Saturday, January 9, 2010

We Continually Honor our Savior
and His Plan of Redemption

by Dale J. Neilson
Latter-day Times Newspapers

We Humbly Remember Our Savior
Even as Christmas 2009 memories fade, we still celebrate the birth, life, sacrifice and resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. His is the only perfect life ever lived upon Earth and ever will be. He is our advocate with God Our Heavenly Father. He did for us what no one else could ever do.

We commemorate, too, the Dec. 23 birthday of Joseph Smith (1805-1844). In 2009, it was also the 12th anniversary of my son’s birth mother’s last communication with my dear wife and me. Because his is a closed adoption, we may never know much about her in this life. But we have hope.

Joseph Smith as prophet, seer and revelator was the Lord’s messenger on earth of hope. He is the prophet of the restoration of the gospel of repentance and forgiveness. We testify that Thomas S. Monson is the Savior’s earthly messenger today.

We believe that our Heavenly Father and His Beloved Son, Jesus Christ, appeared in a remarkable vision to the 14 year-old boy-prophet Joseph in 1820 in answer to his simple, yet profound question: Which church is right?

Beginning with this visitation, young Joseph had many other communications with heavenly beings. He became the instrument through which our Savior restored His Church with the same authority, commandments, saving ordinances and Gifts of the Spirit which our Lord bestowed upon His followers in ancient times.

This knowledge comes through the influence of the Holy Ghost. It is the only way we can know the truth of all things, as testified in the Book of Mormon (Moroni 10:5).

Praise to the Man Who Sought for God
“Praise to the man who communed with Jehovah! Jesus anointed that prophet and seer. Blessed to open the last dispensation, Kings shall extol him and nations revere.” (Hymns, # 27, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints; Deseret Book Co., Salt Lake City, Utah; 1985).

So begins the hymn in which the latter-day church praises its first prophet, seer and revelator—Joseph Smith. We regard him as a prophet like unto Adam, Moses, Peter, Nephi, Mormon and others chosen of God noted in the Bible and Book of Mormon.

Since ancient times, our Lord Jesus Christ has always communicated to His people through apostles and prophets. All God’s children should learn and live sacred truths of Christ as testified by inspired leaders and others.

“And we talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophesy of Christ, and we write according to our prophecies, that our children may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins.” (2 Nephi 25:26)

What a beautiful testimony by Nephi! We can know our Savior and how to repent and gain exaltation through Him, by working out our own salvation with fear and trembling. (Philippians 2:12)

We must demonstrate an easiness to be entreated (Alma 7:23), which is accompanied by a host of other verbs referring to an unconditional willingness to obey the commandments: humility, submissiveness, gentleness, meekness, patience, forgiveness, temperance, diligence, prayerfulness, sacrifice, faith, hope and charity.

Young Joseph Smith and his charitable parents, Joseph Smith, Sr., and Lucy Mack Smith, exhibited similar qualities, as did his siblings.

The Smith children were taught to pray earnestly and live truthfully. Most important, they learned to respect Heavenly Father and His Beloved Son Jesus Christ. Its very apparent family prayer and scripture study was an integral part of this family life.

Ingrained Devotion to Learn God’s Will
This mindset and accompanying heartfelt devotion to God and family was ingrained early into the boy Joseph’s soul. We know from his multiple references he often prayed and studied scriptures. He wanted to know God’s will concerning him and his search for truth.

It was natural, then, that he would read and study James 1:5: “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.”

Joseph learned that without faith through our Savior Jesus Christ, it is impossible to please Heavenly Father. (Heb. 11:6) Those who supplicate to Him must believe He is and that He rewards all who diligently seek Him. Young Joseph followed his good parents’ example in reaching out to an approachable God who unconditionally loves all His children and rewards them according to their obedience to His commandments.

The boy-prophet asked of Heavenly Father through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, nothing wavering (James 1:6).

Because he had been taught by obedient parents to develop living and active faith, the miracles which happened in his life continue to help strengthen others in truth.

The greatness of the Prophet Joseph in following the Lord’s will cannot be overstated. He “left a fame and name that cannot be slain,” wrote then-apostle John Taylor (Doctrine & Covenants 135:3; Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints; Salt Lake City, Utah; 1998), who became one of his successors as the prophet and church president. “He lived great, and he died great in the eyes of God and his people; and like most of the Lord’s anointed in ancient times, has sealed his mission and his works with his own blood; …”

He set an example in following our great Exemplar and Savior Jesus Christ in obedience to and worshipping our Heavenly Father.

BYU Had Their Back—Again—
in the Land of Jill and Jack

by Dale J. Neilson
Latter-day Times Newspapers

Viva Las Vegas Times Five
We're back to have your ba-aack! So BYU’s football team seemed to say to Las Vegas merchants before the Dec. 22, 2009, Las Vegas Bowl

But this time we brought our men’s basketball team with us.

Pardon our interruption, but the now 15-1 basketball team took out Jan. 7 (not for dinner) the UNLV Rebels by 77-73 in the BYU Marriott Center. Next game for the #23 USA Today and #25 Associated Press—ranked Cougars is Sat., Jan. 9 at former conference foe Texas-El Paso.

We now return you to our regularly-scheduled blab.

Did we mention, again, that this is our fifth consecutive Vegas Bowl? You guys might be bored with our values and lifestyle, but we all know you’re only interested in our money—which seems to be worth less than toilet paper these days.

You folks take it anyway.

Ultimately, the football Cougars routed highly-respected Oregon State by 44-20 and the Y basketball squad ruled the Las Vegas Classic championship game with an 88-66 runaway over national defensive scoring leader Nebraska. It seemed a new NCAA world-order was in order.

After all, the Mormons founded this town. Enough already! Wasn’t it about time to return such to the original owners?

BYU has won more football games in this city than any other college team, which should determine some type of ‘ownership’. Try telling that to the UNLV Rebels.

While the Rebs’ football squad is usually a punching bag for its Mountain West Conference rivals both home and away, the opposite is true of the men’s basketball team. BYU has never won the MWC tournament here at the Thomas & Mack Center campus arena and lost it twice to the home boys.

UNLV defends its home court very well, but gets a tremendous assist from its emotional fans.

The MWC powers-that-be have apparently considered moving the men’s and women’s basketball tournaments to the Orleans arena, which is near campus. The idea is to somewhat reduce the home teams’ tremendous home court advantage by playing off-campus. Why they don’t is speculative, but the rowdy and packed Thomas & Mack may produce more revenue.

We all know, of course, what singer Neil Diamond said is true: Money talks. It can smile, giggle, flirt, sing, dance, walk, serenade, kiss-up, cajole, intimidate, threaten and anything else it wants.

