Saturday, December 31, 2016



One of the scriptures I reread and review often in my mind is the first part of the 10th verse of the 46th Psalm. Be still and know that I am God.

As I have pondered on the relationship between quiet contemplation and coming to know God it seems obvious that the hustle, bustle and rowdiness which dominate our lives and most celebrations have a definite tendency to push our minds toward thinking about or knowing everything but God.

There are few who, while sitting in a jam-packed screeching stadium on a Sunday afternoon, ever have contemplative thoughts about Deity pass through their minds. Perhaps sometimes a blasphemic phrase might be uttered, but I don’t think that is what the Psalmist had in mind. It seems that while dancers are being deafened by decibels unknown to man, they will seldom take pause to ponder upon the reality of Eternal Beings. Sadly, this antithetical celebrating seems most evident as we approach and then commemorate the birth of the Son of God.

I wonder as we crowd into the confusion surrounding Black Friday Weekend how often will we pause to think of Joseph and Mary trying to find room in an inn of crowded Bethlehem? Will we be so occupied in getting that last stuffed talking thing before they are all taken that we are kept from pondering upon them finding refuge in a grotto stable? How often do we pause and try to grasp the irony which surrounds us, as we forget to keep His Day Holy, elbowing our way around the mall on the third day of that weekend rather than occupying a pew in a nearby chapel, in order to buy that last electronic devise which will be another instrument which will occupy our minds and distract us from contemplating Divinity?

I wonder as we scamper, strain and struggle to staple strings of lights to the highest peaks or while trimming the tree or arranging the Christmas village are we reminded of that wondrous star which pointed the way to the Prince of Peace? Do worries about burned out bulbs or broken ornaments or missing pieces so distract us that we are unable to concentrate on the testimony born by that heavenly body on that silent, holy night? Do I reflect upon how I have rejected His guidance in the past and deliberate on diligent dedication to that task in the future?

I wonder as we rush about trying to make the house spotless to assure a comfortable and pleasant stay for the fast approaching arrival of family and friends if we consider the conditions of that most Holy Family as Mary labored to bring Immanuel into mortality? As we see one more cabinet to dust or one more closet to straighten do we allow our minds to momentarily meditate on the mission of that newborn Babe?

I wonder as we fill our days with shopping, wrapping, more shopping, finding room to hide and store purchases, more shopping, more wrapping and tending to every stressful detail are we ever suspended in awe as were those angelically entertained humble shepherds in that quiet field so long ago? As I look at my contrasting abundance and multiple instruments of entertainment do I ever deliberate the truth that these blessings exist because He exists? Do I suspend my scurrying long enough to evaluate the extremeness of my blessings? Am I so blinded by the blissfulness which often attends the buying of the glittering and gleaming that I am distracted from pausing to give grateful tribute to Him from who all light flows?

I wonder as we try to enter the living room overflowing with gifts on Christmas morn do our minds contemplate the coming of the Wise Men to that humble family bearing their gifts fit for the King of Kings?
As we rip the paper from package after package do we pause even momentarily to remember Him who brought the greatest of gifts to all mankind? Do I, even for a few seconds appraise and marvel the opening of salvation brought by my Savior?

I wonder as we turn our kitchens into arenas of culinary excellence do we consider the meager repast Mary and Joseph partook of as the Child lay in a manger and the cattle lowed? As we partake of the abundant feast, piling our plate once and again, do we ponder on the poverty which surrounded the Promised Redeemer as He came into the world, to save the world? Does my appreciation for who He is and what He did increase in harmony with the swelling of my feast fed frame?

It seems evident that those same deafening distractions which hamper our contemplation of Jesus the Christ during the celebrating of His birth are also found throughout the year. If we do not conscientiously seek those silent times and places in our lives, we can easily forget Him and how much we should love and appreciate His life, mission and saving sacrifice.

I pray that during this harried season and throughout the year we will seek moments when we will be silent and search out the Savior; be calm and contemplate upon the grandeur of the Lord; Be still and know that He is God!

Scriptures: 2 Thessalonians 3:16, Isaiah 57:19, James 3:18, Isaiah 14:7, Isaiah 32:18, 1 Peter 3:4



Friday, December 30, 2016



Some responses are ‘way too easy to predict:

No matter how good someone looks – a flaw will be found
Whatever anyone does no matter how sincere the intention – someone will find some fault

No matter how perfect the temperature is – there will be those who say it is either too hot or too cold

No matter how beautiful the melody – someone will say that Christmas music started too early or they are already tired of it and it isn’t even December.

