Okay, the title of this post is a bit of a cheat, but it's all I could think of right now. If you're expecting me to relate an experience of having died and gone to heaven, I apologize; I've got nothing for you. I only came near death, okay? I didn't actually all-the-way die. Not even temporarily. So sorry about that.
Anyway, here's what did happen:
As many of you are aware, I was hospitalized with a serious case of pneumonia at the end of January, which explains my absence from this forum all of February. I was actually quite surprised when I was hurriedly admitted, because I thought they only put elderly people in the hospital for pneumonia. Then again, I just turned 63 the month before that, so I guess I suddenly qualify as old. That's what my daughter says, anyway.
Sometime later my regular doctor, who had seen the hospital report, informed me that apparently I had come very close to dying and might not have made it had I not been hospitalized when I was. This news was actually of some comfort to me. I had certainly felt like I was dying, but assumed that was just me being melodramatic in a "woe is me" kind of way. So it was somewhat satisfying to have the diagnosis confirmed by a professional. I wasn't just feeling sorry for myself, see? I was actually on my honest-to-goodness deathbed prepared to breathe my last shallow breath at any moment. So take that, naysayers.
|Agnes Moorehead is my patron saint.|
And Should We Die Before Our Journal's Through
What eventually brought me back from the brink was the knowledge that so many of you were pulling for me. Although I was too weak myself to sit at my computer and read, my daughter informed me that over 200 people had offered prayers and support on my Facebook wall. All that love finally broke through and God began to help me recover. I literally owe my life to you good people for your prayers, love, and good wishes. I can't begin to thank you, and to express how overwhelming it was to know I have so many good friends who love me without having ever met me.
Many of you expressed such kind sentiments that you deserve a personal reply, and although I have not yet managed to follow up personally, please know I have read every one of your expressions of support. The medication I remain on makes my hands shake like palsy, so it isn't easy to type for very long. (You wouldn't believe the many errors I've had to correct on this post so far!) Please know I'm overwhelmed by your love for me and Connie and we both thank you from the bottom of our hearts.
A couple of readers even suggested that I'd better not die because some who don't like me would see it as a sign God had struck me down to stop me from blogging. That motivated me to get better, I'll tell you what. I still have a few topics left I want to address here, and contrary to what some may hope, the spirit has informed me that if God is displeased with me, it's over stuff that has nothing to do with this blog. Anyone who thinks God is annoyed with my repeated assertions on this blog that we ought to obey Him rather than men might wish to rethink their own assumptions before gloating over my imminent demise. This journal will continue to preach pure Mormonism while rejecting the counterfeit rampant among many today. Okay?
Okay. 'Nuff said.
Some of you wrote in to recommend various natural treatments, and I am grateful for your advice. I wish it known that I am a regular user of herbal teas and tinctures, and that during my convalescence I faithfully drank teas made from various herbs known for healing, soothing, and repairing the lungs, as well as some powerful tinctures I try to keep on hand. What baffled me is that this time around none of these proven remedies was having any effect on my illness.
Also, because of my chronic asthma, I have the same type of nebulizer machine at home that I was treated with in the hospital, but for some reason this time it, too, was having virtually no effect. The liquid medications I inhale using this nebulizer form a mist that normally penetrates the bronchial tubes and provides some relief, but this time there was almost no difference during or after a treatment. I could only wait this thing out for weeks while I struggled with every breath, until finally the massive doses of antibiotics and corticosteroids eventually killed the stubborn virus that had attached itself deep inside my lungs.
Because I believe thoughts are things, and therefore the things we think about tend to manifest in our lives, I don't wish to dwell on the details of my recent discomfort because I don't wish to call forth anything like what I just went through ever again. Even when I could tell I was no longer in the grasp of death, the discomfort was still so intense that I feared I might have to live the rest of my life slowly shuffling around while gasping for breath. That kind of thinking probably prolonged the sickness. To tell you the truth, I wasn't planning on blogging about this at all, but so many friends keep asking about it that I thought the best way would be to touch on the subject here before I continue with some of the topics I'd been planning to write about.
