Monday, October 28, 2013


Take a few minutes and read the article below.  Elder Holland offers some good advice and counsel for EVERYONE. 

Jeffrey R. Holland

It just happens that I believe he is a modern Apostle but his words are appropriate for anyone who has concerns for where this nation is headed.  Give him a try.

Thursday, October 24, 2013


Today I spent a little time studying the book of Isaiah (yeah, I know, no one can understand what he says but I still like to try).  My focus was in chapter 12 and I was most impressed with verse 6:

Therefore, with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation. (Isa. 12:6)

My first thoughts were of the great power water has in our physical lives.  Without it, we cannot live very long – most people think about three days is the max.  But it is also the source of life for all that keeps us alive.  Animals, like us, need water to survive.  Plants cannot produce fruit or regenerate themselves if they are deprived of water.  So it appears that, for whatever reason, the world revolves around water and its essence.

Water was essential to the survival of Jesus' people.

I believe that is the message Isaiah is trying to convey as he speaks of the “wells of salvation.”  Without the Savior, we cannot survive in this life.  His essence, power, strength and love are the source of all goodness and growth in mortality.  When our buckets are drawn from His well, we will be filled with the joy of eternal life.  He is the “Well of Living Water.”  If there is no Savior, there is no happiness in this life or in the eternal worlds beyond.

As the world becomes more secular and selfish in its desires, the Water becomes less important to many.  Like the water that sustains our physical/mortal lives, if we choose to abstain from the “Living Water” we will notice degradation in our existence.  Eventually, after thirsting for too long, our souls will wither and die.  The sickness that precedes that death is what we are witnessing in today’s world.

The only source of life is in Christ and his Water.  Isaiah was right – as we follow Jesus and His prophets we find that “with joy shall [we] draw water out of the wells of salvation.”

Monday, October 21, 2013


Before he died, the great Book of Mormon prophet Lehi called his sons together to give them counsel (see 2 Nephi 1-4), hoping to guide them in ways of truth for the rest of their lives.  To all of them he promised that if they would follow Christ they would find happiness and peace in mortality.  But to his son Jacob he was a bit more specific.

Interestingly, Lehi chose to focus his words to Jacob on a subject that might seem a little odd – until you consider the challenges Jacob encountered with his older brothers, Laman and Lemuel.  Though not stated explicitly, it is most likely true that the older brothers had little or no tolerance for the righteous young Jacob.  And as was the case with Nephi, it would not surprise me to find that Jacob was concerned for the older boys and their salvation.  Thus, Lehi chose to speak and teach his son, Jacob, the doctrine and principles that help us understand AGENCY.

Agency or the ability to choose is a God-given right, essential to the work of the Father.  He has promised that each of His children will always be allowed to make the choices they want, no matter what!!

BUT!!!  He also promised that each choice would be attached to a consequence that must be received with the action of choosing.  We can’t have one without taking on the other.

There are four parts to having real agency in mortality.  Someone, much smarter than I, has created and acronym to help us remember what it takes to be able to exercise agency.  It’s simple but has helped me keep things straight.

1.    Power to choose – in order to HAVE choices, there must BE choices.  Lehi taught it this way:

Wherefore, the Lord God gave unto man that he should act for himself.  Wherefore, man could not act for himself save it should be that he was enticed by the one or the other. (2 Nephi 2:16)

In other words, if there is no second choice, there is really no power to choose. 

2.   Opposition – choosing good from evil requires that there must be two things to choose and one of the must be better than the other.

For it must needs be, that there is an opposition in all things.  If not… righteousness could not be brought to pass… (2 Nephi 2:11)

3.   Law – the only way to know right from wrong is to have law that defines each side.  God has given us laws that designate which choices we make in life are right and which are wrong.  He does not force us to choose, but he expects us to know and follow His law.

And if ye shall say there is no law, ye shall also say there is no sin.  If ye shall say there is no sin, ye shall also say there is no righteousness… (2 Nephi 2:13)

4.   Knowledge of good and evil – with the law, we are able to make choices between good and evil – whether we want to follow Christ or not. 