BYU Plays Vegas Bowl and Classic
Las Vegas, Nev., has many nicknames, Sin City being among them. But the only ‘sin’ committed recently by local standards is the thrashing BYU’s football and basketball teams gave their opponents in walking away with championship trophies. The Cougars, though, didn’t part the Red Sea and walk through on dry land.

That’s for next year.

Otherwise, their opponents would have followed them into the sea bed, thus having another flood to worry about. Pick your demise: drowning or a 30-point whuppin’.

So what are Mormons doing in a place like this, anyway? Winning championships, embarrassing nationally-renowned programs while increasing their own continental visibility, enjoying themselves, shoring up their substantial home-away-from home fan base, spending as little money as they want and irritating merchandisers still whining about the last time Latter-day Saints wouldn’t spend comparatively much here.

That’s usually the rule when the Cougars ‘rule’ Vegas. Some things never change, some might say. If BYU would just get adopted by some BCS conference, then maybe another team would visit Vegas and spend a lot more for longer.

Dream on! Outside the major bowls, apparently more Mormons visit Vegas with their team than anyone else does with theirs and still spend more money. Vegas may be BYU’s best alternative outside of a BCS bowl invitation.

Put a hold on BYU jumping to the BCS. The Cougs are necessary to help Vegas’ merchants survive, while the bowl itself provides them great national exposure. Who’s the dimwit trying to cast out whom, anyway?

It’s ironic that a town known for its worldliness, and a university both renowned and chided for conservative values would come together for such an opportunity to rewrite history. This may be the ultimate opposites attract.

Then, again, ultimate is what everything Vegas seems supposedly about. Winning three of the last four Vegas Bowls, BYU has found circumstances quite hospitable and even weathered 2009’s turbulent weather.

That’s what BYU usually does in Vegas: win again. The Cougars have already won again and again. They relish the chance to set the bowl and team record for three consecutive wins whenever possible.

They desperately want to win back-to-back-to-back in the land of Jill (beautiful women) and Jack (notorious gambling atmosphere).

Saturday, December 5, 2009

The Things of My Soul
Welcome to Our Newspaper Blog

by Dale J. Neilson

© Latter-day Times Newspapers

For those of you unfamiliar with the Latter-day Times Newspapers, welcome! This two-year old, pro-LDS independent weekly online newspaper is based in Salt Lake City.

The name was suggested by good friend and mentor Paul Skousen. Thanks to him, Norma King and Crismon Lewis for their editing and other suggestions. Stewart King was invaluable in blog creation and design.

Our goal is to cover hard LDS news and issues dealing with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon Church) and its members, beginning with Salt Lake City and Utah. While not unique, we still have something to offer, like humor.

We believe in humor. That’s a fact, not an Article of Faith.

The former pro-LDS Latter-day Sentinel newspaper had its Laughter-day Laughter and Lighter-day Saints humor columns, and LDT will use those same titles to lighten your load. One of my favorites is of now-retired University of Utah sports information-everything Bruce ‘Woody’ Woodbury of the Bountiful Utah Orchard Stake.

In the late 1980s, we Salt Lake sports media were gathered for a luncheon and asked to briefly identify ourselves. Before anyone could respond Brother Woodbury blurted, “It’s not like a testimony meeting or anything.”

The place literally roared.

Our copyright, Sharing the Good News of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, is what we do. We hope you’ll agree.
To paraphrase Salt Lake LDS clothier ‘Mr. Mac’ Christensen:
• No one writes the way we do.
• No one interviews the way we do.
• No one covers LDS news and issues the way we do.
• No one.

Beginning with the September 2007 issue, this newspaper has included the editor’s monthly column, The Things of My Soul. The title is taken from 2 Nephi 4:15 and will reveal what’s presently on the editor’s mind regarding LDS life.

LDT’s editorial direction and layout is derived from the Sentinel, which ceased publication in 1989. While it was published in Utah for only about a year, the Sentinel achieved major success in scooping other local papers.

For example:
• LDS welcomed Russian nuclear arms inspectors to Utah.
• A man who broke his neck skiing recovered not only to walk again, but also serve a full-time mission.
• The world’s youngest, called genealogical extractor was an 11 year-old girl.
• Athletes under the Radar featured how sports can help build character in unique ways.

You’ll find unique stories like these in our paper. Read. Enjoy. Repeat.

We would appreciate your feedback. Please email us at:

BYU Football Is My Second Wife:
Will Viva Las Vegas Ask the Cougars
for a Fifth Consecutive Bowl Date?

by Dale J. Neilson

© Latter-day Times Newspapers

After last year’s college football season, I was among the many BYU fans obsessed with the Cougars’ bowl futures. Both the Texas Christian University Horned Frogs and the University of Utah Utes had slaughtered our team. Many of us were worried about where and who the Cougs would play.

We worried our team would be exiled to someplace like Outer Slobolia for the You’ll-Wish-You-Had-Never-Heard-of-This-Place Bowl.

I wrote the following letter (now edited and italicized) to fellow Latter-day Saint Jeff Newman (Rexburg, Ida.), who asked if BYU football was destined for the 2008 Toilet Bowl. With the probable Sun., Dec. 6, bowl season invitations issued in mind, my 2009 updated comments are without italics.

We're not stuck in the Toilet Plunger Bowl! Definitely the Cougars have a Poinsettia Bowl shot or maybe another trip to the Las Vegas Bowl. At #17 in the BCS, BYU will have to win out and also be lucky to even get in its Top 10.

After BYU edged the Utes in overtime 23-20, the Cougars improved to #14 in the BCS and Utah dropped to #25. BYU definitely has no chance for a BCS game. Even if the Cougs were on the cusp of one, BCS politics would attempt to keep them out as it has others.

Don’t you just love my positive attitude?

From where BYU’s come in embarrassing blowout home losses to TCU and especially mediocre Florida State, Vegas or San Diego (Poinsetta Bowl) is peachy-fine with me. Both are warmer than Utah and have great bowl games.

Provided the Cougs beat Air Force and Utah wins at San Diego, Vegas depends on who wins between BYU-Utah. Should the now-BCS ranking #7 Utes win out, they're likely in a BCS game since they’ll probably advance the required one place for an automatic bid.

BYU has more wins (10) than Utah’s nine, suggesting the Cougars are more attractive to the Vegas Bowl and its $1 million dollar payday. That’s not to disparage the Utes! Remember, they own two more BCS wins over every other non-BCS team except Boise State (2005 Fiesta Bowl champion). While U. can’t go undefeated every year, it did in 2004 and 2008. The Cougs did it once 25 years ago.

Vegas might opt for a different MWC team than the perennial (2005-07) Cougars.

I don’t think it will, given the records, rankings and head-to-head competition with primary threat Utah.

