19 April 2014

New Beginning

I join many millions of people by celebrating the resurrection of Christ this weekend. I believe that Jesus Christ rose from the dead, conquering death and giving us the opportunity to return to the presence of our Heavenly Father


There is a wonderful video produced by my Church that highlights the significance of Jesus Christ. His role is not limited to his ministry in mortal life and His resurrection. It is eternal, beginning before any of us was born, and it will extend beyond our own death and resurrection.

Every part of our lives is influenced by Him. Though His selfless act and the gift of His grace I have been cleansed of my sins (a process which is ongoing). Through His mercy I have seen healing, felt comfort, and been able to participate in His work.

My own weakness and pride sometimes leads to my failure to give proper gratitude for His love. I have faith that I can eventually be like Him and His Father. I'm thankful for reminders, and holy days like Easter provide that.

I hope that you enjoy the video found at the link below:



14 April 2014

The Holy Temple


Last weekend I took my family to Ft. Lauderdale to see the new temple that was built there. A temple is distinct from the chapels where we hold weekly worship service. In our chapels we listen to sermons, take the Lord's supper, attend Sunday School and fellowship with our brothers and sisters. The temple is reserved for special ordinances and ceremonies for those who have prepared themselves to enter. It is the most sacred place on earth for members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

It was important to make this trip because we wanted our children to see the temple as an important, aspirational place. Temple admittance is limited to church members older than 12 years who have declared their compliance with commandments. As a result, this might be the last chance that our children have to see inside the temple for years. Participants in temple ordinances agree to maintain the sacred nature of the temple by refraining from discussion when outside, but the emphasis of sacredness should not be confused with secrecy. Temple attendance is open to anyone who meets the requirements for entry, and preparation for the temple is important.

Why does this matter? In the temple we learn more about what God expects from us. We make commitments of fidelity and honor to God. We are also able to be "sealed" to our spouse for eternity. Marriages performed in temples are not confined to our lives on earth, but continue beyond. In the temple we are able to see the fulfillment of the prophecy found in the Old Testament's Book of Malachi:

5 ¶Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord:
6 And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.
 (Malachi 4:5-6)

Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints believe that this promise is being fulfilled through the strong desire that many feel to understand their family histories. The ability to be linked eternally to spouses and children is a great blessing, and the temple is where that is brought to pass.

I hope very much that my children will choose to go to the temple. I hope that they choose to marry their spouse in the temple. In my own life, I have felt the temple to be a place of peace and learning, and I'm grateful that I was married there almost 11 years ago to Lacy. I would not have it any other way.


05 April 2014

My Faith

I recently participated in a Boy Scout-sponsored leadership training called Wood Badge. As a part of that, I made several goals, including a goal to post at least once weekly on a spiritual topic, which I would then share with others.

 I am an active, life-long member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I attended Brigham Young University, owned and operated by the Church, and served a two-year mission at age 19, teaching the gospel primarily to the spanish-speaking people of San Diego and Imperial Counties.

A unique aspect of my Church is our belief that God has called and operates His Church through living prophets. We believe that our Church is led by a prophet, Thomas S. Monson, a man who receives guidance and revelation from God. Additionally, we believe that each of us can receive personal revelation and guidance from God. The Book of James says the following:

If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally and upbraideth not, and it shall be given him (James 1:5).
Twice a year we forgo our normal Church services to listen to our prophet and other Church leaders in an event called General Conference. It is a helpful opportunity to check our personal conduct against the counsel that we think that our Heavenly Father wants us to hear.

I believe that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day is led by a prophet of God. I have felt the fruits of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22) as I have listened to his words, and that and other spiritual witnesses have given me a firm testimony that my participation in this Church is consistent with God's will for me. I encourage any who are curious to listen to the messages of General Conference and consider what is said. I am glad to discuss it with any who are interested.

10 November 2013

Problems

This is my first post in more than a year. Between Facebook and Twitter I haven't felt the need to do this much. There are things that are not as easy to talk about through those mediums, and Facebook friends that could care less about what I think, so I may start doing this again.

The failure of the Obamacare rollout should be surprising to no one. I am of the opinion that the President is the most responsible party for the challenges he has faced since winning releection. He is not a good leader, seems to be a poor manager (they are different after all) and also fails to accept blame for his missteps, the recent, meager discussion of the Obamacare website an exception.

Republicans have not made his job easier, but that isn't really their job. There are few statesmen (or stateswomen) on either side, but the president is in a uniquely powerful position. He seems to utilize it at precisely the wrong times.

Here is an article on some of the president's challenges.


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Location:35000 ft

07 November 2012

What went wrong

Why did President Obama win reelection? I think there are a few main reasons, which I'll look at below. I'm not interested in what Romney did wrong in the campaign. It's over, and may provide lessons for the future, but I think that the issues below were partly outside of his control.

1. The Economy

President Obama inherited an exceedingly difficult economy. I disagree in very significant ways with how he has handled it, but the nature of those disagreements is not something that can be communicated to the general public.
I think enough Americans gave the president a pass on the economy. For four years the President has been blaming George Bush for the slow recovery. Enough people believed that.

2. Changed Electorate

Latinos, young voters, and other emerging voting groups are more reliable than many people thought. They remained supporters of the president, in spite of his weak handling of the economy. They don't identify with the issues defining many Republican voters, and immigration is a problem for the GOP.

