Oh! Remember, Remember to keep the commandments of God

The greatest gift that God has given us is our mind and memory and the freedom to choose what we will do with that wonderful gift. Just think of the possibility that our minds can have the capacity to grow learn and record thoughts and information eternally. Our first thoughts and experiences are the start of our memories and they continue to be recorded throughout our lives and will rise with us in the resurrection. What is recorded in our minds and memories will determine what we are and what we can become.

I am so thankful for my parents and my early family life that gave me the basic memories that have guided me through my life. Those memories of the love of my parents and brothers and sisters and basic teachings of the Gospel of Jesus Christ gave me the start and attitude of storing good and wonderful memories to treasure always. The good experiences and recordings served as a base with which to compare that which was not good and should be a lesson to help choose that which is good.

I am very thankful that I grew up in the programs of the church learning line upon line and precept upon precept and that I had good parents and good ward and Stake leaders to help me record in my memory the teachings of the Gospel. When I needed these principles and memories they were there to not only guide my life but to teach others those truths and principles.

I am thankful that my memory has recorded the joy and love that I experienced when Naoma and I were sealed for time and eternity in the Mesa Temple. It has recorded the expanding of my capacity to love and increasing of my joy at the birth of each of our children. All of the little experiences during all of the years of raising our family have been faithfully recorded for all time and eternity. Every place we have traveled has become ours and is part of our recorded memories. All of these things have formed our concept of life and have been part of the joy of living. I am so thankful that our Father in Heaven sent us hear to gain earthly experience. It has been a wonderful experience of love and joy in overcoming challenges and our own faults as we lived together as a family. We both worked together in trying to build toward an eternal family. Our years of service in the church have been recorded in our hearts and minds and has increased our capacity to love and the joy of service has filled our lives.

I am so thankful for 12 years of teaching seminary to five different classes each day. I am thankful that I had to prepare five different lessons to face five classes of about 30 students each daily. Each day I had to prepare a lesson in the New Testament, The Old Testament, The Book of Mormon, Church History, and a book of Mormon Class in Spanish. Those wonderful Scriptures, stories and teachings were recorded in my heart, mind and memory. They have guided and colored all of the experiences that I have had in my life.

The covenants we make with our Heavenly Father usually involve things that we must remember always and record them on our hearts. Especially we must remember the Savior and keep his commandments. The marvel of this is that our capacity to learn and remember is infinite and without slowing down. The more we learn the more we can learn because it creates a base on which to place more learning and understanding. Based on the teachings of the Savior our minds can discern between truth and error and seek out the truth in all the branches of learning.

What a waste it is for a person to impair his mind with evil thoughts which turn into actions and terrible memories. When a person is born with a mind that cannot develop as it should, perhaps the Lord will make them whole when they have finished their probation and they can continue their learning through eternity. Of course that depends on what caused the mind to be impaired or if it was caused by the persons choices and thoughts.

I remember one summer when we were working on the Riqueña Farm we were planting potatoes in the good bottom land near the river. At noon the Teams of horses were given a rest so we would take our lunch and go the short distance down to the Presa (a dam in the river) that formed a wide deep pool in the river that was perfect for swimming on a hot day. I remember that this particular summer Chu (short for Jesus)was usually there waiting for us to come and swim and eat our lunch. Chu was a strong slender man who was a powerful swimmer and good diver. He could dive in and disappear and finally come up a 100 yards from where he went in the water. He could swim with great speed with long overhand strokes that took half his body out of the water. He would enjoy going along with a whoop! Whoop! At every other stroke raising his strong body high out of the water. But in this strong athletic body was the mind of a little child. After tiring of sporting in the water He would come out and sit mildly on the shady bank near where we would be eating our lunch. He would shyly accept one of my sandwiches and very slowly and daintily eat it. Every once in a while he would close his eyes and in a mild soft voice repeat Nursery Rhymes in perfect English. One might be "Little Jack Horner sat in a corner eating a Christmas pie. He stuck in his thumb and pulled out a plumb saying what a good boy am I". He would eat a little more and quote another Rhyme. Perhaps it might be, "Little Miss Muffet sat on a Tuffet eating her Curds and Whey. Along came a spider and sat down beside her and frightened Miss Muffet away".

When we would ask Chu where he had learned these rhymes he would look at us mildly with a faint smile on his peaceful face. We could not converse with him in Spanish or English. He seemed to understand simple things but could not reply to a question. When we were ready to go one of the boys he was with from Casas Grandes would say, "Vamonos Chu" and he would get up obediently and go with them home. He would be wearing some cut of pants for a swimming suit but nothing else to cover or protect his dark suntanned body. His head was always shaved so we did not ever see  his hair. He was indeed a meek, mild child in his mind. Every one in Casas Grandes treated him kindly and seemed to love him for his mild disposition.

In later years I would see him sitting peacefully in the shade of the big trees in the park. I often  wondered who had raised him as a little child. Loving him and softly reciting Nursery Rhymes to him. Maybe in some Orphanage or some institution for the mentally retarded. His simple mind had recorded with love those English words. He could quote them without a flaw and many different ones. Not on request but only when those loving thoughts came to his mind and gave him pleasure. He seemed to always quote them while he was slowly enjoying a good sandwich. 

In my mind I classed Chu with those little ones that need no Baptism and are saved in the kingdom of God through the atonement of Jesus Christ. He  could not commit sin nor was it his disposition to do so. Indeed he was one of those meek, spoken of by the Savior, who are to inherit the earth.

