Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Not Just the Lioness Protects her Young

It is usually our kids' mom who goes to bat for them. But as I had a vested interest from taking many hours of vacation leave to drive my boy and three others down to Caleb Chapman's music program in Utah County, I got into the fray this time. And all it took was a growl.

It wasn't always a sacrifice. I like those kids. One of them is a retro-hippie kid and we love talking politics and economic theory. He thinks I'm cool. I like spending the time with my boy too, even if he has asked me not to sing along with my iPod.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Boy Scouts Luck Out Again

This isn't about the new policy which I support along with the response and position of the LDS Church in this matter. We'll see how it comes out in the long run.

What this is about is "A Scout is trustworthy . . .obedient . . . clean . . . and morally straight." Remember, I'm not talking about the "policy."

My wife does a lot of work for the Scouts on both the Council and National levels. My service is mostly at the local level as Scout Committee Chair. But sometimes my wife consults with me and I help out a little in editing or writing. You might say I am her "ghost writer" but as she takes no name-recognition credit for the work she does, I'm sort of a ghost of a ghost.

One of the projects she was working on for the Great Salt Lake Council was to get the Distinguished Eagle Scout Award program going. This is a recognition for an outstanding (i.e., "distinguished") adult in the community who exemplifies the values of Scouting like those mentioned above. The Council tried to set it up to make Eagle Scout Mark Shurtleff, also Utah State Attorney General, the first recipient and then to serve on the committee to award this honor to others. Well, it didn't work out because of the Attorney General's busy schedule and the fact that he was receiving treatment for cancer at the time which is apparently now in remission. He is no longer Attorney General either, having been replaced in the last election by his chosen favorite, John Swallow.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Mayor of the Munchkin City STILL Not King of the Senate

Senator (Not King) Mike Lee
Mayor of the Munchkin City

So our old friend, Senator Mike Lee, has been hanging around with a bad crowd. Pretty soon they'll whisk him away to Pleasure Island where he'll be smoking cigars, playing pool, drinking beer, and turning into a donkey. (If only). His best friends from the Senate are Tea-Party Ted Cruz and Ayn-Rand Paul. These guys are getting schooled by the Senate's Elder Statesman,. John McCain. (OK, if that last line is true then we're in big trouble.) But the best part was when Senator Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, said on the Senate Floor this week:

Monday, May 20, 2013

Dreamers of the Not So Impossible

My family were not fans of the Kennedys. Even my Democratic paternal grandparents didn't like them for  some reason. But I won't forget when Bobby Kennedy was killed.

It happened late at night after little kids were all in bed. The next morning on the way to school, we were all talking about it. There was a lot of fascination with the fact that football star Rosey Grier had jumped on the killer and taken the gun away from him.

Miss Taylor came in for the second half of the school year. I have no idea why the teachers switched off. If I knew at the time, this ten-year-old little boy forgot long ago. She was young, maybe a brand-new teacher. And it was 1968.

At the end of one school day, and I'm not sure which day after his death as school would soon be out for the summer and that was our main interest, Miss Taylor used her serious voice to tell the class that she had a tribute to Senator Kennedy. She said something about this being important. She held the sheet music and read the lyrics:

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Satan Never Really Wanted to Make Us All "Good"

One of the prime examples of scripture taken out of context to score political points against any progressive idea (and of course, the evils of communist domination - pretty much the same thing for a lot of people) is the one about Satan robbing us of agency to force us all to be good, falsely interpreted as you can't do "good" with government.
And I, the Lord God, spake unto Moses, saying: That Satan, whom thou hast commanded in the name of mine Only Begotten, is the same which was from the beginning, and he came before me, saying—Behold, here am I, send me, I will be thy son, and I will redeem all mankind, that one soul shall not be lost, and surely I will do it; wherefore give me thine honor.

But, behold, my Beloved Son, which was my Beloved and Chosen from the beginning, said unto me— Father, thy will be done, and the glory be thine forever.

