Monday, December 19, 2016

Christmas Best Wishes


The blazing brightness of Holiday Cheer, from our house to yours...

Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 06, 2016

A Great Light




The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light
 They that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined.  (Isaiah 9:2)

Sunday, December 04, 2016

Wise Men Still Seek Him


Gold and earthly treasures.
These are not the gifts Jesus asks of us. From the treasure of our hearts Jesus asks that we give of ourselves.

Light the World


Since a new star first appeared above Bethlehem, Christmas has been a season of light, reminding us that Jesus Christ is the light of the world. Together, we can celebrate His birth by making the world a brighter place. All we have to do is follow Him—His life, His example, and His teachings. In doing so, we can help #LIGHTtheWORLD.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Go, and Sin No More



The scribes and Pharisees brought the adulterous woman before Jesus, not because they cared about the law, but because they wished to trap him into consenting to stoning her.
But Jesus stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground, as though he heard them not.
So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.
 And again he stooped down, and wrote on the ground.
 And they which heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last: and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst.
 When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee?
 She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.

Wednesday, November 09, 2016

Gloat? Not much.


People have said that they expect me to *GLOAT*.  I'm not sure what they mean.

But I would not want anyone to be disappointed.

Will this serve?


How about this one?  A classy reminder of how some people fulfill their "GLOAT" quota.

Or maybe this one...




I have not felt to tell anyone, "Get Over It".



Okay.

Actually, I really didn't do much of anything.  Certainly nothing from which I feel to derive any particular degree of pride or satisfaction.

I don't like the "President Elect" all that much.  But I like the "Unelect" even less.  I'm pleased that she lost.  It is inherent in the competitive nature of political election that someone wins and someone loses.  Sorry if that hurts anyone's sensitive feelings.

If nothing that is happening in current events serves anything but my relative degree of antipathy, why would anyone expect gloating?

If anything, I would wish to characterize my feelings in the terms written by my Church leaders.

We invite Americans everywhere, whatever their political persuasion, to join us in praying for the president-elect, for his new administration, and for elected leaders across the nation and the world. Praying for those in public office is a long tradition among Latter-day Saints. The men and women who lead our nations and communities need our prayers as they govern in these difficult and turbulent times.  (Letter from LDS Church Leaders)

And I have to add.  The apparent public perception of the relative import of this election seems to be amplified beyond measure.  For my own feelings, I measure the relative importance of the outcome of this particular election pretty much the same as the last few.

Gloat?

Not much.



Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Last Minute Endorsement


I am coming out with my endorsement for the 2016 Presidential campaigns.

Hope for a cataclysmic Giant Meteor.  Or any natural disaster that shakes the people of America to their senses.  The only responsible thing left to do.  Nothing about the current madhouse election makes any sense.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Make America Great Again


This inspiring slogan obviously does not inspire some who happen to live here. Some are determined to make themselves and everyone else as unhappy as they are about most everything. Perhaps because these unhappy people always seem more inclined to dispute that America was all that great in the first place.  This is an odd posture to adapt - it appears to me to compromise the very things that gave this country greatness in the first place.

I am proud to be an American.  Not necessarily because our history looks back on a perfect story.  But because we look up to the ideals that lifted us up historically, and gave us the will to look forward, to go on.  In spite of the challenges.  In spite of our imperfections.  My ancestors handed me an incredible inheritance, a place where opportunity was literally only limited by our own imagination.

Have we always been perfect?  No, that was never the promise.  Any who demand a record without blemish will need to look elsewhere, because it is not to be found here.  We all have our own imperfections.  But with the determination of our forefathers, the ideal is still within our vision.  And within our reach.


Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Abortion is Murder


In this era of shrill political sound-bites, there is one clear unequivocal standard that stands out, for those who profess to be faithful members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

The Lord commanded, “Thou shalt not … kill, nor do anything like unto it” (D&C 59:6). The Church opposes elective abortion for personal or social convenience. Members must not submit to, perform, arrange for, pay for, consent to, or encourage an abortion...
Church members who submit to, perform, arrange for, pay for, consent to, or encourage an abortion may be subject to Church discipline. (Handbook 2)
I cannot in clear conscience support or promote any political candidate, group, party, or individual who embraces anything but a "pro-life" policy.  This is one of those issues where the weight of moral considerations far transcend any political policy.  Those who choose to tolerate abortion have all kinds of philosophical arguments and rationale that twist this ideal, but can't make this unequivocal statement disappear.  They may wish to ignore this in the interest of catering to popular ideas, but ultimately cannot.  Those who willfully violate this principle do so at their own peril.  Those who choose to ignore this principle in the current Presidential campaign are consenting to condemn entire generations to a bloody and horrifying death.

