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.



Saturday, June 17, 2017


The goal of universal oneness – will hopefully – one day penetrate all of our hearts!!

Friday, June 16, 2017


Only love will help us overcome – the dysfunctions which corrupt the happiness – of the human family!!

Thursday, June 15, 2017


Death may bring to man – not only an assurance of the continuation of life – but also the bounteousness of God’s mercy and love!!

Wednesday, June 14, 2017


Moments of enlightenment – can brighten our paths on moonless nights – helping us reach goals we were once unaware of!!

Tuesday, June 13, 2017


We will never do enough – to earn any eternal reward – the grace and mercy of God – alone assure us of receiving these blessings!!

Monday, June 12, 2017


There is no act we can perform – which will ever make us entitled – to blessings from our Heavenly Father!!

Sunday, June 11, 2017


In the Thought for a Sabbath Day I posted on April 2, 2017, I mentioned that Kathleen and I been blessed with a tour of the Holy Lands as part of my employment with the Church Education System. I won't say this experience was dramatically life changing, but there will be forever engraven in my mind and in my heart the memories of the many wonders of the historical monuments of the world we were able to visit. As vibrant as the monument memories of those sights are, they cannot match the spiritual and emotional feelings that constantly hover in my heart and soul.

In Rome, I tried very hard to feel what Michelangelo might have felt as he accomplished the works which would have taken several normal life times to complete. We were left to wonder, why would someone be gifted and have the fortitude to use their time, talents and resources to build St. Peters Cathedral, paint the Sistine Chapel along with other works in the Vatican, sculpt all those marvelous marble creations, come up with all those inventions, paint enough art work to fill a museum along with all the other contributions he gifted to mankind?

Although few of Heavenly Father’s children have been able to generate the kind of consuming dedication that he demonstrated and I certainly count myself among this group of underachievers, I do remember leaving Rome with the feeling that I was certainly capable of accomplishing much more than I had in the past.

While we were in Egypt I spent most of the time being overwhelmed. I was constantly amazed that men could be so convinced of their own self-worth that they could move entire nations to dedicate themselves to the construction of a worthy final resting place, ignoring the cost of suffering and expenditures of life required to make sure their remains were secure. It is difficult to conceive how any mortal can convince themselves of their self-importance to the degree that they would be able to justify building massive pyramids and monumental replicas of themselves to be displayed for all to admire and even worship.

It is little wonder that the Lord has warned us of the ultimate degree of pride, where we make ourselves gods. Whenever the green goblin of false pride starts to color my countenance I worry about being afflicted with false pride and that I need to be diligent in trying to keep my ego in balance. Strangely, since those days of walking in the sands of Egypt most of the time when I have my picture taken I feel just a little bit Pharoah-ish.

In Jordan it was easy to be amazed at the ingenuity and determination of mortals. Wandering through the valley of Petra we witnessed the leavings of a civilization which inventively took their available resources and created a beautiful city. It filled us with excitement when we entered into those great halls carved out of solid rock. Not only did they use their resources to the greatest extent, but they ended up with dwelling places which had tremendously thick walls which kept them cool from the heat of the desert’s summer and warm in the winter.

It made me tingle to think that I belonged to the same eternal heritage as this people who did not just subsist in their environment, but in most cases made vast improvements which improved life for the entire community. It was hard to leave Petra without a feeling of added responsibility and accountability to make sure in the stewardships which would be bestowed upon me, a necessity to magnify and improve whatever my surroundings might be so that the lives of other’s would be more comfortable and improved.

While we were in Israel I was constantly aware of the mixed feelings and thoughts I was having in my heart and in my mind.

Since reason, blessings and research remind me that I am a descendent of the ancients who lived in and loved this land, there were times when I had a great sense of having returned home. I’ll never forget the feelings which surged through my being, as I sat on the banks of the Galilee near where the Jordan River begins to flow. In those few moments I was filled with the sense that I had never felt more at home in my life.

A different feeling came to me several places while we were in Israel, but most powerfully when we visited the museum dedicated to the Holocaust. My soul was filled with grief and sorrow to a greater degree than I can remember before or since. I grieved for the many acts of man’s inhumanity to man. I sorrow for the depth of inhumanity the children of God are capable of.

In contrasting the two feelings which seemed to control my entire being for a time, I knew I most desired those I felt on the banks of the Galilee far more than those I felt in the Museum of the Holocaust.

I was probably less than honest when I said in the opening paragraph of this Thought that this Holy Land trip was not life changing. Because from that day until now:

Whenever I do a self-evaluation I never score anywhere near 100% when I measure my working to the fullness of my capacity

Whenever I do a self-evaluation I never score anywhere near 100% when I measure how well I have been able to keep my ego in check

Whenever I do a self-evaluation I never score anywhere near 100% when I measure how much better the lives of others are because of the way I have served in my stewardships

Whenever I do a self-evaluation I score nearer 100% when I measure having a life filled with Galilee feelings and void of Museum of the Holocaust feelings than any of the other lessons learned on that memorable trip

We don't have to travel across the globe to have our lives filled with lessons we need to learn and apply, but I am convinced, wherever we are the more we daily seek these lessons and dedicate ourselves to applying them, the better chance we will have of making our time on earth fulfilling and successful.


Saturday, June 10, 2017


Once we recognize – we all fall short of having all the answers – we will not only become more teachable – but we will also become someone who is more tolerable and enjoyable to be with!!

Friday, June 9, 2017


Words whether spoken, sung or written – will never affect or soften our hearts – unless we yield to the spirit of their messages!!

Thursday, June 8, 2017


Having a difference of opinion – does not mean my neighbor – is evil or wrong!!

Wednesday, June 7, 2017


It would be foolish – to limit the degree of change – that the love of the Lord – can cause to take place in our lives!!

Tuesday, June 6, 2017


Forgiveness of others – becomes an easy task – when we come to the realization – how much forgiveness all of us require!!

Monday, June 5, 2017


It is not the iron – but the Refiner – that determines the amount of heat required – to temper the ore into steel!!

Sunday, June 4, 2017


I had not intended to write a second Thought on vanity, but I received a very nice note from a friend, Elayne Allebest. She wrote the following: ‘I had a memory pop in my head when I read your Thoughts today. I was with my mother and Howard W. Hunter and I heard him say, "I wouldn't give a nickel for a woman who didn't have a little scoop of vanity." Would you like to comment on that subject sometime? How much vanity is allowed and what might he have meant? I have my own ideas, but would like to hear yours.’

