Yep… after 13 or 14 years, Sandi (Rogers) and I are “hanging up the orange shirt and the red pants, the parachutes and the “tea-party hats,” the angel/devil outfit and all the other paraphernalia which have been part of our ongoing series of videos (and “live finales”) at the annual BYU Women’s Conference.


It’s been SO MUCH FUN, and we’re both feeling a bit nostalgic about having it come to an end. But, as I told many of you these past 2 days, Sandi’s getting a little older now … HA HA HA HA HA (I’ve tried to make it sound like she’s not 15 or 20 years younger than I am).

MEE and Sandi 2010

Thanks for the warm response we’ve always received as you watch us being sillier and sillier…. I laughed as I enjoyed watching some of the “clips” which our director/producer/filmer genius Carol put together.


How is it that we could consent to make fools of ourselves over and over … but you could tell we were having a good time.


Wish we could have shown some of the “OUT-TAKES…” For me it might be the one where I got out of the tent and fixed “breakfast”….  It’s going to seem weird not to be working on another for next year. I hope you realized that the last one was just to thank everyone… it was “Sister Rogers’ Neighborhood,” but the sound didn’t come up right away, so I’m not sure you “got” that.  What a blessing it’s been in my life to have Sandi has a dear friend for so many years. We should have taped the “picnic” we had on the floor of my office (at the MTC) years ago … we just couldn’t manage to find time to get together, so Sandi brought a portable “cooker,” and we roasted hot dogs in my office and had a glorious picnic. (You can tell I could go on and on)….


Thanks for the good times – the GREAT times – for all these years of “nonsense” with an important message. Thanks to the great majority of you who are always civil, kind, courteous, and willing to be patient and generous with each other. WE LOVE YOU!!!!!




OFF WE GO . . . 


Young and Beautiful



With permission, I’m sharing something tender which happened during February (2016). My niece Julie is the Mother to 6 children, the youngest 2 of whom are identical twins with Down Syndrome. Maybe some of you remember seeing Ella and Sara on my Blog when they were chosen as students of the week.  On a Friday afternoon in February, the girls had a special play date. Aubrey and Mika came (with their Moms) to play. All four girls are 9 years old and have Down Syndrome. Mika is between Ella and Sara, with Aubrey on the right.

EllaMikaSaraPlusFeb2016Julie said it was “a little crazy and funny to keep them all in the same activity and deal with their idiosyncrasies (like leaving the room unexpectedly or getting fixated on one thing), but it was a good experience and I think we’ll keep doing it on a regular basis.”  She said that at one point during the afternoon, Mika’s Mom shared something which touched Julie deeply. Mika had recently become quite aware that she is different from her friends. It had been very frustrating to her, and she didn’t like it. One day Mika was especially upset and told her Mom that she wanted this “Down Syndrome to be taken out of me!” She lamented that she couldn’t do all the things her friends could do, and that her face was “ugly.” Her Mom tried to console her, telling her how special she was to her family and how much they loved her just the way she was. But Mika was inconsolable. Finally, not knowing what else to do, the Mother told Mika: “Why don’t you go pray and ask Heavenly Father how HE feels about you. Ask Him how He feels about your Down Syndrome.” Mika caught on to that idea and asked her Mom to write the questions down so she wouldn’t forget what to say. She went to her room with her list of questions. When she returned a while later, her countenance was markedly different. She was happy and glowing. Her Mom asked what happened. Mika said: “Heavenly Father answered! He said He loves me so much. He loves my Down Syndrome … and He answered with a LOUD voice!”

As Julie said, it was so tender to her. “Of all the requests prayed to Heavenly Father, surely this prayer was heard and answered unmistakably to assure this sweet girl of His great love for her and His appreciation for the struggles she lives with every day.  What if we, when struggling with our personal challenges and self-worth, would turn to Heavenly Father to ask how HE feels about us, given our own weaknesses and special needs. Assurance of His love changes everything!”

Thanks so much to Julie and to Mika’s Mom for allowing me to share this experience. I’ve been thinking that many of you may know of and be very close to someone who struggles with Down Syndrome or something else which is especially challenging.  I hope as you read about this experience you will be helped in some way.



I’m honoring this great soul on my Blog this morning. I look forward to meeting her “Over There” someday. Here is a sincere SHOUT-OUT to HARRIET TUBMAN!


She will soon become the first African-American to appear on U.S. currency (what took so long??).


What a wonderful thing!  This will help all of us to be reminded of what an incredibly bright, courageous, GOOD woman she was (and still is!). As someone said, her image now will be passed through our hands again, not as a “slave commodity,” but rather as validated currency.


Many will wonder: “Who is she? What do I know about her? Why is she being honored in this way?”


