Sunday, January 25, 2015


I have always been more than a bit in awe of people who can express their thoughts in clever, new and unusual ways. My awe increases when those same people are able to do so in poetic verses. Therefore, Carol Lynn Pearson became a favorite of mine at my first introduction. Her book Beginnings has a special place among the vast collection Kathleen has accumulated in our home.

As an introduction to this week’s Thought I share the following from this very gifted author:


Do you measure land
With a barometer?
Can you understand
The law of gravity
By testing
The freezing point of mud
At its greatest density?
There is no God
By knowledge’s rule?

Examine your tools.
To discover God
You must form your plan
To the nature of
God Himself.
Not the nature of man.
The only key
Is that forgotten faculty
That pulses through you
Now and then,
Eluding the hand
And startling the mind.
Spirit, it’s called.

You will not find
God through mistaken tools.
Who weighs a stone
With a measuring tape?


The lament of those who have tried with unskilled hands to use unsuitable tools is predictable:

O ye that are bound down under a foolish and a vain hope, why do ye yoke yourselves with such foolish things? Why do ye look for a Christ? For no man can know of anything which is to come. Behold, these things which ye call prophecies, which ye say are handed down by holy prophets, behold, they are foolish traditions of your fathers. How do ye know of their surety? Behold, ye cannot know of things which ye do not see; therefore ye cannot know that there shall be a Christ. (Book of Mormon – Alma 30: 13-15)
Yea, there are many who do say: If thou wilt show unto us a sign from heaven, then we shall know of a surety; then we shall believe. Now I ask, is this faith? Behold, I say unto you, Nay; for if a man knoweth a thing he hath no cause to believe, for he knoweth it. And now as I said concerning faith—faith is not to have a perfect knowledge of things; therefore if ye have faith ye hope for things which are not seen, which are true.
(Book of Mormon – Alma 32: 17, 18, 21)

Now Alma said unto him: Will ye deny again that there is a God, and also deny the Christ? For behold, I say unto you, I know there is a God, and also that Christ shall come. And now what evidence have ye that there is no God, or that Christ cometh not? I say unto you that ye have none, save it be your word only. But, behold, I have all things as a testimony that these things are true; and ye also have all things as a testimony unto you that they are true; and will ye deny them? Believest thou that these things are true? Behold, I know that thou believest, but thou art possessed with a lying spirit, and ye have put off the Spirit of God that it may have no place in you; but the devil has power over you, and he doth carry you about, working devices that he may destroy the children of God.

And now Korihor said unto Alma: If thou wilt show me a sign, that I may be convinced that there is a God, yea, show unto me that he hath power, and then will I be convinced of the truth of thy words.

But Alma said unto him: Thou hast had signs enough; will ye tempt your God? Will ye say, Show unto me a sign, when ye have the testimony of all these thy brethren, and also all the holy prophets? The scriptures are laid before thee, yea, and all things denote there is a God; yea, even the earth, and all things that are upon the face of it, yea, and its motion, yea, and also all the planets which move in their regular form do witness that there is a Supreme Creator. (Book of Mormon – Alma 30: 39-44)

Throughout the history of the human experience those who have opened themselves to experiences beyond the senses of the physical body have enjoyed the marvelous enlightenment which comes from letting the feelings of the spirit put seeing, hearing, tasting and feeling into the role of being a secondary witness.

We watch as Rebekah’s inspired spirit prompts her to guide Abraham’s hand to bless Jacob with the birthright which otherwise would have been bestowed upon Esau. We read Isaiah’s visionary testimony of a future Savior who would be born of a woman. Mary comes to know from heaven sent messengers that she is to be the Mother of the promised Immanuel. In almost all lands and among all nations there have been those who have gained an understanding of Eternal truths because they have come to know the tools which promote faith in things which are not seen nor heard with mortal eyes and ears.

But now mine own eyes have beheld God; but not my natural, but my spiritual eyes, for my natural eyes could not have beheld; for I should have withered and died in his presence; but his glory was upon me; and I beheld his face, for I was transfigured before him. (Pearl of Great Price – Moses 1:11)

And now, he imparteth his word by angels unto men, yea, not only men but women also. Now this is not all; little children do have words given unto them many times, which confound the wise and the learned.

