Sunday, December 27, 2015


Sunday, December 6, 2009























Sunday, December 20, 2015


When my dreams were full of cowboys and rustlers and candy

Christmas day came much too slowly
Christmas morning passed much too quickly
But then we sang of silent nights, angels, shepherds and the little town of Bethlehem
And it was Christmas.

When my dreams were full of homework and girls and sports

Christmas day came and went
Christmas morning came much too early
But then we sang of silent nights, angels, shepherds and the little town of Bethlehem
And it was Christmas.

When our children’s dreams were full of moons and astronauts and presents

Christmas day came after hustle and bustle
Christmas morning was full of litter and laughter
But then we sang of silent nights, angels, shepherds and the little town of Bethlehem
And it was Christmas.

When my dreams took place in faraway lands of former traditions and memories

Christmas day came as a brief relief
Christmas morning was full of phone calls
But then we sang of silent nights, angels, shepherds and the little town of Bethlehem
And it was Christmas.

When my dreams were full of lights and villages and ponderings

Christmas day followed weeks of decorating
Christmas morning was spent with my one true love
But then we sang of silent nights, angels, shepherds and the little town of Bethlehem
And it was Christmas.

When my dreams were full of medical procedures and nostalgic movies and music

Christmas day took very little preparation
Christmas morning was full of peace and calm
But then we sang of silent nights, angels, shepherds and the little town of Bethlehem
And it was Christmas.

And throughout all the years I knew that it was Christmas

Because we sang of silent nights, angels, shepherds, the little town of Bethlehem and the babe who was born on that first Christmas day.

Sunday, December 13, 2015


In previous Thoughts for a Sabbath Day I have mentioned how I have survived shopping excursions because I am an avid people watcher. Over the years of applying this survival technique I found myself making mental notes of the stranger/neighbors I was observing. I actually came up with an interesting methodology of categorizing the passing individuals in the mob.

Obviously, since my placing these people in relative positions in my made up system was totally superficial and nonscientific and, therefore, lacked any significant relevance to what their true characters might actually have been, they all remain innocent and unidentifiable.

Nevertheless, I feel there is some value in taking a few minutes to think about the observations and categorizing I was doing. I had even gone so far as to name my system.

Sacrifice Maturity Quotient

Although many subgroupings have eventually developed and been identified, most of the passing humanity I have been able to place into three main levels on the Sacrifice Maturity Quotient chart.




Like so many systems which attempt to quantify maturation behavior, and especially a totally subjective one like mine there has been no attempt to separate those who went into each group by age, height, nationality, hair color or shoe size.

As I sat on those benches, kindly provided by all mall managers for people of my ilk, the only way I had of measuring a person’s Sacrifice Maturity Quotient was to observe behavior or listen to passing conversations of stranger/neighbors and make mental accounting of behavior in regard to the stressful stimuli which attends shopping.

In the future, if you find yourself waiting patiently on a mall bench, you will have some expertise in identifying the level of
Sacrifice Maturity of the stranger/neighbors passing by. I give you the following descriptions of general behavior patterns demonstrated by people of each of the three broad levels of Sacrifice Maturity.

CAUTION: Before venturing forth or sitting forth, do not at any time make the mistake of trying to categorize yourself – this can cause reflection which might result in personal character building.


Usually is seen walking with the chin very close to the chest.

Shoulders are often seen at an angle sloping down from the neck.

Often audible heavy sighs are heard being expelled from the mouth.

Conversations often contain expressions of there being a complete lack of time to complete the tasks they have to do each day.

Prolonged conversations are laden with verbiage which is being used to try to convince those who are accompanying them of the heaviness of their burdens.


Usually observed with the eyebrows tilted toward the bridge of the nose.

The shoulders are often found in the vicinity of the ear lobes.

The most common word in their vocabulary is what, as in ‘What am I supposed to be doing?’

Constantly find their days filled with going from one unfinished helping hand project to another.

Find it much easier to talk about what they should be doing rather than actually doing it.


Usually their faces have an expression like they had just stepped out of the freshest shower having used the most marvelous cleansing soap ever developed.

Shoulders are often found pressed forward.

They are often heard using such words as wonderful, marvelous and beautiful when describing their day.

They seem to wake up each day excited about the great opportunities which await them during the coming day.

Often seem to be too busy to spend a lot of time talking about what they are doing.

GENERAL OBSERVATION: People who arrive at level three on the Sacrifice Maturity Quotient seem to have given up ownership of their resources, time and talents.

There now, with this guide you too can begin the process of becoming an expert judge of all your stranger/neighbor’s levels on the Sacrifice Maturity Quotient.

FINAL WARNING: Never, I say never, look in a mirror while making Sacrifice Maturity Quotient judgements. Even a passing glace could result in serious self-evaluation which could result in one becoming more Christ like.

Sunday, December 6, 2015


I am pretty sure it never happened during the years I taught Early Morning Seminary in Orange County, California, nor during the two years I taught ninth graders at Kearns Junior High School in the Salt Lake Valley.

It may have happened when I taught Seminary at Kearns High School or at Tooele High School in Tooele Valley, but if it did I can’t recall the occasion.

I know it happened during the years I taught college age students at the Institute in Reno, Nevada, and also in Mission Viejo, California, where I also taught college age students.

It always happened with a great deal of regularity when I taught Religion Classes to adults who were married or in the age group of 30 +.

From this very small statistical data base, I have been left to believe that the longer we live, the greater the possibility exists that the historical death, destruction and devastation, along with other similar testimony troubling questions which have continually plagued the residence of our planet, will cause some to question the veracity of their testimony of a loving God.

Because of my self-imposed limitations on the length of my Thoughts, I will limit these pages to the just one question.

It is interesting that this struggle over why men have been allowed to reap death, destruction and devastation was most often accompanied by either heartbreaking tears or anger, akin to those of a child when they first are told or discover on their own that some fantasies which had brought joy to their young lives were fictitious.

Since, I have had the privilege of having my life extended into those years when time has been made available for pondering. (Some might call them retirement years). I didn't seem to be able to squeeze out time when I was simultaneously raising a family, serving in church callings and teaching in the Church Education System. One of the things I have thought about is how I might have responded to the struggles these friends were going through as they read of man’s inhumanity to man not only in history text, but also in Holy Writ.

I will be paraphrasing, but their concerns about the extent and constancy of the devastation which has been a major part of this earth’s passage, always seemed to include such phrases as:

How could a God who is supposed to have the attributes of Love, Mercy and Grace allow…

Why is it so often that it is the righteous who are the victims of the unrighteous…

If God is all powerful couldn't He have…

Why are wicked leaders allowed to…

I could add many other ways this quandary, which has assaulted the testimonies of so many adults I have had in my classes, has been expressed, but I am sure the point has been made.

Sadly, over the years my most frequent response has been one of feebly expressed empathy and then a quick – ‘there are many questions which I personally have had to place on a shelf, trusting that if not in mortality, then in immortality I would be given the answer.’

I am still not convinced that this period of life which has provided me with the pauses in routine necessary for pondering, has provided me with answers which will satisfy anyone but me.

However, for now I am satisfied:

The agency given to man is of such everlasting importance in Heavenly Father’s Plan –therefore, it is rarely interfered with even by an All Powerful God…

In order for agency to exist, there must be opposition in all things and in all lives…

The Love, Mercy and Grace of a Loving Heavenly Father – will bring Eternal Justice to all who have suffered because of the unjust choices which other make with their agency…

The Laws, Administrations and Judgements of a Just Heavenly Father – will bring Eternal Recompense to all who have used their agency to afflict their neighbors..

Finally and most importantly, for my own peace of mind – I have concluded that if it had not been for the overseeing and watchful eye of our Heavenly Father – we would have long ago annihilated one another from this beautiful planet …

I think I can say, with a pretty high degree of confidence, that this little expression of my ponderings on this testimony troubling question will help few others as much as it has helped me.

Therefore, I am left with this prayer in my heart that we will all live long enough to enjoy those years of life when time for reflection and pondering become more abundant. And that the benefit of that pondering will bring peace if not resolution to the testimony troubling questions which you have born during your earthly journey.

I further pray that peace will also attend us when our pondering still leaves us with testimony troubling questions lying upon our shelves. And the testimony strengthening answers we have received to previous questions will strengthen us.

One last prayer is that we will be patient and wait upon the Lord if he feels what we now have is sufficient for the day. And peace will fill us with an abundant faith that all things will happen according to His time.

Sunday, November 29, 2015


I think I have set a near impossible goal for myself. I have been determined to live a life of Thanks Giving every day of my life, but no matter how hard I try, my normal attitude of Thanks Giving never comes up to par with the feelings I have each year on the fourth Thursday in November.

This week’s thoughts will, I am sure, feel very random as you read them, but this is the way they came to me.

