Sunday, November 18, 2007


I had to speak in church last Sunday. So here is my talk.

I was asked to speak on the “Attitude of Gratitude”. I had this dream last night that my name was left off the program so I didn’t have to speak. I guess some dreams don’t come true. So, I will just have to have an “attitude of gratitude” and be grateful for the opportunity to speak.

On the church web site it says.

Gratitude is a feeling of appreciation and thankfulness for blessings or benefits we have received. As we cultivate a grateful attitude, we are more likely to be happy and spiritually strong. We should regularly express our gratitude to God for the blessings He gives us and to others for the kind acts they do for us.

The Lord has promised, "He who receiveth all things with thankfulness shall be made glorious" (D&C 78:19). Gratitude is an uplifting, exalting attitude. People are generally happier when they have gratitude in their hearts. We cannot be bitter, resentful, or mean-spirited when we are grateful.

One night shortly after we got married, I was tired and wanted to go to bed. My wife said she needed to do the dishes first. I told her that I would do them the next day. This was huge for me because I grew up on a farm and my sister had to do the dishes. When they would complain I would tell them, I would do the dishes when they milked the cow.

The next day was along day at work and I got home late. My wife had spent the day baking. In the process she had dirtied every dish in the house. Both sinks and the counter tops were covered with dirty dishes. There were dishes I didn’t even know we had and they were all dirty. I really didn’t want to have to do all those dishes. I had a choice to make. I could have an “attitude of gratitude” for all the things she had baked or be upset because of all dishes I was now expected to wash.

Well I’m not perfect and mentioned all the dirty dishes. My wife began to feel bad and apologize, and I quickly realized that was not the write choice. I quickly changed my tune and started telling her I appreciated all the things she had baked. I realized that if I wanted to be happy and have a happy wife I needed an attitude of gratitude. Sometimes us guy’s can learn.
I have learned that life is full of those choices. Anyone can find something up to complain about. You can complain about church leaders, friends and family members, because they don’t do things the way you would like or give you what you want. Or you can be grateful for their love and service. It’s almost requires a constant effort to let the things that bother us go and be grateful for the things we have.

It takes a strong person to have an “attitude of Gratitude’. When we do, not only are we happier but those around us are happier also. Everyone wants to be appreciated for the things they do. One of the difficult principles that people have a hard time grasping is that what goes around comes around. If you want to be appreciated by others, appreciate them. If you want to be loved by others, love others. There are a few who will not return your love and appreciation, but there are plenty who will. Fill your life with the kinds of people who will return love and appreciation. Parents, you must understand that if you kids aren’t getting love and appreciation at home, they will look for it somewhere else.
—See True to the Faith (2004), 78–79

“We should be thankful for the wonderful blessings that are ours and for the tremendous opportunities we have. We can be thankful to our parents, family, friends, and teachers. We should express appreciation to everyone who has assisted us in any way.

We should thank our Heavenly Father for His goodness to us by acknowledging His hand in all things, thanking Him for all that He gives us, keeping His commandments, and serving others. We should especially thank Him for His Beloved Son, Jesus Christ, for the Savior's great example, for His teachings, for His outreaching hand to lift and help, for His infinite Atonement. “
There is no sacrifice that you can make for others that is greater than the sacrifice Christ has made for you. We should always have and an “attitude of Gratitude” for him.

Some times we look at others and think they have things so much better than us, and some of them do. But in this country we are so richly blessed. Someone said that we live better than any king that ever has ever lived. After thinking about it we really do. Never in the history of the world have any been able to get on a plane and be the other side of the country in a few hours, or drive in to church in the comfort of our cars. We have Ipods to store and play our selection of music. Cell phones to call or text our family and friends incautiously from most anywhere. For all this we should have an “attitude of gratitude”.

When my daughter was young she would sometimes see what others had and complain that life wasn’t fair. I would tell her that she was right, that “if life was fair she would be living in a hut in China and scrambling for food everyday”. After graduating from high school she went to China. We received an email from her on the day she arrived all it said was “China has humbled me”. Attached were pictures of the huts people lived in and people begging in the streets for food. The experience helped her have more of an “attitude of gratitude”.

When she way young she was a very difficult child to handle. She was always complaining and was difficult to like. Her first year at girls camp the leaders almost sent her home, because she complained about the food and convinced all the other girls that the cooks were trying to poison them.

