Sunday, May 29, 2016


Hopefully, I was able to express myself clearly in the second part of this extended Thought and it is understood that I believe that the preparation for the eternal state of Heavenly Father’s children, being the major activity of His work and Glory, is not confined to this mortal sphere, but extends infinitely into the past and likewise infinitely into the future.

I hope I have made it clear that I also believe this applies to each of His children individually as well as the collective work He is doing for the whole of His posterity.
If it hasn’t already occurred to you, let me bring up a counter point which these previous ideas should have caused you to wonder about.

Alma, one of the prophets whose writings became a major part of the Book of Mormon as it came forth in the 1800’s brought his sons together to give them a final blessing just prior to His departing mortality. It is interesting that his blessing to his son Corianton, who had made some choices contrary to the word of the Lord, (ironically he had much more to say to his wayward son than to Helaman and Shiblon who had been obedient – sounds like fodder for another Thought sometime in the future) made the following statement which we should spend some time considering, since it could be a valid objection to the first two parts of my thoughts about Another Look at Heavenly Father’s Plan.

In the 42nd chapter of Alma in the Book of Mormon in this blessing to Corianton, Alma teaches that this life is the time given for man to prepare to meet God.

If you have forgotten why I feel the limiting of our preparation to our time spent in mortality to be an illogical principle, you might want to do a quick review of last week’s Thought before continuing.

I have found another scripture which gives me an alternative understanding of the idea of this mortal day being the day of our probation. Alma, in the 12th chapter of his book in the 24th verse explains the following.

And we see that death comes upon mankind, yea, the death which has been spoken of by Amulek, which is the temporal death; (it is important to note that the principle follows after our mortal death) never the less there is a space granted unto man in which he might repent; therefore this life became a probationary state; (his theme is on what happens to us after we die and before the resurrection – therefore, this space he is talking about seems to be referring to what we call the spirit world where we go after mortality) a time to prepare to meet God; a time to prepare for that endless state which has been spoken of by us, which is after the resurrection of the dead.

I think the easy answer for this treatise would be simply to say that ‘this life as a preparatory time’ includes for each of us, all of our lengthy pre-mortal estate, whatever short period of our eternal existence we spend in mortality and the everlasting period we will spend in our post-mortal existence.


Let me begin with the pre-mortal estate of the Son of God who John spoke of as an introduction to his gospel.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word Was God… And the word was made flesh and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth. (New Testament – John 1: 1, 14)

If, as we believe, this Son of God, whom John refers to as the Word, was the Great Jehovah who directed the children of Adam during the years recorded in the Old Testament, then it is easy for us to understand that Jesus the Christ, The Savior of mankind had progressed sufficiently during his pre-mortal estate to have achieved the office of God, a principle which John the Beloved clearly understood and taught in his gospel.

I guess one could quickly say that in this as in so many areas of His life (such as having gone through mortality without succumbing to sin) the Savior was an exception. It doesn't take long in studying the scriptures to find that all of Heavenly Father’s children were going through a probationary period during their pre-mortal estate.

This aforementioned Alma taught we should try to part the veil and briefly remember what our personal pre- mortal probationary period was like. He uses the example of those who were foreordained to become priests and teachers in the pre-mortal estate, but it only takes a brief pondering to realize that what applied to one surely applied to all.

And this is the manner after which they were ordained—being called and prepared from the foundation of the world according to the foreknowledge of God, on account of their exceeding faith and good works; in the first place being left to choose good or evil; therefore they having chosen good, and exercising exceedingly great faith, were called with a holy calling, yea, with that holy calling which was prepared with, and according to, a preparatory redemption for such. (Alma 13:3)

I add a second witness to this principle which teaches of our having had a rather lengthy and important pre-mortal preparatory period.

