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.

Sunday, July 19, 2015


Somewhere back in that great expanse of time when I was involved in gaining degrees from Brigham Young University, I wrote a paper about the commonality of the legends and stories among the cultures of the world regarding a universal flood having taken place. Although these stories varied in some of their details, the theme always contained the displeasure of a God or gods concerning the actions of a people or of the earth’s inhabitants, the flood which was described as covering the whole land or the whole earth and the emergence of a chastised and better people after the flood.

During my active teaching days, I had the experience of teaching a course called World Religions. During the multiple times I taught this subject I became aware that along with the common theme of the flood there were also common themes concerning the topics of the creation of the earth and the beginnings of human existence.

After many trips through the histories, doctrines, dogmas, legends and sacred writings of the religions of the world I am left without concrete evidence as to which of the stories is the most ancient, so I will relate them in a somewhat arbitrary order. Since my Thoughts are meant to be brief readings I will of necessity be leaving out a lot of details which I hope some will be motivated to explore more in depth on their own.

Since I in no way claim any expertise in the science of evolution I will not be including those theories which hold that man begin to emerge as we now know them to be about 85 million years ago. It is interesting to me that even in that field of study, primates are purported to have come from a common mother.

The aboriginal tribes of Australia and the Americas have a fairly common legend of the moment of creation of being ‘a time of dreaming.’ Although the details sometimes become fuzzy and are definitely varied, they bear in common the belief that all mankind came from a common mother figure.

China and some Germanic stories talk about two cosmic giant eggs, out of which came forth a giant whose body and limbs form the earth and the continents and eventually the inhabitants who dwell thereon. The most important parts of the giant bring forth the Asian nations while the lesser parts the rest of the inhabitants of the earth. In spite of the built in prejudices all mankind still stems from a common beginning.

Egypt, Greece and Japan all tell stories or myths about multiple gods who go through an elaborate history of chaos and affairs which ultimately result in the existence of humans with whom they have a lengthy intercourse over time. The result of all this interaction is that mankind springs forth from a common source.

We won't spend much time on India, because as with all things religious and philosophical they have a tremendous tolerance in being able to accept and adopt all stories from all cultures.

Most Christians acknowledge the creation story as found in the Torah, the Koran and the Old Testament and since my audience is familiar with this account I won't retell it in this Thought.

As is true with the common threads which weave through the universal stories of a great flood, it is likewise true that there are common threads weaving through the creation of the earth and its inhabitants. It is sufficient for today’s thought to concentrate on two of these threads and really ending up concentrating on one thread.

The first thread, which we will say but a few words about, is the creation of the physical earth. Whether the period of time was short or long or done in a time module which none of us is familiar with, we must eventually come to a common understanding that the earth came into existence and is here now.

The second thread is about the coming forth of the human race as we now know it. All religions seem to point to a single source for the beginning of our ancestors’ existence. Whether from an egg, the relationships of the gods or from a common mother, histories, legends, myths and sacred writings of all cultures seem to point to a time long ago when there was but one Family.


Whether it was because of the building of a tower or being driven north from the heat of Africa or the dispersion of the of people along the Fertile Crescent or the great wall of China no longer keeping people in or out, The Family explored, adventured, conquered and spread and became multiple families and became totally dysfunctional.

On occasion there have arisen voices of reason from some who have seen the light or had a dream, where the hope of overcoming the prejudices and myopic views of the masses and the reuniting of the Family have been preached. The walls of discord and hatred make their efforts seem like trying to knock down the

Great Wall of China with spit wads. Nevertheless, just because the piccolo is most often made insignificant by the blaring of the trumpets, does not mean that we should eliminate the sweetness and softness of the notes emanating from that soft and seemingly insignificant source.

Therefore I will add my little voice to those of centuries past.

When will brothers begin to refuse to slay brothers?

When will sisters fall upon one another’s necks as sisters?

When will we realize that there is no ‘they’ or ‘we’ – just ‘us’?

