Sunday, July 10, 2016


In order to help us understand the length of existence of our mother earth in the unmeasurable scale of eternity, science has developed a scale which seems to go from the billions of years which make up ‘supereons’ to the relatively few hundreds of years which make up what are called ‘ages’. Scattered along the scale between these two measuring tools we find reference to ‘eons’, ‘eras’, ‘periods’ and ‘epochs’.

Although those of us whose scientific growth stopped shortly after our High School graduations, flippantly use these words interchangeably, real scientists have very specific uses for these terms.

For example, the formation of our planet had its beginning roughly 4.55 billion years ago (plus or minus 1%). Their definition, not mine, which, of course, falls into a measurement called a ‘supereon’.

Australopiticus, the genus of Hominids from whom they say we seem to have evolved, seems to have come into existence about 3.9 million years ago, which, of course, would be an ‘eon’ type of measurement.

Our most recognizable relatives, the Homo sapiens, appeared on the scene about 160,000 years ago, which, as we all know, is but a ‘period’ of time, since it involves only thousands of years.

Ages seem to be used to denote periods of hundreds of years and epochs. Well, I will let you look that one up.

Scripturally, all of these measurements seem to fall under such nonscientific terms such as days, dispensations, times and lengths.
The simplicity of this is probably a very foundational reason why I became a professor of religion rather than of science.

I have a hard time deciding whether my own life should be divided into ‘ages’ or ‘epochs’ (did you look it up?). Anyway, my life now spans the ‘micro age’ between the beginning of the second third of what historians refer to as the 20th century C.E. and the first third of the 21st century C.E.

I can divide my life into the following (I will use the Biblical term) ‘days’.

My infancy was during the ‘days’ when the world’s ‘Greatest Generation’ was being processed by the ‘war to end all wars’.

These ‘days’, of course, followed quickly on the heels of the events referred to as the roaring, flapping and depressing ‘epochs’. (And you still haven't looked it up!)

My adolescence took place during the postwar, rebuilding, expansion ‘days’. And the radio and dial telephone were our main link to the rest of the world.

My teens were spent during the Happy Days ‘days’. And the main link to the rest of the world was a black and white television and touch dial telephone.

Our (we twain now became one) young adult ‘days’ were spent when the ‘American Dream’ was reaching reality for many, while the ‘unaccounted for’ were ignored and secretly being left behind. And the colored television and bulky cell phones became our main link to the rest of the world.

Our middle age ‘days’ were spent during the time racism and intolerance were being legislated out of existence. And the computer and the flip phone became our link to the rest of the world.

The final ‘days’ of our mortality have brought us to the stark reality that the more we talk about equality and the ‘oneness of family’ of the earth’s inhabitants, the more we seem to create endlessly additional factions and divisions. And skyping and the smart phone became our link to the rest of the world.

In a very strange way, the rapid changes which have taken place during the ‘days’ of my life can be understood to some degree by an event which took place while we were living in Tooele, Utah, in the 1960’s with our very young family.

I was at the time principal of the Tooele LDS Seminary. The faculty of the seminary included myself and three other teachers. If memory serves me correctly we probably had 90% of the students who attended Tooele High School enrolled in our classes. One of the students was a wonderful young lady named Gayle Randall. Besides occasionally tending for our growing brood of boys, Gayle also turned out to be related. It only took two short steps through my brother in law to make her a ‘cousin’.

Anyway, Gayle’s father had a small mink ranch and one day Gayle presented me with a clip on tie made of a single mink’s pelt.

I do not intend to get into a debate on the ‘evil of’ or the ‘justification of’ draping one’s body with the skins of animals which were sacrificed for the use. I just want to use this little trinket as an example how the superficial idea of Happy Days has evolved into the divisive Politically Correct Days in which we now live.

When I first received the tie, I would put it on on special occasions and find that everyone, and I do mean everyone, admired it and had to give the pelt the blow test to identify it as really being genuine mink.

In the 70’s as Happy Days became a very popular television program, I found I had to leave the tie on the rack, because there were a few, and I do mean a few, who would have spray painted my tie if they had caught me wearing it.

By the time Happy Days was remembered only as a periodic question on Jeopardy, the tie had found its way into a container where treasures of my personal history are stored.

Since my point is not to justify or condemn the use of animal skins as apparel, you might ask, ‘what then is the point of this Thought?’

I have become convinced as time is measured in ‘infinite’ terms, a ‘supereon’ is only a blink of an eye; therefore, the ‘days’ of my life can indeed be called an epoch. (Did you look it up?) Jacob, the son of Lehi, both of whom were prophets in the Book of Mormon, tried to express the passing of mortality by saying his life had passed as if it were a dream. Kathleen says there is a Blackfoot proverb which says, ‘Life is the flash of the firefly in the night, the breath of the buffalo in winter time’. Whatever unit we choose to use ( I am sure our life time is less than a nano second to our Heavenly Father) the foibles of our ‘days’ which we deem to be of such importance will one day be but faint memories tucked away in some small container in a corner of our minds.

Elder Boyd K. Packer was fond of using the term ‘fried froth’ to express the minuteness of importance most of our special projects and activities have in the eternal scheme.

If I have gleaned anything from my few ‘dreamt days’ it is that the only really important thing we do during mortality is recognizing and receiving the love of God, learning to love Him with all our hearts, minds and souls, and striving to love all our ‘cousins’.

All else is but ‘fried froth’.

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