Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Who's On First?

Who's on First

Abbot and Costello are always good for a laugh. My family and my blog are both overdue for comic relief, so I think this skit is in order.

I see that all the guest bloggers I invited so far have either skedaddled or not taken me at my word, or did not understand the proposed arrangement.

Let me explain...

No on second thought that could take too long -- let me summarize.

First, I invited a list of guest bloggers to participate on Snail Hollow Gazette. It isn't a mainstream blog, but no pipsqueak either. Commonly, more than 100 readers per day, some of them scanning more than 20 pages and spending a half hour or more. Not to mention bots and followers that SiteMeter can't really monitor. People from all over the globe. More than 5000 in the past six months alone, and the invited guest bloggers can have this audience, at no cost, until I, the benevolent dictator usurp absolute control. Call it an experiment in internet social dynamics.

Second, the nominated guest bloggers are nominated by me or by other guests. Guests can bring guests, I don't impose restrictions. You bring your own friends.

Third, the initial group is as follows: Alexander, Patricia, Ricky, Bill and Mary, Robert, and Johnna. These are all people I well know, but not necessarily known to each other. They can freely post new blog threads and interact as the blog owner normally would. I note that Johnna has already bugged out -- she apparently wanted no part of this dull scene. Maybe we can liven up the action and interest her and some of her friends. Johnna has a large circle of really interesting acquaintance, a few of them even odder than me, if you can imagine such a thing!

Fourth, discussion is based within the Snail Hollow Gazette framework and foundation, and must not depart therefrom, else I will terminate this arrangement immediately. There will be no negotiation or recourse. It remains my blog and mine alone.

Fifth, discussion foundations are based in gospel principles and encompass Life, the Universe, and Everything. Anyone finding that to be too narrow or confining can go start his own blog.

Sixth, I am going on comatose vacation and expect to be functionally brain dead for the next few months, and am trying to run a business, write a book, buy a car, build a house, dream a little dream, etc. So I am expecting to read great things from everyone, and may even drop a comment or two, but basically I will facilitate and moderate, and as little as possibles. Hopefully, you all already have learned correct principles of internet blogging and will govern yourselves accordingly.

If I capriciously think of any other rules, I'll invent them on the spur of the moment, like Calvinball. Guest bloggers are free to state and enforce arbitrary rules also.

That stated, who's on first?

Fleetwood Mac: Landslide

Nicks: "My Dad did have something to do with it, but he absolutely thinks that he was the whole complete reason it was ever written. I guess it was about September 1974, I was home at my Dad and Mom's house in Phoenix, and my father said, 'You know, you really put a lot of time into this [her singing career], maybe you should give this six more months, and if you want to go back to school, we'll pay for it. Basically you can do whatever you want and we'll pay for it - I have wonderful parents, and I went, 'cool, I can do that.' Lindsey and I went up to Aspen, and we went to somebody's incredible house, and they had a piano, and I had my guitar with me, and I went into their living room, looking out over the incredible Aspen skyway, and I wrote "Landslide." Three months later, Mick Fleetwood called. On New Year's Eve, 1974, called and asked us to join Fleetwood Mac. So it was three months, I still had three more months to go to beat my six month goal that my dad gave me." (thanks, Mike - Mountlake Terrace, Washington - USA, for above 2)

Nicks wrote this the night before her dad, who was the president of Greyhound Bus Lines, was operated on at the Mayo Clinic. (thanks, Todd - Atlanta, GA)

I took my love, I took it down
Climbed a mountain and I turned around
I saw my reflection in the snow covered hills
till the landslide brought me down

Oh, mirror in the sky
What is love
Can the child within my heart rise above
Can I sail thru the changing ocean tides
Can I handle the seasons of my life

Well, Ive been afraid of changing
cause Ive built my life around you
But time makes you bolder
Children get older
Im getting older too

Oh, take my love, take it down
Climb a mountain and turn around
If you see my reflection in the snow covered hills
Well the landslide will bring it down

If you see my reflection in the snow covered hills
Well maybe the landslide will bring it down

Sensory Inventory X

Today my great toe on the left foot is recovering sensation, gradually, for the first time since January!


I never expected to recover any feeling in my left foot after the neurosurgeon indicated that some nerves were sacrificed when the schwanoma was excised. Nerves just don't grow back -- do they? Now I'm not so sure.

This morning, I noticed feeling something strange. A pain I haven't felt in months. I know that feeling -- its a pain , in my toe. Wait -- ITS ON THE LEFT FOOT -- THE FOOT WITH NO FEELING!!!

I quickly grabbed a fork and tested the tactile sense.

Yup. Big toe is definitely rejoining the universe of members that are sensing things again.

Thanks be to God. I bow in gratitude to the powers of heaven.

All thanks be to God.

Fleetwood Mac: The Chain

The Chain

Listen to the wind blow
Watch the sun rise

Run in the shadows
Damn your love
Damn your lies

And if
You dont love me now
You will never love me again
I can still hear you saying
You would never break the chain.

Listen to the wind blow
Down comes the night

Run in the shadows
Damn your love
Damn your lies

Break the silence
Damn the dark
Damn the light

And if
You don't love me now
You will never love me again
I can still hear you saying
You would never break the chain.

Hymns: In humility. Our Savior


In humility, our Savior,
Grant thy Spirit here, we pray,
As we bless the bread and water
In thy name this holy day.
Let me not forget, O Savior,
Thou didst bleed and die for me
When thy heart was stilled and broken
On the cross at Calvary.

Fill our hearts with sweet forgiving;
Teach us tolerance and love.
Let our prayers find access to thee
In thy holy courts above.
Then, when we have proven worthy
Of thy sacrifice divine,
Lord, let us regain they presence;
Let thy glory round us shine.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Utah Places: Lower Logan Canyon

Lower Logan Canyon has attractions that have awed generations since man first began visiting this locale. Just a few miles from the temple and the Utah State campus,-the scenery starts, and just never ends. The highway ends up circling Bear Lake at the north end, and passes by so many magnificent natural and man-made attractions in the next few miles, it makes them difficult to enumerate in a single post, so I'll take two. Since I'm on a leisure vacation myself, I'll take some time.

Just above the mouth of the canyon, don't stop under the box elders unless you' re a behavioural anthropologist into studying deviant sexuality. Higher up there are pleasant riverside picnic areas and camping areas, though they are packed with people on the weekends and throughout the summer.

Above the lowest part of the canyon looms a massif worthy of exploration and climbing for an alpinists lifetime. Hiking trails lead up the steep sides of the canyon in every direction.

First notable stop is the wind caves trail above the mouth of the canyon about five miles. Weird wind carved rock and arches are featured in a short but popular hike.

