Tuesday, November 26, 2013


In celebration of Thanksgiving, my classes spent part of today listing things they are grateful for in their lives.  Since “what is good for the goose is good for the gander” I decided to share a few of my ‘thankfuls.’  I will try to avoid cliché items and focus on some that I really find appropriate for my situation.  Let’s hope I don’t get too corny or so carried away that I lose the true spirit of the project.

Here goes!!!

1.   Peanut Butter – one of the great contributions to life from George Washington Carver.  Thank you GWC because now, when I get hungry and there’s nothing easy to eat, I can find bread and slather on PB (with a little J) and survive another day.

2.  Rubber – thanks to Goodrich or Goodyear, or whomever found a practical way to make rubber for personal use.  How else would I have anything to flip at students when I get frustrated or crazy?

3.  Ball Point Pens (which eventually became other methods of writing) – imagine having to use inkwells and pointy sticks to write out a check or put down the things we have in journals.  Not a happy thought.  (But then again, I don't do much writing with a pen because I have this cute little computer thingy -- oh well, I still am thankful for pens)

4.  Solar Watches – it was always frustrating to have to wind or replace a battery in my watch --- so much so that I often forgot.  Now, with a watch that runs using the power of the sun, I can blissfully go through many years (about 18 right now) and not worry one bit about powering or winding my little time friend.

5.  Science Fiction – this world is wonderful but it is so much fun to speculate on what ‘might be’ if we had some fantastic scientific knowledge or could cross current limits.  I cut my SF teeth on Robert Heinlein and Isaac Asimov and never looked back.  Most of what I know about physics, geometry, astronomy, history and a myriad other topics comes from science fiction stories and books.

6.  Scriptures – as a young man I never considered that this would become important but the older I get, the more I know I need the guidance available in these sacred books.  I love God and His Son and want to know all about Them and Their work.  These books offer the ability to understand, in a small way, who and what They are and what They have in store for us (You know I had to have at least one serious/normal thing in my list).

7.  The Best Wife in the World  (no battle) – anyone who can be faithful to a man like me for nearly 37 years has to be anointed for sainthood in any religion on the earth.  The fact that she doesn't run screaming from the house when I return each day is a testament to the tolerance and love she has for the “weak things of the world.”

8.  Scuba Diving – how else can you have an experience that results in the following statement as you sit on the bottom of the ocean------ I should be dead right now!!!  It is so much fun and such a rush – if only it didn't cost so much!!

9.  Great Music – while there are many interpretation of this phrase, I have found that it can appear in just about any venue.  Classical, Rock, Country, Religious, Reggae, Big Band, even Rap have songs and arrangements that can touch the heart and change the soul.  I love music.

10.        Children – I love being around young people of all types.  Probably why I chose the profession I now practice.  These are God’s greatest creations and will be the ones who prepare for whatever future this earth may have.  I have great faith in them and know that they will protect and preserve the goodness that comes to us all from God.  I especially love and honor those who have been sent to our little family.  These are the hopes of my future and the future of all that is dear to me.

OK, there were a couple that drifted to seriousness but I think I can be forgiven for that.  I have lots more that I thank Heavenly Father for every day but these are some of my favorites.

Happy Thanksgiving to all of you and may you find joy in being with those you love most.

Thursday, November 21, 2013


Once a week, Teresa and I have the opportunity to work in the Jordan River Temple for a few hours.  We are blessed to be temple ordinance workers and have the privilege of blessing the lives of many who have passed on to the spirit world.  It is demanding work but very satisfying to the soul.

The Jordan River Temple -- Where we serve weekly
Most of those who work with us are retired or considerably older than our youngish years.  In fact, one of my favorite jokes (lame though it may be) is to come into a gathering of workers and remind all the brethren there that, though I am nearly six decades old, I am still the youngest in the room.  It generally elicits a chuckle and a groan or two.
The Temple in Mesa, Arizona
Where I first attended and received the endowment.

But what I like best about our weekly foray into the Lord’s House is the feeling of peace and contentment that resides in this sacred edifice.  Folks who come to work and worship in the temple are trying to change their own lives by drawing closer to God and Christ.  They come with the intent to serve by offering time to those who cannot do for themselves what they would like to do.  Many are there for the benefit of their own relatives and have such tender feelings that they can’t help but be moved to tears. Which often moves us to the same predicament.  And the feelings of spiritual strength are amazing.   

No matter how my day has gone (and working with teenagers can make life interesting) the hours spent in the temple are always satisfying and humbling.  The fact that God would allow simple souls like us to borrow His glory and authority for such a vital purpose is overwhelmingly overwhelming.

To quote the Primary song:
I love to see the Temple…

Try it yourself and see if it helps.

The Nauvoo Temple
Restored after the original was burned
as the Saints fled to Utah.

Thursday, November 14, 2013


I am not the nicest person in the world.  Not that effort is made to go out of my way to be difficult, but some of my idiosyncrasies invite negative feelings from others. 

For instance, at times I can be intolerant of what is recognized as weaknesses that my fellow earthlings possess.  And often my own feelings flashes through my face and physical reactions.  Sadly, failings of my own do not always register and are not uppermost in my mind when judgments are offered about others.

The message here is that there is great weakness in the character of the author of this blog.  Of course, if you are familiar at all with him, you already know these facts.  They are accepted and expected and will probably continue on in some form for eons to come.

But, I am not here to seek forgiveness (though that would be lovely if it were given) nor to justify past actions or future follies.  The purpose of this message is to present a principle that buoys up those in similar circumstances (including the author).  So if you have any interest in this subject, please keep reading.  If not, then I won’t be offended (much) if you just move on to the next blog.

