Saturday, March 30, 2013


Los Angeles, California Temple, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
Peace and Temples. It's been a theme of mine noting the connection in scripture. Being in the LA area visiting with my first granddaughter (oh, yeah - and my son and daughter-in-law), I thought this picture of the LA Temple reflects the peace I feel with Temples.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Shame, Shame on Senator Mike Lee (R. Utah)

Mike Lee has signed on to a letter promising a filibuster on any gun safety legislation that comes before the US Senate. This is a disgrace. And shame on any of you who support him in this.

The fundamental human and constitutional right is the Right to Life. Any interpretation of the Second Amendment that ends up with some idea of self-defense or even rising up against the government is certainly secondary (of course, totally wrong as well). As I told Senator Lee whose comment options included "Gun Rights": Guns don't have rights, People do.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Ground Shaking Beneath Our Feet

Weird sense of the Wasatch Front shifting - or Korean bomb tests - or "Cats and Dogs living together! Mass Hysteria!" . . . . or, "I'm not dead . . . . I feel happy. I feeeeeel happy." [klonk]. . . . or, "I'm in pain, and I'm wet, and I'm still hysterical!"

All I can do is repeat myself (not being sure that anyone ever reads my "pages" to the side there) →

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

The Dems Give Me A Picture!

Good thing I have a library to hang it in!

See Keepa Today

I'll admit I've been lying low politically to avoid compromising any further my conscientious objector status in the culture wars which is becoming almost impossible as events in Scouting and SCOTUS are overtaking us.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Taking A-5 to the Temple

My son, A-5 (fifth child) and I at the Bountiful Temple this afternoon
One of the requirements for a missionary once they have a call is to go to the House of the Lord to be endowed with power from on high. My second daughter, A-4, has to wait a few more weeks until just before her wedding in the Temple to receive the same endowment as she chose not to go on a mission (which is just fine by me and the Lord).

Friday, March 22, 2013

Colonoscopy: It Won't Kill Ya & It Might Save Your Life

My wrist bands. Allergies are for penicillin and sulfa drugs
This is a PSA (Public Service Announcement).

By specific request of some of my Facebook friends, I will not discuss the preparation process. Suffice to say that it's better than it used to be, cuz I remember some really nasty stuff I had to drink once. I also remember the first time when my doctor tried to do it without sedation (for me). Make sure you get the anesthesia.

But let me just say it gets better and easier all the time. The worst of my experience was with the lack of food and increasing dehydration, I got a really bad migraine late last night to the point of near delirium mumbling that my wife should just take me to the emergency room (they do have those magic injections). She didn't.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Book of Mormon Conspiracy Stories

Furthering my experiment upon the word to liken the scriptures unto us, I came across an interesting conspiracy theory last night. Right at the end of the Book of Helaman there is a bit explaining the convoluted theory the unrighteous Nephites came up with to reject the prophecies of the coming of a Savior, Jesus Christ. A part of that seemed awfully familiar to the current political scene. Try thinking of this passage in terms of the "lame-stream media" and "welfare state" and "dependency" on government. I guess you also have to be really creative to think about things like the safety-net (Medicare, Social Security, "general welfare*," and even Obamacare) to be things that are "good" rather than stealing free agency. I know it may be a stretch, but give it a try:

Love & Law Enforcement

Under licence for free use by Creative Commons credit to wackystuff
My career in law enforcement was about as successful as my first romance. Oh yeah, they were actually at the same time!

It was fifth grade. I was selected to be a crossing guard the next year as it was the privileged domain of sixth-graders. The last week of school we received our training from the out-going sixth-graders then had one day on our own when they went to the Seattle Center for their year-end extravaganza.

