Sunday, April 29, 2012

TRUTH? (Part 2)

Rapidly we see the plague spread from the walls of homes into the streets of our towns soon engulfing the entire nation with its talons.

We see families with financial accountings hidden from partners.

We hear promises which can never be fulfilled spewing from town halls.

We view national leaders who are quick to point out the mote in another’s eye while living contentedly with the beam so obviously protruding from their own.

We witness the usurping of a neighbor nation’s natural resources masqueraded beneath the guise of the tyranny of foreign monsters.

The ‘beware’ notice turns from being a statement of commercial caution to a theme for conducting national, international or personal economic affairs.

Where did it begin – When is the die cast – When is the cup full – Where is the ending – When will the promised day come?

That their hears may be softened … that their prejudices may give way before the truth … (Doctrine and Covenants 109:56)

For there are many yet on the earth among all sects, parties, and denominations, who are blinded by the subtle craftiness of men, whereby they lie in wait to deceive, and who are kept from the truth because they know not where to find it. (Doctrine and Covenants 123:12

Mercy and truth are met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other. Truth shall spring out of the earth; and righteousness shall look down from heaven. (Psalms 85:11)

And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. (John 8:32)

Because our character has been so cleverly conceived – so laboriously nurtured through youth – cultivated and manufactured through adulthood, rebirth may be extremely painful and its attending labor may extend well beyond our appointed time. But we need to wake from our deceptive slumber and understand that the alternative to rebirth may be an all-ending abortion of life.

It is very possible that the greatest gifts we may be able to give this world and our fellow inhabitants is a life of integrity.

A life founded upon a devotion to truth and the elimination of falsehoods.

A life keenly aware of the dangers attendant to yielding to even the slightest subtleties between truth and untruth.

A life determined to avoid stretching truth between two points.

A life where no quarter is given in the battle to express truth.

A life where the dark enemy of lies must be totally subdued.

A life worthy of being blessed with the light of truth.
Recognizing that as Paul said, we now see through the glass darkly, we can nevertheless strive to choose the path of truth as we understand it, thereby, diminishing the stress, guilt and contention in life which attend one when they are constantly overshadowed by the clouds of deception.

It might be worth the price to cease making a lie and thereby receive the blessing of being attended by peace, contentment, trust and honor.

Sunday, April 22, 2012


The ancient Book of Mormon prophet, Nephi, as he approached the end of his days in mortality, having seen in vision the generations yet to come, wrote to a people he envisioned would lose faith in the words of God as they gained confidence in the strength of their own understanding.

For it shall come to pass in that day – they shall contend one with another – and they shall teach with their learning, and deny the Holy Ghost, which giveth utterance. And they deny the power of God, the Holy One of Israel; and they say unto the people: Hearken unto us, and hear ye our precept; for behold there is no God today, for the Lord and the Redeemer hath done his work, and he hath given his power unto men. Yea and there shall be many which shall say: Eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die; and it shall be well with us. And there shall also be many which shall say: Eat, drink, and be merry; nevertheless, fear God—he will justify in committing a little sin; yea, lie a little, take the advantage of one because of his words, dig a pit for thy neighbor; there is no harm in this; and do all these things, for tomorrow we die; and if it so be that we are guilty, God will beat us with a few stripes, and at last we shall be saved in the kingdom of God. Yea, and there shall be many which shall teach after this manner, false and vain and foolish doctrines, and shall be puffed up in their hearts, and shall seek deep to hide their counsels from the Lord; and their works shall be in the dark. (2Nephi 28: 3-8)

When I was a student at Washington Junior High School in Long Beach, California, I gained an interest in the National Political Party Conventions which convened to select their party’s presidential candidate. This was in the days when the delegates actually came to the convention to select and not just confirm the candidate. This change in selecting a party’s candidate, as different as it is, pales in comparison to the difference in dialogue which now darkens the primaries, caucuses and debates and casts a shadow of shame on the whole political process. Speaking ill of one’s opponent now eclipses policy presentation at all levels during elections.

As shameful and blatant as the constant drumming upon the head of a political opponent may be, I believe that this behavior has deeper roots than the desire to gain the supposed power and honor which accompany the acquisition of office.

I don’t believe that the art or science of digging a pit for a neighbor or the teaching of a lie or any of the negative attributes Nephi describes in his words of warning are taught in school, but it seems that there is a carefully set trap which begins early in our training, is reinforced forcefully through personal experiences and observations, and from whose snare there is infrequently escape.

A child barely escaping infancy is told to tell the salesman at the door or on the phone, that his parent is not at home. Later, that parent is taken aback with surprise and the child could hardly comprehend his mother’s reaction when he avoided his father’s stern reprimand and replied, “No daddy, I haven’t seen your hammer.”

During adolescent trying days – egos are fragile – acceptance by peers is dearer than silver or gold – far more important than a true representation of life, its frustrations and failures. “No, my folks won’t let me go,” is a common substitute for, “I really don’t want to go with you.” “The teacher is a jerk” is a convenient face-saving way of saying “I didn’t put enough effort into that class.”

