Friday, January 31, 2014


Some time back I expressed a desire to write a book. 

I haven’t yet.

But I have written a story that I hope to expand to a book at some later date.  If you are interested, here is a link to the google docs file where it resides. 

This is a big step for me.
I'm afraid!!

But that's OK cause fear makes us grow.
I think. ;-) 

Thanks for watching (or whatever).

Thursday, January 30, 2014


Yesterday was our night to work in the temple, helping patrons as they performed ordinances for the dead.  There is an atmosphere of peace and comfort as you enter the temple that makes it a wonderful place to work.  We both look forward to our night out together, helping others receive the blessings that are there.

Jordan River Temple where we serve each week.

Each evening begins with a preparation meeting to help us be aware of things that will happen during the shift.  We also receive instruction on how to help patrons as they come to bless themselves and their ancestors with the extended covenants available to them.  Most times the instruction is pretty basic and entails reminders of procedures or policies. 

Manti Temple where Teresa and I were sealed.

But our meeting this week was very different…… least to me.

A member of the Temple Presidency asked to have a few minutes (which is not really that unusual) to share a few things.  He began with an experience a member had in coming to the temple just the night before.  The details are not important, except to say that this particular patron came to the temple seeking comfort and refuge from a circumstance that had brought great anguish to his life. 

Mesa, Arizona Temple where I received my endowment.
With that as the basis, the member of the presidency then challenged each of us as workers to consider how well we have done in keeping the ‘world’ out of the temple so it can be a place of peace for those who come.  His questions went something like this:

n Are your conversations with other workers in the temple about the things of God or the things of the world?

n What do you think about as you wait for the next opportunity to serve?

n Can you say that you have helped make this temple a place of peace and freedom from the buffetings of the world and the adversary?

And so on!!!

San Diego Temple -- right off the freeway and
very beautiful.

I will confess that there were plenty of guilty feelings in my heart and soul.  And I determined to look more closely at how I was focused as I served the Lord in His holy house.
It made a difference in my night.

It also reminded me that my life needs to have less connection with some of the things I like to think are important if I am going to do as the Savior has commanded:

No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other.  Ye cannot serve God and mammon.  (Matthew 6:24)

The prophets teach us that our home is sacred, similar to a temple, and should be a place where we can find peace and security from the adversary.  But over time, if we aren’t careful, we may begin to drift and interrupt, or eliminate the sheltering sacredness that is our home. 

The drift from the sure moorings of godliness generally starts with little things – maybe just a show or song that we like or a little habit that seems so innocent, despite some part that is not conducive to the Spirit.  And then it grows and, if we don’t do something quickly, it becomes a creeping plague that seeks destroys all the good we have tried to establish in the personal bastion of liberty we have from worldliness.
A picture taken from near the Bingham copper mine in Salt Lake County.
You can see seven Temples from the mountain.

There is much good that we can take from the world, but the only way to keep out the bad is to use the sieve of the Holy Spirit.  He knows what will lift and what will tear down. 

Too bad we don’t have a meter that gives us a ratio of World vs. God in our lives. I guess we will just have to rely on that gift of the Holy Ghost to get the answer. J

Monday, January 27, 2014


Last night Teresa and I watched the new film on the candidacy of Mitt Romney (on Netflix).  It was interesting to see all the workings that go on in a political campaign and the challenges presidential candidates face.


Most people would not give complete access to their day-to-day activities like Mitt did for the producer of the film.  To have your smallest imperfections recorded is too difficult for most people to consider (check out when he forgets to iron his white shirt).

I’m sure there were some uncomfortable moments (one of the sons almost said a swear word L ooooo!!) but it seemed the Romney’s weren't that concerned with being observed.  Their experiences were an example of how I think most Americans live.  I know the Romney’s have lots of money, but they don’t seem to dwell on that – heavens, Mitt even took time to pick up trash in their hotel room after a family lunch.

What I enjoyed most was the camaraderie within the family.  It was obvious that the boys loved their dad and EXTREMELY obvious that Mitt loved Ann (and vice versa).  There was such affection between them all (including the grandkids and wives) that I would recommend the film just for that portion.