So this will be my shortest blog post ever because that little adventure is in the past, and besides, who wants to hear about someone else's misery, right? But I do want to add that I could never have pulled through without my wonderful daughter Amy, who rushed over to look after her mother while I was in the hospital, and took care of both of us after I came home. Connie, as many of you know, is semi-invalid and depends upon me to care for her, so Amy's attendance here was crucial.
Since Amy no longer has a car, she had to walk two miles in the opposite direction from us just to catch a bus that took her even further in the other direction, then make two transfers to get turned around and dropped off near our apartment. Often she would stay several nights, sleeping on our floor in the hall, but there were times she had to get back home for a short spell, only to make that long trek back to us again because we were both nearly helpless without her. Amy deserves our eternal gratitude for her service, so I wanted to state that publicly. She was a handful as a teenager, but has now more than redeemed herself for eternities to come as far as I'm concerned. Connie's Birthday came and went during this time, as did Valentine's day. Since I could barely breathe, let alone speak, I lay in bed next to my wife and celebrated both those occasions by reaching over and giving her hand a loving squeeze. It was pretty much all I could do.
|This is a recent photo taken of me on my deathbed. When I really do go, I'm gonna miss that bedroom.|
Okay, I just said this will be my shortest blog post ever, and it is, if you don't count these announcements. But there are a few things I wish to touch on before I go.
The Nature of God
So although Toscano provides us an introduction to some powerful yet forgotten doctrines, I believe they can only be truly understood through the power of the spirit. So read what Paul Toscano has to say, then seek for that perfect knowledge only the spirit can provide. I can't adequately explain these concepts to you.
As Long As We're Talking About Toscano
While I was laid up, a wonderful limited number of podcasts have been produced by Paul and Margaret Toscano wherein they simply sit and discuss among themselves some wonderful gospel topics. You want to explore some of the greater things? This is an excellent place to start. Paul and his wife Margaret are both brilliant minds, and listening to the two of them having a conversation is a rare treat -like being privy to a conversation between Will and Ariel Durant. Only better, because in addition to being adept at history and philosophy as were the Durants, Paul and Margaret are also first rate Mormon theologians. These podcasts are stimulating and edifying, and you can find all five on Youtube, or download them from itunes. Here's the Youtube link:
The Toscano Dialogues
And don't miss Paul Toscano's Facebook page where he always has some interesting commentary.
Venus On The Half Shell
When I wrote my review of Paul Toscano's book on temple symbolism, I intended to mention in passing the incredible body of work on temple symbols that has been presented by Anthony Larson, but somehow I forgot to do so. I wrote quite extensively on Brother Larson's research two years ago, which you'll find in this post here, but as Larson is the preeminent expert on temple symbolism as it relates to ancient cosmology and Mormon prophecy, I should have at least made reference to his fascinating discoveries again while discussing temple symbolism in January's post.
As a point of interest, we're all familiar with the famous image of the goddess Venus emerging from her shell. So why in heck is this seemingly pagan image carved in a bas relief above the veil inside the Salt Lake temple? Anthony Larson explains why that symbol should have particular meaning to latter-day Saints on his web page here. And there's always a fascinating discussion taking place on the Facebook group Larson hosts, The Restored Gospel, Ancient Planetary History, and Cutting Edge Science.
|Yep, that's Venus sure enough, right over the veil in the temple. She was put there for a reason.|
Journal Of Mormon History Conference
My friend Brian Hales, author of the three volume Joseph Smith's Polygamy is chairing the John Whitmer Histoical Association annual meeting, to be held this year at Independence, Missouri September 24-27. Brian has put out a call for those who wish to participate, so if you have ever had a hankering to present a paper at a conference that is attended by members of all branches of the Restoration, why not submit your idea? The theme is "Putting Unity into Community: 150 years of discovery."
