Sunday, August 31, 2014


It has taken me a long time, but I think I finally have figured out why my father grew more and more silent as he grew older.

I will blame but a small portion of his propensity towards silence on his decreased hearing ability. I think the main reason he was reluctant to speak much in his last few years was because he no longer understood the meaning of the words he had used throughout his life.

Since he is no longer here to explain his trend toward muteness I will have to use my own extended experience to try to bring meaning to man’s march towards respectful silence.

When I was a very young child the distinction between good and bad words was easily identified, especially in the presence of my mother. When an unacceptable word was said it was immediately identified by a threat of having my mouth washed out with soap. Time has dulled my memory so that I can't recall if that threat was ever put into action or not, hopefully the threat was sufficient to ease the tension brought on by the utterance of the bad word.

During elementary school and through most of my teen years I came to understand that there were safe zones where a boy could speak bad words and zones where great caution had to be taken.

1. The playground away from the school yard monitors was safe while the classroom was off limits for questionable language.
2. Scout meetings at the church house was definitely not a safe zone while scout camp seemed to be the safest place for boldly having ones speech liberally sprinkled with bad words.
3. Under ones breath was safe while vocalization was not.
4. The boy’s locker room was safe but the band room was forbidden territory for bad words.
5. Athletic fields and courts were havens for bad words while Sunday School classes were out of bounds.
6. It was always safer to say bad words with male companions, and disrespectful when the group was joined by the female variety of the species.
7. Sergeants could use bad words, but privates could not.

I think you get the idea that freedom of speech was clearly defined by words being good or bad by when those words could safely be spoken and where and with whom one might presently be.

I went on a church mission to Northern Mexico when I was 19 years old and when I returned I thought things remained pretty much status quo.

However, when I enrolled in a college speech class shortly after returning home, I realized that somehow a built in monitor had infected my body while in Mexico. I now no longer found a great personal need to be aware of where I was or who was in the group, bad words were no longer part of my vocabulary. I remember in the class a young woman referred to a certain part on the back side of her body with a four letter word. There was a consensus in the class that it would have been better if she were to have chosen a less offensive word. A four letter word which today, I have to frequently remind my young grandchildren, is not to be used in their grandparent’s home.

When our children grew to be in their teens, it was a constant battle for them to have to update their ole fogie father on what fowl or animal names could be used in polite society in order to avoid knowing glances from listeners.

During the time Kathleen and I spent in Colombia the language changed to such an extent that when we returned to the United States of America and took up residence in Southern California, in was a daily battle to keep from using words which once referred to beach footwear, but now were used to describe scanty panties, along with a whole list of words which now had double meanings and if they had not entered the bad category they were at least shady.

Now that I am retired and most of my vocabulary updating comes from cable or wireless devices, I have found that there seems to be a race (I would say rat race, but I am afraid that I might be politically incorrect) to see who can find another filthy meaning for words which at one time were used with preciseness of meaning and carried no danger of having a mouth foaming from suds.

In the days of our biblical first parents, their children were taught to read and write, having a language which was pure and undefiled. (Pearl of Great Price – Moses 6:6) Adam called every living thing by the name thereof. (Old Testament – Genesis 2:19) Then the language became confounded and the people became scattered among the nations. (Old Testament – Genesis11:9) I heard a language which I understood not. (Old Testament – Psalms 81:5) Their language became corrupted. (Book of Mormon – Omni 1:17) For then will I turn to the people a pure language, that they may all call upon the name of the Lord, to serve him with one consent. (Old Testament – Zephaniah 3:9)

I know my scriptural account is a small sampling, but, alas in the column of ‘nothing new under the sun’ we see that what has happened to our language is but a repetition of what has happened among the nations during recorded history. There seems to be a strong connection between the corruption of a language and minds and virtues and the downfall of societies and governments. If what I have seen happening during my lifetime is indeed the corruption of our national language… Hopefully, we will modify our destructive behavior before divine intervention is needed.

Meanwhile like my father and his father before him, I will find contentment in keeping my mouth shut and being thought a fool rather than opening it and removing all doubt.