Next, bear sharp to the left and watch for the Jardine Juniper trail. This is a spectacular find, an ancient specimen of Juniperous utahensis, Utah juniper, many thousands of years old.
The hike is hot and dry in summer heat, so remember to bring water. There's plenty when you get back, but take a bit for drinks along the way.

Along the highway further, there are several branches off to the right. These are worth exploring, especially with a 4wd vehicle. One notable site is Ol' Ephraim's Grave, a monument to a grizzly bear that frequented these hills and terrorized sheep camps for generations. His grave is near here and is memorialized as legedarey.

To the left, near the top of the grade is the left hand fork to Tony Grove. This road is a don't miss, come back again, just to see it is an attraction in itself. I won't spoil the fun trying to describe it, but here is a picture of the Tony Grove basin that waits at the end of the road.

Are you tantalized?

Syncope: falling on the floor

I have passed out dead to the world a dozen times within the past week. This has never happened before, and it frightens me.

The passing out episodes started last Sunday, when I sudenly blacked out while walking into the front room. I had about ten seconds of strange light headedness, more than usual migraine aura sensation (don't ask me to elaborate on that) and everything went black. It wasn't very progressive at all. Just suddenly, I was laying on my back on the floor, and about fifteen minutes had passed that I coudn't accout for.

Another episode yesterday when I was washing dishes. I bumped my head pretty hard. Do I need my helmet?

Today I blacked out on the treadmill at PT. I'm getting to be a public menace. Then another time in the car on the way home somewhere I guess.

Oh, well. Time passes pretty fast if you're zoned out.

Next instalment:  Reunion

Neil Young: Heart of Gold

"Heart Of Gold"

I want to live,
I want to give
I've been a miner
for a heart of gold.
It's these expressions
I never give
That keep me searching
for a heart of gold
And I'm getting old.
Keeps me searching
for a heart of gold
And I'm getting old.

I've been to Hollywood
I've been to Redwood
I crossed the ocean
for a heart of gold
I've been in my mind,
it's such a fine line
That keeps me searching
for a heart of gold
And I'm getting old.
Keeps me searching
for a heart of gold
And I'm getting old.

Keep me searching
for a heart of gold
You keep me searching
for a heart of gold
And I'm growing old.
I've been a miner
for a heart of gold.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Fire Department Awards: Deja Vu

Glory Theme - James Horner

The Indianola Volunteer Fire Department honored me Saturday with a surprise presentation and naming ceremony christening tender 18 "Big Jim". I was also awarded a wall plaque on the occasion by Chief Kent Higgins.

Members of the Sanpete County Station 18 Indianola Volunteer Fire Department attended the presentation and demonstrated operations of newly refitted "Big Jim" with the monitor, and some spectacular displays of water output capacity from tender 18 pumps.

One thing seems quite obvious to me, and I hope I speak as well for all who are volunteering efforts of thier time and talents at station 18. This award is a little recognition all our good efforts and teamwork. I certainly would have been lonely driving that big 'ol truck around by myself all the time, but fortunately, there was never any lack of willing partners and "good buddies. Tihough we sometimes make jokes about it, freindship and brrotherhood mean the world to me, fighting fire, or working in the station on yet another boring exercise. We had a chance to learn about a bit more than "put the wet on the red"

One of the the interesting and significant things about my involvement in the department is that it has been a family tradition for generations since Cobabes lived in this county to volunteer for service to the community. Fredreich Wilhelm Cobabe, a German immigrant and my great-great grandfather, was also a vounteer fireman in his day, and served in the Ogden City Volunteer Fire Department for many years, both as firefighter, and as the secretary of that organization, and as a member of the band the fire department manned and performed with for many years, primarily to raise funds for charity causes.

above: Five generations of firefighting in Utah, represented with Jim's grandchildren Katelynn and Christopher aboard the cabin of Tender 18 "Big Jim" as Graciella demonstrates the enineersn role , and Jim's son Jimmy handles the operators position.

above: Shirley Macintosh looks on as IVFD volnteer firefighter Robert Beale demonstrates operation of monitor gun on newly refurbished and rechristened tender 18 "Big Jim".

Sensory Inventory IV

I am experiencing all kinds of changes, so it is difficult to keep current with documenting.

Worst is less warning and greater urgency with urinary continence. I have had problems keeping my diapers dry. Since February, incontinent episodes have increased from a couple of small leaks once or twice a week to major accidents that not even super absorbent diapers can handle, every two or three days. I am going through the diapers at an expensive rate.

In the shower, my hands sense has regained full sensory awareness, so far as I can determine objectively. I can feel strands of hair now with all fingers except little guy right hand, and some areas numb still on the heel of the left. Otherwise, all okay.

Feet and legs continue unchanged. Some regained sense in right foot in the hospital stay, but nothing more since then. Abdomen still numb.

Facial area seems fully restored, as determed during showering and shaving, and during brushing of teeth. Still a lingering hatband lack of sensation.

Persistent nagging footdrop problems since February. Dr, Hyatt ordered cerebral MRI scan along with neurosurgury lumbar spine followup to find new dead brain areas causing the newer neuro deficits.

But nobody cares, I suppose. I didn't care enough to be mistreated at a hospital again at the time it developed. All they could have done is said, "Yep, another brain stem stroke. Isn't that odd!, we thought you woudn't have another one until at least a year. Oh, well. So much for medical prognosis."

I guess I'm off the list of most favored nation status or something, maybe for a long time. I'm not even going to argue. Oh well. I was hoping for a couple of more miracles.

I have also developed a high-speed faint that is very distressing, because other than coming from within aura status, there is no advance warning, I just start blacking out very suddenly, and it is chancy whether I can manage to grab something substantial on the way down or not. I've twice fallen and regained with really big bumps on my head even uglier than the ones there before. Dr Hyatt says the blood tests and MRI scan will help differential diagnoses. We' see what develops.

I'm still planning to get copies of imaging media to give to the radiology intern guy I met in the hospital a couple weeks ago. He agreed to research and help me find out what "white spots" are in the cerebral MRI imaging, and why they are different that sclreo bodies of MS.

More to come. Stay tuned.

Utah Places: Hardware Ranch

Hardware Ranch is part of the magic that is Utah. You have to go there to be part of it.

Here is a link to good information.

Hardware Ranch is east of Hyrum Utah on U101.

King for a Day

I hereby bequeath this blog and all attendant earthly rights to Alexander, until the time comes for other circumstances to rule on this blog.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Migraine Weirdness IV

I want to kiss Dr Digre at the University of Utah Moran Eye Center. Ruth and Dr. Warner get kisses too, for helping me get in to see Dr. Digre. Without them, I'd just be another name on the list, probably dead. They helped salvage a dying man. Why, I'll never understand, but I'll alwas love them, all three.

