A Tale of Two Comforters.


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John 14:15 If ye love me, keep my commandments.
16 And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever;
17 Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.
18 I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.

Jesus Christ promised to personally comfort any who seek to come to Him. His disciple asked how Jesus would show Himself.

21 He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.
22 Judas saith unto him, not Iscariot, Lord, how is it that thou wilt manifest thyself unto us, and not unto the world?
23 Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.

In His sermon on the mount, Jesus taught in no uncertain terms what is required.

Matthew 7:

13 Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat:
14 Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.

But what is this gate that leads to eternal life? Jesus answered this question when posed to Nicodemus.

John 3:Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.
Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born?
Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.

A prophet who descended from the tribe of Joseph wrote in his own record in plainness what this gate is, verifying Jesus’ teachings:

2 Nephi 31:16 And now, my beloved brethren, I know by this that unless a man shall endure to the end, in following the example of the Son of the living God, he cannot be saved.
17 Wherefore, do the things which I have told you I have seen that your Lord and your Redeemer should do; for, for this cause have they been shown unto me, that ye might know the gate by which ye should enter. For the gate by which ye should enter is repentance and baptism by water; and then cometh a remission of your sins by fire and by the Holy Ghost.
18 And then are ye in this strait and narrow path which leads to eternal life; yea, ye have entered in by the gate; ye have done according to the commandments of the Father and the Son; and ye have received the Holy Ghost, which witnesses of the Father and the Son, unto the fulfilling of the promise which he hath made, that if ye entered in by the way ye should receive.

Nephi’s walk is illustrated in his two books. It is the overarching narrative expressed in his father’s vision of the tree of life. The world is the large and spacious field we read about in 1 Nephi chapter 8. Once one enters in at the gate, which is repentance and baptism of water, THEN comes the remission of sins.

So now Nephi has established by his own life’s experience and his father’s vision of the tree of life that entering the gate is receiving the First Comforter, even the Holy Ghost. Nephi, continues the narrative:

19 And now, my beloved brethren, after ye have gotten into this strait and narrow path, I would ask if all is done? Behold, I say unto you, Nay; for ye have not come thus far save it were by the word of Christ with unshaken faith in him, relying wholly upon the merits of him who is mighty to save.
20 Wherefore, ye must press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men. Wherefore, if ye shall press forward, feasting upon the word of Christ, and endure to the end, behold, thus saith the Father: Ye shall have eternal life.


As we read in 1 Nephi 8, linked above, if one endures to the end of the path along the iron rod, one finally comes to the tree of life. It is the inevitable consequence of traveling a straight path between two points–between receiving the Holy Ghost and then receiving Jesus Christ. At the end of the path, the rod ends. One falls to the ground to partake of the fruit of one’s labors of pressing forward with the love of God and of ALL men. If one has the Love of God and all men (TWO greatest commandments/Golden Rule), one becomes like Christ. And what is the inevitable result of becoming like Christ?

1 John 3:2 Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.

Or as Jesus expressed directly to one of his disciples, as I have quoted above:

John 14: 22 Judas saith unto him, not Iscariot, Lord, how is it that thou wilt manifest thyself unto us, and not unto the world?
23 Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.

Both the Father and the Son visit him. And we see evidence of this in Nephi’s life, as expressed in the same chapter mentioned above:

2 Nephi 31:14 But, behold, my beloved brethren, thus came the voice of the Son unto me, saying: After ye have repented of your sins, and witnessed unto the Father that ye are willing to keep my commandments, by the baptism of water, and have received the baptism of fire and of the Holy Ghost, and can speak with a new tongue, yea, even with the tongue of angels, and after this should deny me, it would have been better for you that ye had not known me.

15 And I heard a voice from the Father, saying: Yea, the words of my Beloved are true and faithful. He that endureth to the end, the same shall be saved.