Sunday, August 24, 2014


Long ago Charles Karault had a television show which many of us old timers enjoyed, called ‘On the Road.’ I remember one episode which spring boarded me into some joy-filled moments of reflection. On this particular road trip Karault was visiting a falconry. After showing us all the feeding, training and breeding techniques which were involved with these wonderful birds, he asked the falconer, why he worked with falcons rather that some other kind of bird. The falconer replied without hesitation, ‘birds flap, falcons fly!’

As I pondered his words I came to the conclusion that there may also be a third type of fowl. Since then I have added fourth and fifth categories. My typing of birds now includes those which soar, those which migrate, those which fly, those which flap and those which scratch. As my thoughts continued to wander, I wondered if we could also fit most people into one or more of those categories. I suspect none of us fits perfectly into any of those categories and I further suspect that there are times in our lives when we are spending time soaring and others when we are scratching. We probably do a lot of situational sliding from one type of fowl to another.


Are those ground-locked birds which carry such illustrious titles as chicken, turkey and ostrich. There may have been a time when they were flappers, but because of gluttony or having their wings clipped they have become accustomed and content to spend their days scratching and then when not scratching they sleep. They spend their days with their beaks in the mud working mightily to get something into their stomachs. They live for what they discover while scratching, and become disposable when they either no longer produce or have maximized their volume. They may be dressed in great finery and be called peacock, but when all is said and done they are scratchers with a very limited life and very narrow vision.


Are those birds which indeed have the advantage where expanded vistas can be enjoyed, but they are so busy getting to where they want to go that they take little time to enjoy the trip. Once they arrive at their intended destination, they take a quick breath and then they are off to somewhere else they need to be. They are ever going and never being. Their possibilities seem unlimited, but they become confused by mistaking ends and means of life’s purposes. The king of all flappers, in the end, is much like the scratcher. The darting hummingbird is in constant motion, but accomplishes little more than eating enough to give it the strength to flap.


Are those birds which have developed to the degree where they have come to understand that besides having a means to gain sustenance the beauty of the flight is also part of existence. There are times when the experience of the moment should be enjoyed and life sustaining efforts put off and delayed. They understand yesterday and tomorrow have, and will bring, their own rewards, but today this field, this view, is theirs to explore, contemplate and behold.


Are those birds which change with the weather, willing to travel thousands of miles in order to avoid the discomfort of being too hot or too cold. They are well known on both ends of their journeys, but never completely involved in either homeland. They enjoy where they are until the going gets difficult and then they are off to find a more comfortable place.


Are those birds who have gained the ability to expand their vision beyond horizons which other birds don’t even dream about. They understand that substance is a means to an end and not an end in itself. They eat so that they can soar and soar so that they can sustain life. They have become all that others wish to be and they wish all others could be as they are. They are limited by duty and honor, but never feel less because of their loyalty to their family.

These classifications of fowl become especially important as we contemplate how they relate to the five great areas of relationships we need to work on during the short mortal span we are given.

My relationship to mother earth and my physical surroundings.
My relationship with myself, growing to appreciate and know who I am.
My relationship in my community and how I treat those who share my little space.
My contributive relationships which oft times requires sacrifice of personal comfort.
My relationship with the Heavens and those who dwell there.

A scratcher will use the plenty of the earth, never replacing, never replanting. They are forever using until when life is over a path of desolation is left as a reminder of lustful scratching.

The flapper is forever looking at tomorrow, seldom pausing today long enough to realize the goodness of the moment. They wonder about how good tomorrow will be… Where they will be tomorrow… What will they be doing tomorrow? They marvel at how far away tomorrow always seems. Sadly, tomorrow never arrives and today was never enjoyed.

The flyer comes to know that there is more to life than sustenance, but is never quite capable of seeing beyond the limits of their surroundings. They become territorial and prejudicial and find all things different than themselves annoying and to be mistrusted and used only when it is for their own good. They live a life which is constantly narrowing and tightening rather than expanding.

The migrators are forever in a state of self-satisfaction, but after their much scurrying hither and yon, they find that they have left little as a contribution to the welfare of their fellow men, who, after all, were there only to be enjoyed and then quickly forgotten when out of sight.