I finished reading her note with two questions in my mind. I have no idea what constitutes a ‘little scoop of vanity’ and I wouldn't ever presume to know exactly what President Hunter meant when he stated a women is of little worth without at least that much vanity in her character.

Since I used the world’s definition of vanity for last week’s Thought, for this week’s Thought I went to the Bible Dictionary in the LDS set of scriptures and found two words used in defining vanity * FALSEHOOD – DECEPTION * along with some of the terms which were in the secular definition such as *EMPTY –


Speaking of fleeting, I will quickly put the thoughts which are racing through my mind on the computer, before they flee and I am left with an empty page.

I have several times in past Thoughts written about the principles of humility and pride ultimately having to do with the relationship between Heavenly Father and his earthly children, while acknowledging that these principles also have connotations which sprinkle upon our mortal relationships.

Using the Bible Dictionary definition of vanity being falsehood and deception I find that we oft times attempt to practice vanity with ourselves, with others and shamefully, with God.

I used the word attempt, because in the end our vanity in all of our relationships is empty, transitory and fleeting.


The words William Shakespeare had Polonius speak to his son, Laertes, about being true to himself as he was departing, spring to my mind. Long ago in my junior year English class I read those words and wondered how it might be possible to deceive myself into thinking my bad decisions are good.

During the multiple decades which have followed I have had many occasions to ponder on choices I have made where I was deceiving myself into thinking that it was OK this once or multiple times. In the end I found this self-deception left me feeling empty and I always came to understand that ultimately I had to strip myself of my self-vanity and confront the reality of the real me.

I suspect it will be with all what it was with me. Self-deception will ultimately fade because it is based on that which is empty, transitory and fleeting.


I am not certain, but I suspect this is the type of vanity President Hunter might have been talking about when he said women should have ‘a little scoop’ of it in their lives.

My jump to conclusion thought on his words was something about having enough self-respect to keep oneself clean and presentable, but pondering took me into deeper and perhaps dangerous areas.

There is no doubt that in our lives we carry a bucket full of masks around with us so that we will be prepared to fleetingly play a character we believe will be liked by a certain audience.

We have a mask we pop on when we enter our place of work.

We have a mask we pop on when we enter a Chapel or a Temple.

We have a mask we pop on when we are with our children.

We have a mask we pop on when we are with our spouse.

We have a mask we pop on when in social gatherings.

Although I have barely begun to sort through the masks in our abundant bucket full, I think you get the idea that we spend a lot of time during the days of our mortality fleetingly switching from the wearing of one transitory mask to the next inappropriate one. The play goes pretty well except on those occasions when we mistakenly pull the wrong mask out the bucket.

As I have examined this part of my own vanity, I have come to realize that no matter how thick I put on the grease paint or how well I try to fit my costume to the mask or how exact I hit my mark on the current stage, sooner or later the masks are discovered for what they always were – falsehood and deception – and I am left bare faced and it is known by all who I really am.

Therefore, it would be wise if I were to dump the bucket of masks in the trash and wash my face and clean my clothes and present myself striped of my vanity before all of my brothers and sisters.


I learned as a little boy that this attempt at deception was the vainest of all. As my mother always reminded me – Heavenly Father knows.

I guess it would fall under His attribute of being omniscient, but since I am sure my mother was right, any attempt I might make to deceive my Heavenly Father would not only be transitory, empty and fleeting, but instantaneously known as false.

A few acts we try to throw a blanket of falsehood over in a foolish attempt to deceive our Heavenly Father come to mind:

He tells me I am a child of God and I try to deceive myself and others into thinking I have already received my everlasting inheritance.

He tells me I was created a little lower than the angels and I try to deceive myself and others into thinking I have been successful in elevating myself above them.

He tells me I belong to the only true church on the earth and I deceive myself into thinking my membership gives me exclusivity to all truth.

He gives me dominion over a few things and I immediately think I have a scepter with license to rule and reign.

He gives me stewardships and I think it means my word is a command.

The wonder of wonder of it all is that in spite of the common frailty of vanity His children continue to exercise in their relationships with self, others and Him, He unceasingly and unconditionally continues to love us.

Since we all seem to have vanity as a common trait in our makeup, when one of us is daring enough to reveal at least a of portion of their true identity, it would be well if we accepted this gift with whatever degree of love and understanding we might be capable of manifesting which is void of vanity.


Saturday, June 3, 2017


One of the marvelous miracles – of the restored organization of the Lord’s church – is that throughout their lives – there will always be work for the members to do – to help them wear out their lives in His service!!

Friday, June 2, 2017


It may not be in this life – but the day will come – when we recognize the greatness of the blessing – and the magnitude of the responsibility – the Lord has placed on those who hold a portion of His priesthood!!

Thursday, June 1, 2017


It may not be during our mortal life – but the day will surely come – when we recognize – the greatness of the blessing – and the magnitude of the responsibility – the Lord has placed on parents!!

Wednesday, May 31, 2017


Our greatest strength against falling into temptation – may well be – a constant remembrance – that we are offspring of Deity!!

Tuesday, May 30, 2017


One of the greatest truths – we may ever come to know – is that we are not only sons and daughters of earthly parents – but we likewise are eternal offspring of Heavenly Parents!!

Monday, May 29, 2017


It is perhaps more important to learn – to hear the whisperings of the Holy Spirit – than it is to fill our minds with the words of wise mortals!!

Sunday, May 28, 2017


Small thin lines are easily stepped over or ignored. Most of us have at one time or another justified sticking a toe or two over those lines, with the self-assurance that we will easily be able to quickly retreat to the safe side of the line, only to wake one day and realize the line is hardly visible on the horizon behind us.

One of those lines comes under the heading of vanity. Although it may include the kind of vanity upon which the cosmetic and fashion world have amassed fortunes, the more inclusive definition from the dictionary says vanity is that which is worthless, futile or a state of being falsely proud of oneself. We can easily see how the common use of covering physical flaws with camouflaging cosmetics or shape changing clothing can be referenced as a form of vanity. If used in the correct way, there would be few of us who have not done the two step dance over vanity’s thin line.

When we read of the scriptural condemnation of vanity, we should understand that the reference may have included painted Jezebels and Cleopatra’s, but the proclamation that vanity was one of the most destructive sins of mankind encompassed a much larger congregation.

Old Testament prophets identified vanity as the cause of the judgements of God coming upon the people. Modern revelation reaffirms that they of old did not have exclusive rights to the consequences of vanity.