The power rush was real. There was a belt with a badge just like in the picture above. There was also a red flag with "STOP!" diagonally in white - and a helmet. It was so cool! And to make it even more exciting, I sort of had a girlfriend. She made the guard patrol too.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Nephite Health Care

The Kingmen's plan was to put all their friends in power against the voice of the people so they could control all the riches and leave the poor church people to their own devices. Certainly, the poor's silly religious beliefs would help them out if they were attacked, hungry or got sick. It sure wasn't the Kingmen's responsibility. The Zoramites did one better and kicked the poor right out of their church because they were obviously not favored of the Lord - that was in the standard "prayer" of the Zoramites. (See Alma 31 for the Zoramites, Alma 51 etc. for the Kingmen - oh heck, just read the whole book!)

Last night I helped with some priesthood blessings to heal the sick. Faith helps the healing process while still using all the physical miracles of modern medical science that the Lord has blessed us with here on earth. This family has a son in the hospital with very serious illness. He was one of my Scouts. We saw him a little earlier yesterday evening. The blessings were for his Dad who is going in for hip surgery this morning in another hospital and for his Mom who is beside herself with worry and fear - not to mention lack of sleep. The Dad works hard with his own business. The mother works in a basic job for local government, but it is the one that has health benefits for the family. Thank Heavens!

I have a couple of other friends who are professionals. They both work very hard and are good at what they do with great benefit to society. One currently has employment with health coverage. The other does not. Even the one with access has not always had it as she has been an independent contractor at times. The one who doesn't have it currently has had coverage in the past as she had state government employment that dried up due to cuts throughout government. Why is one entitled to easy access to medical care and the other is not? It makes no sense to me. Maybe it's their own fault, but then we'd have to answer to King Benjamin. (Just read the whole book! And please, not in the style of  the Pharisees or the Skousenites.)

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Jupiter, Moon Are Alright Tonight

My children, their spouses, and wife who are much more science-oriented than I said that this was an important astronomical event and for me to go take a picture. So, there it is. The moon and just above and slightly right is supposedly Jupiter. My little, digital, pocket Canon seems to have picked it up.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Over the Top - California Here We Come!

Thought I'd give you something good for going over 100,000 page views. California!

Oddly, I've never been a huge fan. In fact, growing up in Washington State, I thought it was only people from other Western States that disliked California. When I went to Maryland for Law School, I discovered the the East Coast hates California even more. But now that my only granddaughter is living in the LA Area, and by oldest boy works for Disney, and we've just spent one of the coldest, snowiest winters in Utah, California here we come!

Uchtdorf-Obama: Winning Ticket on Immigration

I've been checking the White House website daily to see if they would publish a photo of President Uchtdorf, Second Counselor in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints First Presidency, meeting with President Obama. Finally, one came out in the Church News today.

White House Photo by Pete Souza (Public Domain)
It's great that our People's White House freely shares its photos into the public domain, but this is the first one I've seen released on the meeting with religious leaders on Immigration Reform. It would appear that the LDS Church or at least the Church News had some opportunity to select this particular photo as it appears that President Uchtdorf is dominating the room at this moment with the President in rapt attention. Go, Dieter!! (I guess I should give a more respectful, "Congratulations, President Uchtdorf.")

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

A Voice from the Dust

Salt Lake City Cemetery from Find a Grave
We talk a lot in the LDS Church about the Book of Mormon being the fulfillment of the prophecy in Isaiah 29 about a "voice from the dust." In fact, the Book of Mormon itself makes the claim. I believe it.

Yet there there are other voices related to these principles. One of them came to me today.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013


Politics are hardly fun anymore - especially when one is sequestered. At least I don't have to vote for a new Pope. Ryan's budget is out and it's the same old reverse Robin Hood, taking from the poor to give to the rich. But there is this interesting tidbit. His last proposal would take forty years to balance the budget. This new plan supposedly takes only ten. The difference? The fiscal cliff deal and the increased revenue from not continuing all the Bush tax cuts. Seems to me if we increased revenues just a tiny bit more, we could balance the budget tomorrow. But we'd still have to deal with the Hood-Robin business.

