• “Sometimes the questions are complicated and the answers are simple. Dr. Suess

Saturday, May 27, 2017


An ideal is “a standard to strive toward or something considered worthy of imitation … a concept or standard of perfection, existing merely as an image in the mind, or based upon a person or upon conduct …” (

Despite media rhetoric implying otherwise,
marriage, "the union of a man and a woman"
(The Family, A Proclamation to the World),
is still a desired ideal as youth become mature adults. 

Annual surveys [i] continue to report that high schoolers plan to marry one day and that having a good marriage is “extremely important” to them. (The State of Our Unions Marriage in America 2012; President’s Marriage Agenda for the Forgotten Sixty Percent).


Is it really possible to have a happy marriage?” asked Courtney from Louisiana, USA in a  worldwide “Face to Face” event with leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. [ii]

Elder Jeffery R. Holland, a Latter-day Saint apostle, answered affirmatively, and rather emphatically:

"Let me declare unequivocally, absolutely, and adamantly that not only is there such a thing as a happy marriage, but happy marriages are the rule, not the exception. …  
"[N]ot just be happy but … ecstatically happy. … I want everybody to dismiss the idea that somehow this is a mountain that can’t be climbed, it’s a river that can’t be crossed, that there are too many difficulties to address marriage in this day or any day.
That is simply not true.

"You have to work at a marriage. Every good thing that I know of in this world you have to work at.
"God will help you. Of all the things in this world that He will help you with, He will help you with your marriages and your families, because it matters to Him at least as much as it matters to you”
(Holland, Jeffery R., 2016).
A happy marriage may require sacrifice, something good for something better, and may seem too hard if we fail to understand what is possible. Elder Richard G. Scott, also of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, adds a second testimonial to the enduring happiness of marriage:

"It is so rewarding to be married. Marriage is wonderful. In time you begin to think alike and have the same ideas and impressions. You have times when you are extremely happy, times of testing, and times of trial, but the Lord guides you through all of those growth experiences together. …I feel sorry for any man who hasn’t yet made the choice to seek an eternal companion, and my heart weeps for the sisters who haven’t had the opportunity to marry.
"Some of you may feel lonely and unappreciated and cannot see how it will be possible for you to have the blessings of marriage and children or your own family. All things are possible to the Lord, and He keeps the promises He inspires His prophets to declare. Eternity is a long time. Have faith in those promises and live to be worthy of them so that in His time the Lord can make them come true in your life. With certainty, you will receive every promised blessing for which you are worthy"(Scott, R.G., April 2011, The Eternal Blessings of Marriage).
The greatest happiness is achieved by obedience to the true principles of God’s Plan of Happiness. “With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible” (Mathew 19:26)


Why sink or swim if we, like Peter, can walk on the water by having faith - really believing Jesus Christ. 

And why risk divorce, if you can be good friends? Resolve doubt with faith in this fact: “If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth” (Mark 9:23).

“Two of the vital pillars," Elder Scott clarifies, "that sustain Father in Heaven’s plan of happiness are marriage and the family. Their lofty significance is underscored by Satan’s relentless efforts to splinter the family and to undermine the significance of temple ordinances, which bind the family together for eternity”
(Scott, R.G., April 2011, The Eternal Blessings of Marriage).

Elder David A. Bednar, a third witness for the enduring nature of marriage and its part in God’s divine plan, reminds us that “The Father’s plan is designed to provide direction for His children, to help them become happy” (2006). 


Elder Bednar reminds of the reality of opposition to happiness by “the father of lies” as the devil attempts to make people “‘miserable like unto himself’
(2 Ne. 2:27), by distortions, and general confusion."  

"'Gender is an essential characteristic of individual premortal, mortal, and eternal identity and purpose' (The Family, A Proclamation to the World)  and in large measure defines who we are, why we are here upon the earth, and what we are to do and become. For divine purposes, male and female spirits are different, distinctive, and complementary. …

"After the earth was created … God said it was “not good that the man should be alone” (Gen. 2:18; Moses 3:18), and Eve became Adam’s companion and helpmeet. 