When will we begin to understand that we are Family?


Sunday, July 12, 2015


Monday, March 16, 2015: Your mother didn't do it – your family didn't do it – you became who you are – because Heavenly Father gave you agency – and you made choices!!

Tuesday, March 17, 2015: Some of us have difficulty recognizing and counting blessings – because we have way to high of an opinion of our own abilities!!

Wednesday, March 18, 2015: It is almost impossible to recognize blessings – when you think you are the most important person in the Universe!!

Thursday, March 19, 2015: Our loving Heavenly Father continues to shower His children with blessings – even when they neglect to say thank you!!

Friday, March 20, 2015: A new day dawning should be reminder enough – of how much we have to be thankful for!!

Monday, March 23, 2015: It is interesting – how it is impossible to have pride – and not have it cause us to fall into a whole lot of other bad traits!!

Tuesday, March 24, 2015: Mistrust and loneliness – have always been close companions!!

Wednesday, March 25, 2015: Communities seem to grow stronger through cooperation – while competition seems to weaken them!!

Thursday, March 26, 2015: Loneliness – is often cured by being kind to others!!

Friday, March 27, 2015: We probably won’t need a long season – to reap the harvest of our choices!!

Monday, March 30, 2015: Patience and tolerance toward others – is usually followed by feelings of tranquility and calmness – which brightens our soul!!

Tuesday, March 31, 2015: Expressing gratitude – increases our understanding of how blessed we are!!

Wednesday, April 01, 2015: The real indicator of how much I have learned in life – is how much what I have learned – has changed my life!!

Thursday, April 02, 2015: If I feel like life is changing for the worse – maybe I should change – what I am allowing to impact my life!!

Friday, April 03, 2015: One of the absolutes of life – is that we will each have our share of problems – happy are they – who do not allow their problems to define who they are!!

Monday, April 06, 2015: Problems are resolved more easily – in an atmosphere of calmness – than one of chaos!!

Tuesday, April 07, 2015: It is easy to fill your life with enemies – just treat everyone as if you were one!!

Wednesday, April 08, 2015: It is easy to fill your life with friends – just treat everyone as if you were one!!

Thursday, April 09, 2015: The giving of sincere love – and being patient – while others are experiencing challenges and going through growing pains – will reap a harvest of happiness to two souls!!

Friday, April 10, 2015: Sometimes deadlines are helpful in getting tasks accomplished – perhaps it might be stimulating to our most important progress – if we were more conscious of the impending ultimate deadline – the decreed end to our mortal sojourn!!

Monday, April 13, 2015: Just as we have had many deadlines pass by – without having accomplished all that we needed to have completed – likewise when the ultimate deadline arrives – we probably will not have completed all we had planned to do!!

Tuesday, April 14, 2015: We should never be afraid – to allow our compassionate side – to be seen in public – or spill over onto those we encounter during our daily walk!!

Wednesday, April 15, 2015: There is never – a wrong place or a wrong time – to demonstrate your love for another!!

Thursday, April 16, 2015: Personal realities and preferences – are not a platform for debate – but a foundation for understanding!!

Friday, April 17, 2015: Charitable acts toward others – are the building blocks of personal satisfaction!!

Sunday, July 5, 2015


Even though only three of our sons would have any possibility of remembering them, some of my fondest memories of Independence Day celebrations took place in Tooele, Utah, a small town tucked snugly against the western slopes of the Oquirrh Mountains. If the vision of the Oquirrh Mountains doesn't immediately spring out of your memory bank, they are that range of mountains on the west side of the Salt Lake Valley which Kennecott Copper Company has been trying to turn into copper tubing since August of 1900 when Jack Smith and Clarence Warner stumbled across a green rock in Bingham Canyon.

Anyway, the morning of Independence Day would begin with the town folks standing one deep along the sidewalk on Main Street watching the town mayor drive by in an antique car marking the beginning of the parade. The town council followed riding on an open fire truck, which, because of its appearance, was probably more antique than the car the mayor was riding in. I always thought it was wonderful that even though the town had long ago retired these vehicles, they were still brought out and paraded on special occasions.

