This muntjac is in the public domain (a svithe)


Although media has never been produced at the rate it is being produced today, media has for thousands of years been created and loved and then fallen into the public domain. The US Constitution provides for copyright and although I'm not an expert, I think that US law was among the first to take copyright somewhat seriously (somewhat). Although it was okay to rip off Charles Dickens, of course. (As well as anyone else who wasn't an American.) (And rightly so.) (Huzzah!)

Really, violation of copyright law is a grand American tradition--who am I kidding? But this svithe is not going to justify Kazaa or its ilk; instead it is going to talk about Sonny Bono--whom, I am sure you will agree, is a much more fitting topic for a svithe.

Sonny, as a Disney minion, rewrote copyright in 1998, making the law so endless as to be draconian. What people seem to have forgotten is that "the Congress shall have power . . . to promote the progress of science and useful arts, by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries."

But what crazy Sonny Bono did was make "limited times" meaningless--if it won't expire in my grandchildren's lifetimes, in what way precisely is it "limited"?

Anyway, this is a svithe, not a rant, so let me now soothe your aching souls.

The modern trends of copyright law are not very Christian, if you don't mind possible hyperbole. It is fair and right and just that a creator should be able to make a living off his work. But it is also fair and right and just that all art should pass into the public domain in a timely manner that all may be edified.

I'm reminded ofthe story of Ananais, who selfishly held on to his own property to the detriment of his fellow Saints (and himself, as it ended up).

Whether you consider genius a gift of God or not, I don't see how you can deny that its fruits have great potential to benefit everyone, not just the creator--and that to permanently withhold art is either cruelty or hubris.

IN OTHER WORDS, modern copyright law is creating a culture of greed and laziness and high intellectual fences with razor wire on top. Instead of great work (or even mediocre work) belonging to the public, it is being kept in closets and rented out for money by generation after generation. And the next time Micky Mouse gets close to the public domain, we can probably expect to see copyright law add another dozen decades.

I'm sorry. I keep trying to turn this into a nice analogy that we can apply to our personal lives, but then I lose track and get angry again. The fact is that modern copyright law is a reflection of modern culture: greedy, selfish, clannish. And we need to be aware of the culture we live in if we want to overcome it, and become a people who love and support everyone, who think the poor fellow with the sign is as worthy of our sympathies as our own blood. If we want to be Christlike, in other words.


I guess I'll start by trying to love Sonny Bono.....

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Twas the svithe before Christmas



Yesterday I had the opportunity to attend what we Mormons call a "convert baptism"--meaning an adult has looked into this wacky Mormon stuff, worked through it, and decided to join up by being fully submerged in lukewarm water. It's a big deal to us.

I'm always envious of those who decide to join the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as adults. Anyone who thinks becoming a Mormon must be a simple thing, is wrong. In a secular world, any sort of faith requires serious effort, and Mormonism is more demanding than most. But that's precisely what I'm envious of--that work.

Everything in life has come to me easily---not just my religion. I live in a land of plenty, and my comparative poverty would be manic wealth in much of the world. I attended a university for little personal expenditure. I've never spent months with zero possibility of income. I've never missed a meal because the possibility of a meal did not exist. And so forth. If I am now thirty and not rich beyond imagining, it is entirely my own fault. Every opportunity has been given me.

So for Christmas this year, I don't need any more gifts. I just need to recognize the gifts I have---and to stop using them as a crutch, and to begin using them for the betterment of my family (and the human family) in every way I can.

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This svithe is totally gay!


It's so funny you would say that
because just the other night I
was looking in the New Testament
for that scripture--you know that
one scripture?--the one where Jesus
says love one another but I swear
if a gay guy tries to hit on me
I am going to take my shepherd's
crook and go Roman on his sorry ---
I forget exactly, but you know the
one I mean, right? Where is it,
cause I couldn't find it. But
I know it's there!

Today's self-righteous rant is actually only tangentially related to homosexuality. In fact, they're just this svithe's macguffin--which is actually on charity.

See, here's the deal: What is it with these alleged Christians who seem to take such great delight in denigrating and demeaning and even attacking them whom they deem sinners? Because I looked in my New Testament, and all I could find was Jesus telling me to love the sinners too.

Also: Jesus telling me not to judge. So I can't actually say who is and is not a sinner--that's for him to decide.

of course, it's very PC for me to not judge homosexuals, but less so to not judge (for example) Nazis.

But if you're now expecting me to make a continuum with gay people on one end and Nazis on the other with a line down the middle telling us whom it's okay to judge and whom it's not, then you're about to be disappointed. And besides, that would be missing the point. Which is that there is no room in the gospel of Jesus Christ for hating people. Not even Nazis.

Not even gay Nazis.

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The Ultimate Svithe Smackdown

Santa -v- Jesus


Santa -v- Jesus

What did Jesus
ever do for
Santa Claus
on his birthday?
~Steven Wright

Last night the Berkeley Ward had their Christmas Party and, as expected, one Jolly Old Elf made an appearance. And as I watched the kids go up to see him, and I thought about the Amazing Feats allegedly performed by said Elf each Christmas Eve, I had the idea for a short story wherein it is learned that in order for said Elf to accomplish said feats, a yearly sacrifice of one child is required.

Then I remembered I just wrote a short story wherein Santa is murdered by a ten-year-old child and thought I had better hold off an any more Bloody Christmas Stories for a while lest people get the Wrong Idea about Theric.

Then I was talking to my good friend the Chemist and he was telling me that he has been trying to instill his Rational Ideals in his daughter S-Boogie (no relation), but she insists on being faithful.

"You know, Santa's just pretend, honey."


I was one of the faithful myself, and my final apostasy from the Cult of Santaism may be the reason I now cover him in blood while carrying signs outside Santa Square.

You see, I didn't fully give up on Santa till high school.

Here's the thing: I knew Santa wasn't real like, say, I was real. I knew I could make up his history and that my version was as good as anyone else's. Ergo, Santa was pretend. And this I knew.


I still don't know how to explain it. It's one of my clearest memories of childhood. I saw Santa, and he was not my dad and he was not some old guy from church or a volunteer fireman or any of the other Santas I regularly saw. He Was Santa.

And so, notwithstanding all the evidence to the contrary, I believed.

I think this is why I have no desire to teach my child about this devious elf. Santa is dead to me. It took a long time, and now that it's over, It Is Over.

Someone once said to me--this was a couple years ago--that one of their sibs was confused when they learned Santa is a Big Lie because his/her parents had spoken of Santa in the exact same way they spoke of Jesus. Was Jesus a big hoax too?

I was raised to treat Santa as a religious icon. But only with Santa was I warned not to tell others he was Fake and thus Ruin Their Christmas. Denying Jesus was never given the same weight as Denying Santa. I'm sure this was just because only the notion of Denying Jesus was untenable, but how was a child to know?

It seems to me that two benevolent, godlike presiders over a single holiday is one too many. I don't know what rĂ´le Santa will play in our house as the Big O ages, but I don't want there to be any confusion over which god is the god of Christmas.

Santa's just pretend, honey.

He wasn't at the manger.

Santa's just pretend.

. . . . .

Excuse me now while I go cry in my eggnog.

That is the sound of ultimate suffering. My heart made that sound the day I gave up on the fat bastard.

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I Svithe


Take a moment to step away from the computer screen and walk to a window.

Look out your window and find the natural world.

Maybe it's obvious--a mountain in the distance or the tree in your front yard.

Maybe it's a single spot of green growing through the crack in your neighbor's wall.

Perhaps you will have to open the window and listen for the song of a bird.

See hear? Hear it? Feel it?

That is your svithe.

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He Was a Carpenter (in an age of no power tools)
-----a svithe-----


He was a carpenter
in an age of no power tools;
no Black & Decker for him

His friends were fishermen
without power trawls
or fluorescent PowerBait

They did a lot of walking

As he healed the sick
and raised the dead
and fed the thousands

And then, finally,
allowed his own murder,
and raised himself from the dead

Then generalized salvation
for you and you and you and you and me

Which thing is power.

