Monday, December 17, 2007

Elder Ballard on Bloggin'

Sometimes I wonder about doing this blog and its obvious LDS positioning that I lay out. I don't like things to be contentious, but I do like different schools of thought to way out the different sides of an issue. (I feel that I can be pretty open because I don't have to worry about some future employer googling me and not hiring me because of my personal opinions, thus I don't use an alias). Along those lines Elder Ballard has recently encouraged LDS people to "use the Internet — including blogs and other forms of “new media” — to contribute to a national conversation about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints."

Furthermore,"He said [people] should consider sharing their views on blogs." (emphasis mine)...we cannot stand on the sidelines while others, including our critics, attempt to define what the Church teaches...Talk honestly and sincerely about the impact the gospel has had in your life, how has it helped you overcome weaknesses or challenges, and helped define your values.

Full transcript available here and a newsroom press release.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

"..neither are your ways my ways"

Over the past couple years, I have heard many complaints and criticisms of the LDS church and it’s leaders from people I interact with. My thoughts and experiences from these past couple of years have led me to write this post on Carson’s blog as a guest editor.

I have recently been accused of being intolerant and insensitive for my comments regarding the response to Sister Beck’s talk. I apologize for using the word retarded, but felt that it was in fact an accurate portrayal of the spiritual state of those who signed the rebuttal. I should have used the word “hindered” instead. I hope my poor selection of words hasn’t turned anyway away from my point. But the actions taken by those who signed the letter have in fact hindered their spiritual growth, and I would like to explain, if I can, how they have done so.

In Isaiah 55:8 it says, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord.”

The world often tries to discount the LDS church because of their “logic” and “wisdom”. They say things like, “It is not logical that God would call a 14 year old boy to restore His work” or, “It’s not reasonable for God to expect 10% of my income when I am so poor.” But as the ancient prophet Isaiah taught, our ways are not the Lord’s ways. Using the world’s logic and reasoning, it is impossible for us to come to an understanding of God’s methods and works.

I am not saying that we should blindly follow God or his prophets. God wants us to think things through, but there is a big difference between thinking things through with a temporal mindset and thinking things through with a spiritual mindset. As a doctor (officially in 5 months) I have been trained to look at the evidence and base my decisions off of that. For any critics to say that I don’t think things through or that I am blindly following my leaders is ignorant and silly. After many years of school, questioning the evidence has been trained to be a part of my nature. I contest that I have done more research regarding church topics than the church’s critics give me credit. I am not an ignorant defender of the church. The critics are often of the opinion that if I haven’t arrived at the same conclusion as them, then I am clearly wrong. I claim that many people can follow the prophet in all that he says, and they do so having thought things through carefully, praying about it and contemplating about it.

2 Nephi 9:28-29 “O that cunning plan of the evil one! O the vainness, and the frailties, and the foolishness of men! When they are learned they think they are wise, and they hearken not unto the counsel of God, for they set it aside, supposing they know of themselves, wherefore, their wisdom is foolishness and it profiteth them not. And they shall perish.

But to be learned is good if they hearken unto the counsels of God.”

The Lord wants us to be learned. He wants us to understand his commandments and the mysteries of heaven. These mysteries of heaven that are referenced often in the scriptures refer to the spiritual truths of God that are hidden from the world. When we refuse to follow the pattern the Lord has given us to obtain spiritual truths, we will not understand His mysteries. This is why many of the Lord’s counsels (and those of His prophets) go unheeded by people. They don’t understand why they need to do such things.

I suggest that we follow Adam’s example of obedience if after much thought and prayer we still don’t understand. In Moses 5:6 it says, “And after many days an angel of the Lord appeared unto Adam, saying: Why dost thou offer sacrifices unto the Lord: And Adam said unto him: I know not, save the Lord commanded me.”

Any Christian would have to agree that Adam is an example to be followed and because of his obedience he was given exaltation. Will we be so critical of him and claim that he is wrong in his attitude? It is important to note that after he exercised the faith to follow God’s commandment, he was instructed as to why it was commanded of him. The angel then explained that it was in similitude of the only begotten of the Father. Adam had faith that what God had instructed him had to be good for him, and was allowed to understand why, but not until after the trial of his faith. If we exercise faith, the Lord will afterwards reveal the mysteries of heaven.

