Sunday, October 25, 2009


Historians have recorded the various eras of the human struggle on this planet, labeling various stages by the major discoveries and advancements which occurred during those years. At the mention of the Stone Age, Dark Age, or Industrial Age our minds are triggered with images which represent each of those societies. I'm sure our views are limited and the degree of understanding of those times is far outstripped by what we lack in our historical 'enlightenment'.

John Naisbitt, some years ago in his book Megatrends, labeled the future generation which is now our present life as the Information Age. He described an era when a large contingency of the population would be occupied in exchanging, promoting, and storing information; a time when an ever decreasing amount of the populace would be required to be occupied in the providing of the basic needs of mankind. He envisioned that one of the perplexities of this coming society would be how to deal with an ever increasing amount of leisure time.

Now that we find ourselves in the middle of the Information Age we find that other problems besides dealing effectively with leisure time have emerged. In October General Conference 2009, Elder Christofferson stated "As a consequence of [loss of moral discipline] self-discipline has eroded and societies are left to try to maintain order and civility by compulsion. The lack of internal control by individuals breeds external control by governments."

Therefore, what seems to be at a casual first glance a time where we would want to shout praises to be able to live in a society where leisure time becomes a norm and not a luxury, it would be well to remember that some times when societies take quantum leaps forward they have a tendency to leave many of the best things of past ages behind.

So that we don't get carried away into some sort of euphoric dream-world based on shaky assumptions it might be good for us to ponder some of the following:

WHY – During a time when dress and life styles have become extremely relaxed and short of standards, have we become plagued with high levels of anxiety and stress and the attending disabilities at an all time rate of frequency?

WHY – At a time when nutritional knowledge and physical fitness facilities are available to more of the earth's inhabitants are so many being stricken with diseases related to malnutrition and obesity?

WILL – A Society which has prospered largely because of an integrity based work ethic succeed and endure as it goes through a time when pleasure seeking becomes paramount, productivity becomes a nuisance and honesty is based on not getting caught?

WILL – Individuals be able to progress in a time when quality of life is less dependent on cooperative interrelationships and more as a result of individuals being driven by attitude and independence?

WILL – There ever be a time when one can find fulfillment through doing his stewardship poorly?

WILL – There ever be a mountain of minutia high enough to satiate the wants of a person filled with greed and consumptionism?

WILL – There ever be a rewarding relationship based on selfishness and exclusivity?

WILL – A feeling of wholeness ever come to an individual who handles their relationship with Deity casually?

As we are daily engulfed in this ever increasingly fast paced Information Age, shouldn't we also continue to upgrade and enlarge our moral behavior so that we will be able to remain a compatible and cooperative society? Perhaps, just perhaps, the best way for us to upgrade and enlarge our morality may be discovered by investigating the well-worn paths of rightness and wisdom which have been trod by the inhabitants of 'Ages' past.

As we move deeper into the Information Age and discover that our imagined 'freeness' is built on those fleeting ideas and ideals which, like the latest technology become passé before they are unwrapped in the store, it might be wise to keep our mirrors of introspective evaluation polished and nearby. It is absolutely certain that in our rapidly approaching future is a day when the quality of our lives will be a reflection of how well we have learned to govern ourselves through Self-discipline based on Moral-discipline.

Sunday, October 18, 2009


It has been said that personality is what others see in us and character is what we really are. If this is true then life's joys and sorrows, what I do and how I do it, will largely be a result of whether I view mortality as a perpetual popularity contest or a time for establishing eternal character.

Many never discover that being shackled by the constant burden of trying to meet the expectations of others more often than not results in increases of frustration and stress. Likewise, there are few who discover that staying within the arena of freely exploring and developing the very best "self" possible results in increases of joy and harmony in ones life. If we were wise we would worry far less about being photogenic and far more about putting on a countenance which reflects the inward warmth and compassion of our character. There is no doubt that our reputation among men will be written in the sands of time soon to be washed away, but we must never forget that our character will be witnessed and heralded by angels before the throne of God and become a part of our eternalness.

Character can be developed through practicing consistent, thoughtful, proper use of agency just as physical strength can be gained through consistent, proper use of exercise equipment. We will find that the hardest part of developing our character, just as it is in the beginning of any exercise program lies in our willingness to take that essential first step. We must have enough faith in what we can become as the offspring of Heavenly Parents that we will be emboldened with enough courage to step away from the popularity parade, step out of the game of charades we are playing, remove the societal masks we have been wearing and be willing to allow our friends and more importantly ourselves to view us as we really are.

Since 'way too many of us have lived our lives playing a part which either diminishes or aggrandizes us to the level we believe to be the expectation of the group we are running with, it will probably take a quantum effort to make the first step in our journey to return to the center of ourselves. The difficulty of this initial journey will depend a great deal on how far we have traveled away from our core. The time it will take for us to make this first leg of our journey will depend on how soon we are able to tear down the facade we have been living behind and how completely we can become open and honest with our "true selves". Our ability to reach our appointed destination with the beginning characteristics of eternal attributes will be hampered or aided by our ability to determinedly step away from the personality contest and enter the highway of life which leads to Eternal Joy.

