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Saturday, October 4, 2014


My dad taught me to drive in the Glade outside Farmington, New Mexico in an old 2nd generation GMC Jimmy (K5 Blazer). The Jimmy was old enough that its body had once been made of steel before becoming mostly iron oxide held together by a burnt orange paint. It was lifted to fit large 30 inch wheels, and my uncle had outfitted it with a 450 block engine. It was loud, and had tons of power, and set off car alarms just by driving though a parking lot. We called it “The Beast”, and rightly so. To top it off, my father had learned to drive in the mountains of Colorado, and honed his skills in the army. He was fearless, and could do things in the Beast I’ve never seen duplicated in any other vehicle.

Not the Beast, or the desert, but you get the idea

My first truck was a 1980 Toyota four banger pickup with four on the floor, and no power steering. It was orange, with bucket seats, tan interior, and sported a pretty dent in the steel truck bed between the cab and wheel well. I also learned to drive this truck in the New Mexico back roads.

The roads in the Glade were at one time 100% unmaintained dirt roads, carved through a forest of pinion trees, sage brush, and weeds that never turn green by teenagers looking for a party, and gun aficionados target practicing on metal signs, beer cans, and the occasional jack rabbit. The roads were full of pot holes, ruts, and washes. If you didn’t know how to drive on these roads you could find yourself stuck in a rut, or a wash, or high centered on a chunk of sandstone.

One of the many dirt roads found in the Glade

This is where my story begins. I was driving my little beater truck, and trying to impress my girlfriend by showing her my mad driving skillz on the back roads. About 2 miles out, I drove through a wide wash. I did everything my dad had taught me about going through a wash. I kept my steering wheel steady, and kept at a steady, yet swift speed. However, there was no way my four banger was going to get through that wash. So, my truck stopped moving about half way through. I did what I could to get traction, but there was no hope for my little truck, so we had to walk. If I’d done this about 5 years later I could have used a cell phone to call for help. Instead, we started walking back to town.

We probably walked just over a mile back when a Ford F250 came upon us. He drove us back to the sight of my failed pride, tied up a tow rope, and easily hauled my truck out of the wash. We were saved!

In tonight’s Priesthood session, Elder Uchtdorf talked about Jesus’ apostles being told at the last supper that one of them would betray him. Each one in turn asked, “Lord, is it I?” Instead of turning on each other, they turned inward, and reflected on the intentions of their own hearts. Later in the talk, Elder Uchtdorf tells us that asking this question with humility can help us to grow. For when we ask the Lord to show us our weaknesses, with the intent to fix those weaknesses, the Lord can help us to overcome, and grow into better people.

The Glade's main road

“Is it I?” I ask this very question quite often, but instead of addressing the Lord, I toss my inquiry into the ether. Most often the adversary answers me with a loud yes, and then he proceeds to tell me all the things I do, or ever did wrong. He has, on many occasions, thrown me into a deep depression, in which doubt fills my soul. He tells me that I’ve run myself into a deep wash, and there’s no way I’m ever getting out. I should just give up, and accept life stuck in the wash.

In the Book of Ether, the Prophet Ether relays the Lord's message to us, “If men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them.” (Ether 12:27) Jesus says, “come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

If we don’t include the Lord when we ask “Is it I?” we will learn our weaknesses, but not in a way that encourages repentance. We will try to save ourselves for a little while before giving up, because we don't have the strength or tools ourselves. Instead, we need to address our question to the Lord, "Lord, is it I?", so that he can bring in his heavy duty F250 with a towing wench and haul us out of danger, so we can get some rest from the desert heat.