A Letter I Don’t Know Where to Send

Dear Absentee Home Teachers,

Hi. My name is ESO. I don’t know if I know you already or not, because I don’t know who you are. I haven’t had home teachers who visited for a year and a half. I know you aren’t the old guys (the ones I saw a year and a half ago) because they were total over-achievers–medical students–you know the type. I don’t know if you are one companionship ignoring us all that time or a couple of different ones. Read more »

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On the Mormon Controversy Radar: Choffy

Never one to imbibe potential Mormon controversy with moderation, I bring you Choffy:

CHOFFY is brewed chocolate. It is made from the finest organic cacão beans, roasted and ground for a rich full flavored drink. While it brews like coffee and supplies you with long lasting energy, Choffy promotes whole body wellness without the negative effects found in other drinks. Naturally loaded with antioxidants and a taste that will make you wonder how you ever did without it, Choffy is poised to make a dramatic entrance into your routine.

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What Is The Future Of The Bloggernacle?

I have enjoyed reading some of the posts associated with the recent five year anniversary of Nine Moons and was surprised with the controversy surrounding the recent Niblets voting. Whenever some phenomenon experiences explosive growth and change, there is bound to be old timer vs new timer fighting for turf (at least that is my interpretation).

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The Tests Of My Bridled Tongue…

I always find that there are experiences in my life that test my ability to hold my tongue when stressed – In other words not let out any profanity. One of those experiences occurred last week. My son and I were in the grocery store picking up some groceries. He loves the Cambell’s canned hearty soups and picked up a can and set it in the cart. Unfortunately, he set it in the front part of the carriage where a baby would sit. The can slid out of there and fell and landed directly on my big toe (I was wearing flip flops at the time).

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And the Men…

And The Men

By Tony Hoagland

want back in:
all the Dougs and the Michaels, the Darnells, the Erics and Josés,
they’re standing by the off-ramp of the interstate
holding up cardboard signs that say WILL WORK FOR RELATIONSHIP.
Their love-mobiles are rusty.
Their Shaggin’ Wagons are up on cinderblocks.
They’re reading self-help books and practicing abstinence,
taking out Personals ads that say
“Good listener would like to meet lesbian ladies,
for purposes of friendship only.”
In short, they’ve changed their minds, the men:
they want another shot at the collaborative enterprise.
Want to do fifty-fifty housework and childcare;
They want commitment renewal weekends and couples therapy.
Because being a man was finally too sad—
In spite of the perks, the lifetime membership benefits.
And it got old,
telling the joke about the hooker and the priest
at the company barbeque, praising the vintage of the beer and
punching the shoulders of a bud
in a little overflow of homosocial bonhomie—
Always holding the fear inside
like a tipsy glass of water—
Now they’re ready to talk, really talk about their feelings,
in fact they’re ready to make you sick with revelations of
their vulnerability—
A pool of testosterone is spreading from around their feet,
it’s draining out of them like radiator fluid,
like history, like an experiment that failed.
So here they come on their hands and knees, the men:
Here they come. They’re really beaten. No tricks this time.
No fine print.
Please, they’re begging you. Look out.

I think the Gospel teaches Priesthood holders to avoid becoming the kind of man that Hoagland describes. And certainly the Word of Wisdom and the Law of Chastity help prevent Priesthood holders from certain types of undesirable male behaviors. So how do you think the Church is doing? Have the Gospel and church teachings such as Doctrine and Covenants Section 121 prevented male members of the Church from becoming this sort of man? Or despite our best efforts, is there a patriarchal culture within the Church that might lead to elements of what Hoagland describes?

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Time Travel? Seeing The Creation?

I read this article on CNN which was fascinating and really stretched my mind. Basically, telescopes are the closest thing to time travel we have as they see light emitted from stars or other events. The stronger the telescope is, the more light they “see” that was emitted long ago. For example, the sun’s light takes about 8 minutes to get here so the sun we see in the sky is actually 8 minutes old or stars that are millions of light years away means that the light from those stars takes millions of years to get here and what we see is actually what that star as it appeared millions of years ago. What we are seeing in the night sky is, therefore, a patchwork of the past light emitted from the stars. Now stay with me.

