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Friday, July 25, 2014

MMM Library: Is Tithing the Same as Giving to Charity?

by Kyle:

On [the August 15, 2012] episode of NBC’s Rock Center with Brian Williams, reporter Natalie Morales interviewed Ann Romney, wife of Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney. You can see the interview here.

During the course of the interview the questions turned to the campaign, and to their refusal to release additional tax returns to the public. At the conclusion of her reasons for not releasing additional tax returns, she said that they pay their taxes, and added “beyond paying our taxes we give ten percent of our income to charity.” I know the Romney’s have given a great amount to various charitable organizations outside of the LDS community, but this sparked in my mind a debate: is paying tithing the same as donating money to charity?

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Do Hard Things

by Seattle Jon:

Summit of Mount Adams. Mount Rainier in the distance.

I recently summited Mount Adams with my two oldest children, Ella (14) and Will (12). The 12,281 foot strato-volcano is the second highest mountain in the state of Washington, and while the climb isn't that technical, crampons and ice axes are needed and people do die in pursuit of the summit.

The six-mile climb from trailhead to summit took two days and was extremely difficult, one of the most physically and mentally challenging things I've done in my life. Part of me wonders what I was thinking doing this with them, but the other part thinks I don't do enough hard things with my kids.

My sense is too many kids these days live less-challenged lives. Society, it seems, has extremely low expectations of kids, especially teenagers, which can cause them to then have low expectations of themselves. Providing opportunities for kids to get out of their comfort zone and encouraging them to exceed expectations as often as possible should foster personal growth on a level we're not used to seeing.

We've already seen changes in Ella and Will - some subtle and some extraordinary - since the climb.

Will was a machine on the climb, leading our party of six for most of the way. I could not pass him no matter how hard I tried. He was the first to start out after breaks and the first to summit. Since the climb, he's been more patient and fun with his brothers, and interestingly, a smarter eater. I'm thinking this might be because we were careful about what food we packed and how we had to ration near the end of the climb. He also seems more mature and a little wiser than before. Instead of poorly managing his time last year as an 11 year-old scout camper, returning with only one complete and two partial merit badges, he returned this year the week following the climb with five merit badges and no partials after planning to complete just three. Coincidence?

View from camp. Mount St. Helens in the distance.

Ella has been a different young woman since the climb. There was a moment on the mountain that could have been a turning point for her personally. We'd reached the false summit, about 800 feet below the true summit. We were exhausted and our food and water were running low. Rather than resting, Will and I pushed ahead, leaving Ella and her cousin to follow with another member of the party. When that person had to sit out the final ascent due to injury, Ella and her cousin had a choice to make. They could sit out too, or get up and climb a very difficult last 800 feet to the summit by themselves. I can't tell you how cool it was to look back down the mountain and see them trudging up the snow and ice. I think Ella knows she made a difficult choice and accomplished something amazing, and it changed her. Since returning, she has been more confident, happy and content; less moody, judgmental and reclusive; and quicker to forgive and express love. Surely this too can't be a coincidence.

What is it about doing hard things that changes who we are?

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Seattle Jon is a family man, little league coach, urban farmer and businessman living in Seattle. He currently gets up early with the markets to trade bonds for a living. In his spare time he enjoys movies, thrifting and is an avid reader. He is a graduate of Brigham Young University and the Japan Fukuoka mission field. He has one wife, four kids and three chickens.
 photo Line-625_zpse3e49f32.gifImage credit: GB Overton (used with permission).

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

The Mormon Comic Sans Project 2

by Scott Heffernan:

The Mormon Comic Sans Project is an ongoing design exercise that involves taking Mormon-related logos, and replacing them with designer-unfriendly Comic Sans font. You can see the first batch here. They are kind of hideous and glorious at the same time.

There are still plenty of logos to go, but if there's one in particular you'd like to see in the next batch, let me know in the comments.

(Click on any image to see the original logo.)

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

MMM Cross Stitches: Love At Home Edition

by Shawn Tucker:

As Modern Mormon Men, we know the value of surrounding ourselves with images that convey love and understanding. And what could convey love and understanding better than a cross stitch?  The below cross stitches are part of an ongoing series, cross stitches that you can make for your home. Knowing how many of you regularly cross stitch messages like the ones given below, please add yours to the comments.

