Archive for September, 2007


I Remember…The Great Crayon Wars

   Posted by: John    in I Remember...

I remember…My grade school was pretty small, less than 90 kids.  I don’t remember ever having more than 14 kids in my class, so we all knew each other pretty good.  The teachers all knew us pretty good as well, so that didn’t leave much room for mischief.  However, it did happen from time to time.

Mrs. Wilson was the 6th grade teacher.  She was a little older, but pretty strict and we all knew what was expected of us.  I don’t recall how long into the school year this happened, but it was somewhere in the middle.  In the middle of the morning, Mrs. Wilson would go down the breezeway to the library to refill her coffee.  She would be gone 5 to 10 minutes, during which time we were supposed to be working.  One day, someone decided it would be funny to chuck a piece of crayon at someone else.  This, of course, quickly mushroomed into the whole class becoming involved in open crayon warfare.  Someone would get posted at the door to watch for the teacher.  As soon as she was seen coming back, we had about 45 seconds to gather up the pieces of crayon and put them away.

After about 2 weeks, we started getting sloppy.  A couple of crayon pieces were missed, and there were telltale crayon marks on the walls and desks.  We were hard at war and instead of coming in the back door, she came in the front and caught us!  That was a bad afternoon.  It was also the end of the crayon war.

Oh well, it was fun while it lasted.

Sunday’s sacrament meeting was a missionary theme.  There were a lot of speakers that included the fulltime missionaries, the ward missionaries, and the ward mission leader.  It was a very full meeting.  Brother Moss said something that I thought was very interesting.  He takes a little time getting around to his points, but when he gets there, they are usually worth it

He read from the Doctrine and Covenants, section 20, verse 77.  It reads as follows:

“O God, the Eternal Father, we ask thee in the name of thy Son, Jesus Christ, to bless and sanctify this bread to the souls of all those who partake of it, that they may eat in remembrance of the body of thy Son, and witness unto thee, O God, the Eternal Father, that they are willing to take upon them the name of thy Son, and always remember him and keep his commandments which he has given them; that they may always have his Spirit to be with them. Amen.”

This prayer, of course, is the one that we hear every week, as the sacrament is blessed.  Brother Moss paid special attention to three words: “are willing to”.  He talked about the promises and conditions that are in the sacrament prayers along with other commandments that the Lord gave us.  We are all imperfect and will break commandments, either by commission or omission.  There is simply no way we can be perfect.  However, we can strive to be perfect and do our very best, and prove that we “are willing to” follow all of the commandments of God, he will give us all that he promises us.  In the case of the sacrament prayer, it is to have the Spirit with us.  God has promised us many other things, many of which are cataloged in Section 121: 41-46.  There are some requirements, then many wonderful blessings and promises, if we “are willing to” follow the commandments.

I’m grateful to Brother Moss for bringing out these three words that make it so we can keep these promises.


Better than Libby’s Pumpkin Pie Recipe

   Posted by: John    in Recipes

For years I have just followed the recipe from the Libby’s can of pumpkin for the pie. It always turns out good, but I run into a problem. My stoneware pie pans are deeper than the average, and takes about half again as much pie filling as a regular glass pie pan. A 15 oz can of pumpkin is not enough, and the recipe on the 29 oz can makes too much. So, yesterday I got to tinkering with the recipe and came up with this. It was just enough for the deep pie pan.

  • 1 29oz can of pumpkin
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • ½ tsp cloves
  • 1 can evaporated milk
  • ½ cup half-n-half (or ½ cup milk)

Combine all ingredients and mix well. Pour into pan with prepared pie crust. Bake for 20 minutes at 425 degrees. Turn oven down to 350 degrees and bake for another 80 minutes. Let cool before serving.

I don’t remember who gave this talk in church, but I wrote down something from it that I thought was interesting.

The talk was from one of Elder Scott’s conference addresses, having to do with prayer and forgiveness.  The item that caught my attention was this:  How is it done?  That sounds a little strange, but consider it for a moment.  After receiving an answer to prayer, we should thank the Lord.  But Elder Scott also said he also wanted to know “How is it done”, especially on items such as repentance.

It’s a good question.  We know about the plan of salvation and the atonement.  These are subjects of constant lessons, talks and discussion.  It’s one thing to talk about them, but it’s another entirely to fully understand the significance of the atonement and yet another to know the means of how it works.

