Sunday, July 27, 2014


If hotcakes sell like my books there are a lot of people not eating breakfast!!

After much coaxing and cajoling Matthew finally got around to writing the recollections of his life. As he sat with poised pen two themes seemed apparent to him.

The first was how, in reflection, it was almost mysterious how even those shortest days of winter’s bitterness, which had seemed endless as he toiled and trudged through them, now seemed as though they had been fleeting moments.

The second was even stranger in his mind for he well knew that large portions of his life had been spent in pain and suffering, but now as he was about to put pen to paper, his whole being burned with satisfaction and a sense of his life being worthwhile.

With all the urging of his kin, the real stimulus for his finally breaking the barrier of silence about his life, had come just last Sunday when the prestigious pioneer prophet Brigham Young had admonished those who had participated in the restoration’s infancy to chronicle their lives as a legacy to future generations of the Kingdom.

As he listened to the prophet’s voice and those feelings of obedience begin to stir in his soul, the first thought which came to him was, how could it have been forty years since Heber C. Kimball first told him of the earthly visit from the Eternal Father and his Son to a young lad in a small township of the state of New York?

It seemed as though life had turned its pages as rapidly as he had turned the pages of that marvelous book which had been delivered to the young Seer by the ancient writer Moroni.

Yesterday’s watering turn didn't seem much further in his past than those days on the trails between Kirtland and Far West.

The sermons and revelations of Joseph, the prophet of the restoration, seemed every bit as present in his mind’s eye as Brigham’s admonishing words of the Sunday just passed.

He didn't find himself putting many words on the pages in front of him, but as he glanced out his open doorway on this beautiful summer evening he could see the spires of the magnificent Temple reaching to the sky and ever closer to the day of being dedicated as a House of the Lord. A day which would be heralded by the saints when they could once again enter into His house to do the sacred work which had been revealed in the yet uncompleted and soon to be destroyed Temple in the city beautiful on the shores of the mighty Mississippi.

All the years of witnessing babes being born into mortality and of the old and not so old being born into immortality seemed to melt into a strange present. Then, for a moment he allowed himself to be distracted by the gentle busyness of his great granddaughter Leah, so recently come from her Heavenly Parents, who was stirring near his chair.

His thoughts wandered to this morning, or maybe it was yesterday, it was almost alarming how quickly his today’s turned into yesterday’s, as he stood leaning on the rail fence looking over the promised bounteousness of this year’s yield on land that was not so long ago part of a vast valley of barrenness. The thought crossed his mind, wondering if this was what Isaiah and Nephi had seen when they prophesied of a time when the desert would blossom as a rose. He chuckled inside as he remembered that the blossoming wasn't a springing forth miracle, but it had taken the toil of the many, to reservoir water in the mountains and then dig the ditches to the valley floor, which was but a small beginning of the labor necessary to coax grain and fruit from that once dry but now carpeted valley.

The pangs of the many that perished during the trials in Missouri, the persecutions of Nauvoo, the life sucking miles on the plains, and finally the building of Zion on the mountain tops, had long ago been tempered and eased through constant study and increased understanding as line upon line Heavenly Father’s Plan replaced the pain of loved ones lost with the reality of the gifted resurrection and the continuousness of life.

As the shadows lengthened along the valley floor Matthew uttered a silent prayer of gratefulness that the shadows of uncertainty and doubt had been taken away from his mind and heart and had been replaced by the illumination and more sure witness which had been revealed to him by a still small voice from the Holy Spirit.

Matthew leaned back in his chair and a smile broke through the sun baked creases on his face as he once more glanced at his great granddaughter and realized the miracles which had transpired during his life time, as what had seemed like an endless harsh horizon looming before him, had now turned into a soothing hew in the twilight of his mortal phase of existence.

He struggled for a moment to try to see if he could envision what his little Leah would see as she progressed through her probationary period. Whatever he might have seen was quickly swallowed up in the here and now and he knew he would have to wait for a future time to see more clearly.

