Monday, December 31, 2018


We can only learn by experience – that one of the phenomena of aging – is that it becomes increasingly difficult to believe – that there are still – 60 minutes in every hour – 24 hours in every day – and – 7 days in every week!!

Sunday, December 30, 2018


One of the first things I notice when I turn to the books of Jarom and Omni is that in five pages of our current edition of the Book of Mormon six different authors cover 290 years of Nephite history. To be fair we don’t know how much of this is due to Mormon’s abridging and the Lord’s editing, but it still seems like the authors gave but little effort in fulfilling their calling to make a record of their days.

In their own words they offer the following excuses; the plates are small, I write only to preserve my genealogy, I write whatsoever words I write which are few, I wrote on the last day I had the plates, there is another record of the people, I am about to lie down in the grave.

If I were a judgmental person I might be prone to ask; why didn’t you prepare more plates, why didn’t you get started sooner, the other record doesn’t cover the spiritual happenings in your life and I agree it is a bit difficult to write once you are dead.

My personal journey of writing a daily account in my journal started when I was motivated by my Stake President, Darrell Foote, who had been inspired to give such instruction by the President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, Spencer W. Kimball. Going right to the original source the words following are some excerpts from an article written by President Kimball in December of 1980.

On a number of occasions I have encouraged the Saints to keep personal journals and family records. I renew that admonition. We may think there is little of interest or importance in what we personally say or do—but it is remarkable how many of our families, as we pass on down the line, are interested in all that we do and all that we say…

Each of us is important to those who are near and dear to us—and as our posterity read of our life’s experiences, they, too, will come to know and love us. And in that glorious day when our families are together in the eternities, we will already be acquainted…

From time immemorial the Lord has counseled us to be a record-keeping people. Abraham had a book of remembrance, and Adam had one. You may think of them as not being as highly educated as we are, but they were well-trained people. Adam spent much effort being the school teacher for his children. He and Eve taught their sons and daughters. He taught them the gospel in their home evenings, and he taught them reading and writing and arithmetic. And they kept their books of remembrance. How else do you think Moses, many hundreds of years later, got the information? These records had been kept, and he referred to them and got the history of the world, which wasn’t in any library other than that. Can you see your responsibility?...

When the Savior visited this continent following his resurrection, he commanded the Nephites and Lamanites to bring their records up to date. He said to them: “Behold, other scriptures I would that ye should write, that ye have not. “And it came to pass that he said unto Nephi: Bring forth the record which ye have kept. “And when Nephi had brought forth the records, and laid them before him, he cast his eyes upon them and said:

“Verily I say unto you, I commanded my servant Samuel, the Lamanite, that he should testify unto this people, that at the day that the Father should glorify his name in me that there were many saints who should arise from the dead, and should appear unto many, and should minister unto them. And he said unto them: Was it not so? “And his disciples answered him and said: Yea, Lord,

“And Jesus said unto them: How be it that ye have not written this thing, that many saints did arise and appear unto many and did minister unto them?

“And it came to pass that Nephi remembered that this thing had not been written; therefore it was written according as he commanded.”
(3 Ne. 23:6–13.) …

You should continue on in this important work of recording the things you do, the things you say, the things you think, to be in accordance with the instructions of the Lord. Your story should be written now while it is fresh and while the true details are available…

Your journal is your autobiography, so it should be kept carefully. You are unique, and there may be incidents in your experience that are more noble and praiseworthy in their way than those recorded in any other life.

What could you do better for your children and your children’s children than to record the story of your life, your triumphs over adversity, your recovery after a fall, your progress when all seemed black, your rejoicing when you had finally achieved? Some of what you write may be humdrum dates and places, but there will also be rich passages that will be quoted by your posterity.

We hope you will begin as of this date. If you have not already commenced this important duty in your lives, get a good notebook, a good book that will last through time and into eternity for the angels to look upon. Begin today and write in it your goings and your comings, your deeper thoughts, your achievements, and your failures, your associations and your triumphs, your impressions and your testimonies. We hope you will do this, our brothers and sisters, for this is what the Lord has commanded, and those who keep a personal journal are more likely to keep the Lord in remembrance in their daily lives.

