One of the more famous true stories turned parable was told by Russell H. Conwell founder of Temple University. Al Hafed a prosperous Middle East farmer sold his farm and wandered the world looking for a fabled field of diamonds. He never found them. He ...


Acres of Semi-precious stones and more...

Acres of Semi-precious stones

One of the more famous true stories turned parable was told by Russell H. Conwell founder of Temple University. Al Hafed a prosperous Middle East farmer sold his farm and wandered the world looking for a fabled field of diamonds. He never found them. He came back to his starting point worn out and broke. He then found to his dismay that the man who bought his farm had discovered diamonds in his back field, acres of diamonds.

We may or may not find diamonds right under our nose. But there is no question there is a load of semi precious gems piled in front of us every morning when we get out of bed. We may see them as gravel beneath our feet. They may irritate our bare toes and tempt us to walk around them, or just stay in bed away from them. They probably will not look like much since most of them are uncut gems. They need to be worked on, faceted, shined up to show their worth to us.

The gems may present themselves as work that needs to be done, or inconveniences that we’d rather not deal with. They may be problems to solve, people to help, some of whom will probably not even say thanks, the whole pile will be spread over with the dust of routine chores of every day.

We will have to wipe this off with the cloth of our daily commitment to do the mundane stuff that keeps our world just moving. But if that is all we do, we will dust a pile of rocks but never shine them up.

If on the other hand we dig in to those individual rocks we will find in our daily labors new skills, to develop. In our service to others we’ll unearth personalities, talents and gifts in the people all about us we never suspected. We will find joy and warmth in work well done even if we are the only ones who know who did it.

Acres of opportunity studded with at least semi precious stones and occasionally real gems lie within the range of every step we take in every day. Ours is the responsibility and the opportunity to see these little treasures, pick them up, shine them up, and leave them as sparkling sign posts along the path we have taken through life.


Family Projects

Decades ago I built a barn up the hill behind our house, and we put a couple of kids in it. Later we added more kids.

We got them because some of our children were allergic to cow’s milk, but did fine on goat’s milk. Also to help our boys learn responsibility and contribute to our dinner table.

The project was a mixed success. There is no animal cuter when they are young. Frisky, full of life, friendly, and they love to be cuddled and bottle fed.

When they mature they get more sedate and reasonable. But in their youth they are harder to handle. They are always looking for holes in the pen, or getting tangled up in their rope if you try to stake them.

No matter how pleasant the pasture is, they always think the grass is greener on the other side of the fence.

They are intelligent, and infinitely curious and that often causes them to get entangled in various ways, and we have to get them straightened out.

Their feed is also an expense, and their table manners often leave a lot to be desired

This is also true of the goats.

But all in all, the project has been worth the effort. If nothing else, it still helps me exercise my body and my patience.

They have brought me more smiles than frowns. Given the choice, I would do it all again.


Young People Today


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Kids today; who can understand them? I read about their self-centeredness, their great expectations with minimal effort, low work ethic, addictions to digital media, and on and on.

And then I read about the Hardin-Central High School Cheerleaders in Missouri. Recently at one of their basketball games they saw that the other school had only one cheerleader. Her name was Tori Adams and she was uncomfortable and scared.

So the Hardin cheerleaders learned her cheers, and cheered for her team as well as their own. The cheerleaders cheered for everybody, and, everybody cheered for the cheer leaders.

Reminds me of the junior prom at our high school a few years ago. The junior class officers decreed that no junior girl would be without a date to the prom. They sold the package to their constituents, and the juniors made it happen.

We who knew this class were not surprised. They were a special group of kids. We also nodded our heads when we found out that Lucinda’s (not her real name) date would be one of the biggest men on campus, star athlete, handsome, and popular with everybody, one of the good guys.

Lucinda was also special. No one, even those who had been her classmates since grade school ever remembered her eating lunch alone. She had a quiet sensitivity that invited everybody to her friends.

I was told later that Lucinda’s date had been his usual popular self at the dance, but his friends got only a wave. His whole focus that night was listening and talking to Lucinda

At the end of the dance, we parents, and other friends waited around the foot of the of the county courthouse staircase where the prom was held. To us as they descended the long flight of stairs in the spotlights, every young man was a handsome prince, every junior girl on his arm was Cinderella. And we applauded them as such.

