Learning from each other is vital. I am hoping this article provides valuable insight to you.


My first memory of the unpleasant taste of soap is when mother washed my mouth out with the lather when I was a child because I said something forbidden.


I don’t hear of parents doing that nowadays, but I think the idea then was that if there is filth emerging from one’s mouth, then it needs to be cleaned up. Thus, soap was enlisted to start the process. The bad taste of the sanitizer lingered a few minutes to help make the point.


Many years later I have learned the lesson taught long ago, but my perceptions dramatically changed out of necessity. It all started my senior year of high school I suppose. On my way to football practice I crashed my car and sustained a serious head injury. This incident knocked me unconscious for two weeks and ultimately confined me in the hospital for two-and-a-half months.


Now fast-forward a number of years later after having spent two years abroad, starting college, and marrying the love of my life. One evening seemingly out-of-the-blue, I had a seizure in my sister’s home. Naturally concerned we went to the doctor with many questions.


After a series of tests and a rigorous process of gauging my prescription intake, the incidents of my seizures though not entirely eliminated have been medically controlled. The first incident was approximately five years after the accident, which was blamed as the culprit causing this malady. That was more than 30 years ago.


background-1051850_640Looking back, I have had it pretty good in comparison to those suffering similar conditions. Others haven’t been so lucky: a small child in one neighborhood where we lived was experiencing multiple seizures every day, all day long. His future was uncertain and tenuous. His parents were naturally afraid for their little boy.  


Another friend who sustained a head injury when she tumbled out of the back of a truck as a youth could not find the right combination of drugs to eradicate her episodes. It impacted her life in serious ways. So I am grateful that I have been spared these additional challenges. While we are really only beginning to learn the consequences of taking medications every day of one’s life, I have had to deal with several side effects—including dry mouth and bad breath.


Yet after decades of dealing with this problem, I think I have found a remedy that has helped tremendously. I want to share it with you in hopes you can benefit as well. Though not a silver bullet, for me it has been a life saver. Yet there have been consequences.


I frequently deal with Halitosis and dry mouth. Maintenance medications can have that effect. Determined to do something about this problem, I felt that it was my nemesis. At home and work, in social settings, teaching classes, meeting people— as a result they were always awkward and apprehensive situations.


In an effort to curb this condition, I employed gum and mints and mouthwash and breath fresheners and frequently brushed my teeth. But it was all a ruse and simply treating the symptoms of a much bigger problem. Still I thought there must be something I can do. In that mode of thinking and frankly a measure of desperation I suppose, I started thinking logically to resolve this problem.


Dry mouth could usually be resolved by juice or something to eat or drink that would usually solve this, but beverages and food were not always readily available. To combat the bad breath that results from taking regular medication that I needed, I tried every kind of strategy I could think of and mechanisms of every kind—they all helped, but frequently I found myself lacking the necessary items I tried to have with me all the time. These were all valuable but again frequently unavailable, which foiled my plan, so what was I to do?


Hot water, soap, regular cleansing—at first it seemed a little frantic—but severe problems require equally serious solutions…or so I reasoned. And it worked. Rather than despising this procedure. I found that the bad taste in my mouth was replaced with a clean feeling and scent. The other strategies worked even better now, as well. I’m not the only one facing this challenge with all the medications taken today.



But then I realized there is a lesson in this madness that is applicable to us all – ALL of us. Every one of us is unfit for the kingdom of God. Our sins make us unclean—unworthy to return to and dwell in the presence of God. Nephi said it this way … that “there cannot any unclean thing enter into the kingdom of God.” 1 Nephi 15:34 Elsewhere, Nephi states that our sins make us unclean and unfit to dwell in God’s presence, and we need His grace to purify and perfect us “after all we can do.” 2 Nephi 25:23


We all need the cleansing power of the Atonement of Jesus Christ to make us whole and prepared to meet God and receive the multitude of blessings he has in store for his children. And that incomparable blessing is made possible only through the mission and sacrifice of Jesus Christ that we might be sanctified through his grace now—immediately—including happiness and peace in this world and the opportunity to receive the mansions prepared for us in heaven.


That is possible by regularly applying the blessing of repentance in our lives every day throughout our lives. Whether it’s doing our family history, completing temple and missionary work, rearing our children to honor and follow Jesus Christ or keeping his commandments, all of these actions honor God and bless our families.


Through Christ, all things are possible and our fondest hopes and dreams can be realized. And just as we must regularly feed our bodies, we must regularly nourish our souls daily as well. Perhaps that is another reason we are encouraged to seek daily bread for our souls as well as our bodies. He is the Bread of Life and our hope is that we can rely on him to willingly bear our hardships and give us the paramount blessing of forgiveness through repentance and obedience to his word.


Mormon men

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“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.” Moroni 10:32–33


He stipulates the conditions and by the gift and power of the Holy Ghost, we know that this is true.


So we can look at repentance as a tremendous blessing, rather than a punishment or negative aversion. Perhaps we will begin to see repentance like prayer—a time we can check in and ensure we are on the right path. Repentance is a continual process of refreshing our lives and recommitting to keep our covenants and follow the commandments to the best of our ability, and because of his grace and atonement, it’s enough.


About Walter Penning
In 1989, Walter Penning formed a consultancy based in Salt Lake City and empowered his clients by streamlining processes and building a loyal, lifetime customer base with great customer service. His true passion is found in his family. He says the best decision he ever made was to marry his sweetheart and have children. The wonderful family she has given him and her constant love, support, and patience amid life's challenges is his panacea.

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