Matthew laid his pen aside and reread through the dimness of his moistened eyes the last words of his story, ‘Know thou my son, that all these things shall give thee experience, and shall be for thy good” and felt his soul being filled with joy and as he allowed the goodness of the grace of God to envelope him.

Sunday, July 20, 2014


Just a reminder THOUGHTS FOR 100 SABBATH DAYS is now available on I want to thank those who have taken the time to order their copies!!

For those of you who haven't abandoned me, having been frustrated by my lengthy tale, I will continue once again where I left off last week.

My Master’s program was the most joyful educational experience of my life. I was allowed to design my own curriculum, choose my professors and set my time table for completing the degree. The only negative thing about the entire experience was that I had to drive at night in a car to and from BYU that didn't have a heater. Well maybe my oral exams don't carry a bucket full of happy memories!

Since I had had such a wonderful experience with my Master’s degree, when the opportunity to work towards a Doctorate came I jumped in with both feet.

Finally, we come to the point of this long walk down memory lane.

In one of the classes I was taking for my Doctorate degree I was given the opportunity to attend an all expense paid training session in Flint, Michigan, on Cradle to Grave Educational programs.

Not that I haven't exhausted the point, but I must emphasize the fact that up to this point, I had pretty much founded my life, my beliefs and my thoughts on those teachings which sprang from the fountains of the gospel as taught by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

During that memorable week in Flint, for some reason, for the first time in my life I was open to and found joy in being instructed by people who had no affiliation with my church. The backs of my arms were in a constant state of tingling as one after another men and women filled my mind with new thoughts, new insights, and new meanings for my chosen career and more importantly for life in general.

I left Flint with an amazing discovery, that rather than bringing doubt or conflict to the fundamentals of my understandings of life, what they had to say added depth, dimensions and dynamics to those things which were of utmost importance to me.

A torch had been lit within my soul, lighting my way toward a whole new unexplored world.

Shortly after returning home I was reading The Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith and came across one of his definitions of Mormonism. He declared, ‘that Mormonism is truth, and wherever we encounter truth, we will take it to our bosom and embrace it as Mormonism.’ Then he amplified the thought by adding, ‘it mattereth not where we find it, if the Methodists have a truth or the Baptists, then we shall embrace it and it shall be Mormonism.’

I will always be grateful that this self-imposed restraint was lifted from my life, a one week odyssey which opened my mind to be able to see beyond imagined barriers and enabled me to hear words of wisdom from previously unexplored sources.

What a personal loss it would have ensued had I denied myself the delight I have found in the teaching of the wise and inspired men of the earth, outside of my cloistered walls, who have discovered and taught inspired truths and added depth to previously known truths.

Although I will continue to have faith in the foundation I received from my fathers, I will also continue to place truthful stone upon truthful stone on that foundation from, as Joseph says, wherever I might find it. I hope there is never a day that I don't spend some time with the scriptures, and I add to that hope that there are but few of my days when I likewise am unable to enhance those truths with the teachings of Thomas Aquinas, Justin Martyr, C.S. Lewis, The Dalai Lama, Mother Teresa and enumerable others.

And as all have not faith, seek ye diligently and teach one another words of wisdom; yea seek ye out of the best books words of wisdom; seek learning, even by study and also by faith. (Doctrine and Covenants 93:118)

My hope is that whatever the prejudice is which might be keeping us from gathering truth unto ourselves will be dissolved that we might free ourselves to begin to grow and progress with new thoughts of truth and light and thereby we might experience joy.

Whatever principle of intelligence we attain unto in this life, it will rise with us in the resurrection. And if a person gains more knowledge and intelligence in this life through his diligence and obedience than another, he will have so much the advantage in the world to come. (Doctrine and Covenants 130:18, 19)

Along with the many attributes and characteristic such as grace, mercy, love and forgiveness which our Heavenly Father wishes us to emulate, intelligence is likewise numbered as part of His glory.

