Friday, June 30, 2017


There are times when the only assurance we have of equal justice for all – will be found in the unchanging eternal mercy and grace – of our Heavenly Father!!

Thursday, June 29, 2017


We seldom progress – or – have our testimonies strengthened – at the same rate as any of our neighbors!!

Wednesday, June 28, 2017


It is always a good thing – to be ready to share our love – with all who will accept it – but – only to the degree that they will be able to accept that love!!

Tuesday, June 27, 2017


It will be wonderful – when the hearts of the majority of the members of the church – reach the same level of inclusion – as those who are leading the kingdom!!

Monday, June 26, 2017


Since examples can be both positive and negative – we have the power to help our neighbor – be greater or less – is they view us as a mentor!!

Sunday, June 25, 2017


It seems at times to have been only yesterday, but in reality was probably some 30 years ago. Anyway, it was while we were still living in Reno, Nevada. One day while I was in my office at the Institute of Religion building, a Tongan brother stepped into my office and wanted a minute to discuss a question.

He and his brother had had a discussion in Priesthood Meeting. They were having a difficult time distinguishing between the concepts of inactivity and apostasy. He explained to me that in the Tongan language both of these English words were expressed by one single Tongan word.

We had a wonderful time, (I have always found the time to be wonderful when visiting with Polynesians) trying to sort out how the differences between the English words could be expressed in Tongan. He finally felt comfortable with the idea that inactivity could be understood by saying it was ‘a little apostasy.’

He had explained to me that the Tongan word for apostasy was best expressed by saying it was one who was off the path. Therefore, he felt fine about inactivity being a little off the path, whereas apostasy was being completely off the path. He then enlightened me further by saying that whether a person was a little off the path or completely off the path, they would still not arrive at the place they desired to go until they returned to the path leading to their desired goal. He also shared with me his belief that it would probably be easier to get back on the path from inactivity than from apostasy.

Besides all the learning about inactivity and apostasy which I was enjoying during this delightful exchange I also learned my first two Tongan words, ‘He’ and ‘Conga He’.

After my friend left, I spent some time pondering the concepts of ‘He’ (being completely off the path) or ‘Conga He’ (being a little bit off the path). I came up with several scenarios which helped me realize that the point where we are on the path, a little off the path or completely off the path, seems to be on a slippery slope and if we are not careful we can slide from activity to inactivity to apostasy fairly quickly.

I will try to illustrate my ponderings from that long ago day, by examining the slope which intellectually one might be sliding down – the slope of sustaining of church leaders one might be on and the slope of the importance of church attendance one might be on.


I believe the gospel is the word of God revealed to men for their salvation.

I believe as long as I do what I conclude in my own mind to be right, I am OK.

I believe as conditions change, scriptural teachings are less applicable.

I believe any scientifically trained person will recognize the scriptures as being very childish in the light of modern knowledge.


I feel I should strive to know the truthfulness of the teachings of Church leaders.

I wonder about the worthiness of some people the Bishop calls. Was his call made by inspiration or desperation?

I know if I were Bishop I would do things much differently.

It is obvious that the Bishop has favorites and since I am not one of them, I will just stay out of his sight.


I feel the time I spend at church learning about how to live the gospel is the most valuable way I could spend a Sunday.

The only reason I continue to go to church is because of my family and friends.

I feel most of the time I spend in church is a waste of time.

The church requires too much of my time, and I have a lot of more important things I need to do.

The danger of getting just a little off the path is that the slope seems to get more severe and slippery the further we wander and if we are not careful we will find ourselves in full ‘He’ mode.

The path of righteousness is full of slippery slopes. Hopefully, while you have been reading this Thought, some of those other ‘Conga He’ dangers came into your mind and you will make a personal evaluation of the signs of those wanderings. Because there seem to be so many ways we can wander, I suspect that is why the Lord bordered the path with an Iron Rod.

The Savior realized the danger of straying just a little bit off the path (Conga He) which could lead to apostasy (He). Therefore, he admonished us to keep our feet planted firmly on the path holding steadfastly to the Rod of the Gospel.

Did I mention I really like talking to my Polynesian friends?



