Elder Ballard Sez
(a svithe)

Elder Ballard.

En-her-gy Girl spoke in church today (and did a fine job, btw) (which makes three bloggers to give excellent talks this month). Anyway, she mentioned something my brother blogged about and that I had intended to svithe today, but nearly forgot: the apostolic call to blog.

Yep, the word's come down from Elder Ballard: we Mormon bloggers need to get the LDS viewpoint out on the Vital Issues of the Day.

I'm not much-a-one for a) New Year's Resolutions or b) blogging on the Vital Issues of the Day, but I think we can expect lots of silly talk about Mormons out there in the void come 2008. So my svithe/NYR today is this: I resolve to get into the fray in a wholesome, bright-eyed way, thus obeying a prophet of God and, perhaps, getting interviewed on a highly rated radio program where the host is a jerk and hates everyone. I furthermore resolve not to loose my temper or to stew about that &*^%$$# for ten to twenty days afterward.

I also resolve to stop seeking out monkeys simply to make dog collars from their tails before the ASPCA finds out.


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Happy Birthday, Schmetterling!
Happy Birthday, Joseph Smith!
Happy Unbirthday, Jesus!


Happy Birthday, Schmetterling!
    If you haven't been to my brother Schmetterling's blog you're missing out. Today's Schmett's birthday and I'm going to use him as a stand-in for both my families and say I love you and wipe a cheery tear from my eye.

    Anyway, here's a scripture: Behold, you have had many afflictions because of your family; nevertheless, I will bless you and your family, yea, your little ones; and the day cometh that they will believe and know the truth and be one with you in my church.

Happy Birthday, Joseph Smith!
    For Sharing Time we had a birthday party for Joseph Smith--we played games like Pin-the-Joseph-in-the-Sacred-Grove--it was awesome.

    Anyway, here's a scripture: Joseph Smith, the Prophet and Seer of the Lord, has done more, save Jesus only, for the salvation of men in this world, than any other man that ever lived in it. In the short space of twenty years, he has brought forth the Book of Mormon, which he translated by the gift and power of God, and has been the means of publishing it on two continents; has sent the fulness of the everlasting gospel, which it contained, to the four quarters of the earth; has brought forth the revelations and commandments which compose this book of Doctrine and Covenants, and many other wise documents and instructions for the benefit of the children of men; gathered many thousands of the Latter-day Saints, founded a great city, and left a fame and name that cannot be slain. He lived great, and he died great in the eyes of God and his people; and like most of the Lord’s anointed in ancient times, has sealed his mission and his works with his own blood; and so has his brother Hyrum. In life they were not divided, and in death they were not separated!

Happy Unbirthday, Jesus!
    I know, I know: It's not your birthday. Still. Glory to God on the highest. Peace on earth, good will, et cetera.

    Anyway, here's a scripture: And he said unto the children of men: Follow thou me. Wherefore, my beloved brethren, can we follow Jesus save we shall be willing to keep the commandments of the Father? And the Father said: Repent ye, repent ye, and be baptized in the name of my Beloved Son. And also, the voice of the Son came unto me, saying: He that is baptized in my name, to him will the Father give the Holy Ghost, like unto me; wherefore, follow me, and do the things which ye have seen me do. Wherefore, my beloved brethren, I know that if ye shall follow the Son, with full purpose of heart, acting no hypocrisy and no deception before God, but with real intent, repenting of your sins, witnessing unto the Father that ye are willing to take upon you the name of Christ, by baptism—yea, by following your Lord and your Savior down into the water, according to his word, behold, then shall ye receive the Holy Ghost; yea, then cometh the baptism of fire and of the Holy Ghost; and then can ye speak with the tongue of angels, and shout praises unto the Holy One of Israel.

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Svithe in a Round


Be nice to your neighbors
--not so they'll be nice to you--
Be nice to your neighbors
It's the right thing to do!

(Clever that.)


Money ChristSometimes a picture of words is more expressive than the words alone.

Yah think?


Ummm, said the sad little boy as the world walked by and the dust blew past. Ummm. But what about me? Is there a place for me?


Be kind to your neighbors.

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Svithe: Today's reading? Isaiah.



For unto us a child is born,
unto us a son is given:
and the government shall be upon his shoulder:
and his name shall be called Wonderful,
The mighty God,
The everlasting Father,
The Prince of Peace.

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Crèchie Svithe


Today after church we drove down to Palo Alto for a well known crèche exhibit there. The reason we went was not to see the crèches per se, but to see Brian Kershinik's Nativity, which I had been reading so much about (here, for instance):

Brian Kershisnik's Nativity

I cannot adequately describe how powerful this painting is.
I though I knew it from reading and jpgs and miniature reproductions.
I was wrong.

It was worth the drive.
See it if it comes anywhere near you.
Sit in front of it, oh,
thirty minutes
at least.
Hours if you don't have a four-year-old with you.

As Thomas S. Monson has said, God left the pictures unpainted and the stories untold that we may know the joys and glories of creation. But not only that we may know the joys and glories of creating, but the joys and glories of witnessing other's creations as well.
    Through small and simple means

      or 136-square-foot canvases,

        Joy to the World

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sickly svithery

trashbasket religion

So we've spent the bulk of our time off in bed sick. In bed for almost any reason is good; in bed sick is not.

I'm not going to try and spin our illnesses into a religious metaphor tonight, as someone else has already found an even crummier one, but I will say this:

    Blessed are the trash-taker-outers, for they shall have marital peace."

Which reminds me--tomorrow's trash day.

Excuse me.

this svithe on thmusings


Svithe O' Gratitude


I'm thankful for the Big O.

The Big O is thankful for:
    "my singing teacher

    "my other teachers

    "I can sing all the songs today

    "and that's all"
Well, very good, Big O. May I point you here?
    "For my soul delighteth in the song of the heart; yea, the song of the righteous is a prayer unto me, and it shall be answered with a blessing upon their heads."

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Midweek Makeup Svithe #2: Take this to the bank. The spiritual bank. And buy a savings bond for a friend. A spiritual savings bond.


I just finished reading the book all we Mormon adults are supposed to be reading this year. Kind of a famous first for me, although I always have good intentions.

Anyway, the title of the final chapter is "Sharing the Gospel" and he made a couple points which I thought particularly sound.

Given that he doesn't have a blog of his own and would undoubtedly like to have this message spread, I offered to let him make use of my humble forum for the afternoon.

    President KimballNow, we are a busy people; but the Lord did not say, “If it is convenient for you, would you consider preaching the gospel.” He has said, “Let every man learn his duty” (D&C 107:99) and “Behold … it becometh every man who hath been warned to warn his neighbor.” (D&C 88:81.)