His journal was 33 black binders on the shelves of his personal study when President Spencer W. Kimball was called to be President of the Church in 1973. Since then, he has counseled members of the Church to keep personal journals.

As my progeny have wandered through my autobiography entitled To The Best of My Memory with a subtitle (Guessoirs by William L. Riley),
I have been amused and impressed by the things they take note of about which I have written.

Skipping a golf ball across a lake and having it land safely on the other side of the water.

Pretending to be a singing cowboy just like Gene Autry when I was young.

Describing traits which they see in themselves.

Having chills run through my body when missionaries gave their home coming reports.

The James Hobbs’, Pop Edelson’s, Paul H. Dunn’s, Hugh Nibley’s, Sherrie Dew’s, Neil A. Maxwell’s and countless others who have mentored
and inspired me.

The deep and everlasting love I have for Kathleen and our progeny.

The weaknesses I have struggled to subdue.

The opportunities the Lord has given me to serve and minister.

The witness I bear concerning the things I have come to know to be true.

My acknowledgement of how little we really know in comparison to Heavenly Father’s Omniscience.
Etc., Etc., Etc.

We live in a day when we will never run out of ways and means to record our goings and comings – we live in a day when discretionary time is more abundant than ever before. When we diligently desire to be aware of the spiritual happenings in our lives they become more apparent; therefore it would be well for us to let it be written, so that the rebuke the Lord gave to the Nephite writers about neglecting to write about the prophet Samuel won’t be part of our greeting upon returning to His presence.

Oh my, look at the date of the publishing of this Thought. Two days from now we will be making a lot of resolutions and setting a lot of goals for the new year. Maybe resolving to and setting a goal to keep a record which will indicate we were here and our lives were important might be a good one with which to start.



Saturday, December 29, 2018


Once an unspoken message is received – there may not be enough words – to alter the meaning of that message!!

Friday, December 28, 2018


There are times when unspoken words – carry stronger messages – than those which are spoken!!

Thursday, December 27, 2018


How often have you wondered – how many resolutions it takes – for a person to become – resolute enough – to be moved to action??

Wednesday, December 26, 2018


We may never know – but it might be wise – to pause – and – wonder for a moment – what progress might be made – if each of us were to add to our efforts – even a little increase!!

Monday, December 24, 2018


When I return to my Father – and – report to Him – those things which made me feel most loved – serving – and – worshiping in His Sons House – will surely be near the top of that list!!

Sunday, December 23, 2018


With thoughts of the Savior’s birth being stimulated by every song we hear, every decoration we see and every greeting we exchange it would be difficult to not include thoughts about the Lord’s work in my Thoughts for a Sabbath Day.

As the vast majority of my days have been spent reading, speaking and thinking about various aspects or doctrines contained in the Lord’s Gospel or His birth, life, mission and Atonement it is difficult to say what the greatest impact Jesus the Christ has been on my progress.

If I were forced to choose what mighty change, which for me has come at a mighty slow rate, has been wrought upon me because the Lord has been such a significant part of my daily doings, it would be my coming to believe in a universal brotherhood and sisterhood, that all mankind are offspring of Universal and Eternal Parents and that the most important characteristic we can develop is unequivocal love for all.

Although my journey has been at times more halting than continual and contained more detours than staying on course, it is possible to outline the most direct course towards unequivocal universal love for others.

As you love thyself

This first step in conversion to unequivocal universal love may be the easiest step for some, but as we witness, it is also the most difficult for many. This step is pronounced in the second part of the Lord’s referenced command, ‘love thyself’.

I must love myself including all my warts, flaws and weaknesses.

I must love myself when others attempt to make me feel unloved.

I must love myself in lonely hours.

I must understand that I am a child of God and deserve love.

Thou shalt love thy neighbor

This second step in conversion to unequivocal universal love is on such a slippery slope that most of us find ourselves doing the one step forward and two steps backward quite often during our trials. The most dangerous thing that can happen in this trial is to believe you have conquered the fears, prejudices and pride which handicap all of us as we attempt to love every neighbor.

