Sunday, April 24, 2016


Ironically, one of the first words Kathleen learned in Spanish when we went to Colombia on our mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints was ‘mio’ (mine). I say ironically because generally speaking the people of Colombia are a generous and sharing lot.

We had just landed in Bogota, Colombia and had gone through customs when we almost ran into a little boy who was and playing tug-of-war with a sibling over a toy. As he insisted over and over again the toy was ‘mio,’ Kathleen had no need to have me interpret what he had said.

When Moses was writing about the attributes of a Zion people, he made it clear that they could not exist unless they were of ‘one heart and one mind.’ (Pearl of Great Price, Moses 7:18)

If we take the words of the Lord seriously as they are recorded in Matthew 6:24, it seems clear that one of the abilities we do not have is that of serving two masters. The point is emphasized by saying we will hate the one while loving the other, but a homogeneous totally emerged, assimilated together relationship cannot exist.

If we accept the teachings of Moses and the Savior as having validity, then we immediately come to the conclusion that oneness and own-ness (mio) cannot be given priority in our lives simultaneously. I will either love one-ness and hate own-ness or love own-ness and hate oneness, but I cannot love or hate both at the same time.

Perhaps the words of the Savior in John 17:11 will help us to have a beginning of an understanding of what Moses was trying to teach us when he said we must be of one heart and one mind. The Savior’s admonition was that we become one as He and The Father are one.

Evidently, they shared so much one-ness the Savior taught that if we had seen or heard Him, we had seen and heard the Father. This declaration of their commonality has caused some to conclude that indeed they were the same person. He clears up this confusion later in the 17th chapter of John verses 20 - 26
when He informs us that he will soon go to Father who had sent Him.

It seems the Apostle Paul understood clearly the one-ness which The Son and The Father shared, because in many of the letters he wrote we find extensive lists of those characteristics and attributes.

Romans 12

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith. For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office: So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another. Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith; Or ministry, let us wait on our ministering: or he that teacheth, on teaching; Or he that exhorteth, on exhortation: he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness. Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good. Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another; Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord; Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer; Distributing to the necessity of saints; given to hospitality. Bless them which persecute you: bless, and curse not. Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep. Be of the same mind one toward another. Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate. Be not wise in your own conceits. Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men. If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men. Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord. Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head. Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.

1 Corinthians 13

Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing. Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away. For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away. When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things. For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known. And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.

If these two lists don't offer you a sufficient challenge, additional lists of the characteristics and attributes of one-ness can be found in Paul’s letters to the Ephesians 4, 5, 6 and Colossians 3:1 - 17 and Hebrews 13. I am sure you have your own scriptures or can look them up on the internet, so I won’t duplicate them in this Thought.

Anyway, I remind you of the Thought I wrote at the first of the year where I was haranguing about how those who developed our calendars would have done a better job if they had started the year in the spring time, so that our resolutions for renewing our commitments to do better would coincide with the bursting forth of life in nature.

Anyway, since most of those late December, early January lists have now either been discarded, lost or ignored, maybe now that we are a month into watching nature revive and renew, we could use some of the admonitions of Paul to resolve to increase our love of one-ness and distain for own-ness. Anyway, that is the desire I have in my (mio) heart today and hopefully for all my tomorrows.

Sunday, April 17, 2016


A few months ago our wonderful daughter-in-law Christine wrote in her Face Book status about the importance of listening and having empathy for whomever and wherever those we encounter during the day might be.

As I thought about what a wonderful world it would be if we could all put this into practice I once again remembered some favorite lines by James Henry Leigh Hunt, which I used numerous times during my years as I taught about religious ideals.

Abou Ben Adhem (may his tribe increase!)
Awoke one night from a deep dream of peace,
And saw, within the moonlight in his room,
Making it rich, and like a lily in bloom,
An angel writing in a book of gold:—
Exceeding peace had made Ben Adhem bold,
And to the Presence in the room he said
"What writest thou?"—The vision raised its head,
And with a look made of all sweet accord,
Answered "The names of those who love the Lord."
"And is mine one?" said Abou. "Nay, not so,"
Replied the angel. Abou spoke more low,
But cheerily still, and said "I pray thee, then,
Write me as one that loves his fellow men."

