My CMS The View from a New City

February 13, 2023

Approaching the Harbor

Filed under: daily — Lawrence Peterson @ 8:32 am

Anticipating an upcoming cruise, I am remembering an analogy from an unremembered source comparing a sea journey to life: early in the trip you are concerned with how many dinners you will enjoy with the captain, or what the view is from your cabin, but as the trip draws to a close, these concerns disappear. And so it is.

January 5, 2023

Can’t Sleep

Filed under: daily — Lawrence Peterson @ 12:57 am

12:21 a.m. January 5, 2023: Woke up and can’t fall back to sleep. Thinking about the cornucopia of experiences of my life from childhood in Montana to dragging McArthur Blvd in Oakland California to milking cows to studying English Lit. to facing death in Vietnam to marriage and six children to burying my oldest child to winning and losing jury trials and supreme court cases to winning a multimillion-dollar arbitration against IHC to serving as bishop and stake presidency counselor to implementing computer programs in C, C++, Java, ADF, JavaScript, Xml, Json etc… Thinking of how the four trunks Joe Banks got from the man for whom “luggage is the central preoccupation of my life,” and how those trunks symbolize the four canopic jars under the sacrificial altar of Abraham in facsimile no. 1 from the Pearl of Great Price. Thinking about talking to Ambassadors and Counsel’s General and presenting to the Religion Writer’s Assoc. and sitting on the dais at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Manhattan New York. Thinking of how life is so much more magical and rewarding than anything in the Wizard of Oz and how fears of failure and starvation were so misplaced in a world created for us in which there is “enough and to spare.” Euphoria!

December 11, 2022

Catch and Release

Filed under: daily — Lawrence Peterson @ 8:28 am

Some time ago, I watched a movie called Catch and Release. I believe the title is a metaphor for the modern dating culture where no relationship lasts very long. In the movie, the female character, Jennifer Garner, complained to the male lead about the absurdity of catch and release fishing. She said, “if you inflict the pain of catching the fish, you should at least put it to some use.” The fisherman justified the practice by saying that the fish brain is so small, they don’t remember the experience at all.

Can that be the justification for modern adult dating? The other person is so damaged that the pain won’t matter. This has to be the very definition of objectification.

November 30, 2022

Self Defense

Filed under: daily — Lawrence Peterson @ 11:26 pm

To all of my children and grandchildren whom I have discouraged from becoming lawyers, I submit the following quote in my defense. This is President Russell M. Nelsen quoting Abraham Lincoln, a lawyer and the president who presided over the civil war:

As we dread any disease that undermines the health of the body, so should we deplore contention, which is a corroding canker of the spirit. I appreciate the counsel of Abraham Lincoln, who said:

“Quarrel not at all. No man resolved to make the most of himself can spare time for personal contention. … Better give your path to a dog than be bitten by him.” (Letter to J. M. Cutts, 26 Oct. 1863, in Concise Lincoln Dictionary of Thoughts and Statements, comp. and arr. Ralph B. Winn, New York: New York Philosophical Library, 1959, p. 107.)

October 4, 2022

Wedding Feast

Filed under: daily — Lawrence Peterson @ 7:40 am

Last night I dreamed that one of my grandchildren married a New York socialite and they returned to their luxurious New York apartment after the wedding to prepare for the reception, but it was full of the bride’s socialite relatives bringing presents, socializing and making business deals. My job was to drive them off so the couple could prepare for the reception, but no one was paying me the least attention.

This dream has caused me to reflect on a General Conference talk I heard over the weekend. Elder Bednar talked about the Savior’s parable of the wedding feast. The invited guests refused to attend because they had to attend to their farms and businesses. He concluded the reference to the parable with the quote “many are called but few are chosen.” Then he refenced that phrase from the Doctrine and Covenants where it explains why they are not chosen: “…because their hearts are set so much upon the things of this world, and aspire to the honors of men….”

My own experience has demonstrated to me that the world is governed by the second law of thermodynamics. Everything wears out, rusts, runs down or dies. As I said to our fireside group: “every time I impressed a judge in my law practice, he either retired or died soon thereafter.” Earthly success is like building sandcastles on the beach. It is not a smart move to pass up God’s marriage feast for the honors of men.

September 28, 2022


Filed under: daily — Lawrence Peterson @ 7:30 am

In my last post I told you of my glorious summer events. I want to re-visit those events now to show you a couple of golden nuggets I recovered from the experience.