Much like being the good Samaritan it doesn’t matter who bears the label of neighbor, I must love.

My neighbor’s choices and actions do not determine my love for them.

It is not enough to love those neighbors who first showed love to me.

Love of neighbor must overcome being despitefully used.

Love the Lord thy God with all your heart, might and mind

The apostle John taught us that if we hate our neighbor and say we love God, we are liars and the truth is not in us. One of the great ironies of life is how often we find ourselves proclaiming we love God, but in very short order an unkind word about one of our Heaven Bound brothers or sisters comes out of our mouths.

I must understand I cannot say I have unequivocal love for God while I harbor any degree of hatred for a neighbor.

I will find my love for God increasing in harmony with the increase expansion of my circle of love for brothers and sisters.

If I am to move forward in my quest to have the same degree of unequivocal universal love which allowed the Savior to complete his Atoning sacrifice for all then I must continually include more neighbors in my circle of loved ones.

If the barometer measuring those whom I love is lowering rather than rising, I will likewise find myself finding corresponding changes in the level of my love for God.
I have often thought the Savior could easily have said all the laws and prophets hang on this one commandment.

Because if I love the Lord my God with all my heart, mind and soul it will be as a result of me having developed an unequivocal universal love for all my neighbors.

Likewise, if I have developed an unequivocal universal love for my neighbor I will have come to love God with all my heart, mind and Soul.

It seems my love for God and my love for my neighbor are connected with an unbreakable law.

I finish this Thought with some excepts from the book of Enos, which I believe is an extended allegory teaching us about the importance of traversing the pathway leading us to have unequivocal universal love, which in turn will bring us to a complete love for God. In Enos’ testimony it is easy for us to see how tightly are knitted the principles of love for my neighbor and love for God.

I will tell you of the wrestle which I had before God, before I received a remission of my sins.

Behold, I went to hunt beasts in the forests; and the words which I had often heard my father speak concerning eternal life, and the joy of the saints, sunk deep into my heart. And my soul hungered; and I kneeled down before my Maker, and I cried unto him in mighty prayer and supplication for mine own soul; and all the day long did I cry unto him; yea, and when the night came I did still raise my voice high that it reached the heavens.

And there came a voice unto me, saying: Enos, thy sins are forgiven thee, and thou shalt be blessed. And I, Enos, knew that God could not lie; wherefore, my guilt was swept away. And I said: Lord, how is it done? And he said unto me: Because of thy faith in Christ, whom thou hast never before heard nor seen. And many years pass away before he shall manifest himself in the flesh; wherefore, go to, thy faith hath made thee whole.

Now, it came to pass that when I had heard these words I began to feel a desire for the welfare of my brethren, the Nephites; wherefore, I did pour out my whole soul unto God for them. And while I was thus struggling in the spirit, behold, the voice of the Lord came into my mind again, saying: I will visit thy brethren according to their diligence in keeping my commandments. I have given unto them this land, and it is a holy land; and I curse it not save it be for the cause of iniquity; wherefore, I will visit thy brethren according as I have said; and their transgressions will I bring down with sorrow upon their own heads.

And after I, Enos, had heard these words, my faith began to be unshaken in the Lord; and I prayed unto him with many long strugglings for my brethren, the Lamanites. And it came to pass that after I had prayed and labored with all diligence, the Lord said unto me: I will grant unto thee according to thy desires, because of thy faith. And now behold, this was the desire which I desired of him—that if it should so be, that my people, the Nephites, should fall into transgression, and by any means be destroyed, and the Lamanites should not be destroyed, that the Lord God would preserve a record of my people, the Nephites; even if it so be by the power of his holy arm, that it might be brought forth at some future day unto the Lamanites, that, perhaps, they might be brought unto salvation.

As in all our tests in mortality we will probably find ourselves ebbing and flowing in our attempt to come to having the attribute of unequivocal universal love become a permanent part of our being, but the Lord is constant in His counsel that we not be faint in our efforts.

We must forever remember that our Heavenly Father is unwavering in His Eternal Love and Jesus the Christ without exception demonstrated His Universal Love through His Atoning sacrifice. Never forget it is we who are in the process of staggering towards having unequivocal universal love.

