I remember well the day I listened to my first radio broadcast. It was in 1936, a radio broadcast of the Joe Louis/Max Schmeling fight for the world boxing championship. My uncle Joe had purchased a car with a radio in it and everyone at the farm gathered around his car to listen to that fight.
I also remember our first phone, a party line; our number was 29R3. The phone company had a central office in Caseville, Mich., manned 24 hours a day by live people. If someone wanted to reach us on the phone they would dial the operator and ask for 29R3. And since it was a party line anyone on our line could pick up their phone receiver and listen in. It was how the community stayed in touch with one another.
Today, 80 years later, the world has changed — dramatically. As I watch my family members take their cell phone for granted, connecting with friends from anywhere in the world, bouncing phone signals off satellites, I often wonder if they understand that just beyond those satellites is their Creator, their Father-in-Heaven and that they don’t need a smart-phone to connect with him — only bended knees.
I remind my family that when they pray they simply by-pass the earth-bound satellites and go straight to the very source of all intelligence, God, who hears and answers the prayers of those who truly want to communicate with him, and then wait for his answer which will be in the form of personal revelations, communicating only to them that have ‘dialed’ him in sincere faith.
As I remember those days when everyone on our line could listen to our conversations I thought of the recent “revelation” regarding how the National Security Agency is copying and storing our phone, Facebook, Twitter and email messages — with the capability of recalling those messages.
There is little doubt, at least in my mind, that those messages are and have been used to alter the direction of America, and not always for good. As I pondered these scary thoughts another thought came to me that if man can listen to other people’s messages how much more God, the source of all modern “miracles,” is capable of not only listening to our personal communications but also to our inner thoughts as Jeremiah declared in 23:24: “Can any hide himself in secret places that I shall not see him? saith the Lord. Do not I fill heaven and earth?,” personal thoughts to be recalled when we report to him on our mortal activities.
Today, as I draw closer to that day when I will cross that bridge between mortality and immortality, and I’m getting closer, I ponder more deeply this prayer link I have with my God. I now realize that mortality is more than just living and dying, much more; it is about living a righteous life while preparing to leave mortality and then hopefully return to that kingdom from whence we came to enter mortality, as a helpless child, and hear his voice declare “Well done thou good and faithful servant, enter into thy rest.”
These thoughts then cause me to reflect on my life and then ask specific questions of myself; “Am I ready to meet the master, my Savior and redeemer; am I ready to “graduate” from mortality; have I completed the requirements necessary to enter into that kingdom where he resides?”
These are hard questions to answer without deep reflections, questions that cause me to pick up my scriptures and search them again, but now searching for those requirements required equally of all mankind to enter back into what the apostle Paul referred to as the ‘third heaven,’ (2 Cor. 12:2) that heaven where God the Father and God the Son now reside.
As my days in mortality draw to a close so too do the days when he who created this world will return and cleanse it as promised in the scriptures.
Am I afraid of death? No, absolutely not. The death of my 11-year-old son wiped away that fear. Death is simply another step in one’s eternal life, as the scriptures point out so clearly.
Donald Conkey is a retired agricultural economist in Woodstock.