Tuesday, September 26, 2017


Our neighbors – will never have the choice to accept or reject – or gift – unless it is offered!!

Monday, September 25, 2017


A gift which is kept unwrapped – brings no joy!!

Sunday, September 24, 2017


Shortly after returning from my mission in Northern Mexico, still not having completed my 22nd year of mortality, I received the call to teach the quorum lessons for the Elders in the Garden Grove 4th ward.

My attitude about my gospel scholarship seemed to diminish radically from the day of my call until the Sunday I was to teach my first lesson. I am sure that if I were to teach a lesson to a similar group now, they would all seem like very young men, but from the perspective I had then they seemed like a group of old sage men.

One of the things which salvaged my lessons in those days was that we were studying An Approach to the Book of Mormon by Hugh Nibley. Since, then as now, very few read the lessons in preparation for the classes, I found that I had a distinct advantage in spite of my youth, over the members of the quorum as I presented Brother Nibley’s wisdom. (Just as a side note – this made me a lifelong fan of Brother Nibley and I am sure there are few things he has written that I have not read)

Things were going delightfully well, when one Sunday after quorum meeting the Elder’s Quorum President asked me if we could have a lesson on reverence in Sacrament Meetings as the subject for our next week’s lesson before returning to what I had come to rely on as my safety net.

With all the pompous wisdom a childless young groom can have, I stood before the quorum the following week and presented my main point on how to make our Sacrament Meetings more spiritual. If parents with young children would keep their young children in tow (yes I am sure I used that word) the reverence in our meetings would increase many fold. I was sure I had done a wonderful job, since most of the class members sat quietly with their heads bowed during the lesson.

When I was rehearsing what a wonderful experience I had had to my new bride Kathleen and how I had set the world of the ward aright and how we could now expect our Sacrament Meetings to be blissful and quiet, she might as well have been speaking in tongues when she said ‘I wish you hadn't done that.’ I had no idea what she meant. I did get enough from her message to comprehend that she didn't share the same level of enthusiasm about the greatness of my lesson.

The mystery of her words started to be revealed to me with the birth of our first son, Cevin, and how his feelings about sitting in long meetings begin to be manifested in definite out of tow ways. By the time our sixth child, Erin, was a toddler, the full meaning of my wife’s lament had penetrated my thick skull.

I won't pretend to be ignorant of the meaning of her comment about our children’s behavior in church being much better when their father started receiving callings which took him away from sitting with the family during church meetings, but I will say I was grateful that we had long ago put distance between me and the members of that quorum of elders I taught in my younger days.

It was also interesting that the Elder’s Quorum President never asked me to deviate from the lesson in the manual after that lesson.

I am sure if the Prophet Nephi had been a member of the class he would have reminded me that we need to be very careful about digging pits for our neighbors which we will eventually probably fall into.

There is also that counsel about walking in someone’s moccasins before judging their reaction to circumstances.

I am sure the Savior was speaking to the problem when he cautioned us to withhold judgements of our neighbors. The sad capstone he put on that counsel was that with the same judgement we judge we also will be judged. I wonder how many recently returned missionaries have shaken their heads in disbelief (I was about to use a harsher word) at the out of tow Riley clan in Sacrament Meetings when father was with them.

I never liked shirts which didn't need ironing until I went on a mission.

Because of the way it smelled I never ate pizza until I had my first bite.

Until the scales fell from my 13 year old eyes I didn't appreciate the beauty of girls.

Not only do we cause a great deal of sorrow, harm and resentment when we pontificate ‘pseudo-wisdom’ from the pedestal we have built for ourselves, but we may also be denying ourselves many wonderful experiences because we make premature judgements. In the latter case we may deny ourselves the taste of sweetness and delight, while in the former what we thought to be great and marvelous counsel as it left our mouths may linger and turn to bitterness and embarrassment.



Saturday, September 23, 2017


It is a sad thing – when we judge people – like we judge some vegetables – we decide because we don’t like the way they look – there is no way we are going to like them!!

Friday, September 22, 2017


Just like Dicken’s Scrooge – if we made the effort – to get to know others – we just might discover – we like them!!

Thursday, September 21, 2017


It is remarkable – how much happier we are – when we are trying – to make others happier!!

Wednesday, September 20, 2017


Love expressed by words – will always fall short of – love demonstrated by actions!!

Tuesday, September 19, 2017


Doing a daily act of kindness – will put all of us – one step closer to becoming benevolent!!

Monday, September 18, 2017


We will never be in harmony – both body and spirit – until both are singing the same note!!

Sunday, September 17, 2017


Like so many other things in my life I was pretty late getting to the party, but I am extremely grateful that I finally arrived. I am grateful that I have lived with the understanding of the importance of relationships as the top priority in our eternal existence for the last few decades of my life, but somewhat saddened that it took me so long to begin to comprehend and practice what the Savoir was saying when he taught that all the laws and commandments can be condensed into Loving God with all our heart, mind and soul and our neighbor as our selves.

You would probably be well served if I were to leave off writing and just let you ponder on the words of the Lord, but then I would be left wanting, because the process of expressing myself with the written word has become an important part of my personal pondering regimen.

Let me begin corrupting the Savior’s simple formula by multiplying the two categories by three and coming up with 6 areas where our relationships are constantly being tested. Although there is no hierarchy of order other than our relationship with God being paramount, my wandering wondering has led me to present my six categories in the following order.

Relationships with Governments

During the same decades when I have come to consider the commandments and counsel of the Lord on relationships as paramount, as some of you who follow some of my tidbits on Face Book know I have proclaimed to be a charter member of The Non Political Party Party (N3P) which strives to treat all other parties with equal disdain. In this Thought I wish to put my usual Non Political Party Party (N3P) rantings aside and try to list some ways in which I believe the Lord would counsel us to relate with those government institutions we interact with.

We should promote and support governments which strive to establish peace.

We should promote and support governments which strive to establish personal freedoms.

We should promote and support governments which strive to establish the welfare of the populous.

We should promote and support governments which strive to establish and protect the rights of all citizens.

We should seek and place good people to sit in the seats of governance.

We should seek to establish those who govern people who view governing as a service rather than a career.

We should support civil servants who believe in serving rather than those who demand to be served.

We should be leery of trying to solve the problems of governments by instituting more levels of governance.

We should be comforted that bad governments based on the desires for power, wealth and servitude, historically have short shelf lives.

In the end, all people usually are governed by the amount of government they are willing to abide.

Relationships with Church (es)

Since a fundamental belief of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is that all men should have the right to worship All Mighty God as they wish, any and all relationships we might develop within the confines of church congregations must gain extension in our relationships with all church congregants.

Although many wonderful and dispensational changing revelatory experiences begin with one person communing with God, the great majority of Heavenly Father’s children will experience the profound life changing influences of spirituality though the synergistic strength which comes from worshiping with others.

Our relationship with neighbors should never be constrained or maintained because of chosen religious membership.

When investigating the foundational beliefs of a church other than your own, it would always be wise to read supportive rather than denigrating sources. It would also be wise to speak to members of churches who are actively engaged rather than those who have chosen another path.

We should be genuine about seeking others to join with our chosen way of worshiping God, always seeking to help them find greater joy and not for our own aggrandizement.

I must remember that none of us are at the same level of belief at any given moment, which understanding should become the standard of all my judgements and treatments of others whether they share my church affiliation or not.

We should seek to develop the deep quiet commitment which defines the hallmark of one who is anxiously engaged in living their chosen beliefs.

Relationships with Neighbors

Since the Savior said that love of neighbors, without giving exceptions or exclusions, had a dual rank with love of God, in His formula for living all the laws and commandments, I believe it would be well for us to give more than casual lip service and occasional thought about our relationships with our neighbors.

If we are admonished to keep the commandments with all our thoughts, words and actions, it appears that a now and then good deed is but a beginning in loving our neighbors.

As with most commandments, loving one’s neighbor is more of an attitude than constant action.

I can test the love I have for my neighbor by how few negative words it takes for me to begin to feel and think less of them.

I can test the love I have for my neighbor by counting the frequency I offer words in their defense when others are speaking negatively of them.

Beginning my relationships upon a foundation of trust will more likely result in a loving friend than throwing up walls of suspicion.

If I want to be successful in loving my neighbor, counsel should only be given when requested and constructive criticism should be viewed as an oxymoronic idea.

Inclusiveness will always be an important tenant of relationships with neighbors. The moment we give ourselves permission to exclude someone, we have deviated from the Savior’s formula.

Relationship with Family

All relationship principles which apply to loving our neighbor become important on an increased scale of adherence when applied to the family, since familial relationships usually have longevity and constancy which does not exist with most of our neighbor relationships.

Although the counsel on inclusiveness applies to families, there will always be certain relationships which supersede others. We do remember whom the Father said we should cling unto.

We should strive with all our might to avoid the trends of the world which tend to minimize the importance the family plays in establishing foundations for mortal and eternal lives.

We should all strive to avoid the duel demons of selfishness and entitlement which lead to dysfunctional and eventual destruction of family relationships.

Although families are founded on a hierarchal relationship of parent to child, that order should never be used as a weapon to dishonor agency.

