Are You Modest?

Are you modest right now?  I bet you are dressed modestly, but what does that mean?  Everything that needs to be covered is covered, right?  Read more »

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Re-visioning the last days

I ran across this YouTube video over at Meridian. I can’t embed it here, but it’s worth taking a few minutes to go over and watch it.

I grew up in an era where the nuclear threat was massive and real, when the long and bloody Vietnam war was going on (I nearly became part of it myself), and when the former USSR was growing in influence. In the same General Conference talk (April 1979) excerpted in the video above, Elder Bruce R. McConkie spoke of “the atomic holocausts that surely shall be.”

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In Defense of Oprah

Several months ago, an email petition was circulated asking people to voice their protests to Oprah Winfrey regarding a show she did about sexuality. For the show in question, Oprah conducted a survey of visitors to the oprah.com website, and asked them to reveal the nature of their sexual practices and relationships. Quoting from the show,

Oprah says that one of the most surprising results from the Oprah.com sex survey regarded pornography. We asked, “Has pornography affected your sex life?” Of the 50 percent of those surveyed that said pornography has affected their sex lives, 72 percent said it has been in a positive way. Read more »

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Items I Have Smuggled Into a Movie Theatre
  • Two twelve inch pizzas
  • A two liter bottle of soda
  • A box of Boo Berry Cereal
  • Two pints of Ben & Jerry’s
  • A quart of motor oil (long story, but it was not used for any nefarious purpose) Read more »
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Ronald Reagan: A Thug’s Life

I know a lot of Republicans have been disappointed with the emergence of a Democratic hegemony in Washington, so I thought I’d help cheer people up by turning to the panacea for Republican ailments: Ronald Reagan. Read more »

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Promoting Faith vs. Comedy

Which is which? You be the judge:
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Shut It Down

I read yesterday that one of the first things Obama did was to order Guantamano closed, as well as other secret US prisons around the world. I applaud his decision. Surely, there are bad people in Guantamano. That’s not good enough for me. That’s bothered me since day one. Because those “bad” people can’t balance the possibility of innocents being held there illegally without any legal representation. Read more »

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The Superbowl v. New Beginnings

If these  two events were happening at the exact same time (different places), which would you attend?

Football and the Superbowl have never been big deals at my house, but I get the feeling that we might be in the minority.  New Beginnings is an annual Young Women’s meeting to which parents and priesthood leadership is invited.

One of the units with which I work has scheduled their New Beginnings for Superbowl night (I assume unknowingly) and I fear that this may cause problems for some families and for their attendance.  What do you think?

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Bring back Teacher Development!

Orson Scott Card has written two columns over at Mormon Times, the first decrying the generally wretched quality of lessons in Elders Quorum and its possible impact on the (in)activity of newly-minted 18-year-old elders, and the second making some active suggestions on how to improve said teaching. A third column (on resources for teaching) is forthcoming.

(Interesting factlet: I had Card as an Elders Quorum instructor one summer while we were both undergrads at BYU. He was an excellent teacher even then, so I give what he says a lot of weight.)

Card’s observations and recommendations dead-on and worth reading. My solution, however, is more direct: the Church needs to bring back (in some form) its original Teacher Development course from the 1970s.

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Ten Reasons I Love Primary

I have been in the Primary for three years teaching the 8-11 year olds. I have really grown to enjoy it. Here are my top ten reasons for loving it:

1. Kids keep the Gospel simple and pure
2. I feel the Spirit much more often
3. I get to miss HP Group (see #2)
4. Kids say the funniest things
5. The chorister is hilarious
6. We get to eat a lot of snacks
7. I get to spend the time with my own kids
8. I am being led by a female president
9. We sing spiritual, fun, and wacky songs
10. I still don’t have to go to HP Group

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The White Home

The crowds have dispersed. The lights, the cameras, and the excitement are all gone from the Capitol Building. They have moved on to the 14 inaugural balls scattered throughout D.C. and to the many, many private celebrations in the city and around the world.

Champagne is being drunk and toasts are being made. Music is playing and people are dancing. The air is electrified with change. Of all the changes, anticipated or otherwise, being spoken of in the world tonight, there is one that may be a little over-looked.

Among all the sleepless throng are two small people caught up in events bigger than themselves: events bigger than most 9- and 7-year olds ever have to face. After all, it’s not every grade-schooler whose father becomes the most powerful man in the world. Nor does every grade-schooler attend classes and birthday parties with body-guards. Yet at the end of the day, the things they will face aren’t so different after all. Their daddy has a new job that will most likely put a lot of stress on him. They probably won’t get to see him as much as they used to. They’ve had to leave their old house with it’s known and loved quirks and must learn all over again which stair squeaks, where the best hiding places are and how to sneak a snack. Though it is they who moved and not their friends, still their friends are gone and soon they must face the gauntlet of classmates and teachers without them.

