Friday, April 30, 2010

Happy Is the Man Who Loves His Wife

Something I've shared with several husbands in our ward is this quip:
Happy is the man who understands how to love his wife the way she wants to be loved.
If you love your wife the way she wants to be loved, it will be about the best thing you can do for her and about the best thing you can do for yourself.

Of course, your wife has her responsibilities to you as well, but I believe, against the grain of modern culture, that the first step is the husband's. That's my firm belief. Here are the reasons why.

These are the Bible verses from which this idea grew:
Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it...so ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. —Ephesians 5:25,28
So Paul says that a man who loves his wife loves himself. I totally believe that. Why? Because I also believe that if a man loves his wife the way she wants to be loved, that, almost always, she will pay him back a hundredfold. I believe it is her natural response to love you back a hundred times over. (Sometimes other unresolved issues get in the way, that is true—that requires even more love and patience.)

If men took on their masculine role to step forward, to be the ones who express and ask and lead, their wives would be so much happier. If we men overcame our natural tendency to shrink back into our own little worlds, and made some of the following bold efforts consistently, how surprised and delighted our wives would be.
  • "It's time for family prayer."
  • "Let's have scripture study right now before everyone gets too tired."
  • "I'm taking care of dinner tonight. You don't have to do anything."
  • "Will you go out with me Friday night? I've already called a sitter."
  • "We can't go to your parents' Saturday because I'm taking you dancing."

While I believe men and women are absolutely equal, I also believe we are designed, even wired, for different roles, and it is the bringing together or marriage of these roles that brings us the most satisfaction and happiness.

You may disagree or think me old fashioned, but I think it is my role as a husband to pursue my wife and to court her love everyday. If I don't, how can she be assured of my love for her? How can I be assured of my love for her? There are certain things you have to do everyday, and this is one of them: Assure your wife of your love. Even if she is grumpy at you, assure her of your love. Even if she seems as happy a cow in the corn crib, express your love to her everyday. It is your job to make sure her love tank is full. No one else can do it like you.

Find out how she wants to be loved. Learn the five love languages and then ask which one will make her feel the most love. She'll tell you. (Figure out your own love language while you're at it and tell her what it is.) Then work at it. Of course you'll both slip and fall, but work at it. Your devotion and sincerity will go a long way with her. When she knows in her heart that you sincerely are in love with her and dedicated to her, she will find it much easier to stand by you and support you and forgive you.

If you think all this is too "touchy-feely," then I have a question for you: When you were first courting your wife, when you were just warming up to the idea of marriage, was there anything you would not do to win her love? The answer is no.

You were "touchy-feely" then, so why not now?

Did you or did you not put all your cards on the table, so to speak? (Uno, of course.) The answer is yes. Of course you did. That's why she took a risk on you. Does she feel right now that the risk she took out on you was worth it? What are you holding back? As I have said before on other posts, you can "purchase" your wife at only one price: Everything. If you try to "buy" her at a discount, you won't get to keep her.

Marriage is not permanent until you make it permanent with the absolute constancy of your love and devotion. Without that, do you really have a marriage? Can it last into eternity? You may endure it in this life, but what will hold it together in the next? Delayed repentance? No. True marriage is made of diamond-quality love, starting now. If not that, then what do you have? Really, what do you have?

Marriage is a dance. Not a wild, all-by-yourself, everyone-do-your-own-thing-on-the-dance-floor dance. It is between a man and a woman. One must lead and another follow. It takes an agreement. It takes cooperation and planning and practice and crushed toes and work. But what could be more meaningful, more pleasing, more fun, or more joyful than getting this dance right?

Men, your marriage won't go right unless you lead out in it. Your wonderful, talented and beautiful wife will fill the vacuum for you if you don't lead, but it will never feel right to you.

She is waiting. Her hands are reaching for you. The music is playing. She wants you to ask her to dance.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Amos the Steer

I want to tell you about my steer Amos. One year when I was in high school, we selected a good looking black Angus steer from our herd for me to show at the Polk County Fair. But there was one little problem: I waited too long to teach him how to lead.

