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Introducing Devyn S.

Born in Utah, Went to BYU and graduated with a Zoology degree (no, I did not want to be a zookeeper, although I do like animals). Moved to Idaho for a MS degree in Embryology and met my wife. We moved to Boston for graduate school – I did a PhD at Harvard Medical School. After graduation, I joined the dark side (business) and have been doing management consulting to Biotech and Pharmaceutical companies. Recently moved from Boston after 14 years and have a sweet son and daughter.

202 Posts
And the winner is… Oct. 17th, 2012 at 5:02 pm

We are less than three weeks to the election. The race for President seems pretty much a toss up now given the strong surge by Romney in the last few weeks. What is your prediction? Who wins? Is Ohio the decider or is it Colorado? First Mormon President or reelection for Obama… Good news is you have a 50-50 chance of calling it correctly!

Media Manipulation… Oct. 11th, 2012 at 9:23 am

I am amazed at how the media is now depicting Romney in a positive light. After months of making fun of him, now there is a concerted effort to prop up his candidacy. I must admit that I am pretty tired of being told what to think by the media. If I weren’t cynical I would think it was a conspiracy. Of course, they likely all take their cues from the big players like the New York Times and Wall Street Journal. Anyway, it is interesting to watch the race. Anyone else feel like this?

No Disputations Among You… Sep. 30th, 2012 at 4:54 pm

One of my pet peeves in the Church is whenever there is a discussion on a particular topic that does not seem to be going down the traditional lines of Church belief or the teacher is feeling uncomfortable as someone seems too “lively”, they bring up 3 Nephi and how we are to have no contention. It happened last week in our High Priests Group when we were having a rather lively discussion about this talk that Elder Nelson gave. There were aspects that were not doctrinal and his opinion (like the silly comparison of the Big Bang Theory to an explosion in a print shop). Several of us, who are scientists, said that he was wrong and that he made too simple and silly an analogy to comment on. Others discussed the embellishment of some of the pioneer stories and how that was wrong. There were some other areas of disagreement between folks. I found it both entertaining and enlightening in a good way. I don’t think anyone crossed a line – no one attacked Elder Nelson or his position or the core doctrine. At the end of the lesson, the teacher then reprimanded us for being contentious, then promptly closed the lesson. I think this is the wrong approach – aren’t we here to learn and challenge each other? I guess no one has quoted this scripture to Harry and Mitt given they are in quite a cat fight. Does this fight hurt the Church? Should they back down? Personally, I find it interesting given Harry seems to be the attack dog here.

Upcoming Gospel Doctrine Lesson Sep. 13th, 2012 at 11:48 am

I am teaching this Sunday and I am troubled by 3 Nephi 2:14-16 (below):

14 And it came to pass that those Lamanites who had united with the Nephites were numbered among the Nephites;

15 And their curse was taken from them, and their skin became white like unto the Nephites;

16 And their young men and their daughters became exceedingly fair, and they were numbered among the Nephites, and were called Nephites. And thus ended the thirteenth year.

Of course the easy answer is to ignore or gloss over it, but these verses are very troubling and should be addressed head on. What are your ideas/thoughts?

Farewell Rev. Moon Sep. 3rd, 2012 at 11:41 am

I saw that Rev. Moon died today. I must admit I didn’t know a lot about the Moonies besides their mass weddings of folks whose marriages were arranged. I went to the fountain of all knowledge, wikipedia, to learn more. I was surprised at the many parallels between his Church and ours. For example, they have been fighting to be recognized as a Christian religion by the older Christian sects, they are a comparably new religion, they have extensive investments and are quite wealthy, their focus on marriage results in a very low divorce rate, and they send out missionaries. Of course, the arranged marriage thing is a bit of a negative in my mind, but they claim a few million followers. Anyone ever encountered one of their missionaries?

The Mormonism Activity Continuum…. Aug. 24th, 2012 at 6:52 am

I like to put things into buckets or some sort of system. I see member participation in Mormonism as a continuum. You have folks in the middle who are deeply committed and regular participants. As you move to the edges, you have one side which is passive movement from the center and the other side which is active movement from the center. At some point many of those members who are moving away from the center get too far from the center and leave the Church. Those on the passive side seem to slowly withdraw or go less active over time – usually for a variety of reasons (perhaps lack of commitment, no friends, no support at home, etc.) but not necessarily due to deep doctrinal discontent. On the active side, people seem to take one of two routes. First are those that were firmly in the center, then suddenly start reading or learning about the history of the Church (not the whitewashed version from Sunday School) and their testimonies are shaken and they leave. I know quite a few people in this camp. Second are those who slowly drift from the center as they continue to learn and study things. One day they find themselves so far from the center that they just give up and leave feeling there is no place for them in the Church. While this is simplistic, it captures the experiences I have seen with those who have left the Church or are moving away from the center. What do you think? Where are you on the continuum?

