Richard Alger

Personal Online Journal

Saturday, September 20, 2014

A Law of Increasing Returns

I just listened to "A Law of Increasing Returns" by Henry B. Eyring.  It is a fireside talk he gave March 28, 1982. I love to hear him talk.  I have been touched by so many of his talks.  He spoke about his father,
He just had a general bias toward putting in hard work up front and letting the rewards take a long time to come, even forever.

Even in the confusion of the last night I spent with him, he gave me some advice. I was helping him walk. I’m not even sure he knew I was there. But very clearly, almost with a booming voice, he said, “Well, let’s just do the homework tonight, and we’ll see how the exam goes in the morning.” He’s getting the grade now, and he spent a life doing as much homework as he could. Most of us could move profitably toward a little more homework and leave the grades for tomorrow.
 There are so many people I know that fit this.  That put in more than they take.  Not the least of them if my sweet wife.  She is so patient and persistent and loving and hard working.

Henry Eyring went on to share some hints on how to be better at working and waiting.
- Finding humor in the present
- Seeing the blessing of the present
- Keep my eye on the distant goal
- Remember the blessings that will come

"Come along, come along" is the call that will win

My wife reminded me last night that "Most men can be led, but few can be driv'n". (Hymn 244)  I should remember how wise she is especially when it comes to relationships.

It also reminded me of this story of Tyler Jarvis. 
When I went to graduate school many years ago, I was lucky enough to be admitted to a school with some famous faculty members. I had done pretty well in my undergraduate classes, and I thought I was pretty smart; so when it came time to choose classes and teachers, I chose some of the most famous teachers I could. 
One of them was especially impressive. He was a Fields medalist—the nearest thing in mathematics to a Nobel Prize winner. Other students spoke of him with awe, both because of his brilliance and because of his reputation for criticizing students. When I heard how he had berated a student for being both lazy and stupid, I determined that I would never give him cause to criticize me like that. I decided never to ask him for advice or help until I had exhausted every other means for solving a problem. The result was that he never criticized me, but I also never learned much from him. I spent three years in his classes and only spoke with him for a total of about forty-five minutes. 
Another of his students had no fear at all—he would go to this professor almost every day to ask questions. And he was criticized regularly, but he never seemed to care. I thought he was completely crazy, but he went back almost every day, got his questions answered, and learned a lot. 
It took me several years after graduation to realize that I had wasted the opportunity of a lifetime—this other student wasn’t so crazy after all. He got many hours of personal tutoring from one of the world’s greatest mathematical minds, and I got—well, I got through graduate school safely, without being criticized.
If I am to learn, I must be willing to ask questions and not give into the fear that I will be criticized. Maybe one of the most important things I can ask is, "How am I doing?" of my wife.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Not Getting What You Deserve

TOFW presenter Robert Millet shares his thoughts on grace, mercy, and their combined enabling power.

Hajj and Humility

As I think about taking Sam to the MTC, I was thinking about a documentary I watched recently about the pilgrimage Muslims make to Mecca. Muslims call it Hajj. It not only means the physical journey you take but your spiritual journey as well. You are not supposed to get angry while on Hajj. Hajj is about humility and meekness.

It seems like a good goal for the next week as we prepare for Sam to begin his mission.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Organic Growth

"Visible, influential Mormons aren't outliers or exceptions. They are fruit of the organic growth of their religion." (Stephen Mansfield. "The Mormonizing of America". Sep 6, 2012)
Organic growth is the only kind we need to have. We need to grow our faith like a seed. We need to grow it in our marriages and families; in our friends and our home teaching and visiting teaching families; in our love, respect and familiarity of our ancestors.

The calculus of our everyday lives comes as the dews fall from heaven.

Wednesday, September 03, 2014

Perfect Recipe for Addiction

Porn is the perfect recipe for addiction. Here is why.

Find out more.

How do we Preach with Great Power?

In chapter five of Helaman, we read that Nephi and Lehi "did preach with great power, insomuch that they did confound many of those dissenters who had gone over from the Nephites".

In my mind as a child, I had not thought of what that power looked like. How is such power exercised? D&C 121:36 says, "That the rights of the priesthood are inseparably connected with the powers of heaven, and that the powers of heaven cannot be controlled nor handled only upon the principles of righteousness."
It goes on to list the attributes of those with power from God and the qualities of those that do not have His power.

This gives me a possible picture of what kind of people Nephi and Lehi were. They were long-suffering and gentle and meek. They loved authentically and were kind and had a pure understanding of the gospel. Their interactions with others enlarged each other's souls.

This reminds me of the quote from Joseph.
Nothing is so much calculated to lead people to forsake sin as to take them by the hand, and watch over them with tenderness. When persons manifest the least kindness and love to me, O what power it has over my mind, while the opposite course has a tendency to harrow up all the harsh feelings and depress the human mind. (Joseph Smith, Nauvoo Relief Society Minute Book, p. 59, History of the Church, 5:23–24.)
It was the love of God and their fellow man that brought them so much power. Power to be able to influence the hearts of their friends and family to turn toward God.

Monday, September 01, 2014

Watch Over them with Tenderness

I have a friend who has a 16 year old son who is an atheist. Here is some of the things I thought of to help them.

I am not sure what Moroni did to "[prepare] the minds of the people to be faithful unto the Lord their God"
(Alma 47:7) As I consider it, I think of this quote from Joseph Smith,
Nothing is so much calculated to lead people to forsake sin as to take them by the hand, and watch over them with tenderness. When persons manifest the least kindness and love to me, O what power it has over my mind, while the opposite course has a tendency to harrow up all the harsh feelings and depress the human mind. (Joseph Smith, Nauvoo Relief Society Minute Book, p. 59, History of the Church, 5:23–24.)
Moroni said, "Charity never faileth". So we must all pray with all the energy of our hearts that we may be filled with this love. Pray for your son. Serve him. Ask the Lord, in what ways you might be able to touch his heart, or that others might be placed in his path so his heart might be touched. I like this modern casting of Charity never faileth, "Love Wins!"

I know the deepest and longest lasting effects in my life have come from when those close to me loved me, forgave me and served me.

And trust in the Lord. There is no need to despair when we have faith in the Lord's timeline. To me that may be one of the keys of "charity never faileth". The Lord is patient with us. He will reach out as often as we reach out to him. Your son will be blessed by your faithfulness, if you will pour out your soul to God for him.

I love the symbolism of this painting by Michelangelo. Adam is pretty casual in the way he reaches to God. God is stretching as far as he can to reach him.

Monday, August 18, 2014

The More Intimately You Know Someone

The truth is that the more intimately you know someone, the more clearly you’ll see their flaws. That’s just the way it is. This is why marriages fail, why children are abandoned, why friendships don’t last. You might think you love someone until you see the way they act when they’re out of money or under pressure or hungry, for goodness’ sake. Love is something different. Love is choosing to serve someone and be with someone in spite of their filthy heart. Love is patient and kind, love is deliberate. Love is hard. Love is pain and sacrifice, it’s seeing the darkness in another person and defying the impulse to jump ship. (The Great Kamryn)