New Testament apostles identified vanity as that which caused people to turn from God. Modern revelation brings meaning to the ancient words by saying vain people become gods unto themselves.

Modern day prophets have proclaimed and pinpointed vanity as that which brings us all to be governed by frailty and foolishness.

There have probably been times for each of us when it could have been said, even if but for brief line crossing, toe tapping moments:

Do you really think the world revolves around your head?

Do you really believe if you were not, neither would the world be?

Why are you acting as if everyone were subservient to you?

Do you really think that cap is a crown?

Do you really think your position on every matter is the right one?

Do you ever wonder if the day will ever come when you realize you do not have a corner on correct ideas and answers!

Of course, during this last phase of my mortal life, I now stay well away from the thin line which separates my normal modest self from any form of vanity. However, there was a time when I kept a list in my pocket to remind me that the vanity line I was just going to briefly cross with my littlest toe, was approaching the far away horizon in my rear view mirror.

WATCH OUT – When you are getting upset that others are talking so much about themselves that you can't interject the words which would help them understand how wonderful you are!

WATCH OUT – When you become convinced that your trivial squirts of facts are fountains overflowing with wisdom!

WATCH OUT – When you think the inch of territory you have gained makes you a ruler!

WATCH OUT – When you think the rut you are in indicates you are in the groove!

In just a short time of rummaging in garbage heaps, salvage yards and even in museums and libraries, we will soon come to the realization that these are all repositories of yesterday’s latest and greatest which are now looked upon as outdated and antiquated.

Book shelves in the dingy basements of libraries are overflowing with seldom-read best sellers of ages gone by.

Salvage yards expand their fences in order to accommodate the accumulation of the dreary remains of Detroit’s dream designs.

Mountainous monetary gain is being accumulated as new ways of disposing of Mt. Everest sized heaps of yesterday’s indispensables are engineered.


I have no idea what reminders would be best for each of us as we twinkle a toe over that thin line of vanity, but it might help if we are feeling especially pleased with ourselves to blow some dust off of some half read books or go to a junk yard and scrape some rust off of a Pontiac or just drive by a garbage dump and take a big sniff. And then maybe, just maybe, we will remember for a moment the mite that we really are, and quickly pull our toe back from that thin line of vanity.



Saturday, May 27, 2017


It is interesting – that to many – the events of life are all opportunities – while – to others they are all burdens!!

Friday, May 26, 2017


In the end – it is probably the reciprocal interaction – between the love for the Lord we extend – and His love extended to us – which overwhelms us with warmth!!

Thursday, May 25, 2017


We can ponder at length – but will probably never discover – whether loving the Lord – or – feeling His love for us – causes the greatest warmth!!

Wednesday, May 24, 2017


The inconsistencies of the moments – we are warmed by feeling the love of the Lord – don't come as a result of His love not having been extended – but probably because we have slipped – in our ability to feel His consistently sent love!!

Tuesday, May 23, 2017


There are few things – which will warm our souls more – than the feeling which comes to us – when we feel the love of the Lord!!

Monday, May 22, 2017


One of the greatest insights – we may ever gain – will come when we are struck with the realization – our thoughts and words – were of no more value – than those of our neighbors!!

Sunday, May 21, 2017


Thoughts stimulated by – The Inexhaustible Gospel – by Neal A. Maxwell

During the time when I was having such a marvelous time sharing with some of the adults of South Orange County, California the wonderful talks by Elder Maxwell, periodically I would be struck with inspiration which led to an additional lesson on a talk. These lessons I called transitional, but I felt then and now feel that they were much more than that.

Therefore, this week’s Thought for a Sabbath Day will be based on one of those transitional lessons which were developed from feelings I had while leading those adults through several lessons based on a talk of Elder Maxwell’s which he had entitled All Hell Shall Be Moved.


I know I am not alone when I recognize that oft times I have fallen short of fulfilling my responsibilities as a Kingdom builder for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. The problem isn't that I have been unable to realize my short comings, but I think it is my not really understanding why I so frequently felt that I was falling short of my capabilities.

A dear friend and colleague of mine Jack Rushton who is now laboring on the other side of the veil, spent many years of his mortal span as a quadriplegic after an accident which happened while he was enjoying a day at the ocean with his family. With the help of family and friends and most especially his beloved wife, he dedicated many hours of that later span of his life, fulfilling his responsibilities in the kingdom as an ordained Patriarch, Sunday School teacher and entertaining speaker.

Jack’s explanation for why he was able to continue faithfully fulfilling his building the Kingdom duties was that the Lord had given him a vision which blessed him with the knowledge of who he really was.

There have been times during my various stewardships in the Church and as a father, when I have had eternal glimpses of who family members or those who fell under the umbrella of my stewardships really were. As I tried to express to them – if they really understood who they really were – I knew I was falling fall short of moving them forward to that understanding. The bonus for me, having received these brief incites of both family and friends, has been that in spite of what detours they might take away from the path during their lives, I know who they are and know the day will come when they too will know.

I have often wondered why we so often fall short of gaining those kinds of insights which would help us know who we really are. The problem seems to be that we often fall short of being able to distinguish between:

(1) The image of ourselves we have when we try to interpret the feedback from others of the impressions we think they have of us.

(2) The image we have of ourselves as we ponder and evaluate our thoughts, joys, sorrows, desires, reactions and struggles.

(3) The perception we think Heavenly Father and Jesus the Christ have of us, when we think of all the decisions we have made contrary to their desires.



We need to be ever on the alert that we are not creating faulty impressions about ourselves, based on superficial impressions others have of us as they see us through a dense fog. It would be a damaging mistake which could lead to halting performance in the Kingdom, if we were ever to allow the superficial interpretations of others to influence our belief in who we really are. We would really do damage to our future progress if we allowed these images to persuade us as to what our eternal possibilities or outcome might be.

At any given preliminary stage of our existence, we in and of ourselves will never have a complete knowledge of who we are. We are at times are blinded by too much light and at other times we stumble in darkness. We would drastically error and could even be led to fall short of our capabilities in the Kingdom, if we were to judge our eternal worth based on today’s product. Once again, we could do great harm to the level of our desire and performance, if we were to ever think that that which we are today is what we will ever be.

We all should have long ago come to the understanding that God’s knowledge and understanding are not our understanding. Therefore, whatever guesses we might make as to what Heavenly Father or Jesus the Christ might think of us we will always fall short of the mark.

