Friday, March 22, 2013

"Failure is not fatal, but failure to change might be"

                Dale DeCoursey Sacrement Talk in 2012,
due to the amount of request for a copy of this talk, I have posted in on the blog, and sent a copy to our missionaries. 
“Failure is not fatal, but failure to change might be.”
            The world lost a great man this year.  This man was an American basketball coach. He was a member of the Basketball Hall of Fame as both a player (inducted in 1961) and as a coach (inducted in 1973). He was the first person ever enshrined in both categories. His ten NCAA national championships in a 12-year period while at UCLA are unmatched by any other college basketball coach. I am of course speaking of the legendary John Robert Wooden (October 14, 1910 – June 4, 2010).  Although he may be mostly remembered for his athletic accomplishments, I am even more impressed with the man he was outside the world of sports.  John Wooden was first and foremost a family man and a devoted Christian.
            John Wooden was a Christian for many years and his beliefs were more important to him than basketball, "I have always tried to make it clear that basketball is not the ultimate. It is of small importance in comparison to the total life we live. There is only one kind of life that truly wins, and that is the one that places faith in the hands of the Savior."  Wooden's faith strongly influenced his life. He read the Bible daily and attended church regularly.  He said that he hopes his faith is apparent to others, "If I were ever prosecuted for my religion, I truly hope there would be enough evidence to convict me."
            Coach Wooden’s convictions carried over into all aspects of his life, including coaching and those convictions have inspired many people on and off the court.  He has offered many inspirational thoughts and quotations as part of his coaching and teaching.
One of his quotes that I have adopted in my own life, in fact, it has become my personal life theme, is “Failure is not fatal, but failure to change might be”.  Today I would like to break it down and discuss what this means to me.
“Failure is not fatal, but failure to change might be.” 
What is failure? Failure is defined as:
  1. The condition or fact of not achieving the desired end or ends: the failure of an experiment.
  2. The condition or fact of being insufficient or falling short: a crop failure.
  3. Nonperformance of what is requested or expected; omission: failure to report a change of address.
In the world of college sports, the goal of every team is to win games with a desired end to each season of winning the national championship.  Falling short of this desired end is commonly viewed as “failure” as we have just defined.  What stops a team from achieving this goal; lack of discipline, lack of commitment, making mistakes, and not working together.
“Failure is not fatal, but failure to change might be.”
What is fatality? Fatal is defined as:
      1.  leading to deathcausing or capable of causing death
          "a fatal car crash"
      2.  ruinouscausing destruction, disaster, or ruin
          "a fatal mistake in calculations"
If a team loses a game is their season ruined?  Is all hope lost?  Is loosing a game fatal?  Not according to Coach Wooden.  In fact, 6 out of the 10 years that UCLA won a national championship under Coach Wooden were not perfect seasons.   They had lost at least one game.
“Failure is not fatal, but failure to change might be.”
What is change? Change is defined as:
       1.  Making or becoming differentalteration, variation, or modification "There's been       
            a change of plan."
       2.  exchange or replacementan exchange, substitution, or replacement of something  
            or somebody
       3.  variance from routinea variance from a routine or pattern
If a team learns from their failures, if a team learns from their mistakes and makes the necessary changes, success, or attaining their ultimate goal is still possible.  But if a team doesn’t learn from their mistakes and fails to make the necessary changes, then fatality is eminent.
“Failure is not fatal, but failure to change might be.”
            How about in our own personal worlds, what is our desired end?  What do you and I hope to achieve at the end of our “season”?  It is life eternal.  What stops us from achieving this goal; lack of discipline, lack of commitment, making mistakes also know as sin, and not working together, trying to make it on our own?  Sound familiar?
In our sojourn in life, if a person makes a mistake, is all hope lost?  Is their season ruined?  Is sinning fatal?  No it’s not.  If we learn from our mistakes and make the necessary changes, or in other words, if we repent all is not lost.  Alma was taught by the Lord (Mosiah 26: 29-30)
 29 Therefore I say unto you, Go; and whosoever transgresseth against me, him shall ye judge according to the sins which he has committed; and if he confess his sins before thee and me, and repenteth in the sincerity of his heart, him shall ye forgive, and I will forgive him also.
  30 Yea, and  as often as my people repent will I forgive them their trespasses against me.
I am not really sure how this happened, but I grew up in the church with the understanding that I had to be perfect.  We read in Matt. 5:48;
48 Therefore I would that ye should be perfect even as I, or your Father who is in heaven is perfect.
