Sunday, September 28, 2008


A while ago, I addressed why bad things happen to good people and noted that one of the main reasons is that people use their free will to hurt others. As someone in law enforcement, I see daily examples of men and women who hurt others. And I see the devastating consequences of their actions.
Almost two years ago, I sat in on a trial of a man who seriously assaulted an older woman. She owned a store and sold, among other things, liquor. The defendant approached her while holding a bottle of Jack Daniel's whiskey. He smashed the bottle into her face, and while she was on the ground, he jumped over the counter and used the cash register to beat her within an inch of her life. Luckily, she survived. And what makes this more tragic is that the defendant had known his victim for years. He was convicted, and during sentencing, his victim's daughter addressed him. She was full of anger and hatred. She swore her mother and their family would never be the same. That they would never be able to heal.
There are others who have been raped, abused, and even killed by those closest to them, leaving deep wounds and scars, both physical and mental.
My purpose today is to testify that those who are the victims of such atrocities can find healing through the Atonement of Jesus Christ.
Most people know that Jesus suffered for our sins and overcame the effects of physical death. But what few of us recognize is that He also knows how to heal us of from the consequences of the most atrocious acts imaginable. He know how to heal us because He has felt what we have. An ancient prophet, Alma, taught,
And [Jesus Christ] shall go forth, suffering pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind; and this that the word might be fulfilled which saith he will take upon him the pains and the sicknesses of his people.

And he will take upon him death, that he may loose the bands of death which bind his people; and he will take upon him their infirmities, that his bowels may be filled with mercy, according to the flesh, that he may know according to the flesh how to succor his people according to their infirmities.
Jesus understands our pains and sorrows because He's felt them. One of His best friends betrayed Him. (Luke 22:47-48). He was beaten, mocked, and spit on while evil men ripped His beard from His face. (Luke 22:63-65; Isaiah 50:6). Roman soldiers scourged and mocked Him. (Matthew 27:26-31). They forced Him to carry His cross and crucified Him. (Matthew 27:34-38). Passers-by mocked Him. (Matthew 27:39-44). And in His deepest anguish, He felt as if God Himself had forsaken Him. (Matthew 27:46).
Still, in an even more incomprehensible way, Jesus descended below all things to understand every possible pain, affliction, or sorrow that we may go through. (See D&C 122:5-8).
And because He has descended below all things, Jesus Christ can raise above them. He will heal us, if we let Him. True healing is possible through the sacrifice, sufferings, and Atonement of Jesus Christ.
Go to Him. His arms are outstretched. He yearns to hold you, calm you, and heal you.
To read more about how Jesus Christ can heal you, go to Richard G. Scott, "To Heal the Shattering Consequences of Abuse," Ensign, May 2008.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

It's No Pickles Cartoon, But . . .

KSL (a local Television channel in Utah) reported on my parents' pumpkin patch. Here's the video:

Sunday, September 14, 2008

More on the Bar

Sean commented that he could hook me up with a lucrative position at any number of Pankratz law firms now that I've passed the bar. His comment made me think about my "law offices" as a student during the first two years at Baylor. Pictured above is that office. I looked in vain for a picture of the shingle my wife hung over the door. It read, "Law Offices of Craig L. Pankratz, Student at Law." I figure that if I hung my shingle, my new office would look something like this. (And I'd be playing the guitar because I wouldn't have any clients).
But I do have something to say about the bar exam and the power of prayer. I usually don't speak about my spiritual experiences, but I feel it would be appropriate to share this one.
I studied hard to take the bar exam. But I couldn't have passed it without God's help. As I took the test, I recognized that there were quite a few things that weren't in my review materials. I had studied most of them, but it hadn't been since the first or second year of law school.
Before the exam, however, I had fasted and prayed for success. My father gave me a Priesthood blessing that my mind would be clear. My family also prayed for me, and those who were able to fasted on my behalf. And it worked.
During the exam, when I came across a question that wasn't in my materials, in my mind's eye, I could see my professors explaining the legal principle. The most striking example was on an obscure question during the essay portion of the exam. The question related to the measure of damages on a breech of a mineral extraction contract. I hadn't studied it since second-quarter contracts during my first year at Baylor. Then I saw Prof. Trail (call it a vision or a nightmare) during one of his lectures, and I had the answer.
I hated contracts. Heck, I got a "C" in second-quarter contracts. There is no way I could have recalled that information on my own.
And several other times during the exam, I saw Prof. Serr, Prof. Guinn, and Prof. Powell in my mind's eye as they explained different principles that weren't covered in my review materials.
I testify that God answered my prayers and honored the Priesthood blessing my father gave me. And the power of prayer and of the Priesthood were magnified by fasting. I know it.
And I know that God will hear and answer your prayers as you seek Him. In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Sunday, September 07, 2008

On Adversity

Last Thursday, I was turned down, yet again, for a job. The constant and consistent barrage of rejection has been maddening. I struggle and fail to understand it. And I was ready to give up. Looking at my resume, I still can't understand why no one will hire me for full-time work. All things being equal, there must be something about me that employers don't like.
Seeing my despair, my wife invited me on a date on Friday. She picked me up from my job. And we went to the Joseph Smith Memorial Building to watch, "Joseph Smith, Prophet of the Restoration." The film depicts the life and ministry of Joseph Smith from his early childhood in New England and his martyrdom in Carthage, Illinois. It also depicts key events in the history of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
The Lord blessed Joseph. He appeared to him many times. He sent Joseph John the Baptist and Peter, James, and John to restore the Priesthood. He also sent Moses, Elias, and Elijah to restore the Keys of the Kingdom of God they held anciently. And Joseph received many other visions, ministrations, and revelations throughout his life.
Yet Joseph suffered severely for teaching and testifying of what he had received from God. He was tarred and feathered, beaten, imprisoned many times, falsely accused, and murdered. Yet near the end of his life, he said:

And as for the perils which I am called to pass through, they seem but a small thing to me, as the envy and wrath of man have been my common lot all the days of my life; and for what cause it seems mysterious, unless I was ordained from before the foundation of the world for some good end, or bad, as you may choose to call it. Judge ye for yourselves. God knoweth all these things, whether it be good or bad. But nevertheless, deep water is what I am wont to swim in. It all has become a second nature to me; and I feel, like Paul, to glory in tribulation; for to this day has the God of my fathers delivered me out of them all, and will deliver me from henceforth; for behold, and lo, I shall triumph over all my enemies, for the Lord God hath spoken it. (D&C 127:2)

But Joseph never reviled against those who persecuted him. He simply trusted in the Lord.
Those who accepted Joseph as a Prophet of God partook of the same cup as he. They left everything to become Mormons. They would gather with other members of the Church and prosper for a time only to be driven out of their homes and everything they had received. Mobs burned their homes and raped, tortured, and murdered men, women, and children all because they believed that God lives, not lived and that He speaks, not spoke.
As I watched the account of their suffering, I recognized that my trials are hardly "deep water." No one has tortured me or driven me from my home. My wife and children are safe and comfortable through the generosity of loving family. And I have received the fulness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
I left the movie feeling somewhat frustrated. Not that I suffer adversity but that in such shallow water I struggle not to drown.
I am not a great man like the Prophet, Joseph Smith. Yet the Lord, in His mercy, has blessed me more than I recognize. My only hope is that if the day comes that the Lord asks me to give my life for Him, I will give it freely and without reservation, always and simply trusting in Him.