Friday, February 28, 2014

Lessons in Fauxcabulary - Embiggening the Soul

by Reid:

Once again I find myself having been inspired by The Simpsons. The creative genius of its writers introduced me to a couple of neologisms (newly coined words) that expanded my vocabulary in a good way. The words are: "embiggens" and "cromulent."

As it turns out, the town motto for Springfield comes from Jebediah Springfield who said: "A noble spirit embiggens the smallest man." When Mrs. Krabappel said she had never heard the word embiggens before moving to Springfield, her fellow teacher Miss Hoover said "I don't know why. It's a perfectly cromulent word." I therefore can't resist waxing eloquent about other cromulent uses of the word embiggens.

The first thing the word embiggens did was make me miss George W. Bush who had a penchant for inadvertent neologisms and malapropisms (here for an old post on Bushisms). This longing is undoubtedly heightened by our current political woes.

But secondly I thought of Alma's great sermon on faith in which he likens the word of God to a seed. When planted in our hearts and nurtured by faith, a good seed enlarges our soul and enlightens our understanding (Alma 32:28). As we cultivate the word, we may expect to see the seed yield fruits that include gentleness, meekness, love unfeigned, kindness and pure knowledge. These will "greatly enlarge the soul" (D&C 121:41-42; see also Alma 5:9). When we taste this fruit, it is delicious, satisfying and ennobling. We could cromulently say that we are embiggened.

If he would aspire to greatness, a man must plant in his heart the word of God. Then, as he carefully cultivates it, he will be embiggened as God ennobles his spirit.

How is that for a fauxcabulary lesson?

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Reid is an endocrinologist from Henderson, Nevada. He's blessed with wonderful wife and three great kids. His interests are charitably characterized as eclectic: cycling, fly-fishing, history, travel and the coinage of the Flavian dynasty of Imperial Rome. With a deep-seated belief that people habitually do dumb things, he's trying really hard to keep things positive. People are not making it any easier these days. The gospel has helped a lot. Blog:
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Thursday, February 27, 2014

Sanctum Sanctorum

by Ben Johnson:

I'm sure that this post will make me out to be one of those "get those kids off my lawn" guys, but I'm OK with that. A recent post by Seattle Jon got me to thinking about the sacred spaces (or lack thereof) in our lives. When I returned home from my mission my stake president gave me some very sage advice. He said, "In this noisy world we live in make sure to take time out to meditate and allow the spirit to speak to you." This was in 1998, before everyone had a smartphone attached to their hand and headphones grafted to their ears.

It seems that no matter where we go we cannot escape the world. We cannot shut out the noise. This worries me. I've always said that if I were ever bishop (perish the thought) my first order of business would be to restore some tranquility to the three hour block. Every ward I've ever attended resembles Pamplona in July when sacrament meeting lets out. It's mayhem.

Back when I had the best calling in the world I used to make the ward programs. We had the first block and I loved going down to the church early to run my copies and then sit in the chapel before the meeting started. Unfortunately my peace never lasted. As the families arrived for church they inevitably began to chat. As more families entered the chapel the conversations had to get louder. Eventually I felt like I was in the lobby of a theater during intermission.

Even the temple can be overrun by noise and distraction. How often have you gone to the temple and heard fellow patrons loudly discussing the most recent sports contest, or last week's hunting trip, or national politics? Can't we have at least one place in our lives free from worldly nonsense?

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Guest Post: The Reluctant Blogger: What It Thinks It’s Saying About Mormon Culture and What It's Actually Saying

The Segullah review of Ryan Rapier's The Reluctant Blogger describes it as "a peek inside the head of a modern, Mormon man." Let's examine that claim, shall we modern, Mormon men?

Please note this post is primarily about the novel as a cultural artifact (today's posts on Dawning of a Brighter Day and A Motley Vision discuss, respectively, the novel's successes and failures as a work of literature) and thus I will not be precious about avoiding discussion of spoilers. Not even a little. Check it out: the final sentence of the book is "It was my pleasure." I just ruined the whole book. That's how cavalier I'm going to be. Consider yourself warned.

