Tarzan, Vines & Forgiveness

If you had to narrow your blog reading to just a select few, my next guest blogger, Middle-aged Mormon Man, would be on that list. Always enlightening and knowledgeable, he is also witty and humorous which is great on those hard middle-of-the-trenches days. I'll let him introduce his anonymous self.

By way of introduction, I am a husband, father of five, small-business owner, blogger, philanthropist and junk-foodie. I enjoy being incredibly smart, and long walks on moonlit beaches...and I'm a Mormon.

I also have an alignment problem on my truck, an unshakeable testimony, an eternal struggle with Mnt. Dew, and a never-ending fount of opinions.

If that isn't compelling enough to read my post, then check out my full profile here.

I am proudly humble to be invited to participate in this tribute to the Proclamation. My thanks to Montserrat and crew for taking the risk...

When offered, I immediately chose to write on the passage for the Proclamation which states: “Happiness in family life is most likely to be achieved when founded upon the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ. Successful marriages and families are established and maintained on principles of faith, prayer, repentance, forgiveness, respect, love, compassion, work, and wholesome recreational activities.”

Unfortunately, when we read the second sentence, this is what we hear:
“blah blah, blah blah blah, blah, blah, blah blah, WHOLESOME RECREATIONAL ACTIVITIES!” Woo-hoo!

I am not writing about how those “activities” often supersede crucial things like honoring the Sabbath, fulfilling stewardships, attending meetings, etc. Nope. I’m not even going to go there. Disneyland. (Oops, I went there - sorry.)

Instead, I want to spend this invaluable opportunity specifically discussing the 4th item in this important list: Forgiveness. Yep, just the one.

Why? Because forgiveness is hugely important! And, because all of you are now my special friends, I would like you to meet Tarzan. (Just go with it. I promise you won’t regret it.)

As you know, Tarzan lives in the jungle. His favorite mode of transportation is swinging through the trees. It is fast, efficient and exhilarating. He fluidly swings from vine to vine, never touching the ground.

Upon closer examination, you can see that as Tarzan reaches out and grabs the next vine, he releases the vine he had been riding on. This allows him to move forward, constantly grasping new vines to continue his journey.

Imagine what would happen if Tarzan grabbed the next vine, but refused to let go of the old vine? Exactly. He would stop dead - suspended in the air between two vines. To regain his momentum, he would eventually have to choose which vine to release.

Every one of us finds ourselves reaching towards the Savior, towards the atonement - reaching and searching for forgiveness. It is inevitable. It is part of the plan.

However, like Tarzan, if we are trying to grasp the atonement, and refuse to let go of the things we are hanging on to, we stop dead. We lose all spiritual momentum. We are damned.

The Lord said it better, and he didn’t even need to use Tarzan:

“Wherefore I say unto you, that ye ought to forgive one another;
for he that forgiveth not his brother his trespasses
standeth condemned before the Lord; for there remaineth in him the great sin.”
Doctrine & Covenants 64:9

The greater sin? You are telling me that my refusal to let go of the things that have been done to me - the pains that I have had to endure - will cause me to lose the Lord’s forgiveness and the power of the atonement? Yes. Exactly. You get it.

If we are unwilling to forgive - unwilling to let go - we are condemned, and have denied the core principles of the very atonement we reach for. Seems a bit hypocritical doesn't it - to try to get something for ourselves that we deny others?

I have witnessed the toxic nature of an unforgiving heart. I have seen an unwillingness to forgive prevent couples and families from moving forward and regaining their spiritual momentum. Stalled.

I have witnessed people who cling to the old vines of anger, accusation and resentment until they are so cankered that they no longer reach for the Savior. Spiritually stuck between two vines. One offers hope and joy, the other condemnation and bitterness. Personally, at times I have carried grudges far longer than I should, and I have felt those burdens lift and drift away as I decide to release them. Immediately.

I have also seen those who labor to forgive find great peace and happiness as they free themselves from burdens they have been carrying for 10, 20 years, or 10 to 20 minutes. Forgiveness offers hope, peace and spiritual momentum.

Think of your grudges, resentments, hurt feelings, pain. Can you let them go? Can you move forward? Can you find a way to forgive - for the sake of your happiness, and the happiness of your spouse and your family? It is the only way. It is the only way to progress.

It is worth it.

Do you want to read more? Here are two great links:

The first is an article in a recent Deseret News about stories of forgiveness. The second is a Conference talk by President James E. Faust, who I love and miss.
Deseret News Article
James E. Faust

Thank you MMM! The visuals provided in your post are perfect for teaching young and old alike how NOT forgiving stops our progress.

Today's celebration on the family is sponsored by kiki comin.


KikiComin is giving away a 5 pack of Go Notes (one of every set) to two different winners! So what is GO NOTES? It's a quick little way to say "I love you" in six different ways. Hide one in their lunch bag, put one in their backpack, set one on his pillow where they will lay their head down at night...etc. The possibilities are endless! Everyone enjoys a little surprise now and then. And because they are small (business card sized)..you can tuck them in the smallest place and get the biggest smiles!

Visit KikiComin for more funky, colorful and fun posters and prints!