That's what the Holiday Bowl did after the then-Western Athletic Conference Cougs played there from 1978-85 and compiled a 4-3 record, including their 1984 national title. The Cougars also won the 1985 WAC championship and the automatic Holiday Bowl bid, but due to mutual agreement (maybe BYU fatigue by the Holiday Bowl) the Cougars accepted an invite to the Citrus Bowl.

It’s still true and Vegas still might opt for the Utes. Due to reasons already noted, I think the ‘Veg’ (former Cougar star wide receiver Austin Collie’s nickname for the Vegas Bowl) will choose BYU. The Cougs sell-out the ‘Veg’ in every visit, including regular-season games. Should it risk not inviting BYU and earn less money? Utah’s also a great draw, but why the risk? Maybe the bowl and its four-year suitor like each other the more they date.

The You’ll-Wish-You-Had-Never-Heard-of-This-Place Bowl will just have to go without BYU for at least another year.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

The Things of My Soul
179th Semi-annual General Conference

Inspiring Remarks of the First Presidency

by Dale J. Neilson

© Latter-day Times Newspapers

“Come, Listen to a Prophet’s Voice”
In this season of thanksgiving, valiant members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are continually grateful for our Heavenly Father’s sweet Spirit at the Oct. 3-4, 2009, general conference.

The announcement by President Thomas S. Monson of five new temples is wonderful! They are: Brigham City, Utah; Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.; Concepcion, Chile, Fortaleza, Brazil and Sapporo, Japan. Besides 130 in operation, 16 temples are planned or under construction.

For me personally, the Sat., Oct. 3 opening session of conference became that much sweeter with Brigham City’s blessing. There’s something comforting about a temple in any city named after a prophet.

The prophet also observed that 83 percent of all church members live within 200 miles of a temple, which will increase with more construction. These are apparently the highest categorical numbers ever in this time of countless blessings.

President Monson also documented the respective March and August temple dedications of Utah’s and the church’s newest in Draper and Oquirrh Mountain, which sandwiched a “spectacular” two-night celebration. Fourteen thousand youth from both temple districts celebrated Utah’s rich legacy in a song-and-dance gala, he said.

It was humbling for me to sustain President Monson as prophet, seer and revelator of the church to begin conference. As the church’s fifth Article of Faith says, We believe that a man must be called of God, by prophecy, and by the laying of hands by those who are in authority, to preach the Gospel and administer in the ordinances thereof. I testify our beloved prophet meets each of those criteria.

When attending ward, stake, regional and general conferences, I always try to take good written notes. The following thoughts are my best edited recollections of the last general conference.

“The church continues to grow and spreads far and wide as missionaries and others serve,” concluded the prophet in his opening remarks. “We should welcome and fellowship new converts.”

During the priesthood session, the prophet declared anger “solves nothing” and “precedes sin.” He quoted the Savior’s admonition to the Nephites (3 Ne.13:30): “Behold, this is not my doctrine, to stir up the hearts of men with anger, one against another; but this is my doctrine, that such things should be done away.”

The prophet used such examples of the first latter-day president of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, Thomas B. Marsh and his wife, Elizabeth. Their quarrel with a neighbor over milk and cream ultimately led to their apostasy and great misery, including Elder Marsh’s provocation of the cruel 1838 Missouri extermination order resulting in the suffering and death of many LDS.

When Elder Marsh apologized to President Brigham Young 19 years later, he greatly lamented the loss of the Gift of the Holy Ghost, fellowship of members and many other blessings.

In President Monson’s testimony to close conference, he praised the enrichment of the Spirit’s edification and appropriateness of prayers, music and talents. “Study the talks and incorporate them into your lives.”

Obedience helps us “survive the destruction of the wind and waves” he said. The Lord “will bless us as we obey.” The prophet used the example of King Benjamin’s people, whose belief in his words caused a mighty change in their hearts to do good continually.

“I love you. Remember me and all the general authorities in your prayers. May God give us the strength, ability and determination to do what is right. God is personal and real. He is our Father.”

We Also Sustain the Prophet’s Counselors
First Presidency first counselor Henry B. Eyring encouraged listeners on Sunday morning to “Prepare to meet the Savior” by becoming more Christlike.” When faithful parents honor temple covenants, they continue to righteously influence their children. President Eyring also testified that when youth are taught of the Lord, “great shall be the peace of thy children.” (3 Nephi 22:13)

President Eyring admonished priesthood holders in Saturday night’s meeting to be ready to serve. For example, keeping consecrated oil in several places enabled him to be ready whenever needed to participate in priesthood blessings. His readiness, despite an impatient doctor, helped heal a seriously injured girl who learned to walk again.

Preparation for charitable service “begins in families, in Aaronic Priesthood quorums and mostly in the private lives of young men,” he testified. With essential assistance from their quorums and families preparation by the young men must be in fulfilling their respective destinies as God’s priesthood servants.

President Eyring taught “preparation is to go and do whatever the Lord wants done as the world prepares for His coming. …each of us can prepare.”

Being ready requires developing faith in the Savior, charity, prayer, scripture study, knowledge, self-confidence and obedience to the commandments, said President Eyring.

President Dieter Uctdorf, second counselor in the First Presidency, offered dry humor in his Saturday morning address. Referring to traditional and well-loved Primary songs “Give,” Said the Little Stream and Popcorn Popping, he noted LDS sing about “streams that talk and trees that produce popcorn.”

This prompted me to ask my sweet wife if talking streams nourish the trees producing popcorn. She just looked at me incredulously and stared.

He taught becoming a true disciple of Christ means living by eternal principles or the weightier matters of the law (Doc. & Cov.117:8). By allowing the commandment to love “lead the way in our lives … our life in Jesus Christ takes on more meaning.”

President Uctdorf testified as we rejoice in our Heavenly Father and draw near to Him, He does the same to us. “We become more holy and align ourselves with Him,” which allows the Savior to fulfill His promise: “Ye shall search for me and find me with all your heart.”

He concluded by testifying that divine love changes reluctance and fear into obedience and love, “the way of the true disciple. When we find answers in love, we will find what it means to be a disciple of Christ.”

In priesthood meeting, President Uctdorf exhorted priesthood holders to “remain steadfast in hope. Adversity is overcome with faith, courage and tenacity.” Its lessons help form character and shape eternity.

While we should “stay content to change,” he said, it’s always important to work to full capacity. “Cultivate a reputation of excellence. Our work cannot be delegated, due to its eternal nature. We seek knowledge of that which is lovely and of good report and praiseworthy.”

BYU Football Is My Second Wife:
Riding the Cougar Football Roller Coaster

by Dale J. Neilson

Latter-day Times Newspapers

Bite the Bullet or Bite the Dust
Another one bit the dust last week. Another will chomp down today.

