One of the unusual things about war is that the soldiers who fight them could be friends with their enemy, under different circumstances.
Union and Confederate soldiers who faced off against each other at the bloody battle of Gettysburg could have been fishing buddies under different circumstances.
American and German soldiers who shot at each other across the morbid wastelands of eastern France could have been hunting buddies under different circumstances.
Americans who struggled to take out a German pill boxes atop the cliffs at Omaha Beach on D-Day could have been camping buddies with the Wehrmacht soldiers under different circumstances
It is therefore not surprising that long after war’s end, after stinging memories of the savage struggle between life and death have somewhat faded, we see heartfelt expressions of friendship, glimpses of what might have been under different circumstances.
Left: Dead on the field at Gettysburg.
Right: Confederate and Union soldier embrace as friends in 1938 at the 75th anniversary of Gettysburg.
Left:WWI soliders remove dead comrade from Flander's Field in 1915.
Right: American serviceman smiles as he comforts young, frightened German soldier near the end of the War.
Left: Attack at Pearl Harbor.
Right: Japanese Dive bomber Zenji Abe and friend US Serviceman Richard Fiske unite for Pearl Harbor service. (Zenji was repentant of his country's surprise attack on the US).
In WWII captain Charlie Brown was flying his cripled B-17 flying fortress across occupied Europe and back to Britain when a German fighter pilot was dispatched to finish him off. When German fighter pilot Franz Stigler, a decorated pilot with over 25 confirmed kills, neared the heavily damaged B-17 and saw dead and wounded US airmen throughout the plane, he would not engage. Rather than shoot down the plane as ordered, he waved Capt. Brown on the correct course toward Britain and escorted him safely across hostile territory. Franz (left) and Charlie (right) became good friends 40 years after the war had ended.
Franz reported back to his unit that the B-17 went down over the Channel rather than face court-martial which may have ended in the loss of his life. If he had shot down Charlie's B-17 that day (his third), he would have earned the Knight's Cross Medal.
I think the prophet Joseph Smith said it best when he wrote to a former enemy of the church, “Come on, dear brother, since the war is past, for friends at first are friends again at last.”
In the 1980’s Dire Straits sang “I want my MTV”. After reading this, you might be singing, “I want my Vitamin D3”.
Two and a half years ago I attended a healthcare research conference where Dr. Brent Muhlestein, a cardiologist and researcher, shared some interesting findings on the benefits of Vitamin D.
Dr. Muhlestein and his team followed a group of patients over 50 and with no prior history of cardiovascular disease. They measured levels of Vitamin D during routine care visits and tracked new diagnoses of heart disease. They found that patients with very low levels of Vitamin D (< 15 ng/ml) were 1.77 times more likely to die, 1.45 times more likely to develop artery disease, 1.78 times more likely to have a stroke, and 2.00 times more likely to develop heart failure than patients with normal levels of Vitamin D (>30 ng/ml).
One year later I attended a research forum where Dr. Muhlestein again presented data on Vitamin D. In addition to the accumulating cardiovascular benefits, he presented other research showing that Vitamin D helped regulate other functions such as blood pressure and glucose control, and control inflammation, suggesting benefits for arthritis, hypertension, and diabetes, to name a few.
And six months ago when I happened to get on an elevator with Dr. Muhelstein, I asked him how his Vitamin D research was coming along. He said that things still looked promising and that it would be nice to have something as simple as Vitamin D to help them treat patients with cardiovascular disease. Currently many of his heart patients are on Vitamin D therapy.
How much Vitamin D should people take? Dr. Muhelstein pointed out that many people are Vitamin D deficient, and that for some, the 400 IU available in most multivitamins may not be enough. For now it seems that taking higher doses of Vitamin D does not put most people at risk. Even increasing Vitamin D intake to 1,000 to 5,000 IU a day may be appropriate if there are no health and genetic risks. It is not hard to find supplements with these higher doses nowadays. I’ve seen supplements with 2000 and even 5000 IUs per dose in my local supermarket.
How much Vitamin D should you be taking? That’s something to discuss with your doctor. If you have not yet heard of the newfound benefits of Vitamin D, chances are you could benefit from a prudent increase beyond what you are currently getting in your regular diet.
There are certain things that are difficult for mere mortals to conceptualize. One that I find particularly challenging is the LDS doctrine of “There [being] no such thing as an ultimate beginning, a time prior to which there was nothing” (Quote taken from Mormon Doctrine). From a mortal perpsective it seems like there should be a beginning to the universe; this is one reason why the Big Bang theory is so popular - it postulates a definite moment in time when everything began. How could there be no beginning?
Something funny about the idea of “no beginning” is that it is equally difficult to conceptualize the opposite, of there ever being a beginning. If we assume for a moment that there was a beginning to the god-created universe, then we must ask, who created the first god? An all-powerful being could not have just "poofed" into existence.
If you spend too much time thinking on the apparent impossibility of both positions, you run the risk of experiencing a minor ontological crisis over whether the things we call life and the universe really exist. Thankfully Descartes provided a temporary escape from these sorts of existential crises. Regardless of whether there was or was not a beginning to the universe, you can be certain that you exist in a universe by virtue of the fact that you are thinking about these very issues. Cogito ergo sum – I think therefore I am!
But wait, there's more.
Another influential philosopher named Bishop Berkeley (namesake of Berkeley University) pointed out that for something to exist, including ourselves and the universe, it must be perceived. He called it “Esse est percipi” – to be is to be perceived. You've no doubt heard the statement, “If a tree falls in the forest and no one is there, does it make a sound?” Bishop Berkeley asks us to consider whether the tree even exists at all if no one ever perceives it.
If you are skeptical of the need for something to be perceived in order for it to exist, you are in good company. Einstein was very skeptical of esse est percipi. The notion of something having to be perceived in order for it to exist led him to quip, “When no one is observing the moon, is it still there?” He obviously believed that the moon exists even when no one is observing it. So if Einy rejected esse est percipi then the matter is settled, right? Not quite. Esse est percipi is supported by experiments in quantum mechanics.
Consider a classical quantum mechanics study where electrons are fired one at a time from an electron gun through a double slit barrier. When the positions of the electrons are registered on a screen behind the barrier with no one present, the single-fired electrons create an interference pattern that can only be explained by the electrons behaving like a non-physical wave of potentialities after leaving the electron gun. However, when people stand at the barrier and observe electrons going through the slits, the electrons go back to being physical particles as evidenced by the pattern they leave on a screen. The upshot of all this is that when no one observes the electrons they behave like non-physical probability waves, but when people observe the electrons, they behave like physical particles.
Dr. Quantum describes this process well. Click on the video below.
So how do we reconcile esse est percipi and the quantum slit experiment with our common sense notion that physical things continue to exist even when they are not being perceived by mortal beings? The answer is the Light of Christ.
The Light of Christ is a divine source that emanates from the presence of God. It gives him instant knowledge of everything throughout all His creations. It is that Light by which He knows at an instant how many hairs are on the top of our heads. It is that Light by which He knows instantly that a sparrow died and fell to the ground in the mountains even though no one else knew it ever existed. It is that Light by which God perceives all things, thus bringing all things into continual existence.