Proposals for complete sessions are encouraged, but individual papers, panel discussions, interviews, personal essays, debates, musical presentations, and more will also be considered. Proposals related to the meeting theme are preferred but reflections on other topics and their intersection with the Latter Day Saint movement, in addition to studies of historical and contemporary events and figures, news in the Latter Day Saint world, and cultural studies will be considered, as well.
Proposals should include: title, a one-hundred word abstract, brief summary of the topic's relevance to JWHA's focus, list of any audio/visual equipment needs (or specify "no AV needed), and a brief bio with contact information for the proposed presenter(s). The proposal deadline is April 1, 2015. Those presenting at the meeting will be expected to register, including the payment of registration fees, prior to the meeting.
The Only D&C You'll Ever Need
In my last post I mentioned in a footnote that if I were ever stranded on a desert Island with a limited number of books, I would eschew my triple combination in favor of Daymon Smith's superior version of the Book of Mormon, An Abridging Work. I can't believe I also forgot to mention the better version of the Doctrine & Covenants, which I would also want with me. I never consult the D&C out of my Triple Com anymore because that later translation has proven less than reliable (I provide some examples in my recent post, Not Quite the Same). I prefer instead The Parallel Doctrine & Covenants from Signature Books. It contains the original revelations as they were published in the church newspaper, alongside the version published in the Book of Commandments, followed by the version canonized in the 1835 Doctrine & Covenants.
Best of all, you get the revelations in the same chronological order as they came to Joseph Smith, not in the willy-nilly way they were thrown together and printed in our "official" modern collections of scripture. In a lengthy introduction by editor Curt Bench, proprietor of Benchmark Books in Salt Lake City, you'll learn how these early revelations were disseminated, as well as a discussion of the changes made to them over time. Trust me, if you're depending on your version of the D&C published by Deseret Book, you are not always getting the word of the Lord as it was first given to Joseph Smith. I don't know about you, but I prefer the original. You can find this volume at Signature Books.
The Remnant Reunion
I have been asked if Connie and I are still expecting to attend the Remnant Reunion in May. YES!
Bret Corbridge tells me that so far we have about 120 families expected to show, representing more than 200 people. Are you on that list? Then get cracking! I want to meet you! The whole thing's free, and only a 5 hour drive from Salt Lake City. See here to get a pdf file containing full information.
In closing, allow me to once again express my sincerest love to all of you for your prayers, kind words, and other support you provided for Connie and me during our difficult time. Because of you, God worked a mighty miracle, and I was brought back to life. God bless you, my friends. I won't forget.
I am profoundly grateful that you are tarrying with us on this side of the veil, my friend.
God truly is a god of miracles! I have had a healing miracle as well recently.
I am so happy to see that you are recovering so well Rock!
God continue to bless you and Connie and your whole family and all those who send good thoughts and prayers on behalf of you and others!
It is great to hear that you are getting better. Love and prayers to you and your family.
So thankful you are on the mend. It was wonderful to click on your site link and find a new post.
Again...We need you brother and glad you are feeling well enough to share your thoughts with us. I have click several on the links you have provided and have found exciting information. Looking forward to more.
May the Lord continue to bless you.
Gla to have you back among the living, Goofy, er I mean Rock....
I am also grateful you are getting better. I was pleased to see a new installment from you.
May God bless Amy for being such a good and caring daughter. Rock stars and movie stars don't hold a candle to people like Amy who show true greatness.
Also happy to have you back at it - Sunday School (in our home) isn't the same without a fresh post from you.
Rock, I am so glad to see you're in the mend. I know I've been out of touch lately, but I loved reading your words again.
I'll continue to pray for you, Connie and your whole family.
God bless you Rock!
Glad to have you back Rock! Not sure how I'd get through the drudgery of church without new blog posts from pure mormonism. Keep up the good work!
Glad to hear from the horse's mouth that your doing better.
Glad you are feeling better. I just wanted to clear something up from this blog. Brian Hales' conference is not the Journal of Mormon History conference (which I don't think exists) but the John Whitmer Historical Association's annual meeting. Here is the link http://www.jwha.info/conf.
