Sunday, January 27, 2013


There have been moments when I have been jolted into an overwhelming feeling of what a great blessing it has been for me to have my mortality during the 20th and 21st centuries, where I have basked in the dividends reaped from the sacrifices of time and effort of my parents and others of the previous generations.

I read the many admonitions in the Book of Mormon that we should be constantly in remembrance of not only all that the Lord has done for us, but also all that our forefathers have done so that our daily lives are filled with the comforts and commodities needed to sustain lives and help us to understand why we are here. Judging from the number of times the prophets in the Book of Mormon remind us to remember, there is little doubt that I spend far too little time expressing silently or publicly my gratefulness for my life and the people I have walked with.

On those all too few days when I take the time to sit pensively in a quiet place and allow the mood of gratitude to take its rightful place in my mind, I realize how grateful I am for the times of my life which allow me to ponder upon my blessed state.

I guess it would be appropriate at this time to write an exhaustive list of all those things for which I am grateful. I realize that this would just be an extension of those things I check off in my daily prayers which more often than not are said with little thought or feeling. Therefore, I have decided to take one thing I am grateful for and really ponder upon that area of my life.

I am not sure how long I will be on this journey or exactly where I will be led, but as always I invite all of you to join me in my quest by telling me what fills your hearts with gratefulness these days.

And so the journey begins:

As Lehi knelt beside the burning rock, a vision of the impending destruction of the city of Jerusalem flamed before his eyes. As the reality of this future event was seared into his mind, he was filled with the desire to fulfill his calling to go forth to try to save his family and friends from the impending destruction. As Lehi went forth lovingly raising his voice in words of warning, admonishing the citizens of Jerusalem of the need for repentance and the returning to the ways of the Lord, sadly, almost universally he and his message were rejected as the words of a ‘visionary’ man and the people were quickly swallowed up in the pleasures and worldly pursuits of their daily lives.
That which Lehi pre-knew to be reality through revelation, would all too soon become their actuality, as they ran in terror while the Babylonians set fire to their homes and turned their palaces of pleasure into ruin and rubble.

To some, reality exists no further than the extension of their senses.

To some, reality extends to worlds witnessed by others, but personally unknown.

To some, reality encompasses reverent present ponderings and dramatic distant dreams.

To some, reality includes whisperings of truths and assurances of things only hoped for.

The angel’s words to Lehi became reality to the condemned Jerusalemites only as they felt the heat upon their flesh, heard the Babylonian troops marching, and saw the raising of their city. At that moment of Israel’s sensory confirmed reality, Lehi and his family were safely enjoying the blessings of the Promised Land.

As we remember Lehi’s vision, his warning and the consequences of a people bound by the limitations of sensual knowledge, we are given reason to wonder about the wisdom of limiting our realities to the empirical world.

To those whose reality is a prisoner of their physical senses, horizons will forever limit their understanding.

To those whose reality rides on the experiences of others, libraries, photos and maps limit their world.

To those whose reality flies on wings of ponderings and dreams, imagination becomes the only limit to their sphere.

To those whose reality gives space to visions and revelation, Heavenly Father’s mercy and grace become the only limit to their mind’s eternal expansion.

While I consider the world which my senses give to me, to be beautiful and wonderful, I am grateful:

That my world has been extended by books, photos and journeys others have recorded,

That my world encompasses persistent ponderings and developmental dreams,

That my world includes guiding whisperings of the Spirit sent from a merciful Heavenly Father who is full of grace.

I am grateful that my understanding of life permits me to extend my realities beyond the horizons of here and now and I am able to enjoy the vistas of there and then.


Sunday, January 20, 2013


One of the questions which mortals continue to struggle with is whether truth is to be considered an absolute or a relative principle. At this time in my halting progression I have come to think of infinite truth, those truths which are eternally unchanged yesterday, today and forever can only be held by The One whose omniscience contains all knowledge of all things as they were, as they are and as they are to be. The rest of us are left puzzling with our finite understandings based on a sliver of history, the imagined importance of today’s choices and peering through a very dark glass obscuring the future.

When we observe that the finite guesses of reality, which determine our level of understanding, change drastically depending on the generation, geography, genetics and governance we are born into, it becomes obvious that most of what we determine to be truth between the fertilization of the egg and our flesh becoming worm meal is a variable limited only by the numerous hosts of mankind.