Often people feel the need to counsel the Lord or his prophets. We have been warned against doing so. It is unproductive.

Jacob 4:10 “Wherefore, brethren, seek not to counsel the Lord, but to take counsel from his hand. For behold, ye yourselves know that he counseleth in wisdom, and in justice, and in great mercy, over all his works.”

Those that argue with the Lord and his chosen leaders remind me of the scripture in Acts 9:5 when the Lord was speaking to Saul “…it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.” President Kimball mentioned this attitude in a February 1976 New Era article by saying, “In our own day there are many people who form their own conclusions, and do their own rationalizing, and calculate and evaluate and develop their own opinions, and “kick against the pricks,” and close the door to their own opportunities.” The illustration of pricks that the Lord and president Kimball spoke of are in reference to the farming traditions of the Savior’s era. A large percentage of people in the first century were tillers of the soil. Oxen were used to work the soil. The prick or goad was a necessary devise. The prick was usually a wooden shaft with a pointed spike (prick) at one end. The man working the ox would position the goad in such a way as to exert influence and control over the ox. You see, if the ox refused the command indicated by the farmer, the goad would be used to jab or prick the ox. Sometimes the ox would refuse this incentive by kicking out at the prick. As result, the prick would be driven deeper into the flesh of the rebellious animal. The more the animal rebelled, the more the animal suffered. Hence, the statement to Saul: "It is hard for thee to kick against the pricks."

I have heard some critics claim that the prophet, President Hinckley, is mistaken in his approach to certain moral issues simply because they are not in the Book of Mormon. This attitude is erroneous. Yes, the Book of Mormon was written for our times. But that does not mean that if a topic was not mentioned in it that the Lord didn’t intend for us to take caution. Just because the Book of Mormon doesn’t mention homosexuality as a sin does not lessen the severity of the sin. The Book of Mormon doesn’t mention anything about temple ordinances. The temple is only occasionally mentioned, and even then only as a gathering place for the people when they needed to hear the word. Does that mean that the Lord didn’t intend for us to attend the temple and renew our covenants? Of course not! There are myriad other moral and social issues that we are forced to deal with today that are not mentioned in the Book of Mormon. As the prophet Mormon said in Words of Mormon 1:5 “…and I cannot write the hundredth part of the things of my people.” The Lord didn’t include in the Book of Mormon every single problem that we will face in our lives, but we can still use it as a guide for the issues that we face today. We can follow the pattern the Lord taught his people and we can learn from their mistakes. Anyone that attended high school seminary should be very aware of the Pride Cycle that has been demonstrated in the book of Mormon as a source for the downfall of the Nephites. We should learn from that, humble ourselves, and turn to the Lord. We know that regardless of the challenges that the people of the Book of Mormon faced, whether it were wars, pestilences or unbelief of the children, the people always had spiritual peace and happiness when they followed the prophets.

Acts 5:38-39 “And now I say unto you, Refrain from these men, and let them alone: for if this counsel or this work be of men, it will come to naught:
But if it be of God, ye cannot overthrow it; be careful, therefore, lest ye be found even to fight against God.”

The Church continues to roll forth as prophesied by Daniel and Joseph Smith. As the scripture in Acts just said, if this work be of men, it will come of naught. In the 177 years since the restoration of the gospel, the church has grown tremendously. Just like Daniel said in Daniel 2:35, the church (stone) has “...become a great mountain and filled the whole earth.” This is God’s work, and he has called righteous men and women to lead us today. If we follow their counsel, we will be guided back to our Heavenly Father’s presence. If we are confused, all we need to do is read the scriptures, pray to the Father for understanding, and look to the prophets that God has called to lead us. They will not lead us astray. This pattern is what will allow us to understand the mysteries of God. Humbly following the Lord’s prophets will help us to understand His ways, and see that the ways of the world are not the same as His ways.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Mothers of Today

There has been a lot of drama on the Bloggernacle (collection of LDS blogs) lately concerning Sister Beck's talk for Mothers. Initially it was about the subject matter of the talk, then it increased when some women combined and wrote what is best described as a rebuttal letter to her talk.

