Sunday, December 11, 2016


I hope I didn't overuse the technique of continuums to teach a principle during the 50 years I was teaching for the Church Education System. However, during the latter part of my career it seemed like I was relying on this technique more frequently.

I remember a time, during these last years of teaching, when I had prepared a wonderful continuum to emphasize a point in a lesson and my mind wandered and I started thinking about Heavenly Father and whether He ever used continuums. I wondered if He had them for the relative goodness or badness of His children. I wondered if He did them for individuals or just humanity in general. I wondered if he had a book where he kept the continuums for the various eras.

As you probably already know, I didn't have any of those wonderings satisfied, but it was a nice moment of pondering. Hopefully, I have had other moments of pondering which have been much more productive.

There are a few continuums which have been running through my mind lately. Sadly, all of them in my opinion are not trending toward goodness.



CIVILITY ------------------------------------------------AUDACITY

CHIVALRY ----------------------------------------------EQUALITY

ELEGANCE ------------------------------------------VULGARITY

KINDNESS --------------------------------------INDIFFERENCE

I don't intend to do a history lesson on all of these continuum's, but this one cries out for a foundation on which a point will be made.

RESPECT ------------------------------------------------- DISDAIN

There was a time when the principle of agency was removed from most people’s choice of paying respect to another. Kings, Emperors, Czars, Sheiks, Knights, Samurai, Officers and all others above oneself were mandatorily paid respect by anyone considered inferior. This respect was forcibly demanded in both verbiage and body language.

I would never be one to advocate returning to the day when most of the world’s populace was kowtowing to a few of the gentry, but I think in our modern society we have swung the lever way too far to the disdain side of the continuum.

Just a little quiz about respect in the beginning of the 21st century!

Where would children calling their parents by their first names fall on this continuum?

Where would students slumping and sleeping in their most casual of attire in a classroom fall on this continuum?

Where would not using titles such as Mister or Missus or Brother or Sister fall on this continuum?

Where would your belief that all mankind are the children of a Universal Heavenly Father fall on this continuum?

Where would standing when a woman enters a room fall on this continuum?

Where would removing one’s hat during a national anthem fall on this continuum?

REVERENCE -------------------------------------------------PROFANE

Just outside of Bogota, Colombia, there is a salt mine where they have excavated inside of the mine a Cathedral in the salt near the town of Zipaquira. The Cathedral is cavernous and beautiful. On one of our P-days while Kathleen and I were serving as President of the Bogota North Mission, we accompanied a zone of our missionaries on a field trip to this very famous tourist attraction.

While we were in the sanctuary of the Salt Cathedral, several of the missionaries started acting more like teenagers on a field trip than servants of the Lord on a P-day excursion.

Neither Kathleen nor I said anything at the time, but during the next series of zone conferences there was a continuum on the board with the extremes represented by the two words Reverence and Profane.

This brings us to the point where we should be ready for our second little quiz. This one will be on the subject of Reverence in the beginning of the 21st century.

Where would texting friends during Sacrament Meeting fall on this continuum?

Where would wearing beach appropriate attire to church fall on this continuum?

Where would arriving after the Sacrament has been passed fall on this continuum?

Where would the noisiest place to be on Sunday is in the chapel just after Sacrament Meeting ends fall on this continuum?

Where would having a rock band as an attraction for Sabbath worship fall on this continuum?

Where would thinking about redecorating the living room during prayers fall on this continuum?

CIVILITY ---------------------------------------------------- AUDACITY

Not all that long ago in our civilized history, if a person had the audacity to affront another’s character, settlement would be made in the form of a duel with swords or pistols. As I witness the rapid fire affronting of character which takes place today, it immediately brings into my twisted mind, a question as to whether we could manufacture steel or lead fast enough to satisfy the duels which would be necessary to settle all of the audacious affronts happening every minute of every day.

The age where license seems to be assume in society when a person has the right to vocally utter any demeaning characterization of someone else’s personality or quirks, seems to lower a fraction every time a new calendar is magnetized to the refrigerator.

The miracles of the technical age have made it possible for us to up the frequency of our character assassinations, without the fear of cold steel or hot lead, as we hide behind cell phone and computer screens.

I am sure you have been breathlessly awaiting another pop quiz. This one will be on the subject of Civility in the 21st Century.

Where would the spreading of unsubstantiated gossip about a neighbor fall on this continuum?

Where would calling attention to an error misspoken by a family member fall on this continuum?

Where would the damning dialogue in the political arena fall on this continuum?

Where would putting a person in the service industry in their place fall on this continuum?

Where would overlooking an under charge, but never ignoring an overcharge on a bill fall on this continuum?

Where would excusing your own casualness about traffic laws while cursing the unlawful behavior of your neighbor’s casualness about such things fall on this continuum?

Since we are only half way through the list of continuum's with which I started this Thought, to no one’s surprise at all, I will be finishing this Thought in the week to come.

(To be continued)

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