Sunday, March 31, 2013



When the morning stars sang together, and the sons of God shouted for joy. (Old Testament – Job 38:7)

Eons ago when the foundations of this earth were being laid and after the great Jehovah had vanquished the false plan of the adversary in defense of our Father’s Eternal Plan, He offered himself as an infinite sacrifice for the salvation of us all. Spontaneously we erupted in grateful song and joyfully shouted.

And in that day Adam blessed God and was filled, and began to prophesy concerning all the families of the earth, saying: Blessed be the name of God, for because of my transgressions my eyes are opened and in this life I shall have Joy, and again in the flesh I shall see God. And Eve, his wife, heard all these things and was glad, saying: Were it not for our transgression we never should have had seed, and never would have known good and evil, and the joy of our redemption, and the eternal life which God giveth unto all the obedient.(Pearl of Great Price – Moses 5:10, 11)

As the veil of innocence faded from their eyes, our first parents started to understand and teach the beginnings of the Eternal Plan, bringing elementary understanding unto their posterity and we who looked down upon the scene felt our hearts swell our eyes brim with mist.

…They shall come forth with songs of everlasting joy. And the Lord said unto Enoch: Look, and he looked and beheld the Son of Man lifted up on the cross, after the manner of men; and he heard a loud voice; and the heavens were veiled; and all the creations of God mourned; and the rocks were rent; and the saints arose, and were crowned at the right hand of the Son of Man, with crowns of glory. (Pearl of Great Price – Moses 7:53, 55, 56)

Enoch, the grandson of Noah, expressed for us all our constantly changing emotions as we gained greater understanding of the heights of joy and the depths of despair the Redeemer’s sacrifice would bring.

And it came to pass, that Abram looked forth and saw the days of the Son of Man, and was glad, and his soul found rest, and he believed in the Lord; and the Lord counted it unto him for righteousness. (Inspired Version of the Holy Scriptures – Genesis 15:12)

He who would become the father of nations whose, posterity was to be numbered as the stars of heaven, saw the earthly mission of the Savior and through his posterity belief begins to spread over the lands of the earth. We who witnessed from our heavenly view, surely broke forth in singing as the unrolling of the good news blessed Heavenly Father’s children during their mortal probations.

The Lord is my strength and song, and he is become my salvation: he is my God, and I will prepare him an habitation; my father’s God, and I will exalt him. (Old Testament – Exodus 15:2)

The children of Israel grew in understanding that the freedom which had been wrought upon them by the Lord through his servant Moses, was not only going to free them physically from the bonds of Pharaoh, but the schoolmaster’s laws initiated upon tablets of stone, laying a foundation, which would eventually lead them to the laws of salvation written upon their hearts. We looked from on high and rejoiced.

And the angel said unto me; Behold the Lamb of God, yea, even the Son of the Eternal Father! Knowest thou the meaning of the tree which thy father saw? And I answered him, saying: Yea, it is the love of God, which sheddeth itself abroad in the hearts of the children of men; wherefore; it is the most desirable above all things. And he spake unto me, saying: Yea, and the most joyous to the soul. And after he had said these words, he said unto me. Look! And I looked, and I beheld the Son of God going forth among the children of men; and I saw many fall down at his feet and worship him. (Book of Mormon – 1 Nephi 11:21-24)

As the angel of the Lord interpreted his father’s dream to Nephi, we looked down from our heavenly post and rejoiced as we saw that even the wide expanses of the seas were unable to keep the knowledge of the Eternal Plan from going forth unto the hearts and minds of those undergoing the probationary trials of mortality.

And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And the angel of the Lord said unto them, Fear not; for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord… And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of heavenly host praising God and saying, Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace, good will toward men. (New Testament – Luke 2:8, 10, 11, 13)

What joy filled our hearts as we joined with the heavenly multitudes and sang songs of praise unto our Lord, to the shepherds on that hill, so near the humble place where the Savior of mankind laid swaddled. We now knew that the days had been shortened when the bonds of death introduced by Adam’s transgression would be broken and according to the Eternal Plan all would live again.

Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as y yourselves also know: Him being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain: Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death; because it was not possible that he should be holden of it… This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses. Therefore being by the right hand of God, exalted… (New Testament – Acts 2:22, 23, 24, 32)

As testimony of those who had seen with veiled eyes was borne on earth, we sang forth with vibrant joyful sounds universally exclaiming that ‘It Was Finished.’ The great act of redeeming love had been performed and the faithful hopes of the ages now bore everlasting fruit. All generations could now taste of its sweetness, feel of its love and shout for joy as we did then and forever more.

And being thus overcome with the Spirit, he was carried away in a vision, even that he saw the heavens open, and he thought he saw God sitting upon his throne, surrounded by numberless concourses of angels in the attitude of singing and praising their God. (Book of Mormon – 1 Nephi 1:8)

Lehi saw us then and there and demonstrated that though we have descended from our heavenly home we can once again feel the overpowering joy which causes us, here and now, to break forth in song, praising our Savior for his infinite act of Redemption which opened the gates for us to be able to eternally sing of Him, of His atoning sacrifice and the universal resurrection which would make our souls whole.


Sunday, March 24, 2013


Since I believe in a pre-mortal existence, I also believe that the development of our spirits in that estate was extensive and that we brought many of our prejudices, preferences, personalities and performances with us into mortality.
However, I also believe that the experiences of mortality have a great influence in the further development of the kind of eternal being we will eventually become. I believe that the activity which most significantly influences the added upon experiences of our present estate is the interaction we have with others. There seems to be necessity that we continue our progression until our body and our spirit develop into a harmonious eternal being.

In this, as in all things, the Savior is our example. We know that He was greatest among us as we dwelt with our Heavenly Parents in our pre-mortal experience, even becoming nigh unto The Father in all things. We also know that His interactions with – the listeners of every sermon He gave – those whose wounds He bound – every wayward person He chastised – all for whom he completed the Atonement and Crucifixion added to His development until he became perfect like unto the Father in all things.

In life we have relationships which – are momentary, but have a lasting significance in our lives – are continuous and constant and all too often taken for granted – come in a season of greatest need and then disappear into the recesses of foggy remembrances and spring back into consciousness in unexpected moments – are generated by word alone without any personal earthly interactions with their authors and aid significantly in our development.


A second grade teacher who ingrained – until students know you care they won't really care what you have to say.

A junior high couch who ingrained – heart is more important than stature
A beginning algebra teacher who ingrained – creative thinking can resolve more problems than formulas.

A college religion teacher who ingrained – there can be endless discovery in searching the scriptures.


A mother and father who ingrained – there are consequences which follow good and also bad choices in life.

A wife who ingrained – love is the securest of relationships and that only with love can anyone hope to move others to desire to fulfill their purposes of life.

Children who ingrained – stewardships will only have lasting effects if they are ministered with patience and hope.

Grandchildren who ingrained – the reality that the extent to which one’s circle of love can be extended is limitless.


Playmates of early childhood who ingrained – the marvels which come from shared hours of exploration and thereby expanding thoughts into delightful areas of imagination and fantasy.

Teens with whom I travelled troubled waters who ingrained - who picked me up when I stumbled, who calmed me when angry, who brought laughter and joy in days of dreariness and who introduced me to the mysteries and pangs of romantic love.

Missionary companions who ingrained– through demonstrating the work ethic, that there are energies which move us to performances beyond exhaustion and instilling the philosophy that the salvation of others is more important than our own comfort.

Friendships cemented on the sporting fields who ingrained – the limitations of growth through competition and the unlimited growth which comes through cooperation.

Colleagues of my chosen career who ingrained – by their examples and talents the need to keep a growing edge and gave understanding to the dangers of contentment.

Church calling colleagues who ingrained – the understanding that generally councils come to better solutions than individually made decisions.


The Holy Scriptures which ingrained – the assurance that every reading, every searching will bring added enlightenment, encouragement and enduring hope.

Words from books, media and conversations which ingrained – the attitude that we must be ever alert to the inspirations which will spring forth from unsuspecting sources, implanting thoughts which will indelibly mark one’s life and enhance the passage.

Hence, we not only come to know that no man is an island, but also, it is constantly affirmed that without one another we cannot become all we can be.

