Sources for Mel's talk are found at the bottom of this page.
December 26, 2004
Talk given by Mel Tungate at the missionary farewell of his son, Justin Tungate
Merry Christmas, my brothers and sisters. I hope that each of you have had a pleasant weekend surrounded by those you love and those who love you, celebrating the anniversary of the day of the birth of our Savior Jesus Christ.
This year Janell are blessed with having all of our children at our home for most of the Christmas season, and for that I am very thankful. Janell and I also had the privilege of having all five of our grandkids home for much of this Christmas season also. If we had known how wonderful grandkids were, we would have skipped having the kids, and started with the grandkids.
As most of you know, Justin will be going to the Anchorage Alaska Mission. The mission area includes all of Alaska, and parts of Canada.
When his mission papers went in, he told us that he wanted to go to someplace different – to use the language of my youth, someplace cool. He has succeeded beyond his wildest dreams.
Today, as we sit in church, the temperature in Hollister is about 60 degrees.
Anchorage is 5 degrees F, snowing, with 20-mph winds. Barrow is 9 deg F, snowing, with 30 mph winds. Fairbanks is – 18 deg F, blizzard conditions with heavy snow, with 40-mph winds. Frankly, I am praying for Fairbanks for Justin.
Somehow, Alaska fits Justin’s personality – he sort of revels in being on his own, in enduring harsh conditions.
I think a D&C scripture applies here:
“Many are cold, but few are frozen”.
I will leave the heavy lifting in the scriptures to Justin, who will speak in a few minutes, but will simply use two short scriptures today.
Mark 10: 17-22 [ NKJV, slightly modified
to be able to make reading sense ]
Jesus Counsels the Rich Young Ruler
But, what does Justin have to give away?
I could say that Justin’s snowboard will be available in the hallway after the services, to be given away for the first person that asks.
But, he has something more required of him. He must give up, for but a short while, his family, who will be with him only in spirit and prayer. And, he must give away his worldly thoughts, his ego so to speak, and must transform his love of science into a love of increasing spiritual wisdom.
Justin must also leave behind a very devoted friend, one who spends most days right next to him. She is beautiful, and smart. She is Dea, our granddaughter, and Lori’s daughter – Justin has been her primary baby sitter for the past four months or so. He adores her, and she him. He serves her by loving her. She will miss him dearly. And, he will miss her.
And, Justin, when you learn to love the people of Alaska as much as you love Dea, you will then be able to begin to do real missionary work.
There are two kinds of people in the world -- those you love, and those you don't understand. And, Justin, try to serve all, and understand all, so that you can love all.
Today, we talk about service. This ward has many who epitomize service. I am thinking of Sister A, as she many years ago taught us about how to serve the community as a church. About Sister B and her many charitable works. Of Sister C and her service to her community – the worldwide community. Of the coaches in our mist – Brother and Sister D, Brother E, our son Keith, Brother C and Brother A, our son Budge. Of the hundreds of people in our ward who routinely help each other and our neighbors. Of those who serve their families by being good and faithful parents, the highest service of all. Of those who take in foster children, grandchildren, and others not lucky enough to have a place to live in peace.
As it tells us in Luke, a scripture Justin
will refer to later, "when
ye are in the service of your fellow man, ye are in the service of your God"
I thought I could serve you best today by telling stories of service.
Mama Lou – Elder George
Elder George went to the Southern States Mission in the depths of the great depression. He was asked by his mission President to go to minister to a group of saints in middle Kentucky, saints who had been there for a half century, mostly without missionary help. So, with neither purse nor script, he and his companion sat out on foot, and walked hundreds of miles. Finally, they were in Bradfordsville, a small hamlet of about 500 people, most living in what can only be described as run down two room shacks, and living in extreme poverty. My grandparents with their six children, living on beans and cornbread and whatever they could raise from their garden, lived in one of those shacks. Six children, no heat, no job, with two very small rooms, no indoor plumbing, no running water. And, my grandmother took in these two Elders, and fed them and took care of them for nine months. With food she did not have, with funds she could not procure.
That is service.