3. Republican Failures

I trace this back to the four year period, 2002-2006, when Republicans wasted their complete hold on Congress. They overspent, and squandered chances at tax reform and social security reform. They found religion under Obama, and won major gains in 2010, but failed to overcome Obama's partisan intransigence on the budget and debt. Without notable accomplishments to point to, they could not overcome the president's successful campaign.

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05 November 2012

Turn Down the Noise

While attending a conference, a speaker helped us remember the phenomenal time in which we live. The pace of technological innovation continues, medicine and biotechnology make impressive strides toward disease control and even eradication. Every ten years, 1 billion people will enter middle class. The opportunities are unprecedented. We are bombarded with contrary information, noise, and it is easy to forget these wonders.

And we can vote. By blessing or luck, depending on how you see it, I am a citizen of the United States of America. Tomorrow we will elect or reelect a president, senators, governors, representatives, judges, commissioners, sheriffs, property appraisers and other offices. The transitions will be peaceful, the outcomes accepted, and life will go on.

The election matters. To me it matters a great deal who our president is. I think that Mitt Romney is a far better choice than Barack Obama. I trust Mitt to make the more advantageous economic policies and have every confidence that he will be able to work with Democrats on bi-partisan initiatives. I believe that he will make good decisions with regard to foreign policy, and that our security and prosperity will benefit as a result.

What if he isn't elected? Then I hope that President Obama resolves to behave differently and to do what is required to work with Republicans. His greatest leadership failure was to set a precedent at the very beginning of his term, through the wholly partisan passage of the Stimulus, that as the winner he would do whatever he wanted. He allowed congressional democrats to steamroll Republicans, and the young notion of post-partisanship was a memory.

I hope the Republicans will also understand the need for painful compromise, regardless of the presidential outcome. No one will get exactly what they want, and understanding that at the outset will go a long way to making some real progress. One thing is clear, regardless of the victors tomorrow, Americans are rightfully fed up with the way that Washington has functioned over the past several years.

Bottom line- whether or not your candidates win, or mine, America is more than any one man or woman. It is more than debt, more than healthcare, more than war. It is, and will continue to be, the greatest nation on earth, and I am proud to be a part of it. I am sitting next to three young servicemen as I type this, and I will thank them for their service, and for their efforts to safeguard our sacred right to vote.

Happy Election Day!



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22 September 2012

Awesome Video Saturday CCIII

This is a pretty clever video, from the "Swagger Wagon" rap genre.

08 September 2012

Awesome Video Saturday CCII

I just remembered that I had a blog! So I thought I would post this funny thing.

18 August 2012

Awesome Video Saturday CCI

This is one of the least appealing dating videos I can imagine, but the musical version has at least made it fun to watch.

12 July 2012

Just the Facts

Regardless of your politics, Factcheck.org is a helpful scorekeeper of the various claims made during the election season. I will admit that I am happier when the opposing side is taken to task, as the Obama campaign recently was in their attack on Mitt Romney's business record.

Paterno's Failure

I have refrained from writing about the Sandusky case for a few reasons. First, I have an inherent distaste for the sensational and disturbing elements of this story, as do many of you. Second, I didn't feel like I had enough information to opine appropriately.

The release of an independent report on Penn State's handling of Sandusky provides me with enough objective information to feel able to comment. It leaves little doubt that various officials, Joe Paterno included, acted with "a callous and shocking disregard for child victims." This article from Dan Wetzel is a good place to get a synopsis of the report's findings.

I don't believe that Paterno's failure erases all of the good he has done. The ultimate judgement of his life is left to those more qualified and deserving. I am left with an inescapable feeling that his ultimate legacy should be forever tarnished. I didn't want this to be the outcome of the report. I wanted Paterno to have acted appropriately, but to have failed to protect children is a grave misdeed.

My hope is that this case, and its attendant publicity, will serve as a powerful and lasting object lesson should similar situations arise in the future. Nothing is more important than providing for the safety and welfare of children. It is a basic, God-given responsibility.

07 July 2012

Awesome Video Saturday CC

This is an amusing commercial for VirginMobilAustralia, starring Brad Pitt's brother.
 I guess this edition would more appropriately be called "Amusing Video Saturday."

06 July 2012

Who's Afraid of Mormons?

This is an interesting interview with Cristine Hutchison-Jones, who chose to do her doctrinal dissertation on the origins of modern prejudice against Mormons.

As a Mormon, I found her conclusions very reasonable. It certainly validates the recent efforts of the Church to humanize our members through the "I am a Mormon" campaign. I've created my own page, and enjoy some of the videos that the Church has produced.

The video below is about a Mormon comedian that I have followed for some time on Twitter. She works for The Daily Show.

05 July 2012

A Designer's Death

As someone whose awareness of automobiles emerged in the late 1980's and early 1990's, I recall a debated about three "supercars." Among people my age, it was common to declare allegiance to Ferrari, Porsche, or Lamborghini. I am and have always been a Ferrari Guy.

Most of the cars that I have loved were styled by Italian design house Pininfarina. Sergio Pinifarina died last night, and it is a sad thing for lovers of beautiful cars. Some of their great designs are shown here and here. Hopefully his legacy, and that of his father, will continue.

23 June 2012

Awesome Video Saturday CXCIX

I have always been a fan of Mister Rogers. He had a gentle way about him that made the sedate pace of his show really work. You may have seen this slick auto-tuned version of this video. I think it's great.