council to Defund the Police and endorse the BLM. Carol wrote a powerful and persuasive, if not somewhat emotional letter to the city council. She even quoted from Anonymous Bishop. The senior city council member quickly clarified their position.

While I perhaps would not have been so passionate, I was and am impressed by Carol’s deep feelings of patriotism in defense of conservative values we both believe in. We grew up in the sixties, Carol in North Logan and me just an hour away in the East San Gabriel Valley. Our parents were children of the Great Depression, our fathers both fought in World War II and our mothers raised our brothers and sisters with unselfish love.

We both either watched or read Elder Bednar’s excellent talk on the free exercise of religion, amazed at the response of some of our friends online. I don’t do Facebook any more, but Carol shares with me some of the things our friends say, especially those who are younger from the days when I served in our local Young Adult ward. Too many seem to have drunk the Kool-Aid. They wrote they thought Elder Bednar’s talk was divisive.

A True Understanding of Tolerance 

Divisive is just another word for saying you don’t agree with me and you don’t like it. I happen to agree with President Trump’s message from Mt. Rushmore last night. “We only kneel to almighty God” resonates with me. The political weapons of the left have become those of children throwing temper tantrums: riots, destruction of personal and public property, shaming through social media and through the institutional news media.

The political weapons of the cancel culture are “driving people from their jobs, shaming dissenters and demanding total submission from anyone who disagrees. This is the very definition of totalitarianism, and it is completely alien to our culture and to our values, and it has absolutely no place in the United States of America.” I am surprised at the tolerance of the majority of quiet, conservative Americans in putting up with this crap.

“In our schools, our newsrooms, even our corporate board rooms, there is a new far-left fascism that demands absolute allegiance. If you do not speak its language, performance, rituals, recite its mantras, and follow its commandments, then you will be censored, banished, blacklisted, persecuted, and punished. Not gonna happens to us.” For a party that claims to be tolerant of dissenting views, the left sure doesn’t like our conservatism.

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Some Things are Worth Preserving

Tearing down statues is the left’s attempt to erase our history. These childish protesters seem “determined to tear down every statue, symbol, and memory of our national heritage.” I appreciate President Trump’s announcement of a National Garden of American Heroes. “To destroy a monument is to desecrate our common inheritance.” The first thing a new totalitarian regime does is to make every effort to destroy history.

We can’t let that happen. Learning from history is critical to our progress. That’s why I have always had such an intense interest in studying the history of the Restoration. I know my understanding is nowhere near that of those who write books on the subject or who teach it for a living. But I have come to appreciate that history can be rewritten even by those who are trying to preserve it, because they add their own interpretive spin.

I continue to have private dialog with readers via texts and emails about the restoration. They seem confused by my defense of Joseph Smith. They have bought into the lies that he was a polygamist and an adulterer. I continue to be grateful for the work published by Whitney Horning last year, “Joseph Smith Revealed: A Faithful Telling.” I experienced an outpouring of the spirit as I read it, reviewed it and wrote about in my blog.

Life Goes on – This Will Soon Pass

The birds still sing outside our window every day. I work from home more days each week than I go in to the office. The weather is beautiful here in Camarillo – always is. It’s easy to get distracted by the birds as they come to eat the breadcrumbs we leave them. The lizards still do their push-ups as they sun themselves. The squirrels play in the yard.  Carol shared a video with me about an engineer who built a squirrel obstacle course.

I enjoy watching the SpaceX launches every few weeks. They are becoming routine by now. Say what you want about Elon Musk, his work inspires me. If I were twenty or thirty years younger I would have pursued the opportunity to work at SpaceX. But I’m an old man now, content to work on the network technology I am so familiar with. I’m very grateful to have a job, one that I enjoy, at which I excel. Just perfect for an INFP like me.

Carol and I still read the scriptures aloud to each other each night before we have our family prayer. There’s something about reading the Book of Mormon aloud that invites the spirit of the Lord into our home. Our prayers are better because we read it together. I love Carol. Even though we disagree about the role of the LDS Church in our lives, she blesses me by loving me, praying with me and by living after the manner of happiness.

6 Replies to “We Miss Singing in Church”

  1. Nice to know Im not alone in my thoughts about current affairs. Living in New Zealand has its benefits as we were never manadated to wear masks in public, though, as you say, businesses imposed it on their employees.

  2. I have been reading your newsletter for over a year & always looked forward to them. I thought that this current one was satire, so, I reread it several times.It’s a good thing the Prophet is a man of science bcs you sure aren’t. You have no clue about viruses & I believe you are doing a tremendous disservice promoting your ignorant  perception of COVID-19.  I find it particularly oxymoronic that you quote Trump about God and that you said you found comfort.  It is appalling how Latter Day Saints can be so blinded by their conservative biases that they support, promote & sustain the man who is doing his damnest to bring out the end of these latter days. May the virus be with you & with your spirit, bcs it doesn’t appear that God & the spirit are anywhere near you these days.  BTW, I’m a Chem E & work making medicinal drugs.  I’m done with you & your scientific & spiritual blindness. Jake Salas Sent from Yahoo Mail for iPhone

    1. If you are a liberal who can’t stand Trump, and cannot possibly fathom why anyone would ever vote for him, let me fill you in.
      It’s not that we love Donald Trump so much. It’s that we can’t stand you.