In 1966, I went on my mission to southern California, which at that time included Las Vegas. Near the end of my first year, I was transferred to a new Las Vegas ward, and as I always did, I greeted the members as they walked in the door. One man, in his mid to late 50s, was late, and as I shook his hand, he read my nametag. And stopped. And, this regal man, now a school principal, attired in modest but nice clothing, started to mumble – and asked
“Are you, by chance, from Kentucky”.
“No, I replied, by my grandparents live there”.
“What are their names”, he asked.
“Lula and Elbert Tungate”. And, Brother George started to weep. And, told me of my grandmother’s kindness. That he would not have lived if it had not been for her kindness and service.
A few months later, I baptized his youngest child as a tribute to Brother George’s mission, and my grandmother.
I have been lucky in my life to be able to travel.
In the last two years, I have stood some interesting places, and I want to share a few of them with you today.
Last September, Janell and I stood above the USS Arizona at Pearl Harbor near Honolulu, paying homage to 2452 of my fellow humans, both Americans and Japanese, who died on Sunday morning December 7, 1941 – truly a day that has lived in infamy, the day we Americans were thrust in the middle of a very bloody war.
In early September, a little more than a year ago, on the second week of a two-week trip, I walked the grounds where the uranium was processed for the Manhattan project, in St. Charles County, Missouri.
On that very same trip, I stood at the Truman center in Independence Missouri, at the mock up of the decision room, the room where the new President made the fateful decision to use the results from the Manhattan project.
My trip had started, uniquely enough, in Japan, as I visited my Japanese work colleagues and friends. On the second day of that trip, on a very hot 105-degree day, I took a four-hour bullet train from Tokyo to Hiroshima. As planned, I walked the two miles from the train station towards ground zero, since the station was at the edge of the zone where no human lived after the bomb was dropped. The heat was oppressive, the humidity worse. I was tired, having arrived the day before from the very long plane ride from San Francisco. Finally, after what seemed like an hour, I came up from an underground walkway, and was standing at the hypocenter, the very center of ground zero, where on a very hot August 6 morning in 1945 at 8:16 am, the first atomic bomb was dropped. Within 3 seconds, the death cries of 120,000 humans were heard in heaven.
And, I cried as I looked at the rubbled dome in front of me.
And, Janell and I have walked the huge confines of the USS Missouri, anchored just a short distance from the USS Arizona memorial.
Pearl Harbor was not a victory for the Japanese, and neither was Hiroshima nor Nagasaki a victory for America. The victory came aboard the USS Missouri, where the treaty to end the Pacific front of that long war was signed. Janell and I have stood on that very spot, seeing photographs of that event, and hearing the words spoken. Both her father and mine fought in that war. My father died a few short years ago, and there are but few things I have kept of my father’s possessions. One of those things is his uniform.
And, I am reminded that today, while we are here in this warm and comfortable chapel, a congregation that includes a few servicemen home on leave, that Keith’s friend Zach Skofield is in northern Iraq, doing the ultimate service, putting his life on the line in another miserable war. And I am reminded that the sons of daughters of some in this ward are in the service, of husbands who are in Iraq and Afghanistan.
And, I pray for them, and for all of the Iraqi people, that somehow, some way, a path to peace might be found.
And I pray that somehow this nation will stop worshipping war, and begin to worship peace.
A year and a half ago, I stood at the monument in Salt Lake City honoring Elisha Abel, the first black man in this dispensation to receive the Priesthood of God. This happened not in 1978, but at the hands of the first prophet of this dispensation, Joseph Smith. On that same trip, I listened to the son of Spencer Kimball talk about his father, and reading from correspondence between the two men. And, I listened as Edward read letters from his father, as his father struggled, first as an apostle, then as the prophet, with how to handle the issue. I listened to how this good son and this good father discussed the things of God. Then, we heard personal accounts of how President Kimball made the decision to restore the rights to all worthy men to hold the Priesthood of God.
And, I am reminded that I stood shoulder to shoulder in the pre-existence with Rorry and Iran and Dante [ note: Rorry, Iran and Dante are all African Americans. Rorry is a recent convert, Iran and Dante are friends of ours ] and all of my other brethren as we fought the great war for freedom – Jesus’ plan.
