God’s Top Ten List


While raising our children, never do I recall my wife and I gleefully rubbing our hands together behind closed doors, while thinking of what we could do to make our children’s lives miserable. Or what council could we give them that would lead to their unhappiness.  For some reason some youth, as well as some adult children,  seem to think such a thing of their parents.

Of course, it is the opposite. My wife and I, as with all loving parents,  diligently seek divine guidance so that we can lead our children to find joy and happiness. I have often wondered about the promise given in the ten commandments regarding honoring parents. It says in Exodus 20:

“Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.”

“That thy days may be long upon the land!” Interesting! Why would honoring parents extend our days on earth? My thought is that if you listen and honor your loving parents,  and follow the council they give,  it is likely that you will make less mistakes, sin less, and therefore avoid the consequences of making bad decisions. Mistakes and sin lead to unhappiness and sorrow and in some cases even an early death.  Like many of the commandments, sometimes it takes time to understand the principles given to us by a loving Father. And as parents, we should use Him, our Heavenly Father, as a pattern to follow in becoming loving and righteous parents.

I have been blessed by having wonderful parents. While they weren’t perfect, if I had followed all the advise they have given me over the years, I would be lving a much happier and full life.  There is wisdom in why the Lord included honoring our parents in His “Top Ten.”




Trust in the Lord’s Promissory Notes


There is a lot of talk in the country regarding fiscal responsibility, deficits, spending, benefits, taxes, etc.. There has also been much debate regarding the funding of Social Security. Among all the rhetoric, it is really hard to know whose opinion to trust. I happened to be reading in the opinion section of the Washington Post A few months ago when I came across a column written by the conservative Charles Krauthammer. He was addressing the issue of Social Security. I quote:

“…the Social Security trust fund contains — nothing.”

He then went on to explain that in reality the Treasury takes the FICA money out of our paychecks, spends it on current retirees and other governmental needs. The Treasury then sends the Social Security Administration a piece of paper that says: IOU “xzy” amount of money.

Accepting an IOU from man can be risky business. I.O.U’s are of course, only as good as the person or institution backing them.

With so much confusion regarding the serious condition of our country’s domestic financial future and the promises made, my mind was brought back to some words I read in an autobiography many years ago. It was the account of a man who had labored with the sweat of his brow and attained a comfortable living. He lived on a fifty acre farm with his wife. He had an orchard, house and was living the good life. A religious man, he confided to his brother that he would leave it all behind to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ. His brother questioned how he would be able to sustain himself. He answered by saying:

“Why, sir, I have bank bills enough, on the very best institutions in the world, to sustain myself and family while we live.”

“Indeed,” said he, “well, I should like to see some of them; I hope they are genuine.” “Certainly,” I replied, “there is no doubt of that. They are true bills and founded on capital that will never fail, though heaven and earth should pass away. Of this I will convince you in a moment.”

I then unlocked my treasury and drew from thence a large pocket-book, full of promissory notes like the following: “Whoever shall forsake father or mother, brethren or sisters, houses or lands, wife or children, for my sake and the gospel’s, shall receive an hundred fold in this life, and in the world to come life everlasting.” “If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, you shall ask what you will in my name and I will give it you.” “All things are possible to him that believeth.”

“Now, William,” said I, “Are these the words of Jesus Christ or are they not?” “They certainly are,” said he, “I always believed the New Testament.”

“Then you admit they are genuine bills?”

“I do.”

“Is the signer able to meet his engagements?”

“He certainly is.”

“Is he willing?”

“He is.”

“Well, then, I am going to fulfill the conditions to the letter on my part. I feel called upon by the Holy Ghost to forsake my house and home for the gospel’s sake; and I will do it, placing both feet firm on these promises with nothing else to rely upon.” “If I sink, they are false.”

“If I am sustained, they are true. I will put them to the test. Experiment shall now establish the truth of Christ’s promises, or the truth of infidelity.”

“Well,” said he, “try it, if you will; but, for my part, although I always believed the Bible, I would not dare believe it literally, and really stand upon its promises, with no other prop.”

We parted. He to his business, I to my preparations for a mission which should only end with my life.” (The Autobiography of Parley P. Pratt).