A few weeks before the fair, my old pal Tony and I got this great idea. We would tie Amos' lead rope to the trailer hitch on the back of our old International pickup and pull him around until he was broke to lead.

Well, I broke him all right.

Do you have a bad feeling about where this is going? Yes, this is not going to be pretty. I'll warn you now that it will be a little graphic.

I drove the pickup into the corral and started pulling Amos around like sack of rocks. He was not getting the lesson. I would drive forward, and the tension would build up in the rope, and Amos would lurch forward a few steps.

Then it happened. I pulled the pickup forward one last time, and Amos planted his cloven feet. The tension built up and built up until pow! Amos flew through the air. And when he came down, his left front leg was broken, right at the joint.

I went back and stared at that leg. I stared and stared in unbelief at the fresh, white bone, as if by staring it would go away. I had a momentary delusion that it could be fixed, but it could not. In minutes we came to the conclusion that there was only one thing that could be done.

Tony and I hitched up the rattly stock trailer to the International, drove Amos about 17 miles down to the custom slaughter house and dropped him off.

Amos fulfilled the measure of creation, yes, but way too soon. There would be no steer to show at the county fair that summer.

You do these things when you are young, and then you get to think about them for a lifetime. And think and think and think. If I can share with you what I've learned so far from this experience, it would be this: You can't hurry anything worthwhile. It takes time and thought and planning to get important things right. Slow down, be patient, think things through, and take your time.

You can't hurry love. You can't hurry relationships. You can't hurry raising your children. You can't hurry learning the gospel or learning to be a disciple of Jesus Christ. You can't hurry life's lessons.

Well, you can try to hurry these things, but the results will be less than satisfying. Sometimes they will be unforgettably tragic.

If it's important, take your time. Plan. Start early. Get it right. Keep your standards high and don't compromise. Be patient. Wait in hope.

I am sorry Amos, but I thank you for the lessons you taught me.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Look at My Saddle

Most of you know that I was blessed to live on a ranch. We had about 200 head of mother cows—Hereford, Angus, and some Charolais. We had a pasture for sick cattle next to the old hay barn (yes, it was red, but it did not have a gambrel roof). We'd separate them out and doctor them there. Mostly pink eye. It spreads quick, so when one of your critters has it, you don't want them hanging out with the others.

We had a squeeze chute, but I didn't like to use it. I'd much rather rope them, doctor them, and let them go. My favorite kind of catch and release.

I went for a horseback ride tonight, and thought about this story. 

One summer day when I was still in high school, my good friend Tony and I had the enjoyable assignment of doctoring a few cows that were in that pasture. I took care of the antlers on the front end, and Tony would take care of the heels. Well, I dabbed a loop on a black cow, and waited for my man Tony to pick up the heels so we could stretch the old gal out and dispense her medicine.

Tony missed the first loop, and I struggled to keep a hold on the cow. She was moving about, trying to lose the evil nylon loop that was wrecking her day. Then I noticed something bad. My saddle. As I held onto her with a dally or two around my horn, the cow was doing a number on my saddle, and it started climbing up the horse's neck. I did not have a peaceful, easy feeling about the way things were going.

He was rebuilding his loop when I gawked at him and said, "Tony, look at my saddle!" There was that dagger of blame in my voice, as if it was his fault that my saddle was inching its way toward my horse's ears. (If I remember correctly, I was aboard my little heading horse Stanley's Lassie, which was the horse I called Stanley and a bunch of other silly names that I don't repeat in public.)

Well, Tony got his cow roped and we got her all taken care of and went on with our day. But I never forgot the words that I said, "Tony, look at my saddle." That was a good 35 years ago, and I've never forgotten it. Why? Because I was flat wrong.

The reason why my saddle was lose was not because Tony missed his loop. It was because I didn't do my job. I didn't cinch my saddle right. Tony had almost nothing to do with that. I've apologized to him several times. He has good naturedly laughed it off, but that doesn't make me any more right.

