Sunday, June 21, 2015


Traveling with our family, which eventually grew to include five sons and a daughter besides Kathleen and me, always involved some very special challenges. There were years when we crammed all of us, including our luggage, into an Opal Kadette minivan. (It was fun to keep track of the cars that sped past us whose occupants couldn't help but point fingers.) There were times when we would start slowing when we would see a hitchhiker. (They would turn their backs when we got close enough for them to see the cramped mass of humanity which was approaching.) There was even one year we packed Christmas in with the rest of our stuff. (One year was more than enough to cure me of ever trying that again.) There was a year when we borrowed an almost hippie VW van from John Rand, which we were more than grateful for, but had to spend much of the trip wondering whether we would make it over the next hill, with the bear who was always being sung about going over the mountain to see what he could see. Another year, a golfing buddy, Terry Drake, lent us his almost brand new VW van, and although we made the trip with absolutely no worries, for some strange reason he never offered the use of his van again.

When we were not making another ‘rest’ stop and since this was a long time before hand held video games or portable TV’s, we had to be pretty inventive to keep a semblance of peace and civility in our confined conveyance machines. Slug Bug had to be eliminated pretty early and ‘I spy with my little eye’ became rather ridiculous since what was spied was usually miles behind before anyone came close to guessing what had been spied. We tried to confine the spying to the interior of the car, but that very quickly became repetitive and boring.

Anyway, out of all this madness, one of our favorite road activities was to take a road sign or landmark and make up a story about what was written. Kathleen was especially creative with the stories she made up about ‘falling rocks,’ ‘Honey Lake,’ ‘Big Rock Candy Mountain’ and enough others to make the princess who made up the tales of the Arabian Nights pretty jealous.

One of the things I found interesting about Kathleen’s stories, besides her ability to embellish and extend them in order to diminish the need for ‘rest’ stops, was that many of them of them included a heroine or hero being sent on a mission to accomplish some great feat which would bring about the salvation of their family or people.

I have often wondered why this theme is so ancient and has retained its universal appeal. The ancient Greek myths are loaded with heroes such as Ulysses, Achilles, Heracles and Jason and his Argonauts who were sent on rescuing missions. Modern authors and movie makers would be at a loss if this theme were to be outlawed.

One has to pause and ponder whether it is accidental that so much literature has been devoted to the theme of sending a worthy son on a mission to do something which would bring salvation and peace to a given community.

One of the first stories in the Book of Mormon tells us about father Lehi, who, against the pleadings of his wife, sends his sons to accomplish a task which was essential to the salvation of his wandering family. In this story it is interesting that there was a varying degree of reluctance and willingness among the sons who were sent forth by loving parents.

There have been times when the thought has passed through my mind as I have been reading these legends, fables, myths, historical and scriptural accounts, if the reason this theme is so universal is because of the Story of Stories about the King of Kings. This Story tells of a Heavenly Father who had two sons who were vying during their pre-mortal estate for the stewardship of becoming the Savior of mankind. In Moses’ account in the Pearl of Great Price – the Father of all children born as spirits who would eventually inhabit this world – pondered upon whom he would send to fill the office of Savior for His children from the conditions of their mortality. Each son was given opportunity to prove himself worthy of the task. The Father’s choice to send the First Born seems to have come down to the righteous understanding this son had of the Plan of Salvation, the Principle of Agency and the Appropriation of Glory.

If I meditate long enough about this subject I at times begin to contemplate which of the sons of Zeus or of Lehi’s sons or of Heavenly Father’s sons I would be most likely to emulate if I were under consideration to be sent.

Is it possible that each of us has indeed been sent and we need to understand that our life has purpose and there are some deeds which we alone may be able to accomplish?

Does one of our major tasks during mortality involve convincing ourselves that our decisions and actions are important and whatever direction we turn has the possibility of affecting the journey of the children of Eternal Parents?

If the results of my mission are of utmost importance to the Heavenly Parents who sent us all forth, should I not be doing all I can to remain worthy of receiving Their revelatory help in accomplishing that which I was sent forth to do?

I am sure the world would benefit greatly if we, like our Savior Jesus the Chris,t were prepared to go forth to do all we have been sent to do.

I am sure that many of our ancestors who ‘went and did’ as they were sent to do, little suspected the impact their actions would have on their posterity and others.

Likewise, we may never know what child in some future generation will call our name blessed because we fulfilled the mission we were sent to earth to do.

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