I am reminded of Enos, the account of which is in the Book of Mormon.  He is hunting, and remembered the words of the prophets and his father.  The words sank deep into his soul and he wanted to know if they were true.  He prayed, not just a short prayer, but continuously, with earnest desire to know, for an unknown period of time.  Eventually the answer came, and he heard the sure voice that his sins had been forgiven.  He knew God could not lie and his guilt was swept away.  Then he asks this: “Lord, how is it done?”

Knowing that he had been forgiven was not enough for Enos.  He wanted to understand the means by which that forgiveness was obtained.  The Lord said “Because of thy faith in Christ, whom thou has never before heard nor seen.”

Like so many of the scriptures, I am sure there was more dialogue and events than was written.  Enos was very likely given information, like Nephi received when he saw the vision of his father.  Receiving a simple answer would not have been enough.  Enos would have wanted to see the events in the garden of Gethsemane, on Golgotha, and the tomb.

If we read further in the chapter, we find that the Lord makes several covenants with Enos regarding the records and the Lamanites.  I find that interesting considering that the Lord usually requires us to make covenants with him, not the other way around.  Only a man of incredible righteousness and standing with the Lord would be able to extract such promises from God Himself.  I think it safe to say that Enos would have been the recipient of visions and promises from God equal to any other great and righteous person.  His understanding of “How it is done” would have been extensive and very complete.

From that question and answer, and the following few verses, we see a person of great spiritual quality, one who is favored of God.  It would behoove us to look at this example and ask God ourselves how it is done, personally from Him.


I Remember…The 2nd Grade Gurgle

   Posted by: John    in I Remember...

I remember…I don’t know why, but I have always had an active nose. It seems like I produce plenty of phlegm.

I remember in second grade, sitting in class, not wanting to be called on because I had so much junk in my throat that I could hardly breathe, much less speak. Of course, that wish wasn’t going to happen. There was some crafty type project we were going to work on, and we had to choose the color of yarn we wanted to put on it. I wanted yellow, but when she got to me, I couldn’t talk. All I did was gurgle. It took 3 times before she understood me. Fortunately, recess started and I was able to go to the restroom and take care of the problem.

I don’t know why I remembered this. What a silly thing to have a recollection of.

Today was High Council Sunday.  It is interesting that in this stake, the high councilor who speaks selects a speaking companion to go with him and they present the talks.  I don’t remember that happening in other wards and stakes I have been in.

Sister Dopp was the speaking companion.  She is the wife of a member of the stake presidency.  She spoke mostly about the word of wisdom as a means of keeping ourselves free from addiction.  As she spoke, I had several thoughts about different kinds of addictions.

Physical addiction: This kind of addiction is something that we either take into our bodies.  For example, coffee.  People get addicted to the substances in coffee and it becomes very difficult to stop drinking it day after day.  Cigarettes are another example.  As the body becomes hooked on substances it affects our ability concentrate on more important matters.  As this happens, the spirit will become dragged down as the body succumbs to a losing battle of choice.

Now there are those who say, “I’m not addicted.  I can take it or leave it.”  This rationalization is not correct, since they always end up taking it.  They have limited their choice because the body craves and most often gets what it wants.

Mental addiction:  There are more subtle kinds of addiction than substances.  The human mind is able to take all kinds of things into it.  However, sometimes, there are things that become an obsession.  For example, pornography.  In this case, the mind becomes poisoned, but the physical body is largely untouched or hampered, at least for some time.  These kinds of addiction enslave the mind.  Because they tamper with the mind, they also alter character, emotion, and reason.  Mental addictions also are often more damaging to the spirit, often quicker and with more devastating effect.  There is virtually nothing a person can to do kill the connection with the Holy Ghost quicker than to start down the path of porn.  It is almost scary how fast it can go.  Yet, someone addicted to porn can, for all intents and purposes, be as healthy and free from physical addiction as the next person.

There are many things that can vie for our attention.  People get addicted to money, power, heroin, caffeine, sex, sports, etc.  When we let ourselves get stuck on those things, we begin losing our connection to the Holy Ghost.  There are things we can participate in that will not hurt us, such as basketball, or even politics, that will do us good, so long as they don’t become the focus of our lives.

Sister Dopp spoke mainly of the word of wisdom.  Obviously that is part of the battle.  The other part involves keeping our minds pure and unfettered by worldly things.  That may be the tougher challenge.


I Remember…Mr. Oakerman and Chatty Kim

   Posted by: John    in I Remember...

While I was writing the previous piece, I remembered something else about Dale Oakerman (principal at my grade school).  He taught fifth grade as well as being the principal.

I don’t remember there ever being more than 15 kids in my class.  They were small classes, which was nice because you knew everyone and vice versa.  However, for those who were inclined to misbehave, it left little room to do so.