I dwell in the midst of them all; I now, therefore, have come down unto thee to declare unto thee the works which my hands have made, wherein my wisdom excelleth them all, for I rule in the heavens above, and in the earth beneath, in all wisdom and prudence, over all the intelligences thine eyes have seen from the beginning; I came down in the beginning in the midst of all the intelligences thou hast seen.

Now the Lord had shown unto me, Abraham, the intelligences that were organized before the world was, and among all these were many of the noble and great ones; and God saw these souls that they were good, and he stood in the midst of them, and he said: These I will make my rulers; for he stood among those that were spirits, and he saw that they were good; and he said unto me; Abraham, thou art one of them; thou wast chosen before thou wast born. And there stood one among them that was like unto God…
(Pearl of Great Price – Abraham 3: 21-24)

I hope you will join me again in the coming week when I will continue this Thought on Another Look at Heavenly Father’s Eternal Plan.

(To be continued)

Sunday, May 22, 2016


Hopefully you enjoyed part one of this Thought and you have decided to read this second installment of my ponderings on the importance of our coming to the understanding that the secret of living a Christ centered life is founded on the principles of grace and mercy upon which the success of HIS eternal plan rests as it applies to our eventual individual everlasting state of existence.

In the delightful and enlightening little book of scripture called the Pearl of Great Price, in the Book of Moses chapter 1 the 39th verse, Heavenly Father explains the main purpose of His existence.

For behold this is my work and my glory—to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.

It is difficult to comprehend the depth of His love for His children which is expressed in these few words. All that He has created, all the words he has revealed through his prophets and all that is to be comprehended by the Mission, Crucifixion, Atonement and Resurrection of His son Jesus the Christ, yes even our Heavenly Father’s very existence is for the soul purpose of helping each of us gain eternal life and immortality.

When we include verse 38 of Moses chapter 1 which precedes the one just quoted we are struck even more forcefully with the extent of the Love, Mercy and Grace He has for his children.

And as one earth shall pass away, and the heavens thereof even so shall another come; and there is no end to my works, neither to my words.

We can quickly understand that He is saying He has created other earths, He is creating other earths, and He will yet create many more earths. But when we combine the two verses just cited, I believe He is also telling us that His work with each of us will go on until He knows He has maximized the potential of our immortality and eternal life. I am convinced that like there being no end to his creation of earths, likewise, there is no end to his work of striving to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of each of us.

It was 1994, just after Kathleen and I had returned from serving our mission as President of the Colombia North Mission. I had left her in Reno, Nevada, to prepare our home for a quick sale so we could make our move to Mission Viejo, California, for our last assignment with the Church Education System. I had gone off to Provo for a CES conference. We were in a session where Marion Duff Hanks, a recently released General Authority, was the featured speaker. It was not the first time I had heard hints about his subject matter, but it was certainly the most powerful presentation I had heard on the principle.

During his remarks he opened up the probability that many of Heavenly Father’s children would receive most of the effects of Heavenly Father’s work and glory during their pre-mortal estates and their post-mortal estates. For these Thoughts I will confine myself to this affirmation, but I was also brought bolt upright when Elder Hanks said his personal feeling was that Heavenly Father would not be finished with any of us until we were exalted. Since that is beyond the depth or height of my understanding I will not be going in that direction.

As I mentioned previously, Kathleen and I had just returned from spending three years loving and living among the wonderful people of Colombia in their beautiful country.

Colombia has one heart but the country is made up of many different cultures. There are those who are indigenous, those whose roots stem from Europe, those who arrived from Africa during that horrendous period of history when human selling of humans was a profitable business, there are those who identify with the Caribbean coast, others with the mountains, others with the jungle and still others with the plains. If we were to exhaust all the cultural differences which exist in the country we would still have to understand the multiple groups which are created because of the diversity of wealth and education in the country.

If we were to multiply the divergence of experiences which the inhabitants of Colombia have during their mortal sojourn by the many nations which have, do and will exist on this planet we begin to understand Paul’s words in his first epistle to the Corinthians chapter 15 verse 19.

