Sunday, April 28, 2013


Grandfather Soliai had been the loving leader of the Black Village on one of the small dots in the Pacific called Samoa. Over the countless years of his life his family had grown to willingly follow his wise counsels. They had come to feel the calming influence of his words as they were spoken with love and concern for the betterment of, the village, his extended family.

One day in priesthood meeting, a discussion arose as to whether the home teachers should be fed during their visits. A hearty discussion with points and counter points being exchanged ensued:

Tradition demands that we always feed those who pay us the respect to visit in our homes!

If we feed the home teachers only one visit a night can be made!

Island hospitality demands that home teachers be fed!

For those families who are struggling, the obligation to feed the home teachers is a hardship!

Finally after all points had been made, the group reverently turned to Grandfather Soliai for the patriarchal and deciding voice on the discussion. Sternly and with great authority his words resounded in the small meeting room. “You must always honor the home teachers by feeding them, just as we feed all guests in our homes to show our respect and honor to them.”

Very meekly, a young returned missionary raised his hand and softly spoke these words. “Grandfather while I was on my mission the Prophet of God told us that the home teachers were not to be fed.”

Sternly and with great authority Grandfather Soliai’s words resounded against the walls of the small meeting room, “The Prophet said, you must never feed the home teachers when they come to visit.”

In this humble setting and in a very simple way the often taught principle was passed on to another generation, that no matter what our station or stewardship in life may be, there will always be a Higher Authority. Our beloved Savior expressed this principle powerfully in these last testimony words, “Not my will, but thine be done.”

It is staggering to contemplate:

How many wounds would be avoided,

How much pride would be eliminated,

How much sorrow would be cast off.

If good men and women everywhere could come to these fundamental understandings:

We have come to do His will not ours,

Agency is best used when given back to the Giver,

Mankind can be raised to greater heights through becoming a conduit of His light than by any other means or power.

Through this willing submissiveness we come closer to knowing that true discipleship:

Requires it to be His way we strive to trod,

Requires it to be His love we strive to share,

Requires it to be His light we strive to hold up.

May the Lord bless us with His abundant grace as we stumblingly attempt to do that which He sent us to do and bless us that we might with greater frequency do it in His way.

Sunday, April 21, 2013


And now behold, I say unto you, my brethren, if ye have experienced a change of heart, and if ye have felt to sing the song of redeeming love, I would ask, can ye feel so now? (Book of Mormon – Alma 5:26)

In a day when we are plagued with overwhelming influences which drive us to accept nothing less than instant gratifications and satisfactions, where that pseudo king has deceived us into believing that tasks which involve struggle and challenge and demand endurance are to be shunned and avoided, we are prone to wonder if our willingness to yield to his devilish whisperings is an eternal part of our makeup or if it is a propensity brought about because of our having tabernacled our spirits in flesh?

In his marvelous, inspired speech in the fifth chapter of his book, we are reminded by Alma that the road is long, often steep and rocky and that we must not weary and faint if we are to gain the goal. He speaks in absolute terms, letting us know that half-hearted effort will leave us far short of the prize.

In today’s world we are often praised after putting forth a good try, even when all know we have fallen far short of our potential possibilities. We slump with weariness far before our bodies energies have been exhausted, only to receive the perpetual pat on the back and words of having done well. We avoid setting forth into life-expanding experiences because of the possibility of failure, receiving reassurances that the day may come when we feel more like going there.

The words of the Lord as expressed by Alma put forth a much different picture of what is expected of us and what we should have as a goal before us.


Have sufficiently retained in remembrance all that the Lord through his suffering, mercy and long suffering has done for our salvation,

Have spiritually been born of God and received his image in my countenance,

Have sufficient faith in redemption through the atonement to view this mortal body raised in immortality,

Have purified my heart, cleansed my hands and washed my garments, enough to sit down with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the eternities,

Have arrived at the point where I walk blameless before God,

Have become sufficiently humble,

Have become stripped of pride,

Have become stripped of envy,

Have ceased to mock and heap persecutions upon my brother.

Alma’s list is far from exhaustive, but sufficiently long to let us know that we have miles to go before we can become content with our journey or faint by the way side.

Neal A. Maxwell indicated, shortly before he went to his next assignment in the Spirit world, that none of us would complete all we have to do before we leave this frail existence. He also gave us through his example that this understanding did not leave us with the excuse to lessen our efforts until the last breath is expelled.

As our mothers taught us, life is hard by the yard, but a cinch by the inch. And even though Alma’s admonitions appear daunting and difficult, as the little boy said, ‘I can be as gooder as I can be’ and then tomorrow I’ll try to be just a little ‘gooder.’

Alma finishes his speech reminding us that we do not tread the path alone but the Good Shepherd doth call after us and if we hearken unto His voice He will bring us unto His fold, for we are His sheep.

Sunday, April 14, 2013



It would have been wonderful if I could have titled this Thought Chicken Soup for the Soul, but one entry on Google will show that that title has been used a few billion times, so I’ll just have to be satisfied using Things Which Bring Joy to My Soul. These are the moments when the physical part of me enjoins with the spiritual and I feel a harmonious whole.

When my senses explode as I witness:

A mother who silently and tenderly pours out her love to her newborn

A teacher putting forth extra effort which ignites the desire for learning in a reluctant student

An extended helping hand for one who would never ask, but is in great need

Music which calmly edifies the purposes of life

Paintings which freeze the beauty and glory of nature

Spoken words which enlighten the paths to be trod

Siblings unsolicited sharing

Mastery of physical capabilities

A movie which makes me cry happy

Reconnecting with a dear one from long ago

Meeting a new friend who it seems you have known forever

A new meaning to a verse of scripture

Confirmation of the Spirit of new understanding

People who have dedicated their lives to being the best they can be

The fresh smells left by a gentle rain

The renewal of sunrise on a clear day

The brilliance of sunsets through the clouds

The broad majesty of oceans

The grandeur of mountain peaks

A tiny flower showing life on the desert floor

Redwoods stretching to the sky

A father guiding a child through unexplored adventures

Children demonstrating love and appreciation to parents

Oneness with an eternal mate

It seems to me the best moments of life come when I am stirred to the depths of my soul, when I feel the tingling in the backs of my arms, when tears well up suddenly and I cry happy, when I discover the beauty never seen before and when melodies seem sweeter and softer. I am very grateful, that the longer I sojourn on this beautiful globe the more frequent these moments seem to come.

I would love to hear about those events in your lives which give you the feeling of being at a harmonious whole.