My mother who lived a very full, active and righteous life still expressed in her waning years, regret for not having done more and better. As I think upon her faithfulness and these feeling she expressed when she was into her nineties, I am grateful for the knowledge that I have of a loving Heavenly Father who is full of grace and mercy, who will welcome us all back home, as returning prodigals and then continue to add upon us until His work and glory are complete in our behalf. This knowledge helps me understand that we can never do all there is to do in this life.

Likewise, I am grateful for the understanding that only our Savior Jesus the Christ grew in perfection without having to retrace and redo wrong actions, but grew perfectly in wisdom, stature and with favor unto God, until he reached the state of Glory where he could perform the marvelous work of the Atonement on behalf of all of us.

Not too long before this year’s Thanks Giving Day, I was telling someone about the wonderful General Conference talks Kathleen and I had enjoyed. During this conversation I asked if they had been able to listen to any of the talks. When the response was negative, I spewed out one of those replies which probably would have been better left in the chambers of my mind, but in retrospect contained a great deal of wisdom. My comment was, I admire you for being such a wonderful person and not one who is weak like me, that you can govern your life without the aid of living apostles and prophets.

I really am grateful that my days on the earth have been when there are living apostles and prophets of the Lord Jesus the Christ who can give us continued counsel as they receive it from the Lord. I am grateful for the pits they have kept me from falling into and the ladders they have made me aware of when I choose to stumble into pits. I am grateful for the knowledge of the eternal meaning of father and mother hood of which they have helped me gain an elementary understanding.

Since my intent is not to make this Thought about the need I have in my life for living apostles and prophet, I let these few comments suffice for now on this area of my Thanks Giving.

During the last 11 years since I have been able to pass the majority of my days at home, one of the things I have Thanks Giving for is the added number of times Kathleen and I are able to verbally exchange expressions of our love for one another. She even came up with a wonderful little zinger where she charges me a toll fee when we pass one another during the day. The toll is a warm and wonderful hug with an accompanying kiss. My Thanks Giving for the increased love quotient with which I continue to be blessed is definitely centered in Kathleen, but has not been limited to her.

Throughout the majority of my life I was in positions which dictated that it would be inappropriate to express my feelings for others by hugging. I have Thanks giving that these shackles have been removed from me during the final chapter of my life and I can now freely show my affection for others with a hug.

My Thanks Giving extends to the cyber world we live in which has allowed me to reconnect with thousands of un-hugged friends who have been so dear to me throughout my life. Even though they aren't quite as warm and fuzzy as an actual physical hug, they do add to my quotient of love. It has been marvelous as, almost on a daily basis, I am able to reunite through technology with friends from all the decades of my life.

I frequently check the happenings of what is going on in the sports world on the computer and the television. On Thanks Giving Day one of the feeds had a tour of the mansion which belongs to one of the successful athletes, who had been richly rewarded because of his God given talents and physical bearing. Strange as it might sound, the thought of Thanks Giving which went through my mind was that I was grateful that for us sufficient was enough.

My Thanks Giving in this area includes being grateful that I have lived a life free of starvation and nakedness and that I have always had a home to return to every day. Some might think it strange, but now that I can look back upon life much further than I can look forward, my Thanks Giving includes having had a life which has always included sufficient for my needs, but has never burdened me with too much excess.

I intentionally will close this thought long before I exhaust my list of things for which I could express Thanks Giving, in the hope that this shortened list will give you the opportunity to ponder upon your own list of things for which you can offer Thanks Giving.

Sunday, November 22, 2015


A few months back I started watching a made for television series called the Vikings. It didn't take me too long to realize that this series was the History channel’s attempt to stay in competition with the other cable channels in shows which depict man’s propensity towards gory and gruesome slaughtering.

I did watch enough episodes to be introduced to the writer’s depiction of the worship practices of the Vikings and Christians of that period. This stimulated a thought which might have been the only good one I had during the brief time I viewed the show. How, throughout the ages, generations have chosen to serve a variety of things which they referred to as their gods.

During the earths epics:

Some serve gods which were to be feared.

Others served gods which were manifest in laws of nature which were as yet not understood.

There were gods served which could sway the seasons which would bring about bounteous harvests.

There were gods which could overpower armies and yield booty of limitless treasures.

It would probably be more difficult to find something which hasn’t had supernatural powers attached to it than those which have.

Probably the most served god during the history of mankind is the one called ‘myself.’

During the 75 years of my life, I have quietly come to know another God, a God which like many others has been worshiped for millennium by millions. I hasten to say that I have also come to know that the degree and sincerity of worship has a great variance among those who claim to be worshipers of the self-same deity.

It will probably remain one of my life’s unanswered questions when I leave this frail existence, of how anyone in any generation has been able to attribute to their gods the granting permission and even directives to do preemptive hateful and destructive acts against their neighbors.

Therefore, I am prone to be drawn to a God whose teachings:

Teach not of vengeance, but of mercy.

Teach not about generating fear, but of mercy.

Teach not about forsaking, but of mercy.

Teach not about buying salvation, but of mercy.

Mercy is an attribute which is governed by the disposition to forgive, a propensity to be kind, and a desire to refrain from harming offenders, a desire to shower blessings and to maximize everyone’s eternal existence.

Admittedly, there are those who read the same scriptural texts which I have chosen to govern my life that come to much different conclusions than I. I am not ignorant of those passages which men use to pour down destruction and go on crusades and put the sword to the neck of those who refuse to kneel before ‘their’ God. I suspect that like all others, I am being very selective of what I choose to make a permanent influence on my being. Therefore, I have deliberately chosen to seek out, emphasize and hopefully inculcate those edifying attributes I find in writings, such as mercy, into my life.

I am more influenced by:

Adam and Eve choosing to make possible mankind’s entrance into mortality, rather than to view them as fallen beings.

Abraham sending his servant into the desert to seek those in need, rather than to concentrate on him as a shepherd king.

Israel as a father of nations, rather than the ancestor of cousins waring over desolate lands.

Nephi as one who recognizes the tender mercies of God, rather than as a mistreated brother.

Mormon as a chronicler of history, rather than as a general of a decadent and defeated nation.

Joseph Smith as a restorer of truth and prophet of a generation, rather than as a martyr.

Jesus the Christ as a Savior and Redeemer, rather than as one crucified.

My wearing and looking through rose colored glasses has been a conscious and deliberate choice because I have observed through a life of small steps:

Those who choose to worship a god of fear are often filled with fear.

Those who worship a god of retribution are often filled with vengeance.

Those who worship a god of mystery are often in darkness.

But they who worship a God of mercy are often filled with mercy and compassion.

I echo the words of Joshua of old who exclaimed, ‘choose ye this day whom you will serve.’

Sunday, November 15, 2015


Monday, June 29, 2015: Hopefully – after we have tried to find happiness on a variety of paths – we will at last plant our feet – on the only path which leads to Eternal Joy!!

Tuesday, June 30, 2015: There is no such thing – as menial service!!

Wednesday, July 01, 2015: There is no such thing – as meaningless prayer!!

Thursday, July 02, 2015: There is no such thing – as unnecessary instruction!!

Friday, July 03, 2015: There is no such thing – as enough learning!!

Monday, July 06, 2015: There is no such thing – as too many kind words!!

Tuesday, July 07, 2015: There is no such thing – as an unrelated person!!

Wednesday, July 08, 2015: There is no such thing – as an end to parenting!!

Thursday, July 09, 2015: The nature of many of the things we do in life may change – but the need to diligently continue to do them – in their new form – will never change!!

Friday, July 10, 2015: We should even be grateful – for those in our lives who irritate us – otherwise – how could we develop tolerance and patience!!

Monday, July 13, 2015: If there was no opposition in our lives – it would be much more difficult – for us to measure our growth!!

Tuesday, July 14, 2015: The universal need we all have for repentance – may be the single strongest indicator – of the universal kinship of the earth’s inhabitants!!

Wednesday, July 15, 2015: The constancy of change in our tumultuous world – demands a continual stream of revelation – from a concerned Heavenly Father!!

Thursday, July 16, 2015: A universal loving Heavenly Father – will answer prayers of paupers – as well as prophets!!

Friday, July 17, 2015: The blessings of revelatory statements – from goodly parents – become a guiding light and scripture – to grateful offspring!!

Monday, July 20, 2015: Everyone’s understanding can be extended – if they are willing – to accept revelatory counsel – from a loving Heavenly Father!!

Tuesday, July 21, 2015: Very seldom does our gratitude – reach the magnitude of our blessings!!

Wednesday, July 22, 2015: Very seldom do we realize the extent of the privileges and opportunities – which have been bestowed upon us in life!!

Thursday, July 23, 2015: If we could behold – the enormity of the blessings, privileges and opportunities – which have been endowed upon us during our lives – we might be able to better understand – the love our Heavenly Father has for each of us!!!

