I have been working hard all week on Spencer’s book. I got intrigued, and the Spirit, and a sense of urgency, and the first draft will be done today.

It has been an amazing discovery journey. It was kind of like spilling a big bag of M&Ms. When you first see it, it is a mix of colors, and you have a certain understanding of what M&Ms are. But, if you separate out all of the reds, and blues, greens and yellows into separate piles, there is more clarity and more beauty. You begin to see what was really in the bag.

Spencer spoke in narrative form, which is by nature rambling, returning to themes in the middle of other themes, jumping from the past to the future and back, and then from feeling to feeling – the bag of M&Ms. After I had collected all of the statements on each theme into one place, the beauty appeared. There was so much more there than I had initially thought.

I thought it would take me a year to write this book, but it has taken just a couple of months. I think it’s a miracle. My hope is that the editing and rewriting process will go just as quickly.

I also want to report that Sacrament Meeting yesterday was on the subject of Home Teaching. Usually, this subject makes my eyelids droop because the final message is usually to instill guilt to motivate. I just don’t ingest guilt real well.

Our Bishop stood and spoke with so much power and so much of the Spirit, that I was riveted. He talked about Christ-centered ministry to others, and how our whole lives are centered on this one thing, that we serve one another. He outlined the difference between Telestial, Terrestrial and Celestial Home Teaching

Telestial = Reporting you did it, when you really didn’t – lying about it.

Terrestrial = “Did you enjoy the Superbowl? How about the Jazz? Is there anything we can do for you? Can we leave you with a prayer? See you next month.”

Celestial = Ministering to that family’s needs as Christ would, taking the Spirit into their home, blessing them individually, bringing them to Christ, and loving them as Christ would.

No guilt trip at all, just the sweetest truth humbly and powerfully stated.

Then, our Stake President stood, who coincidentally is our Bishop’s younger brother, and he spoke with equal eloquence and power about Home Teaching by the Spirit.

He told this story from his own experience.

He was called to be a bishop in his 20’s. He didn’t have children yet. His ward had a terrible HT tradition. He asked that seven of the families who refused to be visited be assigned to him. He said, the first time he called on them, that all seven refused to let him in. About that time his first daughter was born, and was seven months old. He prayed and prayed about how to get into the door and bless these people. Finally, the idea occurred to him to take his new-born daughter.

He said he showed up on their door on a cold winter night with this little precious bundle, and their hearts were softened. They let him in.  He spent just a few minutes ministering to them, and loving them, and then left “because I have my little daughter with me tonight.”

He reported that today, sixteen years later, all of the families are active, and the 5 couples who had not been sealed in the temple, eventually were.

I am going to proclaim this Sacrament Meeting, the most uplifting and Spirit-filled Sacrament Meeting of my entire life. Following that, our Sunday School teacher kept that same Spiritual power flowing with a Christ-centered teaching on James 1. After that I had the privilege of teaching the High Priests on the subject of the Second Coming.

What a blessed day!

Brother John

© November 2011, John M. Pontius, all rights reserved. Non-commercial reproduction permitted.

About John Pontius

I am a lover of truth.
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10 Responses to M&Ms

  1. Bill Coulam says:

    So glad to hear you’re open to having extra editors help out. The missing words and errors in FTL (at least my version) left me thinking it hadn’t been proofread. Recently started reading a series by an author from Cedar Hills, where I live. Again, almost two dozen errors in the last book I read. I know she had an editor, because her editors’ pic and bio are in the back. I’m thinking that the old “too close to the forest to see the trees” phrase applies here. Some of us, more disconnected from Spencer’s project, could probably provide some valuable feedback closer to the time of publishing.


    • John Pontius says:

      Thanks Bill,

      FTL was written 20 years ago, and I could not convince the publisher to reedit the book in that length of time. About a year ago it was updated and reedited and republished under a new edition. I’m embarrassed that it took so long. I think “regular” publishers are having a hard time in this e-book world, and just don’t spend the effort on them they used to. Their cash register talks to them too loud.

      It will be next year before I am ready for a few readers to comment on Spencer’s book. I will post a notice on the Un-Blog, so please let me know then. I’ll forget who all offered by then. Sorry.



  2. Sharon Cox says:

    So happy to hear that the book is near completion! Can’t wait to read it.


  3. ken h says:

    The blessings of receiving and sharing the Holy Spirit is truly contagious. He carries the truth to the hearts of each person prepared to receive Him. When we focus on Christ miracles happen, so that all are edified. That is the way each Sunday should go. Thank you John.


  4. Pearl says:

    So wonderful to hear the news about Spencer’s book. Wow!

    Will there be a poll for possible covers? 🙂


  5. Steve says:

    You, too, huh? We had my son’s mission farewell, where he spoke on adversity and agency–an eloquent talk I didn’t know he had in him–and a splendid talk on you favorite subject (and mine), listneing to the Spirit. It’s my prayer that everyone there, including some lost sheep who are good friends of ours, felt the Spirit at least half as strong as I did.

    Thanks for the bit on home teaching, though. I certainly need that.


  6. Nick says:

    Hi Bro John,

    I left a comment in one of your older posts, but wanted to be sure that you were aware of the self publishing service lulu: http://www.lulu.com

    The resulting books that I’ve seen are pretty decent. Just wanted to throw that out as an option in case you have troubles with your other publisher 🙂


    • John Pontius says:

      Thanks Nick,

      I replied to that earlier comment, but you may not have seen it. I have looked at LuLu, and other “On Demand” publishers. There’s a possibility I may go that direction. I’m still thinking and praying. Thanks for the comment.



  7. Wendy says:

    If there is any of Spencer’s experience that you and he felt appropriate to share in this forum I know we would all love to hear it.


    • John Pontius says:

      All of it is appropriate to share. The snag is that a publisher won’t print something that has circulated on the Internet. So, I can’t actually copy and past chapters onto the Un-Blog or something like that.

      It is coming along much quicker than I thought. And, I have to say, the book is much more powerful and intriguing than I envisioned. I’m excited for it to actually get out in print.

      I will be looking for about a dozen qualified editors from the Un-Blog to read and comment upon the book sometime early in the new year. I’ll put the notice out on the Un-Blog when It’s ready.

      Thanks, JMP


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