It is this last predictable phenomenon which I want to write about today. I admit that I am writing this before having destroyed my resolution to be temperate at the Thanksgiving table, but I have already heard or read several comments about someone being in such and such store and they were ALREADY playing Christmas music, giving this pronouncement the same inflection they would if aliens had invaded the planet and were demanding we give them the earth’s entire parsnip (or something we might actually miss if it were taken away) production or we would all be destroyed.

I find it interesting when we consider all the noises which fill our lives during the vast majority of the days of any given year, such as: the woofers from the pickup sitting next to us at a red light – the bickering blaring from political partisans – raucous roars from fanatics – and countless other squealings which uninvited unceasingly bombard our personal space.

Many who somehow find themselves in a somewhat silenced minority, welcome the peaceful and pleasant sounds which deliver the traditional carols and hymns to our environment and aren’t really very excited about the invasion of modern attempts to add to the music of the season in a way which often gives no respite from the hearing-destroying decibels which surround us throughout the rest of the year.

I long ago cast my lot with those who find the traditional carols and hymns of Christmas to be a welcome relief and therefore do their best to extend the soothing season as long as possible.

I gratefully welcome these limited days when to some degree:

The rattling of swords and rumblings of tanks – are softened by the soundings of joy by saints and angels, removing curses, making blessings flow

Music being rapped, screamed and bellowed – is being replaced by choirs of angels singing in exaltation, stimulating thoughts of adoration

Sarcastic, debunking, yelling talk show hosts – are momentarily quieted by joyous strains prolonged, reminding all to bend their knees with the shepherds of long ago

Spinning words of political proponents – are stilled by silent nights bringing love’s pure light

Crude slogans spewed by sports participants and supporters – silenced by the lowing of cattle joined by stars looking down from Heaven quietly proclaiming He is forever near and forever loves us

Constant clamor of congested highways – is calmed by glorious songs of old played on harps of gold, floating Heavenly music

Blaring televisions – are hushed as morning light praises the King and brings peace to men on earth

Bustlings of big box stores – are made mute by angelic hosts proclaiming a chance for second birth

Cramed calendars and agendas – are replaced by sharing the delight of wise men of old, spreading holy peace in all the earth

Screeching sirens – are made soundless by the beginning of the joyful song, never to cease, all glory to God on high

Sky invading crafts’ sonic sounds – are softened by angels singing strains sublime of redeeming love far away on Judea’s plains

Therefore, let the first Noel continue both day and night so that all may hear bells peal loud and clear, a chime sublime of peace on earth good will to men.



Thursday, December 29, 2016



What was it about that last package under the tree that always seemed to dim the youthful glow of Christmas? The wrapping was every bit as bright as any of those which had eagerly been opened to reveal mysterious hidden treasures. This last gift was always approached with hesitation and soberness as if it somehow contained some mystical vapors, which if released would subdue the joys and warmth that had filled the house since the week before Thanksgiving.

Memory has been clouded by years, but somewhere back there in the days which separate childhood from adulthood something transpired to bridge the annual gulf between this year’s last package and next year’s first wrapping; a potion which magically evaporated those terrible vapors which clouded joy and warmth and allowed me the blessing of an almost continual basking throughout the year.

Like I say, I can't remember when IT first came, but IT has forever since spanned the abyss between the transitory, busy, glittering, boisterous, yearning, youthful concept of Christmas and with a magical special flicker in a moment changed my soul. From that moment until now I have been allowed to more or less remain in a state where I can celebrate the passing of one warm moment of continual joy into the next which follows quickly, as if there was no gap in the feeling.

Although I can't clearly remember the when, the where or the what of the crossing of this wondrous bridge which brought me to this place where joy burns warmly in the ever presence of my mind, I can easily identify it as the brightest and greatest gift I have ever unwrapped.

The true joy of yearlong Christmas warmth became a prized possession that moment when I first opened the gift of all gifts and felt the warming love of my Lord and Savior Jesus the Christ and in that magical moment I was moved to a determination to set my feet upon the path which would enable me in some small way to return that love.