Friday, July 24, 2015: All living things – must continue to grow and change – if they are to continue to flourish!!

Monday, July 27, 2015: Testimonies, individual, organizations and nations – if they are to continue to exist – must be constantly nourished and helped to grow and change – o – like all stagnant things they will die!!

Tuesday, July 28, 2015: Too often our gratitude for mentors and living prophets – whose only desire is to guide us through the mazes and over the hurdles of a changing world – fall far short of what is merited!!

Wednesday, July 29, 2015: Since the world has not as yet – come to a unity of faith – much less been purified – we still have a need for living apostles and prophets – as Jesus the Christ declared!!

Thursday, July 30, 2015: It is the depth and strength of the roots – which sustains the giant trees – through the storms of life!!

Friday, July 31, 2015: We need to make sure – our lives are built on deep and firm foundations – because we like giant sequoias – will face fierce storms during our lives!!

Sunday, November 8, 2015


3. Service/Compensation

Although one wouldn't think of this as such a difficult attribute to achieve, because we live our mortal lives surrounded by the propaganda of Telestial minds, in reality it is one of the most challenging hurdles we will have to overcome on our way to becoming a candidate for membership in a Zion Society.

The description of the Telestial mind includes the dominant attitude which was introduced by Cain, that being, we must get all the stuff we can no matter how we obtain it, or who we have to destroy in our quest, and only then will we be able to consider our time on earth as being successful.

If we work really hard to overcome the propaganda of the Secret Society built on Satan’s philosophies and manage to change our character to that of a Terrestrial mind, we will have arrived at the level where we live according to such laws as the ‘worker is worthy of his hire’ and ‘for every day’s pay one should give an honest 'day’s work.’ and ‘reward and honor should be given to those who have paid the price.’

I suspect I should pause for a collective gasp followed by a universal exclamation of ‘what’s wrong with that?’ To which I hastily reply, nothing, but it is not the principle upon which a Zion Society can be built.

Only when the sole motivation for everything we do is to serve others, because our souls have been changed and governed by Charity, will we be eligible to become part of a Zion Society.

Personal Challenges: Seek for and actuate opportunities to serve without expectation of compensation – Pray for Eternal intervention so that my heart can be changed and that I will have a Christ like love for others.

4. Kinship/Bigotry

I am sure it started with the earth’s earliest inhabitants, and continues in evidence on the planet at the time of this writing. The world has always been made up of ‘them’ and ‘us.’ Therefore, the only logical solution to the problem has dominantly been to illuminate or enslave ‘them,’ so that those like ‘us,’ can have a life free of the unenlightened.

The only trouble is that ‘them’ keep propagating faster than ‘us’ can destroy them. During those few moments throughout the millenniums’ of man’s history when for a brief instant we paused in the elimination of ‘them’ and examined the similarities ‘them’ had with ‘us’ we usually ended up propagating a new and better although mongrel variety of ‘them/us.’

Someday, and obviously before a Zion Society can have any hope of existing on this sphere, all of the ‘them/us’ mongrels who inhabit the earth will have to be converted, convinced and committed to the doctrine that we all have the same Universal Heavenly Father and we all have a common beginning of existence to our mortal ancestral lines.

Personal Challenges: Stop looking for the differences in my fellow sojourners and accept the sameness which we share – Return to the old school custom of referring to those I meet and greet as Brothers and Sisters – Pray for illuminating understanding for all of Heavenly Fathers children who are co-habitating this beautiful planet with me.

5. Duty/Obligation

With this particular attribute the subtleties may have a very narrow range and I am pretty sure the differences might ultimately end up being one of those semantical exercises.

Anyway, personally, I believe that those things we do which fall into the category of duty, we involve ourselves in because in our hearts we feel it is the correct thing to do and love is somehow that which motivates us to action.

On the other hand, I believe that those things we do which fall into the obligation camp, we do because we have to, not necessary because we want to and many times we do them because we have no other choice.

Personal Challenges: Allow God’s love to overpower me in such a way that I will be motivated by love in the doing of more of my daily tasks.

6. Dominion/Domination

Before you get all over me with a Latin language root lesson – let me hasten to explain – When the Lord gave Adam Dominion over the animals, the word had to do with caring for them as the Lord (Domino) would care for them. When we use the word domination – it has the connotation of controlling another.

There is little doubt that in a Zion Society we are meant to care for one another according to our abilities. Likewise, there seems to be little need for a person who is in a position of control over others.

One of my favorite titles of those who reside as equals in a Zion Society is Servant Steward. What a wonderful concept that title conjures up in the mind. Whatever and where ever my stewardship falls, the key to success is service.

Personal Challenges: Really believe and act like I am in a world made up of equals –in all relationships strengthen, edify and build rather than weaken, lessen and destroy.

7. Selflessness/Selfishness

I have to thank Neal A. Maxwell for adding selflessness to my vocabulary. It is indeed a wonderful word and fits so well at the other end of a continuum from selfishness.

Just as charity cannot co-exist with greed nor love with hate, selflessness cannot co-exist with selfishness. Also, it is much like the pregnant thing. You just can't be a little bit selfless or a little bit selfish. Sadly, it is an all or nothing thing.

I am sure that the reason Hugh Nibley rejected all forms of government short of a Theocracy was because all ‘isms’ are built on some level of selfishness. Therefore, a Zion Society will only be established when selflessness becomes the absolute dominant way of life.

Personal Challenges: Eliminate my propensity to be selfish – inculcate selfless actions into my life.

A final word!

After all the talk of how individuals need to put on the attributes, characteristics and actions of a Zion person, we must always remember that the goal is to establish a Zion Society, not just a Zion person.

Therefore, I cannot do it without this being your quest and sadly, you cannot do it without it being mine.

Sunday, November 1, 2015


Having postulated in last week’s Thought for a Sabbath Day, that delay in the coming forth of a Zion Society isn't because of a shortage of wickedness, but more likely because the principles upon which such a society must be established are lacking.

Hopefully, having also established that I should not be looking outward, but inward, for the changes which are needed if I wish to eliminate the most obvious blockage to such a utopia coming into reality, which of course are the changes needed in my personal character and behavior.

Some preliminary observations:

The fundamental rules of a Zion Society are remarkably simple; however, the change in characteristics, attitudes and behavior seems to be made up of hurdles so high that most of us cannot make the leap.

Talking and teaching the principles of a Zion Society have always been much easier than the living of the principles.

Most inhabitants of this world who have hopes for the establishment of a Zion Society have given up any hope of it coming to fruition short of cataclysmic intervention by Heavenly Father and His Son Jesus the Christ.

Sadly, we must all come to the realization that the Savior cannot come again until there is an established Society of Zion people.

If I am to make the required changes, each day must include another step in the right direction and backsliding must be avoided.

A partial examination of a few of the hurdles which must be breached:

1. Stewardship/Ownership

Even the beginning novice investigating cultural beginnings will quickly come to the conclusion that at one time or another all of us had ancestors who believed the relationship between humans and mother earth was one of stewardship, not ownership.

This stewardship relationship has been renewed in my own psyche during the last few months as we have enjoyed many hours of programing from the First Nation Television network.

The foundation of this stewardship principle is that the earth and all that is upon it belong to the Creator, not to the created.

Humans can no more take ownership of a tree or a parcel of ground than they can of the sunshine or the wind.

That each of us has an inherent duty to care for Father’s creation and increase its bounty to the best of our ability.

The abundance of the harvest is to be shared equally according to need, and a needful portion is to be given to those who cannot contribute to the producing effort. (widows, orphans, elderly etc.)

Personal challenges: Subdue pride, greed, selfishness, idleness – Put on attributes of humility, selflessness, charity, trust, value of work!

2. Cooperation/Competition

I can no more deny the contribution that competition has made to the world we live in as nation has competed against nation, city against city or person against person than I can deny our very existence.

However, because one path has led to success does not mean that greater success would not have been achieved if another path had been chosen instead.

Along with every step forward which has been achieved for the increase in the quality of life which many enjoy, some have been stepped on, as others have clamored up the ladder.

As in all things, the pattern which has been given by a loving Father should not be ignored if we are ever to maximize the potential of the whole. In his kingdom, when all is being done as has been revealed, men and women do not compete to be president, bishop or apostle, but a spirit of cooperation must prevail throughout each organization, recognizing equally the efforts of each member, if its destiny is to be fulfilled.

Thankfully, there are even worldly organizations which are discovering that cooperative decision making and shared workloads in groups yield greater productivity than groups founded on competition.

Personal Challenges: Subdue pride, natural man, cultural learning, micro vision – Put on humility, edification of others, macro vision!

These first two principles haven't yet moved me to give up on humanity, but I do realize that our outline of what we need to change in our lives has just begun, and the actualizing of those principles into our lives will require many days with many steps forward.


Sunday, October 25, 2015


It would be extremely difficult to put a date of initial input on when I became aware of and interested in the concept of a Zion Society.

