Two Homeless Men Saved Me
After I finished my two year mission in Chile, I was in Vancouver, BC shopping for clothes before I headed down to college. While driving in the downtown, I was stopped in the right lane waiting for the light to change so I could take a right. On the sidewalk was a very tattered, grubby, homeless and kinda crazy looking man. I don’t remember what I or anyone else said, but we did comment on his appearance and what we thought of him. As I turned into the other lane the homeless guy jumped in front of my car and slammed his palms onto my hood. Then threw one hand backwards to point at the oncoming cars and yelled, “you’re going the wrong way!” I had turned down a one way with cars in all lanes coming very fast and closing in.
I’m not sure what would have happened. Probably wouldn’t have had a head on collision because despite my bumbling I am a good driver. But many other people might have stumbled on and had a serious accident…especially an older person or someone with poor eye sight. But he could not have known that.
I don’t know what went through his head, but he threw himself in front of my car. I slammed the brakes to not run him over. He could have easily been seriously injured or killed. Whether it was a natural reaction or a choice, it was a miracle. He changed my life. He saved me life.
I was working for an electrical company in Seattle one summer. I was on a job for a few months building a condo. I was a stockman and was in charge of all the supplies for our whole crew. I loved working there. It was a lot of fun working with the electricians and the others on site. I used the elevators a ton every day.
One day, a pair of homeless guys were hired by the outfit running the whole construction project. One of them was in charge of loading supplies and taking garbage on each floor all day. So we ended up in the elevator together many times throughout the day. He was in his mid-twenties. He was getting paid as much and probably more than I was. And he smelled horrendously bad.
I was married with a newborn making ~$13.50/hour. From what I understood he was making ~$15/hour. I had been considering switching over because their trade paid the grunts like he and I better. So in my mind, I would just get frustrated every time he was in the elevator with me. It was a hot summer, all of us sweating and he would stink up the area like pigpen.
I kept getting fired up because I knew that he could afford to find an apartment or a gym and take a shower. He was making more than me and he was pissing me and everyone else off. He didn’t have any excuse and it would get me all mad every time I was stuck in the elevator with him.
Then one time I was in the elevator with him and God opened my understanding and changed my heart. When I saw that guy, I had a vision that it was 20 years in the future and that he was my son Asher. It was a scenario where I hadn’t seen him in years. My heart was opened fully to him. I went to him and hugged him and kissed and told him how much I loved him and missed him. When I snapped out of that, I loved that man as much as my own son. Yes, as much as my own son. It has been that way ever since. I felt as Moroni,
And I am filled with charity, which is everlasting love; wherefore, all children are alike unto me; wherefore, I love little children with a perfect love; and they are all alike and partakers of salvation. Moroni 8:17
Unfortunately my values and beliefs aren’t fully the same yet.
Those were the two moments that probably effected my life the most. Of course they were the results of other experiences and all things are connected. Yet those two paradigm shifts changed me and put me on the path that I am on. I’ve learned so much from them, but the biggest points were first, that judging others was wrong and that first man was a better person than I was, which turned my world around, not that I thought I was that special, but ya’ know. The second guy changed my whole belief window about every single person on earth and my feelings and desires towards them.
A few weeks before my years in Chile ended, my mission president had his final week. He had a one-on-one meeting with every missionary in the mission. When we got into his office he had a chair set up where he would shine our shoes. I got into the chair and placed my feet on the rests. As he shined my shoes we talked about life, the mission and everything that we felt like. It was amazing. He was a very open man and loved and exemplified liberty and growth. He thought differently than anyone else I had known. I asked him what was the most important thing he had learned on his mission. He told me, that he knew before that God loved His children, but he never knew truly how much He loved and cared for us. He knew it because he felt it vicariously as a medium for God to the missionaries. That is the same lesson that I hold most sacred and special from my experiences. I knew in a small measure how much God’s heart was broken when we make bad decisions and when we hurt and hurt others. He literally cries with and for us. I also felt going through me God’s love and happiness when we are doing the right things and making good decisions. One time God let me feel very powerfully His emotion. There was a girl that was so special. We had been teaching her and her family. They lived in El Pueblo Sin Ley, the City without Law. It was on the outskirts of town and was very dangerous, poor and sad. At one point we had several other families that were amazing and were super strong but needed our help to move forward towards making covenants. The special girl’s family would no longer give us the time of day and it wasn’t going to be very realistic for her to make it to church through the dangerous area and others weren’t strong enough to go and carry her burdern with her. It wasn’t possible to help everyone. I look back now, and with my knowledge and understanding gained since then, I think I might have been able to make things work, but back then I wasn’t prepared to do so. It wasn’t for lack of desire or work. This is not to make excuses, but to help reveal my desperation. We went one day to tell her we couldn’t make it anymore. When we told her we couldn’t make it anymore, my soul was broken. The sadness and heartbreak I felt from God was different. It was more raw and real than ever before and was a special connection to the Almighty. He let me share this one experience that was so powerful, I don’t believe here on earth, we could handle it for very long and not for much more than a moment.