After suffering with migraine pain more or less continually since July last year, I am now very nearly headache-free.

This time, I am hopeful that it is a long term solution.

Recall, I experimented before with the Zonisamide drug, Zonegran, which was developed for epilepsy and seizure suffers, but has seen more general application, as I believe, with migraneurs as a group. Migraine therapy tends to be rather experimental in nature. Just try something -- anything. Migraine sufferers will try just about anything to get relief.

Anyway, after titrating Zonegran to the 100 mg level, the migraine seemed gone, but I quit taking it for a time as I was admitted to the U hospital for testing, and the headaches came back with a vengance. Although I resumed the Zonegran, and started a number of other psychotropics after that, I have never been entirely headache free since. The "shark attacks" have steadily diminished, however, and the background migraine is barely noticeable now.

All in all, great progress is being made. I am able to function as well as before in many ways, although I do have some serious problems and challenges that remain. I keep very optimistic about the future, in ways I never felt so strongly.

I have honestly looked forward to death as a relief from the pain of this world. Now, it is looking better every day. Maybe I'll stick around for awhile after all. (big flashy smile)

The Prodigal Father

What more need I say? I rejoice to return to the good graces of my sons' families.

Nothing could be sweeter than to be rejoined to them after so many bitter years of self-enforced absence. The parable has been literally fulfilled in my life. In my case, I am ready for the feast with my sons, only hoping that it is not too late in our lives to kill the fatted calf and still enjoy and make merry together with some of the fruits of the best things in life.

It has been a bittersweet reward. The reminder of days past and opportunities lost haunts me with guilt and shame and recrimination. I suffer from these feelings, for one, in the form of a recurring nightmare that I re-live over and over, and cannot dispel the horror of the blasted broken bodies and anguished voices, pleading for relief and ask me, why did I not TELL them?

I'm so sorry.

I do so love you, my sons, and I wasn't there for you when you needed me. But I'm here now, and now I'm the one pleading, begging. Please let me help, with anything you want or need, before it is too late again. Anything.

Tempus Fugit.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Spring Snow Update

A little more snow adds to the mix. As you can see, Snail Hollow is spot on for a good water year, neither too wet nor too dry.

The ground was bare for a while, due to fewer storms and warmer temperatures.

My dad is fond of saying that Snail Hollow has three seasons -- Snow, Mud, Dust. Currently, we have just passed the Mud Equinox and are approaching the next Dust Solstice.

A big flock of wild turkeys migrated into Snail Hollow the other day. I tried rounding them up with my 4 wheeler ATV. They outsmarted me, dumb turkey that I am, but mom managed to catch this one lone hen that got separated from the bunch.

The Biggest Turkey in Snail Hollow on the Polaris 800

Thursday, March 26, 2009

A Light Windy Note

Might have been my grade school class.

That would be me -- the buffoon, peeking around the corner, while everyone else is on their angelic best behavior.

I could never get along in Foster A. Begg Jr High, though I tried to behave myself. I was a good kid at heart, basically. Twas my innards that done me in, mostly.

One Day -- one fine day. Nice stories start out with that starting. Not this one.

This day would live forever in infamy. Fifth-graders still shudder to recall the horror.

We had to attend class all day with the regular arts-and-crafts teacher, because our home room teacher, Mr Wade was absent,I think he took an impromptu jaunt to Mexico with some disreputable bimbo. Mr Wade was a bachelor, entitled to his habits, not subject to the judgement or scrutiny of fifth-graders or their nosy mothers. He used to slam a convenient book loudly and shout "QUIET!!" to regain control in the class when he felt things getting out of hand, but we really got along well. One problem I had that got a start in his class was reading porn, but I digress.

So, the arts-and-crafts teacher, Mrs. Anderson I think was her name, had decided we should compose and recite creative writing stories, and that was something really engaging to me, I enjoyed it, which turned out to be my downfall. You see, also that day, there was churning away in my gut, a manic little engine generating what my little nephew Jared soberly referred to as "flatulating".

I suppressed the output for as long as I could stand, then began practicing what I would later come to recognize as "stealth" technique for relief, relaxing the sphincter control just gradually enough to allow a bit of gas to pass, but not enough to make that disturbing noise in the quietly and studiously working class.

Well, it seemed to be working. The emissions were not so stinky as to be flagrantly offensive or readily zoned in on and identified as to the originating culprit, so my "stealth" technique seemed to be working, at least for a while.

Then the writing part of the exercise was over, and it was time to read some of our best work. All the teachers little pests, er, pets raised their hands for a turn, while I cowered next to a boy named Billy whom every gave sidelong glances at as they brushed by our row. Part of my "stealth" strategy was that Billy had a reputation for a smelly BO like sour milk odor. He didn't, it just so happens, that day, but it worked into my stratagem either way.

But my plan met with disaster. An interminable hour later, we were still squirming our butts on those hard flat wooden desk chairs, and my "stealth" plan was not providing sufficient output for relief.

I finally reached the breaking point, in a cold sweat, where I could suppress no more. I was desperate and near fainting from holding back the tremendous pressure.

A tall, willowy shy girl named Sharon was fated to be reciting her composition as the countdown to liftoff approached. Little did we know that our lives would be forever changed at one dramatic moment.

Then I knew, all at once, I could no longer stand it. I slowly began easing myself up off the flat chair bottom just a fraction, not realizing the effect it would have but soon to learn.

Then -- release...


My tremendous flatulence reverberated and filled the room. For what seemed eternal, it rang though the air like old Notre Dome's bells. It pealed out so long and loud and clear, I paled at the sound. The thin wooden panel of the seat of the chair served as sounding board, it seems. I’ve had a fascination with the mechanics of exactly how the works in acoustical instruments function, ever since.

Anyway, I digress. My farting ripped a hole through the fabric of the class. Poor dear Sharon was reduced to nervous tears and crying, and Mrs. A. comforted her and sent her off to the nurses office. She turned on the remaining class and delivered a stern lecture about how crude and rude that was, after the room was evacuated and air for fifteen minutes.

Mrs. A. then demanded that the culprit confess his sin and report to Mr. Russell's office immediately. Deathly silence.

When none owned up, she tacked on a different jib and said that individual must be sick that could be capable of such a thing, and should go to see the nurse right away. No one still spoke up.

I hung my head, but fortunate for me, every suspicion was cast on poor stinking Billy, whom I think could not help his naturally stinky character. He was just a natural-born weasel.

