Introducing Tagore

I drive truck, break arms, and arm wrestle. It’s what I love to do, it’s what I do best.

49 Posts
Grandparents Need to Stop Giving Themselves Weird Nicknames Jan. 6th, 2010 at 1:59 pm

Is there an increasing trend of grandparents giving themselves weird nicknames?

I recently had a conversation with a friend who has a baby that is the first grandchild of his wife’s parents. He said the new grandparents were trying to decide what they’d like to be called. His brother-in-law had recommended “Poompa” (?!) for the grandpa. The grandpa didn’t like that option and instead wanted to be called “Misha” (??). My friend just wanted to call him grandpa. This has set off a rhetorical tug-of-war, with the grandpa referring to himself as “Misha,” and my friend insisting on “grandpa.” My question is why this grandpa feels compelled to have any nickname at all. What’s wrong with just being grandpa? Read more »

Don’t Bother Praying About Whom You Should Marry Nov. 8th, 2009 at 10:13 pm

In a 1973 BYU Devotional address, Elder Bruce McConkie shared how he decided whom to marry:

How do you choose a wife? I’ve heard a lot of young people from Brigham Young University and elsewhere say, “I’ve got to get a feeling of inspiration. I’ve got to get some revelation. I’ve got to fast and pray and get the Lord to manifest to me whom I should marry.” Well, maybe it will be a little shock to you, but never in my life did I ever ask the Lord whom I ought to marry. It never occurred to me to ask him. I went out and found the girl I wanted; she suited me; I evaluated and weighed the proposition, and it just seemed a hundred percent to me as though this ought to be.

He points out that it would have been good to counsel with the Lord after he had made his decision, but admits that he didn’t do so. Deciding who to marry is easily one of the most important decisions a person will ever have to make, so on one hand, Elder McConkie is right that it’s somewhat shocking that it never occurred to him to ask God during the process. Of all the things for which we should seek personal revelation, isn’t this decision important enough to merit some kind of spiritual confirmation or guidance? But on the other hand, I think his experience is helpful in dispelling the often misguided (and sometimes ridiculous) expectations many young single LDS members have about how to decide whom to marry.

Elder McConkie points out that there is a fine line between agency and inspiration, and I wonder which is a bigger challenge to Church members generally: (A) an over-reliance on agency, accompanied with not putting forth enough effort (or otherwise doing what is required) to receive personal revelation; or (B) an unrealistic expectation of what to expect from God by way of inspiration?

The Tragedy of Bad Ads Oct. 16th, 2009 at 10:11 am

A few years ago, fellow perma-blogger Dan Ellsworth and I decided to boycott McDonalds for a year because of one of their “I’m lovin’ it” ads that was as ubiquitous as it was annoying. We planned to reconvene after a year to discuss lifting the boycott, but a couple of weeks before the year mark, they ran the same obnoxious ad again on TV! Unbelievable. We decided McDonalds apparently hadn’t learned its lesson, so we extended the boycott for another year. This time they must have gotten the message. After the second year, the ads were gone, so we lifted the boycott. Read more »

When Priesthood Leaders Are Wrong… and Admit It Sep. 24th, 2009 at 12:22 pm

It’s hard to admit you’re wrong. It’s especially difficult if you are in a position of leadership, because when you’re wrong it’s often in front of a lot of people. Admitting you are wrong as a priesthood leader has an added degree of difficulty because you are ostensibly guided by the Spirit in the things that you do in relation to your calling, so admitting you are wrong can also carry the implication that you aren’t following the Spirit. So I’m always impressed to come across experiences where priesthood leaders have the courage and humility to admit error. One of the most impressive examples that I’ve come across recently is Joseph Fielding Smith. Read more »

And the Men… Aug. 24th, 2009 at 9:39 am

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?

