Personal Online Journal

Thursday, December 20, 2007

The Value of Self-Esteem

I was delighted to hear "The Value of Self-Esteem" by James E Faust. He gave it at the May 6 2007 CES Fireside for Young Adults. It is one of the last addresses he gave. It is an example one of the pleasures I have by having a long commute. I have so much available to me because of my connection to the Internet, my MP3 player and the free services provided by and

Unlike many other church MP3 publications, this one was the complete broadcast including the songs and President Faust's introduction. It was like I was at the broadcast.

Pres. Faust related 6 keys for a healthy self esteem. As he spoke, two people came to my mind, my dad and my wife. They both have these qualities and more importantly work to develop them.

1. Keep Your Agency
2. Humility
3. Honesty
4. Love of Work
5. Ability to Love
6. Love of God

One story he tells about the love of work,
The most gifted athlete at our university excelled in every sport. He played football and ran the hurdles—in fact, he held the conference record in the low hurdles. Our coach, Ike Armstrong, required that the sprinters run once a week with the quarter-milers for 300 yards to increase the stamina of the sprinters and increase the speed of the quarter-milers. My friend—this great athlete—would lead all of the runners for about 275 yards, but as soon as the first quarter-miler passed him, he would quit and wouldn’t even finish. His natural talent and ability was such that he never had to extend himself to excel. He married, but the marriage failed. He went on into professional football and was something of a star until he got into the drug scene and died from the debilitating effects of drugs and alcohol. Others with much less talent have achieved far more.

I love the humor he uses. It can be lost in the reading but I found it as I listened to it. There are so many other great stories he tells to illustrate each of these keys. This is one I will keep and listen to another time.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Countering Korihor’s Philosophy

This morning Laura Ingraham broadcast a "best of" episode. She had on an atheist. An evangelical preacher who had "rejected" his faith. It reminded me of Korihor the Anti-Christ. For those not familiar with the story, read Alma 30:6-60.

I also found an article from the July 1992 Ensign, "Countering Korihor’s Philosophy". It relates the teachings of Korihor to modern philosophies such as empiricism: knowledge is gathered primarily through the senses—through what one sees, touches, hears, smells, and tastes. It also shows the best ways to combat these false concepts.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Here are the prophets of God and they're disagreeing!

is a video from the news conference between the Saturday session of General Conference introducing Henry B Eyring as the new 2nd counselor in the First Presidency of the church.

Carrie Moore of the Deseret Morning News asked, "How [do] you see your particular professional background helping you in your calling?"

President Eyring answered:

The way to look at Harvard and its effect, at least personally, is with this story:

When I first came as the president of Ricks college, I attended my first meeting that I'd ever been in watching the General Authorities of the church, the First Presidency and others, running a meeting. I had been studying for the ten years I was a professor at Standford how you make decisions in meetings,in groups so I got a chance, here's my chance to see the way the Lord's servants do it (of which I now am one).

I looked at it with my Harvard, Standford eyes and I thought. This is the strangest conversation I've - I mean. Here are the prophets of God and they're disagreeing in an openness that I had never seen in business. In business you're careful when you're with the bosses, you know.

Here they were just - and I watched this process of them disagreeing and I thought Good Heavens, I thought revelation would come to them all and they'd all see things the same way, in some sort of, you know. It was more open than anything I had ever seen in all the groups I had ever studied in business. I was just dumbfounded.

But then after a while the conversation cycled around. And they began to agree and I saw the most incredible thing. Here are these very strong, very bright people all with different opinions. Suddenly the opinions began to just line up and I thought. I've seen a miracle, I've seen unity come out of this wonderful open kind of exchange that I'd never seen in all my studies of government or business or anywhere else. And so I thought, oh, what a miracle!

It was President Harold B. Lee who was chairing the meeting. It was a board of education meeting. I thought, now he's going to announce the decision, because I've seen this miracle, and he said, "Wait a minute, I think we'll bring this matter up again some other time. I sense there is someone in the room who is not yet settled." And they went on the the next item. And I thought: that is strange. And then I watched somebody, one of the bretheren I think one of the twelve, walk past the President Lee and say, "Thank you, there's something I didn't have a chance to say"

So I want you to know. The main thing you do about Harvard and Standford. Though I love - I hope this doesn't offend my wonderful friends. Forget it. We're in another kind of thing here. This is what it claims to be. This is the true Church of Jesus Christ. Revelation is real, even in what you call the business kinds of settings.

A great man whom I love and will always love, President Harold B. Lee, taught me a great lesson that says. Now, we can be open. We can be direct. We can talk about differences in a way that you can't anywhere else because we're all just looking for the truth. We're not trying to win. We're not trying to make our argument dominate. We just want to find what's right.