As we add days to life entering into the roles which call for maturity, ingrained habit helps us to remain firm in those patterns and the tapes which play in our heads;

We attempt to convince others with falsifications rather than facts.

We spend beyond our means in an attempt to counterfeit an image of success.

We paint and garb our outer-selves with the hope that we might dazzle and blind our friends away from the realities of our inner deficiencies.

We try to hide the stink of shrunken souls with superficial, perfumed, insincere gestures.

We multiply words in an attempt to cover the shallowness of our character.

Just as we see many a politician caught in the web of his own weaving, we likewise find that the pit we thought we were digging for our neighbor is crumbling upon our own heads, engulfing us in a life of cover up and deception.


Sunday, April 15, 2012


I recognize that we have a tendency in this modern world to oversimplify life’s problems and to apply catchall solutions to very complex issues. Nevertheless, as we ponder upon such lives as those spoken of earlier, we also become aware that all too few have lived ideal lives where choices which lead to meaningful and enriched lives surrounded by family and friends are made without snarling complications.

All of us might narrow the pathway leading to lonely final days and broaden the highway which might lead to family and friend filled endings if we were more willing to:

Pay the price of bonding by extending, even when undeserved, love, patience and tenderness as a bridge over troubled relationships.

Pay the price of bonding by demonstrating that happiness comes more from giving and serving than getting and receiving.

Pay the price of bonding by letting others know and feel that no matter how far they may have wandered from nourished paths and squandered their fortunes, their return would be a signal to kill the fatted calf in celebration.

Pay the price of bonding by being more interested in helping your neighbors become all that they can become and less concerned with their position on the ladder of life.

Pay the price of bonding by being less concerned with the frailties of another and more deliberate in the improvement of our own faults.

Pay the price of bonding by changing personal selfishness into the selflessness which will enable one to see another’s needs through the blinding glimmer of our commercial world.

Pay the price of bonding by understanding that responsibility and accountability also is placed upon all who are allowed to make choices and mistakes.

Pay the price of bonding by learning that real independence does not come from breaking bonds but from interdependence.

Pay the price of bonding by knowing that true joy comes only when it is shared with meaningful others.

Some thoughts from Neal A. Maxwell

“Our impact is less likely to emanate from the pulpit—more often it will occur in one-to-one relationships, or in small groups where we can have an impact on an individual.”

“The withholding of key communications can be even more serious than withholding one’s material substance. Food and raiment can sometimes be supplied by others, but the needed spiritual substance is often not available elsewhere.”

“If one tends to regard others as functions and not as everlasting individual entities, he will seek as few lasting and obligating relationships as possible. Doing this, ironically, ensures less and less happiness and even further deterioration in the total human environment. Yet today, more and more people seek to travel through life selfishly, as unencumbered and uncommitted as possible.”

Is it possible that as our society experiments with ‘new and exciting’ lifestyles, in what I consider a misguided quest to find a ‘better way,’ there will always be that rewarded few who are eternally grateful for the life which was founded on ‘old and tested ways?’

Is it possible that there is a reason why there will be those who, when their mortal journey ends,` will find their list of loved ones to be copious and extensive while others pass away in anonymity?

Is it possible that the happy state we all seek is to be found in meaningful relationships with those we were given through inheritance and those who surrounded us with comforting arms because of bonds forged in the furnaces of friendships?

As my years have extended into decades I have become increasingly convinced that the real purpose of our stages of probation is to learn how to nourish and expand our relationships. I believe that there is real merit in striving to expand the number of those who we lovingly call our bothers and our sisters.

May we live lives that will be recorded in obituaries by words such as THOSE OF HIS FAMILY AND FRIENDS WHO SURVIVE ……… is my sincere prayer.

Sunday, April 8, 2012



I don’t have a strong tendency or desire to spend a lot of time reading the obituaries in the local paper, but on occasions when I do glance at them, I inevitably find the mention of someone who has seemingly passed on without anyone but the county officials to look after their remains.

It seems that in the days of long ago when transportation and communication developments were still in their infancy it might be understood that a son who had gone to sea to seek adventure and fortune could with little ceremony or the knowledge of family be consigned to a watery grave. Or a daughter who had gone west with the love of her life, only to be abandoned, might be interred with only the sound of a single shovel turning the earth announcing her demise. However, with the miraculous marvels of modern supersonic aircraft and the speed at which thoughts travel through cyber space it becomes somewhat of a puzzle to me how the passing of a person can take place without any significant recognition from a relative.

As I contemplate these articles from the position of one who has had a life filled with joys of days shared with interactions with meaningful others, I can’t help but wonder what paths are taken which leads to one being stripped of all familial relationships. Also, I admit that my life filled with family and friends minimizes any understanding which would enable me to make meaningful judgments. With these deficiencies declared I still venture forth to express my ponderings on the subject.

