Saturday, September 30, 2017


It is amazing the viciousness which is spewed – when those who have been victims of persecution – become the persecutors!!

Friday, September 29, 2017


It often takes a long time – for the words – ‘I am my own worst enemy’ – to really have meaning in our lives

Thursday, September 28, 2017


We would never deliberately – put the light out of our eyes – yet – Satan has declared – that the ultimate result of following him – is blindness!!

Wednesday, September 27, 2017


We would never deliberately put ourselves into captivity – yet – Satan has declared – that the inevitable result of following him – will result in bondage!!

Tuesday, September 26, 2017


Our neighbors – will never have the choice to accept or reject – or gift – unless it is offered!!

Monday, September 25, 2017


A gift which is kept unwrapped – brings no joy!!

Sunday, September 24, 2017


Shortly after returning from my mission in Northern Mexico, still not having completed my 22nd year of mortality, I received the call to teach the quorum lessons for the Elders in the Garden Grove 4th ward.

My attitude about my gospel scholarship seemed to diminish radically from the day of my call until the Sunday I was to teach my first lesson. I am sure that if I were to teach a lesson to a similar group now, they would all seem like very young men, but from the perspective I had then they seemed like a group of old sage men.

One of the things which salvaged my lessons in those days was that we were studying An Approach to the Book of Mormon by Hugh Nibley. Since, then as now, very few read the lessons in preparation for the classes, I found that I had a distinct advantage in spite of my youth, over the members of the quorum as I presented Brother Nibley’s wisdom. (Just as a side note – this made me a lifelong fan of Brother Nibley and I am sure there are few things he has written that I have not read)

Things were going delightfully well, when one Sunday after quorum meeting the Elder’s Quorum President asked me if we could have a lesson on reverence in Sacrament Meetings as the subject for our next week’s lesson before returning to what I had come to rely on as my safety net.

With all the pompous wisdom a childless young groom can have, I stood before the quorum the following week and presented my main point on how to make our Sacrament Meetings more spiritual. If parents with young children would keep their young children in tow (yes I am sure I used that word) the reverence in our meetings would increase many fold. I was sure I had done a wonderful job, since most of the class members sat quietly with their heads bowed during the lesson.

When I was rehearsing what a wonderful experience I had had to my new bride Kathleen and how I had set the world of the ward aright and how we could now expect our Sacrament Meetings to be blissful and quiet, she might as well have been speaking in tongues when she said ‘I wish you hadn't done that.’ I had no idea what she meant. I did get enough from her message to comprehend that she didn't share the same level of enthusiasm about the greatness of my lesson.

The mystery of her words started to be revealed to me with the birth of our first son, Cevin, and how his feelings about sitting in long meetings begin to be manifested in definite out of tow ways. By the time our sixth child, Erin, was a toddler, the full meaning of my wife’s lament had penetrated my thick skull.

I won't pretend to be ignorant of the meaning of her comment about our children’s behavior in church being much better when their father started receiving callings which took him away from sitting with the family during church meetings, but I will say I was grateful that we had long ago put distance between me and the members of that quorum of elders I taught in my younger days.

It was also interesting that the Elder’s Quorum President never asked me to deviate from the lesson in the manual after that lesson.

I am sure if the Prophet Nephi had been a member of the class he would have reminded me that we need to be very careful about digging pits for our neighbors which we will eventually probably fall into.

There is also that counsel about walking in someone’s moccasins before judging their reaction to circumstances.

I am sure the Savior was speaking to the problem when he cautioned us to withhold judgements of our neighbors. The sad capstone he put on that counsel was that with the same judgement we judge we also will be judged. I wonder how many recently returned missionaries have shaken their heads in disbelief (I was about to use a harsher word) at the out of tow Riley clan in Sacrament Meetings when father was with them.

I never liked shirts which didn't need ironing until I went on a mission.

Because of the way it smelled I never ate pizza until I had my first bite.

Until the scales fell from my 13 year old eyes I didn't appreciate the beauty of girls.

Not only do we cause a great deal of sorrow, harm and resentment when we pontificate ‘pseudo-wisdom’ from the pedestal we have built for ourselves, but we may also be denying ourselves many wonderful experiences because we make premature judgements. In the latter case we may deny ourselves the taste of sweetness and delight, while in the former what we thought to be great and marvelous counsel as it left our mouths may linger and turn to bitterness and embarrassment.



Saturday, September 23, 2017


It is a sad thing – when we judge people – like we judge some vegetables – we decide because we don’t like the way they look – there is no way we are going to like them!!