Mistakes Made By The Church Over The Years Aug. 11th, 2012 at 9:23 pm

I was thinking about mistakes, (whatever you want to call them) that the Church has made over the years that could have been avoided and are non-doctrinal in nature (e.g., policy/PR decisions, other decisions) and have resulted in significant negative publicity that could have been avoided.

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Living Off The Mission Jul. 26th, 2012 at 3:43 pm

I have seen posts around this topic before, but I have been acutely aware of how many male returned missionaries live off the spiritual experiences from their missions (myself included). Every week in lessons and talks you hear mission stories, but not so many contemporary spiritual experiences from the men. Is this just my experience? Is this a problem?

Touching View of Mormonism from an Ex-Mormon Jul. 19th, 2012 at 12:50 pm

This was one of the best views of Mormonism from an ex-Mormon that I have ever read. It is very balanced and highlights both the positive and negative views very nicely. I would be interested to see if others enjoyed it?

My Non-Mormon Friends Think We Are Crazy… Jul. 18th, 2012 at 9:27 pm

I have had a few conversations recently with non-Mormon friends who say Mormons do and believe some crazy things. I try to defend Mormonism by saying I know a lot of Mormons who are not crazy (while admitting there are a lot of crazy Mormons whom I disagree with), and that you cannot view us a homogeneous group. This has caused me to try to view the three hour block from one of my non-member friends point of view. For example, this past Sunday, sacrament meeting was good. The talks were focused on becoming Christlike and used personal stories – so far so good. Then came Sunday School – we were talking about Zeezrom and anti-Christs. The teacher quoted Bruce R that anyone who believes or preaches a way to salvation different from us is an anti-crhist. The number of comments that were in agreement was astonishing (and a bit depressing). When two of us tried to tone down the rhetoric, we were effectively ignored as the teacher proceeded to tell us how to defend ourselves from the anti-christs we encounter in our lives. Ok, so now my non-Mormon POV views us as crazy. I have been taking this approach for the last month or so and every week, Sunday School usually throws it over the edge into the crazy zone. It does make me wonder if folks really think about what they are saying and what impact it would have on others in the room…

My non-July 4th… Jul. 1st, 2012 at 4:37 pm

This year is our first Fourth of July living in England, so my first non-Fourth of July ever. No fireworks, no BBQ, just work and school for us. The 4th has always a hallmark of summer for me, so this year we will be searching for that summer hallmark – schools in the UK get out July 22nd and return in early September so the break is limited. It is also quite interesting to now live in the land from whom we Americans declared Independence so many years ago. This is probably the only US holiday that I have really missed. Well, Happy Fourth to those who get to celebrate it – enjoy!

The Mother Duck – A Tale for Mother’s Day??? May. 2nd, 2012 at 5:23 pm

Recently we went to a Castle in Wales (another story) and in the moat was a family of ducks – a mother and 11 babies that were clearly newly hatched. We watched while they swam over to this grate, where the water drained into a culvert that ran under the road into who knows where. We were horrified as one by one the ducklings got sucked down the grate. The mother did not seem particularly bothered by it and started to swim away. Only four babies followed her. I ran down to peek in the culvert and could see several of the babies were alive and trying to keep from being washed away. Unfortunately, they were 6-8 feet down and I could not reach them, nor could we move the grate as it was welded on. So we had to walk away knowing those baby ducks would die. What was even more disturbing was the mother duck. She swam over to the side and started eating with the four babies. It has bothered me ever since. I think what is even more disturbing is that I have read stories of humans who are not much different. However, on a happy note, most human parents do not act like this so enjoy those Mother’s on Mother’s Day and always remember to help out those baby ducklings you encounter in life.

Three Down 47 to Go Jan. 27th, 2012 at 4:41 am

Ok, so Romney, Gingrich and Santorum each have one win under their belts. Who do you like for Florida? After Florida comes Nevada, then Maine, Colorado, Missouri, and Minnesota all the first week of February. Here is my guess: Romney takes Florida by 5 points, easily takes Nevada, Maine, Colorado. Has a fight in Missouri and Minnesota (could lose those to Gingrich or Santorum). Likely the only one to dropout during this period is Santorum. What do you think?

The Banned Name List… Jan. 6th, 2012 at 9:13 am

One advantage of living in the UK is that I get to listen to the BBC. I really enjoy it, much more than listening to NPR for the most part. Today they were talking about a list of names that the New Zealand registrar has banned – basically you cannot name your child one of these names. Here are some of the names:
any names with asterisks, commas, periods and other punctuation marks

I know people named some of these names – particularly Duke, Bishop, and Judge. I was thinking that the Church should ban certain names – what ones would you ban?

