Tuesday, January 31, 2017


If we use age as an excuse – to cease seeking knowledge – we will undoubtedly miss – the very reason – we were blessed with those additional years!!

Monday, January 30, 2017


It is probable – that those who best understand the principle of service – are those who daily seek to serve others!!

Sunday, January 29, 2017


One of the most chronicled events in scripture is an event which has yet to take place, the time when Jesus the Christ will come once again to reign and rule personally on the earth.

The prophets of the Old Testament were concerned and wrote about His second coming, long before He was born of Mary and dwelt among mortals and eventually offered His life as a token for their salvation.

His apostles and disciples wondered and questioned the Savior about His second coming while He was still teaching them and establishing the beginnings of His church during His mortal sojourn.

Along with receiving the authority, keys and ordinances for the restoration of His church and translating the Book of Mormon from the gold plates, Joseph Smith, in answer to His queries, received several revelations about the Lord’s return.

As we search the Holy Scriptures, we find that although Jesus the Christ has been very liberal when outlining the events and signs which would precede His coming, He has been far more prolific in His instructions as to what kind of people we should be striving to become as we fill our lamps with oil in anticipation of His coming.

Just as the events of His second coming were foreshadowed in the Book of Mormon, when He comes to dwell on earth again His ultimate coming will be preceded by a cleansing. This terrible and great day is essential and must happen in order to rid the earth of those who would disrupt and destroy His marvelous work which is to be done during His Millennial era.

This event carries with it both a warning and a blessing. Many have mistakenly thought that this fiery advent would take place in order to burn the evil from each of our lives, so that we would be pure enough to dwell during those 1000 years of peace. The truth is that we must have pre-purified ourselves to qualify for the privilege of being with Him is we hope to escape that day of burning.

I must pause to reflect on the marvelous and complete plan of our Heavenly Father, for just as He prepared a place where those of His children who perished in the flood at the time of Noah could be taught, we can rest assured that those of us who remain as the foolish virgins, with our lamps empty of oil, will likewise find a seat in the classroom on high where we can receive further instruction, which hopefully will at last wrought upon us those necessary changes.

The Lord has given us an ample view of the conditions of the Millennial Period, that hopefully we might be encouraged to be among the ranks of those who paid the price to be prepared prior to the coming of the Bridegroom.

The glorious Millennial Kingdom will be a place of peace because it will be inhabited by peaceful people!

The glorious Millennial Kingdom will be absent of crime because it will be inhabited by honest people!

The glorious Millennial Kingdom will be void of prejudice because it will be inhabited by people whose hearts are filled with love!

The glorious Millennial Kingdom will be a place of health because it will be inhabited by people who believe their bodies are temples!

The glorious Millennial Kingdom will be ecologically in tune because it will be inhabited by people who desire to care for Mother Earth.

The glorious Millennial Kingdom will be a place where the lamb and the lion can lie together because the created will have removed enmity from their hearts.

It would seem that the Pearl of Great Price the Lord has held out for us like a carrot to lead us towards righteousness, would be sufficient to draw us forward on the path He has given. Our days speed by and you would think our hearts would be filled with sadness because it looks more and more like we will not be privileged to greet our Lord at His coming and enjoy those paradisiacal times.

Almost immediately we are pulled by the Spirit to remember, the Lord has never put restrictions on any of Heavenly Father’s children, which would prohibit them from living ‘as if’ they were already in the Millennial Era.

We must stop to ponder what our world would be if we were prone to publish peace all of our days?

We must stop to ponder what our world would be if we were to choose to be totally honest in all our dealing?

We must stop to ponder what our world would be if we were to strive more diligently to develop universal love?

We must stop to ponder what our world would be if we were to care for our body as a temple?

We must stop to ponder what our world would be if we were to care for the earth as we would our mother?

We must stop to ponder what our world would be if we used godlike dominion with all living things?

Glory to Him who reigns on high – this day I can choose to have Him Reign in my heart!

As I awake from my pondering I am left to wonder if I have sufficient oil in my lamp and am prepared to meet the Bridegroom if He were to come today. Sadly, the last haunting thought which stirs in my heart as I end this writing, is I hope the Day of the Lord’s coming is yet a ways off!


Saturday, January 28, 2017


It will be difficult for us to understand – the principle of service – as long as we are seeking to be served by others!!

Friday, January 27, 2017


It is strange – how there are times in life – when we have to move away from the worshiping alone in our hearts – so that we will benefit from – the synergistic power of worshiping with others!!

Thursday, January 26, 2017


It may well be – that happiness comes more abundantly – to those who seek to bless others – than to those who seek blessings!!

Wednesday, January 25, 2017


Enduring to the end – is more about staying on the path – and holding to the rod – than it is about blazing a new trail!!

Tuesday, January 24, 2017


When we are uncertain – whether to be moving forward or backward – we would be wise – to make sure we are fixed on a true star – before we venture further!!

Monday, January 23, 2017


There are times in our lives – when we walk on darkened paths – because of the clouds which hide the light – the secret is to keep moving forward – until we once again emerge into the light!!

