In the Church News for 25 January, 1992, there was a story about a wonderful sister and brother in Cebu in the Philippines. The title of the article: “He’s not heavy, he’s my brother.” I wish I could show you the pictures I have, but they’re not “digital.” (You have to remember that I’m a digital immigrant, NOT a digital native….)

When people see Anastacio and Virginia Huguete, the words from a well-known story and song, “He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother,” often come to mind. The brother and his sister, members of the Talisay 1st Ward, Talisay Philippines Stake, could be a contemporary version of the slogan made famous by Boys Town founder Father Edward J. Flanagan in the 1920s.Father Flanagan penned the phrase after watching the young men living in his boys home carry Howard Loomis, a disabled young boy who was unable to walk, on their backs. That same devotion that existed among those young boys can be found between the Huguetes as Sister Huguete carries her brother, 64, who has suffered two severe strokes, to and from Church meetings. In a recent visit to the area to attend a stake conference, Elder Vaughn J. Featherstone of the Seventy, first counselor in the Philippines/Micronesia Area, wrote: “I was startled to see a woman carrying a man on her back. She brought him into the priesthood session, helped him sit on the bench and then left. When the priesthood session was over, she came back in, had him climb on her back and she carried him outside of the chapel. . . . The following day they were in all of the sessions.” Elder Featherstone soon found out that the man and woman were brother and sister. Brother Huguete, a well-known singer and entertainer in his native land, was left almost-totally paralyzed after suffering the two strokes in 1976. The strokes affected his speech and voice, but he was still able to think clearly. Sister Huguete, a single sister, began to take constant care of her brother, helping him with therapy and with any other need he had. Through her efforts, he gained limited use of his legs. He is able to stand, but cannot walk. He is also able to write. In 1979, the two were baptized along with two of Brother Huguete’s children. On the day of the baptism, Brother Huguete asked the elders to heat the water because he was afraid of what the cold water would do to him. The heater was broken, he was baptized anyway and witnessed his own miracle when he was immersed into warm water. When Virginia dressed him after the baptism, she was amazed to find that his body was warm. At the time of their baptism, they covenanted with the Lord to keep His commandments, which meant attending their Sunday meetings and partaking of the sacrament. They have done this faithfully for 12 years, according to Elder Joseph and Sister Alene E. Felix, missionaries in the Cebu Philippines Mission. “Virginia carries her brother on her back to and from their Church meetings, many times unable to ride a jeepney or pedicab so she carries him all the way.” Sister Huguete manages to carry her brother, who weighs about 130 pounds, more than two kilometers to their Church meetings. The Sunday following a typhoon, meetings were held Sunday morning instead of the usual afternoon time so members could help the typhoon victims. The Huguetes did not hear of the change and missed the meeting. “They both sat down and wept, for this was the only time Virginia had missed since her baptism,” Brother and Sister Felix explained. Brother Huguete serves as Sunday School president in his ward and Sister Huguete serves as ward Primary president. “To be a member of the Church is a pearl of great price,” Brother Huguete remarked. “I believe the greatest attainment a man or a woman could ever have is to be baptized in the Church as I am, to hold the priesthood as I do, to know that Christ is our Savior, which I testify is true, and to enter the temple for their own endowments as I have, and to be a part of an eternal family unit. Because of these great blessings, I am blessed above all men.” (Sheridan R. Sheffield)

There was a follow-up story in the Church News for 13 June, 1992. It made me feel so happy! SISTER’S DEDICATION PROMPTS READERS TO DONATE FOR CYCLE

Thanks to the giving hearts of Church members, Virginia Huguete and her brother, Anastacio, are finding it easier to get to Church meetings and other activities. Funds were contributed to the Huguetes – members of the Talisay 1st Ward, Talisay Philippines Stake – to help them find a mode of transportation after a Jan. 25, 1992, Church News article featured the Huguetes and their struggles of getting around. When they were baptized in 1979, Sister Huguete and her brother – who is partially paralyzed – vowed to never miss a meeting. Because transportation was often unavailable or unaffordable, Sister Huguete would carry her 130-pound brother on her back more than two kilometers to Church meetings. Brother Huguete, a well-known singer and entertainer in the Philippines, was left almost totally paralyzed after suffering two strokes in 1976. The strokes affected his speech and voice, and he has limited use of his legs as he is able to stand, but not walk. The recent contributions have assisted the Huguetes in getting a tricycad, a bicycle with a side car attached, so Sister Huguete can get her brother back and forth to Church. Elder Joseph and Sister Alene Felix, missionaries in the Philippines Cebu Mission, said the Huguetes are enjoying their tricycad “very much as it provides them with transportation to Church meetings and a feeling of independence.” The tricycad also has the potential of providing them with a little income for the future if they choose to rent it to tricycad operators, the Felixes explained. (This is not their Tricycad, but it will give you an idea of what they’re like).


Members have also helped the Huguetes in other ways, they added. Brother and Sister Huguete recently returned from a week at the Manila Philippines Temple where they were sealed to their aged mother. They traveled by boat from Cebu Island to and from Luzon Island, where the temple is located. While they were in Manila, full-time missionaries and stake missionaries upgraded the Huguetes’ nipa hut (palm-thatched home) by pouring a cement floor, patio and walkway. “Needless to say, they were completely surprised and flabbergasted upon returning home following their long boat trip,” Brother and Sister Felix said. (This is a picture of a Nipa Hut – Bahay Kubo – but it’s not their home – it just gives you an idea)




Has fishing season begun? I don’t keep track of that anymore, but it seems like it’s time. One of the happy memories of my childhood was going fishing with my Daddy. We got to use “Uncle Leo’s” boat. He built it himself. He was a fantastic carpenter, and his “shop” was right across the street from us, in a lot behind a home. Once when Mom let me build a high-jump pit in part of her garden (I was preparing for the Olympics), I hauled many loads of sawdust from Uncle Leo’s shop in our little red wagon. I loved the smell of the lumber and the sound of the saw. When Uncle Leo built the boat, he carved a “head” to put on the front. He kept the boat at Navajo Lake. Several families in our neighborhood had gone together to build a little cabin (and I’m not kidding when I call it “rustic”). But oh the happy times when we got in Uncle Leo’s boat to go fishing. I caught a trout once, and it thrilled me to have Daddy be so proud of me.


