Faith / Divine Nature / Individual Worth / Knowledge / Choice-and-Accountability /Good Works / Integrity / Temple Marriage / Especially for Leaders/


Moral principles can never be compromised; they can only be abandoned.

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When two people achieve lasting happiness, this is not solely because they are great lovers but because they are also -- I must put it crudely -- good people; controlled, loyal, fairminded, mutually adaptable people.             C.S. Lewis

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It is easier to fight for one's principles than to live up to them.          Alfred Adler

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That you may retain your self-respect, it is better to displease the people by doing what you know is right, than to temporarily please them by doing what you know is wrong.          William J.H. Boetcker

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"Be careful how you live.  You may be the only Bible some people ever read."  author unknown.

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If you want your neighbor to see what the Christ spirit will do for him, let him see what it has done for you.                      Beecher

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Object Lessons:

Car Engine Filter or Cheese Cloth -- Of all the things we see, hear, and think we must only accept within us those that are good, filtering out the rest.


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by Edgar A. Guest
Men are of two kinds, and he
Was of the kind I'd like to be.
Some preach their virtues, and a few
Express their lives by what they do.
That sort was he. No flowery phrase
Or glibly spoken words of praise
Won friends for him. He wasn't cheap
Or shallow, but his course ran deep,
And it was pure. You know the kind.
Not many in a life you find
Whose deeds outrun their words so far
That more than what they seem they are.
There are two kinds of lies as well:
The kind you live, the ones you tell.
Back through his years from age to youth
He never acted one untruth.
Out in the open light he fought
And didn't care what others thought
Nor what they said about his fight
If he believed that he was right.
The only deeds he ever hid
Were acts of kindness that he did.
What speech he had was plain and blunt.
His was an unattractive front.
Yet children loved him; babe and boy
Played with the strength he could employ,
Without one fear, and they are fleet
To sense injustice and deceit.
No back door gossip linked his name
With any shady tale of shame.
He did not have to compromise
With evil-doers, shrewd and wise,
And let them ply their vicious trade
Because of some past escapade.
Men are of two kinds, and he
Was of the kind I'd like to be.
No door at which he ever knocked
Against his manly form was locked.
If ever man on earth was free
And independent, it was he.
No broken pledge lost him respect,
He met all men with head erect,
And when he passed I think there went
A soul to yonder firmament
So white, so splendid and so fine
It came almost to God's design.

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Author Unknown


Success is speaking words of praise,

In cheering other people's ways,

In doing just the best you can,

With every task and every plan,

It's silence when your speech would hurt,

Politeness when your neighbor's curt,

It's deafness when the scandal flows,

And sympathy with others' woes,

It's loyalty when duty calls,

It's courage when disaster falls,

It's patience when the hours are long,

It's found in laughter and in song,

It's in the silent time of prayer,

In happiness and in despair,

In all of life and nothing less,

We find the thing we call Success.

Author Unknown

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By Edgar A. Guest
To live as gently as I can;
To be, no matter where, a man;
To take what comes of good or ill
And cling to faith and honor still;
To do my best, and let that stand
The record of my brain and hand;
And then, should failure come to me,
Still work and hope for victory.
To have no secret place wherein
I stoop unseen to shame or sin;
To be the same when I'm alone
As when my every deed is known;
To live undaunted, unafraid
Of any step that I have made;
To be without pretense or sham
Exactly what men think I am.
To leave some simple mark behind
To keep my having lived in mind;
If enmity to aught I show,
To be an honest, generous foe,
To play my little part, nor whine
That greater honors are not mine.
This, I believe, is all I need
For my philosophy and creed.

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by Edgar A. Guest
Courage isn't a brilliant dash,
A daring deed in a moment's flash;
It isn't an instantaneous thing
Born of despair with a sudden spring
It isn't a creature of flickered hope
Or the final tug at a slipping rope;
But it's something deep in the soul of man
That is working always to serve some plan.
Courage isn't the last resort
In the work of life or the game of sport;
It isn't a thing that a man can call
At some future time when he's apt to fall;
If he hasn't it now, he will have it not
When the strain is great and the pace is hot.
For who would strive for a distant goal
Must always have courage within his soul.
Courage isn't a dazzling light
That flashes and passes away from sight;
It's a slow, unwavering, ingrained trait
With the patience to work and the strength to
It's part of a man when his skies are blue,
It's part of him when he has work to do.
The brave man never is freed of it.
He has it when there is no need of it.
Courage was never designed for show;
It isn't a thing that can come and go;
It's written in victory and defeat
And every trial a man may meet.
It's part of his hours, his days and his years,
Back of his smiles and behind his tears.
Courage is more than a daring deed:
It's the breath of life and a strong man's creed.

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Author Unknown

In every twon, in every street,

In nearly every house, you meet

A little imp, who wriggles in

With half a sneer and half a grin,

and climbs upon your rocking chair,

Or creeps upon you anywhere;

And when he gets you very near,

Just whispers something in your ear---

Some rumor of another's shame---

And "Little Hearsay" is his name.

You understand, this little elf

He doesn't say he knows himself,

He doesn't claim it's really true---

He only whispers it to you,

Because he knows you'll go and tell

Some other whisperer as well.

And if he says he's only heard,

Declare you don't believe a word,

And tell him you will not repeat

The silly chatter of the street.

However gossips smile and smirk,

Refuse to do the devil's work.


Old Tradition Based on Good Example
Debra Coe (c) all rights reserved

Most people are aware that the origin of Santa Claus is Saint Nicholas, but many aren't completely aware of who he was and what he represents.

Saint Nicholas was a very real person who was born as the only child to wealthy parents around 270 A.D. in what is now Turkey. Upon the death of his parents while he was yet relatively young, he inherited a rather large sum of money. It is said that he was already a religious boy and that soon after the death of his parents, he dedicated his life to serving Jesus Christ.