The angel wrote, and vanished. The next night
It came again with a great wakening light,
And showed the names whom love of God had blessed,
And lo! Ben Adhem's name led all the rest.

I suspect if there is anything I have been desirous of making a permanent part of my being it would be to make the attribute of becoming a person who listened beyond the verbalized words, being able to understand the cause and feelings of the individual who spoke them. To become one of those who could be found somewhere on the list of those that love their fellowmen and whom the love of God has blessed.

The road to being a loving, caring, empathetic person has been for me, long, full of stumbling blocks, having periods of retracing and retreading, times when I doubted my personal capability of achieving such a goal and epochs when I accepted as a reality the improbability of living long enough to enjoy a society where such characteristics were predominant.

And it came to pass in the thirty and sixth year, the people were all converted unto the Lord, upon all the face of the land, both Nephites and Lamanites, and there were no contentions and disputations among them, and every man did deal justly one with another. And they had all things common among them; therefore there were not rich and poor, bond and free, but they were all made free, and partakers of the heavenly gift. And there were great and marvelous works wrought by the disciples of Jesus, insomuch that they did heal the sick, and raise the dead, and cause the lame to walk, and the blind to receive their sight, and the deaf to hear; and all manner of miracles did they work among the children of men; and in nothing did they work miracles save it were in the name of Jesus. And they did not walk any more after the performances and ordinances of the law of Moses; but they did walk after the commandments which they had received from their Lord and their God, continuing in fasting and prayer, and in meeting together oft both to pray and to hear the word of the Lord. And it came to pass that there was no contention among all the people, in all the land; but there were mighty miracles wrought among the disciples of Jesus. And it came to pass that there was no contention in the land, because of the love of God which did dwell in the hearts of the people. And there were no envyings, nor strifes, nor tumults, nor whoredoms, nor lyings, nor murders, nor any manner of lasciviousness; and surely there could not be a happier people among all the people who had been created by the hand of God. There were no robbers, nor murderers, neither were there Lamanites, nor any manner of -ites; but they were in one, the children of Christ, and heirs to the kingdom of God. (Book of Mormon – 4 Nephi 1: 2, 3, 5, 12, 13, 16, 17)

During those moments of my life when my loins seemed sufficiently girded and I was pressing forward I often found the words ‘what lack I more’ swimming around in the cells of my mind and the emotions of my heart.

In order to take advantage of those moments I kept a list of stimulating scriptures handy to help me take needed steps during these spaces of time which I knew would soon pass and I would once again have a progress stifling attack affect the determination with which I was momentarily being bombarded.

Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; And having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled. Do ye look on things after the outward appearance? If any man trust to himself that he is Christ’s, let him of himself think this again, that, as he is Christ’s, even so are we Christ’s. For though I should boast somewhat more of our authority, which the Lord hath given us for edification, and not for your destruction, I should not be ashamed… (New Testament – 2 Corinthians 10: 5-8)

But ye have not so learned Christ; If so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus: That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness. Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another. Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath… Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers… Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you. (New Testament – Ephesians 4: 20-32)

So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God. Let us not therefore judge one another any more: but judge this rather, that no man put a stumblingblock or an occasion to fall in his brother’s way. I know, and am persuaded by the Lord Jesus, that there is nothing unclean of itself: but to him that esteemeth any thing to be unclean, to him it is unclean. But if thy brother be grieved with thy meat, now walkest thou not charitably. Destroy not him with thy meat, for whom Christ died. Let not then your good be evil spoken of: For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost. For he that in these things serveth Christ is acceptable to God, and approved of men. Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another. (New Testament – Romans 14: 12-19)

We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Let every one of us please his neighbour for his good to edification.
(New Testament – Romans 15: 1, 2)

Because I have marked them with boldness, I suspect no one is left wondering what characteristics these verses remind me of ‘what I yet lack’ or at the very least where I still need to be more diligent in pressing forward in the development there of.