Well… Harriet Tubman is “right on the money,” you might say. She lived an AMAZING life!!  She was born Araminta Ross in Maryland around 1820-22. When she married, she changed her first name to Harriet, her Mother’s first name. She died of pneumonia on 10 March, 1913.


She was beaten and whipped by her various masters as a child. Early in her life she suffered a traumatic head would when an irate slave owner threw a heavy metal weight intending to hit another slave and hit her instead. The injury caused dizziness and pain and trouble sleeping throughout the rest of her life (and is visible in the few pictures of her).


She was a devout Christian and experienced strange visions and vivid dreams, which she ascribed to premonitions from God. (While I lived in Nigeria, I found the Africans to be very visionary, very spiritual).


In 1849, she escaped to Philadelphia, but then returned immediately to Maryland and made 13 MISSIONS to rescue approximately 70 enslaved family and friends. Slowly, one group at a time, she brought relatives with her out of the state, and eventually guided dozens of other slaves to freedom. She used the network of antislavery activists and safe houses known as the UNDERGROUND RAILROAD. Traveling by night and in extreme secrecy, Tubman (or “Moses,” as she was called) “never lost a passenger”.


She later helped abolitionist John Brown recruit men for his raid on Harpers Ferry.  She was an active participant in the struggle for women’s suffrage (and met Susan B. Anthony in this effort).  Her actions made slave owners anxious and angry, and they posted rewards for her capture.


But she kept going, and she helped many newly freed slaves find work.  When the Civil War began, she worked for the Union Army, first as a cook and nurse, and then as an armed scout and spy! She led an armed expedition in the war which liberated more than 700 slaves!!



After the war, she retired to the family home on property she had purchased in 1859 in Auburn, New York, where she cared for her aging parents.  Eventually illness overtook her and she had to be placed in a home for elderly Afriican-Americans that she had helped to establish years earlier.


On 20 April of this year (2016), the U.S. Treasury Department announced the plan for her to replace Andrew Jackson as the portrait on the $20 bill!  I read much, MUCH more about her (and you can do that if you have time and interest), but for now I’ll just give a MUCH-DESERVED SHOUT-OUT to this great, good soul!!





What a wonderful time!  It makes a difference when the audience is “with you,” and the folks who came to this TOFW were really responsive. They made it enjoyable to be part of the event. Even when they tried to squish us!!


I very much appreciated the whole team (and everyone “back-stage” who put the event together and helped everything go so smoothly) and hope I get to be with all of them again someday.  Thanks to EVERYONE who made this such a great experience!!

TOFW-Cincinnati-GentriPlus2016TOFW-Cincinnati-Sat Speakers

Let your “peeps” know if there is going to be a TOFW event near them. You know they won’t want to miss it!


(I wish i knew how to do things like this … I don’t know if I’m even capable of learning!)


And now… back to your MONDAY!!  HA HA HA HA HA HA HA

Fish tank




“Don’t be anxiety.” This isn’t hard, and you don’t actually have to “hand it in.” (And it won’t affect your grade!  TRUST MEE!)  I want you to THINK WITH MEE … after all, look at the title of the Blog… MEEThinks….  I do. And I hope you’ll enjoy thinking with me!!


I have something I think you’ll find interesting from the book of ALMA in THE BOOK OF MORMON. I’ve put a few things in bold and in brackets which are not that way in the book, but I wanted to give some emphasis to a few things. In the first part of Alma 1, there is a very sad thing when Nehor kills Gideon (one of our heroes). A lot of persecution of those trying to be true and faithful follows. But read again what happens to those who do remain faithful:

ALMA 1:25-31   25- Now this was a great trial to those that did stand fast in the faith; nevertheless, they were steadfast and immovable in keeping the commandments of God, and they bore with patience the persecution which was heaped upon them. [this wasn’t just “persecution lite!”] 26- And when the priests left their labor to impart the word of God unto the people, the people also left their labors to hear the word of God. And when the priest had imparted unto them the word of God they all returned again diligently unto their labors; and the priest, not esteeming himself above his hearers, for the preacher was no better than the hearer, neither was the teacher any better than the learner; and thus they were all equal, and they did all labor, every man according to his strength. 27- And they did impart of their substance, every man according to that which he had [how gentle God’s commands!], to the poor, and the needy, and the sick, and the afflicted; and they did not wear costly apparel, yet they were neat and comely. 28- And thus they did establish the affairs of the church; and thus they began to have continual peace again, notwithstanding all their persecutions. 29- And now, because of the steadiness of the church they began to be exceedingly rich, having abundance of all things whatsoever they stood in need – an abundance of flocks and herds, and fatlings of every kind, and also abundance of grain, and of gold, and of silver, and of precious things, and abundance of silk and fine‑twined linen, and all manner of good homely cloth. 30- And thus, in their prosperous circumstances, they did not send away any who were naked, or that were hungry, or that were athirst, or that were sick, or that had not been nourished; and they did not set their hearts upon riches; therefore they were liberal to all, both old and young, both bond and free, both male and female, whether out of the church or in the church, having no respect to persons as to those who stood in need. 31- And thus they did prosper and become far more wealthy than those who did not belong to their church.

