Saturday, November 28, 2015

A Woman Who Had 25 Children

While touring St. George during this week's Thanksgiving festivities, my brother and I happened upon the gravestone of a woman by the name of Turnbeaugh who gave birth to 25 children. This marker is in the Washington Cemetery. Wow!

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Great Quote about Sharing Your Blessings with Others

"Go forth with a cheerful heart and be willing to use the blessings you have to help others."

Monday, November 09, 2015

Poem "The House by the Side of the Road"

I don't yet know how I feel about this poem, but found it intriguing:

Saturday, November 07, 2015

The Divine Institution of Marriage

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has a great article entitled "The Divine Institution of Marriage."

The following are some insightful quotes from the article:

  • "The Church has a single, undeviating standard of sexual morality: intimate relations are acceptable to God only between a husband and a wife who are united in the bonds of matrimony."
  • "Marriage is far more than a contract between individuals to ratify their affections and provide for mutual obligations. Rather, marriage is a vital institution for rearing children and teaching them to become responsible adults."
  • "The complementarity of male and female parenting styles is striking and of enormous importance to a child’s overall development."
  • "Perhaps the most common argument that proponents of same-sex marriage make is that it is essentially harmless and will not affect the institution of traditional heterosexual marriage in any way. 'It won’t affect your marriage, so why should you care?' is the common refrain. While it may be true that allowing same-sex marriage will not immediately and directly affect existing marriages, the real question is how it will affect society as a whole over timeincluding the rising generation and future generations."
  • "Traditional marriage provides the most solid and well-established social identity for children. It increases the likelihood that they will be able to form a clear gender identity, with sexuality closely linked to both love and procreation. By contrast, the legal recognition of same-sex marriage may, over time, erode the social identity, gender development, and moral character of children. No dialogue on this issue can be complete without taking into account the long-term consequences for children."
  • "When marriage is undermined by gender confusion and by distortions of its God-given meaning, the rising generation of children and youth will find it increasingly difficult to develop their natural identities as men or women. Some will find it more difficult to engage in wholesome courtships, form stable marriages, and raise another generation imbued with moral strength and purpose."

Friday, October 30, 2015

Frank Powell Preaches Chick-Fil-A

I learned a lot from the article below:

"Chick-fil-a is the restaurant of all restaurants. Creme de la creme. I could eat there three times a day for the rest of my life. Seriously. If I had one final meal, it would be a 12-count of nuggets, waffle fries, two packets of Chick-fil-a sauce, and a frozen lemonade.
"And it doesn’t stop with food. Chick-fil-a is on a short list of restaurants where I would rather eat inside than pick up food and eat at home. I feel like a winner when I go in Chick-fil-a. I get rock star treatment. The same treatment my mom gives me when I surprise her by bringing over the grandkids.
"This past week, I was in Chick-fil-a putting the final touches on a blog post when it hit me. There are some things the church can learn from Chick-fil-a. I said in a previous post that I try to see Jesus everywhere. Church. Work. Grocery store. Chick-fil-a.
"And although God is difficult to see in some environments, he is everywhere when I look at Chick-fil-a. You see, Chick-fil-a has created a culture of excellence. When you see the logo and step into the restaurant you know what you are getting. It is the culture of Chick-fil-a that has made it what it is today. And these cultures aren’t accidents. They don’t magically appear. They are created. Intentionally. And this is what I want to explore.
"Here are 5 five things the church can learn from Chick-fil-a.


"When the late Truett Cathy started Chick-fil-a in 1946, he had three core values: the restaurant will be closed on Sundays, the restaurant will not discount food, and restaurant employees will work with excellence.

"Compare the three statements from Cathy in 1946 to Chick-fil-a today. The three core values have not changed. Everything else has. In the nearly 70 years since it opened, Chick-fil-a has added, changed, and tweaked everything. Menu options. Customer experiences. Marketing strategies.
"Churches could learn something here. The core values should stay the same. What are they? The death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus. The gospel. Everything outside of the gospel must be subject to change. Programs. Styles of worship. Traditions. Everything.
"But this is easier said than done, right? Ever tried to implement a different style of worship or challenge a long-held tradition? The truth is many churches would rather respect traditions than reach the lost. We refuse to embrace change at the expense of being too liberal or too influenced by culture. If Chick-fil-a had the church’s attitude, it would have closed years ago.
"And the church should take note. Change isn’t just healthy. It necessary.


