Sunday, July 28, 2013

The Pathway to Faith

I had a friend come by my office the other day to say good-bye. He had finished his PHD and was leaving to go to Stanford for a post doctorate position. During the years that he was at Utah State University, we had many discussions and sometimes we ventured into religion. My friend does not believe in God or that there is anything after death but an end to everything.

I have often thought about what it would be like to not believe that there is life after death or that we do not have a loving Father in Heaven that wants us to return to him after this life is over. The Apostle Paul told us what it would be like if there was nothing after this life:

"If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable. (Acts 15:19 )

As I have pondered this, it has caused me to reflect on why I have a belief in and hope for more than this life. When did I KNOW that God lives and Jesus is the Christ and what was the path that led me to this knowledge?

To help us better understand my journey, I would like to go to the scriptures and follow the path of the Peter, the fisherman as he becomes Peter the Apostle. In doing so, I am in no way comparing myself to Peter, but laying out the path that he took as an example of what we each need to be willing to follow which will lead us to faith. The first principle we need is faith. Not just faith, but faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.  What does it mean to have faith ? The Apostle Paul says that faith is:

 “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” (Hebrews 11:1)

The Prophet Alma in the Book of Mormon describes faith when he says:

And now as I said concerning faith—faith is not to have a perfect knowledge of things; therefore if ye have faith ye hope for things which are not seen, which are true. (Alma 32:21)

Remember when Peter first met Jesus? In Luke Chapter 5 we find Peter and his brother were involved in their daily labors as a fisherman. Jesus came to them and told them to cast out their nets into the water. Peter told Jesus that they had toiled all night and had caught nothing, but being obedient he did as Jesus asked and their nets were so full their nets broke. It was then that Jesus told Peter and Andrew to follow him and become fishers of men. The scriptures said that they straightway left their nets and followed Jesus.

On another occasion, Peter and the other disciples were again in a ship. This time there was a storm raging, when Jesus comes towards them walking on the water? Peter recognizes the Master and asks Jesus if he can come to him on the water.  Jesus simply says, “come”. Peter, not doubting his human abilities leaves the boat and walks on the water. As long as Peter’s focus was on Jesus he was able to walk on the water, but then he loses his focus and sees the waves and begins to sink. He cries out to Jesus for help and the scriptures say:

“And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?” (Matthew 11:31 )

Peter had faith in Christ or he would not have asked to come to him on the water. So why did he fail. Maybe it was because his faith was the kind of faith that I talked about last week, the faith of a child – young and untested. Later Jesus asked the disciples as question:

13….Whom do men say that I the Son of man am?
14 And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets.
15 He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am?
16 And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.
17 And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-jona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.” (“Matthew 16:13-17)

Through revelation from God, our Heavenly Father, Peter knew that Jesus was the Christ, the Son of the living God. Peter now had a testimony of who Jesus was. But his faith was going to be tested even more. The night before Jesus was to give his life as a sacrifice for all mankind, he gathered his Apostles into a room to celebrate the Passover and spend some last hours teaching them what was going to happen.  After the supper Jesus took a basin of water and started washing the feet of the Apostles. Peter thinking this was the task of a servant tells Jesus he should not wash his feet. When the Savior tells Peter if he cannot wash his feet, Peter will have no part with him, Peter still not understanding what Jesus was trying to do says that he should not only wash his feet, but his hands and head. The Savior being patient tries to explain that he only needed to wash his feet.

Later that same evening Jesus tells Peter that before the night was over he will have denied knowing Jesus three times and Peter tells the Lord: “Peter said unto him, Though I should die with thee, yet will I not deny thee. (Matthew 26:35). But later that night it’s deny, deny, deny.