As with all relationships, the familial type should be founded on the understanding that with agency comes the opportunity to make wrong choices, but we must guard against allowing wrong choices to hamper our degree of love for one another.

Relationship with Self

Although I have enlisted several mottos of motivation in life they all seem to come down to one stark realization that life was meant to be made up of positive progressive passages.

Fixating on past errors will never be as effective in promoting progression as identifying, planning and implementing areas of needed improvement.

We should ponder our trials of adversity which we went through because of our own agency or another’s thoughtlessness, identify the lesson which was meant to be learned and then make sure we avoid these hindrances to our progress in the future.

We should never forget that we are continually in the process of becoming and therefore strive to put on the characteristics of the person we would like to be eternally.

We must never fall into the trap of thinking that today’s darkness will prevent tomorrow’s dawn from coming.

We must always remember that everyone does not seek to help you become all you can become; therefore, there are some who should be identified as a wolf hiding beneath sheep’s clothing.

We should cherish the gift of agency which our Father has given us and thereby avoid all forms of addiction which might destroy our ability to properly use this divine gift.

We should be grateful for whatever capacity we have to work, and perform all our labors with thankfulness.

We must go forward with the hope that the more faithful we are the clearer our view of things which matter most will become.

Relationship with God

If I do not remember it myself, I will be reminded often on the path of life, that this is the first and great commandment to love God with all my heart.

I must remember and never forget that humility will always be measured by where I put myself in relationship to God.

Reverence for God should be a continual attitude not just when I find myself on my knees.

I will rarely find my relationship with God being strengthened when I am surrounded by darkness.

I must never try to reinvent the plan leading to joy which has been eternally proven.

I must try to avoid being too frequently reminded that consequences result from choices made.

I must never fall into the trap of believing the little which has been asked of me is too much to bear.

I should be wise enough seek for and then yield to the wisdom of the spirit which resides in my physical body which has already proven itself worthy to be added upon.

I must consciously be aware of those moments of true discipleship and the joy which attends them, so that I might have the wisdom to be more constant in my devotion.

I must never let the load of today derail my desire to draw closer to the Lord.

When I feel the joy of momentarily having my love of God reciprocated, I must guard it safely in the storehouse of my soul and be filled with the desire to more frequently have it attend me.


Matthew 22: 36-40

Master, which is the great commandment in the law?

Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.


Saturday, September 16, 2017


The only home security system – which is foolproof – is universal – honesty – integrity – and – morality!!

Friday, September 15, 2017


The world would be much more civil – if the citizenship – would practice being more chivalrous!!

Thursday, September 14, 2017


Our experiences as a world population – would be more pleasant – if we all overcame our prejudices!!

Wednesday, September 13, 2017


There is no doubt – humans would have a more pleasant experience – if we all exercised more humanity!!

Tuesday, September 12, 2017


Having a wrong judgement about someone – can never be a foundation – for correct understanding!!

Monday, September 11, 2017


Counsel which was neither sought nor petitioned – is usually ignored – and – unheeded!!

Sunday, September 10, 2017


When I was a young man I served my mission in the era before language training centers existed, a time when those who were called to labor in missions where learning a new language was necessary had an extended time of service in the field. Kathleen and also I served together for three years in the wonderful country of Colombia. In fact there was a time when I counted my time as a full time missionary as a tithe or tenth of my life. Although that mathematical phenomenon went by the way side a long time ago, I still have day and night moments when I have two scenes parade though my conscious and unconscious mind.

I first see an army of the Lord, made up of young men and young women marching forth with determination and dedication, anxiously desiring to help people come unto Christ. As this scene closes it is quickly replaced by the vista of thousands of returned missionaries I have been involved with a few months after they have returned from their fields of labor.

As I ponder upon these scenes I am usually left in a state of marveling how it is that in the mission field this young army of the Lord’s steps seem fairly uniform and their variance of commitment is within a small range. Sadly, thinking about those who have been home from their fields of labor a year or less, their paths seem extremely diverse and the spectrum of their commitment is very broad.

I understand agency and the fact that the world would be a very dull place if we were all the same and had the same personalities and views of how life should be lived, but never the less my pondering of missionaries going into the field, learning to live the laws of happiness, devoting their lives to the labor of love, returning with honor and then almost too abruptly many of their lives barely resemble what they were taught about the laws of happiness in their mission fields.

The vastness of variables created because we are gifted with agency causes us to acknowledge the reality that it is almost impossible for two individuals, although they share common experiences, to react and be acted upon by those experiences in the same way. In fact it seems what we become is not just a result of the experiences we have, but how we as individuals react to those experiences.

I have come to believe the degree to which a return missionary continues to live the laws of happiness after their release will correspond to the level of conversion they had to that way of life during their mission experience. The reason so many of life’s lessons don't become a permanent part of our being is there are many times in life we perform ‘as if’ we believe in something, but later on we find that we were just ‘going along’ because that was the roll we were given to play at the time.

As the saying goes, I would be a very rich man if I had a dollar for every time I have heard a returned missionary say in one way or another; ‘these were the happiest, most productive and most spiritual years of my life’. Somehow, many fail to see the correlation between the ways they had conformed to the laws of happiness during their full time mission experience and the happiness, productiveness and spirituality they had experienced. Ironically, the conversion process they had been attempting to help others experience had not taken root in the hearts of many, that the missionary life isn't just the plan of happiness for two years but for all of mortality.

I am not ignorant of the fact that upon returning from the mission our lives become diverted into paths of education, jobs, courtship, marriage and family which make it impossible to do 24/7 what we did as full time missionaries. Also the removal of the ‘mantle of the calling’ makes continuing with the devotion to living the plan of happiness more challenging. However, there are some fundamentals we learn while laboring as fulltime missionaries which should not disappear as rapidly as they seem too with many of us. All too rapidly upon returning from the mission field we find our lives have changed from that to this:

Regular hours of work and sleep are replaced or severely substituted by late nights and unproductive days.

Careful grooming and ‘set-apart’ appearances are replaced or severely substituted by getting back into ‘style’.

Good reading habits and classical sounds are replaced or severely substituted by reality shows and hearing destructive noises.

Meaningful minutes of Scripture study are replaced or severely substituted by now and then glimpses of verses.

Elevated thoughts and words are replaced or severely substituted by common and vulgar images and expressions.

Constant concern with serving and edifying others is replaced or severely substituted by the quest for the all mighty $ and stepping on people’s heads to get an elevated position on the corporate ladder.

Obedience to high moral standards and missionary habits are replaced or severely substituted by overwhelming desires for independence and faddishness.

Although I have focused on the difference between the laws of happiness taught in the mission field and the lives we return to or turn to after our missions, this thought could easily have been centered on things we learn in our homes, things we learn in school or any other institution we go through during our lives and whether the experience sinks into our being or if we spend our time during those phases wishing for the day when we can be free and independent and use our agency for our own plans for living life.

Witnessing the vast variation of ideas which have been proclaimed as the passage ways to happy, productive and spiritual lives, we are left to wonder if the difference in the lives we choose to live is a result of conversion as well as agency.

We have all undergone many learning, practicing, ignoring, forgetting periods during our lives and yet we are well aware that in spite of similarities of the experiences we have undergone, what we eventually become converted, convicted and committed to doing in our lives and what we choose to lay aside, forget and/or ignore is very dissimilar.

It is worth pondering that the Savior said that it is by our fruits we will be known. Interestingly, he didn't say it was by the nurturings, mentorings and callings we had experienced. It would be well for us to take more seriously the great teaching moments we are blessed with and the changes which could have resulted had we continued to live by those principles and maybe even find a way to return to making them part of our lives.

When our lives are reviewed with complete openness, we will see clearly how many important opportunities we were given which we did not allow to permanently affect us.

I have long believed that the mighty change we all seek to be worthy to stand in His presence is wrought upon us line upon line through gifted experiences, but mostly by how much of these blessed experiences we allow to become an eternal part of our being.


Saturday, September 9, 2017


The constancy and continuousness of God’s devotion – to fulfilling His work and His glory – will outlast our weaknesses and failures!!

Friday, September 8, 2017


Continuing in righteous desires – added upon by small steps forward – will ultimately result in noticeable improvement!!

Thursday, September 7, 2017


The desire to do better – and want to improve – may be the best we can conjure up on some days – and therefore – it will be acceptable to our Heavenly Father!!

Wednesday, September 6, 2017


There is one who would seek to deceive us – into thinking that the gospel – is all bad news – instead of all good news!!

Tuesday, September 5, 2017


The secret to holding onto marvelous spiritual moments – is to continue to participate in those activities and thoughts – which brought about those moments!!

Monday, September 4, 2017


There are only a few doctrines – and – principles – which we need to gain an absolute witness of – The Creation – The Fall – The Atonement of Jesus the Christ – the Restoration of the Gospel - a testimony of these truths will lead us to an assurance of all doctrines – and – principles!!

Sunday, September 3, 2017


By the time we get around to some of the items on our bucket list we have usually forgotten why we wanted to include some of those items on our list. There are also times when we are fulfilling an item on our bucket list when we wonder why we would ever have put such a thing on our list.

Reading the Great Books of the Western World definitely fits in the forgetting why, but not in the wondering why part of the items on my bucket list. Although I have only finished seven years of the 10 year course outlined by Johns Hopkin, it has been a meaningful journey through the foundational writings of western thought.

