Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Super Heros

This is the Spider Man that I remember!!

When I was growing up, I really, really loved Spider Man. I would always watch the cartoon on Saturday mornings. Wow. Saturday morning cartoons. Remember them? I know that they still have cartoons on Saturday morning but they just aren't like they used to be. Don't you agree? I mean, Stinky and the Pee Brain or whatever that cartoon is, doesn't COMPARE to the cartoons that we watched as kids. Gosh those were good days and good cartoons!! Anyway Spider Man has always been my super hero of choice.

With that in mind, I wanted to share an excerpt from my son's last email from Brazil. We always look forward to and treasure Wednesdays because that is the day that we get to hear from him. Anyway, here is something he said in his last letter:

"It hit me today a little bit. I have less than a year left to be a missionary. We went to the temple and just walked past the guard and the gate, and no-one was there in front so I stopped, and said
"Don't we have to talk with someone, or something? My companion said, "Elder, We are missionaries, we can do anything! That is when it hit me. Its like if super-man knew that one day he would stop being super-man. But then comes super-husband, super-dad, super-otherstuff. Isn't life great being super!" (member of the Church)

It hit me that we are all super heros in our Heavenly Father's eyes. We are being super husbands, super mom, super wives and super people. You all are super moms. Not because you bake your own bread, sew all your children's clothes, have a five course home made meal for dinner every night, have an immaculately clean house, or don't have an ounce of fat on your body. You are a super mom because you are raising your children with morals and value. You are a super mom because you are teaching your children about the Lord's true and restored gospel. We are all super heros because we are doing the best we can and because we are our Heavenly Father's children and a member of His kingdom.

So a big shout out to all my blogging buddies. Y'all are now my FAVORITE SUPER HEROS!


McEwens said...

Hey ya Deb! I LOVED that part of his letter! When you made it into a post it reminded me of this:
It reminds me of something your hubby would do!