The record in 4th Nephi which testifies of a nation who were able to establish themselves on these characteristics and maintain these virtues for a few generations, fills me, perhaps all of us, with hope that there is a possibility that I, or even better we, through our diligence can step by step move closer to becoming what we were sent to become.

Maybe it is just as Christine indicated in her status on Face Book. It would be wonderful if we all tried to listen to know where our neighbor is today and then treat them with the appropriate edifying empathy. That wouldn’t be a bad place to begin our quest toward the characteristics which allowed the people in 4th Nephi to truly love one another.

Sunday, April 10, 2016


A few weeks ago as I was returning upstairs to finish my getting ready for the day preparations, Kathleen asked me if I had felt it. When I responded in the negative she said that we had had another earthquake. Later in the morning the news verified that there had been a quake of 4.5 magnitude centered in Banning, California.

Living in California, quakes of this minor magnitude cause little disruption in one’s daily routine. However, when I hear of clusters of quakes taking place around Reno, Nevada, where we lived for 20 years, it comes as a bit of a surprise to me. It brought to memory a talk Dallin Oaks gave a few months back where he referenced some data about the increase of earth quakes of a magnitude of 7 or greater in the current century. He used his data to emphasize the commotion which would be happening on the earth prior to the Second Coming of the Lord.

The quaking of the earth can be disruptive and stressful, especially when that quaking causes destruction and devastation, but Moses’ writings bring to our attention an unrest of Mother Earth which seems to be even more catastrophic to Heavenly Father’s Plan than the quaking which attends her periodic physical adjustments.

And it came to pass that Enoch looked upon the earth; and he heard a voice from the bowels thereof, saying; Wo, wo is me the mother of men; I am pain, I am weary, because of the wickedness of my children. When shall I rest, and be cleansed from the filthiness which is gone forth out of me? When will my Creator sanctify me, that I may rest, and righteousness for a season abide upon my face? (Pearl of Great Price 7:48)

Every time I hear someone yearn for days that were simpler and more righteous, it makes me wonder what days they might be talking about, since so many centuries ago Mother Earth was already bemoaning the heaviness of having to bear the weight of the wickedness of those who wandered upon her surface.

Through the magic of literature I have had the privilege during my life of being able to indulge in a rather in-depth investigation of the evil manipulations which the imaginations of men have wrought upon one another throughout the centuries. I have often wondered if there have been any new innovations brought about by the current generations which didn't exist in days of yore.

I can report the following:

There is no such thing as a newly created way to break the laws of God.

One of the realities of the modern era is that breaking the laws of God has become affordable to everyone.

We no longer have to go to a den of iniquity to break the laws of God, but this can now be accommodated in the comforts of our own homes.

Possibly like no generation before, we have developed the ability to change that which God calls crimson into white.

The gulf between what is best for the whole of society and that which is practiced on a daily basis has widened exponentially.

The definition and interpretation of the meaning of the laws of God have been relegated to the interpretation of individuals and competitive groups.

The problems of the poor among us have been substantially removed from the backs of the haves and relegated to the have nots.

The slave masters have subtlely disguised the chains with which they bind the enslaved.

Most instances of the breaking of God’s laws have removed individual accountability and responsibility and have relegated causes into categories of heredity, environment, disabilities, diseases and dysfunctions.

Definitions been changed so radically that the patriarchs of old would be hard pressed to recognize what constitutes family, father, mother, child, husband or wife.

As educational materials become more abundant, the ranks of the uneducated grows significantly.

All of these sophisticated ways in which we of the modern world have found to live with the dramatic adjustments we have made to God’s laws seem in some ways to be diminutive when compared to the dichotomy I find most perplexing.

Why is it that a world which seems determined to move toward annihilating ills of violence, over-emphasis on illicit sexual activity, uncontrollable substance abuse and destructive selfish-ness based relationships, has a propensity towards debunking those who attempt to look to the living of the laws of God as a solution to these problems.