And if in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.

In fact if we add all of those whose lives span but hours or days as mortal beings and the centuries and nations who have never heard the word of God during mortality and restrict the individual results of His works to our mortal span alone His plan makes little sense and in fact becomes illogical.

While we were serving in Colombia we became aware of one of the saddest scenarios of my personal life span. There were a large group of children, who roamed the streets of Bogota, ranging from infants to young adults who were referred to as ‘sewer children.’ The name was given because this was where the majority of them spent their young lives and called these sewers home. Their ranks were continually growing as they would often be the only ones who would rescue an abandoned infant and add them to their family. They managed to survive by cunning and thievery much like the street urchins in a Charles Dickens novel. For many of them their main sustenance was the inhaling of glue to numb their minds and bodies to the cold and pain and the hunger in which they existed.

Anyone who could even begin to make logic out of the justice of their eternal existence being dependent upon ‘this mortal life only’ and somehow hint that they had some kind of choice to live a Christ centered life has to have been blinded by the pride of the world.

There is no logical way their eternal existence can be measured on the same scale with that of a boy born of goodly parents in Pocatello, Idaho who had the benefit of having an abundant access to that part of the gospel which had been given for salvation in his day.

My current privilege of being authorized to use the sealing powers in the Newport Beach Temple has burned into my soul the testimony of our Heavenly Father’s work having been a great part of our pre-mortal existence, is a great part of our mortal existence (no matter how brief or extensive or under what conditions), and which I believe will continue for as long as needed in our post-mortal existence until our Father in Heaven can say His work with each of us has been completed.

We shall write more about this in next week’s installment.

(To be continued)

Sunday, May 15, 2016


I wouldn't call them abrupt nor dramatic changes, but there have been several shifts during my life when I felt I had really identified the key to living a Christ centered life.

Although I never voiced it to anyone and may not have even realized it myself, in retrospect I realize the first few decades of my life were probably controlled by the principle of obedience.

I grew up during an era when ‘a good spanking’ was an essential part of parenting. Therefore, I learned early on that the directions given by my mother or father were not to be questioned, considered as a topic up for debate, as something I could adjust to my own time table, nor an area where my natural creative ideas in bringing their words to fruition could be incorporated.

As The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints became more of an influence in my life, Apostles, Prophets, Stake Presidents, Bishops and other church leaders were placed on the same pedestal as my parents as ‘they who would be obeyed.’ Then, when I became a regular reader of the scriptures, I found myself daily adding to the list of commandments and principles which needed to be obeyed.

As the list became cumbersome and more and more difficult to stay constantly and completely aware of, I slowly decided there had to be a better way.

It wasn't an overnight shift and even now, after a lot of water has flowed past my porch, I still periodically find myself checking on my level of obedience to one principle or another.

It doesn't seem appropriate to call it a phase, but the next identifiable principle upon which I found myself being grounded, if I were to use worldly terms, would be called my ‘if it feels good, do it’ phase. I hasten to say that since I had spent all those years of my life firming up my foundation of using the principle of obedience as concrete, it was very difficult to get that ‘good’ feeling if I engaged in an activity contrary to the principles on my obedience list.

This period really became the time of my life when I used the Plan of Happiness both as an indicator of choices I should be making and as a measuring tool to indicate if the choices I was making were correct. If I felt like a dark cloud was enveloping me I knew I was making choices which weren’t correct. However, if after making a choice I felt that wonderful feeling of joy spring up around my heart, I was pretty secure that I had made a correct choice.

It was much later in my life than I would like to admit that I was able to begin the shift away from these ‘me being obedient’ or ‘me being happy’ constructs of life to a principle which made it easier for me to ‘get over myself’ a bit.

I suspect it started with the Savior’s admonition during the last supper as recorded in the Gospel of St. John chapter 13 verse 34.

A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another, as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.

