Wednesday, November 30, 2016


There must be something important about the principle of love – since the last commandment the Lord gave to his disciples – was to love one another!!


Tuesday, November 29, 2016


There must be something important about the principle of love – since all the laws and the words of the prophets – will be obeyed – when we love God and our neighbor!!


Monday, November 28, 2016


Although cradle to grave educational goals – have been espoused and are worthy – even if we accomplish that goal – we should understand – we will still fall short of our eternal potential!!


Sunday, November 27, 2016


As some of my wonderful friends from Reno might be aware, I periodically do a rewrite of one of the radio talks I gave when we lived in Reno, Nevada.

I was searching out one of those talks to do a rewrite for this week’s Thought for a Sabbath Day. When I started reading this radio talk I was struck with the realization that it had been more than 25 years since I first wrote and read these thoughts for the radio show Reflections for a Sabbath Day produced by Carl Chamberlain.

Before I find myself launching into reminiscing about what has taken place during those 25 years, which have disappeared in the twinkling of an eye, let me share my rewrite of that long ago radio talk.

As Kathleen and I went through the ever building excitement of preparing to serve our mission in Colombia as President of the Bogota Colombia mission, we were also trying to put our bodies into some kind of physical shape.

As part of our reconstruction project we could be found most mornings doing our 3.3 mile walk along the beautiful paths in the Coughlin Ranch housing development on the western slopes of Reno. These walks provided us with ample time to share the various experiences we were having during this exciting time of our lives. Frequently the theme of our conversations centered on the reactions we were receiving as we shared with family, friends and neighbors the news about our call to serve in the country of Colombia.

All too frequently, there was a negative tone to those reactions. A sampling would include such comments as fears about drug dealers, terrible living conditions, concern about our children and grandchildren, our home we had been remodeling, what was going to happen to my career as a teacher in the Church Education System along with what seemed like hundreds of other considerations which they wondered if we had taken into account when we accepted the call to live in Colombia for the next three years. (Book of Mormon - Alma 26: 24)

In almost equal numbers we received an outpouring of comments bordering on euphoria. What a wonderful opportunity, what a blessing this will be for all your family, you and Kathleen will be such a great strength to the people of Colombia.

If Kathleen and I hadn't been living witnesses of the variety of reactions to our mission call, we might have thought that the wide diversity of these comments must have been reactions to a wide variety of different experiences.

As I reflect back on our exchanges during those morning walks, I have reaffirmed in my mind the belief that most perceptions we have are unique to the eye which is beholding.

This strange characteristic which causes each of us to have different understandings and beliefs about what we are witnessing or experiencing stimulates my thoughts into wondering why we behold or go through the same events, but our reactions and remembrances are often so radically different.

I am sure that even after 25 years of my personal observation of this phenomenon of diversified reaction to the same stimuli and pondering about it, I suspect I have not come closer to identifying the cause than what I expressed in that long ago radio talk.

I haven't checked, but I am sure it has nothing to do with such physical attributes as size or color. No, it seems that our reaction to the stimulus of light or sound seems to be a result of implanted social interpreters which have been embedded on brain cells by previous reactions to similar stimuli.

We seem to have built up reactionary responses which move along our personal internal continuum labeled on one end ‘self-interest’ and on the other extreme ‘my neighbor’s interest.’

During the temporal period when Heavenly Father’s children have had the privilege of abiding on this planet, the Lord has attempted to teach us the way of life which leads to happiness. As one of the main tenets of this path He definitely advocated that we put every effort of our beings into trying to move toward having our neighbor’s interests of paramount importance, while putting an equal amount of dedication into striving to eliminate self-interest from our lives.

The Savior was also adamant about the tenet that we should eradicate the barriers which might limit our definition of who our neighbor might be. Neighbors were not to be defined by geography. He said to his disciples, ‘Go ye unto all the world.’ Neighbors were not to be determined by pigmentation, genealogy, gender or any other artificial social category. ‘Teach ye every kindred, tongue and people,’ was His admonition.

There is little doubt that one of the real tests of discipleship is how well we are able to break down the man made walls between ourselves and our non-restricted category of neighbors. Then, once having gotten a foundation of the wonderful feeling of universal love for all of Heavenly Father’s children deeply inculcated into our beings, we have been admonished to go forth as far as our resources will allow us and do all we can to help, edify and strengthen our neighbors.