As mentioned above, if one loves God and all men, one will retain a remission of one’s sins as King Benjamin taught:

Mosiah 4:12 And behold, I say unto you that if ye do this ye shall always rejoice, and be filled with the love of God, and always retain a remission of your sins; and ye shall grow in the knowledge of the glory of him that created you, or in the knowledge of that which is just and true.
13 And ye will not have a mind to injure one another, but to live peaceably, and to render to every man according to that which is his due…

He goes on to teach:

26 And now, for the sake of these things which I have spoken unto you—that is, for the sake of retaining a remission of your sins from day to day, that ye may walk guiltless before God—I would that ye should impart of your substance to the poor, every man according to that which he hath, such as feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, visiting the sick and administering to their relief, both spiritually and temporally, according to their wants.

Jesus gave three parables in Matthew chapter 25 about those who did and did not love all men. To summarize, He declared:

Matthew 25:

31 ¶When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory:
32 And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats:
33 And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left.
34 Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:
35 For I was an hungered, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in:
36 Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.
37 Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink?
38 When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee?
39 Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?
40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.

Therefore as one presses forward along the straight and narrow path with the Love of God in one’s heart toward all men, being merciful as God is merciful, one inevitably, finds oneself partaking of the fruit of his labors and finds rest. Thus to partake of the fruit of the tree of life is to gain eternal salvation, which is to make one’s calling and election sure. It is to personally receive comfort from the God of all the earth, even Jesus Christ, an anchor to the soul. It is to receive the Second Comforter. It is to be sealed up by the calling of His voice. The apostle Peter said the same:

2 Peter 1:5 And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge;
6 And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness;
7 And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.
8 For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
9 But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins.
10 Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things,ye shall never fall

Peter acknowledges that it is the love of God and of all men, which results in knowing Jesus Christ. This doesn’t just mean knowing about Him, or reading about Him. It means actually knowing Him. Talking with Him. Seeing Him. But whoso lacks the qualities Peter lists is blind and cannot see afar off. He loses that perfect brightness of hope. He forgets that he was baptized with fire, which brings about the remission of his sins. Therefore, it is imperative to press forward to obtain the “knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ” as Peter taught in his epistle.

Knowledge saves. We cannot be saved in ignorance. In other words, we cannot be saved without knowing WHO it is that saves us. Knowing Jesus Christ is parting the veil, which keeps us from His presence because of unbelief. It is this veil, as Paul teaches the Corinthians in his second epistle, that is done away in Christ. It is being redeemed from the fall of Adam. It is the end result of entering in at the way, which is the gate spoken of above and pressing forward until one reaches the end. Most give up. Most wander off in unbelief. Some end up in the great and spacious building and point fingers and mock those who have pressed forward and reached the tree to partake of eternal salvation.

In summary dear reader, to be born of the Spirit occurs upon entering in at the gate, which is the beginning of the journey to come unto Christ–literally. But your journey is NOT over until you press forward to receive the greatest gift, even eternal life, which is to KNOW Jesus Christ who then makes His abode with you. When you enter in at the gate, you are blessed with the Comforter, even the Holy Ghost, being born of the Spirit. And if and when you finally arrive at the end of the straight and narrow path, you are blessed with the Second Comforter, even Jesus Christ, thus becoming fruitful in the knowledge of He who is mighty to save.

1 Corinthians 9:23 And this I do for the gospel’s sake, that I might be partaker thereof with you.
24 Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain.

Faith (and fear)


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Only two people ever walked on water, that is if you believe the Bible. But that is the point, isn’t it? Believing. On the fourth watch of the night, or at 3 am, after having  been tossed about at sea, Jesus Christ who had stayed behind the previous evening on land to pray on a mountain, appeared to them, having caught up to them by walking on the water. When His disciples saw Him, they cried out for fear. But Jesus quickly told them to be of good cheer, that it was Him, and He calmed their fears.

Peter, upon testing Jesus, immediately said, “Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water.” Without hesitation, the Lord granted Peter’s request and bid him come out on the water to Him. So Peter took a step into the unknown out in the darkness, not knowing whether Jesus or some spirit beckoned him. He had exercised enough faith to press forward and trust the voice of who he hoped it was. As Peter began walking, the wind became boisterous and Peter became afraid. When his faith turned to fear, he began to sink and cried out for rescue. The Bible tells us that Jesus Christ then immediately caught Peter, saving him from death and exclaimed to Peter, “O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?”