Wednesday, December 28, 2016



The Riley’s wish to send their wishes that the blessings of our Heavenly Father will come abundantly to each of you during this wonderful season and throughout the new year.

During this very special Holy Season, we wish to bear witness to this truth: it is Christmas which brings the Spirit of Christ to mankind; likewise it is Christ who can magnify the spirit of Christmas in our lives not only during this special time of year but all the year through.

Without Christ, the exchanging of gifts turns our thoughts from charitable love to concerns of indebtedness.

Without Christ, the bright lights and colorful decorations turn from being guiding beacons and uplifting revivers to glaring and gaudy glitter.

Without Christ, gatherings of family and friends turn from memory building reunions to better forgotten ruinous riotous rallies.

Without Christ, Christmas turns from a day of celestial contemplation to a day of trivial telestial thoughts.

Just as Christ turns our every participation during this special season into something positive, we believe it can be so the whole year through if we allow His love to penetrate our hearts each day as it does during this Holy Season.

Therefore, we take this moment to wish you all a joyous and wondrous Christmas; but more than this we wish for you the eternal joy which can be yours through having come unto the Lord and Savior, Jesus the Christ.


Tuesday, December 27, 2016



While the warmth of the hearth is a haven to some, others gleefully frolic in the frozen white.

Christmas trees are found in sufficient variety to satisfy everyone’s vision of ‘just right’.

Those with gourmet palates and those with simpler taste are filled with feast and sufficient faire.

Joy in the fulfilled eyes quickens the heart of the thoughtful provider.

An oak’s lost seeds bring life to the creatures housed in its limbs.

Grandfather shares the memories of Christmas past.

Dreams of Christmas day, soon to come, fill the thoughts of grandchildren.

All desire to be home, but for many distance and added generations makes it impossible.

Those who are alone are often comforted and warmed by a source seldom understood.

Rich colors abound in never ending combinations and brighten the lives of artisans and artists.

Gaily wrapped packages so lovingly done, bring gladness and squeals as they are hastily rent.

Concert halls are filled with souls being cheered by familiar and newly discovered strains.

Chapels are crowed with beaming parents as the musical sounds of children fill their hearts.

How wondrous and great are the scenes of this special season. There are enough and more to fill the needs and desire of every life.

Hopefully we will never forget – He who has provided this variety, goodness and abundance of life:

For … He was born to bring purpose to life
He lived to be an exemplar of the way
He died that all might live

We truly love and appreciate you our Lord, our Savior, and our King.


Monday, December 26, 2016



I heard the bells on Christmas day that old familiar carol play, but in despair I bowed my head: There is no peace on earth. Hate is strong and mocks the song of peace on earth, good will to men.

Then to my knees I went in prayer and plead with the Lord as I knelt there. Before scarcely a word I’d said a voice rang within my head. O come all ye faithful, joyful and triumphant, oh come ye to Bethlehem.

Little town of Bethlehem, how still we see thee lie. Above the deep and dreamless sleep the silent stars go by. Yet in the dark streets shineth the everlasting light. The hopes and fears of all the years are met in thee tonight.

For lo: the days are hastening on, by prophets seen of old, when with the ever circling years shall come the time foretold, when the new heaven and earth shall know the Prince of Peace their King.

The whole world sends back the song which now the herald angels sing. Glory, glory, to the new born King: Then, all is calm all is bright on this silent, holy night.

There, round yon Virgin Mother and Child, Holy Infant, so tender and mild. Sleep in heavenly peace.

Shepherds will wake at your sight, glories will stream from heaven afar, for Christ the Savior is born.

Son of God, love’s pure light beams from thy Holy face, the heaven born Prince of Peace, Son of Righteousness, light and life to all He brings.

Born to raise the sons of earth, born to give them second birth.

Joy to the world, the Lord has come, let earth receive her King.

How silently the wondrous gift is given.

But in this world of sin, where meek souls will receive him still, the dear Christ enters in.

With my prayer now done, Jesus the Christ my soul had won. In my mind the voice did cease to ring.

And then I heard the bells once more on Christmas sing, but now they pealed more loud and deep.

God is not dead, nor doth he sleep.

A voice, a chime, a chant sublime, peace on earth, good will to men.