"One thing is for sure. Chick-fil-a is passionate about making awesome chicken and making sure every customer has an amazing experience. Chick-fil-a is so passionate about their products, a few years ago they spent $38 million dollars improving the grilled chicken sandwich. $38 million?! On the grilled chicken sandwich? That’s ridiculous!
"No. That’s passion.
"If the church was as passionate about the gospel as Chick-fil-a was about chicken, the whole world would know Jesus. The truth is many churches are consumed with apathy. And we throw apathy under the banner of control and order. I grew up being told God not only didn’t like expression and passion, but he would send you to hell for it.
"I mean, yeah. God saved us. But let’s keep our hands in our pockets and our emotions in check? I understand expression isn’t for everyone, but passion is. Everyone is passionate about something. It’s not that we lack passion. It’s that we are passionate about the wrong things. College football. The latest Apple product. Career.
"And the world notices. It’s time the church directed passion properly and allowed people to express it fully. The church has the greatest message in the history of the world. We serve the God above all gods who sent his own son to this world to save us. That gets me fired up.
"If Chick-fil-a can be passionate about chicken, why can’t the church be passionate about the gospel?


"It’s evident in commercials. And it’s obvious when you look at the menu. Chick-fil-a is concerned about one thing: CHICKEN. That’s it. I’m sure Chick-fil-a has felt the temptation to diversify. But the company has refused to listen to the cultural pressure that says, “As your resources grow, you must offer more.”
"Here’s the lesson for the church. When you focus on a few things, you have the potential to do those few things really well. But if you focus on everything, you will do nothing well. Pull up a typical church website and you will see hundreds of ministries. Youth Ministry. College Ministry. Men’s Ministry. Flowers Ministry. I Love Elvis Ministry. I Hate Elvis Ministry. Honestly, it’s ridiculous.
"The reason many churches do nothing well is they give in to the temptation to start a new ministry every time someone says they don’t fit in a current one. The church has caved to the cultural pressure to diversify the menu. And this creates churches with tons of menu items, but none are done well. And very few impact lives.
"The goal isn’t to blanket the darkness. The goal is to penetrate it. This happens when a lot of energy is focused in a small area and when a lot of people are focused on a few things.
For Chick-fil-a, the focus is chicken. And they do chicken really well. Church, what is your focus?


"When you walk in Chick-fil-a, they aren’t just trying to sell you chicken. They are trying to sell you an experience. And they sell the experience well. Everything is clean. The employees are always friendly. People come to your table and ask if they can refresh your beverage. Chick-fil-a even goes so far as to make sure the bathrooms are clean. In his book, How Did You Do It Truett?, Truett Cathy says, “Keeping (the restroom) clean doesn’t require special skill, just discipline that comes from being concerned for the customer.”
"And Cathy is right. Ever been in a restaurant with dirty restrooms? It’s disgusting. And frustrating.
"The experience matters. A lot of people make great chicken. But no one does chicken like Chick-fil-a. No one creates the environment Chick-fil-a creates. Make the same great chicken in a dry, uninviting environment, and what you have is another mediocre restaurant. The church needs to understand this.
"What messages are guests receiving when they enter your church? Because here’s the reality about the de-churched and non-Christians. The experience they have at your church will shape their view of God. Is that fair? No. Is it reality? Yes.
"And, if churches are honest, the experience often sends the message that God is small, angry, boring, and out of touch with reality. Like if you were to grab coffee with God, he would stare awkwardly at you without saying a word. And he would be wearing suspenders, glasses larger than his face, and pants flooding so bad they could spark a 100-year flood.
Now, we know this isn’t God. He would definitely wear skinny jeans (only kidding). The message outsiders should receive is that God is all-powerful, loves people wherever they are, and empathizes with any problem any person might experience. That’s a message people NEED to hear.
"One more thing. Don’t get caught in the trap of thinking the sermon is the only message outsiders will receive. The message starts when outsiders enter the door. How they are greeted, whether their kids enjoyed class, and the general attitude of insiders all play into the experience. And the experience sends a message.
"What message is your church sending outsiders about God?


