Gravity (3 of 5)

The next few days pulsed with surreal happenings. My Father, barely off the airplane, attended his mother’s funeral the Friday after returning home and watched from the stand as the throng filled the chapel, then the gym, and then spilt into classrooms and hallways. My Mother, then just a friend, showed up at my Father’s doorstep with a casserole and time to talk. Letters came from the First Presidency, the Missionary Executive committee, and from President Jensen, who said, in part: (more…)

Published in: on January 19, 2007 at 5:44 am  Leave a Comment  

Gravity (2 0f 5)

When my Father finally arrived in Denver, Teresa was not at the terminal to greet him. Confused, my Father claimed his luggage and waited a few minutes before he was paged. When he found her, Teresa was in hysterics; she grabbed him and, looking at him through streaming tears said, pleadingly, as if he might fix whatever was wrong, “Kimball, mom and dad are missing.�? My beleaguered and bewildered Father spent the night comforting his sister, even as he fought his own doubts and sorrow. The next morning, an entourage including family, friends, and a general authority were waiting at the airport in Salt Lake—but my grandparents were not there. (more…)

Published in: on December 14, 2006 at 12:29 pm  Comments (5)  

Gravity (1 of 5)

My Father has never been one to speak much of himself; he is almost painfully shy about being honored, even in private. Not surprisingly, then, I have only ever heard snippets of his life story. Still, I have become acutely interested of late in better understanding my heritage generally and my Father’s story specifically. This summer, with his begrudging permission, I read through his old journals and letters, marveled as I watched his story come to life, and tasted—though distantly—the deep sorrow and joy that run like rivers through his history. (more…)

Published in: on December 11, 2006 at 12:35 pm  Comments (6)  

Daily Discipleship

In her thoughtful and enlightening book Leaving Eden, Amber Esplin tells the story of a young girl named Judith. Near the end of the novel, Judith’s brother dies and she confronts the chasm that opens in his absence. Though Judith must at first face the bitter sadness that inevitably accompanies death, she finds some catharsis in the Gospel and eventually settles into a tenuous peace. She finds, in fact, that her brother’s death gives substance to the spiritual forms that had formerly seemed, to her, quite unreal. This epiphany grants Judith a new perspective on life; in the novel’s closing pages, Esplin gives voice to some of Judith’s resulting thoughts: (more…)

Published in: on December 8, 2006 at 12:15 pm  Comments (9)  

Over-Achievers Anonymous

Hi, my name is Tyler and I’m addicted to achievement.

I want the best grades, the best comments, the best school, the best residency, and the best job. Whatever I achieve, it is not enough. However far I go, the horizon will continue to stretch before me, beckoning me to distant excellence. My pace will always be breathless because I do not stop to rest, life is both a sprint and a marathon—the race goes neither to the fast nor the steady but to he who is both. (more…)

Published in: on December 6, 2006 at 2:24 pm  Comments (11)  

Gone Fishin’

Life’s finest moments acknowledge no past and require no future. They halt time in its thoughtless linearity and bend it into encircling, enveloping infinity. And do not think they are all happy, either; a moment’s meaning lies not only in its content but in its presence, in its immediate reality. If we choose to become alive to the vitality around us, we will find even sorrow is woven of its own deep sweetness—not to mention beauty, love, nature, and being. Heroes teach me that it is I, not savage or gentle circumstance, who may rob my life of meaning. Some few luminous souls have even infused neglect, torture, ridicule, and death with the life of spiritual light—hence when Thomas Becket dies we notice not so much his passing but what all that happened means. (more…)

Published in: on November 28, 2006 at 5:10 pm  Comments (2)  

Spiritual Presence

In October 2000, Elder Oaks spoke to the Church about the difference between doing and becoming. He said many Church members treat progress in the Church as a spiritual checklist with the goal being to mark off each spiritual task in succession. His address was, for me, anyway, enlightening—it changed the way I live the Gospel. Specifically, it changed the way I view my day-to-day activity in the Church. (more…)

Published in: on November 21, 2006 at 12:32 pm  Comments (1)  


On a drizzled, misty night, sultry fog wraps itself around South Philadelphia.  In the darkness, traffic lights and headlights reflect as colored smudges on the glistening asphalt.  Sirens sound intermittently beneath the towering skyscrapers that lie some three or four miles away.  Amidst this choking gloom, I pull my 93 camry up in front of a lighted porch and Brian opens the door of the house, looks around, says somethig back inside, and comes down and gets into the car. (more…)

Published in: on November 14, 2006 at 5:00 am  Comments (10)  

President Boik (1 of 3)

Thirty miles East of Philadelphia geographically and a couple of light years away socioculturally, sits Chester County–an idyllic suburban embodiment of the 1950s American Dream.  Houses dot the quiet streets, trimmed by well-manicured lawns.  Unlike those in chaotic Philadelphia, the policemen in Chester County spend significant time waiting for speeders.  The air is cleaner there and the life calmer–it would be a good place to raise a family or to retire: Jim Boik was doing the former and preparing for the latter when the Stake President called him and his wife to an interview in the spring of 1999: (more…)

Published in: on November 13, 2006 at 5:14 am  Comments (2)  

Prayer Before Speaking

Let me speak, and preach, and seek, and
Greet as Jesus
Today let my handshake grow
Warmer and my smile glow with
More sincerity.

Help me see in others
The sorrows the Savior sees.
Beyond their smiles let me feel their
Anguish for sorrows unspoken and griefs
Hidden to all but Thou.

