Selective Neglect

I attended a Little Philmont training for Scout Leaders yesterday. One of the take aways from the meeting was Pres. Fields concept of “Selective Neglect.” It’s another way of explaining priorities in life. There is too much to accomplish during any given day, therefore, we must filter our activities through a set of priorities. Here are our family’s priorities in life:priorities

  1. God
  2. Spouse
  3. Children
  4. Work
  5. Church

Scripture Study

How do you study your scriptures? Scripture_study

Almost always by topic. I read or hear something and I follow the natural process of inquiry. For example, teach vs. tell, heart and mind, conflict vs. contention, apostasy, and Bible prophecies of the Book of Mormon. These are typically things that occur during everyday life and I want to know more about it. Another good example is how my wife, Cheri, found the 12-steps of addiction recovery within Nephi’s lament a couple of years ago. The skill of researching leads to deeper understandings and more fulfilling experiences when studying.

Conflict is to be resolved…

Conflict is to be resolved.

Contention is of the devil.

Disputation, debates, dissensions, arguments, controversies, quarrels, and strife or contention of any sort have no part in the gospel; they are of the devil. The gospel is one of peace, harmony, unity, and agreement. In it argument and debate are supplanted by discussion and study. Those who have the Spirit do not hang doggedly to a point of doctrine or philosophy for no other reason than to come off victorious in a disagreement. “Cease to contend one with another,” the Lord has commanded (D&C 136:23; Titus 3:9). Bruce R. McConkie. Mormon Doctrine, pgs. 160-161)

Conflict vs. Contention

What Is The Difference Between Conflict And Contention

The very comparison of these words creates both conflict and contention. In many heart breaking coaching discussions, I’ve learned that having a clear understanding of these two contrasting words can bring peace of mind and warmth of heart to a relationship. But only when properly and harmoniously understood.


Conflict is sharing the same end result but seeing a different path. Contention is fight or flight, violence or silence. It is blocked progress and the attention is on who is right at the expense of what is right.

Forgive and Trust Again?

The question is often asked: “How do I handle a family member or friend who has violated my trust? Am I supposed to give the trust back when I forgive them?”

For an example on how Joseph Smith and the brethren handled a violation of trust, the story of Francis G. Bishop is illustrative. Joseph_Smith

One Francis G. Bishop, an Elder in our church, was very anxious to be ordained a High Priest, but he was not considered a proper candidate to fill the office at that time; and his urgent solicitations to be promoted to the High Priesthood, confirmed the Saints in the opinion that he wanted a high station without meriting it, or without being called by the Spirit of God to that work.

I Do No Think That WORD Means What You Think It Means

This is an excerpt from a Brant A. Gardner book review.

Of course, the correct quotation of Inigo Montoya’s famous line in The Princess Bride is “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.” Unfortunately, it made too long a title, though in homage to Richards and O’Brien’s book, I have substituted the culturally defined Word for its more common reference. That is precisely the message of the book. You keep reading that Word. It doesn’t mean what you think it means. From their introduction:

Where Shall Wisdom Be Found?

For those of you familiar with our Christmas Adam tradition, you will recall that in the last few years I’ve included a section on Wisdom (Asherah). With the subsequent interpretation as our Mother in Heaven.asherah

I’ve attached a small excerpt from a review of Dr. Barker’s book for your reading pleasure.

Barker’s Thesis for The Mother of the Lord

Behavior Modification

I am currently reading a book titled: The Power of Habits. The attached pdf illustrates one of the powerful lessons or universal principles of developing habits. The author tells the story of Michael Phelps swimming the 200 meter butterfly in the Beijing Olympics. On the 3rd of 4 lengths, his goggles filled up with water which rendered him blind. He didn’t panic, he simply remembered that his coach had primed him on how to handle such emergencies during his practice sessions (myelination). His coach would often turn the lights out during his practice routines so Phelps would in effect be swimming blind. No black line on the bottom of the pool to follow and no ability to see the competitors peripherally.


This talk was delivered on June 9, 2013 in the Wollochet Ward.

It was a cold blustery morning in Milwaukee, Wisconsin when Frank Daly, a local teenager was taking the bus home. The bus driver, John Williams, shivered each time he opened the door to let new passengers on. Inside the bus was warm, outside it was 10 degrees. Not far from his stop, Frank noticed a pregnant woman board the bus.

Her clothes were tattered, her socks were ripped and she had no shoes. The woman was heading in the opposite direction of her destination, but she boarded the bus to escape the cold. She was a mother of eight children and had enough money for the children’s’ shoes but not for her own.

Power vs. Control Updated

My new book: Listen & Lead: The Micro Skills of a Leader is arriving by mail today. Last night I updated this blog from a year ago because my son Scott’s Mission President is asking questions about Ted and Ting and my book. The Micro Skills of being a leader or a sales professional are identical with being an effective missionary. This is a gospel introduction to the principles taught in my book. 

Here are two chapters from the book to sample. If you want to order it, click here. Tomorrow is the final day for preorders at a discount ($5.00 off).

The Art and Science of Prayer: Part 2

The Purpose

The purpose of prayer is to commune with God and to learn His will for us. It is God’s classroom for teaching us; hence we learn His will, while He teaches. It is a platform to express gratitude, ask questions, seek direction, and confirm inspiration, thoughts, and ideas.

It is not an arena to persuade God into seeing life through our eyes. It is not a platform to teach those who are collectively praying and within earshot to pontificate doctrine in hopes of persuading others to see things our way or to be seen of men. In other words, its not a competition to sound intelligence, articulate, brilliant, or to say a long prayer as a sign of piety.

The Art of Science of Prayer: Part 1

The practical application of prayer is akin to communicating with a parent; with the notable exception that communicating with earthly parents carries different nuances. The most apparent difference is the predictably irrational behavior of earthly parental units during times of frustration and anger.

If prayer is the process of communicating with God, then an understanding of effective communication is necessary. Pure communication is an exchange of understanding. However, for the purposes of learning, the process starts with seeking to understand the other person. No expectation of reciprocity. In other words, do not expect them to seek your opinions or thoughts.

A Missionary Paradigm: Using Agency in the Process

The concept of conducting member missionary work usually instills feelings of guilt and fear into members of the church. The traditional approaches to missionary work are:

  • Invite your friends over to dinner and conveniently have missionaries show up.
  • Give the missionaries the names and contact information of your friends and let the missionaries contact them sometimes surprising them.
  • Ask people you know if they have heard about the church and if they want to know more.

Q&A: If my daughter views pornography…

Q: If my daughter views pornography once a week or a couple times a month is she addicted to pornography? I guess my question is what is addiction? The church seems to be saying that pornography addiction is a real problem but what about just looking at pornography?

A: Dear Parent,

Thank you for asking a very important question that applies to more than just your daughter. Let’s clarify the definition of addiction and perhaps this will add greater understanding to the second part of your question.