Church and Country Music

Tonight, I am back listening to country western music. This time, it isn’t ole time country, but classical country – Roy Clark. When I was a teenager, I saw him in concert. It was one of the best concerts I have ever been to. It seemed to me that he truly cared about making people feel uplifted by his music. He put forth a great deal of energy in performing. According to my good friend Ron Jacoby, nothing has changed. Ron is close to the country music scene, having befriended Glen Campbell and his daughter Debi. Because of his ties to the Campbells, Ron has the honor of meeting many music legends, including Roy Clark. That blessing could not have come to a more deserving individual than Ron, for he truly loves and appreciates that genre of music.

Today I went to Church, it being Sunday and all. (See, I’m even starting use country western grammar. How scary!) I did not learn anything at Church. Unfortunately, that happens with me, from time to time. I don’t know if it is that the subject matter is so basic, this being a new area for the Mormon Church, or that I just allow my mind to wander during the lessons. Perhaps it is a combination of both. Regardless, I felt that the three hours at Church were unproductive in the learning area.

I did get the opportunity to bless the sacrament. Boy was I nervous! As I stated yesterday, Shu Mei helped me write down the Chinese words for the prayer. Without that, I couldn’t have even made the attempt. However, it has been about 22 years since I blessed the sacrament, except for a few times on my mission. Because of that, I couldn’t even remember the procedures. Certainly, I have seen the process many times throughout the years. But, it is like the sun. I see it in the sky everyday, but I don’t really think about how it got there. Today, I had to think “how it got there”.

Luckily, I could follow the lead of President Yen, our former Branch President, who said the first prayer. For the second prayer, I read the words that Shu Mei had helped me write yesterday. I think I heard a few giggles from some of the children in the congregation during it, but I am not certain. After the Sacrament Meeting, several of the Branch members approached me and said, through Shu Mei, that I did a great job. To me, that meant I sucked. The reason I state this is that they would only say this if: a) They wanted to compliment me, because: a) I was really good… which I wasn’t, or b) They wanted to make me feel better, because I sucked… which I did.

After Church, I came home and responded to email. I must mention one email exchange that has been going on for quite some time now. I am exchanging doctrinal-based email messages with a friend of mine, Jenna Murphy. I went to high school with her (her name then was Jennifer Eccles) and contacted her late last year, after seeing her listing on and wondering what ever happened to her. We have been bantering around some gospel subjects for a while now. Jenna is a Christian and has a different viewpoint on key doctrinal issues than I do. From what she says, her beliefs lie solely in the Bible, prayer, the Holy Spirit, and her common sense. My beliefs come from the aforementioned sources, but also include the LDS scriptures (i.e., Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, Pearl of Great Price) and modern day revelation from a living Prophet.

During and after the email responses, I caught myself surfing on the web, reading about subjects that I never would have imagined reading about before. At one point, I was actually reading about the benefits of salt! I cannot believe how carried away I can get at times.

Later on, I met with “Jason” back at the Church. We had an appointment with a sister there, “Theresa”. We are her home teachers. Theresa used to attend the adult English class we had at the school, which was summarily canceled last week. (We canceled it because of the fact we cannot rely on the adults showing up to class all of the time. Anyway, we will soon begin a new children’s class.) Jason and I spoke for a few minutes, before Theresa arrived. Jason speaks decent English and he can understand most of what I am saying. He told me that Theresa might need help with getting a testimony. Jokingly, I asked him if he wanted me to give her one.

When Theresa arrived, we sang a hymn together, said a prayer, and then talked with her about her feelings regarding Church. She stated that her family (i.e., mother, father, and grandparents) were against her attending Church. Often, on Sundays, they would leave her at home to take care of everything, so she was unable to attend Church. I told Theresa that she should find out what she really cares about and then pray to God for help in obtaining it. I felt that she really did lack a strong testimony, because of what she was saying about her inability to attend Church. I don’t mean to sound heartless, but I believe that God will make a way for us, if we truly put our faith in Him. (Easier said than done, of course.)

Chet Atkins is now playing guitar with Roy Clark over my headphones. Chet was always my favorite guitarist. I was deeply saddened when he died a few months ago. Speaking of dying, I heard that they recovered over 70 bodies from yesterday’s fatal plane crash. Upon reflection of the incident, I felt guilty. Initially, when I heard about it, I wondered if there were any Americans onboard. Then, I started to thinking… who cares? I mean, people are people. It does not make it any better if they are from a different country than I am from or not. I was ashamed of my thoughts.

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