It will be an amazing discovery to find that once this first gargantuan leap in the process of character building has been taken how rapidly subsequent steps will simply become a matter of practice and being patient.

We will enter a world of discovering everlasting characteristics and become imbued with an overwhelming desire to inculcate them into our lives.

We will find ourselves growing in the ability to prudently prioritize our words, our thoughts and our actions so that they become aligned with those of eternal rather than temporary expectations.

We will become free from the shackles of living beneath the gaze of others; which can easily be cast off with the aid of an honest discovery of who we really are and have the potential of becoming.

We will find the task of developing inner-personal skills becomes easier with each passing day of patient persistent practice.

We will find ourselves no longer hindered by our mortal short sightedness, but our horizons will be stretched as we walk this perpetual path of self-enhancement.

Just as we find encouraging sayings decorating the walls of rooms dedicated to the development of physical strengths, it might be well to put up a few reminders around us to brighten our way when the path which we have chosen seems to have become somewhat perilous.

We are the offspring of Deity.
We are children of Heavenly Parentage.
We have been tutored for countless years in our premortal state by Celestial Beings.
At our center exists a being of extreme pureness – goodness – and loveliness.
When we find our center we will find the person we truly wish to become.
Finding our center will give us a desire to be true to the Royal within.
At our center we will find the person we truly are.
      An offspring of Deity.
      A child of Heavenly Parents.

Sunday, October 11, 2009


One thing that happens automatically to a person as they age is the expansion of their perspective. Today I would like to say a little about my observations of generational questing for uniqueness. I am going to concentrate my remarks on the high school age crowd, but I could easily have chosen almost any age group for today's thoughts.

When I was attending Garden Grove Union High School the boys displayed their uniqueness by shackling their pants (wearing them as low as gravitational pull would allow) which had a tendency to stretch to the limits the tucked in extra long tight white tee shirts. Hair had to be slicked down with some kind of oily stuff that held your flat top or duck tail into place. Girls had their hair cut at shoulder length with the ends flipped up and their bangs neatly cut eyebrow length. They wore knee length full skirts and tailored blouses. We went about campus like a clone army reveling in our uniqueness.

When I first started teaching in Kearns, Utah the young men (it was no longer fashionable to call them boys) were displaying their uniqueness with the dry hair look and wearing their shirt tales outside their Levi's. The young women were now wearing slacks to school and mostly kept their hair short and sporty looking. Everyone could see as the mob passed that they were unique in their universality.

During many of the year's Kathleen and I had offspring in high school uniqueness was demonstrated by wearing as much black as possible and having your hair as long as your restrainers (parents, school officials etc.) would permit. It was a unique display of independence to call all adults by their first name especially if that adult happened to have been responsible for bringing you into the world. It was a time of morbid longhaired surnameless uniqueness sustained by almost every kid in school.

Today I don't have the benefit of an advantageous platform to observe from, but what seems to be the way to display uniqueness today is to pick some group which has been founded by allegiance to some 'popular' trend, sound, brand or anti social movement and then dress and act appropriately. Names have become passé and universal titles are used when addressing another. (Dude – that's about the only one I can include and still keep this a Sabbath Day thought) It is preferred to put on attire which has the appearance of having been discarded by a local charitable donation center. Hair is to be any color but what you were born with and is cut to several lengths on the same head. They who are in a group of short hair do's, use super gel (goop) to make sure it doesn't move from it's spiked state during the day. Even though uniqueness has taken on a tribal identification motif, it still has a universal feel to it.

I have been especially impressed through the years as I witnessed uniqueness being displayed in ever repeating cycles as males have raised and lowered their pants, changed the angle and location of the bill of their caps and as girls have raised and lowered their hem lines, and made other cosmetic changes in a demonstration of their individuality.

I'm not sure, but I have a pretty good idea this isn't what the Lord had in mind when he admonished us to become a chosen generation, guardians of the covenant, a holy nation, a peculiar people, a royal priesthood and a treasure unto Him.

As I search the scriptures I find Him defining the uniqueness of His children as they who will be distinguish by modest apparel, comeliness (a beauty which comes from the radiance of the natural being), cleanliness, purity etc., continuing to seek after this extremely different profile until eventually they have put the image of God on their countenance.

It seems that the Lord would have us become a people less driven by the barons of fashion, trends and brands and more in tune with the teachings of His anointed, a people who are more desirous to be in tune with the Spirit than trying to please a mob which never seems to know where it wants to go.

I feel confident that those who really seek to be truly unique today will achieve it most easily by becoming part of the group which is uniquely preparing itself to stand with confidence in the Day of the Lord.