There are lots of things I would like to detail out about the situation like how it is inappropriate to create or endorse such a public letter (even though it is not always wrong to disagree with something said in a conference talk), or how the letter not only condemns Sister Beck but also the Book of Mormon, or how it condemns things she never said in her talk as if she did say or imply them (such as men must also nurture the children).

What I would like to get down in "ink" is related to something Marisa and I read about motherhood in general and where we stand as a body of the church on it. Some background before I venture out into the waters of easily inflicted offensiveness. I was a latch-key child growing up with a working mother, but my mother came home soon after I did each day. She sacrificed sleep (many nights 4 hours and even less) to make sure that she could be home when we were and at work while we were asleep or at school. So I have "been there", but not totally "done that" because of her sacrifices.

So, the main point of the article was that we as Mormon's believe that, "No success can compensate for failure in the home." If we believe that refers to our responsibility with children (which is how I see it, especially after remembering the quote: "The most important work you and I will ever do will be within the walls of your own home" by Harold B. Lee) then one could rephrase that statement as the following, "No success can compensate for failing to raise our children as the spiritually strong, moral adults of tomorrow and eternity." That, coupled with the emphasis on being with the children often as stated in our LDS commercials, "Isn't it about time?" could therefore allow a further alteration to say the following, "No success can compensate for failing to spend enough quality and quantity time with our children to raise them as the spiritually strong, moral adults of tomorrow and eternity."

That would bring you to the next logical observation that in the traditional family the mother would spend, I don't know, but how about 75% of the parental time with the children and the father 25%. So if mothers are contributing 75% of the effort to the most important work we can do as mortals, are they not the most important people? I know that this is the other side of the "separate but equal coin," but I think there is something there. Of course you can't have a family without someone providing for you to eat and have shelter. The point though, is that if this really is so important why don't we more often say it is, act like it is and encourage each other to live like it is?

Now to the really offensive stuff...I'll give some examples of how this doesn't occur in the families that would agree with the creeds set forth in the above paragraphs. First off, I'll start with my family. If we had to choose what would happen for the next 20 years between A) have a dirty house and few well cooked meals, but spend a lot of quality time with the children teaching them the gospel and reading, writing, math, etc. versus B) have a perfectly clean house, great tasting healthy meals all the time, lots of personal achievement/satisfaction time for the parents, but put the kids off with a movie or toys...we would obviously choose A. There is a happy medium between the two, but for the sake of argument we choose B too often over A in the short term. As with everything else in life, the more immediate tasks usually take priority over the less immediate tasks, even if they are less important.

Some watch too much tv, some read too much, some clean too much, some work too much, some don't do any of these things too much, but they stress too much about some of them and that takes them emotionally away from this #1 important task. As I alluded to earlier, we obviously have to have some personal time, clean our home and cook good meals. There has to be a happy medium between example B and the perfect ideal that we as imperfect mortal beings will not achieve in this life. I fear that we too often (my family included, and thus the we) convince ourselves that less than the happy medium is "our happy medium." Like the prophets' counsel that there are only a minority of cases where women should work and not be full time mothers, we draw a bigger circle than is necessary to fit ourselves into the minority.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007


I've wanted to comment on this for a while, but being a touchy subject I shied away from it. This morning while driving to work I heard a story on NPR that struck a chord with me in that it said young blacks, whites and Hispanics do not consider race a limiting factor as much as one's economic situation.

My history: I have always considered myself "color blind." Growing up I believed that racism was kind of a thing of the past. I know, many will say that is because I grew up in the bubble of Utah, even if that is true its good. Nevertheless, my wife grew up in Seattle which is fairly diverse and felt the same way. My best friend growing up was half Japanese, one of my best friends in high school was in his own words, "a wetback" and I had a couple African American friends as well. I lived in Baltimore (especially my first apartment) where I definitely was a minority.

My experience in Baltimore gave me as much of an insider's view as possible. Living by, working with, working on and associating for four years with inner city African Americans enabled me to see some rise above their situation when they tried. Most didn't because of cultural influence to the contrary. I'm not saying that the ability of a black person and a white person to live the American dream is equal, because in some instances it is not. I do think that the inner city culture is a much bigger source of inspirational inhibition. I don't want to get into the source or origins of that negative culture because to a certain extent it is irrelevant. What matters is that it changes.