As always, with His perfect example, the Savior broke the bands of death for every person who would be born into and eventually pass from mortality. He paid the Atoning Price for sin for all who would repent. Our ultimate challenge is to see His good works and then try to emulate them in our own lives.

With this moment of reflection the rewriting of this radio talk has brought me, I am also made acutely aware that in life we have many moments which separate our lives before, from our lives after. Our lives before marriage and children were markedly different from our life after. Our lives definitely changed with the signing of our first contract with the Church Education System. Kathleen and I have agreed that our lives BCM were extraordinarily different than our lives ACM. (Before Colombian Mission – After Colombian Mission)
Such changes brought about by dramatic life style shifts can be reflected upon, but the total measurement of their affect upon us might have to be left to those who have a more universal understanding and knowledge.

However, in reflecting upon our call to serve among our wonderful Colombian neighbors, Kathleen and I will eternally be grateful that we were able to lay aside most of the self-interest parts of our lives and concentrate on the interests of our beloved Colombian brothers and sisters for three years. It was indeed a rare and blessed experience. (Book of Mormon - Alma 26: 31)

Saturday, November 26, 2016


Being the cause – of destroying a relationship – may be the greatest barrier – to our personal progress!!


Friday, November 25, 2016


Having a neighbor who is different – will never justify – treating them with indifference!!


Thursday, November 24, 2016


Greater understanding of a principle – will come – as we adhere to the requirements – of that principle!!


Wednesday, November 23, 2016


There are some principles – upon which all success is based – we will be more apt to reach our goals – as long as we strive to remain – committed to following those principles!!


Tuesday, November 22, 2016


It has been taught – that perfection is not a prerequisite for one to be chosen as a prophet – neither has it ever been – nor will it ever be – for those who try to publish peace!!


Monday, November 21, 2016


The source of that love – which casts out all fear – can protect us from being paralyzed – during our quests for progression!!


Sunday, November 20, 2016


I was going to start this Thought about Thanksgiving with the text of a reading I used to perform back in the day, but the words were in Pidgin English and I knew there wasn’t a chance I would be able to translate it into Spanish. (I may just send it out Thanksgiving Day for the enjoyment of those who speak English)

Anyway, this got me thinking about all the words which, for me, add meaning to Thanksgiving Day and my thankfulness every day of the year.


Praise God, from whom all blessings flow;
Praise him, all creatures here below;
Praise him above, ye heavenly host;
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.

Text: Thomas Ken


As I have loved you,
Love one another.
This new commandment:
Love one another.
By this shall men know
Ye are my disciples,
If ye have love
One to another.

Words: Luacine Clark Fox


Each life that touches ours for good
Reflects thine own great mercy, Lord;
Thou sendest blessings from above
Thru words and deeds of those who love.

What greater gift dost thou bestow,
What greater goodness can we know
Than Christlike friends, whose gentle ways
Strengthen our faith, enrich our days.

When such a friend from us departs,
We hold forever in our hearts
A sweet and hallowed memory,
Bringing us nearer, Lord, to thee.

For worthy friends whose lives proclaim
Devotion to the Savior's name,
Who bless our days with peace and love,
We praise thy goodness, Lord, above.

Text: Karen Lynn Davidson


From all that dwell below the skies,
Let the Creator's praise arise;
Let the Redeemer's name be sung
Through ev'ry land, by ev'ry tongue.
In ev'ry land begin the song;
To ev'ry land the strains belong.
In cheerful sounds all voices raise
And fill the world with loudest praise.
Your lofty themes, ye mortals, bring;
In songs of praise divinely sing.
The great salvation loud proclaim,
And shout for joy the Savior's name.
Eternal are thy mercies, Lord;
Eternal truth attends thy word.
Thy praise shall sound from shore to shore,
Till suns shall rise and set no more.

Text: Isaac Watts


Ducks in the pond quack a happy song.
Mother hens cackle the whole day long.
Birds in their nests and wind in the treetops
All join in singing a happy song.

Children are singing a happy song,
Singing together the whole day long.
Don't mind the weather; let's sing together,
All join in singing a happy song.

Anon – Czech folk song


Where can I turn for peace?
Where is my solace
When other sources cease to make me whole?
When with a wounded heart, anger, or malice,
I draw myself apart, Searching my soul?
Where, when my aching grows,
Where, when I languish,
Where, in my need to know, where can I run?
Where is the quiet hand to calm my anguish?
Who, who can understand?
He, only One.
He answers privately, Reaches my reaching
In my Gethsemane, Savior and Friend.
Gentle the peace he finds for my beseeching.
Constant he is and kind,
Love without end.

