Sunday, August 30, 2009


I have been surprised, no, amazed at the physicality that is being reported on FaceBook. I have wondered if the reports are accurate, embellished, an attempt to appear to be keeping up with the Jones or if this push to out jog, out jazzercise or out gym in multitudinous ways ones peers is real and sincere. I have also wondered if all this body movement is really as totally healthful as it is being drummed up to be. I wonder when a strip mall cannot have legitimacy except it have a conditioning facility of some kind. I wonder if it is a good thing or a bad thing when jogging trails and exercise stations have replaced barbecue areas in our parks. I wonder about the ever present quest to become one size smaller, ten pounds lighter or have my body two shades darker or lighter than the natural pigmentation of my skin.

As I watch and admire the beautiful bronze bodies bustling along I cannot help but wonder about whether we have lost the fundamental principles of recreation.

RECREATION: Time and acts spent in the process of Re-Creation.

I am sure the ancient Greeks would have been elated at the current fascination and desire to be sound of body, but I also believe they would have wondered if we hadn't confused and mistaken the means for the end. Those wise men of old rightfully understood that the purpose of a sound body was to keep one's body from being a hindrance to becoming sound of mind. Life's exercises were meant to Re-Create the total being not just to harden the outer crust. The Lord might have been giving this same message when in the Word of Wisdom he connected running without being weary with one's ability to obtain wisdom and hidden treasures of knowledge.

Random thoughts on the process of Re-Creation:
  • Am I really involved in the Re-Creation process when my avocation has become the same stressful drag as my vocation?
  • Am I really involved in the Re-Creation process when exercise becomes a duty rather that a pleasurable activity?
  • Am I really involved in the Re-Creation process when games become a 'have to' rather than a 'get to' activity?
Random thoughts on maximizing my Re-Creation activities:
  • When I am involved in physical exercise do I remember that pleasure in the doing is an absolute must if I am to bear the sweet fruit of Re-Creation?
  • In the process of Re-Creation there is no direct correlation between degree of pain and desired results. One person's pain may well be another's pleasure.
  • Variety in one's regimen will add spice and longevity to Re-Creational activities – joggers gotta swim – swimmers gotta cycle.
Perhaps far and away the most important step in the process of Re-Creating the total being is to be involved in those activities which will generate soundness of mind – tune us up spiritually and in an unusual and underused way add vigor to the body. The Greeks called it Logic and would spend two hours so engaged for each hour of physicality. The Hindus made it the end quest of every Yoga position. Confucius said that meditation brought meaning to all of man's meanderings. Christ admonished all to ponder constantly in our hearts in order to facilitate the passage of life's trials.

These ancient sources of wisdom universally counseled that we could facilitate the Re-Creation process by including the following in our meditations:
  • What are the roots of my existence?
  • Have I come to an understanding and kept in remembrance my parentage which has been veiled by time?
  • Am I developing control over those things I allow my mind to ponder upon? If my pondering is mainly upon the stresses of daily grind little or no Re-Creation will result. This also might be something to consider as we attend to our duties in the House of the Lord and seek for advancement of our souls. Can the Lord write upon a slate which has been previously filled with my personal agenda?
  • Do I ponder upon things which will elevate the human condition rather than demean it?
  • Do I concentrate on understanding the steps needed to aid the total me in breaking the bonds which will move me beyond my old rutted self – physically – mentally and spiritually?
The next time we rush off to our local "fat dropping – muscle snapping florescent decked' activity it might be well to remember that physical fitness is not an end, but a means and that the end will not be met until we have Re-Created our whole soul.

Sunday, August 23, 2009


I would undoubtedly need a time machine or unlimited access to the television archives of family style sitcoms of the 1950's. Lacking both of these resources most of you will just have to take my word for it when I say that there was a day when complete families with fathers who made right decisions to resolve any and all crisis which confronted their families, was actually the norm on most weekly television series. It was amazing to watch how in a half hour impending ruin would be turned into joyful resolution.

Now many years later we have all been indoctrinated with the philosophy of cynicism which gave us the sophisticated understanding that these scripted situations were very contrived and very far from representing what really takes place in families. In fact we have come to be indoctrinated to understand that these unrealistic presentations of the 'Father Knows Best' era were probably having a detrimental affect upon that generation and the future generations which they would spawn. These quick and effortless resolutions to family were.

