Tuesday, January 29, 2013


in our primary lesson this week, we talked about how road signs and commandments are alike - they both keep us safe; they both guide us to our destination and they both can be reassuring - knowing that we can follow them.

later in the lesson, we discussed how obeying the commandments makes us happy, while disobeying the commandments will make us sad.

in trying to drive this last point, i told a famous family story - one that makes my kids laugh every time they hear the words, "when i was in 4th grade."

i realized i haven't shared this story on the blog yet, so i figured i'd share it today.

when i was in 4th grade, the school parking lot was made of gravel.  it wasn't as big as it is today.  in fact, the parking lot was only as big as the blue shaded box.

well, one day at recess, i was playing on the outside basketball court and i saw this rock from the parking lot.  i picked it up and decided to throw it back into the parking lot.

when i threw it, i bounced off the concrete basketball court and straight into mrs. betts' car head-light (about where the white box is).  my heart sank.

i quickly left the crime scene hoping no one saw it.  but at least one kid saw it and told the teacher on duty.

all this happened on a friday - the day my dad (who was also a teacher in the same school district) picked up his pay check.

when he got home from work that day, he came into my room and began asking me what i did at recess.  i told him everything ... except the part where i threw a rock into mrs. betts' head-light.  well, after all that hiding the truth, i figured he already knew what happened and so i ended up telling the whole truth ... i was in sobs of tears at this point.

my dad then told me i had to earn the money to pay for the repairs ... i spent a lot of the weekend and the following week out in the weed-field next to our house - picking up trash.

on monday, when i went back to school, i had to screw up the courage to tell mrs. betts.  now, mrs. betts was the meanest teacher in the school.  we called her mrs. butts because she smoked and would constantly cough.  when i told her what i did and that i was sorry, she accepted my apology.

it's difficult to tell the whole truth sometimes.  but by hiding the truth and then later telling the whole truth, well, that's even more difficult.  so in the long run, it's best to tell the whole truth.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Don't think divorce; don't speak divorce; don't divorce

I can't help but speak up about the topic of divorce.  It is a nasty topic and I feel the need to rinse my mouth to even speak the word.  But it is important to recognize the devastating effects of it in our culture today - so as to teach our children and those around us - so that we can save some soul from its heart-wrenching consequences.


First, I want to make a few things known.  I'm a Generation X-er ... we were the kids who suffered from our parents divorcing at astounding rates in the 1970s and 80s (think Kramer vs. Kramer).  And speaking of that movie ... I remember, as a kid, seeing parts of this movie and was absolutly horrified of it.

My parents did not divorce - they are married today and I praise them for being committed to each other.

One of my good friend's parents divorced when I was in 4th grade.  That experience even devastated me.

One of my relative's parents got a divorce when he was about 21 or so.

One of my good college friends was married for just a short period before he and his ex-wife divorced.

After my wife and I graduated from BYU and started our own family and career, we saw two families in our ward divorce - with small kids.  I still remember the first Sunday after the one couple separated.  The dad was sitting with the kids in the audience and the mom was leading the music.  Their little boy just cried for his mom every time she stood up.  It was heart-crushing to listen to that little plea from that boy.

And then, just last week, I hear another story from my wife about this woman she knows.  In the course of their conversation, this woman just flippantly said that she was considering divorce - apparently for no real good reason other than to just leave him!  My wife telling me this story is what has prompted me to write something about this topic.

But I ultimately decided not to ... until I came across another disturbing bit of information.

Sesame Street and Divorce

the positive spin: two houses
First off, take the time to read this article about how Sesame Street has handled the topic of divorce: "D Is for Divorce: Sesame Street Tackles Another Touchy Topic"  They first tried it back in 1992 - but that attempt failed miserably.

But now they've found a way to put a positive spin on the new topic.  Now kids can see the positive side of divorce as they watch the segment, but then get to try to figure out why it's not so positive when they actually have to live through it.

For what it's worth, Sesame Street did not air the divorce segment on TV; rather it is a segment that was produced only for their website.

What You Can Do

What can you do about divorce?  Stand up and tell people not to get a divorce if they are considering it - especially if they have kids.  This is what my wife did with her friend - she tried very enthusiastically to advise against divorce.  And this is the right thing to do when there is no serious and perpetual abuse.

Talk to your kids about it - tell them that divorce is not ok.  Tell them that marriage is serious and should be taken serioiusly.  It is not something to do and when the going gets rough it's time to bail.  No; it should take work and commitment.  It is precious and worth keeping.  It takes both the husband and wife to commit and step up.

The statistics are out there for those who want to know and to look.  You give your kids the best shot in life by being commited to your marriage.  But when you divorce, you wreck lives.

Don't think divorce.  Don't speak divorce.  Don't divorce.

Additional Reading

The Family Proclamation
Divorce by Dallin H. Oaks

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

Simplify Your 2013 Resolutions

So we all are working on accomplishing our goals and new year's resolutions.  Some may still be contemplating what it is they want to resolve to do this year.  As you think about your resolutions this year, I have one simple suggestion: repentance.

The Church's definition of repentance is, "A change of mind and heart that brings a fresh attitude toward God, oneself, and life in general. Repentance implies that a person turns away from evil and turns his heart and will to God, submitting to God’s commandments and desires and forsaking sin. True repentance comes from a love for God and a sincere desire to obey his commandments. All accountable persons have sinned and must repent in order to progress toward salvation. Only through the atonement of Jesus Christ can our repentance become effective and accepted by God."

Do you fully grasp what repentance means?  At its core, it is a change of heart and mind.  If our hearts and minds are truly changed and they are centered on Christ, then all other resolutions will fall into place.

Our lust of carnal things will fade.
Our poor eating habits will begin to change.
Our desire for fame, money, status and all material possessions diminishes greatly.
Our lazy habits will be replaced with service to others.
Our tempers seize to flare.
Our constant comparing to others takes a back seat to comparing ourselves to Christ.
Our pride turns to humility.

I doubt you, I or anyone can accomplish full repentance in 2013.  In my opinion, fully turning to Christ is a life-long work.  It takes focus, commitment, patience and endurance.  But you can commit to begin the process this year ... or even to begin anew the process this year.

To start, pray every morning and ask God who you can help today, then find someone to serve that day.

Read the scriptures; especially study the life of Jesus Christ.

Get in the habit of those two things and you will make great progress in your quest for true repentance.