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Nonononono, thank you (a svithe)


I am grateful....
    for library sales;

    that sneezing is usually actually quite fun--since I'm going to have to do it anyway;

    that the world is filled with beautiful details;

    for the ability to make crap up;

    for today's cool breeze;

    for my sweet green shirt;

    that I can wear a tie to work;

    I'm an optimistic person;

    for a woman who thinks I'm borderline alright;

    for books to read;

    for great art;

    to be able to walk;

    for the magic of physical contact;

    to be able to express myself, given enough retries;

    for a son who is happy to see me;

    for the (temporary) end of diaper-changing;

    for the notion of forever;

    for parents who try to adjust their expectations the reality of Me;

    that I own a pair of orange shoes;

    that I'm not a picky eater;

    to have dreams;

    for weather;

    that our ward is stuffed full of strings players who graced us with Pachelbel's Canon which, no matter what the antipopulists say, is still a beautiful piece of music;

    for the kind people who've done kind things that I can file away for the times when I need those kinds of memories;

    that Moroni didn't give up when he felt weak;

    for genes that may keep me alive in spite of myself;

    that I can still think I'm one good-looking man even when I desperately need a haircut;

    to be a human jukebox--even if some songs seem to get stuck on endless repeat;

    for the Internet, which helps me keep in touch with so many people I otherwise might lose track of;

    for patience--especially that of others;

    for cranberries;

    for garlic;

    for the cuisines of Mexico and Korea and Italy and India and a bunch of other countries--some of which I've still to be introduced to;

    for the smiles of young children;

    that I suck at video games;

    that most sneezes smell good;

    for a faith that builds bridges in my mind;

    for the USGS earthquake reports online;

    to be able to laugh;

    for a lovely place to live;

    for easy freeway access;

    for love;

    for you.

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Caught in the svithe


I mean, of course, the Gospels are exciting. I mean--sitting before Christ and being taught by him--what could be more exciting?

Well, how about Acts?

Here are the Apostles, but now instead of listening, they are speaking. They are being what their Savior told them to be, doing what He told them to do. Following His commandment to go forth into all the world and bear testimony of Him. They are doing it. They are standing in His place and doing and acting and behaving and being as He would, were He there.

And they are like us.

I find that exciting.

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I Svithe America


So this week we vote. By we I mean all of you Americans out there. Get with it.

This year I have not received a sample ballot so I don't know what I'll be voting for, but I rest assured in the knowledge that I pretty much never vote for the winner anyway.

Lately I've been going through old notebooks and uncovering forgotten plays and short stories that I will be typing up and rewriting in the coming months. I have also found occasional religious notes which I will be cannibalizing now and then for svithey purposes, starting today.

Today's svithe begins with an opinion that most American Christians seem to hold and that Mormons worldwide accept as something close to a fundamental truth: God's hand was behind the founding of America.

Latter-day Saints feel so strongly about this because we figure that anywhere else in the world and at any previous time, we would have been wiped out by religious maniacs--and this is probably true. Religion has kind of an unpleasant record for killing people of differing opinions. And we Saints can't help but be different.

But the Land of the Free wasn't all peace love & tolerance either--plenty of early Mormons were killed/exiled/raped/pillaged/etceteraed by unpleasant neighbors, and since there was not yet a Fourteenth Amendment, the Supreme Court found that the Mormons didn't really have much complain about re: Freedom of Religion since it was a state oppressing their religion and not the feds. Which states had a right to do.

Missouri weren't no Rhode Island, people, and Lilburn Boggs weren't no Roger Williams, neither.

America might have been the freest, most tolerant nation on Earth, but it wasn't all that free and tolerant.

So here's a question for you: Why then was the Church restored in America in the 1830s? Why not wait another hundred-fifty years? And then go to Amsterdam?

Or, why not start the Church in Tonga, which has displayed such a knack for turning out copious Mormons? Maybe the Saints would never had to deal with any persecution at all!

Why in the United States? Why 1830?

Yes, America 1830 allowed for a legal restoration, but that did not stop the citizenry from trying to wipe them out.

So what I propose is this: The gospel was restored in America in 1830 because there and then and only there and then could be found the correct and proper--the perfect mix of freedom and intolerance.

Okay, but why not in Tonga? Why not restore the gospel somewhere with a (hypothetical) 100% conversion rate?

Because the trials the early church suffered made them strong.

Could an always-had-it-easy Church survive devilish wiles?

I suggest it could not.

So let's be grateful for the sufferings of those who went before and let's continue to struggle for the cause of freedom and let's svithe out the vote.


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The Economics of Svithing


Living in Berkeley has many advantages. One of which is gospel discussions which are frequently intellectual as well as spiritual. For instance, one of the sacrament talks our first Sunday here was both excellent gospel instruction and a fascinating introduction to Japanese literature. I love that.

That week or the next, our elders quorum president, an economist, gave this lesson I will be attempting to recreate here.

I originally intended to make this my first svithe back, but that was when I thought we would be online months ago. Now time has passed and I am the only college graduate in America who hasn't read Freakonomics and we're going on months-old notes by an English major. I hope this turns out well.

This formula was created by Devin Pope (watch out--that link's a pdf) from an idea of Matthew Rubin's (that one too).

Note: This was easier to write in jpegs, but Blogger refuses to blow them up within the blog page without distortion. Clicking on any section of the rest of this post will open it into a new window where you should be able to more easily read it.

B. U. Got it?
Up your insurance payout now!
It's fun to pretend.
Look out for the arrows!
Here they come again!
Darn that perception!
Keep in mind we're talking about perceptions here.
Just don't ask me to explain the GDP....

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Return to Svithing: What Elder Nelson Said


So with the return of the www to our home, I am returning to regular svithing. I suppose it might be appropriate for me to start by restating my personal philosophy of svithing. Now that several people have turned svither, my own philosophy is but one of many. All the same, I think it's worth it (at least to me) to restate.

First, since I am by nature an abhorrent person who would as soon swallow puppies as feed starving children, regular svithing lets me pretend to be a good person.

Second, I spend so much time blogging that it seems only appropriate that I should dedicate a portion to God, which portion I term a svithe (being a portmanteau of seven and tithe and taking one full day of blogging per week).

Third, everyone should try to make the world a better place and a religiously themed svithe seems more likely to do so than typing the letter x 175 times.

That said, I am svithing again. Please visit every Sunday. My svithes appear both on Thmusings and The Weekly Svithe. For information on how to comment on svithes, please visit here. A complete list of known svithers (current/former, regular/occasional) appears in The Weekly Svithe's sidebar. If you need to be added to this list, please let me know.


Last week was our stake conference and Elder Nelson was there visiting us.

I admit that I have a bias towards Apostles who are interesting writers and Elder Nelson is about as interesting as they come. He is constantly adventuring into the edges of what a Conference talk can be. He has incorporated singing from the choir into his talks; he has written 15 minutes of pure alliteration; he experiments. I admire that, even if I'm not sure it always works.

But beyond that, I admire Elder Nelson as a man and as a leader. He's one of those people I think I would really get along with in person. And we puppy-swallowers don't find so many of those.

Anyway, Elder Nelson was here and he spoke to us and I thought for my first svithe back I would let someone with better credentials do the preaching.

Why the Church was restored?
    1. To make good on the promise to gather Israel.

    2. So that families may be sealed lest the earth be wasted.

    3. To prepare the world for the Second Coming.

Mission v. Ministry
    Elder Nelson made an interesting distinction between the Ministry of Christ (those being the things we can emulate--his service, charity, humility, etc) and his Mission (those being the things only he could do--the Atonement for instance).

A joke on being released (apropos because our stake presidency was being released)
    "Be grateful you get to be released. I have to die to be released! Well, there are other ways...but I'm not interested in that!"

A miracle, as stated by a doctor (that doctor being Elder Nelson)
    We have seen a miracle in Gordon B Hinckley's health from April to October.

On what we were created for (general)
    Each child in this earth was created to be successful in his mortal existence.

On what to do during the sacrament
    Elder Nelson can no longer even read the scriptures during the sacrament. He focuses only on the Atonement. Me, I focus on keeping the two-year-old noise down. It's a start.