"Cue Elton John. 'Cannn…you feelll…the loveee…tonight?' Actually, I can feel the love at night, during lunch, or in the morning. Employees at Chick-fil-a usually ask me how I am doing. I have their full attention when I place my order (which is why they rarely mess it up). I feel loved when I walk in. This seems obvious, but Chick-fil-a is completely focused on customers.
"But it’s not always obvious. Ever been to a restaurant where customers weren’t the focus? I went to one last week. I walked in the door and waited 15 minutes to be seated. Not one employee acknowledged me. After 15 minutes, I got up and left. And I probably won’t be back.
"What about the church? Many churches are so focused on themselves they don’t even notice non-Christians. Budget concerns. Worship issues. Sound problems. Dry, lifeless sermons. Everything is focused on insiders, not outsiders.
"When restaurants don’t focus on customers, they fail. When churches don’t focus on outsiders, they die. Restaurants weren’t created to cater to employees, and churches weren’t created to cater to insiders.

"Chick-fil-a gets this. The church should too.
"Again, God can be seen everywhere. It is all about the lens you choose to look through. When it comes to Chick-fil-a, there is a lot the church can learn. And followers of Jesus should have a desire to learn and improve.


"I love you all. To God be the glory forever. Amen"

Wear Only One Hat

Recently I was conversing with some colleagues about our different professions. One of them remarked that it is simply unfeasible and impossible to play nice in the business world, and insinuate that only a cutthroat approach works when doing business. The same person, I know, is a faithful churchgoer. Whether or not he intended to do so, his comments resonated in my mind as if he were dividing or sequestering his professional life from his religious life. In other words, he dons one hat during the week, and dons another hat on Sundays. Perhaps I'm reading too much into this, and perhaps I am being hyper-judgmental. But this to me seems like moral compartmentalization. I readily acknowledge that to some degree I do this myself, and it is a demon or temptation against which I regularly battle. But this conversation with my colleagues reminded me of the necessity I have to maintain integrity; that is, to maintain my values, ethics, religion, etc., regardless of the stage on which I am standing, And regardless of where I am or with whom I am.

Be the same. To thine own self (and to God) be true. Don't compartmentalize your values.

Suggested Readings from Daniel Peterson

From Daniel Peterson's blog:

I’m sometimes contacted by people who’re experiencing doubts about the claims of Mormonism or whose spouse or father or daughter has lost faith.  I always ask what the specific issues might be, and I then try to address those or to locate colleagues or printed resources that might help resolve their concerns.
I think that such efforts are extraordinarily important.  Elder Neal A. Maxwell, for whom the Maxwell Institute was named, was fond of Austin Farrer’s praise of the great C. S. Lewis: “Though argument does not create conviction,” Farrer wrote, “lack of it destroys belief. What seems to be proved may not be embraced; but what no one shows the ability to defend is quickly abandoned. Rational argument does not create belief, but it maintains a climate in which belief may flourish.”  (See Austin Farrer, “Grete Clerk,” in Jocelyn Gibb, comp., Light on C. S. Lewis [New York: Harcourt and Brace, 1965], 26.)  
Farrer’s words  long served as a kind of unofficial motto for several of those who were associated with the Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies (FARMS), which later became the Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship.  I think that motto was entirely appropriate.
I don’t, however, like to play only defense.  I don’t want to spend all my time putting out brushfires, playing catch-up, responding to crises. To use a very popular modern buzzword, I much prefer to be proactive.  I want to build faith to such a strength that crises will be less common, to create conditions under which such brushfires will be much more difficult to kindle.  Back to the sports metaphor:  If the defense is always out on the field, it may be able to keep the opposing team from scoring.  But if the offense doesn’t eventually come out to play, the prospects of victory will be very low.  A single error by the defense, simple growing weariness, one moment of inattention or poor execution, will be enough to lose the game.
One way that I choose to be proactive is to suggest a basic packet of books that I would like as many Latter-day Saints to read as possible, a set that I especially wish faltering members to be familiar with. I offer a few nominations here:
Richard Lloyd Anderson, Investigating the Book of Mormon Witnesses (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1981).  I was once, I confess, sitting at the back of a rather unexciting church class, rereading Investigating the Book of Mormon Witnesses, when an academic colleague of mine from BYU sat down beside me. “Next to the scriptures,” he commented, “that’s the most faith-promoting book I’ve ever read.”
I’m inclined to agree with him. Richard Anderson, who earned a law degree from Harvard before receiving a doctorate in ancient history from the University of California at Berkeley, is one of the finest scholars the church has ever produced.  In this book, he subjects the Book of Mormon witnesses to meticulous examination.  They emerge from the process as sane, lucid, honest, reliable men—a fact of perfectly enormous importance because of the way their testimony directly corroborates central claims of Joseph Smith and Mormonism.
Brother Anderson has written many other very important articles on the witnesses—and on other relevant topics—since his book was published.  These are available online at the Maxwell Institute website, including but not limited to “Attempts to Redefine the Experience of the Eight Witnesses,” Journal of Book of Mormon Studies 14/1 (2005): 18–31; “Personal Writings of the Book of Mormon Witnesses,” in Book of Mormon Authorship Revisited: The Evidence for Ancient Origins, ed. Noel B. Reynolds (Provo, UT: FARMS, 1997), 39–60; and “The Credibility of the Book of the Mormon Translators,” in Book of Mormon Authorship: New Light on Ancient Origins, ed. Noel B. Reynolds and Charles D. Tate (Provo, UT: BYU Religious Studies Center, 1982), 213–37.  But Investigating the Book of Mormon Witnesses remains, I think, the place to start on this vital subject.
John W. Welch, ed., Opening the Heavens: Accounts of Divine Manifestations, 1820–1844 (Provo, UT: Brigham Young University Press, 2005).  In this book, the prolific polymath John W. Welch has assembled an impressive collection of original documents relating to six foundational topics in Mormon history: (1) the first vision, (2) the coming forth of the Book of Mormon, (3) the restoration of the priesthood, (4) Joseph Smith’s visionary experiences generally, (5) the restoration of temple keys, and (6) succession in the presidency (specifically the “transfiguration” of Brigham Young in Nauvoo).
Mark McConkie, ed., Remembering Joseph: Personal Recollections of Those Who Knew the Prophet Joseph Smith (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 2003).  Mark McConkie, a professor in the School of Public Affairs at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, has created a vast treasury in this book and in the accompanying bonus CD of intimate views of the Prophet Joseph Smith.  The sheer volume of material is deeply impressive. (The CD includes 2,000 pages of primary-source testimonials. The book alone includes statements from many scores of Joseph Smith’s contemporaries.)  Most of the accounts included—from Joseph’s family, friends, and acquaintances, and even from his enemies—have never been published before or are, practically speaking, inaccessible to ordinary people.  But they’re very much worth the time.  Joseph Smith, as described by those who knew him, comes across as an honest, good, and sincere man.  And once again, because of the nature of his claims, that’s something very important to know and understand.
Grant Hardy, Understanding the Book of Mormon: A Reader’s Guide (New York: Oxford University Press, 2010).  This is a somewhat more difficult book than the others I’ve recommended above, but, in my opinion, it’s a book that will abundantly reward the effort invested in it.
Grant Hardy, who holds an undergraduate degree from Brigham Young University in classical Greek and a PhD from Yale University in Chinese history, has published impressively on the history of historical writing from his perch at the University of North Carolina at Asheville, where he’s served as the chairman of the History Department.
In Understanding the Book of Mormon, he turns his highly trained eye on the historical writings of Nephi, Mormon, and Moroni, treating them as distinct personalities with very different approaches to their material.  Although he himself is an active and committed member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, for the purposes of this study he “brackets” the question of whether or not they were real individuals.  Nevertheless, the extraordinarily fruitful results of his study demonstrate that the writings of Nephi, Mormon, and Moroni are indeed quite distinct—and by far the most reasonable explanation for this, in my opinion, is that they represent three real, historically different men.
I believe that serious and fair-minded engagement with the four books I’ve recommended is virtually certain to strengthen faith in readers who’re even slightly open to the possibility that Mormonism is true.  Mark McConkie’s compilation will build confidence in the character of Joseph Smith.  Richard Anderson’s book and John Welch’s anthology provide powerful corroboration of Joseph’s claims to revelation.  Grant Hardy’s book demonstrates, at least in one area, how very complex, rich, and internally consistent the Book of Mormon is.
When people contact me with doubts and problems, I don’t want merely to try to allay their concerns.  I want to build their faith so that their areas of uncertainty will shrink relative to their areas of confidence. These books—and, of course, there are others—are well suited to do just that.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Elder Oaks speaks at Court and Clergy Conference

Elder Dallin H. Oaks recently spoke at the Court and Clergy Conference in Sacramento, California.

