I Didn’t Know Him, But He Was a Wonderful Man

On Monday, I attended the funeral of a man I did not know. Loyal Hastings was a brother-in-law of Bruce Mendenhall. (Bruce’s sister Janice was married to Loyal.) He was 76 and died unexpectedly. Though I did not know him, it was an honor to learn about his life and example.

Let me share a few things that his daughters said about him.

“There was no service too small or too inconvenient for Dad.” —Deena Hastings

He had been released as High Priest Group Leader just six months ago. His way of supporting the new group leader—who felt Loyal’s shoes were too big to fill—was to volunteer for everything he could, small or great, to help lift that weight off the shoulders of the man who lead him.

“The message of his life rings true…He gave his all. What more was there to give?” —Debra Mitchell

What more could you and I give?

All his children who spoke knew deeply that their father loved them, and expressed as much. It reminds me that a great reassurance to us is that when death separates us, love does not die.

Finally, one of his sons, David, read this poem by Mary Lyman Henrie, entitled “To Any Who Have Watched for a Son’s Returning.” The poem, it seemed, described his father’s constancy and loyalty.

He watched his son gather all the goods
that were his lot,
anxious to be gone from tending flocks,
the dullness of the fields.
He stood by the olive tree gate long
after the caravan disappeared
where the road climbs the hills
on the far side of the valley,
into infinity.
Through changing seasons he spent the light
in a great chair, facing the far country,
and that speck of road on the horizon.
Mocking friends: “He will not come.”
Whispering servants: “The old man has lost his senses.”
A chiding son: “You should not have let him go.”
A grieving wife: “You need rest and sleep.”
She covered his drooping shoulders,
his callused knees,
when east winds blew chill,
until that day …
A form familiar, even at infinity,
in shreds, alone, stumbling over pebbles.
“When he was a great way off,
His father saw him,
and had compassion, and ran,
and fell on his neck, and kissed him.”

May we all likewise sit in “a great chair,” as Loyal Hastings did, “facing a far country,” waiting for the return of our beloved children or spouse or friend, no matter how old they are, or how far they have gone.

The Weight and Force of the Covenants I Have Made

Thanks to President Munk for sharing this quote today:

“The ordinances are not deep, dark secrets to be kept as such from the world. It is easy to get a temple recommend and then later apostatize and spread abroad the so-called secrets of the temple. The basic idea of the ordinances from Moses back to Adam is separation from the world.

“Why are these temple ordinances guarded with such secrecy when anyone who really wants to can find out what goes on? Even though everyone may discover what goes on in the temple, and many have already revealed it, the important thing is that I do not reveal these things; they must remain sacred to me. I must preserve a zone of sanctity which cannot be violated, whether or not anyone else in the room has the remotest idea what the situation really is.

“For my covenants are all between me and my Heavenly Father … I can never share my understanding of them completely with anyone but the Lord. No matter what happens, it will, then, always remain secret: only I know exactly the weight and force of the covenants I have made—I and the Lord with whom I have made them—unless I choose to reveal them. If I do not, then they are secret and sacred no matter what others may say or do. Anyone who would reveal these things has not understood them, and therefore that person has not given them away. You cannot reveal what you do not know!

Hugh Nibley, Temple and Cosmos (Salt Lake: Deseret/FARMS, 1992), 61-65.

There Once was a Hand Named Dale

I spoke briefly at the funeral of Dale Castagno (1935-2009) today. After the service, Dale was carried to the cemetery in this horse-drawn hearse, built in 1805, and driven by two of his sons.

In honor of Dale, I wrote this poem last Sunday—Easter morning—the day before he died.

I will dearly miss you, old friend. We will do our best to take care of LaRae.

There Once Was a Hand Named Dale

There once was a hand named Dale
Who rode a long, lonely trail
A trail of sadness and grief
But blessings, too, beyond belief.

He was tough as an ox, you know,
He’d ride in the rain and the snow.
But he’d always get the job done,
Long after the setting of the sun.

He could flank a calf with one hand,
And give ‘em shots with his teeth.
And if a bull ever came charging,
Boy, were they in for a lot of grief!

He could saddle two horses at a time,
And he never committed a crime—
Well, at least he never got turned in,
You see, he never was much on sin.

One day he roped a calf and a cougar
All in one, giant loop.
That night he ate a heap of veal
And a bowl of mountain lion soup.

One day he rode alone in the hills,
Far above the din and the crowd,
When he heard a still, small voice,
It wasn’t very loud.