Why is that we human beings always want to point at someone or something else and say, "There's my problem"? I think it is because we are essentially lazy. We are natural men and women. It takes energy for a lazy, couch-adoring slacker to (1) recognize that he is wrong; (2) acknowledge that he is wrong; and (3) correct what he did wrong. It is just easier to point and bark incessantly. "Bow-wow. Hurry up and rope that cow." That was me.

As lazy as I was then (and I still wrestle with laziness now), I found it a lot harder to carry the weight of an untruth for years than to be smart enough to dismantle it on the spot and leave it behind. So, the next time you feel like telling someone, "Look at my saddle," think about a better way than blaming someone else for your troubles.
The heavens will not be filled with those who never made mistakes but with those who recognized that they were off course and who corrected their ways to get back in the light of gospel truth. —Dieter F. Uchtdorf
You know what? It's not too late. I'm going to give my old roping partner a call and apologize one more time for good measure. What would that hurt? I owe him a call anyway.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Words

We swim in an ocean of words,
but are as dull to their essence
as fish to water.

Gliding over the surface,
we are unaware of the
life and movement beneath us.

Or searching the night sky,
we are the lost captain who
trembles at the gunwhale after
dropping his sextant over the starboard bow.

May it be said "Soul overboard!" and may you
be found swimming for all your life
in the fervent sea of plight and meaning.

—Michael Fitzgerald
April 14, 2010

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

The Devil Words: Doubt

After distraction takes command of your time, doubt will likely follow. According to the dictionary, doubt is a form of disbelief or distrust that gives rise to uncertainty, hesitation in moving forward, and indecisiveness. It is the opposite of faith. In fact, doubt, it seems, is ever present in the absence of faith.

Lack of action is the seedbed of doubt. Dale Carnegie once said:
Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy.
Likewise, John Kanary said:
If doubt is challenging you and you do not act, doubts will grow. Challenge the doubts with action and you will grow. Doubt and action are incompatible.
So what if you are faced with doubt? What should you do? Take positive action! Action is your best defense against doubt.

In Lectures on Faith we read:
Faith is...the principle of action in all intelligent beings...it is faith, and faith only, which is the moving cause of all action in them.
If you are exercising faith and taking action—and taking action is the essence of faith—you will move forward in life. For example, if your understanding of the scriptures is weak, and you set them aside saying, "I can't understand the scriptures," what will happen? Your understanding will get even weaker. But if you take time every day to read them, study them and ponder them, and you keep it up over a period of time, what is going to happen? Your understanding will get stronger and stronger. The Lord said:
That which is of God is light; and he that receiveth light, and continueth in God, receiveth more light; and that light groweth brighter and brighter until the perfect day. —D&C 50:24
Don't let doubt be your counselor. We all experience doubt at one time or another. It is a normal part of life. But the antidote to doubt is taking positive action. The only way to truly engage our faith is by taking action. From the epistle of James we read:
Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar? Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect?James 2:21–22
Make your faith perfect by doing something about your doubts. Don't leave spills on the floor; you will step in them later when you least expect it. Clean them up. Answer doubts with faith and they can have little power over you. Just as temptations and trials will never leave us in this life, doubts will linger like a bad smell unless we take faithful action.

Monday, April 12, 2010

The Shoebox

There once was a husband and wife who had been married more than 60 years. They shared everything, talked about everything, and kept no secrets from each other, except for a shoebox that the old woman kept in her closet. She cautioned her husband to never open it, and he dutifully honored her wish.

One day, the woman became quite ill, and going to the doctor, found that she suffered from a terminal disease and did not have long to live. While trying to sort through their affairs, the old man took the shoebox off the closet shelf and brought it to his ailing wife's bedside. After talking about if for a few minutes, they agreed that it was time to unseal the box and share its contents.

The husband anxiously removed the lid of the box and found two crocheted doilies, and several stacks of large bills, wrapped in rubber bands. Counting the bills, the total exceeded $25,000. He asked what the significance of the doilies was and why she had hidden away all that cash.

"When we were first married," the old wife said, "my grandmother gave me some advice. She said that every time I felt angry at you, I should crochet a doily."

