Bill’s Words of Wisdom

Elder E,

I don’t know if you recall when I was driving you and Elder H home one night, where you spontaneously asked me; “if I had words of advice/wisdom for us young boys.” I’m not sure from where you where inspired to ask such a question of me, but since you did I decided the topic deserved more thought and consideration than I was able to give under such brief and impromptu circumstances.

Some of these are my original thoughts, while the others are ones that come from other historical sources that strike strong accord with me, while some are combined versions of both original and historical. I hope all will inspire and strike some accord with you as well, if not immediately, then after you’ve done your own in depth research and study.

You’ll note that nowhere herein that I’ve bothered to address any “Mormon” specific topics. This was deliberate. I believe you already have more than enough expert directives on this topic. Instead I chose to address three categories of topics that I find globally lacking regardless of religious context. I’ve also done my best to limit what could otherwise be construed as being overtly critical towards any specific religious institutions, although I could very easily go there. I’m hoping to inspire, rather than be insulting or inflammatory.

Please note that these are but a small sampling of my thoughts. I could easily fill pages upon pages of information and resources. I did my best to keep this as brief and concise as possible.

So here it goes.

Health:

Don’t let your waist circumference get too far from the length of your inseam. Ever.

Let your only vice in life to be to push body to its physical limits. The obvious reward in better health are only part of the benefit, the other more valuable benefits are increased mental and spiritual fortitude. As a devoted Christian, these are priceless assets.

Force yourself each year to accomplish some physically demanding event. Try to pick something that at first glance you’d say to yourself “I could never do that”; and then set out to do it.

The self learning that occurs from pushing yourself to the point that you feel you can’t go any further, will better prepare you to take on any obstacle in life. Yet another priceless asset.

That which is hardest to do is proportionately more fulfilling, than that which is easiest to do.

You are what you eat is only part of the equation. The other part is that you are what your food eats. Know where all your food comes from, choose the most natural and purest foods.  For starters, the more foods you eat without bar codes on them, the better.

Everyone has a doctor in him or her; we just have to help it in its work. The natural healing force within each one of us is the greatest force in getting well. Our food should be our medicine. Our medicine should be our food. – Hippocrates


Education/Learning:

Keep an open mind; observe all sides of an argument.

I've never let my school interfere with my education. -- Mark Twain Don’t let any school interfere with your education either.

Facts are to understanding, what bricks are to a finished house. An accumulation of facts are no more to understanding, than a pile of bricks are to a finished house.

This following quote perfectly applies to what we get from the establishment media:

A smart man only believes half of what he hears; a wise man knows which half. -- Jeff Cooper

With the above quote in mind, learn to think for yourself. Start your road to becoming the wise man by never allowing your TV screen to be bigger than your personal library. Now don’t go out and by a 13” TV and call it a day. On the contrary, get the biggest large screen TV you can afford and make sure your personal library becomes twice the size.

Liberty/Politics:

Well, saving the best for last, here’s the topic I could easily devote a complete book to unto itself. Absent indulgence in a complete book, let these thoughts and concepts, that burn strong in my heart, get you started on your personal journey to understand and appreciate the nation founded on individual liberty that we have lost. Notice carefully that I didn’t say what we might lose, or what we are losing, but rather what we have completely lost. The real question before us all now is: what are we prepared to do about it?

At this time I’ll refrain from stating the level of political activism I’m prepared to invoke, except to leave this little hint from my all time favorite founding father:

"God forbid we should ever be twenty years without such a rebellion. The people cannot be all, and always, well informed. The part which is wrong will be discontented, in proportion to the importance of the facts they misconceive. If they remain quiet under such misconceptions, it is lethargy, the forerunner of death to the public liberty. ...And what country can preserve its liberties, if its rulers are not warned from time to time, that this people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms. The remedy is to set them right as to the facts, pardon and pacify them. What signify a few lives lost in a century or two? The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time, with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is its natural manure." – TJ

OK, wiping the tears from my eyes…

“In the beginning of a change the patriot is a scarce man, and brave, and hated and scorned. When his cause succeeds, the timid join him, for then it costs nothing to be a patriot.” – Mark Twain

Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for yourself. If people would be more inclined to take care of themselves, both in terms of their health and financial responsibilities, a major portion of our modern day woes would vanish.

"A government big enough to give you everything you want is a government big enough to take from you everything you have.” -- Gerald Ford nuff said.


History does indeed repeat itself:

"The release of initiative and enterprise made possible by self-government ultimately generates disintegrating forces from within. Again and again, after freedom brings opportunity and some degree of plenty, the competent become selfish, luxury-loving and complacent; the incompetent and unfortunate grow envious and covetous; and all three groups turn aside from the hard road of freedom to worship the golden calf of economic security. The historical cycle seems to be: from bondage to spiritual faith; from spiritual faith to courage; from courage to liberty; from liberty to abundance; from abundance to selfishness; from selfishness to apathy; from apathy to dependency; and from dependency back to bondage once more." -- Warren T. Hackett “It's Your Choice” 1983

I think it’s pretty self-evident as to which phase we currently are in, and which phase we are currently heading into.

It’s one thing to know if something is constitutional or not, but it’s another altogether to know why it is or isn’t constitutional. The former relies on a mere textual examination, while the latter relies on understanding and appreciating the wisdom behind the text being there in the first place. The first can be accomplished in a few minutes, while the other could easily take days, years and even the better part of a lifetime to fully appreciate.

And finally:

"The price good men pay for indifference to public affairs is to be ruled by evil men." --  Plato

And just one more for the road…

"All that is required for evil to prevail is for good men to do nothing." -- Edmund Burke I think that for far, far too long, the good men in this country have in fact done nothing. I implore you to refuse, with all your spiritual might, to not be one of these men.

I really could go on and on. In fact it’s a bit of torture for me reign in my inclination to continue to pour out the contents of my soul on this topic. But I think I’ve you enough to digest for now.
Back to the ride home…

You asked what was different between then and now in the historical context of our country. I tried to give you a few salient highlights that night, while knowing there was far, far more to answering that question than I could have given in a mere 10 minute drive. For that matter, ten hours or even days might not be enough time. Rather than continuing to flood you with all my thoughts and insights, I think it’s time for you to run with the ball from here. Start by reading the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, read the federalist papers. Read anything you can find on Thomas Jefferson and James Madison. Read all the books you can on that period of history. You absolutely must read “The Law” by Frédéric Bastiat. (If I’m ever on that side of the pond I will leave a rose on that mans grave.) Read “An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations” by Adam Smith. These will get you well on your way to answering your original question.

The real beauty is not only will you answer your original question in the course of your exploration, but in the process you’ll have many more new questions that will lead to even more fascinating avenues of study. Always keep asking questions, and continue to seek the answers. I sense your personal library has just increased by an order of magnitude. So go on now and get busy!

Take care and keep in touch.

Your friend and brother always,

Bill Watts