Wednesday, August 31, 2011

MMM Sermons: "To The Boys And To The Men"

by Saint Mark (bio)

Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints call them "talks," but most (non)Christians call them sermons. This is a series of sermons that many Latter-day Saints love and believe. I hope these sermons promote and perfect your faith as they do mine.

You can find this talk in its entirety here.

In October 1998, President Gordon B. Hinckley showed why it is important that prophets exist. As Noah came before the flood, President Hinckley came before the Great Recession of 2008.

Always humble, President Hinckley shied away from the word "prophesying," but that's exactly what it turned out to be. Utilizing Pharaoh's dream that Joseph of Egypt translated, President Hinckley warned all of us "that the time has come to get our houses in order." Financial consumer debt was rising, and President Hinckley seemed to know that the tide of debt would soon come crashing down.

My former bishop shared from the pulpit how he did not heed President Hinckley's counsel and nearly paid for it as a financial planner and as a Latter-day Saint. Even though it seems that our unemployment rate will never decrease and that financial markets may never stabilize, President Hinckley shares in this talk when the light may appear at the end of the tunnel.

President Hinckley died of complications due to age just a little over three years ago. Now, President Thomas S. Monson is "our prophet dear." What counsel has come from President Monson that stands out to you as important counsel for our day and time?

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

First Date in Provo?

by Seattle Jon (bio)

First date ... cold weather ... Red Lobster ... cheapskate ... was this filmed in Provo?

Monday, August 29, 2011

Six Year-Old Initiative: The Story of the Ice Cream Cone

by Pete Codella (bio)

It was a hot summer Saturday afternoon. I was working on some home improvement projects with my dad while my mom was tending to the needs of my nine and six year-olds. My parents were visiting for the week and my wife was at work, getting ready for the new school year.

My daughter, our first-born, asked me if she could go with the neighbor girl to get an ice cream cone at the nearby Arctic Circle. I said sure, as long as she used her own money.

Next thing I knew my son was carrying on like it was the end of the world. He wasn’t invited to go and that wasn’t fair. He wanted an ice cream! It didn’t matter that we had ice cream in the freezer. He wanted an ice cream cone from Arctic Circle just like his sister was going to get.

I returned to my project leaving my son to throw his little fit.

My daughter went with her friend whose mother was waiting to drive them to get their tasty treat.

A few minutes later my mom came upstairs to report that my son had taken the Ziploc bag of money earned from his summer lemonade stand work, slipped on his flip-flops, burst out the front door and started running down the street. She thought he was going to the neighbor's to crash the ice cream trip party, but he just kept running down the street and wouldn’t stop or come back home when my mom called for his return.

So, I stopped what I was doing, got my keys, and began driving the half-mile route I figured he’d take on foot to get to Arctic Circle. I didn’t see him anywhere. I was beginning to worry.

Friday, August 26, 2011

MMM Quotes 1: Freedom to Think

by Seattle Jon (bio)

"We must preserve freedom of the mind in the church and resist all efforts to suppress it. The church is not so much concerned with whether the thoughts of its members are orthodox or heterodox as it is that they shall have thoughts." - Hugh B. Brown


Thursday, August 25, 2011

MMM Search Term Roundup 1: April & May 2011

by Scott Heffernan (bio)

When someone finds Modern Mormon Men via search engine, we get to see what they typed to get here, giving us a small glimpse into the thought processes of those who happen upon our site. I think our readers need to see these, so I'll be sharing them monthly. Some are funny, some are sad, some are disturbing. Maybe we can work together to give some context or help answer some of those curious questions. WARNING: Although some of the more explicit entries have been excluded, saucier phrases that are included have not been edited. See them all here.

mormon men exposed
This is NOT that kind of site. Go try By Common Consent—I heard there were some leaked photos of Steve Evans.

what if judgement day doesn't happen tomorrow
It didn't. What did you end up doing instead?

poems about diet coke
I searched and didn't immediately find anything I was impressed with. Any of our commenters want to venture a verse?

mormon man good in bed

dennis rodman mormon
Not even close.

The Most Interesting Mormon in the World

by Max Power (bio)

And I thought I was interesting...

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Guest Post: Enlarge Thy Baldness as the Eagle

Have a post you think would be good on Modern Mormon Men? Both modern mormon men and modern mormon women can submit guest posts via email. In addition to your post, please include a post title and a paragraph of introduction (on yourself) to run above the post.

Dustin Peterson lives in Houston, Texas, with his supermodel wife and three extroverted kids. His days are consumed at Rice University molding the malleable minds of college students and preaching the doctrine of leadership development. His work focuses on becoming more authentic and self-aware, leading more effectively, and helping people figure out what to do with their lives and careers. Dustin enjoys changing diapers, eating bacon, and tending to his fourth child,, where he searches, ponders and writes about self-development and the art of leadership. You can contact him directly at thenewtonapple at Read Dustin's other guest posts here, here and here.