Sunday, December 25, 2016



As we pause to add our prayers and well wishes to each of you during this very special Holiday Season, It is our desire to add our witness to these often unspoken truths.

There is no Christmas without the Son of God who was born of Mary.

It is Christ who magnifies the season.

We will be uplifted by the season only to the degree Christ is part of our celebration.

Without Christ, Christmas turns from a day of celestial contemplation into a day of telestial triviality.

Without Christ, gift giving can be changed from charitable exchanges of love to concerns of commercialization and indebtedness.

Without Christ, bright decorations turn from being beacons of light into gaudy glitter.

Without Christ, gatherings turn from reverent remembrances to riotous reunions.

Without Christ, eternal hope turns quickly into endless days of dismal darkness.

Without Christ, sustaining faith turns a journey into an unsupported abyss.

Without Christ, Christmas and all other days turn from Celestial contemplation's to thoughts about Telestial trivialities.

With Christ and his ever bright beacon; Faith, Hope and Charity become the foundation upon which families can become eternal and we are able to continually expand those we claim as brothers and sisters.

Therefore, for a brief moment as we celebrate the Day of Days, we wish you all a joyous and wondrous Christmas, but more that this we wish you the eternal joy which can be yours through having come under the Spirit which is Christ’s alone to give.

Count us among those who desire to be one with all.


Saturday, December 24, 2016


Over the years I have written several Thoughts about Christmas which I have chosen to share with you during the Twelve Days of Christmas. I hope they will bring you and yours a small drop of joy during this very special time of year.

Before we commence, it is important that we all come to a common understanding that the words The Twelve Days of Christmas indeed are the title of the carol we are all familiar with. The words the twelve days of Christmas also refer to an actual 12 day period which begins on the 25th of December and ends on the 6th of January or the traditional day of Epiphany when the manifestation of Christ’s glory is
celebrated by many Christians.


I suspect very few of us ever catch there being any connection between the birth of the Christ Child and the words we hear when people are singing about Turtle Doves, Swans-a-Swimming or Maids-a-Milking. None the less, if we join in, we all know to slow down when singing the words of Golden Rings and shift into a slightly lower register when we come to the words about a Partridge in a Pear Tree.

No one knows for sure if the traditions about this song are true or not, but historians place the origin of the song in the 1700’s in England.

One of the theories is that the song was a game used by British children, which could also have been the origin of such games as Spin-the-Bottle or Truth-or-Dare. In the old game of Memory-and Forfeit, player # 1 would sing a verse. Then player # 2 would have to remember and sing the verse by player #1 and add an additional verse. Then player #3 would have to remember the verses sung by players # 1 and # 2 and add an additional verse. This would then continue until player # 7 or whatever was unable to remember or add a verse. Upon the failure of whatever # player whose turn it was that person would have to pay a forfeit.

I know, you are thinking, what this has to do with Spin-the-Bottle let alone Christmas. Well the forfeit was to be given in the form of a kiss to the other children or a piece of candy, so that seems to be the connection to Truth-or-Dare.

The most often used idea of how The Twelve Days of Christmas ties in with the birth of the Christ Child comes from the abandonment of Catholicism in England during 16th through the 19th centuries. It has been hypothesized that during this period The Twelve Days of Christmas became a catechism song for Catholic children to remember the tenets of their faith, since they could not openly practice their religion.

Since there doesn't seem anything uniquely Catholic about the tenets assigned to each verse, we can easily see, that even if the preceding story is correct, why all Christian faiths would have no problem adapting the song to their Christmas rituals.

A Partridge in a Pear Tree - Jesus Christ

Two Turtle Doves - The Old and New Testaments

Three French Hens - The three virtues of Faith, Hope and Charity

Four Calling/Collie Birds - Four gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John

Five Golden Rings - First five books of the Old Testament

Six Geese-a-Laying - Six days of creation before God's rest on the seventh day

Seven Swans-a-Swimming - Seven gifts of the Holy Spirit

Eight Maids-a-Milking - Eight Beatitudes

Nine Ladies Dancing - Nine fruits of the Holy Spirit

Ten Lords-a-Leaping - Ten Commandments

Eleven Pipers Piping - Eleven faithful disciples

Twelve Drummers Drumming - Twelve points of belief in the Apostles' Creed

I hope our journey together over the next few days will let you feel how important you are to Kathleen and me.


