Wednesday, July 31, 2013

What I Think About God



by Eliana (bio)

Image by Seyed Mostafa Zamani

I had to speak in sacrament meeting on Father's Day. It was my husband's third such assignment in his seven years of fatherhood, so I couldn't complain. I decided to talk about Heavenly Father rather than the more commonly discussed earthly variety. I read a great talk by Elder Holland called The Grandeur of God that will make you want to think more about the subject after reading this post.

I once knew a man with the kindest eyes. Pale blue, with deep crow's feet that smiled and moved along with the rest of his face. I've always considered these eyes to be what looking at Heavenly Father would be like—not the penetrating gaze of Elder Scott that always makes me feel like I've done something wrong. More like a wise, worn man who knows me and knows everything and is trying to help me figure it out too.

This same man once told me something that Lowell Bennion, educator and writer and philosopher, said or wrote.

"God is at least as good as the best person you know."

Of course, Google has no results for such a search phrase and I only have a notation written in a notebook of this quote, so take it for what you will. But I've found this to be a good thought exercise, especially when realizing that I haven't lived up to what I know and what I should be. The best people we know don't want to keep us down but want to help us be better. Heavenly Father is certainly at least that good.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

My First Calling



by ldsbishop (bio)

General Authorities sustaining themselves in their callings during General Conference.
Notice how Elder Christofferson is flashing the peace sign. Right-on Brother.

Almost 11 years ago I was baptised in a large semi-rural ward in Utah. Living in a town where 80% of the population were already members and those remaining were unlikely to be so in this life, I was the ward's only convert baptism for years.

After a few weeks of me being a member, the bishop was prompted to open a dusty, seldom used drawer to pull out a New Member Checklist. The good bishop was determined to ensure I had the three things each new member needs: a friend, a responsibility and nurturing with "the Good Word of God". The friend bit was easy: I was engaged to another member of his ward (she was very friendly!). The nurturing with "the Good Word of God" is a humorous story for a coming month. The calling bit was the challenge that dragged on for many weeks.

One Sunday, after the church meetings were over, I was asked to stay behind and have a meeting with the bishop. This was to be my first one-on-one meeting with him and the expectation was that I would receive a calling. Back in 2002, the church was then releasing stake and ward websites for US based units with calendars, meeting times, etc. The bishop knew I was a recent computer science graduate and I expected that my first assignment would be to administer the new ward website.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Linger Longer 26




Linger Longer is a series where we highlight religious and non-religious articles, as well as mormon-related podcasts. Click here for previous lists.

Bloggernacle (religious sites)
Supporting the Faith Quest (Feminist Mormon Housewives)
Really Old Timey (By Common Consent)
Faithful Obedience or Malicious Compliance? (Times and Seasons)
Making Space for Myself as an Uncorrelated Mormon: Part 1 (Zelophehad's Daughters)
Fannie Flagg's Heavenly Mother (A Motley Vision)
The Cultivation of the Mind (Keepapitchinin)
Ebenezer Baptist Church and Marriage Equality (Doves and Serpents)
FAIR Conference Schedule (Millenial Star)
A Grief Observed (Mormon Women Project)
Mormons Absorb SCOTUS Prop 8 Rulings (Joanna Brooks' Religion Dispatches)
Mormon-Related Podcasts
Episodes 430-434: Hans Mattsson - Former LDS Area Authority Seventy (Mormon Stories)
Episode 180: Mormon Missions Take to Facebook (Mormon Matters)
Episodes 176-177: The Adam-God Doctrine: What? When? Still? (Mormon Matters)
Episodes 55-59: Terryl Givens (A Thoughtful Faith)

Off-Bloggernacle (non-religious sites)
Extreme BoatingFree FallBouncy Balls and Drain the Oceans (What If?)
How Not to Be Alone (The New York Times)
When the Beautiful Game Turns Ugly (ESPN)
Laughter and the Brain (The American Scholar)
3 Pieces of Advice I'd Give My 18-Year-Old Self If I Could (Thought Catalog)
You're Too Cheap to Fly Faster (Medium)
Gagged By Big Ag (Mother Jones)
How Caffeine Can Cramp Creativity (The New Yorker)
Advanced Alien Civilization Discovers Uninhabitable Planet (The Onion)
Atlas of True Names (Huffington Post)
The Rise of the Tick (Outside)
The Gift of Doubt (The New Yorker)
Old Economy Steve: A Meme for Frustrated Millennials (APM Marketplace)
My Tennis Obsession (Prospect Magazine)
The Making of Space Mountain (Yahoo! Travel)
Futuo! How the Romans Swore (The Atlantic)
The Physics Behind Traffic Jams (Smart Motorist)
The Best $500 Billion the United States Has Ever Spent (Motley Fool)
The NCAA Has Truly Lost Its Mind (Slate)
A Test to Measure How Rational You Really Are (i09)
Why You'll Share This Story: The New Science of Memes (Quartz)
Around the World in 20 Gaffes (Travel)
Mariano Rivera: A Singular Pitcher (The New York Times)
The Inner Game of Everything: Why a Tennis Book Is a Self-Help Sensation (BuzzFeed) **BUY BOOK**
So, You Want to Hide From the NSA? (The Atlantic)