Sunday, January 22, 2017


If you have never been sound asleep in your van and been suddenly awakened in the middle of the night with the van rocking and rolling like the earth was shaking itself apart and seeing young girls and their leaders flashing lights and laughingly staring into the van from every window!

Then you have never been a young women’s camp dad!

If you have never had to drive into Reno, Nevada, to attend a 7 pm meeting at the Stake Center and then returning to Bucks Lake girls camp after midnight, only to find that your tent and sleeping bag have been lovingly transferred to the raft in the middle of the lake and then spent the next hour by star light retrieving your tent and sleeping bag balanced on a canoe and then setting up your tent in its proper spot and hurriedly getting a few hours’ sleep before the next morning!

Then you have never been a young women’s camp dad!

If you have never painted a pith helmet green and worn it for a week!

Then you have never been a young women’s camp dad!

If you have never had to search out the biggest and baddest squirt gun you could find for six straight years!

Then you have never been a young women’s camp dad!

If you have never had a sleepless night chasing bears out of the garbage because someone forgot to lock the lids on said cans!

Then you have never been a young women’s camp dad!

If you have never had your teenage daughter turn into your hero by removing a garter snake from your tent!

Then you have never been a young women’s camp dad!

If you have never been a sous chef and pot washer for six or maybe ten women ‘head chefs’ all in one kitchen at the same time fixing meals for 150 plus, always hungry, young girls!

Then you have never been a young women’s camp dad!

If you have never glue gunned your finger to felt or threaded your finger into a string of beads or jig sawed 150 plus pine trees!

Then you have never been a young women’s camp dad!

If you have never gone on a hike with 25 young girls and had to listen to constant choruses of I am hungry, my feet hurt, it is too hot, haven't we seen enough trees and rocks!

Then you have never been a young women’s camp dad!

If you have never had to help start 7 camp fires simultaneously at campsites 25 to 50 meters apart every night for 5 straight nights!

Then you have never been a young women’s camp dad!

I you have never had to do command performances of Goldilocks and the Three Bears in pocho (Spanish mixed with English) at the evening skit and talent show for six straight years!

Then you have never been a young women’s camp dad!

If you have never been glad that the camp end campfire testimony meeting was held well after sun down and listened to 50 plus of the sweetest testimonies ever!

Then you have never been a young women’s camp dad!

If after 30 plus years have passed you don’t still have a green pith helmet, a sweat shirt depicting a tent on a raft in the middle of a lake, a three foot bear wood cut out with 150 signatures and best wishes along with numerous other keepsakes stored in your garage!

Then you have never been a young women’s camp dad!

There was a time when I worried about whether I would make it passed the pearly gates since I had never been a scout leader or worked in the nursery, but as I look back on the wonderful six years I was able to be a camp day for girls camp at Bucks Lake, I sometimes think I might make it past Saint Peter and be allowed to enter.



Saturday, January 21, 2017


It will always be debatable – whether doubt or revelation – is the greater springboard toward seeking truth!!

Friday, January 20, 2017


It will always be debatable – whether we learn greater enlightenment – through the consequences of obedience or disobedience!!

Thursday, January 19, 2017


I am pretty certain – the lad who brought the few fiches and loves – received greater blessings from the feeding of the 5000 – than any of the rest of the 4999!!

Wednesday, January 18, 2017


I have never heard of an author – who didn't consider their lives much richer in many ways – because their words were made into a movie!!

Tuesday, January 17, 2017


Those who enjoy both the book and the movie – in their unique forms – usually enjoy a very full life!!

Monday, January 16, 2017


For those who love movies – reading the book will always take too long.

Sunday, January 15, 2017


I have what many people would say is a very narrow range when it comes to my musical likes. I definitely am drawn to soothing soft sound and eschew harsh and noisy sounds. Other than with my grandchildren I am seldom critical or argumentative about the types of music others prefer and most of the time I am grateful that they treat me with the same kindness.

When I was young, other than the hymns at church and the traditional Christmas songs, my world was seldom affected by music. However, I do remember when I played and was the singing cowboy as a very young boy. I am sure Gene Autry was the influence for that brief period of my musical ambitions.

There were times when I would hear some soothing sounds with an accompanying lyrical message which would hum to my psyche and I would be moved and listen whenever it was being played somewhere I was present.

One such song was ‘He’. I am almost positive it was Pat Boone’s version of the song which I first heard. Later the Lettermen did a marvelous rendition. I apologize to all who are reading this Thought who will now have to search the internet to learn who all these ancients I have mentioned were.


He can turn the tides
And calm the angry sea
He alone decides
Who writes a symphony

He lights every star
That makes our darkness bright
He keeps watch all through
Each long and lonely night

He still finds the time
To hear a child's first prayer
Saint or sinner call
And always find Him there

Though it makes Him sad
To see the way we live
He'll always say
"I forgive"

He can grant a wish
Or make a dream come true
He can paint the clouds
And turn the gray to blue

He alone knows where
To find a rainbow's end
He alone can see
What lies beyond the bend

He can touch a tree
And turn the leaves to gold
He knows every lie
That you and I have told

Though it makes Him sad
To see the way we live
He'll always say
"I forgive"

I don't want to mislead you into thinking I was anything but a very average young man when it came to my level of spirituality, but there is no doubt that this tribute to our Savior magnified in my mind the multitudiness things Jesus the Christ does for each of us in our lives.