    What a thrilling thing it is, my dear brothers and sisters who are fellow members of the kingdom of God, to be entrusted by the Lord to serve as messengers of His word to our brothers and sisters who are not members of the Church. Let us assume for a moment that the roles were reversed—that you were not a member of the Church but that your present nonmember neighbor was a Latter-day Saint. Would you want him or her to share the gospel with you? Would you then rejoice in the new truths you had learned? Would your love and respect increase for your neighbor who had shared these truths with you? Of course, the answer to all of these questions would be: Yes!

    It should be clear to us that usually we must warm our neighbors before we can warn them properly. Our neighbors must experience our genuine friendship and fellowship. We want members to entreat neighbors, not to scold them or scare them.

    I feel the Lord has placed, in a very natural way within our circles of friends and acquaintances, many persons who are ready to enter into his Church. We ask that you prayerfully identify those persons and then ask the Lord’s assistance in helping you introduce them to the gospel.

    Don’t wait for long fellowshipping nor for the precise, perfect moment. What you need to do is find out if they are the elect. “[My] elect hear my voice and harden not their hearts.” (D&C 29:7.) If they hear and have hearts open to the gospel, it will be evident immediately. If they won’t listen and their hearts are hardened with skepticism or negative comments, they are not ready. In this case, keep loving them and fellowshipping them and wait for the next opportunity to find out if they are ready. You will not lose their friendship. They will still respect you.
Spence's Sig

Thank you, president. Now back to our regularly scheduled banality.

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Preseason Oscar Game


WWSD? (a svithe)


So I just read my first Socratic dialogue (watch for the next five books of 2007!) and now I understand why so many people I respect say they want to be like Socrates and Jesus.

Now, as a believer myself, trying to be like Jesus should be my number-one goal, but it's tough because he's, you know, God. Socrates, however, just a man. So maybe I can emulate him first, as a stepping stone.

Socrates was all about doing the right thing no matter what. He, like Jesus, fully expected to be executed some day because he would never say pleasing things just so people would like him.

It reminds me of something I read earlier this week about someone who threatened to drop out of Mormondom if President Packer became the prophet. That's a pretty good policy, as I'm sure God the Father is easily cowtowed and now he will pick whoever you want. It certainly worked in oldentimes. Don't like Jeremiah? Not pleasing enough for you? Here, take a fake of your choice.

Anyway, off subject. Socrates!

So I can easily agree that it is better to suffer wrong than to commit wrong. So far I totally agree. And I agree that it is better to be punished than to continue to sin your way all the way to hell.

But I don't agree that cooking can't be an art.

Suck on that, Socrates.

I'm sorry. And you just take it without fighting back.

I hate you.

But I also really really respect you a lot.

I better go now.....

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Like chocolate from heaven (a svithe)


Today only (TODAY ONLY!), appreciatethedarkness.com is giving away their high-end chocolate free to anyone who registers at their site.

The problem is that the site is overwhelmed with hits and I can't get on.

The svithe here is that God never gets overwhelmed by prayer.

I think I'll go pray about a nice 70% bar right now.....

last week's svithe


The Final Svithe of October 2007


The Big O's gave his first talk in Primary today, and it turned out much better than the first time he presented there. This is the original audio, recreated with actors.


This svithe is a tree


Plant a little seed
Watch it growatch it growatch it grow

Now it's a tree

This svithe is a tree

Watch it blow in the breeze

This svithe is a tree


Svithe enough
(but me enough?)


I had a nice long svithe planned, but I slept all afternoon, so maybe next week.

I'm sitting in the bedroom in a stupor, the baby is asleep, I have an interesting link about Mormons and Presidents, but it doesn't seem apropos to anything.

So instead I am going to throw our something I have been thinking of, related to human potential and God's plans for us.

Winston Churchill (politician, not novelist) said: “To every man there comes … that special moment when he is figuratively tapped on the shoulder and offered the chance to do a special thing unique to him and fitted to his talent. What a tragedy if that moment finds him unprepared or unqualified for the work which would be his finest hour.”

Let's think about that.

How are we doing?

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177.5th Svithetacular


Okay, four seconds....

General Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Saturday Morning Session

Gordon B. Hinckley conducting


(prayer by cook, gene r.)

(sustainings! in the morning!)

Elder Eyring is the new counselor

Quentin L. Cook is the new apostle

(changes in the presidency of the seventy, first quorum, second quorum)


Boyd K. Packer



a unique trait of the Church

protects from imposters

responsible to accept the call to serve

What?! No seminaries?!

the lay
the weak things of the world

Brigham Young v. Granpa Loveland (re: Janie Steed)

that just proves that you can't tell by looking at a frog how high he's gonna jump

his lay testimony was all that was needed to become a General Authority

Yes it is natural to assign more worth to seemingly lofty callings. Even people who claim to believe this will often betray other more honest feelings in this regard....

The Lord esteems us the same, however. The Lord esteems us the same.

I can't spell those names!

The worth of souls is great in the sight of God (every soul)


(i missed this guy's name)

cheek-to-jowl as a strength
those lucky utah mormons....


Mormons! Deploy!

"We would have given their dog a bath, if they'd had one."

"What happens to few, happens to all."

I think his thesis is that Utahns can't drive. Because that is a LOT of fatal traffic accidents.

No. It's large objectively as well. In fact, it quite possibly may seem smaller, subjectively.

I need to be in a car accident so our fence will get repaired.....

I'm sorry, but that plug for Atonement really sounded like an insurance commercial.

Enduring makes us close.
(what happens to one happens to all)

(i missed her name too)

strengthening families, all sorts


tithing paid with money . . . and faith

partaking of sacrament

strengthening family by example
---not letting anyone despise they youth

sealed as a family for time and all eternity

what a brother did

being the first good example

(hmm. i picked a really bad time to get distracted....)

just enough for food
no shoes
managing happiness anyway


the temple in Mesa, Arizona; gleaming and beautiful
breaking out in songs of praising

our mother...now our mother for ever
the peace of knowing you are a family forever

I would be worried if I had to attend a stake conference too.
It's easy, Daddy! Talk about prayer!

Jesus Christ lives and through his intercession

(oh for heavens' sake! when will be get another list of names?!?!)

Love from the South Pacific!

[[I'm alone with Large S for the moment and it looks like he needs attention. Excuse me.]]

god remembered rachel, will also remember you

god remembering his promises ‡ fast food

(finally! a voice I recognize!) Elder Uchtdorf

a cold winter in WWII

glory in infirmity that the glory of Christ may rest upon me (Paul)

What is the gospel of Jesus Christ?
--good news, but also the message of redemption as repeatedly revealed

God the Father is the author of the gospel
---called the "gospel of Jesus Christ" because it is his Atonement that makes it all possible

the only true gospel
no other way or mean given whereby salvation may come to the children of men, only through the name of Jesus Christ

first principle and ordinances of the gospel

repentance, sacrifice

meek, humble

through the Holy Ghost any member may receive divine guidance at any time, at any place

What does it mean to endure to the end?

Once we have received the ordinances of baptism and confirmation, all that's left is to endure to the end (stay awake through church meetings).