To keep this short and sweet, my point is two fold. First, one's ability to live the American Dream depends more on their SES level than their race. Second, this is a sign of positive change in the rising generations that didn't live in a time when racism was so prevalent. Listen to the short clip on NPR and see if you agree.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Support your leaders

So, this blog, unlike my family blog, is for philosophical debate and writing things out for a cathartic and self defining experience. Along those lines...a few weeks ago I had the subject of "sustaining your leaders" brought to my attention. There are two main approaches to this subject I believe: 1) not criticizing a leader and 2) accepting a calling. I have disagreed about things leaders have said or done in the past. Similarly, I have run the gamut of proposed callings...I have suggested myself a name in bishopric meeting and had that person get the call. Also, once there was a calling suggested for Marisa that we really didn't feel was right, but went ahead with anyway. So here are my thoughts on the subject:

  • Can you turn a calling down? I would say that you shouldn't straight up say "no" when you are asked. Rather, it would be better to discuss your concerns about the requested position with your ecclesiastical leader and lay out your reasons for maybe no with his reasons for maybe yes, then prayerfully come to a consensus.
  • Is a calling always exactly what the Lord wants, ie-when a person is called are they the exact best person for that job and was that fact received by direct revelation to the person giving the calling? I would say yes and no. No, callings are given all the time without any direct inspiration. I believe that we are allowed to work out a lot of things on our own in this life and who we want to call to a position can often be exactly that, working it out on our own. That being said, in most situations, once the Lord's representative gives a request that becomes by default the will of the Lord. At the same time, I believe that sometimes there is a direct revelation given for a specific person to have a specific calling at a specific time.
  • Should you raise your hand for a negative sustaining vote in a modern day meeting? I don't know that I have an answer for this.
  • Can you disagree with or even criticize a local or general authority? To criticize:
    • 1 : to consider the merits and demerits of and judge accordingly.
    • 2 : to find fault with : point out the faults of.
    • 3: publicly voice your disagreement with someone. (This is what I think the implied definition is when we are advised not to criticize our leaders).
  • I think it is completely fine to disagree with any decision that a leader makes. You always have the opportunity to pray about something and get your own manifestation as to the correctness of it. If you think your answer is no:
    • and it is a general stipulation to the entire church from the first presidency then you might be in trouble. Not sure what to tell you here, but read below.
    • if it is to something a local leader said you can always step up one step on the authority ladder and discuss it with them. If they disagree with you, you can keep going up the steps until you reach the first presidency and therefore be in the above difficult situation.
  • So, I feel that definition 1 is ok, but 3 definitely is not. I have personally felt that local authorities have made incorrect decisions/policies. I didn't think it was correct to go asking how everybody feels about that issue and tell them my thoughts. On the other hand, I do feel it is ok to discuss that disagreement with others to get or give advice on dealing with it.
  • Now for the big enchilada...GA's making an incorrect decision/policy. First off, all GA's will admit that they are not perfect and can not be held up to that standard (even on doctrinal issues), only the Savior can. On the other hand, who is in a position to declare something as incorrect? I fear that only the original declarer and future GA's are in a position to do such a thing. The quintessential example would be Bruce R's statement about AA and the priesthood. When the '78 revelation came out he was obviously wrong and admitted such. He even went to far as to say that any statement made contrary to the new policy was incorrect and the person was not speaking for the Lord. That would take in statements made by members of the 12 while in the capacity as an apostle and prophets in their respective capacity. Pretty strong statement, but necessarily stated. So, if you are in disagreement with the 12 or first presidency...pray for clarification. If you still feel justified in your disagreement I see that you have two options:
    • discuss it peacefully and reverently with those in charge and to see if you can help a positive change to come about if it is indeed needed
    • wait patiently until that person or a future leader changes the policy/doctrine. Other than that you are up the proverbial creek w/o a paddle and are only doing harm.
Some might "criticize" me for even discussing this topic. I feel that they are misguided and looking beyond the mark. We must sustain our leaders, but we do not have to agree with them blindly. We are expected to receive our own confirmation of all doctrines. To do so we have to work it out in our minds. To work it out you have to evaluate it. To evaluate it, you have to consider if it is correct or not. If you still disagree on any topic, you still must sustain that leader. Until a change is made, it is your responsibility to continue supporting and sustaining or refrain, but do not counteract. Everyone can be wrong, and that at times probably means you as well.