On a recent fast Sunday, I was confronted with teaching a lesson to a daunting crew of assorted deacons, teachers, and priests primed by low blood sugar to pull a Mutiny on the Bounty . In an effort to stave off a classroom takeover, I kick started a discussion regarding which comic superhero was the most powerful.
A spirited debate ensued, with Superman, Batman, and Spider-Man quickly evolving as the favorites. While one young man stubbornly held out for “the green guy with the cool exploding arrows” (better known to DC Comics fans as The Green Arrow), other superheroes such as Aquaman, The Flash, and the Fantastic Four were summarily dismissed as no threat to the top three.
Wonder Woman was actively snubbed as being of little worth, revealing a disturbing streak of sexism amongst our young men. One deacon, however, did state he would like to date her. (Note to self: Keep an eye on this one.)
Getting down to the nitty-gritty, it was fascinating to listen as the young men discussed the various powers and attributes of Superman, Batman, and Spider-Man, finally arriving at the decision Batman could whop the snot out of both Superman and Spider-Man put together.
I asked how this could be when Batman — the eponymous Dark Knight — had no specific superpowers. The response from the young men showed their admiration for a driven character who developed his God-given skills to the highest level possible, and whose sense of justice and honor were beyond question.
By this time, my audience had a vested interest in the give and take, so I threw in a twist to bring the lesson on point. One question was all it took: So, if Batman is more powerful than Superman and Spider-Man, then who is more powerful — Batman or Jesus Christ?
Recognizing they had been trapped into participating in a lesson , my charges somewhat grudgingly, yet dutifully, responded with what they knew was the expected answer: Jesus Christ. Fine, but why?
This took a bit of thought on their part, but eventually our youngest deacon ventured the answer: “Comic book heroes don't exist and their powers are not real, but Christ is real and has the ability to redeem mankind.”
Wow! I was blown away. Our young men are truly part of the greatest generation come to Earth at our time of greatest need. They are our latter-day superheroes.
Origin Stories
Every superhero has an origin story detailing where he came from and how he came by his powers. As the greatest superhero of them all, our Savior's origin story, of course, can be found in the scriptures — complete with an explanation of where his powers and miracles derived. No radioactive spiders here, just a direct line back to our Father in Heaven.
As Aaronic priesthood holders, every young man has his own origin story. He has his own priesthood lineage passed to him — through the laying on of hands by others who possessed the keys to do so — which also reaches all the way back to our Prophet Joseph Smith and through him to John the Baptist, to our Savior, and thus to our Father in Heaven. Honored through worthiness, this lineage imparts awesome powers and responsibilities, which should be cherished and used wisely.
The priesthood operates in a system of sublime order. The priesthood is not, however, a floating essence. It must be conferred by ordination with specific offices. It is held by men under sacred duty to use its authority to accomplish God's work for the blessing of men, women, and children alike. No one can claim priesthood authority except it is conferred openly by those possessing the authority, “and it is known to the church that he has authority and has been regularly ordained by the heads of the church” (D&C 42:11).
Jesus Christ is the source of all true priesthood authority and power on this earth. Man does not take such priesthood power unto himself; it must be conferred by God through his servants. It cannot be handed to you like a document. It can not be delivered by email, or be sent special delivery from the post office. It is conferred only by proper ordination, openly, and through the placing of authorized hands upon your head.
The authority for the Aaronic priesthood (and later the Melchizedek priesthood) comes through ordination — the powers you receive are sustained through obedience and worthiness.
Secret Headquarters
Batman has his Bat Cave. Superman has his Fortress of Solitude. Most other superheroes have a secret or protected headquarters from where they can conduct their battle against evil.
Aaronic priesthood holders, by contrast, have a sacred and protect headquarters in their quorums and families. It is here where skills can be honed to battle the adversary, and from where they can go forth and bring the Lord's plans to fruition in these latter days.
Beyond families and quorums, there are seminary classes, ward buildings, stake centers, institute classes, and — of course — temples, the most sacred and protected of all safe havens. It is in these worldwide locations where sanctuary can be found, covenants established, endowments bestowed, understandings increased, and communion with or Father in Heaven encouraged.
Aaronic priesthood holders can go forth from these locations on the path to the Melchizedek priesthood while representing our Father in Heaven and our elder brother Jesus Christ. We can also return to these locations for spiritual nurturing, comfort, fellowship, and to be constantly uplifted.
Every Young Man a Superhero
When I put forth the concept of each young man in my class, even every young man who is worthy of the Aaronic priesthood bestowed upon him, being a superhero, I received mostly blank looks. Was this a trick? What powers did they have to be deemed superheroes?
Let's think about this — what are the powers of the priesthood?
The Prophet Joseph Smith tells us the priesthood “is the eternal authority of God by which the universe was created and governed, and the stars in heaven came into existence, by which the great authority of exaltation operates throughout the universe.”
The Prophet Joseph further taught:
Its institution (the priesthood) was prior to “the foundation of this earth, or the morning stars sang together, or the Sons of God shouted for joy,” and is the highest and holiest Priesthood, and is after the order of the Son of God.
There is no question the power of the priesthood exceeds our understanding. The Prophet Joseph taught of this great power, “that every one being ordained after this order and calling should have power, by faith, to break mountains, to divide the seas, to dry up waters, to turn them out of their course; To put at defiance the armies of nations, to divide the earth, to break every band, to stand in the presence of God; … and this by the will of the Son of God which was from before the foundation of the world.”
Hokey smoke! Are those amazing powers or what?
The priesthood is the eternal power and authority of God. Through the priesthood God created and governs the heavens and the earth. Through this power He redeems and exalts His children, bringing to pass "the immortality and eternal life of man" (Moses 1:39). God gives priesthood authority to worthy male members of the Church so they can act in His name for the salvation of His children. Priesthood holders can be authorized to preach the gospel, administer the ordinances of salvation, and govern the kingdom of God on the earth.
