Friday, January 31, 2014

MMM Library: How to Hijack a Meeting



by Dustin:

This post was originally published on December 20, 2011.


Mormons do meetings. Lots of them. Three meetings during Church with break-out meetings during the meetings, meetings before and after the block, meetings during the week ... meetings to coordinate those meetings. There is no end to our gathering and this will likely never change. We are a people who congregates and does so often. This culture of meetings means that we have a higher chance of being well-coordinated. It also means that opportunities are plentiful for meeting-sabotage.

Meeting-sabotage occurs when individuals knowingly or unknowingly take the power in a meeting, often without warning. Meetings are prime territory for power struggles, although in our oftentimes meek Mormon culture, the power usually goes and never returns.

As a career teacher, below are several tricks of the trade that often get deployed in my classes. I haven't yet found effective means for rescuing meetings or classes after these weapons have been discharged, but I enjoy witnessing their skillful use. Whether you are a teacher or student, recognizing these implements and learning how to effectively manage and/or utilize them can yield immense power in the classroom or cultural hall. Use them wisely:

#1 The "Just Real Quick"

This phrase immediately excuses a comment of any length, regardless if it's actually quick or not. Use it to introduce a topic, derail a conversation, or free-flow a monologue. For optimum power combine this move with "I was just going to say" or "I was thinking." For example:

Tami Teacher: "So let's move on to the Beatitudes."
Paul: "Oh, just real quick before we move on ...
Tami: "Oh, uh, yes Paul? Something to add?"
Paul: "I was just going to say that I think there are several reasons why camels wouldn't fit through the eye of a needle, logistically speaking. First ..."

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Guest Post: 3 Things I Learned About Mormons on the Grammys




Last Sunday on the Grammys, we saw Mormon rock band Imagine Dragons make the big time, winning a Grammy and performing on the awards show. In fact, many people have said that their performance was the best one that night, topping some very experienced entertainers. I could tell that from just by looking at the faces in the Grammys' audience—it probably sounded even better in person.

Here's a link to the video of the performance.

Some of you many have noticed that there were a few silent moments in their performance with Kendrick Lamar. These moments weren't because the signal went out—the silences were most likely because Lamar was swearing up a storm, and it was being edited out during the time delay. (These edits are probably why the Deseret news article on Imagine Dragons didn't mention expletives.) "What?" you say, "Mormons agreed to be in an act laced with expletives? On a Sunday? Shouldn't they have walked off stage?"

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Helping the Struggling Brethren



by Kevin Shafer:


Recently, men’s mental health has received substantial research and popular media attention. These reports emphasize that men seek help less often for their problems than women, have few close friends, and tend to externalize their problems through anger, substance abuse, and other problem behaviors. Men often feel they can’t share their problems with others because they are constricted by hyper-masculine norms that tell men they have to be self-reliant and confident in themselves. Not surprisingly, such attitudes hurt men, their families, and the people they most care about.

Although I have no data to support my claim, I think that the men of the Church are doing worse than the average American male when it comes to psychological well-being and lack of help-seeking. In addition to masculine norms, which are seemingly pervasive within church culture, LDS men often face several norms which reduce help-seeking and increase stress, in my view. For one, men are often viewed as the servers, often because of priesthood responsibilities, and rarely the served. Second, LDS culture and interpretations of doctrine tell men that they are to be leaders and American conceptions of leadership exude strength and reliability. Weakness and personal struggle are rarely seen as leadership attributes in our culture. Third, messaging about self-reliance has the potential to be harmful. Fourth, we assume that because someone is in church weekly, performs a calling, etc. that they are "doing fine," and thus, can be somewhat ignored for other concerns. Finally, cultural attitudes about mental health are not particularly healthy within the church. Although I believe that Elder Holland’s October 2013 General Conference address will go a long way to change these unhealthy perceptions of poor mental health, many Mormons still believe that increased prayer, fasting, and faith can cure such ailments. Although I have no doubt that these activities can improve mental health, they rarely cure depression, anxiety, and more serious mental health issues. Obviously, there are many other contributing factors that block help-seeking in LDS men, but these four highlight some of the barriers which exist within church culture.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Manly Design: Type Drawer Figures



by Scott Heffernan:

I thought this would be a fun series. Stereotypically home decor is largely left up to the ladies, but men have some good ideas too and I think it's time we stepped up. I hope other contributors and guest posters will send in their own Manly Design Tips.


