What is our (guys that is) problem?

In my last two wards, I have always been jealous of my wife. She has been able to participate in book groups which had very rich discussions about some very interesting books – in my view based on those books that I have read. In contrast, what do the guys do? There is no book group, they either play basketball or have game nights, where little to no intelligent conversation occurs – note this is men who are in their 30′s and 40′s. While I think playing sports is a good form of exercise, etc. it certainly is not an intellectual pursuit. In addition, the men have completely lame discussions in Priesthood because the instructors don’t prepare (note: I realize this is not all wards, but my experience). It reminds me of the recent WSJ article which compared the widening gulf between Men and Women. It is a fascinating read about how women are maturing much faster than men who seem stuck in this early adulthood/post-adolescence world and are unable/unwilling to engage in interesting conversations. Do you see this as a problem?

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Automobiles

Due to a couple of recent car crashes involving my personal vehicles I have been doing a lot of thinking about cars and purchasing cars. The big issue I had to confront recently was how to get a vehicle big enough for all my kids and the potential for extra riders. So I ended up with a 11 passenger Chevy Suburban. That got me thinking about what my fellow ward members drive to church on Sunday. You know… the family car. That is when it struck me that a large majority of the vehicles in our parking lot are mini-vans, suv’s, and other large vehicles.

So a couple of questions.

1. What personal automobiles do you drive? For the record we own a Suburban and a Chrysler Town and Country mini-van.

2. What kinds of cars do you see in your church parking lot?

3. What do the types of cars we tend to drive say about our community?

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Ambiguously Gay Terms in LDS Culture

Well, really just one: companion.

Read more »

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Everybody Eats Something

I was in the Costco in Lewiston, Idaho one time, and I saw a lady with a shirt that said, “Stupid raisins! Stay out of my cookies!” and I thought “How great is that?” because all this time I thought I was the only person in the world who hates raisins in cookies, and now I know I’m not alone. Thank you, lady from Lewiston Costco.

I have simple tastes. For years I ate mostly Big Macs. In college I ate mostly pizza — warm for dinner, cold for breakfast and lunch, because cold pizza is the breakfast of champions. Unfortunately, living with other people (like a spouse and kids) means never eating the same thing more than once a day. Shoot, sometimes I don’t even get to eat the same thing more than once a week. It has taken some time to get used to.

Read more »

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Reality TV

I have mixed emotions about reality TV. I won’t watch Jersey Shore. Just on principle. I love The Little Couple, and enjoyed Little People, Big World. Both of those shows showed (I thought, the Roloffs seemed to slightly disintegrate) healthy relationships and I watched to see what to emulate. I didn’t watch Jon & Kate much because Kate makes my skin crawl, like fingernails on chalk. But one show I LOVE is “I Didn’t Know I Was Pregnant.”

I’m a believer. I don’t think I would have guessed I was pregnant with my first baby for many months because the possiblity just never occurred to me. Even then, I never quite grasped what was happening to me. No one told me about labor and I didn’t ask. It occurred to me when I was about 8 months that it was going to hurt getting the baby out….then I thought about other things. I didn’t have anything for the baby. I was completely ignorant and frankly, I’m appalled that the older women around me didn’t take me in hand and help me. I lost weight, so I didn’t look very pregnant. I think they thought I knew what I was doing. Read more »

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Elder Scott loves Women (too)

Recently, 3 members of the Quorum of the Twelve came to town. Read more »

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I Told You So…..or, Hillary is looking better and better to me

Headline in a British newspaper: BARACK OBAMA: THE WEAKEST PRESIDENT IN HISTORY?

Yes we can was a noble and powerful mantra which secured for Barack Obama the leadership of the free world. Those than can, do. It is time he started doing.

Read more: http://www.express.co.uk/posts/view/235196/Barack-Obama-The-Weakest-President-in-history-Barack-Obama-The-Weakest-President-in-history-#ixzz1H3JyalIA Read more »

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Japan: News from the Church Front

This got to me through e-mail forwards; I thought you would be interested.

From Conan Grames, in Tokyo:

(First report)

March 16, 2011 We have had quite an experience here in Japan the last few days. Cindy and I were in the office when the quake hit. We have experienced several of these during the years we have lived here, but I immediately knew this one was different. It was the first time I decided to get under my desk. It took very little encouragement from Cindy to do so. While under the desk, the shaking continued to grow and seemed to last forever. At that point I began to wonder, “How bad can this get?” Coincidentally, last week I had read two first-hand accounts of our missionaries who were in Japan during the great Kanto earthquake of 1923. I wondered if this is what would happen. It actually turned out to be a stronger quake up in Sendai. We suffered little damage here—lots of noise and things falling off shelves and shattered nerves.

