Thursday, August 21, 2014


Brigham Young once said:
Every discovery in science and art that is really true and useful to mankind has been given by direct revelation from God, though but few acknowledge it. …We should take advantage of all these great discoveries.

As you consider what has happened to our world since Brigham’s day, you will note that there have been stunning improvements to the state of our living.

No longer do we ride horses or trains when we travel: we make our trips in comfortable automobiles and airplanes.  Our homes are heated and lighted by clean, efficient energy sources that flow to us through wires and pipelines we seldom notice in our daily activities.  And our food comes from all over the world so we can get whatever we want, despite the seasons of ripening.  The wonders of science have made our lives so much better than our ancestors.

With many of these scientific discoveries we have also seen a corresponding improvement in the art we encounter.  The rise of motion pictures opened the way to some of the most entertaining and uplifting stories man has ever known.  Television brought those same stories right into our homes, and with the Internet, we can even have them in our pocket or purse if we desire.

God has blessed us with amazing things and we are much the better for those improvements.

Or are we??

Those same improvements listed above make up some of the great plagues of modern times.  The rise of pornography and violence in the media has been exponentially abetted by the technology that should focus on bringsing goodness. Just the other day some may have witnessed the horrific beheading of an American journalist posted on the “friendship” sites of Twitter and Facebook.  Everything that is available for good can also be used for wickedness – and it seems today to be more inclined to the side of wickedness.

What to do??

The only thing to do is take back the impetus for correct usage of these God-given gifts.  Spend time using them to do what they were designed by God to accomplish.

I hear some of you saying:  OK, Mr. Smartguy, what is their purpose?

I believe they were destined and designed by our Father in Heaven to do what EVERYTHING 
He gives us is expected to do.

For behold, this is my work and my glory—to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man. 
(Moses 1:39)

Automobiles came into existence to improve the means by which mankind could spread truth.

I bet some pioneers would have loved to have this for a 'wagon."
Airplanes fly so the seeds of truth can be planted in lands where the message has not been sown.

Cinematic presentations were inspired by God so that His work could reach more of His children.

Definitely something that makes us better. 

Television broadcasts a signal to enhance the knowledge of God throughout all of His creations.
How many channels do we really need.

Internet connections have one major purpose – the teaching of the Doctrine of Christ to the children of God.

Like all of God’s children, we have the right (agency) to choose what we will do with the blessings He offers.  Some will choose to improve their lives and the world and others will find ways to be destructive.

I choose the primary and true purpose for all of these marvelous achievements.

That’s how the work will be hastened and shared with more and more of our brothers and sisters.

How will you use the wonderful blessings we have received from our loving Father in Heaven?

Look here for suggestions.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014


Why do people keep journals/records of life?

What do they expect to happen with the sensitive materials they gather as precious books of history?

My first journal started when I was 12 years old.  Someone gave me a little diary and I thought it would be fun to record a few things.  I didn’t write every day but I put enough in the book to know it felt good to write.

One day my younger brother found my writings and read a few of the entries.  After perusing my words, he immediately went outside and told all the neighborhood kids that his brother “loved Bonnie Dees” (I had written that but …… well, what 12 year old boy doesn’t love a little girl once in a while?).  I was embarrassed by the revelation and swore to never write anything that personal in a book again.

Fast forward 47 years.

The fear of discovery is gone and through these many decades I have intermittently shared my thoughts about life, love, and a multitude of topics.  At present I have six volumes of thoughts recorded in journals of some sort.  That doesn’t include this blog (which I consider a form of journal writing).  My schedule for writing is not consistent but I have recorded enough that I believe my posterity will get a flavor Grandpa Whitmer and what his life was like.

I would suggest that we write for several reasons. 

Reason 1 – Written records give those of our family who haven’t been around us as much (grandchildren, greats, etc.) insight into some of the thoughts and concerns of our lives.  Who knows but what they might get a glimpse of why they are such as they are from our experiences.  Or possibly they will think differently about some of the actions they saw from us if they know what we were thinking at the time.  Journals open doors to enlightenment.

Reason 2 – No one wants to be forgotten or remembered incorrectly.  The older we get, the more chance our offspring’s offspring will know less and less about who we are.

One of the great regrets of this life is that I have no written record of my Grandpa Whitmer and the experiences of his life.  As a boy I thought of him as a gruff, grumpy old man who had little tolerance for loud, obnoxious grandsons.  Stories told by my dad indicate that my perception is incomplete and I trust that he is correct.  But, oh, how I wish I had Grandpa’s words to tell me.  I suspect I would really like him and recognize more of myself in how he lived.