I grew up thinking that if I was not perfect then I was a failure; if I sinned, if I made mistakes then I failed and all was lost.  That is so false.  Just because we may “lose a game” the “season” is not lost.  How can the Lord expect a mortal to be perfect?  By nature, a mortal being is an imperfect being.  Amulek exclaimed, “…Yea all are hardened; yea all are fallen and are lost…”(Alma 34:9)  How are we then to become perfect?  Moroni solved that dilemma when he taught; (Moroni 10:32)
“ 32 Yea, come unto Christ, and be perfected in him, and deny yourselves of all ungodliness; and if ye shall deny yourselves of all ungodliness, and love God with all your might, mind and strength, then is his grace sufficient for you, that by his grace ye may be perfect in Christ; and if by the grace of God ye are perfect in Christ, ye can in nowise deny the power of God.
“Failure is not fatal but failure to change might be.”
One of the best examples I can think of is the story of Alma the younger and the sons of Mosiah.  We read about this account in Alma 36 when Alma is recalling his conversion to his son Helaman.
6 For I went about with the sons of Mosiah, seeking to destroy the church of God; but behold, God sent his holy angel to stop us by the way.
13 Yea, I did remember all my sins and iniquities, for which I was tormented with the pains of hell; yea, I saw that I had rebelled against my God, and that I had not kept his holy commandments.
  14 Yea, and I had murdered many of his children, or rather led them away unto destruction; yea, and in fine so great had been my iniquities, that the very thought of coming into the presence of my God did rack my soul with inexpressible horror.
  15 Oh, thought I, that I could be banished and become extinct both soul and body, that I might not be brought to stand in the presence of my God, to be judged of my deeds.
  16 And now, for three days and for three nights was I racked, even with the pains of a damned soul.
  17 And it came to pass that as I was thus racked with torment, while I was harrowed up by the memory of my many sins, behold, I remembered also to have heard my father prophesy unto the people concerning the coming of one Jesus Christ, a Son of God, to atone for the sins of the world.
  18 Now, as my mind caught hold upon this thought, I cried within my heart: O Jesus, thou Son of God, have mercy on me, who am in the gall of bitterness, and am encircled about by the everlasting chains of death.
  19 And now, behold, when I thought this, I could remember my pains no more; yea, I was harrowed up by the memory of my sins no more.
  20 And oh, what  joy, and what marvelous light I did behold; yea, my soul was filled with joy as exceeding as was my pain!
  21 Yea, I say unto you, my son, that there could be nothing so exquisite and so bitter as were my pains. Yea, and again I say unto you, my son, that on the other hand, there can be nothing so exquisite and sweet as was my joy.
I testify that we can have the same exquisite feeling of sweet joy as did Alma, if we come unto Christ and allow ourselves to be perfected in Him, if we come unto Christ and repent of our sins. 
“Failure is not fatal, but failure to change might be.”
I also think that I grew up feeling that repentance and the atonement were for other people.  That the atonement was more like a global phenomenon.  That the Atonement was an act of love for all mankind as a whole and not for each individual let alone for me personally.  I didn’t really understand that the atonement is actually a personal and intimate relationship with the Savior.  Elder Russell M. Nelson taught, “The irony of the Atonement is that it is infinite and eternal, yet it is applied individually, one person at a time.”  Nephi explained; (2Nephi 33:6)
 6 I glory in plainness; I glory in truth; I glory in my Jesus, for he hath redeemed my soul from hell.
I also somehow grew up with the belief that if I needed to change than I had to be strong and do it on my own.  If I needed to repent that I had to do it myself.  If I didn’t handle things on my own then I was weak and unworthy.  Again, this is so wrong.
We are not alone.  We have each other, we have family, we have friends, and we have our leaders but most of all, we the Lord on our side.  We don’t have to be martyrs. Brothers and Sisters, I testify that the gift of repentance through the atonement is indeed personal and individual.  I testify that Christ is my Savior, He is your Savior and that He is the only way to God.  He is our advocate with the Father.  I testify that if I alone had stumbled, if I alone had strayed, if I alone had wandered from the straight and narrow way.  If I alone bore guilt for which my all could not atone, He would have come for me; He would have come for you.  He did come for me.  He did come for you.  We need to share what’s going on in our lives.  We all have sins that we struggle with.  No one is exempt from this.  If you think you are exempt or you think that others are exempt, than you are only fooling yourself.  Let us talk to each other.  Children and youth talk to your parents or leaders.  Husbands, talk to your wives, wives talk to your husbands, talk to the Lord, talk to the Bishop.  Let’s make the necessary changes in our lives so we can experience this sweet joy as did Alma.
“Failure is not fatal, but failure to change might be.”
 I bear testimony that these things are true and I do so in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Orson Pratt's Works"The Kingdom of God" 1849

