Sunday, December 31, 2017


As this year draws to a close I begin a new adventure which should carry me well into my 81st year. As I am about to venture forth on this task I have longed to do for a very long time, I feel a need to explain how coming to this moment has taken such a long time and although my bundle of experiences has been very extensive I still wonder if the preparation period has been sufficient to see me successfully through the next 100 weeks of writing.

In recent days I have been taking an inventory about the preparatory path I have been troding during the majority of my life.

During the first years of my life and well into my teen years my foundational experiences mainly consisted of that of a learner. I was always a very calm and obedient student in the public arenas of education, but in the Primary and Sunday School classes at church, I was probably rightfully branded as a disruptive child. I always credited much of my acting out to the repetitious material and the uncreative presentations of the lessons. Not many of my early teachers went beyond reading the lessons in class.

I will have to ask Bishop Matthews, when I see him again after the resurrection why he called me to teach the 13 and 14 year olds in Sunday school when I had just finished my junior year of High School and was barely 17 years old. It might have been requested by the teacher who was teaching my age group in Sunday school. Then again, it might have been because this particular group of 13 and 14 year old teenagers had much the same attentiveness in Sunday School I had demonstrated most of my young life and the Bishop thought I might be able to tame those who shared like characteristics with me. As I look back it might have been a heaven sent directive to allow me to have a glimpse of the purpose for which I had been sent to earth.

I had a short break as I enjoyed the hospitality of the US Army before heading to Northern Mexico to spend two plus years teaching the gospel, learning to love others and take some baby steps in becoming more inclusive in my relationships. If my pre Army experience with an enthusiastic group of 13 and 14 year olds hadn't illuminated in my brain the direction my life’s work as a teacher would take, this time among my beloved brothers and sisters of Mexico turned the light brightly on.

Not too long after returning home and while I was courting Kathleen, I started teaching Early Morning Seminary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. I ended up teaching for a total of four years, which was just long enough to go through the entire four year curriculum. Besides marrying my eternal companion during these years and starting our family together, I was working full time in construction and trying to complete some college courses. The complete story can be found in my autobiography, but the short version is that after I had taught four years of early morning seminary we found ourselves in Provo, Utah, where the offices of the Church Education System were located at the time. In two short days my feet became firmly planted on the path of teaching the gospel as a career, something that I didn't even know existed until a year earlier.

For the next 41 years with only a short interruption of three years while Kathleen and I presided over the Colombia Bogota North Mission for our church, I was in the classroom from180 – 240 days a year teaching 5 – 7 hours a day, along with being involved in my church assignments which usually included teaching.

As if I hadn't been blessed enough, I was able to teach an adult class for the Stakes of southern Orange County for another five years when my body had to have bionic parts put in it to keep me functional. During these last five years of wonderful experiences interacting with students in formal classroom settings, two very important events happened which would cause me to embark on paths I never would have imagined. First, the ‘always seeking to serve’ Pam Larsen gifted me a computer they were no longer using in their home and my very dear friend Paul Maddox out of the goodness of his heart offered to tutor me in the fundamentals of computers. Second, since I was no longer under the direction of The Church Education System, I was free to develop and teach whatever I desired. I started developing and writing my own lessons and found I was enjoying the extensive preparation I was doing during these final years as much as I was the two hours myself and the students spent together in the classroom each week.

Having received these two wonderful gifts, and not wanting to be found an ungrateful receiver, since leaving the classroom I have been involve for the last eight years with a cyber space classroom which now finds its way into the computers of brothers and sisters in many lands and of many ages. Besides assisting me in my desire to become ever more inclusive in my relationships, this post formal classroom writing experience has resulted in my self-publishing this work plus four other volumes of Thoughts for 100 Sabbath Days, two volumes of Life's Lessons Learned and my autobiography.

When I first started writing during these days of retirement I was desirous to leave a legacy for my children and my children’s children about who I am and what I believe. I soon found a need to continue the commission I received from Elder Perry when he set Kathleen and I apart to preside over the Colombia Bogota Mission, which was to convert the missionaries with whom we were blessed to serve to the gospel of Jesus the Christ. I soon found myself reestablishing connections with students from seminary and institute classes as well. My friendships on Face Book are now extensive and they also have been included as brothers and sisters, even though we may only know one another in the spaces of cyber.

Now why have I recanted this entire preparatory path I have been walking and what is this marvelous adventure I want to embark upon?

I want to write at least 100 Thoughts based entirely on the teachings found in the Book of Mormon.

Why would I choose to center such a large portion of my remaining life on this volume of scripture when it is obvious my past mortal life is much more extensive than my anticipated future days?

1. During the times when I have been privileged to teach the Old Testament I often found myself with more questions than answers. As the saying goes, if you want to have three views on a given scripture ask two Jewish Scholars. I at times found it difficult to find the characteristics of God as described in that work to be in harmony with my belief in a loving Heavenly Father who, along with His son Jesus the Christ, dedicated their existence to bringing their children to immortal and eternal lives. I have even studied rabbinical writings hoping that I might gain greater light by having a better understanding of the point of view of the original writers of those holy books. Although the Pearl of Great Price adds some very precious nuggets to our understanding of the Old Testament teachings. I would never be able to fill a volume of 100 Thoughts for a Sabbath Day from that small treasure trove.

2. I have had the opportunity to teach the New Testament in many ways and have grown to love the Savior and have felt His love because of His Atoning sacrifice, but I always felt a sense of something missing. What I finally settled on as being the missing link was that I didn't find much counsel for the happenings of my daily life in the 20th and 21st centuries. I have been blessed to read writings from almost all Christian faiths and I am grateful that my understanding of the principle of grace was greatly expanded which, of course, also expanded my love for Heavenly Father and His son Jesus the Christ.

3. The Doctrine and Covenants is foundational and absolutely important to the substantiating of one’s belief in the restoration of the gospel and the authority and offices of the church, but more and more it has become a volume which is used to teach the historical foundations of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Since I have never taken the time to collect nor digest the personal stories to make these lessons come to life, I have had to defer the teaching of the Doctrine and Covenants to those who have paid that particular price.

4. Therefore, I will spend the next two years of my waning life writing about the Book of Mormon.

The Book of Mormon is the foundation of my eternal beliefs and through it my lack of testimony in some principles has been slowly eroded until there remains but a very small hill where once a mountain stood.

The Book of Mormon was translated and brought to light by Joseph Smith as a warning and guide to those who would live during the preparatory days preceding the second coming of the Lord Jesus the Christ.

The Book of Mormon is a complete self-help book on how we can incorporate the Plan of Happiness into our daily lives.

The Book of Mormon is the more sure witness that Jesus is the Christ.

I believe with all my heart that as Joseph Smith taught, a person can get closer to Jesus Christ by reading the Book of Mormon than by any other work.

Therefore, I rejoice as I set out on this wonderful adventure for at least the next two years.



Saturday, December 30, 2017


Our ministering – will never count for more – than when we are serving the one!!

Friday, December 29, 2017


Until we learn to share – our experiences – spirit to spirit – we never really – come to know one another!!

Thursday, December 28, 2017


Some of the most powerful touches – we will feel in our lives – will probably come from sources – other than hands and fingers!!

Wednesday, December 27, 2017


A license to drive – or – even to fly – will never get us as far – as our license – to enter the House of the Lord!!

Tuesday, December 26, 2017


In the marvelous mathematics of the eternities – everything counts!!

Monday, December 25, 2017


The bells tolling in the distance
Slowly change slumber to awakening
And there is joy

We rise and see the first rays of sunlight
Bouncing off the windows across the valley
And there is joy

The family gathers to break
The night’s renewing fast
And there is joy

Musical sounds of happy tunes
And sacred music fills the air
And there is joy

The light brightened decorations
Sparkle on the still fragrant tree
And there is joy

Gifts are exchanged in celebration
Of the Heaven sent Son’s birth
And there is joy

Each excited revelation of items hoped for
Is accompanied by laughter and glee
And there is joy

Remnants of wondrous wrappings
Are quickly bundled and gone
And there is joy

Holy books are distributed
And opened to well-marked pages
And there is joy

Thoughts are shared of
Shepherds tending flocks
And there is joy

Mother’s tender words remind all
Of the most special of all babies born
And there is joy

A young child speaks of
A long ago brilliant star
And there is joy

Grandpa reminds all of wise men
Bringing news of a king of kings
And there is joy

Miracles are recounted reminding all
He made the lame to walk and the blind to see
And there is joy

Each shares what marvelous uttered messages
Are tucked deep in their gladdened heart
And there is joy

Dad reads about the pinnacle act of His Atonement
Giving understanding to the purpose of life and death
And there is joy

Fragrances fill the air reminding all
Of Christmas meals past
And there is joy

We gather around the leaf extended dining table
And reminisce and enjoy the meal lovingly prepared
And there is joy

Once empty stomachs are quickly filled
With traditional season specialties
And there is joy

Familiar family traditions and napping
Fill the day’s Remaining hours
And there is joy

The sun sets behind the hill
Not long ago lit by morning’s rays
And there is joy

The accompanying dim of sunset
Is brightened one more time by shining abodes
And there is joy

Once again distant bells are heard
Rolling and tolling upon grateful ears
And there is joy



Sunday, December 24, 2017


Everywhere we look we can see evidence of changes which have swept our villages, towns and cities:

We see – Homeless people after having been ignored for months now being greeted and treated kindly by citizens suddenly aware of their destitute saddened lives!