The Miracle TG Diet!
    If Elder Nelson had a young family today, he would use the Tropical Guide's fifty-seven subtopics regarding Jesus, using one per week. Ditto if he were a missionary. That's fifty-seven days of morning study taken care of right there. It should, in fact, Elder Nelson said, be each missionary's core curriculum.


That's where I'll stop.

They were pretty good talks.

See you next week.

I'll bring along some economics.


the mad svither)

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176½ General Conference (svithe)(tacular)


Great thing about General Conference is a) it's actually happening thousands of miles away and b) it starts with all kinds of songs and prayer. Ergo, we were not late late, but merely (and harmlessly) late.

President Gordon B. Hinckley
    President Hinckley loves numbers and using them as symbols of the Restoration.
    You know, I have no first-hand experience with vigorous 96-year-olds.
    Even money, in the Ensign, this will be called "Welcome."

The Choir sings
and I take this opportunity to introduce this svithe. I did a running commentary last conference and, to my surprise, many people actually read it. And so I'm doing it again. We'll call it a tradition.
Besides, that svithe brought (and is still bringing) all kinds of Googlers to my blog. Especially fans on Ronald Rasband. Who will be this conference's Ronald?
Viva la svithing!
Viva la conference!
Viva la Google!

Elder Dallin H. Oaks
    I thought he said "some have loved one to death." Time to listen better.

    Talk to the heavy laden. Listen up, folks!

    Isaiah: prophesied Christ's ministries to the poor and the bruised.

    Be of good cheer because the Savior has overcome the world. He went forth suffering pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind that he may succor us. As promised.

    "Healing blessings" ___ come suited to our needs.

    Alma's people's burdens were made light so they could not feel them. But the burdens were still there. Think about it.

    "'Come unto Christ,' the prophet says, 'and be strengthened (?) in him.'"

    Fear not but be believing.

    The healing power of Christ is available to all, regardless of the affliction.

    Relationship with the Savior---->healing, quality of.

    Learn of Christ; he is your best fgriend; he knows your pain because he has already felt it for you.

    "I knew it would be difficult, but I did not realize what I would have to go through."

    Where do the challenges come from? Who cares? They exist. That's where we start. From there we move... forward?

    "and I will give you rest...unto your souls"

Richard H. Winkel, Elder
    Lady Steed and I didn't attend the Sac Temple open house. Looks cool.

    As we listen to Elder Winkel speak of family and eternity, we watch the Big O play with a doll, a baby. He's pretending to change its diaper. It has its poignance.

    5am?!?! 2am?!?! 3am?!?! 4am. Wow. Bowling. Huh.

    "...never taught a more comforting doctrine..." --who is he quoting here? I can't place it....

    O just put the baby in the microwave.

    Think clearly!

    In the temple the dust of distraction settles, the haze of obscurity lifts. (molaq)

    saviors on mount zion---

    The opportunity to be proxy and to simulate Christ.


Elder Paul B. Pieper
    Big Branch
    What a lovely way to think of the Church.
    He could have run with that.
    Pity he'd probably already written his talk___

    ! First generation members over half the membership.

    In many ways I am jealous of first-generation members. It's like being a frontiersman. Felling timber. Sculpting the landscape. Changing the world.

    Wait. In 40 years he's spawned 5 generations? Is that possible?

    Good advice to all: Never underestimate who you are and your own power.

    "fellow members of the first generation...a chosen generation"
    Holy blessed pioneer.

Choir & Congregation

Elder David S. Baxter!
    A Scot! Now we're talking!

    1. Faith (O2) in Jesus Christ
    breathe life into our very souls

    Wow. He has big ears. Is he older than he looks?

    Ah, but would I give away all my sins to know Him. THat's certainly a question.

    2. Selfless service
    the antidote to worldwide self-indulgence

    Sorry. I've been distracted. Did I miss any?

    Don't do it! Don't abandon faith just when you need it!

    "Cast down but not destroyed." Been there.

    Faith, Service, Constant & True Comewhatmay

    People are always looking for themes. Is this one for 176½?

Elder Robert C, Oaks, soldier
    -suffereth long
    -is not easily provoked
    -beareth all things
    -endureth all things.


    Therefore Charity requires patience

    Job griped but Job did not sin. I find that fascinating. Is grumbling not a sin? I'm saved!

    Father forgive them, for they know not what they do.

    ->What manner of man ought ye to be?
    verily I say unto you
    even as I am.

    Whoops. Titles guys are falling down.

    "Patience is heavenly." -----JS

    Oh, I hate that stuff.
    How dare you preach patience.
    Ah, what a world.
    Not me. I am innocent. Blame others.

    If you've forgiven, you'll never be able to count to 70x7.


    Appropriate objective....

Elder M. Russell Ballard
    w/40 minutes to go.

    Go, Ballard, Go!

    O! be wise! What can I say more!

    -How to be wise:
    watchover / serve / love one another
    be anxiously engaged
    provide meaningful service
    focus on the people served
    strive to keep a proper balance
    see that all things done in wisdom and order
    do not run faster than able
    focus on people & principles -- not programs
    use meeting to lift and focus on people
    remember the worth of souls is great
    remember! remember! the needs of the people
    innovate as serving (innovate≠complicate----often means 'simplify')
    think! create!
    allow others to perform their own stewardship--even when they suck
    motivate through love and positive reinforcement (not guilt)

    "As mortals we can't do all things as once."
    (Speak for yourself.)
    (j/k, of course)

    I just had a brainstorm for a better tapenade. Using Lady Steed's VitaMix on 1, artichoke hearts, sun-dried tomatoes, kallamatis..... Hmmmm.

    Just do the best we can? Okay. Done. Good. Can do. Will do? Not sure. Must do. Yes.

    _____Just took O to the bathroom. Missed the end of Elder Ballard's words. Shame. It'd been a good talk so far. I like Elder Ballard.

Return of President Monson, sogaes Elder Faust.
    Ironic beginning. But my thoughts lack propriety.

    I just said the word "cement" 10 times. Ask the Big O.
    Now I have a train between me & the tv. Fiddlesticks.

    Acts really is a good read.

    How have I never heard this Zapatista story before?
    If you missed it, look it up.

    I wonder what kind of scars tarring and feathering leaves?



-----------end saturday morning session-----------

On time, this time. With more than a minute to spare. We are conferencing in the Nursery. Big O toys. We watch. Parfait. Lady Steed sits in a Heywood & Wakefield. I sit in classic metal folding.

MTC folk will be singing. Looks like they don't have to wear nightgowns.
(Lady Steed doesn't usually feel that sobriquet is usually accurate, but this morning, oh!)

Speaking of young people, we watched Murderball last night and I was floored by how yound those damaged veterans were. They don't look like they could possibly be 18, let alone legless and decorated. What a world.

I don't think we know anyone in the MTC right now.


Was there ever a time before the singing started?


Elder Robert D. Hales

    The Scriptures!

    It is true that as we proceed through the scriptures, we find story after story about the scriptures. Stories of their creation, preservation and rediscovery. OT, NT, BofM, D&C, PofGP--all have these stories. It's all very meta. And telling.

    And it is also true that it is quite simple, in scriptural record, to tell which peoples have the scriptures anbd which don't Very easy.

    And it that is so with the benefit of the perspective offered by time, mightn't it be true without. Look closely. Can we tell?

    (And if we can't, hadn't we better? So what's wrong?)

    Listening? Try reading.

    Old things are done away and all things are become new.

    Withstanding the fiery darts of the adversary....

    May we be among them I so pray....

    (note: he doesn't mean the fiery darts--I obciously left something out here)

Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin
    An optical illusion just made Elder Wirthlin look two feet tall.

    But he's not that short.

    Did he say his mother's name was Bednar?


    Hey! An English major joke!

    Is all fear based on the potential for loss? Is it?

    As a principle principle of the gospel is restoration, faith therein should therefore cast out fear. Is it not so?

    No matter that (terrible things here) happen, Sunday will come.
    (ie, the day of the Resurrection)
    (therefore: looking forward to the Resurrection/Restoration)

    Bold, Boldly, Boldness

Sister Elaine S. Dalton
    Oh, babies.

