Category Archives: Religion

How to Have a Better Life

If life has you in an unproductive grip, here are some things I hope will show you how to have a better life.

Our Lives Are Not Static

Links to Amazon Books on Change. I may get a small commission if you buy a book at not cost to you. John

Our lives are not static, things change. But it sometimes seems like our life has come to a complete halt as far as progress or positive change occurs. We are in a rut. Some of us care about that status, we want to change, others simply decide to live with it, putting up with the unhappiness that often comes with it.

What Happened?

Sometimes a major change in our life stops progress, at least temporarily.

When I was in Korea (1951-52) I saw how the war had interrupted the lives and destiny of Korean families. It was affecting the lives of those of us who were doing the fighting and our loved ones at home.

In Korea we visited an abandoned farm. The farm house was a hexagonal structure with a open courtyard in the center protected from the wind. We could see where the family members cooked and ate together. I still imagine in my mind a three generation family enjoying their life immensely before the North Korean menace came down the peninsula and destroyed everything in site, tearing the man from their families to force them to serve in the North Korean army or die, killing others who resisted and such.

Of course we saw this in WWII and I had seen first hand the result on some individuals in WWI, The Great War. There is nothing great, glorious or noble about war. It’s products are death and dismay.

Here is a poem I wrote some years ago about the above Korean experience:


Death of a Loved One

A death in the family is very traumatic, often affecting the lives of oursiders. Illness can be devastating. Sometimes folks go into depression which they can not control without knowing why.

Losing a Job Is Traumatic

My father was out of work for two years during the Great Depression. He continually looked for work. Finally the WPA came along and he was able to get a job as an accountant. (Don’t ask me why they call things “great” when they are flat out miserable.)

When I was little I asked my bother why there were so many knife marks on the kitchen door. She told me that was where my father threw his pocket knife when he could not find work.

Anyway, when the stuff hits the fan our lives become dismal.

How Do We Find Our Way Out?

Heart, might, mind and soul are factors in our journey to a more happy and worthwhile life. So, let’s start with those factors.


This can be a lot of things such as “What is your heart set on?” or goals.

It can also mean “What do you love with all your heart?

It can be a driving force for action such as in “He doesn’t have the heart to do it.” And that can mean, he couldn’t be cruel or he isn’t strong enough mentally to do it. Listen to Peggy Lee:

If you have heart, you can grab your bootstraps and pull yourself out of the mud. If you have heart, you will bless those you love.

If you have heart, you will have passion and understanding and empathy for others and their situations.


Rich people have might because of their wealth and influence. However, I’m thinking of our physical strength that allows us to accomplish our daily task. I have lost my physical might in that expect me to shovel my neighbors driveway when the snow falls. Expect to see my caregivers doing the shoveling on my walk and my neighbors.

If we lack physical strength, we still can do things like pushing the keys on a laptop keyboard as I’m doing. But there are many examples of people who do far more than anyone would expect.

A friend of mine in Payson, Arizona is confined to a wheelchair and is extremely crippled. She takes care of her 4 children, whom now are probably all grown, but she takes a couple of those short crutches under her arms and struggles to walk around the city lake. A beautiful lady struck by a terrible illness but uses what strength she can generate to propel herself onword. (When I was helping to build houses for Habitat for Humanity, we built her home. She did her owner part by doing some of the work.)

Robert Lewis Stevenson

Robert Lewis Stevenson, the great writer, said he never did feel one day in his life well enough to get out of bed, but if he did not, nothing would be accomplished. We all have enjoyed his great stories and books.

The bottom line is that we should take care of our bodies by staying away from harmful substances and by maintaining or increasing our physical strenght. Then something will be accomplished.


It was once said that if you read ten minutes each day on a particular subject that you could gain some degree of proficiency in one year. Now, with our overflow of information, they are saying that it takes 5 years to become proficient. We all know, or many of us, that it takes 8-10 years to become proficient and even then we must keep learning.

Starting anything new means that you need to obtain more knowledge. For success, there is always that requirement which is sometimes very difficult. We all need to refresh are minds with new information and by being creative, by solving tough problems. The driving force to do all of this is that we can obtain great satisfaction by doing so.