The other day I saw a video (yes, on YouTube) of a great fisher… an OSPREY. And this mighty fisher goes after a trout. It’s an amazing video. Turn on your sound, because the narration helps to make it so fascinating. Enjoy!!   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yQOVcP67zFM


For at least 25 years, I’ve had a passion (if that’s the right word) for FAMILY COUNCILS. I’ve felt like it might be one of the most effective and yet least-used tools for helping families (no matter what they are like or their size or where they live) to be stronger, safer, happier, and closer to each other and to Heaven. When Elder Ballard began speaking in General Conference this week-end, I actually cheered! I’ve been so influenced by other talks he’s given about councils. Since listening to his talk I’ve decided to post some ideas which I’ve had. Most of them came during the time I was teaching a lesson to missionaries at the MTC about family councils. I was SO impressed with those who told of their family holding regular councils, and how that made them feel – what they learned. I’m praying that these ideas will be helpful and meaningful. I don’t have time to do any “editing” or changing… I have to get to the airport pretty soon. But see if you can find some things which will help you as you decide to (or continue to) hold regular family councils.


THE BLESSING OF FAMILY COUNCILS. It is my feeling that this is an incredible tool which is not used nearly enough. I’ve chosen to begin with a verse from The Book of Mormon, substituting the word FAMILY for the word CHURCH. MORONI 6:5 — “And the [family] did meet together oft … to speak one with another concerning the welfare of their souls.” This topic is not just for families where there are parents and children living at home. It is my hope that we can all learn some principles and ideas which will make a difference for us, no matter what our circumstance. There are many references I have found particularly helpful: One is the Ensign for June 1985 — it is filled with wonderful articles for parents. Another is the Ensign for February1985 — “Working Together in Family Councils.” Elder M. Russell Ballard, Counseling with Our Councils: Learning to Minister Together in the Church and in the Family. There’s an excellent article in the June 2003 Ensign with an interview of Elder and Sister Ballard about family councils.

I also encourage you to TALK WITH OTHERS about what they’re doing with family council — SHARE IDEAS!  It’s “catching!”  From your own experience, you’ve got ideas that are just as good as anyone else’s. (I continue to look for ideas, so send me some ideas; I’m especially looking for specific experiences — ways to illustrate the ideas and principles).

I suppose the FIRST family council we know anything about is the one which was held when Heavenly Father’s Plan of Happiness was presented to us.  It must have been a wonderful council, because it’s reported that the sons of God shouted for joy. From the book of JOB (38:4,7) “Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? declare, if thou hast understanding. ¼ When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?” WOW!

ELDER DALLIN H. OAKS – We may truly say that the gospel plan originated in the council of an eternal family, it is implemented through our earthly families, and has its destiny in our eternal families. Small wonder The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter‑day Saints is known as a family‑centered church.(Dallin H. Oaks, “Parental Leadership in the Family,” Ensign, June 1985, 7)

ELDER M. RUSSELL BALLARD – There has never been a time when the world was in greater need of the strength and security that are best sown and cultivated in the deep, fertile soil of family love. The family is under heavy attack from antagonists bent on extinguishing this powerful source of light in a darkening world. Successful families have a wide assortment of tools, and one of the most useful tools is the family council. (M. Russell Ballard and Barbara Ballard, “Family Councils: A Conversation with Elder and Sister Ballard,” Ensign, June 2003)

HOW IS A FAMILY COUNCIL DIFFERENT FROM FAMILY HOME EVENING? When we gather to learn the gospel and have [activities] together, we call it family home evening. When we gather to discuss, make decisions, and plan, we call it family council. (When Thou Art Converted, Strengthen Thy Brethren, Melchizedek Priesthood study guide, 1974–75, p. 167.)  President Spencer W. Kimball: Concerning the governing of our families, we have been correctly taught that the family council is the most basic council of the Church…. Children participate in family council….  The Brethren have stated that “an atmosphere of listening, honest communication, and respect for the opinions and feelings of others is vital to the success of these meetings.” (Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, p.343)


Elder M. Russell Ballard: No longer can any ONE leader … or for that matter, any parent … attempt to provide what is so desperately needed in the lives of our families and Church members. If we are to succeed in leading our Heavenly Father’s children toward eternal life, we must counsel together and help each other. (M. Russell Ballard, Counseling with Our Councils: Learning to Minister Together in the Church and in the Family [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1997], .) I’ve included one reference from 1969 to show that the idea of family council isn’t new: Elder Mark E. Petersen: The Church has always advised family council meetings as well as home evenings, when family matters may be discussed plainly and frankly, but in a spirit of love and cooperation. (The Way to Peace, p.252 ‑ p.253 – 1969 – Bookcraft)

WHAT IS A FAMILY COUNCIL? Without being misunderstood, I want to say that a family council is a formal family meeting. In using the word “formal” I certainly don’t want to imply “stuffy” or “boring” or “unpleasant.” One of the best descriptions comes from a little booklet called “Family Guidebook”


Parents may want to call family members together in family council meetings. Families can use these meetings to set family goals, resolve family problems, discuss finances, make plans, support and strengthen each other, and pray for each other. A council can be held whenever a need exists.  Families may want to hold a meeting each Sunday or in connection with family home evening.  Respect for the opinions and feelings of others is vital to the success of these meetings. (Family Guidebook, booklet, p. 7) Those who hold regular family council meetings say they couldn’t get along without them.

ELDER M. RUSSELL BALLARD – It is a time to share one another’s burdens and joys and counsel together, to keep each family member on the right track spiritually. It is the time when we discuss family matters, much as a bishop or branch president does with his ward or branch leaders…. Whenever there are two or more members of a family together and a discussion is going on, that is a council! Family councils can be held in one-on-one talks between a parent and a child or among parents and several children. When a husband and wife talk to each other, they are holding a family council… You don’t have to have everyone sitting together in order to have a family council....  A council is when parents let their children help solve the problem. And when everyone agrees to a solution, everyone will have ownership of the problem….  …if parents will establish a climate conducive to openness, where every person is important and every opinion is valued, they can create a kind of spiritual synergism in the home, where the combined action or cooperation that results is greater than the sum of the individual parts. (M. Russell Ballard and Barbara Ballard, “Family Councils: A Conversation with Elder and Sister Ballard,” Ensign, June 2003)


SOME GENERAL COMMENTS ABOUT FAMILY COUNCIL – The difference between COUNCIL and COUNSEL: • COUNCIL – An assembly called together for any purpose; an assembly or meeting for consultation or advice. • COUNSEL – Take counsel with others; deliberate; give or offer advice; recommend. ALMA 37:37 (Alma’s counsel to his son Helaman) “Counsel with the Lord in all thy doings, and he will direct thee for good….”  (An important way to look at the blessing of PRAYER)