Just as I was born to be a big gas bag, and fart freely without restraint.

Please don't take offense if I should spoil the air, passing gas. If it is objectionable to you (and it could hardly be pleasant) let us step aside and let the air clear, then we can continue conversation, as mature adults.

(silly childish giggles)

Morality: Purity, Chastity, Virtue

The East Glacis of the
Great Salt Lake Temple

Some mistakenly believe that these ideals have the connotation the world assigns to the same values of sexuality. Nothing could be further from the truth.

On the one side, morality is values-based. It deals with our reason and rationale for altruism. We sacrifice self-interest because we have been created with the ability to recognize that it serves a higher purpose to forward the righteous needs and desires of others over our own.

On the contrary, the natural man is an enemy to God, and represents everything that persuades and entices abusive force, brutality, selfishness, satiation, excess, and worse, to exclude gentleness, meekness, and love unfeigned.

Virginity is not the same as chastity or virtue. Nor does a loss of virginity of necessity signify any attendant sacrifice of virtue, chastity, or purity. Much of the world confuses these terms, and the dictionary is no longer useful, because common usage reflects that misunderstanding. Heavenly Father and myself are the ones to whom I account for my own morality. It is of little interest or account to the rest of the world. Most of the rest do not agree with me on what it means anyway, so why share my status and just spread confusion?

There are two special exceptions that exist at present, as there are often policy exceptions. One is if I happen to be married, and the other is my bishop. Both are confidential, and should never divulge or discuss with others any details of personal matters except under very rare circumstances.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009


First, when there's nothing but a slow glowing dream
That your fear seems to hide deep inside your mind
All alone I have cried silent tears full of pride
In a world made of steel, made of stone

Well I hear the music, close my eyes, feel the rhythm
Wrap around, take a hold of my heart

What a feeling, bein's believin'
I can't have it all, now I'm dancin' for my life
Take your passion, and make it happen
Pictures come alive, you can dance right through your life

Now I hear the music, close my eyes, I am rhythm
In a flash it takes hold of my heart
with ... "now I'm dancing through my life"

What a feeling
What a feeling
I am music now,
bein's believin'
I am rhythm now
Pictures come alive,
you can dance right
through your life
What a feeling
I can really have it all
What a feeling
Pictures come alive
when I call
I can have it all
I can really have it all
Have it all
Pictures come alive when I call
call, call, call, call,
what a feeling
I can have it all
Bein's believin'
bein's believin'
Take your passion,
make it happen
make it happen
What a feeling
what a feeling...



There's a place for us,
Somewhere a place for us.
Peace and quiet and open air
Wait for us Somewhere. 

There's a time for us, 
Some day a time for us, 
Time together with time to spare, 
Time to look, time to care, 
Some day! 

We'll find a new way of living, 
We'll find a way of forgiving 
Somewhere . . . 

There's a place for us, 
A time and place for us, 
Hold my hand and we're halfway there. 
Hold my hand and I'll take you there 
Some day, 

Monday, March 23, 2009

Military Encampment

Somewhere along the line, that dear sweet Uncle Lloyd went into the military and turned into a machine. Even his sweet wife Aunt Donna never had an expression on her face all the years I remember her. I'm sure they laughed at times. I just cannot recall any.

I do not remember them well, hardly at all really, but we stayed at their home for an extended period one summer when my dad needed an emergency appendectomy while we were away from home.

We were vacationing in the area, when dad started getting sick. Not unusual. He had migraine headaches a lot. But he kept getting sicker by the minute, so mom headed us for Salt Lake City. We had a little trailer called a 'Dewdrop' I think. All the camping gear got stuffed in there, and it was abandoned, as we raced down the canyon road into Salt Lake.

I don't remember a lot about what happened next, but it was nightmarish, just getting dad cared for. Turns out he had acute appendicitis, but my dad never gets sick, and never admits feeling ill, so I can imagine how awful he must have felt to go to the hospital. They were not very nice to him. I remember that much, at least.

After that, I remember staying at Lloyd and Donna's house for a long time. My dad was very sick, and I got sick too, may by some kind of M√ľnchhausen transferral. Anyway, one memorable moment I recall was vomiting all over the fine parlor carpet, and the horrified looks on every face present, as if I had farted loudly in the echoing silence of the Sistine Chapel, or forever desecrated the sanctity or dear Aunt Donna'a sacred virtue. I nearly passed out from embarrassment. Instead, I just passed gas.

Everyone immediately offered their favorite remedy for an unsettled stomach, but I was judged too young for bourbon and branch water, too peaked looking for Alka-Seltzer and maybe and enema would help, but perhaps just some hot sweet tea with honey would be just the thing. Aunt Donna took me right into her kitchen and put the teakettle on. I wanted to go play with the other kids, but they were keeping their distance after the projectile barfing incident, perhaps mindful of the gas.

Now I was balancing on the horns of a terrible dilemma.

How do I keep ending up there?

I've heard all my life about not drinking tea. On the other hand, here's Aunt Donna urging me that it's okay, because I'm sick, and she has done it all her life. My mom joined in offering reassurances. Just drink it, it wont hurt you, just once. We're guests, and we want to do as they do while in their home. Besides, you know Grandma Cobabe always has coffee. It's okay.

So I drank the sweet tea with honey, and it was good. I wanted another glassful, but Aunt Donna said one was enough, and I should go to bed for a while, because I had been sick.

At that point, I went into the main bathroom to ease my bladder, and it was and it was an experience I will never forget. I should have used the little guest bathroom.

Uncle Lloyds house was orderly and neat as a pin. The main bath was no exception. Excuse the picture please, I just posted it to illustrate that there were actually FOUR toilets side-by-side and no locking door. If you needed the toilet, there was no such idea as privacy. Just sit and go. Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain, er, on the next warm seat.

Well, I marched right in and was so bemused by the novel arrangement that I forgot what I was doing. A sense of urgency suddenly reminded me I was about to pee in my pants, and I was still humiliated about the projectile vomiting / tea incidents. Not wanting to wet myself, I started that funny two-step dance that little boys have when they don't want to pee their pants, and start fumbling with the fly, then gave up and just dropped shorts and trousers all on the floor in one last desperate effort to salvage my dry underpants. I made it to the toilet with relief as I started going, but to my horror, Uncle Lloyd came in, and distracted my concentration. I must admit, my aim has never been that accurate, and I was peeing all over the seat and the floor. Lloyd was furious. He took one more look at me, reached out, and lifted up the toiled seat. "Can't you lift the seat when you go?," he growled gruffly, and I was just quaking with fear. I lost control and peed all over his hand and forearm. He was drenched with my little boy urine.