You need to place some value on yourself to be happy. Many ask, “Why are we here?” meaning what is the meaning our creation. We humans thing we are better than the other members of our species, something special because of our different abilities and accomplishments. We have special talents spread amongst the human race and they are often developed, having less value until we do such. There are no chimpanzee concert pianist, writers, artist, scientist, etc. Of course, our chimpanzee friends are much stronger than us and they certainly can do things we can’t do, but we see our abilities as special and therefore we are superior.

These feelings are important. They help us to develop complex societies. Problems related to that development are often solved. We don’t have the slightest ability to avoid war, the most heinous of all crimes. We decide that the only way to avoid war is to build a big defensive force which usually becomes offensive. War is a sickness that needs to be cured.

But our feeling of net self-worth is generated by what we believe. Religion plays an important part. Most religions believe in an afterlife of some sort. Christians even claim godhood by claiming to be God’s children. The belief in the resurrection is often used to rationalize the killing in war. After all, all the war dead will be resurrected.

Some believe in reincarnation. This belief is more common than one might think. It creeps into Christianity. Is believing in a past life, the present life and a future live, reincarnation. Well, it is not like some beliefs where you may be born into one class of society (caste) and end up in another and then another until you come to the happy state of “nothingness.”

Nothing occurs without faith. Faith starts with a dream and then becomes a reality. It is this knowledge that we have that keeps up on our feed and moving ahead. For those who do not follow what I am saying about faith, think of two towns on a wide river across from each other. They can only visit by boat. They dream of a bridge. The Mayors get together and decide that contributions, taxes and tolls can pay for the bridge. An engineer draws a sketch. Builders bid on the bridge, changing the design. The final plans are drawn and the contractors build the bridge. A dream, faith, and action are the keys to the bridge. Many were involved. As Steve Jobs said:

Great things in business are never done by one person. They’re done by a team of people. Steve Jobs
Thanks to:

One way to get out of the doldrums and difficulties of life is to have others help you with your goals and you help them with there difficulties.

In fact, one of the best way to move forward is to stop thinking about ourselves and to think about others. Sometimes when we see that others have problems, we see that our problems are not as bad and that most of them are salvable.

Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow

As I said, we can do things that others can’t do. One thing we can do is we can live in the past long before we were born, back to the beginning of time and space. We can also live in the future. Doesn’t it say on your Calendar that Christmas will surely come on Tuesday, December 25, 2051. (Such a perpetual calendar can be found on the internet.)

Actually I know exactly what I was doing on that Tuesday, December 25, 1951. We were fighting Chinese on Hill 1243 in the Punch Bowl in Korea–I snow and cold.

I was born on a Tuesday in January of 1932. I can’t remember that but I’m positive is true. My little brother was born a Thursday in 1935. This event is vividly implanted in my brain because I was in my parent’s bedroom when he was born. So were my parents, our doctor (Dr. Phelps), his nurse, Our neighbor (Sister Perry) who was looking after me and a very bright incandescent light bulb overhead. I was in my iron crib, like a cage when the sides were up, was wet lying on a rubber sheet and I was mad. When they told me I had another brother, I could have cared less. I was taken by the hand of Sister Perry and walked to through the cold dining room into a kitchen which was barely getting warm. When they put a bowl of mush in front of me instead of my salt bacon and eggs that my mother served, I knew we were poor. (Mormon’s call church members brother and sister.)

I can live in my mother and father’s past and my grandparents past because they lived with us and told us about their lives. My mother was born in a tent in 1901 in a mining town (Silver City, UT). My father was ranching in Rich County, UT (named after my great great great Uncle Charles C. Rich) when he was a youngster and he was kidnapped by Ute Indians in 1900 when he was two weeks old.

What happened in the past can influence our present and future. The times it is best to block out the past so that we can get on with our future. Our future should be based on our dreams and faith in our ability to make those dreams come true. The things we do now in our short present help us to improve the future.

It’s time for us to get on with our future life.

Steve Jobs Pic links to Amazon books about Steve. I may get a small commission if you buy a book at no cost to you. John

One last quote from Steve Jobs:

Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it. Steve Jobs
Thanks to:

John T. Jones, Ph.D.
Buhl, ID

P.S. Steve Jobs died to young but he plugged on despite difficuities until his death. Here is his Stanford University Commencement Address:

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Quotes on Being Happy

Introduction:Happiness depends upon ourselves. - Aristotle

The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others. Mahatma Gandhi
Read more at:

Often our unhappiness is short lived. When unhappiness continues to the point of depression, it is a serious situation.

