True Stuff that I Made Up
PLEASE NOTE: The entries of Larry D. Kump which are published at this site are solely his personal and sometimes whimsical musings. For information regarding his positions and proposals as a legislator in the West Virginia House of Delegates, please visit www.LarryKump.com.
Also, check out my personal entry at Mormon.org.
- Name: Larry D. Kump
Monday, October 13, 2014
The Best Buddy Who Changed My Life
Mostly at the insistence of my Mother, I was raised in a prominent local church in Hagerstown, Maryland.
However, at age twelve, I already was disturbed and troubled about the meaning of life.
My Sunday School teachers couldn't answer my questions, and my several abortive attempts to read the Bible left me even more confused and frustrated.
(It probably didn't help that I began with the Old Testament).
During the next several years, I even made inquiries into non-Christian religions and philosophies, all of which which fascinated me but none of which resolved my dilemma.
Finally, at the tender age of about fifteen, I came to the reluctant conclusion that either God really didn't exist, or, if He did, He just wasn't interested in or accessible to me.
And so it was that I wavered between agnosticism and outright atheism.
It was at that time in my life that I was both mystified and derisively amused by my new and younger next door neighbor, Ray A. Geyer.
He was enthusiastic about his recent ordination as an Aaronic Priesthood Deacon in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church), and anxious to share the good news of the Restored Gospel with me.
After a series of discussions and sometimes contentious arguments with Ray, I ever so reluctantly sat down with two LDS Missionary Elders, and directly confronted them with my questions and concerns.
To my surprise and chagrin, Elder Wayne Platt Smith's humble spirit immediately touched my heart and soul.
Even more surprising to me, this mere high school graduate was able to readily answer all my questions, questions that had stumped all the learned and older ministers from so many other faiths.
Elder Smith warned me that neither he nor anyone else could convert me to Christ, and this was something that I had to determine for myself.
He also encouraged me to continue to meet with my parents' pastor and others, so that I could better sort out truth from fable for myself, and not be led astray in my quest for the meaning of life.
It was then that I began to read the Book of Mormon to find out for myself if all of this really could be true.
Subsequently, after reading the Book of Mormon and also the Bible (cover to cover), I knelt alone in my parents' living room on one hot Summer afternoon.
Confessing to God that I still had serious doubts about Him and feeling foolish in my awkward attempt to pray, I nevertheless boldly challenged Him to tell me if He was real and if the Book of Mormon was true.
The surprising, satisfying, and immediate reply from Him to my belligerent yet anxious prayer infused me with both joy and gratitude.
My parents thereafter stunned me with their hostile reaction to my newfound faith, refusing to give me permission to be baptized or to have any further contact with the LDS Church or its members.
It wasn't until six years and many missteps later, when I had reached the then legal age of consent (twenty-one) and was a student at Frostburg State College, that I at long last revisited my previous inquiry to God and finally was baptized (in Cumberland,MD).
Sadly, my family and college chums opposed my rediscovered faith and subsequent baptism, and many of them even went so far as to deride my change of heart.
This personal quest of mine began about fifty years ago.
Now, I am an adoptive and divorced parent, multiple times recovered cancer patient, and one who has been through my share of personal trials.
I promise you, in the name of Jesus Christ, that the Book of Mormon is the most correct of any book on Earth and contains the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ (in tandem with the Holy Bible) as well as the answer to your heartfelt prayers.
And so it is that all I am or ever hope to be I owe to the Book of Mormon, two young Missionary Elders, and a boyhood neighbor who took the time and cared enough to lead me to the meaning of life.
So, this is my response to those of you who have been curious about the swimming pool photo of me and my friend Ray, for whom my love and gratitude exceeds all others.
(Some of my favorite Book of Mormon passages are 2 Nephi 28:29 and 29:3-13. Also read in the Book of Mormon: Mosiah, Chapter 2, verse 4; and in the Doctrine & Covenants: Section 112, verse 11 and also Section 121, verses 41 & 42).
For a free copy of the Book of Mormon and/or the King James version of the Bible, call 1-888-438-7557, on any day or at any hour.
Sunday, October 12, 2014
The Kump Family Castle in Austria
Schloss Matzen: One of Europe's most romantic medieval castles, lies high in the Austrian Tyrol, where the air is crisp and clean.
The location is Reith im Alpbachtal, in the Tyrolean Alps of western Austria, approximately 30 miles/50 km northeast of Innsbruck, about a 90 minute drive or train from Munich or Salzburg (it is less than 5 minutes drive from the nearest train station and Autobahn exit).
The castle was first referred to in 1167 and has been privately owned ever since.
It's history also includes highlights such as its Baroque chapel being twice consecrated by bishops who would go on to become Pope. Teddy Roosevelt also visited it at the turn of the century, as a hunting companion of the former owner.
The size of the building is approx. 20,000 square feet, including the 6 story tower, on a 2.4 hectare (approx. 6 acre) lot, half-surrounded by an Austrian nationally-protected public park. There are approximately 60 rooms, depending on how you count rooms (there are several long, arcade passageways), including 12 guest rooms appointed with antique furnishing and private bathrooms with modern heating, plumbing and electricity. It is connected to the local sewer system and has its own private spring water supply.
Monday, July 28, 2014
The Miracle of the "David" Tree
Far too often, the challenges and heartaches in our lives distract us from that which should be most sacred and special in our focus and priorities.
And so it was for me, when on the morning of September 7th, 2002,
yet another powerful reminder of God's infinite love and power was given to me.
My experience begins when I was a young father and husband, and we lived in Cumberland, Maryland.
In the backyard of our home at 810 Shriver Avenue was a huge and fruitful old "Granny" apple tree.
Early each Spring, it was covered with blossoms, and it thereafter faithfully bore basket upon basket of fruit, so much so that we had trouble putting all of it to good use, or even finding those with whom to share this bounty.
David, my adopted three year old son, loved to climb up into that tree, and I began to call it the "David" tree.
We moved to Indianapolis, Indiana, in the Fall of 1978, and then moved again shortly thereafter, when Carolyn divorced me and our family fell asunder.
By 2002, David had grown into a strapping 28 year old man, with a home of his own, but the "David" tree remained a precious memory of mine.
And so, in honor of that sweet memory, I had planted another "David" Granny apple tree in the side yard of my home in Falling Waters, West Virginia.
Unfortunately the Summer drought of 2002 took its toll, and the tree soon lost its foliage and died.
Then, in early September of that year, my contractor friend, Jesse Schissler III, was working on an addition to my home, and, knowing my attachment to the now forlorn and lifeless tree, offered to transplant it from the site of the addition and away from the construction work to a large plastic tub on my front porch.
Even though I knew the tree was dead, I agreed, if only to help preserve a keepsake of it.
Still, it looked so pathetic and defeated.
Each passing day, as I came and went to and from home, that dried up little skeleton of a tree caught my attention.
Then, one early morning, just before Dawn, as I was preparing to leave for work at the prison, I felt prompted to knell beside it and pray for its restoration, even going so far as to lay my hands on it's brittle branches, and, by the power and authority of the Holy Melchizedek Priesthood, invoking blessings from Heaven upon it.
It only was a few days thereafter, on the morning of Saturday, September 7th, 2002, that I noticed that it was covered in new green sprouts, followed shortly thereafter with a profusion of apple blossoms.
My feelings about all of this is hard to put into words, but perhaps my favorite poem by Lord Alfred Tennyson best sums up the lesson God taught me through this tree about how we never should give up or lose faith in His promises to us (Isaiah 40:31):
Flower in the crannied wall,
I pluck you out of the crannies.
I hold you here, root and all, in my hand.
Little flower - but if I could understand
What you are, root and all, and all in all,
I should know what God and man is.
My Trip to Food Lion
So, I told her that no, I didn't have a dog, but again was starting the Purina Diet. I added that I probably shouldn't, because I ended up in the hospital the last time I was on this diet. Even so, I'd previously lost 50 pounds before I awakened in an intensive care hospital ward with tubes coming out of most of my orifices and IVs in both arms.
