The Prayer

I was invited to give the opening prayer at the Provo Municipal Council meeting tonight. Here is what I said:

O God we come before thee now

and pray they spirit will allow

inspiration for our group;

and may we not to gossip stoop.

Help us all be brief tonight

so wisdom will remain in sight.

And bless this council, keep them proof

from those who want to raise the roof.

This we ask in sweet accord 

in the name of Christ our Lord. 

John Fenley at tonight's meeting.
John Fenley at tonight’s meeting.


Wall Street Journal’s Mark Maremont calls Limerick “Beyond the Pale”

Not everyone enjoys my limericks.

Some people object when the opinion I express in my compressed verse is offensive to them. And they certainly have every right to do so.

Such is the case with Mark Maremont, a senior editor with the Wall Street Journal. He has emailed me on several occasions to say he’s enjoyed my limericks. But today, on receipt of my latest creation, his reaction was much different.

First, here’s the limerick in question:

At Facebook they have engineers

to shape all our views and our fears. 

Algorithms they use

to distort all the news;

Herr Goebbels would give them three cheers.

And now, unedited and verbatim, here is Mr. Maremont’s email response to me:

Tim — 

I appreciate the usual humor, but comparing Facebook with the Nazis seems beyond the pale.
Could you take me off your email list?
Naturally, I will not be sharing my poetic muse with him any more.
At first I was distressed to think that something as inconsequential as a limerick could disturb anyone so much. But, after mature consideration, I’m rather thrilled to think my verse has had so much impact — even if it’s negative impact. I find Moremont’s reaction a pleasant vindication of my work.
I’ve also posted limericks on North Korea’s dictator Kim Jong-un, and the Prophet Muhammad — so I’m wondering if some assassins are even now working their murderous way to my Senior Citizen apartment building to bump me off.
Just think, I might go down in history as:



Donald Trump Threatens Religious Liberty, or The Devil & Donald Trump.

In the nether regions where the devil holds his sway

an imp reported to him on the World from day to day.

Your Imperial Infernalness” the imp said with good cheer,

“a champion for all your dreams is likely to appear!”

“We have reports that Donald Trump is eager to destroy

the rights of men to worship or their conscience to employ!”

Mr. Scratch was heartened by these words, and so he bent

his cloven steps up to the World, more mischief to invent.

He came upon the Donald making speeches full of hate,

and sat back so that in this bile he could luxuriate.

“Register the Moslems, make them take out papers that

take away their liberties forever!” Donald spat.

“And keep an eye on Buddhists and the Hindus, gleichzeitig;

if they act suspicious we will throw them in the brig!” 

Satisfied that he had found a protege at last,

the daddy of all lies decided he must act real fast.

“Sign this little contract” he commanded Donald Trump,

“and I will turn each of your foes into a harmless chump!”

“The riches of the World are mine to give to you, my boy;

and you will have the power all the towel-heads to destroy!”

But Donald, who had written on the Art of Dealing Sly,

was not about to be stampeded by this horny guy:

“I also want to have the sole concession down in Hell

bottled water and ice cream to peddle and to sell.”

“And the right to build casinos and an office park,

and be your second-in-command down in there in the dark.”

The devil was astounded at this resolute demand,

and felt like he had ventured into treacherous quicksand.

Deciding that retreat was much the  better plan instead,

he flew back down to Hell with broken heart and battered head.

And Donald, he continued his malarkey to advance —

conducting his campaign just by the seat of his silk pants.

Cash-Strapped Missionaries Get a New Calling: Home

Southern Baptist missionaries serving God abroad

are suffering from something like an economic prod

to leave their flocks in haste because the purse strings have decreased;

donations do not cover quite the bill for this love feast. 

Americans who bravely preach the Gospel overseas

live like bankers funded by a board of drunk trustees.

But now the party’s over and Recession calls the tune

(so Southern Baptists are not sending preachers to the Moon).

Soon the only missionaries heathens may espy

are LDS who pay their way with private funds set by. 


Behold Thy Mother

The burdens that a mother bears are great and quiet ones,

as she comforts and sustains her daughters and her sons. 

Her heart’s a sacred place that men can never wholly enter,

where love and anguish for her brood are at the very center.

Like the purest water that erodes the solid stone

she will never leave her children hardened and alone.

Only Christ our Savior has more love for humankind

than a mother for her offspring in her soul and mind.  

mother and child


Bristol Fashion

Frivolous distractions on the Sabbath so abound

that all my good intentions sometimes drift and run aground.

To hold a temple-worthy thought, and translate it to deed,

is often more than I can do (or even think I need). 

If I’m not Bristol fashion when the tides of life regress

I’m apt to find myself in deep and mortified distress.

In weakness I implore thee, Lord, to hear my shy petition,

so when it comes to righteousness I lose all inhibition!  



The Joy of Living a Christ-Centered Life

The potter’s wheel turns faster as the clay begins to spin,

casting off the dust of doubt and consequence of sin.

But if the clay should wobble and collapse without a form,

we might give up forever and pretend it is the norm.

The potter’s wheel is steady and the potter’s hands are sure;

the clay itself is ready to be molded clean and pure.

The clay must be so very centered that it is enticed

to take the shape and guidance of its molder, Jesus Christ. 

So whether we become a platter, bowl or curving vase,

we shall know our maker and behold his ardent face.  

potters wheel

God is at the helm

God is at the helm, and the ship of Zion sails.

Any other craft is capricious, and it fails.

The ship of Zion runs at a stupefying pace;

powered by good works and a never-ending grace.

Abandoning the ship means deep peril for the soul;

sharks and pirates lurk to extract their wicked toll.

My lubberly attempts to serve upon the ship

are the only way I can pay for this great trip.


God walks not in crooked paths

The Lord walks not in crooked paths his portents to display.

His course is straight and leads unto the jubilation day.

I complicate the Gospel at my peril and my cost,

seeking for a blizzard in a little bit of frost.

Smothering the word of God with applications vast,

I toil beyond the mark until my spirit is aghast.

I’ll take an inventory and soon jettison all gear

that keeps me grounded, so I’ll soar with gratitude and cheer!

President Dieter F. Uchtdorf speaks Sunday, Jan. 13, 2013 in the Marriott Center at BYU for a CES devotional.
President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, from October General Conference. 

A Reporter of Religion

A reporter of religion, who was thinking rather odd,
decided he would get a scoop by interviewing God.
He snuck up into heaven and passed by the pearly gates,
then started asking questions all around (which irritates).
Some angels dragged him off to Deity for discipline,
thinking he would be destroyed for his nosy sin.
When in the holy Presence, this reporter cocked his head.
“Which religion is the best, the one that’s right?” he said.
Instead of giving answer to this question, thunder growled.
A figure dressed in horns and tail gave him a poke and scowled.
“Be off with you!” the devil snarled. “We do not need your views.”
“If you really want to find that out, just read the Deseret News!”

retro reporter