Wheat Watchers

Preparedness and Planning Group

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    Wheat Watchers meets monthly on the 3rd Wednesday at 7:00 pm at Kathy's house.

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Archive for November, 2008

A Precious Promise

Posted by imawheatwatcher on November 30, 2008

A Provident Plan – A Precious Promise
April 1986 General Conference
President Thomas S. Monson
Second Counselor in the First Presidency

On a cold winter’s night in 1951, there was a knock at my door. A German brother from Ogden, Utah, announced himself and said, “Are you Bishop Monson?” I answered in the affirmative. He began to weep and said, “My brother, his wife, and family are coming here from Germany. They are going to live in your ward. Will you come with us to see the apartment we have rented for them?”

On the way to the apartment, he told me he had not seen his brother for many years. Through the holocaust of World War II, his brother had been faithful to the Church, once serving as a branch president before the war took him to the Russian front.

I observed the apartment. It was cold and dreary. The paint was peeling, the wallpaper soiled, the cupboards empty. A forty-watt bulb, suspended from the living room ceiling, revealed a linoleum floor covering with a large hole in the center. I was heartsick. I thought, “What a dismal welcome for a family which has endured so much.”

My thoughts were interrupted by the brother’s statement, “It isn’t much, but it’s better than they have in Germany.” With that, the key to the apartment was left with me, along with the information that the family would arrive in Salt Lake City in three weeks—just two days before Christmas.

Sleep was slow in coming to me that night. The next morning was Sunday. In our ward welfare committee meeting, one of my counselors said, “Bishop, you look worried. Is something wrong?”

I recounted to those present my experience of the night before, revealing the details of the uninviting apartment. There were a few moments of silence. Then Brother Eardley, the group leader of the high priests, said, “Bishop, did you say that apartment was inadequately lighted and that the kitchen appliances were in need of replacement?” I answered in the affirmative. He continued, “I am an electrical contractor. Would you permit the high priests of this ward to rewire that apartment? I would also like to invite my suppliers to contribute a new stove and a new refrigerator. Do I have your permission?”

I answered with a glad “Certainly.”

Then Brother Balmforth, the seventies president, responded, “Bishop, as you know, I’m in the carpet business. I would like to invite my suppliers to contribute some carpet, and the seventies can easily lay it and eliminate that worn linoleum.”

Then Brother Bowden, the president of the elders quorum, spoke up. He was a painting contractor. He said, “I’ll furnish the paint. May the elders paint and wallpaper that apartment?”

Sister Miller, the Relief Society president, was next to speak. “We in the Relief Society cannot stand the thought of empty cupboards. May we fill them?”

The three weeks which followed are ever to be remembered. It seemed that the entire ward joined in the project. The days passed, and at the appointed time, the family arrived from Germany. Again at my door stood the brother from Ogden. With an emotion-filled voice, he introduced to me his brother, his brother’s wife, and their family. Then he asked, “Could we go visit the apartment?” As we walked up the staircase leading to the apartment, he repeated, “It isn’t much, but it’s more than they have had in Germany.” Little did he know what a transformation had taken place and that many who had participated were inside waiting for our arrival.

The door opened to reveal a newness of life. We were greeted by the aroma of freshly painted woodwork and newly papered walls. Gone was the forty-watt bulb, along with the worn linoleum it had illuminated. We stepped on carpet deep and beautiful. A walk to the kitchen presented to our view a new stove and new refrigerator. The cupboard doors were still open; however, they now revealed every shelf filled with food. As usual, the Relief Society had done its work.

In the living room, we began to sing Christmas hymns. We sang “Silent night! Holy night! All is calm, all is bright.” (Hymns, 1985, no. 204.) We sang in English; they sang in German. At the conclusion, the father, realizing that all of this was his, took me by the hand to express his thanks. His emotion was too great. He buried his head in my shoulder and repeated the words, “Mein Bruder, mein Bruder, mein Bruder.”

It was time to leave. As we walked down the stairs and out into the night air, snow was falling. Not a word was spoken. Finally, a young girl asked, “Bishop, I feel better than I have ever felt before. Can you tell me why?”