I told her that it was a wonderful weight loss diet. The way that it works is: load your pants pockets with Purina Nuggets and simply eat one or two every time you feel hungry. The food is nutritionally complete so it works well and I was going to try it again. (By this time, everyone else in line was listening intently to my story.)
Horrified, she asked if I ended up in intensive care because of the dog food.
I told her no, I had stopped to pee on a fire hydrant and a car hit me.
Food Lion won't let me shop there anymore.
Temple Memories (Also published in the "Church News", 4 September 2004, page 16)
Very early Saturday morning, August 14th, 2004, it was good to be back at the Washington D.C. LDS Temple again.
Particularly meaningful to me was the endowment ordinances I was performing for a 15th Century Dutchman, since my own ancestry mostly is Dutch and German.
As I thereafter sat quietly praying in the Celestial room of the Temple, memories of my first Temple experience flooded my mind.
In was in 1970, and, after being baptized a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) a year earlier at age 21, I was excited and anxious to receive my Temple washings, annointings, and endowments.
Although there were plans to finally build an LDS Temple East of the Mississippi River in the D.C. area, this was not to happen until 1974, and I couldn't bring myself to wait that long.
But to which Temple should I go and how?
LDS friends in the Cumberland, Maryland area where I was baptized suggested that I could go to Utah and stay with their extended families and friends, but I somehow was reluctant to do that.
One night, as I prayed about what to do about my Temple endowments, the answer suddenly came into my mind: go to the Los Angeles, California Temple and stay with my nonmember paternal grandparents, Edgar and Rhoda Kump.
I first broached this idea to my nonmember parents in Hagerstown,MD, and my Dad agreed that my grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins all would be glad to have me visit them.
However, he also cautioned me not to mention my new LDS Church affiliation to them, because it would offend my grandparents' fundamentalist religious affiliation and sensitivities.
And so I followed my Dad's counsel, inviting myself to visit his family, but not mentioning to them the larger purpose of my visit.
However, when "Pap-Pap" met me at the L. A. airport, I felt prompted to tell him of my newfound faith and my desire to go to the Temple.
He became very quiet upon hearing this news, and the drive back to his home seemed to last forever.
Arriving at his housing development, he spoke for the first time since I had bore my testimony to him of my conversion, asking me to go with him on a walk before we finally went home to see "Mam-Maw".
He knocked on every door of every home of that little retirement community within Tustin, California, whereupon, at each door, he stuck out his chest and proudly introduced me as his "Mormon Elder" grandson.
Before we finally went back to his home, he then confided in me that, many years ago, he was converted to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, but, because my grandmother refused to change her faith and religious affiliation, he reluctantly opted not to join the LDS Church.
Having said that, he bore his testimony to me, and promised me that I never would regret the choice I had made, and how proud he was of me.
Both my grandparents never did join the Church, and they have long since passed away, but it has been my blessing and privilege to have their vicarious Temple work done on their behalf.
Larry D. Kump, High Priest
Hedgesville, West VirginiaWard
Martinsburg, West Virginia Stake
For more information about the difference between LDS Churches and Temples, and the eternal blessings availiable to you, call 1-888-537-6777 at any hour or day and ask for the free video "Together Forever".
"Dear David and Sarah" (published in the 12/01 "Ensign")
As a divorced Dad, I worried about my two young children-David and Sarah-who lived more than 500 miles away in Hanover, Pennsylvania, from me in Indianapolis, Indiana, and without the Gospel in their home.
I talked with my Bishop, and he suggested that I use my Family Home Evening time each week to write a personal letter to each of my children.
He promised me that faithfulness in this labor of love would provide the key to answering my prayers for my children's well-being and lead them to baptism
I was skeptical, but agreed to follow his counsel.
Years passed, and I continued to write each week, and also to visit them as frequently as possible.
Unfortunately, my children seemed to be moving further and further away from the Gospel.
It was discouraging.
Nonetheless, after David and Sarah became young adults, both of them chose to be baptized-one in Fort Knox, Kentucky at a military installation, and the other a few years later in Martinsburg, West Virginia.
It was a marvelous work and a wonder to me that they gave me the honor of participating in their baptisms.
Excercising faith in the promises of the Lord's chosen representative provided the means to bring forth this blessing on behalf of my children.
-Larry D. Kump
Hedgesvile, West Virginia Ward
Martinsburg, West Virginia Stake
My "Sacred Grove" Home (first posted in 2004)
Dave just posted the photo of my home on his website about me. Thank you for emailing that photo to him.
Thank you also for the "Sacred Grove" reference about my home. You spoke of things near and dear to me, but also stirred up memories which had faded away with time. Those memories are precious to me beyond words.
I took my daughter Sarah and son David to the Church "Hill Cumorah" pageant when they were just little tykes. The weather mostly was foul and we watched the pageant in a heavy downpour, but we had a rare gift of sunshine when we visited the "Saced Grove" near Palmyra, NY, where Joseph had his first revelation and visitation from God and his son Jesus Christ, in answer to his heartfelt prayer of which Church to join. The New Testament Scripture that led him there to pray in private (James 1:3-6) to this day is a guiding star in my life.
Anyway, I previously had thought that our visit to Palmyra had made little impression upon my children, and that they were far more entranced by the amusement park that we visited near Canidiqua and the boat ride at Niagara Falls. However, in 1991, when I purchased the three acre lot upon which I was to make my home and Sarah was helping me pound in metal lot boundary markers, she remarked to me that my little section of woods reminded her of the "Sacred Grove".
And so it has been for me, a place of healing, solitude, and prayer. Thank you again for drawing these spiritual threads together for me.
Postcript: In response to several inquiries about my home, the photo is somewhat deceiving, inasmuch it gives the impression that it just is a small cabin, due to the angle of the photograph. My home actually is much larger than it appears in the photograph, and includes four bedrooms and a personal library/office.
"Montani Semper Liberi" & More
Here are just a few fascinating facts about West Virginia, some of which are included in his publication:
*Montani Semper Liberi" ("Mountaineers are Always Free") is our official State Motto. Oft times, our elected officials struggle to understand and preserve this precious liberty.
*"Vandalia" was the first name suggested for West Virginia, as part of a proposed 14th colony, which also included Eastern Kentucky and Pittsburg, Pennsylvania. The first name proposed for the current State of West Virginia was "Kanawha", although that proposal did not include the current Eastern Panhandle as part of West Virginia.
*The West Virginia "State Fruit" is not our elected public officials. It is the Golden Delicious Apple.
*Romney (Hampshire County) and Shepherdstown (Jefferson County) fiercely contest which was the first incorporated municipality in West Virgina, but Hedgesville (Berkeley County) was third.
*Civil War General Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson was born in West Virginia.
*The Grandparents of famous frontiersman and hero of the Alamo, Davy Crockett, lived in Spring Mills (Berkeley County). Their home still stands, just a few scant miles from my home in Falling Waters.
*"Pepperoni Rolls" were created by West Virginia coal miners, as a handy meal to take with them into the depths of coal mines. West Virginia Delegate Joshua Nelson authored a resolution naming pepperoni rolls as the official West Virginia State Food in the 2013 session of the West Virginia Legislature.
* The smallest state park in the United States is "Berkeley Springs State Park", which is right smack downtown in the West Virginia town of "Bath". Nope, the name of the town of Bath is not Berkeley Springs. Berkeley Springs only is the name of the Post Office which serves the town of Bath.
*I'm not telling what is "The Mystery Hole". Read Danny's book to find out that fact. (Visit www.DannyPettry.com for more of this about that. )
More Reflections on my "Sacred Grove" Home
Earlier this morning, I noticed the rays of Sunshine streaming through the morning mists and woods surrounding my home.
That scene reminded me again so much of Joseph Smith, when that unlettered farmboy knelt in his own "Sacred Grove" and had a revelatory experience that changed the world (and also profoundly affected my life), as previously pointed out to me so many years ago by my daughter Sarah.
