True Stuff that I Made Up

PLEASE NOTE: The entries which are published at this site are solely my personal and sometimes whimsical musings. For information regarding my political positions and proposals, please visit

Further, this website is devoutly dedicated to all of my friends and associates, both early and late, who have mentored and influenced me. However, being who they are, the majority of them have been late most of the time.

  Also, check out my personal entry at

Saturday, March 04, 2017

My Best Buddy, Who Changed My Life

This post was written many years ago and redrafted in 2010:
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 next door neighbor and best buddy, 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 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.

Postscript: For more about my experiences and perspective, please also visit

Friday, March 03, 2017

Faith & Politics: My Personal Pilgrimage

This following previous post of mine struck me as even more relevant now, when so many of us are prayerfully pondering and even fasting about our 2016 election choices and the fate of our nation:

Federal Judge Thomas B. Griffith* previously delivered an address, "A Mormon Approach to Politics" **, at the Brigham Young University Milton A. Barlow Center, and his perspective struck a resonating chord within my heart and mind , so much so that it prompted me to summarize my own perspective herein.

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 "Constitutional" 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 fosters 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 " 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 continue to strive to practice the principle of charity (the pure love of Christ) toward others and tolerance of them and their various lifestyles.

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 even more of them (more of both the programs and the less fortunate).

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 mistakenly 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 and even demand "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 " 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, if any, 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.

And so it goes.

*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: Former West Virginia Delegate Larry D. Kump (2010-2014, twice served two year terms of office) 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, labor relations & ethics expert and advocate, group therapist for sex offenders, and certified arbitrator and mediator. His political issues website is

The Kump Family Castle

The Kump Family Castle,”Schloss Matzen”, in Austria (no foolin’!)

There simply is no truth to the rumor that there is a Duchy of Kumpsylvania in Austria. There’s just no “Mouse that Roared” there.

More about “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 Ty…rolean 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

Thursday, March 02, 2017

A Letter to a Friend, about the Importance & Power of Patriarchal Blessings


Your recent email regarding your Mom Doris' untimely death was both spiritually and emotionally powerful. It moved me in many ways.

In particular, your mention of both of your parents' Patriarchal Blessings caused me deep reflection about my own Patriarchal Blessing and the events of my life so far.

For example, as we are encouraged to study and learn from the Scriptures, reading and prayerfully pondering them over and over again throughout our lives, we continue to learn and strive to put their eternal principles into effect within our own life.

So it also is that our Patriarchal Blessings are Scripture, written only for us.

When I received my own Patriarchal Blessing on November 29th, 1969, I was deeply awed, but did not understand most of it at the time.

Over the many years since then , my prayerful and frequent study of it has revealed many more things to me and I have been so blessed, as I struggled to apply those understandings to my circumstances of the moment.

One personal example is that my blessing assures me that my Guardian Angel will preserve and extend my life, for purposes known to God, and this truly has been so.

Further, a Patriarchal promise also was made to me that I always would have the material things necessary for life, and this also has been so, even as I often struggled along the way.

Neither of those two blessings came without personal heartaches and wrestlings on my part, but their promise was sure.

And so, just as our minds are enlightened as we continue to prayerfully ponder the Scriptures and strive to learn more from frequent and prayerful Temple participation, so it also is that we are blessed by frequent and prayerful pondering of our Patriarchal Blessing.

There even is one portion of my Patriarchal Blessing that has been mostly (if not completely) fulfilled, but of which my understanding still is not complete.

There is yet another portion which has been fulfilled, I think, but in a way that continues to somewhat perplex me.

Accordingly, as I continue to pray and ponder about the personal scripture of my own Patriarchal Blessing, more understanding and ability is given to me. This happens line upon line and precept upon precept, just as we receive all of our other blessings and understandings from God in our lives.

It only was recently, for instance, that I realized that the absence of one topic in my Patriarchal Blessing was purposeful, and omitted by Our Father in Heaven in order to shield my heart.

Thank you ever so much for reminding and strengthening me in all of this.