I do remember in Junior High or maybe it was in High School wondering how much more wonderful those Happy Days (1950’s) would be if Garden Grove, California, weren't plagued with racial bigotry and people who felt that bullying was normal and acceptable.

I don't think that while I was doing my Army basic training at Fort Ord, California, that the thought of a Zion Society entered my thoughts very much, if at all. I was too busy learning the ‘Spirit of the Bayonet’ and learning how to kill efficiently. I suspect if any such thoughts did enter my mind they would have been along the line of ‘Zion will not be anything like this.’

I do remember while I was in Northern Mexico on my mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints that I came to realize that people can still treat one another with love and kindness regardless of their economic, cultural or racial backgrounds. It was also the first time I was really affected by the concept of everything not having to be labeled as mine or yours. I was introduced to the wonderful principle that another’s needs are always more important that my personal comfort.

Even though I had been raised by loving parents, I don't think it was until I married Kathleen and we started to raise our own children that I began to understand the amount of love needed in people’s hearts in order for them to be able to think of others as being as important as themselves. When I encountered the beginning of the love, which I would have, to extend to all mankind if I were ever to be able to be a candidate for membership in a Zion Society the realization of the difficulty of the journey started to be a reality.

Once I started my 50 plus years of teaching for the Church Education System, (which included time as an Early Morning Seminary teacher, decades as a full time employee of the Church Education System and as a volunteer Adult Religion teacher,) I doubt there were many days during half a century that I wasn't thinking and teaching about the principle of a Zion Society. Sadly, most of those thoughts and lessons were aimed at how far we were from putting the principles into effect in our daily walk.

During my retirement years and after I finally left the classroom, which at this writing has rapidly sped through five years, I have been writing these weekly Thoughts for a Sabbath Day as well as a collection of week day thoughts called Life’s Lessons Learned. Even though few, if any, of these writings have been titled ‘Zion Society Principles’, I suspect almost all of them were about these principles.

And my point would be?

After this life expectancy exhausting period of life and all the experiences I have had, I still find that when the subject of Zion comes up in a discussion, it is usually about how close the inhabitants of the world are to being wicked enough for the Lord to intervene with the prophesied destruction preceding His introducing His millennial reign.

News Flash!

The world had already risen to a qualifying level of wickedness during those Happy Teen Days of my youth.

The world was definitely wicked enough when I was being prepared to kill all the evil people who lived anywhere but on the chosen soil.

The world was certainly wicked enough as I served among the citizens of Mexico, who only a short time before I had been prejudiced against.

The world had arrived at high levels of wickedness as we raised our family during the nuclear bomb stock piling years.
Even though we think that there has been a continual rise in the collective wickedness of the world during the last 50 years, I believe the Lord could have chosen any time along the continuum for the ushering in of His reign.

In fact if we go back to the history which even predates geezer’s like me, the world was ready during the days of Sodom, the days of Alexander, the days of Caligula, World War I, the Roaring Twenties, World War II. I think you get the idea.

Put the timeline of the history of the world on a wall, throw a dart, where it hits, the world had probably reached the necessary qualifying level of wickedness.

So what is the Lord waiting for?

If my understanding is correct He is waiting for a people who are entrenched in the principles of a Zion Society, so that he will have a Zion people to dwell among.

He is waiting for me, not just my neighbor, to know, understand and live these principles.




Sunday, October 18, 2015



Sunday, October 18, 2015

Every ‘fresh’ ingredient of Grandma’s fabulous famous Stew recipe had been carefully measured and added together in the bowl. I then dutifully followed the instructions in the microwave cookbook and then visited with our guests as we waited the few minutes which were required by the instructions in the microwave cookbook. While we were waiting, I once again assured everyone that they were about to enjoy one of the most succulent delights of which they had ever partaken.

I had even borrowed some of those bowls with the blue painting on the rims in an attempt to make every detail perfect for Grandma’s stew.

In a magical few minutes my short order stew was steaming and we were seated at the table. I smiled as I anticipated the great satisfaction which all of us were about to have as we sampled the delectable dish which was before us.

My first taste brought a horrible realization that all the promises I had made to our guests would not be fulfilled with this terrible imitation of Grandma’s Stew. As if the taste wasn't condemnation enough, some of the veggies were rubbery while others were mushy and the stew meat was so tough it could hardly be masticated. In a word, this concoction was very un-grandma-ish. In fact the stuff in these blue rimmed borrowed bowls would not even have measured up to something which came out of a red and white can and had been bought at the local supermarket.

Apologetically, I bid farewell to our guests and then ran to the recipe box to see what I could have done wrong in order to make such a mess of Grandma’s revered Stew. I carefully and methodically retraced the steps outlined in the recipe and I felt assured that I had been faithful in measuring every pinch and dab indicated.

I was about to chalk this failure up to not possessing something magical with which only Grandma’s had been gifted and was putting the card back in the box when I saw some smudged writing in bottom right hand corner where my thumb had been holding the card only moments before. There the secret was revealed, ‘cook stew meat in a crock pot at low heat for 4 hours –add all the rest of the ‘fresh’ ingredients and cook at low heat for another 4 hours or until the meat is tender.’ (I suspect many of you who have often had ‘gourmet’ added to your cooking experiences were way ahead of me on the ending of this story.)

When I recall this embarrassing experience it brings to mind that an evaluation of our lives ought to include:

Whether time tested formulas should be modified and modernized just because we have found a faster way.

Whether the processes of an enlightened era, ought to reject the formulas of a slower but surer era just because they are more efficient.

Whether rules which have governed the ages should be rejected because we think we have found a better way.

Whether we should ever begin a project without first reading and understanding all the instructions we have been given.

Whether we should be so quick to discard the ‘old ways’ simply because they are the ‘old ways.’

Yes, and even whether we should reject such wonderful teachings such as ‘the golden rule’ simply because our neighbor has a better car as a result of ‘taking advantage of his neighbors.’

The next morning, surrounded by a ‘fresh’ batch of fixins, I carefully measured the ingredients down to the smallest dab and pinch and then ‘cooked the stew meat in a crock pot at low heat for 4 hours – added all the rest of the ‘fresh’ ingredients and continued cooking Grandma’s stew at low heat for another 4 hours or until the meat was tender.’

That evening, in plain white bowls, our family enjoyed the gloriously delightful ‘genuine’ Grandma’s Stew.

A few days later, when with my red face I was sharing this revelatory experience with one of our disappointed guests, he commented, ‘I guess that’s true in many of our experiences these days.’

When I asked him to explain what he meant, he replied, ‘I am afraid too many of us are trying to enjoy crook pot delights with microwave mentalities.’

Although microwave cooking might have its place in our ever improving world, hopefully we will retain in our minds that it may never substitute for low heat and time in a crook pot for bringing to life Grandma’s Stew.

Hopefully, we will always be willing to include in our lives those very important final steps which allow the mixing and blending of juices and spices.

Even in the convenient modern world in which we are privileged to live, there may be many of life’s experiences which can only successfully come together slowly, in a crock pot environment.



Sunday, October 11, 2015


Monday, May 25, 2015: Words spoken in anger – will never have the power – to bring calm – to a tempest tossed relationship!!

Tuesday, May 26, 2015: Kindness should be our response – in all situations – where we have differences with others!!

Wednesday, May 27, 2015: Even baboons are probably wise enough – to realize that words printed on social media – and spread on smart instruments – are not always true – let alone wise!!

Thursday, May 28, 2015: Greater truths can only – be built on the foundations – of known truths!!

Friday, May 29, 2015: The moment that parents are not teaching – may not exist – the ‘what’ they are teaching – may not always be desirable!!

Monday, June 01, 2015: No one was ever given the right – to choose who they would forgive!!

Tuesday, June 02, 2015: The valiant go forward – in spite of their weaknesses!!

Wednesday, June 03, 2015: The voices we choose to follow – will determine our destination!!

Thursday, June 04, 2015: Many blessings befall – they who are diligent!!

Friday, June 05, 2015: We have never been asked – to do more than we can – or give more than we have!!

Monday, June 08, 2015: In all our seeking – let us seek to lift the hands that hang low – and the heads which drop with heaviness!!

Tuesday, June 09, 2015: It is difficult to follow a certain path – when the destination is unknown!!

Wednesday, June 10, 2015: It is unwise – to think that you understand – the circumstances of another!!

Thursday, June 11, 2015: One should not make the mistake – to think that if they had been born in another’s shoes – they would have done much more with their lives!!

Friday, June 12, 2015: When we get our priorities muddled – we will probably find our futures filled with rusted and decayed minutia!!

Monday, June 15, 2015: Becoming anxious about things – we cannot change or control – is a great waste of time and effort!!

Tuesday, June 16, 2015: No matter how noble our goals – we will never reach them – if we have chosen the wrong path!!