    Get it?

    I just remembered I'm 30. (!)

    She's switching cameras like Elders SCott and Nelson, but they're not following her. Of course, she's moving about a lot, but I wonder prior arrangements are also a factor.

    Shun evil!

    The Spirit cannot dwell in unholy temples.

    A sense of identity really is vital. That is what determines direction and therefore destination.

    I don't think those photos are 1968.

    Live to be worthy for when you need immediate blessings. Hoosh.

    One thing I am never comfortable with is elevating someone's remarks to being the Words of the Prophet just because he became the prophet some years later. I dislike the logic. Time exists for a reason. Things are and aren't when they are and aren't that is all.

    Anyway. Worthiness. And now more singing.

We're singing along.

The Big O: Stop that! Stop that! Stop that! Stop that! Stop that!

Elder Shayne M. Bowen
    Airport...park...(I'm guessing we'll end at the temple)...Idaho Falls Temple....


    The airport and park are both built on dumps.

    I like where this analogy is leading.

    That Alma sure likes long verses.

    Don't dig up trash, people. Not even your own. Capiche?

Elder Daniel L. Johnson
    On tithing. (This all probably works for svithing too.)

    (Ignore at your own peril.)

    A standing law forever.

    "The Lord is our father and as our father he loves us."

    "Ye whom I delight to bless with the greatest of blesings...."

    I suppose every commandment is simple and easy once it is simply something we do. Doing creates simplicity.

Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf
    (bathroom trip #2)

    What is a testimony?

    Something tender and sweet

    Filet mignon?!?!

    No, an accumlation of feelings.


    Not a collection of cold facts.

    Well, at least it's not cold.

    What part of the cow is filet mignon anyway?

    It is easier to talk about a testimony than to acquire one.

    (Still sounds like filet mignon.)

    I like Elder Uchtdorf's use of volume modulation. Iy's rather a neglected technique, I fear.

    1. Desire to believe. Experiment! (Alma's word, not mine.)

    I'm not [illegible].
    Consider it!

    2. Search the scriptures. Have Qs. Study them out.

    (Lady Steed's asleep. Go reprimend her here.)

    Shoot. I missed 3. Learning and then doing God's will, I believe?

    Christ did his Father's will. As should we. As he invited.

    4. Ponder, fast pray.

    (Not pirate-way. Plunder, ravish, prey. No! Not that! Wicked sinner pirates....)

    Alma seems to be Saturday's prophet.

    But, as Eld Ucht says, we can have the same sacred experience as Alma's today.

    It's like that 70s song: Baby if you want me to be closer to you, get closer to me.


Brother Monson--sounded like he said Alma Daylight Time. This proves my point.

Elder Richard G. Scott
    I always like my Scott stern. Let us have it!

    On Peace & Happiness

    is not rockclimbing
    (stupid rockclimbers)
    (don't they know exercise is bad for you?)
    (also long falls?)

    Even with carabiners, it's still a crazy pasttime.
    Haven't you people ever heard of books?!?!?!

    Mmmm. Companionship.

    Down with danger!

    The metaphor: the Savior will be our lead.

    ---Your life can and should be wondrously rewarding.---

    The divine bookkeeper....

    ....prevent an eternity under the dominion of Satan.

    The Big O has discovered xylophony. (...)

    With unimaginable suffering and agony....

    And why?

    You know why.

    ------------> the Celestial Kingdom


Finally a hymn with a beat!


Oh yeah. Dig it. If all hymns were like this, I could conduct.

---------------end Saturday Afternoon--------------


President Monson is conducting again. I sense he is the only one up to the frequent standing.

Elder Henry B Eyring

    Re: quorums.

    Strength of a quorum comes largely from the members' unity. Which unity should be uncomprarble to worldly parallels.

    Unity recipe: Preach nothing but repentance and faith in the Lord

    The COVENANTS, teach according to


    Covenants are solemn promises.
    We are promised eternal life
    if we make and keep said cov'ts

    All cov'ts require faith in Jesus Christ
    Thus we inherit eternal life, the greatest of all the gifts of God

    Seek the council of the quorum's president if you want to teach properly

    Ah, but lessons are only the beginning of learning.


    We can perform more service than just one of us.
    Or more than even our total numbers would suggest.

    Wouldn't you like to be the one who invited?

    Unity--not just with each other, but with the Savior

    (If ye are not one, ye are not mine.)

    Don't say no for someone else. Let them say it for themselves.

    Good talk.

Elder D. Todd Christofferson
    ironing machine for mother/lunches/crying

    What a great photograph....

    On being a Man:

    "young men stuck in neutral"
    hot needles in the flesh

    Hey! I haven't been arrested either! Awesome!

    Provide: necessities of life, protection

    "Thw girl you marry will take a terrible chance on you." --GBH, 1998
    Oh, it's true, it's true.


    "Behold, The Man!"

    Be even as I am.

    'Jesus went about doing good.'

    ...not to be ministered unto, but to minister....

    opposing evil & error

    Let us be Men, even as He Is.

Elder Marcus B Nash
    trout fishing
    (trout no good on land)
    (stupid fish)

    Fish don't have joy flopping about on the ground.

    If Fish: Me
    Then Water: Gospel

    Misery outside those gospel waters

    (There is only ONE great plan of happiness.)

    Devil is miserable
    And he is ready to set the hook

    ----->exquisite joy

    and as many times as they repented, they were forgiven

Elder Stanley G. Ellis
    Power of Attorney

    Great scott. Priesthood as power of attorney. Holy smoke.
    Big stuff.

    Seems like entrepreneurs are disproportionately called to be mission presidents....

    a "greet"?

    Oath & Cov't
    -faithful in obtaining 2 p'hoods and magnifying calling
    -Spirit and all my Father hath

    (I should check that. Need the precise wordage. 84.)

    Sec. 121 --- p'hood only can be exercised in righteousness
    ->restudy regularly

    Maintain Worthiness

    We must be ready at any time

    This Minuteman theme has been recurrent today--------

    Thou wicked and slothful servant! (parable of the talents)

    The Lord expects a difference.
    More than we were given
    Increase? Improvement?

    He that abideth in me & me in him, the same shall bring forth much fruit

    I am so out of practice in note-taking....

    Let's use this power according to His will in His way.


Pr. Faust (ii)
    Grazing cattle--an idyllic opening

    Slowpoke the horse

    Grandpa sang all day. And he turned out okay.

    Rock salt, moving [illegible]

    Broken Hearts
    Contrite Spirits

    3 things (pending)

    h.s. senior reading NT after telling naughtiness
    those idle words, ah!, an accounting cometh


    solution: live what is learned
    else what is the point?

    Spiritual nutrients....
    Whatr are they?!?!

    service project: food for the needy
    Jim's cartful given away to a woman who had nothing to give save one can of peaches
    Well done, Jim.
    "Don't ever forget they way you feel tonight; that's what it's all about."

    Service---spiritual nutrient

    (so I guess the scriptures were #1)

    a leg swollen to ≥2ce its normal size
    won't miss a meeting
    ill: "I believe it."
    And so he was healed.
    Point made.
    And a joy & a happiness that cannot be described

    (The piritual nutrient of Faith)

    The Salt of the Earth

    So...vitamin water?

    It is constantly shocking to me how not long Conference feels. It is ever over before it begins. Yet it is 10hrs long. In 2hr blocks. Astonishing.

President Thomas S. Monson
    little boy bears his testimony:(smiles only)

    He cracks me up.

    Fear God and Keep His Commandments for this is the whole duty of man
    (saith the Preacher)


    Let every man learn his duty and act in all diligence.

    By no means am I so prepared....

    Rupert watching the crowds.
    The lost emerald!
    Grandmother's needs.
    Darn sheep.
    Moping at the stream.
    Could it be?!?!
    It is!
    The king's emerald!
    Darn sheep.
    Do your duty, that is best
    Leave unto the Lord the rest

    Never retreat! Never surrender!