Priesthood is the power and authority by which The Church of Jesus Christ is organized and directed. Priesthood is the power of God, delegated to men to act in the name of God for the well-being of mankind, obtain revelation, and perform saving ordinances.
Double WOW!
When, in answer to their humble prayer, John the Baptist, a resurrected being, appeared and placed his hands on the heads of Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery, he ordained them saying:
Upon my fellow servants, in the name of Messiah, confer the Priesthood of Aaron, which holds the keys of the ministering of angels, and of the gospel of repentance, and of baptism by immersion for the remission of sins; and this shall never be taken again from the earth until the sons of Levi do offer again and offering unto the Lord in righteousness.
Every worthy young man who has had the Aaronic priesthood conferred upon him is in a brotherhood with the ancient servants of the Lord and through them is capable of mighty deeds.
Superpowers of the Priesthood
This is all very cool, but exactly what specific powers are we talking about here?
The first power is entitlement to protection, inspiration, and guidance through the ministering of angels . Every worthy Aaronic priesthood holder is entitled to exercise this power in their everyday life. At home, school, work, and play, as well as at Church, this power is yours to protect you from evil and danger.
The second power is the ability to preach the true gospel of repentance . Without the principle of repentance, all would be lost. Only Jesus Christ made it through life without committing sin. Repentance is second only to faith in the Lord Jesus Christ when the Lord listed the first principals of the gospel. He then gave the power to every deacon, teacher, and priest to preach the principle of repentance to the world — to act in his name, to spread his gospel, and through him to help redeem mankind.
Third, Aaronic priesthood holders are given the power to perform baptism by immersion for the remission of sins. How amazing is it for our young missionaries to lead those who chose to follow the Lord into the waters of baptism.
It is also in our temples where worthy Aaronic priesthood holders and their young women counterparts can exercise an extension of this most wonderful power by participating in baptism for the dead. Through the worthy exercise of this particular power, thousand of souls each year are freed from spirit prison to soar into Paradise.
How amazing is that? Has any superhero ever been able to accomplish anything even close?
Through these powers comes a fourth great power — the power to understand the true nature of happiness. To understand happiness does not come from giving in to peer pressure, carnal appetites, the acquiring of possessions, the indulgence in passion, or any other temptations place before us by the Adversary, but in rendering service to our fellowman and really learning to love in the same manner as our Savior.
The authorities granted Aaronic priesthood holders through these wondrous powers also carry with them weighty responsibilities. With great powers come great responsibilities — to use the granted powers wisely, and to protect and cherish them as sacred.
As Captain America used his Shield of Justice to protect himself from his enemies, so too can Aaronic priesthood holders use the shield of worthiness to protect themselves from the adversary. If we are worthy, we are bulletproof. Worthiness gives us complete protection from the adversary. Batman's self-determination increased the innate powers/abilities with which he was blessed. In the same manner, an Aaronic priesthood holder's self-determination (assisted by the ministering of angels) increase the powers of the priesthood with which he has been blessed.
Worthiness, and subsequently the powers of the priesthood, also come from accepting the responsibility of doing your duty in every day things — attending meetings, accepting callings and assignments, attending seminary, reading the scriptures, following the Word of Wisdom.
If we are not careful, however, we can still make mistakes — come out from behind the shield of worthiness — and lose our powers.
Know Your Kryptonite
Superman's powers — yes, even his life — are weakened by kryptonite. He must stay as far away as he can from this deadly element. And despite what you may think, kryptonite does exist in the real world. Its most common form today is pornography, but it also takes multiple other shapes — tobacco, alcohol, gambling, greed, lies, sexual temptation, apathy, discouragement, fear, and many others.
Each of us has weaknesses susceptible to attack by these real-world versions of kryptonite. As an Aaronic priesthood holder, you must recognize your personal kryptonite. If it is pornography, then you must keep away from the Internet unless you are using it in a very public place. If it is sexual temptation, then pursue group dating instead of seeking to be alone with a date.
Like kryptonite to Superman, sin can weaken us to the point of destruction. To keep us strong, the Lord has provided us, through the atonement, with the sacrament and the process of true repentance — ways for us to cleanse ourselves, replenish our powers, and strengthen our resolve.
Super Villains
Whatever your weaknesses are, be sure the adversary is aware of them. As both Jesus Christ and our Father in Heaven are aware of us as individuals, so to does the adversary know us. He knows where and when to attack us.
He is our version of Superman's arch nemesis, Lex Luthor — a super villain of inordinate intellect and prodigious power. It is only through the protection and sacrifice of Jesus Christ that we have the armor and weapons to defeat him.
Like his fictional counterparts — super villains who return again and again to challenge the superheroes — the adversary will attack us again and again. He will never accept defeat until he is finally banished at the time of the Second Coming. As a result, we can never let down our guard no matter how many times we gain individual victories over temptation. Each and every battle must be won or the war for our souls will be lost.
Truth, Justice, and the Latter-Day Way
As an Aaronic priesthood holder, there is no LDS version of the Bat Signal (that would be a searchlight with a silhouette of the angel Moroni — instead of a bat — piercing the night sky), but you do have the Holy Ghost.
You won't have a the Batmobile to speed around in on your mission, but you will have access to bicycles and mission cars to help spread the gospel.
You don't have a fancy spandex costume, but you will have an elder's badge to wear with your white shirt and tie.
You may not be able to leap buildings in a single bound, be stronger than a locomotive, or run faster than a speeding bullet, but you have been granted real abilities to watch over the Church, to spread the gospel, to bring others unto Christ through baptism, and to battle the adversary at every turn.
You are entitled to be sustained by the Lord and to have his sacred power manifested through you.
You are a superhero. Up, up, and away!