Friday, September 22, 2017


Just like Dicken’s Scrooge – if we made the effort – to get to know others – we just might discover – we like them!!

Thursday, September 21, 2017


It is remarkable – how much happier we are – when we are trying – to make others happier!!

Wednesday, September 20, 2017


Love expressed by words – will always fall short of – love demonstrated by actions!!

Tuesday, September 19, 2017


Doing a daily act of kindness – will put all of us – one step closer to becoming benevolent!!

Monday, September 18, 2017


We will never be in harmony – both body and spirit – until both are singing the same note!!

Sunday, September 17, 2017


Like so many other things in my life I was pretty late getting to the party, but I am extremely grateful that I finally arrived. I am grateful that I have lived with the understanding of the importance of relationships as the top priority in our eternal existence for the last few decades of my life, but somewhat saddened that it took me so long to begin to comprehend and practice what the Savoir was saying when he taught that all the laws and commandments can be condensed into Loving God with all our heart, mind and soul and our neighbor as our selves.

You would probably be well served if I were to leave off writing and just let you ponder on the words of the Lord, but then I would be left wanting, because the process of expressing myself with the written word has become an important part of my personal pondering regimen.

Let me begin corrupting the Savior’s simple formula by multiplying the two categories by three and coming up with 6 areas where our relationships are constantly being tested. Although there is no hierarchy of order other than our relationship with God being paramount, my wandering wondering has led me to present my six categories in the following order.

Relationships with Governments

During the same decades when I have come to consider the commandments and counsel of the Lord on relationships as paramount, as some of you who follow some of my tidbits on Face Book know I have proclaimed to be a charter member of The Non Political Party Party (N3P) which strives to treat all other parties with equal disdain. In this Thought I wish to put my usual Non Political Party Party (N3P) rantings aside and try to list some ways in which I believe the Lord would counsel us to relate with those government institutions we interact with.

We should promote and support governments which strive to establish peace.

We should promote and support governments which strive to establish personal freedoms.

We should promote and support governments which strive to establish the welfare of the populous.

We should promote and support governments which strive to establish and protect the rights of all citizens.

We should seek and place good people to sit in the seats of governance.

We should seek to establish those who govern people who view governing as a service rather than a career.

We should support civil servants who believe in serving rather than those who demand to be served.

We should be leery of trying to solve the problems of governments by instituting more levels of governance.

We should be comforted that bad governments based on the desires for power, wealth and servitude, historically have short shelf lives.

In the end, all people usually are governed by the amount of government they are willing to abide.

Relationships with Church (es)

Since a fundamental belief of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is that all men should have the right to worship All Mighty God as they wish, any and all relationships we might develop within the confines of church congregations must gain extension in our relationships with all church congregants.

Although many wonderful and dispensational changing revelatory experiences begin with one person communing with God, the great majority of Heavenly Father’s children will experience the profound life changing influences of spirituality though the synergistic strength which comes from worshiping with others.

Our relationship with neighbors should never be constrained or maintained because of chosen religious membership.

When investigating the foundational beliefs of a church other than your own, it would always be wise to read supportive rather than denigrating sources. It would also be wise to speak to members of churches who are actively engaged rather than those who have chosen another path.

We should be genuine about seeking others to join with our chosen way of worshiping God, always seeking to help them find greater joy and not for our own aggrandizement.

I must remember that none of us are at the same level of belief at any given moment, which understanding should become the standard of all my judgements and treatments of others whether they share my church affiliation or not.

We should seek to develop the deep quiet commitment which defines the hallmark of one who is anxiously engaged in living their chosen beliefs.

Relationships with Neighbors

Since the Savior said that love of neighbors, without giving exceptions or exclusions, had a dual rank with love of God, in His formula for living all the laws and commandments, I believe it would be well for us to give more than casual lip service and occasional thought about our relationships with our neighbors.

If we are admonished to keep the commandments with all our thoughts, words and actions, it appears that a now and then good deed is but a beginning in loving our neighbors.

As with most commandments, loving one’s neighbor is more of an attitude than constant action.

I can test the love I have for my neighbor by how few negative words it takes for me to begin to feel and think less of them.

I can test the love I have for my neighbor by counting the frequency I offer words in their defense when others are speaking negatively of them.

Beginning my relationships upon a foundation of trust will more likely result in a loving friend than throwing up walls of suspicion.

If I want to be successful in loving my neighbor, counsel should only be given when requested and constructive criticism should be viewed as an oxymoronic idea.

Inclusiveness will always be an important tenant of relationships with neighbors. The moment we give ourselves permission to exclude someone, we have deviated from the Savior’s formula.

