“One of the highest qualities of all true leadership is courage…that quality of life by which an individual determines the proper course to pursue and stand with fidelity to their convictions…the most momentous questions and the greatest dangers to personal happiness are not always met and solved within oneself [without the aid of a higher power, or God] and if individuals cannot courageously meet the difficulties, and obstacles of their individual lives and natures, how are they to meet successfully those public questions in which the welfare and happiness of the public concerned?”- Joseph F. Smith
“Democracy cannot survive as a matter of institutions alone. It relies ultimately on the conscience and care of each citizen. . . . So individuals and individual choices do matter: the effect of one upright individual is incalculable. World leaders may see their effect in headlines, but the ultimate course of the globe will be determined by the efforts of innumerable individuals acting on their consciences.”
Oscar Arias, Nobel Prize Winner and Former President of Costa Rica
I know a soul that is steeped in sin,
That no man’s art can cure;
But I know a Name, a Name, a Name
That can make that soul all pure.
I know a life that is lost to God,
Bound down by the things of earth;
But I know a Name, a Name, a Name
That can bring that soul new birth.
I know of lands that are sunk in shame,
Of hearts that faint and tire;
But I know a Name, a Name, a Name
That can set those lands on fire.
Its sound is a brand, its letters flame
Like glowing tongues of fire.
I know a Name, a Name, a Name
That will set those lands on fire.
With hate and lust,
Stamp on intrinsic
Things of dust
Tiny coins of brass
Show forth their face
As in a glass.
Boast their name,
The years they ruled;
Their weight of fame.
Only One King
Has shed his blood
That men might walk
Whose coin is love,
And graved thereon :
A scourge, a cross,
A crown of thorn;
Is without period…
The King of Heaven’
The Son of God!
John Richard Moreland
Hold Fast your dreams!
Within your heart
Keep one still, secret spot
Where dreams may go,
And sheltered so,
May thrive and grow
Where doubt and fear are not.
O keep a place apart,
Within your heart,
For little dreams to go!
Think still of lovely things that are not true.
Let wish and magic work at will in you.
Be sometimes blind to sorrow. Make believe!
Forget the calm that lies
In disillusioned eyes.
Though we all know that we must die,
Yet you and I
May walk like gods and be
Even now at home in immortality.
We see so many ugly things–
Deceits and wrongs and quarrelings;
We know, alas! we know
How quickly fade
The color in the west,
The bloom upon the flower,
The bloom upon the breast,
And youth’s blind hour.
Yet keep in your heart
A place apart
Where little dreams may go,
May thrive and grow.
Hold fast-hold fast your dreams.
I couldn’t let this day go by without talking about my dear Mom. My earliest memories of my Mom is her teaching me to pray, although I remember a lot of those prayers were about how to deal with my new baby brother and how he had displaced me. At the age of four, I was a little lost as my role as the youngest had taken a dramatic turn and I was now in no man’s land as the middle child. It would take a lot of time and a lot of prayers before I found myself again at the age of five.
My Mom, as most moms are, was the softer side of my parents. When taking long trips, she would be the one to convince my Dad to pull over so we could use the bathroom rather than using the Wilson tennis ball can as my Dad had suggested. Or convince my Dad to splurge and let us eat a Big Mac once in while rather than our steady diet of brewer’s yeast, wheat bread, and carrots.
My Dad had and still has the endurance of a Sherpa, a total machine, when it came to physical activities like jogging, biking, swimming and hiking and is the epitome of enduring steadiness. Never the fastest, he could however go forever. Rumor has it that he was the inspiration for the tortoise in Aesop’s The Tortoise and The Hare. And for many years, our family trips consisted of taking this 20 to 50 mile Spartan-like youth hikes in the back country of Idaho. It was my Mom who took the edge off of these hikes for us when we were little kids, carrying many of us until we could hold our own around the age of 5. It was my Mom who make these trips tolerable by always cooking up all of our freeze dried meals and making them seem like the best food in the world. And it was my Mom who finally said enough with these trips when during the first leg of fifty mile hike she hiked back down with my little brother and spent the rest of the trip in Sun Valley, Idaho at a hotel with a swimming pool while my Dad and I continued on with the fifty miler surviving off of trout (Idaho trout, the best trout in the world!) with a side of unevenly cooked chocolate pudding with hidden pockets of uncooked pudding mix goodness. Of course, by that time my Dad had taken up marathons and triathlons, so the shift in activities did not put him out too much.
It is because of my Mom, the consummate extrovert complete with “planning hands”, that I have the ability to be extroverted at times and take interest in other people. I am a good mix of my Mom and Dad, half extrovert and half introvert. Although, I do prefer the introverted side, but that’s just the selfishness in me. But I digress, back to my Mom. My mother has a great sense of humor and as part of her positive personality she can always find humor in any bad situation. While she definitely has a serious side to her, especially when it came to her catering work and talking back to her, she has the ability to laugh at herself and not take herself always too seriously. As when I was younger, it is still true today that whenever she is around I feel like everything is going to be alright.
