18 Mar 2020 COVID-19 is … beautiful?
 |  Category: Inspirational  | No Comments

COVID-19 CellThe COVID-19 pandemic is profoundly moving. And while it may sound odd, I am supremely grateful. It’s beautiful to see people, communities, and organizations come together in so many ways — to embrace our shared humanity.

Of course, I don’t mean to trivialize in any way the real and deep distress of so many tens of thousands of people: the families, friends, and communities of the seriously ill, dying, and dead; the crushing financial burden of income loss and uncertainty; the medical professionals (and others) working double and triple shifts; the list of hardships and significant stressors is lengthy.

But despite all of that – perhaps even because of that, to a degree – there is an awakening, a softening, a return to normalcy and goodness. COVID shines a massive spotlight on a fundamental question: what really matters to us?

Is it the latest sporting event? Is it the fashion trends of today, gone tomorrow? Is it the latest technical gadget in 4k high definition resolution? Is it the money for which we work so desperately?

Darkness Cannot Extinguish LightOr is it maybe something better, something sacred, something too often overlooked or neglected?

Is it our neighbor? Our family? Our God? Our connection to others?

In the Book of Mormon, a group of people feared greatly due to an invading army. A person of faith offered hope, he “went forth and stood among them, and exhorted them that they should not be frightened, but … should remember the Lord their God and He would deliver them.” And the next part, I just love: “Therefore they hushed their fears” (Mosiah 23:27–28).

This person did not hush their fears. He could not. But they did, individually and as a people. They remembered what truly matters, they remembered the teachings of their childhood, they remembered their Creator. And they hushed their own fears.

There is much about which we can be fearful. But let us remember the goodness of our Creator, the joy of each other, the love of family and companionship. And together, let us hush our fears and rejoice.


21 Jan 2015 What is Josh up to?
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Saving the world – or at least my health – one bite at a time.  Time doesn’t permit a full, detailed account of our amazing discovery of Purium Health Products.  If you’ve got ~20 min and want something that may transform your life – as it has ours – let me know, I’ve got a video to share with you. That’s it, no sales pitch.  🙂

In the meantime, here’s an illustrative graphic that shows my personal experience comparing Purium vs. Running.  Yes, it’s difficult to imagine – not to mention kind of scary! – but I ran a lot (for me) over the Summer.  Dozens and dozens of miles, gallons and gallons of sweat.  Ick.  I know, trust me, I know, I was there!!

But I posit there is a better way.  If you’re at all like me – poor eating habits, food-related illnesses, health problems, early aging onset, etc – I invite you to check it out.  And, if you’re not like me – you’ve been eating healthy for years and feel great – I still invite you to check it out, I sincerely believe there’s great good here for all persons, their current level of health, wellness, and nutrition notwithstanding.  🙂



No contest, Purium is the clear winner!

No contest, Purium is the clear winner!


30 Nov 2013 Miracles and Tender Mercies
 |  Category: Miscellaneous  | No Comments

A Miracle and Tender Mercy

It occurred in conjunction with our Statewide Stake Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on November 16-17.

That Sunday morning began like most Sundays for me with some early morning (6am!) meetings as part of my responsibility in the Married Student Stake, an ecclesiastical unit for BYU-Hawaii families.  Unlike most Sundays, though, this was Stake Conference.  And, more unusual yet, the general session of Conference was a broadcast from Salt Lake City that would include several Church leaders.

After finishing meetings I got home and suggested we attend the married students’ broadcast, rather than our home Ward’s.  This would allow us to be together and still fulfill my calling in the Married Stake and provide an easier atmosphere for our children to watch and listen (HAH – this is worthy of a separate entry but will have to suffice with the clear impression from the Lord to my wife – I was not there, keep reading – that in this case it would have been better for us NOT TO BE THERE than to be an IRREVERENT DISTRACTION to others).  Moreover, it would allow students to see me with the entire family (oops, that didn’t work out as I’d imagined!), which I think is valuable for young married couples.

So we showed up at the building, sang an opening hymn, prayer, and so forth.  The time came for the broadcast to begin… and… (drumroll)…

Silence.  Darkness.  The screen remained dark and the speakers silent.

