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To Trick or Treat or Not?

There has been some discussion on the blogs around whether to
Trick or Treat or not on Sunday? A bit of a non-event for those of us not in Utah who are ok with celebrating holidays like the 4th of July on the 4th of July or Halloween on Halloween as opposed to bastardizing the holiday (at least this is my view and the view of most of my fellow Church goers whom I have informally polled). Nonetheless, are you going or not on Sunday??? (Note I would do one of those fancy poll things but this exceeds my IT expertise)

The Perils of Simultaneous Translation

This past weekend was our stake conference, which was broadcast from the stake center to other chapels in the area. I was attending the Spanish speaking ward and was keeping an eye on the screen while listening to Spanish language translation of the talks and prayers which were given in English.

I quickly realized that our translator faced a bit of a quandary. He was listening to a talk and then speaking the words into a microphone – but while he was speaking the translation the speaker of the talk was continuing to give the talk – which meant the translator was not going to hear some things that were said. Consequently, those attending the meeting were only hearing bits and pieces of some talks that were given, depending on the speed of the speaker’s delivery. Read more »

YOU be the Judge

Some years I go, I worked at a job for a few months. The people I worked with had all worked together for many years, and would continue to work together for the foreseeable future. They knew each other VERY well. We had a common work-room and ample time to converse during the work day. As I was just temporary, I did a lot of listening, and relatively little contributing–their conversation was plenty entertaining.

Only one man was among the coworkers, and it was quite clear to me that he was gay. In addition to any elements that people may say set off their gay-dar, he very openly talked about his same-sex partner, the house they had purchased a little out in the country, the antiquing they did, and their dogs who they treated like children. They had been together for a long time and were life-partners. Through several months of conversation, I also learned that he had been raised by a Catholic family and was quite spiritual himself.

Shortly before I was to leave that job, this man gave me a short explanation of his current lifestyle, although I cannot quite remember why he felt he needed to fill me in on these details, and I certainly did not ask for them. What he told me was, frankly, quite shocking to me: I never would have guessed that anyone, much less anyone I knew, would live like this. Read more »

The Teachers Quorum Donut Eating Contest

Ward traditions are fun. Some wards Trunk or Treat. Others have a pig roast etc. The traditions give people something to look forward to and an opportunity to invite non-members to a fun activity.

One of our ward traditions is an annual donut eating contest in the Teachers Quorum. Typically we hold it in the fall. We also get some older boys in addition to the Teachers.

This eating contest has been held for 6 years now. The current champ won 6 years ago and is currently serving in the Oakland mission. He ate 19 Krispy Kremes before he lost it.

Numerous boys over the years have attempted to eat more then 19 and become a legend. This year I thought we had a shot at 19. We have a couple of big football players and they were talking like they could get the job done. So off we headed to the Krispy Kreme factory. An hour later the two big boys had 17 and 14 KK’s downed and looked kind of green. Even a short break and some water to wash the frosting out of their throats did not do the job. 19 Krispy Kremes remains the number to beat.

Halloween Spending & Favorites

How much are you spending on Halloween this year? Average American spends $66 with the top two items costumes and candy ($22). We will spend just about that much this year with most of it on costumes, candy and pumpkins (those are pretty expensive too..). So with that, what are your favorite things about Halloween? Mine – carving pumpkins and picking through the goodies in my kids bags to “borrow” some of the good candy like Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups!

Parsing Juan Williams

As long as we’re parsing around here…
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Funk’s Lake / Palisade Park

Last July my family went to southern Utah to visit a number of places (gravesites, homes, etc.) that had a connection to our family history.  One of these places was Palisade Park.  I had heard many times the story that one of our ancestors, a man named Daniel Buckley Funk (his picture above), had created a lake.

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Hartford Temple – Celebration and a Pause?

Far be to from me to question where Temples are place, but I am going to question it anyway. With the recent announcement of the Hartford Temple, I have had several interesting discussions with people in the New England area.

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All hail IVF and other advances in reproductive science

Recently a Nobel prize was awarded to the scientist that developed IVF (In Vitro Fertilization).  This was a Nobel that I can honestly say I was pretty happy with.  For the record I think the Nobel prizes are usually hopelessly politicized esp the peace prizes but this particular award was well warranted.  If you have ever known anybody that has conceived and brought to term a child thru IVF you realize what a blessing IVF is.

Some people believe that IVF is in itself morally wrong because of the destruction of unimplanted embryos.  While I understand these concerns I do not find anything in either the CHI or LDS theology in general that makes me feel that IVF is immoral.  Most objections to IVF come from Catholic theology.  Since I am LDS I feel I can safely discard Catholic based objections to IVF. 