Elder Dallin H. Oaks – The stresses and problems of modern living pose great problems for parents. These are suggested by the bittersweet definition of a family as “a group of people who have keys to the same house.” One of the great influences that unified families in prior times was the experience of struggling together in pursuit of a common goal — such as taming the wilderness or establishing a business.  This principle is so important that one commentator suggested, “If the family lacks a common crisis, hire a wolf to howl at the door.” (Time, Dec. 15, 1967, p. 31.) Most parents have enough crises without hiring any more.  But they may need to identify them and organize their families in unified efforts to resolve them. (“Parental Leadership in the Family,” Ensign, June 1985, 7, 9)

Family council is a way to ANTICIPATE — to look ahead and prevent (or at least minimize) some of the problems which might come from a lack of planning (or thinking ahead).  Parents need to counsel together ahead of time so that they come to the family council united. They can decide which matters will be NEGOTIABLE — which matters will come up for a FAMILY VOTE. To negotiate is to confer together for the purpose of arranging some matter by mutual agreement.


THE PARENTS WHO LET THE CHILDREN HELP NAME THE BABIES: (I’ve wondered what it was like to go through life as Spot, Fido, Lassie, or Big Duke) THE ELDER WHOSE FATHER WAS OFFERED A PROMOTION: The parents decided to make this a council decision (rather than just deciding and “announcing” they were going to move. The family voted not to move, and because the parents had made it “negotiable,” the family didn’t move!

The council should be held often enough to meet the needs of the family. Most whom I talked to felt that SUNDAY was the best day to meet.  Others said it worked to hold family council right before family home evening, although as the children grew older and there was more to discuss and decide, it seemed better to separate the two activities so neither got “lost.”

WHAT ARE SOME STRATEGIES WHICH CAN HELP FAMILIES HOLD EFFECTIVE COUNCILS? The family needs to decide when, where, WHY and how often to hold family council.

GROUND RULES: The family needs to set some “ground rules” for how to proceed. A friend says that the TWO RULES for their family council are:  Everyone has a chance to speak, and everyone is respected. Make sure participation is VOLUNTARY. Respect for each individual’s AGENCY is critical in counseling together.


PRAYER – Through prayer, the family should invite the Spirit to be present. AGENDA – It’s helpful to have an AGENDA, so everyone can keep track of what’s going on (or an easel or white board or some other way of having topics written for everyone to see.)  The family DISCUSSES and DECIDES: What will our family council agenda consist of? What are the “standing items?” (Hymn, prayer, minutes, calendar and so on). An AGENDA can help the family choose which items to FOCUS on. ALL family members should be able to suggest agenda items. Perhaps there could be a place designated in the home where suggestions could be written and collected. RECORD: (MINUTES or NOTES) It may help to have someone take notes on the discussions, decisions, activities, assignments and plans so that there is a record. It can become part of the family’s history.

Some families actually hand them out and ask for additions/corrections. PLANNING AND KEEPING A CALENDAR: A family council is an ideal time to schedule and correlate individual and family activities. A calendar can help keep track of all events and avoid conflicts. As family members list coming activities, the events are recorded on the MASTER FAMILY CALENDAR. Have squares on the calendar large enough to record appointments, activities, events, birthdays, and other special family occasions. It’s helpful to have a central place for this calendar (as well as a place to leave NOTES for each other). DECISIONS AND VOTING: All family members need to be involved in discussions and decisions. After each family member has expressed opinions or feelings, it’s time to vote. The family needs to decide how VOTING should take place. They need to decide whether voting should be UNANIMOUS, or whether a simple MAJORITY is sufficient. Some families say they have “secret ballots” when issues are sensitive.

One family had a proposal come up from their teenagers to change their curfew from 10:00 to 10:30 pm. There was a chance for anyone who wished to comment to do so, and then a vote was taken. The proposal passed unanimously. The curfew in that family for the teens is now 10:30 pm.

There may be issues on which the family CANNOT AGREE. Parents can suggest that each family member take more time (if there is no urgency to the decision) to further consider an issue and pray about it. If the family still can’t agree, the parents, with their wisdom, inspiration and experience, may need to make the final decision. As they carefully consider all the input from all family members, children can hopefully see that their input is valued.


A family council is not the place to solve every single family problem. There may be matters that parents should decide even without family discussion. And there are things about which a vote would be inappropriate, such as “Can we drop some of the 10 Commandments?”

INCLUSION: Make sure each family member feels included and important, respected and appreciated. There may be times when ASSIGNMENTS would be appropriate for REPORTS at the next family council. Sometimes it’s easier to participate when you have a chance to think ahead of time about what you want to say.

QUESTIONS which may help to get discussions started: Is there anything you can think of which can make things better here at home? What are some things we’re doing well? What are some ways in which we’ve improved? What would you like our family to do to help bring us closer together?

It may take some experience before all family members learn to respect each others’ opinions. Let’s say a younger child in a family suggests going to LEGGO LAND for the family vacation. The older children need to learn not to say things like “That’s a stupid idea!” Opening up things for a vote may mean some family members end up doing things that may not have been their first choice.

THE FAMILY VACATION: I remember a missionary telling me that his parents had made the annual vacation a matter on which the family voted. The parents were always “voted down” by the children. But as the children grew older, they realized what was happening, and conspired together to vote for whatever the parents suggested. FUNNY! A great idea!

Allowing everyone to give input before deciding on an issue will help family members become more courteous and help them see that there is more than one way of looking at things.

CONFIDENTIALITY: Some matters discussed in family council may be confidential. Family members need to know that these items are confidential and should not be discussed outside the family. When this rule is strictly observed, feelings of loyalty and unity within the family increase.

EXTENDED AND BLENDED FAMILIES: Adjustments and accommodations are needed depending on who’s living at home (grandparents, for example). My MOTHER lived with one of my brothers for the last 7 years of her life and was not just part of the home – she was part of the family. Include information and plans about family members who may be away from home (mission, school, etc). Include information and ideas about keeping in touch with and helping extended family members. Family council can help blended families to become closer and bring a sense of belonging and unity.

MINI COUNCIL: Each day, perhaps at breakfast [what’s that??] or just before family prayer or scripture study, the family can hold a mini family council to make sure everyone knows what’s happening that day and to see if plans have changed. This is a time to make needed adjustments, and to make sure everyone knows about them.