Instead of Prophets, we heard questions from kids about when the “movie” would begin.  With growing dread, I slipped out of the pew and headed to the tech-guru, our Stake Technology Specialist.  He was already investigating the satellite receiver.  No signal.  Uh-oh, not good.  Danger, Will Robinson!

He got on the phone and discovered a secure internet feed was available for just such emergency purposes – yes!  Now we needed to locate some laptops, as we were broadcasting to two separate chapels in the same building.  We quickly located one laptop and (eventually) got it working such that members in that chapel could see.  Sadly, only later did we get an audio cable, so the sound for much of the meeting was the rinky-dinky speakers with the pulpit microphone placed as close as possible… a bit tinny, but better than nothing.

Meanwhile, in the other chapel, another laptop was located but, alas, this was a Macbook which requires a special, proprietary video connector (curse you Apple!).  Knowing I had one at my office, which is a nearby campus building, I went to retrieve it.

Now for the miracle.  Read on, it’s a good one.

As  I ran/jogged/panted/crawled/nearly died (hey, I’m a computer person, not an athlete!) to my office, I remembered that I’d left my office keys and other items at home, after my meetings when I got the family.  Uh-oh.  I didn’t expect the building would be unlocked but decided to try, anyway, instead of going home to get the keys.  I hoped for a miracle.

I got inside the building with my key card but, as expected, the interior doors were locked and needed a physical key.  Darn.  OK, time to check the exterior doors that provide entry into the main part of the building.  Nope, no luck, strikes 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5.

Meanwhile my dear wife was left with our six young children who were now quite bored and restless in the chapel as there was nothing to be done.  Does anything strike more fear into the hearts of parents – or those (un)fortunate enough to be nearby – than six restless kids, particularly the Smith kids?

The Stake Presidency Counselor had wisely gotten a pianist and chorister to play primary hymns to maintain the Spirit (and distract the kids) but they’d already lost steam and voices by this point…

Being a woman of faith, my Saintly wife prayed and specifically asked the Lord for a miracle.  Whereas I merely hoped, she ACTED in faith.

At that moment, near as we can tell, I tried the 6th door.  This one leads directly into a classroom with 45 (expensive) computer stations and which is ALWAYS dutifully locked.  Fully expecting it to be locked – but trying and hoping anyway – it opened.  I was stunned.

I admit, my initial reaction was concern, thinking that I’d discover all the computer systems missing.  What relief, they were still there!  I then wondered which bonehead left the door unlocked and how fortunate we were there was no theft, but counted it my good fortune it opened, as I could now access my office.

I turned around to make sure the door was firmly latched behind me… and discovered the door WAS locked.  It’s a panic bar door, one that is unlocked when the bar is depressed, and locked otherwise.  It was in the locked state, no doubt.  Somehow, I’d opened a locked door!

Sensing a bit of the miracle just experienced, I was sheepishly conscious of my own shortcomings moments before.  I thought a quick prayer of gratitude, got to my office, grabbed the connector (and spare laptop, as the other, working laptop did not have its power adapter), and headed back to the Stake center.

When I entered the chapel, they had the audio feed (microphone and laptop speaker, as the other, though we did soon scrounge up some audio cables) and were most enthusiastic to have video, too!

This was a group effort, with several people working to get technology aligned quickly so the Married Student Saints could hear the Church leaders and Prophets deliver their inspired messages.  Thanks to all of you.

Only later that evening did I discover from my wife that she’d prayed for a miracle (not merely hoped for one!), and she in turn learned the Lord heard and provided an instantaneous miracle, in the form of a locked door being opened to a thoughtless but dutiful husband.

Thanks be to a kind, loving Heavenly Father that wanted His children to hear the important messages He’d inspired His chosen vessels to prepare.  How marvelous it is that ours is a God of miracles, that my wife had the faith to hope AND ASK for one and called down the powers of Heaven, and that I went forth with hope and pulled door handles, though my, faith was weak.  I’m grateful the video stream still worked later that evening so my wife and I could watch it together and hear the messages (they were awesome).  And, lastly, I’m grateful we could share this experience with our children the subsequent night during our Family Night (aka Family Home Evening, FHE), that they could also see and know the Lord’s kindness and responsiveness to faith.