One of the more important personal enlightenments which happened to me during my journey through this very extensive bucket list experience came while reading the words of two of the Christian writers who lived during what is often referred to as the Dark Ages. These writers who definitely impacted heavily the later phase of my mortal sojourn were St. Augustine and Justin Martyr.

When I read their testimonies of the relationship they had with God, it caused me to spend many hours of deep soul searching as to why they seemed to have experienced both loving God and feeling God’s love to a much higher degree than had been my experience.

The conclusions which came to me as a result of my hours of pondering on this perceived gulf between the relationships these great Christians had with God and my own ironically came to a climax as I was reading the words of Bishop Felton Sheen a prominent 20th century Christian.

The following are some statements from Bishop Sheen:

‘For if you love God you will never do anything to offend Him.’

‘Law is for the imperfect follower of God.’

‘Love is for the perfect follower of God.’

‘Law is for those who what to know the minimum.’

‘Love is for those who are interested in the maximum.’

‘Laws emphasize the negative approach – thou shalt not.’

‘Love emphasizes the affirmative – love with all your heart.’

‘One who lives by law is constantly measuring limits.’

‘Love is never measured.’

‘Our deeds are proof of our love.’

‘Love is demonstrated by our preferences.’

‘We hold back on loving God completely because of a fear of what we may lose.’

‘When you have the sun you have no need of a candle.’

In the book of John 14: 15, 23, 24, the Apostle John recorded the Savior’s words proclaiming the proper order between Love and laws as they pertain to becoming a successful disciple.

If ye love me, keep my commandments… If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him. He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father’s which sent me.

Matthew recorded in the 22nd chapter of his book in versus 37 - 40 this key relationship between Loving God and living the law in the following very oft quoted words.

Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment.

And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.

As we read and ponder the words of those who seem to have grasped the importance of Loving God as a pathway to living the law we can't help but be moved by the stirring words of Mormon as he pled with us near the end of his life.

Wherefore, my beloved brethren, pray unto the Father with all the energy of your heart, that ye may be filled with this love, which he hath bestowed upon all who are true followers of his Son, Jesus Christ; that ye may become the sons of God; that when he shall appear we shall be like him. (Moroni 7:48)

I am well aware that many of us are most comfortable when like Benjamin Franklin we have a long list of improvements (laws – commandments) we need to make in our lives and then go about the time consuming task of making these changes in our lives, much like checking items off of a bucket list.

Since my pondering has brought me to believe the many testimonies which have been given that the surer way to becoming a disciple of the Savior is by learning to love Him I offer the following as my personal witness of why I feel this is the right path.

I can easily remember the one commandment to love God

When I love God I have wrought upon me the desire to do good continually

Loving God is the very key which leads to the mighty change of heart

There is insufficient time during mortality to conquer the multitudiness commandments

When I love God, loving my neighbor becomes an achievable goal

If my heart is filled with the love for God, correct choices become clear

If I keep my heart filled with the love for God, I make incorrect choices less frequently

As I experience greater love for God I gain a greater feeling of His love for me

My prayer this Sabbath Day is that we will all spend some time pondering about how we can increase our love for God.


Saturday, September 2, 2017


It could be telling – when we stand at the judgement bar – and are asked to report – those things which we counted as treasures during mortality!!

Friday, September 1, 2017


It will be sad if we feel – as some surely will – at the judgement bar – that all was vanity!!

Thursday, August 31, 2017


There will be some opposition – which can only be overcome – through the exercise of faith!!

Wednesday, August 30, 2017


Because of the existence of some eternal equation – opposition and our personal progress – always seem to seem to be kept in balance!!

Tuesday, August 29, 2017


We don't need to be grateful – that opposition exists – but we do need to recognize – its essential part in the principle of agency!!

Monday, August 28, 2017


Because of the blindness we seem to have for our neighbor’s needs – we often miss choice opportunities – to feel the Savior’s love!!

Sunday, August 27, 2017


Although I was deeply involved in post graduate studies, or maybe it was because I was deeply involved in post graduate studies, I had a year which would have to be referred to as my Louis L’Amour period. It was unlike my Michener or Uris periods which were spread out over decades as I awaited their next contributions, but very much like my Fleming, Steinbeck, James and Lund periods whose novels I read after they had either passed away or completed the historical series I buried myself into.

Since L’Amour passed away before I started reading his works I was able, if I so desired, to read everything he had ever written. This period of escapism only lasted a little over a year and I only read 91 of his novels, which is but a pittance of his contributions to the literary world, but I learned a great deal about the Old West.

For example, I learned that Western Heroes seldom end up with fair maiden, you are not a true Western Hero unless you have had at least one lengthy fisti-cuff battle with the town villain or his henchman and when the Western Hero rode away from a town at the end of each novel he always left it living in peace with all villainous problems solved.

So that I don't appear to be a complete dolt who wasted a year reading meaningless stuff, L’Amour gave me many moments of morality thinking. For example, in one of his novels entitled The Quick and the Dead, he paints extended character sketches of the two main characters in the book. One of the men was educated in the East and well suited to coping with and solving problems which existed in a well-regulated society. The other was tutored in the ‘by the boot strap’ informal education of the West.

Besides the fair maiden and fisti-cuff stuff one of the major concepts that I pondered as I was reading this book is that education may only be valuable when it is suited to the environment in which it will be applied.

As I pondered this principle which was very applicable to that time when Kathleen and I were well into starting our family, while at the same time she was helping me get myself all degreed up, I came to the following preliminary, but what I now deem, important realities.

It would be wise to pursue educational studies which would be most useful in the environment in which we planned to be.

It would be good to assess the probable environment where we would abide and then pursue areas of study which would be most beneficial to one living in that environment.

It would be wise if this preparatory assessment included some thought about what kind of environment met your needs, would your field of study be beneficial there and what kind of people with whom you would be associating if you pursued your field of study and lived in your desired environment.

Since these preliminary decisions would affect the rest of your lives, it would be good to make sure your examination of these variables was exhaustive to at least give you a chance for a life of happiness and success.

I hope you don't feel like you have been yanked from a horse having been lassoed by a Western Hero as I make this abrupt change of direction in this Thought.

In the 88th section of the Doctrine and Covenants, the Lord teaches us that there is a relationship between the concepts and thoughts we choose to put into our minds and by which we govern our lives and the eternal environment where those ideas and actions might prove to be most suitable.

He who cannot abide the law of a Celestial Kingdom cannot abide a Celestial Glory.

He who cannot abide the law of the Terrestrial Kingdom cannot abide a Terrestrial Glory.

He who cannot abide the law of the Telestial Kingdom cannot abide a Telestial Glory.

Just the names mortal and eternal should provide us with sufficient understanding that we will be spending the vast majority of our eternal existence in an environment other than that which makes up this brief moment of mortality.

If my pondering has led me down a correct line of understanding, then much like our exhaustive evaluation of our preparatory education and the environment in which it would be best suited then our examination of the environment in which we desire to spend the rest of our eternal existence dwelling should be even more exhaustive.

Just a few of the questions which I have found which needed extensive pondering:

Do I really believe that my present state of existence is part of the preparatory path for my eternal environment?

Are the scriptures not only a formula for happiness during mortality, but an important primer for inculcating into my life attributes needed for an eternally joyful environment?

Is being taught by living prophets, who receive inspiration from a loving Heavenly Father, part of the important curriculum which leads to understanding the environment I wish to inhabit after mortality?

Am I striving to gain the understanding of and absorb into my being the laws which will lead me to the Kingdom in which I am desirous of dwelling?

I am pretty sure just like there were days when the Western Hero didn't know if he could really solve all the town’s problems and just as my education versus environment examination didn't always bear the fruit anticipated, there will be days during our mortal trials when we wonder if we are capable of abiding the laws necessary to allow us to dwell in the environment of the Kingdom we desire, but the Lord has given us the promise that happiness and success can only be maximized in the Celestial Kingdom.


Saturday, August 26, 2017


We have a tendency to find excuses – why there are those – who are hungry – yet we feed them not – who are naked – yet we clothe them not – who are homeless – yet we shelter them not!!

Friday, August 25, 2017


There is no doubt that perfection is something – at present we can only dream of – and – have but a scant knowledge of – but none the less we should strive with our every thought and action – to practice what degree of perfection-ness we currently understand!!

Thursday, August 24, 2017


There are times when the phase – ‘what would Jesus do’ – is our only protection from acting – with revenge – cruelty – or – hate!!

Wednesday, August 23, 2017


Remembering not only can bring joy to our beings – but can also become a deterrent – which keeps us from repeating saddening mistakes!!

Tuesday, August 22, 2017


The existence of the veil – between mortality and our previous home – is an essential element which gives validity – to the law of agency!!

Monday, August 21, 2017


I have become convinced – when we are able to see more clearly the passages of our lives – we will be amazed at how often the Holy Spirit was attending us!!

Sunday, August 20, 2017


Like most men, I suffer under the delusion that I share the same DNA with every notable explorer who has ever walked the wildernesses of the world.

This male birthright altering handicap makes stopping and asking for directions, for that gender, an insult and waste of time.