This is another one of those principles whose perfection will be found wanting during mortality, which gives us one more reason to be grateful that eternity is a very long time.




Saturday, December 22, 2018


When I return to my Father – and – report to Him – those things which humbled me the most – serving – and – worshiping in His Sons House – will surely be near the top of that list!!

Friday, December 21, 2018


When I return to my Father – and – report to Him – those things which brought me joy during mortality – serving – and – worshiping in His Sons House – will surely be near the top of that list!!

Thursday, December 20, 2018


True happiness – forever has been – and – forever will be – dependent upon our living – according to the laws of happiness!!

Wednesday, December 19, 2018


We should all be grateful – that our trials are not over – until our Father – says they are over!!

Tuesday, December 18, 2018


The true disciple of the Savior – will ultimately come to the realization – that how we treat one another – is the absolute witness – that we are following Him!!

Monday, December 17, 2018


Just because our neighbors – have chosen different philosophies – to govern their lives – does not justify us – to allow hatred to grow in our hearts!!

Sunday, December 16, 2018


The last thing Jacob wrote before he waxed old and went down to his grave was the story of a man named Sherem who he describes in the seventh chapter of his book verses 2-4.

And it came to pass that he (Sherem) began to preach among the people, and to declare unto them that there should be no Christ. And he preached many things which were flattering unto the people; and this he did that he might overthrow the doctrine of Christ. And he labored diligently that he might lead away the hearts of the people, insomuch that he did lead away many hearts; and he knowing that I, Jacob, had faith in Christ who should come, he sought much opportunity that he might come unto me. And he was learned, that he had a perfect knowledge of the language of the people; wherefore, he could use much flattery, and much power of speech, according to the power of the devil.

Sherem in verses 16-20 makes the following surprising declaration.

And it came to pass that he (Sherem) said unto the people: Gather together on the morrow, for I shall die; wherefore, I desire to speak unto the people before I shall die.

And it came to pass that on the morrow the multitude were gathered together; and he spake plainly unto them and denied the things which he had taught them, and confessed the Christ, and the power of the Holy Ghost, and the ministering of angels. And he spake plainly unto them, that he had been deceived by the power of the devil. And he spake of hell, and of eternity, and of eternal punishment.

And he said: I fear lest I have committed the unpardonable sin, for I have lied unto God; for I denied the Christ, and said that I believed the scriptures; and they truly testify of him. And because I have thus lied unto God I greatly fear lest my case shall be awful; but I confess unto God.

And it came to pass that when he had said these words he could say no more, and he gave up the ghost.

We don’t have any exact dates in this part of the Book of Mormon, but we do know that Sherem probably would not have been more than three generations removed from the days when his faithful grandparents left their homes and followed Nephi into the wilderness to escape the persecutions of those who followed Laman. We know that those ancestors believed in the revelations of the prophets and the scriptures contained on the Brass Plates of Laban.

So my query is what happened?

This is not the first story nor the first time I have been stimulated to ponder at length about the processes we all go though as we are involved in the struggles of becoming. Hopefully, without causing too much confusion I will be able to share some of the conclusions to which I have come, at this point of my eternal journey.

Our personal spiritual sensitivity levels are not equally shared:

The Lord declared to Abraham that the children of Heavenly Father did not develop nor leave His presence with equal amounts of
spiritual growth.

Each of us receives an unequal amount of spiritual stimulation during our formative years.

Each of us accepts, rejects or rationalizes spiritual gifts to different degrees.

Many lose their sensitivity to the light of Christ, which is often referred to as our conscience because of constant rejection of counsel.

Many rationalize the whispering of the Holy Spirit to be nothing more than their subconscious minds reminding them of things they have previously heard or thoughts their own brilliance came up with.

There are those who listen to the light of Christ which is a universal gift given to all of Heavenly Father’s children, leading them to become sensitive to the whisperings of the Holy Spirit. There are those who are led to pass through the proofs which allow them to be blessed with the Gift of the Holy Spirit. There are even a blessed few who have communion with the Lord as one man speaks to another.