Wednesday, June 17, 2015: Just because something is the latest and greatest – does not mean it is worth – my attention, time or effort!!

Thursday, June 18, 2015: The sooner we learn which activities should be done in moderation – and which should be done with diligence and dedication – the more productive will be our lives!!

Friday, June 19, 2015: Testimonies like prayers – seem to be most powerful – when they are concerned with particulars rather than generalities!!

Monday, June 22, 2015: A testimony is a living and growing thing – as with all living things – it will only continue to grow as it continues to be nurtured!!

Tuesday, June 23, 2015: It is not only immediately after death and destruction – that care and comfort are needed – but also during the long healing period which follows!!

Wednesday, June 24, 2015: It would be enlightening – if we were able to see our own blemishes – as clearly – as we seem to be able to see – those of our neighbors!!

Thursday, June 25, 2015: It would be wonderful – is we were able to give allowance – to the behaviors of others – as quickly – as we seem to dismiss our own negative actions!!

Friday, June 26, 2015: If I have shielded my eyes from the light of truth – it could cause me to become blind – to my own weaknesses!!

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Notification about weekly Thoughts and my books!!

I have had a slight interruption in the posting of my Thoughts for a Sabbath Day on Face Book and my blog pages due to the wedding of one of our granddaughters (Brooke Riley-Vidal and Joshua Vidal) and General Conference.

Since I have lost contact with many of those who formally were receiving my Thoughts by email, I thought I would take this break opportunity to try and convince some of you to rejoin me by reading my weekly Thought on my blog pages or on my Face Book pages.

I recommend reading them on my blog pages, over Face Book, because Face Book is very limited on how you can present the material. My blog pages can be easily accessed by clicking on either the English or Spanish links below.

By bookmarking these sights you can have easy access any time you would like to read them.

All my previous Thoughts are archived on the blog sight and can be easily searched by title and date.

I encourage any comment which you would like to post either on the Face Book pages or on the blog sites.

While I am paying the price (it will take me most of the week to dodge yahoo’s blocks) to send out this email I also want to make you aware that both volumes 1 and 2 of my Thoughts for 100 Sabbath Days are available in soft cover and eBook and can be purchased on Amazon/books/Thoughts for 100 Sabbath Days.

I do have a few copies of both soft cover volumes available for those who live close by if you would like to contact me by replying to this email.

I have appreciated the support you have given me on my little retirement adventure.

William L. Riley

Sunday, September 20, 2015


It was so long ago that it seems like it could easily have been in another life time. It is also a marvelous tribute to the magnificence of our gray matter that I can recall something that happened so long ago.

The name of the teacher at Santa Ana Junior College has faded, but I do remember he was a member of the John Birch Society and the class was an introduction to philosophy. (I apologize to those readers of this Thought who will have to do a search to be informed on the John Birch Society, but that isn't the reason or the memory that I still carry from that class and that I am trying to get around to using as an introduction to this Thought.) The teaching I remember, after all these years, was that 95% of the world’s population is being controlled by 5%. I am not totally sure he used the word control, but I do remember the word was stronger than influenced.

Historically, it is interesting to note, when generations have been released from the control of totalitarian governments, it often takes two or three generations before their descendants really gain the confidence to make independent decisions. (Babylonian Kings, Egyptian Pharaohs, Roman Emperors, German Chancellors and Russian Premiers).

Sadly, after the passing of almost six decades and while trying to find exceptions to his statement or at least invalidate it to some degree, I have come to realize that most of us have to some degree voluntarily yielded our lives to that 5%.

As a more casual observer, I have watched humanity yield their freedoms in a variety of ways.

Students of all ages yield, not only to the information knowledgeable teachers impart, but also to their philosophical ideas, many times without testing the veracity of those views.

Subjects yield to individuals on the fragile foundation of political party allegiance, which in all probability became their party of choice because of their having previously yielded to the peer pressure of a 5 percenter.

Consumers yield their commodity choices to the powerful 5%, who buy their product loyalty through the costly promotion of fads, fancies, and fantasies.

Addicts yield their consciousness to whoremongers of mind numbing substances, while unconsciously subjecting themselves to a powerful 5% underworld.

All seem to yield to their own demons, seen or unseen, binding themselves with chains which become stronger and heavier, as the immoral 5% forges unfounded links of belief that there is no such thing as immorality.

If these realities, were just another case of the status quo of things in a mortal world, it would be tragic enough, but even more devastating is the understanding that comes when we realize that the 95% to 5% ratio we are surrounded with, is contrary to one of the most important eternal life principles which our Loving Heavenly Father has established in His Plan.

Whether we choose to call this magnificent Gift we have received through the Grace of God, Agency, Free Will or Free Agency or some other politically correct verbiage which is currently in vogue, sadly, we are probably more prone to give it lip service more than application during our lives.

Whether we credit the willing submitting of Agency to the naturalness of man, to despotic leaders, to our own weaknesses, or to the cleverness of adversaries, we seem to have a universal propensity to lay our gift at the feet of willing despots who seek to use it for their own gain.

Mournfully, we slowly come to the realization, that along with the marvelous Gift of Agency, the Eternal Plan of Heavenly Father also lays a heavy consequence through the understanding of the principle of personal responsibility and accountability.

Evidently, there will be no excusing of the conscious yielding of our Agency to another, whether they are teacher, politician, advertiser, drug dealer, personal weakness or even the devil himself, in order for us to be removed from the responsibility and accountability of our choices. The Plan seems to have taken away our right to use the excuse –
The devil made me do it – no matter what sheep’s clothing he might be wearing.

I become increasingly convinced that the Gift of Agency is one of the top principles which fall under the admonition that all must come to understand, that where much is given, much is required. Therefore, those of us who live in an atmosphere of relative freedom to choose during our lives which 5% we are going to follow, seem to be under greater responsibility to be wise in our decisions.

A religion teacher, Chauncey Riddle, at Brigham Young University once taught me, that there is no such thing as an inconsequential decision. The years have also taught me that there is nothing inconsequential about whom we allow to influence us during our mortal sojourn.

Perhaps those who sometimes irritate us because of their seeming inability to make a decision, may after all be worthy of some emulation. I don't advocate standing in a river waiting to see if the flood waters which were forecast are really going to happen, but it may be well for all of us to take more time to make a decision the next time we have a choice of who, what or where we may follow or go.

Just a little bonus Thought – I would never want to discourage anyone from making the Holy Spirit the 5% they choose to follow. That same religion teacher also taught that there will be more time gained through thoughtful, listening prayer than will ever be lost through having to repent of wrong decisions.



Sunday, September 13, 2015


During a large portion of the wonderful years we lived in Reno, Nevada, our home was on what was called a commercial half acre. There were many years when I was grateful that it wasn't actually a full half acre of yard to take care of. I seem to remember that during the years, an ample portion of our incomes went to buying larger and better grooming equipment to help keep things somewhat under control.

A section in the northeast corner of the backyard of our commercial half acre was always referred to as ‘the garden.’ It was always honored with this title, even though some years it was more a ‘receptacle for things,’ rather than a place where row crops sprung forth and brought harvested abundance. Sadly, all too often, it became a place where things ended up that didn't have any other place to go.

A perpetual part of ‘the garden’ was a large rock pile. Actually, it started out as two rock piles, one for large rocks and another for small rocks. These rocks seemed to sprout and grow in other places about the yard and when they were ripe for harvest, they would end up in one of the piles in ‘the garden.’ As the years went on and the piles grew larger they merged into what finally became one large rock pile. I always told people that there was ‘always’ something growing in our garden, without filling in some significant details.

The garden was also a small animal cemetery. Over the years we had solemn services for mice, birds, skunks and cats. We were a family blessed with cats. They brought their hunting prizes of mice and birds into the house to receive praise from the family, with never a thought that they would lower themselves to eat such crude objects. After an appropriate ceremony their trophies were buried in ‘the garden.’ When the cats finally gave up the chase, they joined their booty in ‘the garden.’

One of the most prominent monuments in ‘the garden’ was a 16 foot satellite dish. It was there because it was the only open space in the back yard where nothing seemed to be going on.

One year when I was actually digging, preparing and planting in ‘the garden,’ while kneeling in the ever diminishing area of soft soil, I looked down at the small bowl of moistened seeds near my knee, and I had one of those ‘what am I looking at?’ experiences.

I am sure we have all had those:

The kind we have when we lean back in our office or favorite chair at home and wonder if we are looking at the ceiling or the floor.

The kind we have during a graduation ceremony and we wonder if we are celebrating the end of a faded era or the bright new beginning of another.

The kind we have when someone passes from mortality and we wonder if we have been witnesses to a death or a birth, the ending of mortality or the beginning of the next phase life eternal.

Anyway, there I was looking at those seeds, wondering if by planting them with the mulched leaves, grass, decomposed mice, birds and cats which all shared that soil, was the beginning of their life or the ending.