This impulse toward ‘love for others’ being ‘the key to a Christ centered life’ was amplified by the teachings on the principle of love expounded by John in the 4th chapter of his first epistle, especially when he boldly states God is love and then continues by saying a man who says he loves God whom he cannot see, but hates his brother whom he can see is a liar.

Another factor which contributed to my shift to love being the emphasis of my personal gospel plan, I am sure was due to the phenomenon that as I aged, the circle of people who made me feel ‘warm and fuzzy’ when I was around them, seemed to be rapidly expanding.

It was at this time of my life when I became convinced that the most important thing we do during our lives is to make sure we do all we can to have loving and kind relationships with all of Heavenly Father’s children, even those who seem bent on making it difficult to do so.

It was quite miraculous to discover that when I concentrated on having loving relationships be a major principle in my relationships and at the same time attempting not to cause my neighbor to stumble into negative relationships, I found myself surging to a whole new level on the happiness scale.

Just when I was feeling really good about finding the key to living a Christ centered life, while I was reading the words of Jacob, the brother of Nephi, in the Book of Mormon in 2nd Nephi the 24th and 25th verses of the 10th chapter, I was struck with the overwhelming feeling that all the other ‘keys’, which I had concentrated my life on during extensive periods, were but passages leading to what might, at least for me, be the Very Key to having a Christ centered life.

Wherefore my beloved brethren, reconcile yourselves to the will of God, and not to the will of the devil and the flesh and remember, after ye are reconciled unto God, that it is only in and through the grace of God that ye are saved. Wherefore, may God raise you from death by the power of the resurrection, and also from everlasting death by the power of the atonement, that ye may be received into the eternal kingdom of God, that ye may praise him through grace divine.

When I was asked to speak in Sacrament Meeting near the end of my 77th year of my life, I was given the assignment to speak on the Plan of Salvation. As it turned out, and as I had suspected, I was only able to give a small portion of what I had prepared.

However, I was very grateful because it started a series of weeks when I was able to ponder and begin to formulate my thoughts on His plan. Hopefully, we all catch the significance of it being HIS plan based on HIS mercy and HIS grace and not on my will nor my perceptions.

During the coming weeks I will be sharing some of my ponderings and conclusions, as I have taken another, and hopefully a correct look at HEAVENLY FATHER’S ETERNAL PLAN.

(To be continued)

Sunday, May 8, 2016



Sunday, May 8, 2016

There are probably a lot of blessings which come to us in our lives which we are very latent in recognizing. One of the greatest blessings, which also may be one which becomes apparent to many of us far too late during many of our lives, is that of recognizing the marvelous contributions our mothers have made in our lives. Sadly, many times it is only after they have left mortality we are struck with the magnitude of the influence our mothers were upon the development of what we are.

In 1983 the Church News published by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints included the following thoughts from the latter day prophets about mothers. I think it may aid us all to read and ponder their words and, hopefully, our thoughts will be moved to think about what our own mothers have contributed to our lives.

Joseph Smith:

Oh, my mother, how often have your prayers been the means of assisting us when the shadows of death encompassed us.

Brigham Young:

If you were to become the greatest writer, the most eloquent woman speaker, the most gifted and learned woman of you time, and had neglected your home and children in order to become so; if, when you arise on the morning of Resurrection Day, you found that your duty as a wife and mother had been sacrificed in order that you might pursue any other duty, you will find your whole life had been a failure.

Wilford Woodruff:

Our mothers, sisters, wives and daughters occupy a very important position in this generation, far more so than they realize or understand. You are raising up you sons and daughters as plants of renown in the house of Israel in these latter days. Upon the shoulders of you mothers rests, in great measure, the responsibility of correctly developing the mental and moral powers of the rising generation, whether in infancy, childhood or still riper years.

Lorenzo Snow:

A mother, who has brought up a family of faithful children, ought to be saved, if she never does another thing.