Relationship with Family

All relationship principles which apply to loving our neighbor become important on an increased scale of adherence when applied to the family, since familial relationships usually have longevity and constancy which does not exist with most of our neighbor relationships.

Although the counsel on inclusiveness applies to families, there will always be certain relationships which supersede others. We do remember whom the Father said we should cling unto.

We should strive with all our might to avoid the trends of the world which tend to minimize the importance the family plays in establishing foundations for mortal and eternal lives.

We should all strive to avoid the duel demons of selfishness and entitlement which lead to dysfunctional and eventual destruction of family relationships.

Although families are founded on a hierarchal relationship of parent to child, that order should never be used as a weapon to dishonor agency.

As with all relationships, the familial type should be founded on the understanding that with agency comes the opportunity to make wrong choices, but we must guard against allowing wrong choices to hamper our degree of love for one another.

Relationship with Self

Although I have enlisted several mottos of motivation in life they all seem to come down to one stark realization that life was meant to be made up of positive progressive passages.

Fixating on past errors will never be as effective in promoting progression as identifying, planning and implementing areas of needed improvement.

We should ponder our trials of adversity which we went through because of our own agency or another’s thoughtlessness, identify the lesson which was meant to be learned and then make sure we avoid these hindrances to our progress in the future.

We should never forget that we are continually in the process of becoming and therefore strive to put on the characteristics of the person we would like to be eternally.

We must never fall into the trap of thinking that today’s darkness will prevent tomorrow’s dawn from coming.

We must always remember that everyone does not seek to help you become all you can become; therefore, there are some who should be identified as a wolf hiding beneath sheep’s clothing.

We should cherish the gift of agency which our Father has given us and thereby avoid all forms of addiction which might destroy our ability to properly use this divine gift.

We should be grateful for whatever capacity we have to work, and perform all our labors with thankfulness.

We must go forward with the hope that the more faithful we are the clearer our view of things which matter most will become.

Relationship with God

If I do not remember it myself, I will be reminded often on the path of life, that this is the first and great commandment to love God with all my heart.

I must remember and never forget that humility will always be measured by where I put myself in relationship to God.

Reverence for God should be a continual attitude not just when I find myself on my knees.

I will rarely find my relationship with God being strengthened when I am surrounded by darkness.

I must never try to reinvent the plan leading to joy which has been eternally proven.

I must try to avoid being too frequently reminded that consequences result from choices made.

I must never fall into the trap of believing the little which has been asked of me is too much to bear.

I should be wise enough seek for and then yield to the wisdom of the spirit which resides in my physical body which has already proven itself worthy to be added upon.

I must consciously be aware of those moments of true discipleship and the joy which attends them, so that I might have the wisdom to be more constant in my devotion.

I must never let the load of today derail my desire to draw closer to the Lord.

When I feel the joy of momentarily having my love of God reciprocated, I must guard it safely in the storehouse of my soul and be filled with the desire to more frequently have it attend me.


Matthew 22: 36-40

Master, which is the great commandment in the law?

Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.


Saturday, September 16, 2017


The only home security system – which is foolproof – is universal – honesty – integrity – and – morality!!

Friday, September 15, 2017


The world would be much more civil – if the citizenship – would practice being more chivalrous!!

Thursday, September 14, 2017


Our experiences as a world population – would be more pleasant – if we all overcame our prejudices!!

Wednesday, September 13, 2017


There is no doubt – humans would have a more pleasant experience – if we all exercised more humanity!!

Tuesday, September 12, 2017


Having a wrong judgement about someone – can never be a foundation – for correct understanding!!

Monday, September 11, 2017


Counsel which was neither sought nor petitioned – is usually ignored – and – unheeded!!

Sunday, September 10, 2017


When I was a young man I served my mission in the era before language training centers existed, a time when those who were called to labor in missions where learning a new language was necessary had an extended time of service in the field. Kathleen and also I served together for three years in the wonderful country of Colombia. In fact there was a time when I counted my time as a full time missionary as a tithe or tenth of my life. Although that mathematical phenomenon went by the way side a long time ago, I still have day and night moments when I have two scenes parade though my conscious and unconscious mind.

I first see an army of the Lord, made up of young men and young women marching forth with determination and dedication, anxiously desiring to help people come unto Christ. As this scene closes it is quickly replaced by the vista of thousands of returned missionaries I have been involved with a few months after they have returned from their fields of labor.

