Friday, June 27, 2014


Every week, except when closed, Teresa and I make a short journey down to the Jordan River Temple to participate in service to the patrons who attend.  It is one of those things that we have determined to do to show our love for our Father in Heaven. 
But truthfully, it does great good to our hearts, so we
 are abundantly blessed.

The Jordan River Temple
Over the years we have served it has been our privilege to participate with friends and neighbors who also attend.  Since our duties vary depending on our assignments each evening, we have met with people we love in a wide variety of situations.  Without fail, it has been thrilling and deeply moving to serve with those who believe this work is vital for ancestors who have passed to the next life and family who seek God’s blessings in mortality.  The few hours we spend in the Temple on these nights are always valuable to us and are missed when we are sick or otherwise 
unable to attend.

This past Temple Night Teresa needed to stay home for some family responsibilities so I made the trip alone.  It had been a long day and I wasn't feeling especially well – I even considered calling in sick – but this commitment is important to both of us so the thought was quickly banished.  I reasoned that since my duties were secondary (some nights I have to take a more primary role in the events) I could relax a little and let someone else do the hard things.  But I think there were other plans (unknown to me) for the evening.

In one portion of my duties I ran into a good friend who informed me that his grand-daughter had been called on a mission and was receiving her endowment that evening.  The girl’s mother had decided it was also time to receive her own endowment, so the two were accompanied by siblings and parents to participate in the special evening.  Having known the family for many years, this was and exciting announcement and I was thrilled at the prospects.

As I moved to my next assignment, I discovered that my friend and his family were part of that portion of the evening also.  And, despite my previous thought of being secondary, I was invited 
to be the officiator for the endowment session they were 
scheduled to attend. 

What a wonderful surprise – being able to have a small part in the progression of a family, whom I love deeply, towards the eternal blessings God has promised to His children.  And to top it off, my friends wife, who is preparing to leave this life because of the ravages of cancer, was also in the company.  It was so tender to see her daughters gently helping her as she participated in the ceremony – especially understanding that this was probably the last time she would be able to attend the Temple in mortality.  My heart was touched and it was difficult to keep my emotions in control as I stood before the congregation performing my duties.

The Manti Temple -- Teresa received her endowment here
and we were sealed here in 1977.

As the ceremony started I was surprised to see another sister, also a dear associate to my friend and his wife, sitting in the company.  She had come to the Temple to serve and happened to arrive in time to be assigned to our session.  As I spoke with her later, she had no idea until she saw and spoke with our friends, the significance of the evening but was overjoyed to be there.

And finally, because my sweetheart was unable to be with us for the evening, she had called another sister worker to be her substitute.  Teresa’s regular duties include ‘guiding’ sisters who are brand new to the Temple, helping them know where to go and what to do.  Had she been there, she would have 1) guided the mother and daughter receiving their own endowment and 2) helped the ailing mother who served as escort.  But, fitting in with the theme of the whole night, the substitute sister just happened to be  another dear friend of both the husband and wife whose children and grandchildren were so greatly blessed that night.  I can’t imagine the joy she felt at seeing the children receive their blessings and being part of such a tender experience for the mother/grandmother in her last days of life.

Mesa, Arizona Temple -- I received my endowment here.
When the night was complete and I had time to reflect on the experience, my thoughts turned to the love God has for His children and the ways He offers the little ‘tender mercies’ 
(1 Nephi 1:20) that remind us how much He cares for us.  Simple experiences are generally the way He lets us know we are alright.

I am so thankful for a God who knows each of His children in personal ways.  I am grateful for friends who make life exciting and tender and sad and just plain fun to live.  It pleases me to no end that little things happen to remind me just how much God is involved in our lives.  And I am especially glad that there is a House of the Lord where we can go to leave the world and receive ordinances and make covenants that will bless our lives eternally.

Indeed, there are Tender Mercies all around – if we will only look and find them.

Monday, June 23, 2014


It is confession time today!

The air needs to be cleared and I have designated today as the day of unburdening.

Please bear with me as I seek to release myself from something that has caused me great grief for most of my life.  Understanding is all I seek and I hope it will come from those who are my friends and associates.

For more than 40 years I have hidden the fact that I have an urging that is clearly uncontrollable.  It started when I was a Boy Scout, but even before that I was aware of feelings that drew me toward this issue and made it difficult to resist.  

I have finally determined that I must embrace my desires and allow the “real me” come out.
Here it is!

I love fire.

