Saturday, October 09, 2010

Breast Cancer Awareness

I have been very concerned over the years on the focus on Breast Cancer "Awareness".  I think the amount of talking about it and the way it is being talked about is making people aware, but it is making them aware that they are annoyed, offended, or wearied by the conversation.

I'm not sure what raising awareness means.  I think most people we very aware of breast cancer and that it kills people or make it necessary to remove a breast surgically.  This is likely because it is widespread and they likely know or have heard of someone who has had it.

Because of the over publicizing of it and the vulgar way that breast cancer awareness is being promoted, I am less likely to contribute to the cause or participate in events the cause is organizing.

Perhaps everyone passionate about curing brain cancer, prostate cancer, skin cancer, or cancer anywhere in the body should unite their resources, rather than having their own private battles.

Our Bodies and Sexuality are Sacred
Even if a good cause is being promoted, doing it by speaking irreverently about our body and sexuality is inappropriate.  

Focusing on Our Bodies Diminishes Our Self Worth
This is likely why many are so devastated after a mastectomy.  They have tied a too much of who they are to their breasts.  It is also likely why many girls and women or so self conscious about their breasts being "too big" or "too small".  When our "sex appeal" is what defines or is our biggest too to stay ahead in life then we are devaluing ourselves.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Memory and Knowledge

I have trouble at times with memory and focus.  Below are some scriptures and thoughts I have found.

  • Go to the temple and ponder the blessing in the initiatory.
  • Speaking of the Word of Wisdom, Doctrine and Covenants 89:19 states
      19 And shall afind bwisdom and great ctreasures of dknowledge, even hidden treasures;

Sunday, September 05, 2010

We Are the Body

Later that very morning that I posted my previous post on a contemporary Christian song that was giving me cause to ponder I was presented with another one in priesthood opening.

Someone was called on impromptu to give a scripture as is the way things are done each week.  The person giving the scripture today told of how his friend had given him a bunch of contemporary Christina music. He was slowly going through it finding things he liked. He came across the song “If We Are the Body” by Casting Crowns. The chorus of the song is as follows.

But if we are the Body
Why aren't His arms reaching
Why aren't His hands healing
Why aren't His words teaching
And if we are the Body
Why aren't His feet going
Why is His love not showing them there is a way
There is a way 

I have pondered on this song several times in the past as this was not the first time I had heard this song, being I was raised in a predominantly protestant community. I had attended several protestant churches before my family joined the Church when I was 14 and my wife was raised protestant.

One day that stands out to me when I considered this song was as I was eating lunch at a Chinese buffet with some folks from work in Indianapolis, Indiana. Next to us I heard someones phone "ring" and the ringtone was this song. It "rang" with "If we are the body, why aren't His arms reaching" and so on. I am not a fan of a phone doing anything but actually ringing when it needs you attention, but I found it admirable that she had this on her mind and wanted the song to frequently remind her to be Christ-like.

The women then picks up the phone and begins her conversation with an F bomb followed by whatever other profanity she could squeeze between the words necessary for the conversation.

Needless to say, my admiration faded and a spiritual moment was lost.

I have been with people and seen them help someone load their car with groceries or some other service that needed doing and I often think, "Why didn't I do that? Why didn't it even occur to me until I saw them doing it?"

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Home Teaching and Missionary Thoughts From Contemporary Christian Song

I was listening to the song Saving Grace by the Contemporary Christian sing group Point of Grace.

The song tells the story of a girl whose father left before she was born. Her mother named her Grace.  The girl ran away when she was fifteen.  It talks of how the girl doesn't see the point in going to church, so we have to be where she lives.  I don't think that just means going to her home, but there are many other parts of her life.  When we see her where she works whether that is where we work or where we buy groceries or where we get lunch.

The songs says "Being Jesus to those he came to save. Sharing life and giving our own away. It's all about serving God, all about saving Grace "  It goes on about showing who Jesus is.  Not telling, but showing.  Helping people who feel pain to feel His spirit and His love.

I have indicated that the subject of this post is missionary work and home teaching, but it is about living our life.  It is about receiving His image in our countenances.

Alma 5:14,19

  14 And now behold, I ask of you, my brethren of the church, have ye aspiritually been bborn of God? Have ye received his image in your countenances? Have ye experienced this mighty cchange in your hearts?
  19 I say unto you, can ye look up to God at that day with a pure heart and clean hands? I say unto you, can you look up, having theaimage of God engraven upon your countenances?