Now, as I said concerning faith—that it was not a perfect knowledge—even so it is with my words. Ye cannot know of their surety at first, unto perfection, any more than faith is a perfect knowledge. But behold, if ye will awake and arouse your faculties, even to an experiment upon my words, and exercise a particle of faith, yea, even if ye can no more than desire to believe, let this desire work in you, even until ye believe in a manner that ye can give place for a portion of my words.

Now, we will compare the word unto a seed. Now, if ye give place, that a seed may be planted in your heart, behold, if it be a true seed, or a good seed, if ye do not cast it out by your unbelief, that ye will resist the Spirit of the Lord, behold, it will begin to swell within your breasts; and when you feel these swelling motions, ye will begin to say within yourselves—It must needs be that this is a good seed, or that the word is good, for it beginneth to enlarge my soul; yea, it beginneth to enlighten my understanding, yea, it beginneth to be delicious to me.

Now behold, would not this increase your faith? I say unto you, Yea; nevertheless it hath not grown up to a perfect knowledge. But behold, as the seed swelleth, and sprouteth, and beginneth to grow, then you must needs say that the seed is good; for behold it swelleth, and sprouteth, and beginneth to grow. And now, behold, will not this strengthen your faith? Yea, it will strengthen your faith: for ye will say I know that this is a good seed; for behold it sprouteth and beginneth to grow.

O then, is not this real? I say unto you, Yea, because it is light; and whatsoever is light, is good, because it is discernible, therefore ye must know that it is good; and now behold, after ye have tasted this light is your knowledge perfect?

Behold I say unto you, Nay; neither must ye lay aside your faith, for ye have only exercised your faith to plant the seed that ye might try the experiment to know if the seed was good. And behold, as the tree beginneth to grow, ye will say: Let us nourish it with great care, that it may get root, that it may grow up, and bring forth fruit unto us. And now behold, if ye nourish it with much care it will get root, and grow up, and bring forth fruit. But if ye neglect the tree, and take no thought for its nourishment, behold it will not get any root; and when the heat of the sun cometh and scorcheth it, because it hath no root it withers away, and ye pluck it up and cast it out.

Now, this is not because the seed was not good, neither is it because the fruit thereof would not be desirable; but it is because your ground is barren, and ye will not nourish the tree, therefore ye cannot have the fruit thereof.

And thus, if ye will not nourish the word, looking forward with an eye of faith to the fruit thereof, ye can never pluck of the fruit of the tree of life. But if ye will nourish the word, yea, nourish the tree as it beginneth to grow, by your faith with great diligence, and with patience, looking forward to the fruit thereof, it shall take root; and behold it shall be a tree springing up unto everlasting life. And because of your diligence and your faith and your patience with the word in nourishing it, that it may take root in you, behold, by and by ye shall pluck the fruit thereof, which is most precious, which is sweet above all that is sweet, and which is white above all that is white, yea, and pure above all that is pure; and ye shall feast upon this fruit even until ye are filled, that ye hunger not, neither shall ye thirst.

Then, my brethren, ye shall reap the rewards of your faith, and your diligence, and patience, and long-suffering, waiting for the tree to bring forth fruit unto you.
(Book of Mormon – Alma 32: 23, 26-30, 35-43)

Like every other tool which exists or which will exist, faith promoting tools will be most effectively used when they are kept shiny and free of rust – when they are sharpened often – and when they are skillfully used under the artful hand of a well-practiced artisan.

May the Lord bless us that we will not be wearied by the heat of the sun or frightened by the dark of the night, but that we will go forth in diligence, adding to our frail understanding of things which are neither seen nor heard, until the veil of forgetfulness is removed and we once again see through the glass clearly.

Sunday, January 18, 2015


It was a wonderful and magical way to pass time – sitting at a picnic table in the park – lying on a sleeping bag looking up at the stars – walking along the beach – anywhere, anytime.

The number of players could expand or contract – with a buddy – with a troop – with someone very special – it could even be done in silent solitude.

The marvelous thing about this activity – it didn't require a board – no dice or spinners were involved – no special table was necessary.