After all, as I have often exclaimed, ‘would Daniel Boone need to ask for directions!’ On other occasions I might have been heard to say ‘you are never lost as long as you can find your way home!’ (Kathleen is always quick to remind me Daniel Boone wandered for years in the wilderness…)

I hope it won’t reduce the view other men have of my self-reliant manliness, but an admission must be made, there was one time I was truly lost.

It happened one year when I had passed the age when many cultures officially recognize a young boy as having entered into manhood. At this advanced age I also belonged to an official group called Explorer Scouts. Just after Thanksgiving I found myself in the mountains of Southern California with this before mentioned richly endowed with DNA Scouts. (The Southern is capitalized because those who reside in this part of the state consider themselves as living in an elite and unique part of the state) We, the Explorer Scouts, had decided to add to our yearly Christmas tree lot fund raiser by harvesting mistletoe.

It only took about an hour to fill the pickup bed full of mistletoe which was probably enough to meet the needs of most of the west coast of the United States of America.

Just as a side note, when we got home and started putting the sprigs of mistletoe into those tiny little bags, we only used one bunch of all those we had harvested. Our leaders told us it was OK since mistletoe is a parasite and needs to be removed from the trees.

Anyway, we had a quick lunch and then three of us older Explorers, who had an abundance of that DNA which allowed Perry to reach the North Pole, decided it would be fun to hike up to the top of the mountain where we could see a lookout tower the forest rangers used in the summer to scan for fires. Dressed in our levies, t-shirts and tennis shoes we boldly began our ascent.

We had vastly misjudged the amount of time it would take us to fight through the mesquite brush and snow and reach the tower. As we reached our goal the sun was setting and we realized there was zero chance we would be able to find our way down the mountain by retracing the way we had come up the mountain.

We found a trail near the tower which seemed to head down the mountain. Not long after we started down this trail we found ourselves in a campsite which we were sure would have been wonderful when it wasn't covered in several feet of snow. We searched, but were unable to find evidence of a trail leading out of the campsite.

Besides being Explorer Scouts we were also Priests in the Aaronic Priesthood. Since we had exhausted our DNA abilities we decided maybe we needed to ask for help and guidance from an All Seeing source.

The result of our prayer gave us the inspiration to head down an indentation in the mountain side, which I am pretty sure would have been quite a creek if the snow were melting.

After stumbling down the ravine for an hour or so we saw a light twinkling well off in the distance which filled our hearts with a much needed dose of encouragement.

Heading toward the light we eventually came upon a paved road which not only was an easier path than the scaring ravine, but very quickly after starting down the road we were gratefully looking into headlights of an oncoming car.

When we were safely in the car we were informed that there was an army of locals out combing the mountain roads looking for us. If being DNA infused males and Explorer Scouts and being lost weren't destructive enough to our egos, now we had to face whatever consequences might befall us for disturbing so many people’s lives.

In just a short while we were reunited with our leaders and headed to our home in Garden Grove, California. What a joyous reunion awaited us when we returned to be with loved ones and friends who had been informed of our being lost and then found and would soon be safely back home.

I have been told that allegories much like jokes, if they are well told, should have no need for added explanations, but since this allegory is also historical, I have used it at times during my life to remind myself of the path I have taken in life.

There has been an abundant amount of my life when I have felt that I had been born with sufficient gifts and intelligence to make correct decisions.
Sadly, there have copious decisions I have made which were not well thought out ahead of time.

There are also choices I have made that I was ill prepared to venture forth into.

Many times in my life I have compounded the wrong decisions I have made by adding other wrong decisions.

Sadly, desperation has been the motivation, too often later than it should have been, to drive me to seek help from He who desires to be my Guide.

Gratefully, I have been gifted with enough twinkles of light which have led me to the pathway unto The Tree of Light.

At this point in my life I am grateful for the many trials of my faith which have come as a result of my independent nature, but I am more grateful for the army of angels who have sought for me and rescued me in my hours of need.

It has been marvelous to a recipient of the goodness which resides in the hearts of our universal brotherhood which allows others to accept and forgive our wrong decisions.

The last lesson to be learned from my allegory is yet to happen, that being the glorious day when I will be reunited with loved one and friends.

I suspect the details of each of our lives are much different than the historical allegory of my Explorer Scout mistletoe trip, but I also suspect the explanations I have furnished for this allegory are a fairly common thread in all of our lives.


Saturday, August 19, 2017


One of the most important lessons – we need to learn in life – is to be able to separate our own desires – from the directions we receive from the Holy Spirit!!

Friday, August 18, 2017


I would have felt – that I would have missed out on a great many blessings – if I had gone through life – without having the whisperings of the Holy Spirit – having provided me with moments of inspiration flooding into my mind – or - having awakened me from a sound sleep to respond in action to directions received!!

Thursday, August 17, 2017


One of the great benefits of attending the Temple – is the overwhelming understanding – of the universal kinship of mankind – is testified of forcefully!!

Wednesday, August 16, 2017


Coming to realize who we truly are – children of Heavenly Parents – will benefit our progress in ways we cannot even imagine – when we are without that understanding!!

Tuesday, August 15, 2017


No matter to what degree – we have felt the Savior’s love – we must remember – it is far short of what He has given!!

Monday, August 14, 2017


The veil which separates us from our former existence – often becomes very thin – when we act as proxies while performing sealing ordinances in the Temples of the Lord – and for me it – becomes very transparent – when the ordinance is being performed – for a child who died before receiving an earthly name – is being sealed to their parents who know their name!!

Sunday, August 13, 2017


Another shocking disappointment!

Well, maybe that is more than a little bit of an exaggeration, but it did make me swallow a couple of extra times, when on a recent visit our son Troy made the announcement that he had joined the minimalist movement.

The reason this was such a disturbance to my equilibrium was that Kathleen and I long ago forged this brilliant plan that during our last few years of mortality we would make sure our visiting children and grandchildren took some of our accumulated stuff with them when they came to visit. Kathleen had cemented our commitment to this plan by saying that when we passed away we would have nothing but a cardboard box sitting in the living room left of our stuff.

Here was our son Troy, eliminating 1/6 of our distribution plan. A decision that would make any aging parent swallow hard several times.

I am not saying we are charter members of the anti-minimalist movement, but when our wonderful friend, Peter Cook, comes to visit, he tells us he loves being in our home because it feels like a museum. We are grateful that he and our son Sean are always willing to relieve us of stuff whenever they come on their semi-annual visits. Maybe if we can convince them to visit more often they can fill in the void created by Troy.

During our recent three year termite inspection, the inspector even made a comment about how our home was a reflection of our life’s history. We seem to have been very obedient to a saying Boyd K. Packer was fond of repeating. Use it up – wear it out – make it do – or do without! In recent years we have been trying to add additional lines to this saying which might go; if you don't need it – give it away – if no one wants it – add it to the charity pile – if it is worn out - throw it away!

There is no doubt that we have spent most of our lives looking at our well-stocked lockers, laundries and larders wondering what of our abundance we would be better off doing without, only to shrug our shoulders, close the doors, knowing that someday we would probably have a need for all of that stuff.

Even with the recent millennials minimalist movement (MMM), I suspect the great majority of our homes resemble storage units for unused stuff because to someone it is still precious memorabilia; or someday someone will get around to using it; or it was someone’s scout or school project. There must be many anti-MMM people who have an unusual amount of stuff, because storage units are springing up around us like mushrooms in a boggy field.

A whole generation of architects has been needed to design more and more storage units on less and less land. We have created an industry which builds storage units we can put around our yards, so when our shelves sag because they are overladen with stuff we have someplace to stack them.

Our storage closets become so Fibber Magee-ish (You will have to ask someone who lived in the days when radio was the main form of entertainment in homes) (If you don't know what a radio is ask your grandparents) that we have to stack our stuff in our garages and build storage rooms or use the kids rooms when they move out.

We park our cars in the driveway or along the street because we have filled the garages with stifling amounts of stagnating stuff. Then when the car body consists of more rust than metal we have it towed to a junk yard to finish dissolving alongside our neighbors’ rusting cars.

This storing of stuff doesn't seem to be restricted to homes because governments build ever bigger buildings which bulge with excess stuff and set apart larger and larger plots of land to store stuff which won't fit in those buildings. Even gazillion bit computers in the clouds don't seem to be sufficient to store all the brilliant and not so brilliant ideas which were at one time important to one of the bazillion interest groups which have collectively invaded our world.

I don't believe anyone would have a very good argument if they were trying to defend the proposition that relationships are fortified because of the mountains of stuff we bury ourselves under.

Are our families stronger because we have enough televisions so that everyone can watch their own favorite programs at the same time?

Are the bonds of friendship strengthened because we are capable of being digitally connected 24/7?

Are we more united as universal brothers and sisters because more of us are able to surround ourselves with more stuff?

Are we more learned because everyone has access to the internet?

Obviously this short list is only a scant representation of the stuff which we feel we can't exist without, but I see little evidence that the continuous accumulation of stuff in our landfills is evidence of our advancement in those parts of our lives which are most important.

Although I don't see myself joining Troy in the MMM I do find myself pondering more often the question, what can we do without? While most of my life the answer seems to have been ‘nothing,’ I have as of late been supplementing that query with another question ‘what of all this stuff do we really need to maintain life?’ The list becomes shorter with each passing day.