We see – The homes of a Kilowatt counting populace burst out in brilliant displays of light and sound as if energy had suddenly become free and endlessly abundant!

We see – Thermostats programed for maximum production temperature turned up a few degrees giving a warm and cozy feeling to those gathered to exchange greetings!

We see – Management who usually distance themselves from employees comingling, breaking down rigid artificial barriers of vertical organizations!

We see – Bosom buddies from high school and college breaking their yearlong vigil of silence wishing happiness on social media and even some old school cards of sentiment and cheer!

We see – The walls of church’s straining to the annual rush of parishioner’s crowding into seldom used pews and halls being filled with sounds of merriment!

We see – Teachers and students breaking the enmity barriers and joining together in acts of good will towards one another!

What has happened to cause this change in the hearts and actions of all we view?

Is it possible – That the accumulation of articles in newspapers, radio, television and computers that started to fill pages and screens mid-September have finally worn down the resistance of even the most rigid and hard hearted?

Is it possible – That the anticipation of one final paid holiday benevolently given by union struck employers now overwhelms employees with feelings of gratitude?

Is it possible – That the cold and darkness of winter’s days causes us to fill our lives more abundantly with artificial light, warmth and color?

I suspect any explanation is possible, but I personally wish to believe the change has come upon us and our surroundings because we individually and collectively are being led, directed and guided consciously or subconsciously, toward some level of contemplation of the meaning of the earthly advent of the Lord Jesus the Christ.

Was this – Babe born in Bethlehem really the offspring of Deity?

Was this – Really God the Creator who had condescended to come to dwell with men?

Was this – The Teacher of all truth – the source of all light and love?

Was this – The Son of God, come to earth to declare the one way for joy to be found among men?

Was this – The Prince of Peace come to place the feet of those who would publish peace firmly upon the mountain?

Was this – The Healer who came to bind men’s wounds and cure women’s ills and mend the broken hearts of all?

Was this – The Miracle Maker by and through whom all things became possible?

Was this – The Savior and Redeemer who came with the enabling power to cleanse men’s souls and break the bonds of death?

I earnestly and daily pray

With each ending day – The many testimonies which have been borne will begin to sink more and more deeply into more and more hearts!

With each ending day – The thoughts which cause us to annually re-evaluate the meaning of life will expand to fill our every day!

With each ending day – Our souls are being penetrated more powerfully towards having that mighty change wrought upon them!

With each ending day – We will be moved toward an increasing crowd of relationships filled with acts of love!

That with each ending day – Christmas’ season is expanding to be enjoyed always and forever!

I hope as your morrow breaks – joy fills your heart to overflowing and each life you touch is left brighter because you are there.



Saturday, December 23, 2017


It is almost frightening to think – how modern technology – can cause the smallest sentence which drops from your lips – to create a storm around the world!!

Friday, December 22, 2017


It isn't necessarily the biggest box of chocolates – that demonstrates our love – many times a sweet nothing – from the heart – will do the job!!

Thursday, December 21, 2017


There is only one way – to find out if you might be – that angel – sent by Heavenly Father – to help someone – in their time of need!!

Wednesday, December 20, 2017


Load and harsh notes – may keep us from coming in touch – with spiritual growth impulses!!

Tuesday, December 19, 2017


Sweet and pure musical notes – stir parts of our souls – which are important to be moved!!

Monday, December 18, 2017


We may not have gained the full essence of the work – of bringing our brothers and sisters to the Savior – until we understand – this effort is all inclusive of Heavenly Father’s children – regardless of which side of the veil on which they presently dwell!!

Sunday, December 17, 2017


I doubt the Preacher was the first to ponder seasons and I know for certain that I will not be the last to wonder why we are so adamant about categorizing and insisting on beginnings and endings for every aspect of our mortal span. Even if you have not read his words in Ecclesiastes they have been covered by many vocalists and musicians, with innumerable renditions of Turn, Turn, Turn written by Pete Seeger back in the days when I was still in High School. He brought vitality and a new perspective to the very old words of the Preacher.

Regardless of how familiar you are with the Preacher’s beautiful poetic message or where you became acquainted with them or if this is your first enlightening introduction, I hope you will become a fan as I use it as the foundation for this week’s Thought.

Ecclesiastes or, the Preacher – Chapter 3

1 To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:

Spring comes abruptly upon us and we have feelings of renewal as dormant seeds stirred by soft falling rain bring beauty to every vista.

Summer sends forth heated rays hastening harvest day, but we often find ourselves wishing for relief and respite and look forward to autumn’s refreshing
breezes and cooler nights.

Autumn paints summer’s greens with an extensive splattering from the Master Painter’s pallet and we find reasons to explore in the colorful canyons and enjoy the bounties of our labors.

Winter becomes wearisome with its shortened daylight hours and seemingly endless cold and dreary nights and we welcome every moment of short periods of Indian Summers.

2 A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;

There are few absolutes in a temporal world, but death being the result of being born is one of which that we all can bear witness.

The very plant which gives us life dies in sacrifice as it nurtures our beings and yet we only recognize its gift when hunger racks our souls.

3 A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;

4 A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;

5 A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;

6 A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;

7 A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;

8 A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.

Sadly there are many who spend much more time wallowing in their contrary and repugnant seasons and too little time in the positive and joyful ones.

There is little doubt when the Savior was admonishing us from the mount. He pronounced that the pathway of His disciples should be continually involved with embracing the sufferings of others and blessing them with comfort and support.

One of our most controversial dividing into seasons in these Latter Times seems to deal with when the proper time for beginning to see signs of an approaching holiday might be. There is little doubt that merchants have a ‘the sooner the better’ attitude, while the rest of us seem to vary depending on which of the seasonal holidays is our favorite.

For some, the celebration surrounding the changing of the calendar is reason to extend the night as if there were to be no tomorrow, while for others they look further and further east and across the great Atlantic to give reason to ring in the New Year earlier and earlier.

For some, the celebration of Saint Valentine’s Day gives enhancement to the love they share with others, while for others it is a dire reminder of the misery of their loneliness.

For some, Halloween is just one more day of a yearlong celebration of zombies and vampires, while others turn off their porch lights and hunker down in their basements so as not to be bothered with such hedonistic ritual reminders.

For some, Thanksgiving brings a heartfelt reminder of the bounteousness of their lives and the love of family and friends, while others stand in lonely lines awaiting the one hot meal they will probably enjoy this season.

Finally we come to the most hotly debated of holiday seasons. Christmas!

It will probably be sometime in late September when you first read someone’s status on Face Book decrying the fact that on their recent shopping adventure their ears were assaulted with Christmas music and their eyes were attacked with Christmas specials, when everyone absolutely knows that The Christmas season begins on Black Friday.

While it has been obvious for several decades that the main event of the Christmas season was no longer going to a Mass in commemoration of the birth of Christ, it is a more recent development that that star heralded event has nothing to do with the mercantile driven season.

That pondering which has most occupied my mind as I anticipated writing this Thought which would be published a week before Christmas Eve is difficult to capsulize, but can be partially expressed with the following quandary. ‘How can there be such a thing as a beginning or an end of a season for He who is everlasting? ‘

Did those who profess His name not promise to remember Him in all things at all times?

Did those who profess His name not give Him the gift of their agency?

Did those who profess His name stop desiring to have His countenance shine upon them?

Did those who were spiritually born of Him spiritually die?

Did those whose hearts were made pure through Him all become corrupt?

Hugh Nibley wrote a piece entitled The Christmas Quest, from which I offer the following short passage.

So the Latter-day Saints have always been the greatest advocates of the Christmas spirit; nay, they have shocked and alarmed the world by insisting on recognizing as a real power what the world prefers to regard as a pretty sentiment. Where the seasonal and formal aspect of Christmas is everything – it becomes a hollow mockery. If men really want what they say they do, we have it, but faced with accepting the real Savior who has really spoken with men they draw back, nervous and ill at ease. In the end, lights, tinsel, and sentimentality are safer, but a sense of possibilities still rankles, so to that we shall continue to appeal. For by celebrating Christmas the world serves notice that it is still looking for the gospel.

While Brother Nibley gives reason for deep or even shallow remembrances on Christmas day, I feel it important to admonish us even further:

By having no end to our remembrance of He who is Eternal

By having no beginning dates to our devotion to He who is Everlasting

By understanding that His season is without end

I still haven't decided whether it is best to think of the Lord and Savior Jesus the Christ as a Being of All Seasons or a Being Without Seasons or a Being Whose Seasons Never End. Maybe it is best just to always gratefully remember Him and our Father who sent Him.



Saturday, December 16, 2017


Special events in our lives – need to be recorded – so that our posterity can share – in the joys and sorrows of their ancestors!!

Friday, December 15, 2017


It would be a wonderful thing – if we lived in a world – where forgiveness was never necessary – it would indeed be blissful – but since we don't – we can all use forgiving as another exercise of growth!!

Thursday, December 14, 2017


When being forgiven – or – forgiving takes places – it allows everyone involved – to move forward more freely!!

Wednesday, December 13, 2017


He who has no reason to be forgiven – reigns supreme – as The most forgiving of all!!

Tuesday, December 12, 2017


Those who have the least reason to be forgiven – seem to be the most willing to forgive!!