And then a man sensitive enough to sense without anybody saying anything, that somebody in the room was not settled. -laughs- and uh. Again, there's a kind of process of openness and yet coming together and having confidence that you know what the Lord wants, not what we want that is uh...

I loved Harvard. I loved Stanford. I had a great time there. My wife is -We spent the first ten years of our married life - I was a professor at Standford. Thought I'd stay there forever; I had tenure. How happy we were. Then went Rexburg, Idaho from there.

And then came down here and found out that there was a kind of making decisions and working together in groups that I had never seen anywhere else in the world except here.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Remember, To Do

I had a dream last night. My children had a Wednesday night activity. A game/performance involving all four of the older children, very busy. We were on the street I grew up on. New people in the houses. Stephanie was at another activity at the same time. My dad was there.

An older lady with stage makeup, from eastern Europe asks her husband if she could go out with our family to celebrate the successful performance/game our kids had. He said no. She said something like 'rare opportunity' meaning that it was not everyday she could have such a fun, satisfying time with these children. They ended up in the front lawn, both heavy with stage make up saying 'rare opportunity' and 'NO, *I* am the husband', back and forth.

Then I noticed the husband was holding a wooden fist by its handle. He used it as an actor on his wife's cheek. She was not physically hurt. It was clear that she was familiar with its use. She also held a wooden fist in her hand.

Next door there was an older couple. A grumpy lady did not want to help us.

Two men discussing how to repair the stains on an old white easy chair.

Lupus (my childhood dog) was there. Happy. Got wet. Asked someone if they could spare a towel to dry him off before he got in the car.

I became aware that I needed to gather my children. I went in several directions. After a couple of minutes, I accounted for everyone.

Then more chaos broke out. Something happened to trigger all the pent up anger the people had. Axes came out and split wood. Yelling was everywhere. It was as if a hurricane came through and allowed the space for everyone to release their spite and venom.

Policemen showed up. I kept busy keeping my children in one place. Protecting them from the destruction I saw happening before my eyes. The police had noticed me and at least one had assigned himself to help me. My children were kept safe through the storm of words and anger.

At this point I was awakened, still very early in the morning by one of mine who needed help. Many times I wake up grumpy to something like this. This morning, I was calm. My child had gone to bed very upset with themselves. My child had misbehaved and had been sent to bed. I kindly set about to do what needed doing. I am pleased with myself. Now to be prepared to continue this practice.

What does this dream mean? Many times I find myself running to catch up. Come home, sometimes to an atmosphere in chaos. Kids need love and fun to help them through their stress their responsibilities. Is it better to plow through with a sour face or choose cheerfulness? Don't take myself so seriously. Laugh, choose cheerfulness and roll up my sleeves.

Prepare my family for the storms that will come. The storms will come both literally (maybe) and emotionally (surely) in our lives. Perhaps the storm is already here, "The peril comes from the forces of wickedness. Those forces are increasing" (Henry B. Eyring). What will we do when the storm intensifies? Will we take the opportunity to release our anger? Or will there be calm. Preparedness in soul, mind and body. Faith instead of fear.

Be happy, work hard, and have joy.

Remember, to do.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

"Integrity of Heart"

I listened to Russell M. Nelson yesterday and this morning. It reminded me of my post yesterday. He suggested some questions you can use to prompt introspection.
What do you do when you make a mistake? (If you don't make mistakes, you must have died long ago.) Do you admit your error and apologize? Or do you deny it? Or do you blame others?
Like the experienced fisherman we must promptly repair our nets of integrity or the "sequential stress" will cause more and more tears. "If you tolerate a little sin today, you tolerate a little more tomorrow, and before long, a cord of integrity is broken."
Now please don't be discouraged or depressed by your shortcomings. No one is without weakness. That's part of the divine plan--to determine if you will master that weakness or let that weakness master you. Proper diagnosis is essential to proper treatment. The Lord gave us this remarkable assurance: "Because thou hast seen thy weakness, thou shalt be made strong" (D&C 135:5). But wishing for strength won't make it so. It takes faith and work to shore up a weakened cord of integrity.
He quoted Orson Pratt, "when the Lord saw the integrity of my heart and the anxiety of my mind--when He saw that I was willing to travel hundreds of miles for the sake of learning the principles of the truth, He gave me a testimony for myself". The Lord blesses me based on the manifestations of my faith. By what I do. It proves to Him that He can trust me with what He blesses me with. What am I willing to do to get the blessings the Lord is waiting to give me?