Anyway, I thought it might be entertaining to show you some other rejects - the comments I have sent to the spam folder. A friend of mine, another moderate Mormon (not sure how much "passion" but he did serve a mission under President Wayne Owens - U.S. Congressman - D. Utah), asked me if I got a lot of nasty comments. Surprisingly, relatively few. I'll organize them by my rejection criteria down at the comment box.

Please, please understand that I do not subscribe to any of the statements below! (Tempted to use caps there, but I restrained myself.)

Monday, March 11, 2013

Battle of Internet Ethics

Leaving aside the trolls, sock puppets, hijacking, and general rudeness of the internet, I had my first experience (that I know of) with old-fashioned plagiarism. That is, stealing my intellectual property - and I won. (Well, sorta).

It went down like this. My uncle called me out of the blue yesterday afternoon and said there was this interesting Facebook historical page with some pictures of people I might recognize. When I went there, I saw my little brother at my Grandpa's bowling alley and then, a family portrait of my Grandparents and their offspring, including three young grandsons, I being the oldest. I knew immediately that they were from my posting on the Gay Way in Fruitland, Idaho. I thought that was kind of cool. But then, "Wait a minute! There's no link to my blog!" There wasn't any attribution at all. So, I went to battle.

I first posted a fairly polite notice  on the Facebook page that they had taken my pictures without permission or any link to my blog and I added such a link. Then I posted this on Facebook [with reference to their site I am now boycotting]:
So this is kind of cool. Pics from my blog got posted on the ____ Co. Historical page. But WITHOUT ATTRIBUTION!! I gave them a friendly and diplomatic reprimand and I'll be waiting for the apology . . . waiting . . . . I easily forgive, but . . . waiting. . . .

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Tolkien on Marriage

As I have allowed myself to be drawn into the "culture wars" more than I had wanted, but mainly due to events overtaking me, I thought I would share something from J.R.R. Tolkien that I have long believed even if I might express it in a bit more modern terminology or sentiment. This is not fantasy in any sense. It is a letter to his son discussing some very important concepts about love and marriage. I think they are valid and have relevance today.

There is only one issue I address up front in that Tolkien makes a passing reference to Brigham Young. It is a fairly positive "humorous" comment, yet for LDS readers and maybe others it tends to distract from the bigger theme unless we just acknowledge it and state that neither I nor the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints advocate for plural marriage (at least since 1890 - well before my time).

With that out of the way, here is a portion of Tolkien's letter to his son:

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Woods Cross - Old & New

My BYU boy came up from Provo on the Frontrunner Train. It's been going between Ogden and Salt Lake for a few years and they just extended service to Provo a few months back. I met him at the closest stop, Woods Cross, where old becomes new.

There are these great historical displays of old structures from Woods Cross (aka South Bountiful, North Salt Lake or West Bountiful). In this one above, the ghost of the old South Bountiful Meeting House eerily appears with the mountains behind.

The Spousal Connection & Singles

Caveats first. I have no answer for single people. This is not a preachment for people to get married. This is a feeble attempt to respond to a good friend's valid questions (and after consulting with her):
What I wish the Church would do is address the peculiar needs of singles in a practical, doctrinal way. Rather than telling us to bake cookies for the neighborhood kids as a substitute for motherhood – or, in the case of a current Ensign article, as a substitute for real integration into the ward – I wish the Church would get specific about why marriage and family are so great. I am told all the time that marriage is awesome. I want to know why it is awesome.
If we could tick off a few points about what eternal principles married people are enabled to learn and practice by virtue of their being married, and tick off a few other points about how learning such things enables a soul to progress on its eternal journey, then we could go on to the next step of thinking about how singles could, in part at least, work on those same principles, make that same progress, despite our singleness. It’s got to be about more than sex, right? But I have yet to have it made clear to me what marriage teaches that I will have to learn after I die when suddenly everything is supposed to get all better for me.
From Keepapitchinin: Being a 50-Something Single in the Church.
This pains me terribly because I don't have good answers. And I agree that I wish the church would. I could still find myself single at any moment through accident or whatever and I don't know how I could face that.