Monday, October 8, 2007


On my family blog I recently posted about a spiritual experience that our oldest son Trevor had. I was surprised that so many of the comments focused on me as a parent doing a good job. Maybe because most of them came from women, but as an RM it is second nature to help someone recognize the spirit when they don't realize it. For that reason I didn't feel like I had done anything special, but I felt that the experience was something VERY special.

To explain that I have to give a little summarized personal history. Having grown up in the church I have always felt like I had a little stronger testimony than the average Joe. Yet, I can't say that I have ever had any "hear a voice" or "strong burning in my bosom" types of experiences. Because of that there have been times that I have doubted, probably like most any person. Basically to get at the gist of my point...I couldn't logically/scientifically prove that any spiritual experience that I had wasn't just me. That bothered me for a while, but faith and hope won out in the end and I continued to step into the dark one foot at a time. One reason is that I couldn't deny that my life had turned out better than I had even dreamed as a child. I was either very lucky or blessed and I figured it prudent to lay claim to a higher source.

With that in mind, I have always prayed for some experience that would somehow be outside those bounds of...possibly coming from me, my subconscious or a predisposition to feel good when good things happen or anything else that someone could argue as originating internally and not extrinsically. So, how does having a six your old boy, with limited to no knowledge on the methodology of gaining a personal testimony, spontaneously asking for forgiveness directly to God for doing something offensive to Him and later unprovokedly stating that he has some weird "tingly feeling" in his chest? I can't think of anything much better than that! It will be an experience that we will help Trevor remember for the rest of his life, but more importantly I think it was an answer that I have been secretly and unexpectedly anticipating for about 10 years.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

NYT Op-ed

I used to listen to talk radio on my commute a lot, but I have actually lessened the amount that I listen to lately. This is primarily because I get tired of politics. The other day when listening I felt the usual frustration when hearing how both parties will play politics more than trying to improve the country. The worst is when I see one party do something that hurts the country overall just to slightly improve their party standing. If anything, altruistic politicians should prefer to do just the opposite.

As I was listening I thought up an analogy of the current situation. There is a similarity between Pharisees rejecting the known miracles of Jesus. When they saw these (fairly undeniable) miracles they chose to remove him so that he wouldn't threaten their positions of power. It seems that the current political hierarchy rejects 1-the desires of the American majority to satisfy lobbyists and 2-the ever increasingly apparent signs of the times to keep their positions of power. I even would like to write this out well and make it an op-ed in the NYT, but that is my usual lofty aspiration/expectation that I have learned to be realistic about. There also seems to be a similarity between the Sanhedrin and the Far Left using courts/judges to change laws to be contrary to majority opinion and desires as well.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007


Many people know that there will be a movie released soon (September Dawn) that "portrays" the events of the Mountain Meadows Massacre. As with most Hollywood versions of history, this movie takes creative license to add to the story. Unfortunately, this story is altered to a surprising degree. Of course, I as a Mormon do not have very much credence when I make such a statement. Fortunately, many non-LDS people have made similar, and sometimes very pointed comments. A few of them have been well collected and posted on another blog. If you want a good explanation of the situation read here as well. The gist of it is that there were some members that did some very evil acts. Both members, non-members and anti-member historians all will agree that no evidence has been found to show the the church leadership sanctioned or encouraged these actions. Knowing the complete story makes this a non-issue as far as troubling church history goes.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Utah Mormons

I saw the following on an LDS blog and I thought it was pretty interesting...the person was talking about LDS people in foreign countries.

"You know all those things you used to say about Utah Mormons? That’s more or less how the rest of the world sometimes feels about American Mormons. Don’t reinforce stereotypes."

Having grown up in Utah and lived outside of Utah on both the East and West coasts I feel pretty good about my understanding of American Mormons. Growing up in Utah I lived in an area that was probably 90% or more LDS and having spent time working in Utah jobs where I was the only one not smoking, drinking or looking at porn I feel like I have seen the entire Utah resident spectrum as well.