Monday, December 11, 2017


Evidently – only those who have run out of things to be forgiven for – may be excused from forgiving others!!

Sunday, December 10, 2017


I suspect Heavenly Father knew it wasn't going to turn out well when calendaring was taken out of the hands of the likes of Moses, Shamans and Confucius and usurped by the likes of Gregory, Caesar and governmental agencies.

When religious leaders were doing the calendaring, whether by revelation or by watching the movements of the heavenly bodies, special celebratory days pretty much fit into the definition of holiday provided by Wikipedia. ‘The word holiday comes from the Old English word hāligdæg (hālig "holy" + dæg "day"). The word originally referred only to special religious days.’

Once monarchies, tyrants and men in general took over the calendaring, holidays became any special day of rest or relaxation, as opposed to normal days away from work or school. It is particularly revealing to see the secularized calendar of today filled with days dedicated to the birth of people and nations rather than remembrances of Divine occasions.

Having witnessed the de-holification of Holy Days we should have been forewarned that men would also be about the business of changing The Sabbath and The Day of the Lord into ‘the weekend’. I will have to leave a more thorough writing on that subject for another day.

Well, maybe just one more comment on the way we have moved days intended for worship and remembrance of God into days meant solely for the use of men. I think it is best described by using the words found in most employee/employer contracts these days - ‘personal days.’

Let us return to our thinking about Holy Days being supplanted by holidays.

For my own personal gratification I have decided to suggest the use of the following subtitles for those days designated as holidays in the USA. I apologize to those readers of these Thoughts who reside outside of the USA calendar, but perhaps you could make up a similar group of subtitles to the non-Holy Day holidays on you country’s government issued calendars.

New Year’s Eve – New Year’s Day => Raucous Celebration Period which ends with an unusual increase in highway deaths and severe headaches.

Martin Luther King Jr. Day => A day to remember the life of one who spent his life preaching oneness, which usually ends magnifying our differences.

Presidents Day => A day set apart when the number of historically significant presidents became so numerous that we could no longer give them their own day.

Valentine’s Da
y => A day set apart to bring joy to florists, greeting card companies, chocolate makers and high end restaurant owners.

St. Patrick’s Day => A day to drink green beer, eat corn beef and cabbage and walk down the street staggering and smelly.

Good Friday => A day to drop by the Cathedral before resuming your regular activities.

Flag Day => How would you know this was a day any different than any other day, day.

Armed Forces Day => You’ve got to be kidding me day – do we really have a holiday called Armed Forces Day?

National Maritime Day => Now I absolutely know you have to be kidding me day.

Memorial Day => So that was what all those other holidays this month were leading up to day.

D –Day => In case someone was forgotten last month day.

United States Army Birthday => You have been given ample time to fly the Flag Day – now fly it.

United States Coast Guard Birthday => See previous six comments day.

This veteran’s generated calendar is getting too repetitive. I am going to switch to another calendar to add some variety.

Purim => Remembering a dance that freed a people day.

Easter Sunday => Chocolate rabbits, colored eggs, baskets and something about the Resurrection Day.

Earth Day => Remembering our blue marble by enlarging our personal foot print day.

Arbor Day => A day to plant a tree while celebrating our forest destroying life styles.

Ramadan => What do you mean you want to spend time actually thinking about your faith day?

Mother’s Day => Celebration of all women everywhere day once again causing the hearts of florists, candy makers greeting card vendors and restaurant owners to swell.

Father’s Day => Really there is a day called Father’s Day?

Independence Day => A day to celebrate the continuing argument about who deserves independence.

Labor Day => A day where we ironically celebrate labor by not laboring.

Grandparents Day => The one holiday which almost gives relevance to Father’s Day.

Rosh Hashanah => More days where our stomachs help us remember our faith.

Yom Kippur => The day when we are left to stimulate our faith without the help of hunger.

Columbus Day => A Special Day still found on the USA calendar, but not highly favored in the rest of the Americas.

Halloween => Costume makers are added to those whose hearts are made full along with candy makers day. Do I see a trend here? I don't even dare to add my thoughts on what we are having our children dress up in remembrance of.

Thanksgiving Day => A day where the candy makers yield the ringing of cash registers to the purveyors of turkeys, pies, weird veggies partaken only on this one day a year and watching grown men run around on grass yielding themselves physically worthless for a minimum of a week.

Christmas Day => The mass was removed from most Christian lives years ago and the removal of Christ from this day is quickly following as worn out shoppers, partiers and dysfunctional family gatherings become dominated by personal traditions.

Which brings us back to New Year‘s Eve => Feel free to slide back up to the start and begin again. Also feel free to add any of your personal favorite non-
Holy Day, holidays I might have over looked.

As I end the writing of this satirical piece, let me remove my tongue from where it has been deeply imbedded into my cheek and add a few words of seriousness.

Long ago I read a piece by Hugh Nibley where he indicated that secularism and scholasticism are the arch enemy of religiousness. I believe the Thoughts I have written down with this calendaring exercise indicate how deeply I believe our Holy Days have be affected by the philosophies of men.

I don't think I really mind men having days off from their daily grinds to rest and recuperate, but I do find it extremely difficult to handle the invasion which has been made on those days which were meant to be used to worship and remember our Eternal Parentage and our Lord and Savior Jesus the Christ.

As we approach the celebration of the babe born of Mary in a humble stable, I pray we might shop a bit less, wrap fewer gifts, party less and think more about the birth, mission, Atonement and Resurrection of our Redeemer. If there really are consequences which come because of the choices we make, it might do us all well to spend some thought about what we collectively will eventually reap because we have chosen to remove Holy Observance from our holidays.



Saturday, December 9, 2017


It is difficult to know – which is worse – those who speak without thinking – or – those who think but never speak!!

Friday, December 8, 2017


I have wondered – if Heavenly Father – ever tires of hearing His children – express sorrow for wrong choices??

Thursday, December 7, 2017


It is difficult to know – which is more effective – formal – or – informal prayer – but in the end – does it really matter??

Wednesday, December 6, 2017


There are times when teachers are attempting to get everyone involved – all they accomplish is to cause – some students to tune out!!

Tuesday, December 5, 2017


There are times when after several minutes have been wasted – while a teacher has tried to get technology working – I have feelings of gratefulness – that the majority of my teaching days – were during the chalk and blackboard days!!

Monday, December 4, 2017


Just because a youngster can lift a shovel – does not mean he can move a mountain – likewise – just because I can use a piece of technology – does not mean that students will be moved!!

Sunday, December 3, 2017


I heard a remark from someone. If my brain worked like it did 15 year ago I could tell you who it was and when I heard it. Anyway, the remark went something like this. ‘We are spending endless hours making familial connections with ancestors. Our effort also leads us to finding living people with whom we never knew we were connected. Some people have thousands of people who now hang on their family trees.’ Then came the BUT! ‘All of the inhabitants of the earth who ever lived, who are now living or who will ever live have a one-step pedigree chart linking them to Heavenly Parents.’

My personal journey toward embracing the universal kinship of humankind has been a long and twisting path, but I am grateful I am finally coming to be able to accept the eternalness of mankind’s relationship. I still find myself occasionally treating people and thinking about people in ways and thoughts which are anything but eternal or familial.

During the first quarter of my life, I placed everyone with whom I came into contact into groups called family, friends, members of the same church and others. The labels sometimes had to do with a level of shared intimacy, but I often found I had far less contact with people in the family group than those in any of the other groups. There were also times when the ideas and thoughts which dominated my mind shifted from being influenced by the group with which I happened to be spending the most time. Luckily for me, even those I identified as ‘others’ seemed to be, by and large, among those who would be called good and honorable. I say luckily, because during this time of my life I was often easily swayed by whatever group gave off positive vibes of enjoyment when we were together.

The second quarter of my life came abruptly upon me shortly after graduating from High School. With a couple of friends I had joined the Army Reserves and so the morning after leaving the safety and comfort of those with whom I had associated in the first quarter of my life, we were on a train heading to Fort Ord, California, to go through basic training and training in a specialty. Although remnants of my first quarter groupings remained I was abruptly counted as one in a platoon and a company. After just a few short weeks of basic training the two friends with whom I had joined the reserves, Terry Martin and Bob Stewart, both came down with the Fort Ord Flu and were put back into the group behind us in basic training. I spent the next eight weeks being indoctrinated into understanding that those in my platoon were now made up my brotherhood of life. I had just started to feel the importance of this new brotherhood, when I was recruited to be the fast pitch softball pitcher for the company team which was made up of our trainers and the staff for the company. So now I had a ‘brotherhood’ and a ‘team’ added to my expanding circle who were defined in different ways than those I had been with during the first quarter of my life.

Shortly after completing my six months of active duty in my army career, the final two months of which were spent in a small company mail room after having been trained as a clerk typist for two months, I returned home and wasted a semester of schooling while awaiting the opportunity to be called as a missionary for The Church Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. I was suddenly and completely thrust back into the familiar relationship groupings with which I had been involved prior to my active duty days.

When my mission call came, I won't say I was shocked, but when I read that the area of the world in which I was called to serve was to be Northern Mexico it was definitely a surprise. At Garden Grove Union High School students from that part of the world were in a very remote corner of the ‘others’ category. I also have to admit that during my four years of High School not one person of that heritage was ever considered as part of the friends group. Even during the six months I was at Fort Ord, the only persons whose origins were from south of the border who made it into the platoon or team groupings were drill sergeants and the catcher on the softball team.

