To my friend and fellow Rancher:
Dear Family, Brothers, Sisters and Friends:
This is copy of hand written letter mailed with the attached card, after a second visit to a dear ranching friend and his wife at their home (after congestive heart disease had forced him to quit his ranching, sell his dairy and begin retirement tethered to an oxygen bottle or machine):
In my brief visits before, at my friends request, his wife had become very uncomfortable as I explained to him what I had learned in my research and experience. He had seen my remarkable improvement and asked me to visit him and share with him the details of my experience, my research and the scientific and personal findings.
As an intelligent business and former dairyman, having built a very successful multi-million dollar dairy, he now suffered congestive heart disease, and was open and anxious to hear how to get better. But his wife saw all of our conversation as a threat to everyone's accepted traditions and beliefs and responded in an increasing irritation (as several others have done, even though confronted with simple, logical, documented science, or even a Doctors kindest, wise advice).
So my interested ranching friend and I discontinued our enthusiastic exchange to ease his wife's growing discomfort; and after apologizing and giving her my gratitude for her years of friendship, I left. I then found the above beautifully appropriate friendship card, then wrote and included the following letter which I immediately placed in the mail to her and my dear ranching friend.
My friend, Reed, and I have been friends for many years. Both of us finding common experience in each of our own ranching and dairy operation, life experiences and family beliefs; so in many ways our life and health consequences had become closely the same. I have been so worried for Reed, a fine honorable man who is now so fragile in his struggle for breath and life. He is a wonderfully compassionate person and caring dairyman, as most us LDS farmers are, all my family was and are the same, simply doing as best we knew! Yet all of us are too soon feebled and passing, with failing hearts, broken veins and broken dreams of wanted vitality in our "golden years!" But unknowing, all of us have been robbed by ourselves in consuming the goods of our very own trades! So now I pray for Reed as I do for all of my family and friends in their like suffering, consequent to the ignorance of that damaging industry of all our pasts.
Wishing to give you a better sense of my heart felt concerns, my sincerest communication and "Peopling" skills and also a sense of the frustrations I have experienced, I feel it appropriate to share these apologetic but remarkably profound words written for my dearest friend which pleasently surprised me as they flowed so easily out of my pen in those few minutes it took me to write them! even with my sight and faculties still compromised by my own life's previous errors and still in difficult repair at the time of this writing.
Thomas L Rodgers
24 Sept. 1992 (edited and corrected for web
15 Jan 2002)
For us fellow dairy ranching friends:
(By Thomas Lynn Rodgers, in travel, 22 July 1992)
Dear Reed and Thelma:
Please accept my apology for just popping in on you in the few times that I have been able to as I passed through Saint George. The bakery sends me out when they have a breakdown, so I have never been able to plan and have just been able to chance visit or not visit at all so please understand and forgive me for coming unscheduled.
Please also understand,
Thelma, in answer to your personal question, Why are you discussing
this with us?
I have humbly tried to comply with Reeds query that day at 5-Points Mall, even at my own time and expense and my inconvenience not for personal gain! but out of the most important principle we have all been taught Love! And I do love you and Reed.
I also do well understand
the uncomfortable feeling and bother these painfully learned concepts
carry. And I know, too well, that what I have learned in the peril
of my nearly lost life these unconventional concepts do fly in the
face of what I had accepted through example and belief for fifty years.
Now my body testifies with each improving breath and better day that what I have learned is correct and that it is pleasing to my own being, as well to the Creator of My Life.
And out of my primary concern
to always be found right with the Lord, I have sought and accepted counsel
from my Priesthood leaders, and in this weighty matter especially, maintained
communication with those most directly abled, to counsel me, including
those appointed by the Prophet, to act for Him; all that I have told
you they have heard and shared concerns and counsels in return as well.
Their load with us is heavy and they must wrestle with affecting millions
of saints, each encumbered by traditions and time entrenched behaviors
and ideas and must be changed as kindly as they can!
But you know, Reed
and Thelma, this concept we have discussed (living on fruits and herbs)
is not new, as we before have had discussion of it with our brethren of
the past! We know it stood with Adam (Daniel, Isaiah and so many more).
The foolish Israelites who desired flesh in wilderness, even after being preserved from the Egyptians, and given the Bread of Heaven, whined and tested Moses until God gave them their appetite (Duet.12), then, He, God, smote them while the flesh was yet in their teeth, even the chosen men of Israel! the fattest among them! (Num.11, Pslms.78:931,34)
Are We to wander in the wilderness, too? until we recognize and respect Gods very first words to Adam, and restated though the Prophet Joseph Smith...words so plain and clear!...or are we to lose our lives in disbelief and the traditions of our Fathers, like those Israelites of Moses' day?
I know these words bring discomfort to us, but look at us! We are suffering; our effectiveness diminished; and too many wonderful Saints are passing away in relatively youthful years!..
True we will have our
missions on the other side but much work needs to be done here before
we go: Missionary work, temple work, leadership by Seniors with life's
wisdom in place, then with our missions full and complete,..
Thelma, I wish I knew
why I have felt so compelled beyond my love and respect for you and Reed,
to share these difficulty different ideas! even though Reed did ask me
in Bountiful, that day in the spring. I did not ever believe that
I would be so compelled as to be left to walk all the way across St. George
in 110 deg. heat, sleep in a company warehouse on a brute hard concrete
floor and be without any conveniences (no shower or toilet) and food for
several days, more than once just to tell you things that pestered
you! bazaar huh!!?
I know I have been clumsy in talking with you, but I can, conveniently, blame that on my stroke damage (that's always an easy way out for me when I'm really goofing something up!). But please forgive me (for my sometimes discomforting zeal).
You know it was the
Lord who guaranteed us our privilege to error!
Thelma, Reed, I am
grateful for the added peace in my being. My life is no longer diminished
by the sword, but is replenished by the plowshare,.. the Ox is no longer
my prey,..but has become again, as he was in the beginning, my Companion
of great strength and innocent trust, drafting my plow, conditioning my
soil, as my helpmate in the multiplying and replenishing the Earth,.. to
renew and sustain life,..no longer to be destroyed at my hand,..
And now my understanding of Him is made more clear and most firm!
Again I apologize for my uncomely ways! but my desires and motivation are pure and honorable. I have always tried to do the best by you.
From our first meeting (many years ago) I have had a distinctly special feeling for you and Reed. I know we all three are special spirits; spunky at times like strong Saints are supposed to be! but, most of all, loving and worthy of honor!