He gave me a disgusted look, I returned a wry smile as my stream dribbled away onto the floor. I said nothing at all as I slinked away with my underpants to get dressed, leaving Lloyd to clean the toilet, the floor, and himself

I went away to hide under the blankets. He went off to report to Aunt Donna how their degenerate reprobate California relatives are raising delinquent retard children who can't even control their bodily functions.

Life has turned full circle, and now I am back to wearing diapers again. It is a compromise with a body I can no longer trust, after so many years.

Uncle Lloyd and Aunt Donna might finally be laughing. Or maybe it is just flatulence from that pesky dilemma, still passing gas after all these years.

Morning Misadventure

Note: My sister Cindy has expressed her approval of the high points of this story for the humorous editorial content but some of it is not suitable for younger or more sensitive folk, so use some good sense and discretion, PLEASE.

Last night I went to bed in the middle of a nightmare of my own creation, the details of which I cannot elaborate on further. But I passed out earlier on my dad's living room floor. I was in no condition to conduct a rational discussion, which is exactly what I later attempted -- and failed so abysmally, it put me into the deepest funk I have been in since I last wanted so much to end my life.

As I said, it was a miserable way to take to my bed, and I slept not at all. I felt sick and upset and faint all night, and about 4:00, I finally abandoned the pretense of trying to sleep and took to my shower. The hot water always gives some soothing relaxation. Not this time.

I continued to worry, and quickly built a scheme to drive to my sister's house on my ATV. It is only about 40 mile to Price as the crow flies, so I could make it easily. These obstacles:
  1. Parents would never consent, too dangerous
  2. Illegal to operate OHV on highway
  3. Registration is not current
  4. If I sneak, people will likely be searching
  5. Deep snow and and icy across Skyline
  6. Currently light snow showers
I decided I needed to do this, so I sneaked out the back door and cranked up the Polaris 800 and zoomed past the house, lights ablaze. Mistake #1. My dad was standing at the door looking as I blazed down the driveway. Not a very subtle getaway. Not even out the driveway, and I was already in trouble.

I was feeling really sick, but hung on and navigated up the highway toward Hilltop and Millburn. I figured they'd look toward U6 first because it is the direct route to Price, but there are better routes for an ATV.

On the road out of Snail Hollow, I saw that only a sprinkling of snow had fallen. There was not even enough to warrant snowplow operation today, which I thought of as in my favor.

I start south, on the side of the highway, but did not realize that there are deep culverts hidden in the snow alongside the road. I skirted a few by chance, but bumped into a very deep hole on about the third or forth. It was no challenge at all for the Polaris, but it turned me into the hillside, and I lost control at 40 mph.

I panicked.

I started to fall off, because I was cruising along unable to correct the steering or hold my body against the increasing grade, that was fast approaching roll-over. Okay. Release the throttle first, gently. Calm down. Your machine has saved you, as it has so many times before.'

Coasting to a near halt, at a near 40% slope, I tried to hold my body with right leg that is weak and trembling. Motorists are speeding past on 89, thinking "...what FUN that guy must be having, swoop up slopes on his 4 wheeler!" And I'm just wondering how to get down from her without wrecking my bike and breaking myself.

The next thing -- after calming -- was to put both hands together on the left side handlebar and PUSH while holding with trembling right leg, to keep myself from falling off the bike and tumbling down the hill. I imagined if I did, the 4-wheeler would run over me too, just for good measure.

Anyway, that worked! so I didn't find out.

I had made it as far as Hilltop without being caught, but I figured if my dad was looking my mom would call out the troops, so I'd better stick to back road, so I turned down toward Millburn. I was cruising pretty good when I realized I should take off the tire chains, the pavement was almost dry. So I pulled around the curve and parked off the pavement.

I swung off the ATV saddle and fell flat on my face. I lay trembling and tired for a few minutes just glad I made it that far without falling off.

After that I tried using the winch to pull me some slack in the chain, but the locking carabiner was jammed tight in the fairlead rollers, and I could not get it out either!  I got the starboard chains off in the mean time, and was using a crowbar to pry some slack in. Naturally I lost my grip and cut my hand with the crowbar, but I did finally get the port side chains off and everything stowed away.

Then I put on some speed. The Polaris is made to do about 60mph on level ground. I was crusing down the side of the wrong side of the road, because I have no peripheral view with the helmet on, cannot see with the wind blowing anyway, and this way I can see oncoming traffic, and I pull off into the borrow pit and stop. I got through Millburn in about 30 seconds. It was one of the fastest traverses on an ATV ever, I'm pretty sure. The only thing that slowed me, at the end, Cindy Mower had to stop for the school bus and I was coming up behind at about 50 mph, so I had to slow down. I pulled into the gas station to fill up. That turned out to be the end of the ride.

Fred and Audreys was not opened yet so I drove over to Walkers. I bought some jersey gloves for liners becase my hands were frozen, and a hot chocolate to help warm up. I was going to fill up with gas, and I tried to bak over to the pumps, but the h=ot chocolate tipped over and spilled just as I was rolling backwards, and I backed right into the diesel pump handle as I grabbed for the tipping cup. My luck started draining out as fast as diesel fuel, all over the ground.

I missed the chocolate, too.

As the ATV bumped up against the pump, the handle broke off at the swivel fitting. I had felt so confident up to that point, Then I saw that everything I was scheming was going to unravel, and I tried to dismount from the saddle of the bike. It was too close to the pump though, and I caught my foot and fell backwards out of control again, this time flat onto my butt onto the hard concrete pavement of the gas station. I fractured my coccyx again, I think. I just laid there sobbing, and right then, my neighbor Phil drove up. He immediately radioed on his shortwave handi-talkie a status up to the SAR net, that the SUBJECT was located, namely ME, and he did all right, just like we were taught.

The jig was up. They'd found me.

After I finished sobbing like a bawl baby, Phil and Ricky took charge of the ATV and Ron drove me home in dad's pickup.  The lady at Walkers said don't worry about it, they'll have their maintenance guy fix the diesel handle. I asked the Sheriff guy who came by Walkers to call off the SAR and call my folks and tell them I'm coming right home.

They won't let me have the Polaris back now. Guess I'll just walk if I should happen to go berserk and get the insane inclination to set out across the Skyline again.

A Childhood Trauma

I have an endless supply, as we are in the mode of dredging them up from the depths and demanding balm for soothing and justice. Not attempting to invalidate or scapegoat anyone; I just want a level playing field when we talk about these things.