The High School Band which had performed in the Rose Parade and at a Presidential Inauguration was joined by the members of the Junior High Band and the Elementary Band. The tunes they were playing were all very familiar to everyone along the parade route, since they had been playing them every morning before school as they practiced, marching through the main streets of town. However, it was really special to see them all decked out in their parade uniforms.

There were floats which were sponsored by local merchants, civic groups and various units of the local religious groups. Since there wasn't a single package of napkins left to be found on the shelves of the local markets, I suspect they had to go to Salt Lake City to get most of the napkins which had been carefully crammed into molded chicken wire to create the floats. I always thought it would have been a good idea to salvage these napkins for our year’s supply, much like we did when we harvested toilet paper from the trees in front of our house which had been decorated with bathroom bunting by some of the seminary students which attended the classes I taught.

Probably my favorite part of the parade was all the kids and those who still wished they were kids, who marched proudly along in pioneer costumes with decorated bikes and wagons. There were many who just walked the route, being joined by any of the onlookers who were struck with the desire. There were others who pulled or tugged on any species that they could put a collar and a leash on. If memory hasn’t been replaced by fantasy, I am pretty sure I saw a duck on a leash and a young boy carrying a fish bowl.

Since the passing of the parade didn't take all that long, when the entrants got to the south end of Main Street they all turned around and came back through town a second time. If you think about it this would be a great idea for all parades, since the one deep crowd on the sidewalk in Tooele, were able to see both sides of the parade without changing their seats on the curb. (I would make this suggestion to the organizers of the Rose Parade, but I think they already have a logistical nightmare.)

After the parade, there was just enough time to rush home and take care of some necessary creature comfort tasks before we dashed to ‘the park’ (we need no further identification since there was only one park) to enjoy the rest of the morning and the afternoon of the Independence Day Park Celebration. There was usually a wait for some of the booths to open, since they were manned by the same people who had been involved in the parade and with the floats. With our little family we only had to buy a couple of dollars’ worth of tickets to satisfy our needs. I was always grateful that the proceeds from the booths and food went directly to the various charitable causes that were represented.

Independence Day was one of those rare days when our family indulged in food that wasn't prepared by Kathleen. The food we bought for the kids was not only a rare luxury, but their little tummies didn't do all that great when they are pumped full of hotdogs, cotton candy, popcorn and other exotic fare that was offered. Since the consumption rarely finished its trip through the digestive system, it was also pretty much of a waste.

There were lots of activities organized for families where the children could earn precious ribbons which sometimes actually found their way home. The judging was so liberal that if a child could waddle to the judges stand after participating in a race or shoe tying event, they would be presented with a ribbon.
Tables were lined with ‘homemades’ which would stock pantries for weeks to come. Those husbands who wanted to score extra points with their wives would rush to the tables to buy up the results of her sweated labor. There were always stampedes toward Aunt June’s Jams or Luella’s Pecan Pies. Viewing the scrumptious array on the tables one was left with little doubt why the town of Tooele always suffered brown outs the week preceding Independence Day.

What made the day extra special, and makes the memories so real in recollection, is that all the day’s celebratory activities with family, friends and neighbors – good people – who for at least one day, had taken the principles of the Constitution and had joined together in a very real spirit of unity, leaving all who attended grateful for the sacrifice and vision of those founding men and women who had labored to bring forth the birth of a country which venerates freedom, liberty and justice. (I have to confess that as I was writing this last paragraph my mind slipped to wonder – if with today’s personal interaction robbing technology – the same communal feelings would still be found in Tooele, Utah or any other small town.)

As we sat on the hood of the car and watched the sun set and twilight being replaced by night, anxious anticipation filled us as we waited for the fireworks display which would fill the sky, our hearts were grateful and our souls were warmed with the hope that every tomorrow would be filled with the same feeling which had so abundantly been manifested this day.