For some reason, all of my life I have been fascinated with my Mom’s childhood. Part of it had to do with the fact, that she did not grow up Mormon and for an isolated kid like me I found that so alien from the world I lived in growing up. The other thing is I associated her being raised in Southern California with all that was cool in the 1950’s. For the longest time, I thought the girl on the cover of the American Graffiti album was a picture of her when she was young, although I am pretty sure the reason that I thought that was her was because my big sister, who knew I was very gullible, told me so. But, my Mom did live in the heyday of Southern California with the Beach Boy’s, drag racing, beach parties, etc. She was even one of the first female lifeguards in California.
As I get older, I know I should be grateful and I am grateful for all she has done for me, but I really have no clue, especially as a man, when it comes to the extent that I should grateful for her. Nor do I understand the extent of her love for me and my siblings and her grandchildren and great-grandchildren. All I know is she keeps on being an inspiration to us all and a source of pride. And, we all knew she could not keep still during retirement and it would be only a matter of time when she’d be doing something and we are very proud of her and my Dad’s decision to go to the Brisbane, Australia mission soon.
War I hate with all its mocking panoply. It is a grim and living testimony of Satan, the father of lies, the enemy of God, lives. War is earth’s greatest cause of human misery. It is the destroyer of life, the promoter of hate, the waster of treasure. It is man’s costliest folly, his most tragic misadventure…
But since the day that Cain slew Abel, there has been contention among men. There have always been, and until the Prince of Peace comes to reign, there always will be tyrants and bullies, empire builders, slave seekers, and despots who would destroy every shred of human liberty if they were not opposed by force of arms…
–Gordon B. Hinckley
I sought Him where my logic led.
“This friend is always sure and right,
His lantern is sufficient light. . . .
I need no star,” I said.
I sought Him in the city square.
Logic and I went up and down
The market-place of many a town,
And He was never there.
I tracked Him to the Mind’s far rim.
The valiant intellect went forth
To east and west and south and north.
And found no trace of Him !
We walked the world from sun to sun,
Logic and I, with little faith;
But never came to Nazareth,
Or found the Holy One.
I sought in vain. And finally
Back to the Heart’s small house I crept,
And fell upon my knees and wept,
And lo, He came to me!
Sarah Henderson Hay
On October 6, in the year 1536, a pitiful figure was led from a dungeon in Vilvorde Castle near Brussels, Belgium. For nearly a year and a half, the man had suffered isolation in a dark, damp cell. Now outside the castle wall, the prisoner was fastened to a post. He had time to utter aloud his final prayer, “Lord! open the king of England’s eyes,” and then he was strangled. Immediately, his body was burned at the stake. Who was this man, and what was the offense for which both political and ecclesiastical authorities had condemned him? His name was William Tyndale, and his crime was to have translated and published the Bible in English.
Tyndale, born in England about the time Columbus sailed to the new world, was educated at Oxford and Cambridge and then became a member of the Catholic clergy. He was fluent in eight languages, including Greek, Hebrew, and Latin. Tyndale was a devoted student of the Bible, and the pervasive ignorance of the scriptures that he observed in both priests and lay people troubled him deeply. In a heated exchange with a cleric who argued against putting scripture in the hands of the common man, Tyndale vowed, “If God spare my life, ere many years I will cause a boy that driveth the plough, shall know more of the Scripture than thou dost!”
He sought the approval of church authorities to prepare a translation of the Bible in English so that all could read and apply the word of God. It was denied—the prevailing view being that direct access to the scriptures by any but the clergy threatened the authority of the church and was tantamount to casting “pearls before swine” (Matthew 7:6).
Tyndale nevertheless undertook the challenging work of translation. In 1524 he traveled to Germany, under an assumed name, where he lived much of the time in hiding, under constant threat of arrest. With the help of committed friends, Tyndale was able to publish English translations of the New Testament and later the Old Testament. The Bibles were smuggled into England, where they were in great demand and much prized by those who could get them. They were shared widely but in secret. The authorities burned all the copies they could find. Nevertheless, within three years of Tyndale’s death, God did indeed open King Henry VIII’s eyes, and with publication of what was called the “Great Bible,” the scriptures in English began to be publicly available. Tyndale’s work became the foundation for almost all future English translations of the Bible, most notably the King James Version.
William Tyndale was not the first, nor the last, of those who in many countries and languages have sacrificed, even to the point of death, to bring the word of God out of obscurity. We owe them all a great debt of gratitude…What did people in 16th-century England, who paid enormous sums and ran grave personal risks for access to a Bible, understand that we should also understand?–D. Todd Christofferson, The Blessing of Scripture