For a photo of my wooded homesite, go to www.indynerds.com/larry.
Also, for the same photo, but a better description of my home; scroll down these entries to "My Sacred Grove Home".
My Mentor (also published in the 9/85 "Ensign")
In 1970, about a year after I joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) in Cumberland, Marland (22 February 1969), I was called by the Mission President to audit the financial records of all the various branches in the Blue Ridge District (covering parts of four States - Maryland, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Virginia).
As a 22 year old convert, I had an intellectual appreciation of the gospel, but had not as yet developed much spiritual depth.
As part of my assignment, I was to meet with President Self, who was both Branch President and Financial Clerk of the tiny Branch in Keyser, West Virginia.
My first impression of him was that he was a good man, but not given to much "book learning".
With all the arrogance of my newly acquired college degree, and knowing the difficulties much more educated people had experienced in maintaining the records in the other branches, I had put off this visit with him until last and worried about what I would find in Keyser.
To my amazement, his ledger, with the crabbed yet ever so carefully made entries, was without flaw of any kind.
Dumbfounded, I asked him if he encountered any difficulties keeping these accounts.
Humbly, he replied that he knew that he didn't have enough education or experience to handle his calling and assignment.
He then went on to admit that the task had been painstakingly difficult at times.
His method simply was to work on the books until he "got stuck".
Then he would take a break to kneel in prayer and ask the Lord for "more help".
Working far into the nights, and with many "breaks", he accomplished the task to which the Lord had called him.
This was not a formal classroom.
President Self was not specifically set apart as my teacher.
Nevertheless, he taught me a great lesson in faith, humility, and how God will help us in all that we are required to do.
Larry D. Kump
Ravenswood (Indianapolis), Indiana
Faith & Politics: My Personal Journey
To me, the principles of my faith and my political views mostly are parallel, each supporting and defining the other, perhaps much in some ways akin to how the Book of Mormon supports and further defines the Bible.
Although first elected in 2010 as a Republican in the mostly Democrat West Virginia House of Delegates, my political affiliation is not the primary driving force on my views about governance.
Indeed, I agree with our nation's founding father, George Washington, who disparaged the fractious and feckless political partisanship that so sadly distracts and diverts us from good governance.
And so it was that, when I initially and somewhat reluctantly ran for election, I considered myself mostly as an independent and liberty minded candidate.
I continue to strive to act upon and follow those guiding principles.
I stoutly believe that our United States Constitution and "Bill of Rights" is a sacred and dynamic document that succors liberty and individual accountability, as well as economic prosperity.
As a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church), my faith reinforces my belief that our United States Constitution was drafted "...by the hands of wise men whom (God) raised up into this very purpose, and redeemed the land by the shedding of blood." (LDS Doctrine & Covenants, Section 101, Verse 80)
I also believe that our constitutional rights should and must be preserved, "That every man may act in doctrine and principle pertaining to futurity, according to the moral agency which (God has) given unto him, that every man may be accountable...". (LDS Doctrine & Covenants, Section 101, Verse 78)
Our Latter-day Saint mantra of individual accountability and "agency" (freedom of choice) parallels my political philosophy of individual liberty and economic freedom.
Also, as a Latter-day Saint and follower of Christ, I believe and strive to practice the principle of charity (the pure love of Christ) toward others and tolerance of them and their various lifestyles. For me, this is a work in progress.
However, it is, to me, a perversion of these principles, when we attempt to force our fellow citizens and rob them of their personal accountability and freedom by government fiat.
My heart truly does bleed for the less fortunate, but it is a puzzlement to me when others use their sympathy for the less fortunate to justify expanding initiative destroying government entitlement programs and creating more of them.
In my view, these expanding government dependency programs and policies weaken the foundation of our families. They create a sense of expectation that the government somehow is responsible for our welfare and happiness. In doing so, the strength of our families and the health of our nation increasingly crumbles, to the peril of all of us and our children.
Indeed, former social worker and United States Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan (D-New York) previously warned us that our rush to increase government control over our lives would lead to the breakdown of our families and an increasingly large and permanent caste system of the underprivileged. His prediction was prophetic, and we now have third and fourth generations of people becoming prey to government entitlements. Increasingly, they now look to the government for their well-being and even their happiness.
Nowhere has this been more dramatically demonstrated to me than when I previously worked as a prison case manager, dealing with inmates, many of whom had come to expect "lock-up welfare".
Our prisons are overflowing, our freedoms are eroding, and our taxes are increasing - all because we are prostituting our sacred birthrights to the government for "pottage". (Genesis, Chapter 25, Verses 29-34)
Moreover, my Latter-day Saint view of good governance is that God "holds man accountable for their acts in relation to them, both in making laws and administering them, for the good and safety of society", and that "...no government can exist in peace, except such laws are framed and held inviolate as will secure to each individual the free exercise of conscience, the right and control of property, and the protection of life." (LDS Doctrine & Covenants. Section 134, Verses 1-2)
Further, "...all men are justified in defending themselves, their friends, and property...from the unlawful assaults and encroachments of all persons in times of exigency...". (LDS Doctrine & Covenants, Section 134, Verse 11. See also the 2nd Amendment to the United States Constitution)
In essence, my faith mirrors that of a Pre-Columbian American prophet, who proclaimed, "My soul standeth fast in that liberty in the which God has made us free." (Book of Mormon, Alma, Chapter 61, Verse 9)
Although not born or raised in the LDS faith, I now cannot discern much difference between my faith and my political views. The origin of my current viewpoint on government is somewhat akin to the old riddle about which came first (the chicken or the egg?). It now is all the same to me.
*Judge Griffith currently serves as a circuit judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Washington, D.C. (District of Columbia) Circuit.
**"A Mormon Approach to Politics" was published in the Brigham Young University (BYU) Studies Quarterly, Volume 52, Number 1 (2013) .
Note: West Virginia Delegate Larry D. Kump is a High Priest in the Hedgesville, West Virginia Ward and the Martinsburg, West Virginia Stake. He previously worked as a prison case manager, lobbyist, public administrator, group therapist for sex offenders, and arbitrator. His legislative website is www.LarryKump.com
Sunday, July 27, 2014
The Genesis of West Virginia
Michael asked God, "Where have you been?".
God smiled with deep satisfaction and pointed downward through the clouds, saying, "Michael, look what I created!".
Puzzled, Michael asked, "What is it?".
"It's a planet", replied God, "and I'm going to call it Earth, and it has balance."
"Balance?", said Michael, "What's that?".
God then explained, pointing out the different areas of Earth.
"For example, this area is a place of great forests, but this other area is covered with rocky mountains. Over there is a region of many lakes and streams, but over here is a broad grassland.".
He continued, "This area is hot and humid, but over here it is cold and covered with ice.".
Michael, impressed with God's handiwork, then pointed to one particular spot and said, "What about that area?".
"That's West Virginia, the most glorious spot on earth. There are beautiful mountains, rivers and streams, lakes, forests, hills, and plains. The people I've placed there are good looking, modest, intelligent, and humorous. They are sociable, hard-working, high achievers, peaceable, and producers of good things.".
Gasping in awe and wonder, Michael then asked, But what about balance? You said that there would be balance.".
God ruefully smiled and explained, "Right next to West Virginia is Washington, D.C.. Wait until you see who I put there.".
Saturday, July 26, 2014
More Temple Reflections
LDS Scholar Hugh Nibley once pointed out that he learns something new each and every time he goes to the Temple. I thought about that, early this morning at the D.C. Temple, and it seems that also applies to me even more now than previously.
Temple ordinance participation super-charges my appreciation for the difference between the sacred and the profane, as well as strengthening me against all of the slings and arrows of everyday life.
This morning, my eyes misted and my heart trembled, when I pondered Adam's sacrifice for Eve and the gift of their deliberate choice that made it possible for all of us to be.
As these promptings continued to cascade through my thoughts, the Atonement of our Savior and God's Plan of Happiness for all of us was and continues to be a wonder and an amazement to me.
