Monday, July 31, 2017


Although the senses we have been blessed with – are marvelous instruments which help us to know physical things – the whisperings of the Holy Spirit – is a more sure witness to eternal truths – than all the physical experiences combined!!

Sunday, July 30, 2017


I have probably been one for most of my adult life, but I think it was about the same time as my retirement from full time employment with the Church Education System that I publicly declared my allegiance as a charter member of the Non Political Party Party. (N3P)

One of the characteristics of many individuals and most organizations in the world is the tendency to identify and talk a lot about problems, but either have never developed rational solutions or have had them buried in the rhetoric of an opposing philosophical or political faction.

Jokingly, in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, this propensity of saying lots while doing little, comes out in ditties like ‘if you want to have it done or done right give it to the Relief Society.’ It has also been expressed in these words ‘everything above the ward level is all talk.’

I don't believe either of these ditties is entirely and universally accurate, but there is little doubt that there must be some basis or they never would have originated in the uniqueness of our church vocabulary.

In our government, this tendency to say lots and do little, is often referred to as ‘stagnation’ which, depending on whether you are partisan to political party or a charter member of the (N3P), is either a bad thing or a very good thing.

These five paragraphs were written as a way of introducing, by way of confession, some of those problems I have identified through pondering, preached about in many classes and have even offered what I thought to be profound solutions to the problems, but may have fallen woefully short of actively implementing those solutions.

A few problems from random pondering:

We have become adept at keeping from becoming personally involved with others by identifying them as part of a group rather than as an individual.

We have distanced ourselves from personal acts of charity by making impersonal donations to bureaucratic laden organizations.

We tend to identify people more frequently by what they do rather than who they are.

We seal ourselves from those of other ‘ilks’ by living in gated communities and working in guarded office buildings.

We limit our productiveness and inventiveness by shielding ourselves within the confines of our job descriptions.

We work hard to be included in groups which advocate exclusion.

We grow weary of being with people who we have a stewardship to lift, edify and strengthen.

We allow our most important relationships to wilt because we abandon the necessary nurturing.

We overuse and destroy the gift of our mortal body by failing to do the necessary restorative re-creational activities.

We yield to the enticing’s of momentary pleasures and ignore principles which magnify everlasting joy.

We indulge ourselves in extended pity parties which rob us of our productivity.

We stare bleakly into space looking beyond the beauty which surrounds us.

Solutions which can be applied generally or individually to the identified problems:

Make sure I have identifying talents and strengths on the agenda whenever I sit down for my regular scheduled personal interview with myself. If I do not gain a realistic understanding of what I am and what I can apply to resolving problems, then I will blindly rush forward and end up floundering in a ditch.

Make sure I have a well-defined vision of the extent of my stewardship, enabling me to more effectively be part of the resolution and to keep from exacerbating the problem.

Make sure I become the manager of my time rather than letting time become an ever present reminder of my frustrated unscheduled efforts.

Make sure I do not allow zealous diligence to become the author of damaging drudgery by endless emptying of the tank without taking time to refill.

Make sure my refilling of my tank always includes the additives of biblical wisdom and spiritual whisperings.

Make sure I understand that solutions take place in small portions in the same way our personal progress takes place line upon line.

Make sure I have clarity of thought concerning the effectiveness of solutions based on the philosophies of men versus those based on the principles of the gospel.

Make sure proper pondering precedes the rush to resolution.

Make sure you always remember it is not the group, but the individual you are helping.

Make sure you understand the difference between a glitch in progress and a derailing obstacle.

Make genuine love be dominant and demonstrated to all who are suffering because of the problem as well as those who are striving to be part of the resolution.

Like the planning which precedes the building of a great edifice all this identifying of the problems and solutions will accomplish nothing until shovel is put into the dirt.

But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.

For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was.

But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.

If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man’s religion is vain.
Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.
(James 1: 22-27)


Saturday, July 29, 2017


The words – I know – should be held as sacred – and only used when they are spoken in testimony – about those things we actually know!!

Friday, July 28, 2017


We need to be secure and sincere – with the words we speak – when we begin a sentence with – I believe!!

Thursday, July 27, 2017


We will probably never have a greater test of our beliefs – than in those moments – they are challenged in a cauldron of crisis!!

Wednesday, July 26, 2017


Step by step – brick by brick – we are building our eternal home – with every choice we make!!