Abortion is murder.  This principle stands.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Hillary Supporters


I don't feel very much engaged in the political scene today.  But I would hope that a better candidate than this will become President of the United States.  I suspect my own poor health is comparable.  If Hillary gets elected, I have no confidence that she would even serve a full term.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Specific and Contemporary: LDS Church Counsel


The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has issued letters stating specific policy regarding support for two popular legislative measures from different areas in the US.

LDS Church leaders sent letters to members in Colorado expressing opposition to legalizing assisted suicide, as in Colorado Proposition 106.

Letters were also sent to Church members in California, Arizona, and Nevada encouraging them to oppose legislative measures which would legalize marijuana use.

"The church maintains a firm belief in the sanctity of human life," the First Presidency letter said, "and opposes deliberately taking the life of a person even when the person may be suffering from an incurable condition or disease. Life is a sacred gift and should be cherished even in difficult circumstances."

"While the church opposes physician-assisted suicide, members should not feel obligated to extend mortal life through means that are unreasonable. Decisions in such cases are best made by family members after receiving wise and competent medical advice and seeking divine guidance through fasting and prayer."

A growing number of scientific studies show that marijuana use disrupts brain development, according a review of the literature published by the American Psychological Association. Findings suggest structural and functional brain changes, and one decades-long longitudinal study showed an average loss of six IQ points among persistent users, similar to damage from exposure to lead.




Sunday, October 09, 2016

Make Up Your Mind...



And Elijah came unto all the people, and said, How long halt ye between two opinions? if the Lord be God, follow him: but if Baal, then follow him. And the people answered him not a word.  (1 Kings 18:21)

Sometimes we appear to be enslaved by fads and trends in society. Some are good. Some are silly but harmless. Others can be detrimental to our physical or spiritual health.

Our response to critical views can cause us to compromise our values.  In order of ascending concern the critics causing these troubles are (1) nonmembers, (2) former members, and (3) current members.

In the face of such critics,  members would be well advised to relax, lighten up, mellow out, and not get so huffy. While the gospel is sacred and serious, sometimes we take ourselves a little too seriously.  Many of our critics obviously do.  A sense of humor, especially about ourselves, is an attribute worthy of development.

Criticism always hurts most when we deserve it.

We would eliminate the most painful criticism from responsible nonmembers by simply internalizing and living what the Church teaches.

In addition to attacking our sacred beliefs, some former members speak evil of the Brethren. Joseph Smith received his share of this criticism from the dissidents of his day. The Lord’s revelation to him is applicable to us today:
Cursed are all those that shall lift up the heel against mine anointed, saith the Lord, and cry they have sinned when they have not sinned before me, saith the Lord, but have done that which was meet in mine eyes, and which I commanded them.
But those who cry transgression do it because they are the servants of sin, and are the children of disobedience themselves. (D&C 121:16–17)
One activity which often leads a member to be critical is engaging in inappropriate intellectualism. While it would seem the search for and discovery of truth should be the goal of all Latter-day Saints, it appears some get more satisfaction from trying to discover new uncertainties.  Indeed, airing your doubts has become somewhat of a cause celebre with many.

Elder Faust describes this type of intellectual as “a person who continues to chase after a bus even after he has caught it.” We invite everyone to get on the bus before it’s out of sight and you are left forever trying to figure out the infinite with a finite mind.  (Adapted from Glen L. Pace General Conference address, "Follow the Prophet")

Monday, October 03, 2016

Criticism...



The man who cannot listen to an argument which opposes his views either has a weak position or is a weak defender of it. No opinion that cannot stand discussion or criticism is worth holding. And it has been wisely said that the man who knows only half of any question is worse off than the man who knows nothing of it. He is not only one sided, but his partisanship soon turns him into an intolerant and a fanatic. In general it is true that nothing which cannot stand up under discussion and criticism is worth defending.  (James E. Talmage)

Dallin Oaks "Criticism".  I posted a link to this on the Bloggernacle.  Everyone criticized it.

