cc: file, Mom, Sara and Des, Lloyd and Luana Warner, Darrell and Nancy Krueger, Diane Cluff, Tony Hafen, Claude and Katherine Warner, Forest and Amy Warner, Ivan and Chell Warner, and Eric and Renee Miner
"The news from Lake Woebegone is things are never as dark as they seem in our hour of trial. Rob might disagree since he had the opportunity to help me move three yards of mulch around the yard yesterday, much to his chagrin. Rob, I can't believe you actually slept until after 2:00 in the afternoon in an attempt to get out of helping. Please remember how it wasn't as bad as you expected, especially when the ice cream truck came by and I let you and Loren buy $5.00 worth of `cool-me-offs.' A lot of the time our chores and things someone else expects us to do, which we don't really want to do, are only a problem in our mind. In fact, the older I get the more I wonder about the extent and power in our mind.
For Roice, quoting from the introduction to `The Holographic Universe' by Michael Talbot: `In his 1987 book entitled `Synchronicity: The Bridge Between Matter and Mind,' Dr. F. David Peat, a physicist at Queen's University in Canada, asserted that synchronicities (coincidences that are so unusual and so psychologically meaningful they don't seem to be the result of chance alone) can be explained by the holographic model. Peat believes such coincidences are actually `flaws in the fabric of reality.' They revel that our thought processes are much more intimately connected to the physical world than has been hitherto suspected.' To me this says there really are answers to prayers, or as stated in stanza `I.19. Positive' in my book Prime Words:
I find it interesting how the soft sciences are starting to derive such elaborate theories to explain simple truths the prophets had taught for millennia. The eastern cultures in India, China, and Japan have had insights about the power of our mind to transform physical reality for centuries. There is a convergence of scientific, philosophical, and spiritual truths today that is very exciting. On the other side of the same coin, this is very dangerous. It is dangerous because individuals can believe man understands the mysteries of the universe to the degree they loose (or never find) their faith in the master watchmaker, the architect of molecules, DNA, and galaxies.
Roice went to Dallas on an interview trip on Thursday. He was eating at a McDonald's in Love Field when he looked up just as President Mike Pickerd (in our Stake Presidency and Roice and Ben's Bishop when they were in the Young Men's organization) looked up from the phone booth where he was making a call. Roice was amazed about the coincidence of meeting Bishop Pickerd in a crowded and giant city like Dallas. Roice, I am amazed you were amazed. I pray for each of you kids and your Mom and me every day, and although I believe those prayers will be answered in time, sometimes it is nice to have the personal witness of seeing a particularly heartfelt prayer answered. Note there is a big difference in the spirit bearing witness a prayer has been answered and in seeking a sign (which is left for a wicked and an adulterous generation). It is so gratifying to recognize there are living angels among us, who being guided by the common spirit of our Lord and Savior are able to bear testimony by their presence and our knowledge of their goodness in ways that touch the heart. Yes there are synchronicities and coincidences which can not be explained except by a tie between the mind and matter, or by the intervention of an intelligence outside of our experience. My experience in Corvallis, Oregon, when I first found my testimony there is a God, His Son Jesus lives, The Holy Ghost does bear witness, and they have called prophets in these days to give us guidance and help in optimizing our mortal probation, was a specific example of one of these synchronicities.
It has been many years since I read my missionary journal, and several years since I have shared the story with you kids. Roice, you have my missionary journal and you can check to see how well my memory compares with what I wrote down in 1970. My Mom wanted me to have the best start possible, and arranged for me to participate in National Science Foundation funded science institutes after my Junior and Senior year of High School. I have already mentioned in this forum about going to New Mexico State University and meeting the man who discovered Pluto. That was the summer of 1967. The summer of 1968 I was one of about 24-27 kids accepted at a seven week Earth Sciences Institute at Oregon State University in Corvallis, Oregon. I had fairly regularly flown from Cedar City to Salt Lake to have radiation therapy for the pimples/boils all over my face and back. So it wasn't much different to get on the plane in Cedar to fly to Oregon. However, as we left the Salt Lake Airport the plane started to shake like it was falling apart. The pilot told us it was nothing to worry about, that it was probably just a rock lodged between the two front tires, but then when we started to land all of the fire trucks were out on the runway to follow us in. It turned out it was just a rock. However, I missed my connections and didn't get to Corvallis until about 2:00 in the morning. Like Rob I didn't want to get out of bed the next morning, missed breakfast, and found myself on a bus heading for a field trip to a weather radar site in the mountains to the west.