Then all of a sudden, I still haven’t figured out what happed, but this girl that was very difficult to like, developed an “attitude of gratitude”. She started showing love and appreciation to everyone. She developed this amazing ability to make people feel loved and important. She became a young women that everyone loved and adored. Instead of leaders complaining about her, they were telling me how wonderful she was.

Her last year at girls camp we got letters from other wards telling us how much they appreciated the influence she was on their young women. One leader who with terminal cancer, who’s husband didn’t want her to go to camp, said, that “meeting and being with my daughter was why she felt inspired to go to girls camp, against her husbands wishes.”. I marveled that a few years earlier they were ready to send her home. What a difference a little change in attitude can make.

On one occasion I had the opportunity to wake across the high school campus whit her. I wouldn’t have been caught dead with my parent in high school. But she didn’t seam to mind. I was truly amazed that every student we met called her by name and said hi. I would occasionally ask whom that person was and often she would say she didn’t know. I was surprised because she had just said hi back as thought they were one of her best friends. I said everyone but there was one who didn’t. He was clearly one of those misfits’ ratty cloths, head down the kind of person everyone avoids. I was surprised when she said hi to him. He simply grunted in a response.

I realized that she was very popular. Not because she was a cheerleader or student body president. I was because she was kind, loving and accepting to everyone and she was well liked in return. It’s not that she didn’t have problems and challenges like everyone else. But her “attitude of gratitude” made life better for here and everyone around her.

President Faust Said
I desire to discuss gratitude as an expression of faith and as a saving principle. The Lord has said, “And in nothing doth man offend God, or against none is his wrath kindled, save those who confess not his hand in all things, and obey not his commandments” (D&C 59:21). It is clear to me from this scripture that to “thank the Lord thy God in all things” (D&C 59:7) is more than a social courtesy; it is a binding commandment.

In the book of Helaman we read of the distraction of the Nephite nation shortly before the coming of Christ.

11 Now this great loss of the Nephites, and the great slaughter which was among them, would not have happened had it not been for their wickedness and their abomination which was among them; yea, and it was among those also who professed to belong to the church of God.
12 And it was because of the pride of their hearts, because of their exceeding riches, yea, it was because of their oppression to the poor, withholding their food from the hungry, withholding their clothing from the naked, and smiting their humble brethren upon the cheek, making a mock of that which was sacred, denying the spirit of prophecy and of revelation, murdering, plundering, lying, stealing, committing adultery, rising up in great contentions, and deserting away into the land of Nephi, among the Lamanites—

(Book of Mormon Helaman 4:11 - 12)

It appears that they lost their “attitude of gratitude”. I deeply fear that we are going down the same path and will see similar destructions. Our economy is fragile and it won’t take much to bring it down.

I’m grateful for this gospel and the principles that it teaches. I promise that if you will live by these principles you will have a much happier life and will receive greater blessings in this life and in the life to come. If you have an attitude of gratitude you will be happier and those around you will certainly be happier.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Finding Truth

Truth, the glue of all existence.

In studying the scriptures it is important to look for symbolisms in them. The scriptures are full of symbols. Much in the same way Christ spoke in parables the scriptures speak is symbolism. Why do they? It is probably, for the same reason that Christ spoke in parables. So the unseeking would not understand.

11 And he said unto them, Unto you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God: but unto them that are without, all these things are done in parables:
12 That seeing they may see, and not perceive; and hearing they may hear, and not understand; lest at any time they should be converted, and their sins should be forgiven them.

(New Testament Mark 4:11 - 12)

Those who would not seek and understand on their own are to be held in chains of darkness. The greater light is not given to the wicked they would not accept it or would use it in time for wicked purposes. There is also the possibility that they may repent and have place in the kingdom of heaven and latter return to their wickedness.

An important thing to realize is that most of the principles of the gospel are eternal. The course of God is one eternal round. The principles that govern this universe are eternal. It is these same principles that govern or should govern our existence on earth. By these laws we are either justified or condemned. The laws are universal and govern all. Joseph Smith taught.

Every principle proceeding from God is eternal, and any principle which is not eternal is of the devil. The sun has no beginning or end; the rays which proceed from himself have no bounds, consequently are eternal. . . .