In Sunday School this past week we discussed the resurrection. As usual, the teacher began his lesson with a prompt, asking what the resurrection means to each of us. A few people shared insights about seeing loved ones again or being relieved of chronic pain, but my mind immediately went where it always goes – the day I get a reseeded dome. As a bald man, these lessons on the resurrection often mean more to me than to the average Gentile. “Not a hair of your head shall be lost” (Alma 11:44) brings hope to an otherwise shiny pate – in fact, I can almost feel my scalp tingling now as I think about it. Sure, no more scars or wrinkles, a reconstructed shoulder, and a realigned pinky (old Church ball incident) will be nice upgrades to the old corpus. But the true reward of the resurrection will be topside, where the sun shines brightly on my glowing peak.

I come from a long line of receding Danes. My grandfather used to say that he knew he was going bald when he didn’t know when to stop washing his face and start washing his hair. I, too, remember teasing my Dad, who was always good-natured about his glowing melon. When my time came, I initially felt insecure, but quickly got over it when I had children. My daughter has a heyday acknowledging my baldness and asking me rhetorical questions like, “do you enjoy not having any hair on your bald head, Dad?” You learn quickly to let the commentary roll off, like water on a slick surface (pun intended). I also gained comfort in my baldness when I realized I was joining an army of successful prophets, businessmen, and athletes, including the likes of Bruce Willis, Stephen Covey and Elmer Fudd. What’s more, vicious animals tend to side with bald men. Recall the story in 2 Kings of our ancient bald-headed leader, Elisha, who was departing Jericho on his way to Bethel when several boys from town followed him, harassing poor Elisha with jeers of “go up, thou baldhead,” repeated twice for emphasis. Two she-bears promptly appeared out of the woods and “tare forty and two children of them.” Baldheads: 1, Children: 0.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

MMM Style 1: Collars, Caps and Colors

by Seattle Jon (bio)

I enjoy fashion, but I am not what you would call a stylish man. Thanks to my body type (short arms, thick legs), fit is most important, and what fits doesn't always look good. What I do enjoy is feeling inspired to try something new, something different, even if what inspires me never makes it onto my body. So, what I hope from this new series is to share with you, our readers, some of the looks that inspire me. What looks are inspiring you right now?

all photos via The Sartorialist

1 - like the collar, could a modern mormon man pull this off at church? (original post)
2 - this guy is well put together ... love the cap. (original post)
3 - I often wear clothes that are too big (see guy in suit). This reminded me that slim is okay. Shoes are cool, too. (original post)
4 - I like it when Charlie wears colors that make her outfit pop ... she'd look good in this. (original post)

Monday, August 22, 2011

Too Old For Church

by DeanJ (bio)
Stunningly at thirty-something I have the ability to longingly gaze into the past. Specifically, this time, at the years growing up and going to church. And I realized that there are a lot of things you just can't do after a certain age in church. Shall we?

I am too old to keep the sacrament cup and play with it in my mouth. This sounds odd, but in little Dean's younger years this was the holy grail to sneak past mom and dad in church.

I am too old to eat my kids treats we bring to feed them/shut them up during church. Sometimes when I get to church I realize I forgot to feed myself, and suddenly Cheerio's and goldfish look delicious.

I am too old to fold the program into a paper airplane or fortune game. Well, I am for myself but if my son wants some help or pointers I should teach him.

I am too old to go get a drink from the fountain more than once. It looks bad and then the kids wonder why they can't go do it.

I am too old to go to the bathroom more than once. Or as most people use it for: a lap around the building.

I am too old to lean over and *cough* yeah right *cough* to my wife during testimony meeting.

I am too old to throw a fit just so I can go sit in the nice air-conditioned hallway instead of the hot sacrament meeting room.

I am too old to turn around, stand on the pew and stare at the people behind me so I can put faces to the unbelievable story I just eaves-dropped on.

I am too old to go sit by my friends when I see them across the room. And they have better toys than we brought.

I am too old to actually watch the movie on the iPad (on mute of course) during sacrament that is keeping my two year-old from having a nervous breakdown.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Bon Iver

by Clark (bio)

If you're not familiar with Bon Iver then this is your lucky day. Honest music written by one of the most down to earth individuals I've ever seen perform live. His first album was written in a cabin during the winter months in Wisconsin, and his latest self-titled album was just released at the start of summer and is equally magnificent. I really like the first video but the second video is untouchable thanks to Stephen Colbert. I hope you enjoy.

Patriarchy Guest Post #2: On Reluctant Patriarchy

Have a post you think would be good on Modern Mormon Men? Both modern mormon men and modern mormon women can submit guest posts via email. In addition to your post, please include a post title and a paragraph of introduction (on yourself) to run above the post.

Abraham the reluctant patriarch is a conglomeration of personal experiences and disparate identities. His creator, J., intellectually hails from graduate programs in philosophy and religion, and geographically from Utah and California. Should there be sufficient interest, Abraham will likely submit more posts on reluctant patriarchy in the future.