I never would have been able to anticipate nor appreciate the mighty relationship change which was about to be wrought upon me in the cities of Ciudad Valles, Piedras Negras, Tampico, San Luis Potosi and Nuevo Rosita in Northern Mexico. During the years I was serving in Mexico my extended family of brothers and sisters expanded beyond my wildest imaginations. I learned that deep feelings of love have nothing to do with country of origin, pigmentation, culture or genealogy, but have everything to do with gaining the understanding, knowledge and testimony that my fellow missionaries and those with whom I came into contact as I dwelt in Northern Mexico are indeed brothers and sisters of the same immediate Eternal Parents. Even today, almost six decades after living in Mexico, Kathleen still wonders if I don't have residual love for my Hispanic brothers and sisters which often seems to be manifest to a greater degree than to others of our ever widening familial circle.

The rest of the second quarter of my life, all of the third quarter of my life and a portion of the fourth quarter of my life were spent getting married, becoming a father, preparing for a career, spending 50 years as a teacher in the Church Education System and fulfilling callings in the organizations of the church. There was also a good deal of activity involving teams during many of these years which, in the end, dwindled down to a couple of geezer golfing buddies.

I would be terribly remiss if I did not mention the privilege Kathleen and I had of living and serving in the marvelous country of Colombia. Even though the embracing of others as brothers and sisters whom I had not seen since we dwelt in our First Estate with our Heavenly Parents had already become an automatic response, the time we spent in our mission, deepened and increased this marvelous understanding with its attendant feelings.

I doubt I could even begin to accurately come up with a number, but it could easily be in the 10’s of thousands who were added to the known members making up my brothers and sisters. They would have born different identifying labels such as colleagues, students, sharers of stewardships, titles of positions and flocks, but all were being added to what has become an immense grouping of brothers and sisters one step removed from living under the tutelage of our shared Heavenly Father and Heavenly Mother.

The last decade of my life took an unexpected turn which involved two new adventures I never could have anticipated. The first started when, my brother from the same Eternal Mother, Paul Maddox kindly and patiently helped me overcome my anxieties and got me started on a path which first made the computer an important part of my daily routine and then for some reason got me into writing. Those brothers and sisters who served as my English teachers can pick themselves up off the floor, and I hastily add that if Kathleen did not add her grammatical expertise to my writings, all would be dross. Anyway, during this decade through the writing of my Thoughts for a Sabbath Day and Life’s Lessons Learned, I have made contact with countless numbers of already encircle brothers and sisters along with newly embraced brothers and sisters from all over the world. Thanks to Face Book I am able to know many of them from their pictures, but whether I have that wonderful experience or not, far and wide my heaven known brothers and sisters have become part of the wonderful familial circle of love I feel each day.

Although I am just barely entering the path of eternal kinship myself, if someone were to ask me about the secret to being able to enlarge one’s circle of brothers and sisters during mortality, I would probably say, find someone each day with whom you can serve and make their lives a bit happier because of the experience.

I know Universal and Everlasting love is an attribute known only by Gods, but I am grateful for the pittance of that characteristic which I have been able to gain through the wonderful earthly journey I have been blessed to enjoy.

I bear solemn testimony as deeply as the earthly meagerness of my understanding will permit, that I believe to the extent my present progress will allow me that we (all of humanity) are but one step removed from a common parentage.



Our solemn prayer continues to be that we along with all our brothers and sisters will continue to strive to break down the causes of our dysfunctions and move us a little closer to once again being the Eternal Family we once were.

Saturday, December 2, 2017


Watching teachers struggle with modern technology – should be a reminder to all of us that innovations – do not necessarily make presentations more effective!!

Friday, December 1, 2017


One of the most important keys – to keeping long and lasting relationships –is to understand that – neither I – nor my thoughts – are the most important things in the world!!

Thursday, November 30, 2017


One of the universal truths – which we should all live by – is the understanding of how little we know!!

Wednesday, November 29, 2017


There are times when it is difficult to define some words – such as love – and – joy – but we are very aware – when we feel those emotions – and – when those feelings are absent!!

Tuesday, November 28, 2017


The level of one’s ability to verbally express their faith – is not necessarily the best way – to measure its depth!!

Monday, November 27, 2017


Even though we may not have a particular need – we must be careful not to have our lack of need – cause us to judge our neighbors as wanton!!

Sunday, November 26, 2017


As I was beginning the pre writing process for this Thought my mind started to connect the yearly harvest we celebrate on Thanksgiving Day with the harvest Kathleen and I seem to be reaping during the Autumn of our lives.

The seed which was planted our first evening together, which included me not being able to find the Los Angeles Forum and then watching a Harlem Globetrotter’s performance, has been lovingly nurtured, blossomed into fullness and continues to provide us with an abundance of daily love. We have come to know each other very well, on some days it might even seem too well, but on most days it proves to be the key to being able to help one another through our down days and brings joint celebration to our good days. As we tend our garden of love we seem to move about with more caution and a bit more slowly our appreciation for one another strengthens and sends its roots more deeply.

Our planting and nourishing has expanded and widened where once it was contained within four walls and included six new plants which, although they sprang from common seed, varied in almost every way. Those six plants have generated an additional 20 wonderful plants which have at this writing started gardens of their own which number 4. We do not have current flowers from all over the world, but as DNA tests begin to demonstrate the tracing of our pedigree covers every continent on the globe. If anyone ever needed evidence for the individuality of the spirits which are housed in our bodies having a profound influence on our characters, our family would make a wonderful example. In this wonderful day of harvest we now dot the western states of the United States of America and some have even been blown off to distant states. If variety is the key to happiness then Kathleen and I can be counted among the most happy.

The years of toiling with the sweat of our brows seemed to barely keep us sheltered, clothed and fed, but in the end the practice of frugality, doing without, careful budgeting, generous parents and benevolent employment benefits filled our pantries and left us with and abundant harvest and a horn of plenty running over during our autumn years. Kathleen provided for much of the resources needed to keep our children properly dressed for school through ironing and babysitting, even though they sometimes felt alterations were necessary to please their peers. When our boys started to leave to serve missions for the church, she went to work full time at the University of Nevada in various capacities which paid for their missions. After working by my side in Colombia for three years she went to work in retail for a while and then settled into working as an office manager for a law office. (I would be amiss if I didn't mention the help the Tim and Jill Dyches provided us while we were serving in Colombia) I think you can begin to catch the vision why in spite of my career of 50 year in the Church Education System, we have enough and to spare in our day of harvest.

It took our six immediate offspring a bit of time to adjust when we announced a year ago that our days of travel had ended. It is also interesting to watch the faces of friends as they are extolling the wonders of their most recent adventure and want us to join them on the next one when we tell them our traveling days have ended. However, Kathleen and I feel that we have been blessed with sufficient seeing of the world that our memory bank is now filled with journeys which amount to a marvelous harvest of words and pictures. We seldom see a documentary when we are unable to exclaim ‘we have been there.’ Our book of memories includes besides the voluminous travel we have done in the USA, a month long trip to the Holy Lands, an extended tour of the Book of Mormon Lands, three years living in Bogota, Colombia, and a visit to our roots in the British Isles. I spent several years living in Mexico which I probably shouldn't bring up, since I have never taken Kathleen back to my mission area. Our journals and albums are filled to capacity with memories of travels and now we bask in the harvest of wonderful memories.

Although Kathleen seems to have retained her pre mortal testimony, values and character, leaving her with little reason to kick against the pricks, my life has followed more along the path of testimony and truth rising from the fires of doubt. There were times when having a certain knowledge of one truth did not automatically make all connecting truths valid in Kathleen’s soul, but it always seemed a short journey to joining all the dots. My personal journey has been line upon line, here a little there a little, but as the days grow shorter I have arrived at a place of peace where I know how little I know. We are grateful for the fullness which the gospel of Jesus the Christ and His Restored Church have brought to our lives. We are content that the Lord has blessed us with opportunities and privileges which have filled our experience basket to overflowing and helped us accomplish the purposes for which we were placed here. We are grateful that as the shadows of harvest time lengthen we have been given stewardships in the kingdom which fit our waning capabilities and help us to still contribute and feel validated.

Autumn has always been Kathleen’s favorite season of the year, even though I traditionally have preferred spring. There is little doubt that when winter’s snows cover our final resting place and we are in a better place, I will look fondly to the time we spent this wonderful autumn of our lives hand in hand.



Saturday, November 25, 2017


Spiritual growth becomes a very individual thing – because all of us are nourished – in different fields – and – by different gardeners!!

Friday, November 24, 2017


Like crows – many intelligent beings – lose their audiences – because – they make too much unnecessary noise!!

Thursday, November 23, 2017


Just as we are grateful for the beauty – which comes from enjoying a variety of trees – flowers – clouds – and – all the changes we see in nature – we should be equally grateful for the beauty which comes from – the differences which we see in our brothers – and – sister on our beautiful world!!

Wednesday, November 22, 2017


It will be an eternal loss – if the majority of our lives are spent – being distracted from those things – we were sent to earth – to learn and do!!

Tuesday, November 21, 2017


Revelation and prophecy – are usually appreciated more – after their fulfillment – than at their pronouncement!!