If you keep my commandments and endure to the end, you shall have eternal life, the greatest of all gifts.

An active religion.

exalting and glorious (not grim and gloomy)

personal discipline

not Sunday-only / habit / else

patient continuance in well-doing

honoring temple cov'ts

integrity honesty, to Lord, fellowmen

loving and honoring, spouses and children

pray for them which despitefully use us

this is whatfor jesus died

The Savior heals the broken heart and binds up your wounds.


Thomas S. Monson (concluding speaker)

Mrs. Patton, Arthur lives

Arthur enlisted in the Navy at 15 (looked great in a uniform)
If only we were older! Or at least taller (and sneakier)!

could she not read?

March 1944, Arthur moved to an aircraft carrier
Arthur lost at sea

The blue star taken from the window. Replaced by one of gold. Indicating he had been killed.

A light went out. Mrs. Patton groped in darkness and despair.

Home became a chapel.

"Tell me, will Arthur live again?"

the way, the truth, the life

fear of the unknown, dread death's coming


the spirits of all, when they depart their mortal homes, return to that god who gave them life

as in adam all die, so in christ shall all be made alive

And NOW, the REST of the STORY:

It's April 1969.

And then, he learned of something akin to a miracle.

Some neighbors in California invited Mrs. Patton to General Conference and she heard President Monson speak directly to her.

How about that?

Dear Tommy,,,,,

...I've had many questions over the years, and now you have answered them. I am at peace....

Coincidence? Not so.

Wow! Conference at their house in California in 1969? That's awesome.

I stand at the door and knock.

Will we listen for that knock?
Will we listen for that voice?
Will we open that door?

I pray that we will.


Thomas S. Monson conducting

I missed the name of the choir, but it sounds like a bunch of girls.

M Russell Ballard

Tell me a little about the Church.
---(a little)

just wanting to know what it is -- deserve clear and accurate information

The need for simple statements explaining the basics.

(the Articles of Faith)

Four Subjects for those who know virtually nothing:
      name of church
      dates like 1830
      places like SLC
      numbers like 13 million members, 4th largest Christian faith in America, 10% of income, 1 new building a day
      local congregations led by the lay members
      we're in politics and government--BOTH major American parties--and all other fields

      eternity of the soul
      Jesus Christ, personal savior
      we try to model ourselves after him
      the sacrament
      we accept as fellow Christians all those who profess faith in Christ
      he's the core of ours!
      again, the name of the Church
      loss and restoration of Christ's true church
      the Bible, OT & NT
      the Book of Mormon

      basic unit of the church and society
      commitment to marriage (1m1w)
      polygamy? no, no, no!
      worship together on Sundays
      FHE--not just for Mormons!
      extended families, family history, identity and belonging, highest of our ordinances--some in our temples

      "By their fruits you shall know them!" "We got some of those!
      the fruits of practicing Mormons (studies show):
      -longer life
      -lower something
      -higher education levels
      -over 70000 volunteer at own expense to serve 18-24 months in various things
      -self-reliance encouraged
      -serving others
      -supporting others' service--hours and money
These days people just don't read that much. We need soundbite infopresentation. And we need it from everyday members. Otherwise we'll be defined by bigots and idjits.

Those who know us? Not really a problem. But the millions who aren't? Could be tricked into accepting disinformation.


For those who want more than just a few basics, the missionaries.

This is so much more lowkey than I expect from Elder Ballard on this subject. Fascinating.

Never hesitate to bear testimony. Carry around some handy, basic facts.

This is so interesting. This is not Ballardesque and totally Ballardesque simultaneously. Fascinating.

Joseph B. Wirthlin

Q: What quality defines us best as LDS?

He's discussing that answer.


Master, which is the greatest commandment of the law?

Ah, to be known of Him.

...no money...no friends...

the painting of nails

Love is not always best found in the greatest scenes.

the meek

the glorious beings we are capable of becoming

taking men and women of the earth and refining them as men and women of the eternities

(he's sounding quite short of breath--quite unwell in fact)

in voluntary acts of sacrifice (not that initial space)

home teaching as a signifier of love

So who are we?

A people who love the Lord with all our hearts and all our minds and all our strength, and our neighbors as ourselves.

That's a pretty heft standard, isn't it?

How do we love?

Let's start with reflecting on the life of our Savior.

((I hope he makes it through. He sounds so weak--so on the edge of collapse.))

Testimony that God lives, that his love is eternal.

May our hearts be filled with that love, that we may be able to reach out to our Father and to others.

Bruce Porter

Poet Rudyard Kipling on ... sorry. Big O interrupted. Pride, I think?

Humble and contrite

{{Kids are so freaking messy.}}

our dependence on God

thus the only sacrifice is that of pride

and really even in that adds up to very little, placed on the scale, don't you think?

those with a broken heart and contrite spirit are willing to do what God asks without resistance

a "condition of submissiveness"

leads to spiritual healing

sanctification of the Holy Ghost

the same god who teaches us to walk with a broken heart invites us to rejoice and be of good cheer

a broken heart serves as a shield

Eric Capischa?

And that, Elder, is what you get for having the missionaries over.

the lifelooong process of conversion

learning to use the guidance of the Spirit in our work

(Preach My Gospel plugs aplenty)

invite the missionaries over and have them teach principles from PMG---use it for FHE--have at-home teens use it to teach the family (and invited friends)

PMG a source for just about any project you may have

It's inspired, after all!

we must become one in our effort to proclaim the gospel

(somebody--hoo--I'm not doing too hot....--he's coming from the Philippines, apparently)

Am I my brother's keeper?

Think Alma: coming into the fold of God, mourning with those who mourn, et cetera.

So we do have an obligation to look after one another?

our day-to-day associations with each other

Screwtape to Wormwood: do what you will--there is going to be come benevolence as well as some malice; direct the malice at the everyday people and the benevolence to those at the periphery

Has anyone's burden been lightened today because I was willing to share?

Uncle Fred? I have a book named Mister Fred!

Uncle Fred: drunk, throws rock

Once, when sober (!), invited inside. Like a vampire.

After a while, he listened to the missionaries, got baptized, served a mission, married in the temple, still going strong.

...could not stop giving to those in need...

? (but sounds familiar--I may figure it out)

set personal contribution high to receive abundant spiritual payment

we determine the level of our current personal contribution

we will eagerly increase the price we pay for heaven's help

as our study efforts expand, so will the aid we receive from above

let us strive to apply

new understanding will come

the quiet but essential workings of the Holy Ghost

I know this voice:Jeffrey R. Holland

I think it's accurate to say we believe they are one in all aspects save one: that they are of one body.

Trinity doctrine does appear in the NT after all. That's no secret.