Yours in the Gospel,


Postscript: There's more of this about that @

Wednesday, March 01, 2017

To a Romantic Defender of the Downtrodden, in Memoriam

Although my personal heroes include the great latter-day American prophet Joseph Smith and also my kinsman Patrick Henry, Thomas L. Kane ("The Little Colonel") likewise claims a special place in my heart.

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 Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) Patriarch John Smith gave Colonel Kane one of the few Patriarchal Blessings ever bestowed upon a non-member.

Although from a well-respected and politically powerful 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 met and married Elizabeth, and later said that his only regret was that John Smith no longer was alive to witness the fulfillment of that promised blessing.

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 Brigham Young and John Smith 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.

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Wednesday, July 06, 2016

Who Ya Gonna Call?

 Recently, the latest new "Ghostbusters" movie prompted me to make an unexpected and supernally better comparison.
 At the D.C. Temple yesterday morning, other brothers and sisters were participating with me in vicarious marriage and sealing ordinances.
 That then invoked a powerful image in my mind, that we were wearing spiritual "haz-mat" protective clothing.
 Indeed and especially in these troubled and perverse times, Latter-day Saints know, "Who you gonna call?"

Monday, June 06, 2016

"What - Me Worry?"

 This image of John Wayne, from an episode of the former "Laugh-In" television show, evoked profound thoughts within me about spiritual strength.

 Also and unlike Alfred E. Neuman ("Mad" magazine: "What - Me Worry?"), Lord Alfred Tennyson contemplated the root strength of the meaning of life in his poem:

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.
  Lord Alfred Tennyson

 And, for those who continue to worry about or even doubt the reality of Our Father in Heaven and His mindfulness of each and every one of us, consider further the words of a Pre-Columbian American Prophet:

 "...Thou has had signs enough; will you tempt your God? Will ye say, Show unto me a sign, when you have the testimony of all these thy brethren, and also the holy prophets? The scriptures are laid before thee, yea, and all things denote there is a God; yea even the earth, and all things that are upon the face of it, yea and its motion, yea and also all the planets which move in their regular form do witness that there is a Supreme Creator." (Book of Mormon, Alma, Chapter 30, Verse 44)

 And so it also goes  for me, "What - Me Worry?"

 Not me, and not heroes such as John Wayne, because, even when there are times when our path ahead seems dark, Christ is the author and finisher of our faith.

 For more of this about that, telephone 1-800-438-7557.

Friday, May 06, 2016

On the Way to "Betty's"

 Not so very long ago, I was a guest on Elliot Simon's "Common Sense" radio broadcast from Shepherd University. I also had accepted his invitation to join him earlier that morning for breakfast at the local "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.

The LDS Church hymns, "Put Your Shoulder to the Wheel" and simply "Do What is Right",also teach us to do this in all of our activities and relationships. 

Postscript: This same principle also is taught in Ecclesiates 4:4-10.

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Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Kump Seeks Senate

Falling Waters, West Virginia – Former West Virginia Delegate Larry D. Kump (2011-2014, Berkeley-Morgan Counties) announced, “After a strong and steady stream of personal pleadings urged me to return to public office in 2016, and after prolonged pondering and personal prayer, I have made a decision to answer these calls to return to duty. And so, I have agreed to be a candidate for election to the West Virginia State Senate. I also am a candidate for election as a West Virginia delegate to the 2016 Republican national convention.”
“When I first was a candidate for election to the West Virginia House of Delegates in 2010, it was my promise and firm conviction to always stand up and speak out on behalf of taxpayer friendly and less intrusive government. That has not changed, nor will it."
"Seventy-five (75) different Republican and Democrat legislators, in the one hundred (100) member West Virginia House of Delegates, previously cosponsored legislation with me. Even so, I never have been and never will be someone who goes along, just to get along. Simply doing what’s right is the best of all rewards.”
“While continuing to carefully listen to the whole gamut of citizen concerns, my grass-roots championing has been and always will be in compliance with our divinely inspired Constitution, the well-spring of our American Excellence."
"Accordingly, I will continue to strive to protect our individual liberty, personal accountability, and personal empowerment." "The pursuit of these principles of good governance will give us meaningful tax reform, protect retired senior citizens and working Mountaineers, defend our personal right to bear arms, and safeguard our personal property rights and family values."
"Of course, government transparency and accountability also are essential for this to happen.” "Meanwhile, I pledge to continue my own personal and public practice of integrity, accountability, and transparency. As always in elected office and in every other aspect of our lives, character counts.”
Mr. Kump has over forty (40) years of extensive experience and skills in public policy and administration. He also is a kinsman of founding father Patrick Henry and former West Virginia Governor Herman Guy Kump.
West Virginia State Senate District #15 includes all of Hampshire and Morgan counties, most of Mineral county, and half of Berkeley County (excluding the City of Martinsburg and numerous precincts that mostly are east of the city).
Those who wish to encourage and endorse his candidacy should send their contributions, whether modest or magnanimous, to:

“Friends of Larry D. Kump”
P.O. Box 1131
Falling Waters, West Virginia 25419-1131.

For further information:

Read "Larry's Bio", by clicking on the icon at the top of You also will find additional information about his positions on political principles and issues at that website.
Visit Facebook page (
Contact Larry at (304) 274-3104.

Cash contributions will not be accepted. West Virginia law does not allow campaign contributions from West Virginia public employees (This does not include employee family members). All contributions over $250 must include your home and mailing address, occupation, and the name of your employer. No Primary election contributions over $1,000 per person are allowed.

Please share this message with others, and ask them to go and do likewise!

Monday, July 20, 2015

Recent Reflections of a Latter-day Saint

The following is an edited and redacted copy of a letter I mailed today to an old friend:


Recent events, regarding Temples and eternal truths, have given me much pause for additional prayerful pondering.

The dedication of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints' (LDS Church) newest Temple near Indianapolis, Indiana has been a great joy for me and my Hoosier LDS friends, with whom I lived and served for over eleven years, and who still stay in touch with me.

Also, the recent deaths of LDS Apostles L. Tom Perry and Boyd K. Packer (President of the Quorum of Twelve) reminded me of when they were first called to serve therein, both within the LDS Church and to the world.

As I watched BYUTV and their broadcast of President Packer's funeral, the remarks made by LDS Church President Thomas S. Monson about Brother Packer and eternal principles sunk deeply into my heart.

Those remarks reminded me that, where there is love there also is sadness in parting, but that parting need only be temporary and that our time here only is a tiny part of our lives.

More and more, I am convinced, that far too much of my own life has been spent on issues and events that have no eternal consequence.

Furthermore, that is why, as the years pass by with increasing rapidity, my gratitude grows for the Atonement of our Savior Jesus Christ and His infinite mercy on behalf of me and my many weaknesses.

I am such an ordinary and unremarkable man, but the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ has given me such extraordinary blessings, so much so that I can scarce take it all in, and most certainly don't even begin to comprehend their fullness.

Larry D. Kump

Saturday, May 30, 2015

About the Book of Mormon

 Your recent testimony during the Hedgesville, West Virginia High Priests' Group meeting, about the importance of and the personal and family blessings that come from the daily prayerful study of the Book of Mormon was and is a huge deal for me.
 Although frequent personal prayer and daily study of the Bible and other Scriptures long has been my habit (I've even read the Book of Mormon, cover to cover, over fifty times since my youthful convert baptism), I was not reaping the fullness of blessings, that are provided by the daily and prayerful study of the Book of Mormon.
 Notwithstanding numerous appeals from all of our Prophets (especially Ezra Taft Benson) to read the Book of Mormon daily, my study of the other Scriptures and the "Liahona", "BYU Studies", and "Religious Educator" magazines often caused me to neglect the amount of attention I needed to give to the Book of Mormon.
 Your personal testimony called me to repentance, and, since then, I have been diligently striving to at least read one chapter from the Book of Mormon every day, in addition to my other Scripture studies.
 The blessings were immediate and profound.
 Thank you ever so much!