We had a couple of real chatty girls.  One was always whispering to the other.  One day, Kim kept turning around in her seat to whisper to the girl behind her.  Mr. Oakerman told her to face front 3 or 4 times, but it never lasted more than about 3 minutes.  Finally, he had enough.  The next thing we knew, he had crossed the room with his yardstick and brought it down on her desk with enough force to break it.  Dang it was loud.  Kim’s scream was louder.  She sat there shaking from the scare.  I don’t recall any words being said, but it solved the problem for a while.

Now there’s something a teacher wouldn’t be able to get away with these days.


I Remember…The Accidental Fire Alarm

   Posted by: John    in I Remember...

I remember…In grade school, they used to have a fire drill every so often.  We lined up and marched out across the playground to the back fence, waited for a few minutes then went back to class.

The alarm itself was almost like an air raid siren.  It would wind up and howl, then die out (the pitch didn’t raise and lower in the middle, but it was good and loud).  Mr. Oakerman, the principal would set it off long enough for everyone to get out and then shut it off.

He was also the fifth grade teacher.  One time we were doing our work and he said something about “needing to have a fire drill”.  Since we knew that we were having the drill, as soon as he left the room we all lined up and waited.  First ones out the door.

I don’t remember what grade I was in, but one day it went off and we all marched out to the fence.  Only it didn’t shut off.  It just kept going and going.  The teachers were wandering around trying to determine if there really was a fire.  Mr. Oakerman kept saying that he hadn’t done it.  About 5 minutes later they figured out that during recess in the gym one of the little fire gadgets had been hit by a basketball, breaking the glass.  They finally shut the wailing off and called the fire department to cancel the truck that was on its way.

Just one of those things that I remember for some odd reason.


Sunday Meeting Notes (September 2007)

   Posted by: John    in Church Meetings, Older Posts

Sacrament meeting was quite interesting yesterday.  We had 4 speakers, two of whom were young men in the ward, then we heard from the Wagners.

Young Brothers Wilson and Ingersol gave excellent 5 minute talks.  They are fine examples of  Aaronic Priesthood holders, and it reflects in their manner and speaking.

Then Sister Wagner spoke about prayer and following the promptings of the Holy Ghost.  (I don’t know if that was the real topic, but that’s what I thought the message was.)  She related some stories of her life where listening to the spirit led her to find her husband, and helped her through some difficult times.

By the time she finished, there was only a few minutes left.  Brother Dustin Wagner got up, made a quick joke, then said that there he was having to throw his talk out due to time.  Rather, he would give us the topic and let us ponder it.  The topic?  “Remember, and perish not.”  He then said that while he was sitting there realizing he was out of time, a scripture came to mind with great force, from 1 Nephi 11, where Nephi was seeing the vision his Father had.  The angel asked if Nephi knew the condescension of God.  Nephi replied that he knew that God loved his children, but did not know the meaning of all things.  The angel then showed him Mary, the Mother of God and explained to Nephi the miracle of Jesus’ birth.  Dustin then said, “Remember that, and you will not perish.”  Then he proceeded to mention several other things.  Jesus teaching the doctors and scribes at the age of 12.  Jesus being baptized by John.  Jesus calling the disciples to establish His church.  Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane, then on the cross.  Jesus not being in the tomb on the third day, but appearing as a resurrected perfect man.  And after each thing he said “Remember that, and you shall not perish.”

This was the kind of sacrament meeting we had, where the talks were given by the spirit, and the messages where loud and clear, and received by the spirit.  I noticed that the Bishopric were sitting just as riveted as I was.  This is one reason why I love this ward.  We may not see the spirit giving the talka quite in this fashion, but we almost always have it there.


I Remember…Samantha Sang “Emotion”

   Posted by: John    in I Remember...

I remember…when I was a kid we were not allowed to listen to rock and roll music.  I joke around at times that if there was a drum in the music, it was banned.  Anyway, we had this old AM/FM transistor radio (back when that was the thing) that was in a leather case.  I think it was supposed to take 4 AA batteries, but the clip that was on it would allow a 9 volt battery to be attached.  So, anyway, when I was 10 or 11 years old, I would take this old radio, and lay in bed late at night and listen to it.  I remember this one song I would try to find called Emotion by Samantha Sang.  It was this mellow slow song, but for some reason I liked it.  I don’t remember if there were any others that I hunted for.  Sometimes I could find that song several times over the period of an hour.