And men are instructed sufficiently that they know good from evil.  (2 Nephi 2:5)

5.   Agency exists – when all the conditions are met (power to choose, opposition, law, and knowledge of good and evil) then we have agency.  If any part of this is missing, we are stunted in our growth.

Wherefore, men are free according to the flesh; and all things are given them which are expedient unto man.  And they are free to choose liberty and eternal life, through the great Mediator of all men, or to choose captivity and death, according to the captivity and power of the devil; for he seeketh that all men might be miserable like unto himself. (2 Nephi 2:27)

Jacob needed to know this so he would understand why Laman and Lemuel turned out so different from the rest of Lehi’s children.  He grew up with the example of what good and bad choices could do to an individual and Lehi wanted him to remember how to live. 

Remember the acronym and remember why we can choose!!

P.O.L.K.A – the dance will never be the same.

P.S. The whole of 2 Nephi 2 is very enlightening if you want to spend some time pondering.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013


One of the things I really love about being a Mormon is that I never have to be lazy.  I CAN be if I want, but the truth is I have so many things I need to do that I just don’t have time.  For instance:

1.   Every month there are several families that I need to visit and be sure they are doing alright.  Yes, I’m assigned as their home-teacher but over time we DO become friends and they expect and enjoy the visits that are made (Teresa goes with me most of the time).

Jordan River Temple
2.  Every Wednesday my sweetheart and I spend the evening (about 6 hours) helping other members participate in ordinances in the Temple.  We meet lots of wonderful people and also get to help those who have passed on receive blessings they might not otherwise enjoy.

3.  Most Sundays and some days in between I get to visit with the members of another ward in our Stake and help their leaders understand/learn ways to bless their congregations.  Our Stake President thinks I might be of use to a young Bishop since I have a little experience in that area.

4.  Teresa and I have a number of friends who are elderly and are nearing the end of their mortal journey.  We love to visit with them and remind them how much they are loved – even though they may feel less than useful because of their circumstances.  Actually, this task (not really a task but I can’t think of a better name) is the most enjoyable and we wish we had even more time. 

And I’m sure I have missed some things but these are the highlights.  Being a good Mormon is lots of work!!  I think the Lord made it that way so we can learn a few things:

a.   Be busy
b.  Stay out of trouble
c.   Learn to love and serve people

I’m reminded of a verse in the Book of Mormon:

And behold, I tell you these things that ye may learn that when ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God.  (Mosiah 2:17)

Pretty smart guy, that King Benjamin fellow.  He knew I would have lots of distractions so he prepared a message for my feeble soul. 

Thank you Sir!!

Just the beginning of His work.
Leisure time is just not available much when you are trying to learn to be like the Savior.  Of course, it doesn’t seem like He had much downtime during His life – guess He was just showing the way.

Stay busy my friends!!  (To use a phrase in a better way)

Tuesday, October 15, 2013


My day job is to associate with and try to bless the lives of young people as they make the trek through life.  Some of them are very excited to be in my classes but there are a few who would rather be anywhere else.

I understand the feelings they have ……… who wants to spend 80 minutes every other day with an old man who is always talking about religion?

(A boy at another seminary once complained to the principal that his teacher just kept talking about Jesus…..  REALLY, what else should a seminary teacher do? L)

There are days when it feels like I am all alone in my efforts.  The kids are cranky and the message seems too deep for their minds and hearts -------the end result is boredom or obnoxious behavior.

For the most part, those days are MY fault.  O, there are occasional times when the “wild teen” goes berserk and destroys the class but generally, poor days are a result of my efforts in preparing.

But recently I have discovered that there is another reason for failure.

And it is also my fault.

Often, I prepare very well and have a decent idea what should happen but things still fall apart.

Guess what the problem is?

It’s my attitude.

No matter how well I study and find interesting things to teach, if I am grumpy or sarcastic, then everything goes awry.

Now, you would think that after nearly 20 years doing this I would recognize that problem in myself.

And I do!! 

But, as with so many other personal issues, I tend to forget and let things creep back in.

I know the Lord is merciful so I am confident that EVENTUALLY I will overcome some of these lesions on my soul, but I sure wish I could hurry and get things straight.

Until next time – BE NICE.