So it doesn't really bother us that this breaks us from most modern Christians. The word I think he's looking for is apostasy.

the creeds' deliberate and obvious intentions to render God incomprehensible

"Woe is me, for they have taken away my God and I know not whom to love or to address!" (looking forward to seeing the reference for that)

Good Q: If we're rejected from the fold of Christianity for rejected something innovated around 300bc or so, what about the original Christians? Shall they be denied that label as well?

To whom did Jesus plea, if he is his father?

It's kind of nice to hear this.

It's not polytheism! It's part of Christ's great message! about the nature of divinity!

Quoting Paul (of all people!)

If the idea of an embodied God is so repulsive, why are the most significant/unique/noted traits of Christianity all about incarnation and resurrection?

Dismissing an embodied God, dismisses the mortal and resurrected Christ.
And what Christian would want to do that?

A little bit of fire.
I love fire.

Testimony of little details like birth and death...of Christ Jesus.

..only by relying wholly upon Christ's merits..

Jesus has already come--more than once--in embodied majestic glory.


the heavens are open to all who seek the same confirmation

Russell M Nelson

casting aspersions at the book of mormon?!?!

doing so at any scripture concerns him deeply

"Scriptural Witnesses"

witness: an attestation of a fact or event, a testimony

now, applied to the Word of God:

in the mouth of two or three witnesses shall the truth be established

the Book of Mormon written than ye may believe the Bible that ye may believe the Book of Mormon [...] that ye may know that God lives
---love for one builds love for another
---doctrines of one enhance doctrines of the other

mutual clarification




L. Tom Perry

raising the bar...literally!

raising the bar...figuratively!

(getting-ready-for-mission stuff)

hmm. good point.
I've never heard taking school seriously cited as important mission prep.

days of rejection and disappointment
ergo, learn to control your emotions

social skills, people: social skills!

get a job! yeah!

pursue efficacy!

Donald L. Hallstrom

building a cook book

procrastination → forgetting

I have a bad feeling about this.....

Bacardi. Rum. Cake.

Let that be a lesson to you.

but someday I AM going to do it!


What is our attitude at the meetings of the church?
--eager to study and learn
--I've-heard-it-all-before (leading to procrastination)

the cares of the world caused him to reject the word

starting the work under his window (sneaky)

photograph of a sloth

it is not meet that I should command in all things.

the unwillingness to accept responsibility now

the simple way w/o sacrifice → nowhere


Hey! You! Off your duff! Take the next step!

L. Whitney Clayton

looks like Stanley Tucci

fish traps for King David

this story always makes me sick
what a score of errors

the spiritual snare of pornography

he who looketh upon a woman to lust after her . . .

and, really, what else is pornography for?

lose: the Spirit, perspective, proportion, knowing all is seen of Him

innocent victims pile up

addiction can occur without cognizance

not too bad = not too good


requiring the Savior's help

go to the Bishop -immediately-

every good gift

deny yourself all ungodliness

Walter F. González

earthquake in Peru

holy crap. did you see that???

quick response!

frequent aftershocks, tsunami warning
but the priesthood goes out all the same
why? gospel principles ingrained with fire before the catastrophe

We too don't know when the earthquake will strike
so! today is the day to prepare.

I'll go and do for I know

may future quakes find us properly prepared

he has quite the fascinating posturing
(it's fun to have pictures for a change)

I have made thee a defensed city

Henry B. Eyring

(deep breath)

thoughts about ... a boy ... somewhere ... in the world ... worried ...

a complicated pattern for passing the sacrament

prayed for help, assurance I would not fail
and again, these past few days

the answer for all who feel overcalled and underqualified

1 - assurance from memories of times helped before
(a large crowd of angry people outside his house
(a miracle)
(a crowd of angry people again, more [illegible],
([illegible] a spirit of [illegible])
(addressing a group of religious leaders re: sheepstealing
(to talk on the Restoration in place of Elder Maxwell
(GBH: "Use your best judgment"
(not "this is what we believe" but "this is what happened and why"
(all ministers -- had someone (a member) they admired
(or a stake president who had helped when in need
(the crowds grew
(because they had seen the fruits of that Restoration)
(think of the times I've led you to still water
(and fear no evil)
(to all: REMEMBER
(what is impossible to you is possible with God's help)
(assurance will come again)

2 -- came early Friday morning -- clear direct rebuke -- forget yourself -- think instead of those you serve -- you will lose track of time as you do -- and the circle of those you pray for grows -- service extended in your heart, changing both your sevice and your heart

3 - Go. To. Work.
(priesthood power given you to help others)
(go and do
(to bless someone's life)
(for then, they need a testimony bourne of the Spirit
(so you too need the Spirit)
[it's interesting how Eyring can always use the second-person without seeming accusatory]

It will never be easy.

There will always be pain in service,
in the repentance required on all sides.

Service in Christ has never been easy.

We cannot [illegible], any more than does God.

watch your eyes!
everyday life requires discipline of a conscious choice

watch your words!

praying for help
praying for help
praying for help

see and say no evil even in a wicked world

We-hold-the priesthood of God
Prayers will be answered with secret assurance.

Thomas S. Monson

a chosen generation
a hold priesthood
a, um, peculiar people
missed one

the door of history turns on small hinges
and so do people's lives

we are the product of many small choices

lost his left shoe
and did not stop
finished third, qualified him to run for gold
his best time ever
he put forth the effort necessary to achieve his goal

we shall all be called to serve
in some capacity

22 and a bishop -- can you imagine?
I would not be who I am today.

"turned off the ignition of course"

not one resident left
all gone

God gave us memories that we might have roses in the Decembers of our lives

thus we should serve with vigor

faith in
our Heavenly Father

it is better to trust in the Lord (than, say, me)

Henry VIII? What?
I assume he means V
Oh yeah.... not that Cromwell

the mark of virtue--

let it garner our thoughts unceasingly

men who commit sexual sins (etc) do not do so in the twinkling of an eye ----- it was thought of first

So! Keep our thinking pure.

As we think in our hearts, so are we.

the mark of desire to communicate with our HF the mark of a true p.h. holder

Satan trembles when he sees the weakest Saint upon his knees.

(sorry for the reams of unattributed quotes)

(a herd of buffalo
(a pride of lions
(a gaggle of geese
(a ream of unattributed quotes)

Vision Effort Faith Virtue Prayer


change of voice

Don't forget tomorrow.

Father & Son Choir

flaming red hair

boys with red hair can do anything

one in every zone and district would be nice

was embarrassed
now combs and brushes before the mirror

all through one simple little visit
like Pr. Hinckley:

Gordon B. Hinckley, prophet/seer/revelator

Br. Monson: I'm looking for you to dye your hair.