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Shawn Tucker grew up with amazing parents and five younger, wonderful siblings. He served as a missionary in Chile during the Plebiscite and the first post-dictatorship election. After his mission, he attended BYU, where he married ... you guessed it ... his wife. They both graduated, with Shawn earning a BA in Humanities. Fearing that his BA in Humanities, which is essentially a degree in Jeopardy, would not be sufficient, Shawn completed graduate work in the same ... stuff ... at Florida State University. He currently teaches at Elon University in North Carolina. He and ... you guessed it ... his wife have four great children. Twitter: @MoTabEnquirer. Website:

Monday, July 21, 2014

True Grit and the Tour de France

by Reid:

Andy Talansky off the bike in the stage 7 sprint finish

Every summer I have a fight with myself that I predictably lose. The ever-present doping scandels and scoundrels of professional cycling make me vow to stop watching. Then the Tour de France begins and I cave in like a house of cards.

Andrew Talansky breathed a giant breath of life back into U.S. hopes in European pro peloton when this promising young American stood on the top step of the podium last month as the winner of the Criterium du Dauphine. Winners of the Dauphine are always competitive at the Tour, and frequently gone on to win it. Andy had horrific crashes in stages 7 and 8 which forced him to abandon the race after stage 11.

Friday, July 18, 2014

MMM Library: The Six TV Shows That Make Me a Better Man

by brettmerritt:

Of the 25 or so shows listed as "Season Series" on our family's DVR, a few are shows that only I like to watch. I got thinking as I looked at my list of shows. I started wondering which ones I could let go. I started asking, "Do the shows I like do anything to make me a better man? Do they teach me anything? Or are they just filler, a means to escape for a few hours a night?" If they were only filler, I deleted them.

Of the shows that were left, I could honestly say each one meant something to me personally. Some are shows I watch not only because they entertain but specifically because I like what a specific character shows about being a man in today's society. Here they are:

1. Friday Night Lights - Coach Taylor

I only started watching FNL this year. I had heard how great the show was from a number of friends and so when the entire series -- minus the final/current season -- became available on Netflix Instant, I started watching. I was instantly hooked for one reason: Coach Taylor. I could do an entire post on this guy. I watched this character and wanted to be just like him. I can say that I have never felt that way about a fictional TV character before in my life. Here are some qualities Coach Taylor has that every man should admire and emulate: totally faithful to his wife, leads his home, loves his job, works hard, makes time for his family, is a consistent father, has principles he will not back down from, keeps his word, picks his battles, admits his mistakes, preaches and practices honor and humility.

Quote: "Listen to me. I said you need to strive to better than everyone else. I didn't say you needed to be better than everyone else. But you gotta try. That's what character is. It's in the try."

2. Modern Family - Phil Dunphy

He often takes things too far (it's a comedy, after all) but Phil Dunphy is a well-meaning, lovable, earnest goof. He isn't afraid to risk and try something silly. We all shouldn't take ourselves so seriously. When we screw up, we should admit it, apologize and move on. He also loves the hell out of his wife and kids.

Quote: "I am brave. Roller coasters? Love 'em. Scary movies? I've seen Ghostbusters like seven times. I regularly drive through neighborhoods that have only recently been gentrified. So yeah I am pretty much not afraid of anything. Except clowns … I am not really sure where the fear comes from, my mother says it's cause when I was a kid I found a dead clown in the woods. But who knows?"

Thursday, July 17, 2014

More Thrift Store Finds

by Scott Heffernan:

I previously wrote about how Instagram has saved my marriage. I do a lot of thrift store shopping and want to buy every weird thing I see. My wife hates clutter and will probably divorce me if I bring home one more piece of junk priceless treasure. Taking pictures of these items and sharing them on Instagram has been the perfect compromise. (I still buy a modest amount of bric-a-brac.) Here are some of my latest finds.

Deceased Grandma angel wears socks and sandals, still needs glasses.

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