A vintage type drawer filled in with small toy figures—this is hanging on my wall at the bottom of the stairs.

I’m sure I’m not the only person who is nostalgic for their childhood toys. This seemed like a good way to make them into an art piece. Type drawers were used by typesetters to store and sort their font letters. You can find them on eBay or sometimes at garage sales. I got this one for $15 from a garage sale that advertised on Craigslist that they’d be selling drawers. The little compartments are perfect for holding plastic army men. I tried to incorporate a wide variety of figures. I chose to fill the larger slots with G.I. Joe action figures, my favorite toy line growing up.

Makes for good conversation and the kids love it.


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Scott Heffernan is an artist, designer, and photographer living in Seattle. He works on the creative team at Archie McPhee, doing all manner of strange things. He grew up a child of the 80s in Salt Lake City and loves skateboarding, toys, and thrifting. He served a mission in England/Wales and has a degree in American Sign Language from the University of Utah. He has one wife and two kids. Twitter: @ScottHeffernan. Tumblr: ScottHeff.tumblr.com.
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Monday, January 27, 2014

Googling Your Way Through Parenthood



by Kyle:

Google is one of my best friends. We've laughed together, we've cried together, and it always has the right answers to my most difficult life's questions. I thought I used Google a lot before becoming a father, but in the past 13 months I am constantly seeking knowledge and advice from my trusty friend.

The good news is that because Google basically owns, and probably designed, the Universe, I am not alone in turning to it with all my questions. I am also not alone in looking to Google for answers when it comes to my one-year-old daughter.

In a recent New York Times article Seth Stephens-Davidowitz did some analysis on parent’s Google queries about their young sons and daughters. Here’s a bit about what he found:
  • Parents are 2.5 times more likely to search “is my son gifted” than “is my daughter gifted.” For every 10 searches about girls being smart, there are 25 about boys. He notes that there is a similar bias when looking across other search terms relating to intelligence. (There are also more searches asking if a son is “stupid” than the same about daughters)

Friday, January 24, 2014

MMM Library: Modern Mormon Motivational Poster 2



by A-Dub:


"You rush a miracle man, you get rotten miracles." - Miracle Max, Princess Bride

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A-Dub currently lives in Portland, Oregon, but grew up in the Midwest. After a mission to Argentina and a degree from BYU, Aaron received an MBA from the University of Washington. Consequently, he is a data-driven corporate sellout who thinks the government should generally mind its own business. A lifelong Mormon and former counselor in a bishopric, Aaron feels that the eccentricities of Mormon culture should be made fun of as much as possible, that the main point of the gospel is to be like Christ and help others, and suspects that – whether openly or covertly – everyone likes Neil Diamond. He and his amazing wife have two boys.
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Thursday, January 23, 2014

Guest Post: How Would You Have Answered This Investigator’s Question?




Last week I was invited by the missionaries in my ward to join them as they met with an investigator. The lesson was about the Word of Wisdom. The lesson went well. The investigator had some great insights and great questions, which we answered to the best of our ability. But our friend was confused about the alcohol part. If Jesus drank wine, she wondered, how could alcohol consumption be a sin? We explained that the prohibition of alcohol wasn't a commandment back then, but it was now. And this is where she asked a question that none of us had a good answer for.

She said that if God is eternal and has been the same forever and ever, and if time is meaningless to God, it would make sense for him to be in any situation in any period of [our] time and still be sinless and blameless. Were that not the case, he would cease to be the perfect God that we know him to be. She said that it didn't make sense that Jesus would be a sinner if he were here with us today, but by our definition, he would be a sinner because he has drunk wine.

That's an interesting point that I had never really thought of before, and I felt that none of our answers were very satisfactory.