But then again, I am quickly reminded that that ancient prophet Isaiah called attention to those of his day who would call evil good and darkness light.

I guess in all our up to date innovations on how to break the laws of God, we still fall under the curtain of certainty that there really is nothing new under the sun.

Maybe someday Mother Earth will no longer mourn the wickedness of Her children.

Maybe someday we will no longer war against the One who was sent to establish peace to bring righteousness upon Her face.

Maybe someday we will cease to struggle against His words which would right wrongs and bring Her rest.

Maybe someday we will accept Jesus the Christ as the Way, the Light and the Truth and She shall be cleansed from all filthiness.

Sunday, April 3, 2016


Monday, October 12, 2015: I we really understood the interdependence of humans – we would be more drawn – to cooperation than to competition!!

Tuesday, October 13, 2015: Titles and honors are temporary – who you are becoming is permanent!!

Wednesday, October 14, 2015: The quickest way to start believing – others have ill feelings toward you – is to start having ill feelings towards them!!

Thursday, October 15, 2015: The most important act of repentance – may come from refraining from doing evil – or perhaps even more important – it may be in responding to the promptings to do something good!!

Friday, October 16, 2015: There is no more important battle to be won – than that we are waging for our eternal souls!!

Monday, October 19, 2015: Stuff is for meeting the needs of life – not to be attached too or loved – and should never be allowed to dominate our lives!!

Tuesday, October 20, 2015: We can no more rid ourselves of the consequences of our actions – than we can escape our own shadow – on a sunny day!!

Wednesday, October 21, 2015: Death is the economic equalizer of all!!

Thursday, October 22, 2015: We will never overcome bigotry – until we understand and establish the fundamental foundation – that all mankind are part of the same human family!!

Friday, October 23, 2015: Although I may understand that perfection is a long way off – it shouldn't discourage me from trying to be – just a little better person today!!

Monday, October 26, 2015: When I refrain from – hurting or doing an unkind act to another – it will also be counted – as an act of kindness!!

Tuesday, October 27, 2015: Although it is honorable to defend true principles – it should not be done – at the expense of destroying another!!

Wednesday, October 28, 2015: Although it is honorable to defend true principles – it should never be done – through unkindness to others!!

Thursday, October 29, 2015: Although it is honorable to defend true principles – if building and edifying have not taken place – with all involved – I may need to reexamine my methodology!!

Friday, October 30, 2015: The ultimate test – of the truthfulness of a principle – is whether it will bring light and joy – into the lives of those who are attempting to understand and live the principle – and if it is manifested by an increase of love toward one’s neighbor!!

Monday, November 02, 2015: Although it might be true – that many hands make light work – it is also true – that the more people who are involved in a project – the more difficult it is to control the results!!

Tuesday, November 03, 2015: Most real heroes – never appear in comic books – nor have movies made about them.

Wednesday, November 04, 2015: As our understanding of the universal kinship of humanity increases – our understanding of what family is – becomes clearer!!

Thursday, November 05, 2015: As the salutation of Brother or Sister – is replaced by the increased familiarity which comes by using given names – it may cause a corresponding diminishing of our feelings of universal kinship – toward one another!!

Friday, November 06, 2015: It isn't that we all haven't been the recipients of blessings – it is just probable that we sometimes forget to remember and recognize – there bounteousness in our lives!!

Monday, November 09, 2015: It would be good if we could all be aware – that we may be the angel who was sent to lift our neighbor’s burden!!

Tuesday, November 10, 2015: Looking back on life – I believe more sadness and misery have come – from the absolute demanding of individual independence – than from any dominant philosophy during my life!!

Wednesday, November 11, 2015: It is sad – that so many will never – find the joy that comes from being dependent upon another – or having another dependent on oneself!!

Thursday, November 12, 2015: It is sad – that so many will never understand – the marvelous multiplying effect – which takes place when two become one!!

Friday, November 13, 2015: It is sad – that so many will never reap the dividends – which comes to one who freely and completely gives their life to another!!