The glory of God is intelligence, or, in other words, light and truth. (Doctrine and Covenants 93:36)

Just a thought in passing, long drives on cold nights when filled with pondering aren't really all that bad!

Sunday, July 13, 2014


I received my copy of Volume 1 of 'Thoughts for 100 Sabbath Days in the mail yesterday and I am very pleased with the way the book has turned out. I wish to thank those who have ordered the book from and I hope that those who said they wanted a copy of the book will be ordering their copies soon!!

…as I was saying

Others might reject the acquiring of new thoughts because they have an ‘I am…’ complex. We can easily fill in the missing words.

I am too old to learn!

I am too experienced!

I have intuitive intelligence!

I am more educated than most!

‘Street smarts’ is the only learning that matters in life!

I am not capable!

These phrases ring forth as if those reciting them were old dogs, jacks of all trades, clairvoyant prodigies, charter members of Mensa International and Continental God Father’s, and are thereby exempt from the necessity of adding any new thoughts.

Since the drive home was lengthy I pondered upon others who seem to be so inundated with inferiority that they have convinced themselves of being in an unworthy state when it comes to adding new thoughts or experiences to their lives.

I have to confess that when I was young I really enjoyed singing in large groups of people commonly referred to as choirs. One night I was in such a group singing in the Hollywood Bowl. The occasion was a youth celebration for our church and I was really enjoying the experience, when during the rehearsal a young man who I evidently had been putting through a punishing experience in front of me, turned around and said ‘I wish you would sing more softly, you are so off key that I can't hit the right notes.’ I remember lip syncing through the concert and later, when I had a fairly prominent role in a musical called ‘Promised Valley’, I lip synced my way through all the group songs. One of the true signs of Kathleen's love for me is that she enjoys having me sit next to her while we sing the congregational hymns.

I know I have denied myself many wonderful experiences because of the feeling of inferiority I have when singing and I suspect there are many who have lost countless opportunities to expand their thoughts and experiences because of some interior or exterior lid which they allowed to be placed on their lives.

I wondered about those who have permanently put on a mask of pretentiousness which identifies their place in society, which would be damaged severely if they were to be seen lacking. They become petrified and stagnant because of their fear of being thought less of or having to learn from someone whom they consider to be less than they.

It seems to me that whatever the reason or justification we might use to stifle the acquisition of new thoughts, the result will always be the same.

The stifling of Growth!

The loss of the joy which comes with discovery!

Never moving closer to becoming all that they could become!

There is another personal reason which might be unique or which others might have likewise found to be a hampering weight which keeps us form gaining new thoughts.

I grew up in a rather cloistered environment as a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in towns of Utah and Idaho. Until I was 10 years old I don't know if I could have identified anyone I associated with who wasn't a member of that church.

Even when we moved to California, although I was in a very religiously mixed neighborhood and attended public schools, my thoughts, ideas, principles, patterns of life and influences mainly came from the associations I had with family and church members.

After high school I had a brief stint in Active Army Reserve Training at Fort Ord where I was introduced to some of the outside world by fellow trainees, instructors and John Steinbeck whose books I read extensively during the last three months of my active duty.

Upon returning home from my brief influences from outside sources I received a call to serve in the Northern Mexican Mission for our church. The next 2 ½ years were spent not only reemerging myself in the thoughts, ideas, principles, patterns of life and influences of my family and church, but dedicating most of every day to trying to convince others of the correctness of those ideas and ways.

After my mission I returned to college, married Kathleen, we started our family and got into our own cloistered home experiences, based on the teachings of the restored gospel in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. During the first four years after returning from my mission to Mexico I taught early morning Seminary for the Church Education System. After a few short years at Santa Ana and Fullerton College’s, and working as a Wood, Wire and Metal Lather, I was hired as a full time teacher in the Educational System of the Church.

While I was getting started on my teaching career, since I hadn't graduated from college yet, I enrolled in night and summer courses to finish my degree from Brigham Young University to be qualified as an employee of the Church’s Educational program. I was in such a rut with my education/employment schedule and since the Church was paying for my educational expenses, after graduating I immediately got started working on a Master’s degree.