Since most of what mortals consider to be absolute is severely limited by the dearth of information we have available during our brief sojourn, it is surprising how many of us with our finite understanding go about as though we were gods, spouting the last word on subjects of which we have but an elementary grasp.

Men were put to death because they taught that the earth was not the center of the universe by those who had an absolute knowledge that it was.

Nations remained in ignorance of each other because of the absolute knowledge that sailing too far out into the ocean would result in a catastrophic falling off of the planet’s edge.

Leaders of religions which teach of turning hearts to love and kindness, have espoused with absolute knowledge the righteous use of sword against “infidels and unbelievers.”

We elevate our self-importance because of the absolute truths we possess and demean our neighbors because of their inability to comprehend.

History is full of those who knew they had a divine right to bring destruction upon the world in an attempt to determine the thinking, the agency and the freedom of others.

Philosopher kings preach with absoluteness that the purpose of education is to give the scholar the tools needed to correctly shuffle the masses through life’s channels.

Long ago I came to the beginnings of an understanding that humility has little to do with the relationships between humans and more to do with the realization of how little truth we really possess when compared to the infinite knowledge of our Heavenly Father.

We should by now have a bit of an understanding that what we hold to be true is but a very small finite portion of Eternal truth.

When I allow myself the privilege of thinking on such matters, I usually come to a temporary conclusion that the world would be a nicer place in which to abide if all truths were considered with the same evaluative process as what I refer to as the Santa Claus syndrome. This syndrome is the ability to hold an idea in limbo and allow our level of credence to be held in abeyance until our finite truth is replaced in some degree with the infinite.

Joseph Smith taught that a man should not be condemned for his beliefs. He also taught that we should be ready to yield our positions when we are given the privilege of greater understanding.

One cannot help but wonder what would happen if we viewed each other’s views with greater tolerance, understanding that we are all neophytes in the Universities of the Universe.

I think a great deal of peace would come upon the earth if the phrase I KNOW were to be replaced with a more accurate, ‘as I see things’ or ‘my opinion is’ or ‘I have recently begin to think of it in this way’ or ‘at this time I believe.’

Recognizing that most of us are in our infancy in the process of truth gathering:

We should be more accepting of how our neighbor views the purposes of life.

There should be less contention during religious discussions.

Nations should be willing to accept their different positions of growth.

We should be more willing to receive that which others have to contribute.

We would no longer have the need that others see the world through the prism we have invented.

When I entered retirement I gave myself the task of writing my History. As the task went forward I came to realize that what I was writing was not a history of my life, but at best Memoirs. As the writing continued I came to realize that the imperfections of memory were turning my writing into Guessoirs. Even though I have been a faithful journal keeper for most of my life and Kathleen has recorded our family journey in photos, I still know the end result of the writing of the events of my life will be but a caricature of what really was.

Daily I think I am coming to the belief that most of what we do in life is guess our way through the days.

Sunday, January 13, 2013


While performing the marriage of Dave and Chris Foote, Neal A. Maxwell said that one of the reasons we are so fascinated and preoccupied with time here on this earth is because, in the eternities, we exist as timeless beings. There is one particular aspect of the principle of time which has occupied more than a few moments of my thoughts during my life, and that is the concept of ‘free time.’

I guess by universal understanding, if not by exact definition, ‘free time’ could be said to be that time when we are able to do exactly what we wish to do, even ‘nothing’ if that is our desire. (Another concept of living that I don’t really understand – I think that if you are, you are doing something.), Since logic tells us we are always in the process of doing, then we should immediately come to the conclusion that ‘free time’ in reality becomes a time when we enter into the process of choice. We seem to be living in a continuous stream of borrowing time from one activity of life in order to participate in some other activity of life.

What we do in life is buy minutes from the ‘this of life’ in order to do the ‘that of life.’

Sleep time may be bought with recreation time

Recreation time may be bought with fix-it time

Fix-it time may be bought with television time

Television time may be bought with work time

Work time may be bought with family time

Family time may be bought with over-time

Over-time may be bought with hobby time

Hobby time may be bought with grooming time

Grooming time may be bought with worship time

Worship time may be bought with meditating time

Meditating time may be bought with education time

Education time may be bought with creating time

Creating time may be bought with sleep time

And so, in the cycle of life we finally come to understand that perhaps ‘all time’ becomes ‘free time,’ for each of us is truly left free to choose what we will do ‘this time.’

Can we really say with any validity, “I wish I had time to do ‘whatever?”

