Another parable spake he unto them; The kingdom
of heaven is like unto the leaven, which a woman took and hid in
three measures of meal until the whole was leavened.
This morning Naoma got up early and announced that she
was going to make some bread. As we worked together in the kitchen
making the bread, (I did help a little) I lived again in memory the
scene of long ago when I witnessed my mother mixing and baking bread.
It came to my mind that because I had seen this process many tines I
could readily understand the Saviors parable of the Leaven.
When I was a very small boy my mother handed me a two
quart jar and asked me to go down to Aunt Sophie Bluth's and ask her
for a start of yeast. I went down to where Aunt Sophie lived wondering
all the way what a start of yeast was. Aunt Sophie was a large elderly
woman with grey hair and I noticed that she didn't have any teeth
which made me wonder how she ate her food. She took my jar and went
into her little kitchen. She got her large yeast bottle and poured a
cup of the white liquid yeast into my jar. She said, "Tell your Mama
to feed it before she mixes so she will have enough". I puzzled over
these instructions all of the way home but I repeated them exactly
when I gave mother the Jar of yeast. Mother went to the sugar bin and
got a big cup of sugar and mixed it in some warm water and added a cup
of flour. Then she poured it into the yeast jar saying, "that
will be plenty for the bread and some left over for a start for the
next batch". I was fascinated as I watched the yeast begin to work. It
began to bubble slowly and soon the jar was nearly full of beautiful
white foamy yeast. Mother saw my interest and gave me a spoonful to
taste. I still remember that sweet, sour, yeasty taste of that foamy
I watched mother mix her bread and add most of the
yeast leaving only about a cup full for a start for the next batch of
bread. I remember mother's yeast sitting in the cupboard for years
after that and it never seemed to be empty and she always made all of
the bread we ate. Mother mixed the big batch of bread on her big bread
board kneading it until she was satisfied with it's consistency. Then
she molded out eight big loaves and put them in her bread pans and
left them on the back of the stove where it was warm. Soon the bread
was rising. I watched and could almost see it raise until it was
overflowing out of the top of the big bread pans. When it was ready
she put the bread into the big, hot oven of the wood burning stove and
added some wood to the stove and said that it would be done in an
I remember the wonderful smell that filled the kitchen.
When mother took it out it was golden brown three times the size of
the loaves that mother had put into the bread pans. Mother cut a big
slice and buttered it with butter that we had churned that morning.
There is nothing quite as good as hot bread with plenty of fresh
butter on it. I had watched the miracle of the transformation of the
heavy doe into the light delicious bread. I wondered how those little
yeast plants could make the bread rise so evenly into the delicious
light bread.. Obviously they have to work feeding on the ingredients
of the bread and produce tiny bubbles of Carbon dioxide all through
the doe making it puff up and become light.
One interpretation of the parable that Jesus gave is
that we the members of the church are the leaven and when we are
placed in a lump of doe we must work and keep the commandments of the
Lord so as to spread our influence. A small branch of the church that
was organized in Nvo. Casas Grandes began to work spreading it's
influence and gaining members. In the short time of about 30 years it
has grown from a small branch of about 15 or 20 members to now 5 big
active wards of the church.
Just as the yeast in the bread can only work until the
bread is placed in the oven we must use our time in working while the
day lasts for the night will come when we can no longer labor. This
work consists of living the Gospel of Jesus Christ and filling the
measure of our creation. This is the way to joy and happiness in our
lives. Our work together with the work of all of the other
members of the church can leaven the whole place where we live making
it better leavening the whole.
Another interpretation goes along with the parable of
the Mustard seed.
Another parable put He forth unto them, saying the
kingdom of heaven is like to a grain of mustard seed, which a man took
and sowed in his field: which is indeed the least of all seeds; but
when it is grown it is the greatest among herbs, and becometh a
tree so that the birds of the air come and lodge in the branches
When the tiny seed of Testimony is planted in our
hearts we can nourish it to become big and strong as a tree where
others may come and receive strength and encouragement and find help
for them to grow and progress.
Both parables indicate that from small beginnings in
the work of the Lord we can grow and build the kingdom of heaven which
is the Lord's Church here on the earth.
We must work diligently during our day of work
preparing the way for the work to continue when our day is done. Here
to make the point I have over simplified our purpose in life
Just as the Savior simplified his parables to make a point.