I know the years have jaundiced us all somewhat against ever believing in or hoping for the expectation that earthly fathers can be or ever will be a never ending source of wisdom and insights able to resolve any and all problems. I also know that what we are now being fed on a continuous basis about families and fathers is likewise far from what really is or should be.

All of this worldly inaccuracy should motivate us to increasingly look to the True Father who indeed knows best, the True Father who truly has the resolution to all of life's problems and crisis the True Father who is constantly aware of the problems of His children and therefore continually sends instructive solutions through his prophets. How often must these messengers sent from the True Father sit and shake their heads as they witness the frustrations and depressions of His children, knowing that if we would follow the counsel of our loving and caring Father, life could be so much better and we would find joy in our lives.

Long ago in the days of Daniel men altered their abilities to resolve problems by too frequent use of wine and strong drink. Through Daniel and his friends we were shown that abstinence from these substances aided one in thinking and seeing correct directions which should be followed. It is staggering to contemplate how much heartache and hurt might have been avoided or eliminated if the inhabitants of the world had heeded this admonition sent from the True Father.

The songs of the Psalmists ring with the truth that men should be slow toward anger and quick to understanding and yet millennia later we remain quick to anger and slow to understanding. They admonish in rhyme that forgiveness should be a much more frequent exercise than revenge and yet centuries later we are still frequently seeking revenge and seldom truly forgive one another. It is beyond our capacity to imagine the harmonious relationships which might have resulted and the heartaches which might have been avoided if we had let the words of these psalms sink into our souls.

As we read the Holy Scripture we read verse after verse spelling out the admonition that we should avoid the twin monsters of Pride and Greed. Yet we continue to impede one another's pathway to happiness as we endlessly compete for fame and coin. When will we learn to control these desires and thereby reduce the conditions which foster squabbles, feuds and wars?

Sadly the world will never know what might have been, had the past generations heeded the counsel of the True Father sent to His children through the writings of His servants. We can only wonder what would have been had His children been willing to use His eternally proven formulas for fathers and families rather than chasing after the latest insignificant but marketable attempt at being a pseudo Solomon.

Is it possible that there yet might be a generation who will be wise enough to understand that although life's problems are continuous and endless, that they will only be resolved with the aid of Him whose knowledge is Eternal? Be still and ponder and listen to the still small voice of the Divine which speaks clearly to your soul. Do you not hear and understand that it would indeed serve you well to seek the words of Everlasting Wisdom which comes to you from the True Father who eternally knows best?

Sunday, August 16, 2009


All the works of Heaven spring forth from…

Every man is commanded to speak…
Freedom comes to those who know…
Light comes to him who knows…
The righteous will be sanctified by…
The wise shall receive…
It embraceth itself…
There is no end to it…

Thus the prophets have spoken concerning truth, wisdom and understanding and the gifts that are bestowed upon those who seek and find it.

The story is told of an ancient fox trapper who mastered his craft in the North Country in the early days of the history of the United States of America, long before its vast space began to be filled by the westward migration stimulated for the quest for gold. After toiling for many lonely years in the wilderness, the day finally came when the creature comforts of far off cities pulled at him until he finally succumbed and announced to his few courageous peers that this year would mark his last season of gleaning pelts.

Residing in one of the tent shacks, which clustered together to make up what was generously referred to as the town, was an adventurous young man who had come west to find his fortune. The lad petitioned the ancient trapper that he might become his mentor in the skills of trapping. After a lengthy conversation the old man was persuaded to allow the young neophyte to be his apprentice for this one last season.

As the two journeyed together into the hills and then into the mountains the old master was particularly careful in his duties as he bequeathed his knowledge to his student. He found great excitement in the prospect of leaving his time-tried knowledge as a legacy which would be passed from his novice to a yet unborn future generation. After a season of meticulous care in setting and harvesting his traps, the once trapper now turned tutor returned from the mountains with his student, both being laden with the rewards of a bounteous yield of pelts. The old man could now look forward to his well-earned years of ease with the added joy of knowing that all he had learned over the years would not be lost because of his parting.

Some years later the ancient trapper, yielding to the beckoning call of the wild, and a curiosity to know of his apprentice's success, returned to the mountains of his own well spent youth. After an extended search he finally found his student who had all the appearances of impoverishment and an ill spent life. He was living in a run down shack with a meager supply of substance surrounding him.

Questions stumbled upon one another as the old man in his haste desired to know the cause of what seemed to be a life of failure on the trap lines.

"Had the fox run out?"
"Had the traps lost their spring?"
"Had the Indians driven the trappers from the mountains?"