Saturday, June 24, 2017


The amount of love we have for our neighbor – should never be determined by – their current position on the pathway of life!!

Friday, June 23, 2017


We would be wise – not to stray so far from the flock – that we can no longer hear the Shepard’s voice!!

Thursday, June 22, 2017


It seems a bit different than I learned as a youth – but I do believe – you to be rubber and I to be glue – all that I say bounces off you and sticks to me!!

Wednesday, June 21, 2017


One of the witnesses of the foresight of the Lord – is that as the challenges sent forth by the advisory seem to magnify – the strength of the spirit children of Heavenly Father – being sent in these latter days – are living testimonies of their abilities to overcome those challenges!!

Tuesday, June 20, 2017


It has been humbling and amazing – to witness the growth of the restored kingdom – during my short span of mortality – however – I often wonder if I have kept pace with my own personal growth!!

Monday, June 19, 2017


The tree of life – representing the love of God – should be viewed more as a place to renew our energy – on the pathway to Eternal Life – rather than the ultimate goal!!

Sunday, June 18, 2017


How did we get from a lying on your back on the grass at night gazing at the stars generation to this present day instant gratification, constantly connected generation? I have even thought a time or two that such words as contemplating and pondering may soon become superfluous or at the very least their meanings will be lost.


Credited to David L. Weatherford

Have you ever watched kids on a merry-go-round or listened to the rain slapping the ground?

Ever followed a butterfly’s erratic flight or gazed at the sun into the fading night?

You better slow down. Don't dance so fast. Time is short. The music won't last.

Do you run through each day on the fly? When you ask ‘how are you?’ Do you hear a reply?

When the day is done, do you lie in your bed with the next hundred chores running through your head?

You better slow down. Don't dance so fast. Time is short. The music won't last.

Have you ever told your child ‘we’ll do it tomorrow?’ And in your haste, not see his sorrow?

Ever lost touch? Let a friendship die, ‘cause you never had time to call and say ‘hi?’

You better slow down. Don't dance so fast. Time is short. The music won't last.

When you run so fast to get somewhere you miss half the fun of getting there.

When you worry and hurry through your day, it is like an unopened gift…thrown away

Life is not a race, do take it slower. Hear the music before the song is over.

As one who has had a life time avocation as a people watcher, I have observed that even in matters which involve the eternities we want to have it all done right now. We want ALL the answers – We want the WHOLE story now – We want to ACHIEVE perfection yesterday.

Even with all his accomplishments, Brigham Young, the Mormon Moses, built stoops and verandas on his homes. He once said it would not surprise him if after death it would take him millions upon millions of ‘years’( as we count them) to learn and understand enough to be prepared to be perfected.

I know it isn't a formula for ‘all of God’s children’, because it is based on patience or dancing slowly, but I have become comfortable with a slow dance formula for working on putting on the characteristics, attributes and perfections of Godliness. Even in my days of lengthening shadows, I am grateful that the Lord has promised me that the song will not be over until long after I pass from mortality and receive my Final Resurrection.



(Lectures – Study) (Laboratory of Life) (After all I have done)

LEARNING – (Principles – Doctrines – Attributes – Applications – Methods)

If I do not know a principle or characteristic it will become impossible to practice it in the laboratory of life or have the grace of God make it a sure part of my being. Therefore, I must listen and watch and see all that I can in order to gain a foundational understanding of a principle, doctrine, attribute, application or method.

Line upon line, indicates that principle one is necessary and needs to be completed before I will be ready to go forward to principle two. A sure way to stumble or fall is to attempt to jump to a higher plane before we have gained stability on our present level.

DOING – (In the laboratory of Life – Family – Church – Community – World)

All too well I have learned that those things I learn which do not become part of who I am, are soon lost or forgotten. Once I study the principle of love sufficiently to understand what it is in reference to a characteristic of Godliness, I must practice that type of love in an ever expanding circle. I have found it wise to start practicing with those who seem to be most accepting of my efforts before venturing into larger arenas.

I mentioned line upon line, but life has taught me that in reality we seldom are able to work at charity without working on faith, on faith without working on trust, on trust without working on patience. However, I have found it helpful to at least have a dominant principle which I am concentrating on practicing in the laboratory of life.

