Jerry Hirst (1943-2010) has been writing all his life, but these two works are his first public offerings. Hirst is a native Californian who has made his home in Utah for the last 40 plus years. His technical experience comes from twenty years as a business analyst and technical writer. Hirst served over 11 years in the military intelligence community. He also brings a lifetime of experience in the Mormon culture and has served in many leadership positions in the Church. Hirst’s first book, My View, is a collection of earlier talks, articles, and poems on gospel subjects. The second book, Sliding, is an exciting future vision novel of last days LDS fiction.
. . . . I motioned for Julie to get back in and I turned to a side street, found a dirt drive behind a tree, and told Julie my plan. She seemed reluctant but followed me to the back. I asked her to get a blanket while I got charcoal out of the bag, The hard part was getting her to get down in the dirt and roll around with me. We stood up and brushed off a little. I rubbed charcoal on my hands and began applying it to her face and arms and clothes. She copied me and did the same to my face. The worse we looked the more we giggled. The last thing I did was to add more dirt to the rear of the car to make sure the dirt really covered the license plate. It and we were a work of art. We got in and put the blanket over Julie’s legs.
. . . .”How did we get here? Where are we going? I thought we were heading into a millennial-like state. Now I’m not sure. Is the millennium more or less technical? Will we have more or less devices? We have had all this technological inspiration with new mechanical and scientific wonders. Is paradise filled with technical wiz bangs, or is it lambs and lions sitting under a tree? Are there even vehicles? Didn’t Isaiah say that we would build houses, plant vineyards and eat the fruit? [Isaiah 65:21-22] Do we have to pull weeds? So do the houses have plumbing with plastic pipe? Is there electricity? Does God have an IPOD?
“Was the Liahona just a GPS with an LCD? Do we have LCD?s in heaven, or even in paradise, and is there email or do we just use telepathy?”
“You?re making my brain hurt. Hopefully, we make the cut for the first resurrection and we will get your answers.”
Rocks were now moving everywhere. They kept tumbling down the hills. They were bouncing across the road. Rocks were moving back and forth like in a giant sifter–rolling back and forth with the larger chunks coming to the top. It was all being sifted–frightening and yet unreal–almost detached. Shake. Shake. Shake. Yes, actually everything was being detached. Huge pieces were falling off the cliffs. I didn’t know where to, but we were sliding.
From inside the car it was mostly silent. We had lost the last radio station over an hour ago. We were now having trouble just dodging increasingly larger rocks. Rips and tears in the road were growing and it was getting more and more difficult to continue. . . .
Once you clear North Las Vegas the trip is uneventful to Mesquite. Uneventful until the lightning. Just out of Glendale it started to rain. Then the lightning bolts started trying to hit us. Aiming for us. I didn?t know whether to speed up or slow down. Cars are supposed to be safe with steel cases and rubber insulators, but whoever was throwing these bolts was really good. One landed less than 100 feet directly in front of us. It was bright yellow-white and the size of a fat telephone pole. The strange thing was that just as it reached the ground, it splayed out in all directions with turned up spikes. Most electricity we’ll ever see at one time (without dying from it). They were striking everywhere. Some drove into the ground. Some seemed to bounce on impact.
She hurled. (An appropriate word considering the velocity and trajectory) It was just from the fierceness, the grossness, the intensity of the onslaught. Now the smell of the vomit added to the weird stink of the locusts. We knew we were about to perish. We gritted out teeth and tried to squint. We didn’t want to see anymore but I needed to stay on the road.
The brown storm intensified briefly and then in a moment it was over. The cloud moved on. We kept moving to clear the stragglers, but we had been plastered with carcasses. They coated everything.
Relieved but still shaking, we both started to pray aloud. It was a duet of gratitude. Soon Julie was voice and she was begging desperately.
“Please Father; help us now to find a way to go on. Please help us find a way to recover and reclaim our journey. We thank thee for not allowing us to be consumed in this plague. Please take us forward. Please….”