One of the missionaries replied that he didn't know if what he was about to say was true or not (rarely a good sign in a church setting), but that he heard that the wine they used back in the day was really just grape juice. I reminded him that there are instances in just about every book of scripture we have of people getting drunk from wine. You don't get drunk off of grape juice.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Priesthood, Priestcraft, Power and Persuasion



by Shawn Tucker:

Yearning

When you read it carefully, you can hear the yearning. He had already tried once, and when that failed, he left town feeling low and dejected. I wonder how he felt, then, when the angel showed up. Keep in mind that not all of his previous interactions with angels had been … positive. In fact all of the previous experiences, which number exactly one, had been, well, let's just say "mixed" at best. When you end up knocked out for a few days and you feel like a farm implement used to churn up densely packed soil has chewed up your insides, you cannot call the encounter a total win. Sure, by the end Alma had repented and felt joy as powerful as his sorrow, but that came later.

So how did Alma feel when that same angel showed up? Did he recognize him? Maybe not, at least initially, because the angel had to tell him that they had met before. In any case, the angel had at least two items on his/her to-do list, with the other being a visit to Amulek. We don't have a sense of Alma complaining, and it is easy to imagine that he immediately, humbly, obediently, and even energetically returned to Ammonihah. Oh, and I have a clue about why he would do that: Alma's recent scripture reading.

Reading and Persuading

We can guess at Alma's recent scripture reading by looking carefully at Alma and Amulek's very public discussions with the people of Ammonihah; Alma has been reading about Melchizedek. Alma talks about him in Alma chapter 13. And what he says about him is not in any scriptures I know of—that Melchizedek was the king of a city that had become unrighteous, but by his faith and love and persuasion, he was able to bring them back to God. And that is what Alma wants; he wants to persuade the people of Ammonihah.

Alma and Amulek's work in Ammonihah shows the power and limitations of persuasion. Both face the angry hostility of priests who have come to accept Nehor's approach to divine authority. They also face a public that seems happy to praise and honor and financially support priests who will then promise all of them effortless and painless salvation. As this is only nine years into a new social and political order, one with judges instead of absolute rulers (and perhaps with increased personal responsibility), it seems easy to believe that the people of Ammonihah may want a "traditional" or even "conservative" approach to government and citizenship, one with powerful rulers and dependent subjects.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Smart Phone, Dumb Phone



by LJ:


Back in October, I purchased this phone for $30 off eBay in a fit of zealous rage against technology. I never actually succeeded in switching my plan, since my Giant Unnamed Provider told me they'd start charging me more money for less phone, so I stuck with my iPhone 4. I had wanted to break ties with my phone a year after I realized I was being charged an extra $100 a month for the honor of owning an iPhone, but by that time it was too late. I had grown a little charger-shaped umbilical cord to my phone.

I took it everywhere, like a precious object. Whenever I left it in one room, my toddler son would run and get it, proudly proclaiming, "'S Mommy's phone!" and hand it back to me. And I was always, always grateful to have it safely back in my hand.

I drove with it balanced on one leg in case of sudden Internetty emergencies, like refreshing my phone email over and over again at a stoplight. I took it in the bathroom with me. Late at night, my husband and I would lie in bed next to each other and surf the Internet without speaking. It was all very Fahrenheit 451.

I tried to wean myself off my phone by deleting all social media and Candy Crush, but that still left the relentless call of the Internet. Plus, I was doing weird things like checking my financial accounts several times a day just to keep my thumb on that screen.

Fast forward to January. We got stuck coming home from Christmas thanks to a creative scheduling error by United Airlines that had us leaving on our connecting flight two hours before we left our original destination. This combined with the POLAR VORTEX meant we spent two days entertaining our toddler son and infant daughter in two different airports and clinging to sanity by our fingernails.

So now you can understand why in a moment of desperation I gave my crying daughter my iPhone to chew on. It held on bravely for about two hours and then gave up the ghost.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Words to Live By 10: The Aim



by Seattle Jon:

Words to Live By is a series featuring short selections by eminent men and women from the mid-twentieth century. Originally published in This Week magazine, the selections represent a mosaic of what people were thinking and feeling in challenging times. Previous Words to Live By here.

