About rameumptom

Gerald (Rameumptom) Smith is a student of the gospel. Joining the Church of Jesus Christ when he was 16, he served a mission in Santa Cruz Bolivia (1978=1980). He is married to Ramona, has 3 stepchildren and 7 grandchildren. Retired Air Force (Aim High!). He has been on the Internet since 1986 when only colleges and military were online. Gerald has defended the gospel since the 1980s, and was on the first Latter-Day Saint email lists, including the late Bill Hamblin's Morm-Ant. Gerald has worked with FairMormon, More Good Foundation, LDS.Net and other pro-LDS online groups. He has blogged on the scriptures for over a decade at his site: Joel's Monastery (joelsmonastery.blogspot.com). He has the following degrees: AAS Computer Management, BS Resource Mgmt, MA Teaching/History. Gerald was the leader for the Tuskegee Alabama group, prior to it becoming a branch. He opened the door for missionary work to African Americans in Montgomery Alabama in the 1980s. He's served in two bishoprics, stake clerk, high council, HP group leader and several other callings over the years. While on his mission, he served as a counselor in a branch Relief Society presidency.

Book Review: Miracles Among the Rubble

 Book Review: Miracles Among the Rubble – Bringing Convoys of Humanitarian Aid, Hugs, and Hope to a War-torn Region, by Carol R. Gray

Miracles Among the Rubble: Bringing Convoys of Humanitarian Aid, Hugs, and Hope to a War-torn Region

This is very different from many of the recent book reviews I’ve done. Most of the books I review tend towards gospel teachings or the scriptures. In this book, published by Greg Kofford Books, we get an entirely new experience. It is a semi-autobiographical look at some of Carol’s experiences leading convoys of humanitarian aid to the devastated areas of Bosnia and Croatia, during the civil war with the Serbs.

The book is divided into 26 short chapters, each describing a trip to Bosnia, bringing truckloads of food, medical supplies, clean water, and other needed assistance to the region. The chapters share the heartbreak of war and the hope that is renewed by Carol and her crew of volunteers, as they travel from England, across Europe, and to the dangerous regions.

However, the book starts unexpectedly with an unrelated, but key, event in Carol’s life. She was diagnosed with terminal cancer at the age of 29. She was only to have weeks left to live. It helped her to focus on the most important things, such as family. Six years later, as a Relief Society president in England, she became focused on the Balkan war. The Spirit whispered to her to help, so she found a charity that would transport items to Bosnia that she could obtain, by rallying Latter-day Saint members from her region. As the day approached to hand the supplies over to the Charity organization, they rescinded their offer of transporting the donations.

Distraught over this news, she prayed as to what to do next. The Spirit gave her the inspiration to obtain some trucks and volunteers and drive the supplies to Bosnia herself. That first trip turned into over 40 trips over several years, often bringing a dozen or more large trucks of aid to areas close to the front lines of the war.

Her first trip was taken with her college age daughter, Samantha, who eagerly agreed to go with her mother. As some of the truck drivers were happy to drop off their supplies at the border, Carol sensed she needed to go further into the country, where the most destitute would be found, and ensuring the items got into the hands of the needy, rather being placed on the black market.

In the chapters, she describes various people she met, dangers in traveling due to hidden landmines, shelling and machine gun fire. On more than one occasion, she found herself driving over makeshift bridges, put together with tires, oil barrels and planks of wood. All of her chapters end with a spiritual message of a truth she and others learned on the trips.

For example, for one trip, she was asked to bring toiletries and cleaning supplies. It was for a new village that was quickly built for about 100 women and their children. Carol was surprised to find that the women and children had been freed from the Serbian rape camps. The women and children feared men, and so the men on the convoy initially stood apart, until the Bosnian women personally welcomed them into their village.

On another trip, a Bosnian friend of Carol had opened her home on the Dalmatian Coast to the injured. Carol’s friend worked tirelessly, comforting the wounded soldiers and civilians who found their way to her house. Carol could not imagine how a beautiful place as this, could be so uprooted by violence. It showed her that people in dire situations can make a huge difference for others.

