Sunday, July 29, 2012


Archaeologists are trained to make judgments about the accomplishments of ancient civilizations based on the artifacts which have survived the ravishings and rustings of time; labeling one very lengthy era as ‘Stone Age’ because of a few simple tools which have been uncovered, dated and categorized and branding another ‘Industrial’ to describe men’s actions as they began to desert their home-farms and congregate together in cities around factories in order to facilitate the production of goods.

I am among those who feel a little uneasy about the premise of archeology which records the accomplishments of mortals based on a few material droppings.

How grateful we should be that our loving Heavenly Father is not a fanatical archeologist. We should give continual thanks that He will never make sweeping generalizations about the accomplishments of His children based on the accumulations of their peers. We should find comfort knowing that each child’s life will be judged independently according to their own efforts, accomplishments and progress.

This individualistic concern of our Father in Heaven was dramatically demonstrated in the biblical history of the of the twin cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. Through a vision he promised Abraham that if but tem righteous could be found in the cities, all the inhabitants would be spared for their sakes. As things turned out only the families of his cousin Lot were spared as the heavens rained fire.

It is one of the truly good news’ of the gospel, that even though we might have our time on earth in an era when mankind is practicing dehumanizing lifestyles, our worthiness for a place in God’s Kingdom will be judged solely on our personal adherence to His revealed principles.

Elijah long ago invited the people of his day to choose between Jehovah and Baal.
Just as in those long ago days, we must likewise learn to clarify righteous priorities.

We can no more walk in two divergent paths in comfort than ancient Israel could attempt to serve both false idols and the true God and still remain a covenant people.

Daily we must decide if ‘making the sale’ is more important than remaining totally honest in our dealings.
We must constantly determine whether we will fill our minds with vulgarity of dominate our thoughts with purity.

Do we interact with our fellows in shadows of the profane or do we walk well on the right side of the line of integrity?
Has the ‘social register’ become a more important gauge of our worth than the barometer which measures how well we are serving our fellows?

Joshua declared that these decisions were not to be tarried upon, but that they should be made today.

It is today that we must decide whether we desire our lives to be judged by some future digger as he examines the plastics and polyesters which have been accumulated in mountainous heaps throughout the lands.

It is today that we must live our lives with a desire to be judged by a loving Heavenly Father who will search our individual souls and with His infinite wisdom, mercy and omniscience be able to view with total clarity and absolute reality what we each have become.

We must always remember that He will never determine our level of advancement by inventorying the material stuff we had accumulated, but will scrutinize our souls to see how close we have come to emulating the attributes of our Celestial Parents.

We will find comfort that He will never look at the ‘Jones next door’ in order to determine how far I have come, but will always judge me according to my personal abilities, opportunities and progress.

Sunday, July 22, 2012


The Thought For a Sabbath Day you have been receiving the last two months were written well in advance as I prepared for my triple laminectomy and then subsequently my second surgery to repair the spinal leak which was a gift from the first surgery.

As my great friend and computer mentor Paul Maddox once wrote to me in response to my stating in the ‘Before Notice’ of one of my Thoughts that I wouldn’t be having any thoughts the next week: “I can’t believe you could go a week without any thoughts.”

I want it to be known that I have not gone the last two months without any thoughts. I just haven’t had the ability to spend extended time at the computer to write them down. I did have a pad handy and jotted down what I will now present as my ‘Sermons in a Sentence,’ which have come to me during my recovery period.

Gathering pearls of kind acts done is more beneficial than casting stones.

Open arms gather more love than cold shoulders.

Kind words add to joy more than biting comments.

Smiles bring us closer than frowns.

Mercy strengthens relationships while judgments weaken them.

Helping hands lift while closed fists damage.

Understanding unites while misunderstanding widens gulfs.

Adding to another’s treasure pile is better than digging a pit.

Sharing will always bring more blessings than coveting.

Spirit guided deeds are superior to selfish actions.

Accountability builds while blaming destroys.

Listening brings understanding while a deaf ear results in ignorance.

Open eyes give enlightenment while shut eyes will always result in dimness.

Patience profits while intolerance robs.

Ministering is more magnificent than managing.

Singing praises helps growth while critical remarks are deadening.

Faithfully looking forward leads to vision and progress.

Woefully looking back leads to stumbling and hesitation.

Giving brings satisfaction while getting soon leaves us wanting more.

Tender teachings are longer lasting than directive ultimatums.

Providential unforeseen blessings are often more beneficial than well planned adventures.

As these ‘Sermons in a Sentence’ might indicate I continue to believe that the most important part of our earthly probation is how we treat one another. I don’t believe that any amount of clean living, any financial giving or positions of leadership will go as far as loving relationships in preparing us for our Eternal Existence.

It has been an interesting year for Kathleen and me, but hopefully we are both on the continual improvement part of the experience. I am especially grateful that we once again are able to spend these few minutes sharing with all of you.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

HIS WORK AND GLORY (part three)

Even though I never had to, nor was I inclined, to use stars, smiley faces, percentages and alphabet letters in my classes to reinforce the learning of those who attended, as the days of my mortality have lengthened, I have become increasingly aware and grateful that our Heavenly Father is not only going to be the administrator of our FINAL EXAM, but he also created a system whereby we can have frequent feedback on our progression.