THINGS WHICH CAN BE INCLUDED IN THE FAMILY COUNCIL:  Determine the family SCHEDULE for family prayer, family scripture study, family home evening, meal time, and service. Discuss and determine family VALUES (for example, the family could discuss together how to keep the Sabbath Day holy, or how to more effectively live the Law of the Fast). Work and counsel together to make important family decisions. Develop family/home rules and procedures, and decide on the consequences for ignoring or breaking the rules. How can we have a more orderly home? How much television should we watch; which programs? How can we make sure that things such as cell phones, iPads, computers don’t become more important than (and/or interruptive to) important family activities? What can we do as a family to eliminate quarreling? How can we divide up the work so everybody feels good about it? Discuss family challenges and options for solutions, resolve differences. Go over plans and goals for the family — What are our priorities? Some families develop a MOTTO or even a MISSION STATEMENT. Have a discussion and decision about DEDICATING THE HOME. When and what should our regular family activities be? Plan activities such as dates and private interviews. Recognize successes and achievements of family members as well as upcoming opportunities for attendance at games, concerts, and other activities. Help all to understand the family budget. (“Monopoly money” – A way to show children how the family income is spent – what it means to have a budget – this has proven to be successful in many families to help the children know why there are some things the family can’t afford, and to teach them to work for things they’d like to have). Would it make a difference in your family if you were to help each member understand what our DONATION SLIP represents? Do they pay their TITHING and understand WHY? Do all family members join together in living THE LAW OF THE FAST? How about donations to the MISSIONARY FUND and for sharing THE BOOK OF MORMON? To the building of TEMPLES, HUMANITARIAN AID, and the PERPETUAL EDUCATION FUND? And other donations. Discuss how to share the work and responsibilities in the home (I’ve always loved the word CHORES) Beverly Neuer Feldman notes that “when you let children accomplish small chores, you provide pure, unadulterated ego gratification: they feel capable and essential to the well‑being of your family.” As they grow older, they gradually develop the self‑discipline to complete “not‑so‑fun” jobs. This self‑discipline also aids them as they work outside the home and as they manage their own finances.  (See “Raising Money‑Wise Kids,” Reader’s Digest, Nov. 1991, pp. 147–50.) Establish family TRADITIONS. Karen Ashton said they established a tradition in their family of “Tuck-in Time” where they spent some time with each child as they got ready to go to sleep. It was a wonderful chance to talk with and listen to each one. By the way — off the topic of traditions just a little bit — Karen told of a little son just learning to write his name: Spencer. One day she went in his bedroom, and there in crayon on the wall was “Spencer.” She asked him about it and he said “How did you know it was me?” She said “Because your name is Spencer.” On another day she went in the room and saw on the wall, in crayon, “Bat Man.” Funny! (And clever!)

Consider traditions for CHRISTMAS, other HOLIDAYS, BIRTHDAYS, ANNIVERSARIES. Give encouragement and help to one another. Share expressions of praise and gratitude. Consider spiritual, temporal, emotional, social and economic needs.  The family can discuss ways in which counsel from the PROPHET and other Church leaders will be followed — implemented. What a wonderful way to help family members realize the importance not just of hearing or reading, but also of DOING.

ONE FAMILY’S EXAMPLE – A Father and Mother and 6 children: Each Fast Sunday – Go over goals – Goals for each of the kids. We decide them at the beginning of each year. 4 areas: Physical, Emotional, Social, Spiritual (Jesus grew….) What are we going to do this month to work on our goals? Eat healthier — Something fresh at each meal. Be nicer by not raising our voices. One reminder, then a consequence. Work together – Family work projects on Saturdays. Kids have jobs during the week. Physical activity as a family once a week: Bike, soccer, hike, camping out. Learning activity once a month – ie, cultural – Dinosaur museum. We learn something new – Japanese night – Fix food. Invite a new family over for dinner once a month. Calendar for the month. Ask each one “Is there anything we need to discuss?” PPI – Both of us – Begin and end with prayer. Express love and appreciation. Ask if there’s anything they (as parents) can do better

ANOTHER FAMILY’S EXAMPLE – A Father and Mother with 4 children: Once a week with family home evening. Father gives each of the kids a chance for input – They love to give input! Schedule for the coming week. Going to school, to the library, playing soccer. It’s hard when one’s not in the mood. They can be valuable and fun. PPI: One-on-one or both parents with one (One will tend the other 3). This is where they’re very honest and open.

ANOTHER FAMILY’S EXAMPLE” A Father and Mother and 6 children – Special family meeting after “9-11” – When Grandpa died – When Elizabeth Smart was kidnapped. We have voted on family vacations or big money items. With counsel from President Hinckley: Worked on home storage. Let’s take this year to work on it – How would you feel if instead of a big family vacation we spent money on our food storage (They voted yes!) Father and Mother have a “companion inventory” each night before going to bed.

A SINGLE MOTHER WITH 13 CHILDREN! All I can say is I was always so impressed with the way she had everything organized, and how much love and attention she gave to each of the 13. Eventually she met a wonderful man whose wife had passed away, and he ALSO had 13 children – So they now have 26 CHILDREN and more grandchildren than they’re able to count.

ANOTHER FAMILY’S EXAMPLE – A Father and Mother with 4 boys: Every Sunday: Family meeting – It’s not formal. More harmony in the home – Calendaring ahead. “I’m going on a field trip next week.” Discuss problems – Work towards solutions. If anyone’s upset with anyone else, it can be brought up and worked out. “What’s the problem?” – We’ll brainstorm. We vote all the time – Like vacations, expenditures. Especially things we’re going to do as a family. Rules and consequences. Proposal: New way of doing chores. We used to keep the chore for a month – That got BORING. Had a vote on change that: Now we have a chore for a week. Then we re-configured how the chores are grouped together “I’ve got two heavy chores” – “I’m doing chores all day.” The CHORE CHART reflects our discussions and decisions. “How come Mom and Dad aren’t on the CHORE CHART?” Mom does the laundry – Fixes meals – Dad does the watering. Planning for birthdays – How to celebrate.


Obviously, many people are having family council it but they don’t do it “formally.”

BOTH SIDES OF THE VEIL: A friend’s brother had a dream about a family council; didn’t recognize one member of the group — he finally realized it was his Dad (who passed away a couple of years earlier), young again! They were discussing a brother (absent) who was having trouble, and his Dad assured him that this brother knew what was right. It was a comfort to the family. The family had been counseling together a LOT about this one brother.

As our parents got older, the 8 of us children (I’m 2nd of 8) would gather with them for a family council to make sure we were responding to their various needs. One of my assignments was to help Mom and Dad plan their funerals. When our Father died, we continued councils with our Mother. And since she passed away we continue to have occasional family councils.