Cape Town, South Africa is far away


slow to anger, better than the mighty

unusual topic but timely

anger gets us into trouble
-road rage
-most of our prisoners

moments of offense followed by years of regret

Charles Penrose
-missionary in England
-sold some of his stuff
-some thought he sold Church property
-Penrose angry
-went upstairs
-wrote "School Thy Feelings (this is power) (let wisdom's voice control)"

railroad - man angry - H laughs - man laughs too - does his job

be not hasty in thy spirit to be angry
(anger in the bosom of fools)

divorce so often the bitter fruit of anger

the diamond ring -- that's where they went wrong

"great torrents of fault finding"

his wife died 3½ years ago
67 years together
he cannot remember one quarrel
I can't remember any either.
(double meaning)

½½½½½½½½ (look it up next month)

Guy de Maupassant
prodigal? parable?
The Piece of String
classic tale
look it up
anger and obsession
his mind grew weaker
... a little piece of string ... a little piece of string ...

the-being-outside-from-quarrels-and-getting-fresh-air tale
(I heard it from him before I heard it from Lyle.)
(In fact, I'll bet the Hesses got it from him.)

live lives without regret


phantom voice


(waiting for the red hair ........ oh. just barely.)



President Hinckley conducts

nice arrangement of "Heavenly Father, are you really there?"

Henry B Eyring

C'est une pipe.

keeping a record

serving family as covenant disciples of Jesus Christ always do

"Have I seen the Hand of God reaching out . . . today?"
a few lines written everyday
as I looked, I saw

that's a nice guiding principle for a journal....
finding evidence of answered prayers
this is a good idea

"I was reading in my copy of the journal about when _____."

Find ways to recognize God's kindness.

It won't be easy to remember. The veil prevents us from remembering before. Nor can our physical eyes or our reason see the evidence of today. This requires the Holy Ghost. This is why forgetting God has been such a persistent problem among us mortals, since, like, forever.

It is easy to begin to feel the blessings come not from a loving God but from our own powers.

He prospers us; we forget.

how quick to be lifted up in pride
how slow to remember the Lord their God

also: bad times

the simple cure for the malady of forgetting God:

[[The Big O is fishing off the side of our bed. It's pretty noisy, as far as fishing goes.]]

a pattern for having the HG always in the tumult of our daily lives


serve Him

lay hold on every good thing and deny it not a be a child of christ

they will remember when they are taught the truths of the gospel
they will remember jesus christ

pray ponder ask: did God send a message today to me?

we a re loved and blessed more than we realize

Quentin L Cook

was extended the call late Thursday afternoon

the most comfortable qualification in all callings: a willingness to testify of the Savior

this is the promise of the Lord so be of good cheer for he is with you and will be with you as you bear witness

on family, examples of

the example of a great mission president is one of the great miracles of the Restoration

Yay! California! [note: the Brass Clan know him--pretty sure, anyway--they're in NY right now, so we haven't checked]

Yay! Philippines!

Yay! Polynesians! (~25%lds)

The Tongans found fresh water leaking into the ocean under the sea. That is freaking amazing. How the heck did they ever figure that out?

on raising righteous children, anywhere in the world (even San Francisco), by teaching correct principles in the home

many wonderful members are in camouflage to their neighbors

the members, living by faith and not by fear, need to share the gospel

[[The Big O just recognized the name of the Primary program and connected it to his own that's coming up in two weeks. Pretty cool.]]

live by faith and not by fear

Claudio something

Sept. 23, 1995 (The Family: A Proclamation to the World)

providing more than material things for our families

the adversary has been attacking the family

[[I wonder what my manner of picking-and-choosing says about me. Besides distractibility and having kids, I mean.]]

Family Prayer
Family Home Evening
Personal and Family Scripture Study

teaching children to worship God in our home

we must love one another

the supreme example of love: lay down one's life for one's friends

we don't know what could happen to us tomorrow
so start today
as small as a hug

there may not be another day to say I love you

tomorrow is not promised to anyone, young or old

if you're waiting for tomorrow, why not do it today?
if tomorrow never comes, you will surely regret it

Judy B Beck

some more on the stripling warriors and what their mothers knew
as well, we presume, of some others' mothers

today particularly requires mothers who know

children born into a world where they struggle against things more insidious than rabid Lamanites

God's command to bring in children remains in force

faithful daughters of God desire children

but, childful or childless, attributes of motherhood gain will accompany through the resurrection

if not pointing children to the temple, not pointing them toward eternal goals

such mothers know they have power

mothers who know create a climate for spiritual and temporal growth in the home

defining "homemaking"

nurturing mothers are knowledgeable, but no education useful without a culture of spiritual growth
-pattern home after the Lord's own house

mothers who know are leaders

equal partnership

planning for missions, temples, educations

mothers who know build their children into leaders as well

mothers who know are always teachers
not babysitters, so never offduty

he never learned anything at Church he didn't already know at home

the home as preMTC
the "real" MTC becomes a review not a revelation
[cue laughter]

less less less more more more more more more more

choose carefully, not all

goal to create the rising generation

who will prepare the rising generation?

C Golden Jr?

Stan the Man and his disinterest in the gospel

on the third visit however, there was a visible difference in Stan the Man

he had questions! thoughtful questions!

home teachers reminded of the power of the Book of Mormon

[[[So Lady Steed thought his voice sounded South African, so we looked it up. His name is Elder Christoffel Golden Jr. and he was born in Johannesburg. Well done, Lady Steed!]]]

introducing the sacrament

hot stuff

Stan the Man continued to grow

Stan the Man finally feels worthy to partake of the sacrament

Stan the Man receives a calling
becomes an elder
goes to the temple with his wife

on Sundays, when partaking of the sacrament, may we do so in the spirit of true devotion to Him

great things ARE brought to pass

David A Bednar

fond childhood memories of mother reading book of mormon stories, coming alive in the youthful imaginations, testimony of mother's testimony

on the Savior's appearance in the New World

repent all ye ends of the earth ... that ye may be sanctified by the holy ghost and stand blameless before me at the last day

the grace of the holy messiah

turning toward god
away from sin

[WHO SAID THAT!!! (did that come from the English Language Channel of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints? And if not, WHERE DID IT COME FROM???]

let's now focus our attention on the sanctifying influence of the Holy Ghost

(reminds me: to the abilities of the weakest Saint)

the Holy Ghost sanctifies and refines our souls as if by fire

all of our worthy desires and good intentions cannot provide clean hearts and hands

less than the dust of the earth

forgiveness of our sins
purified hearts

freely spilled his precious blood for us

some may think this progress is not possible in their lives

look, we won't attain perfection in this life, no
but we should make steady progress
line upon line
precept upon precept
here a little
there a little
small incremental steps

come unto christ and be perfected in him and deny yourself all ungodliness
if ye by the grace of god are perfected in christ, then

remission of your sins
you become holy
without spot

Jesus Christ is his Father's Son and our Savior
and makes us without spot

President Hinckley

The choir gets to do the same songs over and over, but the speakers have to come up with something new every time!
I've spoken over 200 times in General Conference!
So I'm just going to repeat myself a bit today.

The Church has become a great, international family.

