Mechanical Operations Manager
Craig was born in Rexburg’s Madison Memorial Hospital and raised in Parker just 10 miles north of campus. After serving in the England Bristol Mission, he came home, met, fell in love with, and married Lauri Kaufman in the Idaho Falls Temple in 1984. Five years later they built their own home in the small community of Parker. That same year, Craig started working at Ricks College and has enjoyed working in the same department for 30 years.
Craig has served as a high councilor, ward young men president, and in several scouting positions. He is a recipient of the Grand Teton Council Silver Beaver Award. He is currently serving as a counselor in the Rexburg YSA 48th Ward bishopric.
All four of Craig and Lauri’s children are BYU-Idaho graduates. They also have 11 grandchildren.
Please respond to the question below on the devotional discussion board:
In an epistle to his son Moroni, Mormon writes:
And now, my beloved son, notwithstanding their hardness, let us labor diligently; for if we should cease to labor, we should be brought under condemnation; for we have a labor to perform whilst in this tabernacle of clay, that we may conquer the enemy of all righteousness, and rest our souls in the kingdom of God. (Moroni 9:6)
What motivates you to keep on the covenant path?
Today I would like to address the subject found in Mormon 9:28: “Be wise in the days of your probation.” 
I was raised on a small farm with all kinds of farm animals in the rural community of Parker, just a few miles north of here. Life was full of adventure and each day brought all kinds of different things to do. One particular day, as a very young boy, maybe six or seven years old, I found myself bored and, like the familiar teaching that many of us have heard, “idle hands are the devil’s workshop.” With this free time on my hands I found myself teasing my favorite cat. I was really pestering this poor cat until finally he had had enough of my abuse, bolted from my grasp, and ran as fast as he could to get away from me. Unexpectedly, he ran across the road and was hit by a car. This accident totally broke my heart knowing that I was the cause of his death.
This experience at an early age has caused me to reflect on the choices that I make and ponder on the plan of salvation my whole entire life.
Hopefully, our time together today will be both encouraging to me as well as you! I pray that the Holy Ghost will be our teacher today and that we can leave here uplifted and motivated to stay on the covenant path.
One question that I have pondered is, Will I take the same attitudes that I have in this life into the spirit world? In other words, if I like to tease, will that attitude go with me when I die?
Moroni answers this question perfectly:
And then cometh the judgement of the Holy One upon them; and then cometh the time that he that is filthy shall be filthy still; and he that is righteous shall be righteous still; he that is happy shall be happy still; and he that is unhappy shall be unhappy still. 
And he that likes to tease will like to tease still!
Alma gives this instruction to his son Corianton:
And now behold, is the meaning of the word restoration to take a thing of a natural state and place it in an unnatural state, or to place it in a state opposite to its nature?
O, my son, this is not the case; but the meaning of the word restoration is to bring back again evil for evil, or carnal for carnal, or devilish for devilish—good for that which is good; righteous for that which is righteous; just for that which is just; merciful for that which is merciful. 
If you enjoy being around those who make you feel comfortable in this life, then that is where you will want to be in the next life. You are not going to be in a place where you are not comfortable. You will always drift or lean to where you are comfortable. If singing in the choir is uncomfortable, you probably won’t ask to sing in the choir. But if you continue to attend choir practice, then eventually you will become more comfortable at singing in the choir. If going to church is uncomfortable, then you probably won’t be the first one there sitting on the front row. If you are uncomfortable at speaking to a large audience of really smart young people, then you will be uncomfortable no matter what.
As a missionary, one of my favorite analogies that I would share with investigators was the analogy “Sand on the Beach.” Pretend that you are on a beach in Tahiti, you reach down and pick up a single kernel of sand and you set it into the palm of your hand. That small kernel of sand is like your time here on earth compared to the rest of the sand on the beach as your time in eternity.
This analogy is what motivates me to continue on the covenant path! This is a very short time to be on earth compared to where we will spend eternity. I need to be patient with myself and try each day at becoming better than I was the day before. When I look back over the years, I have noticed that I have made small improvements over the course of my life. I don’t like to tease cats anymore like I used to!
President Henry B. Eyring put it this way:
For those of us who passed the crucial test in the premortal spirit world and so qualified to receive the gift of mortal bodies, the great choice of eternal life is still ours to make. If we are blessed to find the restored gospel, we can choose to make and keep the covenants with God that qualify us for eternal life. As we endure in that faithfulness, the Holy Ghost will confirm our hope and confidence that we are on the path to eternal life, to live in families forever in the celestial kingdom. 
Phil Wightman, former Ricks College religion teacher and former Rexburg temple president, made this comment at a Ricks College devotional in 1999 about the celestial kingdom: “It isn’t a matter of just going somewhere; it’s a matter of becoming something—and then you are allowed to live somewhere. . . . “Celestial” has to do with person before place.” I attended this devotional, and it has made an impact on my life.