After the death of Christ, we find Peter with a few of the Apostles out fishing again. Why after all they had been through did Peter go back to his worldly labors? Did he think that the last three years were done and that was it? As they are coming in from a long night with empty nets they see a man on the shore. He asks them to cast their nets into the water. Peter responds by telling the person on the shore that they had toiled all night and caught nothing, but being obedient they cast off their nets and it is so full the nets brake. This begins to be familiar to Peter and he takes a closer look at the person on the shore and recognized it is Jesus. He jumps in the water and swims to meet him where there is some fish cooking and Peter and Jesus have an important conversation about his love for the Savior or the fish (which represented worldly things). Elder Jeffry R. Holland, of the Quorum of Twelve Apostles, puts the conversation between the risen Savior and Peter in perspective when he says:

“The Savior … continues to look into the eyes of His disciple and says again, “Peter, do you love me?” Undoubtedly confused a bit by the repetition of the question, the great fisherman answers a second time, “Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee.

The Savior again gives a brief response, but with relentless scrutiny He asks for the third time, “Peter, do you love me?” By now surely Peter is feeling truly uncomfortable. Perhaps there is in his heart the memory of only a few days earlier when he had been asked another question three times and he had answered equally emphatically—but in the negative. Or perhaps he began to wonder if he misunderstood the Master Teacher’s question. Or perhaps he was searching his heart, seeking honest confirmation of the answer he had given so readily, almost automatically. Whatever his feelings, Peter said for the third time, “Lord, … thou knowest that I love thee.”

To which Jesus responded (and here again I acknowledge my nonscriptural elaboration), perhaps saying something like: “Then Peter, why are you here? Why are we back on this same shore, by these same nets, having this same conversation? Wasn’t it obvious then and isn’t it obvious now that if I want fish, I can get fish? What I need, Peter, are disciples—and I need them forever. I need someone to feed my sheep and save my lambs. I need someone to preach my gospel and defend my faith. I need someone who loves me, truly, truly loves me, and loves what our Father in Heaven has commissioned me to do. Ours is not a feeble message. It is not a fleeting task. It is not hapless; it is not hopeless; it is not to be consigned to the ash heap of history. It is the work of Almighty God, and it is to change the world. So, Peter, for the second and presumably the last time, I am asking you to leave all this and to go teach and testify, labor and serve loyally until the day in which they will do to you exactly what they did to me.” (“The First and Great Commandment”, Elder Jeffry R. Holland, General Conference Address, October 2012)
Did Peter finally get the message of what faith in the Lord Jesus Christ meant? Sometime after the Savior had taught the people after his resurrection and the Day of Pentecost had finally come, we find Peter and John going into the temple. As they enter the temple, they see a man there begging for alms. The man asked Peter and John for an alms, but Peter simply said to the man: “Look on us”. The man was expecting to receive something, but instead Peter said:

Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk.
And he took him by the right hand, and lifted him up: and immediately his feet and ankle bones received strength.
And he leaping up stood, and walked, and entered with them into the temple, walking, and leaping, and praising God. (Acts 3:6-8)

Peter did not just tell him to rise up, he took him by the hand and lifted him onto his feet. Peter was fully converted. The transition of Peter the fisherman to Peter the Apostle was complete. He finally understood what the Savior was trying to tell him on the shore by the sea. Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ is not something we just feel. It is manifest in the way we live our lives. It is active not passive. The first principle of faith is that we must act on our hope that Jesus Christ is our Savior and do the things that he did. We must be willing to follow the example that Christ set in his ministry and be active in helping all of Heavenly Father’s children, our brothers and sister come to know the same things that we are seeking. Only then will our hope in Christ bear the fruit of true faith.

Next week, I will discuss my experiences in The Path to Faith – Part 2,

Your comments and questions are welcome.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

The Faith of a Child

One of the primary songs that our children sing is called “A Child’s Prayer”. The words are:

1. Heavenly Father, are you really there?
And do you hear and answer ev'ry child's prayer?
Some say that heaven is far away,
But I feel it close around me as I pray.
Heavenly Father, I remember now
Something that Jesus told disciples long ago:
"Suffer the children to come to me."
Father, in prayer I'm coming now to thee.
2. Pray, he is there;
Speak, he is list'ning.
You are his child;
His love now surrounds you.
He hears your prayer;
He loves the children.
Of such is the kingdom, the kingdom of heav'n.
Words and music: Janice Kapp Perry, b. 1938

One day our eight-year-old grandson, Nathan, asked my wife a question. He said: “Grandma, why do the say that?” He was asking about the first line in the song. He wanted to know why someone would ask if Heavenly Father was really there? He does not doubt that his Father in Heaven is real or that he knows who he is and that he loves him. That is the faith of a child.