The “official” radio station was KPNW on the FM.  I think it was 99.1 or something like that.  They would play popular music but it was done by strings and brass rather than electric guitars and screaming vocals.  Some of it was rather good, and it was almost all instrumental.

I also remember some of the guys I went to seminary with.  Most were into this head-banging so-called music that was little more than screeching into the microphone and slapping the guitars and drums close to the breaking point.  Groups like Judas Priest, Black Sabbath, Def Leppard, etc.  I’m so glad I never got into that kind of stuff.

We were going from seminary to school one morning and some of them were talking about this new record they got from Judas Priest.  They had a tape of it, and talked whoever was driving to put it on.  It was the worst garbage I had heard (up to that time…some of the stuff out now makes Judas Priest very tame) and I told them so.  I got some of the strangest comments and looks.  Probably another reason why I never really fit in with the crowd.  So, we didn’t listen to Judas Priest any more on the way to school, but I have often thought about that group of boys, and I think it is very interesting that most (if not all) of those guys who were into that music went inactive soon after high school or didn’t go on missions, or are not active now.

In spite of my sneaking some music at times, I was not into the foul stuff, and never have been. In fact, I prefer classical or symphonic music.  Sometime “oldies”.  Good jazz, and even some country that isn’t full of innuendo or dogs and trucks dying is fine.  (Not a lot of country, but there are a few songs that are fun.)  I’m glad that the scary stuff wasn’t allowed when I was young because it gave me an appreciation of other styles of music that most of the kids didn’t have.  And I didn’t have my head poisoned with the messages that much of the heavy rock and roll seems to have.  Thanks, Mom and Dad for not wanting it in our home.

I found one of my old Don Black tapes the other day and listened to it while driving around.  (Yes, I have a tape player in the car.  This particular model car has a CD and tape player in it.)  The title is “Principles with Promise.”  In this talk, Don talks about various principles of the gospel that have promises attached to them, specifically, tithing, fasting, the word of wisdom.  Then, he talks about the Holy Ghost.

Now, I have listened to this talk before, but I found myself thinking very hard about the Holy Ghost.  As Don says, we often think of Him as a latent power, sitting idly by until needed in a great way.  This is not the case.

One of the stories that Don tells, is when he received his mission call to Denmark, and how he was worried that he would meet someone who knew more about the gospel than he did.  His father put his arm around him and said “My son, in your case, plan on it.”  Hardly words of comfort.  Then he says this:  “All your life we have taught you principles of the gospel.  We have tried to fill your mind with truth and knowledge.  You have a mechanism, God given to you called the Holy Ghost, who will bring to recall the principles and truths you have been taught, in the very hour you need them.”  Then he proceeds to give some examples of when that gift manifested itself in various circumstances, almost of its own accord, but giving him the words, scriptures and language he needed at the very time he required them.

As I have thought about this testimony, I thought about how the Holy Ghost operates.  He doesn’t very often force his way upon anyone, although he has the power to do so.  He isn’t loud or overbearing, but has the ability to pierce the soul.  He does not work through fear or threat, but gives love, understanding, and various gifts as needed, such as speaking in tongues.

Indeed, the Holy Ghost becomes more than a principle of the gospel.  He is a part of the gospel.  Being a member of the Godhead gives him authority and standing equal to Christ.  Neither can work without the other.

As Don says, the Holy Ghost is one of the grandest blessings we can have in this life.  Without him, we would be aimless, having no hope of knowing truth.  The evidence of this is when Christ was on the Earth with his apostles.  Even being in his presence, they were not the strong, powerful men they became when they received the Holy Ghost.  Their acts, as recorded in the New Testament, were as instructive and powerful as Christ’s.  We can be as strong as they were, having that same gift given to us.


I Remember…Missionary Laundry

   Posted by: John    in I Remember...

I remember…I don’t know how old I was, probably younger than 7, but Mom was doing laundry for the missionaries.  We lived about 3 miles from town, so it was a bit of a drive for them to make it out to us to bring the laundry then pick it up.

One evening, after we had all gone to bed, they showed up to get their stuff.  I heard the knock on the door, but Mom and Dad didn’t, being upstairs in bed.  We had this safety chain on the top of the door.  I couldn’t reach it, so I got a chair, but still couldn’t reach it.  Rather than wake up Mom or Dad, I put the shirts through the 3” gap the chain allowed one at a time.  I didn’t think about using the kitchen door.  I don’t know if it had a chain on it or not.

In the end, they got all their laundry.  I don’t remember if I ever said anything about it to my parents.  It was just one of those funny things.