One of the commandments of the Lord is for us to
multiply and replenish the earth that we might have joy and rejoicing
in our posterity. If we do this in the context of eternal marriage in
obedience to all of the commandments of the Lord then we can fulfill
the measure of our creation and find joy and happiness as well as work
out our exaltation. We cannot take just one commandment and say I will
obey that one without considering all of the others to keep and obey
all we have been commanded and counseled to do.
We are the children of our Heavenly Father and we must
work in that sphere and with that knowledge in order to fill the
measure of our creation. Which is to become like Him and return to
live with him.
When I was a small boy I had a great love for animals
of all kinds and was constantly bringing different kinds of pets home.
On one of my birthdays I received a big beautiful book, entitled "My
Animal Friends", from President Heber J. Grant. I was born on his
birthday and he sent me that book. That book became some leaven in my
mind to make me want to learn all I could about the wonderful
creations of our Father in Heaven. I started to learn about birds from
a big book entitled Birds of America. I learned to recognize most of
the birds around our area. I also started learning about animals and
their habits. I caught little ground squirrels and domesticated them.
I even carried them to school in my pocket. Sister Bertha Pratt was
our Teacher and she could not hear very well so she didn't hear the
shrill little trilly whistle of the little squirrel in my
When the rains would come about the last part of the
month of June. The first rains were usually good hard rains that would
form deep ponds of water in some of the streets of Dublan. When these
rains came we knew that the frogs would be out that night. When the
water soaked down to where they had buried themselves the year before
they would come out and hop to a near by pond of muddy rain water.
There each frog would begin to croak as loud as he could to attract
the other frogs especially females. Soon there would be a loud chorus
of hundreds of frogs all croaking in loud competition. My
brothers and I would go out into the night to catch frogs. As we
approached the ponds we could see in the starlight the many white
bubbles of the frog's throats. Each Croak would make a big white
bubble in the frog's throat that we could see in the night. We
would grab at the bubble but sometimes the frog would duck
under the muddy water and swim swiftly to the bottom of the pond. We
would wade in and feel around in the mud and many times find the frog.
I remember stuffing my pockets full of frogs and carrying them home
and putting them in mother's big wash tub half full of water. After
that I would take a bucket with two three inches of water in to put
the frogs in. The water was to keep them from jumping out. We would
put a floating board in the tub so that the frogs could get on it to
rest and not have to swim all of the time. The next morning we would
spend time playing with the frogs and observing their behavior.
I remember that Eldon Beck came to see our frogs. He was from the BYU
looking for specimens for their Laboratory. He took a lot of frogs
both male and female and put them to sleep in his bottles of
preservative. When we were up to school at the Y we went into the big
display of all of the animals and insects and we saw our frogs in a
The frogs in the ponds would croak and mate most of the
night but during the day they would be sleeping under the water. After
four or five days the ponds would have bunches of frog eggs on every
blade of grass growing in the ponds and on every available place.
These eggs were a bunch of white soft jelly eggs with a black spot
in the middle of each egg.
The frogs would all leave the pond and go and bury
themselves in the soft ground in some protected area such as under a
fence near an adobe wall. I have watched them many times as they
slowly move their back legs and squirm back and forth until they
gradually go down under the ground. They have a little black spur on
each foot to help them dig into the ground.
Soon the eggs would hatch and the ponds would be full
of little black pollywogs. As the days past they would grow fast and
before long those little black pollywogs would begin to sprout legs.
Then their tails would fall off and there would be hundreds of little
frogs hopping away from the pond to bury themselves in the soft
After two or three days we would turn our frogs
loose and watch them hop away and find a suitable place to bury
themselves in the ground. Here in Dublan the ponds and mud puddles are
gone and are replaced with paved streets. I miss the singing of
the frogs after a hard rain. I don't know where they have all gone but
I learned a lot watching them complete the life cycle. The liquid
yeast of old has now been replaced with packages or cans of dry yeast.
And probably home made bread has gone out of style in most homes
so many children do not get to watch the process of the leaven working
in the doe. I often wondered where Aunt Sophie Bluth got her
start of yeast. I imagine that in the time of Jesus that he saw the
yeast or the leaven being preserved from mix to mix and I am sure he
saw how it made the bread rise before it was baked. He used the
everyday things to illustrate his teachings giving us the wonderful
parables that help us to understand his Gospel.
May we be as the leaven working to leaven the whole
around us. And may we be as the mustard seed. Even though we may feel
that we cannot make a difference is this big world, we can do
our part and be part of the process of making the kingdom heaven grow
into a big tree where all can come and lodge in it's branches and