. . . The first step in the salvation of men is the laws of eternal and self-existent principles. (Joseph Smith, The Words of Joseph Smith, p. 60; standardized)

(Joseph Smith, Encyclopedia of Joseph Smith's Teachings, edited by Larry E. Dahl and Donald Q.Cannon [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1997], .)

We progress no faster than we come to understand and live the laws as set forth by God. Eternal principles are not learned or lived in a day. We progress as we lean and live the principles of truth and light. There are many principles that we cannot learn except by experience. In Adams fall he become as the Gods knowing good from evil.

As far as we degenerate from God, we descend to the devil and lose knowledge, and without knowledge we cannot be saved. . . .

. . . A man is saved no faster than he gets knowledge, for if he does not get knowledge, he will be brought into captivity by some evil power in the other world, as evil spirits will have more knowledge, and consequently more power than many men who are on the earth. Hence it needs revelation to assist us, and give us knowledge of the things of God. (Joseph Smith, History of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 7 Vols. 4:588)

This quote by Joseph Smith makes it clear that knowledge is key to gaining eternal salvation. It is by that knowledge that we a kept free of deception. In the preexistence the war in heaven was over truth. One third of the hose of heaven was lead astray by the lies of satin. This battle continues on earth.

It is our objective and duty to gain light and truth while here on earth. It is by gaining light and truth that we progress. If we put no effort into gaining greater light and truth then we cannot progress and in fact will retrogress. The world is full of lies and deceptions. If we are not seeking true light and truth then we will be deceived by the deceptions of the world. We need to consider and accept that we have a very limited knowledge of truth. It is our opportunity to find and live by light and truth while we are here on earth; if we do not then we are condemned.

It is and seems to have ever been that man finds some principle of truth, or some principle that he believes to be true and never considers more truth. He spends his energies trying to convince himself and others that his beliefs are the absolute truth. Never humbling himself to seek truth beyond his present state of knowledge.

There are a great many wise men and women too in our midst who are too wise to be taught; therefore they must die in their ignorance, and in the resurrection they will find their mistake. Many seal up the door of heaven by saying, So far God may reveal and I will believe. (Joseph Smith, History of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 7 Vols. 5:424)

There are even more who are content to let others be their source of truth. Trusting that they know more than them and never seeking truth and light in and of themselves. Thus the blind often lead the blind. And the blind are happy to follow.

Is being blindly led in the wrong direction only a problem for us? A third of the host of heaven followed after Satin. Clearly they had agency and clearly could follow him or Christ.

…and also a third part of the hosts of heaven turned he away from me because of their agency;

(Doctrine and Covenants Section 29:36)

Yet there is in each of us the natural tendency to resist truth. To shun it as though it was a plague. Perhaps that is why truth seldom comes unless we seek it or are humble enough to not resist it. So often we are envious of those who have obtained a higher level of truth than us.

11 For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God.

(New Testament 1 Corinthians 2:11)
My wife loves me this I know
Becuase she always tells me so.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

$100 dollars in my pocket

I have $100 in my pocket. It’s mine, but it is not for me. It’s for, well I don’t know yet. I suppose it all started when I was a kid. My dad was always helping people out especially the less fortunate. One of my fondest memories was helping him get wood for a widow on Christmas day. Turned out to be my best and last Christmas with him, as he died before the next Christmas. For full story see “Wood for Widows” New Era, December 2005, 36.

After my father died one of the men in our neighborhood took in a large family in addition to his large family. He didn’t have enough for his own family let alone taking on this additional family. He asked me if I could plow his field so he could grow corn and beans. I was glad for the opportunity to help him out. He wasn’t home when I finished plowing the field but he sent his son out with $20 to pay me. I didn’t want to take the money but was afraid the son wouldn’t give it back to his father. So I took it with the plan to give it back to him the next time is saw him. For a young teenager twenty dollars is hard to keep on your pocket. It was one of the hardest twenties that I have ever had to keep. In fact I couldn’t. I spent it a couple of times but managed to somehow to re-earn the money. I gave him back the $20, he tried to resist but it told him “I had no use for it”. I lied, it was all the money I had and I didn’t know when I would be able to earn more money. But he needed it more than I did.