It’s often difficult for those who are lucky enough to have never experienced what true depression is to imagine a life of complete hopelessness, emptiness and fear. Susan Polis Schutz
Read more at:

Family and FriendsThe love of family and the admiration of friends is much more important than wealth and privilege. - Charles Kuralt

Family members or friends may make us unhappy. Having said that, they also can bring us out of depression and shorter states of unhappiness. My wife has dementia. When our daughter comes to see us, my wife is very alert. As soon as my daughter leaves, she prefers to sleep. When my wife’s caregivers daughter comes, she immediately bring my wife to consciousness and happiness.You don't choose your family. They are God's gift to you, as you are to them. - Desmond Tutu



Radiance like Red Skelton and Carol Burnett, add laughter to the masses. But I read about one man who was very ill and depressed. His cure was to watch VCR tapes of red Skelton. He pulled out of his depression and eventually recovered from his illness. Needless to say, depression is not good medicine for the critically ill.

Laughter is an instant vacation. - Milton Berle

Pain and Suffering

Pain and suffering can bring depression, especially when it is terminal and will not end until death. For pain from crippling accidents or war due to the loss of limbs or sight or other functions, the victim may be able to see the light at the end of the tunnel and come out of depression. Loved ones are so important here. Medical and rehabiliatation personel can be very important in removing the terror and fear and pain, allowing the patient to become strong enough to overcome himself or herself and regain a perspective that will help restore some degree of happiness.

I think it’s true that the 1 Percent or the elite are living in a world of, maybe, excessive privilege, and they don’t fully realize how much pain and suffering, how much anxiety exists out there. Nouriel Roubini
Read more at:


Even in the most dreadful situations, faith can help an individual suffering in depression to overcome his despiration and see a promising future, either in this life or the life to come. Jesus Christ was the premier healer on our planet and faith in him even though he has left the earth restores folks physically and mentally and spiritually. I know little about other faiths but I am sure they have deities they rely on.

Just having faith in caregivers and yourself may restore you.

Faith is the bird that feels the light when the dawn is still dark. - Rabindranath Tagore

Thinking of Others

Your emparthy for others, gained from your own situtation realizing that they are worse off then you, can bring you out of depression by bestowing a since of gratitude on you and a desire to help others.

The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others. Mahatma Gandhi
Read more at:

Be of Good Cheer!

There is help!

It may be a family or friend that restores your happiness. It may be medical care. It may be faith. But the human is capable at overpowering fear and sorrow and pain. May God Bless you to do so.


If things persist, don’t forget to use professionals to help you with your problems.

I’ve experienced several different healing methodologies over the years – counseling, self-help seminars, and I’ve read a lot – but none of them will work unless you really want to heal. Lindsay Wagner
Read more at:

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How to Be Happy in One Simple Step

Aster: A flower of the fall. It can take cold weather.

Aster: A flower of the fall. It can take cold weather.

FTC: Links to from pics or text that result in sales could lead to a small commission to me at no cost to you.

What Is True Happiness?

George Burns lived a long life and made others laugh. Humor is great for a long life.

George Burns lived a long life and made others laugh. Humor is great for a long life.

Happiness can be elusive. In our world, we too often equate happiness with having a high-paying job, owning a big house, and have lots of “stuff.” While being economically comfortable can go a long way to making someone happy, it is, in reality, only a tiny fraction of what truly makes us happy as people. In reality, cultivating an attitude of gratitude will lift your mood, make you more content, less envious, and all around happier.

Learn to Be More Grateful!

Learning to be more grateful for the people in your life and for the things that you have is a major step towards being a happier person.

Here are six ways you can cultivate gratitude in your own life:

Take a moment to count your blessings every day.

You might not love taking the bus to work, but it’s a lot better than walking, right? Getting stuck in traffic might feel like an inconvenience, but you can use this time to jam to your favorite music or call your kids.

Train yourself to write down five things you are grateful for each day.

Start keeping a gratitude journal. At the end of every day, write down five unique things that you were grateful for that day.

Correct negative thoughts with positive ones.pos think

That guy with the cubicle next to yours might not be your favorite person, but if you only ever think about his bad qualities, you’ll only ever feel negatively about him. What are his good qualities? Every time you have a negative thought, correct it with a positive one. This builds a happier, more positive mindset.