Monday, November 20, 2017


We are each responsible – for the things we become addicted to – and – allow to diminish our Agency!!

Sunday, November 19, 2017


I think I remember and I know I have seen my posterity collectively engage in looking at the world through a straw, turning telescopes and binoculars backwards and rolling up sheets of paper to gaze at their surroundings.

If having a view of the world as if we were looking through a straw were just a child’s game all would be well with the world, but I have come to realize that most of the experiences we have in life, the social groups with which we associate, the mentors we choose to follow, seem to cause us all to view the world through ever narrowing tubes.

The last time I was asked to lead the discussion in a High Priest Group meeting, I was given the assignment of leading the discussion centered on the Atonement of Jesus the Christ. As so often happens in the abbreviated time allotted for lessons in our consolidated meeting schedule I was only able to get through the introduction of the material I had prepared. To be fair I cannot put the blame on the briefness of the time as the reason I only got through the introduction, since I remember countless two hour Institute classes where I got no further than the introduction.

It doesn't seem to matter which mentors we have been exposed to, especially in the area of religious beliefs, we are continually and abundantly exposed to a myopic view of what constitutes salvation and who merits it. We are taught to look through a straw which allows us to see ‘us’ and eliminates ‘them’ from our view.

And there cometh a resurrection, even a first resurrection; yea, even a resurrection of those that have been, and who are, and who shall be, even until the resurrection of Christ—for so shall he be called. And now, the resurrection of all the prophets, and all those that have believed in their words, or all those that have kept the commandments of God, shall come forth in the first resurrection; therefore, they are the first resurrection. They are raised to dwell with God who has redeemed them; thus they have eternal life through Christ, who has broken the bands of death. And these are those who have part in the first resurrection; and these are they that have died before Christ came, in their ignorance, not having salvation declared unto them. And thus the Lord bringeth about the restoration of these; and they have a part in the first resurrection, or have eternal life, being redeemed by the Lord. And little children also have eternal life. (Book of Mormon – Mosiah 15: 21-25)

It seems the Lord would have us look through a scope with very broad perimeters when it comes to those whom He suffered the effects of His Atoning sacrifice to redeem and bring unto everlasting salvation. He presents a vision so expansive that it includes those who were ignorant of His gospel, little children whose minds were still in the bondage of innocence and those of all generations and times.

For of him unto whom much is given much is required; and he who sins against the greater light shall receive the greater condemnation. (Doctrine and Covenants 82:3)

The more we hear about inclusiveness and are taught to make it a part of our gospel understanding the more we realize that there never was a ‘one shoe fit all’ standard by which all of Heavenly Father’s children will be judged.

There is also little doubt that they who have been blessed with a greater degree of knowledge and understand will be held to a higher standard.

Therefore, we need to understand that the requirements, rules and roadways we see through our rolled up piece of paper, although it applies to us, does not necessarily apply to all those we see when we take the tunneled blinder from our eye.

The Savior has been very clear in letting us know His Atonement was infinite and inclusive both in its depth and its breadth in covering all of Heavenly Father’s children and the variances and lengths of their mortal paths.

One of the questions which has caused me to ponder at times during my life is why, since the Savior has all knowledge, did he not selectively pay His Atoning Sacrifice only for those sins which had been or would be repented of.

Remember the worth of souls is great in the sight of God; For, behold, the Lord your Redeemer suffered death in the flesh; wherefore he suffered the pain of all men, that all men might repent and come unto him. And he hath risen again from the dead, that he might bring all men unto him, on conditions of repentance. (Doctrine and Covenants 18: 10-12)

The only conclusion I have been able to find a degree of satisfaction with is that if He had not suffered for all mankind, one of us lesser beings would come to the conclusion that we were predestined to be damned, because He did not take our sins upon Himself.

For behold, I, God, have suffered these things for all, that they might not suffer if they would repent; But if they would not repent they must suffer even as I; Which suffering caused myself, even God, the greatest of all, to tremble because of pain, and to bleed at every pore, and to suffer both body and spirit—and would that I might not drink the bitter cup, and shrink—Nevertheless, glory be to the Father, and I partook and finished my preparations unto the children of men. (Doctrine and Covenants 19: 16-19)

The most important conclusion I have come to is that the Savior’s Atonement not only needed to be universal, but also individual in nature. He needed to have a perfect knowledge of every one of Heavenly Father’s sons and daughters. Otherwise, He would be incapable of making the perfect judgements about each of us.

The most assuring words I remember hearing about the absolute fairness of the Savior’s Atonement which uniquely qualified him to universally apply the law of justice were given in conference by President Boyd K. Packer. He stated that none of us know nor understand the vastness of the love of the Lord or the extent of His grace.



Saturday, November 18, 2017


The purpose of Godly sorrow – is no the pain which sears our souls – but – the joy which follows – and – drives us to publish peace!!

Friday, November 17, 2017


Having a visitation from an angel – does not necessarily – stimulate permanent movement towards righteousness!!

Thursday, November 16, 2017


One of life’s greatest trials may come – when we realize – we must step back – so that others have the opportunity to step forward!!

Wednesday, November 15, 2017


There will be a day – when joy greatly increases in the world – for the majority rather than the minority of Heavenly Father’s children – probably –because we have become better at listening to the counsel – which comes from living Prophets!!

Tuesday, November 14, 2017


It is an important practice – to periodically take an inventory of the blessings we have received – because we heed the words of living Prophets!!

Monday, November 13, 2017


We should be grateful – we have living Apostles and Prophets – if for no other reason – than they may be the only link we have to inspiration – in our world which is full of distractions!!

Sunday, November 12, 2017


It was in the mid 1970’s at a Northern California Regional YSA/Institute conference in Pacific Grove, California, I first realized I wasn't alone in my concern about testimonial words being borne in situations when peer group pressure and emotions can and often are confused with the feelings generated by the influence of the Holy Spirit.

As the conference was drawing to a close, Elder Boyd K. Packer, who had delivered the keynote address earlier in the week asked if he could say a few words before the scheduled testimonies were to be borne. I suspect his words were deeply meaningful to me because of a preconditioned response I had to such large peer group testimony meetings.

I am sure I have his words written in one of my journals, but for this Thought I will just paraphrase what was seared on my mind that day. ‘I would offer a word of counsel and caution before we begin to share our testimonies with one another. On occasions such as this we are often led by our emotions and are prone to say things of which we might not have received a sure witness. We are often prone to make promises and commitments which we are as yet not prepared to honor or keep. Therefore, I caution you to avoid that temptation and bear witness to those things you know to be true.’

It may have been at a stake Young Women’s girls camp or it might even have been when I was young enough to go camping as a Boy Scout very early in my life, but during my life, as stewardship roles I was called to fulfill put me in visible places where the congregations or classes could easily see my reactions to what was being said at the pulpit, I had to develop a poker face or, if that wasn't sufficient, I at times had to put my head down and cover my face with a hand or two.

I always hoped my cringes weren't noticed, but I was always well aware of what was going on internally in my mind. These facial contortions were usually set off by statements of absoluteness by persons concerning their testimonies.

I have cringed when I have heard:

A young boy scout declare – I know without a shadow of a doubt Joseph Smith is a prophet of God

A sweet young girl at camp proclaim – I know with every fiber of my being that the Book of Mormon is the word of God

A recent return missionary state – These were the two best years of my life and I know I will never stray from activity in the church

A young women before her bouquet has wilted say – I know with all my heart and soul that our marriage is eternal and our love will never end

I don't consider myself to be a negative person, so why would I have face altering reactions when I hear what most people would consider to be sincere declarations of belief?

Then why do I cringe:

We watch and witness half of those scout camp testimony bearing boys become numbered among the less active membership of the church before they turn 18.

We watch and witness a large portion of those sweet young girls bearing solemn testimonies around a camp fire fall from the roles of activity before they graduate from high school.

We watch and witness those young men who declared to have experienced two phenomenal years of life within but a few months having abandoned most of characteristics of those wonder years and giving no thought about bringing others to Christ

We watch and witness hearts shattered and lives broken because solemn marital covenants were forgotten or ignored

Included in my favorite people watching avocation is a segment where I have tried to observe the commonalities of those members of the church who seem from all observable indicators to be enduring to the end.

Observed shared characteristics of the faithful:

A constant desire to more fully understand and live gospel principles

A constant realization of how much understanding and knowledge they lack

A constant guarding against temptations and continual realization of the possibility of the natural man to dominate the spiritual

A constant desire to increase the closeness of their relationships of love and kindness

A constant diligence in lively courtship with their eternal companion

A constant effort to increase the closeness and love they have for and feel from The Savior and Heavenly Father

Observed indicators which subdue cringe reflexes:

The returned missionaries who realize how quickly the missionary spirit can be diluted and, therefore, do all they can to maintain the zeal with which they returned with honor. They maintain at least a semblance of the appearance of one who is representing themselves as a follower of Jesus the Christ. They retain a residue of the Holy Spirit which prompted them to be in a perpetual proselyting mode.

The member of the church who is aware of the culpability of the mortal soul and, therefore, is constantly striving to learn and live as the Lord would have them do. They never deceive themselves into thinking their Crystal Palace of belief is impenetrable. They are always aware of the minuteness of their comprehension and knowledge as it relates to the Omniscience of God.

