Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Diversity in the church

I have a friend who told me the following story.  This friend was listening to a talk by BYU President Dallin H. Oaks given to the missionaries in the old LTM (before the MTC).  This was in the era of the hippy movement and "free love" and such things.  President Oaks told the missionaries that to find the true diversity of mankind, don't look to the hippy communes where "do your own thing" is the catchphrase.  Rather look to the faithful members of the church.  My friend felt it an ironic message to a sea of missionaries in identical coats and ties and nametags.  But before he could reject the idea, President Oaks said that if you didn't believe him, wait until your mission president changes.  That stopped my friend cold.  When his mission president had changed, he had wondered if the two presidents could have even been from the same planet.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Diversities of Gifts

First Corinthians 12:4 reads, "Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit."  I love that idea.  That entire chapter is a great one.  It lists many of the gifts of the spirit, and explains that they are divided "to every man severally as he will."  We have all been given gifts of the spirit.  The question then becomes, how are we making use of our gifts?

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Unusual Kid part 3

When I was a kid, I loved school.  From what I've heard from friends and others around me, I was really unusual in this regard.  I adored learning new things.  I loved reading, music, art, science, history, even P.E. (despite being rather poor at many sports).  I even eventually learned to love math (having hated how boring it was in early grade school). 

Friday, January 18, 2013


Monday is the day we celebrate the life and mission of Martin Luther King, Jr. 

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Guy Friends

Lately, I've heard a lot about guy friends -- healthy non-sexual close friendships among guys.  I can say that I always had some guy friends while growing up.  While I wasn't exactly an ordinary kid, I was very socially active and had a lot of friends.  The irony is that I didn't think I did. 

Monday, January 14, 2013

Unusual Kid part 2

I've recently been thinking about young adult literature.  There is no specific genre or story type that makes it young adult.  The only commonality I can find is drama.  The worlds described in young adult literature almost always have an exaggerated sense of the importance of personal relationships and extremely angsty forming and breaking of friendships.  Emotions are as extreme and important as teenagers think they are, rather than at a realistic level.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Unusual Kid part 1

I grew up in an era in which after-school fighting was discouraged, but tolerated.  It's different now.  If one of my sons had been involved in a fight in middle school, even if he never threw a punch or reacted in any way, school policy was three days suspension.  Period.  That was not the situation when I was in school.  In fact, if a kid was being picked on, they were often encouraged (even by school counselors!) to throw a punch in the hopes that they would get some respect.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013


I remember learning about connotation and denotation back when I was a kid.  Denotation was simply the definition of a word, but connotation meant the baggage that went along with it.  For example, scent and odor have basically the same denotations, but scent is a more positive sounding term than odor, which gives them different connotations.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Better to Burn?

In the New Testament, Paul addresses the missionaries called to serve the church among the Corinthinans.  Some of them have a hard time controlling their sexual desires, and are not happy being celbate missionaries.  So Paul gives this advice, which is admittedly not doctrine, but his own opinion:
But if they cannot contain, let them marry: for it is better to marry than to burn. (KJV 1 Cor 7:9)

Friday, January 4, 2013

Just like anybody else

A popular conspiracy theory is to look at U.S. Presidents Lincoln and Kennedy, and find all the similarities between them.  Both last names have the same number of letters.  Lincoln had a secretary named Kennedy and Kennedy had one named Lincoln.  And there are loads of other similarities.  But when you start to think about it more deeply, what we're really doing is cherry-picking the similarities out from the differences.  How many secretaries does a president have?  How many of those secretaries had entirely unexciting names that would obscure the amazing coincidences if they were listed, and so are not mentioned?

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Strengths and Weaknesses

One of my favorite scripture-mastery passages from seminary was Moroni's lament about his weaknesses in writing, and the Lord stating the following:
And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them. (Ether 12:27)