As the years of my life have multiplied and morphed into almost eight decades, my feelings for and dependence on the Son of God have become more and more a part of my being. I have probably been very negligent in not sitting down and making an exhaustive list of what HE has become to me.

With this Thought I hope to at least partially rectify that fault with this writing.

HE – taught me the Eternal Plan of the Father as I sorted through the adversaries philosophy during my pre-mortal estate.

HE – created this beautiful world where I would be able find joy and happiness during the mortal probationary period of my existence.

HE – led and directed my forefathers and helped them find the truth as taught by His prophets.

HE – came to mortality and became the perfect example of what the potential of mankind really is.

HE – taught the principles of universal familial love which are essential for finding everlasting joy.

HE – gave His life so that all might come forth as resurrected beings.

HE – mercifully paid the price for those sins which I have been willing to put out of my life.

HE – restored the principles of the gospel hidden by man’s blindness and rejection of His revelations.

HE – restored the Priesthood which enabled the ordinances of salvation to be performed in righteousness on the earth.

HE – inculcated His word unto me through the power of inspired interventions.

HE – has made me a witness that he will yet renew this earth to its Paradisiacal Glory where my descendants will dwell with Him in peace and love.

HE – has protected my life as I have put it foolishly in harm’s way.

HE – has enlightened my mind to the remembrance of knowledge and understanding which I learned at the Father’s knee, but in the darkness of the world became unknown.

HE – has turned me to paths I was too blind to know I should be walking upon.

HE – has blessed me with stewardships which have edified and strengthened me.

HE – has allowed me to have relationships with great and noble souls who constantly lift me.

HE – has provided all that is necessary to return to Father’s presence if I obey.

And they arrived at the country of the Gadarenes, which is over against Galilee.

And when he went forth to land, there met him out of the city a certain man, which had devils long time, and ware no clothes, neither abode in any house, but in the tombs. When he saw Jesus, he cried out, and fell down before him, and with a loud voice said, what have I to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of God most high? I beseech thee, torment me not.

(For he had commanded the unclean spirit to come out of the man. For oftentimes it had caught him: and he was kept bound with chains and in fetters; and he brake the bands, and was driven of the devil into the wilderness.)

And Jesus asked him, saying, what is thy name? And he said, Legion: because many devils: were entered into him.
(Luke 8: 26 -30)

It is extremely interesting that notwithstanding the knowledge these devils had that they were in the presence of Jesus, the Son of God Most High, they wanted nothing to do with Him. How sad it is, when with all that we know of Him and what He has done for us, we so very often want nothing to do with Him.

I pray that we will be wise and declare, ‘Jesus’, we want everything to do with thee, ‘for thou art HE’.



Saturday, January 14, 2017


For those who love books – the movie will never be as good!!

Friday, January 13, 2017


There are few things which are more absolute – than anticipated boredom!!

Thursday, January 12, 2017


If we desire to have students leave a class – having an increase in the level of their testimonies through a witness of the Spirit – the teacher must be wise enough to give the Spirit a chance to whisper!!

Wednesday, January 11, 2017


When an instructor is motivated – by the desire to impress others – with the depth of their knowledge – most students will leave their lectures – without an increase of understanding!!

Tuesday, January 10, 2017


There may be classes we attend – where we learn in spite of – not because of the words – which have come out of the mouth of the instructor!!

Monday, January 9, 2017


In some educational environments – the whisperings of the Spirit – may be the only enlightenment we receive!!

Sunday, January 8, 2017


It isn't the torch that lights the way, but the flame.

It isn't the book that inspires, but the words.

It isn't the piano that makes the music, but the fingers.

It isn't the desire that helps another, but the deed.

One of my mother’s most often quoted phrases was ‘the road to hell is paved with good intentions.’ I don't see that there would be a lot gained from detailing the events of my young life which stimulated the frequent repetition of these words, but I do feel the lesson which eventually broke through my thicker than normal skull has served me well.

It isn't the seed that makes plants grow, but the planting.

It isn't the sun that multiplies the seed, but the nurturing.

It isn't the weeds that ruin the crop, but the lack of pulling.

It isn't the crop that fills our stomachs, but the harvest.

I spent two summer’s working on a ranch my Uncle Owen and his family were running for an owner who raised competition cattle. I think my mother and father had come to the conclusion that it would be a good thing for me to learn about work and nature in a more concentrated way than washing the dishes and mowing the lawn at home. One of Uncle Owens favorite sayings was ‘never put off until tomorrow what you can do today.’ Most of the time what he meant when he used the word ‘can’ in that sentence, he really meant ‘should’ of ‘must’. By the time I had finished my ranching apprenticeship the principle of doing things well and in a timely manner had been firmly planted in my soul.