Thursday, July 25, 2013

How to Choose a Career: A Non-Lame Guide to Finding More Joy in What You Do Every Day -- Part 3



by Dustin (bio)

NOTE: This is the third installment in a series of posts that piece together things I've learned over the last eight years of using my life like a lab rat to figure out the question "what should I do with my life?" This series is aimed at those who are exploring career, looking to change jobs, or who are simply searching for more happiness in their daily work regardless of what that work entails. Read Part 1 or Part 2.

Image via Richard Blank

Yesterday I ate lunch with a friend and we were talking about what in the world drove him to major in bio-engineering. He said he showed up at Rice University and asked around to find out what the hardest major was and then signed up for that. He's obviously driven by different values than I am. Pretty much any hard class or major I ever came across at BYU-Idaho got the ol' "sayonara." But he illustrates an interesting point: People land in majors and careers for really random reasons. You might be able to relate. I know I can.

I chose public relations as a sophomore because I met with a career counselor who asked me what I like to do and I said "work with people" (just like virtually every other human being on planet earth). He said, "Do you feel like you can relate well with them?" I thought about it and said, "Oh yeah. Actually I do that really well." "Then you should go into public relations," was the reply. So I went into PR. The joke was on me when two years later I was gainfully employed at a top-tier PR firm in Dallas sitting in a "call booth" cold-calling media from wellness magazines to pitch them my client, Beano, and it's discovery of Complex Carbohydrate Intolerance (aka stinky toots). Choosing a major or career is tricky because we don't know how to approach it and our default strategy is random.

From what I have observed over the past ten years, there are really two ways to go about choosing your career path, the Outside/In Model or the Inside/Out Model (trademark pending for the super creative names). Most people choose this one:

Outside/In Model

You begin your career search by looking at all of the options "out there" and then fitting yourself into the one that most peaks your interest. You use what I call Outside/In Model, looking at what is available and then deciding if you fit in one of those options. From the 200+ individuals I've interviewed, the consensus is that most people choose a major or career based on at least one of the following:
  • My dad was a _____ so I will be too (as if career is consistently passed through the blood line).
  • XYZ career path pays really well so I'll do that.
  • XYZ major only takes _____ credits to graduate. Let's do this!
  • I really liked studying the Renaissance in high school, so I'll be an English major.
  • I loved Mr. Jones, my high school math teacher. He changed my life. I'll be a math major.
  • My parents are paying for my schooling and they said, "We're not paying for you to go to ABC school to get a degree in that!"

In other words, when people choose a major they typically follow a relatively arbitrary and ineffective model of looking at all of the options they perceive to be available to them "out there" and then fitting themselves into one of them, much like fitting a round peg into a square hole. A graduating college senior might say, "Well, I can go into teaching, consulting, or pursue graduate school," pick one, and go with it. I did this when I graduated and most of the individuals I career coach do a similar thing. When I graduated with a degree in public relations my first Google search was for "jobs" in "public relations" in "Dallas." Likewise, when I initially selected my major I chose it based on super limited information. There are really three problems with this method:

1. It takes a lot of time to find a job you love. The common refrain is, "You can do anything for a year." While this is true, and I've definitely had my fair share of one-year jobs, an accumulation of one-year positions over a career can be detrimental because you may never get very much depth in any one career. You may select a major or career path, try it out for a year, bail and move on the next, try it for a year, and so on. People say, "Just dive in. You'll figure it out." While true, it's also very time-consuming and frustrating.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

What's the Big Deal with Polygamy Anyway?



by Ben Johnson (bio)

Image by Karli Plant

I had originally planned on doing a post on this a year ago but I held off. Now that polygamy is in the news again because of what is going on with gay marriage (see here, here or here) I figured I could dust this off. Way back when I was a guest poster I had published some emails my brother and I had exchanged on the topic of inoculation. Below is another thread we had going on polygamy. What had sparked the conversation was an ignorant explanation from Glenn Beck about why we Mormons practiced polygamy (this was during Romney's campaign for the presidency and Beck was trying to normalize Mormons I think).