As you can see by my name, I am a patriarch. Of the reluctant variety. (Abraham is, inconveniently, not my real name). I'll contrast reluctant patriarchs to Eager Patriarchs. Eager Patriarchs like being patriarchs. Being a patriarch makes their lives meaningful. Patriarchy is a crucial component of their identity as men; patriarchy removes the anxiety of trying to decide what it means to be a man or even having to live up to what it means to be a man. In an important way patriarchy removes the struggle for maleness. Instead, it hands it to them--as a "gift," if you will, an unearned grace, but because unearned entirely misunderstood and misapplied. Now they are men. Real men. Now they can go on with their lives and do manly things without the worry that such things might not be manly. Gone is the necessity to create what it means to be a man; gone is the necessity, really, to create anything at all.

I know this because I was at one time an Eager Patriarch, secure in my manhood, certain in my answers (and Eager Patriarchs are certain. Oh, they are all too certain of everything). My story begins as a newly married young man, in college studying for a future career in the healthcare industry. Life was good: it was Patriarchal (though I didn't know it at the time).

Patriarchy Post #1: A Modern Patriarch

by Saint Mark (bio)

As my brother-in-law and I went on a walk around the park with our children and wives, I couldn't help but ask him his view on patriarchy. He seems to me to epitomize a good patriarch: he is humble, understanding, spiritual and leads his family as the Holy Ghost dictates. Because he is a seminary teacher, I tend to bend his ear on a variety of gospel topics since I feel he spends much more time ruminating about the things of eternity than I.

Coming from a home where only poor examples of patriarchs abounded, I have been cautious in my approach as my own family's patriarch. I know it's important not to be full of anger or abusive or chauvenistic; those were the obvious characteristics I viewed and knew to avoid. But, in a world that reverse-subjugates masculinity and patriarchy in the name of retribution for the past centuries of women being subjugated, I find it difficult to navigate my patriarchy. In other words, how does a man be a patriarch when most women and the world recoil at such a "mysoginstic" concept?

Thursday, August 18, 2011

In Your Face, Mormons!

by Scott Heffernan (bio)

You definitely should have seen this by now (if you haven’t, you may want to sign up for something called “Facebook”). Here, watch it again:

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Yahweh or No Way? - Mormons & God's Poll Numbers
Colbert Report Full EpisodesPolitical Humor & Satire BlogVideo Archive

Stephen Colbert features Mormons in a recent “Yahweh or No Way?” segment. I find it hilarious. It seems like everyone does. I’ve seen it shared by many practicing members claiming he’s actually being quite sweet on us. I’ve also seen it shared by anti-Mormons pointing out how much he is mocking us. We see what we want to see I guess. Personally, I didn’t find it mean-spirited and I also thought he brought up some interesting points.

Are Mormons weird? Well, we do have some “peculiar” beliefs compared with mainline Christianity—baptisms for the dead, temple garments, and Jesus visiting the Americas, to name a few. I appreciate that he compares the Joseph Smith narrative with the Moses narrative. Biblical Christianity also has some curious beliefs when you look at it—burning bushes, prophets telling bears to eat kids, and ingesting our savior’s flesh, to name a few more. Mormonism is young. Maybe we won’t seem so weird after being around for another two thousand years.

Are Mormons normal? Stephen Colbert affirms a resounding, “Yaweh!” The “I’m A Mormon” campaign agrees. Mormons are complex human beings, just like the rest of the world. We are deep, and complicated, and conflicted. But is this kind of diversity encouraged by the church? Before this campaign I would have thought, “No.” Conformity seems to be valued above most everything else. I felt profoundly out of place growing up as a skater and a bit of an unorthodox thinker. I have ambivalent feelings toward the campaign. The videos are extremely well produced and slick. Are they too slick though? They have received some flak for coming across as disingenuous. Are they disingenuous? Even though I haven’t traditionally experienced this inclusive message, I’ve decided that I ultimately like the “I’m A Mormon” campaign. I’m willing to take the church at its word. If, going forward, they are projecting the notion that diversity will not only be tolerated, but celebrated, that’s an approach I can get behind.

So which is it? Are Mormons normal or are Mormons weird? In my opinion, the answer is, “Yes!”

Update: As a result of filming the segment, that Catholic tiger became curious. He visited and felt inspired to contact the missionaries. He was baptized last Saturday. In YOUR face, Stephen Colbert.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

MMM Sermons: "Man of Christ"

by Saint Mark (bio)

Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints call them "talks," but most (non)Christians call them sermons. This is the first part in a series of sermons that many Latter-day Saints love and believe. I hope these sermons promote and perfect your faith as they do mine.

You can find this talk in its entirety here.

There seems to be no more loved apostle of Jesus Christ, especially by the intelligentsia of the LDS church, than Elder Neal A. Maxwell. Before succumbing to leukemia on July 21, 2004, Elder Maxwell left a legacy of fantastic phrases and doctrinal dicta (he also loved alliteration).