It spoke of a story long ago
Of a Man, a garden and a cross,
A Man of many sorrows, who
Knew of sadness and loss.
Who walked alone up a hill
Where he gave His life for all.

Dale told himself that day,
“I’ll walk up that hill, too,
And give my all for You.”

Life has come hard at Dale since then,
But his toughness has served him well.
He has seen a lot of heaven,
And a little too much of hell.

But he’s made it through it all,
With a prayer on his lips, and a
Song in his heart—oh, the goodness
Of that man is way off the chart.

There once was a hand named Dale
Who rode a long, lonely trail
A trail of sadness and grief
But blessings, too, beyond belief.

Michael James Fitzgerald

Sunday Evening

The Same Day at Evening

Afterward, the same day at evening, as they thus spake, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus himself, and appeared unto the eleven as they sat at meat and stood in the midst of them, and saith unto them, “Peace be unto you.”

But they were terrified and affrighted, and supposed that they had seen a spirit. And he said unto them, “Why are ye troubled? And why do thoughts arise in your hearts?

“Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself. Handle me, and see, for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have.”

And when he had thus spoken, he shewed unto them his hands, and his feet, and his side. Then were the disciples glad, when they saw the Lord.

And while they yet believed not for joy, and wondered, he said unto them, “Have ye here any meat?” And they gave him a piece of a broiled fish, and of an honeycomb. And he took it, and did eat before them.

And he said unto them, “These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me.”

Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures, and said unto them, “Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day.” And upbraided them with their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they believed not them which had seen him after he was risen. And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.

And ye are witnesses of these things. then said Jesus to them again, “Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you.”

And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, “Receive ye the Holy Ghost. Whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them, and whose soever sins ye retain, they are retained.”

Mark 16:14; Luke 24:35–48; John 20:19–23

Sunday Afternoon

A Village Called Emmaus

And, behold, after that he appeared in another form unto two of them, as they walked, and went that same day into the country, And, behold, two of them went that same day to a village called Emmaus, which was from Jerusalem about threescore furlongs.

And they talked together of all these things which had happened. And it came to pass, that, while they communed together and reasoned, Jesus himself drew near, and went with them.
But their eyes were holden that they should not know him.

And he said unto them, “What manner of communications are these that ye have one to another, as ye walk, and are sad?”

And the one of them, whose name was Cleopas, answering said unto him, “Art thou only a stranger in Jerusalem, and hast not known the things which are come to pass there in these days?”

And he said unto them, “What things?” And they said unto him, “Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, which was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, and how the chief priests and our rulers delivered him to be condemned to death, and have crucified him.

“But we trusted that it had been he which should have redeemed Israel, and beside all this, to day is the third day since these things were done.

“Yea, and certain women also of our company made us astonished, which were early at the sepulchre. And when they found not his body, they came, saying, that they had also seen a vision of angels, which said that he was alive.

“And certain of them which were with us went to the sepulchre, and found it even so as the women had said, but him they saw not.”

Then he said unto them, “O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken. Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory?”
And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.

And they drew nigh unto the village, whither they went, and he made as though he would have gone further. But they constrained him, saying, “Abide with us, for it is toward evening, and the day is far spent.” And he went in to tarry with them.

And it came to pass, as he sat at meat with them, he took bread, and blessed it, and brake, and gave to them. And their eyes were opened, and they knew him, and he vanished out of their sight.

And they said one to another, “Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures?”

And they rose up the same hour, and returned to Jerusalem, and found the eleven gathered together, and them that were with them, saying, “The Lord is risen indeed, and hath appeared to Simon.”

And the told it unto the residue, what things were done in the way, and how he was known of them in breaking of bread, neither believed they them.

Mark 16:12–13; Luke 24:13–35

Sunday Morning

Touch Me Not

Now when Jesus was risen early the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had cast seven devils. But Mary stood without at the sepulchre weeping: and as she wept, she stooped down, and looked into the sepulchre, and seeth two angels in white sitting, the one at the head, and the other at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain.

And they say unto her, “Woman, why weepest thou?” She saith unto them, “Because they have taken away my Lord, and I know not where they have laid him.”

And when she had thus said, she turned herself back, and saw Jesus standing, and knew not that it was Jesus.

Jesus saith unto her, “Woman, why weepest thou? Whom seekest thou?” She, supposing him to be the gardener, saith unto him, “Sir, if thou have borne him hence, tell me where thou hast laid him, and I will take him away.”