So, tonight I have something to add to the toasts and speeches.

Welcome home, Malia and Sasha. I hope you like it here.

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Hail to the Chief

It’s official: Barack H. Obama now our president here in the United States.

I watched the inauguration today on TV (I attend Republican inaugurations in person). Here are my thoughts, in no particular order:
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Heavenly Parenting?

I was raised by a stay-at home-mom and a full-time working dad; he was probably around as much as gainfully employed people with Church callings can be.  But my mom was the boss, no doubt about it.  She shaped our days and our world.  I always anticipated being a stay-at-home mom myself.  As did everyone else at Church.  No need for a married woman to do anything else, right?

Yet since my first child was born, my husband and I have patched together our time free from various jobs (part and full-time) and schooling (part and full-time) to find that what we do is much less stay-at-home-mom and stay-at-work-dad and much more something that is becoming known as equally shared parenting. Read more »

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Merit Pay for Congress

//flickr.com/photos/bebuck/2203417180/Campaign finance reform has been an attempt to legislatively eliminate greed from our public officials. We all know how well that has worked. Instead of trying to ban greed and graft, which has worked as well as repealing the law of gravity, or legislating the movement of tides, I propose we, the taxpayers, instead use it to our advantage.

Recently, as some of you know, our House of Representatives accepted a pay increase. I do not think any of us begrudges our hard-working elected officials certain perks and compensation, provided that we are getting our money’s worth. However, it appears that I am not the only one who thinks our Congress’ performance is subpar. Well, you get what you pay for. So how about we start paying for performance?
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Tagore’s “Being from Utah” Is Fast-tracked for Resurrection

In light of all of the national publicity this past year surrounding the Romney campaign and Prop 8, let us resurrect one of Tagore’s posts from 2007 entitled “Being from Utah“:

To many a native Utahan [sic] living elsewhere, almost nothing brings more social discomfort than the simple, “So, where are you from?”

And it’s socially acceptable to make fun of Utah. On more than one occasion, upon hearing that I’m from Utah, someone has responded with a condescending, “Oh — I’m sorry.”

I was also born and raised in Utah but currently live in the Boston area. Several times in the past few years (but especially in the last twelve months) people have responded very negatively – even viciously – to my telling them where I am from.

I find this somewhat surprising because, in general, New Englanders traditionally shy away from prying into other people’s personal lives. More importantly, however, I just cannot imagine myself responding in a similar fashion to anyone, no matter how strong my personal aversion to their place of origin might be. Who raised these people? Unless you are talking sports, I just do not understand how people think this is okay.
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Catering to Families – A Hint

We went out to dinner tonight. Before getting out of the car we gave the kids (the 5 and the 3 year old anyhow) the standard lecture about what to do and not to do in a public place.

Once we entering to my surprise (and delight) the place was completely empty. Had this been our first trip there I would have taken this as a bad sign and we’d have turned around and left. We’d been there before though (without the kids) and had no worries. So we went to our table and then I went in search of a highchair for our 12 month old.
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Children Bearing Testimonies

I usually enjoy seeing children bear testimonies, with or without parental help.

LDS children seem to learn early on in the church that they are welcome, that they belong to the congregation, that they are expected to attend meetings and that they have rights to participate.  One of these rights is to come up in front of the congregation during testimony meeting.  It’s often very interesting and refreshing to see children figuring this out. Read more »

39 Comments
Which Is More Damaging To The Church?

I was thinking about this question the other day as there are two groups which disgust me for various reasons – the ACLU and the Christian Right. The ACLU seems to align themselves with many causes that seem against any Church stands or doctrines, yet has been on the Church’s sides in some lawsuits. The Christian Right is absolutely bigoted against the Church, but happy to take our money to fight their battles. I would say the Christian Right is more damaging than the ACLU – the ACLU is fairly predictable – any fight where there seems to be any type of unfairness in their perspective, they align themselves, agnostic to the fact that they could be defending someone they are suing for something else. The Christian Right outright hates the Church, our doctrines, and would do anything to destroy it. So in my mind, the Christian Right is the greater of the two evils…

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“Mormons For Equality And Social Justice – MESJ”

My wife recently joined this group . They seem to be a very nice group of Mormons who are focused on issues like peace, equality and social justice. I think it is great to see Mormons have joined forces to focus on peace and equality which were two important themes in the Savior’s life. It is always interesting to me how few groups like this there are in the Church (and in broad Christianity) given the strong focus of Jesus in these areas. Any ideas why this may be?

231 Comments
The Happy Ward

“Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” – Tolstoy (in Anna Karenina)

I was reading the Times and Seasons post titled “Get Me A New Home Teacher”, with the associated comments (particularly ones that dealt with testimony meetings and hometeaching), and the line above came to mind, except the thought was worded “Happy wards are all alike, every unhappy ward is unhappy in its own way.” Read more »

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