One of Elder Maxwell's most choice talks was "Man of Christ," which he actually gave before he was an apostle. Reading it now, more than 35 years after it was first given, assists you and I in seeing if we really are men of Christ today and teaches us how we can stretch ourselves to measure up to that sustaining shadow of the Savior (that one was for you, Elder Maxwell).

Some doctrinal nuggets from this talk are:

"[The man of Christ] quickly puts his “shoulder to the wheel” (Hymns, no. 252) rather than calling for a tow truck."

"He knows that having put his hand to the plow he must not look back, because when we are looking back, we are also holding back."

"He knows that in leadership cleverness is not as important as content, that charisma and dash are not as vital as character and doctrine."

If you could make an addendum to Elder Maxwell's insights, what would you add?

It's You and Me, Lord!

by Seattle Jon (bio)

A recent family reunion and two subsequent days of camping allowed me some quality reading time. I'd found It's You and Me, Lord!: My Experience as a Black Mormon at our local Deseret Industries a few months ago. Written by Alan Cherry, a black BYU student, the book mostly talks about his time in the Air Force and only in the last one-third of the book does he address the LDS negro policy.

Personally, I found his attitude toward the policy both surprising and refreshing. Cherry manages to avoid both of the ever-present attitudes - the pro-mormon defensiveness and the anti-mormon criticism and calls of racism - to deliver a casual, almost friendly attitude towards the policy. To Cherry, "the important thing in God's kingdom will not be who leads us there, but simply who gets there."

To him, not having the opportunity to hold the priesthood meant, "... a challenge to my creativity. Since the priesthood probably allowed a man responsibility and opportunity for service, I figured that all I had to do was look for opportunities and accept responsibility in some other way ... it made me see the challenge. If to no one else, at least to myself, I had the responsibility to prove that in this church the spirit of the Lord was open to everyone, and that in it I could grow and do many good things. I knew I could be just as much of a help to my Heavenly Father's cause as any other man."

I highly recommend this book.

Separately, my wife and I just finished Mormon Stories podcasts 256-258, in which Natasha Helfer Parker (The Mormon Therapist) interviews Dustin Jones, an active black latter-day saint, about the unique challenges of growing up mormon as one who has African ancestry. Together, the book and the podcast offered some deep insights into how the policy affected and continues to affect the black LDS membership.

I want to take an even deeper dive into this issue ... any suggestions on where else I should look?

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Modern Mormon Motivational Posters 1

by DeanJ (bio)

"Perhaps you are having a little too much fun being single, taking extravagant vacations, buying expensive cars and toys, and just generally enjoying the carefree life with your friends. I've encountered groups of you running around together, and I admit that I've wondered why you aren't out with the young ladies."

- President Monson, General Conference - Priesthood Session, April 2011

Monday, August 15, 2011

The Mind. The Body.

by Bitner (bio)

A couple months ago I competed in my fourth triathlon. Definitely a beginner, but I made some significant improvements in my training that translated nicely to race day and I set a personal record for time.

Training for a big endurance event is probably the best way to learn about the power of both mind and body. Going to the gym everyday is something that has been an important part of my routine for several years, but there is something about signing up for a triathlon (whether it's the registration fee or just the knowledge that the clock is now ticking) that makes my mind concentrate at a new level. It dominates a lot of thought and activity. It's also a totally different training routine so my body changes noticeably. Aside from the boost in cardiovascular endurance, my muscle tone changes and I get very lean. One frustrating effect is that I lose fast-twitch muscle and gain a bunch of slow-twitch endurance muscle, which means that I can't get my body to move the same way during the occasional flag football game or a basketball game. Oh well, I say, part of the process.

As the training progresses my mind visualizes the race. What will the swim feel like? How will the transition from swim to bike feel? How should I hydrate and eat on the bike so my legs don't cramp up when I dismount and prepare to run?

I tell myself things like, "My legs are going to feel strong when I get off the bike. I am going to be well-hydrated."

The day before the race the mind somehow tells the body, "Body, you're gonna get your butt kicked tomorrow. Gear up." And I have the urge to drink as much water as I can handle. I have pretty big appetite. (check that, I always do.) But then the butterflies float in. As I gather up my things before I go to bed, I try to relax. Try to be calm. In an effort to go to bed early to get extra rest, my body says, "No sir, not ready to sleep yet." And I continue to envision the race. Race morning comes. It always does. I begin with a light breakfast and some G2 Gatorade, drinking as much as I can throw down. My buddies arrive and we pack up the Pilot, loading up the bikes. It's go time. After the hour-ish drive - I NEED A URINAL. Oh man! I have to pee! "This is good," my mind tells me, "I am well-hydrated."

Another MMM Musical

Hopefully some of you hit Topher's hit show The Hit. If you struck out (okay, no more puns), here's another chance to see an MMM contributor in action. Our own Brett Merritt gives us "fanciful musical escapism" in The Drowsy Chaperone, playing at the Hale Center Theater in Orem. Click here to buy tickets.