It’s true.  I worship fire and all it does.

I love the colors that are generated as different fuels burn.

 I think about fire every day, almost all day long.

I am fascinated by the way it dances and flits from place to place when it is racing to its next fuel source.

Whenever I see a building or forest “en fuego”, I want to stop and bask in the total control flame has over everything in its path.

When I have been deprived of things burning for a while, a part of me MUST do what it takes to satisfy the overwhelming need to help the beautiful fiery tongues of flame consume – anything.  

Mostly, I love the power felt as I embrace the desire to create fire in the most obscure places at the most inopportune times.

Some might accuse me of being crazy – or even evil.


I have learned that fire is not evil – and neither are those who love to create and use it
 Think of all the good fire does in the world – cooking, sterilizing, heating, and signaling.

Sure, sometimes a blaze can get out of control and destroy homes and in rare circumstances even kill people.

The flames are not to blame.  They seek only life in a world that fears them unjustly.

Despite the challenges, I am confident that as people learn to accept my love for fire in all its glory, they will see as I do and accept my new way of life.

In fact, with my announcement today, I intend to start a campaign for the elimination all negative references to those who have a love for burning things.

I am proposing that laws be enacted immediately to protect the rights of all who have been termed “Pyromaniacs” by an unforgiving and unfeeling society.  The word “pyromaniac” (which holds such judgmental meaning) should be eliminated from all publications.  There is no ‘mania’ in what I love to do.  I am simply a person of fire (that’s the new PC phrase for what we are) and I am embracing my true nature.

Now, a message to my friends and family.

You know me, and understand that I have my quirks and oddities.  This is more than that.  This is a part of me that has been repressed for decades.  I have been forced, because of the traditions of the world, to keep this part of me hidden from view. 

I am no different than I was before.  We can still be friends.  We can still love one another.  Please be kind as this vital part of my life unfolds and allows me to finally become my true self.

My hope is that as I visit and share my passions with you, there will be understanding for the nature of my needs. 

And if, by some small chance, your own dwelling or personal property is caught up in my passion, I am confident you will continue to show love and allow me to live as I have chosen. 

Your need for safety is understandable but should not restrict my own feelings of want.

MY desires, needs, and appetites, are essential to my mental, emotional and physical wellness.  Please understand and accept me for who I am.

I thank you for your time and hope you will embrace the needs of “people of fire” as you have embraced others who have created changes in their own lifestyles.

The above message is SATIRE.  While I do have some affinity for fire,truly borne out of many years in Scouting,  I am not out of control, nor do I long to start burning things everywhere I go.  The point of my diatribe is that if we look hard enough there will always be at least one part of our existence that can become the focus of our life – to our detriment.

Currently, in the world where I live and work, many people feel that their physical, mental, and emotional needs outweigh any effort to have rules common for all of society.  Changing moral values invite many to look for reasons why the rules that have governed mankind for centuries don’t apply to them.  Everyone is an “exception” to the standards that have given our world balance.

The idea that embracing every desire or passion we feel in our mortal state will bring us happiness is a lie, perpetuated by the world and the adversary.  There is only one set of standards that will ever bring peace and joy (pleasure is not the same as joy).  

These standards are not found in any government, club, or society that exists as a man-made entity.  The only “rules” that will bring happiness to all are found in the teachings of the Savior Jesus Christ.  He alone knows the way to true happiness.

 When we get tired of trying to mold ourselves to the ever-changing form of man and the world, Christ invites us to try His image.  That one works.  It’s the only one that is true.  

It will bring peace.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014


We will have them all throughout our lives.  The may come in quiet moments of contemplation or when backed against the wall by things we do not completely understand. 

Before they become a soul wrenching experience, when it appears all you know may be false, please remember the words of a Prophet of God:

Pres. Ezra Taft Benson

We are not obligated to answer every objection.  Every man eventually is backed up to the wall of faith, and there he must make his stand.

The day comes to all of us that we have to depend on what we feel about the Savior as opposed to what we know. 

Our hearts will be comforted by the Spirit and strengthened by His powerful influence so that we can bear the challenges of the world and its error.

Don’t give up.  Remember who the source of all truth is in this life.  Listen to Him and His prophets and be safe.

Monday, June 16, 2014


I don't agree with everything this man says, but I believe he is on to something with this statement.  Not really new, but insightful -- especially in the area of morality.  Wouldn't it be nice if we had someone who cared about the moral structure of our nation and not just