While at BYU talking with friends and dating my wife the subject came up frequently about living in/out and raising kids inside or outside of Utah. I feel pretty strong about this issue and will discuss the themes below. That strong feeling is hard to supress in front of people that paint all Utah Mormons with the same brush. So here is my bullet list of discussion points for this sometimes sensitive nerve:
  • First and foremost, there are many flavors of personality/religiosity/style/etc amongst Utah Mormons and you can't say you understand that because you spent a few years at BYU going to school. Provo is not Utah, 18-24 year olds are not Utah, people deciding on the majority of their future (spouse, career, who you are as a person, etc) and the ensuing stress is not Utah. BYU is best described as the church mating grounds, and I mean that in a good way, I love BYU.
  • That oft quoted, but never researched claim about women in Utah having a greater incidence of depression is false and then correlating this with LDS women is even more false. I had a BYU professor call up the initiator of this claim and ask for his methods and materials. After quite a lot of harassment he finally admitted that his brother was a pharmacist in Utah and it seemed to him like he gave out more depression medication in Utah than he did outside of Utah when he was in school! Can you believe it? I tried to get funding when I was at BYU in the honor's program to conduct a real study and put this false claim to rest, but didn't get it.
  • Utah bankruptcy issue has also been mostly proved to be a non-LDS issue. The rate of bankruptcy in Utah amongst non-LDS people is actually greater than that amongst LDS people. I believe it is due to the nature of the economy, this is why I chose not to work in Utah.
  • Many people in the "its better to grow up outside of Utah" school of though have suggested that they are glad they grew up outside of Utah because it helped them with their testimony being around others that were not of the same belief as them. They also incorrectly state that when growing up inside Utah everybody is the same so they have no reference for differentiation and therefore no way to develop their "own" testimony. My answer to that is: in Utah I couldn't use the church as a crutch and had to therefore actually use my testimony. When those that offered me alcohol on a wrestling tournament were LDS I had to say that I wouldn't do it because I didn't want to, not because my church doesn't want me to. Ironically, it helped my testimony being around others that were of the same faith as me, yet pulling me in bad directions.
  • I didn't choose to raise my family in Utah for career reasons, but chose an area that has a relative high density of LDS families. I believe this is the best of both worlds. My kids won't have a difficult time finding LDS kids to date seriously (sorry Jodee, you are amazing and we love you tons) and they still can interact with people who aren't LDS and have the beneficial experiences that come with that. This relates to the discussion also because I don't think I could live in an area where my kid is the only LDS one in the high school.
  • With all the above being said, I think it all comes down to the family. You can live anywhere and obviously turn out fine, but the limiting factor is definitely the family. Friends can have a greater influence in certain situations, but still...the family is the most important factor at to how a person turns out because they are there first and can ultimately influence who the friends can be. In summary, friends can have a greater influence, but family can have a more important influence. It might seem contradictory, but it isn't.
  • That brings me to the point that some people refer to eccentricities in certain LDS people and say it is because they are a Utah Mormon. A good example of this was Julie from the MTV show The Real World. She Was not from Utah, but many non-Utahns at BYU where I was at the time assumed she was due to her obvious over-sheltered past. People make this assumption, stereotypify it as a Utah complex and propagate the fallacy. Other examples include anything weird that someone does at BYU (because you are obviously Mormon, but no one can look at you and know where you are from, unless you are Canadian because they always have a Canadian flag on their backpack!). It is immediately incorrectly assumed they are from Utah, probably Provo and that is the source of their problem.
  • The quintessential example of this is socks with sandals. Although there are people in Utah that do this, sorry dad, it is definitely not a Utah thing. Living in the Pacific Northwest I get the occasional email, "You know you are from the PNW if you..." and in that is says, "wear socks with your sandals." closed.
  • Basically I think these incorrect stereotypes stem from Utah's obvious higher concentration of LDS people. Weird LDS things are not due to being a Utah is just sometimes due to being a Mormon in general and you notice it easier in Utah because of the greater density.
In closing I give anyone the following challenge: post a "Utah Mormon Eccentricity" and see if I can't shoot it down. Also, feel free to contradict me :)

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

BOM Peoples

Now back to religion. I can't have the majority of my posts be negative or political since neither really describes me. So, back in dental school I rode the metro every day. In the mornings I would do my daily scripture study on the metro reading from my palm day planner. Since I am such a documentation freak I have made a few lists. Below is a list of the general peoples in the BOM. I made this to help me see the major population flow in the book. I know it needs some tweaking so if you see anything incorrect or questionable please point it out.