We are left with two possibilities, we can either be blessed with an inspired understanding about who we are, such as that given to Jack Rushton, or falling short of that gift. We can begin by believing what the prophets have been inspired to tell us about who we are and what are our performance possibilities.

Through the Prophets of God it had been revealed:

We are children of Heavenly Parents

We progressed and passed the requirements of our First Estate (Also call our Pre Mortal Estate)

Whatever assignment we might have in the Kingdom – we should remember we have been called, ordained or set apart and been promised angels would attend us

Our eternal outcome will be perfectly and individually administered by Jesus the Christ

We can receive the gift of a personal understanding of who we are by receiving a patriarchal blessing

We can have the blessing of personal revelation assuring us who we really are

The Holy Ghost as the Comforter will bring peace to our souls as we haltingly attempt to do Father’s will

The Pure Love of Christ can be poured upon us, filling our soul with joy, as we attempt to put upon ourselves His attributes, characteristics and perfections

Although the glass I view eternal truths with continues to wobble between moments of clarity amid hours of opaqueness:

I have come to know that as we peel away the masks of deception molded by believing in the superficial interpretations which others have of us, we will with increasing frequency have a closer image of our own reality. And we will be of greater value in the Kingdom.

I further know that as the scales of misunderstanding we have of who we really are fall from our eyes, peace, happiness and joy will be more constant companions. And we will be of greater value in the Kingdom.

I absolutely know that as our understanding is enlightened by prophetic and personal revelation, we will find ourselves feeling an increase of love towards Heavenly Father and, more importantly, we will feel an increase of love from our Heavenly Father. And we will be of greater value in the Kingdom.





Saturday, May 20, 2017


Why should we think ourselves worthy of a grander steed – than that ridden by the King of Kings – when he entered into the city of Jerusalem on a donkey!!

Friday, May 19, 2017


We enter the castle of disillusionment – when we think we understand – the trial endured by people – of another time or place!!

Thursday, May 18, 2017


We enter into the realm of a house of mirrors – when we think we can walk in the shoes of another – and understand their troubles!!

Wednesday, May 17, 2017


The words – ‘you will never walk alone’ – are not only wonderful lyrics for a song – but a loving promise from the Eternal Father – to all of His children!!

Tuesday, May 16, 2017


Glorious earthly mansions – will never shine as illustriously – as a humble heavenly abode!!

Monday, May 15, 2017


We need to be careful – that the concern for our physical health and well-being – doesn't diminish our regard for our spiritual well-being!!

Sunday, May 14, 2017


For some reason during the time I was writing the Thoughts I shared during the 12 Days of Christmas, I also managed to get about 10 weeks ahead on the writing of my weekly Sabbath Day Thoughts. The reason I am mentioning this is that today is March 8, 2017, but as the date on this Thought notes, I am writing the Thought which will be posted and published on May 14, 2017, which also happens to be the day Mother’s day is celebrated in the United States of America.

Ironically, the day March 8, 2017 when I was doing this writing, was also the International Day of Women and the women in the United States of America were staying home from work in protest against President Trump. I am not sure if these two events are coincidental or somehow deeply symbolic.

I am one of those strange creatures who has never understood the battle of the sexes or the race each seems to be waging for one to gain superiority over the other. I believe if I were to take an inventory of people who have been meaningful mentors in my life the balance between men and women would be pretty equal.

However, I being a man (I believe that is the universal excuse used when a person of the male gender lacks understanding about a trait which usually falls into the female gender’s psyche), I must confess I am more impressed by the mysteriousness which emanates from women, than any such phenomena from men.

For example, there are two rituals dealing with the birth of a new child, which I have found it wise to drift into the background when they are taking place. I have found that this distance barrier makes it possible for me to remain aloof of personal involvement and also gives me a panoramic view from which I can gain a great deal of undetected pleasure. It is almost like having a box seat to a wonderful play.

The first is the naming of the child. We all understand that this is definitely one of those arenas of life where pleasing all the members of the family falls out of the realm of possibility. I must make a bit of a confession here. That would be that I gained most of this wisdom long after Kathleen and I had named our six children pretty much on our own.

The second is a ritual about who the baby resembles once it has arrived. I have watched this identification ritual with wonder, coming to the conclusion, if you use enough of the features of the child, you can satisfy the entire ancestry possibly back to Noah. Eyebrows, nose, hair line, ears, eyes, chin, cheeks, fingers, toes etc. help parents, grandparents and every other member of the clan to feel they have gained a small bit of immortality through the perpetuation of their features.

These customs which surround the coming of a new child along with baby showers and every woman who ever comes near the newborn wanting to hold it in their arms, I try to understand, but I am sure I will never truly appreciate as does another women.

With that introduction, which I am pretty confident will end up being longer than the body of this Thought, I will switch gears and write about the contributions the mentors in my life, who just happen to be female, have given to me during my life. I will mention only two by name; my mother, Nina, who nurtured and mentored me daily for the first 19 years of my life and has left an influence upon me which will extend eternally, and my eternal companion, Kathleen, who as of this writing has been my companion, mentoring and influencing me, for almost six decades.

Benjamin, one of the great prophet/kings of the Book of Mormon, as he was teaching his people about being a child of the Savior Jesus the Christ, asked the question if He (Christ) could be seen in their countenances. (Maybe there is something to this seeing ancestor’s features in the newborn). The Savior added to this theme when he encouraged us to let His light shine through us.

Now let me attempt to tie my mother and wife as primary mentors in my life to the concept of what we should be striving to emulate in our beings to be seen by others.

These are a few of the things I have been taught by precept and example:

Our feet should be seen ever walking on the straight path, pressing forward toward righteousness, shod in holiness, never kicking against the pricks.

Our hands should be lifted to heaven as a sign of gratitude, doing acts of kindness, gently giving comfort, warding off the darts of the adversary.

Our heart should be warm, easily entreated, full of feeling toward the needs of neighbors, never hard.

Our shoulders should be willing to bear the burdens of others, lifting a neighbor, never shirking.

Our head should be bowed in humility, resolute in choosing righteousness, never lifted in pride.

Our eyes should be filled with the light of Christ, single to the glory of God, never looking lustfully.

Our mouth should teach, expound and exhort, bear fervent testimony of truth, never bearing false witness.

When the entire being is properly framed, others should see the image of Christ engraven upon the soul.

When life is over the only success which will really have any eternal bearing, is how closely we have come to emulate the life of the Savior.