Isn’t that BEAUTIFUL! There is so much we could discuss. The “homework” is just to read and ponder and pray about what is taught in these verses, including a promise coming true – that if the people would be obedient, they would prosper in the land.


And THEN … Just a few pages… “a few days” … later . . . . The undoing of this Zion …. As you read these verses, begin comparing them with what you just read about how a Zion society was established. Look for OPPOSITES! They’re pretty obvious (as you already know).  SAD!!

ALMA 4:6-12   6- And it came to pass in the eighth year of the reign of the judges, that the people of the church began to wax proud, because of their exceeding riches, and their fine silks, and their fine‑twined linen, and because of their many flocks and herds, and their gold and their silver, and all manner of precious things, which they had obtained by their industry [and forgetting that it was because God had blessed them]; and in all these things were they lifted up in the pride of their eyes, for they began to wear very costly apparel.   7- Now this was the cause of much affliction to Alma, yea, and to many of the people whom Alma had consecrated to be teachers, and priests, and elders over the church; yea, many of them were sorely grieved for the wickedness which they saw had begun to be among their people. 8- For they saw and beheld with great sorrow that the people of the church began to be lifted up in the pride of their eyes, and to set their hearts upon riches and upon the vain things of the world, that they began to be scornful, one towards another, and they began to persecute those that did not believe according to their own will and pleasure. 9- And thus, in this eighth year of the reign of the judges, there began to be great contentions among the people of the church; yea, there were envyings, and strife, and malice, and persecutions, and pride, even to exceed the pride of those who did not belong to the church of God. 10- And thus ended the eighth year of the reign of the judges; and the wickedness of the church was a great stumbling‑block to those who did not belong to the church; and thus the church began to fail in its progress. 11- And it came to pass in the commencement of the ninth year, Alma saw the wickedness of the church, and he saw also that the example of the church began to lead those who were unbelievers on from one piece of iniquity to another, thus bringing on the destruction of the people. 12- Yea, he saw great inequality among the people, some lifting themselves up with their pride, despising others, turning their backs upon the needy and the naked and those who were hungry, and those who were athirst, and those who were sick and afflicted. [Does that bring Matthew 25:34-46 to mind? 34-40 are the true and faithful, and they receive a beautiful promise. 41-46 are in grave danger….]

What a tragedy – and it seemed to happen so FAST!  You’ll remember reading the word iniquity in verse 11, and inequality in verse 12. Those are synonyms, and you can add inequity. In the first example, there was equality (read it again if that will help you to notice it), and in the second example there was great iniquity. But there’s a CAUTION: Remember that EQUAL does not mean SAME…. Got it?





MOSES 7:18 – And the Lord called his people ZION, because they were of one heart and one mind, and dwelt in righteousness; and there was no poor among them.

DOCTRINE & COVENANTS 78:5-7  (In earlier verses, the Lord is declaring that it’s time to establish a storehouse for the poor)   5- That you may be equal in the bonds of heavenly things, yea, and earthly things also, for the obtaining of heavenly things. 6- For if ye are not equal in earthly things ye cannot be equal in obtaining heavenly things; [WOW!!] 7- For if you will that I give unto you a place in the celestial world, you must prepare yourselves by doing the things which I have commanded you and required of you.


There is a lot in our culture, in our society, which tries to entice us to keep more than we need, to turn our backs on those who need us, and to pull away from others…. As a very wise man once said: “STOP IT!”  Help establish Zion right where you are right now.






So… SPRING seems to be here (most days), so I think many of you are planting gardens (or planning to plant).  How’s that going for you??


I’m using that as an introduction to one of Elder Neal A. Maxwell’s wonderful quotes: “Eternal things are always done in the process of time. Men are ripened in righteousness as the grain is ripened. Each process requires rich soil and the sunlight of heaven. Time is measured only to impatient men. Direction is initially more important than speed. Who would really want momentum anyway, if he were on a wrong course?”