It isn't the sewing that comes first, but the pattern.

It isn't the framing of the house which comes first, but the design.

It isn't the excelling of a talent which comes first, but the practice.

It isn't the book which comes first, but the hours of writing.

Between my junior and senior years of high school I secured a wonderful summer job with Morgan Gardner working in the trade of lathing. (I would have to take you through a lengthy history that is beyond the purpose of this thought to explain what lathing is, so you will just have to google it.) I suspect I will never know whether it was because I was dating his daughter, Shirley, at the time or because my father was the bishop of the ward we all attended, but anyway having this job financed most of my and eventually our needs and wants until I became a teacher in Educational System of the Church. Morgan’s main contribution to my maturation process was ‘every step must be done well and in its proper order’.

It isn't the nail that secures the board, but the arm which pounds the hammer.

It isn't the weather that ruins the wood, but the lack of the hand on the paint brush.

It isn't the bricks which secure a wall, but the layer applying cement and mortar

It isn't the shingles which make a roof, but the sweat of the installer.

I will never know if my parents had a master plan, but I am grateful for the way these events of my life unfolded and performed their molding upon my character. I am grateful to have learned about putting intentions into action, doing things in a timely manner and in proper order along with the multitudinous other lessons which found their mark.

It isn't the lessons that are taught that change us, but the ones we learn and apply.

It isn't the truths that change us, but the one we understand and live.

It isn't the years we are given, but what we do with those we are allotted.

It isn't the blessing we receive, but how we manage that stewardship.

Although the first of every year is usually reserved for setting new goals, I have discovered it to be a wonderful time to remember all that has happened which brought us to whatever point of life at which we might have arrived. Hopefully, as we are about remembering we will be stimulated towards accomplishing some of those resolutions recently made.

It isn't the torch that lights the way, but the flame.

It isn't the book that inspires, but the words.

It isn't the piano that makes the music, but the fingers.

It isn't the desire that helps another, but the deed.



Friday, January 6, 2017


Our verbal journey through the Twelve Days of Christmas brings us to the climax of Epiphany.

If you belong to a Christian denomination whose origin predates the Reformation period, on this day you will probably be involved in some ritual of celebration commemorating the Epiphany. You might have saved the traditional gift giving until this day or you might have had gifts on Christmas morning and again today. Others might have gone to the local water spot to watch young lads dive into icy water to retrieve the Cross of Christ.

If you belong to a Christian denomination whose origin comes during or after the Reformation, the day will probably pass without being much different than any other weekday of the year which hasn’t been designated as a National Holiday in your land of residence.

Epiphany is also called by many Three Kings Day, in recognition of the Magi arriving to present their gifts to the Babe in the manger. Historians have put a damper on this part of the Christmas story by pointing out that the Wise Men may have arrived in Jerusalem as much as three years after the Savior’s mortal birth to present gifts to the ‘Child’.

Some might be curious why there are Christian denominations which celebrate the baptism of Jesus by his cousin John in the waters of the Jordan River or the first miracle of the Lord changing water into wine at the wedding feast on the Day of Epiphany.

If we define Epiphany by its most common synonyms: appearance, manifestation and revelation, we should begin to get an idea of why the events of the Magi, Jesus’s baptism and the performing of his first miracle are remembered on this day.

These manifestations are but a small representation of events which could be pointed to as revelatory of the appearance of The Son of God on earth. These could have added to them the feeding of the 5000 or the raising of Lazarus or a myriad of other evidences which testify of His divinity.

What has come to me as I have taken my own journey through the Twelve Days of Christmas this year leading up to this day of Epiphany, is that what is most important is that I pay whatever price must be paid in order that I experience my own personal Epiphany that I might receive a personal revelatory manifestation of the appearance of the Son of God on earth.

To this I add my testimony to the millions which have been born, that Jesus the Christ was indeed born of Mary, taught us the way unto life eternal and Atoned for the inadequacies of all of Heavenly Father’s children.



Thursday, January 5, 2017



Some years ago a family situation found us far away from home on the 28th of September, in a suburb of Seattle, Washington, named Woodenville. As we were going down the main street, we passed a large nursery called Molbaks.

At first I didn’t notice, but something subconsciously made me look again; it really was true, the windows of this large store were totally decked with all the types of Christmas trees that one could imagine.

This was not November 28th (just after Thanksgiving), not even October 28th (just before Halloween) but the 28th of September (when our children had just returned to classes after summer vacation). The freshness of the displays eliminated the possibility of last year’s laziness and therefore, I knew that this was a deliberate attempt to stretch the commercialization of Christmas beyond the bounds of propriety.

In the rapidity which only the processes of the mind and some monster computers can achieve, my thoughts skipped from rejection and revulsion concerning the blatant 28th of September display to a remembrance of thoughts vocalized the 28th of December last.
Vividly, across the span of time through the miraculous capacity of the mind, came the words as if they were now first being spoken; ‘I wish the feelings and goodness and love which have abounded this Christmas season could remain with us all year long.’