I am pretty sure there have been many men who have added to my mentoring in these concepts about having the countenance of Christ engraven upon my own countenance, but like finding the best name for a baby or seeing grandmother’s twinkle in the newborn’s eyes, they will be more accurate and leave a lasting impression upon us and will sink more deeply into our natures because they emanate from the God gifted tender nurturing souls of women.



Friday, May 12, 2017


The Savior assures us – that if we learn to love God and our neighbors – we would thereby have gained the secret – to being able to obey – all laws!!

Thursday, May 11, 2017


The gospel becomes simple – when we realize the requirements for obedience to the law of love – is sufficient to bring us to obedience to all the laws!!

Wednesday, May 10, 2017


We would be wise to make full use of today – since none of us has an assurance of tomorrow!!

Tuesday, May 9, 2017


There is really only one climatic event – in the history of this world – the Atonement and Resurrection of the Lord and Savior Jesus the Christ!!

Monday, May 8, 2017


There will never be a greater manifestation of our love for the Savior – than our daily observance of His commandments!!

Sunday, May 7, 2017


Thoughts stimulated by – The Inexhaustible Gospel – by Neal A. Maxwell

I never realized while I was deeply absorbed in my career with the Church Education System, that I was usually so preoccupied with preparing and presenting lessons, doing administrative and supervision duties that I seldom took time to ponder about what I was preparing and presenting.

One of the great blessings of having my life extended into the retirement years is that I have a lot of freedom in what I do with my mind. Although I know I spend a lot of time letting my mind wander in fairly meaningless arenas, there are times when I do what I think the Savior admonished us to do, which He referred to as pondering.

One of the little principles I have been pondering of late involves all of mankind for all eternity. When we contemplate the various stages we all pass through during our eternal existence we quickly realize that even for those who are blessed or cursed (I will leave you to ponder on what you think is the best descriptor) with lengthy lives, mortality makes up but a very minute fraction of our individual eternal existences.

Not only does our earthly journey constitute a minuscule part of our eternal existence, but when we think of the billions of Heavenly Father’s children who have paused for various lengths of time on this earth, it doesn't take long before our pondering leads us to understand that only a few of those billions have had the full opportunity to use their agency concerning accepting or rejecting the fullness of the gospel plan while treading the continents of this beautiful globe.

As we examine the verity of the mortal experiences of beings, it would be difficult for us to come to any conclusion other than that He, who will judge righteously, will have an individual measuring device for determining the progress of each of His children. Not to belabor the point (pondering often extends the gestation periods of birthing thoughts), but my brother Fred who passed away after only eight days of breathing this atmosphere, will not have his mortal tests measured with the same yard stick as I, who have had the privilege of almost eight decades and continue to count. The abandoned sewer children of Bogota, Colombia, will not be measured upon the same scale as father Abraham.

I won't even begin to suggest my pondering has led me to a total understanding of the eternal existence of beings, but I have been significantly impressed that the preponderance of all beings undergo the vast majority of their agency tests during stages of life other than that which is called mortality.

I am about to make an abrupt shift in my pondering and hopefully I won't cause any of you to suffer whip lash.

Of all of the billions of Heavenly Father’s children who have or who will spend at least some moments dwelling upon this planet, I definitely know myself better than any other being. Therefore, excusing myself ahead of time, I will present some of those things my ponderings have led me to believe apply to me and to my test during my brief span of mortality.

Since I have been blessed or cursed (you be the judge) with having my mortal span extend beyond the three score and ten allotted on average to my generation, I have had the thought pass through my mind many times about those things I need to be doing to maximize the extended examination I have been given during this phase of my existence.

As Elder Neal A. Maxwell has taught, the closer I can come to arriving at correct understanding of the purpose of my life, the greater opportunity I will have of conducting myself in an appropriate way, which should make me a more worthy servant in the Lord’s marvelous work.

Correct Understanding

I have been blessed with an abundance of opportunity: to listen to a mountainous number of mentors, to exhaustibly study the words of men and prophets and to prepare and present the teachings of the inexhaustible gospel, but with all those gifts I know that correct understanding comes to us most powerfully when the windows of heaven are opened for precious moments and truth consumes our whole being.

With such a foundation, which I pray is continually strengthening, I should be able to see more clearly the path upon which I need to be troding.

Appropriate conduct

President Ezra Taft Benson once said ‘the most important thing we can discover in mortality is the purpose for which we were sent.’

On a personal basis I feel this must begin by correctly identifying the talents which I seem to have brought with me from my previous stage of life. As the Lord declared concerning the gifts of the Spirit, they are diversely given to each of us so that all may be edified as we share our gifts.

After making a correct assessment of my gifts and talents, a major part of my test will be to develop them so that the exercise of those talents will benefit a maximum number of my brothers and sisters.

Though this appropriate conduct, I become enveloped in that wonderful cycle of learning, developing, serving and knowing.

Serving in the Lord’s marvelous work

When Kathleen and I were serving in Colombia, there were several early mornings when I found myself awake long before any appropriate hour. On occasion, I would ponder and perhaps have the boldness to pray about, what kind of an instrument I could be in the hands of the Lord, if I had such an experience as Saul on the road to Damascus or Alma the son of Alma had as they began their missions.

On those mornings when the window of heaven would part briefly, I was always left with the understanding that I had been given sufficient to do the work in the part of the Lord’s vineyard to which I had been called.

It has been important for me in my stewardships over myself, with my family and with those whom I have been called to serve in the kingdom to always remember I have been given sufficient to accomplish the task I have been given.

I must confess that my personal journey has not been one of lacking understanding, nor of knowing the appropriate conduct, nor of having opportunities to serve, but I have had to guard against stagnation when I have trod the same path too continuously. I have had to guard against running too fast toward faintly defined goals and I have had to guard against misinterpreting the importance of my role.

The conclusion of all my pondering is that this is Heavenly Father’s work and His glory and He has dedicated the eternities to bringing it to pass and I should and will be grateful to have been included in laboring in a small corner of His vineyard during my brief span of mortality.



Friday, May 5, 2017


It is good to have special days of remembrance – to remind us that there are many things – we should be thankful for every day!!

Thursday, May 4, 2017


For some reason – we are surprised by the fact – that today – is also part of eternal life!!

Wednesday, May 3, 2017


Of all the mentors we have in life – we will be most blessed – if we learn the greatest of them all – is the Holy Spirit!!

Tuesday, May 2, 2017


We can be certain – we will never find the pearl of great price – if we never seek for it!!

Monday, May 1, 2017


We can be certain we will never receive an answer – if we fail to as the question!!

