Sunday, February 28, 2016


When Joshua gave this challenge to Israel he pretty much challenged them to make one final and forever choice and, thereafter, refrain from straying from the demands of their choice. It would be wonderful if life were so easy, but contrary to Joshua’s invitational challenge, choosing whom and how we serve does not seem to be a one time and done experience in life. In fact the real irony of his admonition is that every decision we make, whether great or small, we are at that moment choosing anew whom and how we will serve.

Another thing to consider about the phenomena with which we are confronted continually is as we are choosing whom and how we will serve, we are also setting into action determining factors which will result, in a large measure, in the creation of the person we will ultimately become.

To avoid turning this Thought into a dissertation I will limit the objects of our constant choosing ‘whom’ we will serve to the following three categories.


Choosing to serve self

I will immediately dodge the temptation of turning this portion of this Thought into another harangue against selfishness and instead talk about the fact that many of the choices we make in life are out of necessity made because we are choosing to serve ourselves.

Even the most casual of inventories of the hours we choose to spend rejuvenating our bodies with sleep, keeping our bodies clean, clothing our bodies, sheltering our bodies, relaxing and re-creating our bodies will quickly divulge that we spend an inordinate amount of time in activities where self is the ‘whom’ we have chosen to serve.

It seems the product of the many hours I spend in self-serving will be determined by whether I choose to spend sufficient time in these ‘necessary’ activities of life or if I become overly self-indulgent.

Another key in keeping my self-serving choices in the proper perspective seems to be whether I make these choices with the end of gaining the honors of men. Apparently, sufficiency is within the realm of righteous choosing, but choosing with the gaining of the honors of men in mind puts me into unrighteous overindulgence.

Somehow I have got to find some way to maintain a healthy level of self-esteem without falling into the pitfalls which attend pride.

Choosing to serve others

Although it becomes an almost impossible task to avoid at least some momentary acts of service to others, the limit to which we choose to extend that service comes frequently. One of the first and more frequent choices we make is how large we allow our circle of others to become.

We must choose whether the ‘whom’ of others includes or is limited to a spouse or children or extended family or church brothers and sisters or local community or national community or world community.

We must choose whether the ‘how’ I am choosing to serve, includes financial donations or my time or my talents and to what degree my service will help eliminate pain and suffering and raise the standard of living of those I have chosen to include in my circle of others.

Once I have defined the limits of the ‘whom’ and ‘how’ of the others I have chosen to serve, I will have to continue to make choices about whether my actions are moving those in my circle towards independence or dependence.

I must be vigilant in making sure that my activities in ‘whom’ and ‘how’ among the others I have chosen to serve are being done because of love and compassion and not because I have found an altruistic means of getting others to heap honors upon me.

It is always an interesting conundrum to be able to lose oneself while finding others to serve.

Choosing to serve God

Even with the very limited understanding any of us might have as to who God is, we will probably all quickly arrive at some level of understanding of the strange dichotomy that all that is created is His. Therefore, how can I serve him?

As for me and my house we will choose to serve him by attempting to help in his work, which he has declared to be the bringing to pass the immortality and eternal life of his children.

I have found that The Preacher was right in declaring that for everything there is a season. In helping to bring to pass the ends of Heavenly Fathers works, I have found there to be a season when I have been most productive by choosing to Proclaim His Gospel to all who have chosen to have a sincere desire to hear. There has been a season when I have been most productive by choosing to up lift by brothers and sisters in His church. There has been a season when I have been most productive by choosing to go to the Lord’s House and aid in helping in the redemption of those who have sojourned on earth without the advantage of knowing His Plan.

Although the arena of activity in which I might be involved during life’s passages any change, my choice in serving my God in his work has been accompanied with the admonition to not be weary in well doing and to wear out my life.

As with all my choosing of ‘whom’ and ‘how’ I will serve I need to be constantly on guard against doing His work to be seen of men or to be seen of Him in secret.

Choose ye this day whom ye will serve

Whether we presently have deluded ourselves into thinking we have not chosen any ‘whom’ or any ‘how’ to serve, our choices in life will in the end never be whether we choose someone or something to serve, but ‘whom’ and ‘how’ we choose to serve.

Let us never forget that when we make an honest evaluation of ‘whom’ and ‘how’ we serve we will be gaining a clearer picture of who we are becoming.

May the Lord bless us to understand the importance of our daily choices of ‘whom’ and ‘how’ we serve and not take lightly the multiple daily choices we make of ‘whom’ and ‘how’ we serve and be made abundantly aware of the consequences of those decisions.

Sunday, February 21, 2016


Monday, September 07, 2015: Worry is such a silly exercise – if I can't do anything about it – why worry – if I can do something about it – why worry – just do it!!

Tuesday, September 08, 2015: Many people deceive themselves – thinking they have universal love for all mankind – but – their words and actions soon reveal the truth!!