Friday, December 23, 2016


When placed in the role of teacher – we should understand – learning ceases – when students ears grow heavy – from the weight of the words – which they have had to bear!!


Thursday, December 22, 2016


We will increase – our chances of increasing our understanding – when we seek and feast upon the words of mentors – whose wisdom exceeds our own!!


Wednesday, December 21, 2016


When you are in a state of confusion – asking someone who is at your same level of understanding – will seldom – bring added enlightenment!!


Tuesday, December 20, 2016


There is a very sound reason – why youth should be careful – about choosing their peers to be their mentors!!


Monday, December 19, 2016


Success in achieving a goal – is more often the result – of following a well-founded recipe – rather than trying a completely new way!!


Sunday, December 18, 2016


Before continuing with the last three continuos referred to in last week’s Thought, I would encourage you to review your responses to the quizzes from that previous Thought. It might likewise be a good thing, since the 1st of the New Year is raging upon us, to see if some of your responses could possibly be worthy of being placed on your list of resolutions which I am sure you are starting to assemble.

RESPECT ----------------------------------------------------------------DISDAIN

REVERENCE --------------------------------------------------------- PROFANE

CIVILITY -------------------------------------------------------------- AUDACITY

CHILVALRY ---------------------------------------------------------- EQUALITY


KINDNESS --------------------------------------------------- INDIFFERENCE

CHILVALRY --------------------------------------------------------- EQUALITY

I know, I know, this seems like a continuum where both ends could be construed as being positive, but as I have witnessed the demands being made for equality in all phases of our lives, I have witnessed an equal shift taking place in the loss of chivalry during the campaigning for those cultural movements.

There is little doubt that when chivalry had its 15 minutes of fame, bigotry, castes and ranks divided communities and nations internally and from one another.

There is just as small amount of doubt, that as individuals and nations have demanded equality among races, birthrights and social positions, the means to achieving those ends have in most cases ignored the notion of chivalry.

Perhaps taking a little quiz on this continuum will help clarify what I am trying to say.

Where would opening the car door for your female boss fall on this continuum?

Where would your actions toward people of fame, fortune or rank versus those less fortunate fall on this continuum?

Where would feeding the hungry regardless of their nation of residency or birth fall on this continuum?

Where would learning of languages, rather than demanding others learn yours, so that you might be able to better communicate with more of the inhabitants of the planet fall on this continuum?

Where would burning, rioting and causing social unrest in the efforts of furthering a righteous cause fall on this continuum?

Where would obnoxious behavior in order to make or correct a political point fall on this continuum?


I often observed my father leave the room during the indelicate moments when a babe was crying and needed the sustaining fluid which only its mother could provide. He likewise would never be heard discussing any personal or private matter in public settings.

I am sure my grandchildren, even though out of respect they complied, thought me to be extremely old fashioned, when I explained to them that we did not use commonly accepted four letter words as emphasis to our comments in our home.

I think it was somewhere around 1960 and I was enrolled in a beginning speech class at what was then called Santa Ana Junior College. There was one young lady who used some four letter words during her speech who was severely criticized for using such language which would be better kept confined to the docks or construction zones. I am sure my professor would die of humiliation if he were to hear the expletives used in today’s classrooms to emphasize points in almost all speeches.

All of these scenarios are laughed at in today’s liberalized society. Maybe the following quiz will indicate how far we have moved along this continuum.

Where would the gyrations and movements of today’s dances fall on this continuum?

Where would the acceptance of four letter words in casual conversation fall on this continuum?

Where would the inability to use words in their previously acceptable context fall on this continuum?

Where would the over exposure of skin and the casualness with which personal and private matters fall on this continuum?

Where would the lyrics of today’s music fall on this continuum?

Where would the liberalization of movie ratings fall on this continuum?

KINDNESS ------------------------------ INDIFFERENCE

My mother told me many times as I was growing up, ‘if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all. I quickly understood the saying nice things part of her message, but in retrospect I am pretty sure the indifference, whether inferred or meant in the last part of her scolding has taken on a very different meaning as I have moved through the decades after first hearing these words.

The reason I chose indifference for the opposite end of this continuum rather than unkindness, is since bullying has become an object of crusading mothers on every school ground in the United States and well represented nightly in The News, I felt the underrepresented characteristic of indifference needed some publicity.