I think about this more than maybe I should. It comes to focus when I am required to travel without my wife or she without me as is the case this weekend. It is much more than the physical intimacy [my preferred term as it is much more than the sex act - whatever that is].

I reread the "50-Something" posting without reading all the comments again. I'm even in there with a comment and I tried to be as sympathetic as I could. I mean, I consider the author a good friend. We've actually made an intellectual and spiritual connection in my opinion and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. We've shared our blogging and had lunch together a few times, and on rare occasion, we run into each other as we both work in downtown Salt Lake City. And all that is great fun.

But when I am physically apart from my wife, I notice the loss of something significant. She has become a part of me and I of her. This is in the same way it works with friendship but in a less all-encompassing way. I truly believe the scriptures that talk about a husband and wife "becoming one." But the household of Christ's Disciples also has the same charge. This may be where the imperfections of the earthly church come in as we humans of the "Kingdom of God" on earth may be failing each other. We are not yet one in the church.

Occasionally we do make those "becoming one" connections individually or in groups. There are missionary companionships or good friends that can become this way. I have one with a dear friend, my brother-in-law (technically my wife's sister's husband - aka "Anonymous D"). Our relationship connection is through two marriages. I have no idea if we would have had a chance to meet in any other circumstance. There is a true intellectual, emotional, spiritual intimacy. Physical - is to be in each other's presence (it certainly does not involve sex - but there is the odd connection that we are married to sisters - and I'd better stop there as our friendship does before this gets really weird).

So, what do I mean about becoming one in the all-encompassing way with a spouse? This is so difficult without lapsing into schmaltzy sentimentalism of a Hallmark greeting card. But here we go.

My wife and I understand each other better than any other person in the world. We are to the point now (coming to 33 years of marriage), that we can finish each other's sentences or thoughts or can understand each other without even speaking - not always. We are not completely one. We don't always agree. But we have learned where the principle differences are and we have found the common ground to carry on.

We operate in different spheres. I don't mean male and female roles. Generally, we are fairly mainstream and conservative on "roles." But my wife now works for wages and has in the past. I do laundry, iron (occasionally), clean anything (I actually am an expert on bathrooms having done custodial work while in high school), and I clean windows (and seem to be the only one who does.) My wife does home repair and shovels snow on occasion. She is more outgoing in the community and the world. I won't list all her engagements and accomplishments but it's quite impressive. I've done well enough with my career and financial support for the family. She went back to teaching because of our discussions that she has always loved it and is so good at it, she needs to be prepared in case something happens to me, and she is helping us get ready for retirement so we can go on missions - part of that is to pay for all her local and national activities because we "as one" joked that it seemed my salary was going to support her volunteerism (and our itemized deductions don't even come close to covering all of that).

What is making us one is common interest. And that's a bit of an odd statement. I spent the early years of our marriage often wondering and sometimes (unfortunately) expressing my questions as to why we were together because our personal and private interests are so different from each other. Even our personalities are in some ways directly opposite. Opposites attract they say and we balance each other. Yes, we have more than common ground from fairly similar family and economic backgrounds and certainly in a shared religious faith, giving us enough grounding to learn to respect, appreciate, and even share the differences. The actual common interest that I eventually discovered was simply us. The kids don't even come into it that strongly (no offense to our wonderful and well-beloved children, their spouses, and our grandchildren).

It has always struck me as odd that the most important family relationship in LDS culture and I think generally in world-wide, cross-cultural, family structure is between the two people who are not physically related. There are obvious biological reasons for that, I guess. But still, the commission is that we rely on our covenant made to each other and with God to make us "one."

So, marriage is an opportunity to work on being "one." A successful marriage means that it works, or at least is heading in the right direction. A failed marriage is when two individuals are not heading in the direction of becoming "one."

