Thursday, June 28, 2012

Anniversary Questions & The Final Judgement

President David O. McKay

Yesterday, June 27, 2012 Rosie and I quietly celebrated our 39th Anniversary (Lace and Coral are the appropriate gifts!  That's not a's a fact)  We had a wonderful pot roast and settled in for a chat in which I asked some important questions (found below the note on President McKay and the Final Judgement)

NOTE:  In 1965, President David O. McKay made the following statement to a group of Church employees: Let me assure you, Brethren, that some day you will have a personal priesthood interview with the Savior himself. If you are interested, I will tell you the order in which he will ask you to account for your earthly responsibilities. (In some versions these questions were explained to a group of temple workers in the chapel of the Salt Lake Temple.)

First, he will request an accountability report about your relationship with your wife. Have you actively been engaged in making her happy and ensuring that her needs have been met as an individual?

Second, he will want an accountability report about each of your children individually. He will not attempt to have this for simply a family stewardship but will request information about your relationship to each and every child.

Third, he will want to know what you personally have done with the talents you were given in the preexistence.

Fourth, he will want a summary of your activity in your Church assignments. He will not be necessarily interested in what assignments you have had, for in his eyes the home teacher and a mission president are probably equals, but he will request a summary of how you have been of service to your fellow man in your Church assignments.

Fifth, he will have no interest in how you earned your living but if you were honest in all your dealings.

Sixth, he will ask for an accountability on what you have done to contribute in a positive manner to your community, state, country, and the world.

(Reported by Cloyd Hofheins in a talk to the Seventies Quorum of Provo Utah Oak Hills Stake, May 16, 1982

In that same spirit, Rosie and I ended our quiet day of anniversary celebration (the 39th) on June 27, as I asked her a series of questions to help me figure out how I’m doing on the way to that moment with my Father in Heaven.  If these help any husband to re-establish ties, it will be worth the few minutes I slaved over a hot keyboard

By the way, one of my favorite Priesthood Meeting addresses from General Conferences came from Joe J. Christensen, emeritus member of the seventy and former President of Rick’s College (now BYU Idaho):  “If you want a revelation, brethren, go home tonight and ask your wife what you can do to improve as a husband and father…and then listen carefully.   Our Father in Heaven will “reveal” an earful and more of specific things you can do.”
Here are the questions that I listened to Rosie answer last night before the altar of a quiet TV screen:

1.    1.  What are your favorite two or three memories of our 39 years together?

She recalled times with our family, from my enthusiasm at her bedside as she delivered our first son, Jeffery Glen Howe and our first daughter, Sally Ann Howe (Sally doesn’t use her middle name much any more)  

We remembered Jeff’s cub scout mastery of Good Sportsmanship at his first pinewood derby and the blue and gold marble cake in the shape of a hot air balloon and basket-load of family and friends.  

We looked back to Sally’s fifth grade report on Ireland that involved a lovely little blouse and skirt, posters—even a few sixpence coins to make the emerald isle more memorable to her and the whole family.  

We both smiled at Jeff’s winning seventh grade science project on earthquakes and the orange jello bowl and balsa wood houses used to demonstrate liquefaction (that report plays on YouTube as the first story on the first edition of our pre-fiftieth anniversary video project called:   COUSINS MAGAZINE!)
    2. What are two or three ways you have changed as a result of this 39 year old friendship with me?

1)      She is more at peace with herself than she ever was with her previous husband, Kenny Cool (Michael’s biological father, now 46)

2)      She has developed trust in her own abilities to do projects without a recipe, pattern or plan.  Our marriage and family life has given her the courage to do things on impulse and risk time and occasionally a little money on ideas she develops herself or as she describes: as a result of “The nudge”

3)      Rosie said that as a result of our  time together she has developed a much closer relationship with her Father in Heaven, Jesus and the Holy Ghost than she had ever done in the years of marriage to her Michael’s father.  

      We often talk about practicing the gospel with a BIG “G” and the gospel with a small “g”.  Though we live half a block from our LDS ward and stake center Rosie’s teeth, her knees, her gimpy tummy have all conspired to keep her from regular church attendance.  But when a little family knocked on our door a few months ago in need of help, Rosie cleaned out our larder of peanut butter, a loaf of bread, canned fruit—enough to fill their little red wagon to give them strength to walk to Provo from our Holladay area after their old car fell apart.  That’s the kind of little “g”  soul growth that powers a truly Christian lifestyle away from the associations that regular church attendance brings.  That summarizes Rosie's sense of being and some terrific soul growth.

3.    3. What changes have you noticed in me as your husband in the last 39 years?

1)      You are more accepting of change—the gay life style in our daughter and her friends, the need for a little mood medication in your own life—and careful following of VA doctor’s instructions and medication to keep your diabetes and other bodily ailments under as much control as you can.

2)      You are more patient now than you were, for example, with Michael when we first got married.  (Michael –who actually did the proposing for me as Uncle Jon to become his daddy--was always moving in church and I got more than a little frustrated—and wasn’t shy about calling that to the young 8 year old’s attention.  The marital situation was never good between Rosie and her first husband…and when Kenny came to Utah on vacation and took Michael home with him and filed papers with the court in Virginia to change the child’s custody arrangement and declare Rosie an unfit mother for making Michael do “little girl work” like cleaning his room and doing the dishes, we all but lost the youngster.  He's called a couple of times, but for all intents and purposes he is :apart".

We toddled off to bed around midnight after prayer and another chorus from me of “Happy Anniversary” to the tune of an unknown Can Can rhythm: bu-bu-bu-bu BUP BUP BUH! etc. ended our celebration day.