I-Lehi's family

A-Nephites under Nephi

B-Nephites under Mosiah ~ Muelekites


1-In the land of Lehi

2-In the land of Nephi

3-Stolen Lamanite daughters~Amulonites

4-In the land of Amulon ~ Lamanites in the land of Lehi

5-Converts of Ammon & his brethren = Anti-Nephi-Lehies - AKA - People of Ammon

6-Additional groups of Lamanites converted by the Anti-Nephi-Lehies ~Anti-Nephi-Lehies

7-Servants of the king that Amalackiah killed

8-4000 Lamanite warriors that Moroni makes covenant against war and live with the people of Ammon (on his way to Nephihah)

9-Lamanite warriors that Moroni makes covenant against war and live with the people of Ammon (in Nephihah)

D-Ishmael and his family

II-Muelekites in Zarahemla

III-Nephites & Muelekites under Mosiah*

A-Zeniff & his search party

1-Alma and the believers

2-King Noah's priests~Amulonites

B-Ammon & 15 other men

C-The sons of Mosiah

D-Amlicites~Lamanites in the land of Nephi


F-5400 men & their wives & children, & other North bound groups at time of Hagoth


H-Gadianton & the band of Kishkumen - AKA - Gadianton Robbers

I-North bound groups to the Land of Desolation~


1-Converts of Alma 2's group that flees to Jershon ~ Anti-Nephi-Lehies


A-Main group of people

B-Corihor's group

V-Amulonites=King Noah's priests & the Lamanite daughters


A-North bound groups to the Land of Desolation ~

VII-North bound groups to the Land of Desolation

Total # of peoples = 25 (General Lamanites are all considered one people until they become separated & join with another group)

*not included in the overall number because they are/will be other groups combined

~became a part of another main group

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Document or Die!

Well, I don't really feel that strongly about this issue, but close. It bothers me when people relate a story that is obviously "out there" and they have no credible evidence for it or don't follow through to, as Paul Harvey would say... "The rest of the story."

This pet peeve of mine started when I was probably 14 years old. There was a rumor going around my school with lots of talk that the Salt Lake temple was going to be closed for 5 years to prepare it for the second coming. I was slightly incredulous, but fairly gullible. My Grandma Dansie worked in the temple so I called her to ask her about it. I wasn't thinking that I had three years to "eat, drink and be merry" and two years to repent. It was more along the lines of..."five years until the second coming!" When I told her she chuckled a little and said that there were no plans to close the temple, and as far as she knew the church would never make such an announcement.

I felt pretty stupid for not disregarding it outright. Not that I felt I should disbelieve everything, but that I should take the bizarre with a grain of salt and wait for more evidence before adhering too strongly. My father told me some sage advice that he received from his father, "Don't believe anything you hear and only half of what you see." He obviously didn't mean that literally, but as a reminder to be on your guard.

So, I learned my lesson and vowed to always find a documented source for anything out of the ordinary, especially when related to the church (since it is all to easy to say x and reference it with, "I heard a GA say it in some general conference." Marisa came to the same resolution through different experiences.

I remembered this the other day when PBS did their documentary, The Mormons. As Marisa and I talked to some outgoing, educated and faithful members some were surprised that a few of the stories they heard (ie-Mountain Meadow Massacre, etc.) were new to them and a difficult pill for them to swallow. We were surprised that these issues were not alrady common knowledge. We talked about that and remembered that we became aware of these subjects and had come to a resolution on them because of our personal documentation we had done earlier. As we researched one issue, others surfaced. It didn't take too long to come across the major church history awkward issues. With more research, prayer and thought we felt informed and comfortable with the facts.