When do we lose that childlike faith and why? I don’t know if this was on the minds of the disciples when they asked Jesus who was the greatest in the kingdom of heaven, but the Savior brought a child and set him in the midst of them and said: “Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven”.

What did Jesus mean when he said: “become as little children”? I think he was talking of their faith. Sometimes when I have a rough day or when I listen to news and see all the wickedness and sorrow in the world, I get those questions going through my mind: “Heavenly Father, are you really there”? Do you really care? Sometimes these experiences can bring doubts and cloud that childlike faith. When that happens we need to remember Jesus’s admonition to become as little children.

Sister Jean A. Stevens, First Counselor in the Primary General Presidency, gave a talk in the April 2011 General Conference titled “Become as a Little Child”. In that address she said:

“Our Father in Heaven, in His great wisdom and love, sends His spirit sons and daughters to this earth as children. They come to families as precious gifts with a divine nature and destiny. Our Heavenly Father knows children are a key to helping us become like Him. There is so much we can learn from children….These precious children of God come to us with believing hearts. They are full of faith and receptive to feelings of the Spirit. They exemplify humility, obedience, and love. They are often the first to love and the first to forgive.”

She then tells about Todd, a two-year-old boy, who went with his mother to visit an art museum that was showing paintings of the Savior. Sister Stevens describes what Todd’s mother witnessed:

As they walked past these sacred images, she heard her little boy reverently saying the name “Jesus.” She looked down to see him folding his arms and bowing his head as he viewed the paintings. Could we learn from Todd something about an attitude of humility, of reverence, and of love for the Lord?...

It is here in our families, in an atmosphere of love, where we see and appreciate in a more personal way the divine attributes of His spirit children. It is here in our families where our hearts can be softened and in humility we desire to change, to become more childlike. It is a process by which we can become more Christlike.”

I had the opportunity to help tend four of our grandchildren for three days while their parents were gone. One evening after we had put them to bed, our six-year-old granddaughter, Jordan, came down from her bed saying that her stomach was hurting. I suggested that she go back to bed and try to go to sleep. She went back to her room but a few minutes later she came back saying that her stomach still hurt. I said that she really needed to try and go to sleep and that she would be all right. A few minutes later she was back again. I asked if she would like me to give her a blessing to help her stomach stop hurting and she said yes. I gave her the blessing and she went back to bed and immediately fell asleep. She had faith in the priesthood that I held and the faith that her Heavenly Father would hear that blessing and heal her and she was right.

My wife and I have nine grandchildren and we love each one of them. They are full of energy, love AND faith. Through my experiences with them, I have come to know in a small way the love that our Heavenly Father has for us his children and why Jesus admonished us to become as they are.

Another time Jesus said: “suffer the little children to come to him, for of such is the kingdom of God. (Luke 18:16). I know that, when life’s experiences cause us to doubt; if we can develop the faith of our children that we will be welcomed back into the presence of our Father and our Savior Jesus Christ and we won’t have to ask: “Heavenly Father are you really there? We will know by the spirit of the Holy Ghost that he is there and he will never leave us alone.

Your thoughts and comments are welcome

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Achieving Happiness in Our Marriage

In the movie “Fiddler on The Roof”, Tevia asks his wife Golda, “do you love me?”  He asked the question because theirs was a marriage made by a matchmaker, as was their custom.  But one of his daughters had rejected that custom as old fashioned and wanted to marry someone that she loved.  He had thought about that and so he asked his wife, “do you love me?”

Golda responded by telling him all of the things that she had done for him for 25 years.  But Tevia persisted, “Golda, do you love me?”  She went on with another list of things that she does for him.  But Tevia again says, “no Golda, do YOU LOVE ME?”  Golda then replies, if that’s not love, then what is?  And Tevia responds: “Then you love me?” And Golda replies: “I suppose I do” Then Tevia says: “Then I suppose I love you too!” 

I’m sure Tevia loved his wife for all the things that she did for him, but that was not what he wanted to know.  He wanted to know if, in spit of all the problems and rough times they had, was their 25 years together worth it?  Would she do it again?  They loved each other enough to sacrifice temporary and fleeting things for those things that would bring true happiness and eternal blessings.