Prayer works! We're Glad you're with us! An observation about the D&C. I am suspicious of changes not made by the prophet. But isn't the 1835 D&C as edited by Joseph Smith more like the inspired translation of the Bible? It expands, clarifies, and corrects errors. It was made by Joseph Smith by revelation. So why not trust it and use it? I have a reprint edition of the 1835 that I use and I really like it!
We love you Rock!
I look forward to meeting you and talking with you in May.
Thank you for bringing that to my attention! I guess my brain was running on automatic when I wrote that, because I knew it was the John Whitmer gang.
I've made the correction. Thanks again.
What nice things are being said here! Thank you all for those kind words.
In my haste to finish that post in as few words as possible, I was remiss in not noting that Connie was also sick in much the same way I was at the same time. Because she is not asthmatic, she was miraculously spared from contracting pneumonia as I did, but she did come down with the flu which was what got this whole thing started. So we were both running fevers and feeling terrible together, and even after I had begun to recover, she had whooping cough.
Thanks mostly to energy work conducted by a friend, that whooping cough did not last long, and she is on the mend, at least from these problems.
I regret having made that post seem to be all about me, when it was really an ordeal we both went through.
Amy, whose young daughter was apparently the carrier we all contracted the flu bug from, had fortunately already gone through her own ordeal and recovered by the time I was admitted into the hospital. It was quite the family event.
To the best of my understanding, LDS scholars differ on exactly who changed what between the time the revelations appeared in the Book of Commandments, and when they were subsequently published in the 1835 D&C. Many believe Joseph left the work of publication to others including Oliver Cowdery, and that they made the revisions without his knowledge or consent. He was simply to busy with other matters to be involved at the time.
There may be some revisions he made personally, but we don't have much in his handwriting, as far as I know. One day when I can afford them, I'll buy another couple of volumes of the Joseph Smith papers and see what I can learn.
Rock, I'm glad to hear you are doing better. I wish you and Connie all the best.
Sorry to hear about your illness, however, very happy to hear of your recovery. Faith is a wonderful thing.
I haven't been on the computer for a little over a month, so I'm just catching up on what's happening.
Anyway, my thought and wishes are with you and Connie and your continued health.
Keep up the good work!!!!!
A heartfelt welcome back, Rock. That you and Connie are on the solid road to recovery and that Amy held it together during such a trial is evidence of God's love for you.
I'm glad both of you have recovered from that illness - and I'm glad you are blogging again. (It was a scary thought to think there might not be more.)
Love and hugs to you and Connie.
Wish you the best, Rock.
Glad to have you back. You had many of us worried.
Love your musings on this blog.
Rock, so glad you are back and feeling better! I look forward to reading more of your posts soon. Thank you for all you do, I just love your humour, quick wit and wisdom. God bless you dear brother!
Dear Brother Waterman; Good to see a new post. So you have been ill; sorry to hear that and I hope you'll soon recover.
Thanks for the Toscano link; very interesting it seems, at first sight. All the best, and greetings from the Netherlands.
So glad to hear you're doing better Rock! I'll continue to pray for you and your family.
You have such a wonderful family and wish you all the very best.
I must say, I've never read such a humorous near-death experience. Where does the pic of the guy on his sickbed come from? This blog post of your return from hospital exceeded expectations. Please do continue, I'm sure we'd all love to read the articles you still have in mind to write.
You mentioned how people have been praying for you who don't really know you. I've always felt we can pray for those we don't know, like unfortunate victims we hear about on the news. I know you a little more than that, of course. There was a lady I ran into on my mission who was panicking and worried and asked my companion and me to pray for her husband who was in hospital after a fall from a horse. So we did pray for him and his family. She stopped and pulled over while she was driving, so we didn't know where she lived. But a long time later, when I had a new companion, I met the man we prayed for and he was up again on his feet. He shared with us his near-death experience, where he met his dad or grandad (I can't remember very well) in heaven who grabbed him and demanded to know what he was doing there and told him to go back. He then pushed him and he fell, spiraling back down to earth, with his hand on his chin and finger on his cheek, like he was thinking, and with a serene smile on his face.