The only emotion which I can think of which attends these ponderings is a deep feeling of sadness. Tears fill eyelids as I try to relate to someone who has lived a life which seemingly ends in total aloneness. I can’t imagine that a one-time dramatic decision brought about such an end. It seems to me to be more logical that it was a series of choices throughout life which determined the circumstances of the final days of mortality.

Did the love for a father diminish and eventually entirely evaporate after having been rejected as an adolescent mind determined with each passing confrontation that the old man ‘didn’t, couldn’t or wouldn’t really understand?’

Did physical and emotional gulfs widened between child and parent as offspring’s interests broadened beyond the front gate and mother’s concern diminished with each painful retort of ‘it is my life?’

Did the rejection of a sibling place stone upon stone until an unbreachable wall stood between the younger tag-along brother and his one-time hero?

Did the complexities of the ‘modern family’ create so many stumbling blocks that desire to find the difference overcoming stepping stones was abandoned?

Did best friends become onetime buddies as the law of ‘my way or the highway’ drove inseparables to opposite coasts?

Did the wedding vows of youthful love grow obsolete as the keeping of them diminished with each differing view of the universes of the sexes?

I am sure that an accumulation of life altering choices and circumstances led to those columns on the back pages of the Life Section of the local daily. (Isn’t that an interesting place to have obituaries?) Path patterns would probably differ in details but I have wondered if a bottom line something like the following could be added to each three line entry:

“This poor soul seems to have been one who expected others to change but was unable to adapt or change.”

”This lonely soul lived a life where accountability and responsibility were often replaced by blame or excuse.”

“This solitary soul lived at the top of nob hill surrounded by many material means, but as yet we have been unable to find a next of kin.”

When did it all begin?

When was the point of no return reached?

What events led to these lives filled with ‘what ifs’ and ‘if onlys?’

Will the true causes ever be known?


Sunday, April 1, 2012


Scriptures which make me ponder:

Mosiah 27:14 And again, the angel said: Behold, the Lord hath heard the prayers of his people, and also the prayers of his servant, Alma, who is thy father; for he has prayed with much faith concerning thee that thou mightest be brought to the knowledge of the truth; therefore, for this purpose have I come to convince thee of the power and authority of God, that the prayers of his servants might be answered according to their faith.

Query: How much influence do my prayers, even if they be pure, have over the choices and actions of another?

2 Corinthians 1:24 Not for that we have dominion over your faith, but are helpers of your joy: for by faith ye stand.

Query: Am I ever capable of dominating your faith by my faith?
Doctrine and Covenants 101:78 That every man may act in doctrine and principle pertaining to futurity, according to the moral agency which I have given unto him, that every man may be accountable for his own sins in the day of judgment.

Query: If accountability is individual, then is not agency likewise an independent action?

Proverbs 15:29 The Lord is far from the wicked: but he heareth the prayer of the righteous.

Query: Who is in greater need of the assistance of the Lord than those who have strayed?

Philippians 3:9 And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith:

Query: Is my faith limited by the limits of my mortal understandings?

Moses 7:32 The Lord said unto Enoch: Behold these thy brethren; they are the workmanship of mine own hands, and I gave unto them their knowledge, in the day I created them; and in the Garden of Eden, gave I unto man his agency;

Query: Is any man capable of changing or removing that which the Lord has given?

Helaman 10:5 And now, because thou hast done this with such unwearyingness, behold, I will bless thee forever; and I will make thee mighty in word and in deed, in faith and in works; yea, even that all things shall be done unto thee according to thy word, for thou shalt not ask that which is contrary to my will.

Query: How does one guarantee that they will never ask anything which is contrary to the Lord’s will?

Alma 32:21 And now as I said concerning faith—faith is not to have a perfect knowledge of things; therefore if ye have faith ye hope for things which are not seen, which are true.

Query: As long as we see through the glass darkly can our faith expand beyond a hope of true things not seen?

Doctrine and Covenants 37:4 Behold, here is wisdom, and let every man choose for himself until I come.

Query: Is it wisdom to choose for oneself or do we also need to choose wisely?


Prayer is a demonstration of our faith – Prayer is a way to show our love and devotion to Heavenly Father and His Son Jesus the Christ – Petitions in prayer are most correct when guided by the Holy Spirit – Holy Spirit guided prayers on behalf of others are a demonstration of our trust in God – Gratitude poured out in prayer is the sincerest form of worship – We have been given prayer that we might feel of His presence and momentarily escape Home sickness while in mortality

Faith during mortality is seldom complete –Incomplete faith is a blessing which keeps one striving throughout the stages of their existence – Faith in God is never completely subdued by stupidity of our choices – Every act of sincere faith is recognized by our Loving Father – We should constantly be on guard that we never do anything which might dim the light glowing from the candle of another’s faith – Faith like every living, growing thing needs frequent and proper attention

Agency is an important key to individual growth – No mortal is given the right to remove or override the agency of another – One of the deadliest temptations of the adversary is to convince us that we should usurp the agency of another – The subtleties of ways in which we strive to dominate one another is a monstrous trap which few escape – We will all experience to one degree or another both the blessings and the cursings which accompany the privileges of our agency