The question I had for my brother (and what I want to put to you folks) is this: aside from getting kicked out of the church, what's wrong with polygamy?

As a side note, I don't want anyone to think I'm advocating for a return to polygamy. I'm not. I'm just curious why polygamy is viewed in such a negative light in today's society.

_______________________________________________________________________________________________

To: Brother
From: Ben

Sorry, I just heard more Glenn Beck's explanation for pgmay. He said, "When the Mormons got to Utah and they weren't persecuted anymore, p'gamy stopped." Nothing could be further from the truth. 1852 was when it was publicly announced by Orson Pratt. I don't get why Glenn would not know this. Heck, the OD at the back of the D&C makes it explicit that we were doing it until 1890. We even did it after that but not publicly.

To: Ben
From: Brother

Speaking of odd things said about polygamy:

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

If Ye Are Prepared ... (?)



by Shawn Tucker (bio)


There is a New York Times article making the rounds among Mormons that describes, among other things, Hans Mattsson’s crisis of faith. It features four bullet points with issues that seem to disturb those members who seek for greater understanding and do not find it in traditional settings or sources. Those points include how Joseph translated the Book of Mormon, the priesthood ban on those of African descent, the Book of Abraham as a translation and Joseph Smith's practice of polygamy. The article seems fair and useful, genuinely reflecting a crisis many experience.

As a response to this situation, a scripture comes to mind: D&C 38:30.
I tell you these things because of your prayers; wherefore, treasure up wisdom in your bosoms, lest the wickedness of men reveal these things unto you by their wickedness, in a manner which shall speak in your ears with a voice louder than that which shall shake the earth; but if ye are prepared ye shall not fear.
This scripture seems pertinent precisely because the above issues are not plainly or clearly addressed in traditional LDS settings or sources. I have never heard any of them addressed directly or thoroughly in a conference talk or in any stake or local setting. Nor are they addressed in the CES curriculum, from what I have seen. And the danger in not addressing them is that those with wicked intent may raise such issues in an overwhelming, faith-destroying manner. Those exploring these and other issues may come to fear that the Church is hiding something or at least whitewashing its history. One may even feel deceived, left to wonder what other secrets lurk in the dark.

So, as this blog addresses modern Mormon men, many of whom are fathers, what do you do or what might you do to prepare your children to deal with these issues? How do you help them "treasure up wisdom" to protect them from the deafening noise of cynics or destroyers of their faith? How do you prepare them so that everyone experiences more faith and less fear?

I have provided one small suggestion on an earlier post and I contribute to a blog that attempts to use humor to diffuse some of the emotional, mental, and spiritual conflict that might surround such issues. What do you do?

Monday, July 22, 2013

Venn Variations: Holy Places



by Bradly Baird (bio)

The Mutual Theme for 2013 is "Stand Ye in Holy Places" and our ward carried this theme into this year's Youth Conference. One of the ongoing discussions between the leaders and the youth has been about what constitutes a holy place, in daily life and also in church service such as temples, chapels, and full-time missionary work. The discussion in our ward prompted me to think about some of the holy places in my own life and how they helped build a foundation of testimony and faith. To express these thoughts in a visual fashion, I created two Venn Diagrams, purely for interests' sake.

10 Holy Places, Variation 1

10 Holy Places, Variation 2

Friday, July 19, 2013

Handbook of Instructions (1940): Changing Places of Residence



by Seattle Jon (bio)

My youngest brother recently gifted me a Handbook of Instructions from 1940 signed by first presidency members Heber J. Grant, J. Reuben Clark, Jr. and David O. McKay. At 170 pages, the handbook is much shorter then our current versions (Handbook 1 alone is 186 pages) yet contains some interesting rules and regulations - and language - which I'll share over time.

Advice to Latter-day Saints on Changing Places of Residence

Members of the Church who are located in well-established communities of Latter-day Saints are advised to remain and assist in the development of localities already occupied, rather than to remove to new regions where the prospect for development is problematical, and social environment and financial opportunity very uncertain.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

MMM Sermons: More Diligent and Concerned at Home



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. Read or watch it here.

Coming from two broken homes, I am deeply grateful for Elder David A. Bednar's General Conference sermon in October 2009 regarding family and being "more diligent and concerned at home." The counsel is necessary. The world, through media messages and lifestyle, tries to cajole, seduce, drag, pull, push, and persuade us away from what matters most: our marriages and our families.