A Father’s Day Playlist Jun. 18th, 2009 at 3:17 pm

Father’s Day is coming up, and is ready. They’ve teamed up with Hallmark to provide us a Father’s Day Playlist. This is great news for country music fans, because based on their list, being a father is all about country music. Surely we can do better. Can we collectively create a Father’s Day playlist that does not include country music songs?

(Note: The song doesn’t have to have the word “father” or some iteration of father in the title. Permission to interpret broadly here.)

The Problem with Temple Preparation Jun. 15th, 2009 at 9:42 am

Temple preparation classes do not sufficiently prepare members to go through the temple.

I recently attended the temple with a friend who was going through for the first time. She had taken a temple preparation class, but I was concerned about how she would react to the endowment session. I remember my first experience through the temple being weird, if not mildly shocking. I didn’t realize how oddly ritualistic the endowment ceremony would be, and I was completely unprepared for the green aprons. (This was in the days before the Internet, so I didn’t have access to the things available online today.) I tried to warn my friend that the first time through can be very weird, and I explained some of the things about the ceremony (within the respectful bounds of covenants, of course) in hopes of giving her a better idea of what to expect. Despite her ward temple preparation class and my addendum to it, she was pretty shocked and bothered by the experience.

Maybe there’s no way to completely prepare someone for what to expect their first time through. But it seems like there should be ways the church can improve on temple preparation classes to mitigate the negative experience many members have their first time. Any thoughts about your first time through the temple, or potential suggestions for improving temple preparation?

My Zombie Knee May. 31st, 2009 at 10:02 pm

Is it just me or are zombies invading popular culture?

I injured my knee (torn ACL) and had surgery a couple of weeks ago. To repair the ACL, they took a ligament from a cadaver and attached it to my knee. When I explained the procedure to a co-worker (before I had surgery), she exclaimed mildly horrified, “You’re going to have a zombie knee?!” Word about my zombie knee got around the office, and the jokes started pouring in. Some wondered if my knee would start wandering around while I was asleep. Others speculated on the gender and sexual orientation of the donor ligament and the functional effects it would have on my behavior. But they were just warming up. Read more »

What If Capitalism Is the Answer? Apr. 30th, 2009 at 1:46 pm

During ward council recently, we discussed creating a second gospel doctrine class. Because of space constraints, another class would be helpful, but many were concerned about people being more interested in one class than the other and the effect it might have on the teacher of the less popular class. Of course, where others see problems, I see possibilities, so it occurred to me: Let the market work. Read more »

The Secret Hymnal Guide to Politics Mar. 24th, 2009 at 12:13 am

Reasonable people may disagree over which political party Jesus would endorse, and I know the Church generally declares political neutrality, but I’ve discovered some clues among the hymns that provide some much-needed guidance on where we, as Church members, should stand on particular political issues. I will share, that all may be edified. Read more »

Unusual Moments in Home Teaching Mar. 4th, 2009 at 12:37 am

“Let us know if there is anything we can do to help.” The 12 famous words uttered after nearly every home teaching visit. But are there limits to what we can expect from our home teachers? I received the following email last week from one of the families I home teach:

Sorry to contact you so late but it’s getting to be a bit desperate now. Thing is I’ve made an error of judgment. The downstairs toilet was already a bit blocked and I foolishly thought that a second dump would blow the first one through. Obviously I was wrong and now I find that plunging and buckets of water from on high have only mashed up the second load and have had no effect on the original blockage. As you can imagine its getting a bit heinous in there now and the only thing I can think of which will shift it is some poking with a wire coat hanger. To be honest I don’t think I can face it. I think I remember reading an article in the Ensign a while back where a member was in a similar predicament and he called his home teachers to come and sort things out (I think his daughter had a fever or something so it was a desperate situation too). So brother, can you let me know when you would be available to come and clean the sh#t out of my toilet?

Is this an unreasonable request? What are the most unusual requests you’ve received as a home or visiting teacher?