We have spent the time since, pretty much around the clock, looking for missionaries and members. All the missionaries were found alive and well, even those on the coast. It took us four days to find two sisters who were on the coast in Ishinomaki and get them out of the area. So far we have had no reports of serious injury among members of the church, although many have had to leave their homes.

Our responsibility is communications. Much of our time has been spent coordinating with Diane Sawyer’s ABC news team about doing an interview with a missionary who experienced the tsunami. It turned out she couldn’t get into the area, but their 20/20 team is here and they are still seeking an interview. The missionary who will do the interview climbed to the second floor of the chapel with his companion. They watched the water come through the parking lot, sweep away their bikes, and flood the first floor of the building. Read more »

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Happy St. Patty’s – any fun ideas?

Happy St. Patrick’s Day to all Irish and non-Irish. I was wondering what fun traditions and ideas folks have for the day. We have a typical Corned Beef and Cabbage dinner. I gave the kids green milk today for breakfast. What do you do?

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Beck Off

No Glen Beck apologist, there are few public figures with whom I feel less simpatico.  I would, very frankly, be happy to never hear from or of him again.  However, I thought I would share with you a recurring sentiment I heard again and again on my mission.

I served in the Japan Kobe Mission about 2 years after the Kobe earthquake.  At that time,  the Kobe mission included the Osaka region, and I spent most of my mission in that city.  Famous for its’ beef and wild boars, Kobe is also home of one of the biggest organized crime families.  And THAT is what I heard about again and again.  While the vast majority of Japanese people had little to no interest in talking to me about my religion, I heard fairly regularly that the earthquake in neighboring Kobe had been God’s punishment for all the evil there, as evidenced by the Yakuza presence and Kobe’s tolerance of that influence.

In that, Glen Beck is not alone–many in Osaka Japan, at least, agree.  For whatever reason, humans like to assign blame for bad things, be it natural disaster, poor health, and bad marriages.  Somehow, having someone to blame makes us feel better, even when the assignment is so often ungenerous and insulting to people who are already down.

And I tend to think that the more you say, the more likely you are to say something really stupid–professional talkers likes Glen Beck are especially susceptible–a job hazard, I suppose.

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Grandparents on the Loose

Elsewhere, there was a rather short-lived thread that pitched the idea of enlisting grandparents to provide childcare so we, the parents, can work, and they, the grandparents and our children can enjoy extended-family bonding. The author of the post thought that this system, which she has seen work well among other cultures, demonstrates an actual commitment to family that is, perhaps, superior to our own, wherein we view grand-parenting years as a time of freedom and choice and not being tied-down. The commenters mostly stuck up for the North American model of grandparents opting in and out of their grandchildren’s lives and seemed to take umbrage at the suggestion that we demonstrate less love by doing so. Read more »

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Wisdom from Tony Robbins………….

As most of you know, I work at a call center, doing customer care for a major telephone company. Lately, we’ve taken on a new project—pitching a new product to callers after we’ve taken care of the reason for their original call. Way out of my comfort zone and I don’t do well at it. Read more »

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The Godblind

Can you see the 74?It seems that athiesm is undergoing another of its frequent vogues. Witness the parade of best-sellers: Sam Harris’ Letter to a Christian Nation, Christopher Hitchens’ God is Not Great, Richard Dawkins’ The God Delusion, and Daniel Dennett’s Breaking the Spell, to name some of the most prominent ones. Each of these books takes the position that atheism is the only natural, logical, and rational way to view the world and our humanity. If you page through these books, however, it is not long before you are struck by something else: none of these men have ever had a firsthand spiritual experience with the divine.

To point this out may seem obvious to the point of pedantry, but it is actually an important observation. Atheists and pro-religion humanists suggest that religion came about as a way to comfort widows and children, or to reduce the terror of death and civilize us, as Freud believed, or to anesthetize the masses, as Marx did, or (perhaps most colorfully of all) it was merely “the effect of a frenzied mind” as Korihor put it (and which Dawkins, Harris, Hitchens, and Dennett would most certainly agree, I feel confident).