The old husband was moved to tears. After getting a grip on his feelings, he asked his wife, "Only two doilies? In over 60 years you only got angry at me twice? I am astounded. But I do have one question: Where did all that money come from?"

"Oh," she said, smiling, "that's the money I got for selling the doilies at a dollar each."

Thanks to Peggy H. for sharing this story with me. 

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Believe in Yourselves

"Elder Maxwell would like to give this message to the children of the Church:

'It's extremely important for you to believe in yourselves, not only for what you are now, but for what you have the power to become. Trust in the Lord as He leads you along. He has things for you to do that you won’t know about now, but that will be revealed later. If you stay close to Him, you will have some great adventures. You will live in a time when instead of just talking about prophecies that will sometime be fulfilled, many of them will actually be fulfilled. The Lord will unfold your future bit by bit.

'All the easy things that the Church has had to do have been done, so you’re going to live in a time of high adventure. You were brought to this earth because you can handle that time of adventure, and you will do well.'"
Neal A. Maxwell (1984)

Saturday, April 10, 2010

The House by the Side of the Road by Sam Walter Foss (1858-1911)


There are hermit
souls that live withdrawn
In the peace of their self-content;
There are souls, like stars, that dwell apart,
In a fellowless firmament;
There are pioneer souls that blaze their paths
Where highways never ran;—
But let me live by the side of the road
And be a friend to man.

Let me live in a house
by the side of the road,
Where the race of men go by—
The men who are good and the men who are bad,
As good and as bad as I.
I would not sit in the scorner’s seat,
Or hurl the cynic’s ban;—
Let me live in a house by the side of the road
And be a friend to man.

I see from my house
by the side of the road,
By the side of the highway of life,
The men who press with the ardor of hope,
The men who are faint with the strife.
But I turn not away from their smiles nor their tears—
Both parts of an infinite plan;—
Let me live in my house by the side of the road
And be a friend to man.

I know there are brook-gladdened
meadows ahead
And mountains of wearisome height;
That the road passes on through the long afternoon
And stretches away to the night.
But still I rejoice when the travelers rejoice,
And weep with the strangers that moan,
Nor live in my house by the side of the road
Like a man who dwells alone.

Let me live in my
house by the side of the road
Where the race of men go by—
They are good, they are bad, they are weak, they are strong,
Wise, foolish—so am I.
Then why should I sit in the scorner’s seat
Or hurl the cynic’s ban?—
Let me live in my house by the side of the road
And be a friend to man.

—Sam Walter Foss (1858–1911)

Note: Thanks to Merrill Halverson (1904–1986), who was known to often quote the last line, for inspiring me to find this poem.

The Devil Words: Distraction

What I call the devil words describe the subtle and sometimes not so subtle ways that the adversary influences our lives. Conveniently, they all start with the letter d. You probably know the d words better than you realize.

One of the first of these is distraction. Any way he can, Satan tries to get our attention off of holy things and on to mundane and unholy things. Distractions can get us out of tune with the music of heaven.

It seems that distraction is where the devil begins his work. It might be as simple as the demands of a job, a TV show, or a new boyfriend. It might be something like blaming another person for a problem you are having, withholding forgiveness and holding a grudge, working on Sunday, not paying our tithing, or being upset with a priesthood leader. What Satan tells us is only a harmless diversion at first can work us into delirium—for example, pornography can rapidly work its way under our skin and become a sexual addiction. Tame distractions can quickly become more severe and debilitating ones, even deadly distractions.

Putting distractions in perspective and replacing some of our activities with better, more meaningful ones can help us keep distractions to a minimum. Nothing keeps distraction at bay like good habits, habits such as sincere daily prayer, meaningful scripture study, and regular temple attendance. When our lives are anchored with daily habits that fortify us spiritually, distractions lose their hold on us, never developing into a flash flood that can sweep us away from what we hold dear.

Stay tuned for more devil words in upcoming blog entries.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

A Change in Perspective

Time and experience change perspective. Our perspective, therefore, is changing every day. Here is how mine has changed over the last few weeks. 