Bound To Be Free
So, here’s the way I think it really works. We come to a point in our lives when we begin to know the truth and we long for the truth to make us free. We want to be free from the guilt and sins and disobediences of our past. We want the powers of the priesthood in our lives. We want the right to the Holy Ghost as a companion. And so what do we do? We make a covenant. We accept restrictions, self-imposed, upon our life. We agree to go and sin no more. We submit to laws of health, finance, service, morality, and love. We subject ourselves to the will and name of Christ. We promise to serve our fellow men.
Are we then bond or free? What would the world say?
“How can you live under such restrictions? Can’t you guys do anything? Get a life.”
Thanks, we already have one. We are free. Free to partake of the Spirit. Free to feel the unspeakable joy and peace that “they” may never understand let alone experience. And how do we continue our quest for freedom through the gospel? By continuing to add self-imposed commitment and restriction to our lives
Ultimately, when we have practiced obedience and the wise use of agency, we are permitted to go to the temple and make the most restrictive and binding covenants of our lives. –to solemnly commit to uphold all of the required laws of heaven. In return we are promised the fulness of the Father, and worlds without end. Freedom and power to create and procreate. Freedom to traverse and expand the very universe. Total freedom. Under total law. Acting in obedience to all law.
Choose To Be Changed
How long shall ye halt between two opinions
If the Lord be thy God, follow Him.
How long will ye waiver between two dominions?
If the Son is thy King, follow Him.
Choose ye this day to be born of the Spirit.
Choose to be changed.
Choose the Light.
Choose the Life.
Let a miracle work in your heart, in your spirit.
Choose to be changed.
Surrender to Christ.
Christ changes men and changed men change the world.
As they follow His steps, follow them.
They set fire in us all as they burn with the Spirit.
Soon the whole world can be born again.
What think ye of Christ?–is our challenge from Jesus.
Have we sung songs of redeeming love?
Will we be born again and receive of His image?
Is the change of our heart from above?
Choose to be one who shall stand as His witness.
Bear ye His name.
Be consumed in His will.
Feast on His words and sit down at His table.
Choose to be changed.
Unto life eternal.
October clouds roll toward us from the west. Windows close against the chill and are quickly splotched with wet then splattered with white. Cover the boat. Cover the tomatoes. Cover your head. The fun is done. Get back to school. Get back to work. No more escapes. No more shelter from our problems in summer diversions. Real life is back and it’s time to find safe refuge from our pressures and cares. Time to find methods of coping and solving.
May I be so bold as to suggest that the greatest shelter is in true doctrine? We often look for new answers when the safety is in revealed truth. Sometimes we wonder where the spiritual answers are when all the while the solutions lay waiting in familiar principles.
Many of us are disappointed when faith and testimony don’t seem to be enough to sustain us in our relationships or our finances. We seek satisfaction and fulfillment. We despair when our prayers die unreplied. We run to psychologists and perscriptionists to tell us we are the victims of unwarranted guilt. Have we avoided the principles we already know to be true? Are we ignoring known doctrine in the normal course of our lives? Could there be some “old” doctrines that we have set aside? Do we always remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy? Do we honor father and mother with love and respect? Are there no other gods before us? Do we do unto others as we would have them do unto us? Do we love our neighbors as ourselves? Do we use our callings to consecrate our lives? Do we prize purity? Do we love the Word of Wisdom? Do we joy in our tithes and offerings?
….Of course, we must always separate honest human emotion and tender personal feelings from the true warmth added by the Holy Ghost. This difference is learned as we progress grace to grace and come to know and act upon the things we learn by the spirit. We must try not to look so hard for earthly empirical evidence of things spiritual. Definitions of spiritual things are really very subjective. In an attempt to explain this subjective meaning of life to a daughter, I once wrote that:
– Music isn’t ever written - all the songs were always present. All we have to do is listen. If we like we sing along.
– Testimonies are like music independent pre-existent once forgotten dejavu’s that linger back then walk beside us when we coax, cajole, sustain.
– Words of scripture have no meaning but embody truth incarnate. Meaning comes in rays of spirit and has naught to do with words.
So, can I tell you what my testimony feels like? Describe Texas chili to an Eskimo. Describe the flavor of chocolate or licorice.