Since there are some who take my charter membership in the Non Political Party Party as a stand of indifference, I need to assure all who might have had such a thought that just the opposite is true. I find that my membership in the N3P (Thank you Garnett Oyler Jorgensen for the ‘logo’ for our Non Political Party Party) allows me to express my views on politics and governments and still maintain an attitude of kindness and at the same time avoid becoming indifferent.

Your suffering is about over. Just one more quick quiz before you can go out to recess or go about making your Sabbath Day a Delight. (For Garnett Oyler Jorgensen that might be S2D)

Where would refraining from giving someone a compliment because you don't think you know them well enough fall on this continuum?

Where would withholding your pittance of charity because you are afraid of stepping on someone’s independence fall on this continuum?

Where would writing your grandmother a letter rather than texting or emailing fall on this continuum?

Where would parking in a handicap zone you are not qualified to use, since you only have a couple of items to pick up, fall on this continuum?

Where would refraining from loudly speaking on your cell phone in public places fall on this continuum?

Where would picking up the newspapers when your neighbor forgot to have delivery suspended, and safeguarding them until their return fall on this continuum?

I know there will be a great tendency for me to be judged as an old fuddy duddy because of what I have written these last two weeks. I want to hasten to assure one and all that I do not believe everything that is old to be on the good end of a continuum and everything that is new to be on the bad end of that same continuum.

In truth, my greatest desire is that there would be an absolute revolution, which would catapult our world onto a level of respect, reverence, civility, equality, elegance and kindness which has never even been tried, let alone achieved.

In truth, I also believe that the prophesied Second Coming of our Lord and Savior is not being held up awaiting a magical threshold of evil to be reached, but is only being delayed because we have yet to come to understand and act according to the level of the characteristics of respect, reverence, civility, equality, elegance and kindness required for Him to have a people to dwell among.

Saturday, December 17, 2016


It is foolish to think – that my kind actions or words – won’t help another to feel happy!!


Friday, December 16, 2016


It is foolish to think – that if another is hurt by my unkind actions or words – it is their own fault for being so weak!!


Thursday, December 15, 2016


It is foolish to think – that our unkind words and actions – will never cause another to feel hurt!!


Wednesday, December 14, 2016


The evidence – of the strength of our testimonies – is more powerfully expressed by our actions – than by our words!!


Tuesday, December 13, 2016


Even though the ‘firsts’ we stumble through during our lives – can make us feel weak and cause our hearts to beat fast – this should never be used as a reason – to cause us to hesitate to try again!!


Monday, December 12, 2016


One of the great surprises – which may come to us on judgement day – may be the realization – that all the tests and trials of our probationary period – were weighted in our favor!!


Sunday, December 11, 2016


I hope I didn't overuse the technique of continuums to teach a principle during the 50 years I was teaching for the Church Education System. However, during the latter part of my career it seemed like I was relying on this technique more frequently.

I remember a time, during these last years of teaching, when I had prepared a wonderful continuum to emphasize a point in a lesson and my mind wandered and I started thinking about Heavenly Father and whether He ever used continuums. I wondered if He had them for the relative goodness or badness of His children. I wondered if He did them for individuals or just humanity in general. I wondered if he had a book where he kept the continuums for the various eras.

As you probably already know, I didn't have any of those wonderings satisfied, but it was a nice moment of pondering. Hopefully, I have had other moments of pondering which have been much more productive.

There are a few continuums which have been running through my mind lately. Sadly, all of them in my opinion are not trending toward goodness.



CIVILITY ------------------------------------------------AUDACITY

CHIVALRY ----------------------------------------------EQUALITY

ELEGANCE ------------------------------------------VULGARITY

KINDNESS --------------------------------------INDIFFERENCE

I don't intend to do a history lesson on all of these continuum's, but this one cries out for a foundation on which a point will be made.

RESPECT ------------------------------------------------- DISDAIN

There was a time when the principle of agency was removed from most people’s choice of paying respect to another. Kings, Emperors, Czars, Sheiks, Knights, Samurai, Officers and all others above oneself were mandatorily paid respect by anyone considered inferior. This respect was forcibly demanded in both verbiage and body language.

I would never be one to advocate returning to the day when most of the world’s populace was kowtowing to a few of the gentry, but I think in our modern society we have swung the lever way too far to the disdain side of the continuum.