Not long ago, a ward member told me about a friend whose only son died while he served as a bishop. Last week my wife told me about a bishop who suffered from epilepsy and lost his job because of it. Then I had forgotten this until recently: A man we knew in our previous ward lost his first wife suddenly while he was serving as bishop. And this last weekend at conference, Elder Neil L. Andersen told of a man who was killed in a car accident while he was a bishop, two days before Easter.

Bishops are not exempt from the trials and difficulties of life any more than anyone else. On the contrary. I don't think I have ever waded through more adversity than I have during the last four years. But I am now grateful for these trials, every one of them. Very grateful. They have taught me so much. They have brought me closer to my Heavenly Father, and to my wife and family. I know now that if my inbox had been stuffed with temporal blessings during this time, I might have been less sensitive and less able to help ward members who likewise have suffered. And I also know that my trials have been much lighter than they have been for other bishops.

If you are muddling through an ordeal, when you find out about some one else's troubles, aren't you thankful for your own? And if asked, you wouldn't trade in your personal trials for anyone's, would you? While I can't point to a particular scriptural passage to prove this, it seems evident that the Lord hand picks our trials for us. They are exactly what we need to learn and to grow during the time we are facing them—though certainly we must face them with faith and patience; otherwise, they can be wasted.

While bishop, I have never had more trouble staying in good health, and my illnesses have been more acute and prolonged than ever before. And I have never had the kinds of financial difficulties that I have had since I was ordained a bishop. Even though in many ways I have been more productive than at any time in my career, and even though my income is now steadily improving, it seems that storms arise on all sides to disrupt my work and life. It has been the most bewildering and humiliating time in my life. Nevertheless, I am responsible for dealing with my troubles with health and career. No one else is. And with the Lord's help, I know I can do much, much more to change and improve my situation. I cannot lay my problems at anyone else's feet. 

Through it all, God has been with me, every day He has been with me. I have been upheld by angels. I have never felt closer to my beloved wife and children, and I have never felt closer to my Heavenly Father and Savior—not even on my mission. Never before have the scriptures been so alive with meaning. I have never had such a constant flow of inspiration and affirmation from the Lord. Never have I felt such deep appreciation for the smallest of blessings.

Would I want to change that? And could I have gotten these blessings in my relationships and in spiritual awareness without trials preparing me to receive them? The answer is a resounding and emphatic no. No, I feel now to glory in tribulation:
Knowing that tribulation worketh patience; and patience, experience; and experience, hope: and hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us. (Romans 5:3–5.)

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

New General Conference Site

The church has a new General Conference site. It is in beta (a preliminary site under test), but it has some new features that I really like. For example, you can listen to a talk right online, without downloading it. Also, you can also see the talks organized by session, speaker and topic.

For example, I went to the page for the April 2010 conference (see it here). Then I clicked on the Topics link on the upper right. I clicked on the topic anger, and it took me to talk from President Thomas S. Monson that he gave at the priesthood session of the October 2009 conference, "School Thy Feelings, O My Brother." (It was a fantastic talk, by the way.) There you can click on links to:
  • Watch
  • Listen
  • Print
  • Email
  • Share (on Facebook or Twitter)
  • Download (as a PDF, audio MP3, video MPEG-4, or video WMV)
This site is a great way to access conference. I am excited to see the talks from last weekend in printable form—those will probably be available tomorrow.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Divine Comedy Relief

If your life could use some comedy relief, try Divine Comedy this Friday or Saturday, 7 or 9 pm (April 9 and 10) at the Joseph Smith Building Auditorium on the BYU campus. Tickets are $5 at the Wilkinson Center information desk, and are going fast. We were rolling in the aisles last time. We're going again.We could use a distraction!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Something Different in Our Easter Eggs

My wife had a wonderful idea this year to put something different in our Easter eggs. Yes, we had candy in our Easter eggs, but also something else.

When I got home from the priesthood session Saturday night, there were slips of paper on the kitchen table with the names of everyone in our family, one name per slip. We had the opportunity then to write something nice about each person on those slips, and then have the Easter Bunny put the notes in everyone's Easter eggs.