    Darn trick-or-treaters
    Visiting Max at the hospital
    Dual blessings

    Reach out!
    We are on the Lord's errand
    We are entitled to his help

    I should start researching how many times he has quoted Shanandoah (& Music Man & cetera)

    What is the source of his oft-quoted Alexander story?

    1. Learn what the Lord wants.
    Then magnify
    that they people will be glad to follow.

    Also: save souls.

    Do, not hear merely, do.

    Those who want to return but do not know how to begin.
    On discouragement....

    Clean hands
    Willing heart
    to deliver what the Lord would have delivered.

    Lesson: Don't answer unanswerable questions. Just smile. (Bookends!)

    "catasrophic conflicts come and go"

    Wherefore now let every man learn his duty and act therein in all diligence and thereby follow in the footsteps of the Master.


President Gordon B. Hinckley
    The time has come to go to work.

    Hymn: 323/4 (1911)

    --as brothers of the Son of Man, Rise up! o men of God!

    "rise up out of obscurity"

    yes, it's true. I could improve my life.

    What a fascinating tie he has on.

    I'm dressed a little slouchy myself. (blush)

    No! Profanity!

    Pr. Kimball's swearing nurse story.

    In revelation we are instructed to educate ourselves.

    73% F grad h.s.
    65% M grad h.s.

    Both numbers shockingly low.

    In 2010, expected only 40% of enrolling college students will be male.

    Rise up and discipline yourself.

    Hope not, b/c she won't have you. Not likely. She knows better.

    What's shocking to me is the understood and expected ubiquity of pornography today. Deing pornfree is assumed a lie of the hypocritical prude. God willing this be not so.

    It's true, those adjs, porn and perv, are commonplace--the new normal. Practically unavoidable. How do you teach children? What a question to have to ask.

    Be thou humble and the Lord thy God will lead thee by the hand.

-------------end p'hood session---------------

We're quote late. We're doing Sunday morning with our friends Couscous and The Chemist.

President Monson is speaking on studying the scriptures.

    It's the Service that Counts!
    (the Lord's service

    First time I've ever watched conference on a laptop.

    cancer in the leg
    no more Timp Cave?

    The Chemist made a snide remark re: Timp cave and the feed froze.
    Way to go.
    We're switching to audio-only.
    It's already another talk.

L. Tom Perry (?)
    (Monson's butting in.)

    (we award the win to Perry)
    (no more video)

    working out our own salvation with God's help

    life in mortality: purposes thereof
    1. gain experience
    2. gain a mortal tabernacle

    (if die while going up the straight & narrow, we'll keep going)

    Elder Perry's speaking of Resurrection, but I'm looking at the kids. Besides the Big O, we have CC&TheC's S-Boogie and Hlad. So much under-3 enthusiasm!

    We're up to the First Vision now. The Book of Mormon and its new witness that Father's love has no bounds.

    Amulek said the words of Christ bring us salvation
    So, Repent!

    S-Boogie has a plumber toy. A six-inch plastic figure with a plunger. Interesting.

    Wait--there is still some sort of video fee--

    O remember! remember! that these things are true!

    Oh. Vid's on, but its sound's off.

Mystery Seventy
    Driving a 14-(40?)-yearold Hudson at Jackson Lake, Wyoming.

    water in the oil
    car to mechanic
    water to gar makes better mpg?


    Return the towels by mail! suggests The Chemist.
    It's a good suggestion.

    Dishonesty. Rampant. Impacting others (eg, the Enron employees)
    Cheating in schools
    Medical school cheats--operating on you!!!

    Anti-Nephi-Lehites distinct from everyone else because they were honest.

    Don't steal newspapers.

    We'll never have honesty in the world till we have honesty in our hearts.

    25¢ really is a fantastic deal. Where else can you get that much reading material for a quarter? (Outside a library sale.)

    We have a sacred obligation to live honestly.

    Guess: talk title is "Three towels and a twenty-five-cent newspaper"

"A Woman's Voice"
The Chemist says it's the Primary President
(she is talking about children and being like a child)
    Yes. I do not like violence and exploitation.

    Lady Steed says she's first counselor in the PPcy.

    2N 25:10 (yes?)

    Who we are in our hearts is something quickly discerned by children.

    Raise children in love and righteousness.

    Learn the kids' names. Be a useful (loving) adult.

    Lilith? Gilberth? Lillillillian? (I didn't really get a good look at it.)

    Manatees on the ark? Don't be ridiculous! Who makes these coloring books?

    The angel hotline.

    The Savior is the great protector, and source of love and health and healing.

    Loving children can be rough.
    Cheeky little....

    A miracle: seeing our own hearts change.

    Song time.

    (Lifferth, Margaret S. 1st counselor)

Elder Anthony D. Perkins (The Psycho guy? cool!)
    Evil devil guy
    deceiving even the very elect

    Media: You're stupid ugly worthless
    Sounds like ... the devil!!!

    Missionary dragged down?
    Depressive, hope-lost woman?

    Then: become as a little child & feel the love of HF&JC.
    Faith in the love.

    For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he

    5 changes for the hearts and minds to better feel the divine love

    1. see yourself as precious child of loving Father in heaven
    (focus on talents not weaknesses)

    2. place your burdens on Jesus Christ
    (doubt/fear/worry indicate we're trying to go it alone)
    (actually, it is only through Christ that we can do all things)
    (so cast it!)

    3. Forgive yourself of sins and imperfections
    (we're not expected to be perfect in this life)
    (John 3:14)
    (of us it is required to forgive all men (starting with myself))
    (Understand! (command form))

    4. Sustain hope in Eternal Life

    5. Find joy each day
    (one source: service)

Edler Nelson?
The Chemist agrees
    the Gathering of scattered Israel

    The Chemist's mom was his surgical assistant once.

    The Bog O's arguing that lobsters are frogs. (He's wrong.)

    Prophesies of the Gathering as sure to be fulfilled as were those of the Scattering.

    The Primitive Church degenerated and was lost.
    The Falling Away prior to the Final Dispensation

    The BofM is a sign to the entire world that the covenants are being fulfilled.
    The Abrahamic cov't

    My eyes feel all...ocularly...hypertense.

    I spent much of this talk assisting in a Tigger puzzle.

    Elder Nelson will be up here in a couple weeks.

President Hinckley--conducting and now speaking (closing)
    Personal matter: President of the Church belongs to the entire church; his life is not his own.
    health is certainly astonishing (ie miraculous)
    I like President Hinckley. I always have. I'm glad he's still alive.

    "in the face of terrible opposition"

    2006 - 150th anniversary of Willie & Martin Handcard Companies
    I don't think I knew that already, actually.)

    The Grape Juice Follies. Starring the Big O & S-Boogie

    "a lightweight conveyance"

    This Brigham Young story is an in-action example of James's take on true religion, pure and undefiled
    Let's go rescue the weak and dying. Let's send our best. Let's go now.
    I'll bet that was a thrilling talk.
    "otherwise your faith will be in vain ... and you will sink to hell"
    200 died, but 1000 were saved

    Faith is not demonstrated only in big, heroic events
    Also: small, "insignificant" events
    eg: George & his hernia (he dies)
    ----Martha loses his ring (all he left behind)
    ----there it was
    ----here it is--representative of the faith of a widow

    such faith is the wellspring of activity.

----------------end sunday morning---------------------------
80% finished

It's starting!

Return of President Monson as The Conductor

5th and Final Session

Let's settle in for a whole lotta music

Now both vid and aud are ablitzin.
How to choose?
Vid picks up where it left off.
Aud stops less, but skips back ahead.

Elder Packer? I thought he said Elder Bednar was first? Huh.

    Faithfulness in marriage
    Work in Church
    Renew Cov'ts
    Honor the Priesthood

    Establishing stakes of Zion in all the nations of earth

    Do you fear what awaits us?

    Avoid narcotics!

    We do not criticize or attack or misrepresent others as they do us.

    So we do have horns!

    high standards are a magnet

    We are not to be afraid--even in a war of hostilities that will never end.

