Sunday, January 25, 2015


The Book of Mormon is filled with doctrines and principles that invite us to come to our Savior for redemption.  Nephi teaches us that we:

“ of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophesy of Christ, and we write according to our prophecies, that our children may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins” (2 Nephi 25:26).

So, I have often wondered why Mormon included so many chapters dealing with war in his record.  He was a soldier/general in his own time and the connection there is pretty clear, but what did he hope to accomplish by adding the experiences of Captain Moroni, Helaman, Teancum, and many others to the record?

Maybe his purpose was to give us hints about ways to prepare for and overcome the influences that he saw in his visions of the future.  Like most prophets, the times he witnessed were not his – his own people were fast approaching annihilation and anonymity.  They were beyond help but the future generations (those in our day) might find some assistance in the experiences of the past if he were to record them for their benefit.

With that in mind, I have selected several short excerpts from the Book of Alma that Mormon included to guide us in the battles we will face.  The war for the souls of our families and friends is real and the guidance given in these snippets are inspired by a Godly concern for the welfare of future generations.  I present them for your perusal and use if you find them sufficient for your needs.

#1 – Alma 43:9, 48:10 – Know why and who you are fighting

Every war has ‘good guys’ and ‘bad guys.’  The challenge is recognizing which is which.  The battles faced as parents, leaders, and individuals are very much like the wars waged all through history.  The difference between who is good and who is bad really depends on the motives for fighting. 
In these first few verses, Mormon invites us to remember that if the purpose for war is to protect families (wives, children, etc.) and maintain the rights of liberty and peace (including the right to worship as desired) then the battle is justified.  Any other purpose is probably selfish in its origin (position, money, glory, power, etc.).

#2 – Alma 43:23-24 – Collect data any way possible

Any good general craves information about the enemy so he can be prepared.  Sometimes it comes easily but most often it requires great effort to get the kind of knowledge that will result in defeat of an enemy.  Protectors must be willing to go to many extremes to understand and know what is happening in the lives of those they seek to protect.  How else will leaders know the challenges that confront the ones they serve?

And yes, there will be times when it is necessary to seek out spies to help with the reconnaissance.  All the help available should be used.  Despite what some may say, keeping eyes and options open is the only way to avoid defeat in this great battle.  Parents and family should not be ashamed to search out answers to important questions to protect loved ones.

#3 – Alma 44:1-5 – Fight, but be careful not to make total destruction the goal

Righteous efforts to maintain safety often result in confrontations between competing parties.  These experiences can degrade into a battle of wills and a desire to totally destroy the offending parties.  One of the things Mormon highlights in the wars led by Captain Moroni is the desire he (Captain Moroni) had to protect the lives of all participants.  His was never a war designed to annihilate the enemy.  He only wanted to stop the aggression and invite those who sought to destroy freedom to change their ways.

Parents and leaders are not out to destroy those they serve and love.  The purpose of their battling is to keep the way safe for those whom they care to protect.  If the enemy will stop trying to drag their children or family away, they will cease to use the tactics of war to stop them.

#4 – Alma 49:3-5 – Remember the past and prepare for the future

When a battle is won, don’t forget the things that were done to bring victory.  Build on the weaknesses that invited the original challenges and use the knowledge gathered to prepare for the next event.  It also helps to remember the words of Jesus, quoted by Mormon, in the book of Ether:

And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them (Ether 12:27)

Enemies will recognize weaknesses, often before combatants do, and use them to overcome.  All who would protect have to be humble enough to realize they are weak and make the adjustments necessary to overcome those challenges.

#5 – Alma 53:8-9 – Avoid contentions in the ranks

Every adversary looks for ways to invite dissension amongst their enemies.  The easiest battle to win is the one fought against a divided enemy.  Whatever is done must be done in love and with an eye single to the Glory of God. His influence must be the foundation for everything.  Only with His help can the war of this life be won.

Mormon was a great general and worked hard in his life to protect his people.  He was ultimately a failure as a general but his teachings can be the foundation of our own success in the personal war with wickedness.  Using his counsel we can stand firm and find safety in the doctrines and principles as taught by Jesus Christ through his living prophets.  The words are true and the power is in them.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015


Hard to believe, but today marks the 38th time I have celebrated the best decision I have ever made in mortality.  The result has been some wonderful adventures, memories that will last eternally, children that are so much more than I could have ever imagined and the love of a good woman who has endured, with me, all the vicissitudes of life.

We don’t have many photos of the special occasion, but this will give you an idea what we looked like back then
January 21, 1977 - the best day of my life.

NOW you know why I chose her!!

She was a BABE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

And after 38 years she still makes my heart go WAHOOOOO!!!

Happy Anniversary to the best little girl I have ever known.
Here’s hoping we have another 38 (or thereabouts).

Tuesday, January 20, 2015


As part of an introduction activity to begin 2nd semester, I asked my students to share the name of their favorite author.  Reading has always been one of my favorite obsessions, so I assumed most would have some preference carved out in their minds.

Imagine my surprise (and dismay) when I discovered that more than half of those I teach don’t regularly read on their own. 


I understand that some have difficulties, but these are bright, intelligent, and interesting young people.  Their parents are humble folks who are trying to raise children in a very difficult world.  Yet, as a body of young people, the majority don’t read, other than what is assigned by a teacher (and not even that sometimes).

So much is lost when people aren't comfortable with reading.
Imagination is limited!
Vocabulary doesn't grow!
Perspective is blinded!
Understanding of the world remains at a very juvenile level!

In my life, reading books is how I discovered things like science, art, politics, religion, and the joy that comes from learning something new.  When my children were younger they would often ask how I came to know so many answers to their questions.  Without fail, the answer was “I read that somewhere in a book.” 

I love reading!!

Because I read I know that Abraham Lincoln was much more capable than many of his day ever imagined.  He was wise enough to hide his intelligence with a ‘folksy’ attitude, giving himself an advantage with his adversaries.

Because I read I know that Einstein’s theory of relativity has its limits but is really cool in an eternal sense.  And it helps science fiction with plot-lines.

Because I read I am convinced politicians think most people are ignorant and don’t remember what has been said or done in the past. But those who read DO!

Reading is a lifesaver in more than one way. 
When Mr. Boredom approaches, a good book can push him away.
When I can’t figure out how to fix the car I can get the right book and find the solution.
And when life begins to get really messy, there are things I can read that will provide comfort from the sorrows all around.

While not a cure-all, reading is one of the great medicines for the ills of this life. 

If you don’t already, put some time into reading. 

You’ll be surprised how much it helps.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015


It’s been nearly a month since I last wrote.

Christmas has come and gone!!

New Years passed without a mention.

Many things have passed but there has been little motivation until today.  I guess I have had the BLAHS.

How does that happen to a normally vigorous person? 

Some might blame the conditions brought on by the seasons.  Sunlight is at a minimum and my work is indoors so the necessary keratin may not be getting into my system.  There are surely other reasons but none make any sense right now.

I just looked back on what I wrote and it sounds especially whiney.

Come on, cupcake, suck it up and get going.

OK, but I think I will wait until tomorrow to really put in the effort.

See you then.