That's simple enough, don't you think? What was the result?

Easter morning, I opened my eggs and found statements like these.

"No matter what, you are faithful and fiercely loyal to the Lord."

"Daddy...is always making me feel better about myself."

"Papa...you make me smile and you are always so nice to me."

"You are...my knight in priesthood armor."

Well, how do feel after reading things like that? Like trying harder and being better and living up to a higher standard.

I love jelly beans, but those were the best Easter eggs I have ever opened.

The End of My Outlaw Days

For those of you who looked for me in the Porter Rockwell documentary on Saturday, I am sorry that I only showed up for a few seconds. I didn't know if I would show up at all, to tell you the truth. You just never know.

They shot many minutes of us "no-goods," including a number of close-ups, that they didn't use. That's the way it goes in the movie business.

Nevertheless, it was great fun to be involved. I learned a lot and I would do it again—no hesitation.

Actually, the place where I show up the longest is in the credits at the end of the film as "Outlaw #3." Ha! At least I have my first movie credit.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

The Same Day at Evening

Afterward, the same day at evening, as they thus spake, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus himself, appeared unto the eleven as they sat at meat and stood in the midst of them, and saith unto them, "Peace be unto you."

But they were terrified and affrighted, and supposed that they had seen a spirit. And he said unto them, "Why are ye troubled? And why do thoughts arise in your hearts?

"Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself. Handle me, and see, for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have."

And when he had thus spoken, he shewed unto them his hands, and his feet, and his side. Then were the disciples glad, when they saw the Lord.

And while they yet believed not for joy, and wondered, he said unto them, "Have ye here any meat?" And they gave him a piece of a broiled fish, and of an honeycomb. And he took it, and did eat before them.

And he said unto them, "These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me."

Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures, and said unto them, "Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day. And ye are witnesses of these things." And upbraided [he] them [for] their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they believed not them which had seen him after he was risen. And [told them] that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. Then said Jesus to them again, "Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you."

And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, "Receive ye the Holy Ghost. Whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them, and whose soever sins ye retain, they are retained."

Mark 16:14; Luke 24:35–48; John 20:19–23

A Village Called Emmaus

And, behold, after that he appeared in another form unto two of them, as they walked, and went that same day into the country, to a village called Emmaus, which was from Jerusalem about threescore furlongs.

And they talked together of all these things which had happened. And it came to pass, that, while they communed together and reasoned, Jesus himself drew near, and went with them. But their eyes were holden that they should not know him.

And he said unto them, "What manner of communications are these that ye have one to another, as ye walk, and are sad?"
And the one of them, whose name was Cleopas, answering said unto him, "Art thou only a stranger in Jerusalem, and hast not known the things which are come to pass there in these days?"

And he said unto them, "What things?" And they said unto him, "Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, which was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, and how the chief priests and our rulers delivered him to be condemned to death, and have crucified him.

"But we trusted that it had been he which should have redeemed Israel, and beside all this, to day is the third day since these things were done. Yea, and certain women also of our company made us astonished, which were early at the
sepulchre. And when they found not his body, they came, saying, that they had also seen a vision of angels, which said that he was alive.

"And certain of them which were with us went to the sepulchre, and found it even so as the women had said, but him they saw not."

Then he said unto them, "O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken. Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory?"

And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.

And they drew nigh unto the village, whither they went, and he made as though he would have gone further. But they constrained him, saying, "Abide with us, for it is toward evening, and the day is far spent." And he went in to tarry with them.

And it came to pass, as he sat at meat with them, he took bread, and blessed it, and brake, and gave to them. And their eyes were opened, and they knew him, and he vanished out of their sight.

And they said one to another, "Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures?"

And they rose up the same hour, and returned to Jerusalem, and found the eleven gathered together, and them that were with them, saying, "The Lord is risen indeed, and hath appeared to Simon."

And they went and told it unto the residue, what things were done in the way, and how he was known of them in breaking of bread, neither believed they them.

Mark 16:12–13; Luke 24:13–35

They Gave Large Money unto the Soldiers

Now when they were going, behold, some of the watch came into the city, and shewed unto the chief priests all the things that were done.