Here are some of my favorite excerpts from his speech:

"Differences on precious fundamentals are with us forever. We must not let them disable our democracy or cripple our society. This does not anticipate that we will deny or abandon our differences but that we will learn to live with those laws, institutions, and persons who do not share them. We may have cultural differences, but we should not have 'culture wars.'"

"There should be no adversariness between believers and nonbelievers, and there should be no belligerence between religion and government. These two realms should have a mutually supportive relationship."

"... our society is not held together primarily by law and its enforcement but most importantly by those who voluntarily obey the unenforceable because of their internalized norms of righteous or correct behavior. Some call this 'civic virtue.'"

"I reject the idea of a wall between church and state. The more appropriate metaphor to express that relation—reinforced by various decisions of the United States Supreme Court—is a curtain that defines boundaries but is not a barrier to the passage of light and love and mutual support from one side to another."

"... parties with different views on the relationship between church and state should advocate and act with civility. ... We all lose when an atmosphere of anger or hostility or contention prevails. "

"... on the big issues that divide adversaries on these issues [i.e., the debates over public policies], both sides should seek a balance, not a total victory."

"Extreme voices polarize and create resentment and fear by emphasizing what is nonnegotiable and by suggesting that the desired outcome is to disable the adversary and achieve absolute victory. Such outcomes are rarely attainable and never preferable to living together in mutual understanding and peace."

"The Lord Jesus Christ directed, “Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s” (Matthew 22:21). So taught, we must, to the extent possible, obey both systems of law. When there are apparent conflicts, we must seek to harmonize them. When they are truly irreconcilable, we should join with others of like mind in striving to change the civil law to accommodate the divine. In all events, we must be very measured before ever deciding—in the rarest of circumstances—to disregard one in favor of the other."

"Believers should also acknowledge the validity of constitutional laws. Even where they have challenged laws or practices on constitutional grounds, once those laws or practices have been sustained by the highest available authority, believers should acknowledge their validity and submit to them. It is better to try to live with an unjust law than to contribute to the anarchy that a young lawyer named Abraham Lincoln anticipated when he declared, 'There is no grievance that is a fit object of redress by mob law.'"

"I... affirm the basic principle that religious leaders and religiously motivated persons should have at least the same privileges of speech and participation as any other persons or leaders when they enter the public square to participate in public policy debates."

To read the speech in its entirety, click here.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Beautiful Orange Flower

I took this picture a couple of days ago while attending an administrators conference at Thanksgiving Point.

Technology Slavery

I love technology but am also getting sucked in by it.

We are becoming a society of always looking down, always checking screens. We are becoming mentally distant from each other, and forgetting who we are -- human beings with hearts that feel and minds that take time to think and ponder. I don't talk or shoot the breeze as much as I used to. I want to change that.

As a user of technology, I am losing the ability to focus or sustain thought on a single undertaking for an extended period of time. I am losing focus. I am worried about that.

With immediate access to virtually all information, we are losing the ability to ponder patiently. Great wisdom and insight can come from pondering.

I don't wonder as much as I used to, and as such my organic creativity is not as fertile as it once was.

When we split our attention on two task at the same time, it means we're doing two things poorly at the same time. On the other hand, sustained focus brings about genius, creativity, and meaningful problem solving.

Being swept away by the immediacy and lure of technology, we are not exercising enough, getting outdoors, and physically doing things. We are getting fatter.

We are not sharing our condition and trials with those around us, and not helping to heal each other and get healed. Instead, we are swept into comparisons, not just in pornography, but in wealth, status, physical shape, career, etc. This is unrealistic, unhealthy, and deleterious to inner well-being, recognition of authentic self-worth, and marriages.

I am not pondering in good books as much as I used to, not basking in poetry, but instead staring at screens that fade or lock, or go into screen saver mode. When I use screens I often spend more time monitoring the monitor than digesting the message.

I used to send physical letters to people. Letter writing took time and cost money, but the slow process brought about great meaning and feeling. I had to think things through. Now I can do it free, and send endless amounts of photos, thoughts, videos, etc., but my messages are not as significant or thought out.