For all who have been part of my life and those who are now part of my life and those who will yet be part of my life, I am grateful. Thank you so very much!


Sunday, March 17, 2013


It took me much longer than it should have, but I am grateful that the events of my life have brought me to the point where generally: I see more beautiful sights than ugly – I hear more pleasant sounds than harsh – I taste more good flavors than bad – I feel more soft objects than hard – I smell more sweet scents than repugnant.

Although I am well aware that good can only be enjoyed because bad exists, and that learning to distinguish and select the one over the other is an essential part of our progress, I am also grateful that the one has become more abundant in my life while the other has diminished.

Progress in my own life during the process of concentrating upon making my world a beautiful place can be illustrated by a series of events which began long before I was part of the chain.

When Kathleen was a young girl her father, Marlow V. Wootton, introduced her to one of his favorite authors, James Herriot, who had written a series of books based on the adventures of Herriot’s life as a veterinarian in the beautiful country sides of Wales. He used the first verse of a popular church hymn of the day for the titles of his books. All Things Bright and Beautiful – All Creatures Great and Small – All Things Wise and Wonderful – The Lord God Made Them All

During the road trips of the Empty Nestor period of our lives, Kathleen introduced me to these wonderful tales by reading aloud all of James Herriot’s books while we journeyed.

Several years ago we became aware of a television series based on Herriot’s books which had been produced by the British Broadcasting Company. Thanks to the marvels of DVD, as part of our date night for the next few years we enjoyed all seven years of this delightful series.

The basic themes which ran through the seven years of the television series were: beauty exists because we look for it – joy comes because we seek it – love is felt when we give it – wealth is a result of finding contentment with what we have – blessings are recognition of that for which we are grateful.

Because the original lines which stimulated this chain of events and ultimately impacted my life extensively were written by Cecil F. Alexander, to be included in an 1848 addition of Hymns for Little Children, this current generation probably has but a cursory knowledge of them. I will now spread the glad tidings by including his wonderful view of the world.

All things bright and beautiful
All creatures great and small, All things wise and wonderful The Lord God made them all.

Each little flower that opens, Each little bird that sings, He made their glowing colors, He made their tiny wings

The purple headed mountains,
The river running by,
The sunset and the morning
That brightens up the sky.

The cold wind in the winter, The pleasant summer sun,
The ripe fruits in the garden,
He made them every one.
The tall trees in the greenwood,
The meadows where we play,
The rushes by the water,
To gather every day.

He gave us eyes to see them,
And lips that we might tell
How great is God Almighty,
Who has made all things well.

Through the magic of cinema and television we all have been transported back to those earlier days. We are fairly cognizant that life was much different in 1848 when Cecil F. Alexander penned his poem and equally so when James Herriot wrote his novels during the early part of the 20th century. Strangely, the further we get form the drudgery of eating only what we plant and harvest or the rigors of plain crossing-pioneers or the limiting effects of living in a world where adventures were bound by the distance that could be walked in a day, the less we seem able to see the beauties which surround us – to hear the melodies of nature – to savor the fruits of the harvest – to touch the earth’s varied textures – to sniff the fragrances of the winds.

I am grateful that I have eyes to see, ears to hear, a tongue to taste, fingers to feel and a nose to smell. I am doubly grateful that most of the time, the experiences given to me by these senses bring me joy and pleasure.

Some time ago I heard a daughter praising and mourning her mother, who had been taken from her prematurely because of a tragic traffic accident, say “they say she has gone to a better place, I don’t see anything wrong with this world.”

I am sure that the art of cinema and television fall far short of the glories which we are yet to experience, but while I am privileged to remain on this beautiful planet I pray I will continue to extend the list of those things which are beautiful and wondrous in the world which surrounds me and that my gratitude for them will continue to grow.


Sunday, March 3, 2013


Last week my Thought included my experiences during the pursuit of my Master’s degree and how this influenced the way I divide Ancient and Modern Scripture and further how this has influenced my understanding of how the Lord reveals His knowledge to the children of men through his Prophets.

This line upon line process of the revealing of Eternal Truths to mankind is very evident in that which I wish to express my gratefulness for during this week’s Thought.