Rapier (ruhPEER) seems to have a few clear points he wants to make about Mormon culture. Some of these lessons are plainly projected, eg, Mormons should relax regarding therapists and singles and gays. And we'll talk about those. But I want to start with protagonist Todd Landry's father whose dedication to always doing what he thinks the Righteous Mormon Man should do has a history of hurting members of his family---though he doesn't feel obliged to worry about this as clearly anyone hurt by his righteousness just isn't righteous enough themselves.

The question posed to LDS readers is how many of us feel the drive to say Yes! to every request, regardless of personal circumstance? Perhaps we've never ruined the Most Important Moment in teenager Todd's life in order to go clean up for Girls Camp, but the tension between serving at Church and being with family is real. And sometimes the "right answer" doesn't reflect what is actually most important. But leaping from one assumption (eg, always say yes) to the other (eg, keep that promise to roast marshmallows) can be difficult. It requires humility---maybe even humiliation---and you might not ever know if you made the right decision.

It doesn't help that Todd's father is a true Chicken Patriarch. When he unilaterally decides he and his wife will serve a full-time mission, he doesn't time his decision out of a disregard for his wife's opinion but out of a certainty that she does (or will) agree with him. She's super-righteous, after all, so if he's the decider (presider) and she's the agreer, there's nothing bullyish about it. They both equally decide to do what he decides to do. Of course they do.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

When the Spirit (or the Elders Quorum) Moves You

by A-Dub:

One of the aspects of the LDS faith that I love is that there are always opportunities to serve. In all my many years as a member of the church, I have been to many different services projects, but in all sincerity, my absolute favorite is ... helping people move. I am totally serious. Setting up and taking down chairs is just tedious and repetitive. And those sub-stage, bowling alley-esque chair-caves are just creepy. Every time I go in one I keep thinking I'll find a bunch of dead clowns. But moving people is something I can totally get behind:
  1. It's something that most people can't do on their own, so they genuinely need the help and are almost always appreciative.

  2. It's hard work, so you're getting some physical activity.

  3. There are usually a bunch of other guys there to help, so you can chat and catch up with people in an informal setting.

  4. And my favorite: there's always potential for a great story.
I am willing to bet that the vast majority of church members have a great story about helping with a move. My parents still tell one from 35 years ago where they claim stuff was still being thrown onto the back of the truck as it was driving away.

Since I love it, I have been to many, many moves. So many that I can classify the "great" ones into categories, with examples for each:
  • The Pigsty: I’m not just talking about a messy house. I have literally been to a move where we had to wade through two feet of garbage throughout the entire two-bedroom apartment to get to the furniture. I’m talking empty cans (non-alcoholic), pizza boxes, wrappers, everything. I’m not sure how many bags of garbage were taken out, but it had to have been close to 50. At one point, I think everyone there probably had the thought “Shouldn’t we just light everything on fire?”

Monday, February 24, 2014

Giveaway 31: Church Books Grab Bag Winner

Seattle Jon lives a few blocks from one of the few Deseret Industries outside of Utah. With fewer members around to pick over church books, he is constantly buying ... sometimes without realizing he already owns what he's buying. For this giveaway, he is again dipping into his private collection to send the winner below the following gently used church books.

Daughters of Light, Carol Lynn Pearson, 1977 Edition (read reviews)
The Wilderness of Faith, John Sillito, Signature Books 1991 Edition (read reviews)
The Gathering of Zion, Wallace Stegner, 1981 Edition (read reviews)
Among the Mormons, A. Russell Mortensen, 1994 Edition (read reviews)

And the winner is: brandt (see comment)

Please respond via email with your address by Friday, February 28th to claim the books.

