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.