I see the commandment to Multiply and Replenish the Earth on balance overcome by a wide margin any moral objections to IFV.  I would even go so far as to suggest that IVF is a blessing from God to those among us who have born children thru this method.  I generally feel this way about advances in reproductive technology

Do You Text? Apparently Teens do…

I thought I texted too much with my measly 20 texts a month, but, wow, has the average teen put texting to a new level. A study by Nielsen found that the average teenager sends 3,3339 texts per month, with teen girls topping 4,000 a month…

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Release Me

Dread: that is the best word I know to describe my feeling about my appointment to meet with President W., the member of the stake presidency over the youth. He had called me the Sunday morning of General Conference to ask if we could meet that week. I really didn’t want to. I knew a new stake Young Women’s Presidency was getting organized and that the one I had been a part of for the past 3 years was being released, and I was ready for that. Really ready. More trunky for a release than I had been from my mission, even. President W. had been a dream to work with, and the last time we had had such a 1-on-1 meeting was when he had extended the calling to me; I really didn’t want him to extend another calling to me. Read more »

Anonymous woman in Japan, I prayed for you

Years ago, I heard the terrible story of a young man who committed suicide in Japan. I don’t remember the circumstances, but they must have been awful because the story was on national news. My heart broke for his mother and I said a quiet prayer for his family. I was struck at how personally I took the death and how awful I felt for a perfect stranger. And at the connections we feel in this family of man. Read more »

First Amendment or Not…

I have followed with interest the arguments surrounding the lawsuit between the Westboro Baptist Church and a family of a soldier killed in Iraq. The case is now in the hands of the Supreme Court after slowing working its way through the court system. Given there are a plethora of outspoken lawyers that visit here, I am interested in hearing people’s thoughts on this case.

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Richard Van Wagoner

Mormon Historian Richard Van Wagoner passed away on Sunday, October 10, 2010.  Tonight I discovered his amazing tribute to facial hair.  May he rest in peace.

Here’s an Apostle Different than Elder Packer

I know it’s discouraged to have favorites, but in light of the recent controversy over the comments of an Apostle in General Conference, I thought I would highlight some incidents and quotes from one of the Apostles I admire greatly, has taught me a great deal, and has frequently inspired me.

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Guys. Wear Seatbelts.

Well, I have several things to share today. Feel free to comment as you wish. I’ll start from today and go back. As I’m typing this I have bruises on my left foot, left and right shin, left knee, top lip, right arm (that’s a big one) and a big bump on the top of my head. Read more »

On A Lighter Note… Election Predictions

Perhaps on a lighter note (perhaps not), what are your predictions for the end state of the Senate and House post-November elections? Winner gets an all expense paid trip to ….

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Parsing Packer

There has been an uproar over President Packer’s Sunday morning address in General Conference. Thousands of comments have been devoted to it on the Salt Lake Tribune’s website (bet the Deseret News wishes it had covered it just for the ad views) but I am wondering how many of the people upset about it have listened to it carefully.
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Danger of a small schism?

As some of you may have observed I am a bit of a student of Christianity in the US. Many Denominations have in the last couple of decades experienced schisms both small and large over feminist and homosexual issues. One of the features of the typical schism involves regional political differences bleeding into congregations. AKA the congregations in say Vermont have very different ideas then the congregations in South Carolina

It seems that the LDS church is possibly taking the first few steps down that path although arriving on that path a decade or two later.

Our flash point is homosexuality. We all know that many folks in the bloggernaccle are vehemently opposed the LDS theology on Homosexuality. Most active LDS are fine with the church’s teachings on this topic and until recently I did not see any reason to think that there was danger of schism.

That changed when I read accounts of some of the activities of the Oakland stake and more specifically the Berkeley ward.

“And on July 6, 2010, the Berkeley LDS ward (congregation) hosted a community meeting featuring GLBT people from a number of faith traditions sharing their testimonies of faith and stories of their marriages as a form of “spiritual practice.” ”

I can never imagine here in Texas that our SP or a local bishop would invite local gay couples to come into a special meeting and bear witness of their gay relationships. WOULD NOT HAPPEN

I believe that this how a LDS schism COULD occur.  Congregations in highly liberal areas decide that they are going to go their own way on traditional LDS teachings of morality.  Gradually the divide between the rest of the church and these areas widen and we walk down the path of schism.

So what do you think?  Can the leadership navigate this tricky path?  Was the Jensen quasi apology an attempt to bridge the gap?  Could you see the Oakland stake at some future point deciding to walk their own path and leave traditional Mormonism?  Or will just see a slow hemorrhage of liberal members leaving?

‘Fess Up: Conference Weekend

Sure, everyone around the bloggernaccle watches General Conference avidly: it is, after all, great fodder for blog posts for at least a month and how else can you make fun of the haircuts, ties, and primary voices? But I suspect there are also people out there who watch General Conference just because they genuinely like it. I have even heard rumors of some people who view General Conference as a holiday weekend–no one has ever described themselves as such to me, they always seem to be a friend of a cousin, or something

How about you? Under the anonymity of an internet poll, how do you treat General Conference weekend?

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