Sunday, October 02, 2016

October 2016 General Conference: Quentin L. Cook, "Valiant in the Testimony of Jesus"


There are a number of stumbling blocks to our valor that can prevent us from reaching the goal of eternal life.

The preferred strategy of the adversary is to lead people away from God and cause them to stumble by emphasizing the philosophies of men over the Savior and His teachings.

Some members of the Church lose their bearings and become influenced by the cause of the moment—many of which are clearly not righteous.

Many people have no remorse or willingness to acknowledge their conduct as being morally wrong. Even some who profess a belief in the Father and the Son wrongfully take the position that a loving Father in Heaven should exact no consequences for conduct that is contrary to His commandments.

Some members elevate causes, many of which are good, to a status superior to basic gospel doctrine. If we elevate anything above our devotion to the Savior, then we are looking beyond the mark. Jesus Christ is the mark!

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Hark All Ye Nations: October 2016 General Conference



Bright as the sun, this heavenly ray
Lights ev'ry land today.


Conference time is here again in Salt Lake City!  I am excited and anxious to hear the inspired messages and Prophetic counsel from Church leaders.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Poison Skittles anyone?


The Trump campaign illustrates the Middle East refugee problem with a poison Skittles story, a simple thought experiment.  Doesn't really require over analysis.

Talking heads feign absolute horror!


Illary characterizes half of America as "a Basket of Deplorables".  She gets nod and pass from the media.  Because apparently they already knew she was right.



This is how Trump supporters are painted.

At the same time the news overflows with horrific stories about murderous terrorists, with ties to Middle East countries, slaughtering innocent people.

I am willing to extend every benefit of doubt to Skittles, but terrorist bombers belong in their own country.  We don't need to bring them here, to facilitate their ease and convenience in massacring  Americans.

Some apparently believe the risks of importing refugees are negligible.  Another story on the Skittles angle gives a little different perspective...

Critical review of yet another story reflects the casual attitude some seem to have about death by terrorism.

Another story puts the Skittles analogy in perspective.

Ho hum.  Nothing to see here. Move along...

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Speaking of Les Deplorables






Though my impression is that the Liberal-minded (TM) are supposed to be pretending that actual gender is now totally irrelevant, one of the wildly popular gripe sessions currently running on the Bloggernacle purports to complain about BYU and their abysmally disproportionate and execrable "balance" of male/female professors.  It occurred to me that at least optimally, the survey should be listing the more imaginative "gender identity", rather than actual genotypical and phenotypical sex, since that kind of thing is so passe, but apparently data of more contemporary oeuvre was not in hand.
Of course, the moderators of that forum, in a shining example of the virtue of tolerance for diversity, peremptorily banned my obstreperous crude comments years ago, so I expect my observations went unheeded. Without exception, other comments seemed to be participating in the popular hate-fest of condemnations and disaffected gripes for BYU, Provo, Utah, and the Church in general.


Helpful suggestion for those who hate a particular place:  Why not go somewhere else to seek happiness?  There ARE actually several people who do love being here.  Are you so anxious to tear things down?

BTW:   While attending University of California for my Bachelor's Degree, I never encountered any female professors.  I had no idea that it made such difference in the quality of my education.  Never realized how much I was deprived.  As I can recall, I did have at least one female professor at Ricks College when I attended there, so it would appear that Church schools are 100% better than University of California.

PS:  Article appearing in the Salt Lake Tribune follows the Bloggernacle article.  In typical SLTrib fashion, the comments following are mostly either hilarious or quite unintelligible.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

April 2016 General Conference: Elder Mervyn B. Arnold, "To the Rescue: We Can Do It"


The Lord has provided all of the tools necessary for us to go to the rescue of our less-active and nonmember friends.  Elder Arnold outlines points that can assist us in this duty.


Principle 1: We Must Not Delay Going to the Rescue

Sometimes many weeks pass as we talk about how to help families or individuals who are in special need. We deliberate about who will visit them and the approach to take. Meanwhile, our lost brothers and sisters continue needing and sometimes even calling and pleading for help. We must not delay.