To be continued

Sunday, July 6, 2014


Volume 1 of 'Thoughts for 100 Sabbath Days is now available on I hope you will enjoy having it in your homes!

Some years ago, as an introduction to a presentation I had been asked to give, I asked the audience if they had experienced a new thought recently. The expressions on their faces and the uncomfortable vibes which came at me were unexpected and in a strange way very rewarding, as I knew we were about to embark on a very lively discussion.

There were a few who responded with enthusiasm and excitement as they joyfully shared the new thought that they had recently been introduced to.

There were others who asked if a new twist on an old thought counted. I answered in the affirmative and they willingly shared the new twist they had been gifted with.

There was one who wondered if having received confirmation by an authority on a previously perceived uncertain belief could be counted. I remarked that such an experience must count double since it probably was coming from two sources.

Sadly, the majority in attendance either couldn't recall a recent encounter with a new thought or were unwilling or too timid to contribute.

One of my all-time favorite mentors, Hugh Nibley, with that elfish twinkle he got in his eye when he was about to say something which had brought joy to him, once shared a story of how after a lecture a student came up to him and with a challenging voice said, ‘I have never heard anything about most of the things you were talking about tonight.’ Rather than entering into a debate, Brother Nibley simply stated, ‘I hope not, why else would you want to listen to someone harangue for two hours. I would never sit and listen to someone for two hours if I wasn't going to glean some important new information.’

After my own presentation on the importance of constantly adding to our own stock of thoughts and having gained many new thoughts of my own that night, I was also rewarded with a whole basket of new directions I needed to take when thinking about the importance of continually adding to one’s bank of facts, knowledge and understanding.

It was exciting to see the many, who flushed by the excitement of their ‘added upon’ experiences, multiplied their joy by anxiously sharing with others.

One of the sad discoveries I came away with that night was that there are many among us who for one reason or another have placed self-imposed restrictions upon themselves which hamper and restrict the addition of new ideas in their lives.

As I drove home I pondered on the self-imposed restrictions that some of us place upon ourselves. We, for one reason or another, eliminate from our lives one of life’s most precious experiences and a great source of joy, ‘the continual process of learning’.

There have been numerous studies which track the reading habits of high school graduates and all of them seem to result in similar findings. There are about 1/3 of all high school graduates who never read a book after graduation. I have friends who consider listening to a lecture to be the highest form of unusual punishment. They seem to have enlisted in a secret society which has the motto, ‘I went to school to prepare, I am prepared, end of discussion.’

Earlier in my teaching career I had assignments in some communities where those who came to class were very uncomfortable with any ideas being shared which they hadn't heard from childhood and which hadn't been repeated in classes and talks for decades. Having to deal with a new idea or looking at a principle from another point of view was a very unnerving and uncomfortable process.

I am reminded of a short talk I had with my eldest son when he returned from school and his first day of kindergarten. I asked him what he had learned that morning and he quickly replied, ‘Everything’.

Sadly, some of us have deluded ourselves into thinking that we really have learned everything of importance. You do recall the best seller All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten (Robert Fulghum). It seems the book, even though never having been read by this group, has become the Bible and Fulghum the prophet of those who now reject the idea of continuing to learn. We can feel confident that just like all bibles, their adopted bible also sits on a shelf and draws dust and their prophet’s words are never read.

Even their justification arguments are stale and repetitious:

How often have you conjugated a sentence since you graduated?

How many times have you had to use a geometric formula since you graduated?

Very little I read in the books in high school relates to real life, so why should I fill my head with more non-essential information?

How many conversations have you had in Latin lately?

Due to technological advancement this congregation of non-readers is now able to add mathematic fundamentals, spelling, grammar and writing in complete and coherent sentences to their list of the reasons why time spent in learning is a waste. After all what do we have fingers, calculators, computers, spell check and Wikipedia for?

(To be continued …)