Saturday, May 02, 2015

At my Statehouse office, in the Wee Hours

March, 2013

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Summer in the State House

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

My Trip to Food Lion

Yesterday, I was at my local Food Lion buying a large bag of Purina dog chow for my loyal friend, Joe Bagadonuts (the Wonder Dog), and was in the check-out line when the lady behind me asked if I had a dog.
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.

Monday, March 23, 2015

@ the Ohio

Last Friday, it was my privilege and pleasure to be allowed to hitch an early morning ride with widow Betty June Montgomery and widower Lorin Wall, leaving from the West Virginia State Capitol area and then spending the day with them at the LDS Temple in Columbus, Ohio.

 Betty June was the first full time LDS Sister Missionary from West Virginia, and also was the first full time Temple volunteer worker from West Virginia at the LDS Washington, D.C. Temple. Further, her unselfish and persistent efforts on behalf of her kindred dead is the stuff of legend. Betty June has a current backlog of over 1,000 (one thousand) kindred dead for whom she is continuing to have Temple ordinances completed on their behalf.

Lorin is a descendent of the ill-fated LDS "Martin" handcart company pioneers, and he has been an ordinance worker at the Columbus, Ohio Temple since it first opened. Finally, and of great import for me, Lorin is a former resident of the Cherry Run area in Hedgesville, West Virginia.

And so it goes that, last Friday, I was given the supernal privilege of keeping company with two individuals of infinite worth.

My life has been full of so many blessings, among which has been those who have and continue to be my dear friends.


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Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Another Marvelous Work & a Wonder

 It's been yet another marvelous work and a wonder for me to count my many blessings and then prayerfully express my profound gratitude to God for both the blessings of freedom and faith.
 In addition to my myriad other adventures, my most recent reflections have included the memory of being both unemployed and homeless when I first arrived in West Virginia in 1989.
 At that time, the frenetic focus of my heartfelt personal prayers was to find the means to continue to provide child support for my children and to find just a modest room somewhere to call my own.
 These and other challenges long since have been resolved, frequently testing my faith, but always providing me with an abundance of blessings and personal growth.
 And so it is, as I continue to reflect upon my life's journey, my heart is so full of gratitude to God that I can scarce take it all in.
 Just sayin'.

Saturday, December 06, 2014

Trees & Me

 During my morning personal prayers and scripture study,
 I continued to ponder the blessing of an encouraging
 email recently received from Bill Bartholomew.
(Bill is a long time friend and mentor in Hanover,

 It was then that my attention was directed to the
 December 2014 issues of the "Liahona" and "Ensign" 
magazines, particularly the "Lessons from the Sacred
 Grove" article by the late Elder Martin K. Jensen.

 Brother Jensen's four lessons, about how the 
Sacred Grove provides ecosystem lessons in life for 
each of us, was a refreshing reminder for me.

 This was especially so with his second lesson in
 that article: Trees as well as people require opposition
 in order to develop the full measure of our creation.

 And so it goes, not only for me, but for all of us.
Larry D. Kump, High Priest
Hedgesville, West Virginia Ward
Martinsburg, West Virginia Stake

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Hugh Nibley & Black Friday

Hugh Nibley once remarked that, every time he went to the Temple, he learned something new.

And so this also has been true for me, but even more so on Friday, November 28th at the Washington, D. C. Temple.

Instead of competing with commercialized and crazed customers at the malls on that "Black Friday", my alternate experience at the Temple was ever so much better.

This began during the wee hours of that morning, during my drive to the Temple from my Falling Waters, West Virginia home.

Multiple promptings about various personal decisions quickly began to crystallize for me, as I prayed during my solitary journey on the Inter-State highways.

Upon arrival at the Temple and prior to participating in a session of eternal sealings and marriages, my knowledge of and appreciation for Temple symbolism was greatly enhanced by some personal instruction from a kindly Priesthood Patriarch, who was visiting from South Carolina to visit his children in Virginia.