Gratefully, I quickly repented of my feelings of rejection and revulsion and decided that I would determine not to fight the feeling, and even resolved to become part of the flow of Christmas Spirit which annually floods mankind no matter what the date on the calendar might be.

It may well be that if one twelfth of the year is made joyous because of the abundance of those tinsels and lights which can remind us of the Christmas Spirit, four twelfths of the year might even be better.

After all, if one has seriously determined to be a disciple of the Savior Jesus the Christ, they should welcome every bit of help they can get in carrying forth His message.

Therefore, if my neighbor wants to leave his outdoor lights up all year long, I well be grateful and not label him as lazy. He can even turn them on for Valentine’s Day, the Fourth of July, his kids’ birthdays, his anniversary or just because he feels like it, if he so wishes. Then for a moment, I will be reminded of the birth and mission of my Savior.

If the department stores want to send out their ads for Black Friday with their Christmas specials the day after Halloween and then follow up with weekly reminders by every method of advertising known and yet to be known, it should cause my heart to rejoice about all the reminders which are flooding home about the birth of the King of Kings.

If the choir starts rehearsing for the Christmas program right after the ringing of the explosions of Independence Day have left our ears and if Christmas carols are heard before the last cord of hymns of Thanksgiving is sounded, I’ll reverence the wondrous messages heralding the birth of the Prince of Peace.

Therefore, as one who has resolved to add his droplets to the flood of His Eternal message, I wish you happiness and joy this time and always. I pray that living Christmas trees in August will stimulate us to a remembrance of our Saviour in the same way that artificial ones often do in December.

I pray that the colors in May and summer scenes in June and the fresh smells of April will cause your emotions to soar and your heart to respond to the needs of your earthly companions no matter whether the date is in January or the day is in March.

We all need to spend more time pondering that it isn't Christmas day which makes us different, but it is Jesus the Christ, His teaching, His life and His Atonement.

Without Christ, Christmas turns from a day of celestial contemplation into a day of telestial triviality.

Without Christ, gift giving can be changed from charitable exchanges of love to concerns of commercialization and indebtedness.

Without Christ, bright decorations turn from being beacons of light into gaudy glitter.

Without Christ, gatherings turn from reverent remembrances to riotous reunions.

Without Christ, eternal hope turns quickly into endless days of dismal darkness.

Without Christ, sustaining faith turns a journey into an unsupported abyss.

Without Christ, Christmas and all other days turn from Celestial contemplations to thoughts about Telestial trivialities.

it may well be that the key to maintaining feelings of goodness and love during the appointed Christmas season and throughout the whole year is not to be found in trying to keep the Christmas Spirit; but through finding Christ and keeping Him and His teachings in our lives all year long.

May the Spirit of our Savior, Jesus the Christ, come into our lives in such abundance this Christmas season that it will flow through us all unto our fellow travelers not only for a day or a week or and month, but at all times, is the prayer I offer in His Holy name at this blessed time of the year.


Wednesday, January 4, 2017



Little-Will was lying very still on his bed in room C108 of the Children’s Hospital. Of his 11years of life, this was the fourth Christmas Little Will would spend his special double-day in a hospital bed.

His name was really William, but he didn’t realize it himself until he started to print his name in the first grade in Mrs. Brown’s class.
Everyone had always called him Little Will – but it was usually said as if it were one word, Lilwill. He remembered when he returned home from school that day and after he had answered his mother’s questions about what he had learned that day, asking her if his name was really William. She had told him that William was the name they had given him when he was born on that most wonderful Christmas day. She also said once again as she always did that he was the best Christmas present she had ever received. His mother told him that it would be best if he printed William on his papers at school.

The first time he spent Christmas in the hospital on Christmas day was the day he was born and he didn’t really remember a lot about his zero birthday. His mother always told him how wonderful it was to be able to celebrate his birthday with Jesus. One of his favorite pictures in the picture book was the one of his mother dressed as Mary holding him in the manger his father had built on the church lawn. He was one year old and not really a baby like Jesus, but it was still a favorite picture and his mother told him it was her favorite of all of his birthdays. As he looked at his mother sitting near his bed he felt like he was once again wrapped warmly in her arms, just like in the picture.

He didn’t remember a lot about the Christmas he had spent in the hospital when he was four. One thing he did remember was that his father had brought a Christmas tree to his room. The tree was small and he was excited when his father put all the little ornaments on the tree. Next to the tree his mother had placed a little manger scene with little animals and miniature people holding and looking at baby Jesus. That was the year his father had started to tell the family the story about the shepherds who had heard the angels sing and how they left their sheep on the hill and went to see baby Jesus. Father always ended the story by saying we all needed to be ready to leave whatever we were doing and go unto Jesus when the angels would sing in our hearts. After that Christmas, even though they always had a big Christmas tree in the living room at home, the small tree was put up in the middle of the dining room table with the miniature manger scene right next to it.

