Tuesday, April 30, 2013


As I was talking with my wife, recently, we discussed whether or not I would like to have had a straight orientation.  It was an interesting discussion, and I had some thoughts.

First, I realized that I value my whole self, and changing my orientation would change who I was.  I like who I am, and do not really want to be somebody else.

Friday, April 26, 2013

The Wrong Road

In Norton Juster's book, The Phantom Tollbooth, our protagonist asks directions of someone "Is this the right road for Dictionopolis?"  I love the response.  "I don't know of any wrong road to Dictionopolis, so if this road goes to Dictionopolis at all it must be the right road, and if it doesn't it must be the right road to somewhere else, because there are no wrong roads to anywhere."

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Logical Fallacies - The Straw Man

When I hear the term "straw man" I think of jousting dummies - enemies that are just a set up, that can't fight back.  And that's essentially what a straw man argument is.  It's a logical fallacy in which the opposing view is simplified or subtly replaced in such a way as to make arguments against it easy and powerful.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Vocabulary: Acceptance and Approval

What does it mean to be accepted?  This is a tricky word that gives me trouble.  I know that if I were to submit an application, my application needs to be accepted.  That doesn't mean that it will be approved.  So in this sense, approval is the goal, and acceptance is a step toward that goal.  But I don't think the words are always used that way.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013


I recall my first youth conference, when I was 14.  We had speakers talk about dating and romance, and the humor found in growing up.  One of the speakers talked about the steps of relationships, and the first step was “notice the difference.”  He claimed his three-year-old could probably identify most of us by gender, but he was talking about something different.  I think the general reaction of the audience was “yeah.”  But in reality, I was more like his 3-year-old.

Friday, April 12, 2013


In the Doctrine and Covenants section 20, we are told to pray vocally and in secret.  In the Sermon on the Mount, when giving alms we are told to not let the left hand know what the right one does.  What are the purposes of these secrets?

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Error in Translation

Many years ago on my mission, I often heard the following, usually attributed to some general authority or other: "If you don't look once, you're not a man.  If you look twice, you're not a missionary."  However, I have yet to figure out which supposed general authority said it, so this is more Mormon Rumor than Mormon Doctrine.  Still, I understand what people are trying to say.  And what they were trying to say had to do with girls.  Since I didn't ever look once, I guess I wasn't a man.  But that's not right either, because those who spoke it were working with the tacit assumption that every young man looks once as the basis for a different message.  As I was not forthcoming about my orientation, I can hardly fault them for that assumption.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Just Friends

Here's an interesting thought.  Some students at Utah State University ran an informal poll and discussion about whether or not men and women could be "just friends" or not.  It should be noted that the population they are drawing from is exclusively traditional college students, so the results will not necessarily apply to other demographics.  Take a look.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Imagine a World

Imagine a world where the Puritan version of chastity won out, and people taught and believed that all sexual thoughts were evil (it was the original sin, after all, according to traditional Christianity).  Teenagers, with their raging hormones, were not to be told anything about dealing with their feelings other than they needed more penitence if they kept thinking about romantic relationships.