Our mentors and tutorial experiences are widely varied – as well as our acceptances, reactions or rejections:

Some are born of goodly parents, while others are not so blessed - Some reject the counsel of goodly parents, while others overcome abusive parenting.

Some are provided with abundant educational opportunities, while others are never introduced to the most fundamental tools of learning – Some squander their abundant educational opportunities, while others overcome negative learning opportunities.

My circumstances during mortality are not the final determiner of my eternal state:

The Lord has made it clear that those who die without law will be judged on a much different scale than those who have been given much.

One of the most merciful teachings found in the Book of Mormon is that the Atonement of the Savior will cover all who go through mortality in a state of ignorance or innocence.

The requirements of judgement for those who have been given much is higher:

Living in an age when there are living prophets and apostles and you having received the verifying witness of the Holy Spirit to sustain them as such is an example of having been given much.

Living during a period when scientific and technological advances bring the accumulated knowledge of the ages into your home is an example of having been given much.

Living in a culture where the requirements to sustain the essentials of life are easily met, leaving you time to re-create and ponder is an example of having been given much.


With my present understanding I like to think of agency as that gift which allows me to process internally all that has impacted me externally.

Hopefully, I will have sufficient wisdom to use all of the aids Heavenly Father has provided which will allow me to make guided decisions and to maximize my time in mortality.

As we compare the experiences of Jacob who had a visitation of the Lord in his youth with Sherem, who in spite of knowingly being deceived became a proselyter for the author of all lies and combine it with the inclusive mercy of the Lord, there is little doubt why we are in need of pondering.

Although it will probably be many millennia after we past the portals of death, we all should be left with little doubt that the choices we make will ultimately decide what our eternal state will be.

I pray your pondering today will include some time in thinking about what you are becoming.

I have often wondered how did I become me – while my neighbors became he and she?

Am I what I am because of what I was – or is what I was before the because?

Why are there things which make some flee – while with the same view others take a knee?

Why do some words cause me to believe – and at the same time cause my brother to leave?

There is no doubt as I wander and wade – I am what I am because of the choices I have made!



Saturday, December 15, 2018


Sooner – or – later – we will all discover – that what we have to say about a subject – may not be the most important point!!

Friday, December 14, 2018


Of all the aids – which help us understand the scriptures – as the meaning of words rapidly change with the passing of years – Heavenly Father gives everyone a gift – on the day of their birth called the Light of Christ – which can whisper the understanding of His scriptural words – to every individual in every generation – if they diligently desire to hear!!

Thursday, December 13, 2018


One of the greatest blessings – of having living Apostles – and – Prophets – is that they are able to speak the words of the Lord – with current meanings – and applications – to the generation – and – audience they are called to serve!!

Wednesday, December 12, 2018


One of the marvelous blessings of living in the 21st century – with its availability of technology – is that – so many aids to greater understanding of the words of the scriptures – are just a few finger touches away!!

Tuesday, December 11, 2018


For those who really desire to gain original meanings of scriptural words – having access to a book like Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance – which gives the modern meaning of ancient Hebrew – and – Greek words – becomes an essential companion!!

Monday, December 10, 2018


Because of the rapid changes – that happen to the meaning of words – a good companion to our study of The Book of Mormon Another Testament of Jesus Christ – would be a dictionary of the meaning of words – in the 19th century!!

Sunday, December 9, 2018


After reading the words of the prophet Zenos to his people, Jacob makes some personal comments which are recorded in the sixth chapter of his book in the Book of Mormon. As I was preparing to write this week’s Thought the words in the eleventh verse of that chapter impacted me forcefully.

O then, my beloved brethren, repent ye, and enter in at the strait gate, and continue in the way which is narrow, until ye shall obtain eternal life.

In the Savior’s sermon which he pronounced on the mount near the Sea of Galilee and repeated to the decedents of Lehi gathered at the Temple in the land of Bountiful after His resurrection, He declared the goal of those who choose to enter at the strait gate and journey upon the narrow way.