May we remember to keep technology as a tool or a vehicle to live better lives, and not allow it to become our life itself.

Have a conversation with somebody, face to face, no devices, listening to each other, showing support, giving eye contact, and taking time to mutually rejoice in good news, plow through a concern together, or being the listening ears that help to unburden another's sad heart.

No matter how great technology becomes, I will never be able to download love, program a family, file share my affections, or buy an app for wisdom. Those take time, in person, and genuine caring and attention.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Poem "The Rose Still Grows Beyond the Wall"

I heard a great poem in church today, ready by a person whose father passed away some years ago:

"The Rose Still Grows Beyond the Wall"

Near a shady wall a rose once grew,
Budded and blossomed in God's free light,
Watered and fed by morning dew,
Shedding its sweetness day and night.

As it grew and blossomed fair and tall,
Slowly rising to loftier height,
It came to a crevice in the wall,
Through which there shone a beam of light.

Onward it crept with added strength,
With never a thought of fear or pride,
It followed the light through the crevice's length,
And unfolded itself on the other side.

The light, the dew, the broadening view
Were found the same as they were before;
And it lost itself in beauties new,
Breathing its fragrance more and more.

Shall claim of death cause us to grieve,
And make our courage faint or fail?
Nay! Let us faith and hope receive:
The rose still grows beyond the wall.

Scattering fragrance far and wide,
Just as it did in days of yore,
Just as it did on the other side,
Just as it will for evermore.

by A. L. Frink

Friday, October 16, 2015

1 Nephi 10:3: Jerusalem, Babylon, and the Return

"That after they should be destroyed, even that great city Jerusalem, and many be carried away captive into Babylon, according to the own due time of the Lord, they should return again, yea, even be brought back out of captivity; and after they should be brought back out of captivity they should possess again the land of their inheritance."

It had never fully occurred to me until today that Israel's captivity into Babylon is symbolic. 

  • Jerusalem is like the place where God dwells, and where we used to live. Heaven. 
  • Babylon is like the world to which we have been sent. Worldliness. Vanity and pride. A place distance from God. Being there (here) is an exiling, and a form of captivity. 
  • Returning to Israel is like returning to God, the place (land) of our inheritance. 

A fascinating metaphor.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Howard Jones concert last year

About a year ago my wife and I had a wonderful, free opportunity to attend a Howard Jones concert in Sandy, Utah. A host of tender mercies or coincidences or divine intervention occurred so that we found out about the concert and were able to attend it. It was a memorable evening, and all I have are my memories and this photograph I took with my cheap cell phone:

While the picture may not be much to anyone else, it is a sweet memory for me, and Howard Jones is a great performer with positive, upbeat lyrics and music.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Cut Back a Little

I love this quote from LDS Apostle M. Russell Ballard:

"You don’t always have to fill up your schedule totally. Please carefully look at your calendars and consider where you might cut back a little and enjoy a less hectic life more fully. The Lord counseled us to find time to "be still and know that I am God."

(Taken from "To the Saints in the Utah South Area")

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Salt Lake City Cemetery maps

Here are some maps of the Salt Lake City Cemetery (click on each photo to enlarge):

General Map

Prominent LDS Leaders

Photographs of Prominent LDS Leaders

Other Notable Individuals

Thursday, August 06, 2015

Picture Hanging in the DUP Museum

Here is an interesting picture hanging in the Daughters of Utah Pioneers Museum in Salt Lake City:

(click to enlarge)

Monday, May 04, 2015

Numerous Reasons Why I Love the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