Lilwill loved being home for Christmas and his birthday, but for some reason, as he was lying in his bed, he remembered the Christmases spent in the hospital with his family gathered around his bed as being very special and clearer in his mind.

On his seventh birthday Lilwill once again found himself in a hospital bed with his family surrounding him. Father had brought the small tree with the little ornaments and had placed the miniature manger scene. Like always as Lilwill looked at tiny Mary holding the baby Jesus he could feel his mother’s warm and loving arms around him even though she was reading the Bible in the chair closest to his bed.

That was the year his older sister, (he never understood why she wasn’t called Big-Katie, but it was always just Katie – that is unless she didn’t come after mother had called several times and then it was Kathleen) first told the story of the wise men. Katie had read the story last year, but this year she told the story and Lilwill liked it much better when she told the story. The star always seemed brighter, the journey much longer, Herod much meaner and the gifts more wonderful when Katie put her special-ness into the story. Lilwill really liked it when she would end the story saying the gifts the wise men brought were fit for a king. Lilwill always had to swallow hard so that he wouldn’t cry when he saw the tears start to roll down Katie’s cheeks as she finished the story saying she hoped her life would be fit to give as a gift to her King.

Now on his 11th birthday Lilwill found himself once again in a hospital room with his family surrounding his bed. This year his mother’s face seemed to shine like the star in Katie’s story. This year he didn’t have to imagine that he was wrapped in the warmth of his mother’s arms, because, what seemed like every few minutes, she came to the side of his bed to give him a loving hug.

As his father stood next to the miniature tree with the tiny ornaments surrounded by the small manger with the little animals, shepherds, wise men, Joseph, Mary and baby Jesus, and told the story of the shepherds watching their sheep at night, Lilwill thought it was an angel who spoke when his father said those beautiful words, “we all need to be ready to leave whatever we are doing and go unto Jesus.”

This year Katie had told about the shining star and was just beginning to talk about the long journey of the wise men when the tears started to roll down her cheeks. By the time she got to the part about hoping her life would be a gift fit for a king she could hardly say the words between the deep breaths she was taking. Lilwill knew that swallowing hard wouldn’t help him keep the tears from falling from his own eyes and rolling down his own cheeks, but for some reason it didn’t really seem to matter.

As the family was finishing the last verse of Silent Night, Holy Night, Lilwill was once again born on Christmas Day and he faintly heard these sweet words, “Welcome home Lilwill. Thank you for your life which is indeed a gift fit for a King.”

Scripture Search: John 18: 37, Job 14:14, 3 Nephi 1:13, John 11:17, 3 Nephi 27:13, Romans 14:9, 1 Thessalonians 5:10



Tuesday, January 3, 2017



This week my thoughts have been centered on the night the Savior of the world came to dwell among men.

Have you ever wondered how different the history of the world would have been if the Baby Jesus had never been born? Have you ever wondered how different the world we live in would be if the Baby Jesus had never been born? Have you ever wondered how different your life would be if the Baby Jesus had never been born?

Although my wonderings are far from exhaustive on this Theme of Themes, I offer the following as a springboard to your own wonderings.

If the Baby Jesus had not lain in the manger that first Christmas night:

There would be no wondering about the Annunciation and the miraculous birth which resulted.

There would be no wondering about the Magi or the wondrous star they followed in the eastern sky which beamed down on Bethlehem.

There would be no remembrance of shepherds having heard angels sing as they tended their flocks across the arroyo from that blessed village.

There would be no shrine in Bethlehem covering the grotto where the Redeemer of mankind was once swaddled.

There would be no marveling about the One who maneuvered through life’s trials without sin, moving ever steadily toward perfection.

There would be no reading about the best and worst of man’s acts down through history having been done in His name.

There would never have been disciples willing to live to witness of His divinity and willing to die as a sealing act to their testimonies.

There would never have been a single soul expressing gratefulness for His Atonement which opened the gates unto Eternal Life.

If the Baby Jesus had not lain in the manger that first Christmas night:

Our nights of December would be void of sparkle and brightness.

We would have no Black Friday, Cyber Monday nor shopping till you drop.

We would not see red suited Santas, elves dressed in green or toys fulfilling the imaginations of boys and girls of all ages.

We would not have brightly decorated trees topped with angels or stars taking center stage in our homes.

We would not have spent time adorning mantles with manger scenes or hours putting up miniature villages on table tops.

We would have no memories of overnight trips to be with family and feasting on goodies for days on end.

We would not have those sleepless nights ushering in gleeful mornings spent ripping into packages and then marveling at how soon the anticipated moment passed.

We would not have been little shepherds tripping on lengthy robes, angels with halos askew, or boys and girls forever remembering that
we were Joseph or Mary as the words of Luke were read.

We would not have joined with joyful listeners to hear seasonal choirs filling halls with carols from around the world.

If the Baby Jesus had not lain in the manger that first Christmas night:

My life would have had less meaning and purpose and I would have wandered without a guiding light.

My days would have had more moments of stress and anxiety and fewer times of peace and happiness.

My feelings about marriage and family would have been altered dramatically and I might never have known the blessedness of unconditional love.