Many experiences have taught me that listening to the Lord often brings me to a point where I have to choose whether or not to step out into the unknown. Fear of being hurt or deceived is enough to paralyze a person. I have also learned that each time I exercised faith and took a step forward, I did not fall. I have come to firmly believe that if I misstep, the Lord is there to catch me and preserve me from death. And I have been preserved from death before. But this isn’t about living and dying. This is about loving God enough to trust Him and His voice alone. I am sure that when Peter stepped down onto the water, he did not turn to the right or the left. And that is something to consider for another time. I am sure that he walked directly toward Jesus.

I know many people who believe in God, but do not believe God. They believe He exists, but do not believe His words or are not familiar with His words. Many are distracted by the cares of the world to keep His sayings diligently or they fear being hurt. People fear being hurt especially when they experience a contradiction of things. Walking on water contradicts the law of gravity as we know it. Despite everything scientists understand about gravity, none have been able to determine what causes it. There is a theory of relativity used to explain it, but it’s just that-a theory. This physical world is governed by many physical laws, one of them being gravity. If you step off a cliff, you fall until something stops your fall and it’s usually the solid ground below. Likewise, if you step out of a perfectly good boat onto the water, you will sink until something solid stops your descent.

If you take Jesus Christ out of the equation, then you are left to the natural course of things in life. However, if you come unto Christ as He invited all to do, He will catch you if you start to fall. He is a merciful God who gently corrects errors and false beliefs, but He does not leave you alone. The inevitable outcome of following Him, though, is losing your life. That sounds like a contradiction, doesn’t it? Jesus Christ is life, right? But if you are a student of the scriptures, you might find out about a certain rich man who went away sorrowing because although he kept the law since he was a youth, he would not give up his riches to follow Christ. Rather than having faith, he feared. The rich man preferred the life he lived. It was preferable for him to keep all the things he had worked so hard to obtain, rather than give them all up to start a new life-a different one. His faith was in his own ability to provide for himself rather than faith in God to give him everlasting life. Thus those who seek to save their life, whatever kind of life they’re living will lose it in the grave. But those who seek to lose whatever life they are living for Christ’s sake, as He promised, will find it again, for life with Him is everlasting. The rich man was deceived by his own covetousness.

There are so many ways we can deceive ourselves into thinking it’s okay to procrastinate or ignore the call to come unto Christ, especially when He beckons. And He is always beckoning. We must push aside all the worldly obstacles and idols and false beliefs that stand between us and the Lord, including all the traditions of men, even religious traditions. Traditions do not have the power to save. Believing Jesus Christ and doing what He tells you to do is what saves. But you must first know and understand His will. If you do not know His will when He is bidding you to come out of your comfort zone, then nothing else matters. Fear and faith cannot and do not exist at the same time. You will either believe Him and exercise faith and move forward one step at a time  toward the light or fear falling with each step and remain in darkness.jesus-water





Babylon, The Final Frontier, Part 1


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I served a mission on the other side of the world and when I returned, I went to the mountains of Ephraim to dwell. I saw Babylon bigger and brighter than ever. And I partook thereof until decades later, having been born of the Spirit and experiencing a mighty change of heart, I saw with new eyes how idolatrous I had been. Back then I thought worshiping idols, at least as depicted in scripture, meant nothing more than adoring or reverencing statues as the ancient Israelites did with the golden calf built by Aaron. But it is so much more than that.

The primary commandment given to Israel was to have no other gods before the Lord. Jehovah acknowledged the existence of other gods, though they were all fictions of imagination. If we love the Lord, truly love Him, there would be no need nor even use to go whoring after anything or anyone else. But the Lord’s covenant people did so and still do so. I like what Gileadi had to say in his essay, Twelve Diatribes of Modern Israel:

The final test in the scriptures of whether a god is true or false is whether he saves his people in the Lord’s day of judgment.

And so it was:

Judges 10: 13 Yet ye have forsaken me, and served other gods: wherefore I will deliver you no more.
14 Go and cry unto the gods which ye have chosen; let them deliver you in the time of your tribulation.