What are the blessings of integrity? "Integrity safeguards family love, and love makes family life rich and zestful--now and forever".

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

“Stubbornness is as … idolatry”

Last night I was stubborn with my wife. I held on to my hostile feelings. Unyielding, willful and stony heart are some of the phrases that came to my mind this morning as I considered my behavior last night.

This quote from an Old Testament Gospel Doctrine Teacher’s Manual opened my eyes to what I was choosing with my behavior,
When reprimanding Saul for being stubborn and rejecting the word of the Lord, Samuel told him, “Stubbornness is as … idolatry” (1 Samuel 15:23). How is stubbornness like idolatry? What was the result of Saul’s becoming stubborn and rebellious? (See 1 Samuel 15:23, 26, 28.) How are we sometimes stubborn and rebellious? What are the results of our being stubborn and rebellious? How can we recognize and overcome these attitudes?
How can I overcome this attitude I take sometimes? Immediately the phrase “[yield] to the enticings of the Holy Spirit” Mosiah 3:19 came to my mind. Then can this promise come into my life.

"A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh." Ezekiel 36:26

My nature will be changed. I will let go of my stubbornness and enjoy the relief the Lord offers me.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Let your soul delight in fatness

"For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also." Matthew 6:21

This is the scripture of the month for our stake in August. It dovetails well with last months,

"If ye love me, keep my commandments." John 14:15

I am happiest when I am focused on doing the right thing. Sometimes that may be work, exercise, rest, play, connecting, etc. Lehoniti was "fixed in [his mind] with a determined resolution" to do the right thing. Yet he allowed himself to be diverted. Life is much easier as I do the right thing at the appropriate time. Alma 47:6

"50 Come, my brethren, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters; and he that hath no money, come buy and eat; yea, come buy wine and milk without money and without price.
51 Wherefore, do not spend money for that which is of no worth, nor your labor for that which cannot satisfy. Hearken diligently unto me, and remember the words which I have spoken; and come unto the Holy One of Israel, and feast upon that which perisheth not, neither can be corrupted, and let your soul delight in fatness." 2 Nephi 9:50-51

I feel complete as I point my labor in that which satisfies.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Ward boundaries in Google Maps

A while back our bishop asked me to become familiar with our ward boundaries as well as the others in the stake. I started using Google Earth to create them from the text descriptions he gave.

I uploaded the file defining our ward boundary to my googlepages account. It is free if you have a gmail account. I then referred to the url of the file in Google Maps. Here it is.

It was a lot of fun and makes it easy to see what our boundaries are.

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Volunteer myself

Yesterday, I felt to reach out more. When I suggested it to my wife she was hesitant. That was because what I was suggesting required much more from her than from me.

Before I suggest something to her, perhaps these would be good questions to ask myself, "Will what I am suggesting require something significant from her? Is what I am considering to do important or merely good? What is the most important thing I should do now?"

Saturday, February 24, 2007

This was what He most wanted

More from Truman G. Madsen's talk "The Savior, the Sacrament, and Self-Worth". He told a story from his journal,
It was in Amman, Jordan some years ago. We had just come from a parched visit to Egypt where even the native Bedouin can survive, at most, three hours without water. We had said to some of our friends, "This should remind you of the two words spoken from the cross, the only self-regarding words which are a sure sign of the loss of blood. Jesus said: 'I thirst'" (John 19:28).

That night I had a dream. I was beaten down to my hands and knees and was conscious of a burning thirst. In the illogic of dreams there was somehow a small cup filled with liquid—an unearthly liquid. It was radiant. It was delicious. It was cool. But as I lifted it to my lips it was as if two hands were placed behind me, not touching, but close to my head, and from them came a kind of throb, a comfort, a warm feeling, and then the miracle. As I drank in relief, the cup filled again and again. The more I sought to quench my thirst, the more it flowed. A wave of gratitude came over me to the Christ—for in the dream it was Christ. My impulse was to turn around, stop drinking, and thank him. But then came the sweet assurance that my drinking was His thanks—that this was what He most wanted—that this was His reward, even his glory, like a gracious hostess, who takes delight in seeing her family and guests eat heartily. I knew and I knew He knew, so I drank and drank until I was full. Only then was He gone.
Here is the link.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

"It's my fault"

I was reading Joel Spolsky today and it reminded me of our lesson yesterday in Elder's quorum meeting.

One morning I needed an extra set of keys to my apartment, so on the way to
work, I went to the locksmith around the corner.

13 years living in an apartment in New York City has taught me never to trust a locksmith; half of the time their copies don’t work. So I went home to test the new keys, and, lo and behold, one didn’t work.