Wherefore, because that Satan rebelled against me, and sought to destroy the agency of man, which I, the Lord God, had given him, and also, that I should give unto him mine own power; by the power of mine Only Begotten, I caused that he should be cast down;

And he became Satan, yea, even the devil, the father of all lies, to deceive and to blind men, and to lead them captive at his will, even as many as would not hearken unto my voice. Moses 4:1-4.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Object Lesson Fail - Reasons Not to Sin

The Bloggernacle is driving me crazy these days arguing about modesty and so many other issues. Unless I really need a lengthy discussion and argument about mo-whatevers dancing on pin heads, I'll keep to politics and my own interests.

I just thought one clarification is needed so my issues with bad object lessons are not misunderstood. While I believe it is wrong to teach that we shouldn't sin implying in any way that we can never be fully clean, I do agree that we should keep the commandments and not sin. The problem is--we don't. (1 John 1:8).  Thank heavens for the Atonement and the opportunity to repent!

But here are my reasons why it is better not to sin in the first place:

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Benghazi-gate Arguments Refuted

The following was cross-posted at MormonDems.com today. I am finding the collaborative process there challenging and very fulfilling. Thanks, guys! I think we do need some women MormonDems to join and contribute, however.

I'm glad to still have this blog as I shoot from the cuff a bit more and obviously more freely. I still cite my sources here are you are free to find your own and disagree - even with MormonDems for that matter. I had one other point about this Benghazi mess that I will save for insertion at the end of this piece. Enjoy! (or whatever):

The American people and press have been slapping the suffix “gate” on any real or pretend political scandal since the famous political burglary at the Watergate Hotel in Washington, D.C. That “second-rate” burglary was followed by obstruction of justice in several ways; the payment of cash money from illegal campaign funds to silence the burglars hired by Nixon campaign officials, the attempt to have the CIA cut off the FBI investigation by claiming it was a national security operation arising out of the conflicts with Cuba, the destruction of investigative records by high officials of the FBI, perjury, and various other political dirty tricks in support of Nixon’s reelection in 1972. This led to Nixon’s resignation while articles of impeachment were being prepared.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Guest Blog: My Son's Farewell Address


Elder Yamashita of the Seventy, in his talk titled, “Missionaries are a Treasure of the Church,” shared his experience of being converted and confirmed a member of the Church. He recalled:
“First, the sister was confirmed by Elder Lloyd. I sat down with the other members, closed my eyes, and quietly listened. Elder Lloyd confirmed her and then began to pronounce a blessing on her. However, Elder Lloyd stopped talking, so I opened my eyes and looked at him with an intent gaze.
Even today I can clearly remember that scene. Elder Lloyd’s eyes were overflowing with tears. And for the first time in my life, I experienced being enveloped in the Holy Spirit. And through the Holy Spirit I gained a sure knowledge that Elder Lloyd loved us and that God loved us.”
Elder Yamashita continued by addressing all the missionaries currently serving:

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Good Advice from Anonymous D on Blogging and Life

In some email exchanges about my new blogging opportunities at MormonDems.com, my good buddy offers me this:

I don’t worry about such things going to your head, or really anything about you. If I were in your place the only concern I would have would be maintaining my intellectual integrity. I guess that’s the soul of the artist, what little there is of it in me. The whole subject of draping your personal belief on the gospel has been a real bugaboo with me of late. I’m constantly reminded of the various tales of the counsel in heaven, how that has been co-opted to argue against communism, socialism, health care.

Recently, and you made a comment on this about rape, chastity, and virtue, but the thing is that Moroni 9:9 wasn't meant as a comment about sin. The Lamanite young women were not sinful, but the Nephite men robbed them in a very real way of something they can never get back - [their innocence]. Even with the healing of the Atonement and feeling perfectly clean, victims of such things go through the rest of their lives changed. I’m not saying that the object lessons we teach about the atonement, with the nail leaving a hole, or other craziness are true, they aren’t. But still in this life we live with the burden of things taken, the result of our own sins or others.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013


Our hearts go out to the families of those heroes we lost and to the wounded at Benghazi.