Early in His ministry Jesus made this statement:

Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect. (Matt. 5:48)

In His visit to the Nephites He added “I or…” to those who are perfect (3 Nephi 12:48).  The message is clear--- we are expected to become perfect, like God and Christ have done.

Is that really possible, I ask my imperfect and mostly failing self?  Can a mortal with all the baggage that comes with mortality really find a way to put off the imperfection and weaknesses that crowd into life?

Well, Nephi said:

…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. 
(1 Nephi 3:7)

He was a prophet of God so it must be possible……. But, my golly, it seems extremely hard and painful!!!

Then the recollection comes that there is a way to make this thing possible.  God knew that earth life would be exhausting and overwhelming to His children so He planned ahead. 

He’s smart that way.

He knew that every time his children err – whether intentional or accidental – they remove themselves from His presence.  So He provided a solution.  And He gave it a name.


It’s all through the Bible and the Book of Mormon but falls into five basic principles that are pretty easy to understand:

1.   Have faith in Jesus Christ and His power to overcome the struggles of life. (2 Nephi 31:10)

2.    Repent of sin as quickly as possible by calling upon Jesus to help you become clean again. (2 Nephi 31:11)

3.  Receive the ordinance of baptism by immersion for the remission of sins.  Here I will refer to a specific verse for illustration:
a.   And now, if the Lamb of God, he being holy, should have need to be baptized by water, to fulfil all righteousness, O then, how much more need have we, being unholy, to be baptized, yea, even by water! (2 Nephi 31:5)

4.  By the authority of the Priesthood, receive the Gift of the Holy Ghost as a companion to guide through life. (2 Nephi 31:12)

5.  And maybe the most over looked part of this doctrine – ENDURE TO THE END. (2 Nephi 31:15)

That brings me back to my purpose in writing this treatise. 

We all have weakness that will keep us out of the presence of God.  Our sins are such that we cannot hope to make it on our own.  But we have a Loving Advocate who has promised He will help us –

If we never give up!!!

Every time we falter, we have to GET UP!!!

So I WILL.     

Friday, November 8, 2013


I spend a lot of time with young people in my job.  They are wonderful friends and so many of them are courageous in a difficult world -- faithful to what they believe.  But like all young people, distractions occur and some choices they make are not always best for their future.  Once in a while they even falter to such a degree that they feel they are not fit for recovery (they are – just see what Jesus says in verse 32 here)

Part of my job is to warn and prepare these wonderful souls for the challenges they will encounter from outside (and sometimes inside) influences.  Many have parents who are heavily involved in the same process but often these youth feel left without help to make it on their own.  The traps they encounter are so numerous that even the really good ones have moments when they don’t recognize the dangerous positions they are about to enter.  If I didn't  understand the Plan of Salvation, I might think that this whole ‘growing up’ business is unfair and rigged against the unsuspecting.

Pres. Packer
Some years ago, one of the Apostles of the Lord shared a message in General Conference.  The talk was later adapted to a short video that, at least for me, capsulizes what the youth of this world have to do in order to be safe.  It’s called “Spiritual Crocodiles” and can be viewed here.  Take a few minutes (about 9 ½) and see how you feel about the counsel given.  If you like it, you might want to sit down with a young person you know.  Point out some of the ‘crocodiles’ you have encountered out there and ways they can be avoided or overcome. 

But more importantly, invite them to approach their Heavenly Father on a regular basis in personal prayer so they can be protected from the wiles of the Devil in their lives.  I don’t think you will be disappointed with the results and you may just save the life (spiritual and physical) of a wonderful child of God.

Large American Crocodile
P.S. Nephi gives some pointers on the tactics of the devil in these verses: 2 Nephi 28:20-22.  Check it out. 

Wednesday, November 6, 2013


Sometime in the early 1990’s I came across a science-fiction novel that quickly became one of my all-time favorites.  It was about a young boy who is drafted into an elite training program designed to find leaders for the preservation of mankind.  The story was intriguing, thought provoking and just “darn” good. 

I never could figure out why the story failed to be made into a movie, but with the rise of the Internet I soon realized the holdup.  The author was determined to have his book done in the correct way and by the correct people rather than settle for something lesser.  Numerous attempts were made to write a screenplay and bring the story to the screen but, alas, all efforts were futile. 

Young Mr. Wiggins

Last weekend the adults in our family finally had the opportunity to attend a showing of the long awaited production of a family favorite story.  Yes, over the years each of our children was ‘indoctrinated’ in the dealings of Mr. Wiggins and came to enjoy the story as much as I did (sadly, I forgot to get Mother involved so this was all new to her).  So, it was with great anticipation that we gathered at the local ‘Megasomething’ theater and sat down to bask in the offerings of the silver screen.

I think, as a whole, we were all very pleased with the movie we viewed.  There were a few quibbles concerning scenes we each wished had been included but overall the film was faithful to the story and the characters we have all grown to love.  It is my opinion that the author was well justified in holding firm to his desires in the creation of the screenplay and the presentation of the story.  Would that all authors had the same sense of purpose in adapting stories to the big screen (yes, I’m talking to you Lord of the Rings guy)

Mr. Wiggins and Mazer

The actors did their jobs well – especially the young man who played Mr. Wiggins.  I went in very concerned because I am not a fan of Han Solo (or whatever his name really is – OK, I know his name but he isn’t my favorite actor) but even he was not too heavy-handed with his character. And Mazer Rackham was superb in his efforts – as you would expect from an Academy Award winner.

Mazer and that other guy

I don’t know if there will be any follow-up movies from this series but this one was a pleasure to watch and gave a sense of reality to some of the things I have envisioned for so many years.  Thanks to O. S. Card and his cohorts for an enjoyable evening and a delightful film.