Adam and Eve, by Jay Bryant Ward
"The unique combination of spiritual, physical, mental, and emotional capacities of both males and females were needed to implement the plan of happiness. Alone, neither the man nor the woman could fulfill the purposes of his or her creation. … The natures of male and female spirits complete and perfect each other, and therefore men and women are intended to progress together toward exaltation. …

"As we look beyond mortality and into eternity, it is easy to discern that the counterfeit alternatives the adversary advocates can never lead to the completeness that is made possible through the sealing together of a man and a woman, to the happiness of righteous marriage, to the joy of posterity, or to the blessing of eternal progression” (Bednar, June 2006). 


The Eternal Blessings of Marriage - Richard G. Scott. (2011). Retrieved May 24, 2017, from

Marriage Is Essential to His Eternal Plan – David A. Bednar. (2006). Retrieved May 24, 2017, from Unabridged. Retrieved May 24, 2017, from website:

“The Family: A Proclamation to the World,”Liahona, Oct. 2004, 49; or Ensign, Nov. 1995, 102.

[i] Since 1976, an annual, nationally representative survey of high school seniors titled “Monitoring the Future,” conducted by the Institute for Social Research at the University of Michigan, has asked numerous questions about family-related topics. See and the Social Indica­tors section of this report.

[ii] August 2016, New Era: You Asked—They Answered: Marriage And Family; Adapted from Face to Face events on January 20, 2016, and March 8, 2016, and from a meeting with youth in Argentina held on February 23, 2016.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017


Finding, and holding onto, happiness can challenge even staunch resolve.

More happiness is sought, by almost everyone.

Mosiah 4:19-20 “Are we not all beggars?  

When people are happy, they are more productive employees, so many employers provide seminars describing how to be happy. In 2013, at work, I watched a video about happiness.

Steve Achor made some wonderful suggestions.

There are dozens of other perspectives.

Something seldom mentioned, however, is asking God.
He can tell us how to find eternal happiness.

Talking to God is called prayer.

God answers prayers as the thoughts in a mind and the feelings in a heart agree. He answers to give us happiness.

He also provides answers through prophets and scripture.

In the Bible, James, an apostle of Jesus Christ taught, “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.”
(James 1:5,  King James Bible.)


A generous, kind Father in Heaven promises to answer our questions, and to unerringly guide us how to find, have, and enjoy continuing happiness. His plan is for happiness.

Do you doubt God’s reality?

Ask him, “Are you real? Do you exist?”

It is a great question. He will answer you.

Remember you are talking with a loving father. He created each of us. We are his children. Remember also, that he knows all and is not deceived, so ask sincerely.

I have asked. I witness that God does exist, and that he answers his children. He wants to help us be happy.

I have also asked about my existence and purpose.

I have learned about God’s plan; a plan of mercy, resurrection, redemption, and happiness (Book of Mormon, Alma 42:16).


The “Plan of Happiness” is for every human, each mortal being. It comes to mortals through Jesus Christ, God’s own begotten son. “God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him” (1 John 4:9).

Quentin L Cook, an apostle in our time, teaches that "... because of the Atonement of Jesus Christ, all spirits blessed by birth will ultimately be resurrected, spirit and body reunited, and inherit kingdoms of glory that are superior to our existence here on earth."

Elder Cook's April 2009 General Conference talk is titled Our Father's Plan - Big Enough For All His Children. Truly all people (except a very, very few [i] ) will receive this gift of joyous life from Jesus Christ. We all die but we all will live again and will live in conditions "superior to our existence here on earth."

Those conditions will be mostly of our own choosing. We make choices here on earth about that happiness and what we desire, and there we will live with all the joy we truly desire. Even those that are NOT always completely obedient[ii] to God, here in mortality, will eventually have a place of glory there greater than this earth!


Each of us will live after death as the scriptures and prophets teach. There is hope and happiness for every one of us. We can not begin to comprehend this promise of happiness and exceeding joy.

Do we realize the hope for the REALITY of enduring happiness?