BYU and its fans didn’t bite last week and hope the Runnin’ Utes will this afternoon. Both have a 9-2 record overall and are 6-1 in Mountain West Conference.

Harrrump-bump-bump! And another bites, another one bites, another one bites the dust! Harump-bump—bump-bump-bump! Another one bites the dust!

So goes the popular tune of the 90s adopted by winners everywhere.

In review, hometown BYU played perhaps its best half of the season in the first 30 minutes Nov. 21 in grinding the Air Force Academy Falcons into the ground by 38-21. I expected a similar score, but the style was totally unexpected.

Three consecutive BYU turnovers to begin its sloppy second half reminded me of the same old, ‘same old’. Would the real BYU—just—puh-lease! JUST PLAY SOLID FOOTBALL THE WHOLE GAME!

Thank you, Thankyouverymuch. I feel much better dumping the tizzy fit.

Incidentally, hometown AFA gave the undefeated Texas Christian Horned Frogs their best game to date in a 20-17 loss.

Yeah, it was those same leapin’ and lopin’ frogs which hopped through BYU by that horrific 31-7 trashing at LaVell Edwards Stadium. Ouch. The game couldn’t end quickly enough for me. BYU was as bad as its pathetic stadium sod.

As the agonizingly slow play came to an end, I was reminded of Styx’s popular 80s hit Love Hurts. “Wo-oo-, love hurrrrr-ts” crows the lead singer. Does it ever!

Next to my son’s high school swimming team, BYU is the team I emotionally live, love and die for. Like other diehard Cougar fans, I hate to see my team lose. Some losses hurt way more than others. Virtually all loyal sports fans will agree.

Preparation Pleases, Pride Pacifies
With AFA playing TCU so much better at home than the Cougs did, it would naturally seem the Falcons would successfully ‘wing’ it against BYU. Instead, their wings were literally torn off before the nose dive.

Still, AFA could teach BYU a thing or two about showing up emotionally this season to play every game. This distinct pattern of the Cougars’ apparent lack of, or perhaps over-reaction to preparation, is disappointing. It comes back to coaching.

No doubt Coach Bronco Mendenhall continues getting hit with all types of unsolicited advice on improving the team. Do they naively think he’s spaced off how to be successful? Remember, Mendenhall’s won over 80 percent of the games he’s coached at BYU. He must be doing something right.

People just need to get off their ‘high horse’. Nobody has a perfect day every day, not even the know-it-alls!

BYU had the talent even without matching speed to play TCU closer. As others have noted, the Cougs have a history of repeatedly beating superior speed with effort and precision. Without it, they become slaughter fodder.

The Cougars overconfidence against visiting Florida State may have resulted in that lopsided, 54-28 loss to the Seminoles. Defensive end Jan Jorgensen suggested BYU’s wins over Oklahoma and Tulane may have given it a false sense of security.

“Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.” (Prov. 16:18) Mendenhall knows it, seen it and seeks to correct it. Trust me.

Sandwiched between wins at Wyoming and over Air Force, the Cougs laid a ghastly stink bomb at New Mexico in a hopefully-forgettable 24-19 win. Say what!? We Cougar fans don’t ever want to forget our team’s victories, just the way some were played and their score.

After today’s game, Utah fans will try for a long time to forget this BYU victory. They’ll be glad the Cougar cornerstones of quarterback Max Hall and tight end Dennis Pitta, both seniors, are gone.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Tuesday, November 10, 2009
Steadfast and Immovable
Prophet Exemplifies Our Savior

by Dale J. Neilson

© Latter-day Times Newspapers

Taking Charge of Being in Charge
In the Oct. 31 edition of the Latter-day Times Newspapers I noted the Prophet Joseph Smith and several Brethren were imprisoned at the Richmond, Mo., jail in 1838.

Instead of execution, the jailed Brethren were subjected to the insidious bragging of rape, torture and murder among Latter-day Saints, for which many early church history antagonists were responsible.

It happened during this very time 181 years ago, perhaps even on Nov. 11 (today). According to the TV series The Joseph Smith Papers, imprisonment at Richmond happened soon after the Prophet and others were released from the Independence, Mo., jail, on Nov.8.

One of the imprisoned Brethren at Richmond, Parley P. Pratt, wrote of the verbal disgust, shock and horror he and others were subjected to in the jail. He was “so filled with the spirit of indignant justice that I could scarcely refrain from rising upon my feet and rebuking the guards” but said nothing to anyone else, including the prophet, though he knew he was awake. (Parley P. Pratt, Autobiography of Parley P. Pratt [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1938], p. 228-230.)

Maybe all the Brethren there assumed the Prophet Joseph Smith would take charge in such dire circumstances. They may have rightfully feared one false move or complaint could result in their mass execution.

They had every reason to believe their captors wouldn’t make any empty threats.

“Joseph Smith, the Prophet and Seer
of the Lord, has done more, save Jesus only”
This is the dire setting in which the Prophet Joseph, in chains, quietly arose to his feet and strongly rebuked the wicked guards: “Silence! Ye fiends of the infernal pit! In the name of Jesus Christ I rebuke you, and command you to be still. I will not live another minute and hear such language. Cease such talk, or you or I die THIS INSTANT!” (ibid.)

The tension of the wicked guards must have been throttling, according to Brother Pratt, as the prophet “stood erect in terrible majesty. Chained, and without a weapon, calm, unruffled and dignified as an angel, he looked down upon his quailing guards, whose weapons were lowered or dropped to the ground, whose knees smote together, and who, shrinking into a corner, or crouching at his feet, begged his pardon, and remained quiet till a change of guards.” (ibid.)

I believe terrible majesty means that majesty of perfect righteousness of which Heavenly Father and His Beloved Son Jesus Christ possess. It’s terrible to evil, which cannot withstand such righteousness and cowardly backs down every time (Matt. 4: 10-11). The Richmond jail guards exemplified cowardly evil in backing down to the righteous Prophet.

Who else even more severely persecuted was also bound, without a weapon but ever in complete control of His circumstances? With all the hatred surrounding Him, yet He still dignified righteousness. He, even our precious Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, the Angel of Angels, the Beloved Son of God.

Even the centurion at Christ’s death, “which stood over against him, saw that he so cried out, and gave up the ghost, he said, Truly this man was the Son of God.” (Mark 15:39)

Among all of our Heavenly Father’s children, not one of us is even in the same ‘spiritual universe’ as our Beloved Savior. But the Prophet Joseph, indeed the ‘best of the rest’ of us, “has done more, save Jesus only, for the salvation of men in this world, than any other man who has ever lived in it.” (Doc. & Cov. 135:3)

Brother Pratt’s amazing memory of the Prophet’s fiery response of “dignity and majesty” to combat wickedness is ageless. (ibid.) He also wrote of trying to imagine kings, presidents, other magistrates and law-making bodies poised to enact or enforce laws, decide between life and death, and determine the fate of nations and kingdoms.