Tuesday, July 25, 2017


Like so many important things in life – the testimony of one’s beliefs – cannot be forced upon others!!

Monday, July 24, 2017


The consequences associated with ones choices – are always the same – we will either receive the blessing associated with a righteous choice – or – lose that blessing because we made an unrighteous choice!!

Sunday, July 23, 2017


Happiness is like an elusive butterfly,
The more we chase it, the more it alludes us.
But if we turn our attention to other things,
It comes and sits softly on our shoulders.

(Nathaniel Hawthorne)

Although I never sought the opportunity and it was definitely not what I would count as one of the joyful activities of my life, during my life I have been given stewardships which included significant amounts of counseling. These experiences included people in a wide variety of the stages and circumstances of the mortal passage.

There is no doubt that the dominant reason for them having sought me out, was the elusiveness of the state of happiness they were seeking in life. They may have used such words as disobedient children, finances, feeling unfulfilled, not being understood, lack of love in their lives, but the bottom line was that they didn't feel happy.

After allowing for the cathartic exercise of letting them unburden themselves, I would ask them to give me examples of what they saw in others they deemed to have found happiness. Most of the time the attributes they felt happy people possessed were described with such words as calm, peaceful, contented, loving and friendly.

More often than not Nathaniel Hawthorne’s butterfly illustration would come to mind and be a very natural lead-in to a discussion of some of the activities which happy people have in common which could create an atmosphere where happiness should quietly come and sit softly upon their shoulders.

They create spaces and time in their lives where pondering and meditation can flow without interruption

They dedicate themselves to searching out and reading positive, enlightening words which are found in scriptural writings, poetry and prose

They seek and listen to the promptings of the Holy Spirit

They heed the laws of the Lord’s plan of happiness and by so doing increase the opportunity to hear the sweet voice of the Shepherd

They supplement their morning and evening prayers with moments of sincerely petitioning the Immortal help of Heavenly Instructors for direction in solving life’s problems

They have begun the process of retuning the gift of their free will back to Him who gave it to them

Much of their day is spent in thankfulness for the multitudinous blessings which have been bestowed upon them

They are frequently reminded of those who are not so blessed and inspired about charitable acts which might help alleviate suffering

They number all as family and as eternal brothers and sisters

Because of the alluring false teachings of Lucifer many of those with whom I met with had ingested the cool aid he advertises as happiness. You must find it on a thrill ride, in a dark tavern, away from people, in the house on the hill, by numbing your senses, by setting your heart on the things of the world. It takes but moments on any form of media to become inundated with his propaganda.

Whether anyone else was ever moved by these sessions or not, I know the accumulated effect on my life was the realization that butterflies don't rest where there is commotion, clamoring or confusion. Rather they rely on a very different set of priorities than those of which Satan would try to convince us.

Happiness comes to those who are humbly self-assured

Happiness comes to those who have no need to be enlarged in the eyes of the world

Happiness comes to those who have begun to understand the nature of their Eternal Parentage

Happiness comes to those who have found the peace and contentment through confirmation of the correctness of the path the Lord had prepared for them

Happiness comes to those who through patience have acquired tolerance for the halting steps their brothers and sisters are taking

Happiness comes to those who accept that we are all in different steps of progression and it is OK

Happiness comes to those who understand that whatever we achieve in life we will yet lack in our quest to become as God is

As I think back upon those many unsought opportunities to visit with brothers and sisters, I am struck with the realization about who those sessions were really for.

Happiness is like an elusive butterfly,
The more we chase it, the more it alludes us.
But if we turn our attention to other things,
It comes and sits softly on our shoulders.

(Nathaniel Hawthorne)


Saturday, July 22, 2017


Expectations increase – with every privilege or opportunity – with which we are blessed!!

Friday, July 21, 2017


The true measure of our love quotient – maybe how many of the human family – we consider to be our brothers and sisters!!

Thursday, July 20, 2017


There is no such thing – as lobbying – to bring about changes to Heavenly Father’s Plan!!

Wednesday, July 19, 2017


The true test of our Christianity – will always be how inclusive we are – in allowing others into our circle of love!!

Tuesday, July 18, 2017


We should all be grateful – that we have endless days to achieve perfection!!

Monday, July 17, 2017


Having an eternal rather than a temporary view of existence – helps one cling more tightly to those relationships – which they view as everlasting!!