SEEKING FIRST the KINGDOM of GOD and HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS: A final purpose of family councils is to further the work of the gospel within the family unit — to live the gospel in the home.

President Spencer W. Kimball: Church programs strengthen individuals and families. Our success, individually and as a church, will largely be determined by how faithfully we focus on living the gospel in the home….  priesthood quorums and auxiliary organizations, even wards and stakes, exist primarily to help members live the gospel in the home….  People are more important than programs, and… Church programs should always support and never detract from gospel-centered family activities. (Spencer W. Kimball, The Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, edited by Edward L. Kimball, p.435) The family council can be an opportunity to discuss and make plans for FAMILY HISTORY work, trips to a TEMPLE as a family, personal and family JOURNALS and HISTORIES. The family can work together on PREPAREDNESS and PROVIDENT LIVING, including education, food storage, family finances, and well-being. The family can make specific plans and fast and pray together about FELLOWSHIPPING and MISSIONARY opportunities, including preparing for missions. There are probably times when it would help to have the family discuss ways in which they can support each other in Church CALLINGS.

Perhaps councils can be arranged around the six areas listed in Providing in the Lord’s Way. A family newsletter can be a form of a family council. Don’t stop just because you’ve left home (or moved). Have a council on a conference call or in a chat room or by something like Skype, FaceTime, Facebook, Blog, etc.


WHAT ARE SOME OF THE BLESSINGS AND BENEFITS OF FAMILY COUNCILS? A deeper sense of belonging, involvement, and responsibilities. Stronger bonds of unity and love. An atmosphere of respect, understanding, and appreciation. Increased skills in many areas. Increased sensitivity to the needs and feelings of others. Ability to set and reach goals, evaluate progress, work through differences, solve problems. Family members are more committed to family plans and goals because they have helped to formulate them. And all family members grow in spirituality, unity, solidarity, and love for one another. As the children see parental commitment to holding family councils, involving them in family decisions and plans, and recognizing their achievements, they will begin to feel a sense of belonging and unity.

I know our Heavenly Father will bless our sincere, diligent efforts to call our family members together for the purpose of creating an honest and loving environment. The magnitude of our responsibilities as parents is shared by President Spencer W. Kimball: The time will come when only those who believe deeply and actively in the family will be able to preserve their families in the midst of the gathering evil around us. (Ensign, Nov. 1980, p. 4.)  I am convinced the FAMILY COUNCIL can be a wonderful tool to bring and keep our families together, headed in the right direction, staying close to each other in “all kinds of weather….”






Twin sisters SARA AND ELLA THOMPSON are third grade students at Canyon Crest Elementary School. They were chosen as the Daily Herald’s Utah Valley Students of the Week. They both bring so much to their teacher’s class. Sara and Ella both work very hard in their class, participate in all class activities with smiles and have never complained about the workload. They don’t give up easily, even though the work may be difficult for them. They both bring so much sunshine and love to their class. Both Sara and Ella bring out the compassionate nature of each of the students in their class. Even the teacher’s tough students will soften their hearts in front of Sara and Ella. They are both very involved in activities at their school. They performed in the Christmas program in front of the whole school. They are also the second winners from third and fourth grade under the engineer category at the Canyon Crest Science Fair this past January. Outside of school, Sara and Ella love to read, dance and sing. (They’re also learning to play the piano).

These precious twins are my great nieces, daughters of Julie (my niece) and Todd Thompson. They are the last two of six children.


They were born in Connecticut in 2006. I can’t help myself… I’m going to share some more pictures! DEAL! (Ha Ha)… Indulge a Great Aunt!!


I was so thankful Julie put bracelets on different wrists so I could tell them apart! And I still thank her for keeping Ella’s hair shorter than Sara’s!. Both were named after great grandmothers — Ella Mary (my Mother’s name), and Sara Jean (after the great grandmother on Todd’s side). This was the day they were blessed. 

















I’ve been thinking about Christmas, and specifically the magic of Christmas. I try to do things to help myself and others feel the wonderful spirit of Christmas. One thing I’ve done which has been so rewarding and fun is to take nieces on an “Elf adventure” at Christmas time.


Several years ago I had a some extra money, including some which a dear friend had given me to give away. I ended up with $ 400 and went to the bank and got “brand new” money. I put it into 8 different envelopes — a $20, 2 $10’s, and 2 $5’s.  Then I put a note in with each one:

MERRY CHRISTMAS! Yes, this is money. Real money. Not much … but a little extra to help you have (it is hoped) a happier Holiday. The one who shares wishes to remain anonymous but sends along a wish that the coming year will be one of the best ever for you and those you love. NUMBERS 6:24-26 – The Lord bless thee, and keep thee:  The Lord make his face to shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee: The Lord lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace. He lives. He loves you. Joy to the world! Again, MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Next I called two of my nieces. Katie had just turned 16 and Tina was almost 13. I asked “What are you doing Friday afternoon?”  This was just a few days before Christmas. Each was free, so I said I’d pick them up around 1:00 p.m., and we were going to go have a Christmas adventure. They were so curious and excited! I picked up Tina first, and then we went to get Katie. I showed them the decorated envelopes and had them look to see what was inside and asked them to read one of the notes. Then they REALLY started to get excited!! I told them a kind person had donated this money, and we were going to help her give it away to some people who needed an extra something at Christmas time. Next I asked them where people went to shop for groceries who had to pinch pennies — who had to shop very carefully and didn’t have extra money to spend. After some thought, they decided it was Maceys. So I said “That’s where we’re going — we’re going to Maceys.” I explained that each of them would have 4 envelopes to give away to someone who needed what was inside. Their eyes were getting a bit tear-filled by this time!

We talked about “criteria,” and they came up with great ideas such as looking for people who were buying basics rather than the more expensive prepared foods, and people who were using a list, and looking for parents who had children with them, and so on. They said they wanted to look at the way people were dressed and whether they had on a lot of makeup (I found that so interesting). I loved being with them and listening to their discussion and joining in their absolute excitement at this great Christmas adventure, compliments of my friend, a genuine Saint.

Eventually we also decided that the best thing we could do was to ask Heavenly Father to help us find those who needed the most help.  So we had a little prayer together before leaving. We talked about what they should say when they gave the envelope to someone. We realized that unless they said something, the person might just think it was an ad or a promotion, and they might throw it away! So they decided on saying something like “You’ve been chosen to receive a little extra something for Christmas, and we hope what’s in this envelope will make your Holidays even happier. God bless you.” Isn’t that good!