Despite it all, “… but dignity and majesty have I seen but once, as it stood in chains, at midnight, in a dungeon, in an obscure village of Missouri.” (ibid.)

Saturday, October 31, 2009
Halloween, Haun’s Mill Massacre Linked Inseperately
by Dale J. Neilson
© Latter-day Times Newspapers

Halloween Week Rough Ride for Pioneer LDS

While Halloween is known virtually worldwide as Oct. 31, not nearly as many know it as the day after the Haun’s Mill Massacre.

That was yesterday, Oct. 30, for those keeping score.

This week notes not only the 181st anniversary of this horrific event, but also of Missouri Gov. Lilburn W. Boggs’ infamous (among Latter-day Saints) extermination order (Oct. 27), the Oct. 24 Battle of Crooked River and the Oct. 31 arrest and ultimate imprisonment in the Richmond, Mo., jail of the Prophet Joseph Smith and other church leaders.

Halloween week seems to carry more macabre reminders for LDS than first thought. But I still appreciate children’s enthusiasm for the day.
These points I considered while watching the 2008 TV series of The Joseph Smith Papers. Its feature presentation documented the options of carrying out Boggs’ command.

The governor wrote in the extermination order that “Mormons must be treated as enemies and must be exterminated or driven from the state if necessary for the public good.” (History of the Church 3:175)

This is also the funeral date of martyred apostle David W. Patten, the first apostle to die in this dispensation. At the services, the prophet said, “There lies a man that has done just as he said he would—he laid down his life for his friends.” (HC 3:175)

Living Faith Precedes Major, Minor Miracles
The Haun’s Mill Massacre, which apparently began in early evening, was a brazen and murderous extension of Boggs’ orders ruthlessly targeting church members as enemies. It “included the deliberate and cold-blooded murder of children.” (Antone Clark, Noble Pioneer: A Biography of Ezra Thompson Clark [2002], 72)

Chilling stories abound in the pleasure the killers and tormentors took in delivering pain and death, such as with martyr Sardius Smith.

Eight year-old brother Alma’s hip was virtually shot off at point-blank range, causing blood to gush forth. His mother’s fervent heartfelt prayer for inspiration impressed her to pack cooled ashes into his body’s cavity. Immediately, this faithful mom called for assistance from a priesthood holder nearby.

The man gave Alma a blessing, promising the boy he would not only recover, but walk again and live a productive life.

All of these inspired promises came true, just as promises were made and kept to two other Almas of integrity as recounted in the Book of Mormon.

I first heard this incredible but true story of Alma Smith from seminary teacher Larry LeBaron about 35 years ago. I’ve never known of any other source to corroborate Brother LeBaron’s claim of the ashes, the stirring priesthood blessing and faith in the Savior ultimately healing Alma.

That certainly doesn’t discredit it, though. Apparently, no one else besides the Prophet Joseph has seen and heard the Father and the Son in vision since ancient times, either. But there are millions upon millions of us who know for ourselves it is true.

We all have similar miracles in our lives. Most aren’t as dramatic, but faith-building and obedience aren’t about drama. They’re about following Heavenly Father through His Beloved Son Jesus Christ.

Sometimes it isn’t easy, but always well worth the long-term reward.

Loyalty to God Supersedes Life Itself
2008’s Oct. 26 Joseph Smith Papers said when the prophet Joseph and other Brethren were arrested Oct. 31, they were taken to Far West, Mo. On Nov.1, commanding Maj. Gen. Samuel D. Lucas of the Missouri state militia with mob mentality ordered Brig. Gen. Alexander Doniphan to execute the Brethren at 9 a.m. the next day.

Doniphan, long-considered a friend of the church rebuffed his superior officer’s request, adding, “if you execute those men, I will hold you responsible before an earthly tribunal, so help me God!” (Joseph Fielding Smith, Essentials of Church History, [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1953], 241)

This was a tremendous career and personal safety risk for Doniphan. Not only could he have been court-martialed, but also executed. He, his family and friends may have been victims of retaliation, but no record of any is known.

Lucas apparently didn’t pursue any action against his junior officer. He still ordered the prisoners to be taken to Independence, Mo., for execution.

My great-great-great grandfather, Timothy Baldwin Clark and his family (including son Ezra, my great-great-grandfather) were among those expunged from Missouri, but apparently they escaped serious injury. Like so many other saints, though, the Clarks’ crops and belongings were destroyed by mobbers.

On Nov. 1, T.B. Clark, who fought at Crooked River, was jailed with the initial roundup of church leaders when the mob-like militia entered Far West. He was imprisoned for eight days before release due to age. His will to fight at Crooked River must have influenced his younger children at home.

“The man who had taken his time joining the faith was … defending it with a rifle and … willing to go to jail for doing so.” Timing of the battle and his wife Polly’s declining health may have put his family’s future at significant risk (Noble Pioneer, 73).

"Be of Good Cheer, Brethren"

On Nov. 3, the prophet spoke to his comrades in a subdued but cheerful and confidential tone to “Be of good cheer, brethren; the word of the Lord came to me last night that our lives should be given us, and that whatever we may suffer during this captivity, not one of our lives should be taken.” (Parley P. Pratt, Autobiography of Parley P. Pratt [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1938], p. 187).

While the prisoners were paraded through the streets as a show of Lucas’ power, a woman asked the prophet Joseph if he was the Savior. “No, indeed,” replied Joseph. “I profess to be nothing but a man, and a minister of salvation, sent by Jesus Christ to preach the Gospel.” (HC 3:200-201)

The prophet taught the startled but inquiring woman about the Fourth Article of Faith: faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, repentance, baptism by immersion for the remission of sins and the Gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands. Several including the inquisitive lady, her companions and wondering soldiers listened with fascinated attention.

The woman rejoiced and prayed that the Brethren would be released from their captors. She and many others were rewarded generously for their steadfast and immovable faith.

Joseph Smith’s public prophecy a few months earlier that an elder of the church would teach the gospel in Jackson County before 1839 was indeed fulfilled. Is it any wonder that it was by the prophet himself?

While imprisoned in Independence (probably Nov. 4-8, according to The Joseph Smith Papers), the prophet said the Brethren mostly taught the gospel, explained LDS practices and developed friendships. Prejudice lessened and the church gained favor in the hearts and minds of most of the locals.

Response of Dignity and Majesty
Meanwhile, another execution of the church leaders now imprisoned in Richmond was ordered by Boggs to be carried out by General John B. Clark. It also failed, but the charges were reduced to “treason, murder, arson, larceny, theft, and stealing,” which apparently brought some amusement to Hyrum Smith. “The poor deluded general did not know the difference between theft, larceny and stealing.” (HC 3:417)

Instead of execution, the jailed Brethren were subjected to the insidious bragging of rape, torture and murder by wicked guards.