One that really got Marisa fired up is when the documentary was discussing women's place in the church and said something about Utah being one of the last states to allow women the right to vote. The truth is that Utah gave women the right to vote as a territory when it was not allowed by the country and had to remove that right by order of congress. Regardless of when the right was given the second time, without the "rest of the story" the fragment is incomplete.

So, when around me please explain your reasoning when you share a bizarre piece of information. If not, either be prepared to back it up or don't wonder what I'm thinking when I smile and say, "Wow, that's amazing..."

Wednesday, July 18, 2007


Throughout my life I have always enjoyed working out the nitty gritty details on certain philosophical questions that I encounter. This can be beneficial because I often feel fairly comfortable about a certain position that I take (although I am always open to new information). On the other hand, this can also be detrimental because I often have something nagging that results in less sleep.

As I start this blog I will post a bullet list of the reasons why I want to do a thought blog and my personality traits that brought me to this point. They are in no particular order, just via uninterrupted brainstorming:
  • I have always had a journal from when I was very little until now. Once graduate school and children came, the frequency of writing dropped tremendously. Somehow, using a blog as my journal facilitates more frequent entries. Maybe because posts can be made from any computer and are usually short in length.
  • My love of evaluating people, culture, religion and group behaviors lead me to get a minor in sociology.
  • In early high school I developed a strong desire to learn as much about LDS doctrine as possible. This lead me to quickly read Mormon Doctrine, Miracle of Forgiveness, Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith*, and a few others that weren't quite as influential.
  • I had a period of weakness with my testimony during my last couple years of college. I have not fully resolved the original issue, but have come to terms with it and can happily say that I am more confident than ever.*
  • As the blog title insinuates, I am very conservative/orthodox with some surprising liberal tendencies. I must state that any liberal tendencies that I might have are NOT the result of naive media influence that I see happening all too often.*
  • I would sometimes post less complete, more diluted posts (of a nature that I want to post here) on my family blog. They always seemed out of place and unlike the other posts they received few to no comments.
  • I like to gather information and make spreadsheets. I would like to post some of these and have people comment on things I may have missed or gotten incorrect.*
  • I most instances I don't mind wearing my thoughts/emotions on my sleeve
  • Posting here is primarily and almost solely for me, not for others. Writing out one's thoughts can be both personally enlightening and cathartic. Enlightening because I have found that as I work out how I want to write something down I figure out better what it is that I think on that topic.
  • I am extremely analytical (which is not the same as judgmental).
  • I enjoy some talk radio and politics. Discussing them and religion can be an easy way to offend others, so writing them on MY blog is much less combative than directing them at a specific person.
  • I like to back up the church. Not because I feel a need to put up a facade for personal doubts, but because it is surprisingly easy on most subjects, and it goes along with paragraph one of this post.
  • Despite my desire to work out details on questions that I have about anything, I hesitate to discuss/ponder or spend too much time on as Joseph said, "the thin branches of the tree" for fear of having them break from underneath me. That being said, I don't ignore them either.
  • I usually take the Happy Medium option. When I have to make a decision on what stance to take I usually think of the two logical extremes and end up somewhere in the middle. Why "look beyond the mark," or "fall short of the mark" when you can hit it dead on?
  • I love to vacuum. What else allows you to be deep in thought and get things clean at the same time? I have spent countless hours vacuuming cars and concrete slurry at two of my teenage jobs.
  • I really enjoy Contemporary Christian music.*
  • Growing up in Utah has made me strive to not fit stereotypical molds. Now that I am out of the insecure years of "youthhood" I don't worry about this as much, but I believe it has greatly influenced the creation of my personality.
  • It still shocks me to hear people talk about how they see me as such a confident person. I had a time in my early childhood where I had very little confidence. I consciously used Alma 38:12 "Use boldness, but not overbearance." and Ether 12:27 "then will I make weak things become strong unto them." to change that.*
  • I married the most perfect woman in the entire world for me and my personality.*
  • One of the greatest ways to offend me would be to call me lazy.
  • I used to have pitiful writing skills. Through a lot of school and a very smart wife I have raised my skill level to mediocre.
  • Last, but not least...I would enjoy some discussion on topics of my choosing so feel free to comment. Hopefully others will join in. I will reply frequently to what others say as well.
* = great story goes along with this item. I will probably do a future post discussing it.