These days the question which really causes me to wonder is, ‘how much longer indulging ourselves in this current climate of constant consumerism will we have space sufficient to allow us to make choices about accumulating stuff?’


Saturday, August 12, 2017


Nature, Homes, Chapels and Temples – can be places we can feel closer to God – but in the end it will not be the place we are in – but what we are allowing to take place in our hearts – which make them sacred!!

Friday, August 11, 2017


Just as young men fill their hearts with happiness as they – dream of saving forests or living on Mars – old men administer saving ordinances – and act as angels of mercy – and the same joy fills their hearts!!

Thursday, August 10, 2017


It is often – the least known acts of love we administer – which are the most sincerely given – and of greatest efficacy!!


Wednesday, August 9, 2017


One of the ironies we all live with – is that accolades for our efforts – are often given more freely – from those who are outside – of our most intimate circles!!

Tuesday, August 8, 2017


It is probably a good thing – that the effectiveness – of a mentor’s words – most often take place long after those words were spoken!!

Monday, August 7, 2017


The stewardship responsibilities given to parents – should never be neglected – because of the recalcitrance, rebellion or rejection of their offspring!!

Sunday, August 6, 2017


Although Joseph Smith never enumerated them in his Lectures on Faith, he taught that it was essential to believe that God had all Characteristics and Attributes of Perfection, that we should strive to learn these attributes and make them part of our own character.

We don’t often look at the list in this way, but I believe when we are reading about charity in the seventh chapter of Moroni in the Book of Mormon, we are reading a pretty good starter list of the Characteristics, Attributes and Perfections of Godliness.

The 47th verse states: But charity is the pure love of Christ, and it endureth forever; and whoso is found possessed of it at the last day, it shall be well with him.

Verse 45 gives us the list: And charity suffereth long, and is kind, and envieth not, and is not puffed up, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil, and rejoiceth not in iniquity but rejoiceth in the truth, beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.

In verse 46 the Lord declares what will be lost if we are not found possessed of the Characteristics and Attributes of Charity when the Final Judgement is pronounced upon us: Wherefore, my beloved brethren, if ye have not charity, ye are nothing, for charity never faileth. Wherefore, cleave unto charity, which is the greatest of all, for all things must fail—(But charity is the pure love of Christ)

When the descendants of Lehi heard the last sermon of the Prophet/King Benjamin, they received the blessing of no longer having any desire to do evil, but to do good continually wrought upon them by the power of God. It seems only natural that before we can really begin to put upon us the Characteristics and Attributes of Godliness we must first overcome our carnal tendencies of being easily provoked, thinking evil and rejoicing in iniquity. It is so sad that most of us spend most of our lives stagnated while fighting against these challenging parts of our mortal probationary period, when evidently sincere petitions to our Lord and Savior can do more to erase these desires than years of kicking against the pricks depending upon our own strength and ability.

Charity envieth not: I didn't include this in the evil paragraph because I have come to look at the lack of coveting as a transitional Characteristic which frees us from concentrating on the glitz and glamour of the world, so that we can more fully concentrate our efforts on the positive Characteristics of Godliness. The scriptures remind us of having our eyes single to the Glory of God and how difficult it is for a double minded man to do that which is right. Therefore, even though we are not putting on an Attribute of Godliness, we are eliminating a major element which will distract us from our goal.

Charity seeketh not her own and is not puffed up: A very long time ago, which is the reality of much of my mortal learning, I was taught the principle of ‘I am third’. (God is first – everyone else is second – I am third) I suspect most of us would have to admit that we spend a lot of time viewing ourselves as number one! Perhaps if we would learn to investigate our motivation for what we do in life, we might find ourselves being third more often. Why – do I study scriptures? – So I can learn – So I can help others to know – Because God has asked me to. Did I put them in the correct ‘I am third’ order?

Charity suffereth long, endureth all things and beareth all things: Since the days I have suffered are comparatively fewer than the days I have spent free of suffering during my life, I can only speak about being in wonder of those who have had to endure endless suffering, and they abide it. I do realize also as in every case, the Savior’s example of long suffering was greater than the combined suffering of all. It seems we need to put on the Attribute of charitably suffering all emotional and physical pains which come upon us.

Charity is kind: I have come to believe the Characteristic of kindness needs to become proactive rather than reactive. So often we are prone to respond in kind to acts of kindness, but we are really putting upon us the Attribute of kindness when it becomes our nature to do so, not because someone has been kind to us. The Prophet Alma in the Book of Mormon reminded us that air, light and substance are given unconditionally to all.

Charity hopeth all things, believeth all things, and rejoiceth in the truth:
The challenge of our ability to handle the truth seems like it should be the easiest of the Characteristics of Godliness which we are trying to have become part of our natures. However, it seems our natural tendency is to make all truths circumstantial to what is convenient or that which creates the path of least resistance in our coming and goings. We will never find ourselves rejoicing in the truth until we have had it confirmed by the Holy Ghost and then with determination aligned our lives to the principles outlined.

It wouldn't take a very exhaustive searching of the scriptures to realize the need to add such Characteristics as love, patience or trust, meekness, humility, mercy, grace, peacemaker and the pure in heart along with many other Attributes to the list of those Perfections Joseph Smith spoke of in his Lectures on Faith. It may be sufficient to say that, there indeed is work enough to do that we will be able to work and wear out our lives in the doing.



Saturday, August 5, 2017


Because of their sacred nature – most veil penetrating sacred experiences which we are privileged to be given – should be kept I the holy scared ground of our hearts!!

Friday, August 4, 2017


If we choose to take advantage – of one of the blessing of a life of many years – it would be wise to use those years – to grow closer to God!!

Thursday, August 3, 2017


Although at times we are privileged – to sew sacred seeds in another’s hallowed ground – the nurturing and caring of that seed – should be left in their hands – if the seed is to grow to its full potential!!

Wednesday, August 2, 2017


When we share our most Holy experiences – with those we love – we must be aware we are sowing sacred seeds – in their hallowed ground!!

Tuesday, August 1, 2017


We should count it as a great blessing – when we have those precious moments – when the distractions of the world are sufficiently dimmed – and we are able to see more clearly – the things which really matter!!

Monday, July 31, 2017


Although the senses we have been blessed with – are marvelous instruments which help us to know physical things – the whisperings of the Holy Spirit – is a more sure witness to eternal truths – than all the physical experiences combined!!

Sunday, July 30, 2017


I have probably been one for most of my adult life, but I think it was about the same time as my retirement from full time employment with the Church Education System that I publicly declared my allegiance as a charter member of the Non Political Party Party. (N3P)

One of the characteristics of many individuals and most organizations in the world is the tendency to identify and talk a lot about problems, but either have never developed rational solutions or have had them buried in the rhetoric of an opposing philosophical or political faction.

Jokingly, in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, this propensity of saying lots while doing little, comes out in ditties like ‘if you want to have it done or done right give it to the Relief Society.’ It has also been expressed in these words ‘everything above the ward level is all talk.’

I don't believe either of these ditties is entirely and universally accurate, but there is little doubt that there must be some basis or they never would have originated in the uniqueness of our church vocabulary.

In our government, this tendency to say lots and do little, is often referred to as ‘stagnation’ which, depending on whether you are partisan to political party or a charter member of the (N3P), is either a bad thing or a very good thing.

These five paragraphs were written as a way of introducing, by way of confession, some of those problems I have identified through pondering, preached about in many classes and have even offered what I thought to be profound solutions to the problems, but may have fallen woefully short of actively implementing those solutions.

A few problems from random pondering:

We have become adept at keeping from becoming personally involved with others by identifying them as part of a group rather than as an individual.

We have distanced ourselves from personal acts of charity by making impersonal donations to bureaucratic laden organizations.

We tend to identify people more frequently by what they do rather than who they are.

We seal ourselves from those of other ‘ilks’ by living in gated communities and working in guarded office buildings.

We limit our productiveness and inventiveness by shielding ourselves within the confines of our job descriptions.

We work hard to be included in groups which advocate exclusion.

We grow weary of being with people who we have a stewardship to lift, edify and strengthen.

We allow our most important relationships to wilt because we abandon the necessary nurturing.

We overuse and destroy the gift of our mortal body by failing to do the necessary restorative re-creational activities.

We yield to the enticing’s of momentary pleasures and ignore principles which magnify everlasting joy.

We indulge ourselves in extended pity parties which rob us of our productivity.

We stare bleakly into space looking beyond the beauty which surrounds us.

Solutions which can be applied generally or individually to the identified problems:

Make sure I have identifying talents and strengths on the agenda whenever I sit down for my regular scheduled personal interview with myself. If I do not gain a realistic understanding of what I am and what I can apply to resolving problems, then I will blindly rush forward and end up floundering in a ditch.

Make sure I have a well-defined vision of the extent of my stewardship, enabling me to more effectively be part of the resolution and to keep from exacerbating the problem.

Make sure I become the manager of my time rather than letting time become an ever present reminder of my frustrated unscheduled efforts.

Make sure I do not allow zealous diligence to become the author of damaging drudgery by endless emptying of the tank without taking time to refill.

Make sure my refilling of my tank always includes the additives of biblical wisdom and spiritual whisperings.