The Aim
by George N. Shuster (Noted Educator, Notre Dame University)

"As for myself, I want to do my work well ... and to die well." - Unknown French Girl

In 1919, I lived in Poitiers as a student in a room looking out on the old street up which Jeanne d'Arc had come to see the Dauphin. Like many a soldier just out of the trenches, I thought of the place I had to make for myself in the world rather than of how I would go about it or why. early one morning I overheard two girls talking on their way to work. "As for myself," I heard one say, "I want to do my work well ... and to die well."

"To want to do one's work well." When you really want to do something well, whatever it may be, you can laugh, sing, drink a toast to life.

But that is only part of it; now think of the business of living as ending with a balance sheet to be looked at when the business is over. Mortality's best prelude to immortality would be to find nothing in life of which one had to be terribly ashamed: to be sure no other human being could justly say you had ruined his spirit or grossly betrayed his trust, and even to be able to say that enemies had not been hated. In the conversation of the two French girls I found the conviction that life must retain a quality only the word holiness can describe. And I began to think of what my story would read like at the end.

I had not managed as well as the French girl doubtless did. Even so, it has been increasingly evident that our human society prospers only when there are many who see life as she did. Her sermon was brief, but it still seems to me the best I have ever heard.

Friday, January 17, 2014

MMM Sermons: A Matter of a Few Degrees



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.

Who's our favorite pilot apostle? That's right. President Dieter F. Uchtdorf can't help himself from sharing his love of aviation and his 2008 April General Conference talk is no exception. Women swoon over his good looks and men want to transplant his healthy locks to their own shiny heads. I personally love President Uchtdorf because he is the only apostle in the quorum who is not a native to America. He's originally from Czechoslavakia and grew up in East Germany. Like me, he's a convert and I admire his approach to the gospel of Jesus Christ.

As President Uchtdorf points out, it only is a matter of a "few degrees" that can separate us from God's kingdom and mislead us to Satan's:
Small errors and minor drifts away from the doctrine of the gospel of Jesus Christ can bring sorrowful consequences into our lives. It is therefore of critical importance that we become self-disciplined enough to make early and decisive corrections to get back on the right track and not wait or hope that errors will somehow correct themselves.
President Uchtdorf's words hit home for me. I have a friend who years ago struggled with the law of chastity. He was older and was finding himself slowly being moved out of the singles ward scene. He was lonely and worked with his bishop in trying to overcome his struggles. But, alas, months would go by and he would be disciplined and then he would give in to his carnal appetites. Because he couldn't give up on his vices, he slipped away from the rod of iron, impregnated a girl and now has nothing to do with the LDS church. It brings me great sorrow when I talk to this friend and know what could have been if he had not strayed away from the path just "a few degrees." I know that peace and happiness come from staying on the path and only eventual misery and pain await us if we stray off of it.

Have you known anyone you care for that has strayed away?

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Saint Mark is one of those oxymorons: a Mexican who speaks fluent Japanese, a bibliophile even though he did not grow up with a book, pen or paper in his home, and a mormon who grew up in the casino lights of Las Vegas. After becoming a modern-day Ammon in Kyushu, Japan, he returned to the States to become a lifelong student, literally. He has a bachelors from Brigham Young University, a masters from Georgetown University, and a juris doctor from Boston University School of Law. Mark is a husband of a wonderful woman who is done with Mark being a student, a father of two intelligent and rambunctious boys who beat him at chess and football, and an active participant in his ward and community. He identifies himself as someone who quickly tires of chit chat and wants to know "the five things you want to do before you die" when he first meets you.
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Thursday, January 16, 2014

The Creepiest Thing You'll Ever See on a Saturday Morning



by Scott Heffernan:

Never mind them. People are of no value. We could make more sometime… if we need them.


One Saturday morning as a kid, I came across a strange claymation movie on an obscure television channel. The portion I stumbled on featured Adam, Eve, and the serpent, and was truly bizarre. I changed the channel (there were other Saturday morning cartoons on!), but found myself continually checking back to see what was going on. There was something simultaneously off-putting and fascinating about this show.