Isaiah 37: 18 Of a truth, Lord, the kings of Assyria have laid waste all the nations, and their countries,
19 And have cast their gods into the fire: for they were no gods, but the work of men’s hands, wood and stone: therefore they have destroyed them.
20 Now therefore, O Lord our God, save us from his hand, that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that thou art the Lord, even thou only.

Jeremiah 11:11 ¶Therefore thus saith the Lord, Behold, I will bring evil upon them, which they shall not be able to escape; and though they shall cry unto me, I will not hearken unto them.
12 Then shall the cities of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem go, and cry unto the gods unto whom they offer incense: but they shall not save them at all in the time of their trouble.
13 For according to the number of thy cities were thy gods, O Judah; and according to the number of the streets of Jerusalem have ye set up altars to that shameful thing, even altars to burn incense unto Baal.
14 Therefore pray not thou for this people, neither lift up a cry or prayer for them: for I will not hear them in the time that they cry unto me for their trouble.

And so it will be:

D&C 112:24 Behold, vengeance cometh speedily upon the inhabitants of the earth, a day of wrath, a day of burning, a day of desolation, of weeping, of mourning, and of lamentation; and as a whirlwind it shall come upon all the face of the earth, saith the Lord.
25 And upon my house shall it begin, and from my house shall it go forth, saith the Lord;
26 First among those among you, saith the Lord, who have professed to know my name and have not known me, and have blasphemed against me in the midst of my house, saith the Lord.

Idolatry is the great obstacle. Babylon and her idols are alive and well among the Lord’s covenant people upon the mountains of Ephraim (as well as throughout the world). It is so difficult to not be stained by it all. I cannot help but dirty my hands as I contribute to feeding Mammon, though I weep for Zion. I hate money. I hate that I have to work for money in order to exist in a system, which has too great a hold of us all. The people of Limhi learned the hard way. Today there really are no more places of refuge in the world. Above all else, I am vexed by my own sinful and carnal state. I am truly my own worst enemy.

I recently came home from visiting my parents in Texas and as I drove north along I-15, I looked toward downtown SLC at all the tall buildings and also the construction going on. I remember a time when the temple was easily visible. Now it is shadowed and eclipsed by great and spacious buildings, which recently enticed the world to partake of glamorous materialism.

If those giant posters and billboards advertising to the world to come visit the heart of Salt Lake City are disturbing, even more disturbing are the overpriced brands advertised with very attractive models. But isn’t that how all commercials are? Everyone is smiling, all made up, wearing beautiful clothes in the happy settings of Utopian society.

I’m reminded of Hugh Nibley’s words in “What is Zion? A Distant View” where he says:

Elders of Israel are greedy after the things of this world. If you ask them if they are ready to build up the kingdom of God, their answer is prompt–”Why, to be sure we are, with our whole souls; but we want first to get so much gold, speculate and get rich, and then we can help the church considerably. We will go to California and get gold, go and buy goods and get rich, trade with the emigrants, build a mill, make a farm, get a large herd of cattle, and then we can do a great deal for Israel.

I have heard this many times from friends and relatives, but it is hokum. What they are saying is, “If God will give me a million dollars, I will let him have a generous cut of it.” And so they pray and speculate and expect the Lord to come through for them. He won’t do it: “And again, I command thee that thou shalt not covet thine own property” (D&C 19:26). “Let them repent of all their sins, and of all their covetous desires, before me, saith the Lord; for what is property unto me? saith the Lord” (D&C 117:4). He does not need our property or our help.

Every rhetorician knows that his most effective weapons by far are labels. He can demolish the opposition with simple and devastating labels such as communism, socialism, or atheism, popery, militarism, or Mormonism, or give his clients’ worst crimes a religious glow with noble labels such as integrity, old-fashioned honesty, tough-mindedness, or free competitive enterprise. “You can get away with anything if you just wave the flag,” a business partner of my father once told me. He called that patriotism. But the label game reaches its all-time peak of skill and effrontery in the Madison Avenue master stroke of pasting the lovely label of Zion on all the most typical institutions of Babylon: Zion’s Loans, Zion’s Real Estate, Zion’s Used Cars, Zion’s Jewelry, Zion’s Supermart, Zion’s Auto Wrecking, Zion’s Outdoor Advertising, Zion’s Gunshop, Zion’s Land and Mining, Zion’s Development, Zion’s Securities–all that is quintessentially Babylon now masquerades as Zion.