NOTE: My dad did write a short history of his parents and family on the Family History site and I was delighted to learn more about some of the early days of his life.  Things like that are so important to our children – I don’t want to cheat my posterity any more than I already have.

Reason 3 – Journals are a wonderful place to practice writing with intelligence.  Some of the early attempts in my life are very embarrassing – my grammar and style were atrocious.  And the things I worried about – whoa baby!!, I was such a self-centered brat.  But even those offerings are appreciated because they reflect who I was at that point in life. 
As I have aged and hopefully matured, my methods of transmission have improved and relieve some of the stress readers experience when writing is unintelligible (though my handwriting seems to be digressing).  My journals have become a place to practice my writing in addition to being a way to share what I hope for my posterity and what joy they bring to my life.

Here are a couple of other regrets/suggestions that I would share.

What I wouldn’t give to have some writings from my dad and mom to help me see how they became the special people they are today.  Their record of progression would invite hope for me and my children as we witnessed, through their eyes, the challenges that changed and blessed their lives.  I’m hoping there are some hidden documents that will, one day, appear to shed light on the mysteries of their sojourn on earth.

And lastly, as I read through some of the things I have written, I am extremely embarrassed.  There were events and experiences that I recorded that show just how dumb and ……. well, just stupid I can be.  You know what I’m talking about.

My protective first inclination is to cover up all the missteps – I even did that a few times when I was younger.  Experience has shown that those humiliating times when ignorance prevailed need to be left alone.  Everyone needs to know that Grandpa wasn’t perfect.  But they also need to know that Grandpa overcame the humbling events that he got himself into.  There has to be redemption.

The stories of our lives are mundane to us – we lived them – and they often seem worthless and irrelevant to anyone else.  Those same stories, shared with people of our lineage, become great documents of discovery and love.  

I believe in writing our own personal story.
It might be a journal.
For some it is a blog.
Others do scrapbooking.

Whatever it is, the effort will be rewarded by the love the succeeding generations of your family feel for you as they read your experiences. 

Please take time to write.  Let them know you care.  The eternal gift will be more than you can imagine. 

Now, pull up a clean document in Word and get busy!!!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014


Shortly after we moved back to Utah in 1984, we were introduced to a couple who have a great influence on our lives. 

In early 1985 I was called to be a counselor to the bishop of our ward.  He was a fine man and had recently been called to the position.  His other counselor was a burly, gruff sounding gentleman named Don Bawden.  He and his wife, Marsha, were faithful parents and exemplary saints and had two characteristics that I appreciated:

They loved to play and they really loved to WORK. 

Don and Marsha had 7 children and it was not uncommon to see the whole family out in their yard, sometimes playing but more often working.  The Bawden’s were always working.  Sometimes under duress, but everyone participated.

Don is 10 years older than I am so I would often watch to see what I could expect as our children aged.  And I know Teresa was mindful to emulate many of the things that Marsha exemplified – which was pretty easy for her cause she is a lot the same.

As the years have progressed, what started out as an acquaintance because of Church service soon grew to a friendship that has become very important to both Teresa and me.  In fact, when I was called to be bishop, my first choice for a counselor was my good friend Don Bawden.  He was always straight with me and let me know when I needed to make course corrections.

The Bawden’s are good people because they are true to themselves and the faith they profess.  Don never put on airs – he just did what was right.  Marsha’s selflessness was known to anyone who was even a faint acquaintance.  Her perpetual smile and positive attitude helped many overcome great challenges in their lives.  Despite many of her own struggles, I can say that I have NEVER heard Marsha complain about anything.

 NEVER, as in not once in 30+ years.

I mention these good people because this past week we attended the funeral for Marsha Bawden.  She developed cancer about a year ago and finally succumbed, despite vigorous efforts by the medical profession. 

Marsha Bawden
She was only 66 years old and had many joys left to experience in this life.  But her time in mortality is complete and she has proven herself worthy of the expectations of her God so she is welcomed back into His presence.  Her family will miss her but the legacy she has built will be felt through generations untold. 

And her pain in this life is finished (though she never mentioned it).

Her funeral was yesterday (Monday, Aug. 11) and the chapel and overflow were packed with many chairs in the cultural hall.  Marsha will be missed but her goodness will never be forgotten.  And the faith of her good husband, my friend Don, will endure and allow them to be reunited again when his test in mortal form is complete.