Do we believe in a God of miracles?  Absolutely.  Not all prayers are answered so immediately, but answered they are.


Parenthetically, as the first instructor to use that classroom the following morning, I went to unlock the door so students could enter/exit those doors during classroom hours.  The panic bar was STILL locked and, this time, the door did NOT open or budge, not even a little.

31 Aug 2013 Still alive…
 |  Category: Miscellaneous  | No Comments

It’s been an age since I’ve blogged.  It’s sad, I know.  I’d promise to be more diligent about writing here but, “I can’t pray a lie.”  Besides, I have something better to do with my time.  In fact, that’s what prompted me to write this post for all (1?) of you that may see it!

I just launched a Kickstarter.com campaign!  It’s a crazy, wacky, incredibly fun idea and I hope you’ll check it out.  The cost to pledge is only $1.  Yes, you read that correctly.  For the low, low price of one buck, you can change the world (a little… but by small a simple things great things are brought to pass!).

Check it out.  You’ll be sad if you don’t.  Seriously, you will!

What's Your Word?

08 Jun 2012 An epic battle
 |  Category: Miscellaneous  | 2 Comments

I don’t blog often (duh) so, when I do, naturally it’s something that really matters.  Any bug/insect/creepy crawly lovers out there, you may want to discontinue reading.  Based upon a true story.

So there I was one recent evening about 10pm, minding my own business at the “dining” table (so-called, but in reality it’s a foldable plastic table… but hey, it gets the job done).  All other Smithtopians were asleep with visions of sugar plums dancing in their heads (or something equally yummy, I’m sure) and I was researching various Ph.D programs, academic institutions, degree specializations, etc.  Out of the corner of my eye I noticed some movement.

To my disbelief and disgust I discovered a wriggly and slithery centipede coming toward me, no doubt with intent to kill or at least seriously maim.  Its purpose could clearly be discerned by its many, many, rushing legs, the audible clicking of its mandibles as it sensed fresh meat (and lots of it, though less than there used to be, thank you very much!), and the poisonous drool emanating from its mouth.  Did I mention its many legs?

Not generally prone to bother animals (I only squish our neighborhood cockroaches when cajoled/pressured into it by other Smithtopians), I may have been inclined to let this one go, too.  Or, more likely, capture it and release it somewhere outside, perhaps in an unpleasant neighbor’s yard (just kidding [as if we have any unpleasant neighbors anyway]; more likely I’d look for some humungous chicken [ya know, the 200lb+ kind] that could eat the sucka).  However, I knew with absolute certainly that if left alive in the house, either (a) because of apathy, or (b) because it escaped while I searched for something to hold it, that once known to Mrs. Smith in the morning, there would be no forgiveness in this life.  And, quite likely, none in the life to come, either!

Having planned ahead for this possibility, reading about centipedes and how to deal with them when we originally researched the prospect of moving to Hawaii in Jan 2011, I put my plan into action.  I darted into the kitchen and grabbed two knives: 1 meat cleaver (yes, very large and heavy, that was critical) and a smaller serrated knife, a last-ditch measure to use against myself (no cyanide tablets handy) in case the meat cleaver broke against its diamond-hard shell and I was left to its merciless jaws.

I swiftly returned – again, remember the NEVER FORGIVEN motivation if left in the house (or, perhaps worse, I’d be forced to move EVERY item we own in the house until located) – and set to the grisly task.  I chopped at the mid-section with the cleaver hoping it would neatly sever the beast in twain.  Beowulf ‘s Grendel surely was no more fearsome than this mighty centipede.

To my surprise, the meat cleaver did not break.  It (barely) managed to cut through and chopped into the floor (whoops, sorry dear!) with a satisfying THUD.  I mistakenly thought the task completed.  To my amazement, the hydra-like horror merely multiplied.

Where before there was a single monster, now there were two VERY angry (and likely in some pain, though it was evidently merely a flesh wound to this ignoble beast) halves in pursuit of my blood.  Call it a sense of morbid curiosity, but instead of immediately striking again (and again and again and again) at the beast, like my body urged me to do, I instead withdrew to observe.

For several minutes the two halves ran around – mostly in circles – unable to locate the cause of their physical separation.  Eventually the two halves settled down and died.  Or so I thought.