As I ponder upon these scenes I am usually left in a state of marveling how it is that in the mission field this young army of the Lord’s steps seem fairly uniform and their variance of commitment is within a small range. Sadly, thinking about those who have been home from their fields of labor a year or less, their paths seem extremely diverse and the spectrum of their commitment is very broad.

I understand agency and the fact that the world would be a very dull place if we were all the same and had the same personalities and views of how life should be lived, but never the less my pondering of missionaries going into the field, learning to live the laws of happiness, devoting their lives to the labor of love, returning with honor and then almost too abruptly many of their lives barely resemble what they were taught about the laws of happiness in their mission fields.

The vastness of variables created because we are gifted with agency causes us to acknowledge the reality that it is almost impossible for two individuals, although they share common experiences, to react and be acted upon by those experiences in the same way. In fact it seems what we become is not just a result of the experiences we have, but how we as individuals react to those experiences.

I have come to believe the degree to which a return missionary continues to live the laws of happiness after their release will correspond to the level of conversion they had to that way of life during their mission experience. The reason so many of life’s lessons don't become a permanent part of our being is there are many times in life we perform ‘as if’ we believe in something, but later on we find that we were just ‘going along’ because that was the roll we were given to play at the time.

As the saying goes, I would be a very rich man if I had a dollar for every time I have heard a returned missionary say in one way or another; ‘these were the happiest, most productive and most spiritual years of my life’. Somehow, many fail to see the correlation between the ways they had conformed to the laws of happiness during their full time mission experience and the happiness, productiveness and spirituality they had experienced. Ironically, the conversion process they had been attempting to help others experience had not taken root in the hearts of many, that the missionary life isn't just the plan of happiness for two years but for all of mortality.

I am not ignorant of the fact that upon returning from the mission our lives become diverted into paths of education, jobs, courtship, marriage and family which make it impossible to do 24/7 what we did as full time missionaries. Also the removal of the ‘mantle of the calling’ makes continuing with the devotion to living the plan of happiness more challenging. However, there are some fundamentals we learn while laboring as fulltime missionaries which should not disappear as rapidly as they seem too with many of us. All too rapidly upon returning from the mission field we find our lives have changed from that to this:

Regular hours of work and sleep are replaced or severely substituted by late nights and unproductive days.

Careful grooming and ‘set-apart’ appearances are replaced or severely substituted by getting back into ‘style’.

Good reading habits and classical sounds are replaced or severely substituted by reality shows and hearing destructive noises.

Meaningful minutes of Scripture study are replaced or severely substituted by now and then glimpses of verses.

Elevated thoughts and words are replaced or severely substituted by common and vulgar images and expressions.

Constant concern with serving and edifying others is replaced or severely substituted by the quest for the all mighty $ and stepping on people’s heads to get an elevated position on the corporate ladder.

Obedience to high moral standards and missionary habits are replaced or severely substituted by overwhelming desires for independence and faddishness.

Although I have focused on the difference between the laws of happiness taught in the mission field and the lives we return to or turn to after our missions, this thought could easily have been centered on things we learn in our homes, things we learn in school or any other institution we go through during our lives and whether the experience sinks into our being or if we spend our time during those phases wishing for the day when we can be free and independent and use our agency for our own plans for living life.

Witnessing the vast variation of ideas which have been proclaimed as the passage ways to happy, productive and spiritual lives, we are left to wonder if the difference in the lives we choose to live is a result of conversion as well as agency.

We have all undergone many learning, practicing, ignoring, forgetting periods during our lives and yet we are well aware that in spite of similarities of the experiences we have undergone, what we eventually become converted, convicted and committed to doing in our lives and what we choose to lay aside, forget and/or ignore is very dissimilar.

It is worth pondering that the Savior said that it is by our fruits we will be known. Interestingly, he didn't say it was by the nurturings, mentorings and callings we had experienced. It would be well for us to take more seriously the great teaching moments we are blessed with and the changes which could have resulted had we continued to live by those principles and maybe even find a way to return to making them part of our lives.

When our lives are reviewed with complete openness, we will see clearly how many important opportunities we were given which we did not allow to permanently affect us.

I have long believed that the mighty change we all seek to be worthy to stand in His presence is wrought upon us line upon line through gifted experiences, but mostly by how much of these blessed experiences we allow to become an eternal part of our being.


Saturday, September 9, 2017


The constancy and continuousness of God’s devotion – to fulfilling His work and His glory – will outlast our weaknesses and failures!!

Friday, September 8, 2017


Continuing in righteous desires – added upon by small steps forward – will ultimately result in noticeable improvement!!