When I was little, children were routinely neglected, by the standard of today's neurotic culture. Often I would leave the house early in the morning, with nary word to any one, be gone all day playing, and return after dark. Mom would say, "Where were you all day, I've been worried sick about you!

"Oh!, I was at Markie's (Mark Holler) house playing soldiers. I'm sorry I forgot to call you.

"Okay. But be sure and call next time. Get washed up for dinner".

Over the hill from us to the south there was a big hill where there was the high school and a pollywog pond. The high school was a bad place because bully big kids went to school there. and I knew they all smoked too. The pond was forbidden, but deliciously alluring. Further down the block were military precise rows and rows of glass "greenhouses" which were not green, but white, for some reason. People lurked there that gawked and gabbled in a strange noise, but never tried to really talk. That place was "nasty". The brown-faced men with slanty eyes who could not talk but screamed strange noises were the perpetrators of evil. Something to do with little boys. Further down the block was Mikey and Johnnies' (Norris) street, where they lived at my Uncle Jim and Aunt Lynn's house.

Something happened one day. I threaded my way to Mikey's to play, over the big hill, past the pollywog pond, past the big kids who smoked, up to the green houses that were white. Someone was with me, I don't remember who. All that glass, seemingly unattended, was just too much temptation for little boys. We started chucking rocks, little-boy sized rocks, at the roof panels, and were rewarded with a occasional slight tinkle of falling glass. But mostly we were ineffectual and weak. Suddenly, I remember hearing a tremendous loud "CRASH" and who ever I was with and I looked at each other and took off without another thought like we were scalded cats. Someone had pitched a really BIG something, and done substantial damage.

Well, there was a fence on the east with little stiles to climb over. Who ever I was with shinnied over that stile lickety split and was safe in Uncle Jim's front yard almost before I even thought about it. But just as I reached the stile, someone grabbed me by the tee shirt collar and lifted, so my little tenny runners came right off the ground. I burst into a tearful fit, and he peered into my face with that brown face, and started screaming in that meaningless gabbling noise. I don't remember what happened after that.


Repressed Traumatic Memory?

Sunday, March 22, 2009


To be honest, this image irritates me. It does not make me smile.

What exactly is intended by the term "cheerful" when Elder Holland uses it in this phrase:
Do All Things Cheerfully
As a valedictory to the lessons from Liberty Jail, I refer to the last verse of the last section of these three we have been referring to tonight. In this final canonized statement of the Liberty Jail experience, the Lord says to us through His prophet, Joseph Smith: Therefore, dearly beloved brethren [and sisters, when we are in even the most troubling of times], let us cheerfully do all things that lie in our power; and then may we stand still, with the utmost assurance, to see the salvation of God, and for his arm to be revealed. (Doctrine and Covenants 123:17)

We require further analysis of the word "cheerful" as it was used in context in Elder Holland's Liberty Jail speech. What exactly are the semantics?

Elder Holland's comments appear to be a direct quote of the writing from Liberty Jail.



Duty of the saints in relation to their persecutors, as set forth by Joseph Smith the Prophet, while a prisoner in the jail at Liberty, Missouri, March 1839. HC 3:302–303.,

The saints should collect and publish an account of their sufferings and persecutions; 7–10, The same spirit that established the false creeds also leads to persecution of the saints; Many among all sects will yet receive the truth.

1 And again, we would suggest for your consideration the propriety of all the saints gathering up a knowledge of all the facts, and sufferings and abuses put upon them by the people of this State;

2 And also of all the property and amount of damages which they have sustained, both of character and personal as well as real property;

3 And also the names of all persons that have had a hand in their oppressions, as far as they can get hold of them and find them out...

...17 Therefore, dearly beloved brethren, let us cheerfully do all things that lie in our power; and then may we stand still, with the utmost assurance, to see the salvation of God, and for his arm to be revealed.

Cheerful, Cheerfulness
Ps. 100: 2(Ps. 100: 1-5) Serve the Lord with gladness.
Ps. 119: 111testimonies . . . are the rejoicing of my heart.
Prov. 15: 13merry heart maketh a cheerful countenance.
Prov. 17: 22merry heart doeth good like a medicine.
Eccl. 9: 7eat thy bread with joy, and drink thy wine with a merry heart.
Isa. 51: 3(Isa. 51: 11) joy and gladness shall be found therein.
Rom. 12: 8sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness.
2 Cor. 9: 7God loveth a cheerful giver.
Mosiah 24: 15did submit cheerfully and with patience.
D&C 19: 39rejoicing and lifting up thy heart for gladness.
D&C 59: 15do these things with thanksgiving, with cheerful hearts.
D&C 123: 17let us cheerfully do all things.
JS-H 1: 28acquainted with my native cheery temperament.
See also Ps. 19: 8; Ps. 45: 7.

Saturday, March 21, 2009


This was a frightful and confusing episode. Short, but terrifying.

My dad and I had a busy schedule yesterday for several hours. PT at 11:00 am, visit with the shrink at 1:00 am. Dad went shopping at WallyWorld while Rhonda sympathized for another hour. Thanks, Rhonda!

We had a few stops along the way home to Snail Hollow. One was at Dans Trans, to talk about resurrecting the Dodge Dakota that is sitting on flat tires since last summer, in the tall weeds and grass of back yard.

Dan talked good business sense and topped off the Ford automatic tranny with Delco for good measure. I got in the truck, suddenly overwhelmed by feeling poorly, not unusual for me at this point in my life. One of Dan's mechanic's stopped to chat. Turns out, he was one of the guys I was in structure firefighter training together with in 2008, and we chatted a bit. After that things turned weird.

Dad started driving, and ti seemed like everything looked looming and threatening. I couldn’t even remember what the buildings were for or where we were, or WHO we where? Everything seemed like a question mark.

Especially frightening was the fact that I could not get dad to stop driving. Cars and BUILDINGS were careening out of control, seeming to spin at us from all directions. It was horrible. If I could have figured how to open the door, I would have jumped, and gone running somewhere, I don't know where.

Anyway, dad drove to the supermarket, and by the time he got us there, I was recovering, I was OKAY, ok.



Friday, March 20, 2009

My Dad: Firm as the Mountains

My dad is the most faithful and inspired person I have met in my entire life, no qualifiers needed. If you had a chance to know him, you'd know exactly what I mean.

Mom is the most nurturing and caring, unconditionally loving person.

Most people I perceive to be committed to honesty and integrity get along easily with my parents. Others have a difficult time right from the beginning, through no discernible discrimination that I can see, but it usually happens immediately, nonetheless.

Why? I'm uncertain. They have certainly had their share of being taken in by confidence men, swindlers, and schemers throughout their long and eventful life. I think the Lord allows some good people to suffer at the hands of the wicked, in order that their evil acts may condemn them unequivocally.