Principle 2: We Must Never Give Up

President Thomas S. Monson, who has sounded the clarion call to go to the rescue, noted, “Our members need to be reminded that it is never too late when it comes to our … less-active members … who could have been considered a hopeless cause.”


Principle 3: How Great Shall Be Your Joy If You Bring Save It Be One Soul unto Christ

Many years ago in a general conference, I spoke of how José de Souza Marques understood the words of the Savior that “if any man among you be strong in the Spirit, let him take with him him that is weak, that he may … become strong also.”


Principle 4: No Matter Our Age, We Are All Called to Go to the Rescue

​President Henry B. Eyring declared, “Whatever our age, capacity, Church calling, or location, we are as one called to the work to help [the Savior] in His harvest of souls until He comes again.”9

Each day more and more of our children, our youth, our young single adults, and our adult members of all ages are heeding the Savior’s clarion call to go to the rescue.


The Lord has provided all of the tools necessary for us to go to the rescue of our less-active and nonmember friends. We can all do it!



Thursday, August 25, 2016

A Brief Personal History...


I am now commencing to write the history of my life...

My son Joey challenged me to write a single page personal history.  But my life has been far too long and full to put on a single page.  Besides which I'm much too blabby.  So, it is what it is.  Might crank out 10 pages, or 100, as the muse moves me.

This blog has already been an adventure of many posts.  I'm not done yet.  But only a few of the pages have really been about my life.  Well, more than a few.  But not all of them.



I was born 19 Feb 1953, in a little maternity hospital in Inglewood CA.  Or so I am told.  Don't really recall the event.



We lived in a little house on Redondo Avenue in Manhattan Beach CA. These early photos, about 1954, show my Dad holding me, the kid with Calvin-style hair.  Standing by are Mom, Mary Lee, and Billy.


Me with rubber ducky, about 1955.



This is me on the right, Billy and Mary Lee, and Kathy.  About 1957.



Shortly thereafter, about 1955, my dad built us a big new home at 123 So. Meadows Avenue in Manhattan Beach.  Most of my childhood memories took place there.  I remember when we moved in the upstairs was not yet finished, and there were no carpets on the floors.  I shared the big bed in the living room with Billy and Mary Lee.  It was taller than me, so I needed a boost up.

My Mom's garden was always spectacular.  Manhattan Beach was an ideal growing climate for lots of beautiful garden plants.

video

This little Super8 video clip shows brother Tommy sneaking up on some unseen creature.  Featuring Mom's Snapdragons, Iris, and Roses.

video

This one shows the children lining up to show off their Easter finery.  Notice in this dramatic action sequence, Mary Lee and Kathy lead down the steps, followed by me.  Then Billy pushes Tommy off the steps - but kindly helps him up.  Give me some insight into my lifelong antipathy for bow ties.



Ours was a bright and warm home to grow up in, and I remember lots of happy times together with my big family.  I had two brothers and SIX sisters.


I remember lots of evenings in the den, fireplace roaring.  We frequently had a good supply of pine cones for burning, gathered from around my grandpa's cabin at Mt. Pinos.




This photo is my family, in front of the Christmas tree, about mid-60's.  My sister Sarah is the little baby, and Ruth had not yet arrived.  Billy, Mary Lee, Jim, Kathy, Dad.  Tom, Cindy, Beth Ann, Sarah, and Mom.  Not certain what Tom was holding behind him in his right, but it was probably some kind of mischief.



I spent my grade school years at Pennekamp School, just a block up the street from us.


My third grade class, with many friends.  I am the geeky kid on the bottom row, third from right, with the Cub Scout neckerchief.


A number of friends I have met though the years have kept in touch through Facebook, including several in this photo.  I recognize Ken Jencks and Mark Holler, in particular.



After grade school I went to Foster Begg Junior, of which I made an earlier blog entry celebrating my most memorable misadventures there.  It was confusing and tumultuous time in my life, and the only happy memories I keep are of moments playing sports, in the swimming pool, or in the library.


I recall the day, playing flag football, when I first met up with Nate Garner.  Our paths paralleled for a time as we later attended Mira Costa High School, played on the football team, then went our own ways.