100% Home Teaching

by Seattle Jon (bio)

As far as I know, home teaching is a concept unique to the mormon church. Also unique are each of the 1,000 different motivational lessons on doing your home teaching I've heard from church leaders. Leave it to a youtuber to come up with one I hadn't seen yet.

Friday, August 12, 2011

On the Clock

by Kyle August (bio)

I was going to clean out my closet.

I was going to read a compelling novel.

I was going to dunk on a camper.

I was going to work on my prayer style.

I was going to polish my interviewing skills.

I was going to fly using a water jetpack.

I was going to take up planking.

I was going to, but then the NFL lockout ended.

Is this post about the lockout? No. Clearly, I’m talking about our most coveted asset – time. You see, time is something that always seems to escape us. We can never quite find enough of it. Today more than ever we are required to do more with less time.

You know, the typical routine, right? I'm talking about the "work full time, stay in shape, update my Facebook status, tweet about the weather, check-in at the bathroom on Foursquare, watch Sportscenter so I have something to talk to my coworkers about in the morning, watch the Bachelorette so I have something to talk to my wife about at night, write in my journal, plank, index names from the 1645 census, understand why ceilings are so important to our government, keep up with the Kardashians," and on, and on.

So I’ve come to the conclusion that in order to get the real important things done, we have to sacrifice. Time sacrifices are different for everyone. They can range from the self-destructively unproductive to the worthiest of endeavors. No matter what it is, we don’t have time for it all.

Today I ask you – the extremely good-looking MMM reader – how do you juggle it all? What is worth juggling? What makes something worthy of your time? When do you know its time to drop something?

Thursday, August 11, 2011

A Humble Petition

You may have noticed our new Amazon ad in the sidebar. We even used a speech bubble to announce it. How could you miss it? We have a simple explanation and a simple request.

The Explanation: When you click on the button it takes you to If you then buy something (even if it’s not the product we link to), we get a very small percentage of the amount you spend. It doesn’t cost you any extra and it will help MMM continue to exist.

The Request: If you are going to buy something on anyway, you might as well get there through our blog. Please. We will consider it a personal favor and will get you back someday.

Thank you, thank you, thank you.

We're Not Waiting For Superman

by Seattle Jon (bio)

How we educate has been top of mind ever since I watched the documentary Waiting for Superman a few months ago. Sure, shock-docs like this should always be questioned for accuracy and motive, but at the very least you will walk away from this movie motivated to do more for your own kids or for other kids.

Here is something I started doing with my two oldest at the end of the last school year. When I came across interesting articles online, and I thought the topic would also interest them, I would print the article out and assign it to them to read and summarize. I made sure the assigned articles were challenging enough to contain new words and concepts. If they went the extra mile and looked up the words they didn't know, I paid them a nominal amount of ten cents per word. For example, here are two articles I remember printing out for my ten-year old daughter to read. I think I paid her fifty cents.

The Trouble With Bright Girls, Huffington Post
Changes Schools Should Make to Better Serve Students: A Student's View, Huffington Post

My next idea - a multi-week unit introducing the world's great religions to kick off the school year. Let's all strive to be a little more educationally creative this year.

Wikipedia (Waiting for Superman): here
Kids-In-Mind (content review): here
Pay for Grades (Time Magazine): here
Image via Wikipedia

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Guest Post: To Flourish or To Languish

Have a post you think would be good on Modern Mormon Men? Both modern mormon men and modern mormon women can submit guest posts via email. In addition to your post, please include a post title and a paragraph of introduction (on yourself) to run above the post.

Dustin Peterson lives in Houston, Texas with his supermodel wife and three extroverted kids. His days are consumed at Rice University molding the malleable minds of college students and preaching the doctrine of leadership development. His work focuses on becoming more authentic and self-aware, leading more effectively, and helping people figure out what to do with their lives and careers. Dustin enjoys changing diapers, eating bacon, and tending to his fourth child,, where he searches, ponders and writes about self-development and the art of leadership. You can contact him directly at thenewtonapple at Read Dustin's other guest posts here and here.

Let me give you a persuasive reason to study the scriptures and pray -- according to research, it may just be the difference between you flourishing or languishing in your life. Allow me to explain. I recently studied a principle called the Losada Line, which is named after the guy who created it through his research, Dr. Marcial Losada. As a social scientist, Losada studied high-performing individuals and teams to determine the factors that make some excel while others suffer. While conducting some research back in the 90's, Losada confirmed that individuals having a higher proportion of positive emotional experiences to negative ones, in the ratio of approximately 3:1, experience positive outcomes in life such as human flourishing (remember, that's the good one). Those who experience less than three positive emotional experiences for every one negative experience tend to languish (that's me most of the time).