184 years ago, September 21-22, 1823
Joseph Smith prayed before going to bed, asking forgiveness for his lightmindedness
light appeared in the room
to a poor, unlearned farmboy

congregation in every city in North America
stakes in every state and province on this hemisphere

and this is only the beginning
this work will continue to grow
and prosper
and spread across the earth

Joseph's theophany is unique in recorded religious history

renewed a true understanding of the nature of deity

the miracle of the massiveness of the restoration

truth of it available to all who ask

so much for critics

restoration of the priesthood

organization of the Church

thousands of the able have and do direct its efforts

we, each of us, are faced with a stark question re: The First Vision
all else hinges upon that question
and it is true
we so testify

invoking the blessings of heaven upon us



Monson conducts

nice of them to give Eyring his first conference off

아름다운 시온

Robert D Hales

must each conference be historic? or is it just that each conference is part of the whole conference, which is historic?

personal revelation is how we know for ourselves the most important things

"as a young regional representative"*

*with Marion G. Romney
on revelation:
-when we are on the Lord's errand, we have revelation to tell us what we should do

how do we know the Father and the Son for ourselves?
personal revelation

someone did not receive a witness until three weeks after his baptism
another name I wish I'd caught

prayer provides a firm foundation for personal revelation

*with Boyd K. Packer
you must study it out in your mind
study, counseling together
listen to an apostle, to the Spirit
study more
then prepared to receive revelation
comes on the Lord's timetable

Elder Benson
Elder Lee

we may receive more revelation than we realize
the more we recognize revelation, the more we receive

the many ways revelation may come

prophets receive personal revelations
so should we

do we see the pattern of revelation in the lives of prophets?
do we see the same pattern in our own lives?


faith is the key

the trial may be the time it takes for an answer

[[the baby is gnawing on my thumb and it HURTS]]

Richard G Scott

truth is the only meaningful foundation to wise decisions
so...what is truth?

[[well, I got my right hand back--but lost my left....]]

the scientific method





for behold this is my work and my glory, to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man

and yet though art just and merciful and kind forever
how is it thou canst weep?

a commandment, rejected, that they should love one another and choose me their father

don't eat it! it's bad for you!
one more time won't hurt

the process of identifying truths takes enormous effort

your righteous character--what you are becoming--is more important than, for instance, stuff

not Satan, only we can destroy our character

this God of unfathomable capacities is our loving, patient father

we are dear to him

equipped the obedient to make correct choices

on the path

this creative master is our compassionate, holy father

their power to express their love

Sunday School Presidency First Counselor

sucker horses

or maybe this more about trust?

multiple possible contradictory morals

on teaching classes: faith and repentance
the core

teach by the Spirit

"What are we learning that has not been said?"
learn by the Spirit

catch fire in your heart

evaluating effectiveness
do we understand one another? understand together? edified together?

Octaviano? of the Seventy

the first templecentric talk?


cool story

gimme chocolate!

oh! the baby died!

back to sealing

back to giving out chocolates

do you have three hours?

ended up needing four

cool story

Claudio Zimick

it is my right to be out of the ordinary
our right

it is by grace that we are saved after all that we can do
starting with repenting of all our sins

"Do not touch me! I cannot sing!"


and remember them no more

an Argentine poet

if shame is lost it will be never recovered

do all we can do

another permanent responsibility: sharing the gospel

[[I finally have both hands again!]]

[[but uberS is crying....]]

[[win some, lose some]]

praying from the depths of soul


all his family was BAPtized (as Spanish-speakers say it--I wonder why)

mortal probation
(don't forget to check in!)

serving when others may think it inconvenient

may we always have in mind the words of Nephi: awake my soul, rejoice and sing

may the Lord bless us to do all we can do in this out-of-the-ordinary path that we have chosen


man accused of a serious crime
prosecution had three witnesses
defense also had three witnesses
untold millions had also not seen the crime
jury gave up anyway
the gospel needs only one witness
but that witness must be you:
-eventually each person must discover for himself

(I didn't quite follow the above either.)

truth has never been dependent on the number who embraced it

but each must discover and learn and follow for himself

Heber knows it as well as you do. All he does not know is that he knows.

It is a great thing to know, and to know you know.

by grace ye are saved
every man and woman must exercise faith in Christ in order to be saved
but sir what happens to the little baby who dies before he is old enough to understand, to exercise faith in Christ
there is no exception, alas
goodness, president, we do have the truth, don't we

the moment of learning you know you know
lights of understanding turning on within

casualness leads to nothing

if you want to know that you know that you know, a price must be payed

there are proxies for ordinances, but none for the acquisition of a testimony

I have fasted for these many days and now I know that they are true

when Brigham left the waters of baptism, he said the Spirit was upon him and he felt he must speak to the people -- for over an hour

a testimony cannot abide except it be impressed

if cut into inch pieces, each piece would cry out, Mormonism is true!

testimony should be heard first in a family setting

our posterity must know that we know: by our telling them

I know what I know and my witness is true

Stephen R Snow

all that I am or hope to be, I owe it to my angel mother
---A Lincoln

she was the travel agent for guilt trips

"I wish I had served more."

a life cut short by disease and sickness

what is service and why is it so important in the gospel of Jesus Christ?

no man can be a true latter-day saint who does not reach out to his neighbors

unto the least of these my brethren.....

service to be given unselfishly
as needed, not when convenient

may be hard to see as we are prone to focus inward

"call if there's anything I can do" simply insufficient

better to do things of little consequence than nothing of all

needs met through our fellow mortals (SWK)

no one should be too busy for quiet Christian service to our neighbors (SWK)

civic service
(regardless of political persuasion)


the public service we render is the rent we pay for our place on earth

hard butterscotch candy
breedeth fans
sharing licks
until it was gone
one can argue the lack of sanitation of this gesture of sharing, but the spirit of the act is clear

Dallin H Oaks

most of us have more expected of us than we can possible do
what shall we do with our time and other resources?

just because something is "good" doesn't mean we should do it;
somethings are better than good;
they should attract our priority attention
-think Martha and Mary
one thing is needful, shall not be taken away

somethings are more blessed than others

the Sears-Roebuck catalogue
products labeled Good, Better or Best

so it is with daily life

and the Best often have the highest costs

oh dear
reading, surfing: good, but better? best?

seek ye out of the BEST books

(protect FHE, scripture, prayer, etc)
(family in general)

time spent eating together as a family is the strongest predictor of their educational attainment

What you children really want for dinner is you.

work as if everything in life counts on our parenting because, in fact, it does

devote our best efforts to raising children in gospel principles

however worthy other demands may be, do not let them overwhelm that which only a family can provide (theFP)

stakes and wards also must make priorities in these senses

do not overwhelm the essential with the merely good
do not magnify the work to be done, simplify it

watch out for needless frills and embellishments

the instruction to magnify callings does not mean to fancify

what's most important are the stats reported or meetings held, but whether individuals have been lifted, encouraged, changed

"ineffective [[[lost it--blaming it on the Big O]]]"

we must vigorously work to enhance our family

amusing ourselves to spiritual death

to HTs and VTs
good to visit, better to teach doctrine, best to make a difference in their lives

meeting: good
teach principle: better
improve lives: best

how are we using the teachings-of-the-prophets books?
next year: Joseph Smith (!!!)
so: do better on focusing on the inspired materials provided
Ole Joe knows more than you anyway. Duh. Then move on to how to apply.

plan to qualify us for eternal life, the greatest of gifts

lead by prophets, GBH and counselors

President Hinckley, concluding speaker

End of another very nice conference.