My best mentor through high school was unquestionably Jack Fernandez, the wrestling coach. Nobody else made much of an impression on me, but he did.  I was never a very good wrestler or a great scholar, but Coach Fernandez was a great coach and a good man.  I realize now just how privileged I was to have met him during such a formative time in my life.  Outside of my home and family, many of the useful things I learned about in high school came from him in the wrestling gym, or from the school library.




I spent quite a bit of my idle time at the beach.  It was always a fun place to play, out in the surf, often with my friend Steve Stringham.




During my growing-up time, the LDS Church was a constant.  My parents were devoted and faithful members.  Most of my closest friends were members of the local Ward.  After our local congregation moved into this building on Rowell in Manhattan Beach, I spent quite a bit of time there with my friends and family.





Something else I spent time with in high school was SCUBA diving.  With my cousin Daryl and our friend Larry Carson, we explored the underwater world.  I never realized before that sand dollars are common in Redondo Canyon.


A group from our Boy Scout Troop certified at Dive N Surf pool in Redondo, and we had some great expeditions diving around the area.




Right after high school I was pretty aimless, really didn't know what to do with myself.  I ended up going to a couple of meaningless terms at the local college - but I spent most of my time reading at the local LDS Institute library.


Their collection was impressively comprehensive.  I learned a lot about LDS Church history, and even occasionally went to classes - mostly just for show.



In October 1971, my Mom and Dad were in a horrific auto accident that put my Dad in the hospital for months, then at home in a hospital bed with traction.


This is the family gathered around the hospital bed in our den.  Tim, Mom, Dad, Mary Lee, Kathy.  The little ones, Ruth and Sarah.  Bill, Tom, Cindy, and Beth Ann.  Me down on the end.  I was still learning how to shave.


After floundering for a while, I signed up for a special course at BYU.  It was sponsored by the Youth Leadership Department.  But we called it the Survival Adventure.



The course ran for four weeks, basically hiking through the wilderness of southern Utah with just the clothes on your back, and minimal supplies.  During the trek, we covered several hundred miles across the deserts and mountains, starting from Green River UT, past Hanksville and across the Henrys Mountains, through Capital Reef, traversing south to the tiny town of Boulder UT.

The experience marked another turning point in my life, and thereafter I determined to volunteer for missionary service for my Church for the next two years.

To be continued...



Friday, July 22, 2016

Pioneer Day


Would you be willing to walk from Illinois to Salt Lake?

With scant provisions or preparations?

Abandon your homes in Nauvoo?

At the direction of your Church leaders?






Sunday, June 05, 2016

Remembering the Teton Dam disaster...





The broken face of the Teton Dam

On the rock face at Heise Hot Springs

 On belay

I was on an a morning rock-climbing jaunt at Heise Hot Springs when the Teton Dam broke on June 5, 1976.

Growing rupture in earthfill dam swallows Cats

Some time that morning, the as the breach in the Teton dam began to manifest, observers had raised the alarm that the dam was in danger of failing.

A couple of Caterpillar operators had tried to push dirt and rocks into the breach, but were swallowed up by the growing chasm.  The men escaped, but the bulldozers were swept into the gulf and lost forever.

The Teton Dam bursts

On returning from the rock-climbing, we noticed that the Rexburg radio stations were no longer on the air.  We had no inkling of the flood.

As we stopped at a convenience store on the road back, we overheard a number of people telling each other flood stories.  We still had no suspicion about what had taken place while we were out of town that morning.

As we approached Rexburg on the highway, it was a bit of a shock to encounter a farmer wearing bib overalls and hip waders, and wielding a shotgun, standing in the road blocking the way into town.  We tried to explain that we were students at Ricks College, and we lived in Rexburg, but he insisted that the way was covered by the flood, and he would not let us pass.

We turned around and followed the dirt back roads into Rexburg, approaching through fields above the town.  As we came over a rise, it was apparent that the story was no exaggeration.  The vista across the valley was a virtual lake.

 Flooded Rexburg

At the transition to pavement we encountered a massive traffic jam of vehicles, driven by people from Rexburg who had gathered there, fleeing from the flood.

The Ricks College campus is built on the slope overlooking the valley, and was not flooded, but the water spread far and wide through downtown Rexburg and other smaller towns across the valley.