How I do love that woman.  Our celebration meal featured roasted garlic in the creamy mashed potatoes and a scratch pudding cake for dessert. (and I was true to my trust at the VA—and ate measured amounts as slowly as I could, savoring every delicious bite. I am the poster child for her great cooking. 

BY THE WAY:  A few months ago, Rosie envisioned her dream job and went to Spoons and Spice to apply to sell their wonderful kitchen implements, sharpen knives as an additional service to the store etc .   On the application the question was asked, "What could you write to demonstrate that you know your way around the kitchen?  With a spunky little glint in her eye and showing me the form as she filled in the answer she wrote:  'When we were first married, my husband's waist line was a tight 36 inches.  Now, some 30 something years later he measures nearly 55 inches around.  That should count for something.

The "suck a pickle" woman who read her answer didn't crack a smile---and Rosie was glad she didn't have to go to work there every day with such a humorless boss!  On we go laughing and enduring to the end...which as you may know according to Elder Glen Pace's quoting M. Russell  Ballard, "It isn't over until a Latter-day Saint is safely dead with his/her testimony burning brightly!"

May your first 39 years be as happy as ours have  been.  Here/s to 39 more just like them!!


Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Renting to The Opposition!

Daryl Parker was just released as a Bishop in Green River, Wyoming.  He's a dentist; former missionary to Korea and husband to Nancy, a lovely Korean bride of nearly forty years he met at BYU's Asian Branch when we were all students there in the seventies.

He has a few years to go to retire as one of Green River, Wyoming's dentists.  We grew up together in Scouts in Laramie, Wyoming.  His scholarships from Wyoming to Creighton Dental School sent him to Green River and he hopes to move back to Laramie into a home he's owned for several years and put out for rent.

My brother Thomas chuckled that former Bishop Parker has a challenge--that he's cheerfully facing.  A few years ago, after he bought the home, he put it up for rent...and an older couple with good references applied, were approved by the Parkers and moved in.  They've been near perfect tenants...and, by the way, did I mention: They are full time Catholic Missionaries who pay their rent on time and have taken excellent care of Dr. Parker's retirement home.

I've never brought this interesting circumstance up to my good friend, Daryl.  He was kind to come to our mother's memorial service in far away Worland, Wyoming and we spent some time catching up after near 40 years of toiling away in separate spots in the vineyard.

There'll come a day when Daryl and Nancy will move their empty nest-quarters into their retirement Shangrila in the Gem City of the Plains (Laramie)...and the Catholic missionary couple will likely have to find new digs.   Until then, the Parkers are fortunate to have such great renters--and an opportunity to practice tolerance and loving their neighbors of another faith from a distance.


Wednesday, June 20, 2012

You are His Clear Channel

A philosopher in the kingdom once said that folks in the Celestial Kingdom will earn that Kingdom by the choices they make to keep their "Channel Clear"

In the radio business, Clear Channel refers to a radio station that was unimpeded by mountains or any obstruction.

Joseph Smith said that inhabitants of the highest Kingdom are best at transmitting light through the clear channel they have become between the Father and the recipient of that light--service--caring--love!

The means to achieve that transmission of light is to cleanse the innervessel-- repent and clean out the obstructions within the channel.  Any brass instrument player knows about spit and sludge-- that have to be cleaned out, often through spit valves--the repentance mechanism of every trumpet, trombone, baritone and tuba.

Likewise, to be effective Channels, we must use our "spit valves from time to time, change our patterns and habits to more effectively transmit light.

The real final exam- His Image in our Countenance!

Students fiinishing a summer course in Humanitarian Studies showed up at their regularly scheduled classroom to a note on the white board:  "Please come to a classroom across campus  for the final.  Take your time.   Exam begins in 20 minutes"

As class members walked to the exam, the instructor had enlisted help from friends who posed along the way as a frantic mother who had temporarily lost her child, a senior citizen who has fallen off his bike and possibly broken his ankle,  etc.

The exam was administered and graded in class and the papers passed back.  Then  in the final moments of the class with backpacks at the ready and the instructor about to dismiss the class, the final lesson:

"How many of you made it to the exam on time?"  Every hand went up with the exception of three students in the back of the class.

"What about you three?"   

"We're sorry, brother Jones, but we stopped to help a mom find her toddler!"

"Was there an elderly brother with a broken ankle?" smiled Jones..

"How did you know?" one of the three asked suspiciously.

"I'm pleased to announce the three members of our class who got the message and earned an A grade," Jones smiled again.

"The title of this class is, "Do You Have his Image in Your Countenance" and you three passed the REAL final exam with flying colors!

Who shall say his Generations?

In ancient Israel a man's wealth was measured in several ways:  In land, in numbers of shoes...but mostly in Family--off spring:  SONS!

In the New Testament the author asks of Jesus, "Who shall say his generations?  Code for how many sons will he have.

Some scholars believe that the premise of the popular Brown book and Tom Hanks Movie, the Da Vinci Code may have been true:  That Jesus married Mary Magdelene, they had a daughter and she escaped to France where her daughter was the basis for a royal line directly from the Savior himself.

Early teachings in the church included the idea that Joseph Smith, Heber C. Kimball and other church leaders had a common French ancestor decended by all popular accounts from this daughter as well; that the blood of Christ literally ran through the veins of the leaders of the restoration.

Does it really matter?


I don't believe so.... because the real meaning of SONS of God is hinted at by King Arthur in his conversation with his illegitimate son Mordrid.  Mordrid had a wicked wish to be the heir after Arthur's death...and Aruthr knew it.

Said Arthur to Mordrid, "If only you could believe as I do, then you could truly be my son!"

That's the key to understanding the concept of "Who shall say his Generations?"

The real answer to the question is thousands of his spiritual sons (and daughters)