Give at least one person a compliment every day. Compliments lift the mood of others and it trains you to notice the good things about other people.

Make an effort to really engage with other people.

Too often, we make other people feel like they are wasting our time. Show people that you care about them by really engaging with them. Don’t just ask “how are you” because it’s the thing to do, really genuinely show concern for others.

Challenge yourself not to complain for a full day, week, or month.

Complaining is so easy, and while it can be cathartic, it very rarely solves any problems. Instead, spend that energy being a problem solver and expressing gratitude.

Take Care of Your Health

Your Body


Funny Old Lady

Eat right and get exercise everyday. Avoid drugs and tobacco. Easy on alcohol.

 Benjamin Franklin was born on January 17, 1706, in Bostondied on April 17, 1790, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Benjamin Franklin was born on January 17, 1706, in Bostondied on April 17, 1790, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Your Mind

Study something new everyday for art least 10 minutes. You will soon become an expert if you concentrate on one area of study. But putting something new in your brain will revitalize you.

Your Spirit

Mother Teresa

Mother Teresa

Take time out for your self. Meditate. Write a poem or inspirational  story, Paint a picture. Study your religion. Pray to your God.


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Thought for the Day January 27, 2015: Don’t Be Improperly Informed

(Note: The FTC requires me to tell you that some links in this site may result in me receiving a commission from a vendor. That hardly ever happens but I am grateful for any commissions that I may receive. John)

Some Quotes on Stupidity and Ignorance (thanks to

Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.
Martin Luther King, Jr.

The difference between stupidity and genius is that genius has its limits.
Albert Einstein

Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I’m not sure about the former.
Albert Einstein

I hate war as only a soldier who has lived it can, only as one who has seen its brutality, its futility, its stupidity.
Dwight D. Eisenhower

We are in danger of destroying ourselves by our greed and stupidity. We cannot remain looking inwards at ourselves on a small and increasingly polluted and overcrowded planet.
Stephen Hawking

Anyway, no drug, not even alcohol, causes the fundamental ills of society. If we’re looking for the source of our troubles, we shouldn’t test people for drugs, we should test them for stupidity, ignorance, greed and love of power.
P. J. O’Rourke

Stupidity is a talent for misconception.
Edgar Allan Poe


Some people will go out of their way to avoid common sense.

Some people think that the lost 10 tribes of Israel are at the center of the earth, a molten sphere of metal. Others think that they’re buried under the ice at the South Pole.

Most biblical scholars believe that they were scattered amongst the nations. Some believe that they are being scattered in Israel and in Salt Lake City, the center of Mormonism. Most Mormons believe that they were scattered amongst the nations and that they are being brought into Israel and the LDS (Mormon) Church. This is depicted vividly on the outside of the Mesa Arizona Temple. Other Mormons expect them to come marching out of the North Country, breaking out of the ice.

When I was a kid, a teenager, I saw the sun reflecting off an aircraft west of Salt Lake City. I thought that many folks in Salt Lake City would report that they had seen a UFO rather than a commercial aircraft. I wanted to stop that rumor in his tracks, I called the Salt Lake City Tribune to tell them that they would be swamped the phone calls about an imaginary UFO. They told me they had already received thousands of calls. The story did not make the front page for sure. But I’m sure that is in the UFO scrapbook somewhere. We sometimes are fooled by our vision.

Just because most people are too uneducated to build a pyramid, some assume that ancient Egyptians were stupid. So they decide that ancient aliens built the pyramids. They say the same thing about the large scale drawings in South America, best seen from the air. They do not accept simple archaeological explanations.

Many folks are not educated. It is not their fault. We need to have a society that provides adequate education so that our people can govern themselves properly. Improper education, teaching of false concepts, is a tremendous danger to any society.

Some people are born skeptics and they don’t believe everything they hear. Others are much more gullible and are subject to scams and fraud and deception.

Right now, you could announce that the world is going to end next Friday and that you have a spaceship in a field north of Minneapolis. You would have passengers galore by Thursday.

People die because medical treatment is not given because of superstitions. Millions died in wars because of stupid, greedy and evil men. ( Could Hitler

Hitler's Art

Hitler’s Art

Hitler's Art

Hitler’s Art

have won World War II if it wasn’t for his inborn stupidity that kept him from relying on knowledgeable men in his service? If he had of been that smart, he wouldn’t have caused the deaths of tens of millions of people. (I have always regretted that he was not accepted as an artist. He wasn’t that bad.)