I left off my passengers at the Ricks College student union building, and attempted to travel across the main highway on the west side of town to reach my apartment.  As I approached, the water was beginning to recede.  Crossing the highway in my old Ford pickup, the water just reached up to the middle of the doors.
Flooded highway

That summer I had been staying in a basement apartment in the home of Dr Sam Brewster on the southwest end of town.  We had been working together on an agriculture research project.  I forged through the swirling floodwaters and approached the home, just as the water began to ebb.

Flooded Rexburg home

As I approached the home on the mud-covered roads, everything else appeared to be normal.  But as I drove up, I saw that the driveways and sidewalks were buried deep in the slick silty mud deposited by the flood waters.

I opened the garage door of the house, and went inside to inspect the basement.  The entrance to the basement was completely filled to the top with water.  It looked just like a muddy swimming pool.  I descended a couple of tentative steps down into the water, but to my consternation found it to be freezing cold.  As I stood there knee deep in the water, I could see my breath steaming out in the frigid air.  I quickly retreated.

By this time, most of the flooding around the house had receded, and I made my way through the deep mud into the back yard to see if I could get into my apartment through the basement windows.

All the windows were covered from within by the pool of cold brown muddy water.  I managed to pry one window opened, and out flowed a great surge of muddy water.  Along with the water, a number of my soggy muddy belongings also surged out into the back yard mud, books and clothing and bed sheets, all wadded up in a sodden, muddy mess.

I gave up on trying to salvage anything of my belongings at that moment, and decided to instead begin work on clearing away the slimy mud that was covering the driveway and sidewalks.  I located an old snowshovel in the wreckage of the garage and began attempting to shovel some of the mess out into the street.

Right about that time, Sam Brewster drove up.  He expressed great relief on finding me well, as I had been out of contact since the flood hit.

We started in on trying to clean things up.  It was a horrible mess, with all that stinking mud, and we wanted to shovel it off before it started drying.

Anyway, after our initial cleanup effort I went back into town and talked to Doc Lowder, one of the Ricks College professors.  Doc said I could move back into the Delti Phi house where I had been staying earlier.  It was on higher ground and had escaped the flood.  So I had a place to take a bath and sleep.

The next day was Sunday, but I had no clean clothes to wear to church.  All I had was the filthy stuff I had been wearing to clean up the mud.  I went up to the Ricks College gym building, and they had a big collection of donated clothing, so I rummaged through it and found some trousers and a clean shirt to put on.

As I later found out, President Eyring, who was then president of Ricks College, had taken steps to mobilize disaster relief efforts from the Church.  He also opened up the facilities of the Ricks College campus for victims of the flood to take refuge.  The cafeteria began serving meals to flood victims, and continued for several months.

As I recall, we had a very short Church meeting, and the branch president encouraged everyone to go out and do what they could to help the cleanup effort.

Also that Sunday, the phone company had set up a bank of emergency phones on the Ricks campus, and I was able to call my parents in southern California to assure them that I was okay.   They had seen the news about the flood, but were unable to call and find out what was going on, because all the phone service had been discontinued with the flooding.

I asked them to find a pump to send that we could use to drain basements.  They found one right away, and my brother Tom travelled to Rexburg the next day to help us empty out basements all over Rexburg.  We spent the rest of that summer helping to clean up the mess.

Cleaning up a flooded basement in Rexburg

After my brother arrived with the pump, we started working on draining out basements.

Mud-filled basement of Rexburg home

My older brother's wife Valerie was from the Hibbard area northwest of Rexburg, and she asked me to try and drive out to Joe and Erna's place in Hibbard to check on them, since they had no phone service and no way to communicate.

I drove out the highway that heads northwest out of Rexburg toward the Hibbard area, and found part of the road obstructed by houses that had been lifted off their foundation by the flood.

Teton River after flooding

After threading through the houses sitting in the middle of the road road, I approached the crossing of the Teton River.  It had been scoured bare by the surging flood water.  There were no standing trees or vegetation left.  I bounced my pickup through the maze of cobblestones across the bare river channel.  What had been a peaceful quiet flowing small stream of water now seemed to be something like a half mile wide.

After crossing the denuded river bed, I arrived in the Hibbard area and higher ground.  Joe's house appeared to be untouched by the flood - it was high and dry.  As I drove up to the house, Erna was out trying to water her flowers from a watering can, and Joe was in the garage frying up meat on his Coleman stove, because the power had been out there since the flood, and all the food from their freezer was thawing.