When I was a new bishop shocked by the realization of how few marriages in the ward reflected the process of becoming "one," I asked a friend with impressive academic training in family relations if he could recommend a good book on marriage. His answer, "Anna Karenina." I've read it a couple of times. And I see that he was right. Forget the main story-line as the example of how it can go wrong in so many ways. It's the fleshing out of all the other characters that makes the book, particularly the direct contrast with Anna and her "dashing" officer with the love of Levin and Kitty.

Check out a few random quotes like this:
“All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” [opening lines]
“I've always loved you, and when you love someone, you love the whole person, just as he or she is, and not as you would like them to be.” 
“But the law of loving others could not be discovered by reason, because it is unreasonable.”
“And those who only know the non-platonic love have no need to talk of tragedy. In such love there can be no sort of tragedy.”
“Kitty got up to fetch a table, and, as she passed, her eyes met Levin's. She felt for him with her whole heart, the more because she was pitying him for a suffering of which she was herself the cause. "If you can forgive me, forgive me," said her eyes, "I am so happy."
And Tolstoy takes us out with my favorite quote:
"Levin had been married three months. He was happy, but not at all in the way he had expected to be. At every step he found his former dreams disappointed, and new, unexpected surprises of happiness. He was happy; but on entering upon family life he saw at every step that it was utterly different from what he had imagined. At every step he experienced what a man would experience who, after admiring the smooth, happy course of a little boat on a lake, should get himself into that little boat. He saw that it was not all sitting still, floating smoothly; that one had to think too, not for an instant to forget where one was floating; and that there was water under one, and that one must row; and that his unaccustomed hands would be sore; and that it was only to look at it that was easy; but that doing it, though very delightful, was very difficult.
As a bachelor, when he had watched other people's married life, seen the petty cares, the squabbles, the jealousy, he had only smiled contemptuously in his heart. In his future married life there could be, he was convinced, nothing of that sort; even the external forms, indeed, he fancied, must be utterly unlike the life of others in everything. And all of a sudden, instead of his life with his wife being made on an individual pattern, it was, on the contrary, entirely made up of the pettiest details, which he had so despised before, but which now, by no will of his own, had gained an extraordinary importance that it was useless to contend against. And Levin saw that the organization of all these details was by no means so easy as he had fancied before."
I don't know that Tolstoy has any answers for Singles either. Except that the small boat Levin entered in marriage, is the same boat we climb into with any human interaction, even the most casual contact. How do we stay afloat? How hard is it to keep moving towards becoming "one" and connecting with that person? And married people in entering the boat with anyone single need to do a little better at the oars - maybe let the single person take a turn with them once in a while.

When will we be one with the household of Faith as our Father in Heaven and Jesus are One?

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Classic Filibuster - Drone on the Drones!

Senator Rand Paul (R. Kentucky)
Senator Ron Wyden (D. Oregon)

I caught some tweets and news clips of an unlikely hero (of mine), Sen. Rand Paul (R. Kentucky). I've been hard on him in the past and probably will in the future as I have just found one and only one area of agreement. And that is opposition to the Drone War. It's also the one area where I have strong disagreement with President Obama. He should know better. And my optimistic idealism leads me to hope that it is all part of a grand strategy to have it cut off before the end of his second term, hopefully with a clear decision by the Supreme Court so no President will ever do it again. (One can dream.)

It was fascinating as an old style filibuster with the Senator on his feet only yielding for questions (in the form of drawn out speeches ending in a question) by pre-arranged associates who would carry on the filibuster. Mike Lee (R. Utah - groan, now he does something I like), Ted Cruz (R. Texas), Jerry Moran (R. Kansas), Marco Rubio (R. Florida - who told him to keep his water close by), Saxby Chambliss (R. Georgia), John Cornyn (R. Texas), and Pat Toomey (R. Pennsylvania), [and John Barrasso (R. Wyoming)] - a regular tea party jamboree!! And then, and this is a big deal, Ron Wyden (D. Oregon) - one of my heroes for other reasons! (Mostly which I can't go into until I retire).