What could have been?!!
But I also came away with an appreciation for the man that is Mitt Romney.  He confesses that he would not be in the position he is without the efforts of his father.  He also realizes that his time on the stage is short-lived and will reflect on his image for the rest of his life.  YET, he is willing to take the on the risk of failure because he believes he has something good to offer that will not be available from the other candidates. 

In my mind, Mitt was in the race for the right reasons – he loved his country and wanted to help get it back on track.

Could he have done it?

I don’t know, but I think he had a better chance than the fellow who now sits in the White House.

Friday, January 24, 2014


And thus they become new creatures; and unless they do this, they can in nowise inherit the kingdom of god. 
(Mosiah 27:26)

Look at all the hair on that boy!
The arrival of our newest family member has given me pause to think about our existence here on earth and why we have come to such a difficult place to live.  Look around – this earth is not a very happy place.  There is misery and death and wickedness everywhere people populate the planet.

Part of my heart aches for this precious little boy (and all the other children we have in our clan) that is born into a sinful, violent and seemingly godless world.

I won’t say it isn't fair because this life was never founded on that principle, but it is difficult to think of consigning innocent souls to a world so controlled by evil.

But I am not afraid!!!


Because I am sure of the power of redemption offered through the Atonement of Jesus Christ.  My confidence in the Savior is grounded in the knowledge that He can truly make us into “new creatures” if we will let Him.  Alma was told:

Marvel not that all mankind, yea, men and women, all nations, kindreds, tongues and people, must be born again; yea, born of God, changed from their carnal and fallen state [one definition of becoming a new creature], to a state of righteousness, being redeemed of God….
Mosiah 27:25

Jacob is a “new creature” with his birth into mortality.  A few days ago, this little man was a person of spirit, bound by the rules that govern the world of pre-mortal spirits.  His acceptance of the Plan of Salvation included a stint in the world of mortality – and he agreed.  It meant he would forget all he knew from that life.  His only hope was a reliance on faith that his parents and others would instruct him in the way back to his God.

He trusted his Heavenly Father’s plan and he trusted the Son of God and His redeeming love.

Jacob will succeed!!

He has the tools, capacity, and lineage to make it so.

We will help along the way, and we will rejoice in the “NEW CREATURE” he will become right before our eyes.

Such is our God and His work and glory (Moses 1:39).  

Wednesday, January 22, 2014


For those who are not Roman, the title of the blog indicates the number 15 – as in grandchild # 15 who has arrived on schedule.

Jacob Michael Whitmer with his father Joshua

Jacob Michael Whitmer was born today and weighs in at 7 lb. 15 oz. and measures 18.5 inches long.  Mother and baby are doing well but dad looks a little haggard in this picture.  Probably didn't get much sleep last night.

We are thrilled to have another member of the family and pray for a quick recovery for Heather (and Josh).

P.S. Number 16 is in the oven and will be done sometime in June.  

Tuesday, January 21, 2014


Why is it that we require people to provide identification in order to purchase alcoholic beverages or board an airplane but we do not expect individuals to need proof of who they are when it is time for them to vote?

Seems like our priorities are out of whack!!

Or maybe I’m just prejudiced and want to hold people down.  Sure would be nice if voting was done by those who put the funds in for all the programs government sets up.  But that won’t happen until ……….????????

Not complaining, just wondering (OK, maybe it is complaining a little but I think I have earned a rant or two).

Tuesday, January 14, 2014


And now it came to pass that the burdens
which were laid upon Alma and his
brethren were made light;
yea, the Lord did strengthen them
that they could bear up their burdens
with ease, and they did submit cheerfully
and with patience to all the will of the Lord.
(Mosiah 24:15)

Cheerfulness has never been equated with burdens in my book.  The vision I have of a cheerful life is not one piled high with excessive misery.  But maybe I have the wrong view of how we should expect to live here on earth.

There is a dear friend of mine who has endured many years of painful suffering at the hands of a mysterious affliction.  Doctors, chiropractors and other types of healers have been called in to help, all to no avail.  The faith of her family has reached out to God and others for help in her time of need – still she endures constant pain, untold loneliness from loss of associations, and unyielding remorse for the things that have been taken from her life. 

