My CMS The View from a New City

October 4, 2022

Wedding Feast

Filed under: daily — Lawrence Peterson @ 7:40 am

Last night I dreamed that one of my grandchildren married a New York socialite and they returned to their luxurious New York apartment after the wedding to prepare for the reception, but it was full of the bride’s socialite relatives bringing presents, socializing and making business deals. My job was to drive them off so the couple could prepare for the reception, but no one was paying me the least attention.

This dream has caused me to reflect on a General Conference talk I heard over the weekend. Elder Bednar talked about the Savior’s parable of the wedding feast. The invited guests refused to attend because they had to attend to their farms and businesses. He concluded the reference to the parable with the quote “many are called but few are chosen.” Then he refenced that phrase from the Doctrine and Covenants where it explains why they are not chosen: “…because their hearts are set so much upon the things of this world, and aspire to the honors of men….”

My own experience has demonstrated to me that the world is governed by the second law of thermodynamics. Everything wears out, rusts, runs down or dies. As I said to our fireside group: “every time I impressed a judge in my law practice, he either retired or died soon thereafter.” Earthly success is like building sandcastles on the beach. It is not a smart move to pass up God’s marriage feast for the honors of men.


September 28, 2022

Breathtaking

Filed under: daily — Lawrence Peterson @ 7:30 am

In my last post I told you of my glorious summer events. I want to re-visit those events now to show you a couple of golden nuggets I recovered from the experience.

On the Alaska trip we met an extended Jewish family from Indiana. On the first night I sat at the dinner table with them and finding that I was a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, one of them asked me in jest how many wives I had. At dinner the next night, my grandson told them I had eight, but during the rest of the conversation it was revealed that I only have one and am very happy with that. However, thinking about that conversation now, it occurs to me that I could have told them that my great-great-grandfather had six wives and now has well over fifty-five thousand descendants. My one wife and I had six children and now have seventeen grandchildren, with more possible. We have done our part to counter the current world-wide blight: see The Demographic Drought, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w05QgHwq8Ig.

When my wife and I were on our missions in Manhattan, New York, we heard Gordon Smith, the former two term Senator from Oregon tell this story: While he was still senator, President Uchtdorf of the Churches first presidency called him and asked for his help in getting the Church fully registered in Italy. Senator Smith set up a meeting in Italy with the interior minister that he and President Uchtdorf attended. After President Uchtdorf’s initial presentation, the minister, who appeared somewhat skeptical, asked her assistant what he thought. He said that he had visited Temple Square in Salt Lake City, Utah and had been conducted on a tour by two Italian young lady missionaries. Then he said, “if your church can produce young women like that, we want you in Italy, and what’s more, we would like you to build a square like that in Italy” to which president Uchtdorf replied, “We can do that!”

This sounds like a pretty incredible story, but this summer we witnessed the proof of its truth when we visited the breathtaking Rome Temple and walked around the wonderful “temple square” surrounding it.

August 31, 2022

Busy Summer

Filed under: daily — Lawrence Peterson @ 9:43 am

It has been a while since the last post. I have been busy this Summer. First, I got to go on a dream fishing trip to Alaska, flying on a private jet to Alaska then flying on a pontoon plane to the individual fishing venues. I caught Graylings, Rainbows, Sockeye Salmon and King Salmon. Next, my wife and I just returned from a trip to Europe where we visited Rome, Munich, and Paris. We saw the Passion Play in Oberammergau, Germany. We were not planning this trip, but our friend had to give up his tickets because of cancer treatment, so we purchased them from him. Finally, we are going to visit our son and daughter-in-law to see our newest grandchild. Life is good these days.

Just listened to an audio book called Love and War, where Mary Matalin and James Carville narrate the virtues of New Orleans and tell how two people with opposing political views can stay happily married. Carville said about issues of dispute, “you have to carefully choose the hills you are willing to die on.”

April 25, 2022

Kurara

Filed under: daily — Lawrence Peterson @ 6:46 am

Last night I watched a movie on Primevideo called Kurara about the daughter of a famous Japanese artist. It reminded me of a statement Dwight King made to me a long time ago. He said, “artists see things that others do not see.”

December 23, 2021

Reasons for Breathing

Filed under: daily — Lawrence Peterson @ 10:24 pm

The concept of a bucket list is something to think about. One obvious purpose for life is to gain experience. However, I have my doubts about the ability of human beings to judge which experiences are valuable. What is it that we should spend time and life on? Take for example those persons who already have more money than they can spend in a lifetime. Many of them continue to play the game of accumulating more of what they already have too much of. From time to time, I have reflected on the case of the California congressman who took bribes to buy a large house and a fancy car. I wondered if he ever thought about how impressed people would be with him and his beautiful home and fancy car once they discovered he took bribes to pay for them. Christmas gifts are another example of things that promise more happiness than they provide.

Perhaps the most valuable experiences are those those that come to us, unsought, from the mortal conditions of life: not new landscapes but seeing itself; not success but struggle; both pleasure and pain; love, fascination, loneliness and boredom; fear and anguish; and many other ordinary experiences you can’t get in a state of immortal bliss.

Maybe Eve had it right after all. Maybe we all shouted for joy in the pre-mortal council, because we weren’t going to spend our lives in the Garden of Eden. We knew we were going to get to pull a few weeds.