I responded with the words of the Master: “Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.” (Matt. 25:40.) Suddenly there came to mind the words from “O Little Town of Bethlehem”:

How silently, how silently,
The wondrous gift is giv’n!
So God imparts to human hearts
The blessings of his heav’n.

No ear may hear his coming;
But in this world of sin,
Where meek souls will receive him, still
The dear Christ enters in.
(Hymns, 1985, no. 208.)

Silently, wondrously, His gift had been given. Lives were blessed, needs were met, hearts were touched, and souls were saved. A provident plan had been followed. A precious promise had been fulfilled.

I testify that God lives, that Jesus is the Christ, that we are led by a prophet, that sacrifice does indeed bring forth the blessings of heaven. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.


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All-Season Driving

Posted by imawheatwatcher on November 25, 2008

Preparing your vehicle for all season travel and knowing how to react if stranded or lost on the road are the keys to safe driving. Auto safety kits are the ideal safety tool for your travels all year round. Severe conditions can happen anywhere, in any season. Stay prepared with items that can keep you warm, provide light, and can signal for help. Here are some suggestions: (from The Earthquake Lady and Safety Kits Plus)

  • Flashlight w/ extra batteries
  • Flares or hazard reflectors
  • First aid kit with manual
  • Extra car keys
  • Ice scraper
  • Cell phone
  • Protable radio with extra batteries
  • Fire Extinguisher (A-B-C type)
  • Jumper cables
  • Jack, lug wrench, tire gauge
  • Basic tools kit
  • Small folding shovel
  • Sand or kitty litter for traction (in winter)
  • Duct tape and electrical tape
  • Gloves, rags and paper towels
  • Waterproof matches
  • Emergency candles
  • Emergency contact phone numbers
  • Whistle
  • Small mirror
  • Paper, pen & pencil
  • Cash (including small bills & coins)
  • Drinking water
  • Non-perishable energy foods
  • Can opener
  • Medications
  • Toiletries
  • Emergency blankets or sleeping bags
  • Fleece clothing (hat, gloves, scarf)
  • Hand warmer packets

ALWAYS maintain at least 1/2 tank of gas.

This list seems long but most items would not occupy a lot of room and would give great peace of mind to your family or others you might share with. I have given out blankets and paper towels to accident victims, I’m always using my bottled water and have treated injuries from simple scrapes to bee stings with my first aid kit. That said, there are still a few items on this list I need to add to my van. Don’t get stuck in the cold . . .

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A Provident Plan

Posted by imawheatwatcher on November 23, 2008

A Provident Plan – A Precious Promise
April 1986 General Conference
President Thomas S. Monson
Second Counselor in the First Presidency

(Speaking on the 50th anniversary of the Church Welfare system, created April 6 1936)

Fifty years have come and gone. Economic cycles have run their course. Societal changes have been numerous. The Church has expanded beyond the valleys of the mountains to the uttermost reaches of the earth. Membership is measured in millions. The word of God, provided on that historic day [April 6 1830,] is as an island of constancy in a sea of change.

Let us, for a moment, review the moorings, the underpinnings, even the foundation of the welfare program. Said the First Presidency in that year of announcement: “Our primary purpose was to set up, insofar as it might be possible, a system under which the curse of idleness would be done away with, the evils of a dole abolished, and independence, industry, thrift and self respect be once more established amongst our people. The aim of the Church is to help the people to help themselves.” (In Conference Report, Oct. 1936, p. 3.)

The holy scriptures leave no doubt concerning the responsibility to care for the poor, the needy, the downtrodden. The organization has been perfected, the duties defined, and the guidelines given. . . .

. . . Just a few days ago I visited with President Marion G. Romney, known throughout the Church for his ardent advocacy and knowledge of the welfare program. We spoke of the beautiful passage from Isaiah concerning the true fast:

“Is it not to deal thy bread to the hungry, and that thou bring the poor that are cast out to thy house? when thou seest the naked, that thou cover him; and that thou hide not thyself from thine own flesh?” (Isa. 58:7.)

