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.