When I was learning about the LDS Church, two of the first quotes from a prophet I can remember learning were Presidents Harold B. Lee's and David O. McKay's resonating statements: "The greatest work you will ever do will be within the walls of your own home." and "No success can compensate for failure in the home."

Now, choosing to become a lawyer and take on the time demands of such a profession can be counter intuitive to President McKay's counsel. But, I am not interested in working for a "white shoe" gigantic law firm where I will be grounded to associate dust after years of 90-hour work weeks. I'm looking for a job that is more in line with Presidents Lee's and McKay's points, for at the end of my days on this earth I really won't lament the fact that I didn't spend one more hour in a meeting or at my desk at work. What I will lament, if I don't become "more diligent and concerned at home," is not playing with my boys more or going on more dates with my wife. Those are the things of "wailing and gnashing of teeth." Regret.

Here are some thought provoking interrogatories by Elder Bednar:
Brethren and sisters, when was the last time you took your eternal companion in your arms and said, “I love you”? Parents, when was the last time you sincerely expressed love to your children? Children, when was the last time you told your parents that you love them?

Brethren and sisters, when was the last time you bore testimony to your eternal companion? Parents, when was the last time you declared your witness to your children about the things you know to be true? And children, when was the last time you shared your testimony with your parents and family?
Elder Bednar also shares some personal stories that helped me to feel better about the many times I feel as though I am "failing" within the walls of my own home and not succeeding:
As our sons were growing up, our family did what you have done and what you now do. We had regular family prayer, scripture study, and family home evening. Now, I am sure what I am about to describe has never occurred in your home, but it did in ours.

Sometimes Sister Bednar and I wondered if our efforts to do these spiritually essential things were worthwhile. Now and then verses of scripture were read amid outbursts such as "He’s touching me!" "Make him stop looking at me!" "Mom, he’s breathing my air!" Sincere prayers occasionally were interrupted with giggling and poking. And with active, rambunctious boys, family home evening lessons did not always produce high levels of edification. At times Sister Bednar and I were exasperated because the righteous habits we worked so hard to foster did not seem to yield immediately the spiritual results we wanted and expected.
The title of Elder Bednar's talk makes me think that there may be more than the three ways Elder Bednar suggests for us to be "more diligent and concerned at home." How are you "more diligent" at home? How are you "more ... concerned" at home?

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Saintspeak 17: The Letter M (Part 2)



by Seattle Jon (bio)

Another installment from Saintspeakthe mormon humor dictionary from Orson Scott Card. Previous installments can be found here. Reproduced with permission from Signature Books.

Mob A group of people whipped into such a frenzy by evil leaders that they are incapable of reason or empathy in their urge to destroy an innocent victim. Not to be confused with groups of concerned citizens who are so inspired in righteous indignation by defenders of morality that they have no further need of discussion or delay in their crusade to destroy the forces of sin.

Mormons People who believe: 1. That a small family is one with only four children. 2. That if they ever get in real trouble, one of the Three Nephites will help them out. 3. That the only difference between them and God is a few years of training.

Mother in Heaven The mother of our spirits, who after years of anonymity has developed something of a fan club among believers in the ERA.

Mother in Zion The position a Mormon woman is given as a reward for good behavior in her teens. As a mother in Zion she has the privilege of changing thousands of diapers, drying gallons of tears, spraying Bactine on hundreds of scrapes, washing millions of dishes, and reading The Little Engine That Could out loud until she can recite it backward. All she has to do to remain in this enviable office is keep herself lovely, youthful, and enthusiastic enough that her husband stays interested in her.

Mountain Meadows Massacre An unfortunate incident in which John D. Lee, a master of disguise, dressed up as dozens of Indians and single-handedly wiped out all the men, women, and children in a wagon train of Missourians passing through southern Utah.

Mouth When a group of priesthood holders take part in the laying on of hands, only one of them, called the "mouth," speaks for all. Those who have had their necks nearly broken by the weight of twenty-eight hands on their head have wished for many mouths and only one hand.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Road Trips



by Casey Peterson (bio)

photo via tapathelic

In the past month I have taken two trips. On one, my son flew with me to Washington DC. The four-hour flight seemed unbelievably long, uncomfortable, and stressful. My travel office had made great arrangements for travel and lodging, yet travel was still crazy as I navigated the hurry-up-and-wait airport mentality. DC is amazing though, and we literally ran to see all the sites and attractions.

The second trip was decided when we noticed that the 4th of July week gave us the best chance of avoiding conflicts with camps of all kinds (i.e. sports, scouts, student council, etc.) My brother-in-law lives in Oklahoma, certainly a place not known as a destination the caliber of Washington DC from a tourist perspective. However, we decided a 2000 mile round-trip drive would be feasible. So we loaded the family for an old-fashioned road trip, resulting in a fabulous and memorable experience.