Just a little quiz about respect in the beginning of the 21st century!

Where would children calling their parents by their first names fall on this continuum?

Where would students slumping and sleeping in their most casual of attire in a classroom fall on this continuum?

Where would not using titles such as Mister or Missus or Brother or Sister fall on this continuum?

Where would your belief that all mankind are the children of a Universal Heavenly Father fall on this continuum?

Where would standing when a woman enters a room fall on this continuum?

Where would removing one’s hat during a national anthem fall on this continuum?

REVERENCE -------------------------------------------------PROFANE

Just outside of Bogota, Colombia, there is a salt mine where they have excavated inside of the mine a Cathedral in the salt near the town of Zipaquira. The Cathedral is cavernous and beautiful. On one of our P-days while Kathleen and I were serving as President of the Bogota North Mission, we accompanied a zone of our missionaries on a field trip to this very famous tourist attraction.

While we were in the sanctuary of the Salt Cathedral, several of the missionaries started acting more like teenagers on a field trip than servants of the Lord on a P-day excursion.

Neither Kathleen nor I said anything at the time, but during the next series of zone conferences there was a continuum on the board with the extremes represented by the two words Reverence and Profane.

This brings us to the point where we should be ready for our second little quiz. This one will be on the subject of Reverence in the beginning of the 21st century.

Where would texting friends during Sacrament Meeting fall on this continuum?

Where would wearing beach appropriate attire to church fall on this continuum?

Where would arriving after the Sacrament has been passed fall on this continuum?

Where would the noisiest place to be on Sunday is in the chapel just after Sacrament Meeting ends fall on this continuum?

Where would having a rock band as an attraction for Sabbath worship fall on this continuum?

Where would thinking about redecorating the living room during prayers fall on this continuum?

CIVILITY ---------------------------------------------------- AUDACITY

Not all that long ago in our civilized history, if a person had the audacity to affront another’s character, settlement would be made in the form of a duel with swords or pistols. As I witness the rapid fire affronting of character which takes place today, it immediately brings into my twisted mind, a question as to whether we could manufacture steel or lead fast enough to satisfy the duels which would be necessary to settle all of the audacious affronts happening every minute of every day.

The age where license seems to be assume in society when a person has the right to vocally utter any demeaning characterization of someone else’s personality or quirks, seems to lower a fraction every time a new calendar is magnetized to the refrigerator.

The miracles of the technical age have made it possible for us to up the frequency of our character assassinations, without the fear of cold steel or hot lead, as we hide behind cell phone and computer screens.

I am sure you have been breathlessly awaiting another pop quiz. This one will be on the subject of Civility in the 21st Century.

Where would the spreading of unsubstantiated gossip about a neighbor fall on this continuum?

Where would calling attention to an error misspoken by a family member fall on this continuum?

Where would the damning dialogue in the political arena fall on this continuum?

Where would putting a person in the service industry in their place fall on this continuum?

Where would overlooking an under charge, but never ignoring an overcharge on a bill fall on this continuum?

Where would excusing your own casualness about traffic laws while cursing the unlawful behavior of your neighbor’s casualness about such things fall on this continuum?

Since we are only half way through the list of continuum's with which I started this Thought, to no one’s surprise at all, I will be finishing this Thought in the week to come.

(To be continued)

Saturday, December 10, 2016


Testimonies – much like buildings of clay – when left unattended – will swiftly crumble and fall!!


Friday, December 9, 2016


It brings great joy to our soul – when others accept the gospel of Jesus the Christ – because we opened our mouths!!


Thursday, December 8, 2016


Even though others may not be ready to accept the gospel of Jesus the Christ – because we opened our mouths – one thing we can be absolutely sure of – they will never have the choice to accept the gospel – if we keep our mouths shut!!


Wednesday, December 7, 2016


As we progress – especially as it comes to living the principles of the gospel – we often have a tendency to make – that which is simple – very complicated!!


Tuesday, December 6, 2016


It will be interesting – when the scales fall from our eyes – and we once again see clearly – if part of the vision which unfolds – is that we will finally know – all the blessings we did not receive – because of the choices we made or failed to make!!


Monday, December 5, 2016


In the end – it will be a very small and unique group – of perfect individuals with perfect understanding – who will judge our value!!