Like few other games – there was no keeping score – no winners were ever declared – no one ever received bonus or penalty points.

I suspect in my great grandfather’s day it would have been called ‘what would you do if you had a thousand dollars?’ My great grandchildren will probably call it ‘what would you do if you had a billion dollars?’ In father Abraham’s day shepherd boys probably called it ‘what would you do if you had 1000 sheep. In our young days, my friends and I called it ‘what would you do if you had a million dollars?

I suspect young minds have always included on their wish list such stuff as the latest and shiniest means of transportation – the most fashionable clothes to drape over one’s body – fulfilling dreams to travel to distant exotic places – someone to answer you’re every bidding – palaces with endless views. Imagination was the only limit to the length of the list.

Just as the shepherd boys on the Palestinian plains, that stuff which they once imagined while playing ‘what would you do if you had 1000 sheep’, is now but piles of rust and dust. Likewise, with those wishes of my great-grandfather’s peers, what remains are now but memories stored in the halls of museums. Even the majority of the contributions which my friends and I made while sitting at a picnic table or walking along the beach have long ago migrated to a junk yard or a sanitary landfill.

As the days, months, years and decades are added to one’s sojourn on earth, hopefully, wisdom is also added to their youthful longings. Hopefully, they come to understand that accumulation of wealth brings with it a corresponding increase in accountability and responsibility to their expanding stewardships.

Unlike the game we played when we tired of trying to count the stars, which had no rules, there seem to be significant rules which govern how one acts as a steward over that with which they have been blessed.

Take heed and beware of covetousness: for a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth. (Luke 12:15)

So unto him unto whom much is given much is required… (Doctrine and Covenants 82:3, Luke 12:48)

For is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich unto God. (Luke 12: 21)

For where your treasure is, there will be your heart be also. (Luke 12:34)

Wo unto the rich men, that will not give your substance to the poor, for your riches will canker your souls’ and this shall be your lamentation in the day of visitation, and of judgment, and of indignation: (Doctrine and Covenants 56:16)

It has always amazed me whenever accountability and responsibility of the stewardship over blessings comes into a discussion, how quickly condemnation begins to be heaped upon the 1% who have been blessed with an abundance and much more.

However, the rules of stewardship accountability don’t seem to be restricted to that miniscule portion of the earth’s population.

And ye will not suffer your children that they go hungry, or naked… And also ye yourselves will succor those that stand in need of your succor; and ye will not suffer that the beggar putteth up his petition to you in vain and turn him away to perish… For behold are we not all beggars? Do we not all depend on that same Being, even God, for all the substance which we have… how much more just will be your condemnation for withholding your substance, which doth not belong to you but to God… I say unto the poor, ye who have not and yet sufficient, that ye remain from day to day; I mean all you who deny the beggar, because ye have not; I would that ye say in your hearts that; I give not because I have not, but if I had I would give… And now for the sake of these things which I have spoken unto you—that is, for the sake of retaining a remission of your sins from day to day, that ye walk guiltless before God—I would that ye should impart of your substance to the poor every man according that which he hath, such as feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, visiting the sick and administering to their relief, both spiritually and temporally, according to their wants… (Excerpts from Mosiah 4)

I suspect few of those who have inhabited the earth have ever reached the level of the widow who gave her mite, which was her all. As I have read the story of this blessed lady I have often seen her as a type of Jesus the Christ and our Heavenly Father, who have given all, that we might enjoy of the earth’s abundance and gain eternal life.

Seldom do we find that the children are required to emulate the Father in giving all, but the Eternal rules which govern temporal stuff seem to indicate that we need to be careful about how much we withhold from our brothers and sisters and retain for our own excesses. After all did the Savior not give us the admonition to emulate the Father even unto perfection?

There are two groups I have become aware of either personally or by reputation, which I feel have in some way caught an understanding of the stewardship responsibility which attends the stuff they have at their disposal.

The first comes out of the 1% group which in actuality had 1000 sheep or a billion dollars while they were on earth. I marvel at the Barons who accumulated vast fortunes while helping forge the foundations of our nation who used their wealth to build libraries, museums, hospitals and many other institutions which have not rusted nor rotted, but continue to enrich lives long after they themselves have gone the way of all the earth. I deeply admire those of the 1% of our current generation who have made the billionaires’ pledge and who quickly step forward to feed, clothe and administer to the needs of those who stand in need of succor.