Make sure I understand that solutions take place in small portions in the same way our personal progress takes place line upon line.

Make sure I have clarity of thought concerning the effectiveness of solutions based on the philosophies of men versus those based on the principles of the gospel.

Make sure proper pondering precedes the rush to resolution.

Make sure you always remember it is not the group, but the individual you are helping.

Make sure you understand the difference between a glitch in progress and a derailing obstacle.

Make genuine love be dominant and demonstrated to all who are suffering because of the problem as well as those who are striving to be part of the resolution.

Like the planning which precedes the building of a great edifice all this identifying of the problems and solutions will accomplish nothing until shovel is put into the dirt.

But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.

For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was.

But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.

If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man’s religion is vain.
Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.
(James 1: 22-27)


Saturday, July 29, 2017


The words – I know – should be held as sacred – and only used when they are spoken in testimony – about those things we actually know!!

Friday, July 28, 2017


We need to be secure and sincere – with the words we speak – when we begin a sentence with – I believe!!

Thursday, July 27, 2017


We will probably never have a greater test of our beliefs – than in those moments – they are challenged in a cauldron of crisis!!

Wednesday, July 26, 2017


Step by step – brick by brick – we are building our eternal home – with every choice we make!!

Tuesday, July 25, 2017


Like so many important things in life – the testimony of one’s beliefs – cannot be forced upon others!!

Monday, July 24, 2017


The consequences associated with ones choices – are always the same – we will either receive the blessing associated with a righteous choice – or – lose that blessing because we made an unrighteous choice!!

Sunday, July 23, 2017


Happiness is like an elusive butterfly,
The more we chase it, the more it alludes us.
But if we turn our attention to other things,
It comes and sits softly on our shoulders.

(Nathaniel Hawthorne)

Although I never sought the opportunity and it was definitely not what I would count as one of the joyful activities of my life, during my life I have been given stewardships which included significant amounts of counseling. These experiences included people in a wide variety of the stages and circumstances of the mortal passage.

There is no doubt that the dominant reason for them having sought me out, was the elusiveness of the state of happiness they were seeking in life. They may have used such words as disobedient children, finances, feeling unfulfilled, not being understood, lack of love in their lives, but the bottom line was that they didn't feel happy.

After allowing for the cathartic exercise of letting them unburden themselves, I would ask them to give me examples of what they saw in others they deemed to have found happiness. Most of the time the attributes they felt happy people possessed were described with such words as calm, peaceful, contented, loving and friendly.

More often than not Nathaniel Hawthorne’s butterfly illustration would come to mind and be a very natural lead-in to a discussion of some of the activities which happy people have in common which could create an atmosphere where happiness should quietly come and sit softly upon their shoulders.

They create spaces and time in their lives where pondering and meditation can flow without interruption

They dedicate themselves to searching out and reading positive, enlightening words which are found in scriptural writings, poetry and prose

They seek and listen to the promptings of the Holy Spirit

They heed the laws of the Lord’s plan of happiness and by so doing increase the opportunity to hear the sweet voice of the Shepherd

They supplement their morning and evening prayers with moments of sincerely petitioning the Immortal help of Heavenly Instructors for direction in solving life’s problems

They have begun the process of retuning the gift of their free will back to Him who gave it to them

Much of their day is spent in thankfulness for the multitudinous blessings which have been bestowed upon them

They are frequently reminded of those who are not so blessed and inspired about charitable acts which might help alleviate suffering

They number all as family and as eternal brothers and sisters

Because of the alluring false teachings of Lucifer many of those with whom I met with had ingested the cool aid he advertises as happiness. You must find it on a thrill ride, in a dark tavern, away from people, in the house on the hill, by numbing your senses, by setting your heart on the things of the world. It takes but moments on any form of media to become inundated with his propaganda.

Whether anyone else was ever moved by these sessions or not, I know the accumulated effect on my life was the realization that butterflies don't rest where there is commotion, clamoring or confusion. Rather they rely on a very different set of priorities than those of which Satan would try to convince us.

Happiness comes to those who are humbly self-assured

Happiness comes to those who have no need to be enlarged in the eyes of the world

Happiness comes to those who have begun to understand the nature of their Eternal Parentage

Happiness comes to those who have found the peace and contentment through confirmation of the correctness of the path the Lord had prepared for them

Happiness comes to those who through patience have acquired tolerance for the halting steps their brothers and sisters are taking

Happiness comes to those who accept that we are all in different steps of progression and it is OK

Happiness comes to those who understand that whatever we achieve in life we will yet lack in our quest to become as God is

As I think back upon those many unsought opportunities to visit with brothers and sisters, I am struck with the realization about who those sessions were really for.

Happiness is like an elusive butterfly,
The more we chase it, the more it alludes us.
But if we turn our attention to other things,
It comes and sits softly on our shoulders.

(Nathaniel Hawthorne)


Saturday, July 22, 2017


Expectations increase – with every privilege or opportunity – with which we are blessed!!

Friday, July 21, 2017


The true measure of our love quotient – maybe how many of the human family – we consider to be our brothers and sisters!!

Thursday, July 20, 2017


There is no such thing – as lobbying – to bring about changes to Heavenly Father’s Plan!!

Wednesday, July 19, 2017


The true test of our Christianity – will always be how inclusive we are – in allowing others into our circle of love!!

Tuesday, July 18, 2017


We should all be grateful – that we have endless days to achieve perfection!!

Monday, July 17, 2017


Having an eternal rather than a temporary view of existence – helps one cling more tightly to those relationships – which they view as everlasting!!

Sunday, July 16, 2017


There are times in our lives when in order to complete a task on our bucket list we would need a bucket with a much larger opening. One of those events which has remained unfulfilled on my personal bucket list is to make a hole in one while playing a round of golf.

This desire has brought frustration from coming close, but as the saying goes ‘no cigar’, being fearful that I might make a hole in one when I was playing by myself and would have no witness and imagining the personal joy I might feel as I witnessed others having this experience.

Kathleen once shared a ditty from Mark Twain which said, ‘to get the full value of joy you must have someone to divide it with’.

Even though it might seem like a shallow thing to some and it may be more symbolic than actual, I know making a hole in one while golfing alone would bring a minimal amount of joy which would be trebled if I were playing with a group of three friends.

During the final years of her life when my mother was living alone as a widow, she would often express her feelings about her life by using some word or another which added up to her being lonely. Each time I would hear her expressing these emotions the thought of a life without someone to divide not only the joys of a given day, but also the frustrations, fears, successes and failures which make up the hours of our days would fill my thoughts.

I suspect it has happened, but I would have to stretch the capabilities of my memory to discover when, that there has been a day in my life when I have not read something about the benefit of having someone to divide your life’s experiences with.

Even though many of these remembrances involve married couples, they often extend the benefits of the division of life’s experience to every kind of close, constant and continual relationship including dogs, cats and birds. Knowing the importance of having others in one’s life gives an additional meaning to the expression ‘no man is an island’. Maybe even expanding it to mean no man should be an island.

As I have pondered this principle of the multiplying of joy by dividing it with another, I have felt impressed that oneness can never be accomplished by one, that loneliness is always a result of being alone and that the amplification of emotional responses needs the synergistic boost of numbers.

As we expand the principle of multiplying by division we see examples of this everywhere in the Kingdom of God.

This is manifest in the unifying divisions of the Godhead. Bruce R. McConkie referred to Heavenly Father as God the Creator, Jesus the Christ as God the Redeemer and the Holy Spirit as God the Testator. Because the task of one is divided among all, totality becomes a reality.

In God’s earthly Kingdom we see the office of Bishop being made whole by the divisions of bishopric assignments and Presidents made complete because they preside in presidencies.

Besides taking a few minutes to ponder the importance of having significant others constantly in our lives, Elder Maxwell also gives us the following points to ponder about how we can make relationships more meaningful:

Recognize that our continued presence is often needed as part of the learning environment of others

Always assume that what others have to say is worth listening to

Learning to wait upon others as they go through their own trials of faith

Stretch out moments of sweetness

Valuing people for who they are, what they have to say and what they have to contribute

Detoxify our disappointments

Take the radioactivity out of our resentments

We can't take many steps along this journey of multiplying the joys of life by dividing them with others without coming to the realization that we increase the velocity of turning one into oneness when the concentration of our efforts shifts from our egocentric tendencies and becomes centered on others, especially that other who will make of us a whole.

The expansion of the glory of God comes through His work of bringing to pass the immortality and eternal lives of his children.

A Bishop begins to magnify his stewardship when he quits worrying about how the members of his ward perceive him and places his concerns upon the needs of the flock over which he has been assigned to minister.

A husband or wife begins to find a fullness in their marriage when their concern shifts from what am I getting out of this union to what am I contributing to the advancement of my spouse.

All relationships find a fuller meaning when our efforts are upon thee and thy progress rather than upon me and my advancement.

In the February 1985 issue of the Ensign Magazine president Gordon B. Hinckley reminded us that our task should be continually expanding to encircle as many as possible in our effort to multiply joy by dividing it among as many as possible.

I remember interviewing a discouraged missionary. He was having trouble with a language which was not his own. He had lost the spirit of his work and wanted to go home. He was one of 180 missionaries in that mission.