Further, to know that Christ's gift to us of the principle and practice of repentance, gives me new hope every day of my life.
Larry D. Kump
Davy Crockett & the Sockdolager
Davy Crockett & the "Sockdolager"
From The Life of Colonel David Crockett,
by Edward S. Ellis (Philadelphia: Porter & Coates, 1884)
Crockett was then the lion of Washington. I was a great admirer of his character, and, having several friends who were intimate with him, I found no difficulty in making his acquaintance. I was fascinated with him, and he seemed to take a fancy to me.
I was one day in the lobby of the House of Representatives when a bill was taken up appropriating money for the benefit of a widow of a distinguished naval officer. Several beautiful speeches had been made in its support – rather, as I thought, because it afforded the speakers a fine opportunity for display than from the necessity of convincing anybody, for it seemed to me that everybody favored it. The Speaker was just about to put the question when Crockett arose. Everybody expected, of course, that he was going to make one of his characteristic speeches in support of the bill. He commenced:
"Mr. Speaker – I have as much respect for the memory of the deceased, and as much sympathy for the sufferings of the living, if suffering there be, as any man in this House, but we must not permit our respect for the dead or our sympathy for a part of the living to lead us into an act of injustice to the balance of the living. I will not go into an argument to prove that Congress has no power to appropriate this money as an act of charity. Every member upon this floor knows it. We have the right, as individuals, to give away as much of our own money as we please in charity; but as members of Congress we have no right so to appropriate a dollar of the public money. Some eloquent appeals have been made to us upon the ground that it is a debt due the deceased. Mr. Speaker, the deceased lived long after the close of the war; he was in office to the day of his death, and I have never heard that the government was in arrears to him. This government can owe no debts but for services rendered, and at a stipulated price. If it is a debt, how much is it? Has it been audited, and the amount due ascertained? If it is a debt, this is not the place to present it for payment, or to have its merits examined. If it is a debt, we owe more than we can ever hope to pay, for we owe the widow of every soldier who fought in the War of 1812 precisely the same amount. There is a woman in my neighborhood, the widow of as gallant a man as ever shouldered a musket. He fell in battle. She is as good in every respect as this lady, and is as poor. She is earning her daily bread by her daily labor; but if I were to introduce a bill to appropriate five or ten thousand dollars for her benefit, I should be laughed at, and my bill would not get five votes in this House. There are thousands of widows in the country just such as the one I have spoken of, but we never hear of any of these large debts to them. Sir, this is no debt. The government did not owe it to the deceased when he was alive; it could not contract it after he died. I do not wish to be rude, but I must be plain. Every man in this House knows it is not a debt. We cannot, without the grossest corruption, appropriate this money as the payment of a debt. We have not the semblance of authority to appropriate it as a charity. Mr. Speaker, I have said we have the right to give as much of our own money as we please. I am the poorest man on this floor. I cannot vote for this bill, but I will give one week's pay to the object, and if every member of Congress will do the same, it will amount to more than the bill asks."
He took his seat. Nobody replied. The bill was put upon its passage, and, instead of passing unanimously, as was generally supposed, and as, no doubt, it would, but for that speech, it received but few votes, and, of course, was lost.
Like many other young men, and old ones, too, for that matter, who had not thought upon the subject, I desired the passage of the bill, and felt outraged at its defeat. I determined that I would persuade my friend Crockett to move a reconsideration the next day.
Previous engagements preventing me from seeing Crockett that night, I went early to his room the next morning and found him engaged in addressing and franking letters, a large pile of which lay upon his table.
I broke in upon him rather abruptly, by asking him what devil had possessed him to make that speech and defeat that bill yesterday. Without turning his head or looking up from his work, he replied:
"You see that I am very busy now; take a seat and cool yourself. I will be through in a few minutes, and then I will tell you all about it."
He continued his employment for about ten minutes, and when he had finished he turned to me and said:
"Now, sir, I will answer your question. But thereby hangs a tale, and one of considerable length, to which you will have to listen."
I listened, and this is the tale which I heard:
Several years ago I was one evening standing on the steps of the Capitol with some other members of Congress, when our attention was attracted by a great light over in Georgetown. It was evidently a large fire. We jumped into a hack and drove over as fast as we could. When we got there, I went to work, and I never worked as hard in my life as I did there for several hours. But, in spite of all that could be done, many houses were burned and many families made homeless, and, besides, some of them had lost all but the clothes they had on. The weather was very cold, and when I saw so many women and children suffering, I felt that something ought to be done for them, and everybody else seemed to feel the same way.
The next morning a bill was introduced appropriating $20,000 for their relief. We put aside all other business and rushed it through as soon as it could be done. I said everybody felt as I did. That was not quite so; for, though they perhaps sympathized as deeply with the sufferers as I did, there were a few of the members who did not think we had the right to indulge our sympathy or excite our charity at the expense of anybody but ourselves. They opposed the bill, and upon its passage demanded the yeas and nays. There were not enough of them to sustain the call, but many of us wanted our names to appear in favor of what we considered a praiseworthy measure, and we voted with them to sustain it. So the yeas and nays were recorded, and my name appeared on the journals in favor of the bill.
The next summer, when it began to be time to think about the election, I concluded I would take a scout around among the boys of my district. I had no opposition there, but, as the election was some time off, I did not know what might turn up, and I thought it was best to let the boys know that I had not forgot them, and that going to Congress had not made me too proud to go to see them.
So I put a couple of shirts and a few twists of tobacco into my saddlebags, and put out. I had been out about a week and had found things going very smoothly, when, riding one day in a part of my district in which I was more of a stranger than any other, I saw a man in a field plowing and coming toward the road. I gauged my gait so that we should meet as he came to the fence. As he came up I spoke to the man. He replied politely, but, as I thought, rather coldly, and was about turning his horse for another furrow when I said to him: "Don't be in such a hurry, my friend; I want to have a little talk with you, and get better acquainted."
He replied: "I am very busy, and have but little time to talk, but if it does not take too long, I will listen to what you have to say."
I began: "Well, friend, I am one of those unfortunate beings called candidates, and – "
"'Yes, I know you; you are Colonel Crockett. I have seen you once before, and voted for you the last time you were elected. I suppose you are out electioneering now, but you had better not waste your time or mine. I shall not vote for you again.'
This was a sockdolager... I begged him to tell me what was the matter.
"Well, Colonel, it is hardly worthwhile to waste time or words upon it. I do not see how it can be mended, but you gave a vote last winter which shows that either you have not capacity to understand the Constitution, or that you are wanting in honesty and firmness to be guided by it. In either case you are not the man to represent me. But I beg your pardon for expressing it in that way. I did not intend to avail myself of the privilege of the Constitution to speak plainly to a candidate for the purpose of insulting or wounding you. I intend by it only to say that your understanding of the Constitution is very different from mine; and I will say to you what, but for my rudeness, I should not have said, that I believe you to be honest. But an understanding of the Constitution different from mine I cannot overlook, because the Constitution, to be worth anything, must be held sacred, and rigidly observed in all its provisions. The man who wields power and misinterprets it is the more dangerous the more honest he is."
"I admit the truth of all you say, but there must be some mistake about it, for I do not remember that I gave any vote last winter upon any constitutional question."
"No, Colonel, there's no mistake. Though I live here in the backwoods and seldom go from home, I take the papers from Washington and read very carefully all the proceedings of Congress. My papers say that last winter you voted for a bill to appropriate $20,000 to some sufferers by a fire in Georgetown. Is that true?"
"Certainly it is, and I thought that was the last vote which anybody in the world would have found fault with."
"Well, Colonel, where do you find in the Constitution any authority to give away the public money in charity?"
Here was another sockdolager; for, when I began to think about it, I could not remember a thing in the Constitution that authorized it. I found I must take another tack, so I said:
"Well, my friend; I may as well own up. You have got me there. But certainly nobody will complain that a great and rich country like ours should give the insignificant sum of $20,000 to relieve its suffering women and children, particularly with a full and overflowing Treasury, and I am sure, if you had been there, you would have done just as I did."