The longer I pondered, the more I was left with the feeling that living things should not be limited by viewing themselves in a series of beginnings and endings, but as an everlasting continuum.

The thought came to me that the pain, agony and sadness we feel with passages, would be somewhat alleviated if we would view these occasions not in the framework of beginnings and endings, but as parts of a continuum.

I also thought that the ranking of phases in the continuum and exalting one above the other could be counterproductive to the fulfillment of eternal existence.

Should the plant actually envision that the blooming or the fruit phases were more important in its continuum than when it was but a seed?

Should the farmer actually conclude that the harvest is a more important time in his annual continuum than planting?

Should a child actually think that birth is more important in its continuum than death?

My kneeling and pondering brought me to suspect that we indeed might be able to lessen a lot of our sadness’s, anxieties and pains, if events in our passages were defined more in the lengthening of our eternal horizons than in the limiting confines of beginnings and endings. The thought even came to me that much of pride, selfishness and hatred could be lessened if our rush to compete and complete were viewed from the special limitlessness of life everlasting.

I think we should all pray for the day when mankind will realize that the changing dates on calendars can affect us only to the degree that our thoughts and emotions allow them to.

I think we should all pray for the day when we realize that the temporary honors which come in life will become less of a signal of what has been accomplished and more of directive indicating the way and the effort which must be given to the next step of progression on our continuum.

I think we should all pray for the realization that the happiness of childhood is not to be counted greater than the joys of being a grandparent.

I think that we should all pray for the understanding that experiences of mortality are not greater than the experiences of eternal life during our everlasting continuum.



Sunday, September 6, 2015


If we truly want to understand the wonders of sight
Do we find it through the eyes of artist, astrologer, and optometrist?
Do we begin to discover it in the first wondrous light seen by a newborn child?

If we truly want to understand the wonders of sound
Do we find it through the ears of musician, acoustician, and otologist?
Do we begin to discover it in the first startling sound heard by a newborn child?

If we truly want to understand the wonders of touch
Do we find it through the hands of masseuse, farmer, and neurologist?
Do we begin to discover it in the first tender mother’s touch felt by a newborn child?

If we truly want to understand the wonders of taste
Do we find it through the taste buds of chefs, dieticians, and physiologist?
Do we begin to discover it when the first drop hits the tongue of a newborn child?

If we truly want to understand the wonders of smell
Do we find it through the noses of perfumer, sommelier, and rhinologist?
Do we begin to discover it when the first whiffs enter nostrils of a newborn child?

When these and many like questions begin to be answered, we will be at the gate of understanding what the Savior meant when he said, “except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.”

Fearfully, we may be becoming a generation like those in the days of Jeremiah who became a “foolish people, without understanding” or like those to whom Paul wrote in Ephesus who had “their understanding darkened being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them because of the blindness of their heart.” Will we become just another generation which has chosen to be a light unto themselves rather than to be led by the True Light?

Some years ago I read an essay by Neal A. Maxwell about the dangers of scholasticism. It was a warning to every generation about relying too much on the accumulated understanding of scholars and the rejection of those who realize their own immense limitations, and cease to look to the fountain of Eternal Knowledge for truth and understanding.

We should be grateful for those who have constantly been there to jerk upon the reins of our own self-importance when the growth of our mountains of philosophical minutia starts to bring aggrandizement to the personal measure of our stature.

We should be grateful for the realization which attends the reverence of the word Father in reference to Deity and the enlightening understanding which begins to trickle upon us when we view ourselves as His children.

We should be grateful for the realization that all that has been learned to this point of our existence is but a feeble beginning of a foundation which yet lacks much work and be grateful for the eternities which will allow us to build brick by brick an everlasting library.

We should be grateful for the limited understanding we have been able to gain that our accumulated knowledge amounts to but a few grains when compared to the Omniscience of Father, just as we have come to recognize the minuteness of this ‘pale blue dot’ when viewed as part of the vastness of the Universe.

We should be grateful for the view that each day is like a new birth, wherein each wondrous vista, each soothing melody, each silken thread, each savory bite and each delicate aroma, can be as if it had never existed before.

Sunday, August 30, 2015


The last of the wine at the wedding in Cana had barely been poured when the astonished guests began to disperse and the miracle started to fade into dusty memories.

Shortly after being raised from her death sleep, Jairus’ daughter was now back at her daily routine, thinking more about sweeping and preparing meals than about that climatic moment which had so dramatically altered her life.

The twelve baskets of left over bread were still fresh when most of the 5000 who had sought and been fed by the Savior had returned to their homes and daily tasks.

It doesn't take much of an imagination to conjure up the remorse and resignation which must have come upon the Savior’s countenance as He looked to those special disciples whom He had called and to whom He queried, ‘Will ye also go away?’

Some years ago I took a mental inventory of some of those whom I had known who had gone away after having had varying personal spiritual experiences and levels of testimonies.

• There was a friend in primary who attended no more, because another had taken his treat.

• There was a sweet young lass who turned and went away because of the judgements she felt were being heaped upon her inactive father.

• There was a faithful sister who was replaced in her favorite calling because others needed the experience.

• There was a young man who went away because he had become non-existent sitting on the bench of a basketball game.

• There was a sister who, after laboring all day on her casserole, returned home with her untouched dish and never returned.

• There was an older gentleman who had served faithfully for years, but now felt he could sit alone at home rather than in a chapel full of people.

• There were those who thought church leaders were called to administer with love rather than with chastisement.

Our walk upon the pathway which leads to the Tree of Life and the love of Christ is cluttered with twists and turns, pitfalls and prejudices and it seems that even the most valiant can be turned from walking upon it if they are struck at the wrong moment with the wrong stimuli.

• Though like Laman and Lemuel we have been attended by angels, we still face the possibility of leaving the path.

• Though we have witnessed loved ones miraculously raised from beds of affliction, we still face the possibility of leaving the path.

• Though we have endured faithfully for years, we still face the possibility of leaving the path.

• Though we have a long legacy of faithful ancestors, we still face the possibility of leaving the path.

• Those whose youthful testimonies are still but tender shoots are especially vulnerable to the vexations of life which will cause them to stumble from the path.

• There may be singular moments and misfortunes which contribute to the most faithful leaving the path.
Sadly, there never has existed a temporal motivation strong enough to cause the servant to cling to the master once the bread basket is empty.

There are many whose daily routines become paramount over all else, once the pain and anxiety of their affliction is gone.

There are many who do not continue faithfully on the path when they are confronted with actions which make them feel unnecessary or unwanted.

It would be wonderful if, like Peter, we were always able to reply to the Savior’s query, ‘Where would we go, for in Thee only we have eternal life.’ But then we are quickly reminded that in a given moment under given pressures Peter denied the Savior three times.

Mark Twain in his book, The Diary of Adam, has Adam writing about why he partook of the forbidden fruit with the words, ‘It was against my principles, but I find that principles have no real value when one is not well fed.’

We have probably all had enough personal experience and sufficiently witnessed the struggles of others to at least begin to realize that, in certain circumstances, like little children, all our testimonies are like tender blades of grass which can be trampled and their growth terminated.

Likewise, we have all had enough experience to realize that one great feast, even though provided by the Savior himself, will not provide sufficient strength to sustain us through tomorrow’s inevitable trials.

It is absolutely true that we must become converted to the Bread of Life which the Savior told the Samaritan woman at the well He was. It is just as true that if we do not partake of that bread liberally and daily like the children of Israel eating the manna in the wilderness, our souls will hunger and we become weakened and vulnerable to straying.

If we want to have the strength to faithfully traverse the path leading unto Eternal Life we must continually partake of the sustaining Bread of life. For it is only when we are constantly partaking that our bodies and souls will have the strength to sustain us against the buffetings which are surely going to come and attempt to divert us from our desired goal.

Sunday, August 23, 2015


Monday, April 20, 2015: Happiness has always come – from an awareness of spiritual things – more than the accumulation of things!!

Tuesday, April 21, 2015: When our eyes see clearly through the dark glass – we will finally realize – that we alone controlled the degree of our happiness!!

Wednesday, April 22, 2015: You know you have true love for another – when you accept their warts – as well as their beauty marks!!

Thursday, April 23, 2015: I will never be at peace with my soul – as long as I feel out of harmony with my neighbor!!

Friday, April 24, 2015: My most constant prayer – is that the human family – will find a way out of its dysfunctional interactions!!

Monday, April 27, 2015: Unlike when doing charitable acts – there are many times in life – it is absolutely necessary – for the right hand to know what the left hand is doing!!

Tuesday, April 28, 2015: When we truly love someone – we love them for who they are – not for who we want them to be!!

Wednesday, April 29, 2015: Overindulging ourselves in pleasures – usually results in suffering!!