Today I’m sharing a very influential message from Elder D. Todd Christofferson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles:  SAVING YOUR LIFE. I read a shorter version in the March Ensign but wanted to post the whole message this morning. I know it’s long (especially when I can’t “condense” the thoughts and paragraphs to get rid of all the blank space… haven’t figure out how to do that). But I also know that it is an incredible message, and I hope you’ll find time to read it, and maybe to print it so you can mark it (I sure did!). Have a beautiful Sabbath!!!




When Jesus and His Apostles were together in Caesarea Philippi, He asked them this question, “Whom say ye that I am?”1 Peter, with reverent eloquence and power, responded, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.”2 It thrills me to read those words; it thrills me to say them. Shortly after this sacred moment, however, Jesus spoke to the Apostles about His impending death and resurrection, and Peter contradicted Him. This earned Peter a stinging rebuke that he was not in tune with or not “savoring” the things of God “but those that be of men.”3 Then Jesus, “showing forth afterwards an increase of love toward him whom [He had] reproved,”4kindly instructed Peter and his Brethren about taking up one’s cross and losing one’s life as the way to find an abundant and eternal life, Himself being the perfect example. Let’s look at the portrayal of this event in one of the Bible videos produced by the Church: Jesus: The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected of the elders and of the chief priests and scribes and be killed and after three days rise again. Peter: Be it far from thee, Lord: this shall not be unto thee.  Jesus: Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men. If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? For the Son of Man shall come in the glory of His Father with His angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works.5

I want to talk to you about the Lord’s seemingly paradoxical declaration that “HE THAT FINDETH HIS LIFE SHALL LOSE IT: AND HE THAT LOSETH HIS LIFE FOR MY SAKE SHALL FIND IT.”6 It teaches a powerful, far-reaching doctrine that we need to understand and apply.


A thoughtful professor offered this insight: “As the heavens are higher than the earth, God’s work in your life is bigger than the story you’d like that life to tell. His life is bigger than your plans, goals, or fears. To save your life, you’ll have to lay down your stories and, minute by minute, day by day, give your life back to him.”7

The more I think about it, the more amazed I am at how consistently Jesus gave His life to the Father, how perfectly He lost His life in the will of the Father—in life and in death. This is precisely the opposite of Satan’s attitude and approach, which have been widely adopted in today’s self-centered world. In the premortal councils, in volunteering to fill the role of Savior in the Father’s divine plan, Jesus said, “Father, thy will be done, and the glory be thine forever.”8 Lucifer, on the other hand, declared, “Behold, here am I, send me, I will be thy son, and I will redeem all mankind, that one soul shall not be lost, and surely I will do it; wherefore give me thine honor.”9

Christ’s commandment to follow Him is a commandment to reject once again the Satanic model and to lose our life in favor of the real life, the authentic life, the celestial–kingdom-enabled life that God envisions for each of us. That life will bless everyone we touch and will make saints of us. With our current, limited vision, it is a life that is beyond comprehension. Indeed, “eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.”10

I wish we had more of the conversation between Jesus and His disciples. It would have been helpful to have some additional light about what it means, in practice, to lose one’s life for His sake and thereby find it. But as I pondered it, I realized that the Savior’s comments just before and after His declaration provide valuable guidance. Let’s consider three of these contextual comments.


First are the Lord’s words spoken just before He said, “Whosoever will save his life shall lose it.”11 As recorded in each of the synoptic gospels, Jesus said, “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.”12 Luke adds the word daily—“let him … take up his cross daily.”13 In Matthew, the Joseph Smith Translation expands this statement with the Lord’s definition of what it means to take up one’s cross: “And now for a man to take up his cross, is to deny himself all ungodliness, and every worldly lust, and keep my commandments.”14

This accords with James’s declaration: “Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.”15 It is a daily life of avoiding all that is unclean while affirmatively keeping the two great commandments—love of God and fellowman—on which all other commandments hang.16 Thus, one element of losing our lives in favor of the greater life the Lord envisions for us consists in our taking up His cross day by day.


A second accompanying statement suggests that finding our life by losing it for His sake and the gospel’s entails a willingness to make our discipleship open and public: “Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.”17

Elsewhere in Matthew, we find a companion statement: “Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. “But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven.”18

One obvious and rather sobering meaning of losing your life by confessing Christ is to lose it literally, physically, in sustaining and defending your belief in Him. We have grown accustomed to thinking of this extreme requirement as applying in history as we read about the martyrs of the past, including most of the ancient Apostles. Now we see, however, that what was historical is moving into the present. News reports from Iraq and Syria speak of hundreds of Christians and other minorities being driven from their homes or killed by Islamic extremists in the last several months. The terrorists demand that these Christians convert to their form of Islam or abandon their villages or die. The Christians will not deny Him, so many have fled and some have been killed.19 Surely such souls will be among those whom the Savior will not be ashamed to confess before His Father in a future day. We know not what may come in the future, but if any of us should face the trauma of literally losing our life in the Master’s cause, I trust we would show the same courage and loyalty.

