Sunday, November 9, 2014


I don't know if it is the contentedness which seems to have filled my soul during my eighth decade of life or if it is the fact that I don't have a stoop to sit and ponder on, (that is a porch for you young folks who might be reading this and have no idea what a stoop is – that would probably mean everyone under the age of 40), but I’ve become comfortable with spending a few hours each day reading what is happening in the lives of friends through the medium of Face Book
Are you ready – here comes the ‘but’!

I find that a day seldom passes:

Where my contentedness is not rudely interrupted by some form of contention

Where the counsel of prophets has been ignored and people refuse to disagree without being disagreeable

Where different opinions on political principles seems to give license to spew forth personal character offenses upon others rather than seeking for a common ground to stand upon

Where religious differences determine the value or lack thereof of a person’s words and life

Where differences of pigmentation are referred to negatively rather than the beauty which comes from variety

Where differences of life styles and physical characteristics are spoken of in biblical terms, reserved in former times for lepers, forever broadening the gap between neighbors, rather than following the counsel of prophets that we are to be continually seeking for inclusion

I have lost the reference, but I know it can be found in the Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith: “It grieves us that there is no fuller fellowship; if one member suffers we all feel it; by union of feeling we obtain power with God.”

When I was in High School in Garden Grove, California, the dominant clique was white. I use the word dominant, but there were definite schisms within the dominant group. There were rich kids, popular kids, middle class kids, poor kids, hoods and sissies, who all fell under the umbrella of the dominant white group. Members of our small Mormon kids group at times were included in one of the other white sub groups and at other times were excluded. However, we in no way suffered the damnation of exclusion which the Latino and Asian students had to endure.

There was a time when one of my best friends was a brilliant Asian young man. Occasionally, I would be with him when some ugly epithet spewed from the mouth of one of the dominant group. The irony was that his family was the largest land owner in the area served by Garden Grove Union High School and probably much wealthier than any of those who prided themselves as being in the rich kids sub group of the dominant white group.

There were several times during my four years of high school when war was declared in the parking lot adjacent to the school. In those days there was always room in the parking lot for war, because there were few students who had a car or who were able to drive their parent’s car to school. Anyway, the participants on one side of the war varied from hoods, to jocks, to etc., but the participants on the other side of the war were always the Latino group. The lopsidedness of the participants made it so that the relatively small group of Latinos who were part of the Argonauts in those days eventually had to band together as they went from class to class and to and from school.

I tell you this sad tale of my high school years, so that you will understand two things. First, I never once went out of my way to befriend or even say anything nice about anyone in the Latino group and, second, I wondered about the inspiration connected with my call to serve in the Northern Mexico Mission when I was 19.

I am sure that it is because of the time I spent as a young man and the time Kathleen and I were privileged to serve in Colombia as not so young people that my prejudices have evolved to be so strong when it comes to the universal brotherhood and sisterhood of the inhabitants of this small sphere.

I am grateful that I daily understand and appreciate more the words of the well-traveled Will Rogers when he said ‘he never met a man he didn’t like.’

(To be continued)

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