MMM Search Term Roundup 12: December 2012 - March 2013

by Scott Heffernan:

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 all Search Term Roundups here.

what is the cheesiest mormon hymn
Have I Done Any Gouda?
Brie Still, My Soul

how to complement a mormon
Tell them they have a nice smile... Then say, "Celestial smile! Zing!" And laugh and laugh.

lds what happens with you are a member and you get a std
Itchiness and burning. Just like everyone else.

are mormons allowed to watch tv
Yep! But if it's TV-14 or above, we have to watch it in black and white. (Such a weird rule.)

80's mormon art

Friday, February 21, 2014

MMM Library: Birthing Plan

by Topher Clark:

I feel strongly impressed to write about what a man is supposed to do to help his wife in labor. The problem is that I'm the worst at birthing. You would think that, having been through it five times, I would have some kind of insight into how to make the baby come out easier, or stop the screaming, or make the nurses come to the room any quicker when you push the button. I've taken the Lamaze class so I should have some idea about how to help, but that was thirteen years ago and I only remember that you are supposed to get all up in your wife's face and count, and I have since learned that this is NOT A GOOD IDEA.

Which leads me to think that I would be more effective at giving pointers about what not to do, since basically we men need to be completely unobtrusive during the birthing, whether we know it or not. It's really not about us, fellas. I know you took your little class and it's supposedly your baby, but still. This isn't your moment to call the shots and make "helpful" comments. Mostly you need to be present, positive, and accept whatever demands are made of you. These demands may include "please-hold-my-hand-and-let-me-squeeze-yours-for-support," but they may also involve "Please-turn-the-channel-Glee-just-came-on-and-now-my-baby-won't-come-out."

All of my children were born in good old-fashioned hospitals. I know that women make many different birthing choices, and that these days anything goes as long as the baby eventually emerges. I respect that, but I should confess that hospital deliveries are all I know, so I will be very little help here to you gentlemen if your wife decides to give birth in a hayloft or on some kind of bobsled. You can take whichever of my suggestions fit your birthing plan, and I wish you the best of luck!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Use Bill Pay to Pay Tithing

by Seattle Jon:

Turns out, you can pay your tithing using bill pay. Tell me this isn't the best thing you've read all day. Especially since being able to pay tithing via bill pay is one of the prophetic signs of the times mentioned in Revelations (at least according to some interpretations).

I recently used the service to pay our annual tithe to the church. For years we'd been mailing a year-end check - believe me, this is much better and the tax reporting happens automatically (I've had to make a reminder call for my tax statement the last few years). Here are the steps I went through to get set up.

Step 1 - Email LDS Donations (, 801-240-2554)

Ask for the bill pay setup information. They'll send you the below, which you'll fill out and return via email. Note - bill pay only works with U.S. funds from U.S. banking institutions.

Step 2 - Set Up Payees

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Guest Post: Top Five Running Blogs By LDS Runners

It's a new year. Time to get off your lazy rear and get into shape. Many folks turn to running to drop some pounds, do a couch-to-5K, take up a hobby, or cross a marathon of their bucket list. But the good intentions of January 1 can quickly wear thin, long before your waistline gets very thin. Keep the fitness motivation going by checking out the adventures of top notch LDS running bloggers.

Here are five of the best LDS running blogs that will keep you motivated and interested while you pursue your own running fitness goals. I try to regularly read pretty much every blog by an LDS runner that I can find. These blog selections are based upon the awesome running stories and the sprinkling of LDS lifestyles discussed in the blogs. These blogs show that LDS runners are pretty great people, or, at least are pretty normal people that rise to the occasion with hard work, goal setting and the ability to write and hit the publish button on their blog on a regular basis. So go read these blogs and then lace up your running shoes and google a good couch-to-5k or marathon training program.