The film is called The Adventures of Mark Twain (Comet Quest if you’re British) and was directed by Will Vinton, the man behind the California Raisins claymation videos. The plot centers around Tom Sawyer, Becky Thatcher, and Huck Finn sneaking onto Mark Twain’s airship as he chases Halley’s Comet to fulfill his destiny by crashing into it (as you do). The magical ship travels through time and space, weaving in themes and events from several of Twain’s stories along the way.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Guest Post: Warnings From Outer Space



Our universe filled with galaxies: worlds without number

Our home galaxy, the Milky Way, is estimated to contain 100-400 billion stars, with 10-20% of these being like our sun. In March of 2009, NASA launched the Kepler Observatory to search the Milky Way for habitable planets. Data from this space telescope are now being analyzed and reveal a wealth of fascinating information. One study found that 22% of sun-like stars are orbited by rocky planets in the 'Goldilocks Zone' which allows liquid water to exist at its surface and therefore be habitable for life. Now, a new study using computer modeling suggests that the 'Goldilocks Zone' may be 10 times wider than originally conceived.

The Andromeda Galaxy

Astronomers estimate that at least two billion and as many as 60 billion planets are therefore capable of sustaining life in the Milky Way alone. Consider then that the visible universe* contains up to 500 billion galaxies and 30 billion trillion stars. The numbers are beyond comprehension. Science is gradually proving what we have long known:
And worlds without number have I created; and I also created them for mine own purpose; and by the Son I created them, which is mine Only Begotten. (Moses 1:33)

Thus, I Abraham, talked with the Lord, face to face, as one man talketh with another; and he told me of the works which his hands had made . . . and I saw those things which his hands had made, which were many; and they multiplied before mine eyes, and I could not see the end thereof. (Abraham 3:11-12)
The idea that intelligent extraterrestrial life exists is actually pretty common, and certainly not new. Surveys in the US and UK put the number of believers in intelligent extraterrestrial life as being between 60 and 70% of the population.** SETI (the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) has been patiently listening for radio waves from our intergalactic neighbors for many years using high-tech telescopes. Despite of its lack of success, SETI isn't giving up. I'm therefore seriously thinking of forwarding the decisive 'white paper' on this subject so they can rest a little easier. I recently stumbled onto it while my plane was stuck on the tarmac.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

100 Years of Scouts and the Church



by Bradly Baird:

This year marks the one hundredth anniversary of the relationship between the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the Boy Scouts of America. The anniversary reminds me of the ways in which Scout Leaders play a role in the life of my son - who is in the middle of his Scout experience - and the ways in which those leaders sacrifice much to help my son and other scouts in our ward program.

Last summer, our recently-released Varsity Leader, Joe Coombs, wanted my son to complete his Swimming Merit Badge. He escorted my son and one other scout over to the local swimming pool and put them through their paces. This was no easy task and as my son really hates the water. Joe pushed, pleaded, coaxed, and begged his way through the afternoon; but, he managed to finish all the requirements. Joe never gave up. He stood right there for hours - time he could have spent with his family - until everything was complete.

Thousands of leaders like Joe give much of their time and energy to the Boy Scouts. To honor their work and sacrifice, I put together this video about the Scouting program and the mark it makes on the lives of millions. The images are all by the great illustrator Norman Rockwell, while the music is by the film composer Thomas Newman.

video

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Bradly Allen Baird is the father of two amazing children and has been married for almost twenty years. He served a mission in Finland, though he was really supposed to serve in Uruguay. His professional meanderings include everything from education to economic development, to human capital management in the IT industry (hopefully this one sticks); and spends his Saturdays hanging out with the missionaries in Provo, or racing back and forth between his children's activities in tae kwon do and elite cheerleading. Bradly also survived an MBA program; developed a somewhat limited interest in music, theater, film, urban planning, judaica, liberation theology, politics, israel, and latin american history; studies the influence of graphic imagery on public space; wrote a thesis about Leonard Bernstein, is obsessed with the American Symphonists, and reads publications like The Tablet and the Jewish Daily Forward.
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Monday, January 13, 2014

Linger Longer 31




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)
Dear Men: If You Don't Want to Be a Feminist, That's Cool With Me (Feminist Mormon Housewives)
Police Beat Roundtable XXV (By Common Consent)
My Beef With Goals (Times and Seasons)
O, Say What Is Truth (Zelophehad's Daughters)
LDS University Bookplate (Keepapitchinin)
Sacred Luck and Lines (Segullah)
Race, Priesthood and Infallibility (Doves and Serpents)
On the Virtues of Old People (Peculiar People)
Precursors to Joseph's Polygamy (Millenial Star)
Best and Worst Reads of 2013 (Low-Tech World)
Ethics in Business, the Arts and Hollywood (Dawning of a Brighter Day)
The Romney Family Table (Mormon Women Project)
To Mirror Christ's Life (No More Strangers)
The Modesty Conundrum (Rational Faiths)

