Monthly Archives: April 2015

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From My Heart to Yours — Salt Lake City & Unmasking Untruth

Last week the boys and I went on another school adventure. This time to Salt Lake City, UT. In preparation, we did a little study on the Donner-Reed Party, Mormon pioneers, Joseph Smith, Brigham Young and Mormonism.

We hit the road, entered Utah and followed the Pioneer Trail…pulling over at various stops to see things and read more about the pioneers and their experience entering this land. It was just our travel day, but already It was fascinating!

Here we are reading about the Echo Canyon Breastworks.

Here we are reading about the Echo Canyon Breastworks.

We entered SLC, visited “This is the Place” Heritage Park (the last stop on the Pioneer Trail — designed to give information about the Pony Express and dedicated to Brigham Young and the Mormon pioneers who came out of the canyon, saw the land before them and said, “This is the place!”), set up camp, took a walk along the Jordan River (I chuckled at the name, but later learned that this land is Mt. Zion to the Mormons), then hit the sack, preparing to rise the next morning with the sun.

This is the Place Heritage Park

This is the Place Heritage Park

The next few days we explored the area and soaked in as much history as we could.

Day 1: We went to Olympic Park, home of the 2002 winter Olympic games, and tried our hand at the ski jump. We mastered that simulator and the boys somehow think they’re ready for the real thing. Ha! We hiked in Big Cottonwood Canyon, making our way through the snow to Doughnut Falls. We took a dip (the boys, not me…YUCK!) in the Great Salt Lake and learned that there is no outlet for the water besides evaporation, which leaves behind all the sediments. So…the Great Salt Lake can never get rid of its salt and will continue to get saltier. The boys did float and they did stink. Thank the Lord we were at a campground with a shower! ­čśë We ended our “school” day late, touring the most beautiful Capitol building we’ve seen so far this year.

The real ski jumps

The real ski jumps

Hiking to Doughnut Falls

Hiking to Doughnut Falls

The boys out in the Great Salt Lake.

The boys out in the Great Salt Lake.

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Stunning inside SLC Capitol building!

Stunning inside SLC Capitol building!

Day 2: We spent about 8 hours or so driving along the Pony Express Trail, pulling over at signposts to read all about the Pony Express. We stopped at Camp Floyd and learned about the three years the Union Army was posted there. We visited the Stagecoach Inn, which became a famous stop for the stagecoach and the Pony Express. We drove on desert, dusty roads out in the middle of nowhere, UT, getting a feel for what it must have been like for the Pony Express riders. The most exciting thing occurred when we were at an interactive stop looking at a monument and reading signs — we were enveloped in a dust devil that was carrying tumbleweeds. I can’t even express to you how crazy and cool that was for four boys and their mama out on an adventure! We ended this day by meeting one of Aaron’s sport stacking friends at the train (he lives just outside SLC) and hiked up Ensign Peak which overlooked the city. Mountains surrounded us as we watched the sun set behind the Great Salt Lake. Spectacular!

The Stagecoach Inn

The Stagecoach Inn

We were seriously out in the middle of nowhere!

We were seriously out in the middle of nowhere!

Tumbleweeds that were caught up in a crazy attacking dust devil. ;)

Tumbleweeds that were caught up in a crazy attacking dust devil. ­čśë

Our last stop along the Pony Express Trail.

Our last stop along the Pony Express Trail.

Ensign Peak overlooking the city.

Ensign Peak overlooking the city.

Day 3: We got all-day passes for the city train and jumped on early because there was a lot to see downtown. We started at the Pioneer Memorial Museum. Three very full floors and a couple of hours later, we headed to Temple Square. Stunning. After speaking with a Mormon missionary who asked if any of our sons were interested in living the life of a missionary (everyone assumed we were Mormon), we graciously begged off the conversation and walked up the street to tour the Beehive House — a large home Brigham Young had built for his growing family. He did have many wives, after all. It quickly became apparent that we were the odd ones. The two young Filipino missionaries started the tour by asking if we were all a part of the Mormon Church. We were the only non-church members. After the tour and a bit of being “witnessed” to, the next two hours were spent train-hopping. We were attempting to visit Fort Douglas Military Museum, but some confusion about train direction led us to hop on the wrong train. We met some interesting people, learned about different train colors and routes and had fun seeing the University of Utah, so…one of those “life is school” moments. Our last stop of the day (which we were late for) was a pre-scheduled tour of Wheeler Historic Farm. I called as we were driving away from the city to let them know about our afternoon of riding the wrong train. Thankfully, they were understanding and waited for us. We toured the farmhouse, walked the grounds looking at all the animals, then helped milk a cow and bottle-feed her calves. A favorite stop of ours!

Hopped from a train to a bus. Eventually back to the WRONG train.

Hopped from a train to a bus. Eventually back to the WRONG train.

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Brigham Young's Beehive House.

Brigham Young’s Beehive House.

Bottle-feeding a calf

Bottle-feeding a calf

Salt Lake City is a beautiful place with a very rich history. We loved our time and learned a lot. But, I will tell you that I felt a darkness and heaviness in my heart during our time there. Our boys describe the feeling as “awkward”.