No. 5 Fast Cory (

Cory Reese is a long-distance runner living in southern Utah. Does he bang out a scenic southern Utah picturesque 100 miler on a weekly basis? Does he run 20 miles around his neighborhood on a Friday night just for the fun of it? It sure seems like he does. Check out his blog for his long-distance running adventures. It is just plain fun to read and he seems like a cool dude.

No. 4 See Mom Run Far (

Erin Henderson is a superwoman living in Wyoming. She has a family of 12 kids yet ran 3,480 miles last year, often getting up at unchristianly early hours to get her runs in so that she can still take care of her large family. She has a working goal of qualifying for the Women's Olympic Marathon Trials. Her blog is an interesting mix of race reports, training tips, family interactions and an amazing example of juggling family, work, church and running.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Giveaway 31: Church Books Grab Bag

Seattle Jon lives a few blocks from one of the few Deseret Industries outside of Utah. With fewer members around to pick over church books, he is constantly buying ... sometimes without realizing he already owns what he's buying. For this giveaway, he is again dipping into his private collection to offer the following gently used church books to one lucky winner.

Daughters of Light, Carol Lynn Pearson, 1977 Edition (read reviews)
The Wilderness of Faith, John Sillito, Signature Books 1991 Edition (read reviews)
The Gathering of Zion, Wallace Stegner, 1981 Edition (read reviews)
Among the Mormons, A. Russell Mortensen, 1994 Edition (read reviews)

Giveaway Guidelines:
You have THREE chances to enter. Each entry requires a separate comment.
1. Leave a comment on this post.
2. Like MMM on Facebook or share this post on Facebook. Leave a comment letting us know you did.
3. Follow MMM on Twitter or share this post on Twitter. Leave a comment letting us know you did.

• 6 days to enter (closes Sunday, February 23rd at midnight).
• Winner announced Monday, February 24th.
• Winner must respond via email with their address by Friday, February 28th to claim the books.
• Books will be mailed at our cost if within the United States.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Handbook of Instructions (1940): Behavior in Sacrament Meetings

by Seattle Jon:

My youngest brother 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.

Behavior in Sacrament Meetings

It should be the aim of every bishop and every member of the Church to develop good behavior and conduct in sacrament meetings. Those who attend these meetings should enter the building quietly, take seats in the place they select or as shown by the usher, briefly greet those who are near to them, and avoid further conversation. There should be no laughter or noise, nor should children be allowed to run up and down the aisles. Parents should see that children are seated with them. There should be no levity in the sacrament meeting.

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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 five chickens.
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Friday, February 14, 2014

MMM Library: Fatherhood Top Fives

by Scott Heffernan:

This post was originally published on December 14, 2011.

This is our little boy (the cute one on the left without the beard). His name is Cash (we really like money). My wife and I recently celebrated our first year as parents. I was absolutely terrified to become a father, but I find it suits me as much as I had hoped and more than I thought it would. I wasn't expecting the absolute unconditional love I could feel for another human being. Here are some observations and reflections from my rookie year—some superficial, others sentimental. Some with general application, and others are self-indulgent. The format is a jumbled concoction of non sequiturs... much like I have found parenting to be.

Top five songs I sing to him while getting him to sleep:
1. Kathy’s Song - Simon & Garfunkel.
2. The Trapeze Swinger - Iron & Wine.
3. Ballad for My One True Love - Mason Jennings.
4. The Obvious Child - Paul Simon.
5. While You Were Sleeping - Elvis Perkins.

Top five pieces of fatherly advice to pass on:
1. Empathy is one of the great keys to life. Be understanding. Be kind.
2. The world is not black and white. The world is complex. People are complex. God is complex. Find simple joy in the complexity.
3. Question authority.
4. Read The Little Prince.
5. Don't take advice from a person whose mantra is, “Never apologize, it’s a sign of weakness.”

Top five little victories:
1. Successful transfers (keeping him asleep while getting him into the crib).
2. Diaper changes under 30 seconds.
3. Voluntary kisses.
4. Mastering the swaddle.
5. First word: “Dada!”