Sunday, April 30, 2017


During the early years of my mortality, when my father was trying to establish himself in some kind of a stable career situation, we made several moves mostly in the northern Utah, southern Idaho regions of the United States of America. Although it was during my preschool/beginning school days, which was a very long time in the past at the time of this writing, some of my clearest and most vivid memories come when I think of those few years our family was residing in Roy, Utah.

Although I have changed my conclusions 180° about it, there are some nightmarish memories which, at the time, left me with the feeling that my father had extreme tendencies of cruelty.

We lived on a small acreage which I thought was vast. Our home was a small wood framed and wood sided house which was painted white with no contrasting trim color. My father planted a vast garden of many of my favorite foods. We had peas, potatoes, cucumbers, corn, watermelon, cantaloupe and I suspect several other food plants which I have probably chosen to wipe from my memory.

I would say my father also raised some chickens for eggs and Sunday dinners, but in reality it was mainly my mother who raised the chickens along with a little help from two of my older sisters and me.

Anyway, back to why I have the memory of thinking my father had extreme tendencies of cruelty.

We had two animals with habits which were dangerous and in some cases destructive.

One was of a beautiful dog with long red hair. Today we would probably say he was an Irish setter, but since all the dogs we had while I was growing up were mongrels of unknown parentage, we will just say it had long red hair. The dangerous habit this lovely creature had was chasing cars which drove along Roy Road. Luckily, the traffic was very light on Roy Road, in the mid 1940’s, and so it was rare when two cars might be passing on the narrow lane when the dog went bounding out into the street.

In order to change the dog’s dangerous and destructive habit, my father tethered the dog in the front yard with a semi-choke collar around his neck. For several days I sat at the large front window, shielded by the lace curtains and watched as every time a car passed the red haired dog would leap to his feet and dart to the end of the rope and then suddenly his hind legs would fly past his head and then he would dazedly limp back closer to the house. During that training period, I seldom left my window perch without having to wipe the moisture which had accumulated at the base of my eye lids. I was absolutely forbidden by my father, who was cursed with these extreme tendencies of cruelty, to remove the collar or the rope which tethered the dog with the long red hair.

The other animal was a horse which my father used to plow the area for his great garden and my sister Lou Ann used to race the other horses in the area. The horse was named Chubb. I have no idea why that was the horse’s name. Since my father came from a family of 11 siblings and my mother from a family of 13 siblings, I have often wondered if that was the only name they could come up with which was not shared by a family member. Anyway, Chubb had a spectacular roan colored coat and to me seemed to be the most powerful and beautiful animal which was ever created. The problem was that this stallion had an overpowering wanderlust for the neighborhood mares. After the umpteenth time my father had to get up in the middle of the night to retrieve Chubb from a neighbor’s corral, he lined our small farm with an electric wire which Chubb quickly discovered delivered a very shocking jolt when touched. The problem which added to my feelings of my father having extreme tendencies of cruelty, was that for several days after being harshly jolted, Chubb not only shied away for the electric wire surrounding our property, but also all other objects which seemed to have a barrier around them. I really thought his end would come soon, since his feed box and water troughs looked as if they were surrounded by barriers.

To my shame, I clearly remember telling my father, during both of these events, what a terrible person he was to inflict such hurt upon these animals. I was tremendously surprised at how few days it took before our dog lazily confined himself to the limits of our yard and Chubb ventured outside of his fences only when being led by my sister or my father. Things quickly returned to normal on our little farm in Roy, Utah.

The incident was pretty much forgotten until one day our family was taking a day trip to the big city of Ogden, Utah. Besides the scene of the beautiful mountains, another scene vividly comes to view as I remember that particular drive. There was a beautiful horse lying dead by the side of the highway. My sister Geraldene cried and sobbed what a horrible thing it was that that horse had been let out of its protective pasture. My father very quietly said, ‘That horse might have jumped a fence.’ Although, Chubb eventually allowed his wanderlust to overcome his fear of being shocked and he ended up with the same fate as that horse on the highway between Roy and Ogden, he definitely had a longer productive life because of the electric wire my father put around our small farm.

I don't exactly know when it was, but I know I finally started the long process of becoming aware of the difference between cruelty and life preserving lessons.

Not only in the classroom, but also in very personal ways, the dramatic lesson I learned in this way from my very kind and loving father, is that although there are events which we pass through in our lives which may at the time seem unfair, restrictive or overwhelming, the probability is that they will eventually be revered as lessons of love which allowed our lives to be filled with greater freedom, safety and preparedness.

All of us have probably been blessed with the 100% clarity hind sight gives us or the absolute wisdom we have as Monday morning quarterbacks. Likewise, few of us were capable before the actuation of events of foreseeing or foreshadowing what was about to happen or the lessons we were about to learn.

Hopefully, we will be quick learners and come to realize that many of those ‘hard’ lessons were administered by a loving Father whose main concern is the Eternal preservation of His children.


Friday, April 28, 2017


We can be certain that doors – will always remain closed to us – if we fail to knock!!

Thursday, April 27, 2017


Putting a limit on one’s ability to press forward – is a sure way to limit their enduring – and – stopping their progress!!

Wednesday, April 26, 2017


If the goal of mortality – is to attempt to gain a greater degree of one-ness with God – then confusion as to the source of our words – whether they come from the storage of our grey matter – or – inspiration from the Holy Spirit – either way it is a good thing!!

Tuesday, April 25, 2017


There isn't anything worn – and probably a good deal that is right – when it becomes difficult to know – whether the ideas you are expressing – are your own – or – you are repeating promptings you have received from the Holy Spirit!!

Monday, April 24, 2017


It is important – but also sometimes frightening – to be willing to be led by the Holy Spirit – rather than relying on your own talents and intellect – but being a conduit for the Holy Spirit – will always be more rewarding and life changing – for both the speaker and the listener!!

Sunday, April 23, 2017

EXAMINATION OF A TESTIMONY Thoughts stimulated by – The Inexhaustible Gospel – by Neal A. Maxwell

I think it was probably sometime early in my days as an Aaronic Priesthood bearer when I first started thinking about whether I had a testimony or whether my testimony was very strong.

The first time I recall wondering about my testimony was when we were on some kind of a special Stake youth outing which concluded with a testimony meeting. One of the first boys to go to the pulpit to bear his testimony was a bit older than I and, therefore, was one of those models I was supposed to be using as a guide for my life. Anyway, as he was concluding his testimony he challenged all the young men from our ward to come to the pulpit to share their testimonies. I wasn't the only young boy from our ward that didn't respond to his challenge. I have no idea why some of the others failed to respond, but I remember well that I had some very uncomfortable feelings about bearing a testimony as a result of being challenged to do so. Like many of the things we never become comfortable with in our lives, being challenged to bear a testimony is one that still lingers with me.