My reasoning leading to choices would have been founded on a different set of values, therefore leading to very different outcomes in my life.

My fears in life based on uncertainty would have increased and my hopes in life would have been dimmed.

My faith that in and through the Lord Jesus the Christ salvation and resurrection are a reality would not have sustained me.

I have left space between sections so that, if you wish you might add your own wonderings about how different life would be if the Baby Jesus had not lain in the manger that first Christmas night.


Monday, January 2, 2017



Many Christmases ago we attended a concert in the Mount Rose Chapel in Reno, Nevada where once again I was reminded of how much I enjoy the traditional songs of Christmas and how I had not yet learned and sadly still don't enjoy those entries on the program which seem to be more for the vocal experience of the singers than the entertainment of the audience. At that particular conference I heard for the first time Lai Nani Jamieson and Naomi Buccumbuso sing a duet accompanied by Mildred Earl.

I don't really know if I can describe what I heard that night and on many occasions thereafter, but I’ll give it a try from my tone deaf perspective. Somehow it seemed like they were singing backup for one another. Their voices seemed to blend and complement on every note. It is what I would describe as perfect harmony. There were occasions when they were joined by Glenna Leukenga and none of the harmony was lost. I even remember times when Mildred Earl yielded the piano to someone else and the group expanded to a quartet and smoothly they all blended into harmonious wonderfulness. It was remarkable to me that none of them ever felt like they should be highlighted with a solo.

It was quite natural for me during this past Thanksgiving week which we spent with family in Reno, Nevada, to have the remembrance of how much I enjoyed these wonderful women and how well they presented every song writer’s contribution to the world. Knowing the way my mind works it was likewise not unusual that I continued to develop the theme of harmony to cover other aspects of life.

During the founding days of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints there was a lot of attention paid to the principle of harmony and, gratefully, many talks were recorded which addressed this subject. In many ways the scriptures approach and reinforce this concept as one of the major hurdles we were sent to the earth to master.

I remember reading about how the purpose of life was to bring our physical body into harmony with our spirit body. I remember teaching lessons about how, since the spirit body had already chosen to follow Heavenly Father’s Eternal Plan that if harmony would ever come about the physical body would have to change to complement what the spirit body had already become. I suspect that one of the reasons we often feel sorrow and fall short of feeling joy is because of the internal struggle between the two halves of our soul.

I remember reading about how the purpose of marriage is for men and women to become one. I remember teaching lessons about how since neither the man nor the woman were perfect; if perfect harmony were to be achieved, they would have to seek models outside of their union as examples to emulate. I suspect that one of the reasons we often fall short of oneness is that we are determined to defend what we feel is right in spite of obvious contradictions. The heartbreak of separation is almost always a result of one or both parties being unwilling to find a point where harmony exists.

I remember reading about how the purpose of the church is for the members to become as one in a society called Zion. I remember teaching lessons on the wonderful times when groups approached this harmonious level of living, if only for a season. They were described as living in the happiest of times. The fall of these short term Zion societies always came about because individuals gave into the temptation of feeling they were more important than the rest of the group. For some reason most of us feel that defending our point of view is more important than finding harmony in truth as far as we might be able to understand it. For some reason we continue to find more reasons to judge our neighbors than to edify and strengthen them. For some reason we find mortal pseudo-solutions to problems more appealing than those outlined in the Plan of Happiness.

Therefore, we continue to interact with anger, mistrust and hatred, pounding our plow shares into spears and making war.

As the celebration of the birth of the Savior approaches I look forward to these few moments when we will in some way put aside some of our pettiness and let harmony ring, if only for a short season.

As we slowly drive through those specially lighted neighborhoods which every town and city seems to have, with no one zipping and no one putting the life of others in danger, just one continuous harmonious snaking of autos. Unitedly we meander, enjoying for a moment the wondrous spectacle which surrounds us.

Once the madness of Black Friday is behind us we witness people helping their neighbors with their packages, we see people deferring to each other in lines and we see people pausing from political positions to visit about pleasanter topics.

We are amazed as we see people who are normally concerned about making sure their fashion needs are met, forgetting themselves for a moment as they search diligently to find that gift which will bring happiness to the receiver.

It is indeed a marvelously miraculous season when the traditional songs will be sung and a part of the world will momentarily move just a little closer to being in harmony. Sadly, the season will indeed be short and the discordant noises of the New Year will send us all back to the blaring bickering which keeps us far from the purposes of our existence.


Sunday, January 1, 2017




As the earth made its revolution around the sun, month in and month out it was a peaceful meadow, a beautiful glen of repose and solitude where one could go to calmly ponder about the mysteries of life and the eternities. As the buds and fresh leaves began to appear, the meadow lost its peacefulness as celebrants gathered for that special season dedicated to renewal and re-creation. The glen became the center for activity and jubilation for the ancient Greeks who gathered to symbolically commemorate in joyfulness, life springing forth once again after a long and dreary winter. Many of those gathered paused periodically to think upon personal hopes and desires for growth and prosperity. While others, totally captivated by the dazzling and dizzying atmosphere created by the music, dancing and raucousness, attempted to take full advantage of these few moments which gave them a respite from the heaviness of their usual routines.

