The Bumps and Bruises of The Easy Way — Bruce A. Carlson

A Way of Life, Bruce A. Carlson

The story is told of two outdoor enthusiasts who hired a bush plane to fly them to a remote lake for their annual fishing trip. Following a successful outing, the pilot returned to retrieve them. However, he quickly informed the fishermen that his small plane would not support them, their equipment, and the added weight of the fish they had caught. A second flight would be required.

Now, the sportsmen were not interested in paying for a second round-trip. So after a promise to pack tightly and a small bonus payment, the pilot reluctantly agreed to attempt the flight.

The fishermen grinned knowingly as the pilot forced the aircraft into the air. However, seconds later the plane stalled and crashed into a large, flat swampy area at the end of the lake.

The plane had stalled as it flew because of a well-known phenomenon called “ground effect.” Ground effect is created when air is compressed between the aircraft’s wings and the earth’s surface—when they are in close proximity. In this case, as the bush plane inched its way upward out of ground effect, it was required to fly on its own power, which it simply could not do.

Fortunately there were no serious injuries, and after regaining their senses, one of the fishermen asked the other, “What happened?” The second replied, “We crashed on takeoff—about a hundred yards (91 m) from where we ended up last year!”

Like the two sportsmen, occasionally we believe that there must be an easier way, a shortcut or modification of the Lord’s commandments that will accommodate our individual circumstances. Thoughts such as these fail to acknowledge that strict obedience to God’s laws brings His blessings and failure to abide by His laws leads to foreseeable consequences.

Excerpt from Bruce A. Carlson’s April 2010 General Conference address, When the Lord Commands. Bruce A. Carlson is the current Director, National Reconnaissance Office. He was a former four-star general in the United States Air Force and served as the sixth Commander, Air Force Materiel Command, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio. The command conducts research, development, test and evaluation, and provides acquisition management services and logistics support necessary to keep Air Force weapon systems ready for war. He retired from the Air Force on January 1, 2009 after over 37 years of service. In April 2009, Carlson was called as a member of the Second Quorum of the Seventy of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. View his talk here.