. . . President Romney wept as he spoke.

Appearing as a golden thread woven through the tapestry of the welfare program is the truth taught by the Apostle Paul: “The letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.” (2 Cor. 3:6.)

President Ezra Taft Benson frequently counsels us: “Remember, Brethren, in this work it is the Spirit that counts.”

What has the Lord said about the spirit of this work? In a revelation given to the Prophet Joseph at Kirtland, Ohio, in June of 1831, He declared: “Remember in all things the poor and the needy, the sick and the afflicted, for he that doeth not these things, the same is not my disciple.” (D&C 52:40.)

In that marvelous message delivered by King Benjamin, as recorded in the Book of Mormon, we read: “For the sake of retaining a remission of your sins from day to day, that ye may walk guiltless before God—I would that ye should impart of your substance to the poor, every man according to that which he hath, such as feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, visiting the sick and administering to their relief, both spiritually and temporally.” (Mosiah 4:26.)

When we depart from the Lord’s way in caring for the poor, chaos comes. Said John Goodman, president of the National Center for Political Analysis, as reported this year in a Dallas, Texas, newspaper:

“The USA’s welfare system is a disaster. It is creating poverty, not destroying it. It subsidizes divorce, unwed teenage pregnancy, the abandonment of elderly parents by their children, and the wholesale dissolution of the family. The reason? We pay people to be poor. Private charities have always been better at providing relief where it is truly needed.”

In 1982 it was my privilege to serve as a member of President Ronald Reagan’s Task Force on Private Sector Initiatives. Meeting in the White House with prominent leaders assembled from throughout the nation, President Reagan paid tribute to the welfare program of the Church. He observed: “Elder Monson is here representing The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. If, during the period of the Great Depression, every church had come forth with a welfare program founded on correct principles as his church did, we would not be in the difficulty in which we find ourselves today.” President Reagan praised self-sufficiency; lauded our storehouse, production, and distribution system; and emphasized family members assisting one another. He urged that in our need we turn not to government but rather to ourselves.

On another occasion in the White House, I was asked to present to a gathering of America’s religious leaders an example of our welfare program in action. I could have chosen many illustrations, but selected as typical our response to the Teton Dam disaster in Idaho. The result was dramatic. As the First Presidency stated fifty years ago, “The eyes of the world are upon us.” While this is a most important consideration, let us particularly remember that the eyes of God are similarly focused. What might He observe?

Are we generous in the payment of our fast offerings? That we should be so was taught by President Spencer W. Kimball, who urged that “instead of the amount saved by our two or more meals of fasting, perhaps much, much more—ten times more [be given] when we are in a position to do it.” (Ensign, Nov. 1977, p. 79.)

Are we prepared for the emergencies of our lives? Are our skills perfected? Do we live providently? Do we have on hand our reserve supply? Are we obedient to the commandments of God? Are we responsive to the teachings of prophets? Are we prepared to give of our substance to the poor, the needy? Are we square with the Lord?

As we look back through fifty years and reflect on the development of the welfare program, as we look forward to the years ahead, let us remember the place of the priesthood, the role of the Relief Society, and the involvement of the individual. Help from heaven will be ours. . . .

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Cover Your Cough

Posted by imawheatwatcher on November 18, 2008

These principles of good hygiene should be in use at all times. In the case of Pandemic Flu, personal efforts will be increased and greater precautions will be taken.

Why should I cover my cough?

  • Serious respiratory illnesses like influenza, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), whooping cough and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) are spread by:
    • Coughing or sneezing
    • Unclean hands
  • These illnesses spread easily in crowded places where people are in close contact.

How do I stop the spread of germs if I am sick?

  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue every time you cough or sneeze.
    Throw the used tissue in a waste basket.
  • If you don’t have a tissue, sneeze or cough into your sleeve.
  • After coughing or sneezing, always clean your hands with soap & water or
    an alcohol-based hand cleaner.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Do not share eating utensils, drinking glasses, towels or other personal items.

