Wednesday, February 28, 2018


Gratefully – regardless of how boldly Satan’s press core – publishes our sins – for the entire world to witness – repentance will erase them from eternal existence – and – then once again our good choices – will outnumber our bad choices!!

Tuesday, February 27, 2018


I am convinced – the reason evil choices – often seem to dominate our world – is that Satan – has organized a very effective press staff – but – this does not explain – the reason we remember – our bad decisions – more than our good decisions!!

Monday, February 26, 2018


I am pretty sure – in the account Heavenly Father is keeping in Heaven – the number of good decisions – His children make during mortality – far outnumber their evil choices!!

Sunday, February 25, 2018


Even if I had double the digits on my extremities, I would still fall way short of having sufficient fingers and toes to count the number of times I have heard very valiant saints express their remorse over falling short of their self-expectations.

In the early days of my mission when much of what I heard and less of what left my mouth could be considered understandable Spanish, I remember watching Josefa Martinez sitting with my trainer Elder Davis in the small home which served both as our apartment and the meeting house for the small branch in Ciudad Valles, Mexico. Since there were more tears than words coming from sister Martinez as she spoke, I anxiously sought an explanation from Elder Davis once we were alone after our Sunday Meetings.

This wonderful young single sister almost single handedly kept the branch afloat with her time, talents and offerings, truly consecrating herself totally to the building of the kingdom in that fresh field which has since yielded a bounteous harvest. Yet, her tears and words were sorrowfully given, because she felt like she wasn't doing enough.

My father who served as a bishop in the church in two different wards along with a lifetime of other callings, shed tears of sorrow when he had to explain to his Stake President that it would probably be better if he were released since he could no longer hear what was being said in church meetings and in interviews. Years later when he was going to the Temple four or five days a week to ‘do what he could do’, which was a bit of a miracle since he once told me he could hear perfectly during the Endowment Sessions in the Temple, also expressed after his life time of service in the kingdom of the Lord his sorrow about how little he was able to do as his body began to wane.

I was giving a leadership presentation in a small ward in north western California and noticed a sister who happened to be the ward Relief Society president shedding an abundance of tears. I knew I hadn't included in my presentation any of those stories guaranteed to cause this to happen, so after the presentation I approached her and asked her what I had said which could have caused her to have such a reaction.

She told me that besides spending the numerous hours in her church calling, her brother and his family which included his wife and 8 children and who had fallen on hard times, were now living in her home. She was carrying the burden of all of this, besides being a wife and mother of 6 children. Since the presentation had included an admonition for leaders to be more dedicated in their callings, this had caused the tears to begin to flow as she felt helpless to give even another ounce of effort,

My dear wonderful Kathleen, who has spent her life dedicated to making sure the rest of her family were taken care of and where possible fulfilling their wants, while many times denying herself of basic needs, has often expressed her desire to have been able to have done more. I find it interesting as we spend our waning days together, seldom a week passes where she doesn't express in one way or another a wish that she might be able to do more. These wishes come as she fills her day searching the scriptures, joining her ancestors and caring for her husband.

As I said in the opening paragraph of this Thought, the examples of those who are most faithful, but yet find they are falling short has been a frequent theme where I have witnessed marvelous dedicated people I have been privileged to know during my life. The really sad thing about almost all of these cases is that if any of them even falters for a brief moment or shows any degree of weakness the fingers begin to point and the tongues begin to wag, questioning their faithfulness.

In the first three versus of the fifth chapter of 1st Nephi, he records the following about his mother Sariah: And it came to pass that after we had come down into the wilderness unto our father, behold, he was filled with joy, and also my mother, Sariah, was exceedingly glad, for she truly had mourned because of us. For she had supposed that we had perished in the wilderness; and she also had complained against my father, telling him that he was a visionary man; saying: Behold thou hast led us forth from the land of our inheritance, and my sons are no more, and we perish in the wilderness. And after this manner of language had my mother complained against my father.

Fingers are once again pointed and tongues wag when she sees her children and grandchildren at the point of starvation and we conveniently put aside a remembrance that this was the woman who left all that she possessed and went into the wilderness and dwelt in a tent and this seemingly without having received a sure knowledge as we learn from her words in the 8th verse of the same chapter: Now I know of a surety that the Lord hath commanded my husband to flee into the wilderness; yea, and I also know of a surety that the Lord hath protected my sons, and delivered them out of the hands of Laban, and given them power whereby they could accomplish the thing which the Lord hath commanded them.