If you have an understanding of the Mormon faith, if you study its history, if you read the Book of Mormon or the Doctrine and Covenants, then you’ll know that such a great distortion of Scripture is NOT from the One True God. Untruth masked to look like truth can only come from Satan.

My niece has a friend whose father remarried — a Mormon woman. Now everyone in her family except this young girl is attending the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (which sounds quite lovely). This girl is disheartened that her own family would so easily turn away from their faith.

If you spend time on an LDS (Latter-day Saints) website, you will find it difficult to see any differences between the heart of Christianity and Mormonism. It is hidden. However, those differences are life-altering (or should I say eternity-altering).

So, how do we combat this? How do we remove the mask for our children so they do not so easily turn away from their faith?

It’s all about Jesus and His Word (not the Book of Mormon, but the Holy Bible). The more we read His Word, the more we memorize it, the more we dig deeply into it, the more we understand biblical truths, the more we are able to know who Jesus is. Without a biblical knowledge of Jesus (Truth), it is difficult to know Him intimately.

You see, when we know the Truth, our hearts are not so easily swayed by the Deceiver. When we have a deep, abiding relationship with Jesus, a heart and a head knowledge of Him, our faith is real and vibrant.

May we teach the next generation the importance of knowing Jesus with our hearts and with our heads. May we read His Word and know the stories in it. May we spend time hiding God’s Word in our hearts and in the hearts of our children. This is the best way to remove the mask from untruth made to look and sound like Truth!


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From My Heart to Yours — Gone Are the Days of Resurrection Eggs

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Easter. I love Easter. Holy Week celebrations, family gatherings, the smells, the food (HAM!!!), the traditions, and…the ham! ­čśë Seriously, my mom used to say, “We need to buy two hams. One for Becky and one for the rest of us.” I do love me some Easter spiral ham.

Over the years, our Easter traditions have been fun and full. The kids have put on plays, we’ve told and re-told the story of Jesus’ death and resurrection in many different ways, we’ve gathered to share what it is about Easter that is so special to us. We eat and laugh. We celebrate.

A couple of Shultz boys acting out a scene from Christ's crucifixion as we retell the story.

A couple of Shultz boys acting out a scene from Christ’s crucifixion as we retell the story.

Of all the celebratory traditions we have, Resurrection Eggs with Grandpa has been the favorite. It began years ago…this hiding of the eggs, Baer grandchildren hunting them down, then gathering with Grandpa to open each egg and tell the story for all of us to hear. A sweet, beautiful time that we will treasure forever.

Resurrection Eggs

Resurrection Eggs

But, gone are the days of “little” Baer grandchildren. It’s time for a new tradition. And I do believe we’ve found it…

It was Grandma’s idea. She handed out passages to each grandchild (well, the 8 we would be celebrating in person with. We couldn’t fly our 2 college girls home for the weekend. I was so sad and may need therapy, but I digress). Those 8 grandchildren were given their specific passages ahead of time and asked to “be creative”. That was pretty much it.

Grandma and Grandpa with 8 grandchildren this Easter.

Grandma and Grandpa with 8 grandchildren this Easter.

All week I heard practicing and was excited to see what our children came up with.

Easter morning arrived. We got up shortly after 5 am, went to the sunrise service and pancake breakfast, then prepared to gather with the rest of our Colorado family. We were all starving by the time my sister and her family showed up, so food was on the agenda first. And believe you me, I ate more than my fair share of ham and I enjoyed every minute of it! ­čÖé

When it was time to contemplate and reflect, when it was time to tell the story, we gathered in the family room and one by one the Baer grandchildren stood up and shared the Scriptures in a unique, creative way. There was a worship dance with a narrator, Scripture turned into poetry, a PowerPoint, Scripture turned into music, a dramatic memorization and Scripture turned into a rap.

All I can say is, “Wow!” This time was powerful. It was special. It was moving.

Throughout the day, I was texting with my college girls. When they found out that we were not doing Resurrection Eggs, Laura (21) wrote, “NO EGGS?!” I mentioned that we had outgrown the eggs, and Hannah (19) replied, “That’s so sad.”

I realized it was a bit sad. Sitting with Grandpa and the Resurrection Eggs has been a tradition for so long. But, life is full of change and transition. I’ve learned that a lot the past few years. The only constant in my life is the Lord Jesus Christ! Whether you have old traditions or have started new ones, know that He is the same yesterday, today and forever (Hebrews 13:8).

We have a new Easter tradition, one that I’m really excited about. Not just because of how cool and moving these creative presentations of God’s Holy Word are, but because in preparing these creative presentations, my children (and my nieces and nephew) sit with the Scripture before the celebration of His resurrection even arrives. His Word is sinking deeply into their hearts. I LOVE that!

We’ve outgrown an old tradition, but I’m sure those Resurrection Eggs (which have been so loved that pieces are missing) will be back for my grandchildren. Until then…gone are the days of Resurrection Eggs.

Here are four Baer grandchildren┬á(Emma King, Aaron Shultz, Abby King and Drew Shultz) creatively presenting their passages from God’s Word: