My Life with Animals

We have in our home a sweet little “rescue dog.”  The poor little thing spent the first five years of her life alone (or roaming with other dogs), surviving on an Indian Reservation in northern New Mexico.  Life on “the Res” can be hard on a little lost or abandoned dog.  When she was captured, the kennel staff named her “Frizz” (I wonder why?).

“Frizz’s” first day in Captivity.

At first, she was a bit “on the wild side” and a little “testy” with her captors.  However, they gave her shots, clipped her hair short with scissors, bathed her, clipped her nails, spayed her, inserted an identity chip under her skin, and gave her a new name: “Brunhilda” (or just Hildy).  To this day, she still continues to be a little “testy” with strangers (especially men), but she’s usually okay with women, and she seems to love children.  In addition, she loves our family and we love her dearly.  Oh, and we gave her a new name, “Missy.”  (The name was derived from my daughter Melissa’s name.  Melissa was instrumental in picking me up from my despair after the sudden and traumatic death of my sweet little dog, Riley.  She understood my pain and sorrow; so one day, Melissa came to me and said: “Dad, come with me.  We’re going to find you a dog!”  That was the day Melissa found our little Missy; and, “…rescued me” from sadness.)

“Fritz” as she looks today! New name, she is our Little “Missy.”

Animals have always been an important part of my life.  Mostly, I love my family and friends, but my love for animals is also high on my list.  Yes, we have been granted “dominion over all animals,” but I believe we should always be respectful and kind to them.

I grew up with dogs and cats.  They have shared my room and my life with me.  My first dog was a little Chihuahua named “Peanut.” He was a fun and loving little companion. And each night, he’d crawl under my bed covers and slept down by my feet. My first memory of severe emotional grief came when I “lost” Peanut. Many years have gone by, and many pets have come and gone, but I still have their memories in my heart and mind. As near as I can recall, I can still count and name 31 animal pets (including seven amazing horses).  As I said, I do love my family more than animals, but I have been known to say, “Generally, I like animals more than people!”  Pets (dogs in particular) are loyal and love us unconditionally; they are always happy to see us; they’re quick to forgive our mistakes; and, they never hold a grudge. I believe my love of animals was inherited from my Mother.  Mom also loved all animals, but like me, she mostly loved dogs and cats.  Animals have made me happy, and they can take away the sadness. I love all my animal friends.

Clockwise from little Riley at my feet: Josie, Blaze, Jake, and Beauty. That’s me in the middle.

Over the years, horses have become an important part of my life.  I’m sometimes not sure whether they belonged to me, or I to them.  Regardless, my first encounter with these beautiful creatures (besides watching western movies at the Saturday afternoon Matinee Theater), came on Sunday afternoons after church.  On our way home, Mom would often stop at the rodeo arena in South City to watch the weekend events.  Then there were the trips to Half Moon Bay on Saturdays to ride the trail horses.  I learned to love the smell of horses and leather saddles.

I have come to believe horses are a beautiful and divine gift from our God to us.  We know horses have been a companion to man for many centuries …perhaps forever!  Horses are an important part of our history.  And, I am confident we will somehow continue to enjoy their companionships in the hereafter.  They are strong, beautiful, loyal, trustworthy, and hardworking.  And, they like to be with us!  In addition, they make the land so much more beautiful just by slowly moving about and grazing.  I have learned a great deal working with horses. Frankly, I believe we can all learn much from them. Positive characteristics such as loyal companionship, friendship, kindness, and love all come to mind. In return, all horses ask of us is kindness, gentleness, patience, and consistency (along with regular feeding, plenty of fresh drinking water, shelter from the elements, and regular exercise).

As with most animals, horses are instinctive creatures.  They have fears about danger and self-preservation; so, they are always on the alert.  Most animals can be divided into two broad categories: Prey or Predator.  Horses are “prey” animals and are ready to bolt at the first sign of potential threat or danger. So, in working with these wonderful creatures, we must first gain and always retail their trust. They need to know who/what we are: friend or threat.  Once they know and begin to trust us, we can begin developing our relationship (or companionship).

My horses never really liked it when the Ferrier arrived to trim and shoe their feet.  As soon as he arrived, they would usually run to the back pasture and keep a constant eye on him from a distance.  (I don’t think they liked the sound of his strange truck on our property, nor the clanging noises of his tools.)  They would only come forward to the corrals if they knew I was there.  When I called out to them, only then would they trot forward and enter the corrals to have their feet trimmed and shod.  Once in the corrals, they were all very cooperative and freely gave the Ferrier their feet.

With horses, we must always remain calm and consistent: no wild behaviors, gestures, sudden movements, loud noises, or cruelty.  And, as mention above, horses need a routine on which they can rely: regular feedings; ample freshwater; and plenty of exercise.  In addition, they also need meaningful duties/tasks (a job); time allowed for free expression (turnout); and, a great deal of love, handling, and positive feedback.  The goal is to be consistent, to gain and maintain their trust, and to bond with them: to become part of their herd.  Over time, we will become their trusted friend; and, if we’re patient, they will show their love, friendship and loyalty to us.  However, throughout the process, we must always be “patient and consistent” (predictable enough that they can “read” us).  This is done by being consistently patient, kind and gentle, but firm. As noted horse trainer Buck Brannaman puts it: “Gentle in what you do, and firm in how you do it.”

A horse’s natural behavior is to “…just be a horse” …to graze, eat, walk, and drink (and run a little). Slowly walking about and grazing is important for the mind of a horse.  It is their natural behavior (and perhaps their favorite behavior).  In addition, if they’re properly cared for and feel safe and secure, horses will also provide companionship and service to us. Over the years, my horses and I developed mutually supportive friendships. These have been loving, fun and rewarding “give and take” relationships.  Most recently, I had four of these beautiful animals in my little herd: Jake (the oldest), JosieBlaze, and Beauty.  Jake and Josie are both full-sized Registered Tri-Color Paints; Blaze is a tall, grade sorrel with a blaze marking; and, Beauty is a relatively small Black grade pony (POA): a kids’ horse.  They were all very well trained and provided me hours of companionship, good work, and joy.

“A horse is a man’s slave, but if you treat him like a slave, you aren’t a man.” Anonymous

Lessons I learned from my Horses

In the Summers on our property, I usually turned the horses out at night to graze in the pasture. During a new moon, when the earth is in darkness, I loved walking out into the field and just standing there, taking in the peaceful majesty of the night. I also enjoyed looking into the Milky Way Galaxy above and viewing the inspiring canopy of stars in the night sky. Horses have excellent night vision, so they could see me …but I could not see them. They would always walk toward me and gather very carefully and gently around me in the field. It was always inspiring when I heard and sensed those large animals approaching me out of the darkness to just stand next to me. They knew who I was; I was their friend (we were friends) and they trusted me. Those moments reminded me of a scriptural verse in the Book of Isaiah. When the Prophet wrote these words, many of the Israelites had turned away from their God, and Isaiah was lamenting: “The ox knoweth his master, …but Israel doth not know, my people doth not consider” (Isaiah 1:3). Israel’s animals knew their masters (and loved them); but, as a people, Israel knew not (or had forgotten) their God, who is their Master. Today, just as in the days of Isaiah, it is essential that we know our God who loves us and provides for us (see John 17:3). This is an important lesson I learned from my work with horses.

Another lesson I learned from my horses was to “be prepared for and anticipate the morning light.”  Our ranch was situated in a beautiful mountain valley where the winter mornings can be very cold. I usually fed the horses in the mornings before the sun came up and in the late afternoon just before dark. The winter nights can be long and cold for the animals, so in the early mornings, they would usually gather together on the west side of the pasture and patiently wait to catch the first bit of sunlight as it broke over the tops of the east mountains. As for myself, I also watched for the sun to rise above the eastern horizon …because I knew as soon as it did, “immediately,” and I literally mean “immediately,” I would feel the warmth of its radiance.

This is a great lesson and a “type” of the influence of the Gospel and the Savior in our lives. Those of us who may be struggling in darkness and/or despair (whether by ignorance or disobedience) can also feel the “immediate” love and influence of the gospel in our lives when we turn from inappropriate behavior and embrace Jesus Christ. He will “immediately” bless our lives with His love and the warmth of the gospel. We may not be made completely whole “immediately,” but we will feel his love and have hope “immediately” as the “great plan of redemption” is “brought about” in us!  Pure and lasting joy will come as we learn more of Him, continue to follow Him, and embrace His Plan of Happiness.

“Yea, I would that ye would come forth and harden not your hearts any longer; for behold, now is the time and the day of your salvation; and therefore, if ye will repent and harden not your hearts, immediately shall the great plan of redemption be brought about unto you.”  (Book of Mormon, Alma 34:31)

Working with horses (and dogs and cats) has taught me many lessons, and has made me a better and happier man.

For additional insight concerning our sacred and eternal relationship with animals, please see:
Animals and the Afterlife,” by President Joseph Fielding Smith, LDS General Conference Address, October 1928; and,
The Gospel and Animals,” by Gerald E. Jones, Ensign Magazine, August 1972.

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Carpe Diem

(Definition: a Latin phrase that means “seize the day,” encouraging people to embrace the day and make the most of their time.)

My daughter, Marie (“My Marie”) turned 39 years old yesterday!  Humm, it got me thinking.  A lot has happened since that cute little girl and her six brothers and sisters lost their Mommy …and I became a single Dad.  Early on in those days, while we were all sleeping soundly in our beds, I would often awake in the night with the sense I was being watched.  Opening my eyes, I could see the shadowy image of a little curly-haired blonde girl standing by the side of my bed …quietly staring at me in the darkness.  I would always reach my arm out and softly roll her over me and onto the bed beside me.  Not a word was spoken.  She was my beautiful little Marie, and she was three years old.

Since those days (and in addition to the fact that Marie has married a man taller, stronger, and better looking than me, and she has four beautiful children of her own) life has been good.  (Random note: I love hearing my grandchildren call my daughters “Mom.” Anyway, as a family, my children and I have all grown and moved along with our lives with growing families of our own.  Yet, we still love each other and keep in close contact.  After all, we are still a family.  Despite our foibles and a few setbacks, I’m proud of our family, and I love them all.

Nevertheless, today I’m having what might be referred to as “a mid-winter introspection.”  I am 73 years old, relatively healthy, comfortably retired, and my eyes are wide open.  I have time to think!  Life has been good, and I’m a happy man!  However, I am also at a point where I’m wondering, “what more can I do?”  “What am I not doing that I should be doing?”  These are two very profound and personal questions …questions I must answer for myself.  They come to me as I ponder the following words of President George Albert Smith (1870-1951):

“We are not here to while away the hours of this life and then pass to a sphere of exaltation, but we are here to qualify ourselves day by day for the positions that our Father expects us to fill hereafter.”

As I think about these things, I am growing to appreciate more fully the value of “TODAY.”  I realize each day is a unique gift full of opportunities!  And, I need to anticipate and prepare for each day.  During my life I have had  many opportunities and blessings.  I have joy, happiness and great memories from the past.  And, I’m excited about the future.  But, “TODAY” is now!  It is what I have been given, and I control “MY TODAY.”  I am excited about “TODAY.”

Building on this idea about the value and importance of “TODAY,” I was reminded of a great quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson:

“One of the illusions of life is that the present hour is not the critical, decisive hour. Write it on your heart that every day is the best day of the year. He only is rich who owns the day, and no one owns the day who allows it to be invaded with worry, fret, and anxiety. Finish every day and be done with it. You have done what you could.  Some blunders and absurdities no doubt have crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day; begin it well and serenely and with too high a spirit to be cumbered with your old nonsense. This day is all that is good and fair. It is too dear, with its hopes and invitations, to waste a moment on yesterdays.”

So, what about my time TODAY?”  What should I be doing “TODAY?” In my retirement, this is a question I often think about.  But, frankly, it’s up to me.  “Will I make good choices?”  I’ve noticed that much of what I do each day is out of my control: sleeping, working, cleaning, laundry, taking the trash out, shopping, shoveling the snow, etc.  But, I also have adequate “discretionary time”  …free time or available time.  So, how should I use my discretionary time?  I don’t want to waste it.  I’ve also noticed, it’s difficult to fully plan discretionary time.  I don’t always know what opportunities will come my way.  But, I do know they will come.  That said, I need to be ready, willing, and looking for opportunities that come my way.  I am confident that if I’m ready, willing and diligently looking for opportunities, relying on the influence of the Holy Spirit, all will be well “TODAY,” …and, I will not miss the opportunities coming to me.  In addition, I will more likely recognize them and will know “what more I can do” and “what I should be doing.”  It’s just up to me to do it.  “Just Do It!”  Furthermore, as I do it, I will be better prepared for yet another “TODAY” full of opportunities.

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Some Christmas Favorites


Watch a beautiful and inspiring video of the events surrounding the Birth of the Christ Child.
(When you finish watching this video, please close the tab to return to this page.)


A seasonal Gift-Giving tradition.  Learn about the legend of St. Nicholas (Sinterklaas).  Then, share the legend with your children.   This European tradition dates back to the 4th Century AD.


Read and hear the tail of “Good King Wenceslas.”  It’s a Christmas carol published in 1853 relating the story of a benevolent Bohemian king on a journey, braving harsh winter weather, to give alms to a poor peasant on the Feast of Stephen.  Also, watch this inspiring tail as told by Jane Seymour and the Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square.


‘In a Clock Store’ – Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.  Listen to this whimsical clock music from “a clockmaker’s workshop” (after hours).  Fun music that will inspire a child’s mind!  When our children were young, they loved dancing about the Livingroom to this joyful music.  Enjoy!
(When you finish watching this musical video, please close the tab to return to this  “Some Christmas Favorites” page.)


This is a link to our most recent Edgar Family Christmas Letter

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Holy Phrases and Holy Principles

As I read the Holy Scriptures, I occasionally spot key phrases that help direct my attention to Holy and Eternal principles.  You’ve probably seen them, too.  They often reoccur and act as “attention getters” pointing our minds towards important guiding principles in our spiritual journey.  Phrases like: “thus saith the Lord…”, “thus we see…”, “further light and knowledge”, “this thing is a type” or even “Stand in Holy Places” are examples.  When we see or read these and other common phrases, they can be like signposts alerting us to what’s ahead, or what we need to consider.  They should not be passed over lightly as we rush through our daily scripture reading.  They should catch our attention and alert our senses to important recorded principles as we study.  When guided by the Holy Spirit, they can help to enlighten our understanding and prepare us for further instruction (further light and knowledge).

I like highlighting and making notes on these types of phrases.  They help me.  Some who read this may describe the practice as an example of my “Concrete, Sequential” behavior.  Others may say I suffer from an “Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder” (OCD).  Be that as it may, I don’t think of my behavior as a disorder.  I just go with it and enjoy the results.  It stimulates my thinking, guides my thoughts, invites the influence of the Holy Spirit, and helps me to remember.  I find it a way to better understand what I read.  My reading feels more meaningful and more productive.

Anyway, I plan to take even more active notice of these phrases and write them down here (on this page) for further and future reference.  I have started with a shortlist, but I’ll add to it as I spot and identify additional Holy phrases.  If you are interested in adding or building onto this list, I would enjoy seeing what you may have found.  And with your permission, I would be happy to add any additional key scriptural phrases to this growing list.  Please just write them down in the “Comments” box at the bottom of this page and hit the POST COMMENT button.  Thank you for your input and insights.

Here is my current list (sorted alphabetically):

A Principle with a Promise
Act under the direction of the Spirit
Align with the Brethren
An Infinite Atonement
Become a disciple of Jesus Christ
Become more like the Savior
Belief in God “Eases the fear of death.”
Build Faith and Strengthen Testimonies
Cast Satan out
Clean as you go!
Come Follow Me
Come unto Jesus
Do the Spiritual preparation
Endure to the end (in righteousness)
Fast and Pray
Filled with joy
Follow the Prophet
Gentle in what you do.  Firm in how you do it.
Go up to the Temple
Have Faith in Jesus Christ
His hand is stretched out still
Hold to the Rod
Holiness to the Lord
Honor your Covenants
Immerse yourself in Scripture Study
It was an exclamation, not an editorial comment.
Lead like the Savior
Lift up your heads forever
Liken the Scriptures unto you
Look to the Temple
Make and Honor Sacred Covenants
Never-ending Happiness
Obey the Commandments
Peace of conscience.
Put in them their Spirits
Put on the whole armor of God
Read the Holy Scriptures
Remain True and Faithful
Repent and be converted
Retain a remission of your sins
Sanctify yourselves
Seek further Instructions
Seek further Light and Knowledge
Seek ye diligently the Kingdom of God
Stand in Holy Places
Stand spotless before the Lord
Stand with Confidence
Stay on the Path
The condescension of God
The Covenant Path
The Greater Light
The Holy One of Israel
The Hope of Israel
The Light of Christ
The Light of the World
The Love of God
They shall not be ashamed that wait for Me
This thing is a Type
Thus saith the Lord…
Thus we see…
To be Spiritually minded is Life Eternal
True and faithful

(To Be Continued!)

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Come Unto God

We are all children of a loving Heavenly Father.  He is the God of Heaven and Earth, and the Father of our spirits.  We lived with Him as His spirit children before we came to Earth.  It has been His plan from the beginning that we all follow His path and become like Him.  As part of His “Great Plan of Salvation,” our spirits were sent to Earth to be born, receive a physical body (from earthly parents), and gain earthly experience.

Before coming to Earth, we all knew and understood we would have challenges and temptations here; and, we would often make mistakes.  This life of challenges, trials, and temptations was all part of His Plan, and we agreed to it.  We knew we would need a physical body; and, we knew we would need to overcome our weaknesses and modify our inappropriate behaviors to become more like the Father and qualify for Eternal Life with Him.  This was all part of His glorious plan.  We would need to repent of our mistakes (sins) and strive to become more like Him!  As mortals, we are naturally weak and often make mistakes.  But our Heavenly Father wants us to repent, seek forgiveness, draw unto Him, and be sanctified by the Holy Spirit.  This process of repentance, forgiveness, and coming unto the Father is the process of “sanctification” (see Book of Mormon, 3 Nephi 27:20).

However, in this life, we do not automatically have a clear memory or knowledge of our pre-earthly existence, nor of God’s Great and Eternal Plan for us.  In fact, many of us have little or no memory (nor even the idea) of our pre-earthly life …nor of God’s plan.  But the information is out there, and the whisperings and promptings of the Holy Spirit will guide us.  Often, the noise and distractions of the world drowned out those spiritual whisperings.  This is our challenge, but our Heavenly Father has not abandoned us!  A modern-day prophet has provided the following insight:

“My dear brothers and sisters, we live in a most difficult dispensation. Challenges, controversies, and complexities swirl around us. …our Heavenly Father never intended that we would deal with the maze of personal problems and social issues on our own. ‘God so loved the world that He sent His Only Begotten Son’ (see John 3:16) to help us (see John 17:24; 1 Peter 1:20). And His Son, Jesus Christ, gave His life for us. All so that we could have access to godly power—power sufficient to deal with the burdens, obstacles, and temptations of our day. We can protect ourselves by knowing and living by the word of God (see Ephesians 6:17–18; Doctrine and Covenants 27:18). We begin by learning about Him. ‘It is impossible for [us] to be saved in ignorance’ (see D&C 131:6). The more we know about the Savior’s ministry and mission—the more we understand His doctrine (see 2 Nephi 31:2-21) and what He did for us—the more we know that He can provide the power that we need for our lives.”
President Russell M. Nelson

Through the guiding influence of the Holy Spirit (the Revelator, a member of the Godhead), He will teach us all things we need to know.  (2 Nephi 32:5, John 16:13, and D&C 45:57)  For our part, we must seek an understanding of God’s Great Plan through prayer, study, and obedience to the truths and knowledge we receive.  Initially, our earthly parents and teachers provide guidance.  But ultimately, the responsibility is ours.  We must individually seek to understand the will of God by earnest and humble prayer to our Heavenly Father, relying on the influence of the Holy Spirit to enlighten our understanding.

Remember, our Heavenly Father truly loves all His children.  And, it is His desire that we learn of Him, learn of His plan for us, and come unto Him by following the plan as best we can.  Along the way, the Holy Spirit will guide us as we follow Him and gradually modify our behavior to be more like Him.  But, how do we get started, and how do we stay on the path?  Here are some basic principles for doing just that.

NOTE:  Please consider, only as an example, the following possible pattern for effective prayer and spiritual preparation.  This is just an idea and not a strict procedural thing.  Your personal prayers should be individual, spiritual and private …just between you and “your Father in Heaven.”  But, if you’re new at this, or it’s been a while, this pattern might be instructional.  Here you go!

Pray …Study …Pray …and Obey!

We should pray regularly and often to the Father.  Find a quiet spot without interruptions.  Return to that same spot routinely for your prayers.  When you begin each prayer, take a moment and try to visualize the Father in your mind.  Then, talk to Him.  Express your gratitude.  Tell Him of your needs and desires.  Don’t rush.  Be honest, sincere, and humble.  During each prayer, listen and be sensitive to the feelings and promptings you may receive.  As you conclude each prayer session, don’t rush.  Pause and ponder your experience.  Try to remember how you felt (and how you feel).  Make a mental or written note/journal entry of your feelings.  Look for subtle patterns in your feelings during each prayer.  Over time, if you are humble and sincere, your prayers will become more meaningful, …and effective!

In addition to your meaningful personal prayers, find a regular time to prayerfully study good books.  In particular, study the Holy Scriptures.  Over the centuries, God has spoken to His Prophets (Amos 3:7) and revealed His Great Plan of Salvation (the Plan of Happiness) to them.  Prophets and Apostles have recorded these sacred revelations, and their associated truths, in the Holy Scriptures.  Immerse yourself in scripture study.  As you do, ask the Father for enlightenment …before and after your study.  Then, keep your mind and heart open to promptings from the Holy Spirit.  As you read and ponder the Holy Scriptures, their glorious truths may fill your heart and mind.  These truths and knowledge will inspire you and provide material upon which the Holy Spirit (the Revelator) can work.  He (the Holy Spirit) will commune with your spirit and will testify of the truth to you.  And He will strengthen your testimony of that truth.  You will begin to understand and know our Heavenly Father’s plan for you!

As you learn of Him and His Great Plan for you, apply this knowledge to your personal life and behavior.   Act upon what you know! Learn to live your life in accordance with your knowledge and understanding of God’s Plan.  Remember this, your life is meant to be a journey of discovery, modification, and sanctification.  It can be an exciting and glorious journey, full of Faith, Hope …and Charity.

“For he that diligently seeketh shall find; and the mysteries of God shall be unfolded unto them, by the power of the Holy Ghost, as well in these times as in times of old, and as well in times of old as in times to come; wherefore, the course of the Lord is one eternal round.” (Book of Mormon, 1 Nephi 10:19)

“Seek not for riches but for wisdom, and behold, the mysteries of God shall be unfolded unto you, and then shall you be made rich. Behold, he that hath eternal life is rich.” (D&C 6:7)

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The Condescension of God

I have been thinking about a phrase (or question) in the Book of Mormon “…Knowest thou the condescension of God?” (see 1 Nephi 11:16).  It’s a relatively simple question, and yet it made me stop and ponder.  What is the condescension of God?  Does God condescend?

