check engine

Our Souls ‘Check Engine’ Light


All of us have been leisurely driving along at some time in our life when the dreaded “check engine” light comes on in our cars. It is scary! It causes panic and anxiety. Thoughts quickly run through your mind, “Is my motor going to blow up on me? Should I pull over? What is the matter with my car? How much is it going to cost to fix whatever it is that is wrong with my car?” Each mile we drive is full of stress as the “little engine” on our dashboard seems to be yelling out at us, “Something is wrong with me, please fix me!” If we are lucky, eventually the light goes out and we wipe our brow. “Whew”, we say, “That was a close one!”

Odds are, that your friendly light is warning you of something very minor. In fact, I once read that there are over a hundred different reasons why that “little engine” lights up. However, there is a small chance that the sight of that light could mean big trouble, which means big bucks, which is why it scares the pants off you when it is lit up! Of course, left unattended, most of the small problems end up becoming big problems over time. Thus the object of the “check engine” light, is to notify you that something is not right and that you need to take the time to service the vehicle.

When the Savior was here on the earth the members of his church looked to him for guidance and direction. They felt safe in his presence. He was there to guide them through the perils of life. When he left, it is recorded that he prayed to the Father on their behalf, that they might receive another comforter. It is recorded in the gospel of John:

“And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever…the comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.” (John 14:16,26).

Heavenly Father has installed a sort of “check engine” light in our bodies. He guides and directs us through the prompting of the Holy Ghost. In a similar fashion as a car, we are given warning messages to our souls, which alert us that something is not quite right. When we listen and respond to the soul’s “check engine” message, we can make proper adjustments so that, what might be a minor issue, doesn’t become a “major” one down the road.  Our ‘spiritual’ check engine light can also  be there to warn us of physical perils. On more than one occasion I know that the still small voice has warned my loved ones of dangerous persons or places ahead.

By living lives that are in “tune”, we are better able to recognize the warning signs that light up on our dashboard of life. May we have the courage to respond to such warnings, and the wisdom to have our souls serviced before we are beyond the point of no return.



“Truth” As Defined By Man (Is Always Subject to Revision)

“When the crew of the Virginia scallop trawler Cinmar hauled a mastodon tusk onto the deck in 1970, another oddity dropped out of the net: a dark, tapered stone blade, nearly eight inches long and still sharp. Forty years later, this rediscovered prehistoric slasher has reopened debate on a radical theory about who the first Americans were and when they got here.” (“Radical theory of first Americans place Stone Age Europeans in Delmarva 20,000 years ago”, Washington Post, By Brian Vastag)
I happened to come upon this article in an edition of the Washington Post. The story about the knife isn’t what caught my eye as much as the renewed dispute that is occurring regarding who first settled America. The article goes on to say this:
“Archaeologists have long-held that North America remained unpopulated until about 15,000 years ago, when Siberian people walked or boated into Alaska and then moved down the West Coast. But the mastodon relic found near the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay turned out to be 22,000 years old, suggesting that the blade was just as ancient. Whoever fashioned that blade was not supposed to be here. Its makers probably paddled from Europe and arrived in America thousands of years ahead of the western migration, making them the first Americans, argues Smithsonian Institution anthropologist Dennis Stanford.”
Some individuals might find this article interesting because of its historical significance. I find it interesting because of its religious significance to my faith. Not too many years ago the scientific community released information regarding the DNA of the supposed first settlers on this continent. This information, to some, was cause of concern regarding the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon. Time and space doesn’t allow me to approach the complex nature of DNA and such, nor do I have the expertise to do so. But suffice it to say, that this article simply reminded me of the limited knowledge that man really has regarding its ancient past. What is accepted as truth and fact today can change with a discovery tomorrow.
It is important to find out about our past so that we can learn from it. And I support and encourage all those who are engaged in doing it. But one thing I have learned in my short life on this planet from “my” past, is that truth as defined by man, is always subject to revision. But truth as revealed to man from God, is eternal. I’m grateful to have living prophets and apostles walking upon the face of the earth. In a never-ending sea of change, they provide an anchor for the soul.


A Home Without A House


A few months ago, while reading an article on-line, this story was retold by a columnist:

“Years ago there was a TV show “Kids Say the Darndest Things” hosted by Art Linkletter. On one episode he asked a young child where he lived. The boy said, “We just moved here and are living in a motel.” Art Linkletter said, “Oh, you don’t have a home yet.” The boy said, “Oh, Mr. Linkletter, we have a home, we just don’t have a house to put it in”.

George Washington once said, “I had rather be on my farm, then emperor of the world”. And an unknown author wrote, “It takes hands to build a house, but only hearts can build a home”.

David O. McKay said:

“It is possible to make home a bit of heaven; indeed, I picture heaven to be a continuation of the ideal home.” (Improvement Era, Oct. 1948, p. 618.)

As a boy growing up I only recall living in three different houses. Each house holds a dear spot in my heart because it brings pleasant and sweet memories to the surface of time spent with my family. Each house became my home for a temporary period of time, because it housed my parents and brothers and sisters, not because of its size, shape or the neighborhood in which it was built. When I revisit them, I see in the mortar, bricks, and wood, the home it used to be. As I reminisce, I understand that those edifices have changed. They used to house my family, but no longer are my home. Most of us will change “houses” many times throughout our lives, but hopefully our homes will always be where our families reside. For my part, I adhere to the thought so beautifully expressed by Emily Dickinson in her simple statement:

“Where thou art- that- is home”.

Indeed, all of us are being “housed” on this earth, at this time. We are away from our Heavenly home, one that has always been, and one that will always be. It is a place where Heavenly Father presides. One where our family resides! It is a place where love abides and safety is assured. Our home is heaven!

December Portland 524

The Merry-Go-Round Of Life


On a recent visit to my in-laws I discovered a photo of me and my wife which I had never seen before. The photo was taken a few days before our wedding.  The most interesting and ironic aspect of this long-lost photo is that we were captured on a Merry-Go-Round.  How apropos for what life has to hold for a young couple.

The dreams of a young couple were captured in the words of Gordon Lightfoot when he sang:

And we climb aboard our ponies
As in a row they stand
Then down the road we gallop
And across the fields we fly
And soon we all go sailing off
Into the midnight sky (“The Pony Man”)

As a young couple beginning life together, it does seem that we will go sailing off into the midnight sky.  Dreams are a plenty and life is full of the possibilities! Alas, as the years go by the merry-go-round of our lives can throw us off the ride if we are not careful. Sometimes we find the ride can be more perilous then we thought. However, finding the ride to be more dangerous than we thought, is not necessarily a bad thing. Indeed, the joy of the ride has increased and become more exciting because it is filled with more thrills then we anticipated.

In fact, the merry-go-round of life need not throw us off at all. We have an “iron rod” to hold onto which is meant to serve as a steady safe manner in which to stay on course. Holding fast to the pole of iron was spoken of by an ancient prophet when he compared it to the word of God. He wrote:

“…and whoso would hearken unto the word of God, and would hold fast unto it, they would never perish; neither could the temptations and the fiery darts of the adversary overpower them unto blindness, to lead them away to destruction.”

Let us remember,  as couples and as individuals, that each of us have been given a ‘pole of iron,’  which should anchor us safely onto the Merry-Go-Round of life. If we hold on tight to the pole of righteousness we can enjoy the exciting ride and the sights that come with it.

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