How can I stay healthy?

  • Clean your hands often with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand cleaner.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick, if possible.
  • Get vaccinated! Influenza (flu) and pneumococcal (pneumonia) vaccines can prevent some serious respiratory illnesses.

When you are at the clinic or hospital:

  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue and dispose of the used tissue in the waste basket.
  • Clean your hands with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand cleaner.
  • You may also be asked to wear a mask to protect others.

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Meeting Postponed

Posted by imawheatwatcher on November 18, 2008

Because of a few different reasons, I have decided to re-schedule this Tuesday’s meeting. Instead, we will assemble the Pandemic and Shelter-In-Place kits on Tuesday, December 2 @ 7:00 pm.

Remember to record and bring your measurements for cutting the plastic sheeting. Also, containers are not included in the cost of these kits and should be specific to your chosen room (underbed boxes or storage buckets are a couple of suggestions.) Shelter in Place kits should be stored inside your chosen safe room. Pandemic kits could be stored anywhere in your home but it may be convenient to be stored with the Shelter in Place kits.

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Personal & Family Preparedness

Posted by imawheatwatcher on November 16, 2008

This booklet was published 30 years ago and is still just as applicapble today as it was then, perhaps even more so today. I think we have all felt a higher sense of urgency in these past few years to prepare our homes and families. These statements re-confirm the need to do as we’ve been counseled to do.

(From LDS publication “Essentials of Home Production and Storage“, 1978, p. 1)
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints teaches independence, industry, thrift, and self-reliance.
“As you know, in the recent past we have placed considerable emphasis on personal and family preparedness. I hope that each member of the church is responding appropriately to this direction. I also hope that we are understanding and accentuating the positive and not the negative.
“I like the way the Relief Society teaches personal and family preparedness as ‘provident living.’ This implies the husbanding of our resources, the wise planning of financial matters, full provision for personal health, and adequate preparation for education and career development, giving appropriate attention to home production and storage as well as the development of emotional resiliency” (Spencer W. Kimball, “Welfare Services: The Gospel in Action,” Ensign, Nov. 1977, p. 78)
Latter-Day Saints have been counseled to prepare to care for themselves and their families in time of need. Personal and Family preparedness should be a way of life, a way of provident living. Being provident involves being “wise, frugal, prudent, making provision for the future while attending to immediate needs” (Barbara B. Smith, “Teack LDS Women Self-Sufficiency,” Ensign, May 1976, p. 188.) One are of personal and family prepareness is home production and storage.

Essentials of Home Production and Storage
“Home production and storage is a very necessary element of personal and family preparedness; however, it is not the only element, nor is it necessarily the most significant element. Some people have reacted to the theme of preparedness as if it were a doomsday matter. In reality, all six elements of personal and family preparedness are to be emphasized so that the Latter-day Saints may be better prepared to meet the ordinary, day-to-day requirements of sucessful living.
“Our emphasis on this subject is not grounds for crisis thinking or panic. Quite the contrary, personal and family preparedness should be a way of provident living, an orderly approach to using the resources, gifts and talents the Lord shares with us. So the first step is to teach our people to be self-reliant and independent through proper preparation for daily life: (Victor L. Brown, “Welfare Services Essentials: The Bishops Storehouse,” Ensign, Nov 1976, pp. 112-12).

Standards for Home Production and Storage
Each person or family should produce as much as possible through gardening, seewing and making household items. Each person and family should learn techniques of home canning, freezing and drying foods, and where legally permitted, should store and save a one-year supply of food, clothing and if possible, fuel.

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How to Buy a Space Heater

Posted by imawheatwatcher on November 14, 2008

Five Tips for Buying a Heater (from amazon.com)
Choosing a space heater is a matter of sifting through a bewildering array of types, power ratings, and fuel sources. Let’s break it down a little to make the process easier.

What are the different types of space heaters?