BECOMING – (It is by grace that we are saved – after all we have done)

Before going any further, you need to be warned that on this latter point of the formula I often find myself on shaky ground when I am trying to explain what I think is happening and on even shakier ground when it comes to knowing if it is really happening in my life.

After exhaustibly learning all I can about a principle, such as love. Then after I have spent time extensively practicing the principle in the Laboratory of Life, when the Lord sees fit, by His grace He changes my nature into being more Christ like. (This has to be the explanation for the mighty change which was wrought upon the Nephites at the time of Benjamins discourse from the tower)

When my nature is changed I will feel the joy of coming closer to God and my love for him dramatically increases.

In a very beautiful moment I am filled with God’s love for me.

My love of others increases and I am filled with the desire to know more doctrines and how to apply them.


Life is not a race, do take it slower. Hear the music, the eternal song is not over.



Saturday, June 17, 2017


The goal of universal oneness – will hopefully – one day penetrate all of our hearts!!

Friday, June 16, 2017


Only love will help us overcome – the dysfunctions which corrupt the happiness – of the human family!!

Thursday, June 15, 2017


Death may bring to man – not only an assurance of the continuation of life – but also the bounteousness of God’s mercy and love!!

Wednesday, June 14, 2017


Moments of enlightenment – can brighten our paths on moonless nights – helping us reach goals we were once unaware of!!

Tuesday, June 13, 2017


We will never do enough – to earn any eternal reward – the grace and mercy of God – alone assure us of receiving these blessings!!

Monday, June 12, 2017


There is no act we can perform – which will ever make us entitled – to blessings from our Heavenly Father!!

Sunday, June 11, 2017


In the Thought for a Sabbath Day I posted on April 2, 2017, I mentioned that Kathleen and I been blessed with a tour of the Holy Lands as part of my employment with the Church Education System. I won't say this experience was dramatically life changing, but there will be forever engraven in my mind and in my heart the memories of the many wonders of the historical monuments of the world we were able to visit. As vibrant as the monument memories of those sights are, they cannot match the spiritual and emotional feelings that constantly hover in my heart and soul.

In Rome, I tried very hard to feel what Michelangelo might have felt as he accomplished the works which would have taken several normal life times to complete. We were left to wonder, why would someone be gifted and have the fortitude to use their time, talents and resources to build St. Peters Cathedral, paint the Sistine Chapel along with other works in the Vatican, sculpt all those marvelous marble creations, come up with all those inventions, paint enough art work to fill a museum along with all the other contributions he gifted to mankind?

Although few of Heavenly Father’s children have been able to generate the kind of consuming dedication that he demonstrated and I certainly count myself among this group of underachievers, I do remember leaving Rome with the feeling that I was certainly capable of accomplishing much more than I had in the past.

While we were in Egypt I spent most of the time being overwhelmed. I was constantly amazed that men could be so convinced of their own self-worth that they could move entire nations to dedicate themselves to the construction of a worthy final resting place, ignoring the cost of suffering and expenditures of life required to make sure their remains were secure. It is difficult to conceive how any mortal can convince themselves of their self-importance to the degree that they would be able to justify building massive pyramids and monumental replicas of themselves to be displayed for all to admire and even worship.

It is little wonder that the Lord has warned us of the ultimate degree of pride, where we make ourselves gods. Whenever the green goblin of false pride starts to color my countenance I worry about being afflicted with false pride and that I need to be diligent in trying to keep my ego in balance. Strangely, since those days of walking in the sands of Egypt most of the time when I have my picture taken I feel just a little bit Pharoah-ish.

In Jordan it was easy to be amazed at the ingenuity and determination of mortals. Wandering through the valley of Petra we witnessed the leavings of a civilization which inventively took their available resources and created a beautiful city. It filled us with excitement when we entered into those great halls carved out of solid rock. Not only did they use their resources to the greatest extent, but they ended up with dwelling places which had tremendously thick walls which kept them cool from the heat of the desert’s summer and warm in the winter.