Funniest Movie Prayer Poll Feb. 11th, 2009 at 1:29 pm

The other night my three-year-old expressed thanks in his prayer for the movies Air Bud and Space Jam. I think there are prayers about movies that can be funny, but are movie prayers funny? Are attempts to make prayers humorous in movies sacrilegious? I’ve narrowed the field down to two prayers for your consideration. Greg Focker’s prayer in Meet the Parents, and Ricky Bobby’s prayer in Taledega Nights. Text and video links are included. Please vote below. Nominations for other movie prayers are welcome. Read more »

Ronald Reagan: A Thug’s Life Jan. 26th, 2009 at 1:40 pm

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 »

Malaria Christmas (or, As I Lay Dying) Dec. 26th, 2008 at 12:06 am

Personal journal entry, late December 2001.

When the malaria blood test came back positive on Christmas Eve day, I was actually kind of excited and even started laughing. After all the time we had spent in different countries in Africa, I would finally be among the ranks of the true Africanists. “Going native” in a disease sense. Besides, how bad could it be, really? Everyone always said your joints ache and you have a fever and chills, which just didn’t sound that bad to me. Take some pills, rest for a few days, no big deal.

Twenty-four hours later I wasn’t laughing anymore. Read more »

The Most Stressful Ward Callings: 2008 Rankings Nov. 30th, 2008 at 11:11 pm

The ward executive secretary texted me this morning about an hour before PEC began. He informed me he was out of town and “woke up in a cold sweat” realizing he had forgotten to send out the PEC agenda. As a former executive secretary, I sympathized with his plight. While sending out the agenda each week isn’t an onerous task, it’s still just one more weekly thing to worry about that everyone will know if you haven’t done. Which got me thinking: Of all the callings at the ward level, which is the most stressful? For this discussion, let’s limit it to the ward council members. Here’s my ranking, from most stressful to least:

1. Bishop
2. Relief Society President
3. Primary President
4. Ward Clerk
5. YW President
6. YM President
7. Elders Quorum President
8. Bishop’s Counselors
9. Ward Mission Leader
10. Activities Chair
11. High Priest Group Leader
12. Sunday School President

I don’t think that the YWP is inherently more stressful than the YMP, but I think that for a variety of reasons YWP ends up being a more stressful job. Does EQP or HPGL deserve a higher ranking? Can anyone argue with a straight face that SSP is not the cushiest job on the list? What does your list look like and why?

A New (and Brilliant) Reactivation Strategy Nov. 24th, 2008 at 12:40 pm

Eureka! I think I’ve inadvertently stumbled across a brilliant less-active member reactivation strategy! Like many great scientific breakthroughs, this, too, was entirely by accident. Read more »

Welcome Guest Blogger Burgess! Oct. 21st, 2008 at 3:25 pm

It’s a great honor to introduce Burgess to the Bloggernacle. Burgess “is a not so unheard of international figure, who can threaten the most au courant wizards with his knowledge.” His writing evinces a top-rate intellect, while simultaneously projecting an Everyman quality that enables him to engage even the most feeble minds. From humble Marin County roots, Burgess draws from a wealth of poignant life experiences, including years as a high school yell leader and an LDS mission in Utah. At times provocative, always intriguing, Burgess promises to challenge, uplift, entertain, and enlighten.

Choiceless Choices Sep. 30th, 2008 at 11:51 am

Life often presents us with genuine choices. But sometimes, choice is an illusion. Read more »

The Sexual Compatibility Argument Aug. 31st, 2008 at 11:34 pm

Because sex before marriage is so common, the fact that many LDS members wait to have sex until we are married has become increasingly difficult to believe among non-LDS circles. I’m no longer phased by the incredulous responses that usually follow when the topic comes up. More challenging can be finding an effective response to the most common argument presented against abstaining from pre-marital sex: how can you know you’ll be sexually compatible with someone unless you’ve had sex with them before you get married? Read more »

Polish with Pleasure Jul. 29th, 2008 at 9:28 am

It’s not what some of you might think. Read more »

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