The second group is those charitable souls I was acquainted with during those years I was privileged to live in Mexico and Colombia. When, as a young 19 year old, I found myself in small towns in central and northern Mexico it did not take me long to realize I was in a much different environment than what I had left in Southern California. I came from a family which had enough and to spare, and was raised by parents who freely gave of their time, talents and substance. In Mexico I found myself involved with many who did not have enough let alone to spare. Yet time and time again I witnessed them taking from their meager lot and putting their mite upon a brothers plate. When Kathleen and I had the opportunity to reside and serve in Colombia we were constantly made aware of people, both those who had and those who had not, succoring the needs of neighbors.

One of my blessings, for which I will ever be grateful, is that I have spent my days immersed in a society which teaches and practices the stewardship responsibility and accountability which accompanies blessings.

Even though I seldom play ‘what would I do if I had a million dollars’ anymore, I would hope if I did my list would be much less selfish and much more selfless than the one I sputtered as a youth.

I thought about adding to this Thought all of the blessings which are promised to those who are faithful stewards, but then I realized that once we begin to expectantly dream of stuff we don’t yet have we have missed the whole point of being faithful stewards.

Sunday, January 11, 2015


Monday, September 22, 2014: Even on the cloudiest of days – the sun is still shinning!!

Tuesday, September 23, 2014: You can always find a shady place – even on the hottest of days!!

Wednesday, September 24, 2014: You will make your world a better place – if when you meet them – you look for the good instead of the bad!!

Thursday, September 25, 2014: You can remove the teacher from the classroom – but you cannot remove the classroom from the teacher!!

Friday, September 26, 2014: True love is not something which someone deserves or which must be earned – true love exists independently, is deeply felt, freely given easily forgives and seldom extinguished!!

Monday, September 29, 2014: Just like fruits we are all different –stop worrying whether your orange peel isn’t as beautiful as your neighbor’s shiny red peel – when all is seen clearly we make a beautiful basket of fruit!!

Tuesday, September 30, 2014: We would have no need for taste buds – if the only thing to eat was a shiny red apple – yes indeed you add so much to my life!!

Wednesday, October 01, 2014: We would have no need to be able to feel – if every object felt like silk – yes indeed you add so much to my life!!

Thursday, October 02, 2014: If everything in the world was purple – our brains would not need to interpret colors – yes indeed you add so much to my life!!

Friday, October 03, 2014: If everything smelled like roses – we would only need our noses for breathing – yes indeed you add so much to my life!!

Monday, October 06, 2014: Hurtful remarks and humor are short lived companions!!

Tuesday, October 07, 2014: Since there is no end – I need to be aware of who is responsible for my eternal destiny!!

Wednesday, October 08, 2014: The reward one receives – will always be equal to the effort expended!!

Thursday, October 09, 2014: If we procrastinate the beginning of our becoming a better person – we will have to be content with the person we are!!

Friday, October 10, 2014: When the time for proving and improving ourselves ends – will we be pleased or regretful – or just forever wondering what might have been!!

Monday, October 13, 2014: Creativity is the antidote for boredom!!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014: Many of life's tragedies – become comedies as time passes!!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014: When you find a store where real happiness can be bought – let me know!!

Thursday, October 16, 2014: Seeking commonalities with neighbors – makes for a happier community – than pointing out the differences!!

Friday, October 17, 2014: One of the most important things we can learn – is to be able to distinguish between – having fun, enjoying pleasure, being happy and experiencing joy!!

Monday, October 20, 2014: If my only goal in life is to have fun – I will one day find my quest ending in emptiness!!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014: If I spend my life seeking pleasure – I may find my quest ending in emptiness!!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014: The pleasures derived from sensory sensations – seldom last beyond the moment!!

Thursday, October 23, 2014: Happiness which is based on true love, trust and compassion – will grow and endure!!

Friday, October 24, 2014: It is only through the exercise of charity – which is the true love of Christ – we can experience joy!!