Thursday, April 30, 2015: The belief of the majority – does not always – establish an idea as truth!!

Friday, May 01, 2015: It is a great act of courage – to hold to a truth – when all around you people – are mocking and striving to prove you are in error!!

Monday, May 04, 2015: We will never be content with ourselves – if we allow ourselves – to be swayed from the truth – by the pressure of peers!!

Tuesday, May 05, 2015: Just because we continue to make the same mistake – we must not become discouraged – or allow our failure – to keep us from trying one more time – to make a course correction!!

Wednesday, May 06, 2015: If the St. Bernard remains in the comfort of his valley home – those who need rescuing on the mountain – will perish!!

Thursday, May 07, 2015: It is not always apparent – to those who need rescuing – that they are lost!!

Friday, May 08, 2015: The time required to rescue a lost person – is often determined by the number of rescuers!!

Monday, May 11, 2015: It might not be all that great of a blessing – to be saved just as we are!!

Tuesday, May 12, 2015: The possibility exists – that I am in the process of becoming – what I will be!!

Wednesday, May 13, 2015: Waiting for others to change – so that happiness will come to one’s life – will often go wanting!!

Thursday, May 14, 2015: If we believe that we are the ultimate judge of truth – we will ultimately fall woefully short – of ultimate understanding!!

Friday, May 15, 2015: It is a great blessing – to come to the realization – of how much knowledge and understanding we yet lack!!

Monday, May 18, 2015: All need to be blessed – with the understanding – that the purpose of life – is more than becoming fodder for worms!!

Tuesday, May 19, 2015: There are few lessons learned in life – which will bring greater joy – than gaining the
understanding of the true purpose of existence!!

Wednesday, May 20, 2015: The limitations of microscopes and telescopes – does not mean that – greater truths do not lie – beyond the dark curtain – currently obscuring our view!!

Thursday, May 21, 2015: If we cannot love others – more than we have love for ourselves – we will really have difficulty – understanding the love the Savior has for us!!

Friday, May 22, 2015: Disputations and contentions – can only be resolved when all eyes are made to see clearly – by looking through the prism of the Good News!!

Sunday, August 16, 2015



Sunday, August 16, 2015
I end the introspection of my discipleship by examining what seems to be a tremendously important part of the life of one who professes to be a follower of a discipline.

During the years Kathleen and I were involved in my post graduate schooling, I was introduced to the principle of valuing and its importance in the educational process. Since I have previously written a Thought on this subject I will skip to the final measurable way we are able to determine if a person truly values a principle or belief. It is discussed under a very broad definition which we can call proselyting. This, simply stated, means that one really knows they value a concept when they have a burning desire and are willing to pay whatever price is necessary to convince others of its truthfulness.

The scriptural recognition of valuing as it pertains to proselyting can be found in the following verses:

…but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.
(Matthew 5:19)

Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. (Matthew 28:19)

…go ye unto all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. (Mark 16:15)

…and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren. (Luke 22:32)

…I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain. (John 15:16)

Although I could add many more admonitions I will end with my favorite which comes from the prophet Isaiah in the Old Testament:

How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth. (Isaiah 52:7)

I think the reason this last scripture sings so loudly to my heart, is that the culmination of my life’s work has led me to know that the Gospel my Lord and Savior taught throughout all generations was the Good News.

Joseph Smith emphasized this as a major tenet of which I have become a disciple in the 13th Article of Faith; We believe in being honest, true, chaste, benevolent, virtuous, and in doing good to all men; indeed, we may say that we follow the admonition of Paul—We believe all things, we hope all things, we hope to endure many things, and hope to be able to endure all things. If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things.

Unless there is an addendum somewhere where bashing, demeaning, degrading, criticizing and belittling have been added, I cannot find any indication that my discipleship and my responsibility to preach the gospel unto the world, includes in any way the right to bring down my brothers and sisters. Contrarily, there are numerous references to my duty to build, strengthen and edify.

Another article given to me by the Prophet Joseph Smith indicates that in my dealings with my brothers and sisters, although I have the obligation to demonstrate the value I have in my discipleship through teaching to all I encounter, I must never lose sight of their agency and their right to walk on whatever path they have chosen.

We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may. (Article of Faith 11)

After 55 years of spending a major part of my life publishing peace, love, benevolence, virtue and all things of the Good News, I have only begun to come near to the point of exhausting the voluminous concepts of the Infinite being of whom I am striving to become a disciple. I guess since the Good News is so inexhaustible I should catch the vision that I don't really have a lot of time to spend tearing down what my neighbor has chosen to follow or be.

Grade – have done well, but don't be content to rest on your past deeds – there is still a lot of teaching which needs to be done to bring your brothers and sisters to understand and be consumed with the desire to live and teach the Good News – thereby becoming another disciple of Jesus the Christ.

Well there you have it. I know it won't be the last time I plow this field, nor will it be the deepest I send my furrow, but it was helpful and hopefully it will help me to try a little harder to be found guilty of being a Christian and a true disciple of Jesus the Christ.



Friday, August 14, 2015


Just a quick note to let everyone know that my two volumes of Thoughts for 100 Sabbath Days are now available on kindle and can be ordered from Amazon/Kindle!!

They are also still available in paperback and can be ordered from Amazon/books!!

Also a quick thank you to all who have ordered in the past!!


Sunday, August 9, 2015


As I was saying, recent events have moved me into a deep and concentrated evaluation of my discipleship. As I openly impart some of the ponderings my mind has rested upon during the past month and as you read them, I pray you will remember that any benefit you might garner will be a result of your personal internalization as you find them coming in conflict with your own set of rationalizations.

Because of their Eternal implications and the profoundness of the message, I will do this examination of my discipleship using the words found in the Sermon on the Mount. I pronounce my personal prejudice of the correctness and additions which were given by inspiration to Joseph Smith in using both the accounts found in Matthew 5 and 3rd Nephi 12.

Blessed are the poor in spirit who come unto me for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

I have come to believe that in this beatitude, the Lord was admonishing us to measure our level of humility, which seems to be the hall-mark of true discipleship. Likewise, I have come to believe that humility has to do with my relationship with Deity and not with man. Therefore, I quickly ask myself, am I really willing to submit unto the infinite wisdom of the All Knowing Being, while also recognizing the tremendous gulf which separates my meager guesses from his Supernal Truths? My problem never seems to be in questioning the Omniscience of God, but seems to lie in correctly evaluating my own inefficiencies. Grade – passing but barely!

Blessed are all they that mourn for they shall be comforted.

We only need to examine the width and depth of the Savior’s Atoning Act in order to get a glimpse of the ultimate extension which His admonition to mourn must ultimately be extended. I find my mourning to be narrow of scope and not very long lasting, very far from anything which would approach all-encompassing and everlasting. It is far too easy for me to be selective in the administration of my mourning. It is a simple matter for me to categorize Heavenly Father’s children into groups of those who deserve my empathy and those who do not. Just like the shifting of sands I seem to be constantly re-categorizing those who are worthy to be mourned with and those who do not presently merit my additional grief. Grade – needs a lot of work!

Blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the earth.

With the passage of time the word meek has lost its positive-ness and become a negative quality. In order to understand the Lord’s admonition we need to use some alternative descriptors in order to make a proper evaluation. The most common synonyms used are gentle, forgiving and benevolent. In my own introspection, I have come to believe that the Savior was asking me to look seriously at my relationships with others. He has told me that only when I am without sin do I become eligible to cast stones at others. He has admonished me to love others as He has loved them. He has indicated that by loving my neighbor and God with all my heart and soul I will be capable of living all the commandments. I still find myself in the business of picking and choosing those who are worthy of my love. I find that the love I extend to others is too often based on how closely their views and comportment conform to my own. Sadly, John’s words concerning the level of love I have for a brother who I have seen, modifies considerably the love I truly have for God. Grade – improvement seen but still needs further work!

Blessed are they who hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled with the Holy Ghost.

Although the days my life have been abundantly filled with opportunity to hunger and thirst after the words of righteousness, when all is put on the measuring block, I am fearful that since most of my studying was done to enhance my earthly career, it probably won't count for much at the pearly gate. If I will be judged by the thoughts and silent prayers which daily frequent my mind I will undoubtedly come off in a better light. Grade – in some ways good in other ways maybe not so much!

Blessed are the merciful for they shall obtain mercy.

Unless I have totally missed the mark on this one, it is an extension of the Lord’s instruction on being meek. However, now, rather than just having the attribute we are admonished to become active in our gentle forgiving benevolence. I think we received additional instruction on this principle when we were admonished to treat others as we would be treated and further taught that by the same measure we measure, we will be measured. I suspect, like all principles of discipleship, our strengths or weaknesses will only be of real importance when they become part of who we really are. Too often I have heard it said, ‘I will forgive, but I won't forget.’ Somehow, that doesn't quite fit into the attribute of the Savior which we are trying to emulate in our discipleship. And I the Lord will remember them no more. Grade – probably one of the best areas, however, be wary of overconfidence!

Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God.

This may be one of the hardest of all the measuring sticks of discipleship to gauge, for now we get into the degree of our sincerity. Since this is impossible to be judged by another, we alone are capable of knowing the pure intents of our hearts. I know there have been times when I have acted so that men would call me blessed. I know that there have been moments when I didn't really care what anyone including my Heavenly Father thought. I hope I am moving toward a time when I act with pure intent for the betterment of my neighbors and because this is what my Heavenly Father desires. Grade – sometimes up sometimes down!

Blessed are all they who are persecuted for my name’s sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

I think the last time I was persecuted for any reason was in the 9th grade when the person who sat behind me in history class stuck gum in my hair. Therefore, since I lack personal experience in the area of being persecuted, I will examine how I am doing in the area of not being a persecutor. I have always found it extremely easy to keep from persecuting those with whom I share a lot of likes and dislikes. With those who grew up on the same side of the tracks I did. With those whose parents walked in the same social circles. With those who cheered for the same sports teams. With those whom I share the same world views. But, it is a work in progress and fortunately I can report progress. I am continually able to include more of those who do not fit in my sameness blocks more frequently into the groups which I do not heap persecution upon. Grade – much improvement seen!


Sunday, August 2, 2015


Even though as each year passes it comes closer to being a daily routine in my life, evaluating the level of my discipleship as a follower of Jesus the Christ has not always held such a prominent place among the activities of my waking hours.

As a youth my discipleship was pretty much tied to the activity of my parents. As my son Troy said when he was going through that period of life, ‘it is what we do in our family.’ I think the first time I really evaluated where I was in my discipleship was when I was on my way to Mexico to serve a 2 ½ year mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Since it was my first attempt at seriously evaluating my discipleship, I am sure my efforts were very elementary and superficial. I suspect that during the time I spent as a missionary in Northern Mexico I had numerous occasions to ponder on my discipleship. As I am now able recall, I only had one event that was so etched on my mind that it became a permanent part of my discipleship. That was when my discipleship was deepened dramatically when I at last knew that the Book of Mormon was what the prophet Joseph Smith had declared it to be. It is a record kept by the ancient inhabitants of the Americas and delivered to him by a heavenly messenger and which he was able to translate by the gift and power of God. Sadly, my behavioral discipleship has not always been consistent with the enlightenment which shone upon me with this gift of greater understanding.

My next conscious effort of grading my discipleship happened along with the events which occur when one is entering into matrimony and in the case of Kathleen and I, parenting following quickly on its heels. If the neurons are connecting properly most of my pondering I recall during this paramount period of my life was more concerned with capability than with commitment. I wasn't really evaluating where I was as much as I was gratefully receiving assurance that in spite of my current level of non-expertise in the family business, I wouldn't do anything to Heavenly Father’s children which he couldn't repair.

Although I spent 50 wonderful years enjoying the privilege of studying and teaching the gospel of Jesus Christ, I am pretty sure it was the words of a reluctant and latent convert, Samuel Langhorne Clemens, who will always be better known by the name of Mark Twain, who stimulated me into the deepest and most continuous evaluations of my discipleship.

I am absolutely sure he was the author of the first of these mind jerking statements and almost as sure he also authored the second. Any corrections or alterations to my understanding will be appreciated.

‘Christianity hasn’t failed, it just hasn’t been tried.’

‘If you were put on trial for being a Christian would you be found guilty?’

I don't know how many hours these statements caused me to contemplate my level of discipleship, but I am very sure they moved me to levels upon which I had never been previously.

During the many succeeding years since I was first moved by these words, they have returned time and again to motivate me to refresh my evaluation of my discipleship.

Although there have been other monumental events in my life which have caused me to contemplate my conversion to Jesus the Christ and my commitment to being His disciple, Mark Twain’s words seem to move me most quickly into pondering upon where I am in living what I espouse to believe.

Before I continue with this very public declaration of the level of my disciple apprenticeship, I need to make all aware of some prejudicial ideas which may alter the veracity of my evaluation.

• I have long realized that the meaning of what constitutes a ‘good disciple’ seems to be interpreted and individualized almost as extensively as there are people who have attached themselves to some list of Christian membership.

• I also recognize that as purported disciples of ‘one faith’ and ‘one doctrine,’ most of us are prone to diminish the understanding of what constitutes faith and doctrine of that of our neighbors and elevate our own personal understanding.

• It has always been interesting to me that where there are many gathered in His name to study His words, when they disperse each leaves having heard that which fortifies the beliefs they had before the gathering and strengthens their reservoir of material which can be used to convince their neighbors of their errant ways.

• I am constantly amused when we are able to quickly identify the shortsightedness of our neighbors’ view, but seem blind to the narrowness of our own.

You might by now be amused that a Thought which started out about self-evaluation of my discipleship suddenly entwined the whole of Christian discipleship in its web.

Recent events, which I am sure, touch in one way or another all of the human family, have collided in such a way that they bring about this strange interaction of self and universal introspection.

Although the duration of effect of this most recent stimulus is yet to be known, the deepness as of now certainly rivals those which were stimulated long ago and often since by Clemens.

Sunday, July 26, 2015


During the years we enjoyed raising our family while living in Reno, Nevada; there were a lot of emotional roller coaster rides as the seasons rotated one upon another. These rides often reminded me of the fickle passions of men and the joys of life which can quickly be replaced by sorrow depending on our choices.

For example, every spring my emotions would joyously soar as I witnessed the green shades of new life erasing the drabness of winter. By mid-June, these elation's were dissolved with the sad reality that most of those innocent little blade-lets poking through the winter watered ground were weeds – noxious, sweat-on-the-brow producing – weeds.

I remember one year as I was trying to eradicate that year’s crop of Red Root which was flourishing during the hot sunny days, I thought of Adam in the Garden and wondered if … when Heavenly Father was explaining the conditions of mortality which would befall Adam because of his decision to partake of the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge … The scriptures remind us of Father’s words, ‘As a result of your choices, the earth will be smitten with noxious weeds.’ … It may even be remotely possible that when the green blades of that first spring sprung into summer weeds , with their attending noxiousness, that Adam might have said, ‘You’ve got to be kidding.’ … Maybe, with a little more stretching of our imaginations we can even hear Heavenly Father replying to Adam, ‘No son, I was not kidding.’

It doesn't take much of a stretch to understand where my mind went next. As I was following another root to what seemed like an endless destination, my mind started reflecting upon the tendency that myself and so many of the posterity of Adam have, to think and act as if the Lord must have been kidding when he pronounced his laws and commandments and the subsequent results which would come upon us through disobedience.

Have we not demonstrated by our thoughts and actions our incredulous, ‘You’ve got to be kidding,’ when Heavenly Father told us that sowing of adulterous behavior would yield weeds of sorrow and grief?

Have we not demonstrated by our thoughts and actions our incredulous, ‘You’ve got to be kidding,’ when Heavenly Father told us that sowing poor health practices and bad nutritional habits would yield aches and pains which multiply like weeds?

Have we not demonstrated by our thoughts and actions our incredulous, ‘You’ve got to be kidding,’ when Heavenly Father told us that sowing of irreverence would yield weeds which would choke out blessings and yield crops of condemnation?

Have we not demonstrated by our thoughts and actions our incredulous, ‘You’ve got to be kidding,’ when Heavenly Father bestowed the stewardship of parenting on mothers and fathers, that our negligence in fulfilling that duty would result in perpetuating weeds for many seasons?

Have we not demonstrated by our thoughts and actions our incredulous, ‘You’ve got to be kidding,’ when Heavenly Father admonished us to be honest in our dealings and act with integrity with all whom we encounter, that finding a better way to do ‘business as usual’ would make it difficult to distinguish the weeds from the fruits of our labors?

Over and over in life just as with father Adam, we observe the reality of Heavenly Father’s pronouncements. Just as surely as some of the blades of beauty which break forth during spring’s warming days, will without fail grow into weeds – noxious, sweat-on-the-brow producing – weeds, which will continue to remind us of the unconditional-ness and seriousness of Heavenly Father’s words, likewise, continuously throughout our lives we receive evidential testimony of the truths contained in the pleadings of an Eternal Parent’s concerned counsel of how a successful life should be conducted and what would be the results if alternative paths were to be chosen.

So as you go about struggling on your own emotional roller coaster rides as the seasons rotate bringing your own abundant flourishing crop of weeds – noxious, sweat-on-the-brow producing – weeds, this or any summer, just let it be one more reminder of Heavenly Fathers possible reassurance to Adam’s query, ‘No son, I was not kidding.’ Nor was He kidding when He gave us all the rest of His laws and the consequential results which would befall us because of our following or neglecting to follow his All Knowing Counsel.