"It is not the amount, Colonel, that I complain of; it is the principle. In the first place, the government ought to have in the Treasury no more than enough for its legitimate purposes. But that has nothing to do with the question. The power of collecting and disbursing money at pleasure is the most dangerous power that can be entrusted to man, particularly under our system of collecting revenue by a tariff, which reaches every man in the country, no matter how poor he may be, and the poorer he is the more he pays in proportion to his means. What is worse, it presses upon him without his knowledge where the weight centers, for there is not a man in the United States who can ever guess how much he pays to the government. So you see, that while you are contributing to relieve one, you are drawing it from thousands who are even worse off than he. If you had the right to give anything, the amount was simply a matter of discretion with you, and you had as much right to give $20,000,000 as $20,000. If you have the right to give to one, you have the right to give to all; and, as the Constitution neither defines charity nor stipulates the amount, you are at liberty to give to any and everything which you may believe, or profess to believe, is a charity, and to any amount you may think proper. You will very easily perceive what a wide door this would open for fraud and corruption and favoritism, on the one hand, and for robbing the people on the other. No, Colonel, Congress has no right to give charity. Individual members may give as much of their own money as they please, but they have no right to touch a dollar of the public money for that purpose. If twice as many houses had been burned in this county as in Georgetown, neither you nor any other member of Congress would have thought of appropriating a dollar for our relief. There are about two hundred and forty members of Congress. If they had shown their sympathy for the sufferers by contributing each one week's pay, it would have made over $13,000. There are plenty of wealthy men in and around Washington who could have given $20,000 without depriving themselves of even a luxury of life. The Congressmen chose to keep their own money, which, if reports be true, some of them spend not very creditably; and the people about Washington, no doubt, applauded you for relieving them from the necessity of giving by giving what was not yours to give. The people have delegated to Congress, by the Constitution, the power to do certain things. To do these, it is authorized to collect and pay moneys, and for nothing else. Everything beyond this is usurpation, and a violation of the Constitution."
I have given you an imperfect account of what he said. Long before he was through, I was convinced that I had done wrong. He wound up by saying:
"So you see, Colonel, you have violated the Constitution in what I consider a vital point. It is a precedent fraught with danger to the country, for when Congress once begins to stretch its power beyond the limits of the Constitution, there is no limit to it, and no security for the people. I have no doubt you acted honestly, but that does not make it any better, except as far as you are personally concerned, and you see that I cannot vote for you."
I tell you I felt streaked. I saw if I should have opposition, and this man should go talking, he would set others to talking, and in that district I was a gone fawn-skin. I could not answer him, and the fact is, I did not want to. But I must satisfy him, and I said to him:
"Well, my friend, you hit the nail upon the head when you said I had not sense enough to understand the Constitution. I intended to be guided by it, and thought I had studied it full. I have heard many speeches in Congress about the powers of Congress, but what you have said there at your plow has got more hard, sound sense in it than all the fine speeches I ever heard. If I had ever taken the view of it that you have, I would have put my head into the fire before I would have given that vote; and if you will forgive me and vote for me again, if I ever vote for another unconstitutional law I wish I may be shot."
He laughingly replied:
"Yes, Colonel, you have sworn to that once before, but I will trust you again upon one condition. You say that you are convinced that your vote was wrong. Your acknowledgment of it will do more good than beating you for it. If, as you go around the district, you will tell people about this vote, and that you are satisfied it was wrong, I will not only vote for you, but will do what I can to keep down opposition, and, perhaps, I may exert some little influence in that way."
"If I don't," said I, "I wish I may be shot; and to convince you that I am in earnest in what I say, I will come back this way in a week or ten days, and if you will get up a gathering of the people, I will make a speech to them. Get up a barbecue, and I will pay for it."
"No, Colonel, we are not rich people in this section, but we have plenty of provisions to contribute for a barbecue, and some to spare for those who have none. The push of crops will be over in a few days, and we can then afford a day for a barbecue. This is Thursday; I will see to getting it up on Saturday week. Come to my house on Friday, and we will go together, and I promise you a very respectable crowd to see and hear you."
"Well, I will be here. But one thing more before I say good-bye. I must know your name."
"My name is Bunce."
"Not Horatio Bunce?"
"Well, Mr. Bunce, I never saw you before, though you say you have seen me; but I know you very well. I am glad I have met you, and very proud that I may hope to have you for my friend. You must let me shake your hand before I go."
We shook hands and parted.
It was one of the luckiest hits of my life that I met him. He mingled but little with the public, but was widely known for his remarkable intelligence and incorruptible integrity, and for a heart brimful and running over with kindness and benevolence, which showed themselves not only in words but in acts. He was the oracle of the whole country around him, and his fame had extended far beyond the circle of his immediate acquaintance. Though I had never met him before, I had heard much of him, and but for this meeting it is very likely I should have had opposition, and had been beaten. One thing is very certain, no man could now stand up in that district under such a vote.
At the appointed time I was at his house, having told our conversation to every crowd I had met, and to every man I stayed all night with, and I found that it gave the people an interest and a confidence in me stronger than I had ever seen manifested before.
Though I was considerably fatigued when I reached his house, and, under ordinary circumstances, should have gone early to bed, I kept him up until midnight, talking about the principles and affairs of government, and got more real, true knowledge of them than I had got all my life before.
I have told you Mr. Bunce converted me politically. He came nearer converting me religiously than I had ever been before. He did not make a very good Christian of me, as you know; but he has wrought upon my mind a conviction of the truth of Christianity, and upon my feelings a reverence for its purifying and elevating power such as I had never felt before.
I have known and seen much of him since, for I respect him – no, that is not the word – I reverence and love him more than any living man, and I go to see him two or three times every year; and I will tell you, sir, if everyone who professes to be a Christian lived and acted and enjoyed it as he does, the religion of Christ would take the world by storm.
But to return to my story. The next morning we went to the barbecue, and, to my surprise, found about a thousand men there. I met a good many whom I had not known before, and they and my friend introduced me around until I had got pretty well acquainted – at least, they all knew me.
In due time notice was given that I would speak to them. They gathered around a stand that had been erected. I opened my speech by saying:
"Fellow citizens – I present myself before you today feeling like a new man. My eyes have lately been opened to truths which ignorance or prejudice, or both, had heretofore hidden from my view. I feel that I can today offer you the ability to render you more valuable service than I have ever been able to render before. I am here today more for the purpose of acknowledging my error than to seek your votes. That I should make this acknowledgment is due to myself as well as to you. Whether you will vote for me is a matter for your consideration only."
I went on to tell them about the fire and my vote for the appropriation as I have told it to you, and then told them why I was satisfied it was wrong. I closed by saying:
"And now, fellow citizens, it remains only for me to tell you that the most of the speech you have listened to with so much interest was simply a repetition of the arguments by which your neighbor, Mr. Bunce, convinced me of my error.
"It is the best speech I ever made in my life, but he is entitled to the credit of it. And now I hope he is satisfied with his convert and that he will get up here and tell you so."
He came upon the stand and said:
"Fellow citizens – It affords me great pleasure to comply with the request of Colonel Crockett. I have always considered him a thoroughly honest man, and I am satisfied that he will faithfully perform all that he has promised you today."
He went down, and there went up from the crowd such a shout for Davy Crockett as his name never called forth before.
I am not much given to tears, but I was taken with a choking then and felt some big drops rolling down my cheeks. And I tell you now that the remembrance of those few words spoken by such a man, and the honest, hearty shout they produced, is worth more to me than all the honors I have received and all the reputation I have ever made, or ever shall make, as a member of Congress.
"Now, Sir," concluded Crockett, "you know why I made that speech yesterday. I have had several thousand copies of it printed and was directing them to my constituents when you came in.