I told him that if he were to go home he would break faith with his 179 companions. Every one of them was his friend. Every one of them would pray for him, fast for him, and do almost anything else to help him. They would work with him. They would teach him. They would get on their knees with him. That’s what each of us must do for one another.

Paul wrote to the Romans, “We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak.” And then he added these significant words, “And not to please ourselves.” (Romans 15:1).

I don't believe it falls in the realm of magic or miraculous, but it seems to be an eternal law, my personal magnitude will always be dependent upon how much I can divide the joy of my works among my fellow beings.



Saturday, July 15, 2017


One of the great blessings – about living in this day when life expectancy has been extended – is the blessing of being able to see ones love for family, friends and neighbor – continue to increase with each new day!!

Friday, July 14, 2017


The companionship of the Holy Spirit – qualifies each of us – for whatever we might be called upon to do!!

Thursday, July 13, 2017


By being a faithful follower – we demonstrate – one of the most important attributes of leadership!!

Wednesday, July 12, 2017


Every day we all move closer – to so many of life’s inevitable events – whether they are accompanied with happiness or sadness – will undoubtedly depend on the decisions we make each day!!

Tuesday, July 11, 2017


The world would change – and become a substantially better place – if we were willing to bless others – with the same degree of blessings – which we desire to have bestowed upon us!

Monday, July 10, 2017


It is remarkable that we – have been empowered with authority of God – when we stand on such precarious pedestals!!

Sunday, July 9, 2017


Thoughts from the meandering mind of a charter member of the Non Political Party Party (N3P)

Long before the ‘Ugly American’ was born there was a land called ‘America the Beautiful’.

Long before the ‘Imperialistic Capitalist’ reared its beastly head there was an ‘America the land of golden opportunity’.

Long before America became ‘a Land of Bigotry’ it was a land which welcomed ‘the tired, the poor and hungry’ of the world.

I am not wise enough to know what America is going to be like in 50 years. In fact, I am not sure I really can tell you what America is like today. However, I do believe I have observed enough to know that the America I live in today is very different than the America I grew up in 60 years ago.

Why have we become a hiss and a byword to citizens of countries who once fought side by side with our fathers to protect freedom and establish peace?

Why do many nations now look elsewhere for leadership, who once had a constant eye upon the ‘Great American Experiment’?

Why do nations prefer to exchange goods with one another while reveling in the plight of the dwindling national treasury of the once revered economy of ‘Uncle Sam’?

With all the shifting away from being an example to the nations I suspect many have taken the easy path by extending the pointer finger, away from our once gleaming shores and towards other nations mumbling epitaphs about jealousy and ingratitude of have-not welfare nations.

The day may have come in which an in-depth introspection into the makeup of the today’s American citizenry might be overdue and appropriate. I don't think it will surprise any of us that we will discover that a dramatic dip has taken place in the national level of integrity which corresponds to the dip our nation has taken in international relationships.

As it is in most cases it would be easiest to use that pointy finger away from ourselves and direct the blame on the craftiness which has enveloped the governing institutions of our nation. But, even a simple search of our own domiciles, will quickly reveal there has been a drastic dip in personal integrity which probably parallels the characteristics of our publicans.

The following personal integrity evaluation could cause some pain, so if you wish to skip this section of this Thought it will be understandable.

Do I – Take home paper, pencils or other items from the abundant supply at work for personal use?

Do I – Present another person’s ideas as my own in order to advance my reputation?

Do I – Call in sick just because I am sick of my job??

Do I – Write a check or charge an item when I know I don't have enough money to pay for the purchases?

Do I – Borrow from a neighbor and return less than I borrowed?

Do I – Sell defective goods or charge for work not done?

Do I – Over estimate deductions in reporting my income to the government?

Do I – Rob my neighbor of their virtue and reputation through rumors and gossip?

Do I – Try to aggrandize myself by manipulating the feelings of others?

Do I – Judge the character of another by some distinguishing characteristic?

Do I – Determine the size of my inclusive circle?

Do I – Etc. Etc. Etc…

I long ago came to the understanding that my ability to make macro changes in the world fell in the realm of impossibility, but I have also come to know that micro changes within the confines of my own soul are possible.

Maybe the America which seemed a little bit better in those days of yore could possibly regain some of its brightness if each of us were to pay the price to regain some of our personal integrity.

*America is used instead of United States of America – With apologies to all those who live in the other nations of North and South America.



Saturday, July 8, 2017


Our brains are purposely made – so that they are capable of only having one thought at a time – therefore – if real communication es to take place – all competing interferences should be eliminated!!

Friday, July 7, 2017


For a husband or wife to presume – that they have no need to counsel one with another – means they are usually left to solve their problems – with only 50% of their available resources!!

Wednesday, July 5, 2017


Sometimes the only hope we have to hold onto – during our mortal span – is the promise that even though our sins be as scarlet – they can become as white as snow!!

Tuesday, July 4, 2017


If we who are imperfect never lose hope – for the salvation of those we love – why would we think our perfect Heavenly Father – would ever do so!!

Monday, July 3, 2017


If Heavenly Father who is perfect – never gives up on His children – why should we as imperfect beings – ever do so??

Sunday, July 2, 2017


When I was in high school, like so many other things I never thought I would involve myself in during my adult life, there was gardening.

I suspect the dislike had started years earlier when my father had large gardens and I was able to keep track of my age by the number of rows in the garden I was expected to keep clear of weeds.

When we became Californians my first main gardening chore was to keep the dicondra front lawn we had free of all other types of weeds and grasses. It took very little time for me to realize the advertising for dicondra lawns was false. It was not self-weeding.

When we moved away from the dicondra lawn, my father decided to become an expert at raising roses. This was during my high school years and it became my chore along with weeding the garden area we had in the back yard to keep the crab grass cleaned out of the rose garden. It wasn't all that bad when I was weeding away from the bushes, but when I had to pull the weeds from around each rose bush, my bloody hands made me long for weeding the dicondra lawn.

It should be easy for anyone to understand that after Kathleen and I got married and purchased the home with the rose bushes from my parents, one of the first things I did was to convert my father’s rose garden into lawn. What was surprising, especially to me, is I completely landscaped the front lawn and the change included putting in a plot of dicondra lawn.

As our lives progressed and we changed homes several times, I was mysteriously drawn to planting, weeding and landscaping. I even got to the point where I did some landscaping for some friends and had a gardening business for a couple of summers.

Kathleen points out that ironically, in the golden years of our lives we now live where I neither plant, weed, mow or harvest as I did in my younger years. She also drew my attention to the fact that I was now harvesting the spiritual fruits of a life filled with planting seeds of gospel truths. (Sounds like a theme for another Thought on another day)

Before I make this entire Thought a trip down memory lane, I will make an abrupt switch into what triggered this little side trip of mine.

The Garden of Eden

Evidently a place which neither required weeding nor mowing nor planting, but only harvesting, but like so many areas of life, the garden provided Adam and Eve with everything, but had very limited opportunity for progression.

Like so many of our falsely placed desires to be able to escape many of the difficult activities of our lives, the drudgery of planting, weeding, mowing and harvesting we have to experience to be able to enjoy the fruits of our labors, is where our real growth will take place.

And Adam and Eve found joy in their posterity!

The Garden of Gethsemane

Even with all His preparation and foreknowledge the Savior, at the crucial moment of His Atoning sacrifice, wondered if it might be possible to have the cup removed. Yet by fulfilling His stewardship all of Heavenly Father’s children were blessed.

There is absolutely no doubt that I would have rather been involved in anything else, even washing the dishes, rather than pulling the crab grass from around the rose bushes, but the joy that shone on my father’s face as he took friends and neighbors on a tour of his roses, took the pain from the scratches I had suffered.

And the Savior entered into a fullness of His Father’s joy!

El Garden of The Sacred Grove

The young boy Joseph Smith went to the grove because he needed an answer to a question. He came out of the Sacred Grove commissioned to open the Dispensation of the Fullness of Times which would open the doors of salvation for all of Heavenly Father’s children.

We live in a day when there is no lack of information available, but it has become obvious that too many of Heavenly Father’s children are not asking the right questions. Too often our questions involve our own personal needs, when it seems what we should be asking is how I can meet the needs of a neighbor.

And Joseph saw the stone roll forth to fill the whole earth and his joy increases with every Temple that is built!

My Garden

My personal garden, like the Garden of Eden, may not be found on a map. My personal garden, unlike the Garden of Gethsemane, may not affect the whole of mankind. My personal garden, unlike the Sacred Grove, may not usher in a new dispensation. But I do have a personal garden and it is vast. It includes all the days of my life. It includes every interaction I have with every brother and sister I meet. It includes every advancing step I take toward returning as a faithful servant to dwell with my Heavenly Parents once again. It includes every misstep which must be repented of. It is my life!

The prophet Joseph Smith said, ‘Men and women will be judged according to the use of the light God gives them.’ If I understand his words correctly, then I begin to understand there will be no county fair where the fruits of my labors are compared with that anyone else. I will only be accountable for the nurturing of the seeds which have been placed in my stewardship. And the Judges of my garden with see the fruits of my efforts through eyes filled with love, mercy and grace.