Predictions for 2012 Jan. 2nd, 2012 at 2:58 pm

I love a new year as it is a chance to ponder the year past and consider the year ahead. This year could be particularly interesting given it is a Presidential Election. I have watched with fascination the machinations ongoing with the Republican candidates. Given tomorrow is the start of the process – any predictions for January outcomes and eventual nominee?

Here are mine:
Iowa – Ron Paul wins, Santorum in second, Romney third. Basically means everyone else is dead
NH – Romney wins, Paul second, Huntsman third
SC – Santorum wins, Romney second, Paul third
FL – Romney wins, Paul second, Santorum third

By this point, only Romney, Paul, Santorum are still in the mix. The party coalesces around Romney and he is the nominee given the party is scared to death of the other two…

What do you think?

Praise to the Manatee… Dec. 11th, 2011 at 5:52 pm

We had our Ward Primary Program a few weeks ago. We worked hard teaching our six year old the words to the songs. Our three year old also learned them since she would listen as we sang the songs together. I love how three year old minds work – since some of the words were new to her, she filled in the words that were either too complicated or unknown to her with words she knows. For example, “Praise to the Man”, is now “Praise to the Manatee … Kings shall tightrope and nations severe…” The other song that is just too cute is “I’m trying to be like Jesus”. When she sings the second verse it is “I watch for the day of breakfast, when Jesus will come again…” I must admit, I do like some of the primary songs – the messages are very simple and resonate with me.

Moving Across The Pond – The Ward Oct. 31st, 2011 at 4:33 am

We moved from the US to England six weeks ago for my work. It has been an interesting experience as we have adjusted to the differences in culture between the two countries. I will admit one of my trepidations was in having to go to Church here. I was unsure what to expect. However, I will say that we have felt more welcome in this ward that in our previous ward in the US when we moved in. The wards are about the same size from an active member perspective, but the UK ward has a mix of Brits, Yankees, and other nationalities. It is a lot of fun to get to know the different folks. The other pleasant surprise has been the classes. I have previously avoided going to HP Group in the US given it is usually a bunch of old farts pontificating about their version of the Church that existed in the 1950s or Sunday School lessons that ask the silly questions from the manuals. Both HP Group and SS have been wonderful – I actually feel like I am learning things. So all in all, a huge positive on the move from a Church perspective! I forgot how wonderful it is to be in a classroom where you are learning as opposed to counting the minutes until you can exit.

Meeting Irene Aug. 30th, 2011 at 9:08 pm

We live in a Northeastern state that was hit directly by Irene. Our house is just a block in from the ocean. We were in an area that was covered by a mandatory evacuation. Like all good Americans and 80% of my neighbors, we chose to ignore the evacuation order. I should note that the evacuation order was due to nervousness about a little bridge which is the only way into our neighborhood which meant that no emergency services would be available for 48 hours and not due to some risk of death. Given we are all healthy, our house is on a little hill, and we have hurricane proof windows, we chose to stay, instead of stay in the high school gym which was 1 mile down the road. The storm started fairly small on Saturday night, but by Sunday morning, it was blowing really hard. We had pulled out flashlights, some food, our 72 hour kit, and blankets and put them in our basement in case we needed them. I was feeding the kids breakfast at 7AM or so and the really hard winds hit. The house was shaking and I got a little scared. We were ready to vacate to the basement, but the wind shifted direction and the rest of the day the house never shook again. The trees would bend at some amazing angles and not break. It was amazing to watch. Here, here, and here are some youtube videos from the beach near our house that some idiot shot – it shows the power of the wind. We were amazed at the number of people who were walking or riding bikes and headed to the beach in the middle of the Hurricane. It sure did not seem smart to me. We lost a few limbs from the trees and a lot of leaves, but no other damage – oh, and our power was out for 36 hours. Anyone else meet Irene last weekend?

The “Cake Walk” Aug. 26th, 2011 at 7:59 am

This morning my son asked me if I knew what a “cake walk” game is. I must admit I have not thought about cake walks for years. However, growing up in Utah, I fondly remember the cake walk at various Church activities and school activities. I won once – I remember it was in 4th Grade and at a Primary Activity we had a cake walk. It was a yellow cake from a box with chocolate frosting. I started to eat it with my hands on my way home. It was a good day for a 9 year old! Do they still have cake walks? I have never heard of one occurring in the East Coast where I have lived for 16 years.

Food Stamp Nation? Clash Of The Ideologies… Aug. 22nd, 2011 at 9:05 pm

There was an interesting article on Food stamp usage in the US. What surprised me was that 15% of the population is on food stamps or 46 Million people which is nearly double from 4 years ago. I was also struck by the comment that Food Stamps are an “implicit subsidy for low-wage jobs” and basically, disincent companies from paying higher wages.

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