We got to Maceys and parked in “the nethermost parts of the parking lot” and began wandering around out there. Katie spied our first “mark.” It was a woman just coming out, and she had a basket full of necessities and 2 children, with 2 other children running beside her. One of the little ones in the basket was screaming her head off, and the Mother was trying to push the basket while calming her baby. Katie went up to her (while Tina and I hid behind a car) and handed her an envelope and said her little part, and then came back to us. The Mother stood looking kind of puzzled and then smiled and continued to her car. And that was the beginning of our beautiful, unforgettable Christmas adventure.

Sometimes we’d go inside the store and sit on a bench where we could watch people checking out, and we’d discuss different ones, trying to determine if they were the right ones. We were all praying in our hearts, of course. Tina found one woman who had a cast on her leg and was giving directions to her children from a wheelchair as they bought their stuff. Later we could see her looking for us, but we hid so that she couldn’t find us, even though she saw us a couple of times.

Once when we were inside the store, back by where the milk, veggies and fruits were (we again felt like those who were buying the real stuff instead of the more expensive “ready-made” would be more in need), one of the store workers who had apparently seen us roaming and sneaking around came up and asked if he could help us. He was looking quite suspicious, we thought. (And I’m sure he thought WE looked suspicious!!). I said to him in a whisper “No — we don’t need your help, but thanks for asking. We’re ELVES, and we’re here on OFFICIAL BUSINESS!” He was so funny!! He kept saying “Shhhhhhh” and “carry on” and stuff like that. It was too good to be true!

Well, we eventually gave away all 8 envelopes, and we had incredible feelings in our hearts. I have to tell about another one specifically. We were back out in the parking lot, and Katie spied a young Mother, probably in her early 30’s, who was out on a bench near the front doors of the store. She had a basket with very little in it, and she had 6 children gathered around her, probably 6, 5, 4, 3, 2 and 1 (that’s how old they looked).

She was giving each of them a bag to carry. One had 2 loaves of bread. From what we could tell, it seemed she had purchased only what she really needed, and only what they could carry. This touched our hearts very deeply. She and the children were dressed very simply — even “humbly.” So we kept watching. When she’d given out the few bags, she took the cart way back to the front of the store (which impressed us further). Katie approached her and gave her the envelope and shared her little message. Then the 3 of us hid behind one of the posts near the entrance of the store where we could watch without being discovered.

This sweet Mother looked at the pretty envelope for a while, and then carefully opened it. She took the note and the money out and sat looking just stunned — as if she couldn’t believe it. She looked up our direction and we quickly hid further behind the post. She sat and slowly read the note, looking overcome with the wonder of it … the surprise. Carefully she put everything back in the envelope and then looked up again. We quickly hid. She started after us!! We started to run!! She called out “I can see you running! Stop right where you are!” And we did. She approached us, fighting her tears. First she “melted” in my arms, and I hugged and hugged her and kissed her, and the tears came. Then she hugged both Tina and Katie (who also started to cry), and then hugged me again. She just kept saying “Thank you … oh THANK YOU.” And she said “You don’t know … you have no idea….”  Something like that. And then she turned and went away. We just stood there, wiping our tears and feeling quite overcome with feelings of love and the sweet joy that comes with sharing.

As we talked about her over and over, we were wishing we had given her all 8 envelopes. We went to see if we could find her, but she had gone. We sat on “her” bench, wishing we could do more for her. We had no idea who she was or where she lived or anything. Then we got an idea. Heavenly Father knew who she was and where she lived (duh!). So we decided we’d all three include her in our prayers, and that we would ask Heavenly Father to prompt someone — a neighbor or whoever — to do a “Sub for Santa” for her, or something special for Christmas.

Well, we had a most remarkable, unforgettable time together. We’ll never forget it.  Never. Tina said “Well, I sure have my testimony ready for next month!” We all kept talking about how GOOD we felt inside, how TENDER, and how much our experience had meant to us. When we got to Katie’s, we went down to her bedroom and had a thank-you prayer. Heavenly Father was so good to us on that beautiful Friday afternoon.


The three of us still talk about that special Christmas adventure we shared. Has this brought some of your own memories back to you? Of course it doesn’t take $400 to have something similar happen. Maybe you helped with a “Sub for Santa.” Maybe you’re remembering when you gave part (or all) of what you’d have spent on gifts for each other to do something for someone who needed it more. In addition to memories, have any ideas come to you? Not just ideas about what you might do at Christmas time, but ANY time. Much of the joy is in the planning (I was going to say “plotting,” but it didn’t feel or sound quite right). This could be a great discussion for a family council, or a talk among neighbors or friends or anyone.

Sometime I’ll share some of the other “elf adventures.” I’m so thankful for willing nieces and great nieces!




Our “Aunt Florence” (our Daddy’s cousin) had a wonderful sense of humor. In my mind I can hear her laugh whenever I want, and it always makes me laugh too. She got such a kick out of life, herself, and her surroundings. When she’d had one of her strokes and had a little more trouble speaking and getting around she got a letter calling her to jury duty.  She was not pleased. It was something she’d always thought she would enjoy, and she was upset that they’d waited until she couldn’t do it to invite her to participate. I helped her write her letter of response, chastising those who sent the letter for not contacting her much sooner. She reported that she’d been watching “Perry Mason” and other shows for a long times, preparing “just in case.”

Finally Florence had to go to a nursing home. It was a very hard thing to do, but there just wasn’t any way to avoid it. She could no longer take care of herself in her little apartment.  We kept the apartment for her for a long time. I stayed there alone several times and missed her so much. It was touching to look around in that small, small space and think of all her adventures – about the long and fascinating life of Florence Sperry.

My mother was like a daughter to Aunt Florence. How they loved and enjoyed each other!  Mom would travel to the nursing home at least once a week, usually more often, bathing and feeding Florence and visiting with her. She would take some of Florence’s mother’s diaries and read them to Florence and Peggy during a time when both sisters were in the same facility. She even took two of her St. Bernard dogs for a visit, sneaking them in the back door of the facility!  (Mom raised St. Bernards for several years).

Once, when Aunt Florence was 84, she got a letter from a company inviting her to come and see their presentation about condominiums in Park City and Hawaii, telling her she’d receive a free gift – a choice between a beautiful 20-piece set of China or a Homelite XEL chain saw.



How could she NOT respond to this offer??  This is her response (with help from me and my Mom):

Dear Mr. Johnston:  I just received your marvelous letter about the unique condominiums that you have in Park City and Hawaii.  Living as I do in a nursing home, you can imagine how delighted I’d be to live in Park City or Hawaii instead.