The trip was old-fashioned in the way that most of us remember getting in the car and going to visit family down long stretches of lonely highway. Thankfully, vehicles have evolved significantly to provide a little more interior room, quite a bit less exterior room, and features like DVD players, better acoustics than 8-track players could have dreamed of, and air-conditioning that doesn't come from rolled down windows.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Guest Post: 7 Reasons to Join Church’s Addiction Recovery Program



Name Withheld is a prolific contributor of sad, embarrassing, and painful articles to other sources like STD Digest, Modern Train Aficionado, and Ensign. He also reports on Middle Eastern drone attacks under the name "sources who could not be identified because of the sensitivity of information," and he has written thousands of lousy poems and given hundreds of so-so paintings to museums under the names “Anonymous” and “Anonymous Donor.” As this story would hurt his wife deeply, he chooses to remain anonymous. Read his other guest posts here.


1. I could not do it on my own: Before I joined ARP, I tried to overcome my addiction on my own. I tried everything—reading my scriptures more, praying more, seeing the Bishop (many times), going to the temple, home teaching (yes, even that!), reading books, doing missionary work, studying Isaiah (I figured that the answer must be in there somewhere). I remember one month when I fasted every Sunday, but by Wednesday I had relapsed. What I discovered from this is that I could not do it on my own.

2. For me the keys were compassion and community: What I found in ARP was compassion. To be with people who knew the worst about me, who knew how defeated and ashamed I felt and how broken I was and who still loved and supported and even admired me was amazing. In ARP I found a community where my burden was lighter because it was shared. I also found the deep satisfaction of extending compassion to others. I discovered that it really is not good for man or woman to be alone. To the degree that my addiction made me feel isolated and alone, ARP helped me feel connected in bonds of compassion. It was like cool rain on parched desert soil.

3. It is NOT about repentance: One thing that kept me back from the program was thinking that it was really just about repentance. I figured I could repent on my own; I didn't need a program for that. I had the erroneous idea that the core of the program is repentance or "really getting a broken heart and a contrite spirit" or learning about the Atonement. I learned nothing new about repentance from ARP. I had had a broken heart and contrite spirit many, many times before. And I did not discover anything new about the Atonement. The steps mirror repentance and one might feel more of the Savior's love, but that is not what ARP offered me.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Guest Post: The Mormon Feminist Survey



Image via CMCarterSS

Nancy Ross and Jessica Finnigan are writing an academic paper on Mormon feminist identity and responses to the Mormon Spring. We’re defining the Mormon Spring as the recent changes in church policy together with online activism and activity on the Bloggernacle, from 2012 onward. We need adults, men and women, who identify as Mormon feminists to take this survey. If you identify as Mormon feminist, but have not been baptized, you can still participate in the survey. Our paper will be published in an academic journal. While that may not sound exciting, it is an opportunity to tell people outside of the Bloggernacle about Mormon feminism.

Take the survey here! 

And now for the accompanying song... (after the break)

The History of Mormon Feminism, to the tune of The Brady Bunch

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Living on Mars?



by Pete Codella (bio)


I listened recently to the radio with fascination as a spokesperson for the Mars One Foundation spoke about their effort to colonize Mars with humans in 2023; in just 10 years. They’re currently accepting applications from earthlings interested in a one-way trip to the Red Planet.

She described all the technology, partners and preparations now underway to make the human mission to Mars a reality. She said in no uncertain terms that it will happen.

When questioned about why they would want to send humans to live on Mars, her response shocked me.

Before I tell you what she said, you should know that I am a Star Wars and Star Trek fan. I’m not a fanatic, but I always see and enjoy the movies. I also believe space exploration will continue to be part of our existence.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Mormon Doppelgängers 15: Dallin H. Oaks & Yul Brynner



by Scott Heffernan (bio)

Suggestion sent in by a MMM reader. See all Doppelgängers here.


According to IMDb, Yul Brynner's trademark is his completely bald head, unflinching gaze, and deep authoritative voice. The same could be said for Dallin H. Oaks! Here are some more comparisons:

Brynner: A great believer in rituals.
Oaks: A great believer in rituals.

Brynner: Died the same day as Orson Welles.
Oaks: Born the same day as Charlie O'Donnell.

Brynner: Loved modern appliances.
Oaks: Likes modern appliances.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

MMM Quotes 13: Reassembling a Testimony



by Seattle Jon (bio)

The following quote comes from Boyd J. Petersen's article Arriving Where I Started: Disassembling and Reassembling A Testimony in the latest Sunstone (Issue 171).