In its context, this question came up in a recorded visit and conversation Nephi had with “an angel” (see 1 Nephi 11:13-18).  At the time, Nephi was caught up in a vision of the Virgin Mary, the mother of the son of God.  When the angel appeared, he asked Nephi, “…what beholdest thou?”  Nephi’s answer was: “A virgin, most beautiful and fair above all other virgins.”  Then the angel asked the question, “Knowest thou the condescension of God?”  Here again, Nephi gave a simple and humble response: “I know that (God) loveth His children; nevertheless, I do not know the meaning of all things.”  (A truly humble and honest response.)  Frankly, I often find myself with the same sentiment: “I do not know the meaning of all things.”  This question motivated me to wanted to know: What is “the Condescension of God?”  So, after careful and prayerful reading, pondering and contemplation, here’s what I found:

“The Condescension of God (Jesus Christ)” is essentially this: Jesus Christ (the Great Jehovah Himself) condescended to come down from His Heavenly home (where He lived in the presence of God the Eternal Father) to dwell on earth as a mortal among men.  He “condescended” voluntarily in order to fulfill our Heavenly Father’s Great Plan of Salvation.  This was an essential element of our Father in Heaven’s plan to redeem His children.  Because of Jesus Christ and His mercy, all mankind will be resurrected, may obtain forgiveness of sins, and may gain Eternal Life with the Father.

It was in our premortal life that God’s “Beloved Son, which was (God’s) Beloved and Chosen from the beginning, said unto (God)—Father, thy will be done, and the glory be thine forever” (see Moses 4:2 and Abraham 3:27).  The Great Jehovah (Jesus Christ), God’s “Beloved and Chosen from the beginning,” condescended to come down from the presence of God the Father and provide the means by which all mankind may be redeemed.  Jesus Christ is the Son of God the Father, born of a mortal mother (Mary).  He received a mortal body, was subjected to earthly existence, and dwelt in the flesh with men on the Earth.  By His own choice, Jesus Christ condescended to be born into this mortal life to fulfill Heavenly Father’s great plan for the benefit and salvation of God’s spirit children on Earth.

During His formal ministry on Earth, Jesus organized His Kingdom (the early Church of Jesus Christ), ordained Apostles and Prophets, taught His disciples to “Come unto Him,” and ushered in the gathering of  Israel and the elect of God.  In addition, He taught His Doctrine: “The Doctrine of Christ” (see Matt 7:28, John 7:16-17, 2 Nephi 31 and 3 Nephi 11:31-39).

Near the end of His ministry, in the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus Christ the perfect and sinless Son of God took upon Himself the sins of all those who would have faith in Him, come unto Him, repent of their sins, and follow His Doctrine.  Through His suffering and agony in the garden, He somehow endured the enormous burden and took upon Himself the sins of all those who would repent and come unto Him.  As a proxy for us, Jesus Christ met the demands of justice and paid for our sins.  Later, He was betrayed, tortured and suffered a cruel physical death on the cross.  Then, on the third day after His lifeless mortal body was laid in a borrowed tomb, Jesus Christ rose from the dead and broke the bonds of death.  By His resurrection, Jesus Christ overcame death and guaranteed resurrection for all (“Resurrection for all in the Spirit World is assured by the resurrection of Jesus Christ.”  President Dallin H. Oaks); and, as our resurrected, glorified Savior, Jesus Christ ascended into the presence of His Father in Heaven, God the Eternal Father.

Jesus Christ is the glorified and immortal “Only Begotten of the Father.”  He is our Savior and Redeemer.  He condescended to come to Earth on our behalf and to do the will of the Father.  He has redeemed us from the Fall of Adam by overcoming death (all mankind will be resurrected to stand before Him); and, He has paid the price for our sins and transgressions.  This is the Atonement of Jesus Christ, the most significant event in world history.  Because of the Savior’s Atoning Sacrifice, it is possible for us to be forgiven of our sins and ultimately be found worthy to return and stand confidently in the presence of God.  Because of the condescension and Atonement of Jesus Christ, it is possible for us to be saved, forgiven and gain Eternal Life.  His gift is available to all those who will: 1) have Faith in Him, 2) Come unto Him, 3) sincerely Repent of their sins, and 4) follow His Doctrine (2 Nephi 31:2-21).