Therefore I would that ye should be perfect even as I, or your Father who is in heaven is perfect. (3 Nephi 12:47)

I have often pondered upon the condition of perfection in which Heavenly Father and His Son Jesus the Christ find themselves. I am currently satisfied with the conclusion that it is because ‘they are’ the Attributes, Characteristics and Perfections of Godliness they
have the Omniscient qualities of Deity, not because they ‘act as if’ or are ‘striving to obtain’ or are ‘struggling to maintain’ them.

Heavenly Father and His Son Jesus the Christ ‘are kind-ness’.

Heavenly Father and His Son Jesus the Christ ‘are patient-ness’.

Heavenly Father and His Son Jesus the Christ ‘are mercy-ness’.

Heavenly Father and His Son Jesus the Christ ‘are loving-ness’.

Heavenly Father and His Son Jesus the Christ ‘are forgiving-ness’.

Heavenly Father and His Son Jesus the Christ ‘are truthful-ness.

Heavenly Father and His Son Jesus the Christ ‘are unchanging-ness’.

Heavenly Father and His Son Jesus the Christ ‘are inclusive-ness’.

Heavenly Father and His Son Jesus the Christ …

With the limited amount of understanding which I have gleaned during my mortal span it seems to me that the divisions of the Kingdoms of Heaven revealed to the Prophet Joseph and which are recorded in the 76th Section of the Doctrine and Covenants, can also be indicators of the segments of the way which we must travel in order to eventually be obedient to the admonition the Savior gave us to become perfect.

I am choosing to leave the entering in at the strait gate part of the journey until another writing, but it is important to briefly acknowledge unless we have at least the beginnings of desire and a minute willingness to commit to the rigors of the trail we will make very little progress.

Another very important understanding we must have if we anticipate making any headway, is that we must be willing to admit to the need to rely on guides and mentors. Many of those mentors will come in the form of brothers and sisters who may have moved a bit ahead of us on the path, but the most reliable source will always come through the whisperings of the Holy Spirit.

The progressive segments along the narrow way we will call telestial, terrestrial and celestial using the names of the various kingdoms revealed to the Prophet Joseph.

Telestial steps along the narrow way

Since the Telestial being as identified by the revelation is one whose life is governed by the need for the flesh to be pleasured, pampered, pleased and proclaimed, our task along this segment of our journey will be mainly involved with changing our nature to such a degree that these binding influences are no longer part of who we are.

I probably won’t be making any insightful revelations by indicating that most of us revisit this portion of our passage periodically. In fact I have come to realize that there are periods of our lives that if we are doing no more than making fewer revisits to this segment and linger for less time we will probably be the recipients of some reassuring comfort from the Holy Spirit.

If the thought has not already come to you, let me be clear that it should be understood that at any time during our lives we will probably find ourselves in more than one segment of our journey at any given moment.

Terrestrial steps along the narrow way

The Lord revealed to Joseph that this Kingdom would be comprised of the good and honorable of the world. Therefore, in this segment of the journey we will be struggling not against our carnal natures, but with the challenge of ‘acting as if’ or ‘striving to obtain’ or ‘struggling to maintain’ a portion of the attributes and characteristics of Deity.

Just like our revisiting of steps in the telestial segment of our journey, I believe we will all be in a state of continually renewing our efforts to become more inclusive, universally loving, forgiving more quickly, broadening our understanding of others’ trials and every other neophyte-ish part of perfection we are striving to put upon ourselves at our current level of understanding.

Celestial steps along the narrow way

At the time of this writing and with the understanding I currently have, I feel that The Savior alone maximized His earthly journey to where He ‘was’ ready to be resurrected into Perfection.

My belief in the previous statement is founded on two self-deprecating ideas. First, I don’t believe I have sufficient knowledge or understanding of any of the Attributes, Characteristics and Perfections of Godliness to ‘become’ them during my mortal life. Second, I believe I will yet need a great deal of refining during the next phase of my existence to gain that knowledge and understanding and even more eons of time before they become who ‘I am’.

O then, my beloved brethren, repent ye, and enter in at the strait gate, and continue in the way which is narrow, until ye shall obtain eternal life.

I pray we will all put forth our efforts, while relying upon the gifts of God, to press forward wherever we might find ourselves along the narrow way. I likewise pray that we will continue in our personal efforts, until our Father has finished his glorifying work upon us.