Like the Church, my wife has changed over the years. She is not the same woman I married, and frankly, I would be bored and unfulfilled if she were. I certainly don't feel that she deceived me because I didn't now everything about her when I married her, and I have never felt betrayed when I discovered more about her. Some of the things I have discovered might have been apparent had I known to look, other things she may have purposefully kept from me, and still others she may not have even been aware of yet herself. Yet it has never bothered me that my understanding of her continues to evolve. So should I feel betrayed when I discover new things about the Church or start to understand how it has evolved? I have to admit that I love much of the nineteenth-century theology, but I would never be able to endure nineteenth-century Mormonism in a twenty-first century world.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Updating the Pride Cycle



by Shawn Tucker (bio)

In the church we often talk about the pride cycle. To the side is a diagram that we commonly use. Starting from the bottom, we see how sometimes people who are experiencing destruction or suffering will repent and humble themselves. Such humility and repentance brings about righteousness and prosperity. This is called the pride cycle because of what happens next: people stop relying upon the Lord and instead become proud and wicked. This wickedness inevitably leads to destruction and suffering, and the cycle starts again. We often talk about the cycle as something that is clearly seen in the Book of Mormon.

The problem with this diagram is that it makes it seem like pride and wickedness are inevitable. It gives the impression that righteous and prosperous people cannot help but eventually become proud and wicked. I don't think that that is the message of the Book of Mormon.

So here's an alternative diagram. This diagram is a little harder to read, but here goes. You start in the very center, with the star-like object. This is the choosing point. In our lives, we are constantly choosing. We can choose to be humble or to be proud. We follow one of those two arrows. When we go down and choose pride, we also choose disobedience. Disobedience leads to selfishness. Selfishness leads to cursings, or the destruction and suffering of the original diagram. But that leads us right back to the choosing point. Sometimes, though not always, cursings (suffering and destruction) help us to become humble. At the choosing point we can choose to be humble. Humility leads to obedience, as we see in the top half of the diagram. Obedience leads to selflessness, and selflessness leads to blessings. But just like the cursings, blessings also lead us back to the choosing point.

So what is the advantage of this more complicated diagram? Well it shows how wicked people can become more and more filled with pride. Such people consistently choose pride at every choosing point. This makes them more and more disobedient and selfish. These cursings might make them hate God and others more, making them even more filled with pride. The bottom half of the diagram can be a very vicious cycle. But the opposite is also true. Those who choose to be humble become obedient and selfless. They are blessed. But when they are blessed they can again choose to be humble. This renewed humility can bring about more obedience, more selflessness, and even greater blessings. This could result in something that is the opposite of a vicious cycle— it is a virtuous cycle. There is one more reason why I love this diagram: it reminds me that at every moment of my life I am choosing. I am choosing whether I will be humble or proud. I know the consequences of either choice— they are clear from the diagram.

So this diagram raises these questions for me. How can I be more humble? How can I show greater faith and trust in my Heavenly Father? How can I be more obedient so that He can bless me with selflessness? Finally, if one looks carefully, there are places in the Book of Mormon where people avoid the negative and oversimplified pride cycle and instead choose humility. (To see this, I would suggest looking at Alma Chapter 1).

Friday, July 5, 2013

Preach My Gospel for Personal Enrichment



by Eliana (bio)

My oldest child will turn eight later this year. I wanted him to take the missionary discussions before getting baptized, but around here at least I seem to be super weird for requesting such a thing. So instead I broke out my copy of Preach My Gospel to bone up on the basics and make sure he is as prepared as possible to make this big decision.

I purchased Preach My Gospel when it came out and must have read it, based on the notes I found this time around, but I frankly don't remember any of it. Not the concepts of course, but the specific format or explanation. I did not serve a mission, though I did teach Gospel Doctrine in my ward for five long years which is when I became super scripture savvy.

At the end of a section called "Christlike Attributes," there's a quiz. I figured I could count taking the quiz as a full night of scripture reading, right? If you're following along at home, I'm talking p.126. The attributes addressed are: faith, hope, charity and love, virtue, knowledge, patience, humility, diligence, and obedience. There's a five point scale to rate yourself on a total of 57 items broken up into the attributes.

There is one area I scored low in and one where I scored exceptionally low. For anyone who knows me, this will not come as a surprise. My worst area was hope. This is a problem for me in all aspects of life. I also scored low, as in needing to work on, the aspect of patience. Again, though I've become much more patient with others especially since becoming a parent, I struggle with being patient with God's timeline and my own inadequacies.