As we took off and as I started to wake up, I asked my seat companion his name. He asked me mine. I asked where he was from, and he said Westminster, Colorado. He asked where I was from. I said `Cedar City, Utah.' He said, `Are you a Mormon?' The rest of the trip to the mountain was answering his questions and feeling very uneasy. When we left the weather station, I made sure I sat by someone new. I asked him his name. He asked me mine. I asked where he was from, and he said New York City. He asked where I was from. I said `Cedar City, Utah.' He said, `Are you a Mormon?' The rest of the trip back to Corvallis was spent answering his questions and feeling very uneasy. When we got back I slipped off by myself by the pine trees near our dorm and offered the first prayer I remember saying since praying for a bicycle several years before. I left my grove of trees knowing there is a God and He does answer prayers. I found the two guys, we went to the library after dinner, I checked out a Book of Mormon, they checked out a Bible, and we didn't study meteorology during the evenings. The discussions were intense, and as a seminary dropout and inactive Priest I didn't know many of the answers to their questions. But I knew we would find the answers to their questions.
The `coincidence' happened on Friday night. There was a band playing, and since `The MydKnight Hour' (formerly The Keynotes) had just broke up at the end of our senior year I was interested in going to check them out. Four of the group who had been studying the scriptures were interested in going to see if there were any good looking girls there. So we walked downtown, went into an empty dance floor, listened to a rendition of `In the Gatta De Vetta' (sp?), and decided to walk back to the dorm. As we were crossing a street, Rich Schoboe, (sp?) held out his hands, stopped a passing car, a little red Mazda, walked around to the driver's side of the car, and asked if he would take the five of us to get a `root beer.' He was receptive enough we all gathered around the car to try and talk him into this. As we were talking a big yellow Chevrolet pulled up and started honking at us. The passenger, obviously drunk and later we found out a star of the OSU National Championship football team, jumped out and started yelling at us. We scattered like fall leaves in a wind storm. The driver of the Mazda listened to a few obscenities, then peeled out.
However, he drove around the block, found us as we were gathering back together, and invited us to all get in. As the root beer was being ordered he asked us to each tell him our names, where we were from, and what we were doing in Corvallis. I was last. I was sitting in the middle in the back, looking in his eyes in the rear view mirror when I said `I am Roice Nelson from Cedar City, Utah, and what is your name and where are you from?' He looked at me and said, `I am Mike Cavender from a small town outside of Corvallis, but I just came back from two years in Australia.' I said, `What were you doing in Australia?' He said, `Yeh, you're right.' When we got back to the dorm he asked if I wanted to go to church with him. One of the guys was there and said `I'll go too, if you guys go to my church.' That Sunday I went to the Lutheran Church with John and Mike, then we went to our church. Over the next six weeks we had one discussion per week. All but one or two of the summer students attended the fifth discussion, where questions about the plan of salvation were answered. As far as I know, I was the only one of this group to join the church that summer, and I had been baptized when I was about 10 years old. My testimony did not derive from the coincidence, but rather the synchronicity was a witness to me which has been, and I believe will continue to be, the spiritual iron rod of my life. I, like Job, know that my redeemer lives, and after skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God (Job 19:25-26).
I realize, Roice, you might feel I am making a mountain out of a molehill, with you just happening to meet President Pickerd and then just mentioning it in passing when we talked on the phone Thursday evening. My defense is that great things can proceed from small beginnings (Alma 37:7, 41; and D&C 64:33), fools mock but they shall mourn (Ether 12:26), we receive no witness until after the trial of our faith (Ether 12:6), and I needed something to write about this week which I felt would be interesting to those who read these Thoughtlets. And Rob, even though you dreaded helping with the mulch, it wasn't even partially as bad as you made it out to be in your mind. And even though I was feeling pretty bad about $103,000 tax liability last Sunday evening, when I got the reworked paperwork yesterday the accountants were able to get the number to about $80,000 and this is well within the $93,000 I was able to raise by selling off my retirement funds earlier in the week. It even leaves me some money to put towards Katie's scholarship fund and a river trip family vacation, if any of you kids or your Mom are interested in joining me on this kind of adventure in early June."