The more common (and sometimes more difficult) application of the Savior’s teaching, however, has to do with how we live day by day. It concerns the words we speak, the example we set. Our lives should be a confession of Christ, and together with our words testify of our faith in and devotion to Him. And this testimony must be stoutly defended in the face of ridicule, discrimination, or defamation on the part of those who oppose Him “in this adulterous and sinful generation.”20

On a different occasion the Lord added this remarkable statement about our loyalty to Him: “Think not that I am come to send peace on [the] earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. “For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. “And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household. “He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. “And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me.”21

Saying that He came not to send peace, but rather a sword, seems at first impression a contradiction to the scriptures that refer to Christ as the “Prince of Peace,”22 and the proclamation at His birth—“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men,”23 —and other well-known references, such as, “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you.”24 “It is true that Christ came to bring peace—peace between the believer and God, and peace among men. Yet the inevitable result of Christ’s coming is conflict—between Christ and the antichrist, between light and darkness, between Christ’s children and the devil’s children. This conflict can occur even between members of the same family.”25

I’m confident that a number of you in our worldwide audience this evening have experienced personally what the Lord is expressing in these verses. You have been rejected and ostracized by father and mother, brothers and sisters as you accepted the gospel of Jesus Christ and entered into His covenant. In one way or another, your superior love of Christ has required the sacrifice of relationships that were dear to you, and you have shed many tears. Yet with your own love undiminished, you hold steady under this cross, showing yourself unashamed of the Son of God.

About three years ago a member of the Church shared a copy of the Book of Mormon with an Amish friend in Ohio. The friend began to read the book and could not put it down. For three days he had no other desire but to read the Book of Mormon. He and his wife were baptized, and within seven months there were three Amish couples converted and baptized members of the Church. Their children were baptized several months following. These three families decided to remain in their community and continue their Amish lifestyle even though they had left the Amish faith. However, as a result of being baptized, they were subjected to “shunning” by their close-knit Amish neighbors. Shunning means that no one in their Amish community will talk to them, work with them, do business with them, or associate with them in any way. This includes not just friends but family members—brothers and sisters, parents and grandparents.

Initially, these Amish Saints felt very alone and isolated as even their children were subjected to shunning and removed from their Amish schools because of their baptism and membership in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Their children have endured shunning by grandparents and cousins and close neighbors. Even some of the older children of these Amish families, who did not accept the gospel, will not talk to or even acknowledge their parents. These families have struggled to recover from the social and economic effects of shunning, but they are succeeding.

Their faith remains strong. The adversity and opposition of shunning has caused them to be steadfast and immovable. A year after being baptized, the families were sealed in the temple and continue faithfully attending the temple on a weekly basis. They have found strength through receiving ordinances and entering into and honoring covenants. They are all active in their Church group and continue searching for ways to share the light and knowledge of the gospel with their extended families and community through acts of kindness and service.

Yes, the cost of joining the Church of Jesus Christ can be very high, but the admonition to prefer Christ above all others, even our closest family members, applies also to those who may have been born in the covenant. Many of us became members of the Church without opposition, perhaps as children. The challenge we may confront is remaining loyal to the Savior and His Church in the face of parents, in-laws, brothers or sisters, or even our children whose conduct, beliefs, or choices make it impossible to support both Him and them. It is not a question of love. We can and must love one another as Jesus loves us. As He said, “By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.”26  But, the Lord reminds us, “He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.”27  So although familial love continues, relationships may be interrupted and, according to the circumstances, even support or tolerance at times suspended for the sake of our higher love.

In reality, the best way to help those we love—the best way to love them—is to continue to put the Savior first. If we cast ourselves adrift from the Lord out of sympathy for loved ones who are suffering or distressed, then we lose the means by which we might have helped them. If, however, we remain firmly rooted in faith in Christ, we are in a position both to receive and to offer divine help. If (or I should say when) the moment comes that a beloved family member wants desperately to turn to the only true and lasting source of help, he or she will know whom to trust as a guide and a companion. In the meantime, with the gift of the Holy Spirit to guide, we can perform a steady ministry to lessen the pain of poor choices and bind up the wounds insofar as we are permitted. Otherwise, we serve neither those we love nor ourselves.