Drive carefully!

Let's not have a tragedy, eh?

All these talks forthcoming in print!

Read them again! And as families! Discuss! Pray! Meditate! Consider!

See you in April!

I'm 97--but hope I'll see you there!

May the blessings of heaven attend you in the meantime,
in the name of our Redeemer,
even Jesus Christ,


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General Conference Svithetaculars
176.0 176.5 177.0 177.5


The Infinite Svithe


I had a circumcised-of-heart svithe I've been composing in my head because it's apropos, but I've rethought the wisdom of that, and Recession Cone gave me an idea at Church today that I'm going to appropriate instead.


    What do I need a Savior for? I'm getting better in this life. I've improved. I'm more that what I started out as, with fewer faults and weaknesses. What need Christ?


    Okay, go with me here. Step one: we're looking at reaching perfection. Let's give perfection a number and see how close we can get in this life.

    Okay. I've been working hard. I got a six.

    Wow! You've got six hundred! Awesome.

    Freaking Ghandi broke a billion.

    Now let's do the math and divide our number by perfection:

    anything over infinity is zero

    Looks like we're all going to need some help. See?

this svithe on thmusings
last week's svithe

note: even worse, I made this equations in mspaint!!!!


A Simple Svithe

Christ Portrait (2007) by J. Kirk Richards.

Jesus said unto him,
    Thou shalt love the Lord thy God
    with all thy heart,
    and with all thy soul,
    and with all thy mind.

    This is the first and great commandment.
    And the second is like unto it,

    Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

    On these two commandments
    hang all the law
    and the prophets.

this svithe on thmusings / last week's svithe


A very little bit on doubt

a svithe

Brian Kershisnik's Sad Dance.

There are gobbles to say on the importance of doubt to a religious person; tonight, however, just a sampling.

I have long believed--and it is certainly a Mormon doctrine--that truth is out there, we are intended to look for it, and we can know it when we find it. This is the process of faith. If you'll allow me to define the terms, faith is two things:
    1. Trusting that truth can be found.

    2. Accepting truth when found.
This definition presumes that somethings are true and somethings are not. Thus it also presumes that as we have faith that we can find truth, we must also assume that we will find things which are not truth.

We call this assumption doubt. And it is important. Not just because it is faith's opposite, but because they travel the same road together--they are fellow guides to bring us to the truth.

“Doubt is a pain too lonely to know that faith is his twin brother.”
----- Kahlil Gibran

Of course, what this means is that the truth-seeker must be willing to be proved wrong. As time goes on and the fine-tuning of faith occurs, the changes required of one's belief may become smaller, but giving up those small falsities may be all the more difficult.

“Being religious means asking passionately the question of the meaning of our existence and being willing to receive answers, even if the answers hurt.”
----- Paul Tillich

But that's the way it works. Doubt and faith are complements, not competitors.

“Doubt is not the opposite of faith; it is one element of faith.”
----- Paul Tillich

I don't think that all roads lead to Heaven, but I do believe that all earnest seekers find roads that lead to the road that leads to Heaven. I do think that the play of faith and doubt runs a different course for every soul. I do believe that we are obliged to support one another and trust one another's faith/doubt processes. I do think in appropriate relationships we are constrained to share our own discoveries. I do believe that without a Godlike omniscience, faith and doubt remain elements of every person's inner life. And I think it's healthy to recognize that a proceed recognizing that they work together for our benefit.

As Hugh B. Brown was wont to quote:

“No one deserves to believe unless he has served an apprenticeship of doubt.”
----- Will Durant

Let us all serve honorably.

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last week's svithe


How Berkeley can you be? (a svithe)

Grant on the Beach.

I really like living in (or, rather, near) Berkeley. And I live attending the Berkeley Ward. Since we've been married, Lady Steed and I have moved quite a bit (mostly interProvo), yet we've managed to live in only four wards. I'm glad of this because I'm of a mind that one should really become part of a ward, make it family, and that's hard to do when you're swapping families all the time.

One interesting thing about Berkeley is it's sense of history. When our building was dedicated by President Heber J. Grant, a young girl was there who is still in the ward.

We have all sorts of jolly history (eg, J. Golden Kimball helped build our building at 50¢/hr), and all sorts of documentation thereof, which is awesome.

Mormons are a record-keeping, history-building people, but often that history is hidden away and never seen by the people, which sort of defeats the purpose, you ask me.

Anyway, the ward had an 80th-anniversary celebration this weekend. It wasn't done up as big as previous decades, when former members from all over the country were invited to attend, and many came or at least sent photos. But it was still cool.

One high light was a timeline that ran all along one wall. It contained info from the adding-on to our totally awesome organ to a recounting of the civil (but passionate) debate in Relief Society over Prop 22.

Sometimes I hear people complain about the pettiness of their fellow Saints (re: beards, colored shirts, makeup, hairspray, artsiness, blah blah blah); I've never seen it. And I don't even sense a tendency toward it here.

Christ opened his arms to everyone. I don't claim perfection for my ward by any means, but I feel welcomed, and I've heard others say they now feel that way for the first time.

So I think Jesus must be reasonably happy with us.

Me, I think I'm going to start being nicer too. After all: Everyone else is doing it.

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Starting September with a Svithe


When we first moved to Berkeley, I was thrilled nearly every week by the variety of thought and testimony on display. Whether the speaker used Japanese literature or economics to explain gospel principles, I was delighted to be around religious grad students. Lovely stuff.

Many weeks, I took notes to be turned into svithes, but we had no internet and had no internet and continued having no internet for some time, and most of those never made it online.

I recently found a quarter page of such notes and thought I might share it today. Who knows--the notes may even be a year old today.
    "Holy God?" v. Humanism

    His talk hit on Kierkergaard + Hamlet thrilling my shrivelled, intellectual soul. But his talk was on hope + in simple testimony and the sharing of testimony + personal experience (UofU) did the meeting become spiritual to me.

    An accomplished organist and violinist the most [illegible] CCYS....
Did you get that? I think it's a pretty fine sentiment. And a good lesson to me. As a svither and just as a believing human being.


this svithe on thmusings
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Don’t steal this svithe.


I'm totally stealing this svithe.

Before Melyngoch left for her mission, she left an incredible post behind that not only quoted everyone from They Might Be Giants to Heloïse, but explained the Atonement to me in a bright and new way that may well prove to be life-changing.