Wednesday, September 09, 2015: It is impossible to encounter happiness – on the pathway of hatred!!

Thursday, September 10, 2015: It is impossible to encounter peace – on the pathway of anger!!

Friday, September 11, 2015: It is impossible to encounter contentment – on the pathway of desire!!

Monday, September 14, 2015: If there was no one in need – I wouldn't have anywhere – to test my degree of charitableness!!

Tuesday, September 15, 2015: Even those who seem to have everything – can always use a comforting hug and a sincere thank you!!

Wednesday, September 16, 2015: Being aware of one’s own faults – and striving to correct them – will always bring about a greater change – than harping on another’s shortcomings!!

Thursday, September 17, 2015: The really important things in life – such as love, overcoming hurdles, charity and friendship – will always to some degree involve – risk, trust, faith and hope!!

Friday, September 18, 2015: It is probable – that just as a sound body increases the soundness of the mind – that a healthy mind – also increases the healthiness of the body!!

Monday, September 21, 2015: It may be true that physical exercise – helps one to be sound of mind – however mental exercise – will strengthen the mind much faster!!

Tuesday, September 22, 2015: There are few things in life – worth sacrificing one’s happiness – to obtain!!

Wednesday, September 23, 2015: If my bucket list has all been checked off – but my happiness bucket remains empty – I may have erroneously created my list in the first place!!

Thursday, September 24, 2015: There is a strong correlation – between the level of contentment – one has with the stuff they have in life – and their level of happiness!!

Friday, September 25, 2015: Satisfying today’s wants – often puts a strain – on future needs!!

Monday, September 28, 2015: Intelligence loses much of its usefulness – without wisdom!!

Tuesday, September 29, 2015: A position of leadership – loses much of its usefulness – without compassion!!

Wednesday, September 30, 2015: Trust loses all of its bonding strength – without honesty!!

Thursday, October 01, 2015: Just because a person has a smile on their face – doesn’t mean they don't need a hug!!

Friday, October 02, 2015: The only potential I will ever realize – lies within my own capabilities and diligence!!

Monday, October 05, 2015: Anger – drives happiness from our lives!!

Tuesday, October 06, 2015: Criticism – drives – love from our relationships!!

Wednesday, October 07, 2015: If you are really serious – about having peace and calm in your life – develop more sincere warm love – towards others!!

Thursday, October 08, 2015: Personal righteousness – does not necessarily shift – because of reading the Word!!

Friday, October 09, 2015: When the Word is practiced – there will be a definite shift – in personal righteousness!!

Sunday, February 14, 2016


I am pretty sure it happened when I was in the 6th grade at Lincoln Elementary School in Long Beach, California. Then again, since that was the year I had Mister Beeson as a teacher and he was the second person on my education trail who became part of my mentorship which led to me having a lifelong career as a teacher, I place most of the meaningful experiences that happened during the three years at that school, as having taken place during my 6th grade year.

Anyway, about midway through the second month of the school year a ‘new kid’ joined our class. It was immediately clear that he intended to become the alpha male of our class. (We never used Alpha Male in those days – but it fits, so I will use it.) Somehow, even though I have never been known for being large of stature, I was elected to put him in his place. Since he had red hair, and everyone knows that redheads are quick tempered and tough, I should have immediately declined the honor bestowed upon me. However, since the voting had been unanimous and no one else had been nominated, I accepted the gauntlet. I have often wondered over the years whether there was a hidden message from my classmates about my assertive personality when they gave me the class lance.

The time and place was set for the lesson to be taught to the ‘new red head kid. We would meet between the two temporary buildings right after school. Somehow, as it often does, the word must have been passed, because the group gathered between the buildings was significantly larger than the students in Mister Beeson’s class.

We put up our dukes and I remember a pop followed by a second pop. The first blow was to my gut and the second to the left side of my head. My first real move was to put him in a head lock and we fell to the ground. My second move was to pray that this unsanctioned afterschool activity would soon be discovered by a teacher. My prayer was answered and we were immediately taken to the Principal’s office.

A few of the passages that I passed through that day were:

The ‘new red head kid’ became my best friend – everyone needs a tough buddy to hang out with.

I learned that being the hall monitor wasn't a privilege, but a punishment.

I became a permanent member of the ‘lover rather than a fighter’ society.

The ‘new red head kid’ moved before the next fall when I entered Washington Junior High School and teachers patrol the halls in junior high rather than students. The only permanent part of my passage learning that day in the 6th grade was my membership in the ‘lover rather than a fighter’ society.

My membership in this new society paid very quick dividends. It could have been because she was the only girl shorter than I was in the 6th grade or that she could do ballerina poses or that she informed me that we were boy and girl friends; but whatever the cause, she was the first girl I bought something besides a punch out valentine or a sweetheart piece of candy for on Valentine’s Day. Her name was Lois Ann Pickering. Remembering her name is another mark on the ledger titled, ‘we always remember the first one.’