Then the thunderous applause, the cheering, dabbing at the eyes erupted when Lucinda appeared. She was not on her handsome escort’s arm. She was in his strong arms as he gently carried her down the stairs, and placed her carefully into her wheel chair. The chair and others like it is her only way to get around since the age of three when a medical condition left her with almost no use of her arms and legs.

She didn’t actually dance that night, but in her heart and mind I think she sang with Eliza Doolittle in the musical My Fair Lady, “I only know when he began to dance with me, I could have danced, danced, danced all night.”

Young people today, bless them.

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Follow the Prophet Today


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What can we learn about following the prophet today? He won’t lead us astray.

Weary and cold already after only one day’s trek, these inexperienced small farmers, shopkeepers and craftsmen, mothers, fathers, and children dragged their wagons into a makeshift camp and tried to get rested for the next day of their trek across the plains and the mountains. Eventually more than 70,000 pioneers would show their faith in following their prophet Brigham Young. Six thousand would perish along the trail.
Their commitment to follow was tested in many ways. First driven out by mobs who hated their religion and hungered for their possessions, later in the valleys of their mountain home an army from their own country would menace them. Crickets would devour their crops cold and hot weather would endanger their existence. They were sustained by the words of their prophet Joseph Smith. Not long before he was murdered by a mob he declared they would become a mighty people in the midst of the Rocky Mountains.

Today their descendants and converts worldwide number in the millions. They have sufficient means to bless others hit by hurricanes, floods, war, pestilence and other natural and man-made calamities. Their missionaries carry a message of hope to the downtrodden, humility to the prosperous, and joy to all through the Savior Jesus Christ. They are a bright beacon to a dimming world.

A hundred years ago the prophet Heber J. Grant warned the world to beware of polluting their bodies with drugs including nicotine and alcohol. He quoted from the scriptures of “… evils and designs which do and will exist in the hearts of conspiring men in the last days… “
Those who listened and followed, and their descendants have been largely spared the death and misery from the flood of drugs drowning much of the world. Interestingly the poisons are sometimes called, “designer” drugs. The same word Heber J. Grant read from the scriptures written back in 1833.

Twenty three years ago the Prophet Gordon B. Hinckley and other general authorities issued a proclamation to the world to honor and protect the family. Those who listened and followed have suffered much less from the disintegration of this most important foundation of civilization.

These examples are only three of the thousands of words of wisdom, counsel, and salvation given since the Lord began more than two centuries ago to send prophets again to the earth.

Today, thanks be to God, the prophet still speaks. Those who harken and follow will not go astray, because the prophet will not go astray, and he knows the way.


Follow the Prophet Daniel


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What can we learn by following the prophet Daniel? Trusting in the Lord will bring deliverance.

Years ago I was in an audience where President Hugh B. Brown Introduced the England Ambassador. He got a laugh from the Mormon audience and the Ambassador with this joke. “Our guest being a faithful member of the Church of England must feel like the Democrat who was asked to speak at a Republican rally. The speaker was nervous. The master of ceremonies whispered to him, ‘Just say a little prayer.’

“The speaker answered, ‘That’s the one thing I can’t do. I don’t want The Lord to know where I am.’”

Her majesty’s ambassador was equal to the occasion. He opened his speech saying, “On the contrary. I feel like a lion in a den of Daniels.”

Would that we all could be in a den of Daniels today. Our young people need heroes like the youthful Daniel and his friends refusing King Nebuchadnezzar’s wine and rich meats, and eating healthy food instead.

We older folks could use more examples such as the older Daniel bravely predicting the fall and rise of kingdoms including the one holding him and his people captive. He refused to stop praying to God even when he was sentenced to become lion food.

Many of Daniel’s prophecies have already come to pass. Others will. One prophecy is being fulfilled virtually every day of our lives. That prophecy declares that the kingdom of God will one day overcome all the kingdoms of the world and stand forever. (Daniel 2.)