The young married couple who understand that the beginning of every relationship is built on sandy soil and constantly in danger of being shaken down. They are diligently finding more secure building blocks to stabilize the foundations of their marriage. They never let yesterday’s love levels become the standard of their relationship, but unceasingly strive to find ways of increasing their love for one another. They strive to increase in understanding and practice the concept of oneness.

Warnings from He who knows us best:

Remember – the gate is narrow and the pathway is straight

Remember – the Shepherd will always have sheep which stray

Remember – there is a reason a porter is diligently at the gate

Remember – the adversary will always be sewing tares among the wheat

Remember – be ever watchful that you may endure to the end

I don’t remember it happening during the early years of my career as a teacher in the Church Education System, but I do remember during that 12 year period after Kathleen and I returned from our mission in Colombia we received a yearly lecture/counsel on not being confused about emotional responses to stories related during a lesson necessarily meaning that there had been a powerful spirit in the classroom that day. Reminding us that emotions can be dramatically stirred by reading events in the paper and watching movies. I remember it caused me to reevaluate my presentations in the classroom, where I no longer relied on time tested stories from my files to generate tearful responses, but I centered my efforts on teaching the principles and doctrines of the gospel from the scriptures and words of the living Apostles and Prophets, allowing the Holy Spirit to bring changes in emotions, thoughts and actions in the hearts and lives of the students.

It may be because my days of having a seat in a very observable place in church meetings has ended and I am no longer teaching gospel lessons on a daily basis or it may be that I have become desensitized to cringe causing statements, but these days I catch myself nodding my head and internally saying to myself – ‘time will tell’ – ‘we shall see’ – much more often than cringing or hiding my face.



Saturday, November 11, 2017


There are very clear instructions about the use of electronic devices in the Temple of the Lord – Apostles and Prophets have counseled us about their use in our chapels during meetings – because our chapels are another type of Temple – another place which has been referred to as a Temple is the home – perhaps – we should also counsel together as families about the proper use of these devices in that holy place!!

Friday, November 10, 2017


Distractions which keep us from enjoying the comforting companionship of the Holy Spirit – were once found in places we had to deliberately go out of our routine to frequent – and we had to make a deliberate decision to take that detour – but – now modern technology – has given us the ability to have these distractions constantly with us!!

Thursday, November 9, 2017


The prophets have described inspiration – as being a still small voice – maybe by this example we could learn – the most important words we speak – should be delivered slowly – clearly – and – softly!!

Wednesday, November 8, 2017


We have been blessed with articulators – which have important primary functions – but can also be effectually used to help communication take place – when we are lazy in using our lips – tongues – and jaws – in their important secondary use as communicators – our ability to be understood diminishes!!

Tuesday, November 7, 2017


No one ever benefited – or – grew – from thoughts – which were never expressed!!

Monday, November 6, 2017


: Although the gift of an opposing digit – should be counted as a blessing – wearing it out texting – may result in the loss of more important communication skills!!

Sunday, November 5, 2017


When the seeds of Spring
Break forth their splendor
And brighten spring days
We behold and call it beautiful

When the sun warms our homes
During Summer’s long days
We lift our faces to it rays
And call it beautiful

When Autumn breezes
Bring cool relief
We partake of bounteous harvest
And call it beautiful

When Winter snows
Blanket the horizon with white
We snuggle in our abodes
And call it beautiful

When our lives have passed
And the blessings of many Seasons
Have brought us happiness and peace
We exclaim and call it beautiful

One of the things which happens when we have the privilege of wearing rose colored glasses most of our lives is that we always have an Ivory Tower as close as our next thought, even though every continent seems to contrive to be continually in contentious conflict.

I wrote the verses which I started this Thought with one Sunday morning while sitting in a Sunday School class and needed to clear my mind of the anti-non-Mormon comments which were being shared. One would think that a gathering of people who call themselves Latter Day Saints would be a refuge where there would be little need for escaping to the Ivory Tower of the mind.

There is little doubt that Elder Maxwell’s hypothesis of every movement of lessening of values that takes place in the world at large, the membership of the church will make a lesser, but corresponding change, has merit.

It is easily understood with the insidious way negative and degrading communication can be spread, why the walls around that section of our makeup where positive and uplifting feelings and expression can be found becomes fortified beyond our ability to put on rose colored glasses, let alone visit our Ivory Towers.

Like any habit, whether good or bad, a good 16 days of concentrated effort can help change our behavior so that good habits can triumph over bad habits. (Something I learned from one of my favorite mentors, Paul H. Dunn, very early in my journey of life)

I will now repeat the verses I started this Thought with and give you permission to use it as often as you would like during the next 16 days or find some other positive thoughts which will help you break down the walls keeping you from your own ivory tower where you will once again enjoy a Pollyanna positive perspective.

When the seeds of Spring
Break forth their splendor
And brighten spring days
We behold and call it beautiful

When the sun warms our homes
During Summer’s long days
We lift our faces to it rays
And call it beautiful

When Autumn breezes
Bring cool relief
We partake of bounteous harvest
And call it beautiful

When Winter snows
Blanket the horizon with white
We snuggle in our abodes
And call it beautiful

When our lives have passed
And the blessings of many Seasons
Have brought us happiness and peace
We exclaim and call it beautiful

May our days be full of splendor, warmth, bounteousness, snuggles, kind thoughts, happiness and peace this day and always is my fervent prayer.



Saturday, November 4, 2017


If we have paid the price – to prepare and communicate our thoughts as clearly and understandably – as we are capable of doing – we lessen our responsibility – for the message others receive!!

Friday, November 3, 2017


If we have paid the price – to prepare a talk or presentation – we must understand – it will lose its value – if it is not communicated intelligibly!!

Thursday, November 2, 2017


A few words clearly spoken – are of more value – than volumes – mumbled unintelligibly!!

Wednesday, November 1, 2017


The understanding, making and keeping of covenants – are essential steps – in becoming one – who is striving to put on the attributes of Godliness!!

Tuesday, October 31, 2017


Those among us who seem happiest – seem to be those – who have come to understand – the true purpose of our mortal existence!!

Monday, October 30, 2017


The acts of service we do in life – may bring immediate – and – maybe even temporary relief to others – but the important point is – they will become important building blocks – for our eternal home!!

Sunday, October 29, 2017


When we are very young it only takes a few testings to discover that by choosing to do something there will be an immediate or delayed consequence.

Touching something hot brings an immediate reaction to our nervous system and sometimes a delayed reaction to our epidural layering.

Spilling milk can make one cry and lessons on not putting the glass too close to the edge of the table and wiping up said milk are sure to follow.

Falling down on grass leaves a stain, but falling on cement causes knees to bleed. The first takes but a few washings to cure, but knees take longer to heal.

One cookie from the jar will be missed by observant mothers and subsequent treats will be consequently restricted.

Somewhere along the line, somehow we begin to believe that with the maturation process we gain immunity against consequences having to follow choices.

We deceive ourselves into thinking that our concentration level while studying on our school homework is just as high whether we are watching television or listening to music.

We deceive ourselves into thinking that junk food will sustain health and starve off malnutrition.

We deceive ourselves into thinking that mind controlling substances relax us and help us cope with life’s stresses much like earlier generations were convinced smoking tobacco was good for the lungs.

We deceive ourselves into thinking there is no consequence to ignoring moral standards and that momentary pleasure will turn into lasting happiness.

We might get away with the lament, ‘I am not hurting anyone but myself’ if this denial between choices and consequences didn't accelerate and elevate itself into decisions which have the potential of effecting most of Humanity. Somehow we are able to convince ourselves that we really are an island and our choices not only have no effect on the consequences of our own lives, but for certain have no effect on others.

While protecting our right to our ‘standard of living’ we have little remorse about how our choices will submerge multiple generations to come in staggering amounts of debt.

While protecting our right to use up and waste the ‘resources of mother earth’ we give little thought to the environment our progeny will inherit.

We spend ourselves into deeper and deeper debt for that which will ‘rust and corrupt’ with little regard for the negative legacy and clean up job we are leaving behind.

We build bigger and bigger mansions while ignoring the homeless lining the streets of our cities and canals, believing that our riches keep us well away from having to pay the piper.

The last time I ‘went a pondering’ through this choice and consequence activity the thought came to me that we are much like the proverbial cat. We waste our nine lives on triviality, always thinking another will follow, when suddenly we are face to face with a real life- altering event only to find we have no lives left.

It is probably worth pondering once and again, how many times and how many ways can we deny the fact that our choices have consequences, spending our nows and futures hoping for miracles which will save us and others from the consequences of our choices?

We need to revisit pondering upon how the choices we make have pre-determined and long lasting and spreading consequences and that today and all our tomorrows mortality will demand we make choices which will inevitably be followed by the assigned consequences.

There is another aspect of choices which is much like the necessity of depositing funds in a bank before writing checks or withdrawals which can alter consequences dramatically.

A deposit of study, learning and experience usually precedes knowledgeable, wise and meaningful contributions to society and help us avoid becoming a drain on the resources of others.

A deposit of a variety of healthy and nutritious foods usually precedes strength and longevity and can help us avoid disease.

A deposit of control and abstinence usually precedes mental alertness and wards off life numbing brain damage.

A deposit of faithfulness and integrity precedes prolonged and happy relationships and can hopefully help us avoid dysfunctional relationships.