And when they were assembled with the elders, and had taken counsel, they gave large money unto the soldiers, saying, "Say ye, 'His disciples came by night, and stole him away while we slept.' And if this come to the governor’s ears, we will persuade him, and secure you."

So they took the money, and did as they were taught, and this saying is commonly reported among the Jews until this day.

Matt. 28:11–15

The Linen Clothes Laid by Themselves

Peter therefore went forth, and that other disciple, and came to the sepulchre. So they ran both together, and the other disciple did outrun Peter, and came first to the sepulchre. And he stooping down, and looking in, saw the linen clothes lying, yet went he not in.

Then cometh Simon Peter following him, and ran unto the sepulchre; and stooping down, he beheld the linen clothes laid by themselves, and the napkin, that was about his head, not lying with the linen clothes, but wrapped together in a place by itself.

Then went in also that other disciple, which came first to the sepulchre, and he saw, and believed.

For as yet they knew not the scripture, that he must rise again from the dead.

And then the disciples went away again unto their own home, Peter wondering in himself at that which was come to pass.

Luke 24:12; John 20:3–10

Woman, Why Weepest Thou

Now when Jesus was risen early the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had cast seven devils. But Mary stood without at the sepulchre weeping: and as she wept, she stooped down, and looked into the sepulchre, and seeth two angels in white sitting, the one at the head, and the other at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain.

And they say unto her, "Woman, why weepest thou?” She saith unto them, "Because they have taken away my Lord, and I know not where they have laid him."

And when she had thus said, she turned herself back, and saw Jesus standing, and knew not that it was Jesus.

Jesus saith unto her, "Woman, why weepest thou? Whom seekest thou?" She, supposing him to be the gardener, saith unto him, "Sir, if thou have borne him hence, tell me where thou hast laid him, and I will take him away."

Jesus saith unto her, "Mary." She turned herself, and saith unto him, "Rabboni"—which is to say, "Master."

Jesus saith unto her, "Touch me not, for I am not yet ascended to my Father, but go to my brethren, and say unto them, 'I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God.'"

And Mary Magdalene came and told the disciples that she had seen the Lord, as they mourned and wept, and that he had spoken these things unto her. And they, when they had heard that he was alive, and had been seen of her, believed not.

Mark 16:9–11; John 20:11–18

Be Not Afraid

And as they went to tell his disciples, behold, Jesus met them, saying, "All hail." And they came and held him by the feet, and worshipped him. Then said Jesus unto them, "Be not afraid. Go tell my brethren that they go into Galilee, and there shall
they see me."

Matt. 28:9–10

And the Graves Were Opened

And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose, and came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many.

Matt. 27:52–53

Very Early in the Morning

And when the sabbath was past, very early in the morning, when it was yet dark as it began to dawn upon the first day of the week, behold, there was a great earthquake.

For the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it.

His countenance was like lightening, and his raiment white as snow. And for fear of him the keepers did shake, and became as dead men.

At the rising of the sun came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary, the mother of James, Salome, and Joanna, and certain other women that were with them, bringing the sweet spices which they had bought and prepared that they might come and anoint him.

And as they came to see the sepulchre, they said among themselves, "Who shall roll us away the stone from the door of the sepulchre?" And when they looked, they found that the stone was rolled away from the sepulchre—for it was very great.

Matt. 28:1–4; Mark 16:2–4; Luke 24:1–2; John 20:1

We Know Not Where They Have Laid Him

Then she runneth, and cometh to Simon Peter, and to the other disciple, whom Jesus loved, and saith unto them, "They have taken away the Lord out of the sepulchre, and we know not where they have laid him."

John 19:2

He Is Not Here, for He Is Risen

And they [the other women], entering into the sepulchre, found not the body of the Lord Jesus. And it came to pass, as they were much perplexed thereabout, they saw two young men—one sitting on the right side and one stood by them—clothed in a long white, shining garments. And they were affrighted and bowed down their faces to the earth, and the angel answered and said unto the women, “Fear not ye. For I know that ye seek Jesus of Nazareth, which was crucified. Why seek ye the living among the dead? He is not here, for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay.