Sunday, July 16, 2017


There are times in our lives when in order to complete a task on our bucket list we would need a bucket with a much larger opening. One of those events which has remained unfulfilled on my personal bucket list is to make a hole in one while playing a round of golf.

This desire has brought frustration from coming close, but as the saying goes ‘no cigar’, being fearful that I might make a hole in one when I was playing by myself and would have no witness and imagining the personal joy I might feel as I witnessed others having this experience.

Kathleen once shared a ditty from Mark Twain which said, ‘to get the full value of joy you must have someone to divide it with’.

Even though it might seem like a shallow thing to some and it may be more symbolic than actual, I know making a hole in one while golfing alone would bring a minimal amount of joy which would be trebled if I were playing with a group of three friends.

During the final years of her life when my mother was living alone as a widow, she would often express her feelings about her life by using some word or another which added up to her being lonely. Each time I would hear her expressing these emotions the thought of a life without someone to divide not only the joys of a given day, but also the frustrations, fears, successes and failures which make up the hours of our days would fill my thoughts.

I suspect it has happened, but I would have to stretch the capabilities of my memory to discover when, that there has been a day in my life when I have not read something about the benefit of having someone to divide your life’s experiences with.

Even though many of these remembrances involve married couples, they often extend the benefits of the division of life’s experience to every kind of close, constant and continual relationship including dogs, cats and birds. Knowing the importance of having others in one’s life gives an additional meaning to the expression ‘no man is an island’. Maybe even expanding it to mean no man should be an island.

As I have pondered this principle of the multiplying of joy by dividing it with another, I have felt impressed that oneness can never be accomplished by one, that loneliness is always a result of being alone and that the amplification of emotional responses needs the synergistic boost of numbers.

As we expand the principle of multiplying by division we see examples of this everywhere in the Kingdom of God.

This is manifest in the unifying divisions of the Godhead. Bruce R. McConkie referred to Heavenly Father as God the Creator, Jesus the Christ as God the Redeemer and the Holy Spirit as God the Testator. Because the task of one is divided among all, totality becomes a reality.

In God’s earthly Kingdom we see the office of Bishop being made whole by the divisions of bishopric assignments and Presidents made complete because they preside in presidencies.

Besides taking a few minutes to ponder the importance of having significant others constantly in our lives, Elder Maxwell also gives us the following points to ponder about how we can make relationships more meaningful:

Recognize that our continued presence is often needed as part of the learning environment of others

Always assume that what others have to say is worth listening to

Learning to wait upon others as they go through their own trials of faith

Stretch out moments of sweetness

Valuing people for who they are, what they have to say and what they have to contribute

Detoxify our disappointments

Take the radioactivity out of our resentments

We can't take many steps along this journey of multiplying the joys of life by dividing them with others without coming to the realization that we increase the velocity of turning one into oneness when the concentration of our efforts shifts from our egocentric tendencies and becomes centered on others, especially that other who will make of us a whole.

The expansion of the glory of God comes through His work of bringing to pass the immortality and eternal lives of his children.

A Bishop begins to magnify his stewardship when he quits worrying about how the members of his ward perceive him and places his concerns upon the needs of the flock over which he has been assigned to minister.

A husband or wife begins to find a fullness in their marriage when their concern shifts from what am I getting out of this union to what am I contributing to the advancement of my spouse.

All relationships find a fuller meaning when our efforts are upon thee and thy progress rather than upon me and my advancement.

In the February 1985 issue of the Ensign Magazine president Gordon B. Hinckley reminded us that our task should be continually expanding to encircle as many as possible in our effort to multiply joy by dividing it among as many as possible.

I remember interviewing a discouraged missionary. He was having trouble with a language which was not his own. He had lost the spirit of his work and wanted to go home. He was one of 180 missionaries in that mission.

I told him that if he were to go home he would break faith with his 179 companions. Every one of them was his friend. Every one of them would pray for him, fast for him, and do almost anything else to help him. They would work with him. They would teach him. They would get on their knees with him. That’s what each of us must do for one another.

Paul wrote to the Romans, “We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak.” And then he added these significant words, “And not to please ourselves.” (Romans 15:1).

I don't believe it falls in the realm of magic or miraculous, but it seems to be an eternal law, my personal magnitude will always be dependent upon how much I can divide the joy of my works among my fellow beings.



Saturday, July 15, 2017


One of the great blessings – about living in this day when life expectancy has been extended – is the blessing of being able to see ones love for family, friends and neighbor – continue to increase with each new day!!