The lyrics for this song can be found at

Monday, August 16, 2010

Being the Only Latter-day Saint in Your High School

A friend of mine posted on Facebook yesterday about how he was the only member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in his high school when he was growing up in Goshen, Indiana.  He still lives in that same town and now his kids are the only members of the Church there.

Another friend commented that for years she and her siblings were the only members of the Church in their school system in Middlebury, Indiana.  I joined the Church my freshman year and the oldest sibling in her family was a grade younger than me.  My freshman year and my first year as a member of the Church I went to school as the only member.  It worked out okay, since I was pretty use to not fitting in, so being a member of a religion that many have misconceptions about was not horrible, but it would've been nice to have someone there with that common life experience.  The following years, one by one her siblings trickled into the high school and another family of members moved into town with high school aged kids.  Although, since they were in the younger grades, we didn't have classes together and were generally in different parts of the school, so it was still like being the lone Mormon.

By the time I graduated high school there was still me as the only member of the senior class, a couple of girls in the junior class, a couple of girls in the sophomore class, and a freshman girl.  I believe the freshman class of a couple of years later, that my brother was in, filled out a little more.  More people were moving to Middlebury to commute to the bigger towns.

As I heard from the kids in the Elkhart and Concord school systems, where our chapel was located, I perceived that having a few more members in their school wasn't much of a comfort to them either since the class sizes were much bigger, everyone had different things going, and there were a lot of pressures that perhaps I didn't have to deal with in my small town.

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Modest Clothing

I think it is some times missed that just because you are dressed modestly does not mean you are dressed appropriately or reverently.  I think this is much like sometimes it is missed that even though you are not doing anything "to have to go to the bishop for" doesn't mean that you are acting properly by long and/or heavy make out sessions.

Examples might include wearing jeans in the chapel or shedding you Sunday clothes the moment you walk in the door from church.


I have struggled for years to understand what the difference between justification and sanctification was.  I found some clarity the other day while I was reading.  Here's what I think the definition of the two are.

Justification is being saved from past sins.

Sanctification is the process of being repeatedly justified, through repentance, until one learns perfection.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Live Up to Your Privilege

"If you live up to your privileges, the angels cannot be restrained from being your associates."
Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, comp. Joseph Fielding Smith (1977), 226.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Logan, UT Temple

We went to the Logan temple yesterday.  It was nice to be there, but it was a bit confusing.

Getting Lost
I often get turned around in the temple and even more so when it is my first time at that temple, but Logan was especially difficult for some reason.

The confusion started a block or two away from the temple.  The road we came in on turned into a one way to make room for a scenic walkway or something.  The confusion came more upon leaving since we had followed a friend in and the road was one way going the direction we needed to get in.  We were entirely lost on how to get back since our friend was gone.

Then we moved to the parking lot.  Our friend told us that it is frequently over flowed.  Fortunately this time it was not, but was still a very oddly shaped parking lot.  I did find the gates around the temple to be unique and ascetically pleasing.

Once we got out of our vehicle and headed to the door we were unsure where the entrance was.  We followed some people, but they appeared to be confused as to where the bride would come out for a wedding that appeared to be happening.

There were tons of people standing around in the entry ways and around the front desk.  We weren't sure who was waiting to check in and who were just loitering.

The hallways always seemed to draw me in the wrong direction and I would end up in a corner that went no where.

There were several other confusions as well with various seating situations, but I feel constrained to give too many details there.

Noise and Loiterers
As I mentioned previously it appeared that there was a wedding going on.  There were several people milling around out side the entrance, making it difficult for others to enter.  They seemed to be so caught up in visiting that they were oblivious to others outside their party.  This sort of thing continued once we entered.

There were people stacked in the entryway.  All of this may have been exacerbated because it was cold and raining outside.  The people in the entryway were much the same as those under the overhangs outside.  They were just standing around visiting and not paying attention to being courteous and that others were there to attend the temple and not to party.

The noise was like the rumble in a reception hall, rather than a temple.  People were mingling all around the front desk and into the seating areas in the temple foyer.  One of the matrons apologized for the noise.  I would've figured someone would ask the people to keep it down, but I often find it noisier than it should be as people stand and visit in celestial rooms at times as well.

I do not advocate the temple being overly ornate, but I was surprised that such a unique looking temple was very non unique on the inside.  This is not a complaint.  As with most of my commentary, other than the discussion of misbehaving patrons, this is just an observation.  I enjoyed going to the Logan temple.