Make my perception deeper,
And then make my cup run oer with the sweet nectar of
That like butterflies to blossoms
Those who anguish will find respite in

In my words, in my sermon,
And in the common hallowed touch of a hand.

Published in: on November 3, 2006 at 3:57 am  Comments (13)  

What Bush Might Have Said

AP; September 1, 2005:

My fellow Americans,

Today I learned tragedy has reached its muscular and frightening hand into the southeast corner of our country. I have watched with worry and then horror as the New Orleans levvies broke and as both water and chaos flooded through the streets of that beleaguered town. My aides tell me there are thousands of our fellow-citizens stranded in their homes, in churches, and in sports’ stadiums. Many of those most affected by the destruction are those society forgets and leaves behind in the uncaring rush of capitalism–many are poor, many were heretofore forgotten. We must realize many who had little before the flood now find their little has turned to nothing.


Published in: on October 23, 2006 at 1:58 pm  Comments (12)  

Please Help my Priests

You would love Brian; I can pretty much promise you that. He’s a lanky six-feet of chocolate brown skin with a soothing voice and a slouching posture that leave everyone around him feeling completely at ease. On Sunday, he ordained his friend to the office of Priest. President Boik helped Brian with the more technical aspects of the blessing, whispering words to him from his left as they both stood in the circle. Finally, President Boik said:


Published in: on October 17, 2006 at 2:30 am  Comments (20)  


A little more than a year ago, I moved far away from my beloved family and mountains to attend medical school in Pennsylvania. The first months, in particular, were harrowing, and all my time here has had been challenging. The other night, though, I found myself feeling particular trepidation because, in January, I will begin work in the hospital. I will replace the endless parade of powerpoint slides with patients–living, breathing, ailing, suffering humans who need our help to get well. The burden, as you might imagine, can seem daunting and the expectation is almost worse. I include here an e-mail written to my parents that night, slightly edited for presentation here, but hopefully remaining true to the urgeny of my feelings that night; I would appreciate the thoughts of anyone who has ever scaled a peak that, beforehand, seemed nearly insurmountable:


Published in: on October 9, 2006 at 3:51 pm  Comments (22)  

The Heart of the Matter

Every ten years you live, your heart pumps enough blood to fill a rocket’s fuel tank. It does this by contracting and relaxing approximately once per second, over and over and over and over again, during every moment you breath. Every cell in your body has constant need both of new oxygen and of waste removal and blood serves both purposes. Your tissues can survive a few minutes without blood but anything more than that and they start to die–your heart can’t take any time off, it has to keep pumping interminably until the minute you die.


Published in: on October 7, 2006 at 12:31 pm  Comments (2)  

President Hinckley

This from an e-mail to a friend:

I don’t know if/when you have or will listen to conference, but it boosted my spiritual energy in a wonderful way. I wasn’t able to attend the first session (at my ward) because I had medical interpreter training, and I found myself feeling the loss accutely. I greatly enjoyed the rest of the sessions, however. I liked all the sessions, but the last was my favorite; that’s funny, I suppose, because I often feel like things are kind of winding down during the last session–but not so this time, at least not to my ears.

Published in: on October 2, 2006 at 2:17 am  Comments (8)  

Joseph and the Endowment: To See the Face of God

Note: This entry (part of an e-mail to my parents) came last fall as I read Joseph Smith: Rough Stone Rolling.

…while I encountered this new question this morning, I also came upon a wonderful new insight. I have always wondered about the Endowment ceremony. Parts of the Temple have always seemed familiar to me, but parts of them have made little sense. Indeed, I suppose my question has often been: how does the Temple ceremony, holistically, fit into our theology. I understand, to some limites extent, anyway, baptism for the dead and sealings–both are necessary to bind us together as families and to seal us to God for eternity. But, why the endowment? I had previously read about the “endowment of power” serving to empower (by definition) the pioneers for their journey westward. Similarly, I had often felt that a worthily-received endowment prepared a missionary for his own furnace of affliction–steeling him against the flames to come. Still, all of this was limited to a rather visceral knowledge–something I believed and felt but could not explain or cognitively place.

Published in: on September 13, 2006 at 10:36 am  Comments (5)  


I first knew him as Brother, then Bishop, then President.


Published in: on August 22, 2006 at 7:30 pm  Comments (3)  


Please let me know what you think of this new site. I welcome all comments and suggestions.



Note:  While I have copied all posts from my previous blog address ( I have not copied comments from that site; the comments, however, can still be found with the original posts).

Published in: on August 5, 2006 at 4:25 am  Comments (8)  

And What is it We Should Hope For?

Somewhere, tonight, a young woman sits cowering in a corner. She has just been raped and the man who did it told her not to tell anyone, ever. She feels guilty and confused, afraid and deceived, hopeless and dirty. Thoughts run through her head like hyenas, and she looks around listlessly, longing for someone into whose arms she can run–someone she can trust innately.


Published in: on August 3, 2006 at 11:19 pm  Comments (4)  


The United States is nearly unique among developed nations because it allows direct to consumer pharmaceutical advertising. The pharmaceutical industry is enormous and these companies ensure their ads are slick and alluring. To site just one example, I have often found myself nearly salivating for Claritin when I see ads for it on television. One particularly effective series of ads shows the world passing by as if obscured by a haze–it looks distorted and blurry, kind of like it might without glasses. Suddenly (upon taking Claritin, we are told), the haze disappears and the world shines with crystalline clarity. Anyone who suffers from hay-fever knows the truth of the first image and that same set of people, including me, can tell you how tempting Claritin becomes as a consequence.


Published in: on August 3, 2006 at 11:18 pm  Comments (2)