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.


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