The Secret to Getting Kids to Sit Through Church Quietly

I keep seeing parents stumped as to why their kid won't sit quietly in church.  At times it appears as though they are sabotaging themselves.

The chapel is sacred and kids are very capable of being reverent.  They can be trained that there are places to play and there are places to sit quietly.

Dogs are less developed creations than humans, yet dogs can even be taught to sit and not take food when they are hungry or sit and not chase distractions, even though it is their natural instinct.  It takes a long time to teach them to be obedient and the same is true of children, but it can be done if one is diligent.

Placating Is Your Worst Enemy
Just like with anything, training a child takes work.  Procrastination and laziness makes the problem worse.

Giving in to the child teaches them they can keep throwing the fits and get what they want.

I heard recently of a primary teacher that was sitting with a child in primary.  The child was saying they wanted to go to their mom for food.  The teacher told her it was not the time.  The mother was in the room and looked to the child and told her to stay there.  After several minutes they were winning.  Then the child started to cry.  The mother immediately gave in and reinforced with the child that if she behaved badly she would be rewarded.

Hopping Them Up on Sugar
Feeding them sugar cereals or carbohydrates like crackers and Cheerios, which the body immediately turns into sugar isn't going to help the situation.  It also makes a mess that you have to take time to clean up after church and you will never find all the places the child has dropped food or ground it into the carpet, which then make work for someone else later and until someone does clean it up, everyone has to sit in your mess.

The chapel is sacred.  It is not a buffet.

Elder Robert C. Oaks, Worship Through Reverence, Ensign December 2009
"Often we equate the reverence of a congregation with the behavior of the children present. True, young children can provide a special challenge to reverence. But the first rule with respect to children is to bring them! They can be taught, they can be taken out, and they can be brought back into the meeting. And in the teaching it is better to minimize the number of training tools that are brought to church, such as toys and food."

Making the Hallway or Pew a Playground
Of course a kid doesn't want to sit in a boring pew when they can through a fit and get to go out and play in the hall or run their cars up and down the pew.  If the kid can play on the floor in the hall, often with other kids, then they will scream in order to go every time.

The chapel is heaven.  Anywhere else that you have to take them because they are misbehaving is hell.  When they throw a fit, swiftly take them out and find a spot where you can make their time outside of the chapel more uncomfortable than their time in the chapel.  Often finding a spot where they can throw their fit without disturbing the chapel is useful.  I generally use a class room, but if they are especially vocal you can take them out to your vehicle.

Outside of the chapel must be exponentially more boring and painful than inside the chapel.  Just letting them sit and play is not painful.

I say take them out swiftly, because this shows that their behavior will not be tolerated for any length of time and if they are noisy enough to get your attention, then there is trouble coming.  Eventually because they know the trip to the hall is immediate and painful, many times just a stern look is enough to put their seat back in the pew and to button their lips.

Disturbing Others
Turning the pew into a playground can also disturb those around you even if the kid isn't screaming.  You may tune them out, because you have giving them something to play with and they aren't screaming.  While at the same time, no one around you can focus because the kid it scraping their toys along to back and side of the pew or is staring at the people behind you or are kicking the pew or are grabbing the people in front of you.

The chapel is sacred.  It is not a playground.

When to Start
I'm not sure that any age is too young to start training.  Obviously you must tailor it to each child, but even babies can be taken to a plain room to be quieted, rather than the hall.  You can hold them and rock them, facing a dull wall in a quiet place, which will make the chapel seem entertaining with things going on their.

Missing Spiritual Instruction
Some may think that they will miss out on the lessons and talks by taking their kids out of the chapel and out of the hallway where the parents can hear.  You will miss less by taking a few weeks to train the child.  Besides that, training the child is your top priority.  In reality, how much are you getting out of the meeting out in the hall with noisy kids and chatty parents?  Once your kids sit quietly you will get more from the meeting and you can leave the chatty parents in the hall.

As you have more children the process will be helped along as they learn by example of the others.

Teaching Them Reverence for Sacred Things
If they learn reverence for the chapel, they will learn reverence for other things in life and respect for people that are speaking to them.

Just like Sunday is different than other days, the chapel is different than other rooms.  There are things we don't do on Sunday that we do on other days.  There are things we don't do in the chapel, like play and eat, that we do in other rooms.

Just like we dress differently on the sabbath, we all dress different in the chapel.

The chapel is one step closer to the temple than any other room in the church meeting house and it should be treated as such.