Friday, July 14, 2017


The companionship of the Holy Spirit – qualifies each of us – for whatever we might be called upon to do!!

Thursday, July 13, 2017


By being a faithful follower – we demonstrate – one of the most important attributes of leadership!!

Wednesday, July 12, 2017


Every day we all move closer – to so many of life’s inevitable events – whether they are accompanied with happiness or sadness – will undoubtedly depend on the decisions we make each day!!

Tuesday, July 11, 2017


The world would change – and become a substantially better place – if we were willing to bless others – with the same degree of blessings – which we desire to have bestowed upon us!

Monday, July 10, 2017


It is remarkable that we – have been empowered with authority of God – when we stand on such precarious pedestals!!

Sunday, July 9, 2017


Thoughts from the meandering mind of a charter member of the Non Political Party Party (N3P)

Long before the ‘Ugly American’ was born there was a land called ‘America the Beautiful’.

Long before the ‘Imperialistic Capitalist’ reared its beastly head there was an ‘America the land of golden opportunity’.

Long before America became ‘a Land of Bigotry’ it was a land which welcomed ‘the tired, the poor and hungry’ of the world.

I am not wise enough to know what America is going to be like in 50 years. In fact, I am not sure I really can tell you what America is like today. However, I do believe I have observed enough to know that the America I live in today is very different than the America I grew up in 60 years ago.

Why have we become a hiss and a byword to citizens of countries who once fought side by side with our fathers to protect freedom and establish peace?

Why do many nations now look elsewhere for leadership, who once had a constant eye upon the ‘Great American Experiment’?

Why do nations prefer to exchange goods with one another while reveling in the plight of the dwindling national treasury of the once revered economy of ‘Uncle Sam’?

With all the shifting away from being an example to the nations I suspect many have taken the easy path by extending the pointer finger, away from our once gleaming shores and towards other nations mumbling epitaphs about jealousy and ingratitude of have-not welfare nations.

The day may have come in which an in-depth introspection into the makeup of the today’s American citizenry might be overdue and appropriate. I don't think it will surprise any of us that we will discover that a dramatic dip has taken place in the national level of integrity which corresponds to the dip our nation has taken in international relationships.

As it is in most cases it would be easiest to use that pointy finger away from ourselves and direct the blame on the craftiness which has enveloped the governing institutions of our nation. But, even a simple search of our own domiciles, will quickly reveal there has been a drastic dip in personal integrity which probably parallels the characteristics of our publicans.

The following personal integrity evaluation could cause some pain, so if you wish to skip this section of this Thought it will be understandable.

Do I – Take home paper, pencils or other items from the abundant supply at work for personal use?

Do I – Present another person’s ideas as my own in order to advance my reputation?

Do I – Call in sick just because I am sick of my job??

Do I – Write a check or charge an item when I know I don't have enough money to pay for the purchases?

Do I – Borrow from a neighbor and return less than I borrowed?

Do I – Sell defective goods or charge for work not done?

Do I – Over estimate deductions in reporting my income to the government?

Do I – Rob my neighbor of their virtue and reputation through rumors and gossip?

Do I – Try to aggrandize myself by manipulating the feelings of others?

Do I – Judge the character of another by some distinguishing characteristic?

Do I – Determine the size of my inclusive circle?

Do I – Etc. Etc. Etc…

I long ago came to the understanding that my ability to make macro changes in the world fell in the realm of impossibility, but I have also come to know that micro changes within the confines of my own soul are possible.

Maybe the America which seemed a little bit better in those days of yore could possibly regain some of its brightness if each of us were to pay the price to regain some of our personal integrity.

*America is used instead of United States of America – With apologies to all those who live in the other nations of North and South America.



Saturday, July 8, 2017


Our brains are purposely made – so that they are capable of only having one thought at a time – therefore – if real communication es to take place – all competing interferences should be eliminated!!

Friday, July 7, 2017


For a husband or wife to presume – that they have no need to counsel one with another – means they are usually left to solve their problems – with only 50% of their available resources!!

Wednesday, July 5, 2017


Sometimes the only hope we have to hold onto – during our mortal span – is the promise that even though our sins be as scarlet – they can become as white as snow!!

Tuesday, July 4, 2017


If we who are imperfect never lose hope – for the salvation of those we love – why would we think our perfect Heavenly Father – would ever do so!!