President Ezra Taft Benson cautions us, “We must be careful, as we seek to become more and more godlike, that we do not become discouraged and lose hope. Becoming Christlike is a lifetime pursuit and very often involves growth and change that is slow, almost imperceptible. The scriptures record remarkable accounts of men whose lives changed dramatically, in an instant, as it were: Alma the Younger, Paul on the road to Damascus, Enos praying far into the night, King Lamoni. Such astonishing examples of the power to change even those steeped in sin give confidence that the Atonement can reach even those deepest in despair.” 
In last week’s devotional, President Eyring said, “Daily repentance should be the pattern of our lives. . . . Sincere repentance lifts our spiritual burdens, bringing peace and joy even in difficult or seemingly unfair circumstances. Repentance simultaneously acts as an antidote to pride. It humbles and motivates us to do better in the future.” 
President M. Russell Ballard gives us this insight; “Every night as I review my day in prayer with my Father in Heaven, I ask to be forgiven if I did anything wrong and promise to try to be better tomorrow. I believe this regular daily repentance helps my spirit remind my body who is in charge of me.” Repentance involves putting in our best effort.
Lynn G. Robbins shares his own story:
In 1970, as a new freshman at BYU, I enrolled in a beginning course on the essentials of physics taught by Jae Ballif, an outstanding professor. After finishing each unit of the course, he would administer an exam. If a student received a C and wanted a better grade, Professor Ballif would allow the student to take a modified exam covering the same material. If the student received a B on the second attempt and was still unsatisfied, he or she could take the test a third time and a fourth, and so on. By allowing me numerous second chances, he helped me excel and finally earn an A in his class. He was an uncommonly wise professor who inspired his students to keep trying—to consider failure as a tutor, not as a tragedy, and to not fear failure but to learn from it. . . .
. . . This is the gospel of repentance, and as President Russell M. Nelson has observed, it will be “a lifetime curriculum.” In this lifetime curriculum of repentance, the sacrament is the Lord’s designated way of providing continual access to His forgiveness. If we partake with a broken heart and a contrite spirit, He proffers us weekly pardon as we progress from failure to failure along the covenant path. For “notwithstanding their sins, my bowels are filled with compassion towards them.” 
In 1993, the university paid me to drive over to the Tri-Cities area, put me up in a nice hotel, paid for my food, textbooks, and everything else for me to become a certified backflow assembly tester. For two days, life was great; I was really enjoying this time away from my normal responsibilities at work. I went to my training each day, focusing on the hands-on part of the test and not really the written part of the test. Then, on the third day, we took a practice written test to see how we were doing on learning the material. I thought that I had this in the bag, with not a worry. But then reality hit me in the face, saying that 60% wasn’t going to get me my certification. I went back to my nice hotel and opened my textbooks and started to cram for this test instead of staying up late into the night watching football. I didn’t want to travel nine hours all the way home and tell my supervisor that I had failed and that all of the resources that it took from the “widow’s mite” were wasted and I had let so many people down because of my own selfishness. That thought was more than I could bear. I couldn’t live with myself. From that time on, every spare minute that I had was learning those things that I had missed because of my neglect. I didn’t want to just pass the test, but I wanted to do the best that I could, so that there was no question about passing the test. And if I didn’t pass the test, I could learn from my laziness and then move forward. I prayed with real intent, asking for forgiveness, hoping that it wasn’t too late for divine help. Well, at the end of the week, we took both the hands-on and written tests. I passed them both with a very good grade, and my trip home was a very grateful ride. I remember thanking my Heavenly Father for all of His kindnesses to me all the way home.
So, when should we start doing our best? When should we commit to learn all that we can? How long do we have while we are in this mortal body? Nobody knows!
The Prophet Joseph Smith said:
We should take warning and not wait for the death-bed to repent; as we see the infant taken away by death, so may the youth and middle aged, as well as the infant be suddenly called into eternity. Let this, then, prove as a warning to all not to procrastinate repentance, or wait till a death-bed, for it is the will of God that man should repent and serve Him in health, and in the strength and power of his mind, in order to secure his blessing, and not wait until he is called to die. 
Moroni tells us that we need to work out our own salvation with fear and trembling before Him and to be wise in the days of our probation. 
Wilford W. Anderson shared the following story:
Recently a dear friend of mine passed away from cancer. He and his family are people of great faith. It was inspiring to see how their faith carried them through this very difficult time. They were filled with an inner peace that sustained and strengthened them. With their permission I would like to read from a family member’s letter written just days before her father passed away:
“The last few days have been especially difficult. . . . Last night as we gathered at Dad’s bedside, the Spirit of the Lord was palpable and truly acted as a comforter to us. We are at peace. . . . It has been the hardest thing any of us has ever experienced, but we feel peace in the knowledge that . . . our Father in Heaven has promised that we will live together as a family again. After the doctor told Dad in the hospital that there was nothing left to be done, he looked at all of us with perfect faith and boldly asked, ‘Does anybody in this room have a problem with the plan of salvation?’ We do not and are grateful for a father and mother who have taught us to have perfect trust in the plan.” 
“And then shall it come to pass, that the spirits of those who are righteous are received into a state of happiness, which is called paradise, a state of rest, a state of peace, where they shall rest from all their troubles and from all care, and sorrow.” 
