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

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