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Wild Rumor

I just heard that there will be no Church meetings anywhere in Utah this Sunday because of a temple dedication. Apparently those with tickets can watch the dedication broadcast at their local buildings.

This sounds very odd to me. Is it true? Why is a temple dedication on Sunday? Why would everyone in the state want or need to be a part of it? Enlighten me, please.

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Here’s what the bloggernacle needs — another post about books

I love books. I have a lot of books. Here is a picture of my home library:

My library

But all of my books cannot be contained in that one library, so I have them crammed in every corner of my house. I make furniture out of books — including a bookshelf, filled with books, made entirely of books. It looks pretty much like a big ass pile of books.

I drive a bookmobile. That’s not my job, I just drive one everywhere I go.

When people come over to my house, I stand in front of the big pile of books waiting for them to ask me if I’ve read them all. I frickin’ love that question. I then point out that they can look all they like and not find a single Dan Brown book. I then offer them an RC cola, which I serve by absorbing into a book, handing them the cola-saturated book, and inviting them to wring out the book into their mouths.

When I descended my mother’s birth canal, I had in my hand Boswell’s journal of his Hebrides tour. In fact, that may be where my love of books comes from — my mother had so many books she had to keep some in her uterus.

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Obeying the Whisperings of the… Ponies?

Yesterday we found my daughter’s bedroom floor covered in glittery threads. “What happened here?”
“Oh, my ponies asked me to cut their hair!” came the guileless response.
“If your ponies asked you to jump off a bridge, would you?” was the predictable parental retort.
“They jumped off a bridge last year, but I didn’t go with them.”
At least she is showing some judgment in which of her imaginary friends’ commands she obeys.

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Michael Vick in Priesthood

On Sunday I taught the lesson in Priesthood, and I taught a make-up lesson from the JS manual, the chapter on Charity. One of the segments in that lesson has Joseph Smith referring to 1 Corinthians 13, which I think is the best exposition on charity to be found in the scriptures. During that discussion, one of the members of the quorum made the remark “If it’s easy, it’s not charity”, in response to Paul’s challenging verses in that chapter, and at that point, I decided to steer the lesson in the direction of football- I freely confess that at this time of year, I have a hard time thinking about anything but football when I’m in Church.
For those of you who don’t follow football- stay with me while I explain this. Michael Vick was a football player for the Atlanta Falcons, and at one point was the highest-paid player in the game. A few years ago, he was arrested on charges of financing and helping to run a dogfighting ring, where dogs are bred and tortured to fight while their owners bet on the outcome. The indictment against Michael Vick was horrifying to read, and he ended up pleading guilty and was sent to federal prison. This was the biggest story in sports, as it was the biggest, fastest fall of a career that any of us had ever seen. Many people, including myself, believed that Michael Vick’s image was beyond repair; he would serve his time, fall into obscurity, and never play a down of football in the NFL again. Read more »

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Are illegals turning California into a third world country?

I kind of think so. I’ve been wondering a lot why California is in such a bankrupt position and I’m coming to the conclusion it’s all the illegals. Mostly Mexicans, but a lot of illegals are coming there from other countries.

Giving away all that health care, food, and other necessities of life would bankrupt anybody. How can they possibly afford it?

Does my conclusion make any sense?

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The Plaza Mall and the Kingdom of God

On my mission, there was an enormous shopping center under construction near one of the chapels where we used to have district / zone meetings. Every day, we passed by and took notice of the fact that there were always only two workers — two guys way up at the top with a wheelbarrow of cement, adding one brick at a time. The parallels to missionary work really pushed the envelope of the obvious, so it quickly became the standard metaphor of choice at our meetings. We used to bear our testimonies (occasionally irreverently) about how building the Kingdom of God was like building the Plaza Shopping Center: two guys, every day, one brick at a time — with no discernible progress from one day (week, month, or even year) to the next.

Last weekend I had the opportunity to visit my mission and take another look at the Plaza.
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Remembering Eugene England

Professor Eugene EnglandIt’s pretty obvious that I’m nobody special, but I do have some memories of some pretty special people. For some reason, I’ve been thinking about my old professor, the late Eugene England, and I thought I’d share some memories of him here.