In no particular order:
  1. Their amazing website.
  2. Their videos are inspiring. 
  3. The Mormon Channel!
  4. The Mormon Tabernacle Choir produces amazing music.
  5. The yearly Christmas Concert at the Conference Center. It always has amazing performances, and they are free. 
  6. Their selfless humanitarian service. They do so much to help others!
  7. The tithing and fast offerings that the Church uses to help so many.
  8. The Church History Library. They have an amazing collection of artifacts, books, documents, etc. on the history of the Church
  9. The Church History Museum has numerous amazing displays.
  10. Temple Square. It is so neat, clean, inspiring, heavenly, and peaceful.
  11. Church meetings each Sunday. I almost always walk away with a firmer resolve to be a better husband, father, and man. I am a better person because of going to church.
  12. Church callings. It causes me to look outside of myself and serve others.
  13. The wonderful legacy of the Pioneers.
  14. The missionary program. So much of who I am today came from my mission: my wife, my bilingual ability, my ability to live on a budget, get along with others, meet and interact with others, my love for Portugal, etc.
  15. All of their prophets have been inspiring, brilliant, good men:
    1. Joseph Smith
    2. Brigham Young
    3. John Taylor
    4. Wilford Woodruff
    5. Lorenzo Snow
    6. Joseph F. Smith
    7. Heber J. Grant
    8. George Albert Smith
    9. David O. McKay
    10. Joseph Fielding Smith
    11. Harold B. Lee
    12. Spencer W. Kimball
    13. Ezra Taft Benson
    14. Howard W. Hunter
    15. Gordon B. Hinckley
    16. Thomas S. Monson
  16. Amazing members and other leaders who have taught me so much:
    1. Hugh Nibley. To read his amazing articles and books for free, click here.
    2. Elaine S. Dalton. Read an amazing talk of hers here.
    3. Emma Smith, the wife of the Prophet Joseph Smith.
    4. Neal A. Maxwell
    5. LeGrand Richards. He was an inspiring and humorous Apostle.
    6. Bruce R. McConkie. He was an Apostle with amazing knowledge of the scriptures and the doctrines of the Gospel.
  17. Joseph Smith's phenomenal contributions:
    1. He translated the Book of Mormon
    2. He revealed extensive teachings about God our Heavenly Father and His Son Jesus Christ.
    3. Under inspiration from God, he revealed and restored many lost passages from the Bible. Click here.
    4. He received numerous revelations from God, many of which are published in the Doctrine and Covenants.
    5. He received other revelations found in the Pearl of Great Price.
  18. General Conference is always so inspiring!
  19. Going to General Priesthood Meeting every six months with my dad and brothers, and their sons.
  20. So many of my member friends are among the most inspiring people I have met anywhere on the planet.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Lyrics to the Justice Trio song from Studio C

Justice Trio is coming around,
Coolest superheroes in town
Brain attack, he’s the leader of the team,
And yeah, he’s just as smart as he seems

Steel Blade, he’s a lethal force,
Quick as a rabbit, strong as a horse!

Rotting Flesh, she has leprosy (cough, cough)

The Justice Trio will blow your mind
Sit back and watch them fight crime

(Steel Blade) You’re a big hit!
(Brain Attack) Mind if I help?
(Rotting Flesh) Need a … hand?!

When it seems like evil is going to win
Discover the power that lies within

(Rotting Flesh) Going somewhere? Oh, that’s my liver!
(Brain Attack) Mind block
(Steel Blade) Earth slam
(Rotting Flesh) Make it rain - Gonna get it
(Brain Attack) Teleport
(Steel Blade) I’m infected!
(Rotting Flesh) Yay! We can be leper friends!
Justice Trio’s coming around
Coolest superheroes in town
(Brain Attack) With your help we can -- ow! Don’t touch me! I told you to wear gloves!

(Rotting Flesh) Sorry, they don’t make gloves for my nubs

Friday, November 28, 2014

Loving Others and Living with Differences

I love the way Elder Oaks crafted his General Conference speech about loving others despite differing views. I learned much. I can share my views and beliefs, and I don't have to engage in any contention (which would be counter-productive anyway). Counsel to self: don't contend with others!

Black Friday

Black Friday is the antithesis of the Christmas spirit. People are concerned about buying things.


I do not understand how one can justify performing an abortion. It is terminating the life of a human being.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

The Pursuit of Happiness

Marlin Jensen wrote a great speech on keys to happiness in this life. Here it is:

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Chick-Fil-A Values for Employees (Core 4)

This sign is posted at the cash registers of a local Chick-Fil-A. I love the values, ethics, and service-mindedness they espouse:

  1. Create eye contact
  2. Share a smile
  3. Speak with an enthusiastic tone
  4. Stay connected to make it personal

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Copperton, UT

Today we went for a drive through Copperton, Utah. Founded in 1926, it is a unique, tucked-away, almost time-forgotten township. Here are some pictures of some of the unique architecture of its homes (click on each photo to enlarge).