I have learned more about my parents through watching them through the years. Time has taken a harsh toll.

I know that inside them both, a much younger persona lives, and I see sometimes a quick flash of energy, a lightened step, the cares of the day ignored, the burdens of life cast aside as they find some long-forgotten joy to remember and cherish and rejoice in. Then the shoulders sag, and the eyes dim once more. It is gone. Until the next fire rekindles.

Inside my dad's hard demeanor, there is a human persona that somewhat resembles this defenseless creature.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Suffering and Sanctification

I guess this is very basic stuff. Brain damage does it to me. Sorry.

Not sure what I know and don't know any more, so I'm sorting through old memory banks. Please, be patient with me. I'm just a silly old man, waiting for the end, trying my best. Sometimes my best is not too good.

For example, I wet the bed last night, much to my chagrin. I am wearing diapers again for the first time in more than over fifty years. Keeps the bed clean, at least. But they don't do much for my sense of dignity. Better than wet garments, I suppose. Modern diapers really are pretty good, technologically speaking.

I believe suffering by itself does not necessarily make holy men and women of our brothers and sisters. Nor was anyone necessarily taking that position here. It depends on how we are disposed to react, I suppose. A former stake president gave much good counsel on this matter, but I lost my notes, my mind, and almost my life, so I'll wing it.

Stay with me to the last, because even though this is long, I saved some good stuff for the ending.

(Pearl of Great Price, Articles of Faith Article 3).
We believe that through the atonement of Christ, all mankind may be saved, by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel.

(Pearl of Great Price, Articles of Faith Article 4).
We believe that the first principles and ordinances of the Gospel are: first, faith in the Lord Jesus Christ; second, repentance; third,baptism by immersion for the remission of sins...

(Pearl of Great Price, Articles of Faith Article 4b).
....Fourth, Laying on of hands for the hands of the Holy Ghost.

And finally,

(Doctrine and Covenants section 84:33-40).
For whoso is faithful unto the obtaining these two priesthoods of which I have spoken, and the magnifying their calling, are sanctified by the Spirit unto the renewing of their bodies.
They become the sons of Moses and of Aaron and the seed of Abraham, and the church and kingdom, and the elect of God.
And also all they who receive this priesthood receive me, saith the Lord;
For he that receiveth my servants receiveth me;
And he that receiveth me receiveth my Father;
And he that receiveth my Father receiveth my Father's kingdom; therefore all that my Father hath shall be given unto him.
And this is according to the oath and covenant which belongeth to the priesthood.
Therefore, all those who receive the priesthood, receive this oath and covenant of my Father, which he cannot break, neither can it be moved.
(Doctrine and Covenants 84:19-21).
And this greater priesthood administereth the gospel and holdeth the key of the mysteries of the kingdom, even the key of the knowledge of God.
Therefore, in the ordinances thereof, the power of godliness is manifest.