  • Radiant heaters emit infrared radiation that directly warms the objects in front of the heaters (rather than the surrounding air). If you only need heat by a desk or in a small section of a room, a radiant heater is quiet and will use very little power.
  • Forced-air heaters use a fan to blow air that has been warmed by metal or ceramic heating elements. A forced-air heater is appropriate for quickly heating up a small- to medium-sized room, but can be noisy.
  • Convection heaters draw cold air from the floor; the air is warmed by heating coils and emitted from the top of the heater. A convection heater is appropriate for quickly heating up a small- to medium-sized room, but also can be noisy.
  • Radiators work by heating oil enclosed in a reservoir, gradually heating the surrounding air. If heating speed isn’t an issue, you might want to opt for a radiator. These are extremely quiet and effective–perfect for bedrooms.

Should I buy an electric or a combustion model?
If you want a heater that will be available in emergencies, or that can heat areas larger than a single room, choose a “combustion” model–one that is powered by a gas or fuel like propane, kerosene, natural gas, or diesel. Which fuel type you choose depends largely on convenience and local availability. For example, diesel would be appropriate for a heater you take with you on long car trips.

How powerful a heater do I need?
Heaters are rated by BTU, which stands for British Thermal Unit (the amount of heat needed to heat one pound of water by 1 degree F). To find out how many BTU you need:

  • Calculate the volume of the space to be heated by multiplying square footage by height.
  • Multiply that number by 4 if your insulation is poor, 3 if it’s average, or 2 if it’s good.

The resulting number is a ballpark figure for how many BTU you’ll need.

Do space heaters cost a lot to operate?
As a general rule, electric space heaters are more expensive to use than combustion models. To ensure energy efficiency, a thermostat is a must-have feature for any heater. For radiant heaters, models with a 360 degree heating surface can heat larger spaces. If you need a forced-air heater, models with ceramic elements tend to be more efficient.

Are space heaters a fire hazard?
Space heaters are implicated in about 25,000 residential fires every year. To ensure proper safety, always follow the manufacturer’s usage instructions and fill out the warranty card to receive informational updates from the manufacturer. Also, look for extra safety features such as an automatic shutoff switch that can shut down the unit if, for example, it gets upended. In addition, choose a model where the heating element is adequately enclosed within the unit.

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Upcoming Preparedness Events

Posted by imawheatwatcher on November 13, 2008

I’ve learned of a few local events that I have been given an open invitation to share with you.

Reminder dates are posted on the sidebar, here is what I know of the details. If you would like direct addresses, please e-mail me (I don’t like posting addresses here)

Saturday, November 22, 9am – 1pm – Hillcrest Stake Preparedness Fair. Topics and classes include Earthquake Preparedness, Winter Storms (prepare for heat & electricity issues,) Shelter In Place and Pandemic Preparedness. The pandemic preparedness will be taught by LDS Church pandemic expert Susan Puls – great information available.

Thursday, January 8 – Geneva Heights Stake. – “The Earthquake Lady.”
If you missed this seminar in our stake, your very lucky to have this second chance. Maralin Hoff gives a fantastic presentation including emergency kits for your home, car, school, baby and pet. She also has [mostly] inexpensive tips to “earthquake proof” your home – or at least help your people and belongings be as protected and stable as possible. You can read more about her presentation HERE (there used to be streaming video but it’s not working anymore)

Wednesday/Thursday, January 7/8 – CERT Classes – Next course begins. Registration is first come, first served. More information will be posted REALLY soon. If you did not ‘graduate’ from this most recent course, you may attend to make-up classes this time and complete your training. Please call/e-mail me for registration information.

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Pandemic Protection

Posted by imawheatwatcher on November 11, 2008

(From CDC web site)

Taking Protective Actions during a Flu Pandemic

A flu pandemic is an outbreak caused by a new flu virus that spreads around the world. The virus will spread easily from person to person, mostly through coughing and sneezing. Because the virus is new to people, everyone will be at risk of getting it.

During a flu pandemic, you can use simple actions to help protect yourself and others from becoming sick with the flu. No single action protects completely. If used together, the steps below can help reduce the chances of becoming infected.