Today, He still calls to all who will listen: “Come unto Me!”  The Holy Scriptures and the Prophets testify, and we are sure, He will come again in the not too distant future …sooner than we think!  The Holy Spirit whispers this is true. At His Second Coming, Jesus Christ will gather all those who truly love Him, who have come unto Him, sincerely repented of their sins, and who have endured to the end in righteousness following the Doctrine of Christ.  And then, the Millennial Era will begin when the final work of Salvation will be completed.

President Russell M. Nelson has said:
“Under the Father’s great eternal plan, it is the Savior who suffered. It is the Savior who broke the bands of death. It is the Savior who paid the price for our sins and transgressions and blots them out on condition of our repentance. It is the Savior who delivers us from physical and spiritual death.”

Drawing the Power of Jesus Christ into Our Lives, April 2017 General Conference)

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Am I Still Relevant?

I must be old, retired …or, both!  I’ve noticed that much of my mail is either junk mail or bank and medical account statements.  Likewise, most of my email and text messages are either a notification (or confirmation) of a financial transaction; or, they’re a reminder or confirmation that I’ve either had or will have a medical appointment.

Frankly, I don’t think I’m broke or sick; but, it’s nice that at least some people out there still want to keep in touch.

Lately, I’ve also been wondering about all those surveys I get.  Anymore, it seems you can’t do anything, but someone wants you to complete a survey.  And why do I get so many surveys?  Maybe I am still relevant?  Do all these people honestly want my opinion?  Probably not; …and, that’s okay!

For me, the people I most want to keep in touch with are my family and friends.  Sometimes, I wish they’d reach out more often.  But that’s okay, too!  I know we all love each other, but we’re all equally swamped (or distracted).  However, when my family and friends start sending me surveys, then I will begin to worry.

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A Remission of our Sins

NOTE TO THE READERSThese are not my words, but they are true and important to know and understand.  They are part of a beautiful and reassuring testimony from an Apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ, and of our Savior’s Gift of the Atonement.

“We are imperfect human beings striving to live in mortality according to Heavenly Father’s perfect plan of eternal progression. The requirements of His plan are glorious, merciful, and rigorous. We may at times be filled with determination and at other times feel totally inadequate. We may wonder if we spiritually can ever fulfill the commandment to stand spotless before Him at the last day.

“With the help of the Lord and through the power of His Spirit to ‘teach [us] all things,’ indeed we can be blessed to realize our spiritual possibilities. Ordinances invite spiritual purpose and power into our lives as we strive to be born again and become men and women of Christ. Our weaknesses can be strengthened, and our limitations can be overcome.

“Although none of us can achieve perfection in this life, we can become increasingly worthy and spotless as we are ‘cleansed by the blood of the Lamb.’ I promise and testify we will be blessed with increased faith in the Savior and greater spiritual assurance as we seek to always retain a remission of our sins and, ultimately, to stand spotless before the Lord at the last day. I so witness in the sacred name of Jesus Christ, amen.”

Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
General Conference, April 2016

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Patience is a Virtue

During the past several months since returning home from “the Mission Field,” Sister Edgar (Kathy) and I have experienced some of the most amazing and enjoyable events; including, the indescribable joy of reuniting with our family.  But, we have also experienced some of the difficult challenges associated with moving: that is, being uprooted from our temporary home in Hawaii, leaving dear friends behind, and being formally released from what can only be described as “an enormously spiritual experience” (serving as Senior Missionaries for the Lord, His Church, and His Saints at BYU-Hawaii).

In addition, the transition had many unexpected ups and downs as we worked to reestablish our lives, our home and our former existence on the Mainland.  To be honest, our “new” life is a very good life and we have been blessed.  We have felt the hand of the Lord, and we have been guided by his Holy Spirit.  But each step along the way was not perfectly clear.  We were often acting on Faith “not knowing beforehand” (1 Nephi 4:6) what we were to do.  Today, we are now very settled and happy.  We are so grateful for the tender mercies of the Lord; but, much has changed for us.

In the process of this big move/change, I inevitably experienced a great deal of stress and insecurity.  And, I often became very impatient with our tentative and unstable situation.  In fact, there were times when I was very impatient and often felt a bit intolerant of others.  As was often the case, I could clearly see my negative behavioral changes.  I often felt justified, but I knew it was wrong to behave that way.  Eventually, I had to confront my selfish and inappropriate behavior.  I realized I was not being patient.  I was not “waiting patiently on the Lord.”

Now, as it relates to a Christlike attitude, patience is defined as: “…the capacity to endure delay, trouble, opposition, or suffering without becoming angry, frustrated, or anxious. It is the ability to do God’s will and accept His timing. When you are patient, you hold up under pressure and are able to face adversity calmly and hopefully. Patience is related to hope and faith—you must wait for the Lord’s promised blessings to be fulfilled.”  Preach My Gospel, Section 6, page 120

This and other thoughts made it clear I had some work to do.  I had not been true to the Christlike principle of patience, and I knew it.  Being aware of my behavior and changing my selfish attitudes has helped.  I’m sure I have much more work to do (and I know I have other issues), but I’m becoming a much happier person by just being more patient with myself and others.