I don’t know how I was lucky enough to get on your mailing list, but what a thrill! One thing I’m very excited about is the Homelite XEL chain saw.  It’s just what I need here at the nursing home when we work on crafts.  Maybe they’ll let me start coming again when they realize I’ve got such a nice saw; I had to quit going because I wasn’t participating.  I’ve missed it.  Another thing I need to mention is that when you fly me over to Hawaii I’ll have to go First-class.  I’ve had several strokes, and I just can’t seem to hold my legs together anymore, so I’ll need the extra space.  Thanks again for thinking of me here in the nursing home.  I think that’s great!  Owning something for “the rest of my life” (as you put it) sounds terrific since I’m only 84!

We can only imagine what it was like for those who received this letter from Aunt Florence.

Some months after Florence had passed away a letter from IRS arrived saying she hadn’t paid her taxes for 1979.


They said that unless she had reasonable cause for delay, she might be liable for penalties. “If you believe you had reasonable cause for filing late and for paying late, please explain. We have enclosed an envelope for your use. Thank you for your cooperation.”

Well, there was NO WAY we were not going to respond to THIS letter. My mother called the minute she got it. As we worked on the reply (which turned out to be one of our all-time favorite Family Home Evenings), it was as if we could hear Florence’s distinctive, infectious laugh mingled with ours:


Under “I did not file the form because,” we checked the “Business was closed” box.  In the “remarks” section we wrote the following:

Yes, business was closed permanently on 9 June, 1980. I’d not had an income for quite some years prior to that because I was in a nursing home. I know this is unusual to be getting a letter from me now that I’m dead, but I didn’t want to mess up your records. I know how important that is to you. It was only with very special permission that I was able to send this note from the Other Side. I must say it’s a lot more fun here where there aren’t any taxes, but despite that I do wish you well in your work. I know a lot of people don’t fully appreciate what you do, but now that I’ve got a new perspective (as they say) I know you work hard. By the way, in case anyone there is interested, everything they say is true –  you’ve got to work there for what you get here, if you know what I mean. Tell the guys in the office to get with it. Thanks again for your inquiry and for providing the envelope.

I wish we could have watched when the team at the IRS received this letter.

It’s hard to estimate the impact of this great soul in my life and the life of our family. I spoke at her funeral, trying to capture some of the essence of this unique and wonderful woman. Trying to express thanks for her influence in my life. Trying, if inadequately, to pay tribute to dear, delightful, one-of-a-kind Aunt Florence.



There are 8 of us.  I’m 2nd.  I have 4 brothers (Paul, Frank, John, Richard) and 3 sisters (Charlotte, Susan, Ann).  And you’re right – these are all solid old names… grin).  Our parents were both witty. Mom was hilarious, and Dad had such a quick wit.  They blessed us all with good humor and a love of laughter.


(Short parents, eh?  They both lived to be 95!)  We have MANY stories and jokes in our family where all we have to say is “That’s my specialty” or some other short code, and we all laugh. You probably have things similar in your family.

This story is about Paul (first-born) and Frank (fifth-born).  They both ended up at the Provo Temple one day several years ago.  (I hope this story won’t offend anyone).  Paul was just coming, and Frank was just leaving. Frank waited until Paul had left, then scooted his bag over on top of the next set of lockers.  He took a key from there and put it in the locker Paul had just left.  And then Frank left….  Can you already imagine what happened when Paul returned?  Here’s what happened:

From: paul edmunds <***.com>  Subject: Repent ye, repent ye!  To: Frank ***.com

Oh ye troublesome brother.  Why hast thou vexed thine elder brother in the temple of the Lord?  Hast thou not enough things on thy mind to keep thee busy?  And why hast thou caused thy elder brother to be of mind to consider himself diminishing in mental capacity?  Oh the pain of not finding one’s locker while patrons and Elders looked on.  And thoughts from bystanders, though not stated aloud with boldness, projected a state of dementia of thy elder brother.  Oh the pain of dealing momentarily with senility, only to find that one’s own flesh and blood could think up such skulduggery.  The misplaced temple suitcase, the patron’s key placed insidiously in thy brother’s locker.  Repent, oh ye, and be liken to thy older brother, never to have played out such acts upon even the least of these.  May thy holidays be filled with mischief on thyself, my younger brother, and may thy New Year be filled with time for thy sincere repentance!

From: Frank Edmunds <***.com>  Subject: The Epistle of Paul  To: paul edmunds <***.com>

O, My Brother, thou that dwellest in the mountains of Springville. I thank thee for thy E‑epistle to one as lowly and insignificant as thy younger brother.  Yea, when I receivedst thy E‑epistle, it maketh me to have a merry heart and a cheerful countenance, and doeth me good like a medicine. Yea, I laugheth! But, behold, my Brother, the Firstborn of our Father, how knowest thou that I have done this thing of which thou accuseth me?  Behold, my Brother, I perceive that thou art a prophet, for verily, I indeed doth this thing according to thy words. And I thinketh, How knowest thou that I have done this thing? But, Verily, doth not the scripture say: “If thy brother has ought against thee: go thy way and first be reconciled to thy brother”?  Behold, my Brother, I repent of the evil I have done unto thee – for my mirthfulness and my FRANKinnoncense. O, but behold, my Brother, after all, and nevertheless and notwithstanding, thou hast been, all these years, my mentor!  And as the scripture saith, “The younger brother can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the older Brother do…” and, “He whom the younger brother lovest, he tricketh”. I bid thee farewell my Brother, whom I lovest. Adieu.


MEE with PAUL and FRANK just before Frank left on his mission (We visited Paul in Arizona)


MEE with PAUL and FRANK quite a few years later


Thoughts on Sunday

I wanted to share a few things about the funeral (the “farewell”) for my nephew, David Andrew Edmunds. He’s the youngest son of my youngest brother, Richard, and his wife Glenda. He was 23 years old.

David was pretty shy and quiet, but very loving, and very kind. He was a gifted musician. Guitar and cello were his main instruments, but he also played drums and sang.

He was living with his folks and two of his brothers, Michael and Kevin, in Las Vegas, where Richard was working. They had lived in Ivins (in the St. George area) for several years. The eldest son, Rich, lives in St. George with his wife Cassidee and their two little girls, Layla and Ivy.

The funeral was held there at the chapel where they had attended church. So many friends from places they had lived gathered and shared comfort and kindness.

This was such a horrific shock.  I’m not sure if I know exactly what happened. A week ago Friday, David went hiking in the red rock area of Las Vegas.  He loved going to watch the sun set.  He never came home.  Richard and Glenda didn’t know what had happened, and it must have been SO HARD, just waiting and wondering, calling the police, feeling so helpless. It seems to me that the unknown is much more difficult to handle than the known.