It made me tingle to think that I belonged to the same eternal heritage as this people who did not just subsist in their environment, but in most cases made vast improvements which improved life for the entire community. It was hard to leave Petra without a feeling of added responsibility and accountability to make sure in the stewardships which would be bestowed upon me, a necessity to magnify and improve whatever my surroundings might be so that the lives of other’s would be more comfortable and improved.

While we were in Israel I was constantly aware of the mixed feelings and thoughts I was having in my heart and in my mind.

Since reason, blessings and research remind me that I am a descendent of the ancients who lived in and loved this land, there were times when I had a great sense of having returned home. I’ll never forget the feelings which surged through my being, as I sat on the banks of the Galilee near where the Jordan River begins to flow. In those few moments I was filled with the sense that I had never felt more at home in my life.

A different feeling came to me several places while we were in Israel, but most powerfully when we visited the museum dedicated to the Holocaust. My soul was filled with grief and sorrow to a greater degree than I can remember before or since. I grieved for the many acts of man’s inhumanity to man. I sorrow for the depth of inhumanity the children of God are capable of.

In contrasting the two feelings which seemed to control my entire being for a time, I knew I most desired those I felt on the banks of the Galilee far more than those I felt in the Museum of the Holocaust.

I was probably less than honest when I said in the opening paragraph of this Thought that this Holy Land trip was not life changing. Because from that day until now:

Whenever I do a self-evaluation I never score anywhere near 100% when I measure my working to the fullness of my capacity

Whenever I do a self-evaluation I never score anywhere near 100% when I measure how well I have been able to keep my ego in check

Whenever I do a self-evaluation I never score anywhere near 100% when I measure how much better the lives of others are because of the way I have served in my stewardships

Whenever I do a self-evaluation I score nearer 100% when I measure having a life filled with Galilee feelings and void of Museum of the Holocaust feelings than any of the other lessons learned on that memorable trip

We don't have to travel across the globe to have our lives filled with lessons we need to learn and apply, but I am convinced, wherever we are the more we daily seek these lessons and dedicate ourselves to applying them, the better chance we will have of making our time on earth fulfilling and successful.


Saturday, June 10, 2017


Once we recognize – we all fall short of having all the answers – we will not only become more teachable – but we will also become someone who is more tolerable and enjoyable to be with!!

Friday, June 9, 2017


Words whether spoken, sung or written – will never affect or soften our hearts – unless we yield to the spirit of their messages!!

Thursday, June 8, 2017


Having a difference of opinion – does not mean my neighbor – is evil or wrong!!

Wednesday, June 7, 2017


It would be foolish – to limit the degree of change – that the love of the Lord – can cause to take place in our lives!!

Tuesday, June 6, 2017


Forgiveness of others – becomes an easy task – when we come to the realization – how much forgiveness all of us require!!

Monday, June 5, 2017


It is not the iron – but the Refiner – that determines the amount of heat required – to temper the ore into steel!!

Sunday, June 4, 2017


I had not intended to write a second Thought on vanity, but I received a very nice note from a friend, Elayne Allebest. She wrote the following: ‘I had a memory pop in my head when I read your Thoughts today. I was with my mother and Howard W. Hunter and I heard him say, "I wouldn't give a nickel for a woman who didn't have a little scoop of vanity." Would you like to comment on that subject sometime? How much vanity is allowed and what might he have meant? I have my own ideas, but would like to hear yours.’

I finished reading her note with two questions in my mind. I have no idea what constitutes a ‘little scoop of vanity’ and I wouldn't ever presume to know exactly what President Hunter meant when he stated a women is of little worth without at least that much vanity in her character.

Since I used the world’s definition of vanity for last week’s Thought, for this week’s Thought I went to the Bible Dictionary in the LDS set of scriptures and found two words used in defining vanity * FALSEHOOD – DECEPTION * along with some of the terms which were in the secular definition such as *EMPTY –


Speaking of fleeting, I will quickly put the thoughts which are racing through my mind on the computer, before they flee and I am left with an empty page.

I have several times in past Thoughts written about the principles of humility and pride ultimately having to do with the relationship between Heavenly Father and his earthly children, while acknowledging that these principles also have connotations which sprinkle upon our mortal relationships.