There was the time when the bag lady (that what the kids in the neighborhood called her) was pushing her grocery cart of aluminum cans down the street. I was driving by when my daughter said, “dad give her some money”. It was around Christmas and I wanted to set a good example for my daughter. So I turned the car around, parked and got out. When I walked up too her she acted scared. She pulled her cart close to her as if she thought I was going to still her cart of cans. I handed her a $20 and said Merry Christmas. She still was still unsure of me, and what I wanted. Slowly she unfolded the bill. When she saw it was a $20 she “gasped”. Tears came to her eyes as she said “thank you”. I thought how odd, its only $20. Then I realized that to me it was less than an hour at work. To her it was several days of collecting cans.

Then there was the lady at the hotel trying to get a room. She didn’t have a credit card and didn’t have cash. I simply handed the clerk my credit card and told the clerk to bill it to me. The lady started to resist but I told her it was OK. She broke down crying and through the tears said they had been traveling all day to bring her grandson for surgery the next day. She had been to several hotels and couldn’t get rooms. They had been trying to rent a room by having a family member call in their credit card but the hotels wouldn’t let them do that.

I don’t know the first time I put the 100 dollars in my wallet. I showed it to a group of scouts once. One asked why I carried $100 in my wallet. I said, “someday someone will need it and it will be theirs”. And that is the way it has been for years. There was the widow who has been forced out of her home, the lady who was divorcing her husband for abusing her kids, the single mother so she could have Christmas for her kids, the guy who has spent time being homeless and was trying to get back on his feet, the single mother who wanted to take her girls on vacation but didn’t have the money, the lady who’s house burned down and she need clothes for her and her grandkids, the list goes on. I don’t know how many times I have given it away. But within a few weeks it has always came back. We are not rich and the family finances couldn’t handle hundreds of dollars going out. But every time I gave it away, extra money come in to replace it.

I don’t know when the $100 I now have will be need by someone, but god does. When the time is right, I will know, and it will be gone. But it will come back, it always does.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Saying Good Morning

At one of the jobs i had everyone seamed very nice, except one person. She would swear like a sailor, even in front of guest. She was always in a bad mood and didn’t want to do anything for anyone, except her boss. Everyone except her was getting paid too much and didn’t deserve anything extra. I thought to my self, I have to watch what I say or do around her. If I needed something from her, I would simply find another way to get it done.

But despite this, I was nice to her. Each morning as I would walk by her desk I would pleasantly say “good morning”. At first there was a grumble, latter the grumble turned into a sarcastic good morning back, gradually the return good mornings became sincere. I was shocked one day, when returning from a trip she offered to do my expense report for me. She was even pleasant about it. I admit I was some worried about why she was being nice to me.

After a year of working there. I discovered that she is not only being nicer to me but to everyone else. It has probably been months since I herd her swear. I’m not saying that my niceness changed her life and attitude. But I hope it has made a difference. We never know how the little things we do will affect others.

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Omega Thoughts

One of the operators at a gas-fired power plant was talking to me today. He said people are like a gas turbine; you have high frequency people and your low frequency people. These people like bad vibration in the turbine, cause lots of problems. If you don’t get them under control it can destroy the turbine. When these frequencies aren’t present, everything runs smooth and we can generate lots of power. This generated power is sent to the homes of thousands of people giving them the power they need to make their life better.

What kind of power a church or other group could create if they all worked together in love and harmony. They could do amazing things. What about our country, we have more wealth than any other country. If we were united we could do so much good. But there is too much politics; our elected officials are too busy battling each other, hoping that putting the other person down will gain them votes.

What about our homes, can’t we at least get along? How many kids and spouses have to go to bed with broken heats. What if we could turn hateful words into words of love and praise?

I remember one as a kid driving with my aunt and cousin. We were listing to a music tape and my cousin ejected it from the tape player. The tape got caught on the on the player door and he was about to break the tape to get it out. I said, “wait” I could see that the tape was just stuck on the player door. I pushed the door back open and saved the tape. As a kid, I was excited that I had saved one of their favorite tapes. My excitement was shattered when my ant turned to my cousin and said, “How many tapes have you ruined”. I couldn’t believe it; she took it as an opportunity to criticize her son. I had done something good and he had done nothing wrong.

Being kind and loving is not difficult. We all want to be loved and accepted. But we just don’t seam to understand, what goes around comes around. Give love and acceptance and you will get it in return. It may take time, but it will come back. I tried to apply this principle in raising my kids and it worked. In my home I seldom, if ever, hear mean or unkind things said by anyone in my family. The amazing thing is that it goes beyond your home. You will soon take it to work and your kids will take it to school.