This is the setting in which the Prophet Joseph, in chains, thus rebuked their evil captors: “Silence! Ye fiends of the infernal pit! In the name of Jesus Christ I rebuke you, and command you to be still. I will not live another minute and hear such language. Cease such talk, or you or I die this instant!”

Parley P. Pratt’s amazing discourse on this fiery response of ‘dignity and majesty’ to combat wickedness is ageless. It will be reviewed in next week’s Latter-day Times Newspapers.

Poetry Fit for Apostolic Ancestry
by LDS for Poetic Justice
© Latter-day Times Newspapers

An unknown and maybe former Salt Lake City West High and LDS seminary student has at least one claim to anonymous fame: she’s written an essay on the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.

It’s not only written in apostolic line of seniority, but also in three sentences. Who else do you know so inspired to pen such a literary work? The original, written before the deaths of beloved First Presidency members Gordon B. Hinckley and James E. Faust and apostle Joseph B. Wirthlin, was necessarily edited for the updated version.

The Original Signature Apostolic Poem
Without further adieu, here’s the original of what may become the signature poem of About the Brethren – A Book of Essays.

There once was a lunch maker named Packer, who made lunch with potato chips for his friend Perry, whose doctor Nelson said it would make his arteries as hard as Oaks, which caused his death.

At his funeral, a Ballard was sung about the Wirthlin of souls. At night, the Scottish tissue was used by Hales from Holland, who gave everyone an Eyring, so they all coughed ‘Uctdorf’ and went to Bednar.

New-and-Improved Apostolic Poetic Justice
With the new First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve, this current version includes all 15 of them in apostolic order: Lunch maker Mon’s son Packer made lunch with potato chips for his friend Perry, whose doctor Nelson said it would make his arteries as hard as Oaks, causing his death.

At the funeral, a Ballard sung by a teacher using Scott’s tissues actually Hales from Holland, who gave everyone an Eyring. They all coughed ‘Uctdorf’ and went to Bednar after the Cook ate dinner with Christoffer’s son and Andersen.

Can Latter-day Times readers improvise upon this poem? Your submissions are welcome at

I’ll Go, Say and Be, Dear Lord—According to Me!
Sustaining Officers—Some ‘More’ Than Others

by Dale J. Neilson
© Latter-day Times Newspapers

We Must Go, Say and Be as He Commands
In our general, stake and ward conferences, we raise our arm to the square to sustain our general and local church leaders. It’s a covenant we make or continually reaffirm with our Heavenly Father.

Do we keep that covenant thoughtfully? Or are we just going through the motions? Is it just a formality to avoid (the bishop’s) attention and later do whatever our lazy and critical behinds please?

Several years ago, the satirical I Won’t Go Where You Want Me to Go was written about LDS who hesitate or refuse to serve and included the melody of church hymn I’ll Go Where You Want Me to Go. Besides the title, I only remember this line: I’ll go where you want me to go, dear Lord, just don’t ask me to sing in the choir or help a Boy Scout build and start a campfire.

LDT desires the author to please contact us (
so we can correspond with him or her.

It seems some have the attitude of I’ll go, do and say what I want ME to go, do and say dear Lord, so keep your big honkin’ nose outta my business!

For example, one active member told his high priests’ group leader in 2008 what “He’s done enough in the church and now it’s time to let somebody else do it.” Soon thereafter, he chastised his current group leader for adding a widow living alone to his three-family home teaching beat.

One auxiliary leader complained in 2008 that a woman “is using the [church welfare] system but that’s not my decision to make” implicating the bishop as either stupid or naive.

Another leader also repeatedly complained in 2006 about someone else in a similar plight and then dropped this bombshell: “I’m thinking about resigning because of it.” He didn’t, but obviously doesn’t understand the inspired bishop alone has final authority over such.

The man personalized something which was none of his business.

After the stake presidency visited a bishopric, a bishop’s counselor complained to a fellow ward member the brethren admonished them to change their respective schedules to spend more time with the youth. The counselor whined there wasn’t even enough time to address the ward’s financial and welfare issues, let alone take on youth activities.

Where’s is the man’s faith in the Savior?

This edict is not merely the stake presidency commanding and demanding as the hot-headed counselor implied, but following inspired church policy.

In the same tirade, the angry counselor with an apparently long-held grudge against the stake president tore into his character. It seemed to finally boil over after beginning when they simultaneously served in the same stake mission presidency several years earlier.

Another man was released for medical reasons from a calling he thoroughly enjoyed, but condemned another who held it later. The first man said the new leader had an aggressive personality, tends to offend others and the bishop should have chosen another. He may have just been expressing indirect frustration over his own poor health. Later, he agreed his replacement was called of God, seemingly having overcome or forgotten the earlier rant.

“he that receiveth my servants receiveth me”
The lack of confidentiality among such complainers is wrong. Telling any ward member such information which should only be discussed with the bishop is a big-time breach of trust. These confidants are some of the closest to priesthood leaders, yet getting on their ‘high horse’ seems to empower their very poor examples.

It reeks of Brutus-like behavior, though they’re not trying to betray and murder anyone as Brutus did Julius Caesar. Unquestionably, they impugned the leaders’ character. They expressed immature feelings. Maybe it was just the unjustified heat of the moment.

We’re continually and rightfully reminded that when we sustain our local leaders, we also promise to give full support to our beloved prophet and the other general authorities. The reverse is also true.

They are our Beloved Savior’s representatives here on Earth. We sustain Him and should do so for those whom He has chosen.

And also all they who receive this priesthood receive me, saith the Lord; For he that receiveth my servants receiveth me; (Doc. & Cov. 84:35-36)

The previous over-reactionary examples don’t decry the tremendous charitable service these church members gave and continue to give. We all have thoughtless moments when we let our guard down against negative thoughts, but that’s no excuse. It shows we’re human and need to remain faithful while we continually repent.

Friday, October 23, 2009

The Things of My Soul
Adopt Integrity to Adopt Precious Children

by Dale J. Neilson

© Latter-day Times Newspapers

This sad story of lies and selfishness was told to me by a credible friend. Names and other personal information have been withheld for privacy reasons.

Many years ago, a married couple forged their oldest daughter’s birth certificate. The husband is not her birth father, but his wife is the birth mother. The daughter, almost 40, was born illegitimately and her parents lied to conceal the child’s true birthday.

To this day, the daughter is not only unaware her mother’s husband is not her birth father, but that her legal birth date is a fake.

Rather than adopt his daughter legally, this afore-mentioned wicked man and his dubious wife skirted the law to apparently hide her previous infidelity.