The third element of losing our lives for the Lord’s sake that I want to mention is found in the words of the Lord: “And whosoever will lose his life in this world, for my sake, shall find it in the world to come. “Therefore, forsake the world, and save your souls; for what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” 28  As given in the Joseph Smith Translation, “For what doth it profit a man if he gain the whole world, and yet he receive him not whom God hath ordained, and he lose his own soul, and he himself be a castaway?”29

To say that forsaking the world in favor of receiving “him … whom God hath ordained” is countercultural in today’s world is certainly an understatement. The priorities and interests we most often see on display around us (and sometimes in us) are intensely selfish: a hunger to be recognized; the insistent demand that one’s rights be respected (including a supposed right never to be offended); a consuming desire for money, things, and power; a sense of entitlement to a life of comfort and pleasure; a goal to minimize responsibility and avoid altogether any personal sacrifice for the good of another; to name a few.

This is not to say that we should not seek to succeed, even excel in worthy endeavors, including education and honorable work. Earlier this year, Jed Rubenfeld and Amy Chua, who are husband and wife Yale Law School professors, published a book titled The Triple Package: How Three Unlikely Traits Explain the Rise and Fall of Cultural Groups in America. Their thesis is that some groups in America do better than others based on three cultural traits, described in the book, that give these groups an edge. Chua and Rubenfeld identify Mormons, Jews, Asians, West African immigrants, Indian-Americans, and Cuban-Americans as groups in America today that possess these traits.30

Comparing these groups with American society at large on measures such as “income, academic accomplishment, corporate leadership, professional attainment, and other conventional metrics,” Chua and Rubenfeld say: “If there’s one group in the U.S. today that’s hitting it out of the park with conventional success, it’s Mormons. … “Whereas Protestants make up about 51 percent of the U.S. population, America’s 5 to 6 million Mormons represent just 1.7 percent. Yet a stunning number have risen to the top of America’s corporate and political spheres.”31

Certainly, worthwhile achievements are laudable, but if we are to save our lives, we must always remember that such attainments are not ends in themselves, but means to a higher end. With our faith in Christ, we must see political, business, academic, and similar forms of success not as defining us but as making possible our service to God and fellowman—beginning at home and extending as far as possible in the world. Personal development has value as it contributes to development of a Christlike character. In measuring success, we recognize the profound truth underlying all else—that our lives belong to God, our Heavenly Father, and Jesus Christ, our Redeemer. Success means living in harmony with Their will.

In contrast to the narcissistic life, President Spencer W. Kimball offered a simple expression of the more excellent way: “Service to others deepens and sweetens this life while we are preparing to live in a better world. … When we are engaged in the service of our fellowmen, not only do our deeds assist them, but we put our own problems in a fresher perspective. When we concern ourselves more with others, there is less time to be concerned with ourselves! In the midst of the miracle of serving, there is the promise of Jesus that by losing ourselves, we find ourselves! [See Matthew 10:39.]  “Not only do we ‘find’ ourselves in terms of acknowledging divine guidance in our lives, but the more we serve our fellowmen in appropriate ways, the more substance there is to our souls. … We become more substantive as we serve others—indeed, it is easier to ‘find’ ourselves because there is so much more of us to find!”32



Let me close with a few examples of what it means in day-to-day life to lose one’s life in Christ and His gospel and thereby find authentic (and eventually eternal) life.

President Henry B. Eyring was president of Ricks College, now Brigham Young University–Idaho, in June 1976, when the just-completed Teton Dam, not far from Rexburg, gave way. “Eighty billion gallons of water roared toward Rexburg at forty miles per hour, sweeping away everything in the way.”33 Many people in the community responded heroically, helping others even when their own homes and belongings had been destroyed by the flood. A few, however, abandoned even their loved ones and left them to fend for themselves.

President Eyring, who himself helped direct the relief effort, wanted to understand what accounted for “the difference between the heroic response of some … and the betrayal of others. … He commissioned a small but scientifically significant study. ‘There was just one thing we could find,’ he later told a class of graduating high school seniors. “‘Those who were heroes had been the people who always remembered and kept promises in the little things, the daily things … a promise to stay after a church dinner to clean up, or to come to work on a Saturday project to help a neighbor.  “‘Those who deserted their families when it was hard had often deserted their obligations when it wasn’t so tough. They had a pattern of failing to keep their word to do little things when the sacrifice to them would have been slight and doing what they had said they would do would have been easy. When the price was high, they could not pay it.’”34

Sister Christofferson and I had a friend we met during law school days, a member of our ward in Durham, North Carolina. She and her husband were an ideal young couple with small children. She was blessed with intelligence, attractiveness, and a bright personality. Everyone admired and enjoyed being around her. Some 25 years later, however, when she was still in her 40s, she was stricken with an aggressive and incurable stomach cancer that also spread to her liver and lungs. Despite the shock and the pain as her life quickly drew to a close, she wrote these tender words to her family and friends, whom she so regretted having to leave: “[God’s] plan is divine and is going forth exactly as he planned. Since I am chosen to go through this trial, I know that it must be for my greatest good and highest joy. Already, the spiritual blessings are flowing, and I feel before the end that I will experience all that I need to be prepared to meet my Savior. His power is on the earth. There are no mistakes. … The trials are many and heavy at the present. Everyone seems to be suffering from their own. Look to the Lord and receive his help. Accept those things that are yours and the pain will be taken from you, and the peace will come.”