      And we will do whatever it takes — even if that means electing a rude, obnoxious, unpredictable, narcissist (your words not ours) to the office of President of the United States — because the thing we find more dangerous to this nation than Donald Trump is YOU.

      How is that possible you might ask?

      Well, you have done everything in your power to destroy our country.

      From tearing down the police, to tearing down our history, to tearing down our borders.

      From systematically destroying our schools and brainwashing our kids into believing socialism is the answer to anything (despite being an unmitigated failure everywhere), while demonizing religion and faith, and glorifying abortion, violence, and thug culture. From calling us racists every time we expect everyone of any skin color to follow our laws equally to gaslighting us about 52 genders, polyamory, grown men in dresses sharing public locker rooms with little girls, and normalize the sexualization of young children, you simultaneously ridicule us for having the audacity to wish someone a “Merry Christmas” or hang a flag on the 4th of July, stand for the national anthem, or (horror of horrors) don a MAGA hat in public.

      So much for your “tolerance.” (See why we think you are just hypocrites??)

      We’re also not interested in the fact that you think you can unilaterally decide that 250 years of the right-to-bear-arms against a tyrannical or ineffective government should be abolished because you can’t get the violence in the cities you manage under control. That free-speech should be tossed out the window, and that those who disagree with your opinions are fair game for public harassment or doxing. That spoiled children with nose-rings and tats who still live off their parent’s dime should be allowed to destroy cities and peoples livelihoods without repercussions. That chaos, and lawlessness, and disrespect for authority should be the norm.

      This is your agenda. And you wonder why we find you more dangerous than Donald Trump?

      Your narrative is a constant drone of oppressor/oppressed race-baiting intended to divide the country in as many ways as you possibly can. You love to sell “victim-hood” to people of color every chance you get because it’s such an easy sell, compared to actually teaching people to stand on their own two feet and take personal responsibility for their own lives and their own communities and their own futures. But you won’t do that, you will never do that, because then you will lose control over people of color. They might actually start thinking for themselves, God forbid!

      This is why we will vote for Donald Trump.

      Not because he is the most charming character on the block.
      Not because he is the most polite politician to have ever graced the oval office.
      Not because he is the most palatable choice, or because we love his moral character or because the man never lies, but because we are sick to death of you and all of the destructive crap you are doing to this once beautiful and relatively safe country.

      Your ineffective and completely dysfunctional liberal “leadership”(?) has literally destroyed our most beautiful cities, our public education system, and done it’s damnedest to rip faith out of people’s lives.

      However bad Donald Trump may be, and he is far from perfect, every day we look at you and feel that no matter what Donald Trump says or does there is no possible way he could be any worse for our country than you people are. We are sick to death of your stupid, destructive, ignorant, and intolerant behavior and beliefs — parading as “wokeness.” We are beyond sick of your hypocrisy and B.S.

      We are fed up with your disrespectful divisiveness and constant unrelenting harping and whining and complaining (while you live in the most privileged nation in the world), while making literally zero contributions of anything positive to our society. Your entire focus is on ripping things down, never ever building anything up. Think about that as there is something fundamentally very wrong in the psychology of people who choose destruction as their primary modus operandi.

      When Donald J Trump is reelected, don’t blame us, look in the mirror and blame yourselves. Because you are the ones that are responsible for the rise of Donald Trump. You are the ones who have created this “monster” that you so despise, by your very actions. By your refusal to respect your fellow Americans, and the things that are important to us.

      You have made fun of the “fly-over states,” the people who “cling to their guns and religion,” the middle class factory workers and coal miners and underprivileged rural populations that you dismissively call “yahoos” and “deplorables.” You have mocked our faith and our religion. You have mocked our values and our patriotism. You have trampled our flag and insulted our veterans and treated our first responders with contempt and hatred.
      You have made environmentalism your religion, while trashing every city you have taken responsibility for. You scream from the rooftops about “global warming” and a “green new deal” while allowing tens of thousands of homeless people to cover your streets in literal sh!t and garbage and needles and plastic waste without doing a single thing to help them or solve the environmental crisis your failed social policies are creating. But we’re supposed to put YOU in charge of the environment while gutting our entire economy to institute this plan when you can’t even clean up a single city??

      You complain — endlessly — yet have failed to solve a single social problem anywhere. In fact, all you have done is create more of them. We’ve had enough. We are tired of quietly sitting by and being the “silent” majority. So don’t be surprised when the day comes when we finally respond. And trust me it’s coming, sooner than you might think. And also trust me when I say it won’t be pretty. Get ready.

      When Donald Trump is reelected it will be because you and your “comrades” have chosen to trash the police, harass law-abiding citizens, and go on rampages destroying public property that we have all paid for and you have zero respect for.

      When Donald Trump is reelected it will be because we are sick of your complete and utter nonsense and destruction. How does it feel to know that half of this country finds you FAR more despicable than Donald J. Trump, the man you consider to be the anti-Christ?
      Let that sink in. We consider you to be more despicable, more dangerous, more stupid, and more narcissistic than Donald Trump. Maybe allow yourself a few seconds of self-reflection to let that sink in.

      This election isn’t about Donald Trump vs. Joe Biden. This is about Donald Trump vs YOU.

      So if on the morning of November 4 (or more likely January 19, by the time the Supreme Court will weigh in on the mail-in ballot fiasco that we are headed towards), and Donald J. Trump is reelected? The only people you have to blame is the left-wing media drones and yourselves.
      You did this. Yep. You.

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