    High on a mountaintop
    a bandana is unfurled

    Safety in the Church, Gospel

    the power of God unto salvation

    2N 25:10 (?) again


this must be Elder Bednar? I assume? Sounds like him. But I don't know his voice as well....
    (Play-Doh diversion)

    We choose to be offended____________________________

    Saying others can offend us removes our agency and, instad of being agents unto ourselves, we become agents to be acted upon.

    Choosing to be offended is often a symptom of more serious spiritual illness

    "'The Church is not a well-provisioned nursing home for the already perfected.'"
    --Elder Neal A. Maxwell

    We will all have multiple opportunites to choose to be offended. We can't control other's behaviors or intentions.
    We can control ourselves.

    eg: Pahoran could very easily have been offended by Moroni

    One of the greatest symbols of spiritual (im)maturity is how we react to others' potentially offensive behaviors.

    Bless your enemies
    them that curse you
    pray for them who despitefully use you
    for if you only wave at friends,
    so what?
    Don't scum do as much?
    That's right;
    they do.

    Get over yourself.


    Yeah, you self-righteous, supereomatic pridemongers!

    Great talk

Merrill, S. S. Pres. (Sunday School, that is) A. Roger
    Alma's wish

    But behold, I am a man and do sin in my wish....

    Receiving by the Spirit

    the Holy Ghost! (a formal act)

    "scriptures replete with the act of receiving"

    ask and ye shall receive----the great theme of scripture

    what does is profit a man to be given a gift if he does not receive?

    1 Seek
    "here I am, now inspire me" doesn't cut it
    2 those who receive feel
    3.those who receive by the Spirit intend to act

    When we are all there, we will be different.

    something about moving mountains

    by the way, we're listening to the audio, but the video is still up. It's running about 5 minutes behind.

    It's hard to remember that it will not take as long to read this as it does to write it.

    his name is Craig A. Cardon actually, sorry

    Q. What waxes your confidence strong?

    Let virtue garnish your thoughts unceasingly.


Choir & Congregation
---Sing ye sumthing of the Lord

Elder Don. R. Clark
(cardon's still talking on video)
    I'm glad I'm removed from reliance on the land.

    Wireless! That heaven is really cutting edge!

    How did Jim Drinkwater become one the Lord could trust?

    There arent' so many requirements to become an instrument in the Lord's hands. The only real question is: are you willing?

    Take Ammon et al.....

    We should all carry around books to record revelation.

    The more promptings we obey, the more trusted we become.

Elder ___________________ Edwards
    finger in the hinge


    Why hast thou forsaken me?

    Poor Nephi

    (cleaning up Play-Doh)

    Behold, I have graven thee on the palms of my hands....

    Interesting. Faux stigmata.

    Witness of Chirst

Elder Larry W. Gibbons
    he's a doctor?

    Rabbi Hans Kishner (?)
    doesn't miss pork chops

Elder HBEyring
    keeponmg the commandments makes all the difference

    the only standard that makes sense for any of us is a Celestial standard

    the summer cottage in Babylon (Maxwell)

    serving the lord without offending the devil (Romney)

    Stop drifting!

    80/20 principle no good in gambling, pornography or honesty

    Sell the summer cottage in Babylon!
    (Before property values drop any more!)
    (Because they're only going down!)

    At the end of the day, it is the keeping of the commandments that matters.

    Don't dabble!
    Don't flirt with Evilra!

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland
    There's an idea.
    Take someone up into the wilderness and force them to listen to General Conference!
    Take that, nonmember!
    What a funny story.
    Those BYU people....

    Co-ome listen to-o a-a prophet's voice....

    There is again a living prophet upon the Earth speaking for the Lord!

    And why not, really? Who can claim we don't need the help?

    To Accusations of irrelevancy: Not so. They're in touch. They're careful and meticulous. (He's speaking of the First Presidency and Twelve.)

    See, I could never be an apostle because I'm lazy and out of touch and anything but humble.
    (one less thing to worry about)

    700 miles is a long way. In the snow. Even if you do have shoes.

    disappointment and death and more, He suffered, that we might survive them

    Mercy Endureth Forever-----the Messianic Promise

    My hand is stretched out still
    (the nice interpretation thereof)

    His charity never faileth

President Monson marks the end of another conference.
And this certainly has been an excellent session.
Even if I am getting sleepy.

Now President Hinckley's concluding remarks
    What a miracle these conferences are!


    We wish that there were peace in the earth and constantly pray that it may come (amen)

And that's it. Amen. See you in six months at the 177th.

Visit this svithe on Thmusings

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176th Annual General Conference Svithe
---on Thmusings---
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The end.


Svithe: Alma 5


Tomorrow, Lady Steed and I are speaking in sacrament meeting. The topic is Perfecting the Saints and I have decided to give a talk I have long longed to give.

To believe this talk is even possible, you will have to trust me when I say that I can read the scriptures compellingly. I'm not boasting, it's just something I can do, like run into door jambs.

This talk is making its world premiere here on Thmusings, so I cannot yet tell you how it went over with an actual congregation. If you want to know, ask.

It's possible I will have to severely truncate it. Who knows how much time I'll actually have.

Anyway, here it is:

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

Brothers and sisters, today I will channel Alma the Younger.


Before I share the message I’ve prepared, you need to understand a bit about me and about my father, who was also named Alma.

The story is well known among us and I dare say you are all familiar with the evil King Noah who led so many of our own fathers into dreadful wickedness.

And how the prophet Abinadi came to them and warned them of the judgments of God.

And how my father believed—and even after the king murdered the prophet with fire—my father hid in the wilderness and taught the people and built a Church.

I will mention our fathers again later, but now I want to remind you that their captivity is a metaphor for our own.

Each of us has been held captive by sin, and when I mention our fathers’ captivity, we would do well to think of our own weaknesses and wickednesses.

And when I speak of their redemption, I would remind you of the exquisite joy that comes from repentance and allowing the Savior to free us from our own sins.

My message today closely resembles a talk I gave to the people of Zarahemla about 2100 years ago. Mormon collected it in his book, and if you would turn to Alma chapter five, you can find the Prophet Joseph Smith’s translation thereof.

My father began to establish a church in the land which was in the borders of Nephi; yea, the land which was called the land of Mormon; yea, and he did baptize his brethren in the waters of Mormon.

And behold, they were delivered out of the hands of the people of king Noah, by the mercy and power of God.

And after that, they were brought into bondage by the hands of the Lamanites in the wilderness; yea, I say unto you, they were in captivity, and again the Lord did deliver them out of bondage by the power of his word; and we were brought into this land, and we began to establish the church of God throughout this land also.

And now behold, I say unto you, my brethren, you that belong to this church, have you sufficiently retained in remembrance the captivity of your fathers?

Yea, have you sufficiently retained in remembrance God’s mercy and long-suffering towards them?

And moreover, have ye sufficiently retained in remembrance that he has delivered their souls from hell?

Behold, he changed their hearts; yea, he awakened them out of a deep sleep, and they awoke unto God.

Behold, they were in the midst of darkness; nevertheless, their souls were illuminated by the light of the everlasting word; yea, they were encircled about by the bands of death, and the chains of hell, and an everlasting destruction did await them.

And now I ask of you, my brethren, were they destroyed? Behold, I say unto you, Nay, they were not.

And again I ask, were the bands of death broken, and the chains of hell which encircled them about, were they loosed?

I say unto you, Yea, they were loosed, and their souls did expand, and they did sing redeeming love. And I say unto you that they are saved.

And now I ask of you: on what conditions are they saved?

What grounds had they to hope for salvation?

What is the cause of their being loosed from the bands of death, yea, and also the chains of hell?

Behold, I can tell you—did not my father Alma believe in the words which were delivered by the mouth of Abinadi? And was he not a holy prophet? Did he not speak the words of God, and my father Alma believe them?

And according to his faith there was a mighty change wrought in his heart. Behold I say unto you that this is all true.

And behold, he preached the word unto your fathers, and a mighty change was also wrought in their hearts, and they humbled themselves and put their trust in the true and living God.

And behold, they were faithful until the end; therefore they were saved.

And now I ask of you, my brethren of the church: have ye spiritually been born of God?

Have ye received his image in your countenances?

Have ye experienced this mighty change in your hearts?