Mormon-Related Podcasts
Episode 94: Polygamy and Gay Marriage Laws in Utah Explained (FMH Podcast)
Episode 451: A Discussion of the New Race and the Priesthood Web Page (Mormon Stories)
Episode 206: At Peace with Human Prophets - Personal Journeys (Mormon Matters)

Off-Bloggernacle (non-religious sites)
500 MPHExpanding Earth, Little Planet and Facebook of the Dead (What If?)
Winning The Price is Right (Slate)
Raising Modern Learners (ParentMap)
I Hope My Father Dies Soon (Dilbert)
10 Secrets of Grand Central Terminal (The Epoch Times)
American Schools vs. The World (The Atlantic)
Teen Texting: The Ruin of Romance (Huffington Post)
U.S. Military Lingo: The (Almost) Definitive Guide (NPR)
How to Waste Time Properly (Nautilus)
Statistically, Who's the Greatest Person in History? (New Republic)
Netflix's War on Mass Culture (New Republic)
This is How Your Brain Tells Time (Salon)
75 Simple British Slang Phrases You Should Probably Start Using (Lifehacker)
24 Rules for Being A Gentleman in 2014 (Thought Catalog)
Parents are Buying Their Kids All the Wrong Toys (Quartz)
2013 - The Year in Volcanic Activity (The Atlantic)
The Art of Dying (Lapham's Quarterly)
The Nastiest Injury in Sports (Grantland)
This is the Average Man's Body (The Atlantic)
11 Spectacular Cliff Paths (The World Geography)
2012 Was the 9th Warmest Year on Record. The 9 Warmest Years Have All Occurred Since 1998 (AGU)
Our Interview with Bill Watterson (Calvin & Hobbes Creator) (Mental Floss)

Friday, January 10, 2014

Top MMM Posts of 2013



Another year down for Modern Mormon Men. Thanks for reading and participating! Here are the top posts written in 2013 (based on pageviews). If you've already seen them, read 'em again!


1. The Infantilisation of Young Single Adults by ldsbishop
2. #MormonHalloweenMovies: The Twitter Hashtag that Blew Up by brettmerritt
3. What to Do When Bored in Church by Scott Heffernan
4. Let's Talk About … by Shawn Tucker
5. Institutional Unrighteous Dominion by ldsbishop
6. 11 Reasons to Stop Texting While Driving Now by brettmerritt
7. 8 Reasons Why I Want My Kids to Attend the BYU by Eliana
8. PSAs for Mormon Men by Jenne Alderks (Guest) & Scott Heffernan
9. "I'm a Mormon" Comes to the UK ... Big-Time by ldsbishop
10. I'm Joni Hilton's Computer, and I'd Just Like to Say I'm Sorry by Shawn Tucker

Any favorites of yours that aren't on the list?

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Saintspeak 19: The Letter O



by Seattle Jon:

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

Oil Normal Saints keep a small bottle of consecrated oil in the medicine cabinet at home. Fervent believers carry one with them always, just in case a miracle is needed. Fanatics use theirs so often they keep running out, and then ask you if they can borrow some of yours. When you admit you don't carry any with you, they look at you with such disappointment that you feel like turning in your temple recommend.

One-Third of the Hosts of Heaven All the spirits in the preexistence who didn't have the guts to try to make it back to heaven without someone forcing them to be righteous. Bishops whose ward members can't seem to get anything done without constant supervision should console themselves that Satan has to work with followers who have even less initiative.

Only True A synonym for my. For example: The only true church = my church. The only true ward = my ward. The only true way of picking cherries on the welfare farm = my way.

Organist During boring parts in sacrament meeting, it is the organists duty to "accidentally" lean on the keyboard or step on a pedal. The startled congregation usually can't get back to sleep for ten or fifteen minutes.