Deciding the monster was slain and that I was now prepared to journey to Mount Olympus – for surely Perseus was never so heroic or worthy, the “mighty” Kraken a mere child’s pet compared to this beast – I gathered something to pick up the carcass.  Only then I discovered the pernicious and insidious nature of the beast: when touched (by a very large piece of paper, ~3ftx2ft), the two separated halves attacked in tandem.  Legs failed, mandibles clicked, poison flowed.  Had the paper been my hand, no doubt my next of kin or poor widow would have discovered me on the floor the following morning, frozen in pain and terror by rigor mortis’ cold clutches.

THUD!  THUD!  THUD!  THUD!  THUD!  THUD!  This was no Grendel.  Surely this was Grendel’s mother’s mother, the very harbinger of death and embodiment of evil, whose powers I could scarcely comprehend let alone defeat.

One centipede had been freakish.  Two were horrific.  Now there were eight (only slightly smaller… somehow it seemed each new mini-pede engorged itself on my terror) monstrosities clamoring for blood, now frozen and unable to pump through my constricted veins taut with fear.  Amazingly, each separate entity continued to run around.  A stronger, more intelligent person may have retained some cognitive control in the situation, remembering that its movements were purely autonomous nervous-system responses.  But all sense of reason, rationale, and indeed humanity had long left me in a reduced state of fight-or-flight barbarism.

Either it was going down or I was.  Somehow I instinctively knew that if I could manage to separate the head from its body, its unbelievable powers of necromantic life-energy would diffuse and, finally, it would be dead.

THUD!  THUD!  THUD!  Legs, chitinous exoskeletal pieces, and other dismembered parts flew into the air in my frenzied and savage attack.  Slowly – oh so slowly – I could see a semi-transparent liquid pooling on the floor and some of the smaller pieces begin to slow.  THWACK!

With a final, mighty swing, the beast dodged left when it should have swung right, and the tortuous battle was over.  Human (or what had passed for one [occasionally] prior to the onslaught): 1, mother-of-all-evil-and-unholy-union-with-death: 0.

I expected the neighborhood roosters to crow momentarily, for surely the battle had raged throughout the night.  I was surprised [truthfully] that the encounter lasted 15 minutes (the ugly sucka waggled around that long in small pieces – crazy!!!).

Slowly some semblance of humanity returned and I had the presence of mind to wipe the knife and put it in the dishwasher, not back in the wood block (and Mrs. Smith thinks me uncouth, hah!).  I then used the large paper – not truly trusting myself to go nearer – to slide under the many, many pieces, and dumped it in the outside trash, then used several disinfectant wipes (thank you store that I will not name, but whose predecessor was called Price Club) to clean the floor and wipe away all traces of our horrific struggle (well, minus the deep slashes in the flooring… again, sorry).

The battle was over but the war, I fear, remains: I sense its children seek vengeance…

02 Feb 2012 BYUH Student Biography
 |  Category: Miscellaneous  | 1 Comment

Occasionally Mrs. Smith and I are asked questions such as:

  • Why did you move out to Hawaii?
  • What keeps you there?
  • When are you moving back [to the mainland]?
  • What’s BYUH like?
  • How does it compare to the other BYU’s, or other Universities?
  • Etc…

Many of my classes have a brief biography assignment to help me get to know incoming students; one student’s submission may, I think, help answer some of those questions.  With the author’s permission I invite you to read his brief biography, an African nation student.

Rather than illustrate his uniqueness, it is largely representative of the student body.  For that reason, above others, we’re happy to call Laie, Hawaii our home and have no desire or intent to move [to the mainland].  🙂

11 Jul 2011 Rare opportunity
 |  Category: Inspirational  | No Comments

Several weeks ago in my previous LDS Ward I was unexpectedly asked to participate in an ordinance of significance for an individual and his family.  Specifically, I was asked to ordain someone to the office of an Elder in the Melchizedek priesthood!  How grateful I was to be where I should have been that early morning, for had I been absent the opportunity would have been lost!