"There is one thing now to which I will call your attention. You remember that I proposed to give a week's pay. There are in that House many very wealthy men – men who think nothing of spending a week's pay, or a dozen of them for a dinner or a wine party when they have something to accomplish by it. Some of those same men made beautiful speeches upon the great debt of gratitude which the country owed the deceased – a debt which could not be paid by money, particularly so insignificant a sum as $10,000, when weighed against the honor of the nation. Yet not one of them responded to my proposition. Money with them is nothing but trash when it is to come out of the people. But it is the one great thing for which most of them are striving, and many of them sacrifice honor, integrity, and justice to obtain it."
Monday, July 21, 2014
On the Way to "Betty's"
Last Saturday at 9:00 AM, I was a guest on Elliot Simon's "Common Sense" radio broadcast from Shepherd University, and also had accepted his invitation to join him earlier that morning for breakfast at "Betty's" restaurant.
And so it was that morning, while walking through the West Virginia village of Shepherdstown, that an elderly couple crossed my path.
They were holding hands while they were taking their morning stroll, which prompted me to compliment them on their mutual affection.
With a twinkle in his eye, the old gentleman smiled, then gently pointed out to me that they held hands to keep each other from stumbling.
What a wondrous example they were and are, a life lesson for all of us to "Put Your Shoulder to the Wheel" and simply "Do What is Right" in all of our activities and relationships.
West Virginia Delegate Larry D. Kump
Wednesday, June 25, 2014
Tuesday, June 24, 2014
Received from David "Navy Dave" Woods :
In the various channels of life I've trodden, I guess the terns government, military, academic, & civic cover my record in fewest words.
In the military in general and the navy in particular, we use the phrase "an officer and a gentleman" to apply to certain select members we choose to honor for their role in life.
While I'm uncertain of the exact status of some of your prior work, so while "officer" may not apply specifically -- from the many other, & particularly more recent aspects of your life, I can testify that "gentleman" clearly applies.
In point of fact, I envy you the judgment, courtesy, tact, & knack of choosing the right expressions to discuss the latest incident in your latter-day (note: pun intended) political career.*
It is a tribute to your strongly held principles that you have, are, & will act as you have always done since I met you...
... I cannot conceive of anyone I've ever know speaking as thoughtfully & apparently truthfully as you did in describing the results of the last primary & indeed the local election itself that followed.
As Kipling's old story goes: "You're a better man than I am, Gunga Din."
* See the "Buying Green Bananas" entry at www.LarryKump.com for the "National Review" magazine article and Delegate Kump's personal legislative news & views.
Thursday, June 19, 2014
Buying Green Bananas
by Tim Cavanaugh "National Review" magazine
November 5, 2014
For West Virginia Delegate Larry D. Kump, the 2014 midterm election brought an additional sting beyond the pain that normally comes with being a man of a certain age.
The libertarian-leaning Republican had to watch the person who defeated him in the primaries, 18-year-old Saira Blair, cruise to a commanding victory in the general election. At the time of the primary, Blair was all of 17, not yet old enough to vote.
But when National Review caught up with the 66-year-old Kump Wednesday, he was magnanimous.
The Mountain State, he noted, has a citizen legislature, and after serving a few terms Kump is placid about leaving office when his current term ends.
The former case manager at a maximum-security prison notes that he was already retired when he entered the West Virginia House of Delegates.
"She won fair and square," Kump tells NRO of his primary opponent, "and she won real big in the general election."
So what went wrong?
Kump speculates that party bigwigs may have been displeased by his votes against a law that allows police in West Virginia to collect blood samples from drivers stopped for DUI and against new regulations on pet ownership that were adopted after the Great Zanesville Zoo Massacre.
A member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Kump specifies, "I am a constitutional libertarian, not a libertine libertarian."
"I've been a very independent legislator with a strong libertarian streak," Kump says. "I voted principle rather than party. It was a low-turnout primary, and the party regulars wanted somebody more loyal to party.
In the primary, the Democrat had no opposition, so many independents voted in the Republican primary." Although Blair is the daughter of a state senator whose father helped with her run, Kump gave the young politician credit for her campaign.
"She worked the numbers real well," Kump says. "She ran a real strong, and positive, campaign."
Kump says he has been contacted about future political efforts, but he is still assessing his options. "I don't even buy green bananas," he says. "I don't know what I'll be doing in 2016."
Visit www.LarryKump.com for other legislative news
Monday, June 16, 2014
Wednesday, June 11, 2014
The Children of Abraham
Jacob (Israel) was only one of Abraham's descendents, and we sometimes forget the multitude of other peoples and nations who are heir to the blessings of Abraham.
Elder Larry D. Kump, High Priest
Hedgesville, West Virginia Ward
Martinsburg, West Virginia Stake
Saturday, June 07, 2014
Truly, it has been both a sacrifice as well as a privilege to serve as a citizen legislator in the West Virginia House of Delegates.
It also will continue to be my duty and responsibility to serve the remainder of my term of office, throughout the rest of 2014.
And, after then?
The opportunities to continue to serve are too numerous to count.
However, it simply is not true that I plan to organize a "Boy Band" and go on a world tour.
2014 Primary Election Reflections
Although I did not win the West Virginia May 13th Primary election, the selfless efforts of that League of Extraordinary Citizens, who volunteered and voted for me and the principles of Liberty, were and are a marvelous work and a wonder.
Their passionate pursuit of our God given Constitutional rights of individual liberty, personal accountability, and personal empowerment are all about that which should matter most to Mountaineers and our families.
These principles still are and always will be sacred, so let us "not go gentle into that good night."
May God bless you all real good.
Friday, June 06, 2014
About Ed Coleman:
Ed was a crusty old coot, but that does not begin to explain or excuse why it never even crossed my mind to share the news of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ with him.
Wednesday, May 28, 2014
When the Lights go Out
The previous return of electrical power to my home, after its unexpected failure for approximately 48 hours, as a result of such a sudden and violent storm, reminded me anew of how much I take for granted.
I also stand all amazed that you and your associates were able to restore so much and so quickly from such extensive damage.
Indeed, while fielding frustrated and angry complaints from my constituents, who couldn't understand why a service that they have always taken for granted was suddenly taken away from them, the following thoughts came into my mind:
* Our nation's electrical power grid and other infrastructure are both fragile and vulnerable. That poses an ever present danger to our economy, national security, and the well-being of all of us and our families.
* While more should be done to educate everyone about the need to strengthen and protect our infrastructure, citizens also should be taught to be more personally prepared and self-reliant in their own homes.
* Some families already have their own emergency power generators, but those (like me), who must also rely on electrical power to obtain their water from wells, should also consider installing manually operated water pumps as a back-up resource.
* From an even broader emergency communication perspective, voluntary programs to train HAM radio operators should be encouraged and expanded.
Yours for better governance,
West Virginia Delegate Larry D. Kump, District # 59
Wednesday, May 07, 2014
Often, when elected and wanna-be elected officials advocate their position(s), they profess that they merely are responding to the voices of their constituents.
Which therein begs the question: Which constituent voices should matter the most?
My simple solution to this cipher is to carefully consider the merits and consequences of all constituent concerns, and then also be diligent to uphold the Oath of Office, sworn to by all elected officials.
This Oath of Office is to understand, uphold, and defend the principles and provisions of our Constitution.
This sacred vow is made, not only to ourselves and our citizens, but also to God.
Truly, doesn't our Constitution mandate that the first principles and practices of our government are the pursuit of individual liberty, personal accountability, and personal empowerment (i.e., the "Pursuit of Happiness")?
After all, is it not us but our Constitution that is the well-spring of our unique American Excellence?
Yours for better governance,
West Virginia Delegate Larry D. Kump
Please share this message with others and visit www.LarryKump.com for more legislative news and views.
Tuesday, April 08, 2014
When Gina served that tasty corn dish, when I was at her family's home the last time, it reminded me of my Mom's baked corn dish.
