Without a fixed reference point we go in circles

An example of keeping our eye on a fixed goal.

A canoe trip to an island in a nearby national park sounded like the perfect opportunity to get closer to my son. The Aaronic Priesthood leaders and the young men in our ward had been planning the trip for months, and I was able to accompany them.
    My son McKay was in great condition, participating in three sports in high school. That’s probably one reason the leaders put us in the same canoe—they knew he could paddle hard if the need arose. I had some experience guiding a canoe, so we seemed like a good team.
    I was also eager to have the time on the lake to talk. McKay had been through a lot since the death of his mother, and I hadn’t always been able to respond in the best way to his needs and interests.   We had training, we had life vests, we knew how to swim, and we had experienced leaders guiding us.
    What we hadn’t counted on was the wind. We had paddled for several miles, then cut across the middle of the lake and were nearing the shore when an unusually strong headwind kicked up.
    The other canoes were able to make it to shore, but McKay and I were in the final boat. The waves were picking up, and we were turning off course as we paddled and paddled, trying to make any progress at all. I was becoming exhausted and alarmed. I dug into the water and pulled with all my might, trying to steer us back on course, but we seemed to stay exactly in the same position.
    We were in danger of capsizing when finally I admitted aloud that I didn’t know if I had the strength to continue. Then my son said, “You’re looking at the waves, Dad. You won’t get anywhere doing that. You’ve got to keep your eyes on the shore. See that tree on the hill? That’s our goal.  Focus on that, and we’ll make it.”
    He was right. Once I focused on the tree, I could stay on course. My arms felt renewed strength. McKay called cadence for the strokes—“Pull. Rest. Pull. Rest.” And steadily, we moved.
    We reached the shore, others reached out to help, and we sat and caught our breath. That night in our tent we talked, father and son, about our experience.
    Together, we remembered what President Thomas S. Monson has taught about the lighthouse of the Lord: “It beckons through the storms of life. It calls, ‘This way to safety; this way to home.”1
    That afternoon, a tree on the shore had been our lighthouse. When I was close to despair, my son had wisely counseled me not to look at the waves but to keep my eyes on the shore. And we had pulled together, in more ways than one.

An example of not having a fixed goal in sight

Jan L. Soumansend et al. reported in 2009 a study of people trying to walk in a straight course for several hours when they could not see the sun. One case was in a large forest area, another in the Sahara desert. They were tracked by a Global Positioning System. In both cases they repeatedly walked in circles.

On the other hand when the sun was visible the participants walked in a general straight line.

To see a detailed report of the above study click here: Walking in circles

A fixed reference point is essential to traveling in a straight line and to avoid getting lost.

A proven standard is necessary to achieve a long term goal.

Without A Fixed Endpoint To Follow, People Travel In Circles.
They Tavel In A Straight Line Only When There Is A Distant Visible Goal Post.
The photos below illustrate tests done of this phenomonon. --

In 1928 on a very foggy day, three people were sent to walk from a barn in a straight line shown shown by the dotted line. Instead, as illustrated, they kept circling until they actually ended up back at the barn. -----------------------------------------

As early las 1920 Asa Schaeffer researched peoples inability to walk in a straight line without having a fixed endpoint in sight. His blindfolded subject walked in circles until he walked into a tree.  ------------------------------------------------------

For a more detailed report of the above studies click here: Walking in circles

So it is with principles of living. If people conduct their lives by their own rules or rules set just by peers, they will travel in circles. They think they are going straight but actually are constantly changing values.

Only by following the fixed laws of heaven can society or individuals maintain order and direction.


Truth is a function of a fixed standard. It is a commodity, not a philosophy.

Man cannot change that which is true. Neither laws,  philosophies nor desires, can change what is true.


The way of God is a  fixed reference point.

Without God as our guide we have no boundaries, and no correction of course.  We do have the government laws, but if they are not founded on God's law then government laws are simply a reflecton of peer pressure and the result is ultimate decadance of our society.  Two different nations on the American continent were annihilated because they reject God and His laws.

A list of nations destroyed in the old world runs into the dozens, all due to rejecting the one true standard. 

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Latest comments

25.08 | 10:54

Thanks, It is simple and neat. Even straight to the point. God Bless.

28.11 | 22:04

Every system, whether molecular, individual or society, without outside intelligent direction will gravitate to chaos. God is the source of intelligence.

07.10 | 21:15

These songs may be copied for non-commercial use.

12.01 | 16:09

This is such a great article - thanks! I believe a call to action is what we all need - religion is action not a passive reading assignment. Thanks

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