He Stopped Loving Her Today! (Or Did He?)


I can’t remember the first time I heard it, but I was just a boy when across the radio I heard the silky sound of George Jones’ voice as he told the sad story of a man who had ‘stopped loving her today.’ It took listening to it several times before the real meaning took hold of my mind.

He stopped loving her today

They placed a wreath upon his door

And soon they’ll carry him away

He stopped loving her today

This poor man had just died and only then had he stopped loving a woman he had so desired. But even as a boy my heart understood that he had not stopped loving her. He had just moved his love into another realm of existence.  And I wasn’t convinced that the closing words of the song were true when George Jones crooned:

You know she came to see him one last time

Oh and we all wondered if she would

And it kept running through my mind

This time he’s over her for good

On the contrary, as I grew to adulthood and married my wife I knew that placing a wreath on someone’s door didn’t terminate that person’s love. No, as our bodies are lain in a coffin, our love for others is not bound to the box wherein our clay bodies lie.  This divine and eternal love escapes with our souls. Not only is love eternal, but so is marriage. While most people believe it, only one church preaches it or has it as a doctrine. Yet, the scriptures testify that whatsoever is bound on earth, can be bound in heaven.  Isn’t that what the Savior said to Peter as recorded in the gospel of Matthew. Their conversation is recorded:

‘And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.’ (Matt. 16:13–19.)

Indeed, the Lord gave the apostles authority that whatsoever they bound while on the earth, could be bound in heaven. What a glorious doctrine to believe in the eternal nature of love, which is best expressed through the bonds of marriage. When married by the proper authority, we don’t have to ‘stop loving her today.’ The thought of being separated from my wife would certainly ‘prey upon my mind’ as recited in Jones’ haunting song. However, my testimony is that the authority to bind our love has been restored and that those couples that obey the commandments and keep the covenants they have entered into with the Lord can enjoy the fruits and blessings of sharing their eternal love in a marriage relationship that lasts beyond the grave.

“Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you” (Matthew 7:7) the Savior told the people while giving His masterful Sermon on the Mount. Of this I too would charge all men. Seek ye this doctrine of eternal marriage and you will find the fulness of happiness that the Lord promised to all of His faithful followers.




‘Jesus The Christ’ And How It Changed My Life


Outside of the scriptures, my favorite book is “Jesus the Christ” by James Talmage. I fell in love with its wonderful essay on the life and times of Jesus Christ. I bought a small copy of it  in July of 1975 just as I left for a two-year full-time mission for the church.  Because of its compact nature I carried it in my breast shirt pocket the entire two years. In Argentina, where I served,  there was much wasted time spent traveling on buses and trains. My mission covered about one thousand three hundred miles, Talmage’s masterpiece served as a ready companion and constant source of enlightenment. As soon as I finished it, I started to re-read it again. Over those two years I ended up reading its contents eight times.  I credit it with giving me a fundamental understanding of the New Testament and of the character of Jesus Christ as our Savior. The years went by and I held on to my cherished copy. That same copy has since accompanied three of my sons on missions, to California, Colorado, and Mexico. They too have read it, and testified of the inspiring nature of its pages.

In its introduction, James Talmage gives us this thought:

“Mankind has never produced a leader to rank with Him. Regarded solely as a historic personage He is unique. Judged by the standard of human estimation, Jesus of Nazareth is supreme among men by reason of the excellence of His personal character, the simplicity, beauty, and genuine worth of His precepts, and the influence of His example and doctrines in the advancement of the race. To these distinguishing characteristics of surpassing greatness the devout Christian soul adds an attribute that far exceeds the sum of all the others—the divinity of Christ’s origin and the eternal reality of His status as Lord and God.”

Later on in the introduction he added:

“…man never lived of whom more has been said and sung, none to whom is devoted a greater proportion of the world’s literature. He is extolled by Christian, Mohammedan and Jew, by skeptic and infidel, by the world’s greatest poets, philosophers, statesmen, scientists, and historian. Even the profane sinner in the foul, sacrilege of his oath acclaims the divine supremacy of Him whose name he desecrates.”