I also remember the vivid picture of a tall gaunt graying man. He walked slowly along, his feet were bare and his shoulders were stooped and his face downcast from searching the ground as he took each slow step along his way. His clothes were worn and patched in the extreme but he always seemed to be clean. He carried a cut off, worn broom stick under his arm. I suspect more for self defense than to walk with. I never dared to observe him closely for he was the famous "Loco" of Dublan. His name was Cleofas and as usual everyone in town knew of him and his strange malady. I often observed him passing the mill walking along the Railroad Track often pausing to search out and pick up a Cigarette Butt that he collected to carefully smoke later. If someone passed close to him he would pause and watch them carefully as they went on by.  Some of the Bullies of the town who knew him well would go speak to him on purpose to hear his vindictive and obscene replies. If they said, "Que Hubo Cleofas", he would recite a muttered obscene verse with each line rhyming with Cleofas. If they said, "Que hay Cleofin". He would  pronounce a vindictive Ryme about them and their ancestry with each line rhyming with Cleofin. If they laughed at his evil verses he would threaten them with his stick and if this didn't work he would open his pants and expose his genitals with obscene gestures, cursing them with more evil verses. Soon he would be so angry that he would pick up rocks and send his tormentors running and dodging for shelter. He could throw those rocks with speed and accuracy from long practice. He seemed to be old to me as a boy. but he must have been about 45 years old. His graying hair and gray stubble of a beard made him seem much older to me.

Rumor had it that he had been sent back to Mexico from an Institution for the mentally insane from some place in the US. Also it was said that some of his family took care of him there in Dublan. They later moved to Colonia Juarez and I saw him occasionally wandering the street around the Academy.

I have often wondered how a person could come to such a degraded state of mind. Surely Satan must have gradually possessed his mind and filled it with evil thoughts and verses driving out his sanity. What a waste of a human mind and a human life. He must have lost his mind after many evil experiences and after losing his conscience and was totally degraded by guilt and evil thoughts.

One of the dear friends of my growing up years was Hector Spencer. He was a fun loving carefree boy who was raised in a loving family. His father gave him a black Shetland Pony. Her name was Merrylegs. She was about four feet tall and very fat and round and was very good natured and fun to ride. Later she had a Bay Colt that Hector named Deer. When some of us boys would pass the Spencer place on our way to the Old Fredrickson Hole Hector would get on Merrylegs and bring Deer along and we would all go swimming down in the river. It was great fun to get on the Shetlands and swim them in the deep water. They loved to swim especially Deer. He was a little taller than his mother and was a very good swimmer.

In High School Hector was full of fun and a bit mischievous but was an intelligent and a good student. Sometimes in English class he would whistle a high soft whistle that Sister Nelle Hatch could not hear. She was getting rather deaf especially for the higher pitch sounds. Some of the girls would giggle at his high pitched tune and Sister Hatch could not discover the problem.

Hector and Eloise Coon were married and had a nice family of five. Three beautiful little girls and two boys. Hector became our Bishop in the Dublan Ward. He was also very active in the stake missionary work with his father. He could translate the talks of the General authorities when they came to conference so well that some of them cautioned him not to improve upon their talks. He was famous for his great knowledge of the Scriptures and gave excellent talks both in the ward and in our conferences.

One Sunday we were all sitting in church and enjoying the service. After the Sacrament Bishop Spencer got up and told us all that he had been converted to the doctrine of polygamy as taught by the Church of the First Born over in Galeana. He advised us all to investigate the doctrine and come with him over to join the Lebarons in Galeana. A great shocked silence filled the hall until many of the people began to weep softly. All of us were filled a deep shocked sadness as the Bishop walked out of the building. Hector's cousin Eldon Robinson, who is also my cousin, got up and added his Testimony to that of the bishop and walked out after the Bishop. I don't believe that the meeting was even dismissed with prayer we just all got up and went home in shocked sadness.

I asked myself, "How could this happen to my dear friend Hector. Surely he must be able to see the great error he had made and sure he could understand that he would lose his lovely wife and family and his eternal exaltation.

The Stake Presidency called him in and talked to him many hours but to no avail. They took him to Salt Lake to be interviewed and  talked to by some of the General Authorities of the  church. I was  told about the interview. For over an hour the Apostle talked with Hector and could make no progress. Finally they knelt in prayer and Hector broke down and shed tears of grief and repentance. When he came back he seemed to be repentant and was still acting as Bishop of our Ward. After about a month he moved to Galeana and left his family. We heard that he had a young wife in Lebaronville and had been married for some time. He was excommunicated from the Church and we all learned that it was very dangerous to associate with those that had the spirit of Apostacy and the spirit of Satan.

Hector soon became bitter against the church and wrote in the company of Billie Pratt some anti Mormon literature. That did not last long and Hector became disenchanted with the Lebarons and left them. We heard that he had gone into spiritualism or something like that and had completely lost his Testimony and was becoming an Atheist. He has drifted here and there and left his Lebaron wife and married another. He is now living in Alaska with no religion at all in his life. He has visited his family occasionally but they are not close to him.

I wonder if Hector's recorded memories of his boyhood and growing up years and those dear memories of his wife and family ever come up to remind him of what might have been. "The saddest words of tongue or pen are these sad words it might have been".

May we realize that each thought and experience is recorded in our memories for ever and in that day that we are called to be judged we will recall with clarity our every act and thought and be held accountable for them. May they all bring us good feelings of love and joy and not remorse, grief and guilt. If we live the commandments of the Lord as best we can then our recorded memories will bring us joy and love of the Savior and our Heavenly Father.