New FamilySearch Beta

My parents both currently spend a majority of their time during the week volunteering for the Church as Family History Support missionaries.
One of the main areas of development in the Family History programs of the Church is New FamilySearch. It is currently in a second phase of beta testing. Dad emailed me details about how to apply to get involved in the beta testing. I've now been accepted and have had my first experience with the system. There are still things to iron out, but it does look very promising.

Council announces low tax rise

OK it's done. Bournemouth Council met last night and agreed the council tax increase for 2007/8. My role has been a supporting one. I've didn't have to make any decisions about what services are cut or where extra money will be spent in the coming year, but a lot of my time (increasingly more and more, as we approached this week) over the last 6 months has been all towards supporting the decision makers in their duty to do so.

A Reservoir of Living Water

I just love to listen to Elder David A. Bednar. So I had been looking forward to hearing him speak at the CES Fireside last week since we got the list of speakers late last year. He introduced his talk by talking about how water is the most valuable of all resources and then linked that to the Saviour's teaching about how He and the gospel were Living Water. For us the scriptures are a reservoir of this vitally important resource. Like our bodies which lose water each day during normal activity, we must drink of the living water regularly and not endure periods of dehydration.

It was another wonderful talk and one in which he gave us an insight into the process he personally uses whilst searching the scriptures. He spoke of identify and making copies of all the scriptures which included a word in all it's forms (his example was gather). Next he prayerfully reads each and looks for connections, patterns and themes using coloured pencils to mark those with similarities. Then he cuts up the verses and collects them in piles according to his markings. It's something I would like to try and is made easier by having searchable scriptures on-line.

Earlier Elder Bednar had talked about the different methods obtaining living water from the scriptures and liken them to the different groups in Lehi's Vision of the Tree of Life.

  1. Reading the scriptures from beginning to end. This "initiates the flow of living water into our lives by introducing us to important stories, gospel doctrines, and timeless principles" which also "enables us to learn about major characters in the scriptures and the sequence, timing, and context of events and teachings. ... This is the first and most fundamental way of obtaining living water."
  2. Studying the scriptures by topic. This method "typically follows, grows out of, and builds upon our reading of the scriptures from beginning to end. For example, as we read the Book of Mormon we may identify and seek to find answers to important doctrinal and practical questions," Elder Bednar observed. "Focusing upon such questions and studying by topic ... allows us to dig into and explore the depth of the scriptures and obtain a much richer spiritual knowledge. This approach increases the rate at which living water flows into our lives."
  3. Searching the scriptures for connections, patterns, and themes. Searching the revelations "builds upon and adds to our spiritual knowledge; ... it broadens our perspective and understanding of the plan of salvation," Elder Bednar said. "In my judgment, diligently searching to discover connections, patterns, and themes is in part what it means to 'feast' upon the words of Christ. This approach can open the floodgates of the spiritual reservoir."

The Good Samaritan: Forgotten Symbols

I really enjoyed John Welch's article in the February Ensign The Good Samaritan: Forgotten Symbols. I have read other items of his in the past, which have come to my attention via FARMS.

The parable of the Good Samaritan is one of the most well known of the Saviour's teachings and yet reading his article I see how much more there is to it. It is quite breath taking, how much can be taught in 13 verses, using just over 300 words. It's very POWERFUL!