President Gordon B. Hinckley said in his book, “Standing For Something”:

 “Too many who come to marriage have been coddled and spoiled and somehow led to feel that everything must be precisely right at all times, that life is a series of entertainments, that appetites are to be satisfied without regard to principle, that no one could be expected to endure the hardship and challenge that comes at one time or another into most marriages.  How tragic are the consequences of such hollow and unreasonable thinking! . . . I fear that marriage, which was once regarded as a sacred sacrament, is increasingly becoming a secular experiment – if it works, great, if not, try something (or someone) else. People seem to be losing a sense of accountability, not only to one another but to God.” (Standing For Something, p.131-132.)

In a broadcast fireside given on January 29, 1984,President Hinckley gave us four cournerstones for our foundation that we should build our homes (“Cornerstones of a Happy Home, Gordon B. Hinckley, 29 January 1984).

1.                   The first cornerstone: Mutual respect and loyalty to one another.

“I have long felt that happiness in marriage involves a willingness to overlook weakness and mistakes.  I like what one man said: ‘Love is not blind – it sees more, not less, but because it see more, it is willing to see less.’ “If husbands and wives would only give greater emphasis to the virtues that are to be found in one another and less to the faults, there would be fewer broken hearts and promises, fewer tears, fewer divorces, and much more happiness in their homes…Cultivate that kind of respect which expresses itself in kindness, forbearance, patience forgiveness, true affection and without show of authority.”

President Hinckley mentioned forgiveness as part of that cornerstone. One of the problems couples have is they do not let their spouse know that they have done something to hut them and it festers until things explode. One speaker at a BYU devotional told the story of a couple he was counseling. He asked the wife to give some examples of something her husband had done to hurt her. They had been married for 10 years and she said when they were first married and she was in labor having their first child her husband said to her: “I hope this is not going to take long because the game is starting.”

Now I’m sure some of you guys out there are saying: “What, what’s wrong with that?” If you are thinking it, stop don’t say anything! She had held that in for 10 years and never said anything. And now their marriage was about to end. I wonder what would have happened had she said something to her husband instead of keeping if bottled up until the pressure of everything popped the lid off and now there was little they could do to fix things. We need to forgive and allow our spouses to be forgiven.

2.                   The Second cornerstone: The soft answer.

“Quiet talk is the language of love.  It is the language of peace.  It is the language of God.  Who can calculate the depth and pain of the wounds inflicted by harsh and mean words spoken in anger? . . . In every marriage, there are occasional differences.  But I find no justification for tempers that explode at the slightest provocation.”

3.                   The third cornerstone:  Financial honesty.

“I believe that money is the root of more trouble in marriage than all other causes combined.  We live in an age of persuasive advertising and skillful salesmanship, all designed to entice us to spend.  An extravagant husband or wife can jeopardize any marriage. . . I am confident that there is no better discipline, nor one more fruitful with blessings in the handling of our resources, than obedience to the commandment (of tithing).”

One of the things that help with our finances is paying an honest tithing. I have heard some say that they can’t afford to pay tithing or other offerings.  My response to them always is I can’t afford not to pay tithing.  Tithing has never been a problem for my wife or me.  We have always paid a full tithing and we have been blessed because of it.  We have never gone with out.  It has been difficult many times, but we have always had sufficient for our needs. I know that paying tithing works. It really does. 

We must learn to live within our means.  We must avoid dept, we must be willing to pay our tithes and offerings, and we must be willing to set aside enough to carry us through when the storms rage around us.  I remember Elder Hartmon Rector Jr. once said that if we would pay 10% to the Lord first, then if we would put 10% in the bank or savings, or whatever.  That when we retired we would be independent and never have to worry about finances.  That is a wonderful promise and a true principal to strive for - 10% to the Lord and 10% to savings.

4.                   President Hinckley’s fourth cornerstone:  Prayer

“I know of no other practice that will have so salutary effect on our lives as will the practice of kneeling together as a couple in prayer.  The storms that seem to afflict every marriage become of small consequence when we are kneeling before the Lord and addressing Him as suppliant sons and daughters.”