This morning, I finally remembered to ask Mom for the recipe and here it is:
Baked Corn Recipe
two tablespoons butter (the real stuff)
two tablespoons flour
two tablespoons sugar
two beaten eggs (or at least roughed up slightly, but not as bad as in the NFL)
salt & pepper to taste
Can of creamed corn
Garnish with ground nutmeg and bake about one hour at 400 degrees F, or until golden brown on top.
It's ready when a knife comes out clean after insertion.
Note: Mom usually doubles or triples the recipe.
Thursday, March 20, 2014
Wednesday, March 19, 2014
The "Widow's Mite"
During the recently concluded 2014 session of the West Virginia State Legislature, I joined seventy-four other Delegates in sponsoring various and sundry legislative proposals on a number of issues.
This session, in particular, was one of conscientious concern about our individual and collective Mountaineer well-being, that occasionally even careened into contentious calumny.
The principles of individual liberty, personal accountability and personal empowerment were uppermost in my thoughts then, as well as now.
During this legislative session and as the filing deadline approached for the 2014 election cycle, the multitude of candidates vying for voter approval in various government offices also were a matter of deep reflection for me.
Thinking about my own bid for re-election and doing my best to resist the clamor from some politicos, who were urging me to "fudge" my political principles and pander to the lowest common denominator, an envelope arrived in the mail.
Enclosed therein was a personal check for two dollars on behalf of my re-election, including a personal note from a lady in my district.
She apologized for the amount of her contribution, explaining that it was "all that she could afford" from her limited budget but wanting to do all she could do to support me and my efforts.
This "Widow's Mite" from this lady of most infinite worth is, and always will be, my personal "Pearl of Great Price".
Sunday, January 05, 2014
Tuesday, December 24, 2013
A Christmas Greeting & Reminder
However, as our world changes all around us, there are fewer folks who believe in faith based justice, compassion, and respect for human dignity.
Further, the continued erosion of family and faith even has prompted some lost souls to join gangs for the counterfeit feeling of belonging to something that will give them purpose, security, and a sense of belonging.
Far too many of us do not understand or even believe that our founding fathers knew that religion always should be a foundational principle of our beliefs and behavior. These fathers of our liberty knew that morality does not exist without faith.
They testified that faith was and is an essential ingredient of good governance and human happiness.
George Washington, in his Farewell Address, warned us that, "...Reason and experience both forbids us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle...It is substantially true that virtue or morality is a necessary spring to popular government."
Regarding our individual rights and liberty, Harold B. Lee, former President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church), taught that, "...we seek to build the individual and we must not mistake the scaffolding of the soul."
All of us should and must seek out and be true to the principles of our faith.
We must dare to be different from those who lack faith (and hope).
During this Christmas holiday season and especially throughout our lives, let us be bold in our testimony of Jesus Christ as the central focus of ourselves and our sacred national legacy and patrimony.
Monday, November 25, 2013
Shared with Old Friends
Thank you all ever so much for the gracious and warm welcome you shared with me when I arrived midmorning yesterday at your LDS Meetinghouse doorstep in LaVale, Maryland.
Visiting and worshipping with you was a very big deal for me.
It just has been too many years (and years) since my last visit.
Baptized on February 22nd, 1969, as a truly starving student at Frostburg State College in Western Maryland, yours then was the Frostburg-Cumberland Branch of the Blue Ridge Mission District of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church).
Years later (1978), my wife Carolyn and children David & Sarah moved from 810 Shriver Avenue in Cumberland to Indianapolis, Indiana.
Even so, my memories of the time spent with you remain most sweet and precious to me.
In point of fact, it was your fellowship that sustained and strengthened my faith when, as a college student, my family and friends rejected and disdained me and my newfound faith.
Further and also during that time, it was your dinner table generosity and hospitality that helped sustain me, often when I simply did not even know where or when would be my next meal.
Moreover, there have been many more kindnesses bestowed upon me and mine from so many of you in the years thereafter.
The years speed by much more quickly now for me, and I do not know when, if ever, I may pass your way again.
So, adieu, at least for now, and may God bless you all real good.
Thursday, October 17, 2013
Purported mountain lion sighting causes stir - journal-news.net | News, sports, jobs, community information for Martinsburg - The Journal
FALLING WATERS — Fliers and a plywood sign warning of purported sightings of a mountain lion near the area where two miniature horses and a donkey...
Tuesday, May 28, 2013
Sent to the "Liahona" LDS Church Magazine
It has become my happy habit over the years, whenever the latest issue of the "Liahona" magazine that includes the LDS Church General Conference addresses arrives at my home, to first put aside time to peruse and ponder the photographs therein.
This always gives me feeling of peace and and joy, as well as also strengthening my personal testimony of the Restored Gospel.
And so it also was this morning, for example, with the photo of the young couple on page 43 of the May 2013 issue.
That photo proclaimed mute yet eloquent testimony of the eternal love and happiness
that all of us are eligible to enjoy through Our Heavenly Father's Plan of Happiness.
Also, and if you would, please pass along my sincere gratitude to your photographers.
Larry D. Kump, High Priest
Hedgesville, West Virginia Ward
Martinsburg, West Virginia Stake
Wednesday, February 20, 2013
Don't Tread on Me (or my Faith)
Coiled and ready to strike, the black rattler against a yellow backdrop looks ominous on the miniature flags ' evidence of the Tea Party presence in
Tuesday, February 19, 2013
Truth through Music
ask the old gentleman to preach at that age. After a warm welcome, introduction of this speaker, and as the applause quieted down he rose from his high back chair and walked slowly, with great effort and a sliding gate to the podium.
Without a note or written paper of any kind he placed both hands on the pulpit to steady himself and then quietly and slowly he began to speak....
"When I was asked to come here today and talk to you, your pastor asked me to tell you what was the greatest lesson ever learned in my 50 odd years of preaching. I thought about it for a few days and boiled it down to just one thing that made the
most difference in my life and sustained me through all my trials. The one thing that I could always rely on when tears and heart break and pain and fear and sorrow paralyzed me... The only thing that would comfort was this verse.........
"Jesus loves me this I know.
For the Bible tells me so.
Little ones to Him belong,
We are weak but He is strong.....
Yes, Jesus loves me...
The Bible tells me so."
When he finished, the church was quiet. You actually could hear his footsteps as he shuffled back to his chair. I don't believe I will ever forget it. A pastor once stated, "I always noticed that it was the adults who chose the children's hymn 'Jesus Loves Me' (for the children of course) during a hymn sing, and it was the adults who sang the loudest because I could see they knew it the best."
Here's yet another version:
Jesus loves me, this I know,
Though my hair is white as snow
Though my sight is growing dim,
Still He bids me trust in Him.
YES, JESUS LOVES ME.. YES, JESUS LOVES ME..
YES, JESUS LOVES ME FOR THE BIBLE TELLS ME SO.
Though my steps are oh, so slow,
With my hand in His I'll go
On through life, let come what may,
He'll be there to lead the way.
When the nights are dark and long,
In my heart He puts a song.
Telling me in words so clear,
"Have no fear, for I am near."
When my work on earth is done,
And life's victories have been won.
He will take me home above,
Then I'll understand His love
I love Jesus, does He know?
Have I ever told Him so?
Jesus loves to hear me say,
That I love Him every day.
Monday, January 14, 2013
Accordingly, just imagine my reaction, after the conclusion of the worship service, when a child handed me the following note on behalf of her parent:
Thank you for sharing your beautiful testimony with us today. You have been the answer to my prayers. Thank you for all that you do. (Name redacted, to preserve the privacy of the note's author)"
Postscript: The foundation of my remarks was Doctrine & Covenants Section 1, Verse 23 and Section 64, Verse 33.
Tuesday, January 08, 2013
It's a Miracle!
Friday, December 07, 2012
My Aborted Temple Trip
It always has been a challenge for me to be able to get away and make the long drive from my home to the Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) in Washington, D.C..
And so it was that it particularly pleased me to be happily driving there in the wee hours of a recent weekday morning.
Then, my world exploded all around me.