I suspect all those valiant souls who give so much but yet feel themselves lacking will be just fine when they stand before the judgement bar, but for those of us who have pointing fingers and wagging tongues it may not go all that well.

The scriptural counsels about we, who might be tempted to be finger pointers and tongue waggers include:

Do no unrighteousness in judgements

Evil men understand not judgements

Judge according to my judgements

Execute true judgements and show mercy

Execute judgements of truth and peace

With what judgement ye judge ye shall be judged

Judge righteous judgements

This is but a small sample of verses referred to about judgement in the Topical Guide of the scriptures, but should be sufficient to give us an understanding that we should be very cautious about seeking to find fault at any time, but especially with those who are doing the best they can to consecrate their lives with their current capabilities and capacities.

Although I am grateful for the honesty of the writers of scripture, I have to confess I have also wondered why they were so honest and included the failings of those faithful people they were writing about.

I am sure of two things; they did not include these accounts to provide us with an excuse when we fall short of our capabilities and capacities nor did they include these accounts to give us license to point fingers and wag tongues when we see the faithful of our day stumble slightly.



Saturday, February 24, 2018


Without constant attention – any organization – can quickly turn into a fountain of confusion!!

Friday, February 23, 2018


There is no foundation stronger – than the one cemented by – the Atonement of Jesus the Christ!!

Thursday, February 22, 2018


The shakiness of our foundations – will often be revealed – by life’s trials – likewise – the solidness of our foundations will often be revealed by life’s trials!!

Wednesday, February 21, 2018


Letting the events of the world – determine our happiness – makes no more sense – than yielding that power to another person!!

Tuesday, February 20, 2018


Memory is an unreliable source – on which to base one’s personal history!!

Monday, February 19, 2018


When writing one’s own history – it can be difficult to decide – an ending day!!

Sunday, February 18, 2018


Shortly after returning from Mexico where I had been serving as a missionary, I was called to be an early morning Seminary teacher in Orange County for our church. Although this was a calling I had received via the Priesthood line of the church, the calling also required me to meet with Brother Orgil to sign a contract. I cannot remember the exact amount, but I believe it was less than $100 and was intended to be used to offset the expenses which would be occurred for supplies.

Four years later I signed a contract to teach full time at the Kearns Junior High Seminary for a salary of less than $5,000. The signing of these five initial contracts became a yearly ritual which would last until I signed the last one shortly after I celebrated my 65th birthday.

Although these short trips down memory lane are therapeutic and lift my heart, I have started this Thought with these memories not as an indicator of the financial inflation which has taken place during my life, but as a reminder that most of the decisions we make in life require repetitious renewals of our commitment before we complete the agreed upon task.

There is a wonderful story in the Book of Mormon, in chapters 3-4 of 1 Nephi, which illustrates the Thought I am sharing this Sabbath Day.

Father Lehi had had a dream in which he was commanded of the Lord to send his sons back to Jerusalem to obtain the record of his family’s genealogy which was in the hands of a local leader called Laban.

After the older sons Laman and Lemuel had murmured and rejected the Lord’s command, since it was a hard thing their father required of them, Nephi responded in the following well known and often quoted words: I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded, for I know that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them. (Initial decision)

After Laman, Lehi’s oldest son, fearing for his life, fled from the house of Laban, having failed in attempting to acquire the records from Laban and was attempting to convince his brothers to return to the tent of his father, Nephi said: As the Lord liveth, and as we live, we will not go down unto our father in the wilderness until we have accomplished the thing which the Lord hath commanded us. Wherefore, let us be faithful in keeping the commandments of the Lord. (First decision renewal)

A second attempt to secure the records failed when Laban chased the brothers from his home. This attempt resulted in the family’s wealth which the sons of Lehi had brought in an attempt to purchase the genealogical record, being stolen by Laban. Laman and Lemuel reacted by smiting Nephi with a rod, which required the intervention of an angel. In response to his brothers’ non-repentant murmuring Nephi responded: Let us go up again unto Jerusalem, and let us be faithful in keeping the commandments of the Lord; for behold he is mightier than all the earth, then why not mightier than Laban and his fifty, yea, or even than his tens of thousands? Let us go up; the Lord is able to deliver us, even as our fathers, and to destroy Laban, even as the Egyptians. (Second decision renewal)