During this session, the grateful presence of those on the other side of the veil, some born in the 1600's, was keenly felt.

Afterwards and while walking out from the Temple, it was my dumbfounded delight to unexpectedly encounter Doris "Emerick" (her previous surname), who lept from her chair and gave me an enthusiastic hug.

Doris quickly led me to meet her youngest son Jason, who I have not seen in almost forty years, and his son Frank, who I met for the first time that day.

Frank was on his way to receiving his Temple Endowment, prior to leaving his family in Pennsylvania to serve a full time mission in California.

It then was my profound privilege and pleasure to relate, to both Jason and Frank, my enduring gratitude for the example of humility and compassion exhibited by my personal hero. That man was an older Frank Emerick, who served as a counselor in multiple presidencies in a tiny LDS Church branch in Cumberland, Maryland. This elder Frank was taken early in life by cancer, and is the grandfather that Jason's son never met.

During my travel back home, my heart was full (almost to bursting) and the personal promptings continued.

But, there still was more to come.

While stopping by my hometown Post Office, to mail a few LDS Church DVD's to non-member friends and associates, the postmaster was curious about those multiple mailings.

When he learned that those DVD's were the 25th Anniversary edition of "Mr. Krueger's Christmas", starring Jimmy Stewart and also including other presentations, his interest and questions intensified.

So, I gave him one of the DVD's as a Christmas gift.

Hugh knew.

You betcha!

Larry D. Kump, High Priest
Hedgesville, West Virginia Ward
Martinsburg, West Virginia Stake

Monday, July 28, 2014

The Miracle of the "David" Tree

(Originally posted 11/27/04)
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.
Years passed.
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.

Temple Memories (Also published in the "Church News", 4 September 2004, page 16)

(Originally posted in August, 2004)
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")

(excerpted from the December, 2001 "Ensign" magazine)
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)

An email to a friend on the West Coast:
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.

More Reflections on my "Sacred Grove" Home

(Originally posted 10/1/06)
It rained heavily during the night.
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
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")

(Originally posted in August 2004)
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

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.

 Just sayin'.  
Larry D. Kump


Davy Crockett & the Sockdolager

When I just was a young sprat, the Walt Disney television show about the life of Davy Crockett, the hero of the Alamo, was the favorite of me and my pals. We all even persistently pestered our parents until they allowed all us to get and proudly wear coonskin hats. Much later in my life, I gleefully discovered that Davy's grandparents once lived only a scant few miles from my Falling Waters home in Spring Mills (Berkeley County), where it still stands today. Recently, I shared the following "sockdolager" incident from Davy's life with all my fellow West Virginia State Legislators. It speaks for itself. - Delegate Larry D. Kump

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."

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

With a Munchin at the Local Library

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Gunga Din

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."

Navy Dave

* See the "Buying Green Bananas" entry at for the "National Review" magazine article  and Delegate Kump's  personal legislative news & views. 

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Buying Green Bananas

What's It Like to Lose an Election to a 17-Year-Old Girl?

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 for other legislative news

Monday, June 16, 2014

First Voter

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

The Children of Abraham

Elder Russell M. Nelson's recent and inspiring article on "The Book of Mormon, the Gathering of Israel, and the Second Coming" (July 2014 issues of the "Liahona" and "Ensign" magazines) also reminded me of the other children of Abraham, to which the Abrahamic covenant continues to apply.
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

What Now?

 In the aftermath of the recent West Virginia Primary elections, lots of friends and associates have asked me, "What now?".

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?

Who knows?

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.

Just sayin'.



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:

 My next door neighbor, Ed Coleman, suddenly and unexpectedly passed away yesterday, and I'm not sure how I feel about that.

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 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?
Just sayin'.

 Yours for better governance,  

West Virginia Delegate Larry D. Kump

Please share this message with others and visit for more legislative news and views. 

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".


Tuesday, December 24, 2013

A Christmas Greeting & Reminder

None of us would have a fullness of liberties and blessings without the "American Excellance" we especially enjoy as citizens of the United States of America.

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.

Merry Christmas!