May we tend our gardens well, so that our joy will be full!



Saturday, July 1, 2017


If it were not for our faith in the mercy and grace of our Heavenly Father – it would be difficult to find joy during many of our trials!!

Friday, June 30, 2017


There are times when the only assurance we have of equal justice for all – will be found in the unchanging eternal mercy and grace – of our Heavenly Father!!

Thursday, June 29, 2017


We seldom progress – or – have our testimonies strengthened – at the same rate as any of our neighbors!!

Wednesday, June 28, 2017


It is always a good thing – to be ready to share our love – with all who will accept it – but – only to the degree that they will be able to accept that love!!

Tuesday, June 27, 2017


It will be wonderful – when the hearts of the majority of the members of the church – reach the same level of inclusion – as those who are leading the kingdom!!

Monday, June 26, 2017


Since examples can be both positive and negative – we have the power to help our neighbor – be greater or less – is they view us as a mentor!!


Sunday, June 25, 2017


It seems at times to have been only yesterday, but in reality was probably some 30 years ago. Anyway, it was while we were still living in Reno, Nevada. One day while I was in my office at the Institute of Religion building, a Tongan brother stepped into my office and wanted a minute to discuss a question.

He and his brother had had a discussion in Priesthood Meeting. They were having a difficult time distinguishing between the concepts of inactivity and apostasy. He explained to me that in the Tongan language both of these English words were expressed by one single Tongan word.

We had a wonderful time, (I have always found the time to be wonderful when visiting with Polynesians) trying to sort out how the differences between the English words could be expressed in Tongan. He finally felt comfortable with the idea that inactivity could be understood by saying it was ‘a little apostasy.’

He had explained to me that the Tongan word for apostasy was best expressed by saying it was one who was off the path. Therefore, he felt fine about inactivity being a little off the path, whereas apostasy was being completely off the path. He then enlightened me further by saying that whether a person was a little off the path or completely off the path, they would still not arrive at the place they desired to go until they returned to the path leading to their desired goal. He also shared with me his belief that it would probably be easier to get back on the path from inactivity than from apostasy.

Besides all the learning about inactivity and apostasy which I was enjoying during this delightful exchange I also learned my first two Tongan words, ‘He’ and ‘Conga He’.

After my friend left, I spent some time pondering the concepts of ‘He’ (being completely off the path) or ‘Conga He’ (being a little bit off the path). I came up with several scenarios which helped me realize that the point where we are on the path, a little off the path or completely off the path, seems to be on a slippery slope and if we are not careful we can slide from activity to inactivity to apostasy fairly quickly.

I will try to illustrate my ponderings from that long ago day, by examining the slope which intellectually one might be sliding down – the slope of sustaining of church leaders one might be on and the slope of the importance of church attendance one might be on.


I believe the gospel is the word of God revealed to men for their salvation.

I believe as long as I do what I conclude in my own mind to be right, I am OK.

I believe as conditions change, scriptural teachings are less applicable.

I believe any scientifically trained person will recognize the scriptures as being very childish in the light of modern knowledge.


I feel I should strive to know the truthfulness of the teachings of Church leaders.

I wonder about the worthiness of some people the Bishop calls. Was his call made by inspiration or desperation?

I know if I were Bishop I would do things much differently.

It is obvious that the Bishop has favorites and since I am not one of them, I will just stay out of his sight.


I feel the time I spend at church learning about how to live the gospel is the most valuable way I could spend a Sunday.

The only reason I continue to go to church is because of my family and friends.

I feel most of the time I spend in church is a waste of time.

The church requires too much of my time, and I have a lot of more important things I need to do.

The danger of getting just a little off the path is that the slope seems to get more severe and slippery the further we wander and if we are not careful we will find ourselves in full ‘He’ mode.

The path of righteousness is full of slippery slopes. Hopefully, while you have been reading this Thought, some of those other ‘Conga He’ dangers came into your mind and you will make a personal evaluation of the signs of those wanderings. Because there seem to be so many ways we can wander, I suspect that is why the Lord bordered the path with an Iron Rod.

The Savior realized the danger of straying just a little bit off the path (Conga He) which could lead to apostasy (He). Therefore, he admonished us to keep our feet planted firmly on the path holding steadfastly to the Rod of the Gospel.

Did I mention I really like talking to my Polynesian friends?



Saturday, June 24, 2017


The amount of love we have for our neighbor – should never be determined by – their current position on the pathway of life!!

Friday, June 23, 2017


We would be wise – not to stray so far from the flock – that we can no longer hear the Shepard’s voice!!

Thursday, June 22, 2017


It seems a bit different than I learned as a youth – but I do believe – you to be rubber and I to be glue – all that I say bounces off you and sticks to me!!

Wednesday, June 21, 2017


One of the witnesses of the foresight of the Lord – is that as the challenges sent forth by the advisory seem to magnify – the strength of the spirit children of Heavenly Father – being sent in these latter days – are living testimonies of their abilities to overcome those challenges!!

Tuesday, June 20, 2017


It has been humbling and amazing – to witness the growth of the restored kingdom – during my short span of mortality – however – I often wonder if I have kept pace with my own personal growth!!

Monday, June 19, 2017


The tree of life – representing the love of God – should be viewed more as a place to renew our energy – on the pathway to Eternal Life – rather than the ultimate goal!!

Sunday, June 18, 2017


How did we get from a lying on your back on the grass at night gazing at the stars generation to this present day instant gratification, constantly connected generation? I have even thought a time or two that such words as contemplating and pondering may soon become superfluous or at the very least their meanings will be lost.


Credited to David L. Weatherford

Have you ever watched kids on a merry-go-round or listened to the rain slapping the ground?

Ever followed a butterfly’s erratic flight or gazed at the sun into the fading night?

You better slow down. Don't dance so fast. Time is short. The music won't last.

Do you run through each day on the fly? When you ask ‘how are you?’ Do you hear a reply?

When the day is done, do you lie in your bed with the next hundred chores running through your head?

You better slow down. Don't dance so fast. Time is short. The music won't last.

Have you ever told your child ‘we’ll do it tomorrow?’ And in your haste, not see his sorrow?

Ever lost touch? Let a friendship die, ‘cause you never had time to call and say ‘hi?’

You better slow down. Don't dance so fast. Time is short. The music won't last.

When you run so fast to get somewhere you miss half the fun of getting there.

When you worry and hurry through your day, it is like an unopened gift…thrown away

Life is not a race, do take it slower. Hear the music before the song is over.

As one who has had a life time avocation as a people watcher, I have observed that even in matters which involve the eternities we want to have it all done right now. We want ALL the answers – We want the WHOLE story now – We want to ACHIEVE perfection yesterday.

Even with all his accomplishments, Brigham Young, the Mormon Moses, built stoops and verandas on his homes. He once said it would not surprise him if after death it would take him millions upon millions of ‘years’( as we count them) to learn and understand enough to be prepared to be perfected.

I know it isn't a formula for ‘all of God’s children’, because it is based on patience or dancing slowly, but I have become comfortable with a slow dance formula for working on putting on the characteristics, attributes and perfections of Godliness. Even in my days of lengthening shadows, I am grateful that the Lord has promised me that the song will not be over until long after I pass from mortality and receive my Final Resurrection.



(Lectures – Study) (Laboratory of Life) (After all I have done)

LEARNING – (Principles – Doctrines – Attributes – Applications – Methods)

If I do not know a principle or characteristic it will become impossible to practice it in the laboratory of life or have the grace of God make it a sure part of my being. Therefore, I must listen and watch and see all that I can in order to gain a foundational understanding of a principle, doctrine, attribute, application or method.

Line upon line, indicates that principle one is necessary and needs to be completed before I will be ready to go forward to principle two. A sure way to stumble or fall is to attempt to jump to a higher plane before we have gained stability on our present level.

DOING – (In the laboratory of Life – Family – Church – Community – World)

All too well I have learned that those things I learn which do not become part of who I am, are soon lost or forgotten. Once I study the principle of love sufficiently to understand what it is in reference to a characteristic of Godliness, I must practice that type of love in an ever expanding circle. I have found it wise to start practicing with those who seem to be most accepting of my efforts before venturing into larger arenas.

I mentioned line upon line, but life has taught me that in reality we seldom are able to work at charity without working on faith, on faith without working on trust, on trust without working on patience. However, I have found it helpful to at least have a dominant principle which I am concentrating on practicing in the laboratory of life.

BECOMING – (It is by grace that we are saved – after all we have done)

Before going any further, you need to be warned that on this latter point of the formula I often find myself on shaky ground when I am trying to explain what I think is happening and on even shakier ground when it comes to knowing if it is really happening in my life.

After exhaustibly learning all I can about a principle, such as love. Then after I have spent time extensively practicing the principle in the Laboratory of Life, when the Lord sees fit, by His grace He changes my nature into being more Christ like. (This has to be the explanation for the mighty change which was wrought upon the Nephites at the time of Benjamins discourse from the tower)

When my nature is changed I will feel the joy of coming closer to God and my love for him dramatically increases.

In a very beautiful moment I am filled with God’s love for me.

My love of others increases and I am filled with the desire to know more doctrines and how to apply them.


Life is not a race, do take it slower. Hear the music, the eternal song is not over.