Ghandi and Mormon Funerals
When I’ve had the opportunity to go to funerals or see the span or end result of people’s lives, I’ve seen a spectrum of lifestyles and results. I was never satisfied with what their lives were. There were many good people who had been very nice, responsible citizens, decent parents and nice members of the community. But they never felt or seemed to have lived a Christ like life. Many had people trying to convince others at the funeral that they were in heaven or there with us visiting from “paradise” on the other side.
A few years ago, I had an understanding and feeling that wouldn’t go away. None of these Christians or Mormons had lived anything as close to what The Carpenter’s Son taught and lived or even asked of us. Yet Ghandi was the best example I could and can think of for a Christian. Now Ghandi achieved great things and I don’t expect everyone or even many to do such. But no one I have known personally has lived a Christ like life. Now that I think about it, no one I have known has lived a celestial level life for any extended (many years) period of time. I have not been satisfied with living what we consider a “Good Christian” or “Good Mormon” or “Good Person” life. I want more…the desires within me won’t relent and I have a hollow part within me that won’t be filled unto I do so.
A Christ Like Life
About two or three years ago, I decided I wanted to live the rest of my life as a humanitarian. It was what my desires had needed and still lead me to. Completely devoted to rescuing and saving the most deprived and rejected of peoples. I wanted it for myself and equally if not greater, I wanted to raise my sons to know of a life of serving others. No one I know personally has been raised that way. Yet that is the Savior’s call and that is the way this life is supposed to be. It has also become my greatest desire. I want my sons to know who they are, who our brothers and sisters are and their needs and desperations and what brings them joy and happiness. I want my sons to be truly happy and I want to do as I know Heavenly Father and Mother would do if they were raising our boys.
When I started thinking seriously about the temple and how to improve myself, I looked at my 5 temple covenants. The laws of Obedience, The Gospel, Sacrifice, Chastity and Consecration. But the thing I realized was that I had totally ignored the law of consecration. In my head I thought that someone would never be okay with sleeping around and violating the law of chastity. But everyone seems to be okay or at least accept that we are all breaking the law of consecration. How does that work? I asked my friends and everyone’s responses were along the lines of “it’s no longer required, but someday it will be.” Some people would throw in, “they didn’t live the higher law and were given tithing as a lower law.” I even asked that same question to the 2nd councilor in the SLC temple presidency. He said that the law was done away or taken away. I asked him where and he said he, “I don’t know…I’m not a historian.” Huh? This didn’t fly with me at all. In D&C I found my answers. I put a lot of it into my third post.
Through providence, I have been lead to learning about Zion. It’s ironic, because Zion is everywhere and the focus of so much in early Mormonism for nearly a century. The scriptures are full of it, especially D&C. But like nearly everyone else, I didn’t think or study or search for Zion. Zion was the missing piece that connected everything and I understood. This is what Zion is all about. We want to raise our boys in Zion. I know that there, united, there will be a force unequaled in the world that will be able to bring about so much good. That is what got me thinking about Zion. Since then I have found out so much about it and more. That was the whole ideal of Mormonism. Mormonism without Zion is like an apple tree without apples…it’s just another leafy tree. What does that mean? If I cannot be around for the building, but can still raise my boys in gathering and preparing the way for Zion, then I will do that. But I believe that Zion’s time is soon. If we do what we can, Zion can be established again and within a short time. Within our lives and perhaps within the adolescence of our children.
I have been led to the next step, which is reconciliation with the Native Americans, those that are from Lehi. I will go and serve them. My wife and boys and I will do what we can to serve the tribe of Manasseh and help unite us and make Joseph whole.