To each question came haltingly humble almost inaudible reply, "no".

"What then had happened," queried the master trapper?

Almost too abruptly the answer left the lips of the destitute young man, "I FOUND A BETTER WAY".

What is there in the nature of almost all of Heavenly Father's children which causes them to reject the proven and seek for answers along an uncharted path? His hope is that there will come a generation who will heed and apply the words of the Master Mentor. Or will it be that each generation will be doomed to the fate of rejecting the tried and true eternal truths in a self destructive and fruitless self-disillusioning quest to find a so called "BETTER WAY".

With so many subtle and screaming voices vying for our attention how does one go about detecting the true path from a disappointing detour along a "BETTER WAY"? Do we really have any hope of:

Sorting through the information mountain…
Endeavoring to make established truths our own…
Firmly planting ourselves upon His well founded foundation…
Growing from a base of consistent eternal truth, wisdom and understanding; going forth ever building toward finding greater truth, wisdom and understanding…

I believe our TRUE WAY will be found through a daily diligent quest to find and apply in our lives, HIS WAY and not OUR WAY. One way this can come about is through daily earnest PRAYER, an activity of little effort for which we will be richly compensated in undreamed of dimensions.

The Lord has irrevocably decreed that whosoever diligently and humbly seeks to learn truth, wisdom and understanding shall be justified and shall gain intelligence in the land and shall be possessor of the ultimate freedom and receive all that I have.

Sunday, August 9, 2009


From the words the Savior has spoken throughout the ages through His prophets and the few words we have which He spoke while he sojourned as a mortal on the earth, He left little doubt that one of the attributes of the Telestial or mortal man which He most strongly detested was hypocrisy. He truly abhorred that clever and deceitful thing which we do in relating to one another as we go in and out of relationships; the ability we develop to one degree or another in making people think we believe and say one thing when the polar opposite might be reality. I think that we sometimes spend so much time at this hypocritical game that we even convince ourselves that we may be something different than what we really are.

I have often pondered on this problem of self deception and the propensity we have of trying to deceive others and wondered how I might come to know the real me. I'm still not sure I have come to know the either the solution or the formula for conquering what seems to be an unconquerable foe, but none the less let me wade in where wiser men would turn altogether there from.

Is my real self demonstrated by what I SAY?

The brethren have often admonished us to be free with bearing our testimonies to one another not only so that we might strengthen others, but also that in so doing we might somehow add to the strength of our own beliefs. On the other hand, we all know how difficult it is for mortals to control those faculties which allow speech. We often find ourselves saying something to someone which is contrary to the truth just because we find it easier or less controversial than bringing to light what we are really thinking. Therefore I must ask, does my talk reveal to me that what I really believe is truth is relative to my best interest or convenience in a given moment of time? It would be difficult to ever be secure in saying that what I believe and therefore, who I really am is always demonstrated by what I say.

Is my real self demonstrated by what I DO?

Elder Bruce R. McConkie said that "we could know what we truly believe by what we do." I suspect it is a far more accurate barometer than relying solely on what l say but I know too many people who believe in the pseudo philosophy of faking it until you make it. There are many others who spend their lives doing what they think is expected of them or in order to please others. It seems that we clever humans have found a lot of loopholes in Elder McConkie's statement. However, I do believe that it is much easier to think I know the real me when somehow my actions more closely match my words.

Is my real self demonstrated by who I AM?

Elder Neal A. Maxwell said when discussing the attribute of meekness, "that a person's meekness level couldn't be demonstrated by a display of humility but that meekness itself was the real thing." How do I know when what I am displaying to the world is the real me and what I really believe, in other words the real thing? It seems that like all the attributes of Godliness we aspire to obtain, that our mortal efforts, as the Apostle Paul says, will cause us all to fall short of the mark. I must somehow come to appreciate that this situation which I am pondering upon, that of discovering who I am through a true belief system is the eternally important discovery of my coming to know my real beliefs and thereby who I really am and not just another fake aspiration put forth from a mortal mind. Which discovery, I must come to know, can only be made with the aid of the gift and power of God and that my own meager efforts will always fall short of the desired goal.

It seems that indeed I must diligently struggle to know what I really believe and thereby discover who I really am, until I have been proven in all ways and then I become eligible to be the recipient of His Grace which in the Greek language was called Mikarios and in English is called blessed. The closest we can come to an understanding of what that word meant, whether in Greek or English, is that it is a gift of God given when one has done all they can do to obtain the desired outcome. Therefore as President Ezra Taft Benson said, "the most important thing we can do in this life is to come to know who we really are and for what purpose we were sent," which Sure Knowledge can only come from Him who sent us.