Joseph F. Smith:

Motherhood lies at the foundation of happiness in the home, and of prosperity in the nation. God has laid upon men and women very sacred obligations with respect to motherhood, and they are obligations that cannot be disregarded without invoking divine displeasure.

Heber J. Grant:

My mother set an example of integrity, of devotion and love, and of determination and honor second to none. Her life was a sermon that rings through my soul to this day. One of the main reasons I am President of the Church is that I have followed the advice and counsel and the burning testimony of the divinity of God, which came to me from my mother.

George Albert Smith:

If I have done anything that I should not have done in my life, it would be something that I could not have learned in my mother’s home. There was sweetness and kindness and love there always.

David O. McKay:

Among my most precious soul treasures is the memory of Mother’s prayers by the bedside, of her affectionate touch as she tucked the bed clothes round my brother and me and gave each of a loving good night kiss. We were too young and roguish, then, fully to appreciate such devotion, but not too young to know that Mother loved us.

Joseph Fielding Smith:

I was trained at my mother’s knee to love the Prophet Joseph Smith and to love my Redeemer… I am grateful for the training that I received and I tried to follow the counsel that was given to me by my father. But I must not give him all the credit. I think a good part of it should go to my mother… She used to teach me and put in my hands, when I was old enough to read, things that I could understand. She taught me to pray, to be true and faithful to my covenants and obligations, to attend my duties as a deacon
and as a teacher and later as a priest.

Harold B. Lee:

To my mother who gave me birth And as God’s agent to
My entrance to this earth, I give thanks.

For your work to train my feet To walk life’s difficult path of right And honor the name ‘Brigham Lee’
Accept my praise.

Spencer W. Kimball:

My mother was faultless. She was a saint… the epitome of perfection. Who could even mention one virtue that she had not possessed? She seemed holy when the light would shine through her red hair and make a halo.

Sometimes when I read the words of the early prophets of the latter days, I am filled with jealousy that they were able to speak without the encumbrance of political correctness. I wonder if in our day when we tremble at the idea of offending another whether we have by so doing censored many needed instructions which we might have received.

I am grateful that my own mother was never encumbered with the muzzel of political correctness and was willing to offer correction and enlightenment without being burdened by whether my psyche might be permanently damaged.

I will now add a few words about mothers from the Prophets who been Presidents of the Church since 1983.

Ezra Taft Benson:

One apparent impact of the women’s movement has been the feelings of discontent it has created among young women who have chosen the role of wife and mother. They are often made to feel that there are more exciting and self-fulfilling roles for women than housework, diaper changing, and children calling for mother. This view loses sight of the eternal perspective that God elected women to the noble role of mother and that exaltation is eternal fatherhood and eternal motherhood.

Howard W. Hunter:

Surely the happiest marriages are those where your hurt is my hurt, my pain is your pain, my victory, your victory, my concerns, your concerns. The oneness of heart, of soul, of flesh seems to be more of a challenge than ever before in the world in which the question seems to be: “What is there in this for me?” Far too many marriage partners have become merely an ornament on the sleeve rather than a part of the heart.

Gordon B. Hinckley:

Put on thy beautiful garments, O daughters of Zion. Live up to the great and magnificent inheritance which the Lord God, your Father in Heaven, has provided you. Rise above the dust of the world. Know that you are daughters of God, children of divine birthright. Walk in the sun with your heads high. Know that you are loved and honored, that you are part of His kingdom, and that there is for you a great work to be done which cannot be left to others.

Thomas S. Monson:

As a boy, I made a startling discovery in Sunday School one Mother’s Day which has remained with me all through the years. Melvin, a sightless brother in the ward, a talented vocalist, would stand and face the congregation as though he were seeing one and all. He would then sing “That Wonderful Mother of Mine.” The bright, glowing embers of memory penetrated human hearts. Men reached for their handkerchiefs; women’s eyes brimmed with tears.