I also read in the local newspaper that a woman lost her guitar and was, naturally, very upset over it. So I prayed for her. Then I read in the paper in one of the following days that her guitar was returned to her.
So yeah, prayer works and you can pray for anyone! :)
Thanks once again to everyone hear who has expressed kind wishes. Connie and I are still not fully ourselves after that little adventure, and I seem to be more stupid than ever, which is saying something. My cognition is not what it used to be.
Miquuel Aviero asked about the photo of the guy on his deathbed. That's Dave Bowman from the final scene in 2001: A Space Odyssey, where the last thing he sees is that baffling monolith which has appeared once again at the foot of his bed.
For those who may be too young to get the Agnes Moorehead reference, that's a still from Pollyanna. Moorhead's character was obsessive about convincing all around her that she truly was sick and about to die. (She got better, thanks largely to Pollyana's optimism.)
I don't know when I'll feel on my toes enough to write my next blog post, but I intend to get to it before this month is out. Thanks again for your continued prayers for both Connie and me. They are helping.
I see I misspelled the word "Here" as "Hear" in the comment above. See? I told you I was getting dumber.
After a long pause in your posts in the 'comments' section, all I can say is that is feels quite good to see your by-line on this page again.
I hope you and Connie are all better soon. You are in my daily prayers.
I just wish there were a "like" button here. I would click on it after every one of these wonderful comments.
I want everyone to know that I do read all comments, even old ones on older posts (I get a notification in my email box every time someone posts anywhere on my blog). I read and appreciate them all, even though I often don't have anything worth saying in response. Please know I "like" every one.
So glad that you feel at least well enough that you can sit at the computer and read the incoming comments. You really had us all VERY concerned there for a while. I understand that you are still ill and hope (and pray) that you and Connie will be completely healed very soon.
Any parting comments about my upcoming Sunday Relief Society lesson on follow the prophet? I was just informed that the Laurel class of YW will be sitting in on my lesson, so this is an opportunity to gently teach the old but unexpressed concept of personal revelation. I could use some suggestions.
Very sincerely yours,
Well Linda, if you can find a way to address this without too much controversy, you might venture that it's worth noting that we have no revelation from God saying that he will never let the president of the church lead the church astray.
It's also of interest that even Wilford Woodruff didn't use the word "Prophet" when he made that statement. That statement of his has been changed over time. What he said was the Lord will never allow the PRESIDENT of the Church to lead the church astray. Big difference, if you ask me.
Anyway, it's a good thing if you can give these students something to think about. God never made that promise. Wilford Woodruff did, and he did not claim to be speaking for God at the time.
This could seque nicely into a discussion of "when is a prophet a prophet?" I think the young people are much more ready for this than the older adults who have been conditioned their entire lives.
I'm praying for you on this. Looking forward to a report.
Thank you for the suggestions for my Relief Society/Laurel lesson. I've been praying about this lesson for almost 2 months as I had the lesson schedule and could see that 'follow the prophet' was upcoming.
Also I greatly appreciate the fact that you would take interest in my welfare to offer to pray for me. I have a firm testimony of the power of prayer. So I truly appreciate your kindness.
Very sincerely yours,
Linda, I know how it feels trying to teach a lesson you don't agree with. I have struggled with it for years. I am afraid for me it only got worse as I realized more and more things about church doctrine I didn't agree with. I finally resigned from my YW's position because I felt the struggle was too much. I felt led for a long time to teach truth the best I could. I did and hope some of it fell on fertile soil. I will be praying for you also as you wrestle with the dilemma of your lesson.
After a time I honestly began to feel a kinship with Martin Luther having to preach things I did not believe.
Prayers and God's blessings to you,
I got your reference to Pollyanna! That is one of our favorite sayings in my family "Pills and bills! Just pills and bills!". I laughed when I saw Mrs. Snow on your blog. I think we may have watched too much Disney growing up!