Many birth parents who seek to avoid struggling with the challenges of out-of-wedlock babies give up their children for a better life in adoption. Like so many other adoptive parents, my wife and I are grateful for both sets of our children’s loving birth parents, primarily their birth mothers.

Our children don’t disrespect their birth parents in any way, but revere their timeless sacrifice.

Giving any child the opportunity to grow and experience life in a nurturing atmosphere usually teaches respect for self, others and Heavenly Father. Deceit has no place there.

My friend’s lying brother is the actual stepfather. I don’t know who the illegitimate birth was supposedly hidden from, but the man’s ‘daughter’, could be victimized in this vicious masquerade. If she ever needs critical medical information from her birth father, how will she obtain it? Without more information, she probably wouldn’t ask her parents.

Would her parents continue perpetrating this repugnant lie and cover their obnoxious egos and over-sized rear ends at the expense of her life?

Regardless, this secret combination could still unravel quickly and leave both of her parents lying—literally—in its wake.

Wouldn’t her finding out now after almost 40 years rather than later be better? Absolutely! Better late than never, but even better never late! This couple’s festering hideous lie became huge Mt. Everest because they wouldn’t dig down early the growing molehill.

The daughter will eventually learn the truth about her dishonest parents. It may negatively change her and her own family’s feelings for them—forever. That’s nothing to say of what her apparently-unknowing siblings, their families and others close to the parents may feel.

Unanswered medical questions and psychological damage suffered by the daughter may place her parents in serious legal trouble.

My friend told me his niece, oldest child in the family, “feels different” among her siblings. “She doesn’t look like them, she doesn’t think like them,” he said. Maybe it’s because of how she was treated, subtly or not, by her parents.

Her mother should have avoided promiscuity, or at least admitted her pregnancy and moved on. Because she didn’t, many could be hurt by progressively horrific choices.

BYU Football is My Second Wife
She’s feeling better, but all isn’t well

by Dale J. Neilson

© Latter-day Times Newspapers

Since BYU’s horrendous home-opening Sept. 19 loss in Provo to the Florida State Seminoles, the Cougars have improved. How much is unknown, because successive wins over the Colorado State Rams, Utah State Aggies, UNLV Runnin’ Rebels and San Diego State Aztecs were predictable.

It’s like you teaching youth Sunday School class. The kids answered questions, but that’s it. No elaboration. For all you knew, they were mind-numbed robots on cruise control.

Except for the Runnin’ Rebels, the Cougars struggled somewhat against their post-‘Noles opponents. Sometimes it was very difficult, like when SDSU QB Ryan Hindley repeatedly lit up BYU’s secondary for touchdown passes. If Hindley is average at best, as some reporters insist, what does that say for the Cougar defenders? Sometimes they seem inept.

Grant Stucker, the Rams’ field general, seemed to have all day while searching for an open receiver. The Cougs’ early pass interception against the Aggies resulted in a USU touchdown and cost the Y critical early momentum.

The only pain UNLV inflicted upon BYU was a 75-yard TD pass play, but the game was a rout by then.

Tomorrow’s opponent, the Texas Christian Horned Frogs, could make FSU’s rout of the Cougs seem like a ‘boring’ church meeting. The 6-0 ‘Frogs routed BYU 32-7 last year in Fort Worth, Tex. and are very capable again of such firepower.

TCU also beat BYU 51-50 in that memorable, controversial 2005 overtime Provo game. You may remember TV replays of the ‘Frogs running back fumbling before the touchdown was inconclusive.

Speed is mainly what TCU has over the Cougars and lots of it. BYU has repeatedly shown, though, when it doesn’t commit turnovers it can be very good. When the Y is sloppy, especially against a fast, athletic team, great pain and sorrow for its fans usually result.

TCU’s world-class defense is partnered with seasoned and mobile QB in Andy Dalton. Its well-documented BYU has major problems when defending players with strength, speed and mobility. FSU’s Christian Ponder had a career game against the Cougs in passing, running and plowing through their defense.

To win, BYU must avoid turnovers, create momentum with time-consuming drives, contain Dalton in the pocket and tightly defend TCU’s receivers. If the Cougars offensively control the clock in scoring touchdowns, the ‘Frogs BCS hopes could vaporize in Provo’s cool air.

Winning this game might be as easy as paying attention in church meetings. But you must always be alert and opportunistic to snag success.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

The Things of My Soul

by Dale J. Neilson

© Latter-day Times Newspapers

Welcome to Round 2 of Our Blog

Because you’re here for another installment of The Things of My Soul, we must be doing something right. Right?

Except that I missed this column in September. So I’ll write two in October.

Last time, I wrote that the Oquirrh Mountain Temple dedication had a deep affect upon me. As this column already documented, I felt an abundance of the Holy Ghost at both the Draper and Oquirrh Mountain temples before dedicatory services.
The Spirit at each was beyond words. It was tremendous.

Opportunities to visit Houses of the Lord should be revered and filled passionately. The late, great, President Gordon B. Hinckley said the highest form of service is doing that for others what they can’t do for themselves. Where better than in the temples of the Lord?

Performing proxy ordinances benefits more than the dead. It stirs up the Spirit of the Lord in those serving in the temple. We receive revelations on completing our responsibilities in our families, church callings, professions and dealing with people and our lives in general. We learn how to demonstrate charity and be a good example to others.

We learn what our loving Heavenly Father would have us do in literally standing as His witnesses at all times and in all things and places even until death. We do these things because we seek redemption from Him to gain place in the First Resurrection and eternal life. (Mosiah 18:9) “This is the desire of our hearts.” (Mosiah 18:11)

There is no better way to learn of Him than participation in general conference, which is today and tomorrow, Oct. 3-4, in the church conference center. The speakers’ messages of hope are spiritually riveting and always strengthen those seeking truth.

As always, those who don’t attend can always tune into TV, radio and Internet broadcasts.

I usually take notes while tuning in via TV with my family. Note-taking provides me with immediate information in my own words, which helps with future Family Home Evening lessons, home teaching and other general conference discussions. Sometimes, I receive personal revelation in the midst of taking notes, which is also documented.

Taking notes also forces me to pay complete attention to these inspired talks.

Of course there is always the Ensign church magazine, which has the complete text of each address. Sometimes though, it doesn’t arrive in the mail for a few weeks. I use my notes in the meantime and it becomes the conference supplement when the Ensign arrives.

Listening to the prophets testify of truth “is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth” (Romans 1:16).

I testify that obeying the Lord’s commandments means we listen to our inspired leaders and follow His counsel. This is the way He’s always directed and will direct His people.