A word of warning needs to be added. The finger pointing lesson – you know whenever you point your finger at others there are three others pointing back at you. There is a great temptation and correlating ability which we seem to gain in life to be able to see the ignoring of choices always leading to consequences in those who govern us, friends and family members and the rest of humanity, while at the same time leisurely going about never counting the cost of our own choices.

There is a law, irrevocably decreed in heaven before the foundations of this world, upon which all blessings (or cursings) are predicated—And when we obtain any blessing (or cursing) from God, it is by obedience (or disobedience) to that law upon which it is predicated.
(Doctrine and Covenants 130:20–21).



Saturday, October 28, 2017


The reason we need to daily – do all we can to strengthen our personal testimonies – is because there will undoubtedly come a day – when someone near and dear – needs to be held up – by leaning on our strength!!

Friday, October 27, 2017


The strength we need – to get us over life’s emergency high hurdles – will come from – routinely jumping over the daily small bumps we encounter in life!!

Thursday, October 26, 2017


We have often witnessed – the complications of life – cause us to ignore the simplest of solutions!!

Wednesday, October 25, 2017


If it is true that righteous parents – will see their offspring – eventually receive an eternal glory – does it not stand to reason – that since Adam and Eve were righteous – and all mankind are their offspring – that all mankind will eventually inherit Eternal Life??

Tuesday, October 24, 2017


It takes but a brief study of man’s history on earth – to realize the number of Heavenly Father’s children who accept Jesus the Christ as their Savior – during an estate other than mortality – far outnumber – those who become His disciples during mortality!!

Monday, October 23, 2017


We must ultimately come to understand – the Love of Christ – represented by the tree of life and the fruit in Lehi’s dream – represents the means – to accomplishing the end - of Salvation and Eternal Life!!

Sunday, October 22, 2017


Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. (2 Timothy 3:7)

By the time we reach the point where we think we are ready for the graduate courses on Level Three of Heavenly Father’s Eternal Life curriculum we will have worn out many robes as we continually put them on and take them off. We may have even screamed out in our minds for aid in breaking the vicious cycle we seemed to be treading upon. In all probability we have not entered into the post graduate curriculum of Level Three because we have a mistaken idea or in fact no idea what that curriculum is all about.

Like so many of the really important advancements we make in life, the curriculum of Level Three – Receiving the Attributes of Celestialness or Becoming like Heavenly Father through His Grace seems to come to us as a gift once the Master has seen our willingness to submit to all the conditions we have learned as we struggled in the classrooms of Level one and Level two.

A few of His revealed words might help us better understand what Level Three is all about:

For we labor diligently to write, to persuade our children, and also our brethren, to believe in Christ, and to be reconciled to God; for we know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do. And, notwithstanding we believe in Christ, we keep the law of Moses, and look forward with steadfastness unto Christ, until the law shall be fulfilled.

For, for this end was the law given; wherefore the law hath become dead unto us, and we are made alive in Christ because of our faith; yet we keep the law because of the commandments.

And we talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophesy of Christ, and we write according to our prophecies, that our children may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins.

Wherefore, we speak concerning the law that our children may know the deadness of the law; and they, by knowing the deadness of the law, may look forward unto that life which is in Christ, and know for what end the law was given. And after the law is fulfilled in Christ, that they need not harden their hearts against him when the law ought to be done away.
(Book of Mormon – 2nd Nephi 25: 23-27)

Yea, come unto Christ, and be perfected in him, and deny yourselves of all ungodliness; and if ye shall deny yourselves of all ungodliness, and love God with all your might, mind and strength, then is his grace sufficient for you, that by his grace ye may be perfect in Christ; and if by the grace of God ye are perfect in Christ, ye can in nowise deny the power of God. And again, if ye by the grace of God are perfect in Christ, and deny not his power, then are ye sanctified in Christ by the grace of God, through the shedding of the blood of Christ, which is in the covenant of the Father unto the remission of your sins, that ye become holy, without spot. (Book of Mormon – Moroni 10: 32, 33)

And we heard the voice, saying: Write the vision, for lo, this is the end of the vision of the sufferings of the ungodly.

And again we bear record—for we saw and heard, and this is the testimony of the gospel of Christ concerning them who shall come forth in the resurrection of the just—They are they who received the testimony of Jesus, and believed on his name and were baptized after the manner of his burial, being buried in the water in his name, and this according to the commandment which he has given—That by keeping the commandments they might be washed and cleansed from all their sins, and receive the Holy Spirit by the laying on of the hands of him who is ordained and sealed unto this power;

And who overcome by faith, and are sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise, which the Father sheds forth upon all those who are just and true.
(Doctrine and Covenants 76: 49-53)

It would probably be appropriate to add another word of caution. There are many of us who might fall into the telestial mind trap of thinking that because we have been true and faithful in our learning and practicing the principles taught in the classrooms of Level One and Two we are owed a reward for our faithfulness. If we succumb to this heresy pontificated by the philosophies of men, we have indeed failed to understand the meaning of the word gift and have not even begun to understand the principle of Grace.

Elder Russell M. Nelson, an Apostle of the Lord in a recent General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints told of a study he had done in the scriptures of our Lord and Savior by searching all the references to Jesus Christ found in the Topical Guide and prayerfully studying them. A wonderful activity for sanctifying and making the Sabbath a delight might be to do a similar searching of the principles of Grace and Gifts.

May the blessings of Heaven shower us with the desire to be diligent in our efforts to Shed ourselves of our Telestialness and Clothe ourselves in Terrestrialness and be ready to graciously and gratefully Receive gift of the attributes of Celestialness or Becoming like Heavenly Father through His Grace.

Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.
(2 Timothy 3:7)



Saturday, October 21, 2017


Change is only difficult – for those whose lives – are affected by it!!

Friday, October 20, 2017


It is an impossible task – for one person – to determine – what is delightful – for another!!

Thursday, October 19, 2017


Not everyone will be given the opportunity – to know – whether it is a greater test – to live – or – to die for a principle!!

Wednesday, October 18, 2017


No matter what our level of understanding might be – there will be times – when we must play the role of student – so that others can have the experience – of learning the role of teacher!!

Tuesday, October 17, 2017


Feeling the love of God surge through our souls – may strengthen our faith – to a greater degree – than the expression of our love for Him – in a thousand prayers!!

Monday, October 16, 2017


Feeling the love of God in our lives – may have a greater effect on our progress – than becoming a graduate from a school of divinity!!

Sunday, October 15, 2017


Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. (2 Timothy 3:7)

The counsel I gave last Sunday would be good to consider for this week also. A quick review of parts one and two of this series of Thoughts will be a great help in understanding this week’s Thought.

The problem with going through the exercises we learn while in the classrooms of the Level one curriculum or ‘Shedding my Telestialness’ has several faults. If I am constantly in a state of trying to shed the natural mortal telestial tendencies, then I will find myself like the dog who is continually returning to its vomit.

Therefore, we learn that it is not a good idea to complete all the courses in Level One of Heavenly Father’s Eternal Curriculum before embarking on Level Two. It has been postulated the more the principles of Level One we can permanently make part of our souls, the easier it will be to Clothe Ourselves in Terrestrialness.

There are even those who advocate that progression towards eventual graduation can come about more smoothly and rapidly by concentrating on the practices learned in Level two classrooms. Those who are of these particular leanings seem convinced of the concept that if a person concentrates on Clothing themselves with Terrestrialness that one mindedness will automatically result in the Shedding of one’s Telestialness.

Perhaps a sample of some of the subjects offered in the Level two curriculum will help us understand why some would counsel us to become aware of the principles taught in the classroom of Level one, but put our major efforts into learning and practicing the principles learned in Level two of the Lord’s curriculum.

Subject – The Robe of Harmony

Principle one – Bringing one’s physical body into harmony with their spiritual body

Principle two – Widening my circle of harmonious relationships

Principle three – Prayerfully studying the Word to help me put on the Robe of Harmony

Principle four – Become an active proselyte of the principles of harmony

Subject – The Robe of Cooperation

Principle one – The science of listening without formulating counter arguments

Principle two – The art of adding to another’s words and ideas

Principle three – Prayerfully studying the Word to help me put on the Robe of Cooperation

Principle four – Become an active proselyte of the principles of cooperation

Subject – The Robe of a Publisher of Peace

Principle one – Understanding the author and philosophies of the perpetrators of war

Principle two – Understanding the Author and doctrines of the Publisher of Peace

Principle three – Prayerfully studying the Word to help me put on the Robe of Publishing Peace

Principle four – Become an active proselyte of the principles of Peace

Subject – The Robe of Inclusiveness

Principle one – Understanding the shared mortal and Eternal parentage of all mankind

Principle two – Believing the principle of the mortal and Eternal parentage of all mankind

Principle three – Prayerfully studying the Word to help me put on the Robe of Inclusiveness

Principle four – Become an active proselyte of the principles of Inclusiveness

You have undoubtedly picked up on there being a practicum in each subject where we are to learn what the Lord has said about clothing oneself with a terrestrial attribute and then going forth to teach and help others understand these attributes. It seems our mortal-ness has a propensity to regress to former levels if we do not make them our own and we likewise have learned the best way to give a principle permanent place in our makeup is to become a person who publicly proselytes the principles they believe.

