True Stuff that I Made Up

PLEASE NOTE: The entries which are published at this site are solely my personal and sometimes whimsical musings. For information regarding my political positions and proposals, please visit www.LarryKump.us.

Further, this website is devoutly dedicated to all of my friends and associates, both early and late, who have mentored and influenced me. However, being who they are, the majority of them have been late most of the time.

  Also, check out my personal entry at Mormon.org.

Saturday, March 04, 2017

My Best Buddy, Who Changed My Life

This post was written many years ago and redrafted in 2010:
Mostly at the insistence of my Mother, I was raised in a prominent local church in Hagerstown, Maryland.
However, at age twelve, I already was disturbed and troubled about the meaning of life.
My Sunday School teachers couldn't answer my questions, and my several abortive attempts to read the Bible left me even more confused and frustrated.
(It probably didn't help that I began with the Old Testament).
During the next several years, I even made inquiries into non-Christian religions and philosophies, all of which which fascinated me but none of which resolved my dilemma.
Finally, at the tender age of about fifteen, I came to the reluctant conclusion that either God really didn't exist, or, if He did, He just wasn't interested in or accessible to me.
And so it was that I wavered between agnosticism and outright atheism.
It was at that time in my life that I was both mystified and derisively amused by my next door neighbor and best buddy, Ray A. Geyer.
He was enthusiastic about his recent ordination as an Aaronic Priesthood Deacon in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church), and anxious to share the good news of the Restored Gospel with me.
After a series of discussions and sometimes contentious arguments with Ray, I ever so reluctantly sat down with two LDS Missionary Elders, and directly confronted them with my questions and concerns.
To my surprise and chagrin, Elder Wayne Platt Smith's humble spirit immediately touched my heart and soul.
Even more surprising to me, this mere high school graduate was able to readily answer all my questions, questions that had stumped all the learned and older ministers from so many other faiths.
Elder Smith warned me that neither he nor anyone else could convert me to Christ, and this was something that I had to determine for myself.
He also encouraged me to continue to meet with my parents' pastor and others, so that I could better sort out truth from fable for myself, and not be led astray in my quest for the meaning of life.
It was then that I began to read the Book of Mormon to find out for myself if all of this really could be true.
Subsequently, after reading the Book of Mormon and also the Bible (cover to cover), I knelt alone in my parents' living room on one hot Summer afternoon.
Confessing to God that I still had serious doubts about Him and feeling foolish in my awkward attempt to pray, I nevertheless boldly challenged Him to tell me if He was real and if the Book of Mormon was true.
The surprising, satisfying, and immediate reply from Him to my belligerent yet anxious prayer infused me with both joy and gratitude.
My parents thereafter stunned me with their hostile reaction to my newfound faith, refusing to give me permission to be baptized or to have any further contact with the LDS Church or its members.
It wasn't until six years and many missteps later, when I had reached the then legal age of consent (twenty-one) and was a student at Frostburg State College, that I at long last revisited my previous inquiry to God and finally was baptized (in Cumberland, MD).
Sadly, my family and college chums opposed my rediscovered faith and subsequent baptism, and many of them even went so far as to deride my change of heart.
This personal quest of mine began about fifty years ago.
Now, I am an adoptive and divorced parent, multiple times recovered cancer patient, and one who has been through my share of personal trials.
I promise you, in the name of Jesus Christ, that the Book of Mormon is the most correct of any book on Earth and contains the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ (in tandem with the Holy Bible) as well as the answer to your heartfelt prayers.
And so it is that all I am or ever hope to be I owe to the Book of Mormon, two young Missionary Elders, and a boyhood neighbor who took the time and cared enough to lead me to the meaning of life.
So, this is my response to those of you who have been curious about of me and my friend Ray, for whom my love and gratitude exceeds all others.
(Some of my favorite Book of Mormon passages are 2 Nephi 28:29 and 29:3-13. Also read in the Book of Mormon: Mosiah, Chapter 2, verse 4; and in the Doctrine & Covenants: Section 112, verse 11 and also Section 121, verses 41 & 42).

For a free copy of the Book of Mormon and/or the King James version of the Bible, call 1-888-438-7557, on any day or at any hour.

Postscript: For more about my experiences and perspective, please also visit www.Mormon.org/me/4Y8B

Friday, March 03, 2017

Faith & Politics: My Personal Pilgrimage

This following previous post of mine struck me as even more relevant now, when so many of us are prayerfully pondering and even fasting about our 2016 election choices and the fate of our nation:

Federal Judge Thomas B. Griffith* previously delivered an address, "A Mormon Approach to Politics" **, at the Brigham Young University Milton A. Barlow Center, and his perspective struck a resonating chord within my heart and mind , so much so that it prompted me to summarize my own perspective herein.

To me, the principles of my faith and my political views mostly are parallel, each supporting and defining the other, perhaps much in some ways akin to how the Book of Mormon supports and further defines the Bible.