When Nephi crept back into Jerusalem under the cover of darkness, as is the case with so many of the stewardships we accept in life as we go blindly onto unlit paths, trusting in the Lord to guide us as Nephi must have: And I was led by the Spirit, not knowing beforehand the things which I should do. (Third decision renewal)

Interestingly the same ancient law which the Jewish Sanhedrin used to bring the Savior to trial and demand his death, was pronounced by the angel when Nephi was hesitant to take the life of Laban in order to obtain the plates: Behold the Lord slayeth the wicked to bring forth his righteous purposes. It is better that one man should perish than that a nation should dwindle and perish in unbelief. And now, when I, Nephi, had heard these words, I remembered the words of the Lord which he spake unto me in the wilderness, saying that: Inasmuch as thy seed shall keep my commandments, they shall prosper in the land of promise. Yea, and I also thought that they could not keep the commandments of the Lord according to the Law of Moses, save they should have the law. (Fourth decision renewal)

Upon successful completion of their errand, having obtained the Plates of Brass which contained not only their family’s genealogy, but also the writings of the Prophets from Moses through Jeremiah, Nephi confirmed the successful completion of his father’s command in the following words: Surely the Lord hath commanded us to do this thing; and shall we not be diligent in keeping the commandments of the Lord? (Confirmation of stewardship decisions)

I am pretty sure most of us will probably never receive callings which might result in the enlightenment of Heavenly Father’s children for millennium, but I am just as certain that whatever stewardships we do have placed on our shoulders will require more than a single, ‘yes, I will go and do’.

As a child, I doubt a day ever passes when we do not have to renew our decision, to honor our parents.

As a spouse, there are probably very few hours during the day, when we do not decide to sanctify the vows we made.

As a parent, the sun will never set on a day, when our commitment to sustain, teach and fortify our children is not renewed.

As an employee, each day I punch the clock, I make a renewed contract to aid in the success of whatever endeavor I am engaged in.

As a covenant keeping member of the church, a moment will not pass where those promises sealed by ordinances, do not require remembrance and renewal.

The importance our Heavenly Father places on the Law of Agency, and His consequent refusal to interfere with the use and misuse of that Law should sound resounding cords in our hearts and minds why decision making is not only constant, but continual and often necessitates multiple renewals.



Saturday, February 17, 2018


The Savior’s question to the twelve Apostles – was very sincere – and – perhaps at times applies to each of us – when he queried! – Will you also go away?

Friday, February 16, 2018


If we really examine – the extensive truths – and – challenges required of a disciple of Christ – we will come to understand more completely – why so many of us have such difficulty – accepting – and – diligently living His teachings!!

Thursday, February 15, 2018


There are many times – we use our agency – deciding how to react – to the decisions others have made!!

Wednesday, February 14, 2018


On the path of our progression to fulfilling the purposes of our existence – we will often discover – our choices – are more about choosing between – good – better – best – and – less about choosing between good – and – evil!!

Tuesday, February 13, 2018


Growth becomes more difficult – as one becomes more determined – that everything remains the same!!

Monday, February 12, 2018


Having the companionship of the Holy Spirit – will become more constant – as we demonstrate appreciation for that companionship!!

Sunday, February 11, 2018


One of those phrases we often hear and which is often accompanied by knowing nods from all who are listening at the time, is ‘life is full of surprises.’

One of those surprises which has probably been more of a shock to me and a few of those with whom I have had a long and intimate relationship, is that I have been faithfully keeping a journal of my daily activities for more than 50 years.

In an attempt to give an honest and full account of my journal keeping, I was very faithful during the time I served as a missionary in Mexico, but that record is no longer in existence or maybe it would be better said, I have no idea where it is. It was mostly a record of how many centavos I had spent during the day and the number of contacts my companion and I had made, so mankind will probably survive its loss.

Likewise, while I was completing my formal education I did not keep a personal record, which might be a loss since this was probably the busiest period of my life when involved time awake each day far exceeded the traditional 2/3 of every day.

It wasn't until President Darrell Foote challenged the members of the Reno Stake High Council to keep a daily record of their activities in September of 1977 that I became a faithful journal keeper.

On September 22, 1977 I made the following entry in the first of many journals.

I had been told.
I had been challenged.
I had been admonished.
I had even been taught the principle many times.
It was not until this night when Kathy put pen in my hand and commanded – WRITE!!! – did it actually happen.

Even though I spent the major part of the day proofing the final copy of my dissertation, teaching my first class at 8:00 am, my final class at 6:30 pm, discussing various gospel concepts with my colleagues at the Institute, etc. etc. etc.