As we pause our ponderings on Heavenly Father’s Level two curriculum, a word of caution might be appropriate. If we do not enter the graduate classrooms of Level three – Receiving the attributes of Celestialness or Becoming like Heavenly Father through His Grace, there is a strong possibility we will find ourselves among the ranks of those who seem to be doomed to being perpetual students going through the repetitive motions of alternately retaking and practicing the principles learned in the classrooms of Level one – Shedding my Telestialness and those learned and practiced in the classrooms of Level two – Clothing myself with Terrestrialness.

Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.
(2 Timothy 3:7)

(To be continued)



Saturday, October 14, 2017


Whether we accept – or – reject the word of God – does not alter the eternal validity of His words!!

Friday, October 13, 2017


If all of us were totally self-sufficient and independent – none of us would be able to gain the growth – which comes from doing charitable acts!!

Thursday, October 12, 2017


Anyone who declares – they have never had to struggle with correlating the concepts of – covenants – compulsory – agency – probably have fallen short of understanding Heavenly Father’s Plan!!

Wednesday, October 11, 2017


The word – voluntary – should remove all guilt – from service experiences!!

Tuesday, October 10, 2017


Most of our fears – which overwhelm us – when we are given a new task – go away at the same rate – proportionate to the time we dedicate to the task!!

Monday, October 9, 2017


When the wise student learns – that the semesters work – outlined on the first day of class – is not due the next day – they will eliminate a lot of stress – from their lives!!

Sunday, October 8, 2017


Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. (2 Timothy 3:7)

If your ability to retain information is at the same level as that which I currently find myself suffering, a quick review of last week’s Thought would be very helpful before embarking on this week’s.

Heavenly Father’s possible Eternal Curriculum designed to enable His children to maximize their time during mortality might have started with:

Level one Shedding my Telestialness.

Behold, are ye stripped of pride? I say unto you, if ye are not ye are not prepared to meet God. Behold ye must prepare quickly; for the kingdom of heaven is soon at hand, and such an one hath not eternal life.

Behold, I say, is there one among you who is not stripped of envy? I say unto you that such an one is not prepared; and I would that he should prepare quickly, for the hour is close at hand, and he knoweth not when the time shall come; for such an one is not found guiltless.
(Book of Mormon – Alma 5: 28, 29)

The prophet/king Benjamin gave us a hint of the makeup of the curriculum of this level one learning process in his last great sermon to the Nephites just prior to his death. By beginning with pride and envy he certainly starts very strongly advocating things of our telestial nature which need to be shed. You could add to making your Sabbath a delight by going to that talk and reading the additional negative parts of our natures we need to strip from ourselves.

As I have pondered all that I must shed of my telestialness, I have come up with the following possible curriculum outline. Remember, you can enroll in any subject at any time and reregister if you think you need a refresher course.

Subject – Shedding Pride

Principle one – Retaining a remembrance your own frailties

Principle two – Remembering everything you accomplish and create is temporary

Principle three – Understanding you are the created, not the Creator

Principle four – Realizing Heavenly Father loves all His children equally

Subject - Shedding Envy

Principle one – Rejecting negative thoughts about my self

Principle two – Stop wanting to be my neighbor

Principle three – Cease wanting to have what my neighbor has

Principle four – Stop being controlled by my desire to have all my temporal dreams fulfilled

Subject – Shedding Exclusiveness

Principle one – Shortening your list of reasons others should not be in your circle

Principle two – Eliminating fears of others because of their differences

Principle three – Destroying your list of those who are eternally lost

Principle four – Overcoming ancestral prejudices

Subject – Shedding Anger

Principle one – Learning to count to ten

Principle two – Remembering it is not all about you

Principle three – Before reacting, count the cost

Principle four – Overcoming the need to always be right

Even though there are many other items which are included in the Shedding of Telestialness curriculum I will just mention them by name and let your own pondering come up with the principles which need to be covered. There is thoughtlessness – demandingness – callousness – competiveness – hard heartedness – greediness – along with a long list which even a casual perusal of the scriptures will provide. This supplies us with more than one life time of negative characteristics of which we need to shed ourselves.

One course for which I have not supplied the subjects to be covered, but which I feel would be beneficial for all of us to take at least once in our lives is the one on restraint. A brief summary of this course says that we will learn to refrain from actions which are harmful to the eternal progression of ourselves and others.

There is a promise given at the end of the Shedding my Telestialness curriculum outline. It indicates that as I shed these telestial characteristics, I become increasingly eligible for the Plan of Happiness to be part of my daily walk.

Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. (2 Timothy 3:7)

(To be continued)



Saturday, October 7, 2017


It is remarkable – how quickly that which we considered weird – becomes normal with familiarity!!

Friday, October 6, 2017


If all of us demand – to determine our own right – we may discover all too soon – none of us has any rights!!

Thursday, October 5, 2017


If the values which govern our lives – never expand beyond those learned in our youth – we may find our progress – has become greatly limited!!

Wednesday, October 4, 2017


Our hearts can only sing – the songs – which we have allowed to enter our minds!!

Tuesday, October 3, 2017


We come to know – clouds – cool our wanderings – more often than they dampen our spirits!!

Monday, October 2, 2017


It is more often experience – not age – which gives us wisdom!!

Sunday, October 1, 2017


Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. (2 Timothy 3:7)

When he was known as Saul he had learned from the doctrines of the strictest of the Pharisees. Once he had his miraculous vision of the Savior and baptism by Ananias he went to Arabia where he learned the principles of the gospel before starting his marvelous mission which laid the foundation for Christ’s Church throughout most of the Roman Empire.

Saul/Paul not only had a personal testimony from his own experiences about forever being in the process of learning, but never coming to a knowledge of the truth. He also learned during his mission experiences that mankind spent an inordinate amount of time learning and practicing many things which actually led them away from the truth.

As I examine my own journey along the paths of learning it doesn't take me long to realize that even though I had the privilege of having a lifelong career of teaching the gospel, the scales never the less were over weighted on the side of learning how to sustain life, the principles and practices of a successful life and under weighted on coming to a knowledge of Eternal Truths!!

As Kathleen is fond of reminding me, at the age of almost 80 I believe with all my heart that if we were able to examine the curriculum of the work and glory of God designed to teach us how to become as He is, it would not even vaguely resemble the one most of us experience during our mortal sojourn.

Besides being reared by wonderful parents, I had a formal education which started in the Roy, Utah Elementary School, continued at Lincoln Elementary in Pocatello, Idaho, had years in the school systems of American Falls, Idaho, Long Beach, California and I graduated for Garden Grove Union High School which of course is in Garden Grove, California.

My post high school education included time at Fort Ord, California, where I learned the spirit of the bayonet before advancing to being trained as a clerk typist. I attended the somewhat higher and higher institutions of Santa Ana Junior College (Its official name in 1958 when I attended), California State College at Fullerton (Also its official name when I attended that institution in 1962 -63) and Brigham Young University where Kathleen helped me gain a Bachelor’s, Master’s and Doctorate degrees.

These classroom experiences were interrupted for a couple of years as I served a mission in Mexico and learned a lot about the facts of life of which I was previously unaware and I gained a tremendous love for my Mexican brothers and sisters.

I have written this overview, which probably has held the attention of very few of the readers of this thought only to stress the point that in all probability, although all of these educational experiences provided me with a happy and fruitful mortal life, there was very little included in these experiences which prepared or qualified me for Eternal Life.

I had a feeling when I started thinking about this Thought it was going to be one of those which would end up extending over several Sundays. Therefore, I hope after this rather extensive introductory Thought, you will desire to read the rest of the Thoughts in this series.

In order to validate the principle of Agency during mortality we retain very little remembrance of the curriculum of our premortal estate. We have been taught that it included an explanation of Heavenly Father’s Plan, a lot of discussion and bickering over points of disagreement, the ability to use our Agency whether we accepted the Plan, and probably the use of agency in showing our faithfulness and abilities for leadership.

Even though we have never been given a class schedule or an outline of Heavenly Father’s Earthly Learning Plan, I have pondered what that plan might look like if we were privileged to have a copy. I think, and remember I admit to walking on very unstable ground, it would involve three major levels of eternal progression about which we have the possibility of beginning to learn and start to inculcate into our lives during mortality.

The first I have chosen to call Shedding my Telestialness.

The second I have chosen to call Clothing myself with Terrestrialness.

The third I have chosen to call Receiving the attributes of Celestialness or Becoming like Heavenly Father through His Grace.

As a certified people watcher and observer of the habits, goings and comings of humankind, it seems that much like the dropout rates which exist in our formal educational institutions, we find that fewer and fewer of us continue to be involved with classroom education the further up the ladder we are required to climb. Just as a side note, I understand that as far as worldly learning is concerned there is not a direct correlation between the amount of book learning (I guess we still understand the meaning of those words in this technological age) we have had and the distance we will progress along the path of success in life.

However, there seems to be very direct correlation between how much of Heavenly Father’s Eternal Curriculum we assimilate during our lives and what we will have with us in the phase of our existence which follows our passing from mortality.

Whatever principle of intelligence (Knowledge of and adhering to the principles in Heavenly Fathers Eternal Curriculum) we attain unto in this life, it will rise with us in the resurrection. And if a person gains more knowledge and intelligence (Knowledge of and adhering to the principles in Heavenly Fathers Eternal Curriculum) in this life through his diligence and obedience than another, he will have so much the advantage in the world to come. (Doctrine and Covenants 130: 18, 19)

Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.
(2 Timothy 3:7)

(To be continued)