                                               The Kingdom of God. 
                                                        Orson Pratt’s works
                                                               Printed in England 7.14.1849

Why has God been silent for over 1700 years, when men have built grand churches
after Him,
have spoke his word, and organized his church?

“I will now tell you the reason why the King has kept silence so long. It is because He has had
no subjects to converse with; all have turned away from Him and advocated other governments
as being the rightful and legal authority. They killed off, and utterly destroyed, every true
subject of His kingdom, and left not a vestige of it upon the earth; and to add to their guilt and
wickedness, they have introduced idolatry in its worst forms, and utterly turned away from
the true and living God. They have introduced a god without body, parts or passions. They
have had the audacity to call this newly-invented god by the same name as the god of the
ancient saints, although there is not the least resemblance between them.

Indeed there couldbe no resemblance between them; for a bodiless god, without parts
or passions, could be noresemblance between them; for a bodiless god, without parts or passions, could resemble nothingin heaven, on earth, or in hell. This imaginary
modern god has become exceedingly popular. It isto him that a vast number of
churches have been erected; It is not to the true and living God thatthey send forth petitions,
but it is to this imaginary being. No wonder he has not honored them
with a visit. As he has no parts, he could neither be felt nor seen if he should visit them. Such a
being could not speak, for he has no “parts” to speak with.

There have been various species of idolatry in different ages of the world. The sun, moon, stars,
beasts, crocodiles, frightful serpents, images of wood, of stone, and of brass, have been erected
into gods, and worshiped by innumerable multitudes. But the system of idolatry, invented by
modern Christianity, far surpasses in absurdity anything that we have ever heard of.

One of thecelebrated worshipers of this newly-discovered god, in his “Physical Theory of Another Life” say   ( this is mom, the first time I read this quote from probably a popular priest of the Catholic
church, it made no sense to me. I went back and read it again and realized the reason I could not
understand it was because it was not Orson Pratt’s words, but a popular “worshiper”)

This is the quote. “A disembodied spirit, or, we would rather say, an unembodied spirit, or sheer mind, is nowhere. Place is a relation belonging to extension; and extension is a property of speaking of which we deny that it has any property in common therewith, can in itself be subject to none of
its conditions; and we might as well say of a pure spirit that it is hard, heavy, or red, or that it is a
cubic foot in dimensions, as say that it is here or there. It is only in a popular and improper
sense that any such affirmation is made concerning the Infinite Spirit, or that we speak of God as
everywhere present. God is in every place in a sense, altogether incomprehensible by finite
minds, inasmuch as His relation to space and extension is peculiar to infinitude. Using the
terms as we use them of ourselves, God is not here or there, any more than he exists now and