Even those driving in the convoys  were often changed by the experience. Carol notes a man named Fred, who was an alcoholic and close to losing his family and work. He begged to drive with her. The experience changed him greatly, as he hugged and comforted children and others, who really needed a shoulder to cry on. After the trip, he had sworn off drinking and returned to his family and work.

Another gentleman, who was in the military and was very stern and strict, told her that he was not a hugger. However, over the two week trip, his heart softened. As they pulled into their first Bosnian village, he jumped from the truck and began hugging the people. 

She also shares how triumph can come from tragedy. In one place, she heard a child screaming. As she went to check it out, she found that the child’s leg was being amputated, the child having stepped on a landmine. The surgery was being performed without anesthesia, as there was none available. This shook Carol. She thought and dreamed about it all the way back to England. Once there, she prepared a convoy of medical equipment needed in Bosnia.  

Each time a special item was required, the Lord provided it to her, often just in the nick of time. She describes the doors that opened for her, as she saw a new need appear. Her list of miracles in the book is quite impressive, even though they obviously do not begin to number all the miracles that occurred in the lives of the drivers, the medical personnel, and especially, the people of Bosnia.

Carol finally succumbed to cancer in 2010, and the book was lovingly finished by her daughter, Samantha.

After reading this book, I stopped to reflect on the service I have given. Was it enough? Was I willing to enter into dangerous places, in order to serve those most in need? Was I willing to give up some of my creature comforts and idle time to make a difference in the lives of others?

It brought me pause. 

I highly recommend this book. It will make you uncomfortable, as it did for me. Yet, it will also enrich you, seeing that one person can make a big difference in bringing Christ-like love and service to others that perhaps live far away and are currently strangers. It doesn’t require us to enter war-torn nations to experience such things as Carol writes in her book. It can be those affected by wildfires, hurricanes, floods, poverty, or hatred. But this book becomes a wonderful eye-opener to the possibilities of what each of us could do to bring down a little heaven on earth to those in true need.

Available at:

Greg Kofford Books


Come Follow Me: 3 Nephi 27-4 Nephi

My blog post for Come Follow Me: 3 Nephi 27-4 Nephi.


“just because a church calls itself after Christ’s name, does not mean it is his Church. It must also be “built upon my (Jesus’) gospel.” To the extent that a church strays from that directive, it is less and less the Lord’s church. A Church built upon the gospel will show forth the Father’s works.

“if it be not built upon my gospel, and is built upon the works of men, or upon the works of the devil, verily I say unto you they have joy in their works for a season, and by and by the end cometh, and they are hewn down and cast into the fire, from whence there is no return. For their works do follow them, for it is because of their works that they are hewn down; therefore remember the things that I have told you” (3 Ne 27:11-12).

Here, the Lord gives us an insight on not only the churches that are in the world, but all organizations and things found on earth. All things are founded upon the Lord’s gospel, man’s gospel, or Satan’s gospel. Of the three, only the Lord’s gospel promises eternal joy and peace. The other two are temporary, and one may find “joy” {perhaps “pleasure” is a better word} in those things. But eventually the things of man corrode and fall apart, while the works of Satan will all end tragically.How do we determine the things of man?

A simple illustration might help us see this. Many eons ago, my youngest son asked me to buy him the new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle game for his Nintendo system. He told me that it would make him the happiest person on earth. So, for his birthday, I purchased it for him. Indeed, he seemed like the happiest kid in the world when he unwrapped it. For days he played the game, almost without stop. After a couple weeks, I noticed he wasn’t playing it. I asked him why he wasn’t. He responded that he now had beaten the game several times and was bored with it. No longer did I see the face of the happiest kid in the world, but someone who needed his next “fix.” 

In a world of avarice and greed, this is now ubiquitous. Today, we find people looking for happiness in the things they buy or rent, the number of vacations they have, the number of kills on their current video game, the nice restaurants they frequent, the size of their house and SUV. Yet, even though most Americans are wealthier now than when my son was 8 years old, they are more miserable than ever. Pleasure does not equal lasting joy.