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Sequester Day 5 - We the People's Government Still Works!

A daily-count rundown on the Sequester (aka "kidnapping") like the Iran Hostage Crisis is just too ambitious for me, but something rather positive happened today if only tangential.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Sequester Day 4

Not all is as gloomy as this recent photo of Speaker Boehner would lead one to believe:

Speaker of the House John ("Mr. Happy") Boehner 
Both the Congress and the President are indicating that they want no government shutdown come the end of March when the current Continuing Resolution (CR) funding the government, now with sequestration, expires. They are working on a CR with a little more flexibility for Defense and Veterans Programs, and maybe other discretionary spending. Whatever. I'm still willing to sacrifice a few days of furlough to see the country get its act together and the Congress pass a budget (where the Constitutional duty lies - not with the President!).

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Republican Family Budgets

I'm really having a hard time understanding the Republican strategy here. In this article at Roll Call it explains:
Speaker John A. Boehner, R-Ohio, and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., insisted that any revenue from a tax overhaul would have to be reserved for reducing tax rates and not used to fund government spending or lower the deficit.
Does that make any sense to anyone out there?

On the family budget analysis analogy, it appears they are sitting around the kitchen table planning that the family breadwinners go to their bosses to ask for less money so they can avoid paying their debts and taking care of their children and aged grandma. Am I missing something?

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Confederate Love

Saratoga Springs Mayor and failed candidate for U.S. Congress, Mia Love
Promoting gun rights at Utah State Capitol

US Dept. of the Interior - Only True & Living Federal Agency

Although, I'm not so sure the Lord was always so well pleased (I'm very roughly wresting scriptures from D&C 1:30).

This posting has three main points that interrelate. First, and as we enter into the sequester to test whether this nation, or any nation so conceived can long endure (great, now we're slipping into Lincoln), I note for the record that the United States Department of Interior is the only federal agency mentioned in official scripture of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Pretty cool, no? It comes in Official Declaration No. 1, found at the end of the Doctrine & Covenants (Well, right before OD2, the official end at least for now).

The context is that LDS Church President Wilford Woodruff refers to a report to the Secretary of the Interior making certain claims about the practice of plural marriage among the Mormons. Why the Secretary of the Interior? Because one of the charges of the Department is to oversee U.S. territories (43 U.S.C. § 1458) - which still happens with the few remaining that we have - principally, Guam, American Samoa, the U.S. Virgin Islands, even Puerto Rico could be considered as such. But each of these has a very complicated history of their legal status - as does Utah, for that matter.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Dydd Gwyl Dewi Hapus

Dewi Sant
Stained glass window in Jesus College Chapel,
Oxford, showing St David. Late 19th century

OK, as it's St. David's Day, this is my first posting principally in Welsh, and because I haven't yet mastered the language, I count this as a guest post from Cymraeg Wikipedia. Try Google translate and see how it comes out:

Dewi Sant (bl. 6ed ganrif; bu farw yn 589 yn ôl Rhigyfarch[1]) yw nawddsant Cymru. Ni wyddom lawer amdano. Mae'n sicr iddo fyw yng Nghymru a'i fod yn chwarter Cymro o leiaf.

Yn ôl traddodiad cafodd ei eni yn Henfynyw ger Aberaeron, ond mae traddodiad arall yn cyfeirio at Capel Non, gerllaw Eglwys Gadeiriol Tyddewi heddiw. Ei fam oedd y santesNon a'i dad oedd Sandde brenin Ceredigion.

Mae'n eithaf sicr iddo sefydlu ei abaty yn Nhyddewi (yr hen enw oedd Mynyw: Menevia) ac mae cyfeiriad at fynachlog yno mewn llawysgrif Wyddelig o tua'r flwyddyn 800. Enw arall ar y lle yw Glyn Rhosyn, sy'n gamgyfieithiad o'r Lladin vallis rosina sydd, o'i gyfieithu'n gywir, yn golygu cwm corsiog.