God made the universe, this world, and our first parents, Adam and Eve. He made them to be together, and commanded them to remain together. Marriage, a man and a woman raising a family together, was created and defined by God. It is an essential part of enduring happiness.

The Introduction, Nathan Greene
“Marriage … is ordained of God”
(The Family, A Proclamation to the World).

God wants us to be happy. He tells us how to increase happiness, and have more lasting joy. Like most opportunities with enticing potential, this greater promise has conditions to be met and penalties to be avoided.

When a man and a woman are united in marriage as God commanded, the blessings promised are exponentially more than is possible in any other way.

Perfect Love Casteth Out Fear,” an April 2017 general conference talk explains God’s mercy and love:

“The more I come to know my Heavenly Father, the more I see how He inspires and leads His children. He is not angry, vengeful, or retaliatory.[iii] His very purpose—His work and His glory—is to mentor us, exalt us, and lead us to His fulness.[iv]

(Christ) Rescue of the Lost Lamb, by Minerva K. Teichert (video: Parable of the Lost Sheep)

"God described Himself to Moses as 'merciful and gracious, long-suffering, and abundant in goodness and truth.'[v]

"Our Father in Heaven’s love for us, His children, surpasses by far our ability to comprehend.[vi]

"Does this mean that God condones or overlooks behaviors that run contrary to His commands? No, definitely not!

"But He wants to change more than just our behaviors. He wants to change our very natures. He wants to change our hearts.

"He wants us to reach out and take firm hold of the iron rod [his word], confront our fears, and bravely step forward and upward along the strait and narrow path. He wants this for us because He loves us and because this is the way to happiness.

"So, how does God motivate His children to follow Him in our day?

"He sent His Son!"(President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, April 2017).

"The Prophet Isaiah Foretells Christ's Birth" by Harry Anderson.

"God sent His Only Begotten Son, Jesus Christ, to show us the right way.

“God motivates through persuasion, long-suffering, gentleness, meekness, and love unfeigned.[vii] God is on our side. He loves us, and when we stumble, He wants us to rise up, try again, and become stronger. . . .

“ 'God knows you perfectly. He loves you perfectly. He knows what your future holds. He wants you to 'be not afraid, only believe'[viii] and 'abide in his [perfect] love'[ix] (President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, April 2017).

He has a plan. His plan is for ALL of his children to be happy.

     [i] Doctrine and Covenants 76:32-37
     [ii]Doctrine and Covenants 76: 81-86
     [iii] On one occasion, the Savior wanted to enter a village of the Samaritans, but the people rejected Jesus and would not receive Him into their village. Two of His disciples were deeply offended by this and asked, “Lord, do You want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them?” Jesus answered with this caution: “You do not know what manner of spirit you are of. For the Son of Man did not come to destroy men’s lives but to save them” (see Luke 9:51–56, New King James Version [1982]).
     [iv] See Moses 1:39; see also Ephesians 3:19.
     [v] Exodus 34:6.
     [vi] See Ephesians 3:19.
     [vii] See Doctrine and Covenants 121:41. Surely if God expects us, His mortal children, to behave this way toward each other, He—a perfect being possessed of every virtue—would be the model for such behavior.
     [viii] Mark 5:36
     [ix] John 15:10.

Saturday, May 6, 2017


Supreme Court, Wikipedia

NOTE: Majority as referenced in dissents below refers to five Supreme Court judges who have ruled, in a divided court, in favor of Obergefell v. Hodges. No. 14–556. Argued April 28, 2015—Decided June 26, 2015*

Roberts Supreme Court, Wikipedia

In October 2014 term, on 26 June 2015, five judges of the Supreme Court of the United States of America ruled that “the State laws challenged by Petitioners . . . are now held invalid to the extent they exclude same-sex couples from civil marriage on the same terms and conditions as opposite-sex couples” ( p.23) … and that, “same sex couples may exercise the fundamental right to marry in all States” (p.28).

I disagree with these rulings.

I am one voice, only one …in an undiminished chorus of voices.