And, all of us here stood shoulder to shoulder with Martin Luther King. He once said, in perhaps the greatest speech in the last century:
have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where
they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their
character. I have a dream today!
if I can be so bold as to paraphrase Dr. King, the great American cleric:
have that same dream for my eight children and five grandchildren, that one day
they might live in a community where they will not be judged by the color of
their skin, or the color of their shirt, nor their religion, but that they can
be judged by only the content of their character.
Perhaps in may ways we here in Hollister are living that dream today where little black boys and black girls and little Hispanic boys and Hispanic girls join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers. Perhaps I am living that dream today!
And this afternoon, I want to tell you that everybody can be great, because everybody can serve. You don't have to have a college degree to serve. You don't have to be able to write the next great novel to serve. You don't have to know Einstein's theory of relativity to serve. You only need a heart full of service, a soul generated by love of one another, and a willingness to sit up chairs. And you can be that servant of Jesus Christ.
Robert Kennedy, speaking in South Africa, said:
"Few are willing to brave the disapproval of their fellows, the censure of their colleagues, the wrath of their society. Moral courage is a rarer commodity than bravery in battle or great intelligence. Yet it is the one essential, vital quality for those who seek to change a world that yields most painfully to change. And I believe that in this generation those with the courage to enter the moral conflict will find themselves with companions in every corner of the globe.
Yesterday, we celebrated the birth of a great man. To paraphrase from Dr. King again - And he just went about serving. He was born in an obscure village, the child of a poor peasant woman. And then he grew up in still another obscure village, where he worked as a carpenter until he was thirty years old. Then for three years, … he was an itinerant preacher. He didn't have much. He never wrote a book. He never held an office. He never had a family. He never owned a house. He never went to college. He never visited a big city. He never went two hundred miles from where he was born. He did none of the usual things that the world would associate with greatness. He had no credentials but himself.
He was only thirty-three when the tide of public opinion turned against him. They called him a rabble-rouser. They called him a troublemaker. They said he was an agitator. One of his closest friends denied him. Another of his friends turned him over to his enemies. He went through the mockery of a trial. And while he was dying, the people who killed him gambled for his clothing, the only possession that he had in the world. When he was dead he was buried in a borrowed tomb, through the pity of a friend.
Almost twenty centuries have come and gone and today he stands as the most influential figure that ever entered human history. All of the armies that ever marched, all the navies that ever sailed, all the parliaments that ever sat, and all the kings that ever reigned put together have not affected the life of man on this earth as much as that one solitary life. His name is a familiar one to each of you. He is our Savior, Jesus Christ. "In Him there's no North and South, no white nor black, no Jew nor Arab, nor Mormon nor Catholic nor Protestant nor Muslim, but there is one great Fellowship of Love throughout the whole wide world." He didn't own anything or have any formal power - he just went around serving others and doing good.
If any of you are around when I have to meet my maker, I don’t want a long funeral. And if you can talk somebody into delivering the eulogy, tell them not to talk too long.
I'd like somebody to mention that day that I tried to give my life serving others.
I'd like for somebody to say that day that I tried to love somebody.
I want you to say that day that I tried to be right on the war question.
I want you to be able to say that day that I did try to feed the hungry.
And I want you to be able to say that day that I did try in my life to clothe those who were naked.
I want you to say that I tried to love and serve humanity.” ( end of Martin Luther King quote and paraphrase )
And all Janell and I want is to be is with our Savior Jesus Christ and with our family in love and in justice and in truth and in commitment to others.
A few minutes ago I quoted a section from
the eulogy of Robert Kennedy, as given by his brother Ted Kennedy. Senator Kennedy went on to say “My brother need not be
idealized, or enlarged in death beyond what he was in life, but to be remembered
simply as a good and decent man, who saw wrong and tried to right it, saw
suffering and tried to heal it, saw war and tried to stop it.”
As he said many times, in many parts of this nation, to those he touched and who sought to touch him:
"Some men see
things as they are and say why.