The love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us. (Romans 5:5)

Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error. (1 John 4:6)

Besides the feelings which give us strong indications whether our choices are pleasing unto our Father in Heaven, we will also know by the inclination we have to work in His ways and do His works, whether we are progressing in our efforts to put on His attributes and characteristics.

The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance … If we live in the Spirit, let us walk in the Spirit. Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another. (Galatians 5:22-26)

We are also given to understand that our Heavenly Father desires to help us progress at the pace He knows we are capable of moving, and will give us appropriate assignments when He knows we will complete them.

The Holy Ghost, even the comforter, which showeth all things and teacheth the peaceable things of the kingdom. Behold I say unto you … I have looked upon thy works and I know thee. And verily I say unto thee, thine heart is now right before me at this time; and, behold, I have bestowed great blessings upon thy head. (Doctrine and Covenants 39:6-8)

There seem to be times when our Father knows that drastic intervention is needed, that will put us back on to the path which will lead toward fulfilling our existence. We will one day recognize with grateful hearts that His course correcting discipline came upon us because of His abundant love and mercy unto His children.

Behold he changed their hearts; yea, he awakened them out of a deep sleep, and they awoke unto God. Behold, they were in the midst of darkness; nevertheless, their souls were illuminated by the everlasting word … (Alma 5:7)

Thou knowest that thou hast inquired of me and I did enlighten thy mind; and now I tell thee these things that thou mayest know that thou hast been enlightened by the Spirit of truth. (Doctrine and Covenants 6:15)

Evidently the Master Teacher is ready to bestow upon His student children extra credit assignments when they recognize the need for them and petition for these lessons.

If ye will not harden your hearts, and ask in faith, believing that ye shall receive, with diligence in keeping my commandments, surely these things shall be made know unto you. (1 Nephi 15:11)

Blessed art thou for what thou hast done; for thou hast inquired of me and behold, as often as thou hast inquired thou hast received instruction of my Spirit. (Doctrine and Covenants 6:14)

Having spent some time searching the scriptures I am convinced that Divine Instruction can and should be part of our mortal learning. We can have the privilege of a fairly constant feedback on the correctness of our thoughts, words and deeds.

However, I remain a bit unsure whether this feedback comes because the spirit which inhabits our bodies is able to remember and recall the instructive processes of its previous existence or because the body which houses that spirit is learning how to receive and interpret these interactions from the Creator. My heart tells me that the answer lies in a well-planned Eternal combining of the two.

Random related thoughts:

Sometimes we give ourselves a smiley face by looking back where we were, remembering what we have overcome and looking forward with hope to that which we might someday be.

There is nothing to be gained by comparing our personal growth to ‘A’ or ‘F’ companions during our mortal passages.

There is a direct correlation between our diligence in our studies and the progress we will make.

Sunday, July 1, 2012


Having briefly expressed my experiences and opinions which are the result of a life spent in classrooms, writing on wallboards, I will now venture into an area, which like Paul, I as yet but see through a glass darkly.

How does a loving Eternal Father judge and help His children to become ‘all that they can become?’

For behold this is my work and my glory – to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man. (Moses 1:39)

How extensively can we apply our Heavenly Father’s methods to our earthly relationships as we attempt to encourage the progression of one another?

I tell you these things that ye may learn that when ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God. (Mosiah 2:17)

As only deity can do, our Father in Heaven will hold each child accountable for their individual opportunities, abilities and availability to knowledge during their mortal days of probation.

For the Lord God giveth light unto the understanding; for he speaketh unto men according to their language, unto their understanding. (2 Nephi 31:3)

Our Heavenly Father directs individuals and nations according to their capacities and opportunities.

For behold the Lord doth grant unto all nations, of their own nation and tongue, to teach his word, yea, in wisdom, all that he seeth fit that they should have; therefore we see that the Lord doth council in wisdom, according to that which is just and true. (Alma 29:8)

Besides our limited ability to see through the glass darkly, we must never forget the vastness of the gulf which exists between the meagerness of the mortal mind and the Omniscient Immortal mind of our Heavenly Father.

Although this gulf exists I also believe that it is part of my assignment while I sojourn on this probationary planet to do all I can to help myself and others rise toward our potential.

I truly believe it is a major part of our earthly calling to be about our Father’s business, by going about with all our heart, might, mind and soul to:

Build – Edify – Strengthen others in all our interactions

Reinforce their self-worth with positive loving comments

Eliminate criticism and increase constructive advice when it is petitioned

Lead and admonish only in circumstances where my stewardship is well defined

Teach correct principles and then stand aside while others exercise their agency

As I attempt to do all I can to maximize my mortal potential I believe it is also part of my earthly responsibility to try too:

Continually strive to increase my testimony that I am the spiritual offspring of Heavenly Parents

Keep in remembrance that I was not sent to mortality with a propensity to fail

Do all I can to use my agency in accordance with my Father’s will

Retain a positive attitude while trying to diminish negative moments

Understand that I am of value while minimizing selfishness

Although these lists are short and incomplete they at least can start me on the quest to becoming the stepping stone for myself and others I was sent to earth to be.

Wherefore you are called to cry repentance unto this people. And if it so be that you should labor all your days in crying repentance unto this people, and bring, save it be one soul unto me, how great shall be your joy with him in the kingdom of my Father. (Doctrine and Covenants 18:14, 15)