Do ye exercise faith in the redemption of him who created you?

Do you look forward with an eye of faith, and view this mortal body raised in immortality, and this corruption raised in incorruption, to stand before God to be judged according to the deeds which have been done in the mortal body?

Can you imagine to yourselves that ye hear the voice of the Lord, saying unto you, in that day:

Come unto me ye blessed, for behold, your works have been the works of righteousness upon the face of the earth?

Or do ye imagine to yourselves that ye can lie unto the Lord in that day, and say—Lord, our works have been righteous works upon the face of the earth—and that he will save you?

Or otherwise, can ye imagine yourselves brought before the tribunal of God with your souls filled with guilt and remorse, having a remembrance of all your guilt, yea, a perfect remembrance of all your wickedness, yea, a remembrance that ye have set at defiance the commandments of God?

Can ye look up to God at that day with a pure heart and clean hands?

Can you look up, having the image of God engraven upon your countenances?

Can ye think of being saved when you have yielded yourselves to become subjects to the devil?

I say unto you, ye will know at that day that ye cannot be saved; for there can no man be saved except his garments are washed white; yea, his garments must be purified until they are cleansed from all stain, through the blood of him of whom it has been spoken by our fathers, even Jesus Christ, who came to redeem his people from their sins.

And now I ask of you, my brethren, how will any of you feel, if ye shall stand before the bar of God, having your garments stained with blood and all manner of filthiness? Behold, what will these things testify against you?

Will they not testify that ye are guilty of all manner of wickedness?

Behold, my brethren, do ye suppose that such a one can have a place to sit down in the kingdom of God, with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob, and also all the holy prophets, whose garments are cleansed and are spotless, pure and white?

I say unto you, Nay; except ye make our Creator a liar from the beginning, or suppose that he is a liar from the beginning, ye cannot suppose that such can have place in the kingdom of heaven; but they shall be cast out for they are the children of the kingdom of the devil.

And now behold, I say unto you, my brethren, if ye have experienced a change of heart, and if ye have felt to sing the song of redeeming love, I would ask, can ye feel so now?


Have ye walked, keeping yourselves blameless before God?

Could ye say, if ye were called to die at this time, within yourselves, that ye have been sufficiently humble? That your garments have been cleansed and made white through the blood of Christ, who will come to redeem his people from their sins?

Behold, are ye stripped of pride?

I say unto you, if ye are not ye are not prepared to meet God.

Behold ye must prepare quickly; for the kingdom of heaven is soon at hand, and such a one hath not eternal life.

Behold, I say, is there one among you who is not stripped of envy?

I say unto you that such a one is not prepared; and I would that he should prepare quickly, for the hour is close at hand, and he knoweth not when the time shall come.

And again I say unto you, is there one among you that doth make a mock of his brother, or that heapeth upon him persecutions?

Wo unto such a one, for he is not prepared, and the time is at hand that he must repent or he cannot be saved!

Yea, even wo unto all ye workers of iniquity; Repent, repent, for the Lord God hath spoken it!

Behold, he sendeth an invitation unto all men, for the arms of mercy are extended towards them, and he saith: Repent, and I will receive you.

Yea, he saith: Come unto me and ye shall partake of the fruit of the tree of life; yea, ye shall eat and drink of the bread and the waters of life freely;

Yea, come unto me and bring forth works of righteousness, and ye shall not be hewn down and cast into the fire—

For behold, the time is at hand that whosoever bringeth forth not good fruit, or whosoever doeth not the works of righteousness, the same shall have cause to wail and mourn.

O ye workers of iniquity; ye that are puffed up in the vain things of the world, ye that have professed to have known the ways of righteousness nevertheless have gone astray, as sheep having no shepherd, notwithstanding a shepherd hath called after you and is still calling after you, but ye will not hearken unto his voice!

Behold, I say unto you, that the good shepherd doth call you; yea, and in his own name he doth call you, which is the name of Christ; and if ye will not hearken unto the voice of the good shepherd, to the name by which ye are called, behold, ye are not the sheep of the good shepherd.

And now if ye are not the sheep of the good shepherd, of what fold are ye? Behold, I say unto you, that the devil is your shepherd, and ye are of his fold; and now, who can deny this? Behold, I say unto you, whosoever denieth this is a liar and a child of the devil.

For I say unto you that whatsoever is good cometh from God, and whatsoever is evil cometh from the devil.

Therefore, if a man bringeth forth good works he hearkeneth unto the voice of the good shepherd, and he doth follow him;

but whosoever bringeth forth evil works, the same becometh a child of the devil, for he hearkeneth unto his voice, and doth follow him.

And whosoever doeth this must receive his wages of him; therefore, for his wages he receiveth death, being dead unto all good works.

And now, my brethren, I would that ye should hear me, for I speak in the energy of my soul; for behold, I have spoken unto you plainly that ye cannot err, or have spoken according to the commandments of God.

And this is not all. Do ye not suppose that I know of these things myself? Behold, I testify unto you that I do know that these things whereof I have spoken are true. And how do ye suppose that I know of their surety?

Behold, I say unto you they are made known unto me by the Holy Spirit of God. Behold, I have fasted and prayed many days that I might know these things of myself.

And now I do know of myself that they are true; for the Lord God hath made them manifest unto me by his Holy Spirit; and this is the spirit of revelation.

And it is available to all.

Moreover, I say unto you that it has thus been revealed unto me, that the words which have been spoken by our fathers are true.

And I say unto you, that I know of myself that what I say unto you is true;

And I say unto you, that I know that Jesus Christ came, yea, the Son, the Only Begotten of the Father, full of grace, and mercy, and truth.

And behold, it is he that came to take away the sins of the world, yea, the sins of every man who steadfastly believeth on his name.

And now I say unto you that all, both old and young, both bond and free, both aged, and middle-aged, and the rising generation; they must repent and be born again.

Yea, thus saith the Spirit: Repent, all ye ends of the earth, for the kingdom of heaven is soon at hand; yea, the Son of God cometh in his glory, in his might, majesty, power, and dominion.

Yea, my beloved brethren, I say unto you, that the Spirit saith: Behold the glory of the King of all the earth; and also the King of heaven shall very soon shine forth among all the children of men.

And also the Spirit saith unto me, yea, crieth unto me with a mighty voice, saying: Go forth and say unto this people—Repent, for except ye repent ye can in nowise inherit the kingdom of heaven.

And again I say unto you, the Spirit saith: Behold,
the ax is laid at the root of the tree; therefore every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit shall be hewn down and cast into the fire, yea, a fire which cannot be consumed, even an unquenchable fire. Behold, and remember, the Holy One hath spoken it.

And now my beloved brethren, I say unto you, can ye withstand these sayings; yea, can ye lay aside these things, and trample the Holy One under your feet; yea, can ye be puffed up in the pride of your hearts; yea, will ye still persist in setting your hearts upon the vain things of this world, upon your riches?

Yea, will ye persist in supposing that ye are better one than another; yea, will ye persist in the persecution of your brethren, who humble themselves and do walk after the holy order of God, wherewith they have been brought into this church, having been sanctified by the Holy Spirit, and they do bring forth works which are meet for repentance—

Yea, and will you persist in turning your backs upon the poor, and the needy, and in withholding your substance from them?

And finally, all ye that will persist in your wickedness, I say unto you that these are they who shall be hewn down and cast into the fire except they speedily repent.

And now I say unto you, all you that are desirous to follow the voice of the good shepherd,

Come ye out from the wicked, and be ye separate, and touch not their unclean things;

Behold, their names shall be blotted out, that the names of the wicked shall not be numbered among the names of the righteous, that the word of God may be fulfilled, which saith:

The names of the wicked shall not be mingled with the names of my people, for the names of the righteous shall be written in the book of life, and unto them will I grant an inheritance at my right hand.

And now, my brethren, what have ye to say against this? ↓ I say unto you, if ye speak against it, it matters not, for the word of God must be fulfilled.

For what shepherd is there among you who having many sheep doth not watch over them, that the wolves enter not and devour his flock? And behold, if a wolf enter his flock doth he not drive him out? Yea, and at the last, if he can, he will destroy him.