Text: Emma Lou Thayne


Abide with me! fast falls the eventide;
The darkness deepens. Lord, with me abide!
When other helpers fail and comforts flee,
Help of the helpless, oh, abide with me!

Swift to its close ebbs out life's little day.
Earth's joys grow dim; its glories pass away.
Change and decay in all around I see;
O thou who changest not, abide with me!

I need thy presence ev'ry passing hour.
What but thy grace can foil the tempter's pow'r?
Who, like thyself, my guide and stay can be?
Thru cloud and sunshine, Lord, abide with me!

Text: Henry F. Lyte

May these and all the words of Thanksgiving Day fill our hearts with song this day and always!

Saturday, November 19, 2016


One of the happiest discoveries we may make – is after searching the world for the secret to happiness – we discover it was to be found at home with the family!!


Friday, November 18, 2016


One of the saddest discoveries we may make – while searching the world – for the secret of happiness – is that it was to be found at home with our family!!


Thursday, November 17, 2016


No matter how low – the standards of the world sink – and the bar of morality is placed – we must resist the temptations to step over it!!


Wednesday, November 16, 2016


Just like all attributes of our Father in Heaven – His love, mercy, grace and forgiveness – are absolute and eternal!!


Tuesday, November 15, 2016


The chosen conditions of the world’s population – and the actions of the majority of Heavenly Father’s children on the earth – make it much easier for a true disciple – to be viewed as a peculiar person!!


Monday, November 14, 2016


It is interesting that the descriptions – the Lord uses to describe his disciples – that they were to be a peculiar people – has taken on a derogatory connotation!!



Through the act of the Atonement – our Savior took our burdens upon Himself – through repentance, being baptized, obedience and partaking worthily of the Sacrament – we release them from ourselves!!


Sunday, November 13, 2016


The game of what if was a favorite of mine when I was growing up.

What if I had been taller?

What if I had been born with wealthy parents?

What if I was so smart I didn't have to go to school?

Without disclosing any more of my insecurities, I will just confess that I probably spent way too much time daydreaming.

During my more mature years, I didn't really quit playing the game of what if, I just changed the content of the questions. One of my favorite adult versions of the game has to do with daydreaming about how my world would be different if certain historical characters had made different choices.

What if Adam and Eve chose to eat veggies because they didn't like fruit?

What if Moses stayed in the valley because he didn't like to climb mountains?

What if Columbus chose to stay on land because he was always sea sick when on boats?

What if Joseph Smith chose not to believe the promises in the scriptures?

What if Benjamin Franklin chose not to fly kites in the rain?

If I really want to get into dangerous territory I venture into playing the what if game with even more personal questions?

What if my ancestors had lived in Africa rather than Ireland?

What if my grandparents had chosen not to listen to those ‘Mormons?’

What if I had gone to England rather than Mexico on my mission as a young man?

We don't have to play the what if game for very long before we realize that many of the conditions of whatever cultural norms we reside in, are the result of someone having choices placed before them, and then having the courage to act decisively. I have often felt that the only thing worse than making a wrong decision, is being incapable of making any decisions at all.

I have little doubt that we have all been in a situation with someone where, after listening to them vacillate for what seemed like an eternity, we wanted to scream, ‘please make a decision even if it is wrong.’

Every time I am in one of those situations, I am reminded of Dr. Seuss’ character, the ‘Zode,’ who stood at the fork in the road, not knowing whether to go this way or that; who finally decided to start out in both directions at once and accomplished nothing more than splitting his pants.

If what my parents taught me in my youth about decisions has validity and I am very certain it has, I am left with the belief that there is no such thing as not making a decision. This principle gains even greater weight when we come to realize that in the end we will all be an accumulation of acting or being acted upon. When we choose to make a decision we are the captain of our accumulating selves.

When we are in the limbo state of indecision we are yielding ourselves to be acted upon.

From the very beginning our forefathers, including Adam and Eve, were faced with having to make decisions. In the Garden our Father explained to them that their earthly probationary period would not just include, but was for the purpose that they might learn to distinguish between good and evil and choose the one and eschew the other. This fundamental admonition became the basis of learning to use their agency correctly so that they would make decisions which would result in growth rather than destruction, which would give them forward momentum rather than stagnation.