It seems that I will really know who I am and what I believe when that change has been WROUGHT upon me, which causes all my thoughts, words and deeds to be consistent and unchangeable with the real person Heavenly Father sent me forth to become and then has aided me to become.

Until that wonderful day of brightness of understanding comes, let us all continue to help one another by edifying, strengthening and building one another as much as we possibly can without hypocrisy.

Friday, August 7, 2009


One of the excitements which has come into my life as I have ventured into the realm of Face Book these last few weeks is the rush that comes as in that 'internet way' arms are extended and 'reality' type embraces are exchanged with special people of my past and present. An even more exciting thing happens to me as I witness the clever and creative exchanges of ideas as with 'light year' speed they buzz across cyberspace. Hope swells within me each time I read and digest the wisdom and the entertaining thoughts which are being transmitted.

However, a few small regrets come into my heart as I scan the registers of friend's photos searching for one more wonderful person to add to my personal book of memories and read the daily entries of those friends I have already reconnected with:

First – I feel some yearning to see more gray haired friends among the vibrant and lustrous hair crowning the young who, by well understood reasons, dominate this wonderful networking system.

Second – I wish I was more educated in the technical language and shortcuts that are frequently used which bring added expression and excitement to this medium.

Third – I am sometimes left saddened that some expressions acceptable in the world have too easily become mainstays in the vocabularies of those who should be able to choose more acceptable terms.

Fourth – I find myself and others who do sprout the gray have a tendency to mimic the style and philosophies of the young rather than making contributions from their own experiences in their own unique ways. In many ways I think it would of greater benefit to everyone if each generation were to add their bit of uniqueness to the pile rather than just trying to fit into an accepted style.

As I have contemplated the wonder of the limited generational sharing which I have witnessed, my only wish is that it could exist on a much grander scale and the following thoughts have come into mind:

First – Those who have chosen to look at the traditions of their fathers as binding and restrictive may find themselves swinging the pendulum of much needed change so far that they soon find themselves traversing a tangent that may be exciting but risky and even in some cases destructive. It is true that this "the experience of age is of little value" has been the spring board of many great discoveries, but it likewise has been the cause of a great deal of wasted time and effort as each generation reinvents the wheel with zeal and excitement as they spin about on a never ending merry-go-round of sameness, wasting the opportunity they might have had if they had chosen to build on foundations others had firmly planted.

Second – Those who are locked into the point of view that "there is no wisdom that does not come from experience" will often find themselves lingering too long on some plateaus or robbing themselves of wonderful adventures and improvements which will magnify their lives because they are unable to get out of the ever deepening ruts they have dug by traversing the same ground over and over again; thus hampering their own progress and probably that of mankind on some kind of misguided premise that if grandfather got along fine without all this 'new fangled stuff', so can they.

As the miracles of medical and nutritional knowledge increase they bring forth higher rates of successful births and extend life expectancies decades beyond the dreams of our forefathers; we increasingly find ourselves with greater numbers of multiple generations sharing the planet. It would do us well to learn some way to make time to ponder and include the contributions of past generations while keeping our minds open to the marvelous creative discoveries of each rising generation.

A well thought out balance may be the leavening force we need as we make the philosophical choices which govern our lives. Regularly working and adjusting our thoughts until we find that harmony of minds which will neither administer undue restraint nor foster unnecessary delays as we re-walk the worn paths of past generations. Through a balanced blending of generational thoughts we may be able to pursue proper solutions to problems by calling upon the strengths of one generation to buoy up the weaknesses of another.

Those of the gray haired generation would do well to get themselves out of the security of their tired routines and give new zest to their lives by mingling with and accepting the thoughts of that generation which still has the vigor and drive to match their wonderful flowing locks.

Those who are crowned with vibrant and lustrous hair could find themselves saving many miles of going down dead end roads which waste time, which time is still to be valued even in our scientifically lengthened lives, by being willing to go down tested and examined roads which have been wisely built and well-marked by earlier travelers who now are crowned with heads of gray.

What a great legacy we could leave to future generations if we could some how learn how to bring about this balanced blending of past experiences and present discoveries. Somehow a hope lingers that if we can bring about a real and meaningful generational sharing we will be able to magnify the possibility of a brighter and more blessed future for those children recently born and those yet to be born.