Wash your hands often with soap and water. Use an alcohol-based hand cleaner if soap and water are not available.

Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your arm when you cough and sneeze.

Stay away from other people if you are ill.

Avoid crowded places and large gatherings as much as possible.

There may be times during a pandemic when you must be in a crowded setting or in close contact (within 6 feet) with people who might be ill. During such times, the use of a facemask or a respirator might help prevent the spread of pandemic flu.

Wearing a Facemask or a Respirator

Very little is known about the benefits of wearing facemasks and respirators to help control the spread of pandemic flu. In the absence of clear science, the steps below offer a “best estimate” to help guide decisions. They will be revised as new information becomes available.

Consider wearing a facemask if

You are sick with the flu and think you might have close contact with other people.

You live with someone who has the flu (you therefore might be in the early stages of infection) and need to be in a crowded place. Limit the amount of time you spend in these crowded places and wear a facemask while you are there.

You are well and do not expect to be in close contact with a sick person but need to be in a crowded place. Limit the amount of time you spend in these crowded places and wear a facemask while you are there.

Consider wearing a respirator if

You are well and you expect to be in close contact with people who are known or thought to be sick with pandemic flu. Limit the amount of time you are in close contact with these people and wear a respirator during this time. These recommendations apply if you must take care of a sick person at home.

What is a facemask?

Photo: Man wearing facemask

Facemasks are loose-fitting, disposable masks that cover the nose and mouth. These include products labeled as surgical, dental, medical procedure, isolation, and laser masks.

Facemasks help stop droplets from being spread by the person wearing them. They also keep splashes or sprays from reaching the mouth and nose of the person wearing the facemask. They are not designed to protect you against breathing in very small particles. Facemasks should be used once and then thrown away in the trash.

What is a respirator?

Photo: Man wearing respirator
Photo courtesy of Moldex

A respirator (for example, an N95 or higher filtering facepiece respirator) is designed to protect you from breathing in very small particles, which might contain viruses. These types of respirators fit tightly to the face so that most air is inhaled through the filter material. To work the best way, N95 respirators must be specially fitted for each person who wears one (this is called “fit-testing” and is usually done in a workplace where respirators are used). Most of the time, N95 respirators are used in construction and other jobs that involve dust and small particles. Some healthcare workers, such as nurses and doctors, use these types of respirators when taking care of patients with diseases that can be spread through the air.

If you have a heart or lung disease or other health condition, you may have trouble breathing through respirators and you should talk with your doctor before using a respirator.

Like surgical masks, N95 respirators should be worn only once and then thrown away in the trash.

Additional Information

Neither a facemask nor a respirator will give complete protection from the flu. That is why it is important to wash your hands often, cover your coughs and sneezes with a handkerchief or your arm, and avoid crowds and gatherings during a pandemic. To learn more about these and other issues relating to pandemic influenza, visit http://www.pandemicflu.gov.

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Obedience and Blessings

Posted by imawheatwatcher on November 9, 2008

Happy Sunday!

Ezra Taft Benson

When the economies of nations fail, when famine and other disasters prevent people from buying food in stores, the Saints must be prepared to handle these emergencies.” (The Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson, p. 264.)

Bruce R. McConkie
I stand before the Church this day and raise the warning voice. . . . It is a voice calling upon the Lord’s people to prepare for the troubles and desolations which are about to be poured out upon the world without measure. For the moment we live in a day of peace and prosperity but it shall not ever be thus. Great trials lie ahead. All of the sorrows and perils of the past are but a foretaste of what is yet to be. And we must prepare ourselves temporally and spiritually.” (Ensign, May 1979, pp. 92-93.)

We do not know when the calamities and troubles of the last days will fall upon any of us as individuals or upon bodies of the Saints. . . . We can rest assured that if we have done all in our power to prepare for whatever lies ahead, He will then help us with whatever else we need. . . . We do not say that all of the Saints will be spared and saved from the coming day of desolation. But we do say there is no promise of safety and no promise of security except for those who love the Lord and who are seeking to do all that he commands.”
( Ensign, May 1979, p. 93.)

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