Saturday, December 8, 2018


Because of the rapid changes – that happens to the meaning of words – a good companion to our study of the Bible – would be a dictionary of the meaning of words – in the 17th century!!

Friday, December 7, 2018


Most scriptural words – which deal with the attributes of Godliness – teach about what our relationship should be with God – but – we often interpret them to mean – what our relationship should be with other earthlings!!

Thursday, December 6, 2018


Because of the phenomena – of words evolving – and – losing meaning from generation to generation – and – from group to group during generations – it should come as no surprise – that scriptures are interpreted differently – both from generation to generation – as well as – during a generation!!

Wednesday, December 5, 2018


If we are all blessed – to live out our three score and ten years – we will all witness – many words change – and – lose their original meaning!!


It could well be – that when the scriptures admonish us – to open our mouths – as a direction to invite people to come unto Christ – it well may be – that it is also instruction – about how important enunciation is to communication!!

Monday, December 3, 2018


Of all the lessons of elocution – we should all learn – the most important probably is – the key to communication – and – therefore understanding – is opening your mouth when you speak!!

Sunday, December 2, 2018


Lost scriptures – There are many sacred writings mentioned in the scriptures that we do not have today, among which are these books and writers: the Covenant (Ex. 24:7), the Wars of the Lord (Num. 21:14), Jasher (Josh. 10:13; 2 Sam. 1:18), the Acts of Solomon (1 Kgs. 11:41), Samuel the Seer (1 Chr. 29:29), Nathan the Prophet (2 Chr. 9:29), Shemaiah the Prophet (2 Chr. 12:15), Iddo the Prophet (2 Chr. 13:22), Jehu (2 Chr. 20:34), the Sayings of the Seers (2 Chr. 33:19), Enoch (Jude 1:14), and the Words of Zenock, Neum, and Zenos (1 Ne. 19:10), Zenos (Jacob 5:1), Zenock and Ezias (Hel. 8:20), and a Book of Remembrance (Moses 6:5); and Epistles to the Corinthians (1 Cor. 5:9), to the Ephesians (Eph. 3:3), from Laodicea (Col. 4:16), and from Jude (Jude 1:3). (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints - Bible Dictionary)

I am pretty sure we would all faint from exhaustion before we were able to complete an all-inclusive study of the ancient records which have been found during the last two hundred years. The fact that many of the afore mentioned writings have yet to be found would indicate to the skeptic that they never existed. To the believer it is an indication that there are still many writings yet to be discovered or revealed.

The Book of Mormon adds an interesting twist to the dilemma by supplying the us with quotes from some of these ancient authors. Nephi, Jacob and Helaman indicate that they had access to the writings of prophets named Zenock, Neum, Zenos and Ezias. It is probably a pretty accurate supposition that the writings of these prophets were included on the Brass Plates of Laban and this was the source of their references.

And the God of our fathers, who were led out of Egypt, out of bondage, and also were preserved in the wilderness by him, yea, the God of Abraham, and of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, yieldeth himself, according to the words of the angel, as a man, into the hands of wicked men, to be lifted up, according to the words of Zenock, and to be crucified, according to the words of Neum, and to be buried in a sepulchre, according to the words of Zenos, which he spake concerning the three days of darkness, which should be a sign given of his death unto those who should inhabit the isles of the sea, more especially given unto those who are of the house of Israel. (1 Nephi 19:10)

Behold, my brethren, do ye not remember to have read the words of the prophet Zenos, which he spake unto the house of Israel, saying: (Jacob 5:1)

And behold, also Zenock, and also Ezias, and also Isaiah, and Jeremiah, (Jeremiah being that same prophet who testified of the destruction of Jerusalem) and now we know that Jerusalem was destroyed according to the words of Jeremiah. O then why not the Son of God come, according to his prophecy? (Helaman 8:20)

The most complete text we have for any of these writers is found in Jacob chapter 5 where Jacob shares with us Zenos’ allegory of the Olive Tree. The parable centers around the House of Israel, undoubtedly because Zenos was a prophet of that clan. According to his allegory, as the House of Israel gets scattered and involved with the rest of the children of God, his writings widen to also include the interactions which they had as they were mixed together with non-House of Israel clans. Besides the allegorical outline of the history of the House of Israel, from the words of Zenos we come to understand that the Lord has been constant and universal in His work with all the peoples of the world and I believe with His children individually.