Come Follow Me: 3 Nephi 20-25

My blog post on Come Follow Me: 3 Nephi 20-25

Excerpt:”Jesus provides the bread and wine to the Nephites. He administers to his twelve apostles, who then administered to the twelve groups of Nephites. As noted in previous lessons, while baptism sometimes seems like an individual ordinance and covenant, we see in the renewal of those covenants via the Sacrament that it is a communal experience. The people renew their covenants as a group. This is part and parcel of Christ’s desire to make them one people, by having them covenant together as one.Note that in this instance, Jesus blessed and gave the Sacrament to his Twelve, who were then commanded to bless the Sacrament and give it to the people. Here, Jesus is showing His Order. He does all things through his servants that is possible. While we seek God individually through prayer, study and meditation, there is a communal component to salvation that requires us to go through the proper chain that Christ has set forth.”


What I learned from Pres Oaks

Amazed at the talks so far. President Oaks’ talk on loving one another touched me deeply.

Discussing the turmoils of our times, especially here in the United States, he noted that the Savior has called upon us to love all people. Pres Oaks noted this includes those who disagree with us on politics, policies and important issues of the day.

First, he encouraged us to love our political opponents. We should speak with love and civility towards those we disagree with. Given the incivility of the day – for example the presidential debate was filled with it from both major parties – it is time we begin to replace contention with love. The first thing Jesus taught the Nephites is that contention is of the devil, and we should instead emulate the Savior and Father (3 Nephi 11). I hope in the coming month, as we approach the election, we can all speak kind words to each other, even in discussing politics and politicians.

2nd, Pres Oaks discussed our Constitutional freedoms and responsibilities. We have freedoms given us in the First Amendment of speech and assembly. Government must respect these freedoms. At the same time, these freedoms do not allow us to riot nor rampage.

3rd, We are duty bound to obey the laws of the land. Christ told us to render the things of Caesar unto Caesar, and the things of God to God. We are to work within the boundaries of the law to seek redress and fix bad laws.

4th, The Constitution is inspired of God to bless people in all lands. It is not a perfect document, and so we’ve amended it to better perfect it, such as giving women the vote and ending slavery. The American ideal is found in the Declaration of Independence, which notes we are all equal under our Creator and given inalienable rights. That ideal is enshrined in the Constitution’s powers to protect individual rights, and seeks to increase and improve those rights as we go along.

5th, Racism still exists. Not only is there racism towards black people, but also Latinos and Asians, among others. We cannot be passive in regards to this racism. We must actively, but peaceably, seek to overcome such things. This includes ending bad laws that place both police and minorities in a bad place – in contention against one another.

6th, Mob rule, or anarchy, is bad. We cannot abide by it, as we cannot abide by tyranny of government. As we seek to have Christ like love, we will seek righteous laws that will allow all peoples to enjoy the good portions of their cultures, while encouraging us to leave behind those portions that harm.

7th, True patriotism is about the Constitution and freedom. Any other form of national pride cannot bring freedom and unity. We need to focus ourselves politically through the prism of the Constitution.

Pres Oaks found the true middle ground between the contention and division. He condemned the mob riots, but also condemned racism. He encouraged us to obey the law, while seeking peacefully to end bad laws that harm minorities. He encouraged us to refocus on the Constitution as the inspired document we should hold up. Most importantly, he explained that all our problems can only be solved through Christ-like Love.

Come Follow Me: 3 Nephi 17-19

My blog post on Come Follow Me: 3 Nephi 17-19 is now online.

Excerpt:”“Therefore, go ye unto your homes, and ponder upon the things which I have said, and ask of the Father, in my name, that ye may understand, and prepare your minds for the morrow, and I come unto you again” (3 Nephi 17:3).

“Jesus is giving the Nephites a temple experience. They have seen God. He gave them new power and authority, as well as a new baptism ordinance. He received them by this covenant (and soon will do so with the Sacramental bread and wine), healed their sick, invited all believers to touch his hands and feet as a witness that he is the Christ.

“Now, he wants them to go home and ponder this experience. As with the modern temple initiate, the first experience with the endowment is like drinking from a fire hose. One cannot understand it all in one sitting. We do not begin to understand Jesus’ teachings in the scriptures, from his prophets in Conference talks, the temple ordinances and covenants, or our own personal revelation, without pondering it. It is through pondering and meditating upon the things of Christ, we receive personal inspiration. God can clarify our experience, making it meaningful to us.”