As in so many aspects of our modern society, we have become victims of our supposed sophistication when it comes to making decisions. Thereby, we have redefined the results of indecisiveness, believing that standing at the fork in the road with our pants split in no way will cause us to be acted upon, nor will it result in any ill effects upon our character.

The voice of the people elects officials who are entrusted with the task of making hard decisions which will be for the good of the whole.
These elected officials hire expensive experts to make feasibility studies so that they will have the facts to make a decision for the good of the whole.

These expert facts are then debated in endless councils so that a decision can be made for the good of the whole.

By the time this has been accomplished it is time to elect new officials.

The pot holes remain unfilled.

The water pipes continue to age.

Etc. Etc. Etc.

If any of us complain too loudly about the stagnation brought about by the indecisions of our elected officials, we are soon brought about by the realization that we are but pots calling the kettles black.
We find these same scenarios being enacted in our homes, schools, churches and every other unit of our communities. Since all of us live in glass houses and all of ‘them’ are ‘you’ and ‘me’ we should not and dare not start casting stones.

It takes very little imagination to walk in Joshua’s shoes and understand his frustration when he challenged the Tribes of Israel to stop halting between two decisions.

Sometimes I get so upset about all the stagnation which has resulted because I see so much halting between decisions, that I almost feel like writing someone, somewhere about something. But the day is almost spent – what if I do it tomorrow – or what if I do it the day after.

Saturday, November 12, 2016


There is no sweeter sound to be heard – that the comforting whisperings of the Spirit – confirming in our minds – that we have done well!!


Friday, November 11, 2016



It is a great blessing – when that which we should do – is that which we enjoy doing!!


Thursday, November 10, 2016


Even though the miracle of the Savior’s atoning act – combined with the constancy of our repentance – washes us clean – we must always remember we will ultimately be – the accumulation of our choices and experiences!!


Wednesday, November 9, 2016


We are all a continuum – of what has been – what is – and what will be!!


Tuesday, November 8, 2016


Everything we did in our premortal life estate – is added upon during our mortal sojourn – all that we do in our post mortal existence – will continue to add to our eternal existence!!


Monday, November 7, 2016


It may be as important – who we learn from – as much as – what we learn!!


Sunday, November 6, 2016


Destroying remarks float around and out of the schoolyards as freely as if the whole purpose of these facilities was to teach and perpetuate the art, or maybe it has become a science, of bringing one another down. Whether this degrading practice is something brought from home or is a byproduct of the schoolyard atmosphere, makes little difference, since the image damaging attacks continue unabated, being spewed loud and from generation to generation, over asphalt and grass.

Sadly, the targets are often those, who by some act of nature, have already had to start their young lives with two strikes against them or with one hand tied behind them. If we could linger near the schoolyard fences before, after or during lunch and recess times, we would quickly realize that these evil practices have no boundaries over which they do not spill. They are just as viciously spit out equally to all races, abilities and social groups.

Whoever the evil words are directed toward, their purpose always has but a single aim, which is to attack and ultimately bring another child of God to a lower state of self-esteem. This ugly practice of trying to lower others with the twisted aspiration that somehow we will personally rise to a higher status, has been perpetuated so long and the general populace has become so skilled at the sarcastic or demeaning cut, it is a wonder that mankind hasn’t, (as some have theorized we all began) returned to the muck from which we came.

We attack physical attributes, as is we all had the choice of rearranging our genetic makeup at will. (Just think of the billions upon billions of dollars which are spent annually, because for some reason we have been made to think that our bodies fall short in one or a number of categories)

You are too fat – You are too skinny – You have four eyes – Your hair looks like a carrot – You are bald – You have a comb-over – Your nose is too big – Your nose is too crooked – Your belly is too big – Your muscles are out of proportion – Your skin is too dark – You look like a ghost – etc. etc. etc.

We attack mental ability, as if we all had total control over the quickness of the electrodes in our brains.

You are an egghead – You are a dunce – You are the teacher’s pet – You are a rascal – You are a nerd – You are a dummy – etc. etc. etc.

I pray I have not unwittingly supplied some with a supply of new demeaning cuts. My purpose in giving these examples was just to bring reality to this Thought. I also pray that your mind is not opening up to the many additional rude and cutting remarks you have heard during your lives.