November 21, 2021

Advice to my Grandchildren

Filed under: daily — Lawrence Peterson @ 7:26 am

About ten days ago I watched a Ted Talk by a paleo-anthropologist named Melanie Chang. In her talk she said that she and her colleagues draw their conclusions about human evolution from a small set of hard-to-find data and in the face of a sea of unknowns. She said that almost every new discovery causes the profession to alter its conclusions. She used a quote from Donald Rumsfeld, former U.S. Secretary of State, which contained the phrases , “known unknowns” and “unknown unknowns”, unknown unknowns being things we don’t even know we don’t know. She said that the conclusions of paleo-anthropologists’ experience revolutionary “perturbations” with every discovery from the realm of the previously unknown unknowns.

To keep this short, and not belabor the obvious, I want to jump right to my advice to my grandchildren: You are, or soon will be, making some of the most important decisions of your life and you will necessarily make those decisions based on a small set of data-points and in the face of a whole sea of unknowns, both known and unknown. If you make those decisions with faith, hope and charity, you will be much happier and come much closer to the truth than if you make those decisions with skepticism, fear and anger. That is my advice and my experience.

November 12, 2021

Soap Opera

Filed under: daily — Lawrence Peterson @ 6:56 am

I have recently become addicted to Korean language soap operas on Netflix, starting with Crash Landing on You, then It’s OK Not to be OK, and and others, and ending yesterday with Inheritors. I have been thinking about why these multi-hours long tv shows are so interesting for me. Firstly, there is no nudity or sex scenes, at least in the ones I have watched. Secondly, the well developed characters portrayed are varied: both good and evil, young and old, serious and funny, wise and foolish, profound and ridiculous, healthy and psychotic. And, finally, the issues around which these shows revolve, include but are not limited to, romance, good and evil, honesty and deceitfulness, success and failure, myth and literature, life and death, but more importantly for me, parent-child relationships and sin and redemption. There are even occasions of great philosophy and believable portrayals of a variety of professions. It is also interesting to me to have a look into the quasi-American culture which has developed in South Korea. I recommend them to anyone with time on their hands and the ability to rapidly read the subtitles.

October 28, 2021

Leo Tolstoy

Filed under: daily — Lawrence Peterson @ 6:37 am

Man may think of himself as an animal living among animals, by the day, or he may think of himself as a member of a family, or society, or a nation that lives for centuries. Or he may find himself obliged (because his reason drives him irresistibly to it) to regard himself as a part of an infinite universe, living in infinite time. And, therefore, in respect of the infinitely small phenomena of life that influence his behaviour, a rational person must do what in mathematics is called integration: that is, establish a relation to the immediate issues of life, a relation to the entire infinite universe in time and space, conceiving of it as a whole. And the relationship established by man to that whole, of which he feels himself a part and from which he draws guidance for his behaviour, is that which has been, and is called religion. And therefore religion has always been, and cannot cease to be, an essential and indisposable condition of the life of rational humanity. A confession and Other Religious Writings, page 87; Leo Tolstoy

August 30, 2021

Proof of the Divinity of the Book of Mormon

Filed under: daily — Lawrence Peterson @ 8:19 am

From time to time I read articles discussing how the growth of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has slowed or stopped. I think when I read these things that the popularity of the Church bears no relation to its truthfulness. If it is God’s Church, he can make it succeed or fail, at his whim. But I have just realized that the amazing progress of the Church is proof of the divinity of the Book of Mormon and the truthfulness of the prophecies contained therein.

Here are a few lines from 3rd Nephi chapter 20:

“I say unto you that when the Lord shall see fit, in his wisdom, that these sayings shall come unto the Gentiles according to his word, then ye may know that the covenant which the Father hath made with the children of Israel, … is already beginning to be fulfilled…. And when ye shall see these sayings coming forth among you, then ye need not any longer spurn at the doings of the Lord, ….yea, wo unto him that shall deny the revelations of the Lord, and that shall say the Lord no longer worketh by revelation, or by prophecy, or by gifts, or by tongues, or by healings, or by the power of the Holy Ghost!”

When Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery penned these lines they had no earthly reason to believe that anyone, other than their close friends and family, would ever read them. They were totally isolated and cut off from the centers of influence in the world. They needed to have a friend bring them potatoes to keep them from starving to death. The fact that the Book of Mormon is now distributed by the millions and that people are gathering to the Church from the four corners of the world in the millions is fulfilment of the foregoing prophetic words contained in that Book, and that, against all odds and massive persecutions and opposition. If this unlikely prophecy has come to pass, then the other propositions, and promises contained in that marvelous book are also true.

July 29, 2021

Programming in My Pajamas

Filed under: daily — Lawrence Peterson @ 8:30 am

This week has been glorious beyond belief. Our youngest son, Brent, married Kylee Shrader in the Draper Temple. They are now in Hawaii on a two month honeymoon. That is one of the advantages of waiting to get married. Brent is 39 and Kylee is 27. One of the few. Although we had the only rain storm we have had in two months during our outdoor wedding dinner, the guests made it inside the house, after the lightning but before the rain, and the close quarters made for a very conversational evening.

For the last two months, I have been working on a project for one of Brent’s clients. It has nothing to do with the law. I am enjoying myself thoroughly. I get up, make my bed and go to programming in my pajamas. I am learning HTML, Javascript and Docker. I also was featured on a podcast of a well known, German programming guru named Adam Bien. The program aired on July 9th and was called “A Soldering, Agile, Geek Lawyer using Java and Quarkus.”

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