December 26, 2004
Talk given by Justin Tungate at his missionary farewell
Brothers and Sisters it is a privilege to stand before you today and be able to share with you my feelings and testimony on today’s topic, Christ and Service.
Christ taught many and healed even more. “And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people.” Matthew 4:23
Christ’s life was devoted to serving others. But during his ministry he did more than preach and heal the physical ailments of his people, he healed their spiritual ailments as well. In Luke 7, “John called unto him two of his disciples and sent them unto Jesus, saying, Art thou he that should come? Or look we for another?”
John was looking for the Messiah and this was Jesus’ response, “…tell John what things ye have seen and heard; how that the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, to the poor the gospel is preached.” Many prophets had healed the sick and many had preached; yet Jesus gave this as his response.
Obviously the literal meaning of this would not be enough to convince John of Jesus divine nature. Jesus was more than a mere healer and much more than a prophet. Jesus forgave sins and allowed the sick to cast off their illnesses and rejoice in the kingdom of God. Those who were blind to the gospel can see the kingdom of God, those who could not stand on their own have support, lepers in sin are forgiven, those who were deaf to the gospel hear it, those who were spiritually dead have risen, to all these who are poor in spirit, the gospel is preached.
In many ways Lepers are a good example of the healing that Jesus performed. Not only did he save these people from being ravaged by a horrible disease, but he also saved them from the worst torture of all, being completely outcast from society. What he restored to them was full fellowship as human beings. These healings are a powerful lesson to us. We must take those who are cast out and fellowship them because it those people who need our fellowship the most.
Again in Luke 7. Jesus is invited to dine with a Pharisee and a woman comes in off of the street and begins to wash his feet with her tears, Jesus grants her absolution. She is also a great lesson to us, if we want to receive help we must humble ourselves and seek it out. Service can only be provided to those who wish to have it. Only when we ask can the savior heal our wounds and forgive our sins.
This church allows us to provide the same kind of help for each other that Jesus provided for the people he directly ministered to. The greatest strength in this church is its members. Talks are given and callings fulfilled under guidance from the Holy Spirit. Each member, in turn, is able to serve in some capacity. However, it is not callings that push the church’s progress; it is the member’s willingness to serve. It is what is in our hearts
Thank you brothers and sisters for providing your services happily and willingly. Thank you for giving talks and bearing your testimonies. Thank you for fulfilling your callings. Thank you for being directly involved with the progression of the church.
With no formal ecclesiastical training the members of this church step up to meet the demands of its organization. One of the tools that we have been given to achieve this is the priesthood.
The priesthood, however powerful it may be, can only fulfill one purpose, and that is service. Only when we are truly forgetting ourselves and using the power of the priesthood for the betterment of our fellow persons can we reap the benefits of being a tool in the Lord’s hand. True service, can only be achieved with selflessness.
Yet there is still so much that we cannot achieve alone. The greatest act of service that has ever been performed on this Earth is the atonement. The reason that the atonement would be considered such a remarkable act of service is not too hard to notice. It is the only thing that we as human beings cannot provide for ourselves.
It is in this extreme that we learn the true value of service and that is the empowerment of others. All service that is worthwhile can and will empower others to take action. The atonement is the ultimate service because it is the ultimate empowerment. It allows us to make the choices that are most important in life. It allows us cast off sin and rejoice in the kingdom of God and to live with our heavenly father once again. What a wonderful blessing.
End with bearing of testimony.
II Ward Sacrament Meeting
When I was given the topic “With malice toward none”, I thought it was different than most topics I’ve heard before. It certainly isn’t a “feel good” or “light” topic. And, I pondered why we would need such a talk. After all, malice is a very strong feeling that most of us surely don’t possess.
Malice is a desire to cause pain, injury, or stress to another. Most of us don’t have enemies we feel that strongly about, do we? Then I came to realize that malice is an all too-frequent human trait. From the time our darling angelic child first stamps her or his foot and says “I hate you!” or “That’s not fair! “ or “Billy hit me !”, they are displaying malice. We all want to see justice done. We all assume our judgments are correct. We all, at some point, want our “pound of flesh” just like the Merchant of Venice. We sometimes think it is our duty to help the justice and punishment process along. In its mildest forms, malice is all around us. How else could we label gossip, and what else is retaliation, or hoping someone “gets what they deserve”? In its most severe forms, malice causes horrible problems around the world. Most of the Book of Mormon describes the malice between the Nephites and the Lamanites. And, we see horrific examples in our modern world.