As we move from the schoolyard into what some have referred to as ‘real life’, many of us, while adding calendar years to our increasingly creaky bodies, hold fast to these childish bullying tendencies. We go to our places of employment or our social groups and spend the day tearing down and destroying each other’s characters and abilities. Spewing forth words which will make our fellow workers, (another euphemism we use in order to make strangers out of our brothers and sisters, who all share the commonality of a singular set of Heavenly Parents) look and feel less than they really are.

They can't figure things out – They are lazy – They are a kiss up – If you could hear what they say behind your back – They are only concerned for themselves – etc. etc. etc.

There seems to be a graduate school for those who really excel in making great things small. For those who have become bored and are no longer content with tearing down mere mortals, (whose flaws are after all, so easily recognized), that they have turned to attacking God striving to make Him nothing, just as they have done with a brother or sister. They heap guile upon guile until they feel they have achieved their ultimate goal of making Him nothing.

If God is good why is there so much evil in the world – God no longer exists – God is a devise of man to control others – Belief in God is a crutch for the weak – Anyone with an ounce of intelligence understands the concept of God has just been a belief perpetuated so that men can have a name by which to command their destruction of one another – etc. etc. etc.

As I have witnessed the ongoing diatribe coming from the schoolyards, work places, social groups, heaping condemnations on brother, sister, fellow and friend and observed those who have moved through the elementary levels and on to the graduate level of spewing condemnation upon God, some quotes from an article I read years ago (December 3, 1986) in the Christian Century, seem appropriate.

It is an astonishing reflection that at the beginning moment in the history of the Universe, all of the hydrogen would have turned to helium if the force of attraction had been only a few percent stronger. (Bernard Lovell)

In the stars, carbon just manages to form and then just avoids complete conversion into oxygen. If one atomic level had varied half a percent, life would have been impossible. (Fred Hoyle)

The odds against a universe like ours coming out of something like the big bang are enormous. I think there are clearly religious implications. (Stephen Hawking)

But how can there be Intelligence behind the creation? Have we not reduced God to nothing? After all, if man in all his nothingness can explain away God, then God really must be nothing.

It would be a shame if we woke from our mortal death to find out we
had been so caught up in our childish kindergarten game of ‘slam our neighbor’ that we then hear our Eternal Father say ‘in spite of all my reaching out, in spite of my constant grace and mercy, you were so busy with your absurd game of degrading one another and Me, that you never recognized my hand during you three score and ten.

Just one more quote from the previously mentioned article in the Christian Century.

In our 150 pounds of protoplasm, in our three pounds of brain, there may be more operational organization that there is in the Andromeda Galaxy. The number of associations possible among our ten billion neurons, and hence number of thoughts humans can think, may exceed the number of atoms in the universe. (Holmes Ralston III)

I believe the sooner we can become dropouts from the vulgar spewing of insulting epithets which affects society to such a horrendous degree, the sooner we will realize the wondrous and good characteristics in others, the marvelous abilities our fellows have and most importantly, the marvels and comfort which come from drawing closer to our Heavenly Father.

What a staggering thought that man may really be a being of unlimited capabilities derived from the eternal DNA of Exalted Parents, and should therefore, be treated with utmost respect.

Which leads us to an even more important thought. If man has such unlimited capacity, what might be the capabilities of an Exalted Being? Would He not be ultimately worthy of being worshiped with reverent thoughts and words?

It is little wonder that when Moses came to know God that he also came to know there was not anything that was too hard for the Lord. (Old Testament – Genesis 18:14)

Therefore, I believe it is not too difficult for him to cause me to have a change of heart, so that I no longer feel a need to denigrate the character of a brother or sister and even more importantly that my heart can be turned to seek Him rather than diminish Him.

Saturday, November 5, 2016


It will be interesting – when at last we are able to see clearly – the effects of the trials and blessings in our lives – which we will be most grateful for and number as blessings – and – which we will regret and count as our trials!!


Friday, November 4, 2016


It is impossible to be a disciple of someone – when our beliefs and actions are contrary to their teachings!!


Thursday, November 3, 2016


It only takes some people – seconds – to destroy the wonderful spirit – which it has taken hours, days and sometimes a lifetime to generate!!


Wednesday, November 2, 2016


It is only through accessing the Universal Mind of God – that our journey toward acquiring Universal Knowledge begins!!


Tuesday, November 1, 2016


If there was a person – who mastered the world’s knowledge – they would have but a spec – of the knowledge available throughout the universe!