The soarer sees the whole of the earth as a creation of the Creator and all who dwell thereon as equals trying to understand the purpose of being one of the created. They care for the earth as a trusted steward, always leaving the ground more productive and fertile than when they arrived. They understand that today is a gift given so they might know themselves better and to come to understand their place in life more clearly from an eternal view. They view their relationships with universal brothers and sisters as a sacred responsibility, constantly helping each neighbor become all they can become. Their words are sincere as they interact with their fellows and their Heavenly Father.

We may find it tiring and difficult as we try to convince a scratcher that there is indeed a way to find greater joy and see greater vistas of life. We may find roadblocks thrown up as flappers, well entrenched in justifying and defending their way of life, ward off our attempts. We can only hold out a carrot of possibilities to flyers and migrators who may resist our every effort. After all, like Jonathan Livingston Seagull, the power of change is strictly reserved to the individual whether they choose to discover and grow or continue to be content to scratch.

The beauty of our Heavenly Father’s plan is not found in how many people accept and wonder at the painting we present to them, but is to be found in the time we took to paint the picture and the reason we had for taking the time.

Sunday, August 10, 2014


Just a reminder my book Thoughts for 100 Sabbath Days can be ordered on

I have to confess that it was while I was listening to General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints that for some reason I started writing down little sayings which kept popping into my mind. Actually, it was just after I had applied some sports cream to my neck and then finished the task I had gone into the bathroom to do. Two days later I decided to start sharing these ditties on Face Book.

After two plus months of sharing I realized that the vast majority of my friends probably haven't had the _________ (fill in appropriate word or phrase – blessing, plague, annoyance, amusement, boredom) of reading these sayings of mine, since many of you who receive my email blast are not on Face Book or do not visit that site very often.

An appropriate disclaimer must be attached: As I have stated before, I am absolutely sure that all of my thoughts have been stimulated by some previous learning experience in my life and, therefore, I claim that whatever I share is that which comes out of my mind when I begin to write and I further claim zero belief that in any way it contains original thought.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014: It doesn't make sense to buy a car if the payments are so high that you can't afford gas!!

Thursday, April 10, 2014: Disappointment will be yours – when you discover your children consider your treasures to be trash!!

Friday, April 11, 2014: Always apply sports cream after going to the bathroom not before!!

Monday, April 14, 2014: One should smell lots of flowers early in life – our ability to smell diminishes as we age, along with many other bodily functions!!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014: There comes a time in life when knowing the final score is all that one needs!!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014: Although the expression of love for another may change, it does not necessarily alter its depth!!

Thursday, April 17, 2014: Enjoy exotic foods while you can before they become an enemy to your digestive system!!

Friday, April 18, 2014: After handling jalapeno peppers, always wash your hands before touching your eyes!!

Monday, April 21, 2014: Man caves with big screen HD televisions = hideaways where men who are embarrassed to be seen crying in public can watch chick flicks!!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014: WARNING!! – Animal movies like Bambi, Old Yeller and The Yearling will also cause moisture to gather on lower eye lids and spill over!!

Wednesday, April 23, 2014: The surefire recipe for having a bummer of a day is to spend it thinking about all the things you hate about your life!!

Thursday, April 24, 2014: On the other hand: If you want to have a joyous day – spend it thinking about all the things you love about your life!!

Friday, April 25, 2014: Why is it that during our youth, when days go slowly by, most tasks can be quickly done - while during our advanced years, when days speed quickly by, most tasks take forever to do??

Monday, April 28, 2014: With the multiplication of ones days – one finds weather to be less of a measure of a good day - that is unless one was scheduled to play geezer golf!!

Tuesday, April 29, 2014: It is people, not knives, who determine whether it is fingers or carrots that get cut!!

Wednesday, April 30, 2014: Having a few close friends is easy – just be mean and disagreeable to everyone you meet - there really are very few who will tolerate such behavior for very long!!

Thursday, May 1, 2014: Saying you are sorry is only meaningful if our words and actions are different in the future!!

Friday, May 2, 2014: Sugar coated cereal does not sweeten sour milk!!

Monday, May 5, 2014: Demonstrating and practicing are better ways of mentoring than lecturing!!