Anyway, Joe said they had climbed up onto the roof of the house to watch the flood.  The waters had parted around them, so their little neighborhood was a virtual island.  But they were doing just fine.

Flood cleanup efforts continued.  Dr Brewster's basement was pumped out and the mud scooped up.  We set up a little reclamation station on his driveway, with Wilma running the hose trying to wash off the mud from items we were retrieving from the basement.  Initially we tried putting some of the washable stuff through the washing machine, but the mud proved too much for the laundry, and we abandoned that effort.

Sam's academic book collection was not salvageable.  The Bureau of Reclamation flood relief team recommeded to the people of Rexburg that floodwater contamination was likely to have spoiled all home-canned preserves, so we discarded hundreds of bottles of food that had been so laboriously prepared by Wilma.  There was also tons of food storage wheat that had been in the basement, and was spoiled by the flood waters.  Most all of the children's toys had been in the basement, and were ruined by the muddy water.  Of course all the major furniture was ruined and beyond salvage.

The water in Sam's basement had just lapped at the ceiling in most places, so none of the upstairs part of the house was too damaged.  But all the sheetrock in the basement was ruined by the muddy water, and had to be ripped out.

When we finally had everything cleaned up and torn down to bare studs, there was one final insulting reminder of the flood.  Turns out, the flood had carried silt and gravel into the sewers throughout Rexburg, and the sewage was no longer being carried away.  Enough sewage backed up through the connection to the house that it began flooding out of the plumbing opening for the toilet that had been there.

Raw sewage began gushing out in a stinking geyser, and flooded the basement with several inches of filthy standing water, and other things the sewage brought.  We reported the problem to the city, and they sent a vacuum truck to clean out the local sewer connections in the neighborhood the next day.

As we continued to work on recovering Sam's basement, I eventually had a bit of time to spend ranging around and exploring the area.  I was amazed and dismayed at the devastation.

Junk piled up in the front yard, flooded Rexburg home

Prior to the flood, one of the people I had befriended in the Rexburg area lived on a ranch just northeast of town.  It was a family with all daughters that for some reason had a number of horses that the girls would no longer ride.  I spent a number of weekend afternoons on that ranch, helping exercise the horses for them.

After the flood, I took a trip up to that area to see what had become of them.  It was as if the face of the earth had been scoured clean.  There was no trace left of the ranch house or barns, not even foundations to be seen.  I never found out what happened to those people.

Throughout Rexburg, people had lived in their basements for years.  The floodwaters made a wreck of many homes in just a few hours time.

Rexburg home basement ruins


On the north end of Rexburg, there had been a sawmill on the banks of the Teton River.  Much of the flood damage sustained in that area resulted from sawlogs that drifted on the surge.  Logs were jammed up against the side of home and buildings, and many of them gave way under the pressure of the logs in the current.

Log damaged homes in Rexburg

Businesses along the highway going north out of Rexburg were destroyed by log and water damage.  The highway paving itself was pretty much gone.  The first time I braved the highway north, it was just a dirt path threaded through logjams and wreckage bulldozed out of the way by a big Caterpillar.


Rexburg gas station on north highway

Some of the Rexburg businesses on the north end of town were farm implement dealers, and they were virtually wiped out.

Wrecked farm machinery north Rexburg

 Most of the little town of Sugar City on the bank of the Teton River was virtually swept away in the flood.  In many areas, bare foundations were left by the flood waters.

Sugar City flood damage

Some time later, the Bureau of Reclamation set up desks in the gym at the Ricks College campus for people to file damage claims.

 People filing damage claims at Ricks gym

Turns out less than a dozen people were killed in the flood, but many hundreds of millions of dollars in property damage were sustained.  Tens of thousands of cattle and horses were killed, along with many other domestic and wild animals in the flooded area.   Estimates are that the Bureau of Reclamation spent $100 million to construct the Teton Dam, then caused up to $2 billion in damages from the flood.

One of the most disturbing images from the flood aftermath that stays with me is a picture in my mind of thousand of animals being buried in a huge mass grave, being covered over with dirt by a massive bulldozer.

A museum was later created in Rexburg to house flood memorabilia.  The museum is housed in the old Rexburg Tabernacle, which survived the flood.

Rexburg  Teton Flood Museum