"And go quickly, and tell his disciples that he is risen from the dead. Remember how he spake unto you when he was yet in Galilee, saying, 'The Son of man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again.'

But behold, go your way, and tell his disciples and Peter that he goeth before you into Galilee. There shall ye see him—lo, I have told you. And they remembered his words.

Matt. 28:50–7; Mark 16:5–7; Luke 24:3–8

They Departed Quickly

And they departed quickly and fled from the sepulchre, with fear and great joy—for they trembled and were amazed, and did run to bring his disciples word. Neither said they any thing to any man, for they were afraid. And told all these things unto the eleven, and to all the rest.

It was Mary Magdalene, and Joanna, and Mary the mother of James, and other women that were with them, which told these things unto the apostles. And their words seemed to them as idle tales, and they believed them not.

Matt. 28:8; Mark 16:8; Luke 24:9-11

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Asking a Question at Conference Time

Once again, I want to share a quote I shared with you last April at conference time. It comes from a talk Wendy Watson Nelson, wife of Elder Russell M. Nelson, gave at a BYU-Idaho devotional a few years ago:

"In preparation for April general conference...my Bishop taught me a truth I had never known before. Although I hadn't spoken to him about my...concerns, when my Bishop offered this truth over the pulpit, he was speaking to me. He didn't use my name but I knew he was talking directly to me. He even let others listen in. But clearly, he was speaking to me.

"Here's the truth my Bishop spoke: 'If you have a question that you need answered, if you will prayerfully and humbly listen to general conference, you will get it answered every time. Perhaps at the time, perhaps over time, but you WILL get your question answered every time!'"

I love this bishop's counsel. If you have a question that you want to take before the Lord, prayerfully and humbly listen to conference this weekend with your question in mind (I'm writing mine down so I can keep it in front of me all weekend), and I have full faith you will get a clear answer.

Of course, the Lord can answer our questions and our prayers anytime, but it seems to me that the spiritual outpouring we receive at conference time can help us see answers more clearly and readily. If you take advantage of this time to feel the Spirit and to be open to the direction the Lord has for you personally, I know you will be blessed—this very weekend, you will be blessed.

Have a wonderful conference weekend and Easter Sunday.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Our Easter Dream Tradition

For many years, we have had a tradition in our family of watching Easter Dream on Easter Sunday. I wonder if our daughter Aubrey remembers an Easter that we did not watch it.

It is the story of a young man who, with the help of his patient grandfather, learns to deal with the death of his father when he sees the crucifixion, death and resurrection of our Savior Jesus Christ in a dream.

It is well done. We love it. If you have small children at home, they will especially like to it, too. 

The film was produced by the Church and ran as an Easter special on television in 1990. You can pick it up for $4.50 on DVD at the distribution center or order it online.

If you love the story of Easter, I think you will love this film, too.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

My Bit Part Confession

I better make a confession while I still have time.

Most of you don't know this, but last fall, I picked up a small part in a documentary film about the life of Orrin Porter Rockwell. (See a short preview by clicking here.) I didn't know until I arrived on the set that I was to play the part of an outlaw who bets that a feisty gunman cannot gun Porter down.

He, er, well, loses the bet, as you will see in the preview. By the way, those are my beady, criminal eyes in the clip.

Anyway, I am playing a hand of cards with my grubby outlaw buddies, and there is a mug of amber liquid in front of me. Yes, okay, okay, I confess that I played the part of a drinkin', gamblin' desperado.

I tell you this because after the Saturday afternoon session of General Conference, at 4:00 pm, KSL will air a half-hour of that documentary. I am not sure yet, but it is possible that some of you might get a glimpse of me in my ne'er-do-well persona.

I am here to reassure you that I never drank a drop (it wasn't real beer any way) and I haven't played a hand of poker since age 12—when my brother cleaned me out of about $2.00 and cured me of gambling for life. (Thanks, Mark.)

I am glad I got that off my chest.