If this writing really becomes a true part of my life, I suppose this could be one of the major days of my life.


All the many times I have covenanted to write, I have continued to store my memories. I hope to record and save them at last.


This then is one of life’s surprises, from that day until today which now has the 40 year mark with but a few days missed while I was having a knee replaced and when I had three lamina trimmed off of the lower part of my spine, I have written in my journal.

One of my most satisfying moments which relates to my journal keeping came when the Church History Department called and asked if I had kept a journal or record during the time Kathleen and I served as Mission President in Colombia. It was a joyful day for me when they collected the three boxes of journals I had kept during our mission and took them to Salt Lake City to digitize them and a joyful day for Kathleen when they return the journals to us.

While I have been stammering along with my personal experiences with journal keeping I hopefully have also been laying the ground work for the importance of record keeping and how our lives would be so much less if ancestors had not been journal keepers and how much fuller they would be if more had heeded the call.

We scarcely get into Nephi’s record of the account of his days before we are brought to the reality of keeping and having a record. In the third chapter of First Nephi we read that father Lehi had had a dream wherein his was commanded to send his sons back to Jerusalem, to obtain the record which a kinsman Laban had in his possession. The importance of obtaining this record is amplified when before the records are in their possession it will cost them all of the family’s wealth and the life of Laban, with a few visitations of angels thrown in before they are able to return the record to their father.

In the sixth chapter of First Nephi, Nephi identifies the following as important items which he feels should be included in our record keeping.

A record of our genealogy

The things of God

Things which will persuade men to come unto the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob

Things which are pleasing unto God

Just a few minutes glancing through the journals I have amassed makes it pretty obvious I have filled them with many more notations of centavos spent than I have with those items with which Nephi admonished us to fill our golden pages. Nevertheless, I have been faithful and quickly justify myself by remembering the many admonitions we find in the Book of Mormon concerning the readers’ responsibility to be a searcher of the writings of their forefathers.

I am also pretty comfortable with the idea that if someone were to pay the price Mormon and Moroni did when they abridged the 1000 years of written history of the Nephites, a drastically condensed version of my personal journals might yield a nugget or two.



Saturday, February 10, 2018


There should be no such rule – as being able to reach the limit of our attempts to arrive – at having our helping tasks – be Spirit driven!!

Friday, February 9, 2018


One of the lessons of being a good steward – is that there are times when – smoothing the path of our neighbor – is not part of our stewardship – nor – will it be beneficial to their growth!!

Thursday, February 8, 2018


One of the main reasons – it is good to have a Holy Spirit directed life – is because it is only through an Omniscient level of knowledge – can we know – how often and how much – we should intervene in our neighbor’s affairs!!

Wednesday, February 7, 2018


Taking over the resolution of our neighbor’s trials – may not result in their greatest growth!!

Tuesday, February 6, 2018


Our personal understanding – of the trials of our neighbor – will always fall short of reality – but – even limited offerings of service – will still be helpful!!

Monday, February 5, 2018


There are times when the only thing we can cling to – is a hope in the Lord’s promise – that we will never be given challenges – beyond our abilities!!

Sunday, February 4, 2018


I hold out little hope that my life has excelled, is excelling or will ever excel beyond the level of average in any area of experience or talent. In fact, because of my lifelong hobby of being a people watcher I have decided I could easily have been the poster child for ‘the average joe’.

During my preteen years I smoothly moved from being ‘Red Ryder’ – ‘Jack Armstrong’ – or – ‘Bob Feller’. (ask your grandpa or anyone of that age group) I also had a healthy case of ‘feeling invincible’ when I wasn't feeling ‘picked on’.

During my teen years, I thought I had a handle on all of life’s situations followed in rapid succession with wondering what life was all about. The hierarchy of my world experiences involved: first, boy good – girl better stuff – second, acing those school subjects which interested me and barely scraping by in those which did not – third, believing I was probably on the road to being the greatest athlete ever and then shortly being jerked into the reality of my ‘big fish in a small pond’ skill levels.

My post teen life has been spent on a pathway of ever learning and becoming more and more aware of how little I know and that I understand even less.

I remember one time when I was reading and searching in the Pearl of Great Price, I was particularly struck with Moses’ account of his marvelous vision where the history of this earth from its creation to its celestialization was revealed to him. Immediately as that vision was closing, Moses pled with the Lord for the privilege of seeing more of His works and glory. It came as a surprise to both Moses and me that the Lord rejected that petition. It was also interesting to me that it became obvious to Moses at the conclusion of his miraculous vision that man is nothing when compared with Deity.