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Brother Jake Explains: Prophets are Awesome

by Brother Jake:

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Brother Jake is the caboose of a big Mormon family. He enjoys playing video games and making silly videos. After serving a mission in Peru, he married a violinist, transferred schools, and finished his undergrad at Indiana University. He is currently pursuing a Master's degree in analytics (a dumb word for "statistics") at NC State. He has extremely stretchy elbow skin.
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Wednesday, February 12, 2014

What is Appropriate Religious Decor for Our Homes?

by Lauren Johnson:

Saint Mark brought this 2009 Conference talk by Elder Gary Stevenson to my attention back in his November post.

Elder Stevenson encouraged us to take a virtual tour of our home with our spiritual eyes… “Is it clean and orderly, and do you see uplifting images, which include appropriate pictures of the temple and the Savior?”

It was a beautiful talk, but one that caused me some questioning. What are "appropriate pictures"? Art within my home has always been quite personal. I am deeply moved by art. I don’t own a Greg Olsen painting, and it’s not because I don’t think he’s talented, or appreciate what he does, but personally, realism art does nothing for me. When it comes to art sold at Deseret Book, the only artist that resonates with me is Minerva Teichert, but I want an original (not that I can afford such a thing) and it would gnaw on me if I purchased a print.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Another Approach to Tame and Wild Olive Trees, or Yearning for Home and Adventure

by Shawn Tucker:

The most common reading of Jacob 5 involves the history of the House of Israel. What follows is another approach to that allegory. This is not meant at all to replace the standard readings; it is just another approach.

Jacob 5 includes a contrast between tame and wild olive trees.  The tame trees seem sure and steady, but they also prone to becoming listless, almost lethargic.  The wild trees seem to brim with life and energy, but display a propensity to lack focus for that vitality.  When the tame trees begin to decay, the Lord of the vineyard wants them to produce new life in the form of young, tender branches (Jacob 5:4).  When this is only somewhat successful, the Lord of the vineyard determines to graft the tame branches with the wild branches (versus 7-8).  What seems obvious from this is how the Lord of the vineyard seeks to keep the best of the tame branches, perhaps their good fruit and stability, and combine that with the vibrant energy of the wild branches.

Initially this plan seems to work well, as energetic wild branches help the good roots of the tame branches to produce good fruit (verse 18).  After what seems like another season, the Lord of the vineyard finds that the trees have produced a wide variety of useless, distasteful fruits (versus 29-31). Apparently the wild branches had overrun the valuable tame roots, making the trees useless to the Lord of the vineyard (37).  Frustrated with the outcomes, the Lord of the vineyard contemplates burning the whole vineyard and starting afresh. 

Monday, February 10, 2014

MMM Sermons: Moral Discipline

by Saint Mark:

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 this sermon here, or read previous MMM Sermons.

After President Monson shared that in a recent study two-thirds of young people could not give an example of a moral dilemma, it brought to mind Elder D. Todd Christofferson's 2009 October sermon in General Conference. If the definition of morality is challenging for the rising generation, how challenging will it be for them and us to gain moral discipline?

I'm glad you asked:
By "moral discipline," I mean self-discipline based on moral standards. Moral discipline is the consistent exercise of agency to choose the right because it is right, even when it is hard. It rejects the self-absorbed life in favor of developing character worthy of respect and true greatness through Christ-like service (see Mark 10:42–45). The root of the word discipline is shared by the word disciple, suggesting to the mind the fact that conformity to the example and teachings of Jesus Christ is the ideal discipline that, coupled with His grace, forms a virtuous and morally excellent person ...

Friday, February 7, 2014

MMM Library: When You Get Your Eagle, Son, You Can Drive

by Pete Codella:

This post was originally published on June 1, 2011.