Go ahead – take the time to do ‘it,’ but understand those moments will be paid for out of your bank of limited resources.

If you choose to sleep one-third of your life, go ahead, but don't bemoan the added freedom your fellow time travelers gain by only sleeping one-fourth of theirs.

If you choose to formally dine one-sixth of your life, go ahead, but don't bemoan the added freedom your fellow time travelers gain by only eating one-twelfth of theirs.

If you choose to work one half of your life, go ahead, but don't bemoan the added freedom your fellow time travelers gain by only working one-third of theirs.

If you choose to watch television one-eighth of your life, go ahead, but don't bemoan the added freedom your fellow time travelers gain by only watching one-twenty-fourth of theirs.

So, my fellow time travelers, we have a life of ‘free time’ given to each of us. Let us choose wisely and without regret, because at the end of our journey we will have done with ‘this moment’ that which we purchased with our choices.

Soon enough, we will all have an eternity of ‘timelessness’ where we can make endless choices of what to do with our ‘non-moments.’ (That thought is going on the shelf of things to ask those with greater knowledge who reside in a higher sphere)

Sunday, January 6, 2013


I remember there was a time when I measured my life in terms of hours as I sat in school and wondered why the minute hand on the wall clock took forever to click to the next mark, or why the bell ending recess followed so quickly after the bell releasing us from the classroom.

I remember there was a time when I measured my life in terms of days as I wished the anticipated excitement of tomorrow, to be spent with friends, would soon supplant the tediousness of today, or hoped that today would never end because of the dreaded-ness which tomorrows anticipated regular activities promised.

I remember there was a time when I measured my life in terms of weeks as the cycle of work days and weekends, streamed viciously and endlessly, chomping up gobs of life.

I remember there was a time when I measured my life in terms of semesters where nervous anticipation of meeting new students was soon followed by the teary voicings of ‘until we meet again.’

I remember there was a time when I measured my life in terms of years where I was checking calendars to see how many more years certain activities would dominate my life, waking only too quickly to find that the anticipated years had melted away with winter’s disappearing snows.

My current musings about time has driven me to make a cursory study of calendars and man’s attempts to measure time.

The Babylonians are often credited with making the first attempts at putting days into some measurable order. They settled upon a week consisting of seven days because they could fit four of those weeks into most lunar months. Of course they had to include several holidays, (where various gods were honored) into their calendar to make the necessary adjustments to fit the solar year. One of the things I really like about the Babylonian calendar is that each New Year started with the vernal equinox. That seems like a much more logical time to have renewed resolve than in the middle of winter.

The tribes of Israel were given a time measurement by divine commandment which consisted of consecutive weeks of six days of labor followed by a day dedicated to worship and thanksgiving. I find it interesting that for many centuries they were able to get by fine without worrying about trying to make this continuous series of weeks fit the cycles of the moon or the sun. After their sojourn among the Egyptians and the concept of solar years was added, there were breaks scheduled where the regular six days of labor and a day of worship were interrupted with segments of time set apart in a formula of multiples of seven, when they were to honor the one and only true God during days of jubilation.

There were other attempts made to regulate mankind’s activities in units of 10 and even units of 60. There were always days to appease the gods and days to leap or adjust to the .25 of a day the calendar just didn't coordinate with the sun. There was even a time when 10 whole days were skipped to make up for the years when the leap hadn’t been made.

The Julian calendar which is the source of measuring time for most of the world today was introduced in 45 BCE. Although there have been tweaks and adjustments this calendar has kept the world somewhat coordinated for more than two millennia.

When I look back to remember this time of my life I will remember it as being a time when time had less and less of an influence on what was important to me in life. Of course there are scheduled events when it is important to be at certain places at certain times, but I will look back and see that mostly my hours, days, months and years were pretty much occupied with activities which I chose at the time to be involved in.

When all has been said, there is only one measure of time that is real and that is now. This moment will soon be gone and I will never have it again.

No remembering about yesterdays or dreaming about tomorrows can accomplish what is needed to be done now.

However, if now can be made more enjoyable or fulfilling by remembering or dreaming, then perhaps that is what should fill my now.

There are nows which are only made meaningful by accumulated memories.

There are tomorrows which will only be accomplished because of the dreams of now.

How ever I choose to use my now let it be done so that it does not diminish my yesterdays.

How ever I choose to use my now let it be done in such a way that I will someday remember it with fondness.

How ever I choose to use my now let it be the foundation of dreams yet to be realized.