For those unfamiliar with LDS theology, the Melchizedek priesthood is the authority by which God’s Prophets work miracles, from Adam down to our day.  Moreover, it is the same power necessary to qualify for and receive the fulness of blessings realized in and through additional ordinances and covenants available in God’s holy Temples.

The Smith family has been in the midst of significant changes of late (see Mrs. Smith’s blog for specifics) and I’ve neglected recording this sacred event.  My apology to the young man who requested my participation!  I felt it a sacred and solemn moment to ordain this individual an Elder and act as mouthpiece for the Lord in providing blessings and personal counsel.  Thank you, for the unexpected and special opportunity.

He is a great, faithful Elder of God, supported by his loving wife and children.  I count myself fortunate to know them and count them amongst my dear friends.

11 Apr 2011 Neutered?
 |  Category: Inspirational, Politics  | 1 Comment

Brethren, have we essentially been neutered and nullified in our Priesthood?

As I re-read Elder Ezra Taft Benson’s 1965 April General Conference address, “Not Commanded in All Things” I must admit I see much nullification in our Priesthood power (sounds reminiscent of the last several, recent Conferences…).  Does the Lord not warn that Priesthood power may be “handled only upon principles of righteousness“?  Brethren, we must awake and go forward in this great and noble cause!

In 1831 the Lord said this to his Church:

“For behold, it is not meet that I should command in all things; for he that is compelled in all things, the same is a slothful and not a wise servant; wherefore he receiveth no reward.

“Verily I say, men should be anxiously engaged in a good cause and do many things of their own free will, and bring to pass much righteousness;

“For the power is in them, wherein they are agents unto themselves. And inasmuch as men do good they shall in nowise lose their reward.

“But he that doeth not anything until he is commanded, and receiveth a commandment with doubtful heart and keepeth it with slothfulness, the same is damned.” (D&C 58:26–29.)

. . . The devil knows that if the elders of Israel should ever wake up, they could step forth and help preserve freedom and extend the gospel. Therefore the devil has concentrated, and to a large extent successfully, in neutralizing much of the priesthood. He has reduced them to sleeping giants. His arguments are clever.

. . . But many of the prophecies referring to America’s preservation are conditional. That is, if we do our duty we can be preserved, and if not then we shall be destroyed. This means that a good deal of the responsibility lies with the priesthood of this Church as to what happens to America and as to how much tragedy can be avoided if we do act now.

. . . The Prophet Joseph Smith declared it will be the elders of Israel who will step forward to help save the Constitution, not the Church. And have we elders been warned? Yes, we have.

. . . Brethren, if we had done our homework and were faithful, we could step forward at this time and help save this country. The fact that most of us are unprepared to do it is an indictment we will have to bear. The longer we wait, the heavier the chains, the deeper the blood, the more the persecution and the less we can carry out our God-given mandate and world-wide mission. The war in heaven is raging on earth today. Are you being neutralized in the battle?

“Verily I say, men should be anxiously engaged in a good cause and do many things of their own free will, and bring to pass much righteousness;

“For the power is in them, wherein they are agents unto themselves. . . .” (D&C 58:27–28.)

17 Dec 2010 President Monson’s Office
 |  Category: Miscellaneous  | 2 Comments

So a funny thing happened to me this morning.  I got back to my desk and noticed I missed a call from someone whom I didn’t recognize.  I called back and was greeted with a kind, pleasant voice that stated:

President Monson’s office.

Me: “Uh … I missed your call … I was just calling back …”  (the fading gray represents, I expect, what my face looked like.  I’ve always wondered what’s meant by and “ashen gray” face.  I don’t wonder any longer)

Secretary: “Oh, I’m sorry; I think it was a misdial.”

Me: “Oh, good, I’m glad to hear that!  No offense intended, but I’m glad to hear it was a wrong number.”

Amidst considerable laughter on the other side side, “Sorry, have a good day!

People ask me all the time, “As a Church employee, do you get to see and interact with the Brethren?”

Oh sure, loads of times (not really, not in my position, anyway) – just not always the ways expected.  😉

05 May 2010 Updated wordpress
 |  Category: Miscellaneous  | No Comments

I updated our version of WordPress MU – yay!  I also updated my wife’s blog with a newer theme, as well as newer plugins and features.  Hope she – and her adoring fans – like it!  🙂

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