Jesus saith unto her, “Mary.” She turned herself, and saith unto him, “Rabboni”—which is to say, “Master.”

Jesus saith unto her, “Touch me not, for I am not yet ascended to my Father, but go to my brethren, and say unto them, ‘I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God.’”

And Mary Magdalene came and told the disciples that she had seen the Lord, as they mourned and wept, and that he had spoken these things unto her. And they, when they had heard that he was alive, and had been seen of her, believed not.

Mark 16:9–11; John 20:11–18

Be Not Afraid

And as they went to tell his disciples, behold, Jesus met them, saying, “All hail.” And they came and held him by the feet, and worshipped him.

Then said Jesus unto them, “Be not afraid. Go tell my brethren that they go into Galilee, and there shall they see me.”

Matt. 28:9–10

And the Graves Were Opened

And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose, and came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many.

Matt. 27:52–53

We Will Persuade Him and Secure You

Now when they were going, behold, some of the watch came into the city, and shewed unto the chief priests all the things that were done.

And when they were assembled with the elders, and had taken counsel, they gave large money unto the soldiers, saying, “Say ye his disciples came by night, and stole him away while we slept. And if this come to the governor’s ears, we will persuade him, and secure you.”

So they took the money, and did as they were taught, and this saying is commonly reported among the Jews until this day.

Matt. 28:11–15

Early Sunday Morning

Who Shall Roll Us Away the Stone?

And when the sabbath was past, very early in the morning, when it was yet dark as it began to dawn upon the first day of the week, behold, there was a great earthquake.

For the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it.

His countenance was like lightening, and his raiment white as snow. And for fear of him the keepers did shake, and became as dead men.

At the rising of the sun came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary, the mother of James, Salome, and Joanna, and certain other women that were with them, bringing the sweet spices which they had bought and prepared that they might come and anoint him.

And as they came to see the sepulchre, they said among themselves, “Who shall roll us away the stone from the door of the sepulchre?”

And when they looked, they found that the stone was rolled away from the sepulchre—for it was very great.

Matt. 28:1–4; Mark 16:2–4; Luke 24:1–2; John 20:1

Then She Runneth

Then she runneth, and cometh to Simon Peter, and to the other disciple, whom Jesus loved, and saith unto them, “They have taken away the Lord out of the sepulchre, and we know not where they have laid him.”

John 19:2

He Is Not Here

And they, entering into the sepulchre, found not the body of the Lord Jesus. And it came to pass, as they were much perplexed thereabout, they saw two young men—one sitting on the right side and one stood by them—clothed in a long white, shining garments.

And they were affrighted and bowed down their faces to the earth, and the angel answered and said unto the women, “Fear not ye. For I know that ye seek Jesus of Nazareth, which was crucified. Why seek ye the living among the dead? He is not here, for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay.

“And go quickly, and tell his disciples that he is risen from the dead. Remember how he spake unto you when he was yet in Galilee, saying, ‘The Son of man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again.’

But behold, go your way, and tell his disciples and Peter that he goeth before you into Galilee. There shall ye see him—lo, I have told you. And they remembered his words.

Matt. 28:50–7; Mark 16:5–7; Luke 24:3–8

They Went Out Quickly

And they departed quickly and fled from the sepulchre, with fear and great joy—for they trembled and were amazed, and did run to bring his disciples word. Neither said they any thing to any man, for they were afraid.

And told all these things unto the eleven, and to all the rest.

It was Mary Magdalene, and Joanna, and Mary the mother of James, and other women that were with them, which told these things unto the apostles.

And their words seemed to them as idle tales, and they believed them not.

Matt. 28:8; Mark 16:8; Luke 24:9-11

They Ran Both Together

Peter therefore went forth, and that other disciple, and came to the sepulchre.

So they ran both together, and the other disciple did outrun Peter, and came first to the sepulchre. And he stooping down, and looking in, saw the linen clothes lying; yet went he not in.
Then cometh Simon Peter following him, and ran unto the sepulchre; and stooping down, he beheld the linen clothes laid by themselves, and the napkin, that was about his head, not lying with the linen clothes, but wrapped together in a place by itself.

Then went in also that other disciple, which came first to the sepulchre, and he saw, and believed.

For as yet they knew not the scripture, that he must rise again from the dead.

And then the disciples went away again unto their own home, Peter wondering in himself at that which was come to pass.

Luke 24:12; John 20:3–10