Flourishing denotes "thriving in a vigorous state" while languishing equals "becoming slow and weak," perhaps even "wasting away and losing health and strength." The former state of being sounds pretty exhilarating -- I can see myself gliding into work with a grin on my grill, forgoing my morning ritual of and mindless web surfing, and working productively on things that may actually benefit humankind. The latter state sounds more like where I often find myself ... weak and slack, body deteriorating into a hunched mass of decrepitude, mind going numb after hours of listlessly hammering out spreadsheets (forgive me, people who enjoy spreadsheeting), and energy levels plummeting into outer darkness. So how do I get to a point of vigor, other than drinking a five-hour energy shot, and what do the age-old silver bullets of scripture study and prayer have to do with it? It's all in the 3-to-1 balance.

Endure to the End Zone

by Scott Heffernan (bio)

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

National Parks

by Clark (bio)

This video was taken a few hours north of where I'm living for the summer in Banff. If you haven't spent much time this summer in any of North America's national parks, its still not too late. Make the most of your summer and get outdoors for a bit. I promise you won't regret it.

If you want to see unicorns you should head to Banff ... there is proof if you click HERE.

Reserved Seating

by DeanJ (bio)

The only time I get nervous walking into the chapel at church is when we are visiting a ward for a family or friends blessing/talk. The nervousness is caused by a very common activity no one talks about in church - Reserved Seating. I'm not talking about people laying out their jackets or purses to save a seat. I mean the families in your ward that sit in the same seat every week.

I can tell you where most people in my ward sit, and they can tell you where I sit. And it's a funny thing because you don't get an assigned seat in your bishop's interview. Just some families have their little groove. And when you walk into a different ward you are usually early because you needed the extra time to find the building or you knew it was going to be packed and wanted to get a seat. When you show up early to a different ward you notice two things.

1 - You have your pick of the seats. You can sit anywhere! And in a weird role playing game you can see what it feels like to sit in the Brown's family isle or the Smith's family corner! You can be any of these families and they will never know. You can sit up front and center like a good sunbeam. You can sit in a side isle casually. You can sit in the back on the folding chairs like a good guest.

2 - You become painfully aware as every person walks by. You try to casually look at their face to see if you have taken their assigned seating.

Have you ever had anyone take your reserved seat? It throws off your next 75 minutes. Your kids were used to sitting on the pew. Now they are stuck in the folding chairs that tip back way to easy. Suddenly all the speakers seem foreign when viewed from the left side of the room. The kids think they are on vacation and are getting acquainted with all the new people around them. And all these new people your kids are staring at? They are wondering why you are sitting in their section and what have you done with the Jones's?

And you can't do anything about it. If you are in their seat they aren't going to ask you to move. They will just stare at the back of your mean seat-stealing-head all meeting. And now you feel like a jerk. You know why you feel like a jerk? Because deep down you know that you have broken the reserved seat rule. And the only reason you know you broke it is because you have your own little reserved seats back at your ward. That some family is in right now pretending to be you.

Monday, August 8, 2011

What's the Money Line?

by Saint Mark (bio)

The other day as I was driving with my aunt, cousin and sons, ages six and four, in the car, my cousin shared a lascivious tale. She was walking through a Las Vegas hotel on her way home from a gathering of friends and an older man approached her. After speaking to her and finding out her age (he thought she was older than twenty-one and she told him flat out that she was seventeen), he propositioned her to come up to his room. She said no. He then offered $1,500 if she did. She again replied no. He continued and finally after an offer of $3,000 and my cousin's final rejection, he walked away. All of us adults in the car, understanding the implications, uttered shock at the audacity and shamelessness of the man who tried to get my sweet cousin to go up to his room. Then, without skipping a beat, my older boy unabashedly stated from his car seat, "For $3,000 I would have gone to his room!"

Now, this story has many avenues I could travel down, but the one I want to address is my son's intense "like" of money. I put like in quotations because I am pretty sure it isn't just like but more likely love. But that's what I want to discuss. Does he love money or does he just have a very (un)healthy "like" of money?

Whichever it is, I'm sure I'm culpable for fostering his attraction to "all that glitters." If anything, it might be genetic. When I was growing up, Alex P. Keaton from Family Ties was one of my role models. I tried to emulate his uncanny ability to guess coin types just from its sound when it was dropped on a table. Moreover, I confess that I was a little like Linus from Peanuts. But, I didn't carry a blanket around or a stuffed animal named Pumpkin. No, I toted a blue safe decked out with a dial combination lock. I also have money radar. After you have dropped or lost money on a snowy, windy day that blows forever away from your pockets, I am the one who will probably find it. For example, over three consecutive winter days I found $16 lying in the middle of the road in front of Georgetown University. Another day, I found a twenty dollar bill blithely stirring in a zephyr in a grocery store parking lot. I have a lot more stories but you get the picture: it may be genetic.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Mormon Doppelgängers 5: Brett Merritt & Kevin Costner

by Scott Heffernan (bio)

See all Doppelgängers here.