I found the quiz helpful in looking at my spiritual strengths (virtue, knowledge, diligence, obedience) and weaknesses. I'd recommend this as an activity for you to complete, on your own or with your family.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

MMM Library: MMM Search Term Roundup 1



by Scott Heffernan (bio)

Read the roundup that started all roundups. This post was originally published on August 25, 2011.

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
Absolutely!

dennis rodman mormon
Not even close.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Handbook of Instructions (1940): Suggested Welfare Projects



by Seattle Jon (bio)

My youngest brother recently gifted me a Handbook of Instructions from 1940 signed by first presidency members Heber J. Grant, J. Reuben Clark, Jr. and David O. McKay. At 170 pages, the handbook is much shorter then our current versions (Handbook 1 alone is 186 pages) yet contains some interesting rules and regulations - and language - which I'll share over time.

Suggested Welfare Projects
1. Canning - Beef and mutton, fruits and vegetables.
2. Drying - Corn, beans, peas, fruits.
3. Sewing - Remodeling men's and boys' coats and suits. Remodeling women's and girls' dresses, house dresses, aprons. Making men's shirts, ties, underwear, sleeping garments. Making layettes. Rugs.
4. Farming - Wheat, sugar beet seed, beans, potatoes, beets and vegetables and fruits, etc.
5. Shoe repairing and making.
6. Logging and wood-cutting.

7. Coal mining.
8. Garment manufacturing.
9. Ladder making.
10. Buildings - Recreational halls and gyms; remodeling buildings; assisting distressed families in remodeling and building homes; ward chapels; renovating and redecorating; beautification projects; storehouses and root cellar construction.
11. Temple clothing manufacture.
12. Cement building block manufacture.
13. Sorghum and molasses manufacture.
14. Furniture repair and manufacture.
15. Toy repair and manufacture.
16. Wool pulling.
17. Community hospitalization and medical treatment.
18. Cooperative commercialized homebuilding.
19. Mattress manufacture.
20. Storehouse storage and distribution.
21. Community rehabilitation.
22. Reclamation and dam construction.
23. Vocational training of boys.
24. Manufacture of sprays and disinfectants.
25. Mine development work.
26. Temple projects for elderly people.
27. Occupational training for girls.
28. Manufacturing and assembly of tractors for all purpose farm work.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

What Not to Wear ... To Church



by A-Dub (bio)

Image via Joe Shlabotnik

Generally I don't like the television show from a few years ago called What Not to Wear. The premise is that people will nominate their poorly dressed friends or family members to receive a $5000 gift card to be spent on new clothes. The catch? They must endure two nosey hosts ridiculing them on national television for disregarding current fashion trends in lieu of their personal sartorial proclivities. While I admit that people generally dress better post-makeover, I hate that the show seems to purport that you can't be happy or successful in life if you don't spend $600 for a pair of shoes.

And Clinton is a total hypocrite – he dresses worse than most of the contestants in my admittedly worthless opinion. I think people, within the limits of good taste and some circumstance, should dress in a way that they feel comfortable. And snobby, New York, hipster-doofuses shouldn't be able to tell them otherwise, even for five large.

With that in mind, I offer the following comments about clothing in LDS church services:

For the love of the children, DEACONS, fix your back collar. Why is it that when you look up at the sacrament table, there's a group of 6-9 boys that seem to have a full inch of tie hanging out the back of their collars? We actually call this "deacon tie" in our household. And another thing to note – if your tie doesn't come within six inches of your belt buckle, you tied it too short - I don't care how big your gut is from playing Xbox all summer.

The "uniform of the priesthood" this is a myth. In fact, that term almost offends me. You do not have to wear a white shirt and tie to pass the sacrament. Straight out of the Church Handbook of Instructions, Book 2, "Ties and white shirts are recommended because they add to the dignity of the ordinance. However, they should not be required as a mandatory prerequisite for a priesthood holder to participate." So if someone tells you must wear one to pass the sacrament, look at them condescendingly and give a little half-snort of derision and pity.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Guest Post: A Series on Disfellowshipment, Part 2



The following is an anonymous guest post in what will be a three-part series on disfellowshipment. Submit your own guest post via email. Read Part 1 here.

My bi-weekly meetings with the Bishop began. He was supportive and encouraging even though I was slipping all over the place. He gave me things to read, called me throughout the week just to say hi, and was a good friend. I never felt damned or nervous entering his office. Truly an inspired man.