This species of idolatry, according to the foregoing quotations, approaches so near to
Atheism, that no one can tell the difference. Reader, can you see the difference? A god without
a body! A god “without parts!” A god that cannot be here or there! A god that is nowhere! A god
that cannot exist now and then! A god that exists in no time! A god that has no extension- no
“parts”- no conceivable relation to time or space! O, blush for modern Christianity!- a pious
name for Atheism! Some, perhaps, may think that I have not sufficient charity. But why should I
have charity for a god that has no parts- no relation to space? Let him first have charity for
himself. But this would be impossible; for he is a god without passions. He can have no charity
nor love for himself nor anyone else. There is no danger of offending him; for a passionless god
is not capable of anger.

One of the persons of this imaginary god is said to have been crucified.
But this must be a sad mistake; for it would be impossible to crucify a portion of something that
had no parts. The reason, then, why the people have not received any word from the Great King,
is because they have petitioned the wrong god. If, then, your petitions Are addressed to the
bodiless, passionless god of modern Christianity, you must not be surprised if the true God does
not pay any attention to them. You need not expect that the true God will make any reply to
petitions offered to any other being.

A true God exists both in time and in space, and has as much relation to them as man or any
other being. He has extension, and form, and dimensions, as well as man. He occupies space;
has a body, parts, and passions; can go from place to place- can eat, drink, and talk, as well as
man. Man resembles Him in the features and form of his body, and he does not differ materially
IN SIZE. When He has been seen among men, He has been pronounced, even by the wicked,
as one of their own species; So much did He look like man, that some supposed Him to be the
carpenter’s son. Like man, He had a father; and He was the express image of the person of
the Father; The two persons were as much alike in form, in size, and in every other respect as
fathers and sons are of the human race; indeed, the human race are His offspring, and in His
likeness and image, not after His moral image, but after the image of His person. There is no
such things as moral image. Such as image cannot exist. Morality is a property of some being
of substance. A property without a substance or being to which it appertains is inconceivable. A
property can never have figure, shape, or image of any kind. Hence, a moral image never had an
existence except in the brains of modern idolaters."

( I will write more as I study it.,  Love mom"