I remember reading a story about a family that was transferred from Salt Lake City to New Jersey.  In addition to culture shock, they also experienced “sticker shock” as they searched for a new home.  They knew what area they wanted to live in, but found that they only qualified for a home in the least expensive homes in the area.  They were shown one home that was a “fixer upper”.  It was so filthy that they couldn’t get out of it fast enough.  Several days later their real estate agent called to tell them that the price had dropped another $15,000.  That put it in the price range that they were looking for, so they decided to take another look at it.  It was still as filthy as before.  After looking at it thoroughly, they went back to their rental to pray about it.  The father was inspired to ask his three-year-old daughter to say the prayer. 

“During her prayer, Katie said, ‘…Heavenly Father, should we buy this house?’  And then she paused.  She paused so long that both my wife and I opened our eyes to see what she was doing.  At about that time, she peeked up at us and whispered excitedly, ‘He said Yes!’”

Going back to the movie “Fiddler on the Roof”.  Tevia is having a conversation with the Lord and he asks if it so wrong to be rich.  He asks: “would it spoil some vast eternal plan, if I were a wealthy man?”  Well like Tevia, we have never been wealthy, nor do we expect that we ever will be.  But we are happy – well, most of the time anyway.  We are confident in the Lord’s promises to pour out his blessings on us as we keep the covenants that we made in the temple.  We are confident in the bond that keeps us together as husbands and wife.  We are confident in the covenant that our children will be ours for all eternity if we as a family can endure through our mortal trials and endure to the end.  While the storms rage and howl around us, we are confident in the knowledge that our house is built on a solid foundation - the foundation of temple covenants and the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  And so I go back to what Tevia and Golda finally concluded: “if that’s not love – what is?”  Then they both sing:  “After 25 years, it doesn’t change a thing, but even so – it’s nice to know!”

It is nice to know that our spouse really does love us; do we tell our spouse that we love them everyday? Our love for each other is as tender as our testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ. If we are not spiritually fed everyday, we can lose the spirit and we become prey to those in the world that would pull us from the gospel path. The same is true of our marriages. We need to do something everyday to nurture the love we have for each other and then show our spouse how we feel by doing something for them daily.

There was a reason that we were attracted to our spouse. We fell in love and got married because of that love. If for some reason that love is not as it was when we were first married, then we need to remember why we chose to marry. We need to go back and court our spouse as we did before we were married. Everyday we are together is precious and we must treat each other that way. Only then can we have eternal happiness in our marriages.

I welcome your comments and questions 

Sunday, July 7, 2013

The Tender Mercies of the Lord

Do you wonder if the Lord is aware of you? How could he really be concerned about my insignificant problems and me personally? These examples show that the Lord is aware of all his children and his tender mercies are there for us when we need it the most.

In 1 Nephi 1:20 Nephi says:

“But behold, I, Nephi, will show unto you that the tender mercies of the Lord are over all those whom he hath chosen, because of their faith, to make them mighty even unto the power of deliverance.”

Elder David A. Bednar, of the Council of 12 Apostles, in a 2005 General Conference address said:

“I testify that the tender mercies of the Lord are real and that they do not occur randomly or merely by coincidence. Often, the Lord’s timing of His tender mercies helps us to both discern and acknowledge them. (

…as you and I face challenges and tests in our lives, the gift off faith and an appropriate sense of personal confidence that reaches beyond our own capacity are two examples of the tender mercies of the Lord. Repentance and forgiveness of sins and peace of conscience are examples of the tender mercies of the Lord. And the persistence and the fortitude that enable us to press forward with cheerfulness through physical limitations and spiritual difficulties are examples of the tender mercies of the Lord. “

In that talk Elder Bednar tells of a stake leader that took the time to memorize the names of all the youth in his stake. One night he had a dream about one of the young men. In the dream the young man was a missionary and with his companion was teaching a family about the Book of Mormon. He was holding the Book of Mormon in his hand and was testifying of the truthfulness of it. Later he saw the young man in a stake priesthood meeting and asked if he could talk with him. He told him of the dream and then asked what he thought it meant. The young man said: “It means God knows who I am.”  Elder Bednar then says:

“That young man received the Lord’s tender mercies through an inspired priesthood leader. I repeat again, the Lord’s tender mercies do not occur randomly or merely by coincidence. Faithfulness and obedience enable us to receive these important gifts and, frequently, the Lord’s timing helps us to recognize them.”  (The Tender Mercies of the Lord, Elder David A. Bednar, General Conference, April 2005)

President Reutzel, President of the Logan Utah Married 1st Stake, in a Stake Council meeting was teaching this principle and he read the scripture in Moses 7:28-30

 "28 And it came to pass that the God of heaven looked upon the residue of the people, and he wept; and Enoch bore record of it, saying: How is it that the heavens weep, and shed forth their tears as the rain upon the mountains?

 29 And Enoch said unto the Lord: How is it that thou canst weep, seeing thou art holy, and from all eternity to all eternity?

 30 And were it possible that man could number the particles of the earth, yea, millions of earths like this, it would not be a beginning to the number of thy creations; and thy curtains are stretched out still; and yet thou art there, and thy bosom is there; and also thou art just; thou art merciful and kind forever;"

President Reutzel then said:

“How is it that the God of Heaven who is without sin has set his heart on something as menial as us. He has graven our image on the palm of his hand and weeps for us. What does that tell us of our God? Does he live in a realm that is untouched and unblemished to our suffering and pain? Is his willingness to weep for us evidence of his love and the nature of being a God?

He is involved in the intimate details of our lives and he makes himself vulnerable to those things that hurt us and make themselves vulnerable to pain because they love us.” (President D. Ray Reutzel to Logan Utah Married 1st Stake Council, November 28, 2012)

I would like to share an experience that I had the shows that the Lord is in the details of our lives and we can experience his tender mercies when we need it the most. I have always been active in sports both as an athlete in high school and college and for the past 30 years I have continued to be active in sports as a referee. I have also participated in 12 marathons and several triathlons including an iron man triathlon. I am seldom sick and had never spent a day in the hospital until 2004.

On July 31, 2004 I felt sick and ended up going to the emergency room and finally had a few tests taken and they determined that I was suffering from pancreatitis. I had no idea what a pancreas was let alone how serious it was. I found out that many people die from it. I spent the next 21 days in the hospital, 11 days of it in intensive care. The doctor told my wife that he did not know if I would survive or not and that it would be best to call in our children. For four days, they did not know if I would die or not. My Bishop at that time was Boyd Rowley, who is now the Bishop of the 2nd Ward here in the 1st Stake. He came and gave me a blessing. In that blessing he told me that it was not my time to go and that the Lord had more work for me to do. He also said that there would be angels watching over me and that those who cared for me would know what they needed to do.

At the same time I was going through this, my wife who has multiple sclerosis was going through a difficult time with that disease. She had a hard time walking and was in constant pain. Now her husband was in the hospital and she did not know if I would live or not. Two days after I started my problems our oldest son called and said the our youngest son was hit while running across I-15 and was flown by life flight to the University Hospital in Salt Lake and he was not expected to live.

My wife did not know what to do. Should she stay here with me or go to the hospital in Salt Lake and be with her son. She was given a blessing and was told to stay with me. My oldest son went to be with our youngest and helped him as best as he could. He survived, but I have no idea how. He was hit by one car and thrown under another car that ran over him. Both his legs were broken and he had other life threatening injuries.

We were able to get through this time because of the tender mercies of the Lord rested upon us and we felt his peace comforting us. These experiences have strengthened our relationship and brought us closer as husband and wife. There are other very sacred experiences we had during this time that helped us know that Heavenly Father is aware of us and will help us in our time of need.

It is my testimony that our Father in Heaven and our Savior Jesus Christ can be in the details of our lives if we allow them. They want to bless us and will be there to comfort us in our hour of need if we live worthily and invite them in. It is because of God, our Heavenly Father and his Son Jesus Christ that we are here in mortality and through the atonement of our Savior, Jesus Christ, can live with them again as eternal families. I am truly grateful to know they love us enough to be in the details of our lives.

Your comments and questions are welcome.