Using the Bible Dictionary definition of vanity being falsehood and deception I find that we oft times attempt to practice vanity with ourselves, with others and shamefully, with God.

I used the word attempt, because in the end our vanity in all of our relationships is empty, transitory and fleeting.


The words William Shakespeare had Polonius speak to his son, Laertes, about being true to himself as he was departing, spring to my mind. Long ago in my junior year English class I read those words and wondered how it might be possible to deceive myself into thinking my bad decisions are good.

During the multiple decades which have followed I have had many occasions to ponder on choices I have made where I was deceiving myself into thinking that it was OK this once or multiple times. In the end I found this self-deception left me feeling empty and I always came to understand that ultimately I had to strip myself of my self-vanity and confront the reality of the real me.

I suspect it will be with all what it was with me. Self-deception will ultimately fade because it is based on that which is empty, transitory and fleeting.


I am not certain, but I suspect this is the type of vanity President Hunter might have been talking about when he said women should have ‘a little scoop’ of it in their lives.

My jump to conclusion thought on his words was something about having enough self-respect to keep oneself clean and presentable, but pondering took me into deeper and perhaps dangerous areas.

There is no doubt that in our lives we carry a bucket full of masks around with us so that we will be prepared to fleetingly play a character we believe will be liked by a certain audience.

We have a mask we pop on when we enter our place of work.

We have a mask we pop on when we enter a Chapel or a Temple.

We have a mask we pop on when we are with our children.

We have a mask we pop on when we are with our spouse.

We have a mask we pop on when in social gatherings.

Although I have barely begun to sort through the masks in our abundant bucket full, I think you get the idea that we spend a lot of time during the days of our mortality fleetingly switching from the wearing of one transitory mask to the next inappropriate one. The play goes pretty well except on those occasions when we mistakenly pull the wrong mask out the bucket.

As I have examined this part of my own vanity, I have come to realize that no matter how thick I put on the grease paint or how well I try to fit my costume to the mask or how exact I hit my mark on the current stage, sooner or later the masks are discovered for what they always were – falsehood and deception – and I am left bare faced and it is known by all who I really am.

Therefore, it would be wise if I were to dump the bucket of masks in the trash and wash my face and clean my clothes and present myself striped of my vanity before all of my brothers and sisters.


I learned as a little boy that this attempt at deception was the vainest of all. As my mother always reminded me – Heavenly Father knows.

I guess it would fall under His attribute of being omniscient, but since I am sure my mother was right, any attempt I might make to deceive my Heavenly Father would not only be transitory, empty and fleeting, but instantaneously known as false.

A few acts we try to throw a blanket of falsehood over in a foolish attempt to deceive our Heavenly Father come to mind:

He tells me I am a child of God and I try to deceive myself and others into thinking I have already received my everlasting inheritance.

He tells me I was created a little lower than the angels and I try to deceive myself and others into thinking I have been successful in elevating myself above them.

He tells me I belong to the only true church on the earth and I deceive myself into thinking my membership gives me exclusivity to all truth.

He gives me dominion over a few things and I immediately think I have a scepter with license to rule and reign.

He gives me stewardships and I think it means my word is a command.

The wonder of wonder of it all is that in spite of the common frailty of vanity His children continue to exercise in their relationships with self, others and Him, He unceasingly and unconditionally continues to love us.

Since we all seem to have vanity as a common trait in our makeup, when one of us is daring enough to reveal at least a of portion of their true identity, it would be well if we accepted this gift with whatever degree of love and understanding we might be capable of manifesting which is void of vanity.


Saturday, June 3, 2017


One of the marvelous miracles – of the restored organization of the Lord’s church – is that throughout their lives – there will always be work for the members to do – to help them wear out their lives in His service!!

Friday, June 2, 2017


It may not be in this life – but the day will come – when we recognize the greatness of the blessing – and the magnitude of the responsibility – the Lord has placed on those who hold a portion of His priesthood!!

Thursday, June 1, 2017


It may not be during our mortal life – but the day will surely come – when we recognize – the greatness of the blessing – and the magnitude of the responsibility – the Lord has placed on parents!!