But, the Republican House is convening new hearings to finally blow the lid off what they think is the horrendous scandal of Benghazi or at least get some attention which failed today because of the rescued women in Ohio and the guilty verdict in Arizona.

Testimony today revealed the not so extraordinary information that there was a lot of confusion that night. Shocker!

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Family History: Skeletons in the Closet

If you are a family history enthusiast, you will eventually find some unpleasant facts in the lives of your ancestors. We euphemistically refer to the occasional "horse thief" but it can be much uglier and disturbing than that. Sometimes it can be so horrifically ugly and we think to ourselves, "If only he could have just been a horse thief!" What to do?

One of the reasons I do family history is that I have an innate obsession to be a Truth-Seeker. I don't care how bad it is, I want to know. It's not to revel in the misery of bad things or to gossip or hold family "secrets" over others. I want to understand. Understanding gives me grounding. So many pieces of life and family just click into place in memories when some of these difficulties are uncovered and understood.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Tweeting the NRA

Just couldn't resist sharing a collection of tweets relating to guns and the NRA Convention from the past day or so. Check out some of these:

In the last 3 days, an 8-yo has shot his 5-yo sister (AK), a 5-yo shot his 2-yo sister (KY) & a 7-yo shot his 9-yo sister (WA).

Friday, May 3, 2013

Mitt Romney at the Science Fair

I really, really wanted to like Mitt Romney. I did like his dad whom I believed to be a man of conviction. George Romney was one of the last Republicans to support the Civil Rights movement when the party's ideology was switching driven by Nixon's “Southern Strategy”  (Nixon canvassed the Southern vote with a veiled appeal to white voters using phrases like “law-and-order” to counter the push from Democrats to support civil rights). Mitt, like his father, was a great moderate Republican Governor and I fully supported Romneycare.

Yesterday I read something from a Republican that made a lot of sense in explaining Romney’s recent loss. Representative Pete Sessions explained:

“Mitt Romney appeared like a kid who showed up for his science project and the teacher said, ‘Explain it,’ and Mitt couldn’t do it. His ‘dad,’ Paul Ryan, explained it to him, but Mitt didn’t get it. … That’s why we lost the last election.”

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

“Extra” Pre-1978 Missionary Lesson: Blacks & the Priesthood

[This was cross-posted on Keepapitchinin.org this morning. And I refer you to this link for some interesting comments there including my responses to some of the comments. A palestra original em português, se acha aqui. For my historical and current views on the removal of the Priesthood ban, see my page to the right.]

This is my translation of the “extra” discussion we taught to prospective members of African ancestry in the Brazil Porto Alegre Mission 1976-1978. It was referred to as the “Eighth Discussion” or “Discussion K,” the Baptismal Challenge, the short Discussion H, not being counted in the numbering system. (The lettering started with “C” for some reason). It was not an official church missionary discussion. And I certainly understood it that way at the time. It was shared around the mission in an informal way - never having any direct instruction from our Mission President to teach it. I seem to recall the copy I had was on a mimeographed sheet.

The principal false doctrines included are the interpretations from Abraham 1 and 3:22-23, and Moses 7:22 about Cain, a priesthood curse, blackness, etc. These scriptures are subject to many interpretations and do not compel the conclusions of this “extra” discussion or a priesthood ban by revelation. The other, and maybe even more troubling false doctrine, is a rather broad extrapolation from Abraham 3:22-23 that we are all born in this life according to what we deserved in the pre-existence. I don’t think the scripture leads to that interpretation at all. The idea does appear in Mormon folklore, but is not official doctrine of the LDS Church. I remember a World Religion class taught by Spencer J. Palmer at BYU in about 1980 where that idea was shot down pretty clearly.