Sunday, December 4, 2016


I am pretty sure all of us have them, so I won't cowardly shrink from disclosing one of mine. I want to put your minds at ease, since I am only plagued with my peculiar personal pet peeve periodically, it doesn't cause a lot of stress in my comings and goings.

There have been times when I have been afflicted with the utterances which excite my pet peeve in Sacrament Meetings, but more often it happens during Sunday School or Priesthood lessons. I am certain that as I reveal what it is I am bothered with, the most probable response from those who are reading this Thought will be, ‘WHAT????’

Hopefully, now that you have been properly prepared I will disclose my pet peeve. It always comes out in words similar to the following. ‘We need to hold up our light, so that others can be influenced by our good words and works.’


I am so glad you asked.

I will begin by reminding us all of some of the words contained in a revelation received by Joseph Smith on the 27th and 28th of December, 1832 in Kirkland, Ohio.

This Comforter is the promise which I give unto you of eternal life, even the glory of the celestial kingdom; Which glory is that of the church of the Firstborn, even of God, the holiest of all, through Jesus Christ his Son—He that ascended up on high, as also he descended below all things, in that he comprehended all things, that he might be in all and through all things, the light of truth; Which truth shineth. This is the light of Christ. As also he is in the sun, and the light of the sun, and the power thereof by which it was made. As also he is in the moon, and is the light of the moon, and the power thereof by which it was made; As also the light of the stars, and the power thereof by which they were made; And the earth also, and the power thereof, even the earth upon which you stand. And the light which shineth, which giveth you light, is through him who enlighteneth your eyes, which is the same light that quickeneth your understandings; Which light proceedeth forth from the presence of God to fill the immensity of space—The light which is in all things, which giveth life to all things, which is the law by which all things are governed, even the power of God who sitteth upon his throne, who is in the bosom of eternity, who is in the midst of all things. (Doctrine and Covenants 88: 4 -13)

There is no doubt in my mind that even the most casual perusal of these verses will leave all of us with the understanding that all light exists because of the Firstborn, even of God, the holiest of all, through Jesus Christ His Son. Therefore, whatever small beam might shine from my countenance exists because of whatever degree the Light of Christ has been given me is being manifest.

Lest we might erroneously think that mortalized heavenly spirits were somehow made exceptions of owing their lighted existence to the Savior, Joseph received the following words on the 6th of May, 1833.

I am the true light that lighteth every man that cometh into the world… (Doctrine and Covenants 93:2)

Jesus the Christ, while he was dwelling for a short time among the descendants of Lehi on the American continent, pronounced what I believe to be the clearest explanation of the light which we are admonished to hold up.

Therefore, hold up your light that it may shine unto the world. Behold I am the light which ye shall hold up—that which ye have seen me do. Behold ye see that I have prayed unto the Father, and ye all have witnessed. (Book of Mormon - 3 Nephi 18:24)

I am pretty sure that because of His overwhelming mercifulness the Savoir will smile and give a knowing nod at our selfness, as we proclaim to one another, that we have some form of independent light which we are capable of holding up. I am surer that He will graciously acknowledge our humbleness as we in this act of holding up light, recognize from whom all light and existence flows and continues.

Before I am deluged with scriptural references about holding up ‘our’ light, be assured that I am well aware of their existence, but I am also aware of continuous revelation of truth which flows from the Fountain of Light and, therefore, I recognize my dependent existence on He from whom all light flows. Without His light Bill would indeed be a very dull boy!

And now, my son, I have told you this that ye may learn wisdom, that ye may learn of me that there is no other way or means whereby man can be saved, only in and through Christ. Behold, he is the life and the light of the world. Behold, he is the word of truth and righteousness. (Book of Mormon - Alma 38:9)

Just so you are aware of the pitiful person who writes these Thoughts for a Sabbath Day, just as I was finishing venting myself regarding this peculiar personal pet peeve another one came to mind which will probably be the topic for next week’s Thought.

Saturday, December 3, 2016


It is not a wise thing – nor is it a proper use of agency – to let the opinions and words of others – determine one’s self-worth!!!


Friday, December 2, 2016


Unchecked wanting – may be the biggest barrier to finding happiness!!


Thursday, December 1, 2016


It is the sincere seeking for answers to our questions – that brings the greatest harvest of learning!!