He became very well known for his love of children and generosity to the poor. His method of giving was generally more in the form of throwing a bag of money into a window, or putting gold coins in the stockings of the needy as they hung out to dry.

There are many legends that go with the type of person St. Nicholas was. One of the better documented accounts of his generosity tells of a family who was starving with no money for food much less money for a dowry so the father could marry off his three daughters. The father was considering sending at least the oldest out to earn money as a prostitute. When the young Nicholas heard of this, he went during the night to a window of the home and threw in a bag of gold coins. In the morning they found the gold; they now had money for food and a dowry as well. The daughter kept her honor.

Because there were two other sisters, the young Nicholas threw in two more bags of coins on two other occasions. By the third time, the father wanted to know who the benefactor was and watched until finally he caught the lad after he threw the third bag of money. It is reported that Nicholas was very upset that someone knew of his acts of charity and made the father promise not to tell anyone who had helped his family.

Eventually he became the bishop of the church in Myra where he was known for more great acts of charity. One legend said that some children were captured by a group pirates that threatened to take the children to be sold as slaves if some large amount of money was not given to them. This bishop is said to have gotten the money himself and given it to the pirates to save the children.

During this period of history, Christians were still being persecuted by the Romans with their infamous cruelties including throwing them to the lions, etc. Although the worst persecution of the Christians had just taken place about 250 A.D. under the reign of Decius Trajan, there had been relative peace in the later part of the century. But in 303 A.D., the last of the great Roman persecutions began. The Roman Emperor Diocletian was persuaded again to suppress the Christian religion. Those who would not give up following the Lord, Jesus Christ, and turn over their sacred books would be either killed or put in prison. Those who went to prison were cruelly tortured.

According to Elder B.H. Roberts in Outlines of Ecclesiastical History, page 128: "The constancy of all the Christians, no, not even that of all the their bishops and clergy, was equal to this trial, and many voluntarily surrendered the sacred writings in their possession to save themselves from punishment and death."

During this period, charges were made up that allowed the government to throw all Bishops and ministers in prison. An edict authorized the officials to use severe torture to force these church leaders to make sacrifices to the pagan gods. The hope was that if the leaders could be defeated, and forced to give worship to other gods, their people would follow. Many great men suffered and died in defense of their faith in Christ. St. Nicholas was among these bishops.

This part of Saint Nicholas is not legend, it is part of history. While he lived in a world where apostasy from Christianity was all around him, he stood for what he believed. Saint Nicholas was one of the few who survived Diocletian's torture chambers. This is where he gained his title Saint; for those who did survive were called "saints" by the people in honor of their great devotion to Jesus Christ.

Saint Nicholas was freed when the new Emperor Constantine came to power. It is said that as he reentered Myra, the people flocked around him in his honor. He may have been beaten and tortured, but he was not broken. He went on to serve the people for many more years giving service and adding to the legends of his great goodness. To me this is a story of a man who did his best to serve his God and apply the principles taught by Jesus Christ. It is one that is worthy of being pasted down to our children.

How we went from stories of this ancient priest to our present day Santa Claus, is yet another entire story, (if any one is interested in it, tell me and I will write that one as well.) However, I found it interesting to learn that many of these changes began in New York in 1822 just as the true gospel was about to be restored.

For several reasons, the decision of what to tell our future children about Santa Claus was one that I began to think about as a teenager. In late November or early December of 1977, I attended a Stake Conference where Elder LaGrand Richards spoke. (For those of you who don't remember Elder Richards, he was a very loved apostle) Because of the time of year, he happened to address the issue of Santa Claus. I listened intently because I was almost due to deliver our first child. What he said surprised me. He said that he thought Santa Claus and putting out gifts for our children was a great invention. He explained that children didn't need him, they would do just fine without him, it was the parents he said that needed Santa Claus. He said that it was our opportunity to learn to give anonymously to our own children when we expected no thank you or praise -- a time when our only thoughts were on making them happy. I am sure that I don't explain it as well as he did, but I hope you get the idea.

We have had the good fortune of spending over seven years in Germany as a family. Here Saint Nicholas is still called by that name, not Santa Claus. He is a priest with a normal sized body who wears a plain robe, without fur, that is not necessarily red. He has no magical powers or magical reindeer and elves -- he rides a donkey that he must coax along. Our children attended German school for several years. In these schools they still tell the legends of this good man and his love and concern for children and the poor. Saint Nicholas day is December 6th, the day that the real Saint Nicholas died. On the night of the December 5th is when he leaves his presents and the children put their shoes by the door for him as he is more human and doesn't come down the chimney nor can he put his finger to the side of his nose and go back up either. December 25th and 26th (they have two days for Christmas) is a time only for the celebration of the birth of Christ.

We have adopted many of these German customs. We tell our children about Saint Nicholas rather than Santa Claus and we too celebrate his example on the 6th. I explain that it is the example and spirit of generosity that lives on. We try to give our children opportunities to play this secret role of giving to other families so that they too can feel of this spirit.

I believe that as Christians ourselves we should be promoting a Christian emphasis for the holiday. Statistics show that only 21% consider this a time to think about the birth of the Savior. For most people in America, Santa Claus is the only level celebrated. But even Santa Claus is a thread for these people back to Christianity. Perhaps we can spread the word of who this man was and help them understand that if the real Saint Nicholas were here to celebrate with us, he would tell us to look to the Son of God. I believe he would also be reminding us that we are celebrating a Holy Day and that this is the original meaning of the word Holiday.

Faith / Divine Nature / Individual Worth / Knowledge / Choice-and-Accountability /Good Works / Integrity / Temple Marriage / Especially for Leaders/

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Copyright 1997
Last modified: November 22, 2000