Letter from Mom 3.3.136

Hi sweet missionaries,
We watched the clock yesterday as we have for several Saturdays lately. We know that sis was to have her first baptism and this is the first week that Eph has not had a baptism for nearly a month. Each Saturday afternoon we count a head four hours for Eph's time, and three for sisters, just to be thinking about where you are each at and what you are doing. At night when we says our prayers we know that you are fast asleep, but it give me comfort to know your time of day. We went to a baptism yesterday of Jenny Yale's boyfriend. B Conner A. It was good. Zack R was there and he told us his one year anniversary of his baptism is today. He invited dad and I today to go with him to the temple in a few weeks. He leaves sometime in the next few months for New Mexico for his mission. His sister got baptised not too long ago also. So we are excited to see what happens with his family.
Your brother Landon bore his testimony today. It was very pure and heart felt. He is really trying to have the spirit with him all the time. He only listens to gospel based music now, and prays often during the day. He got put in as Pres. of Teachers quorum today and I think he will do a good job. Dallin has his Eagle court of honor scheduled for the 24th of March. We will send you pictures when we have it. We start out Weight Watcher diet tomorrow and pray for his success. How are you doing sister on this area? Do you even have time to think about that?
I want each of you to not worry about emailing back and forth with me when you get on. I want you to write your mission pres. first and then you can tell me if you have time to talk. I think it probably is really distracting to have me interrupt you when you are trying to do that.
Dad finished the book "continues Atonement" by Bradley Wilcox. He was the one that wrote that talk about His Grace. Sis did you get a copy of that? If not you really need to have me send it to you. As you are talking to others about forgiveness this talk is great at explaining how Jesus's Grace does make use worth of returning home. It gives an analogy of the child learning to play the piano and how the child can never repay the mom for paying for the lessons, but the mom does not want the child to repay her back, she wants to give this gift to the child. She just wants the child to practise. She does not expect him to be a master at the piano quickly, but enjoy the journey and to keep trying when it gets hard, or when a mistake is a challenge to overcome. To not give up- or not to practice- for then her gift of lessons is wasted. The payment has been paid, even if the child refuses to practice or show up for the lesson. Do you each need me to resend that?
Anyhow dad has absolutely loved the book. In fact he is going to get me my own copy, since I like to mark up the books as i read them, and we are going to start studying as a family the book. I will send you thought from it as I read it. Your dad is in a really go place right now. He is really striving to have the spirit with him, he is reading - which in that fact alone is something. I am really proud of him. He is getting stronger and stronger all the time.
We are planning on going to SLC this April to hear from Pres. P at dad's mission reunion. We are going to take the boys so they can hear Pres. also. We have Tracy and Yubron as well as Gpa and Gma DeCoursey over for a turkey dinner tonight and your dad read them the account of Pres. conversion experience with the Methodist Minister Bro. McM. Then we ready the Orson Pratt lesson that Pres gave at that conference. Tracy want to have it to translate into Spanish.
I am loving nursery. I enjoy the children. I actually got one of the girls that is new in our ward to finally talk and another to start singing and another to sit on my lap. I read to them and we play games. My new game is "parachute" I bought a big piece of light weight fabric and we lift it up and down. we put balls in the middle of it and they roll around and then fall off. It is fun for them and I think they will enjoy that as an added addition to our nursery.
Dogs are good. They were in tonight for a while. Butch loves attention, Maggie tolerates it.
Daniel M leaves in 31 days for his mission in Brazil. Derek just got moved to San Diego this last week. I don't have his current address yet, but when I do I will let you know. Cody McCarry is engaged to Chelsie H, Britney H older sister? Do you know her? They will be married in May. Dillian Titus leaves here soon for his mission. I cannot remember where. Jared N was called to ....Brazil for his mission. He leaves in July. He graduates in June.
Chelsie is in Hawaii for the next 10 days, I am taking all of Spring Break off, even if we just stay home. ...We hired a new receptionist and I think she will work out. She is 50, LDS, mother of 6, only two at home, same age as Lou and Dallin. She saw Gpa at the temple the day she interviewed and Dad felt she was going to be a the one to hire. And we did. Falina's baby is doing better and we are waiting for her to come home. We heard one more month on Monday, but by Thursday they were thinking two more weeks is all. So she is doing much better- the baby.
Dr.  D is due with her baby girl here soon. I have seen Dr D at least 7 times since Dec. with my illnesses, and Dallins doctor appointments. She said she was getting a bit scared. She is due in 4 weeks.
Sister F. is having another baby in Aug I think. Mitchel got his driver's license and is now having to drive his little sisters around. He was stuck in the court club about 25 minutes waiting for them to come out of the girls bathroom. Since he had no one to go in and get them. That was not fun.
We send our love. We are so happy that you are both happy. LOVE is the only way to bring the spirit in to any situation. even if it is a evil situation you find yourself in, the spirit will always guide you if you try and see the good in them. Eph doesn't your P Blessing tell you that you will be able to see the good in others when they can not even see it in themselves?
Have a great week.
I am sorry I have been demanding of your time, I know you are busy about the Lords work. I would however like to have Amicherie send me her MTC map picture please.
your mom.
From Amicherie.....
MA!! Don't be silly. I always have time to write president and talk with you? Why do you think that I won't have time for both? What makes you think that you would be taking up my time? This is the ONLY time I have to talk with you and it is very precious and important to me that we are able to write back and forth.