So to be clear, in our interactions with others, I believe patience is an essential “heavenly” virtue.  Each day of our lives, we will have opportunities to learn and practice patience.  I believe we will have many opportunities.  Depending on the choices we make, these frequent opportunities can either hinder or strengthen our resolve (and progress) to be more like the Savior.  Our choices determine our attitude and character.  They will certainly determine our outcome.  Over time, we will be defined by how we react.

Among other things, to become more Christlike, we need to strive to become more patient in our daily activities and relationships with others; and also with our individual selves (perhaps, especially with ourselves).  In this life, we are to become increasingly more Christlike (that’s the Plan).  Patience is essential as we work to overcome our human weaknesses and faults, draw near to the Savior, and become more like Him (more Christlike).

“Life is full of difficulties, some minor and others of a more serious nature. There seems to be an unending supply of challenges for one and all. Our problem is that we often expect instantaneous solutions to such challenges, forgetting that frequently the heavenly virtue of patience is required.”
—President Thomas S. Monson

Relevant Scriptures for Further Consideration:

“Be patient in afflictions, for thou shalt have many; but endure them, for, lo, I am with thee, even unto the end of thy days.”  D&C 24:8

“Be patient in afflictions, revile not against those that revile. Govern your house in meekness, and be steadfast.”  D&C 31:9

“…wherefore, continue in patience until ye are perfected.  Let not your minds turn back; and when ye are worthy, in mine own due time, ye shall see and know….”  D&C 67:13-14

“…know thou, my son, that all these things shall give thee experience, and shall be for thy good.  The Son of Man hath descended below them all. Art thou greater than he?  Therefore, hold on thy way….”  D&C 122:7-9

“Nevertheless, the Lord seeth fit to chasten his people; yea, he trieth their patience and their faith.”  Mosiah 23:21

“…I would that ye should be humble, and be submissive and gentle; easy to be entreated; full of patience and long-suffering; being temperate in all things; being diligent in keeping the commandments of God at all times….”  Alma 7:23

“…bear with patience thine afflictions, and I will give unto you success.” Alma 26:27

(Note: For more evidence of the power of patience, search your digital scriptures using the keyword “patience.”)

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Animals in the Afterlife

Several years ago, I lost my dear and faithful companion Riley (my sweet dog) in a freak farm accident.  The accident was my fault.  It was devastating to me, and I had a very difficult time getting over it.  In fact, even today, I’m still saddened at his loss …I still grieve and cringe a little when I think of his untimely and tragic death.

Dear Riley …RIP!

Riley was my “Pal,” at my side constantly, we were inseparable. He was an important and loving part of my daily life. Then, in an instant, he was gone. I broke down and was emotionally grief-stricken. For days, I was inconsolable.  I blamed myself and could find no comfort nor relief in my sorrow.  Eventually, time passed and I began to recover.  But the sadness and sense of guilt still remained in my mind.

So, why do I share this sad and tragic tale?  Well, …because I found something! “A lifeline.” Much has been written about losing a pet, but I found a short article that has truly helped ease my pain and sorrow. And, perhaps it will bring peace to someone else who reads this blog who has also suffered a similar loss. The article was published in LDSLiving Magazine.  Here it is:

“It is always devastating when a pet dies. But thanks to modern revelation, we know they will be with us in the eternities. In his October 1928 conference address, President Joseph Fielding Smith said, “The animals, the fishes of the sea, the fowls of the air, as well as man, are to be recreated, or renewed, through the resurrection, for they too are living souls.” He also wrote in Answers to Gospel Questions that “Animals do have spirits and will come forth in the resurrection to enjoy the blessing of immortal life.” Additionally, in the August 1927 edition of the Improvement Era, Elder Orson F. Whitney stated, “The affirmative of the question ‘Do Animals Have Souls?’ is amply sustained by divine revelation.” Speaking of the Prophet Joseph, he added, “Joseph Smith so believed, or he would not have said …concerning his favorite horse, when it died, that he expected to have it in Eternity.”

So, rest assured pet lovers — “we will be reunited with our faithful companions. After all, it wouldn’t be heaven without them!”

LDSLiving Magazine, January/February 2016, page 11.

(For additional insight concerning our sacred and eternal relationship with animals, please see: “The Gospel and Animals,” by Gerald E. Jones, Ensign Magazine, August 1972.)

Click HERE to read about my love of animals. “My Life with Animals.

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