And what parents are there among you that doth not watch over their children, that the wolves enter not and devour them? And if a wolf were to enter their home, would they not drive him out? Yea, and at the last, if they can, will they not destroy him?

And now I say unto you that the Good Shepherd doth call after you; and if you will hearken unto his voice, he will bring you into his fold, and ye are his sheep; and he commandeth you that ye suffer no ravenous wolf to enter among you, that ye may not be destroyed.

And now I, Alma, do command you in the language of him who hath commanded me, that ye observe to do the words which I have spoken unto you.

I speak by way of command unto you that belong to the church; and unto those who do not belong to the church I speak by way of invitation, saying:

Come and be baptized unto repentance, that ye also may be partakers of the fruit of the tree of life, which fruit is most precious and most desirable above all other fruits—and the greatest of all the gifts of God.

And now, brethren and sisters, I would, if I may, share with you some words from Moroni about those (meaning all of us) who have decided (or are deciding) to accept baptism and to join Christ’s church:

Those who were baptized and cleansed by the Holy Ghost (Moroni writes), were remembered and nourished by the good word of God, to keep them in the right way, to keep them continually watchful unto prayer, relying alone upon the merits of Christ, who was the author and the finisher of their faith.

And the Church did meet together oft, to fast and to pray, and to speak with one another concerning the welfare of their souls.

And they did meet together oft to partake of break and wine, in remembrance of the Lord Jesus.

And though they made mistakes, as oft as they repented and sought forgiveness, with real intent, they were forgiven.

And their meetings were conducted after the manner of the workings of the Spirit, and by the power of the Holy Ghost;

For as the power of the Holy Ghost led them whether to preach or to exhort or to pray or to supplicate or to sing, even so, it was done.


Brothers and sisters, I now add my testimony to those shared by Alma and Moroni.

We have been given the greatest of gifts—the Atonement of Jesus Christ—and through it we can be saved and return to live with him and our Eternal Father.

We have been given the companionship of the Holy Ghost, and he will guide us as we strive to be perfect, even as our Father, which is in heaven, is perfect.

And we have been given each other, our fellow travelers, to strengthen and help us, to guide and to love us

That together we can overcome any difficulty and become worthy of any blessing.

The Savior must believe we can do it, else why would he have named his church the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. If he thought we were halfwits and screwups he would have said so; he does not lie.

So we can do it. Through the blood of Christ, we can go there together.

If we will hearken unto his voice, he will bring us into his fold, and we will be his sheep; and he will suffer no ravenous wolf to enter among us.

I leave my testimony with you that these things are true,

in the name of Jesus Christ,


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Svithing religious complexity


Religion is a funny thing, don't you think? All this "faith" stuff, for instance. What's that all about? Live my life according to rules whose foundations are invisible? Talk about whack!

But lots of people do it, myself included, so there must be something to it.

So we make a decision based on criteria that are personal to the point of being inexplicable and then we live our lives, having made that decision and sticking to it.

Without going into the inexplicable and personal reasons, I have chosen to be a Mormon. What it means to be a Mormon is what I am thinking about today, in large part due to Master Fob's excellent svithe last week. Excellent except for dredging up that old raisin thing again (the jerk). Anyway, it was on obedience and you should read it.

Master Fob's argument is a strong one: religious followers should filter the teachings of their religious leaders through their own faith and prayer-relationships with Almighty. Brigham Young would agree with him. And so do I. But while agreeing with him, I reserve the right to disagree with him.

Here's the thing: I (for instance) have chosen to be a Mormon and among the tenets that acceptance implies is this: I accept that God has chosen folk to be his spokesfolk upon this earth and to give me information I need to be a better Christian. Now, I feel strongly that, yes, I should pray and discover for myself whether this doctrine of leadership be true, but once I've accepted it, the list of things I need to pray about has been vastly simplified. Since God and I have already sat down and agreed that Mr Hinckley is God's prophet, when Mr Hinckley speaks in his official capacity, I don't see an intellectual crisis in accepting what he says as the mind and will of the Lord without rehashing the prophet policy with deity.

Now, I suppose if he says something I have a hard time accepting I will of course have to return to my knees for a redo, because I don't believe in blinding myself in the name of faith. Faith isn't blindness; faith is seeing: If I have already been given faith, I will be able to push through the snowstorms of uncertainty--even if I only have enough understanding for faith to show me one footstep at a time. I believe that when I don't understand the specifics, my faith in larger principles will see me through. And modern revelation is a most vital principle.

Mmmmm....Marxism!Anyway, on to these coffee pictures.

I'm not interested in getting into the Word of Wisdom today, but I do think these pictures illustrate the nature of confusion and disagreement and getting along.

This Marxism coffee for instance. It's hard, but let's disregard how Marx would feel about being named after God's favored coffee and look instead at the type.

First: "Coffee 15%"

(Unfortunately, I can't type in Korean, so I'll just translate the part in the green ribbon.)

Second: "‹‹Now we're giving you two more packets, baby!››"

See. This is religious tolerance at it's finest. We may take away 85%, but if we always give back 200%, we'll all be okay.

The trick is to always give others more tolerance than you need in return.

Even when it comes to raisins, jerk.


Note:Lady Steed and I are moving this week to El Cerrito, California. Because of this, we will be short one internet connection for a period of time of an as-of-yet undetermined length. Thus, as I will have no internet connection, I will have nothing to svithe. Thus, svithing will be put on hold for some time.

I may still svithe. I may not. Until we're online again, no promises.

(end note)


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Svithing out salvation

fear, trembling

Wherefore, my beloved...
work out your own salvation
with fear and trembling.
----Philippians 2:12


I've been to Costco about a zillion times so far this year and they're still not carrying salvation.

I've checked Amazon. No luck.

So I asked Paul and he seems to think salvation requires work. And fear. And trembling.


So I have to work. And I take it from that "fear and trembling" bit that said work must be done under the auspices of somebody somewhat intimidating?

In my REB, this is how Paul is translated:

    You must work out your own salvation
    in fear and trembling;
    for it is God who works in you,
    inspiring both the will and the deed,
    for his own chosen purpose.
Let's forget all my joking and recognize that the reason we need to fear and tremble, the reason we need to be reverential, the reason we need to be humble and accepting, is because we are not doing the work of our salvation alone, but we have a partner--somebody named God--who is actually in charge and merely asking for our cooperation.

It seems a reasonable request.

No membership charges, always free shipping, good company.

Good deal.

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Svithe: Acceptable sacrifice


My brother Braj came home from his mission on the fifteenth, and watching him adjust to America has helped me remember my own homecoming nine years ago. After arrival, I immediately became horribly ill and so most of the details of those first few back-in-America months are lost to me. But I love seeing him--how he is the same person (often in surprising ways), yet he is also more.

One thing I do remember was sitting on the plane in Cheju, having just said goodbye to all my Cheju friends and my now former companion and knowing it was all over. There is nothing like Too Late to make one wonder how close to 100% one's efforts were--to analyze what more could have been done. I was sitting on the plane, praying, worrying over the worth of my two years of service when a song came into my head. It wasn't a hymn. It wasn't approved listening at all. It was a song off a tape one of my Korean friends had on endless repeat in his car to learn English. The tape consisted of American standards and classics of soft rock sung by celebrity fakes. The song in question was "My Way" as sung by a phony Frank Sinatra--a song I had never heard before my mission. And as strange it may seem, that anthem to individuality was the Lord's expression to me that he accepted my service--and that it was given in my way made it acceptable. That what he had wanted to me to do: to be a missionary my way. The Lord didn't want some guy to do some stuff, he wanted me to do stuff and to do it my way. That meant a lot to me. That means a lot to me.


At age 78, Mary Alice Hansen
    found herself serving as a host in the Church Office Building, as well as a worker in the Latter-day Saint Humanitarian Center.

    She served in both capacities many times during the week for several decades until one day, when she was 99 years old, she fell and broke her hip and wrist. . . .

    Sister Hansen returned less than three months later--walking without a cane. Sister Hansen continued to serve until she was released May 18 at age 102.

Well, Theric? What have you done lately?

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