I had an experience when I was in my teens. We had gone to a youth conference at BYU-Provo, and some of my friends and I decided to rent some tandem bicycles from their activities center. I was paired up with a friend that was quite a bit smaller than myself, and we worked well together. I was the lead person that could steer where we went, and my friend on the back seat was there to help pedal. He would lean to one side or another when we would take a sharp corner, which helped the bike take the corners faster. It seemed that we could race with ease as we drove all over the nice sidewalks that seemed to be everywhere. (By the way, don’t try this activity on this nice campus.) After a while, I felt as though things were getting really hard, and I became tired and wondered why my legs were giving out. I then turned around and noticed that my friend had put his feet up on the stationary handlebars and was just enjoying the ride. This really annoyed me, and all I wanted to do was to kick him off, because he was dead weight. He wasn’t even trying. Well, he started to pedal again, and we finished the ride, and we both had a great time.
I tell you this story because God just wants us all to pedal. He wants us to try our best in all that we do, and not just put our feet up and relax but to put in our best efforts so that we can learn all that we can while we are here in mortality. He has created this earth so that we could have this experience.
And now, my beloved son, [or daughter] . . . let us [pedal] diligently; for if we should cease to [pedal], we should be brought under condemnation; for we have a labor to perform whilst in this tabernacle of clay, that we may conquer the enemy of all righteousness, and rest our souls in the kingdom of God. 
Stephen E. Robinson said in his book Believing Christ:
Above all else, God wants our hearts. Imperfect performance can be corrected, sins can be remitted, mistakes can be erased—but God can do nothing with an unwilling and rebellious heart until it repents. Weakness can be saved; rebellion cannot.
The joyful news for anyone who desires to be rid of the consequences of past poor choices is that the Lord sees weaknesses differently than He does rebellion. Whereas the Lord warns that unrepented rebellion will bring punishment, when the Lord speaks of weaknesses, it is always with mercy. 
Many have commented on the discussion board about how staying on the covenant path brings them joy and peace. Thanks for your insights.
President Nelson spoke of joy:
The joy we feel has little to do with the circumstances of our lives and everything to do with the focus of our lives.
When the focus of our lives is on God’s plan of salvation . . . and Jesus Christ and His gospel, we can feel joy regardless of what is happening—or not happening—in our lives. Joy comes from and because of Him. . . . For Latter-day Saints, Jesus Christ is joy! 
In closing, I really pay attention to the last words that are recorded by a prophet, because I really think that their final witness is recorded in their last few words. The prophet Moroni was one of those that summed up what was most important in his life. He gives us this charge in the last few verses of the Book of Mormon.
Yea, come unto Christ, and be perfected in him, and deny yourselves of all ungodliness; and if ye shall deny yourselves of all ungodliness, and love God with all your might, mind and strength, then is his grace sufficient for you, that by his grace ye may be perfect in Christ; and if by the grace of God ye are perfect in Christ, ye can in nowise deny the power of God.
And again, if ye by the grace of God are perfect in Christ, and deny not his power, then are ye sanctified in Christ by the grace of God, through the shedding of the blood of Christ, which is in the covenant of the Father unto the remission of your sins, that ye become holy, without spot. 
I testify that we shouted for joy when we heard of God’s plan in the pre-existence. This plan is something that should motivate us to continue on the covenant path towards eternal life. I testify that if you will come to the sacrament table each week with a determination to improve, willing to pedal, then you can be forgiven, and you are directly fixed on the covenant path back to Him. If there is something in your life that needs to be cleared up, I invite you to make an appointment with your bishop today. He will be kind and loving to you as you counsel with him. Heavenly Father loves all of His children, and He wants us all to return to His presence. We all chose Christ and His plan in the pre-earth life, and my prayer today is that we may all choose Him again in this life. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.
 Mormon 9:28.
 Mormon 9:14.
 Alma 41:12–13.
 Henry B. Eyring, “The Hope of Eternal Family Love,” Ensign, Aug. 2016; see also Doctrine and Covenants 88:20–24.
 Philip C. Wightman, “The God We Worship,” Ricks College devotional, Feb. 9, 1999, 27:39–29:33.
Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Ezra Taft Benson, “Chapter 5: Principles of True Repentance.”
 Henry J. Eyring, “Not Blind Faith, but Big Faith,” BYU-Idaho devotional, Jan. 14, 2020.
 M. Russell Ballard, “Giving Our Spirits Control over Our Bodies,” Ensign, Nov. 2019.
 Lynn G. Robbins, “Until Seventy Times Seven,” Ensign, May 2018.
Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith, “Chapter 5: Repentance.”
 See Mormon 9:27–28.
 Wilford W. Andersen, “The Rock of Our Redeemer,” Ensign, May 2010.
 Alma 40:12; see also Alma 34:32–36.
 Moroni 9:6; modified.
 Stephen E. Robinson, Believing Christ, 54.
 Russell M. Nelson, “Joy and Spiritual Survival,” Ensign, Nov. 2016.
 Moroni 10:32–33.