McEwens said...

Gee, that was a little longer than I thought! I should have emailed it to you!

Jan said...

Wow Pam, way to go on the longest comment ever. I think she is superwomen commenter.

Deb, this is fantastic. We truly our superhero's in God's eye. We are his instruments to do his work. Maybe we encounter villians along the way, but with his power to guide us, we can zap anyone out of the way. The work will go on no matter who or what is in the way.

I have to go and get my cape now. I am feeling like I can fly.

Sher said...

Wow! I love this post!
Your son is a genius. It made me cry a little bit.
Thank you!

Lisa Loo said...

Wow--will you guys adopt me??!! What an inspiring way to start the day!! I too, feel invinsible! I didn't get into superheroes till after I was married to a Batman fan--

Pam--I wish you lived in my ward!! That was an awesome analogy!

da Bergs said...

I loved Jan's comment... so, hummm... I better go look for my cape too! I love you all, you motivate me!!!

Mechelle said...

Deb, this is a great post. I just love the letter from your super hero son. I will be flying high today, thinking of these words. m

Anonymous said...

that is such a wonderful letter from your son! and you have some Wonderful comments on here, too!!!

very touching post ♥

Anonymous said...

What a great post.
And what a great lesson from Pam too.

Redhoodoos said...

Holy cow, batman, that was a super long comment!

Love it Deb. I just love your wisdom and 'take' on things. I think you're super.

Mother Goose said...

holy freakin moly! comment hog!LOL

Mother Goose said...

ok, i just busted a gutt reading your last comment pam! I love ya

Mother Goose said...

Ok, I just wanted to say you brought tears to my eyes. I truly try hard being a mother but I fail so desperately!! I mean seriously. I suck at it. sorry to use the s word. but, that's how I feel. But your post gives me encouragement.

Mother Goose said...

pam, you truly are a great teacher. it comes from knowing the scriptures and knowing Christ.

Only can an effective teacher relate to the youth on such superficial things or worldly things and then keep drawing them in and having it relate to the true gospel principles and our savior. I wish my kids were in your class! Nicely done.

wonder woman said...

What a great post and follow up comment. I feel the need to copy and paste and log them away for future lessons.

And I can believe the NERVE of those young men to dismiss me so easily!! I mean, I do have a magic lasso that makes people tell the truth. Tell me every mom doesn't want one of those!

~The Robin's Nest~ said...

This has to be one of my favorite posts of all time! I enjoyed every word and you must be very proud of your son~♥

Anonymous said... comment on my blog today was InTeReStiNg....

who do YOU think it is!?!?!!?

Pedaling said...

great post, but what i really wanted to tell you was how funny your drunk pumpkins on your sidebar are! :)

Anonymous said...

What a cute post Deb!'s Pinky and the Brain (That made me laugh sooo hard)...but I agree with you, cartoons aren't what they used to be. I can't believe Mason is already more than halfway through his mission! You leave town for a couple years and everyone grows up and goes away! That's so great that he's on a mission. It made me so excited to go soon!

WisAndGrif said...

I love the post! And by the way you and my mom are totally SUPER-MOMS!

Frumpy Luv said...

Thanks for such a great post!!! The missionary life is so different from real life - so happy your son gets to have an opportunity to be a real life superhero!

Frumpy Luv said...

Holy comment batman, errr, Pam!!

Kiss Kiss said...

You are simply inspiring. :)

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