Although first elected in 2010 as a Republican in the mostly Democrat West Virginia House of Delegates, my political affiliation is not the primary driving force on my views about governance.

Indeed, I agree with our nation's founding father, George Washington, who disparaged the fractious and feckless political partisanship that so sadly distracts and diverts us from good governance.

And so it was that, when I initially and somewhat reluctantly ran for election, I considered myself mostly as an independent and liberty minded "Constitutional" candidate.

I continue to strive to act upon and follow those guiding principles.

I stoutly believe that our United States Constitution and "Bill of Rights" is a sacred and dynamic document that succors liberty and individual accountability, as well as fosters economic prosperity.

As a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church), my faith reinforces my belief that our United States Constitution was drafted "...by the hands of wise men whom (God) raised up into this very purpose, and redeemed the land by the shedding of blood." (LDS Doctrine & Covenants, Section 101, Verse 80)

I also believe that our Constitutional rights should and must be preserved, "That every man may act in doctrine and principle pertaining to futurity, according to the moral agency which (God has) given unto him, that every man may be accountable...". (LDS Doctrine & Covenants, Section 101, Verse 78)

Our Latter-day Saint mantra of individual accountability and "agency" (freedom of choice) parallels my political philosophy of individual liberty and economic freedom.

Also, as a Latter-day Saint and follower of Christ, I believe and continue to strive to practice the principle of charity (the pure love of Christ) toward others and tolerance of them and their various lifestyles.

However, it is, to me, a perversion of these principles, when we attempt to force our fellow citizens and rob them of their personal accountability and freedom by government fiat.

My heart truly does bleed for the less fortunate, but it is a puzzlement to me when others use their sympathy for the less fortunate to justify expanding initiative destroying government entitlement programs and creating even more of them (more of both the programs and the less fortunate).

In my view, these expanding government dependency programs and policies weaken the foundation of our families. They create a sense of expectation that the government somehow is responsible for our welfare and happiness. In doing so, the strength of our families and the health of our nation increasingly crumbles, to the peril of all of us and our children.

Indeed, former social worker and United States Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan (D-New York) previously warned us that our rush to increase government control over our lives would lead to the breakdown of our families and an increasingly large and permanent caste system of the underprivileged. His prediction was prophetic, and we now have third and fourth generations of people becoming prey to government entitlements. Increasingly, they now mistakenly look to the government for their well-being and even their happiness.

Nowhere has this been more dramatically demonstrated to me than when I previously worked as a prison case manager, dealing with inmates, many of whom had come to expect and even demand "lock-up welfare".

Our prisons are overflowing, our freedoms are eroding, and our taxes are increasing - all because we are prostituting our sacred birthrights to the government for "pottage". (Genesis, Chapter 25, Verses 29-34)

Moreover, my Latter-day Saint view of good governance is that God "holds man accountable for their acts in relation to them, both in making laws and administering them, for the good and safety of society", and that "...no government can exist in peace, except such laws are framed and held inviolate as will secure to each individual the free exercise of conscience, the right and control of property, and the protection of life." (LDS Doctrine & Covenants. Section 134, Verses 1-2)

Further, "...all men are justified in defending themselves, their friends, and property...from the unlawful assaults and encroachments of all persons in times of exigency...". (LDS Doctrine & Covenants, Section 134, Verse 11. See also the 2nd Amendment to the United States Constitution)

In essence, my faith mirrors that of a Pre-Columbian American prophet, who proclaimed, "My soul standeth fast in that liberty in the which God has made us free." (Book of Mormon, Alma, Chapter 61, Verse 9)

Although not born or raised in the LDS faith, I now cannot discern much, if any, difference between my faith and my political views. The origin of my current viewpoint on government is somewhat akin to the old riddle about which came first (the chicken or the egg?). It now is all the same to me.

And so it goes.


*Judge Griffith currently serves as a circuit judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Washington, D.C. (District of Columbia) Circuit.

**"A Mormon Approach to Politics" was published in the Brigham Young University (BYU) Studies Quarterly, Volume 52, Number 1 (2013) .


Note: Former West Virginia Delegate Larry D. Kump (2010-2014, twice served two year terms of office) is a High Priest in the Hedgesville, West Virginia Ward and the Martinsburg, West Virginia Stake. He previously worked as a prison case manager, lobbyist, public administrator, labor relations & ethics expert and advocate, group therapist for sex offenders, and certified arbitrator and mediator. His political issues website is www.LarryKump.us


The Kump Family Castle

The Kump Family Castle,”Schloss Matzen”, in Austria (no foolin’!)

There simply is no truth to the rumor that there is a Duchy of Kumpsylvania in Austria. There’s just no “Mouse that Roared” there.