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Thought for the Day: Mother Teresa Life Story

MoMotherTeresa07ther Teresa Life Story

Loneliness and the feeling of being unwanted is the most terrible poverty.

Mother Teresa (

Gonxha (Agnes) Bojaxhiu in Skopje, Yugoslavia, on August 27, 1910. She decided to become a nun and joined the Loreto Sisters of Dublin, who were missionaries and educators founded in the 17th century who educated young women.

In Calcutta, she taught history and geography for fifteen years. Then she was given permission to care for the poor on the streets of Calcutta. Read More at


Empathy is when you walk in another persons shoes for a day. We all know the story of Mother Teresa. Read her bio as a Nobel Peace Prize Award recipient at


Lesson For Life

Lesson For Life

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Thought for the Day: Purity of Heart, Mind, Body and Soul

Jessie Evans Smith

Jessie Evans Smith with Husband, Joseph Fielding Smith

Jessie Evans Smith with Husband, Joseph Fielding Smith


Jessie Evans Smith, an opera star of the past had already retired when I was a boy. She looked after our family and gave Dad a job during the Great Depression.

I took care of the chores for her mother, bringing in coal and wood after school.

Jesse was always there in the afternoon and her husband, Joseph Fielding Smith, then the President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of the LDS Church usually waited in the driveway in his Cadillac.

She was always full of fun, joking with anyone around, including me and her mother, the perfect balance for the Smith Family.

Jesse had a pure heart and I know for a fact that she organized more than one Christmas for our family.

Here she sings, He Who Has Clean Hands and a Pure Heart with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.


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Thought for the Day November 21, 2014: Book of Ruth

Jordan River Israel

Jordan River Israel

Bible 2But Ruth replied, “Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. 17 Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the Lord deal with me, be it ever so severely, if even death separates you and me.” Book of Ruth 1:16

BibleThe Book of Ruth is one of the favorite stories of those who peek into the Bible to seek its riches. You should read it. There you will learn about devotion and human interactions. It is a love story. It has everything that a story should have. We writers can always learn from the Book of Ruth.


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Thought for the Day November 16, 2014: Religion

Mahatma Gandhi

Mahatma Gandhi

When I admire the wonders of a sunset or the beauty of the moon, my soul expands in the worship of the creator. Mahatma Ghandi (thanks to

This is my simple religion. There is no need for temples; no need for complicated philosophy. Our own brain, our own heart is our temple; the philosophy is kindness.  Dalai Lama(thanks to

So I say to you, Ask and it will be given to you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you. Jesus Christ (thanks to

Just as a candle cannot burn without fire, men cannot live without a spiritual life. Name Your Link (thanks to

Heaven is under our feet as well as over our heads. Henry David Thoreau (thanks to

Abraham Lincoln

Abraham Lincoln

When I do good, I feel good. When I do bad, I feel bad. That’s my religion. Name Your Link (thanks to

There are 7 billion people on this planet and each one has his own religion. This may surprise you. Think about it. Do all Catholics have the same beliefs? Do all Mormons have the same belief? Do all Buddhist have the same beliefs? They may have tenets that they follow but the interpretation of those talents can be quite different.

Marriage Is Usually a Religious Ceremony. LDS Marry Forever.

Marriage Is Usually a Religious Ceremony. LDS Marry Forever.

Pope Francis Sees Reality in Evolution

Pope Francis Sees Reality in Evolution

Christianity is considered to be a religion. Actually it is a group of many religions. That is true of other religions too. And in each religion within a religion the members have different beliefs.

Now why is this so?

It is so because there are so many unknowns.

Religions help us bridge the unknown. But as we cross that bridge, individually we see different things.

Rel 3

That is why religion is so dynamic, so ever-changing. We have seen the changes in the Catholic Church, for example. Scientist are no longer put in prison or excommunicated but quite the opposite. What becomes obvious in science, that is what people have accepted, becomes acceptable to a religion.

But the main purpose of religion is not to interpret the unknown, not to interpret the future, although it does that. The main purpose of religion is to bring peace to the mind and comfort to the soul.

And no religion of merit does not believe in an eternal Creator who is the teacher for all of us.


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