I had always wanted to take his class when I was at BYU, but they always were either full or didn’t work with my class schedule. When I came back from my mission and enrolled at the University of Utah, I was surprised but delighted to discover that Eugene England was teaching a class there, through an extension center. I signed up right away, and the class was full of traditional students like me, as well as some amateur enthusiasts (I mean that in the best sense of the word) including one superannuated Seventy.

We asked him how he came to teach at BYU’s rival, and he said he had some friends in the U’s English department who suggested it. He said it was amazing what teaching at a different University could do to one’s reputation. Merely driving 40 miles further to teach the same class could transform him from an apostate Mormon liberal to an upholder of the oppressive, fascist religious patriarchy.

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‘Nacle Sites Visited And Participation Polls

As the number of LDS associated blogs has expanded significantly over the last few years, it is increasingly difficult to stay on top of what is going on. I find it nearly impossible to visit more than the top 2-3 blogs regularly and a few others irregularly. With that in mind – I thought this poll could be interesting to understand if others are feeling blog overloaded and to see how many blogs are visited in any one week.

How Many Blogs Do You Visit In Any Week?

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Beyond visiting blogs in any one week, how often do we comment vs lurk? I tend to lurk many times on other sites without commenting since the relevant comments have been made by others or I am too lazy – what about you?

How often are you an Active Commenter on posts you read?

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Analyzing Paul Krugman’s New York Times Editorial

Paul Krugman’s recent analysis of anti-Obamacare protests makes Philip Kennicott’s idiotic piece in the Washington post look like the work of a genius. Krugman’s reasoning is so baffling, that it won’t do to simply summarize it; one must read it for herself:

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Is it time for the Great Fight?

Warning: this post is written with the intention of being as inflammatory as possible.

If you have ever been in a well-matched fistfight, you probably understand the cycle of anger leading to the fight, followed by aggression and fury during the fight, followed by physical exhaustion that leads to a feeling of respect and positive feelings for the opponent you hated just a few minutes ago. This cycle does not just work on an interpersonal level; some of America’s closest allies are countries we have fought very hard in the past, while among countries we have not fought, there are a lot of examples of simmering anger that has never reached any kind of resolution. Read more »

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Philip Kennicott’s Idiotic Piece in the Washington Post

Philip Kennicott’s piece in today’s Washington post offers a far-fetched explanation of why the Obama/Joker posters are racist. Other writers have simply inferred racism from the color of the makeup, as though it were not dictated by the character juxtaposed with the President’s face. Kennicott tries to extrapolate racism by equating the Joker with racist fears of the inner city, even trying to use the anonymity of its author as evidence of racism.
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Signs of the Times: Good Parenting in the Face of Peer Pressure from the Worldly Media

Isn’t it discouraging how, after going to great lengths to instill certain values in your children, it is all undone by peer pressure in the worldly media — that’s right, the age-old myth that “everybody is doing it.” Verily, it is a sign of the times when such iniquity is portrayed as like unto righteousness. Behold:

 

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The God Experiment – An Agnostic’s Quest

One of my friends (non-Mormon) is agnostic. He has recently decided to try an experiment to determine if God exists as he really wants to be a believer. He is going to pray and focus his energy on “connecting” with God, if he exists. He asked for my thoughts and suggestions. I mentioned that it seems like an interesting approach and the key will be to determine what is the desired output – in other words, how do you measure success? How do you know God has acknowledged his existence? I mentioned some of the biblical verses like Galatians 5:22 as examples of how God may communicate his existence. Any other thoughts?

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Coming out Mormon to the Gays: Avoiding Joseph F. Smith’s Answer

I have been overseas for the past six weeks due to work-related reasons. My wife and daughter did not come with me, so I have been staying as a guest with a professor at the university where I am teaching and doing research. He is educated and sophisticated, has lived extensively abroad, speaks three languages, and follows American sports, politics, and news. He lives in a five-bedroom apartment with his niece, nephew, maid… and boyfriend.

They are very kind, hospitable, and give me a lot of privacy. I am at work a majority of the week anyway, and on weekends they usually spend their time holed up in their rooms with their respective significant others. Still, most mornings and evenings we gather at the table for meals. The professor and his boyfriend are always eager to discuss the United States, their country, the differences between them, etc. The conversation is good and we all get along very well. Here’s the thing: they don’t know I’m Mormon and I’m not sure I want them to find out.
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