One of the tenants of the Law given through Moses to the children of Israel was the observance of the Sabbatical Year. The Sabbath of years, one year of seven, was to be a year of forgiveness for many, a year of beginning anew for all. What a glorious year where forgiving and being forgiven of all of one’s encumbrances became the resolve. That ancient sabbatical year was filled with rejoicing as the tribes of Israel felt their spirits lifted, generating renewing strength and a freshening of vitality as the yoke carved by poor choices, poor management or more clever minds was lifted from each individual shoulder. This jubilation spread from person to person, from city to city until it filled the whole nation of Israel with a hope which brought an increase of productivity and prosperity. The Year of Jubilee helped many to ponder upon how to administer their lives better. Sadly the clever minds eventually found ways to avoid the losses which came when they would release a neighbor from bondage and the Year of Jubilee became another time of celebration which had lost its meaning.

As Jesus the Christ proclaimed the good news he made sure that each individual would be assured the right of new beginnings and renewals, times when his followers would be able to lay down those parts of their lives which were old, tired and burdensome and replace them with new, fresh and stimulating desires and aspirations. Paul taught that the ordinance of baptism was a type of burial and resurrection, a time when the neophyte disciples had the chance to begin again as if they had been reborn, a time when the bondages of sin and self-destructive practices could be shed, a birth which breathes freshness and vitality into lives freed from their burden-laden pasts. The Savior instituted the Sacraments of the bread and the wine so that on a very frequent schedule his adherents could refresh and renew this process of shedding their accumulated burdens and be able to walk lightly away on a straighter path, refreshed by this remembrance of Him and their desires to be faithful followers.

Annually, many of the earth’s inhabitants conduct a ritual of renewal which in some households has taken on the dimension of being mandatorily observed as if it had some religious significance and must be done to ward off the demons which might cause them to have a devastating year. This ritual is heralded not by a new moon, nor a new heaven, not even the changing of nature’s garb. We simply look on the wall and discover that the calendar is tattered and used with no new pages filled with days for our future. We take it down and as if all those days on its pages had no significance, we discard it and hang in its place a fresh new calendar filled with days where our lives will evolve or revolve minute by minute. Just like the celebration of the day of our birth we go to great lengths to make this changing of the calendar a momentous occasion, but like our birthday when we arise the next morning we find the routineness of life filling that day and the next and the next.

To some who gathered in the glens of ancient Greece the annual celebrations of spring truly became a meaningful moment of renewal. Marking the beginning of a year of diligence and dedication to the completion of their pondered resolutions which would enliven their lives and make them more than that which they had been. Others will dumbly go through day after day dreaming of buds and new leaves heralding the time when they can once again find momentary respite in the meadow.

Those individuals, cities or tribes who strictly adhered to the laws of the Year of Jubilee, reaped the benefits of renewed stimulation, freshness and strength. Universally they lifted the burdens from one another’s shoulders, beginning a new era of vitality and prosperity which spread and grew until bad decisions, bad management and clever minds once again built up the burdens which hamper continued progress.

Those converts who lay down their old lives in the waters of Baptism and renew their convictions frequently by partaking of the Sacraments of the bread and wine and then demonstrate their devotion by walking the path of discipleship will be renewed, rejuvenated and refreshed as if they are continually reborn into a life of hope unburdened by abandoned destructive behaviors. Returning to those old personal paths of perpetuating prideful behavior makes all who once felt renewed to feel old and burdened with sadness and worry.

As we replace last year’s calendar, which helped bring some order to earth’s inhabitants with the universal acceptance of the regularity of a seven day week, with the hanging of the bright new calendar it would be well to complete the ritual by looking at those pages containing the untapped wealth of 365 days with gratefulness. Before we discard the tattered and used calendar we might pause for a moment or two of grateful remembrances for all the opportunities and challenges we have experienced as we crossed off the days on its pages.

This ‘New Year’ gives us all the opportunity to examine our lives, spending ample time remembering with gratefulness those experiences which have brought us to where we are in life and being open to those changes which will increase our level of integral happiness, holding on to that which is best and enlivens our lives and discarding that which is bad and deadens our lives. The ritual of the calendar presents us with another one of those moments when we have a chance to start to rid ourselves of destructive habits too long practiced and in their place inculcate into our lives long-desired edifying attributes.

May the Lord bless us that as we go through our individual celebrations of jubilation we will find a peaceful place where we can lay the foundations for a happier, more productive and meaningful life. At present we can only hope and pray for a time when the desire to edify, build and strengthen one another flows from person to person, city to city, nation to nation until it edifies, builds and strengthens this fragile planet we occupy. Will I be the one to take the first step or will I spend another year waiting for another to begin the liberating jubilation?

Scriptures: Proverbs 28:20, Alma 4:10, Alma 37:41, Mosiah 1:17, Luke 16:10, Matthew 25:23,