We deacons would go among the congregation carrying a small geranium in a clay pot for presentation to each mother. Some of the mothers were young, some were middle-aged, some were barely hanging on to life in their old age. I became aware that the eyes of each mother were kind eyes. The words of each mother were “Thank you.” I felt the spirit of the statement “When someone gives another person a flower, the fragrance of the flower lingers on the hands of the giver.” I have not forgotten the lesson learned, nor shall I ever forget it.

There is no doubt that the fragrance of my mother’s love lingers over me and will forever influence the direction of my destiny.

There is no doubt that the fragrance of Kathleen’s love lingers over our children and will forever influence the direction of their destinies.

There is no doubt that the fragrance of every mother’s love lingers over their children and will forever influence the direction of their destinies.

Sunday, May 1, 2016


Monday, November 16, 2015: It is sad – that so many will never feel the contentment – which comes from fully investing their love in the lives of others!!

Tuesday, November 17, 2015: Forgiveness is a gift which can be freely given – but can never be demanded from another!!

Wednesday, November 18, 2015: One of the things we can never do for another – is complete the process of repentance!!

Thursday, November 19, 2015: Being a good father or mother – is not only for the development of children – but the learning of eternal parental roles!!

Friday, November 20, 2015: We may never reach the fullness of love for another – until our feelings are amplified through – our words and actions!!

Monday, November 23, 2015: Even though my path towards the tree of life – has had different turns and bumps – than the one you have taken – does not make it a wrong path!!

Tuesday, November 24, 2015: It is strange how with my myopic view of the world – I can still see clearly your myopic view of the world!!

Wednesday, November 25, 2015: Truth is never popular with the totality of the populace – therefore – those who adhere to an absolute truth – may at times find themselves – among the unpopular!!

Thursday, November 26, 2015: Those glimmers of light – which at times briefly pierce the darkness of our journey – have guided many of us – safely towards salvation!!

Friday, November 27, 2015: Ironically – the gift of salvation – will only come after the price has been paid!!

Monday, November 30, 2015: The momentary peace and calmness which come with – the assurance of things hoped for – as they turn into belief – should be sufficient motivation for us to continue the quest!!

Tuesday, December 01, 2015: The further we envision the continuation of our relationships – the more we become committed – to making every effort today – to do only those things which will strengthen our bond towards one another!!

Wednesday, December 02, 2015: The usual wonderful experiences of life – may never be sensational enough – to become the subject matter of authors!!

Thursday, December 03, 2015: Many times the emotions generated by anticipated consequences – far exceed the actual outcomes!!

Friday, December 04, 2015: It is a far greater gift – to be a calming voice – than one whose words cause fear!!

Monday, December 07, 2015: The still small voice of the Spirit – is the most powerful calming influence – which we may be blessed to receive during mortality!!

Tuesday, December 08, 2015: Endurance during one’s life – can only be accomplished – one step at a time!!

Wednesday, December 09, 2015: It is a great blessing to live – so that love quickly dominates – the fears which can attend our mortal passage!!

Thursday, December 10, 2015: The gospel is never fully part of our lives – until we live the spirit of the law – as well as the routine rituals of religion!!

Friday, December 11, 2015: It will be interesting when we pass from mortality – to discover that all we have been doing – was preparatory practice for the next stage of our existence!!

Monday, December 14, 2015: It is more than possible – that none of us have sufficient knowledge and understanding – to worry about becoming perfect during mortality!!

Tuesday, December 15, 2015: Since we all lack perfect knowledge and understanding – necessary for achieving perfection – we should be content with the challenge – to do well with the minute knowledge and understanding we now have!!

Wednesday, December 16, 2015: Our inability to reach personal perfection during our mortal span – should help us be more patient with the imperfections of others!!

Thursday, December 17, 2015: We have not concluded our work on any virtue – until that virtue has become part of what we are!!

Friday, December 18, 2015: We should learn to serve – because there are those who have needs – not because we desire the admiration from others!!