I would recommend to anyone that is seeking additional knowledge regarding the Savior’s life, that they put Talmage’s masterpiece at the top of their reading list.  Apparently Paul the apostle, gave much value to good books when he wrote to Timothy from the mission field, “Do thy diligence to come shortly unto me…The cloke that I left at Troas with Carpus, when thou comest, bring with thee, and the books, but especially the parchments.” (2 Timothy 4: 9,13)

May we take the time to read good books that are worthy of our time. The scriptures are certainly the primary source of our reading but as Gordon B. Hinckley stated so beautifully, “There is so much of wonderful reading available. We are not likely to ever get too much of it.” (“Gambling”, April 2005 GC).

pointing the finger

The Finger of Scorn Pointed Directly At You!


Gordon B. Hinckley said, “We live in a season of wickedness, pornography, immorality. All of the sins of Sodom and Gomorrah haunt our society. Our young people have never faced a greater challenge. We have never seen more clearly the lecherous face of evil”. (Gordon B. Hinckley, “Living in the Fullness of Times,” Liahona, Jan 2002).

Having been raised in the same town my entire life gave me the opportunity to develop friendships based on long-term relationships. It was easier for me to maintain my standards having had friends that had known me since childhood. It seemed to me that they had respect for my religious values. It wasn’t until after graduation from High School that I first experienced the intense “finger-pointing” that comes from those not of my faith. It was finger-pointing that was meant to shame me and try to dissuade me from continuing to partake from the “tree of life”, or the gospel of Jesus Christ.

It doesn’t feel good to have people point at you in derision. And although privately I think most admire and respect you, they rarely publicly back you. As a young man the “great and spacious” building stood strong and powerful. Recently I read a devotional address given by Boyd K. Packer in 2007. Entitled “Lehi’s Dream and You”, I found a number of his thoughts to be enlightening. He said this:

“Largely because of television, instead of looking over into that spacious building, we are, in effect, living inside of it. That is your fate in this generation. You are living in that great and spacious building.”

Things have changed since I was a young man. Where I once was looking at the large and spacious building, the shadow of its influence and power has now reached over the river and onto the “tree of life.” Perhaps this is what the scriptures mean when they say, “And it came to pass that there arose a mist of darkness; yea, even an exceedingly great mist of darkness, insomuch that they who had commenced in the path did lose their way, that they wandered off and were lost”. (1 Nephi 8: 23).

With the darkness overshadowing even the location of the “tree of life”, how can we save ourselves and our loved ones? Elder Packer then counseled:

“You will be safe if you look like…and act like an ordinary Latter-day Saint: dress modestly, attend your meetings, pay tithes, take the sacrament, honor the priesthood, honor your parents, follow your leaders, read the scriptures…and pray, always pray. An unseen power will hold your hand as you hold to the iron rod. Will this solve all your problems? Of course not! That would be contrary to the purpose of your coming into mortality. It will, however, give you a solid foundation on which to build your life.”

The list for successfully resisting the “scoffing and scorn” from those of the spacious building has been given many times. It has been repeated once more by the above words of Elder Packer. They are straightforward and true.

May all of us have the power to resist the temptation to abandon our principles due to the pressure of the “pointed finger of scorn!”



When Suicide Enters Our Mind!


I know many have battled, at different times in their lives, with the thought of ending it all. By so doing, the pain will end,  and they will cease to suffer the extremities of their agony be it physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual. I have never reached that point in my life, yet, like many, I have taken a step or two into the darkness from time to time, and have experienced, for a moment, the hell of it all. A glimpse is all you need to be frightened by such a feeling.

I have counseled with many people over the years who suffer from such darkness. Often the teachings of Jesus Christ will chase aways such feelings of pain. But for some, even the light of the gospel has a hard time illuminating their souls. The causes of such hopelessness are varied without number. Such thoughts strike both young and old, male and female, and seemingly enter into the lives of many who admit, yet can’t feel, that they have wonderful blessings that should make their lives worth living.

For all among us who find ourselves in such a state of mind, my hope is that we wil seek out help, both professional, and spiritual. May we always remember our value to the Lord and that His love towards us is ever reaching and constant. (John 3:16)

May the Lord bless us all so that we can help all those who entertain thoughts of taking their own life. There can be no greater way to comply with the Lord’s command to “love one another.” (John 13:34), than being there in a time of need for one who is struggling with such thoughts.

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