Orthodox Mormon A Latter-day Saint who has twelve children, a garden, a years supply of food and supplies, every book with a General Authorities name on the cover, and a subscription to the Ensign, New Era, and Friend. The orthodox Mormon man has no debts, his wife does not work outside the home, and his house and yard are cleaned up and fixed up. The orthodox Mormon woman has clean, obedient children, a house full of artifacts made on homemaking day, and a perfectly satisfied husband. There is no Mormon product that the orthodox Mormon will not buy, no acquaintance who has not heard about the gospel, and no doctrine or story told in a Church meeting that he or she does not believe. Orthodox Mormons would give up anything, including life itself, for the gospel; and being utterly teachable and meek, they will inherit the earth.

Osmondize To give something such a slick, polished surface appearance that no one will notice there isn't any substance underneath.

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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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Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Humanitarian Aid in the Fast Lane?



by Dustin:

This past week we were in Salt Lake City on a family ski trip. On Sunday, we went to Music and the Spoken Word (where my four-year-old applauded every performance) and then walked over to Temple Square to take a picture with the Christus and look at the statues of the prophets on the bottom floor.

While we were in the Food Storage and Humanitarian Aid section of the Visitor's Center, I came across this wall of ideas for ways to help others in need and found the most unusual suggestion. The writing on the wall states the following:

"When we help those in need in the way the Savior taught, we give of our energy, skills, and possessions in a manner that leaves the receiver more self-reliant and leaves us happy because of our sacrifice. In this way all are truly blessed."

As I walked the length of the wall, I found ideas such as "be a friend" and "visit shut-ins." Others included "taking a meal to the sick" and "volunteering at the local school." Most ideas seemed intuitive. Then, tucked just to the right of the computer screen I found this:


What ...? Drive considerately? Since when is this a form of humanitarian aid?! I considered for 30 seconds why this would be included alongside "contribute to a charity" and "teach someone to read" on the wall of humanitarian service but dropped it when my son needed to use the potty. Maybe it was just put there to torment me, given my propensity to match the maniacal driving style of my fellow Houstonians. Regardless, it instantly became my go-to strategy for serving others in 2014. I will drive more humanely.

That said, I'd be interested to hear your opinions on why this fits with other, more obvious methods of giving aid. And yes, that is "kindness" spelled with one "s."

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Dustin currently lives in Houston, Texas with his wife and four children. After serving a mission in Puerto Rico, he set the tone for a happy marriage by failing Dating and Marriage Prep at BYU-Idaho. He then showed why this happened, dragging his family around the nation with nine moves in seven years, all in the name of figuring out what to do with his life. He found his way into leadership development and now works at YES Prep Public Schools training teachers to be leaders and as a private consultant for businesses and non-profits. He especially enjoys helping people figure out their best-fit career and get into it and spits serious game on the topic at petersonleadership.com. He loves bacon, Dallas sports teams, and long walks on the beach. Email him at dustin (at) petersonleadership (dot) com. Twitter: @dustin_lead.
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Tuesday, January 7, 2014

10 Books Every Mormon Should Read



by Eliana:

To be honest, the whole world would be a better place if everyone read these titles. But since this is a post for MMM I will limit my comments to the Mormon faith community. I read one hundred books last year. I always read at least one book per week. I'm in my mid-thirties and have been reading that much basically always. So you don't have to listen to me, but I have some fairly legit street cred as far as book recommendations go. And I'm an English professor, if that means anything to you.

Fiction

Each of these titles speaks to me about inspiration, about God's hand in our lives. That could be a rogue baseball in the case of one book or the mysterious neighbor in another. Central to my belief system is that God is real and available to me. These novels are hard for me to define, but they circle around morality and peace.


Crossing to Safety by Wallace Stegner

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

Four Letters of Love by Niall Williams

A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving

Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky

Nonfiction

What does it mean to be alive and part of a larger world community? Each of these books speaks to figuring out that whole big question in different ways.


Stumbling on Happiness by Daniel Gilbert

Far From the Tree by Andrew Solomon

Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis

The Secrets of Happy Families by Bruce Feiler

Religious Literacy by Stephen Prothero

Other MMM Posts

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