Hunger Wars


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So I watched the latest Hunger Games movie today. The first two movies pit children against each other in a dystopian tradition of ruling the masses. Consider the indoctrination of the children in Orwell’s book 1984:

“Nearly all children nowadays were horrible. What was worst of all was that by means of such organizations as the Spies they were systematically turned into ungovernable little savages, and yet this produced in them no tendency whatever to rebel against the discipline of the Party. On the contrary, they adored the Party and everything connected with it… All their ferocity was turned outwards, against the enemies of the State, against foreigners, traitors, saboteurs, thought-criminals. It was almost normal for people over thirty to be frightened of their own children.”

This quote explains the government’s power over the children in the dystopian society depicted in George Orwell’s 1984. Parents have no authority over their children, who are influenced from a very young age by the forces of “Big Brother.” The children join organizations such as the “Spies,” where they dress uniformly in “blue shorts, gray shirts, and red neckerchiefs” and are systematically indoctrinated in the philosophies of the government.

The children are taught to love Big Brother and hate “foreigners, traitors, saboteurs, thought-criminals,” the “enemies of the State;” they are encouraged to attend public hangings, and as such are desensitized to violence. The children will report to the authorities anyone who engages in questionable activities or who criticizes the government, including their parents, and indeed are praised as “child hero[es]” for doing so. Parents have no control over their children, who have been turned into “ungovernable little savages” by their training.

There is no love cultivated between children and their parents; through early and constant indoctrination, the children’s devotion is all directed towards Big Brother. Tragically, parents actually fear their own children, because they know that their children’s loyalties lie with Big Brother, and that should they even suspect their parents of deviation from the strict codes of behavior mandated by the government, they will not hesitate to turn them in (Part 1, Chapter 2).


I can’t decide if the Hunger Games movies glorify the subject matter or perhaps are used as a vehicle to bring about an awareness of the world around us to the youth today. But do they see a strong female hero and idolize her? Furthermore, are today’s youth even aware of the sword of justice that hangs over us all? I am reminded of this scripture:

Mosiah 4:13 And ye will not have a mind to injure one another, but to live peaceably, and to render to every man according to that which is his due.

14 And ye will not suffer your children that they go hungry, or naked; neither will ye suffer that they transgress the laws of God, and fight and quarrel one with another, and serve the devil, who is the master of sin, or who is the evil spirit which hath been spoken of by our fathers, he being an enemy to all righteousness.

15 But ye will teach them to walk in the ways of truth and soberness; ye will teach them to love one another, and to serve one another.

And while children wield deadly weapons in extremist countries today, our own may be all too easily desensitized by the gratuitous sex and violence on TV or in the video games they play, which occupy their attention and take up their free time. Do they sing songs in church, comparing themselves to the army of Helaman, having been taught in their youth? How little they may be aware of the setting and nature of the conversion of the stripling warriors. It was their conversion to Jesus Christ and their faith in Him alone that inspired them to risk their lives in mortal combat on the front lines of some of their bloodiest battles, suffering many wounds unto the loss of consciousness for the cause of liberty.

I wonder if our children are clueless. There was no hero worship or idolatry among those two thousand and sixty Lamanite boys, although they esteemed Helaman as their father, following him into battle, confidently obeying his orders precisely. And it was their faith in the Lord that preserved every last one of them. None were lost. Who will our children look to when the sword of justice falls on this gentile nation and all over the world?

Alma 57:25 And it came to pass that there were two hundred, out of my two thousand and sixty, who had fainted because of the loss of blood; nevertheless, according to the goodness of God, and to our great astonishment, and also the joy of our whole army, there was not one soul of them who did perish; yea, and neither was there one soul among them who had not received many wounds.

26 And now, their preservation was astonishing to our whole army, yea, that they should be spared while there was a thousand of our brethren who were slain. And we do justly ascribe it to the miraculous power of God, because of their exceeding faith in that which they had been taught to believe—that there was a just God, and whosoever did not doubt, that they should be preserved by his marvelous power.