As we search the Ancient Scriptures (Old Testament – Pre 3rd Nephi Book of Mormon) it is hard to find any variance about what mortals are to expect after death. There seems to be a universal understanding that those who do evil will go to an existence of everlasting misery and those who live righteously will go live in an everlasting state of happiness. The one called hell and the other called heaven.

A major problem with this understanding of life after death is that it is extremely difficult to draw the line between those who have been evil and those who have been righteous. Even the concept of works being balanced on a scale leaves us wondering about the variable weight of a good work and the weight of an evil work. We are also unable to unravel the mystery of unequal opportunities during mortality. Some are born with an obvious advantage when it comes to making decisions which will determine survival, while others must break commandments in order to meet the next day’s sunrise. Since all of us are continually enveloped in the struggle between being good and being evil our confidence in our eventual living conditions are continually in flux.

The Modern Scriptures (New Testament – Doctrine and Covenants – Latter day Revelators) add lines upon lines to our understanding.

The Savior adds a line to ponder upon when he says: In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. John 14: 2

Paul then adds a few lines to our understanding in his first epistle to the Corinthians: There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars: for one star differeth from another star in glory. So also is the resurrection of the dead. 1 Corinthians 15: 41-42

Joseph Smith brings a great deal of clarification in Section 76 of the Doctrine and Covenants:

33-34 They are they who are the sons of perdition, of whom I say that it had been better for them never to have been born; For they are vessels of wrath, doomed to suffer the wrath of God, with the devil and his angels in eternity; Concerning whom I have said there is no forgiveness in this world nor in the world to come—

50-52, 58, 59, 62,70 And again we bear record—for we saw and heard, and this is the testimony of the gospel of Christ concerning them who shall come forth in the resurrection of the just—They are they who received the testimony of Jesus, and believed on his name and were baptized after the manner of his burial, being buried in the water in his name, and this according to the commandment which he has given—That by keeping the commandments they might be washed and cleansed from all their sins, and receive the Holy Spirit by the laying on of the hands of him who is ordained and sealed unto this power; Wherefore, as it is written, they are gods, even the sons of God—Wherefore, all things are theirs, whether life or death, or things present, or things to come, all are theirs and they are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s. These shall dwell in the presence of God and his Christ forever and ever. These are they whose bodies are celestial, whose glory is that of the sun, even the glory of God, the highest of all, whose glory the sun of the firmament is written of as being typical.

71-76, 80 And again, we saw the terrestrial world, and behold and lo, these are they who are of the terrestrial, whose glory differs from that of the church of the Firstborn who have received the fullness of the Father, even as that of the moon differs from the sun in the firmament. Behold, these are they who died without law; And also they who are the spirits of men kept in prison, whom the Son visited, and preached the gospel unto them, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh; Who received not the testimony of Jesus in the flesh, but afterwards received it. These are they who are honorable men of the earth, who were blinded by the craftiness of men. These are they who receive of his glory, but not of his fullness. And now this is the end of the vision which we saw of the terrestrial, that the Lord commanded us to write while we were yet in the Spirit.

81-84 And again, we saw the glory of the telestial, which glory is that of the lesser, even as the glory of the stars differs from that of the glory of the moon in the firmament. These are they who received not the gospel of Christ, neither the testimony of Jesus. These are they who deny not the Holy Spirit. These are they who are thrust down to hell.

96-98 And the glory of the celestial is one, even as the glory of the sun is one. And the glory of the terrestrial is one, even as the glory of the moon is one. And the glory of the telestial is one, even as the glory of the stars is one; for as one star differs from another star in glory, even so differs one from another in glory in the telestial world;

The latter day Prophets remind us that almost all of those who pass through mortality will inherit one of the GLORIES of God which brings new meaning to the good news of the teachings of Jesus the Christ and Heavenly Father’s declared work and glory, which is to bring to pass the immortality and eternal lives of his children.

Although I would be the first to admit that my understandings of the Plan of Exaltation is but yet in its elementary stages of development, I am grateful that I have been privileged to live in a dispensation when the Lord has added lines upon lines to our understanding of our existence after the mortal body is laid down.