More about “Schloss Matzen”: One of Europe’s most romantic medieval castles, lies high in the Austrian Tyrol, where the air is crisp and clean. The location is Reith im Alpbachtal, in the Ty…rolean Alps of western Austria, approximately 30 miles/50 km northeast of Innsbruck, about a 90 minute drive or train from Munich or Salzburg (it is less than 5 minutes drive from the nearest train station and Autobahn exit). The castle was first referred to in 1167 and has been privately owned ever since. It’s history also includes highlights such as its Baroque chapel being twice consecrated by bishops who would go on to become Pope. Teddy Roosevelt also visited it at the turn of the century, as a hunting companion of the former owner. The size of the building is approx. 20,000 square feet, including the 6 story tower, on a 2.4 hectare (approx. 6 acre) lot, half-surrounded by an Austrian nationally-protected public park. There are approximately 60 rooms, depending on how you count rooms (there are several long, arcade passageways), including 12 guest rooms appointed with antique furnishing and private bathrooms with modern heating, plumbing and electricity. It is connected to the local sewer system and has its own private spring water supply

Thursday, March 02, 2017

A Letter to a Friend, about the Importance & Power of Patriarchal Blessings

Dear XXXXXX,

Your recent email regarding your Mom Doris' untimely death was both spiritually and emotionally powerful. It moved me in many ways.

In particular, your mention of both of your parents' Patriarchal Blessings caused me deep reflection about my own Patriarchal Blessing and the events of my life so far.

For example, as we are encouraged to study and learn from the Scriptures, reading and prayerfully pondering them over and over again throughout our lives, we continue to learn and strive to put their eternal principles into effect within our own life.

So it also is that our Patriarchal Blessings are Scripture, written only for us.

When I received my own Patriarchal Blessing on November 29th, 1969, I was deeply awed, but did not understand most of it at the time.

Over the many years since then , my prayerful and frequent study of it has revealed many more things to me and I have been so blessed, as I struggled to apply those understandings to my circumstances of the moment.

One personal example is that my blessing assures me that my Guardian Angel will preserve and extend my life, for purposes known to God, and this truly has been so.

Further, a Patriarchal promise also was made to me that I always would have the material things necessary for life, and this also has been so, even as I often struggled along the way.

Neither of those two blessings came without personal heartaches and wrestlings on my part, but their promise was sure.

And so, just as our minds are enlightened as we continue to prayerfully ponder the Scriptures and strive to learn more from frequent and prayerful Temple participation, so it also is that we are blessed by frequent and prayerful pondering of our Patriarchal Blessing.

There even is one portion of my Patriarchal Blessing that has been mostly (if not completely) fulfilled, but of which my understanding still is not complete.

There is yet another portion which has been fulfilled, I think, but in a way that continues to somewhat perplex me.

Accordingly, as I continue to pray and ponder about the personal scripture of my own Patriarchal Blessing, more understanding and ability is given to me. This happens line upon line and precept upon precept, just as we receive all of our other blessings and understandings from God in our lives.

It only was recently, for instance, that I realized that the absence of one topic in my Patriarchal Blessing was purposeful, and omitted by Our Father in Heaven in order to shield my heart.

Thank you ever so much for reminding and strengthening me in all of this.

Yours in the Gospel,

Larry

Postscript: There's more of this about that @ www.Mormon.org/me/4Y8B

Wednesday, March 01, 2017

To a Romantic Defender of the Downtrodden, in Memoriam

Although my personal heroes include the great latter-day American prophet Joseph Smith and also my kinsman Patrick Henry, Thomas L. Kane ("The Little Colonel") likewise claims a special place in my heart.

He never met Joseph Smith, but perhaps became Brigham Young's best non "Mormon" friend, and spent much of the rest of his life championing the cause of the struggling Latter-day Saints, beginning after they were forcibly expelled from Nauvoo, Illinois and driven, on bare and bloody feet, out of the United States of America into what then was part of Mexico (now Utah).

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) Patriarch John Smith gave Colonel Kane one of the few Patriarchal Blessings ever bestowed upon a non-member.

Although from a well-respected and politically powerful Pennsylvania family, the Colonel was a sickly and diminutive man.

He believed that he would end his days as a lonely bachelor, but the Patriarch promised him an eventual companion and comforter to be his partner and loving help-mate.

The Colonel found great joy when he later met and married Elizabeth, and later said that his only regret was that John Smith no longer was alive to witness the fulfillment of that promised blessing.

The Patriarch also blessed Thomas that he always would be remembered and beloved by the Saints, and this also has been so.

When Thomas finally passed away and crossed the veil, I believe that both Brigham Young and John Smith were there to gratefully welcome him.

Recommended Reading: "Liberty to the Downtrodden: Thomas L. Kane, Romantic Reformer", by Matthew J. Grow, Yale University Press. 2009.

Please visit www.LarryKump.us, share this message with others, and ask them to go and do likewise!