So what is the hardest thing about being disfellowshipped? For one, rejecting the sacrament is always a little awkward, especially when the one passing is your new member friend. You know what's going on in his mind. "Huh? It's bread. Eat it. Take it. Hurry. I'll wait here. Can he see me? Why is his hand shaking back and forth? Not hungry? Okay then."

Perhaps the most difficult experience was one day when I got an email at work that said, "Come home. Emergency." sent to me by my mother. I slammed the gas down as I raced home to find my mother screaming in pain holding her leg, which had come out of its socket, taking a chunk of bone with it. How? Bodies are weird.

I couldn't give her a blessing. She asked and I had to say, "I can't." It was a terrifying answer in response to her shrill plea.

There are small things that you wouldn't normally think about, like saying prayers during class time. Unless you have Brother Overachieving-Organized-Do-No-Wrong-Planner-Guy who plans prayers ahead of time, teachers usually ask people to give invocations and benedictions 3.5 seconds before class begins. It works out, unless they asked me. In one case, the Sunday School President called on me right after the lesson giver had said Amen.

"I can't."
"Why not?"
"I just respectively decline."
"Just do it."
"No." (Awkward for everyone in the room, the thick kind of awkward you feel in your loins.)

I had a buddy clue in and volunteer immediately. Whew, one more invitation to say the prayer and I would have been out of there. I'm one of those people who never understood why someone would stop coming to church because they were offended, until that moment. Thankfully, I stayed and the Sunday School President apologized. Church was really hard during that year.

Linger Longer 25




Linger Longer is a series where we highlight religious and non-religious articles, as well as mormon-related podcasts. Click here for previous lists.

Bloggernacle (religious sites)
Undoing Shoulder and Knee Obsession in Mormon Kids (Feminist Mormon Housewives)
Men, Sex and Modesty (By Common Consent)
Reconciling Modesty With Feminism (Times and Seasons)
Please, Emporer, Prayerfully Consider a Wardrobe Change (Zelophehad's Daughters)
The Backslider, Covers (A Motley Vision)
How to Be Selfish (Segullah)
Our Favorite Mormons: Freda Lucretia Magee (Doves and Serpents)
On the Sexist Nature of Benevolent Patriarchy (The Exponent) *discusses two MMM posts (here and here)
An Interview with Joanna Brooks (Young Mormon Feminists)
On Norms and Expectations (Millenial Star)
Why Do You Need Feminism (Dandelion Mama)
Heart to Heart with Hart (Mormon Women Project)
Fembryology: A Feminist Critique of the Proclamation on the Family: Parts 1, 2, 3 and 4 (No More Strangers)
We Want Everyone to Come to the Family Reunion (Joanna Brooks' Religion Dispatches)
Mormon-Related Podcasts
Episodes 422-423: John Hamer on Returning to Mormonism Through the Community of Christ (Mormon Stories)
Episodes 174-175: The Chaplains on ... Suffering (Mormon Matters)
Episodes 47-48: Amy and Jeff - Are You a Member of the Mormon Club? (A Thoughtful Faith)

Off-Bloggernacle (non-religious sites)
Bowling BallAlien Astronomers, Sunset on the British Empire and Sunless Earth (What If?)
How Not to Be Alone (The New York Times)
Why Rational People Buy Into Conspiracy Theories (The New York Times)
The Best Commencement Speeches of 2013 (The Atlantic)
Welcome to the Real Space Age (New York Magazine)
Some of My Best Friends Are Germs (The New York Times)
The Suicide Epidemic (The Daily Beast)
The Gut-Wrenching Science Behind the World's Hottest Peppers (Smithsonian)
The Price of Human Kidney (Priceonomics)
Why Are We Here? Evolution's Dirty Secrets (Salon)
What Happens to Donated Cars? (Priceonomics)
Earth's Weirdest Landscapes (Sierra Magazine)
Why ESPN is So Good at Televising Spelling Bees, Poker, Yachting and Other Non-Sports (Quartz)
Silent War (Vanity Fair)
The Amish Are Getting Fracked (New Republic)
13 Things That Seem Like Scams But Are Actually Really Great (Business Insider)
The Awful Truth About Jogging (Medium) **language**
#LessonsFromScaryMovies (Yahoo! Movies)
The Unlikely Evolution of the @ Symbol (Fast Company)
14 Great Americans on Twitter Before @HillaryClinton (Bloomberg)
7 Old Wives' Tales About Cooking Steak That Need to Go Away (Serious Eats)
The Feminist Taylor Swift Twitter Account is Hilarious (BuzzFeed)
On "Geek" vs "Nerd" (Slackpropogation)
Cracks in the Periodic Table (Scientific American)

Other MMM Posts

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