This may be a completely foreign concept to some, but when I was a teenager it was fairly popular for LDS parents to tell their sons that they had to earn the rank of Eagle Scout before they could get their driver’s license. Obtaining a driver’s permit was fine, but for solo driving once you reached the legal age, you were obliged to also secure the rank of Eagle Scout.

I was very active in Scouts when we lived in Spring, Texas. I loved the activities, earning merit badges, campouts, cooking in the great outdoors - all of it. But when I was 13 we moved to upstate New York where the Scouting program was, well . . . different than it was in the great state of Texas. So I pretty much slacked-off and didn’t do a whole lot to advance my Scouting rank.

Then, as I began talking about getting my driver’s permit after I turned 16, I was informed that I would need to finish up my Scouting work and get my Eagle before I could get my driver’s license. That seemed like just a convenient excuse to me, but I decided to finish up a handful of remaining merit badges and take care of my Eagle Scout project so I could receive my Eagle. After all, it wasn’t like I didn’t enjoy Scouting. (You can check out my Eagle Scout program here.)

The only bummer was that I was giving in and jumping through hoops, so-to-speak, to make my parents happy in order to secure the privilege of obtaining a driver’s license. Yes, I have an independent streak that still works for or against me, depending on the circumstances.

At least my folks helped me with merit badges and with my project. And when I finally obtained the rank of Eagle just before turning 18, I was grateful for the experience. I remember a real sense of accomplishment and honor. I have no hard feelings for the fact that my parents used my driver’s license as leverage to motivate me to finish up my Scouting achievements. I’m glad I’m an Eagle Scout.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

How to Get Kicked Out of Lamaze in Four Easy Steps

This is an anonymous guest post.

Let me start by saying to you modern Mormon men out there that this is not meant as some "how to" post with the goal of explaining how to get out of something you should do. If you are reading this so that you can avoid childbirth classes, then all I can say is MAN UP! In fact, that may be the best point of this entire post, so I guess now I'd say READ ON.

Step One: Have Someone You Love Get Pregnant

Sure, this is a rather obvious step, and, trust me, it looks odd if you just breeze into childbirth classes without someone who might soon be giving birth.

Step Two: Lack the Emotional Awareness of How Terribly Frightened you are of Childbirth

This step can also be very, very easy. As guys, we are socialized to be super heroes, James Bonds, and Captain Moronis who always have a plan and are always in control. All of that goes completely out the window when someone you love gets pregnant. There is no plan; you control nothing. When someone you love is pregnant, you can do nothing to make the nausea stop or soothe the emotional or physical pain she is in. You cannot make sure that the baby grows properly or that it doesn't get turned around or that it doesn't have some serious defect/comes out pulling for the Florida Gators. Also, because of the Male Code of Silence, which, like the rules of Fight Club, must never be discussed, guys who have women they love who are pregnant cannot talk to other guys. Yah, we can complain about stuff as a lame cover for abject terror, but we don't say, "wow, this is surprisingly painful and frightening." We cannot talk about fears of delivery mishaps or tragedies or anxieties about coming up short or disappointing the one (or, as will soon be the case, ones) we love. And, of course, the inability to talk about such fears only reinforces them.

Oh, and one more little note: part of the reason why we cannot discuss these anxieties is because often the women in our lives don't seem to have the means to hear them. All too often, if men sound afraid or worried it is seen in comparison "with what she is going through." Once the hint of "oh, you think you've got it bad" comes out, you will get blasted for comparing your plight to hers. Nothing makes you sound more like a [word redacted because this is a family-friendly blog] then sounding like you are comparing your challenges with hers. And with that, the possibilities of a discussion with the one you love, trust, and cherish the most are foreclosed completely.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

FHE: Forced Heavenly Endeavors

by Eliana:

I have been known to say that Family Home Evening was clearly a program created by a man who was not home with his children all day long. I mean no disrespect, but let's be honest here. This is not something a harried mother thought up and figured would be a great addition to all the tasks already before her. No, a man, though inspired, sauntered in after a day away. He looked at his darling children, so eager to be at his side and so open to learning, and came up with the whole shebang, not thinking of who would be doing most of the work.