I took it back to the locksmith.

He made it again.

I went back home and tested the new copy.

It still didn’t work. Now I was fuming. Squiggly lines were coming up out of my head. I was a half hour late to work and had to go to the locksmith for a third time. I was tempted just to give up on him. But I decided to give this loser one more chance.

I stomped into the store, ready to unleash my fury.

“It still doesn’t work?” he asked. “Let me see.”

He looked at it.

I was sputtering, trying to figure out how best to express my rage at being forced to spend the morning going back and forth.

“Ah. It’s my fault,” he said.

And suddenly, I wasn’t mad at all.

Mysteriously, the words “it’s my fault” completely defused me. That was all it took.

He made the key a third time. I wasn’t mad any more. The key worked.

And, here I was, on this planet for forty years, and I couldn’t believe how much the three words “it’s my fault” had completely changed my emotions in a matter of seconds.

Most locksmiths in New York are not the kinds of guys to admit that they’re wrong. Saying “it’s my fault” was completely out of character. But he did it anyway.

Our lesson was from "The Miracle of Forgiveness" (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Spencer W. Kimball). In this chapter, there is a scripture that is quoted twice, “By this ye may know if a man repenteth of his sins—behold, he will confess them and forsake them.” (D&C 58:43.)

Last week, I had an argument with someone I care about. After it, I still held strong feeling about a particular part. A couple of days ago, I talked to this person and shared how I felt. I noticed that the strong feelings I had left as soon as I shared them. I no longer was holding a grudge. By sharing how I felt and not accusing, our conversation was mild. After I confessed holding a grudge, it left.


Sunday, February 18, 2007

Hope of the Miracle of Forgiveness

Our lesson yesterday in Elder's quorum was from Spencer W. Kimball, "The Miracle of Forgiveness"

[President Kimball] told of an experience he had in helping a woman who came to him feeling despondent about the sin she had committed. She said: “I know what I have done. I have read the scriptures, and I know the consequences. I know that I am damned and can never be forgiven, and therefore why should I try now to repent?”

President Kimball responded: “My dear sister, you do not know the scriptures. You do not know the power of God nor his goodness. You can be forgiven for this heinous sin, but it will take much sincere repentance to accomplish it.”

He then quoted to her several scriptures regarding the forgiveness that comes to those who sincerely repent and obey God’s commandments. Continuing to instruct her, he saw hope awaken in her until finally she exclaimed: “Thank you, thank you! I believe you. I shall really repent and wash my filthy garments in the blood of the Lamb and obtain that forgiveness.”

President Kimball recalled that the woman eventually returned to his office “a new person—bright of eye, light of step, full of hope as she declared to me that, since that memorable day when hope had seen a star and had clung to it, she had never reverted to [the sin] nor any approaches to it.”

This reminded me of a talk I recently listened to from Truman G. Madsen, "The Savior, the Sacrament, and Self-Worth". A couple of things stood out to me,

"We often consider ourselves more or less worthless and in some moods, even beyond help, and we approach the sacrament hesitantly and superficially. But worse still. We do not trust the good news. We do not trust the glad tidings. We do not trust the second opinion of the only Physician who will ever finally judge. This is the Christ. This is He who pleads with us to come boldly to the throne of Grace." (emphasis added, See also Heb. 4: 16)

Also this, "Being born again comes by the Spirit of God through ordinances." (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith p. 162). Truman Madsen continues, "It means, as I understand it, that the fullest flow of the Spirit of God comes to us through His appointed channels or ordinances. The sacrament is the central and oft-repeated ordinance that transmits that power to us. Indeed, it is the ordinance that gives focus to all other ordinances."

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Determined to accomplish a very important task

From "Have No Regrets" Richard G. Scott. CES Fireside, September 1999.
Have you noticed that when you have determined to accomplish a very important task, many other good ideas for other things to do seem to come to your mind? If they are allowed to interfere, they will distract you from the more important objective. I have found help by writing down those thoughts as they come, promising myself that as soon as I finish the important task, I will attend to them in priority. That practice helps me stay focused on those matters which are essential.

I believe there are times in your life when, because of your righteousness and your determination to do what is right, Satan will not be able to deflect you into serious transgression. He will switch then to the strategy of placing before you a banquet of good and worthwhile things to do, meant to distract you from those that are the most important and essential to accomplish in your life.

Fortunately, as you pray for guidance, the Holy Ghost will help you identify those matters that are vital and necessary to accomplish above others. That means that at times you may have to set aside things that would be worthwhile and enjoyable to pursue--for those that are most vitally important for that period of your life.
Keywords: distracted, distraction