The Authority of the Law statue, Supreme Court Building

My grandmother, Elna Bohne Campbell, sang in a church choir. My mother begged to go with her and sing too. She loves to sing, but could not join the choir before she became the required age of nine. Rules have reason, and provide order.

Elna Bohne Campbell

I remember mother singing. She knows all the words to almost all the hymns and many folk songs. She taught us, her 10 children, to sing – together. One child had a quiet voice and retiring personality. My voice is naturally loud! It can be easily heard without a microphone – when I whisper.

My mother, as an older child

Each of us is a bit different.

Chief Justice John G. Roberts
So too are the opinions of the voices
     . . . on all sides of this issue.

Many, many other voices are similar to mine.

How many? According to the Chief Justice C. J. Roberts of the U.S. Supreme Court, “tens of millions of people who voted to reaffirm their States’ enduring definition of marriage” (Roberts, C.J., dissenting; 576 U.S. ___ 2015; p. 28).

I blend my voice with theirs. We dissent.

Our voices join four of the nine Supreme Court judges who dissented in our behalf. (See quotes below).


Our family often sang together. Mom and Dad taught that every voice should be able to be heard. I needed both their voices.

From them, we learned that every person is of value; each deserves kindness and respect. I learned to modulate my voice so that it was part of the whole. These practices bound us together. It built something otherwise impossible to achieve.

If one voice in a choir fails to blend with surrounding voices, all may notice and hear that voice. It may seem dominant, but is merely out of harmony. It sets itself apart, but not in desirable ways.

If it continues unabated, oblivious to the rest of the chorus, or the harmonies of the choir, it is destructive to self and to the whole. Every voice is needed, and each must learn how to contribute—each to be part of the whole.

All voices have rights. I have rights! Your rights do not negate mine, and mine do not negate yours, and neither of our voices negate the rights or needs of coming generations. Every child needs both biological parents.


We are all a single chorus, the chorus of humanity, and must learn to sing together.

It is, always, a sorry day when men and women require legislatures and courts to instruct them regarding kindness, respect, or other social graces. Judges and politicians then force divergent opinions to be imposed for almost everyone.

When I feel all is lost, and perhaps alone, one of my favorite songs learned from my mother, helps me remember to look forward with good cheer.


Sing your way home
At the close of the day...
Sing your way home,
Drive the shadows away.
Smile every mile
For wherever you roam
It will brighten your road,
It will lighten your load,
If you sing your way home.

We can learn to sing together.

Dissents from:


with whom JUSTICE SCALIA and JUSTICE THOMAS join, dissenting.

“Today’s decision [26 June 2015] shows that decades of attempts to restrain [the Supreme] Court’s abuse of its authority have failed. A lesson . . . it evidences is the deep and perhaps irremediable corruption of our legal culture’s conception of constitutional interpretation.

“Most Americans—understandably—will cheer or lament today’s decision because of their views on the issue . . . . But all Americans, whatever their thinking on that issue, should worry about what the majority's claim of power portends”(Alito, J., dissenting; 576 U.S.___ 2015; pp.7-8;).


  with whom JUSTICE SCALIA joins, dissenting.

“The majority’s decision today [26 June 2015]. . . distorts the constitutional text, which guarantees only whatever ‘process’ is ‘due’ before a person is deprived of life, liberty, and property. Worse, it invites judges to do exactly what the majority has done here—‘“roa[m] at large in the constitutional field” guided only by their personal views’ as to the ‘“fundamental rights”’ protected by that document.  By straying from the text of the Constitution, substantive due process exalts judges at the expense of the People from whom they derive their authority.

“Petitioners . . . ask nine judges on this Court to enshrine their definition of marriage in the Federal Constitution and thus put it beyond the reach of the normal democratic process for the entire Nation. That a 'bare majority' of this Court, ante, at 25, is able to grant this wish, wiping out with a stroke of the keyboard the results of the political process in over 30 States, based on a provision that guarantees only 'due process' is but further evidence of the danger of substantive due process” (Thomas, J., dissenting; 576 U.S. ___ 2015; pp. 2-3).


with whom JUSTICE THOMAS joins, dissenting.