Zenos leaves us with the understanding that any failure which might take place in the fulfilling the purposes of our mortality will not happen because the Lord has been negligent, but because we have not been diligent or faithful in our duties.

And it came to pass that the Lord of the vineyard wept, and said unto the servant: What could I have done more for my vineyard?

But what could I have done more in my vineyard? Have I slackened mine hand, that I have not nourished it? Nay, I have nourished it, and I have digged about it, and I have pruned it, and I have dunged it; and I have stretched forth mine hand almost all the day long, and the end draweth nigh. And it grieveth me that I should hew down all the trees of my vineyard, and cast them into the fire that they should be burned. Who is it that has corrupted my vineyard?
(Jacob 5:41, 47)

For we who live in the last dispensation presented in the allegory of the Olive Tree, there is a very happy ending prophesied by Zenos.

And it came to pass that the Lord of the vineyard sent his servant; and the servant went and did as the Lord had commanded him, and brought other servants; and they were few. And the Lord of the vineyard said unto them: Go to, and labor in the vineyard, with your might. For behold, this is the last time that I shall nourish my vineyard; for the end is nigh at hand, and the season speedily cometh; and if ye labor with your might with me ye shall have joy in the fruit which I shall lay up unto myself against the time which will soon come.

And it came to pass that the servants did go and labor with their mights; and the Lord of the vineyard labored also with them; and they did obey the commandments of the Lord of the vineyard in all things. And there began to be the natural fruit again in the vineyard; and the natural branches began to grow and thrive exceedingly; and the wild branches began to be plucked off and to be cast away; and they did keep the root and the top thereof equal, according to the strength thereof.

And thus they labored, with all diligence, according to the commandments of the Lord of the vineyard, even until the bad had been cast away out of the vineyard, and the Lord had preserved unto himself that the trees had become again the natural fruit; and they became like unto one body; and the fruits were equal; and the Lord of the vineyard had preserved unto himself the natural fruit, which was most precious unto him from the beginning.

And it came to pass that when the Lord of the vineyard saw that his fruit was good, and that his vineyard was no more corrupt, he called up his servants, and said unto them: Behold, for this last time have we nourished my vineyard; and thou beholdest that I have done according to my will; and I have preserved the natural fruit, that it is good, even like as it was in the beginning. And blessed art thou; for because ye have been diligent in laboring with me in my vineyard, and have kept my commandments, and have brought unto me again the natural fruit, that my vineyard is no more corrupted, and the bad is cast away, behold ye shall have joy with me because of the fruit of my vineyard.
(Jacob 5: 70-75)

One of the marvelous truths which is fortified by the teachings of the restoration is that Heavenly Father is laboring to glorify all of His children, not just a handful who are fortunate enough to be born within a certain clan or church, a teaching which is amplified to Alma by the Lord.

For behold, the Lord doth grant unto all nations, of their own nation and tongue, to teach his word, yea, in wisdom, all that he seeth fit that they should have; therefore we see that the Lord doth counsel in wisdom, according to that which is just and true.
(Alma 29:8)

What a marvelously freeing and uplifting Plan by which we are governed. Heavenly Father is not only working to save and glorify all of His children, but in His ultimate wisdom he feeds them only that which they are able to consume and digest and which will provide them with the maximum opportunity to progress.

It would be well for each of us to remember as we labor in the vineyard for the last time that in our work with mortal brothers and sisters, they are probably not operating under the same set of instructions as we might be, nor were they who have lived in any nation, at any time of the earth’s history.

The next time you review Zenos’ allegory of the Olive Tree, my prayer is that you will remember the universal yet individual work of our Heavenly Father.



Saturday, December 1, 2018


The more one’s hearing fails – the more they may long for the days – when elocution – was a mandatory subject in school!!