I could never make myself have FHE when it was just my husband and I. He would have laughed. I would have cringed. We have good qualities but we're way too cynical to sit side by side on the couch, have a hymn and teach each other a lesson. We had a lot of years together before kids, a lot of years spending time doing lots of things, but not studying the gospel. I wish we were like that but we aren't.

So once there was a little person, FHE with a baby seemed silly too. Are you noticing a trend? If not, let me spell it out: there will never be a perfect time to start doing something. Anything.

In my defense, out family spends all our time together. It might feel that way to other readers, but really we do—we don't do date nights or have bowling leagues. Every night is family fun time at our house. Also, we talk to our kids about The Big Stuff pretty much every day. Once I read somewhere about not having one sex talk but lots of them, over time, it clicked in my brain that the concept applied to pretty much everything.

Still, over the years FHE has been a rare and shining thing. When we do it, I'm pleased. Then it seems like a lot of work and stupid and annoying and it just doesn't happen.

Until 2013.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Sheep Among the Wolves

by Reid:

Uno, Duo, Tre

Having called his Twelve Apostles, the Lord endowed them with great power and sent them to rescue the lost sheep of the House of Israel. He said 'I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves' and then enjoined them to be 'wise as serpents, and harmless as doves' (Matthew 10:16).

And, if the wolf thing wasn't scary enough, the Lord went on to say:
34 Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword.

35 For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law.

36 And a man's foes shall be they of his own household.

37 He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.

38 And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me.

39 He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it. (Matthew 10:34-39)
I'm still trying to understand why the Lord's messengers were sent out among the wolves with instructions to be as harmless as doves. My gut tells me that it would be prudent to carry a stick of some sort. But the instruction says nothing about sticks--only to be wise and harmless. I can only imagine how scary that would have been for the Apostles. It's enough to make you get on the next boat to Tarshish.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Seahawks Win! Seahawks Win!

Scott Heffernan and Seattle Jon celebrate with Russell Wilson following last night's Super Bowl victory.

MMM Mail 4: Dear Einstein, Do Scientists Pray?

by Seattle Jon:

Phyllis, a sixth-grade Sunday school class member at The Riverside Church, wondered if scientists pray. Who better to write to and ask than Einstein.
January 19, 1936

My dear Dr. Einstein,

We have brought up the question: Do scientists pray? in our Sunday school class. It began by asking whether we could believe in both science and religion. We are writing to scientists and other important men to try and have our own question answered.

We will feel greatly honored if you will answer our question: Do scientists pray, and what do they pray for?

We are in the sixth grade, Miss Ellis's class.

Respectfully yours,

Einstein replied a mere five days later, sharing with her his thoughts on faith and science:
January 24, 1936

Dear Phyllis,

I will attempt to reply to your question as simply as I can. Here is my answer:

Scientists believe that every occurrence, including the affairs of human beings, is due to the laws of nature. Therefore a scientist cannot be inclined to believe that the course of events can be influenced by prayer, that is, by a supernaturally manifested wish.

However, we must concede that our actual knowledge of these forces is imperfect, so that in the end the belief in the existence of a final, ultimate spirit rests on a kind of faith. Such belief remains widespread even with the current achievements in science.

But also, everyone who is seriously involved in the pursuit of science becomes convinced that some spirit is manifest in the laws of the universe, one that is vastly superior to that of man. In this way the pursuit of science leads to a religious feeling of a special sort, which is surely quite different from the religiosity of someone more naive.

With cordial greetings,

your A. Einstein
I like the way Einstein manages to capture the sublime sense of wonder that science can evoke in a way that is possible to describe as "religious." What do you think?

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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 five chickens.
 photo Line-625_zpse3e49f32.gif Image credit: Getty Images.

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