We must ask ourselves how we can rid ourselves individually of this terrible vice.
said in John 13:34-35 “A new commandment I give unto
you – love one another.”
– Love One Another
do we learn to love one another? By
getting to know them. Years ago
there were two men who knew Mel and I who were the polar opposites of each
other. John was an
ultra-conservative, and Tim was extremely skeptical.
John seemed to go out of his way to offend Tim.
John’s diatribes against Tim in internet posts were upsetting even to
me. And, I wondered how a man could
be filled with such hate. Then, 12
years ago Tim by chance spent the summer working in John’s small Alaskan town.
He paid John a personal visit, and ended up staying the summer in
John’s home. Tim described John
as a very gracious host. John found
Tim a very gracious guest. They now
are close friends – Tim stays with John all summer each summer while doing his
research. John has found a man in
whom he trusts, and John has now become Tim’s best defender.
They have learned to love each other because they have learned to know
is easy to hate some vague and unseen enemy.
It is harder to hate a person you know.
And, God has a way of teaching us even when we don’t want to learn.
My father-in-law Paul Tungate was in the Navy during World War II, and
said openly for years that he hated the Japanese.
After all, for four years in the service, they had been trying to kill
him, and he them. I loved Paul
dearly, and he was a great man, but for our time, he was racist.
His little revenge is that he would never purchase anything that he
perceived as being made in Japan. Immediately
after WWII, Paul’s sister-in-law married a full-blooded Japanese who had
fought for his native country, the USA, during WWII, a man named Vance Oyama.
Vance became one of the leading US scientists in researching life on Mars
and other planets, and, ironically to Paul, became one of Mel’s prime role
Refuse to Take Offense
the Book of Alma 42:26-29, the prophet Alma is speaking to his son and says:
26 And thus God bringeth about his great and eternal purposes,
which were prepared from
the foundation of the world. And thus cometh about the salvation and the
redemption of men, and also their destruction and misery.
27 Therefore, O my son, whosoever
will come may come and partake of the waters of life freely; and whosoever will
not come the same is not compelled to come; but in the last day it shall be restored
unto him according to his deeds.
other words, don’t take offense at others, but worry about your own sins!
This is a choice we all have to make.
been blessed with a poor memory in this way.
I know that many times I’ve said to myself about one of my kids who
have disappointed or upset me “I’ll remember this the next time you want my
help.” But I don’t remember and
I am glad I don’t because I don’t have to carry that burden of
disappointment, despair, or being upset.
My parents moved into a small ward many years ago that was deeply divided. If one group of women were in charge, the other half would not show up, and vice versa. It was so bad that one woman said to my mother “If you are going to use Jane’s recipe, you cannot use the pans I gave to the ward kitchen – I’ll take them home first”. Mom was called as the Relief Society President only a few weeks after moving in to that ward. How did she heal the rift? By refusing to take sides. By refusing to listen to the perceived offenses. By refusing to take offense. By loving everyone. Over time the sisters responded, and by the time my mother moved from the ward, the sisters were getting along and my mother was much loved.
– Don’t confuse the message with the messenger
thing I have learned about not having malice is to never confuse the message
with the messenger. When your
teenager calls you the stupidest adult to ever grace the face of the earth, you
might be hurt by the message, but you still love the child. You even recognize that, in time, they will grow up.
But do you apply this same standard to others?
learned from my husband to be fair with everyone. It is not my natural inclination to do so.
If I am angry with someone, I tend to disregard everything they say or
do. But, I’m learning.
Both sports teams in a contest make brilliant moves.
We should praise all good efforts. We
should learn to recognize that everyone has both good and bad, and we should
search for the good.