I suspect one of the truths which has impacted me during this last phase of life is this powerful message concerning the nothingness of mortals. Another which is closely related is a thought Elder Neil A. Maxwell gave us toward the end of his earth bound mission. He taught that one of life’s realities we would all have to face was that we will leave this stage of existence with much left to do, and I would add worlds without end to learn about.

We get a small glimpse into the makeup of Nephi the son of Lehi in 1 Nephi 2:16 - 22, when Nephi, besides assuring us about being impressed with his young hard body, (just an average teenager) he also had great desires to know the Mysteries of God. Interestingly, what came from his earnest desire was a softened heart which caused him to believe in the words of his father and an absence of the spirit of rebellion which he had witnessed in the example of his older brothers. He was also blessed at this time with the knowledge that he would become a ruler and teacher over his brethren.

There was a time when my littleness of understanding kept me from seeing the greatness of and the connection between Nephi desiring to know the Mysteries of God and his father revealing to him his mission in life was to be a ruler and a teacher.

Ezra Taft Benson, who once animated the membership of the church to study the Book of Mormon with unbelievable results, among other great truths, also taught that the mystery of life we should all be seeking to have revealed to us, is the purpose for which we were sent to earth. This principle opened my eyes to the greatness of the mystery Nephi had revealed to him by his father Lehi.

As we read Nephi’s words about the events which transpired during the next 55 years of his life, we become acutely aware that having the mystery of being a ruler and a teacher was but the title given to his life’s purpose which would have many chapters, sub plots and assignments revealed to him as he progressed along his foreordained path.

We are reminded that if we diligently and earnestly seek to know our own mysterious purposes during mortality, each of us will go through life having our sub plots and assignments revealed to us line upon line, until in the end we find our once mysterious life which had but a title has become a book filled with what were once mysteries hidden behind the veil of forgetfulness which covered our preexistent understanding at the time of our mortal birth.

It has struck me as I write this thought, that just as Moses was counseled to be content with the knowledge with whom the Lord had blessed him, we, likewise, need to be content with our current glimpses through the veil about our missions in life and patiently wait upon the Lord for the hour He knows we will be ready for further light.

We find in the Bible Dictionary that a mystery is defined as a spiritual truth that was hidden but now is revealed. When I first read this definition I thought to myself, that can't be right, a mystery is something that we don't know about, but the same entry says that is a modern interpretation of the word and not its real meaning.

Joseph Smith gave an interesting insight into the Mysteries of God in the ninth Article of Faith when he proclaimed: We believe all that God has revealed (mysteries), all that he does now reveal (mysteries), and we believe that He will yet reveal may great and important things (mysteries) pertaining to the kingdom of God.

Usually we have taken this Article of Faith to have to do with the ongoing necessity of having living Apostles and Prophets who were spiritually prepared and could and would reveal the Lord’s will (mysteries) concerning the Doctrines, Covenants and Principles essential for the progress of His kingdom.

However, if we were to personally apply this Article of Faith to the compilation of our own book of life as it is revealed (mysteries) to us, I think we would all better understand the purpose of this stage of our eternal progression.

I marvel at the grace which attends the Lord’s plan of giving us bits and pieces, here a little, there a little, line upon line as we become ready for the next area of our mortal missions. Although, this portioning of the Mysteries of God as they pertain to our foreordained purposes are often met with impatience and lack of understanding, when at last we begin to gain a modicum of trust in His Omniscience, Perfect Love and Unending grace we will hopefully put our energies to work in doing the work of today while awaiting tomorrow’s assignment.

Therefore, in spite of my lack of ever having been in the top percentiles of mortal achievements, I find myself at ease and content, knowing that I have attempted to learn from and fulfill those revealed (mysteries) stewardships of my mortal mission as the Lord has chosen to reveal this great mystery to me.



Saturday, February 3, 2018


It will be a surprise to many – to discover their knowledge – failed to be transferred – because they did not learn basic communication skills!!

Friday, February 2, 2018


No matter how important – the message you have prepared is – people will quit listening – when the effort to understand – exceeds the price needed to know – what you might have so carefully prepared!!

Thursday, February 1, 2018


Spoken words – are only as effective – as the ability of the hearer to understand!!