Attending the holy temple whenever possible, following our inspired leaders’ counsel and obeying all our Heavenly Father’s commandments is what He would always have us do.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Impacting Present and Future
while remembering lessons of the past
check out our 2009 Fab Mormon Nine
review the LDS Great 8 of 2008

by Dale J. Neilson

© Latter-day Times Newspapers

Learning from lessons of the past has always been important to faithful members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It’s not only our history, but in everything we do.

The Latter-day Times’ predicted top LDS newsmakers for 2009 and also the 2008 review-for-you-who-haven’t-seen-it-yet reflects lessons learned. Only two repeaters, LDS President Thomas S. Monson and University of Utah football coach Kyle Whittingham, were named to each. Top vote-getters of each category are in descending order of their past or current impact upon church members as perceived by me, LDTN’s publisher.

Applications for LDS culture watchers are now open!

2009 Fabulous Mormon 9 Preview
of Probable Newsmakers

President Thomas S. Monson, for his general conference talks and dedications of the new Utah temples, Draper and Oquirrh Mountain.

BYU football coach Bronco Mendenhall, for continuing to build successful student-athletes before his professional success.

The late business mogul Larry H. Miller, who consistently sought to portray Utah as a great place to live, love and work.

University of Utah football coach Kyle Whittingham, who demonstrated hard work and teamwork did take the Sugar Bowl-winning Utes to the brink of a national championship.

Apostle David K. Bednar, whose trademark April 2009 conference and Oquirrh Mountain Temple dedication talks showed humility and gratitude for Christ’s Atonement.
The late BYU professor Truman Madsen, whom one writer said could eloquently make deep doctrine simple to understand and obey.

General Relief Society first counselor Margaret Lifferth, whose April conference and Oquirrh Mountain Temple dedication talks taught happiness comes through accepting personal responsibility.

The late BYU professor Robert Matthews, whom one writer said was instrumental in recovering significant portions of church history.

Boston Celtics general manager Danny Ainge, who’s apparent heart attack landed him in the hospital but didn’t steal his fighting spirit.

Honorable mention: my wife and others, who work full-time, serve in a weighty calling, cook dinner many nights and take time for their family; my mom, mother-in-law and others who continue to struggle with poor health, but righteously influence others to lead correctly.

LDS Great 8 of 2008 Review of Newsmakers

The death of President Gordon B. Hinckley, who taught us again how to laugh, love Heavenly Father and always search for wisdom in all His works.

President Thomas S. Monson, whose ascension to the presidency is the miracle we anticipated, while his general conference talks are always uplifting and teach us charity.

Mitt Romney, who made the best-ever LDS run for the U.S. presidency with his alluring charisma, resonating voice and John Wayne-like demeanor.

American Idol superstar-singer David Archuleta, whose golden-boy image electrified and endeared us to him.

UofU football coach Kyle Whittingham, who qualified his undefeated Utah Utes for the Sugar Bowl in one of the most amazing runs in college football history.

The death of Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin (President Hinckley’s cousin), just days after his Utes finished their 12-0 regular season. Elder Wirthlin is renowned for his integrity.

General Relief Society President Julie Beck, whose great April general conference talk on motherhood was stirring in its spirit of leadership and responsibility in the home.

Sister Frances Monson, whose grit and determination to overcome apparent discomfort or pain is steadfast and immovable. Her pioneer spirit to succeed is commendable.

BYU Football is My Second Wife
and other terms of long endearment
Cougar basketball is my third spouse

by Dale J. Neilson

© Latter-day Times Newspapers

Don’t get the wrong idea, or it’s your bad.

This column is solely based on intended dry humor, because I dearly love my wife and children more than I can say. Nothing must ever take their place, or it’s my very bad. To avoid the appearance of a conflict of interest, I told my wife about this column shortly after I posted it on the Web. Her only reaction was to ask how many would read it.

I don’t know, but hopefully a lot. So please tell your friends, family and others.
Comparing my love for BYU sports to a polygamist wife shouldn’t be misconstrued as some arrogant sexual fantasy, but as a loyal sports fan with strong emotions for his team’s success.

Who would have ever thought about BYU basketball as a third wife, anyway? I’m just getting used to Cougar football as the second.

Many of us sports junkies have at least one ‘wife’ beyond to whom we’re married. Since I follow all BYU sports, I’m ‘married’ to football and basketball and committed at different levels to all the others.

It’s almost like I’m living several different lives—one for each sport.

Maybe a TV sitcom on my fictional life would be My Wives, My Lives or Wives of My Lives. It sounds like quiet, family entertainment, doesn’t it? Riiiight.

My harem doesn’t even include any high school or professional team for whom I follow. You have to draw the line somewhere.

I’m a sports polygamist somewhat obsessed with cheering my teams into slaughtering the opposition. I’m most interested in BYU stuffing its opponents, of which the opposite happened on Sorrowful Saturday (Sept. 19).

Naturally, I received a taste of my own beat-‘em-up medicine.

My now 2-1 Cougars were banished to the trash heap of 2009 BCS rejects in the very good Florida State Seminoles’ 54-28 slaughter. How bad was it? Bad enough the Y’s collective ego was confined to intensive care indefinitely just like the aspirations and dreams of many Cougar fans.

Don’t laugh—you or your team (even if it’s BYU) may be next.

I’m still irritated by BYU’s inability to move the ball, maintain possession, control the line of scrimmage both ways, defensively control the quarterback, defend receivers and score.

The Cougars’ problems may be traced to the coaching-staff counted 27 player errors critical to game breakdown and ultimate lopsided loss. The biggest culprit seemed to be defense, which is why it was repeatedly popped—hard.

This wasn’t my doing. Maybe it was set up by the four-turnover win over the over-ranked Sooners. Oklahoma wasn’t as good as previously billed, while BYU was horrifically inept against the Seminoles.

BYU’s nine turnovers on the season left it 104th nationally in turnover margin, almost enough to start a profitable pastry shop. Saturday’s (Sept. 26) opponent, the 3-0 Colorado State Rams, is second in the nation with 10 net take-aways. You know CSU loves those turnovers, because they’re so tasty and very easy to get.

Why can’t the Cougs cook me yummy treats, instead of giving them away and causing big pain? The cook is the one getting cooked.

When a company’s employee performs badly and hurts its competitiveness, like my team, it’s time for discipline. The Y felt it Saturday with a smattering of groans from fans sounding like boos.

I’m demanding much better.

How can I trust BYU’s play will improve by Saturday? Buy the coaches and players flowers? Maybe take them to a movie and dinner? I’ve already planned our night out: a la roasted leg of CSU Rams seasoned with just the right amount of bar-b-qued Rams sauce, with Rams-fried rice, Rams-tossed salad, Rams-creamed soda and a gallon of chocolate-chunk Rams-rodded ice cream.

We’ll see the world premiere of Rams QB-Sad-sacked by Y. D-backs.

Nothing but the finest cuisine and entertainment for my BYU Cougars.