This time around I decided to feature our own brettmerritt. He bares an uncanny resemblance to Ray Kinsella himself—Mr. Kevin Costner.

I should point out that I’ve never actually met Brett Merritt. We’ve only conversed a limited number of times through email. Nor did I warn him or get his permission to do this post. Please pray that he will not be offended. My hope is that he will be flattered and delighted and jump for joy. I also hope that Brett is not angry in regards to the picture I chose. I looked for one in a steamy swimming pool, but the only one I could find like that was too small.

I’ve never met Kevin Costner either. The times I’ve tried to converse with him through email, he has been unresponsive. Both of them seem like good guys though.

Both men are actors. Of the two, I’ve only seen Mr. Costner act, but I’d bet dollars to doughnuts that Brett is the better actor. For proof click here. To my knowledge Brett has never won a Razzie Award (or 6). Brett is also a talented and accomplished writer (even outside of this blog!). In May 1998 Brett Merritt was voted most erotic male by the readers of German magazine Amica. Wait. That was Kevin Costner.

Brett gets an honorable mention doppelgänger in the form of Tim Robbins. Although not identical, there does seem to be a resemblance. Maybe they are cousins. Suddenly I’m in the mood to go watch Bull Durham. Who’s with me?

Kevin Costner’s favorite baseball team is the St. Louis Cardinals.
Tim Robbins’ is the New York Mets.
What's yours, Brett Merritt? What is yours?

The Birds & The Bees (& Babies)

by Aimee (bio)

As a marriage and family therapist (and someone who just enjoys chatting about the subject), I hear a lot of couples discuss their struggles with getting back into the intimacy groove once the baby(ies) joins the family. As a new mom, an article titled Sex and The Baby Years really helped me get my head back in the game a few weeks after having our baby boy.

The CNN Health author, Ian Kerner, takes a fun, realistic approach on the issue of sexuality for couples after babies. One of my favorite lines from the article reads:
We believe that sex matters. It’s the glue that binds couples together. It’s what makes us more than just friends. Without sex, lovers become roommates, and a bedroom becomes just a place to sleep in (often with a kid or two in it as well).
Amen. Sex matters! A lot. And as committed couples, working hard to make sex an enjoyable, safe and pleasant experience can make all the difference in our overall health.

Also note the great advice for dads (hint: Don't Give Up!) and the direct, healthy advice for moms in point number four.

Image via CNN Health

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Guest Post: I Had A Bad Feeling About Serving A Mission

Have a post you think would be good on Modern Mormon Men? Both modern mormon men and modern mormon women can submit guest posts via email. In addition to your post, please include a post title and a paragraph of introduction (on yourself) to run above the post.

Sam Nelson is a newly returned missionary from Chile and will be studying economics at BYU in the fall. He is also part of the "5000 Days Project," was featured in a youth mormon message and is the subject of a BYUB feature film that will be released this September. You can read Sam's first guest post here.

I remember when I was first filling out my papers to go and serve my LDS mission. I had always wanted to go and always planned on going, but for some reason, I just had the sickest feeling about it. Was it because I wasn’t ready? No … I was ready. Was I unworthy? No … I was fine with everything. Was this the spirit telling me that it wasn’t time for me to go? Was it the spirit telling me I was supposed to wait to put my papers later? was I meant to go to another mission? I didn’t know.

When push came to shove, my bishop told me I should go at that time and I did. I received a call to Concepcion, Chile and right away I was sent to my Aunt White’s old sector (where she'd served ten years earlier) where I helped her converts and also worked with them to bring many other people to the restored gospel. I was exactly where I was supposed to be, exactly when I needed to be there.

Just a few months ago - while on my mission - I had a similar experience, I decided to take a risk, and take it upon myself to go open a new area called “Puente Ñuble.” Everything about the idea made perfect sense and - initially - I felt good about it. It was not in any way against any mission rule, but it was different. Leaving a designated sector was never done before, but it seemed like the right thing to do in the given situation.

That night I had the sickest, worst feeling about it. Thoughts came … “How stupid would you look if this didn’t work!? Why are you taking it upon yourself to do something that has never been done before? Who do you think you are? Why don’t you just do what you are supposed to do?” The next morning I woke up and told my companion that I wasn’t doing it. I told him that it was a silly idea, and totally irrational … “I just had the worst feeling about it.” I said. But after some time, and a lot of talking, the other elders that lived with me convinced me to do it, and I did. I’ll spare you the details, but suffice it to say, those last three months were the most successful and fulfilling of my entire mission. In fact, if the 21 months before that were nothing more that a preparation for my time in “Puente Ñuble.” I would still consider my mission the most productive two years of my life.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Way Back Home - Danny MacAskill

by Scott Heffernan (bio)

This video is amazing in pretty much every way I can think of. The music is powerful and fitting. The art direction is stunning and sublime. Danny MacAskill’s riding is superhuman. Watch and be astonished.