– Vengence is mine, saith the Lord
prophet Joseph Smith along and a group of prisoners Liberty jail were in Liberty
Missouri for months and endured many hardships when they petitioned the Lord in D&C
don’t think that was the reply they expected.
Lord answered them in verses 7-8
the book called Mormon in the Book of Mormon, chapter 8, verse 20 it says
ours is not to demand or exact vengeance. And,
we should be happy with what the Lord chooses to do.
Mormon 3:14-15, it says
when they had sworn by all that had been forbidden
them by our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, that they would go up unto their
enemies to battle, and avenge themselves of the blood of their brethren, behold
the voice of the Lord came unto me, saying:
we have malice, we will be damaged more than the people we denigrate.
the story of Jonah. He was called
by the Lord to go preach to the people of the city of Nineveh.
But, Jonah did not want to go. I
suspect he didn’t believe that the people were worthy of a second chance.
The Lord convinced him to go by causing a huge storm to come upon the
ship that Jonah was in, and Jonah was thrown overboard and swallowed by a whale.
So, Jonah repented, and the Lord had him to go to Nineveh.
And, the people listened to Jonah. But,
Jonah was not happy that the people repented of their evil ways.
He wanted to see Nineveh destroyed.
So, Jonah went up on the hill above Nineveh and sat there wailing and
demanding. And, he died there a
knew a women whose son played soccer with one of my little sons.
The recreational team was very good – so much so that the team decided
to play against competitive level teams. Of
course, that meant tryouts, and a few boys that would not be able to make the
team. My friend’s son did not
make the team. Later this woman, a
registered nurse, told me that she was so angry with the coach that in the
hypothetical case of him bleeding to death, she would not cross the street to
help him. I could only think
“What are you teaching your son? How
will he react later in life to disappointments?
What will he do when that girl jilts him, or the boss fires him”
What a heavy burden she carried – it poisoned her soul.
Lord himself gave us an example. As
they nailed him to the cross, Jesus said “Father, forgive them, for they know
not what they do”, and in
64:10 – 11, it says
we do anything over than forgive, we are in great trouble.
But these things are not easy to do, especially if the hurt is caused by friends or family, and are intentional. But, the Lord shares with us the way when he says
we should pray for those who despise us. And
pray for those who persecute us. And,
pray for yourself that you can forgive, and let go of the malice in your heart.
does God ask this of us? Because he
loves us and wants us to have joy in this life.
would like to close with the words of a very wise man. Abraham Lincoln spoke
these words at his 2nd inaugural address, during the mist of the
United States Civil War.
the occasion corresponding to this four years ago all thoughts were anxiously
directed to an impending civil war. All dreaded it, all sought to avert it. …
Both parties depricated war, but one of them would make war rather than
let the nation survive, and the other would accept war rather than let it
perish, and the war came.
party expected for the war the magnitude or the duration which it has already
attained. … Each looked for an
easier triumph, and a result less fundamental and astounding. Both read the same
Bible and pray to the same God, and each invokes His aid against the other. …
The prayers of both could not be answered. That of neither has been
answered fully. The Almighty has His own purposes. "Woe unto the world
because of offenses; for it must needs be that offenses come, but woe to that
man by whom the offense cometh." … Fondly
do we hope, fervently do we pray, that this mighty scourge of war may speedily
pass away. Yet, if God wills that it continue …
so still it must be said "the judgments of the Lord are true and
then with great compassion and love Lincoln continued:
malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God
gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to
bind up the nation's wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle and
for his widow and his orphan, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and
lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations.”
we all live our lives so that it might be said of us that we had malice toward
none, and charity and peace for all !
Sources for Mel's talk:
Martin Luther King's Drum Major Instinct: http://www.stanford.edu/group/King/publications/sermons/680204.000_Drum_Major_Instinct.html or here. This is where the great service quote came from, as well as King's wishes as to what should be said at his funeral.
Ted Kennedy's Eulogy at his brother Robert Kennedy's funeral: http://www.u2intotheheart.bravepages.com/rfkeulogy.html or here. Robert Kennedy's speech in South Africa ( at the time of Apartheid ! ) is found here.
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