As I understand it, some guys shooting B-B guns found his body. It was in a rugged area (he had fallen while hiking), and I think they weren’t able to get his body out and identify him until a week ago today, on Sunday.

As hard and painful as this was, I think it helped to have so many fa mily members and friends and neighbors gather. All 4 of my brothers, and 3 of the 4 of us sisters were there. Lots of other family members.  Many of David’s friends from his bands and other musical adventures. Teachers, mentors, classmates.  Neighbors and friends from several places where the family has lived.

This was a beautiful, tender, uplifting funeral.  One of my brothers, Frank, offered the family prayer. Uncles and cousins were pall bearers.  Both parents spoke, and the elder brother, Rich (who also dedicated the grave). Uncles prayed.  Each talk was “just right” – testimony (for those who didn’t know much about what we believe), and great stories to remind us of what a wonderful man David was/is.  I felt him there, along with other loved ones from “Over There.”

And the music… oh my goodness, I’ve never been to a funeral where there was so much incredible music!  It added so much to the celebration of David’s life.  All who participated are professional musicians – David’s teachers, mentors, friends.  A guitar solo (Bach number), Cello solo (theme from “The Mission” from the movie combined with “How Great Thou Art” (incredible!), Vocal solo: “Be Still, my Soul,” Viola solo … each was so exquisite!  The whole program brought smiles, memories, joy, comfort, and gratitude that we have known David and can be with him again.

At the grave site, Paul, a cousin about the same age as David, played his guitar: “If You Could Hie to Kolob.” Another cousin, Dayne, also the same age, sang an amazing song which I’ve never heard (I’ll try to get the words so I can share them with you) … a song about grief, and sorrow and comfort.  The cemetery there in Ivins is quite small. Beautiful. with the red-rock mountains behind.

I guess my message is that I know we are children of God and that He loves each of us dearly. I know David is safe with many loved ones. I know life is fragile, in a way – that we rarely know when we might be having our last chance to say “I love you.” I’m motivated to say it more often – to express it more freely.  I express thanks and love to all of you for your kind words and “hanging in there” during this time when I’ve posted so little. I hope to get back to once a day (but that may take a few more days as I do more traveling).

Happy Birthday to Glenda today and Richard on Thursday.  May sweet comfort and love surround you.

David Andrew Edmunds

David Andrew Edmunds, age 23, returned to his Heavenly Father on Sunday, October 11, 2015, in Las Vegas, NV while hiking in the desert area of Little Red Rock Canyon.
David was born August 28, 1992, the youngest of four sons to Richard M. and Glenda Edmunds. David was an incredible soul; kind, loving, caring, and a friend to all. Musically talented, he played the cello, guitar, bass and drums. He received numerous scholarships and awards for his music. He was a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and an Eagle Scout; his project focused on the needs of cats and their enclosures as well as a food drive for all animals at the Utah County Animal Shelter.
David was a graduate of Tuacahn High School for the Performing Arts in Ivins, UT, and was a student at College of Southern Nevada, having previously attended Dixie State University. His studies included music with a focus on guitar and cello. He was a talented guitarist, and played at a variety of hotels, clubs and events in Las Vegas, NV. Over the years, he performed as a cellist for church meetings, funerals and other events.
He is survived by: his parents; Grandmother Billie Wigginton; brothers: Richard (Cassidee), Michael, and Kevin; nieces Layla and Ivy; numerous aunts, uncles, cousins, and dear friends. He was preceded in death by: his grandparents, Paul K. and Ella Edmunds, Joseph G. Wigginton; and uncles: Wendell B. Johnson and Steven L. Gillette.
David had a great love for animals. Donations may be made on his behalf to the Ivins No Kill Animal Shelter (INKAS) www.inkas4pets.org.
Funeral services will be at 10 a.m. on Friday, October 16, 2015, at the Padre Canyon LDS Chapel, 625 E. Center St., in Ivins, UT. The family will greet friends from 8:30 to 9:30 a.m. prior to the services. Burial will be immediately after at the Ivins City Cemetery.
Friends and family are invited to share condolences online at www.SerenityStG.com. Arrangements and memorial tree planting by Serenity Funeral Home of Southern Utah, 986-2085.


By Faith Heaton Jolley – Posted Oct 14th, 2015 @ 7:52pm

LAS VEGAS — A former St. George resident who died in a hiking accident is being remembered as a talented musician and his former classmates and colleagues plan to honor him with a memorial concert Friday.

David Edmunds, 23, moved to St. George and attended Tuacahn High School for the Performing Arts from 2007-2011, according to Tuacahn High School Assistant Principal Ryan Anderson. Edmunds moved to Las Vegas after graduation and was hiking near Red Rock Canyon Friday when he fell and sustained fatal injuries, according to Tuacahn High School Administration.

Las Vegas Metropolitan Police received a call around 10 a.m. Sunday from a hiker who said they discovered a body while shooting BB guns at Far Hills and Fox Hill near Red Rock Canyon, according to public information officer Laura Meltzer. Officers arrived on scene, but were unable to reach the body so search and rescue teams were deployed.

“That can be pretty rugged terrain,” Meltzer said.  Meltzer said preliminary reports from medical personnel indicated the death was caused from the fall, but it was unclear how far he fell.

Anderson said Edmunds was a talented musician who played cello and guitar and performed in many of the school’s talent assemblies and orchestra concerts. His band also competed in battle of the bands and went on to compete in a regional competition after winning at the local level, Anderson said.  “He was really defined probably by his music,” he said. “He was an excellent cellist and electric guitarist. Just always had a guitar. A very quiet, very talented, very capable musician. He was always a great student and very well liked. … Just unfortunate that such a young talented person doesn’t get to create anymore.”

Edmund’s funeral will be held Friday and his former orchestra teacher and classmates plan to hold a memorial concert for him later that afternoon at 4 p.m. The concert will be held at an LDS Church at 625 W. Center St. in Ivins and is open to the public.

I couldn’t resist!

My grand and great nephew, Elder Max H. Smith, just arrived in OKLAHOMA, fresh from the Mexico City MTC (CCM) to serve his Spanish-speaking mission. I couldn’t resist sharing this picture of him with his mission president and wife: Shannon and Stewart Walkenhorst from Napa, California. President Walkenhorst is 7 feet tall! You can bet Max will be looking up to him his whole mission! Oh how I love Max!! And ALL “my missionaries!”