On the Alaska trip we met an extended Jewish family from Indiana. On the first night I sat at the dinner table with them and finding that I was a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, one of them asked me in jest how many wives I had. At dinner the next night, my grandson told them I had eight, but during the rest of the conversation it was revealed that I only have one and am very happy with that. However, thinking about that conversation now, it occurs to me that I could have told them that my great-great-grandfather had six wives and now has well over fifty-five thousand descendants. My one wife and I had six children and now have seventeen grandchildren, with more possible. We have done our part to counter the current world-wide blight: see The Demographic Drought,

When my wife and I were on our missions in Manhattan, New York, we heard Gordon Smith, the former two term Senator from Oregon tell this story: While he was still senator, President Uchtdorf of the Churches first presidency called him and asked for his help in getting the Church fully registered in Italy. Senator Smith set up a meeting in Italy with the interior minister that he and President Uchtdorf attended. After President Uchtdorf’s initial presentation, the minister, who appeared somewhat skeptical, asked her assistant what he thought. He said that he had visited Temple Square in Salt Lake City, Utah and had been conducted on a tour by two Italian young lady missionaries. Then he said, “if your church can produce young women like that, we want you in Italy, and what’s more, we would like you to build a square like that in Italy” to which president Uchtdorf replied, “We can do that!”

This sounds like a pretty incredible story, but this summer we witnessed the proof of its truth when we visited the breathtaking Rome Temple and walked around the wonderful “temple square” surrounding it.

August 31, 2022

Busy Summer

Filed under: daily — Lawrence Peterson @ 9:43 am

It has been a while since the last post. I have been busy this Summer. First, I got to go on a dream fishing trip to Alaska, flying on a private jet to Alaska then flying on a pontoon plane to the individual fishing venues. I caught Graylings, Rainbows, Sockeye Salmon and King Salmon. Next, my wife and I just returned from a trip to Europe where we visited Rome, Munich, and Paris. We saw the Passion Play in Oberammergau, Germany. We were not planning this trip, but our friend had to give up his tickets because of cancer treatment, so we purchased them from him. Finally, we are going to visit our son and daughter-in-law to see our newest grandchild. Life is good these days.

Just listened to an audio book called Love and War, where Mary Matalin and James Carville narrate the virtues of New Orleans and tell how two people with opposing political views can stay happily married. Carville said about issues of dispute, “you have to carefully choose the hills you are willing to die on.”

April 25, 2022


Filed under: daily — Lawrence Peterson @ 6:46 am

Last night I watched a movie on Primevideo called Kurara about the daughter of a famous Japanese artist. It reminded me of a statement Dwight King made to me a long time ago. He said, “artists see things that others do not see.”

December 23, 2021

Reasons for Breathing

Filed under: daily — Lawrence Peterson @ 10:24 pm

The concept of a bucket list is something to think about. One obvious purpose for life is to gain experience. However, I have my doubts about the ability of human beings to judge which experiences are valuable. What is it that we should spend time and life on? Take for example those persons who already have more money than they can spend in a lifetime. Many of them continue to play the game of accumulating more of what they already have too much of. From time to time, I have reflected on the case of the California congressman who took bribes to buy a large house and a fancy car. I wondered if he ever thought about how impressed people would be with him and his beautiful home and fancy car once they discovered he took bribes to pay for them. Christmas gifts are another example of things that promise more happiness than they provide.

Perhaps the most valuable experiences are those those that come to us, unsought, from the mortal conditions of life: not new landscapes but seeing itself; not success but struggle; both pleasure and pain; love, fascination, loneliness and boredom; fear and anguish; and many other ordinary experiences you can’t get in a state of immortal bliss.

Maybe Eve had it right after all. Maybe we all shouted for joy in the pre-mortal council, because we weren’t going to spend our lives in the Garden of Eden. We knew we were going to get to pull a few weeds.

November 21, 2021

Advice to my Grandchildren

Filed under: daily — Lawrence Peterson @ 7:26 am

About ten days ago I watched a Ted Talk by a paleo-anthropologist named Melanie Chang. In her talk she said that she and her colleagues draw their conclusions about human evolution from a small set of hard-to-find data and in the face of a sea of unknowns. She said that almost every new discovery causes the profession to alter its conclusions. She used a quote from Donald Rumsfeld, former U.S. Secretary of State, which contained the phrases , “known unknowns” and “unknown unknowns”, unknown unknowns being things we don’t even know we don’t know. She said that the conclusions of paleo-anthropologists’ experience revolutionary “perturbations” with every discovery from the realm of the previously unknown unknowns.

To keep this short, and not belabor the obvious, I want to jump right to my advice to my grandchildren: You are, or soon will be, making some of the most important decisions of your life and you will necessarily make those decisions based on a small set of data-points and in the face of a whole sea of unknowns, both known and unknown. If you make those decisions with faith, hope and charity, you will be much happier and come much closer to the truth than if you make those decisions with skepticism, fear and anger. That is my advice and my experience.

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