A particular young-adult sister decided to serve a full-time mission after having already completed undergraduate and graduate degrees and having participated in prestigious internship and study programs both at home and abroad. She had developed a capacity to connect with and relate to people from almost every belief system, political persuasion, and nationality, and she worried that wearing a missionary name tag all day, every day might become an identifier that could impede her exceptional ability to establish relationships. Just a few weeks into her mission, she wrote home about a simple but meaningful experience: “Sister Lee and I rubbed salve into an old lady’s arthritic hands—one of us on either side—while we sat in her living room. She didn’t want to listen to any spoken messages, but let us sing, loved us to sing. Thank you black missionary name tag for giving me license to have intimate experiences with complete strangers.”

By the things which he suffered, the Prophet Joseph Smith learned to lose his life in the service of his Master and Friend. He once said, “I made this my rule: When the Lord commands, do it.”35  I think we would all be content to match Brother Joseph’s level of faithfulness. Even so, he was once forced to languish for months in the jail at Liberty, Missouri, suffering physically but probably more emotionally and spiritually as he was unable to help his beloved wife, his children, and the Saints while they were being abused and persecuted. His revelations and direction had brought them to Missouri to establish Zion, and now they were being driven from their homes, in winter, across the entire state. Despite it all, in those conditions in that jail, he composed an inspired letter to the Church of the most elegant and uplifting prose, parts of which now comprise sections 121, 122, and 123 of the Doctrine and Covenants, concluding with these words, “Let us cheerfully do all things that lie in our power; and then may we stand still, with the utmost assurance, to see the salvation of God, and for his arm to be revealed.”36

Of course, the greatest illustration of saving one’s life by losing it is this: “O my Father, if this cup may not pass away from me, except I drink it, thy will be done.”37 In giving His life, Christ not only saved His own—He saved the lives of all of us. He made it possible for us to exchange what would otherwise have been an ultimately futile mortal life for eternal life.


The theme of the Savior’s life was “I do always those things that please [the Father].”38  I pray that you will make it the theme of your life. If you do, you will save your life. My dear young friends, be content in all your striving and achieving to put His will first. Learn to want what He wants. Confess and acknowledge Him in every aspect of your life. Do not be ashamed of Christ or His gospel, and be willing to lay down cherished things, cherished relationships, and even life itself for Him. But while you live, let your life be an offering. Take up His cross each day in obedience and service. These are the implications and the fruits of our faith, in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.



  1. Matthew 16:15. 2. Matthew 16:16; See also Mark 8:29Luke 9:20.  3. Matthew 16:23; See also Mark 8:33.  4. Doctrine and Covenants 121:43.  5. “Whosoever Will Lose His Life for My Sake Shall Find it,” The Life of Jesus Christ Bible Videos;; see Matthew 16:21–27.  6. Matthew 10:39; See also Matthew 10:32–4116:24–28Mark 8:34–38Luke 9:23–2617:33.  7. Adam S. Miller, Letters to a Young Mormon (2014), 17–18.  8. Moses 4:2, emphasis added.  9. Moses 4:1, emphasis added.  10. 1 Corinthians 2:9.  11. Matthew 16:25.  12. Matthew 16:24.  13. Luke 9:23.  14. Joseph Smith Translation, Matthew 16:24 (in Matthew 16:24, footnote e ).  15. James 1:27.  16. See Matthew 22:37–40.  17. Mark 8:38; See also Luke 9:26.  18. Matthew 10:32–33.  19. Martin Chulov, “Iraq’s Largest Christian Town Abandoned as Isis Advance Continues,” The Guardian, Aug. 7, 2014;  20. Mark 8:38.  21. Matthew 10:34–38.  22. Isaiah 9:6.  23. Luke 2:14.  24. John 14:27.  25. Kenneth Barker, ed. The NIV Study Bible, 10th anniversary ed. (1995), 1453.  26. John 13:35.  27. Matthew 10:37.  28. Joseph Smith Translation, Matthew 16:28–29 (in the Bible appendix).  29. Joseph Smith Translation, Luke 9:25 (in the Bible appendix). 30. See Amy Chua and Jed Rubenfeld, The Triple Package: How Three Unlikely Traits Explain the Rise and Fall of Cultural Groups in America (2014), 5–8.  31. Amy Chua and Jed Rubenfeld, The Triple Package, 29–31.  32. Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Spencer W. Kimball (2006), 85–86.  33. Robert I. Eaton and Henry J. Eyring, I Will Lead You Along: The Life of Henry B. Eyring (2013), 276.  34. Robert I. Eaton and Henry J. Eyring, I Will Lead You Along, 280–81.  35. Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith(2007), 160; emphasis in original.  36. Doctrine and Covenants 123:17.  37. Matthew 26:42.  38. John 8:29.