During my life as an active member of the Church I have had ample opportunity to teach and speak and bear testimony to others. Therefore, I have seldom taken the opportunity to bear my testimony during the special Sacrament Meeting which is set aside monthly for the bearing of testimonies. I always felt the members of my ward or stake heard my declaration of my beliefs enough and that these meetings gave others the opportunity to bear their testimonies.

Shortly after returning with Kathleen from Colombia where we had served for three years presiding over the Bogota Colombia North Mission, (during which time there had been very few days when we hadn't born our testimonies of the truthfulness of the restored gospel) ironically, at the end of one of the first classes I taught after resuming my career in the Church Education System, a bright young girl approached me and asked why I didn't bear my testimony more during the lessons. Evidently, the brother whom I had replaced often bore his testimony on points of the gospel during the lesson, emphasizing his words with ‘in the name of Jesus Christ’. My self-examination on that occasion ended up with me in exactly the same place I had been before her inquiry. This was, that I felt the entirety of my lesson preparation and presentation was me bearing my testimony.

One of the last major times I had to examine my testimony took place after I retired from full time teaching, but was still teaching an adult religion class once a week. One of the experienced (a euphemism for old) brothers in the class was working on a project building a model of the plates which Joseph Smith had removed from the Hill Cumorah. He had bought an engraving machine and was able to engrave on plates. He offered to engrave my testimony on a plate and I accepted. This now has a place among the most treasured of the articles of remembrance I have from my 50 plus years of teaching.

I believe on all of these occasions, whatever was said or whatever I felt was an honest expression of my beliefs and in some cases my knowledge, of principles and doctrines of the gospel of Jesus the Christ.

I suspect, all of you will be able to relate to my words when I say that what I felt was my testimony as a young man, what I felt was my testimony as I have served in various capacities and callings, what I felt was my testimony after Kathleen and I served in Colombia and what I felt was my testimony which is now engraven on metal plates has gone through many phases and had a wide band of variety and has many degrees of depth and growth.

In fact, my testimony has not only tossed to and fro over the length of my life, but I find if I really examine what I am feeling and what I am believing in, it seems to be in a state of change with each passing moment and with each situation in which I find myself in life.

There are times when I am overlooking the Pacific Ocean, or enjoying an expanded vista from high on a mountain top, or even like this morning as I was out driving and the hills near our home made me feel like I was in Ireland or back in Colombia, where velvety green is the year round dress of the hills; it is during these times my heart fills with wonder and awe at the magnificence of this sphere we call our home. Even when I was young and my friends and I would lie on the lawn at night and gaze into the heavens that feeling of awe overwhelmed me and I had to turn my head so my friends wouldn't see my eyes leaking. The glorious pictures from the Hubble telescope have increased my vision, almost to the explosion level, about the wonders of the Creations of God. This WONDER part of my testimony has undoubtedly been the most constant constellation in the vastness which makes up my belief system.

There is another part of my testimony which I refer to as my GENERAL beliefs. It is just always there, but seems to ebb as the tides sometimes come crashing upon me and other times it seems as smooth as a giant mirror as far as the eye can see. This is the testimony which I express with the words ‘I know’. I know the church is true. I know the gospel is true. It isn't an overwhelming emotion like I feel with my WONDER moments, but it never seems to fail. It keeps me praying. It keeps me reading the Scriptures. It keeps me going to church and to the Temple. It makes me say I know there has to be a power greater than men to have all this govern such an extensive and positive part of my daily life.

I have known for a very long time that I feel the sustaining witness of the Holy Spirit most abundantly when I bear witness of specific beliefs. Obviously, I call this variety of my testimony SPECIFIC. I think the best way to explain what I refer to as my specific testimony is to give you a few examples. I have had Moroni’s promise in the 10th chapter of the book in the Book of Mormon which bears his name, fulfilled by the Holy Spirit planting deeply in my heart the truth of words in that book of scripture. I have had such a powerful witness by the Holy Spirit that Joseph Smith saw and spoke to God the Father and His son Jesus the Christ in the grove near his home in Palmyra, New York, that I would have to deny my own existence before I could deny the actuality of that event. I will include just one more example. I have had individual confirmations from the Holy Spirit that David O. Mackay, Spencer W. Kimball, Neal A. Maxwell, Jeffery R. Holland, and Bruce R. McConkie along with many other men and women have spoken with the tongues of angels as they bore witness of the truths of the gospel and the reality of Jesus the Christ being actively engaged in the work of the kingdom.

There is a part of my testimony which probably shares DNA with all the other parts of my belief system which I call my OBEDIENCE testimony. Once again, although I feel this is a distinct area of my belief system, it cannot be separated from the rest of the constellation of my being. It is that force which causes me to continue to accept assignments and callings in the church and attempt to magnify them. It is that force which moves me to follow the living prophets. It is that force which gives me a desire to congregate with the saints and receive the synergistic stimulus of group worship. It is that force which compels me to find ways to share my understanding, knowledge and beliefs with others. It is that force which makes living according to the word of wisdom, paying of tithes and offerings and makes being a lay minister a joy and not a burden. It is that force which moves me to wear out my life serving in the House of the Lord. I know that that which pushes and sustains me in obedience to the laws and ordinances of the gospel is real and mandated from heavenly sources.

The last division of my belief system and probably the most difficult to share and express is what I refer to as my PERSONAL testimony. It consists of the following very personal feelings which have been cemented in my being by the Holy Spirit. I have a love for my Heavenly Parents and for my Savior and Lord, Jesus the Christ which is as real as the completeness of my love for Kathleen, my offspring and my parents. There are times when I am so filled with the love I feel from my Heavenly Father that I have a sense of being suspended between mortality and immortality. His love lifts me and makes me joyful as I proclaim that I am a child of God. There have been too many occasions when, during the process of repentance, I have felt consumed with the grace, mercy and love of my Redeemer as sorrow for wrong choices was evaporated by His Atoning gift. I wish I could say it was ever constant, but I am more than grateful for every moment I have been enveloped with a heightened desire by the Holy Spirit to move closer to becoming like my Heavenly Father and His Son Jesus the Christ.