I read this book as a young man and this exchange between Parley and his brother deeply impressed me. I never forgot the faith that Parley P. Pratt had in the I.O.U.’s of the Lord.  I am convinced that, whether in this life or the next, all that the Lord has promised will be given. And though I know that the I.O.U.’s of man can be “questionable” and fail on occasion, I for one, do not question the promissory notes from the Lord.


When You Are ‘Fingered’ Out!


It was a hot summer day several years ago when I was patiently waiting in the left turn lane not too far from my house. I was the last car in the lane so I was not surprised when the light turned green that it took a few seconds for the line to move. However, as I watched all the cars moving and turning the car in front of me sat there as if the light was still red. I waited one, two, three, four, five till it reached about ten seconds or so and it became apparent that the driver of the car in front was either on his phone texting, or perhaps they had fallen asleep. I’m not one to hit my horn; in fact, I can probably count on two hands how many times I have hit my horn in the last twenty years. However, after that amount of time I tapped it so as to make the driver aware that the light had changed. As soon as I did so the brake lights went off and the car sped off just in time to go through the yellow light. I was left rolling up to the front of the line and missed the light.

The bothersome part of the above experience was not that I missed the light due to the negligence of another driver, things like that happen on the road. No, the thing that has stayed with me was as the other car sped away I was saluted out of the sunroof with a ‘finger’ of appreciation for my deed. Now here it is a couple of years later and I am still bothered by it. Why?

Well, for some reason most of us take to heart our interactions with others, and when someone ‘fingers” us out, when our intentions are not bad, it tends to hurt. And so it is that this anonymous driver’s salute is still in my mind.

Fast forward to last week! I was in a merging McDonald’s line when I met up with another driver. Who was there first…I don’t know. But we both smiled at each other and I nodded for her to go ahead of me, which she did. When I came up to the window to pay, the other driver had already paid my bill. I looked at the other driver, who was ahead of me, and waved out the window. I caught her smile in her rearview window. I felt a wave of goodness come over me.

“But a certain Samaritan, as he (was driving), came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him…” (Luke 10:33) I wonder, when we are anonymous behind the wheel, if the Samaritan comes out, or do we like to ‘finger’ other people out!

healing blind

Who Did Sin?


And as Jesus passed by, he saw a man which was blind from his birth. And his disciples asked him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind? Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him. (John 9: 1-3) Jesus then heals the man.

There are at least two great lessons taught in these three short verses. If you don’t “study” the scriptures, but just “read” them, you might miss one of them.  What lessons do we learn? The most obvious one is that people born with disabilities are not being “punished” for some sin that they have committed. Nor are their parents! This point is made very clear by the Savior, and yet, I think often, we as members believe that those who have not been given trials have somehow been more faithful.  It is easy to think that when trials come upon us that it is a result of our sin, or wrong choices.  Or perhaps when trials come upon us, maybe the Lord doesn’t love us as much as  someone whose life seems to be sailing along. One man who faced accusations because of his trials was Job. As his friends began to turn on him and accused him of being a sinner he laments:

“My face is foul with weeping, and on my eyelids is the shadow of death; Not for any injustice in mine hands: also my prayer is pure… Also now, behold, my witness is in heaven, and my record is on high. My friends scorn me: but mine eye poureth out tears unto God”. (Job 16:16,17,19,20).

And so Job, a great man of God, found himself on the short end of life.  Once blessed, then cursed, even his friends stood as accusers that trials came upon him because he, “must” have done something wrong. It is important to remember that our lives are subject to the laws of nature. Bad things happen to good people. On occasion these, “bad things” are a result of sin, but most often they are the result of living. The plan has been put in place and we are now in the mist of living it.

Later, after passing the test,   the Lord gives Job back more than he previously had.  For him, justice was seen in his lifetime.  But often it isn’t! Those who lie and cheat often get ahead in this life.  But soon we will reach the end of this life’s journey and judgement day will be upon us all.

We should not become discouraged when we are faced with trials.  It’s usually not something we have done wrong. We haven’t fallen out of favor with the Lord. It’s probably, “just life”. Have faith in the Lord’s promises! Have faith in the plan of salvation! Have faith in God our Father!

(Point two of John 9: 1-3 is that if man didn’t come from a pre-existence, how could a man be guilty of sin before he was born! This doctrine and knowledge of the pre-existence is a blessing of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ.)


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