Friday, August 28, 2015

The Joys of Scouting

Two Cubs building their Rain Gutter Regatta boats
"Don't it always seem to go, you don't know what you've got 'til it's gone?" 
Pictures speak by thousands but Joni Mitchell nailed in just a few.

Early last night I helped my wife in her role as Cub Committee Chair out of sheer joy and love for her, and also for Scouting. We almost lost it. And I've never appreciated it more.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints issued the following statement Wednesday from the Council of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles regarding the Church’s relationship with the Boy Scouts of America:
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints appreciates the positive contributions Scouting has made over the years to thousands of its young men and boys and to thousands of other youth. As leaders of the Church, we want the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) to succeed in its historic mission to instill leadership skills and high moral standards in youth of all faiths and circumstances, thereby equipping them for greater success in life and valuable service to their country.
In the resolution adopted on July 27, 2015, and in subsequent verbal assurances to us, BSA has reiterated that it expects those who sponsor Scouting units (such as the Church) to appoint Scout leaders according to their religious and moral values “in word and deed and who will best inculcate the organization’s values through the Scouting program.” At this time, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will go forward as a chartering organization of BSA, and as in the past, will appoint Scout leaders and volunteers who uphold and exemplify Church doctrine, values, and standards.
With equal concern for the substantial number of youth who live outside the United States and Canada, the Church will continue to evaluate and refine program options that better meet its global needs.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Basic Principles of the Gospel -- in Japan

My Son, A-5, gave a talk in another ward as a "traveling elder" with the Stake High Counselor last Sunday. He shared the text with me so I could post it here:

Minasan konnichiwa!

A-5 on the left
My name is Aaron Vaughn. Recently, I've returned from serving a mission in Nagoya Japan. I grew up down the street in the Centerville 3rd Ward. This summer, I've just been working with the Bountiful City Parks and Rec, and I will be going down to BYU this next week to play trumpet in the marching band and to study Physics and Japanese.
I'm grateful for this opportunity to speak and share some of the experiences I had on my mission regarding how the gospel changes lives.
First, I want to ask, what is the Gospel of Jesus Christ? The first answer that often comes to mind is the 4th Article of Faith. “The first principles and ordinances of the Gospel are: first, Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ; second, Repentance; third, Baptism by immersion for the remission of sins; fourth, Laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost.” While those are all very important parts of the Gospel, in True to the Faith, we can find a more compact definition. It reads, “The gospel is our Heavenly Father's plan of happiness. The central doctrine of the gospel is the Atonement of Jesus Christ.” In Japanese, the word for Gospel, 福音, is made from two characters. “”which means happiness, and “”which means sound. So literally, the gospel is a sound of happiness.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

"Fools give you reasons, Wise men never try."

The Utah Shakespeare Festival at Cedar City was great this year. We enjoyed good times with good friends and saw three plays. Only one was Shakespeare, Henry IV, Part 2. People are oddly apologetic for the historical plays and they are the reason I love Shakespeare (even if some of the history is subject to debate).

The greatest moment was when I met one of the actors who happened to sit in the row behind us in South Pacific.

My new buddy, Falstaff, and I
Yes, that's John Ahlin who played Sir John (Jack) Falstaff in Henry 4.2 the night before! And I impressed the actor by introducing myself as a descendant of Davy Gam (Dafydd ap Llywellyn) who is named in the lists of the dead in Henry V.

The character of Falstaff was my first introduction to the higher forms of the performance arts. It was in fourth grade when we had the blessed opportunity of loading up on school buses to attend a kids' program at the Seattle Opera. It was a few scenes from Verdi's Falstaff including a revelation of a bit of stagecraft with Falstaff falling off a bed and his corpulent body switched out for some brightly colored cloth matching his clothes. (Why Falstaff would be hiding in bedrooms they never quite explained). And that's all it took for me to fall in love with a stage full of music and action.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Granfer Ben "Died of Women" in Salt Lake City

While still a gratuitous polygamy joke, it is one of the best I've heard:
Handsome devil, apparently, handy with the mountain fighters and spare-time on the females. . . .
And when Brigham Young's people came to the Top Towns on speculation, he was off to Salt Lake City and the Latter Day Saints. No sight nor sound of him since--must have died of women, I reckon.
'There are worse ways of dying,' said Dewi, and I saw my father give him a queer old look and a sigh.
This is from Song of the Earth, by Alexander Cordell, the conclusion to the historical fiction trilogy of the Mortymer and Evans Families in the southern valleys of Wales during the harsh Industrial Revolution. Revolution? Should be "Revolutions," plural.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Grant V's Big Adventure

In Washington DC for a work-required conference, I had to travel to Main Interior to meet with someone on another work matter and call a Judge. So I hopped in our agency limo and headed downtown.

It wasn't really that big of an adventure as I started out at Main Interior some 30 years ago and somehow managed the commute back then. It's just that as I age, my life takes on more epic meaning and I have a Samsung S-6 to document the epicness:

Aparrently they are still working on our federal employee limo service

Thursday, July 30, 2015

The Fires of Nantyglo - "Rape of the Fair Country" by Alexander Cordell

Above is a memorial to men killed in the Chartist Uprising of 1839. Many Survivors were convicted of crimes and sent to Van Diemen's Land - Tasmania, Australia.

The historical novel by Alexander Cordell hits close to the home of my ancestors at the forges on the other side of the Blorenge from Llanfoist where they lived. The forges are where they worked as puddlers. 

It's still not known how they became puddlers in the midst of industrial turmoil and desperate poverty. It may have been that they were hired to replace striking workers like those demanding voting rights and parliamentary reform in the tragic assault on Newport - the characters in Cordell's historical novel. No sign yet that the Vaughans were involved in Chartism as they remained, alive, and not shipped to Australia - (except we're trying to track down one son-in-law, William Delahay, who disappears from the records in Wales and may have ended up there or in New South (very south) Wales. His wife, Catherine Vaughan, may have been baptized a Mormon. Elder Needham's journal is not clear on this point.) 

Thursday, July 23, 2015

More Family Tetons, er, Totems

I visited my Aunt today up on the hill and noticed another piece of my Dad's artwork I needed to photograph. They deserve more professionalism than I can give, but hey, I've got to get what I can. And they're pretty great paintings!

The Grand Tetons, Wyoming, USA
(c) 1975, Larry K. Vaughn
There is nothing to say on the beauty of the rendering of the subject but to thank my Dad. l also thank Franklin D. Roosevelt, the Antiquities Act, and the secret negotiations with the Rockefellers that resulted in a National Park. (Look it up.)