Thursday, September 7, 2017


The desire to do better – and want to improve – may be the best we can conjure up on some days – and therefore – it will be acceptable to our Heavenly Father!!

Wednesday, September 6, 2017


There is one who would seek to deceive us – into thinking that the gospel – is all bad news – instead of all good news!!

Tuesday, September 5, 2017


The secret to holding onto marvelous spiritual moments – is to continue to participate in those activities and thoughts – which brought about those moments!!

Monday, September 4, 2017


There are only a few doctrines – and – principles – which we need to gain an absolute witness of – The Creation – The Fall – The Atonement of Jesus the Christ – the Restoration of the Gospel - a testimony of these truths will lead us to an assurance of all doctrines – and – principles!!

Sunday, September 3, 2017


By the time we get around to some of the items on our bucket list we have usually forgotten why we wanted to include some of those items on our list. There are also times when we are fulfilling an item on our bucket list when we wonder why we would ever have put such a thing on our list.

Reading the Great Books of the Western World definitely fits in the forgetting why, but not in the wondering why part of the items on my bucket list. Although I have only finished seven years of the 10 year course outlined by Johns Hopkin, it has been a meaningful journey through the foundational writings of western thought.

One of the more important personal enlightenments which happened to me during my journey through this very extensive bucket list experience came while reading the words of two of the Christian writers who lived during what is often referred to as the Dark Ages. These writers who definitely impacted heavily the later phase of my mortal sojourn were St. Augustine and Justin Martyr.

When I read their testimonies of the relationship they had with God, it caused me to spend many hours of deep soul searching as to why they seemed to have experienced both loving God and feeling God’s love to a much higher degree than had been my experience.

The conclusions which came to me as a result of my hours of pondering on this perceived gulf between the relationships these great Christians had with God and my own ironically came to a climax as I was reading the words of Bishop Felton Sheen a prominent 20th century Christian.

The following are some statements from Bishop Sheen:

‘For if you love God you will never do anything to offend Him.’

‘Law is for the imperfect follower of God.’

‘Love is for the perfect follower of God.’

‘Law is for those who what to know the minimum.’

‘Love is for those who are interested in the maximum.’

‘Laws emphasize the negative approach – thou shalt not.’

‘Love emphasizes the affirmative – love with all your heart.’

‘One who lives by law is constantly measuring limits.’

‘Love is never measured.’

‘Our deeds are proof of our love.’

‘Love is demonstrated by our preferences.’

‘We hold back on loving God completely because of a fear of what we may lose.’

‘When you have the sun you have no need of a candle.’

In the book of John 14: 15, 23, 24, the Apostle John recorded the Savior’s words proclaiming the proper order between Love and laws as they pertain to becoming a successful disciple.

If ye love me, keep my commandments… If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him. He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father’s which sent me.

Matthew recorded in the 22nd chapter of his book in versus 37 - 40 this key relationship between Loving God and living the law in the following very oft quoted words.

Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment.

And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.

As we read and ponder the words of those who seem to have grasped the importance of Loving God as a pathway to living the law we can't help but be moved by the stirring words of Mormon as he pled with us near the end of his life.

Wherefore, my beloved brethren, pray unto the Father with all the energy of your heart, that ye may be filled with this love, which he hath bestowed upon all who are true followers of his Son, Jesus Christ; that ye may become the sons of God; that when he shall appear we shall be like him. (Moroni 7:48)

I am well aware that many of us are most comfortable when like Benjamin Franklin we have a long list of improvements (laws – commandments) we need to make in our lives and then go about the time consuming task of making these changes in our lives, much like checking items off of a bucket list.

Since my pondering has brought me to believe the many testimonies which have been given that the surer way to becoming a disciple of the Savior is by learning to love Him I offer the following as my personal witness of why I feel this is the right path.

I can easily remember the one commandment to love God

When I love God I have wrought upon me the desire to do good continually

Loving God is the very key which leads to the mighty change of heart

There is insufficient time during mortality to conquer the multitudiness commandments

When I love God, loving my neighbor becomes an achievable goal

If my heart is filled with the love for God, correct choices become clear

If I keep my heart filled with the love for God, I make incorrect choices less frequently

As I experience greater love for God I gain a greater feeling of His love for me

My prayer this Sabbath Day is that we will all spend some time pondering about how we can increase our love for God.


Saturday, September 2, 2017


It could be telling – when we stand at the judgement bar – and are asked to report – those things which we counted as treasures during mortality!!

Friday, September 1, 2017


It will be sad if we feel – as some surely will – at the judgement bar – that all was vanity!!