27 Now this was the faith of these of whom I have spoken; they are young, and their minds are firm, and they do put their trust in God continually.

I left the theater with a lot to think about. And it has been a while since I have shared any thoughts on my blog, but I felt the need to do so today.

Sticks and Stones – A Parable



There was once a village at the base of a great mountain where beautiful trees grew and where clear waterfalls gave the people of the village life. The branches of the trees on the lower elevation of the mountain provided most of the villagers with sturdy walking sticks, which they enjoyed using. The people happily climbed the mountain to find the finest branches with which to carve their sticks, staffs and canes from the soft green wood of these trees. The shorter staffs made it easier to climb the mountain where these trees grew and while many people enjoyed spending their time climbing up to the trees, most enjoyed hiking around the village with their canes and walking sticks.

There were, of course, some villagers who wanted to climb higher and explore more of the mountain. They found out soon enough that their staffs were not strong enough to rely on as they put their entire weight on their staffs to make the steeper climbs. Some gave up and went back down while some pressed onward. After some time, those villagers who had climbed higher discovered other trees, whose red wood was much denser than the softer green wood of the trees below. When they finally returned to the village, they showed their sturdier staffs to as many as would come and see them. Many laughed and said that the extra climb was not worth the effort and that their own canes were sufficient for their everyday tasks in the village. But some people desired sturdier wood for their daily walks and climbs and so they made the climb to the higher elevation to obtain the sturdier red branches.

Before long there were divisions in the village. The vast majority had green walking sticks from the trees with the softer wood. The minority of the villagers had their red walking and climbing sticks from the denser trees. Some of these people in the minority prided themselves with their sturdier staffs and a few even avoided anyone with sticks made of the softer green wood. They were considered arrogant by the rest of the villagers who owned green walking sticks. The owners of the red sticks resented being considered arrogant for they only wished to share why the sturdier sticks were more desirable. After a time, however, many of those with the red sticks stopped making their regular hikes up the mountain, but stayed home to pursue idle activities. There were some few who still enjoyed their hikes either to the lower elevations or the elevations higher up. Some of those who owned red sticks who stopped climbing occasionally teased those who still enjoyed their daily climbs, considering it an unnecessary use of time. Besides, everyone could enjoy the beautiful scenery, which the mountain provided and enjoy its bounty equally.

One day, a man from the village gazed at the peak, which was rarely visible through the clouds high above. He decided to make the dangerous climb to the top despite the laughter and ridicule of everyone else in the village. Very few in the village’s history had ever made it back with anything to show for it. He took his climbing staff and began his ascent. He encountered many nearly impassable rocky ledges and sheer walls that without his staff, he could not have made it. After a great many days, he returned bruised and beaten from the near impossible journey. On his way home, he encountered some friends. At their request, he described the perilous journey including the path, which had been so overgrown by vegetation from almost never having been used.

The next day, his friends visited him and had brought others to hear about his experience. As they sat listening, he reached for a pouch, which hung from around his neck and rested on his chest. He opened the flap and took out a beautiful small stone, which fit perfectly in the palm of his hand. They had never seen a stone like it and envied him. None existed in or around the village near and far. He explained that there were more just like it but they could only be found at the top of the mountain. In fact, there were more than enough for each villager if anyone wished to climb to the top and obtain one.

One of his friends asked him about the view at the top. Others inquired further about the precious stones and how they had gotten there or if someone had made them and put them there. Some doubted that he ever made it to the top at all and found the stone elsewhere. After their questioning, he invited them all to make the journey themselves and experience what he had experienced. Because he had declined to relate everything that he saw and heard, another accused him of being arrogant, which saddened him. They all agreed that it was not necessary to climb the mountain just to have a stone, regardless of how desirable it was and they departed. The next day, word spread throughout the village about the precious stone, which he carried around his neck near his heart. Thereafter, most of the villagers avoided him. Life in the village continued as before, some resenting others because of their finer staffs and most resenting the man with his precious stone. Once in a great while, a villager would gaze at the peak of the mountain and make the perilous journey and return after a great many days with a precious stone.