She is a good woman – better than most in my opinion – and her lot seems unfair to those of us who watch from the theatre seats of life. 

Why does she not find some relief? 
When will her day of respite come?
Can we do nothing to ease her misery?

Then I read the quoted verse from the Book of Mormon.  

And I am reminded of the great strength this powerful woman carries in her soul.  She seldom grumbles of her circumstances and always looks to lift the hearts of any who are having personal struggles.  She is isolated because of her maladies but still reaches out and consoles the downtrodden.  And there is cheerfulness in her attitude that belies the challenge she endures.

The lightness of her burdens seem heavy to me but I suspect she has come to grips with the blessing it is to know God through submitting her own will to the experiences she is having at His hands.  And that knowledge is doubtless helping to lift the load she is required to carry.

There is strength that comes from bearing up and enduring well.  It is a gift of the Spirit that opens new avenues to the realms of godliness.

May we be as patient as she in the trials that will come in the rest of our mortal journey.  I doubt she knows the wonderful example she has given but I do love her for who she is and who God knows she will be. 

By the way, the following verse addresses the hope that can come from enduring well:

And it came to pass that so great was [her] faith and [her] patience that the voice of the Lord came unto [her] again, saying: Be of good comfort, for on the morrow I will deliver you out of bondage. (Mosiah 24:16)

Monday, January 13, 2014


I am half-way through my 7th year at Granger High School.  Normally, in my career, I would have been moved several years ago, but for some reason when changes have been announced the last few years, my assignment has remained right here. 

Granger Seal


One of the things I love best is seeing multiple members of families as they begin and end their HS career.  Some of these students have been in my class 3 or 4 school-years and I have come to love them and care about their lives.  And as one family member moves on, another comes to take their place and we are all blessed to become better acquainted with the dynamics of the whole family.

More times than I can count, I have been surprised to find that my initial judgment of a student or their kinfolk has been way off the mark.  With only three years (my previous high at any school), it was difficult to get a feel for how a family operates.  But with a seven-year window, many things become more clear.  Some of my early assumptions have been found to be seriously flawed because my perspective was so short-sighted.

I wonder if this isn't why Heavenly Father lets us have lots of time in mortality to figure things out.  Of course, we know that our clock isn't like Father’s but our perspective IS given plenty of time to see nuances that otherwise might be missed.  Living a long time (mortally speaking) can result in understanding the Plan of Salvation a little better.  It can also help us learn to see others as they really are, rather than how we view them during a specific spot in their life.

When the Lord taught the Prophet Joseph about forgiveness, he said the following:

Wherefore, I say unto you, that ye ought to forgive one another; for he that forgiveth not his brother his trespasses standeth condemned before the Lord; for there remaineth in him the greater sin.  I, the Lord, will forgive whom I will forgive, but of you it is required to forgive all men. (D&C 64:9-10)

It takes vision to see the reality of who people are.  Our vision is clouded by time and the veil of mortality so we have been counseled by a loving God to be careful. 

The sidewalk leading to Seminary.

Maybe they really aren't who we think they are.

But even if they are, who are WE really?

Friday, January 10, 2014



Yeah, I know this is a strange list to begin a message.  But I think you will find it helpful before we are done here.

There is a prophet in the Book of Mormon who was placed in a very tough spot.  He did what prophets do – preached the gospel – but his audience was not a very receptive lot.  In fact, the record shows that only one person actually listened to what he had to say (somewhat discouraging from my point of view).
Here is Abinadi in chains before
King Noah.
But like all men of God, he fulfilled his calling and then waited for the results.  In his case, the culmination of his efforts was death – he was burned at the stake.  I suspect he knew that would be his reward for the work he did but he went ahead anyway.

My point is not to bemoan the wickedness of any particular group or the injustice that happens to so many who try to right the wrongs of the world at the Lord’s behest.  What I want to do is look at the message he used to challenge his detractors.  So, if you will go with me to the Mosiah 13, I would like to introduce you to Abinadi and his visit with wicked King Noah.

Noah was not a novice in the gospel of Christ – his father was a righteous man who recognized the need to do things “in the strength of the Lord” (Mosiah 9:17) to be successful.  But worldly tastes became more important to Noah and he lost the sense of right that came from his dad.