In the middle of your illness, Rock, I sent a rather lengthy email to you. I am just wondering if you ever got it or if it was lost in the shuffle. Let me know if you didn't see it and I will resend it.
I hope your dumber-ness improves! I have been there before.
Still praying for you and Connie,
Thank you Homeschool Mom,
I truly appreciate your sympathy and your prayers. It feels really great knowing that there are kind souls praying for me.
Thanks so much,
Takes lots and LOTS of vitamin C. High doses of it every couple of hours for a day or two. I am talking anywhere from 2-4 grams an hour. You can get big dosages at a Whole Foods type of place. Vitamin C cures all sorts of illnesses yet the recommended daily value is extremely low. It is an amazing vitamin that is used to destroy illnesses but needs to be replenished often because it gets destroyed in the process.
Rock, I just wanted to give a heads up. My sisters live, I think, about an hour and a half from Carmichael and one of them was just recovering from bronchitis this last January. She just got diagnosed with pleurisy. I thought it was some old fashioned disease that people didn't get anymore! I was wrong! I guess it is common after a bad bout of bronchitis. She was in alot of pain, but is doing better. They have found out since that there has been alot of bronchitis and pleurisy in their area lately. She went through alot of frustration before she got the diagnosis. Just a head's up, Rock, and I will be praying that it stays far away from you.
I was recently released from being a primary teacher, and I know somewhat about lessons that don't follow the teachings of the Savior in the Scriptures.
You might ask the question in a positive way, how do we know when a prophet is speaking as a prophet, and refer to 2 Nephi 28:31 and also Moroni 10:5.
You could also bring up the story of the prophet in the Old Testament who chose to follow another prophet, instead of what the Lord had told him, and got killed by a Lion as a result. See 1 Kings 13.
If approached prayerfully, these might give you ideas that will let you help the spirit teach correct principles to those who are receptive.
Thank you MarkinPNW,
Yes. I have considered the story in 1 Kings 13 & the Moroni 10:5, but I hadn't even thought about the 2 Nephi 28 reference.
Actually Moroni 10:5 came to me as I was pondering about how to present this particular conference talk.
I truly appreciate your suggestions. I am confident that I will teach according to the Holy Spirit, but it always helps to have more information to refer to as comments sometimes take the lesson places I hadn't considered.
Thank you so much,
Thanks for alerting me to your email. I did indeed miss that one. That's a nightmare of mine, that I will miss some new reader's humble request, and then when they don't get a response from me, they think I'm too busy or stuck up or something to respond.
So for anyone else who may have emailed me and not heard back, please try again.
Vince, counsel taken on the Vitamin C. I do take it, along with teas and tinctures, but clearly I'm not getting enough. I will douse myself as you advise.
Markin, those scripture cites are a good idea. Too bad I didn't think to mention them. Linda, prayers continue to be with you. We have become a stiffnecked people, and it helps to pray for our fellow Saints that they will be receptive to truth.
Thank you for your prayers.
I, too, feel it is important (for our own development) that we pray for our fellow saints to be receptive to the truth (from whatever source truth comes).
Very sincerely yours,
Rock I know you are still recovering, but I need some new, heavy, weighty, sink your teeth into posts from you!! I mean really make the next one a doozy, okay just kidding...but not really, I just miss your posts I get so much from them, your brain works in ways that mine just does not and you just are able to get all this info on stuff and tell us about books to read or look into and you have facts and figures and etc, I do not know how you do it??? So get out and smell the sunshine do some push ups a little jogging and finger exercises, limber up that brain and start composing. Okay this is just getting annoying, will you just get well already!
Your wish is my command, even though you KNOW I don't like it when people post anonymously!
It so happens I'm working on my next post right now, and barring too many interruptions (like having to stop and fix Connie's dinner -what a slave driver!)it should be up by Sunday Morning.
Now get back on here and give us a username!
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