A reckless and speeding motorist suddenly and unexpectedly rear-ended me, causing me to briefly lose control of my car, before finally coming to a stop on the side of the highway.
The damage to my car was total, and all four of the vehicle doors were crushed shut, but I finally was able to crawl over the front seats and climb out through the rear door window on the passenger side.
When the State Trooper arrived on the collision scene, he was surprised that I had been able to get out of the mangled wreck and stand upright.
Meanwhile, my immediate attention was focused on the frustration from being stymied from getting to the Temple.
It wasn't until some moments later that I became aware that another, unseen presence was gently whispering to me.
It only was then that I began to realize that the Hand of Providence had been watching over and preserving me.
This realization became more fully apparent to me when I finally was able to get to the Temple the following week.
Although I am not where I have been and not where I am going, I am grateful to be on my way.
This is the process of life and more.
Sunday, October 14, 2012
Thomas L. Kane, In Memoriam
He never met Joseph Smith, but perhaps became Brigham Young's best non-Mormon friend, and spent much of the rest of his life championing the cause of the struggling Latter-day Saints, beginning after they were forcibly expelled from Nauvoo, Illinois and driven, on bare and bloody feet, out of the United States of America into what then was part of Mexico (now Utah).
The Patriarch John Smith gave Colonel Kane one of the few Patriarchal Blessings ever bestowed upon a non-member.
Although from a well-respected Pennsylvania family, the Colonel was a sickly and diminutive man. He believed that he would end his days as a lonely bachelor, but the Patriarch promised him an eventual companion and comforter to be his partner and loving help-mate. The Colonel found great joy when he later married Elizabeth, and said that his only regret was that John Smith no longer was alive to witness the fulfillment of that promised blessing to them.
The Patriarch also blessed Thomas that he always would be remembered and beloved by the Saints, and this also has been so.
When Thomas finally passed away and crossed the veil, I believe that both Joseph Smith and Brigham Young were there to gratefully welcome him.
Recommended Reading: "Liberty to the Downtrodden: Thomas L. Kane, Romantic Reformer", by Matthew J. Grow, Yale University Press. 2009.
Tuesday, September 18, 2012
The Islamic Issue
We should take great care to avoid conflating the Islamic faith of approximately 1.5 billion people with the twisted agenda of some revolutionary extremists, who pervert and subvert that faith into their raison d'etre.
While not Christian, most Muslims also are God fearing and sincere in their beliefs. Defaming their faith plays into the very hands of terrorist evil-doers.
After all, how would we react if Christianity was judged on the basis of David Koresh's child abuse or the Reverend Jim Jones' kool-aid drinkers?
Postscript: The purpose of this entry solely was to caution against stereotyping any group of people. I did not make any distinctions regarding the validity of the various sects of the Islamic (or any other) faith, nor was it my purpose to suggest any weakening of support for American Excellence (as embodied by our Constitution) or our national interests. Furthermore, this entry made absolutely no suggestions regarding our Middle Eastern foreign policy.
Note: See other entries on this issue.
A Chaplain on Islam
In matters of faith the primary call to the believer is to know his or her faith and to incorporate that faith into his or her life.
The primary focus of our faith should lie in ourselves, not in rushing to condemn others, who may not hold the same belief set that we do.
A tricky proposition at best.
And yet, if one really studies the history of o ur country and asks the question, "What caused many of our ancestors to leave their old homeland, family, and friends and undertake a risky journey across many a stormy sea?", you will find in a surprisingly large number of cases the answer was "Religious Intolerance."
Grace and Peace.
More on the Islamic Issue
I've gotten disagreement from a few about my earlier email on this issue.
The point that I was trying to make was about our own behavior and stereotypings, not the behavior and faith of the Muslims.
However, some instead have responded to me by cataloging what they feel is wrong with the Muslim faith and culture.
I agree with you. I have a friend who is Muslim, who also was very supportive of my faith. In fact she invited some of us to dinner---I shared a copy of the "Ensign" magazine with her once that educated us about the Muslim religion.
It is the extremists of any organization that are just that --extreme.....!
Note: See other entries on this issue.
Saturday, September 08, 2012
Irony (not Wrinkly)
A spry 98 year old brother was there and busily circulating among us.
The irony of it was that I was told that he was inactive in the Church until age 92.
Thursday, August 23, 2012
To a Friend, about Faith
After already finishing a complete re-reading of the Book of Mormon recently this year and then studying all of the Bible Dictionary, Maps, and Pearl of Great Price; I wasn't exactly sure where next to continue with my morning Scripture studies.
My first thought was to perhaps re-read again the New and Old Testament of the King James Bible, but couldn't decide with which one to start.
As I sat in my recliner this morning and thought about that, as well about an email conversation yesterday with a friend, I finally and simply started studying the Doctrine & Covenants again.
Section 1 (the Lord's own Preface, and the only Scripture containing God's own preface), renewed my hope and refreshed my heart.
He promised strength and hope to "the weak and the simple", and if that doesn't describe me, then what does?
He also reaffirmed His forgiveness for us.
Then, in Section 2 and comparing it for the first time, line by line and word by word, with Malachi in the Old Testament, I found information therein that previously was oblivious to me. It also comforted me a great deal in regard to my participation in the Temple.
I feel much better now.
Friday, August 17, 2012
A Prospective Principle of Power
His words seemed to leap out of the page at me, wherein he pointed out that "the baptismal covenant applies prospectively as well as retrospectively: each time we truly repent, that covenant is reinvigorated and we once again qualify for a remission of sins.".
He went on to say that he was "speaking of faith not only as a principle of action but also as a principle of power" and reminded me again that "out of weakness" all of us can be "made strong".
And so it goes that, once again, I am reminded and strengthened to keep on keeping on.
Saturday, August 04, 2012
What's in Your Wallet?
At one house it seemed obvious that someone was at home, but no answer came to his repeated knocks at the door.
Accordingly, he then took one of his calling cards out of his wallet, wrote 'Revelation 3:20' on the back of it, and stuck it in the door.
When the offering was processed the following Sunday, he found that his card had been returned.
Added to it was the scripture, 'Genesis 3:10.'
Revelation 3:20 begins 'Behold, I stand at the door and knock.'
Genesis 3:10 reads, 'I heard your voice in the garden and I was afraid for I was naked.'
Remember: 'A cheerful heart is good medicine' (Proverbs 17:22)
Tuesday, July 31, 2012
What Shakespeare Failed to Tell Us
"My stars shine darkly over me; the malignancy of my fate might, perhaps, distemper yours..." (from "Twelfth Night").
And yet, we also are given the sweet assurance that "...the Lord God will help me, therefore shall I not be confounded..." (Book of Mormon, 2 Nephi 7:7).
"Therefore, cheer up your hearts..." (Book of Mormon, 2 Nephi 10:23).
Thursday, July 26, 2012
Where's the Pretzels?
A huge tractor-trailer truck, loaded with over 70,000 gallons of Budweiser beer, had crashed and overturned.
There were suds everywhere, but no pretzels.
Postscript: Upon hearing this news report, my friend Budd was excited about the possibilities, but beer does not make Budd wiser.
Tuesday, July 24, 2012
Just Another Wise Guy
I found your recent post card very inspiring.
It's obvious that even God sees the things I see, and He even had Moroni write it down to confirm it (Moroni: Chapter 7, Verse 5).
You are more of an inspiration and help than you could ever imagine.
But, at least you are wise enough to be modest about it.
Wednesday, July 11, 2012
Providing Pause to Ponder
He seemed to me to be so sad, frail, and elderly.
Accordingly, it then surprised me to discover that he and I are of about the same age, with me being slightly the elder.
Then, during my annual medical check-up this morning, Dr. Shranatan told me that my good health is most remarkable, especially considering my previous medical challenges, and that it actually has improved in recent years. He went on to say that my health now even is better than many younger men.
All of which gives me much pause to ponder the miracles that God has so lovingly wrought throughout my life, and very much more so than just concerning my physical health.