Mike Hicks, the guest blogger at The Red Headed Hostess today, is also giving away a copy of his newly released CD Hymn Creations, an inspirational and creative piano based instrumental arrangements of hymns.

Cocoa Signature with Candy 2 © 2007-2011 Chocolate on my Cranium, LLC all rights reserved


  1. That is an awesome analogy! I like.

    I have a saying that forgiveness is selfish. God gives us this commandment to help *us* -- so whether or not someone asks for it or deserves it doesn't really matter (because all that kind of analysis does is keep us stuck). We deserve it. We deserve to be free.

    I love that talk by Pres. Faust. This quote is one that has always stayed with me:

    "A sister who had been through a painful divorce received some sound advice from her bishop: “Keep a place in your heart for forgiveness, and when it comes, welcome it in.”"

    Sometimes forgiveness can be a process for our fallen selves, so I liked that concept of keeping a place ready for it as one works through the process.

    Anyway, thanks again. I'm gonna remember this Tarzan thing. Really great.

  2. p.s. If you haven't seen this video on forgiveness, it's well worth your time.

  3. this was great! and I'm always looking for new blogs to read!

  4. A mormon daddy blogger- you don't see many of those ;)
    Loved the post!

  5. this was a great post. I feel so strongly about this subject too and you put it so well. Thank you for sharing this!

  6. I recently discovered MMM's blog and just love it! I love this analogy. I think my teen Sunday School class will really appreciate it, thank you.

  7. What a fantastic post! That was a great way to start my Sabbath off. Thanks so much for a wonderful analogy. Another great talk on this subject is a BYU Devotional by Jeffrey R. Holland entitled "Remember Lot's Wife." I highly recommend that one-- especially if the vines that you struggle to let go of are your own imperfections. :)
    Here's the link:

  8. I liked the Tarzan analogy. :)

  9. Tarzan is so wise! :)

    I have enjoyed your post. When Pres. Faust gave his talk it moved me and as a result my life has never been the same. (in a good way) I also loved Pres. Bednar's talk about CHOOSING to be offended. I think they go hand in hand. Often we are "offended" and hold a grudge. If we just forgive it will all be moot.

    Thank you for this post. It was a wonderful way to start the sabbath.

  10. I love your blog! I have it bookmarked so I can check it often. Your focused approach to a gospel centered home is wonderful!

  11. A great visual aid. I think we'll have a FHE lesson on forgiveness this week...

  12. These posts have been wonderful. I love the annalogy and what a great one to help teach young ones about forgiveness. I also love the talk and can't wait to read it agian. Thank you for sharing.

  13. Thank you! I loved, loved this post. I can see this in my own family, where the unforgiving heart and bitterness just destroys the spirit. But, those who forgive can move on and find peace. Thank you for sharing.

  14. Great analogy! I will remember that one for the future!

  15. Great post. Loved the Tarzan analogy. Thank you! :)

  16. I commented over on your blog, but I'll say it again, Awesome post!

  17. When I read that paragraph in the proclamation again this week, forgiveness was the one word that stuck out. And then that was the topic of our stake president's talk in stake conference this morning. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts on this. I for one really appreciated it.

  18. This is the perfect analogy! Thank you for sharing!!!

  19. Some times I need analogies like Tarzan to help me see the point. Thanks for sharing that. I'm teaching a class on the atonement this week. I will definitely be using the Tarzan example. Thanks for your thoughts.

  20. I love the comparison, and the visuals. Thank you so much for sharing!

  21. Thank you for your wonderful post! This is an excellent lesson to remember!

  22. What a great image when thinking about forgiveness.

  23. I think that the contribution you put on here for us to learn of the stronger meaning and understandings of our faith is wonderful! Thank you!

  24. I whole-heartedly agree with this post and love the tarzan analogy! Awesomeness! It also makes forgiveness seem so strong and (ahem) masculine! :)

  25. Wow! What a great message! I have so much more that I would like to say, but words fail me. I am amazed at the messages presented today. Everyone has hit home! Thank you for this post and thank you for the celebration of the Proclamation of the Family...I just can't tell you what it has meant to me. Thank you!

  26. Ha! I LOVE the Tarzan analogy. So clever and applicable. I am so glad that you are always willing to brave the "mommy blogs" we need more male voices!

  27. Excellent analogy. You helped me understand forgiveness in a deeper way. Thank you!

  28. Hey everybody! Thanks for reading my post, and for all the kind words. Please keep reading the posts here for the Proclamation Celebration - it is really a wonderful thing, and I am proud to be a part.

    I also suggest that if you do use the Tarzan analogy in a Sacrament meeting talk, make sure you act it out up on the stand, thus keeping everyone awake.

  29. love the analogy! thank you for your insight!!

  30. Great message. I think we need to ensure we have a better perspective, an eternal one, to make it easier for us.

  31. Anything that uses Tarzan to explain it would keep my kids enthralled!

  32. that was so great. I wish I would have read it yesterday before I went to church to teach my lesson.

  33. love this analogy - I need to find a way to work this into a lesson for my YW, they'd surely remember that one :)


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