© 2014 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved. English approval: 1/14. “Saving Your Life.” English. PD10051044 000




Several months ago one of my nephew’s, David Andrew Edmunds, passed away. Another nephew sang a beautiful song by Rob Gardner (I think William Hyde may have written the words). It was SO beautiful – so comforting and tender. Here are the words (and maybe you can find the tune on YouTube?… you’re ALL a lot smarter about things like that than I am!).  And remember: Saturday is a special day!!  Love, MEE


You have nothing to fear from the journey,
Though your way may be burdened by thorns.
For the Lord will be with you each step of the way
As you travel with faith through the storm.
And you’ve nothing to fear from your trials,
Though they seem far too heavy to bear.
Take His hand and He’ll lead you gently along
And you’ll find peace and safety there.


You have nothing to fear from the journey,
Though your body is tired and worn.
For the Lord will send angels to lift up your arms
And He’ll carry the burden you’ve born.
And you’ve nothing to fear from your suff’ring,
Nor the grief you’ve been called on to bear,
Take His hand and He’ll lead you gently along
And you’ll find peace and safety there.


There is nothing to fear from the nights that are lonely,
There’s nothing to fear from the cold!
There’s nothing to fear from what might be tomorrow,
For heaven is with you,
And angels watch over
His fold.


You have nothing to fear from the journey,
Though it seems far too early to go.
Heaven’s angels will take you where tears are no more
And they’ll lead you to glory untold.
And you’ve nothing to fear from your sorrow,
Though your life has been burdened by care.
Take His hand and He’ll lead you safely back home
And you’ll rest from your labors there.





Two amazing women (whom I consider kind friends) are doing amazing things, along with many of YOU, responding to the “call to action” during the first session of the recent General Conference (the General Women’s session on 26 March 2016), and I invite you to “check in.”  Julie Barker Farr and Maryan Myres Shumway and two whom I know about who are responding. I did a SHOUT-OUT on Maryan a little while ago, and today’s SHOUT-OUT is for Julie. I met them both when they went through the MTC with assignments in Asia as welfare services missionaries. You look back at “SHOUT-OUTS” to learn about Maryan and her incredible service “all over the world.” And I know I should be doing a SHOUT-OUT to so many more of you, but today is Julie’s turn.


And now Julie and her family have begun a magnificent labor called “Hearts Tied Together.” She’s sent several of her children – sons and daughters – as missionaries, and some have served in Asia as well (I wish I could remember where they’ve all served… but I forget things from yesterday, let alone from a while ago). I met her wonderful daughter Lindsay (who recently had a beautiful baby girl, born on Christmas Eve!), who works in the Church History Department (Global Support and Acquisitions) and was so happy to find out the “connection” with Julie. I think this is a SHOUT-OUT to the whole family! Lindsay has a lot on her Facebook just like Julie — Lindsay Farr Harper. But enough about me trying to tell you of the whole family (although I wish I could!).

I think I can tell you most about their service opportunity and to ask you to help “SPREAD THE WORD.”  Here’s what Julie wrote on her FB page:  IT’S LAUNCHED! “Hearts Tied Together” is a service opportunity providing fleece blankets to refugee children that our family has initiated. is the address of the website. It has all the instructions you need, including tutorial to get started! There is also a Facebook page: Hearts Tied Together. Please check them out and SHARE. We have a desperate need for blankets by April 27th that are being shipped to Armenia to help Syrian refugees there, though this is going to be an ongoing project for refugees both domestic and international. Thanks, friends! Together we can make a difference by sharing the project with others to get the word out!


I hope Julie, Lindsay, and the family will forgive me for going ahead and posting this without asking them first, but even if they punish me I’m so THANKFUL for what they’re doing, and I encourage you to respond and to let others know (PLEASE), especially if you have not yet had a chance to join the “I Was a Stranger” movement (or if you’d like to do even more).  THANK YOU!


YEP… It’s that time of year again: TAX SEASON (2 days to go, unless you’re a slug like mee and have extended . . . . ) But I thought you might appreciate some info!