Now that more than six decades have flowed down my stream of life, I am often reminded how grateful I am for the passage which was forced upon me by that ‘new red head kid’ in the 6th grade.

Among the things which come to mind as I write this Thought for Valentine’s Day Sabbath:

I am grateful that never again in my life did I have to put a head lock on someone and pray for deliverance.

I am grateful that even though I was taught the ‘Spirit of the Bayonet’ in the Army, my nature has always yearned towards peace and love and a distain for war and violence.

I am grateful for the years I spent in Colombia where I learned that Valentine’s Day could be stretched into an entire month of Love and Friendship.

I am grateful for a career which allowed me to spend my days learning and teaching about the universal kinship of mankind and how our Savior wants us to have Love one toward another.

I am grateful for the path through the many Valentine’s Days which led me to my Eternal Companion and Dearest Friend – Kathleen.

I pray continually that mankind’s hearts will be turned from their tendencies toward hateful words and actions and toward membership in the ‘Lovers rather than Fighters’ Society.

I pray that the spirit which is often prevalent on Valentine’s Day will become infectious and contaminate us all, every day, every week, every month and every year.

I am sure you are all wondering about whether I left the arena between the two temporary buildings on the grounds of Lincoln Elementary School in Long Beach, California, with a black eye or not. The answer is yes. The cure my mother administered – was giving me a bag of Birds Eye frozen peas to hold on my eye for the rest of the day. My black eye actually became another reason the short little ballerina started to pay some attention to me.

Sunday, February 7, 2016


I know I am embarking on this Thought with an oversimplified concept, but many times that is the path I find easiest to walk upon.

It is possible we could put the significant leaders who have caused historically great movements in two camps. For this Thought I will label the camps – Famous and Infamous.

In the camp of the Infamous we will find those who have gained their notoriety though cruel and inhuman acts. Few can deny that Genghis Kahn and Hitler will remain in infamy because of their disregard for human life and human rights.

In the camp of the Famous we will find those who have broken down barriers of bigotry and bias and sought to establish brotherhood and kindness. Among those who come to mind are Abraham Lincoln (Yes I know he was prominent in the bloodiest war of all time) and Martin Luther King they will retain their eminence because of their concern for human life and human rights.

One of the great ironies of the chronicles of the inhabitants of this planet is that Jesus the Christ gained his Fame in part because of the Infamous acts of those who brought about his death. And by that very act they opened up Life Everlasting to all, including those who had ended his physical life.

Unlike the major characters of our world who have become Famous or Infamous during their allotted days or even He who has had the leading and climatic role on life’s stage most of us will spend our lives in minor rolls and will never find our names in lights or on bill boards. Future students may never be required to memorize dates and places about our time on stage. Books may never be written containing the lines we spoke or meaningful passages of our wisdom memorized for commencement speeches.

What roles we play in life and the few who might retain a remembrance of the background parts we played will have less to do with what we might have said or done (whether we were Famous or Infamous), but more with how we treated those with whom we treaded the boards.

What will be written upon their hearts, never to be found in any text book, but will be of eternal personal significance, I am convinced will be the product of how we can answer the following questions:

Do I determine the worth of another actor by the pigmentation of their skin?

Do I determine the worth of another actor by the social class they were born into or have risen to in life?

Do I determine the worth of another actor by the height of material stuff they have accumulated?

Do I determine the worth of another actor by the color of the flag they hold?

Do I determine the worth of another actor by the political or philosophical views they hold?

Do I determine the worth of another actor by the attitude others have toward them?


Do I consider all actors children of the same Eternal Parents?

Do I serve the Savior unaware as I feed the hungry actors and clothe naked actors?

Do I consider that with which I have been blessed as a stewardship to be used to help the widowed actors and the orphaned actors?

Do I allow all actors the privilege of finding the Light and help them when they stumble in the dark?

Do I give all actors the opportunity to help me understand who they are?

Do I understand that in the Kingdom of God there are no borders which separate actors?

One of the Famous prophets in the Book of Mormon, Nephi, reminded us all ‘the Lord inviteth all to come unto Him and partake of His goodness; and He denieth none that come unto Him, black and white, bond and free, male and female and He remembereth the heathen; and all are alike unto God, both Jew and Gentile.’ (2 Nephi 26:33)

As we strive to turn our insignificant roles of life into roles demanding Divine Natures, hopefully we will learn that unless we know how to interact with one another in humane ways regardless of race or riches, caste or citizenry, education or evaluation; there is little chance that we will break down the barriers of bigotry which destroy the potential of actors and perpetuate the long playing production directed by the evil one.