Tuesday, May 6, 2014: DISCIPLINE – DEDICATION – DETERMINATION – are as important to the learning process as teachers and books!!

Wednesday, May 7, 2014: Lackluster praying quickly turns into braying!!

Thursday, May 8, 2014: Tragedy quickly turns braying into praying!!

Friday, May 9, 2014: If you really want to be able to share something - plant zucchini!!

Tuesday, May 13, 2014: Be active and doing while you can – there will be plenty of time for sitting and contemplating later in life!!

Wednesday, May 14, 2014: Even round balls don't always bounce the way you wanted or thought they would bounce!!

Sunday, August 3, 2014


When we were in the seminar for new Mission Presidents, in the latter part of June, 1991, one of the presenters told us that missionaries weren't called to go out to teach people new concepts and doctrines, but their success would come as they helped people have an experience where they were able to realize they had heard what the was being taught before and that these things were being brought back to their remembrance.

What an interesting concept, that Eternal truths are learned best in mortality when they are accompanied with the feeling of knowing we had learned these things before at another time in another place and are now brought to our minds as a remembrance by the Holy Spirit.

I have written previously about the enlightenment, or probably a remembrance, which came to me while I was teaching a class from Elder Henry B. Eyring’s book, To Draw Closer to God, about joy being that sensation which comes upon Heavenly Father’s children when the veil is penetrated slightly and memories of ‘then and there’ flood upon us for brief moments. I have come to feel that this is the joy which Lehi was talking about when he proclaimed, ‘Man is that he might have joy.’ (Book of Mormon, 2nd Nephi 2:25)

Though the moments may be brief and all too infrequent during our mortal span, they should be cherished and written down so they can be referenced during those days when dark clouds make the penetration of heaven sent light near impossible.

That joy, which comes most powerfully when we are being blessed with remembrances of our Heavenly home, may come:

Sitting in a primary class on a Wednesday afternoon after school, as your thoughts wandered when the teacher held up a picture of Jesus blessing little children

Lying on a bed with rheumatic fever listening as your mortal father pronounced heaven sent words about the healing of your body and the expectations of another Father

In a Sacrament Meeting when a returning missionary speaking of the spiritual experiences of his last few years sent your mind futuring to a time when you would be called to serve

Sitting knee to knee with a revered servant of God as the meaning of true repentance first sent the cleansing tingling effects of true repentance through your body

Lying on the top bed of a three level bunk bed and receiving the assurance that your call to serve brothers and sisters in a foreign land had not only come from Heavenly Father’s prophet servant, but also from Heavenly Father

When, for the first time, you were able to truthfully and boldly proclaim that The Book of Mormon is the word of God and Joseph Smith was indeed a prophet of God

Standing in a humble adobe home in a foreign country placing trembling hands on a fevered forehead and feeling the cooling beneath your hands as words entered your mind and slid from your mouth in quivering, healing phrases

Kneeling across the alter from your earthly love and being assured that this love was but an extension of feelings which started long ago and would extend forever more

Holding your recent born offspring and being assured from whence they so recently came and almost overwhelmed by the trust your Heavenly Father had extended to you

Laying hands on a son whose mortal continuance was beyond the current knowledge of earth bound children, but whose cure was totally possible by a Heavenly Father

Laying hands on a troubled young women and knowing without doubt that her Heavenly Mother’s love was comforting her when she felt she had no one on earth who could provide such needed comfort

Standing in a classroom of loved students and realizing you were delivering an unplanned, but needed thought to someone whom you might never realize was in need that day

Sitting across from troubled young missionaries who had fallen into despair and feeling inadequate and having the privilege of catching a glimpse of how they were viewed by a loving Heavenly Father and what He knew about the great contributions which awaited them

Having privileges and opportunities which increased and amplified those moments when the veil became very thin

Being in an earthly empty nest with that person who you were assured time and again would be the one who would make you complete though out all eternity

Those words most often spoken by the Master and first found in Matthew 7:7, 8, ‘Ask and it shall be given you; seek and ye shall find; knock and it shall be opened unto you: For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.’, should fill each of us with an abundance of hope and when we allow it, the love of our Heavenly Parents to penetrate the veil as we ask, seek and knock to fill us with everlasting joy.