Monday, July 3, 2017


If Heavenly Father who is perfect – never gives up on His children – why should we as imperfect beings – ever do so??

Sunday, July 2, 2017


When I was in high school, like so many other things I never thought I would involve myself in during my adult life, there was gardening.

I suspect the dislike had started years earlier when my father had large gardens and I was able to keep track of my age by the number of rows in the garden I was expected to keep clear of weeds.

When we became Californians my first main gardening chore was to keep the dicondra front lawn we had free of all other types of weeds and grasses. It took very little time for me to realize the advertising for dicondra lawns was false. It was not self-weeding.

When we moved away from the dicondra lawn, my father decided to become an expert at raising roses. This was during my high school years and it became my chore along with weeding the garden area we had in the back yard to keep the crab grass cleaned out of the rose garden. It wasn't all that bad when I was weeding away from the bushes, but when I had to pull the weeds from around each rose bush, my bloody hands made me long for weeding the dicondra lawn.

It should be easy for anyone to understand that after Kathleen and I got married and purchased the home with the rose bushes from my parents, one of the first things I did was to convert my father’s rose garden into lawn. What was surprising, especially to me, is I completely landscaped the front lawn and the change included putting in a plot of dicondra lawn.

As our lives progressed and we changed homes several times, I was mysteriously drawn to planting, weeding and landscaping. I even got to the point where I did some landscaping for some friends and had a gardening business for a couple of summers.

Kathleen points out that ironically, in the golden years of our lives we now live where I neither plant, weed, mow or harvest as I did in my younger years. She also drew my attention to the fact that I was now harvesting the spiritual fruits of a life filled with planting seeds of gospel truths. (Sounds like a theme for another Thought on another day)

Before I make this entire Thought a trip down memory lane, I will make an abrupt switch into what triggered this little side trip of mine.

The Garden of Eden

Evidently a place which neither required weeding nor mowing nor planting, but only harvesting, but like so many areas of life, the garden provided Adam and Eve with everything, but had very limited opportunity for progression.

Like so many of our falsely placed desires to be able to escape many of the difficult activities of our lives, the drudgery of planting, weeding, mowing and harvesting we have to experience to be able to enjoy the fruits of our labors, is where our real growth will take place.

And Adam and Eve found joy in their posterity!

The Garden of Gethsemane

Even with all His preparation and foreknowledge the Savior, at the crucial moment of His Atoning sacrifice, wondered if it might be possible to have the cup removed. Yet by fulfilling His stewardship all of Heavenly Father’s children were blessed.

There is absolutely no doubt that I would have rather been involved in anything else, even washing the dishes, rather than pulling the crab grass from around the rose bushes, but the joy that shone on my father’s face as he took friends and neighbors on a tour of his roses, took the pain from the scratches I had suffered.

And the Savior entered into a fullness of His Father’s joy!

El Garden of The Sacred Grove

The young boy Joseph Smith went to the grove because he needed an answer to a question. He came out of the Sacred Grove commissioned to open the Dispensation of the Fullness of Times which would open the doors of salvation for all of Heavenly Father’s children.

We live in a day when there is no lack of information available, but it has become obvious that too many of Heavenly Father’s children are not asking the right questions. Too often our questions involve our own personal needs, when it seems what we should be asking is how I can meet the needs of a neighbor.

And Joseph saw the stone roll forth to fill the whole earth and his joy increases with every Temple that is built!

My Garden

My personal garden, like the Garden of Eden, may not be found on a map. My personal garden, unlike the Garden of Gethsemane, may not affect the whole of mankind. My personal garden, unlike the Sacred Grove, may not usher in a new dispensation. But I do have a personal garden and it is vast. It includes all the days of my life. It includes every interaction I have with every brother and sister I meet. It includes every advancing step I take toward returning as a faithful servant to dwell with my Heavenly Parents once again. It includes every misstep which must be repented of. It is my life!

The prophet Joseph Smith said, ‘Men and women will be judged according to the use of the light God gives them.’ If I understand his words correctly, then I begin to understand there will be no county fair where the fruits of my labors are compared with that anyone else. I will only be accountable for the nurturing of the seeds which have been placed in my stewardship. And the Judges of my garden with see the fruits of my efforts through eyes filled with love, mercy and grace.

May we tend our gardens well, so that our joy will be full!



Saturday, July 1, 2017


If it were not for our faith in the mercy and grace of our Heavenly Father – it would be difficult to find joy during many of our trials!!