Thought of You - Ryan Woodward

by Seattle Jon (bio)

I've gone back to this video a few times after seeing it on a friend's blog, so thought I should share. The video centers around "the complexities of intimate relationships" and "allows for each individual who views it to experience something unique and personal that touches their own sensibilities." Enjoy.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

The Law on Marriage and Divorce

by Saint Mark (bio)

In studying for the bar, I'm learning some interesting and useful laws, specifically about marriage and divorce. Now, this is the moment where any lawyer would write a disclaimer how "what I am writing is not legal advice and should not be taken as such, nor should it be relied upon." Also, a lawyer might say that "if you have questions about marriage or divorce seek independent counsel." Well...I guess I just said it, too.

Anyway, after protecting my legal backside, I thought it would be useful for all non-lawyers to have a peek into what constitutes grounds for divorce in a majority of states. This doesn't apply everywhere since each state has their own laws.

Grounds for Fault Divorce:
(There is "no fault" divorce, and grounds for that which must be satisfied as well. Don't think because it says "no fault" that you don't need a legally valid reason to destroy your marriage. Even the law doesn't take marriage that lightly)

a) Adultery: Self-explanatory.

Take away - As Robert DeNiro's character says on Meet the Parents, "keep the snake in the cage" and you'll rectify more than half the problems marriages face.

b) Desertion: walking out on your spouse. An unjustified (meaning, not because of abuse or military deployment, for example) departure from the marital home for a specified period of time (e.g. one year). If you or your spouse leaves for the required amount of time and has no intention of returning, then the deserted spouse can file and receive a divorce on valid desertion grounds.

Take away - Don't run to your parents' house if things get hard. Talk it out, work it out, and don't runaway to mommy and daddy unless there is abuse (see below). We're commanded to "cleave" to one another as spouses, and abandoning our spouse, or as the law calls it, "deserting" them in a vulnerable moment when raw, underbelly feelings are being exposed and expressed is not helpful or healthy to the marriage. It's one of the worst emotional withdrawals a spouse can make. In the eyes of the law, it is valid grounds to dissolve the marriage. If that's not serious, I don't know what is.

Monday, August 1, 2011

The Drain

by DeanJ (bio)

I was brushing my teeth the other morning in a bit of a hurry. As I put the tooth paste on my tooth brush, I looked at the sink with a weird sense of dread. I put the lid back on the tooth paste and my wet finger dropped the lid. The feeling in my stomach was akin to when your parents came home early and caught you having a pseudo party – I had never put the stop back in the drain and the lid was swirling to a collision course with the oblivion that was my sink drain. Dramatic, huh?

Sure I had a loving wife who had patiently reminded me to fix it. I’m just a busy man. After work, and kids and dinner, I just need to sit. All that repair work, and garage cleaning can wait. I need some rest. Specifically on my laurels. The day’s events add up. Between work, customers, family, church meetings and prior engagements you need to just relax and turn off your brain.

Luckily for me, I have remembered to fix my spiritual drain stop. How have I done this marvelous work to save my very soul? On accident quite frankly.

Guest Post: The Taco Solution

Have a post you think would be good on Modern Mormon Men? Both modern mormon men and modern mormon women can submit guest posts via email. In addition to your post, please include a post title and a paragraph of introduction (on yourself) to run above the post.

Richard Tait is the proud father of a returned-missionary son attending BYU-Idaho, and a beautiful high school senior daughter. He has been married to the same woman for 25 years, and its been the best 22 years of his life. Richard writes for his own blog, Mormon Third Eye, where he talks about the Third Eye ... the notorious eye in the back of the head, or the extra view of life that God blesses parents striving to do the right thing with so they can see more of life than the children they chase after. Amazingly, Richard hasn't missed a weekend post in over 200 weeks, a streak that started soon after he was released as Seattle Jon's bishop in Maryland.


Readers, don’t be scared by the above disclaimer- its only purpose was to clear the decks for discussing a seemingly underhanded, yet practical and effective solution to keeping your teenage children morally clean before they get married. I know it works, because I was a guinea pig when it was field tested too many decades ago. I feel compelled to bless the sliver of humanity who read this blog by passing down the solution to successive generations; just make sure that anyone old enough to process what I’m about to present is too busy at the moment doing something else more important, like history homework.

The answer is … the Taco Solution.

I grew up in the middle of seven brothers and sisters, six of whom had approximately one-year gaps in their physical ages. So, when the torrent of teenage hormones ran like a “river of fire” through our family, it was more of a Katrina-like experience rather than a gentle trickle. But our parents were prepared. Why? Because years earlier, when we were on the playground throwing sand in the faces of the opposite sex, they envisioned the day when we would be yearning to spend more time alone with the faces of the opposite sex, so on Saturday nights they started feeding us tacos.

These were not normal tacos. These were meaty, spicy, fire-breathing tacos that should have been registered with the local fire department. By the time we had reached the terrible teens, we had been programmed that the whole world sat down on Saturday nights to eat tacos.

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