I am grateful for the path my Heavenly Father prepared and planned for my mortal existence. I am not sure what part of my belief system it falls under, but I do believe as part of His work and glory to bring to pass His children’s immortality and eternal life, He has a plan for each of us which will enable us to maximize our progression wherever we are placed or whatever path we find ourselves traversing.

I so testify in the name of Jesus the Christ – Amen



Friday, April 21, 2017


Sometimes we are influenced by the Holy Spirit – when we are preparing a talk or a lesson – there are also times when powerful promptings – come to us during our presentations!!

Thursday, April 20, 2017


If our desire is to increase our spiritual strength – we must increase the number of reps of those exercises – designed for strengthening the spiritual part of our beings!!

Wednesday, April 19, 2017


Spiritual strength is acquired much like physical strength – if we want any port of us to be strengthened – we must increase the number of reps – which affect the part of our being we are trying to strengthen!!

Tuesday, April 18, 2017


If it is true that the forgiver always receives the greater benefit – which comes from the application of the principles of the law of forgiveness – would this not be another manifestation – of the greatness of Heavenly Father and His son Jesus the Christ!!

Monday, April 17, 2017


The rewards which come from the true application of the principle of forgiveness – will always be greater for those who forgive – than for those who are forgiven!!

Sunday, April 16, 2017


Although it has now been decades since my sister Geraldene gave me a collection of six pictures which Richard Hook and his wife, Frances, painted, while I sit at the computer it only takes a slight lifting of my head left and I am once again able to see and appreciate this thoughtful gift given so many years ago.

Geraldene had mounted them on plaques in a process I think was called deco-paging, which had its 15 minutes of fame along with stuffed geese and resin grapes among the members of the largest women’s organization in the world. Except for the three years Kathleen and I spent in Colombia presiding over the Bogota North Mission, they have always adorned a prominent position on the walls of the various offices I have occupied during my career and now in my retirement years.

Although all six plaques depict Jesus the Christ, the Savior of mankind, they each fill me with different emotions and sensitivities. His universal-ness is magnified as one inspects the paintings more closely and notices that the faces of the Savior are different in each picture. I have always thought this was an excellent way of depicting that indeed He is every man and every woman and there is no one left unrepresented in His life and mission.

On this Easter Sunday, I would like to take a few minutes to describe these paintings and the feelings I have derived through the years while sitting and pondering at various desks in a variety of chairs. Over the years they have been mounted on walls in a variety of designs and combinations. Currently, Kathleen has arranged them all on one row above the window in our home office.

The first picture, starting on my left, is a frontal bust of the Savior with tousled hair and a pleasant beard. Looking at this picture I get the sense that He is full of excitement for life and all of its infinite possibilities. I see joy in His eyes as I envision Him looking forward positively toward the experiences of mortality. I feel energy emanating from His countenance, which floods me with an assurance that all things are possible for those who walk upon His paths of righteousness.

Moving to the right, in the second picture, we see the Savior gently conversing with four young children, who I would guess to be three or four years old. He is cradling one of the children around the neck and under the chin with His mighty and great hands. It is not difficult even with a short glance to be struck with the tenderness and compassion which was a hallmark of His mission then, is now and will be forever. I am left without doubt that He is indeed the Savior of even the least of us. I am enlightened with the understanding that we are called to minister in all of our stewardships with that same tenderness and compassion.

In the third picture, Jesus the Christ is grasping His forehead in an attitude of prayer. Much of His face is eclipsed by His hands, but there never has been a doubt in my mind that this was meant to be a depiction of the Savior. One quickly understands the prophesy pronounced, that every knee would bow and every tongue would confess, even included the Son of God. A simple picture with such a profound reminder that if He must submit Himself to prayer, then certainly all of Heavenly Father’s children, likewise, need to be ever faithful in seeking guidance and giving gratitude through prayer!!

In the fourth picture, we once again see the Savior surrounded by a large group of children, this time they seem to range in ages between seven to ten years. The Savior has His arm around the shoulder of one young lad and a young miss is leaning upon the shoulder of the seated Lord. I guess it is because this picture shows a group of children slightly older than those depicted in the second picture that I am often struck with the thought that in the sight of God we are all children in various stages of progression. I am overwhelmed with gratitude as I envision Him patiently lifting and sustaining us all; regardless of what decade of our apprenticeship we might currently be passing through. My attention is also drawn to the attentive attitude of all the children in the picture and I am renewed to a degree in my commitment to Him. I come to understand that my commission is to love my brothers and sisters regardless of what degree of progress they are currently in or in which field they have been planted.

The next to last picture is another bust of the Savior, who in this one is looking slightly over His left shoulder. In this picture His hair is combed nicely and His beard evenly trimmed. The Master’s eyes are looking afar, as if being focused on a home far away beyond the range of mortal sight. His eyes fill me with the sense of homesickness I experienced on my first night of my first scout camp, and I think of the home and Parents I left to come to earth and a twinge of scout camp loneliness creeps into my soul. I am reminded that we must take time to dismiss our mortal short sightedness and focus on eternal realities if we are going to return to live with Them again.

The sixth and last picture shows the Savior in a pastoral scene. He is the Good Shephard leading His sheep to green pastures and away from perilous canyons. He has a previously lost lamb cradled around His neck upon His shoulders. His face depicts the glee of finding one that was lost, but now is found. Gratefulness fills the heart of this lowly lamb as I recognize the need for the protective guidance and protection which can only come from the Good Shepherd. I am further struck with overwhelming appreciation because I know that no matter how far I might stray He will always be there to lift my burdens when I feel faint and do all in His power to bring me safely home.

I don't have a picture of any of the traditional pictures of the Trial, Crucifixion and Resurrection of the Savior on my wall, but in a very real way, every day as I glance at those six pictures, I am filled with a vibrant reminder that all He was and all He did would have been for naught if He had not completed the work His Father sent Him to do.

I suppose over the decades, hundreds of hours have been spent pondering while looking at those pictures, which were a gift from my loving sister who has now returned home and no longer feels the pangs of being a stranger in a strange land.

I know they have helped me gain a greater understanding of the meaning of life.

Many days of stress have been eased as I’ve been able to sit and think of them during a few minutes of quite meditation.

I have thought several times, if these earthly attempts at depicting His character and countenance have worked such marvelous wonders in my life, what would be the result of being able to enjoy His presence.

I have come to believe with all my heart, that whatever effort it might take on one’s part to be able to have the privilege of such an audience, the price could never be too great.

I know He has paid the uttermost farthing, and that all He asks is that I cast in my mite.