“I join THE CHIEF JUSTICE’s opinion in full. I write separately to call attention to this Court’s threat to American democracy. . . .[I]t is not of special importance to me what the law says about marriage. It is of overwhelming importance, however, who it is that rules me. Today’s decree [26 June 2015] says that my Ruler, and the Ruler of 320 million Americans coast-to-coast, is a majority of the nine lawyers on the Supreme Court. The opinion in these cases is the furthest extension in fact—and the furthest extension one can even imagine—of the Court’s claimed power to create ‘liberties’ that the Constitution and its Amendments neglect to mention. This practice of constitutional revision by an unelected committee of nine, always accompanied (as it is today) by extravagant praise of liberty, robs the People of the most important liberty they asserted in the Declaration of Independence and won in the Revolution of 1776: the freedom to govern themselves. . . . This is a naked judicial claim to legislative—indeed, super-legislative—power; (Scalia, J., dissenting; 576 U.S.___ 2015; pp.1-5). 

“[W]hat really astounds is the hubris[i] reflected in today’s judicial Putsch[ii]  . The five Justices who compose today’s majority are entirely comfortable concluding that . . .[t]hey have discovered in the Fourteenth Amendment a ‘fundamental right’ overlooked by every person alive at the time of ratification, and almost everyone else in the time since” 
(Scalia, J., dissenting; 576 U.S. ___ 2015; pp.6-7).


with whom JUSTICE SCALIA and JUSTICE THOMAS join, dissenting.

Under the Constitution, judges have power to say what the law is, not what it should be. The people who ratified the Constitution authorized courts to exercise ‘neither force nor will but merely judgment.’ . . . The majority’s decision is an act of will, not legal judgment. The right it announces has no basis in the Constitution or this Court’s precedent. … It seizes for itself a question the Constitution leaves to the people, at a time when the people are engaged in a vibrant debate on that question. And it answers that question based not on neutral principles of constitutional law, but on its own ‘understanding of what freedom is and must become.’” Ante, at 19 (Roberts, C. J., dissenting; 576 U.S. ___ 2015; pp. 2-3)

Our cases have consistently refused to allow litigants to convert the shield provided by constitutional liberties into a sword to demand positive entitlements from the State. . . . The Court’s accumulation of power does not occur in a vacuum. It comes at the expense of the people. And they know it” (Roberts, C. J., dissenting; 576 U.S. ___ 2015; p. 18).

“When decisions are reached through democratic means, some people will inevitably be disappointed with the results. But those whose views do not prevail at least know that they have had their say, and accordingly are—in the tradition of our political culture—reconciled to the result of a fair and honest debate. In addition, they can gear up to raise the issue later, hoping to persuade enough on the winning side to think again. ‘That is exactly how our system of government is supposed to work.’ Post, at 2–3 (SCALIA, J., dissenting)” (Roberts, C. J., dissenting; 576 U.S. ___ 2015; p. 26).

“But today the Court puts a stop to all that. By deciding this question under the Constitution, the Court removes it from the realm of democratic decision. . . . Federal courts are blunt instruments when it comes to creating rights. They have constitutional power only to resolve concrete cases or controversies; they do not have the flexibility of legislatures to address concerns of parties not before the court or to anticipate problems that may arise from the exercise of a new right” (Roberts, C.J., dissenting; 576 U.S. ___ 2015; pp. 26-27).

Perhaps the most discouraging aspect of today’s decision is the extent to which the majority feels compelled to sully those on the other side of the debate. . . . The majority reiterates such characterizations over and over . . . to portray everyone who does not share the majority’s ‘better informed understanding’ as bigoted. Ante, at 19” (Roberts, C.J., dissenting; 576 U.S. ___ 2015; pp. 27-28).

*Decisions in conjunction with three other cases also on certiorari[iii] to the same court.

[i] hubris: contemptuous, wanton insolence
[ii] judicial Putsch: a suddenly executed overthrow
[iii] certiorari: request to higher court from lower courts claiming injustice