Confronted by Abinadi, Noah and the false priests who supported him made a fatal choice to destroy the prophet of God who had come to save them.  Their anger against Abinadi was so fierce that they “stood forth and attempted to lay their hands on him…” but were warned to not touch him until he had finished his message. 

And what was that message?

As simple as it may seem, with all the things Abinadi could share or bring to mind, he was inspired to teach these educated, powerful and wicked men, who claimed to be priests of God, about the Ten Commandments. 

I can imagine the disdain these pompous souls must have shown for such a simple message.  They well could have said, “Why, if God was going to teach men of our stature, why didn't He have this “prophet” share some deep doctrine we don’t already know.”

And there’s the rub.  As Abinadi had told them before:

If ye teach the Law of Moses why do ye not keep it?  Why do ye set your hearts upon riches? Why do ye commit whoredoms and spend your strength with harlots, yea, and cause this people to commit sin, that the Lord has cause to send me to prophesy against this people, yea, even a great evil against this people? (Mosiah 12:29)

Most times, the Lord works with simple things to get us to change.  In this case, the simplest message was to take Noah and his ‘friends’ back to the basic rules issued by God through Moses. 

If a person can live those, then they have a chance – if not – well, there are other places than heaven to live when we leave mortality.

So, the list at the top is my way of offering help in remembering the basics for how to stay out of trouble.  Each word (OK, one has two words so we end up with eleven) is meant to remind us of one commandment.  And if the simple commandments are in our memories, there is a greater chance that they will, somehow, make their way down to our hearts. 

It only takes a few minutes to memorize the words and the benefit will be quick a recall of truth to guide our lives.  Good luck and let me know how it works.

Thursday, January 9, 2014


The New Year started with lots of activity and I am still recovering from the excitement.  Here is a short summary of the events that occurred since my last entry.  Hopefully I will keep up a little better through the rest of the year.

Turns out that there were a few more funerals after Uncle Orson passed away.  One was our good friend, Short who left us just before Christmas.  She was 84 and not in a good place – most of her memories were gone and her physical frame was severely damaged with age.  It was truly a blessing for her to move on to the Spirit World and reunite with family.  We will miss our visits but are grateful for the years of friendship we enjoyed.

It seems people like to depart mortality during the Christmas Holidays.  I guess it makes a nice time to reunite with loved ones who have preceded.  Maybe we will work our departure to coincide like that.  :-)

After visiting with family for Christmas our hearts are full of love and feelings of joy.  We are so blessed to have all our children right here in the valley and hope they aren’t too inconvenienced when we barge into their homes on a regular basis.  The lift we get by being with them is worth every effort we make.  Those delightful little (and some getting bigger) grand-kids are a great blessing for the years we had to wait to get them (Check out Missy’s blog for some of the experiences they have had this season).

On Monday after Christmas our little Joel (OK, he hates it when I call him little but he is the youngest) went to Brighton Ski Resort for a little snowboarding.  He has become pretty good over the years and really enjoys the adventure.  The only drawback is that he seldom goes with anyone else and he never wears a helmet.  BUT, his mother fixed the second part by getting him a really nice “dome” for his birthday.

So, his adventure was going just fine on the ‘gnarly’ slopes of Brighton (that’s what the guys up there said the snow was like that day).  He was doing so well that he decided to test his flying skills on a little jump…………. Except, it wasn’t as little as he thought.  He ‘flew like and eagle’ and then landed like a rock ------ on his back (yeah, pretty exciting, huh!!).
A delightful 'medic' that took good care of the smiling boy.

Paramedics strapping Joel down before transport.

And a 'thumbs-up' at the emergency room.

The end result was some foggy memories (though, not a burst noggin because he had his fantastic, mom-provided helmet on his melon), a bruised lung, some small bones in the back that were broken off (no major danger) and lots of bruises and sore spots.  He’s recovering at school and has some hard days but seems to be getting back in the swing of things.

It has truly been an eventful ending and beginning to a couple of years and I can’t say I wasn’t glad to go back to work.  But I am grateful for the experiences because I hate when life gets dull.  Until next time.