Liberty Jail

Elder Holland illustrates and elaborates further with ideas about enduring suffering with an eye single to the glory of God. Excerpts from his Liberty Jail fireside talk...
Everyone Faces Trying Times
Now then, three lessons from Liberty Jail: May I suggest that the first of these is inherent in what I’ve already said—that everyone, including (and perhaps especially) the righteous, will be called upon to face trying times. When that happens we can sometimes fear God has abandoned us, and we might be left, at least for a time, to wonder when our troubles will ever end. As individuals, as families, as communities, and as nations, probably everyone has had or will have an occasion to feel as Joseph Smith felt when he asked why such sorrow had to come and how long its darkness and damage would remain. We identify with him when he cries from the depth and discouragement of his confinement:
O God, where art thou? . . .
How long shall thy hand be stayed . . . ?
Yea, O Lord, how long shall [thy people] suffer . . . before . . . thy bowels be moved with compassion toward them?  (Doctrine and Covenants 121:1–3)
That is a painful, personal cry—a cry from the heart, a spiritual loneliness we may all have occasion to feel at some time in our lives...
...whenever these moments of our extremity come, we must not succumb to the fear that God has abandoned us or that He does not hear our prayers. He does hear us. He does see us. He does love us. When we are in dire circumstances and want to cry “Where art Thou?” it is imperative that we remember He is right there with us—where He has always been! We must continue to believe, continue to have faith, continue to pray and plead with heaven, even if we feel for a time our prayers are not heard and that God has somehow gone away. He is there. Our prayers are heard. And when we weep He and the angels of heaven weep with us.
When lonely, cold, hard times come, we have to endure, we have to continue, we have to persist. That was the Savior’s message in the parable of the importuning widow (see Luke 18:1–8; see also Luke 11:5–10). Keep knocking on that door. Keep pleading. In the meantime, know that God hears your cries and knows your distress. He is your Father, and you are His child.
When what has to be has been and when what lessons to be learned have been learned, it will be for us as it was for the Prophet Joseph. Just at the time he felt most alone and distant from heaven’s ear was the very time he received the wonderful ministration of the Spirit and wonderful, glorious answers that came from his Father in Heaven.
Into this dismal dungeon and this depressing time, the voice of God came, saying:
My son, peace be unto thy soul; thine adversity and thine afflictions shall be but a small moment;
And then, if thou endure it well, God shall exalt thee on high; thou shalt triumph over all thy foes. (Doctrine and Covenants 121:7–8)
 Even though seemingly unjust circumstances may be heaped upon us and even though unkind and unmerited things may be done to us—perhaps by those we consider enemies but also, in some cases, by those whom we thought were friends—nevertheless, through it all, God is with us.
Even the Worthy Will Suffer
Secondly, we need to realize that just because difficult things happen—sometimes unfair and seemingly unjustified things—it does not mean that we are unrighteous or that we are unworthy of blessings or that God is disappointed in us. Of course sinfulness does bring suffering, and the only answer to that behavior is repentance. But sometimes suffering comes to the righteous, too. You will recall that from the depths of Liberty Jail when Joseph was reminded that he had indeed been “cast . . . into trouble,” had passed through tribulation and been falsely accused, had been torn away from his family and cast into a pit, into the hands of murderers, nevertheless, he was to remember that the same thing had happened to the Savior of the world, and because He was triumphant, so shall we be (see Doctrine and Covenants 122:4–7). In giving us this sober reminder of what the Savior went through, the revelation from Liberty Jail records: “The Son of Man hath descended below them all. Art thou greater than he?” (Doctrine and Covenants 122:8).
No. Joseph was not greater than the Savior, and neither are we. And when we promise to follow the Savior, to walk in His footsteps and be His disciples, we are promising to go where that divine path leads us. And the path of salvation has always led one way or another through Gethsemane. So if the Savior faced such injustices and discouragements, such persecutions, unrighteousness, and suffering, we cannot expect that we are not going to face some of that if we still intend to call ourselves His true disciples and faithful followers. And it certainly underscores the fact that the righteous—in the Savior’s case, the personification of righteousness—can be totally worthy before God and still suffer.
In fact, it ought to be a matter of great doctrinal consolation to us that Jesus, in the course of the Atonement, experienced all of the heartache and sorrow, all of the disappointments and injustices that the entire family of man had experienced and would experience from Adam and Eve to the end of the world in order that we would not have to face them so severely or so deeply. However heavy our load might be, it would be a lot heavier if the Savior had not gone that way before us and carried that burden with us and for us.
Very early in the Prophet Joseph’s ministry, the Savior taught him this doctrine. After speaking of sufferings so exquisite to feel and so hard to bear, Jesus said:
I, God, have suffered these things for all, that they [and that means you and I and everyone] might not suffer if they would repent. (Doctrine and Covenants 19:16)
In our moments of pain and trial, I guess we would shudder to think it could be worse, but the answer to that is clearly that it could be worse and it would be worse. Only through our faith and repentance and obedience to the gospel that provided the sacred Atonement is it kept from being worse.
Furthermore, we note that not only has the Savior suffered, in His case entirely innocently, but so have most of the prophets and other great men and women recorded in the scriptures. Name an Old Testament or Book of Mormon prophet, name a New Testament Apostle, name virtually any of the leaders in any dispensation, including our own, and you name someone who has had trouble.
My point? If you are having a bad day, you’ve got a lot of company—very, very good company. The best company that has ever lived.
Now, don’t misunderstand. We don’t have to look for sorrow. We don’t have to seek to be martyrs. Trouble has a way of finding us even without our looking for it. But when it is obvious that a little time in Liberty Jail waits before you (spiritually speaking), remember these first two truths taught to Joseph in that prison-temple. First, God has not forgotten you, and second, the Savior has been where you have been, allowing Him to provide for your deliverance and your comfort.
As the prophet Isaiah wrote, the Lord has “graven thee upon the palms of [His] hands” (Isaiah 49:16), permanently written right there in scar tissue with Roman nails as the writing instrument. Having paid that price in the suffering that They have paid for you, the Father and the Son will never forget nor forsake you in your suffering. (See Isaiah 49:14–16; see also 1 Nephi 21:14–16.) They have planned, prepared, and guaranteed your victory if you desire it, so be believing and “endure it well” (D&C 121:8). In the end it “shall be for thy good” (D&C 122:7), and you will see “everlasting dominion” flow unto you forever and ever “without compulsory means” (Doctrine and Covenants 121:46)
Remain Calm, Patient, Charitable, and Forgiving
Thirdly, and tonight lastly, may I remind us all that in the midst of these difficult feelings when one could justifiably be angry or reactionary or vengeful, wanting to return an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth, the Lord reminds us from the Liberty Jail prison-temple 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 [or “except”] upon the principles of righteousness. (Doctrine and Covenants 121:36)
Therefore, even when we face such distressing circumstances in our life and there is something in us that wants to strike out at God or man or friend or foe, we must remember that “no power or influence can or ought to be maintained [except] by persuasion, by long-suffering, by gentleness and meekness, and by love unfeigned; . . . without hypocrisy, and without guile” (Doctrine and Covenants 121:41–42).
It has always been a wonderful testimony to me of the Prophet Joseph’s greatness and the greatness of all of our prophets, including and especially the Savior of the world in His magnificence, that in the midst of such distress and difficulty they could remain calm and patient, charitable, and forgiving—that they could even talk that way, let alone live that way. But they could, and they did. They remembered their covenants, they disciplined themselves, and they knew that we must live the gospel at all times, not just when it is convenient and not just when things are going well. Indeed, they knew that the real test of our faith and our Christian discipleship is when things are not going smoothly. That is when we get to see what we’re made of and how strong our commitment to the gospel really is.
Surely the classic example of this is that in the most painful hours of the Crucifixion the Savior could say, “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34). That is a hard thing to ask when we’re hurting. That is a hard thing to do when we’ve been offended or are tired or stressed out or suffering innocently. But that is when Christian behavior may matter the most. Remember, “the powers of heaven cannot be controlled nor handled [except] upon the principles of righteousness.” And do we need the powers of heaven with us at such times! As Joseph was taught in this prison-temple, even in distress and sorrow we must “let [our] bowels . . . be full of charity towards all men . . . ; then [and only then] shall [our] confidence wax strong in the presence of God; and . . . the Holy Ghost shall be [our] constant companion” (Doctrine and Covenants 121:45–46).
Remaining true to our Christian principles is the only way divine influence can help us. The Spirit has a near-impossible task to get through to a heart that is filled with hate or anger or vengeance or self-pity. Those are all antithetical to the Spirit of the Lord. On the other hand, the Spirit finds instant access to a heart striving to be charitable and forgiving, long-suffering and kind—principles of true discipleship. What a testimony that gospel principles are to apply at all times and in all situations and that if we strive to remain faithful, the triumph of a Christian life can never be vanquished, no matter how grim the circumstance might be. How I love the majesty of these elegant, celestial teachings taught, ironically, in such a despicable setting and time.
Do All Things Cheerfully
As a valedictory to the lessons from Liberty Jail, I refer to the last verse of the last section of these three we have been referring to tonight. In this final canonized statement of the Liberty Jail experience, the Lord says to us through His prophet, Joseph Smith:
Therefore, dearly beloved brethren [and sisters, when we are in even the most troubling of times], let us cheerfully do all things that lie in our power; and then may we stand still, with the utmost assurance, to see the salvation of God, and for his arm to be revealed. (Doctrine and Covenants 123:17)
What a tremendously optimistic and faithful concluding declaration to be issued from a prison-temple! When he wrote those lines, Joseph did not know when he would be released or if he would ever be released. There was every indication that his enemies were still planning to take his life. Furthermore, his wife and children were alone, frightened, often hungry, wondering how they would fend for themselves without their husband and father. The Saints, too, were without homes and without their prophet. They were leaving Missouri, heading for Illinois, but who knew what tragedies were awaiting them there? Surely, to say it again, it was the bleakest and darkest of times.
Yet in these cold, lonely hours, Joseph says let us do all we can and do it cheerfully. And then we can justifiably turn to the Lord, wait upon His mercy, and see His arm revealed in our behalf.
What a magnificent attitude to maintain in good times or bad, in sorrow or in joy!