Good people!! 

Yep, I think the Bawden’s qualify.

Monday, August 4, 2014


I think this is my first official food review.  Maybe, if it works out  I will try some more.  Might be a good way to get to eat out a little with my favorite 'cute girl.'


Not a real Smashburger but didn't want to violate
any laws.
A couple of years ago we discovered “Smashburger” at one of the outside stores in the Valley Fair Mall.  We didn’t actually eat in much but we liked their food enough to go and buy some to take home.  It was tasty and flavorful so we made it a traditional meal about once a month.

Many times, especially when she had worked hard with the daycare, Teresa would, without saying it in words (you know, that eye-look thing women do), indicate she would really like to have a “Smashburger” for dinner.  And practicing to become the kind and loving husband I hope to be someday, I would scuttle off to the little shop and retrieve her favorite.

But the last year or so has seen a change.  I don’t know if it is corporate decisions or lack of funding or just a general disdain for the upkeep of quality, but the “Smash” people aren’t the same as they used to be.

One of the things I really liked (I think other places do this now) was the juiciness of the meat that comes from ‘smashing’ the patty with a – well, a metal smashy something.  It’s supposed to keep the juices intact and still let the meat cook sufficient for consumption.  When we first started eating “Smashburger”, it was apparent that something different was happening and we loved it.  Frankly, that’s what encouraged us to come back again and again.

But lately, despite visiting several different stores in the valley that offer this product, what we have been getting is meat that is cooked but not at all ‘juiced.’

Could it be that they have gone to a poorer quality meat?  Or maybe have they changed their cooking process?  Can you blame it on us because we have grown ‘accustomed to your face’ (can you guess what that is a reference to?) and it just isn’t exciting anymore?  I don’t know, but our experience is not the same.

But alas, it isn’t just the problem of dry burgers that has us flummoxed.  Our first encounter with “Smashburger” introduced us to “Smash-Fries” – a unique mix of thin potato fries, delicately flavored with olive oil, kosher salt, rosemary, and garlic.  The taste was different/delightful but not overpowering and the ingredients didn’t get in the way of enjoying the food.

Lately, it seems that there is some agreement with the olive oil industry to distribute as much of their product as possible with every single serving of this formerly delicious side dish.  In recent purchases, oil smothers the fries so completely that it is difficult to tell what other ingredients may be attached to the small little potato strips.  And when one finishes a meal, there is a feeling that you have just done a 5000 mile oil change on one of your cars and a shower is necessary.

I’m not sure we want to give up just yet so I suspect that we will try “Smashburger” a couple more times to see if things can be salvaged. But I’m not very hopeful after the last several visits we have made.  Maybe it’s time to see who else has something good to offer in the burger market. 
If you have suggestions please let me know.

Thanks for listening.

Friday, August 1, 2014


There is a quote, attributed to Brigham Young, and used by many dissidents, in the Church and out, to create doubt in the words of living Prophets:

The greatest fear I have is that the people of this Church will accept what we say as the will of the Lord without first praying about it and getting the witness within their own hearts that what we say is the word of the Lord.Brigham Young
The 2nd Prophet of this Dispensation

I have seen and heard this quote numerous times from people who preach that we must be careful to not take the things prophets teach at face-value.  They suggest that every word a prophet speaks must be challenged and considered before it is accepted as the word of God.  It appears to be a tactic to take away some of the power of scriptural revelations such as:    

What I the Lord have spoken, I have spoken, and I excuse not myself; and though the heavens and the earth pass away, my word shall not pass away, but shall all be fulfilled, whether by mine own voice or by the voice of my servants, it is the same. (D&C 1:38)

Here is a real shocker!!

The quote is not from Brigham Young.  It is not correct.  And it is not the doctrine of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

A fine young man who was disturbed by continual reference to the quote did some research and discovered the genesis of the message. 

His post is rather lengthy (for obvious reasons you will see) but very useful in debunking the false teachings of those who would cast doubt on the words of living prophets.

Prophets are fallible and can make errors in judgment concerning many things.  But when they speak by the power of the Holy Ghost, they are speaking the words of Christ.  Our response is not to doubt, but to confirm the message using the same method by which the message was given.

This truth is the kind that you can rely on in all circumstances.  Of course, you will need to have a testimony of prophets and apostles before it will make sense.