But in fact, as William James observed in his Varieties of Religious Experience, most religious people come to their religious beliefs through personal experience with the divine. They believe, not because of the “foolish traditions of their fathers,” but because they have personally experienced “a mighty change” and “come to know these things of themselves.” A 2008 study came to the same conclusion, suggesting that 70% of the American population experienced God as a personal being. An additional 12% came to a belief in a deistic God through the practice of their reason, which, interestingly, is the same percentage who came to disbelieve or doubt the existence of God through their reason.

Such a high percentage of believe suggests that on some basic level we are “wired” to believe in God, and it leads me to wonder if these famous atheists lack this wiring. Read more »

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Sister Spamalot

When I was in a single’s ward, a friend of mine (and fellow ward member) was a member of our ward’s email discussion group. One of the rules of the discussion group was not to post commercial messages. One ward member posted just such a message, I am sure quite innocently. My friend emailed her personally and gently reminded her that postings of this nature were against the group’s rules. She replied that she th0ught the message would be useful to some and said she would continue to post such messages in the future. They exchanged a few more emails arguing about this until finally my friend said to her, “You know what? Problem solved: I’m adding you to my spam filter.”

Read more »

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Rules of the Dance

In my great-great-grandfather’s biography, I found rules adopted by the High Council of the Juarez Stake of Zion (and Mexico) for “parties of the Latter-day Saints” in 1897. There are only 5:

Rules

No.1. All parties should be opened and closed by prayer and commence at 7:30 P.M. and close not later than midnight.

No. 2. All persons not in possession of proper recommendation as to their standing in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints shall be excluded from dancing in any of our parties. (Non-members might be admitted provided the Bishopric or a majority of the members of the Bishopric shall see a necessity for it).

No. 3. That we do not participate in round dancing, swinging around the waist, improper or excessive swinging of any kind. Read more »

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“Bad Romance” guest post from living in zion

I have a dear friend who went through a divorce. They were converts to the church and did well for years. Then the husband’s old demons reappeared and he began drinking. It didn’t take long for the marriage to become abusive. Their children were all teenagers when it finally blew apart. After the divorce my friend didn’t date for a year. She was working hard on being the sole support to her family. Then she had a temple recommend interview with her Bishop and Stake President. They both strongly recommended she attend Single Adult activites and begin dating. One of them even gave her money from their own pocket so she could attend a regional activity for singles in another state. She went along with it because she wanted to follow their inspiration. Read more »

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A Poem

I have been reading about the close (too close for some) relationship that exists between religion and anthropomorphism and in the process I stumbled across a few lines from a poem quoted in a article – lines that I felt contained quite a profound message.   Having read a part, I wanted to read the entire poem.  It took a little bit of online searching to find it, but now that I see the entire poem, I think it is more than just a little worthwhile.  The author is Thomas Hodgkin.

Read more »

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Extending love to “uncool” kids

Orsen Scott Card has a great article today in Mormon Times.

http://www.mormontimes.com/article/19921/Holding-on-to-the-others

In the article Card mostly writes about the “smart kids” who are uncool because of the societal biases against smart nerdy type kids. I fully agree with Card on these types of kids.

There is however another type of uncool kid. These would be kids who are simply unpopular for a variety of reasons. Whether it be looks, style, lack of $$, or social skills.

There are probably more of the second type then the type that Card writes about at least in my exp. These kids really struggle with their peers and shockingly they also tend to struggle with adult church leaders as well. Adult leaders seem to be drawn to the more popular kids and form better relationships with the cool kids then the uncool kids. Its sad but its true. There is something in our social nature as human beings that attracts even well intending adult leaders to the cool kids. I have seen it lots over the last 15 years and am guilty of it like all the other adult leaders.

So a couple of questions.

1. Are my observations about leaders paying more attention the the “cool kids” accurate?

2. Why does this occur?

3. What can be done about this?

Please note.  This thread is not about homosexuality.

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Bury St. Edmund and Six Mile Bottom

I just returned from a business trip to the UK. I was doing some work in Cambridge, UK and stayed in a hotel in Six Mile Bottom which is near Bury St. Edmund. I love the place names in the UK and enjoy reading the place names on the exit signs. One other thing I love about going through Heathrow given the extreme amount of diversity. The flights near mine were going to Beijing, Islamabad, Tehran, and Bangkok. You walk in the terminal and it feels like the UN. However, I was also overwhelmed when you realize how many people there are in the world – it always reminds me how small a piece of the world we as Mormons are. It also is a bit overwhelming to consider how many of these people have probably never heard of us or know very little about us. Boy, we have a lot of work to do…

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