Then (for all those of you who've been trying to decide if Harry Potter's mild-mannered secret identity is Jesus Christ), my brother Schmetterling figured the whole thing out. At least well enough for us nonmagical types.

And I would really like to expound but, well, Uber S is ascreaming and I ought to try harder to comfort him. Just holding him and treating him to the sounds of the keyboard does not seem to be cutting it. Bad Daddy.

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Theric and the Deathly Svithe

All my friends are dead..

No, no one has died recently, thank you, and I haven't even really been dwelling on such things, but heck, I haven't posted on death in over a week and not in a svithey way in even longer, so I figured it was time.

I learned in my college-freshman course in physical science (taken as a senior, incidentally) that we measure and prove time through entropy: things breaking down. And that, therefore, when there shall be time no longer, we may assume that entropy has been halted.

This makes sense. Resurrected bodies do not die; resurrected worlds do not end.

And so the death of friends becomes nothing more than a memory.

(Although, given the lack of entropy, a memory that never fades. But maybe the whole Death Thing will just seem amusing from the perspective of six eternities later. How can I say?)

Anyway. That's a little svithe on dying for you.

Go forth and die no more.

Than the one time, I mean.

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last week's svithe


James E. Faust

I remember: I had just graduated from high school about a year previous and Gordon B. Hinckley became the new president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. As counselors he chose Thomas S. Monson and some guy I had never heard of before, one James E. Faust.

This was an eye-opener for me, that there could be an apostle whose name I did not even recognize. I mean--I watched General Conference. I read The New Era--or at least the comics--how did I miss a guy who had been one of the Twelve for over thirty years? My personal opinion of myself as a with-it young Mormon took a hit.

So President Faust became a guy I took particular interest in.

Just because he died I'm not going to lie and say he gave some of my favorite talks--honestly, he was never one of my favorite speakers. And it's true I'm biased towards better writers, but President Faust has soul. And the last few years as he has stood to speak--so visibly enfeebled--I have been touched by the greatness of his heart.

Nowhere in scripture does it say blessed are the more talented wordsmiths. Nowhere does it say the clever scribes are more likely to convert.

And really--it was probably just a matter of taste--the man was brilliant, ask anyone who knew him. And his professional life was marked by good deeds. And what's more important, leaving the world a better place or impressing Theric with your prosy?

Now I just need to convince myself of that fact....

Anyway, President Faust, congratulations on your graduation. We'll be thinking of you.


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Today in Primary.....
(svithe material)


....was the Big O's first chance to give the scripture and prayer in Primary, so we've been practicing all week and he's been getting pretty good at it. Then it came time to stand in front of all the other kids and I went with him, then the shyness hit and his ear stuck to his shoulder and he fell face-first into my chest and nearly knocked me over and that was pretty much that.

For those of you wondering what it was he was trying to say, this was it:
    For, behold, the Comforter knoweth all things, and beareth record of the Father and of the Son.

When we got home, we tried it again and it turned out much better:

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Today we blessed the Large S in sacrament meeting and it reminded me of one of the most beautiful descriptions of what it means to be Mormon. I thought today I would simply pass it along. Margaret Young is a highly regarded LDS writer and after the PBS special, people were interested, so she wrote.

And people were interested! I've been surprised how many people watch PBS.

Anyway, here is her reply. I thought it really nailed the LDS experience in a lovely way.

If you can nail things in a lovely way....


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What's in a name?
(a late july svithe)

biggo and largesse.

We have not settled on a blogonym for Child the Second, but I am going to try a naming system on for size as part of this post. This naming system requires a renymming of Child the First, so be prepared.


We've had a hard time with this because we are desperate to keep the name from indicating he has a subservient or secondary status to Biggo. So names like Squeaky and Sidekick, which had a lot going for them, were rejected. (Although if you heard this kid nurse...you might insist on calling him Squeaky anyway.)

I'm reading a book now all about preventing sibling rivalry and this not-comparing issue is a big one with them. So we didn't want to peg the new guy with a name that would always make him seem like a baby. Because the way Biggo's blogonym has stuck to him, well, who wants to be Nursing Squeakers at fifteen?

All of which brings me back to possibly my favorite Elder Holland talk, which I have svithed before. In summary, my brother's success does not mean I am a failure. And we want to pick a name that proclaims that.

So far Biggo has been very loving and 42-month-old responsible towards his little brother Largess, and I hope that will prove a lasting trend. they'll need a true ally to deal with their wacko father after all. Biggo is already embarrassed of me, telling me to stop singing already, et cetera.

Family is a beautiful thing--the best. I'm glad my sons have each other. I hope they are always friends. All the way to eternity.

this svithe on thmusings
last week's svithe



'...something that helps shy people make that secret connection...'.

It seems to be a requirement that to be Mormon, one must be gregarious. It's not really, but us introverts can sometimes feel a little sinny, if you know what I mean. We're not doing the best job with Proclaiming the Gospel or Perfecting the Saints. So if we lack the necrophiliac tendency (that's a joke), what are we to do?

On one hand, we should try to be more outgoing anyway--it's good for us. And besides, since when is quietude an excuse to let people make their way merrily to hell (note: I'm having fun with hyperbole tonight)? Am I so jealous of my little dark corner that I sill not ever walk outside it?

I'm not sure where this is coming from. Yes, I do not often enough act in an outgoing manner. No, I do not stress about it that much. Nor enough, shall we say. But I probably have bigger things to worry about.

But then again, if Peter or Paul were shy and had let that overwhelm their call to preach what then?

Ah, but they were called.

I think with me, I'm a fine calling magnifier, but I'm not much of a callingless magnifier. (I apologizer for the Mormon-heavy vocab for those who are not.) I believe firmly in sinning on the side of doing to much, but I don't necessarily act according to that conviction.

That's a lot of what this svithe was about, and it made the point better, probably, and without all this whining for which I apologize.

So that's enough from me for tonight. Maybe I'll--I don't know--go blow a trumpet from the rooftop or something.

this svithe on thmusings
last week's svithe


The quoting-others-and-asking-questions svithe


PAPA above!
..............Regard a Mouse
O’erpowered by the Cat;
Reserve within thy Kingdom
A “mansion” for the Rat!

Sung in seraphic cupboards
To nibble all the day,
While unsuspecting cycles
Wheel pompously away.

...........................Emily Dickinson

Question one: If this were Theric's svithe, what would he be trying to say?


Karatist Preacher

Question two: If this were your svithe, what would this album cover be used to illustrate?

    He hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him. He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.

    All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.

    He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth. He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities.

    He was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.
Question three: Why not Isaiah?

    There are those," continued the
    stranger (and for the first time she saw
    that he was of a noble presence, that his
    gentle, child-like eyes could also command),"
    whose Better Self lies slain by
    their own hand and troubles them no
    more. But yours, my child, you have
    let grow too strong; it will ever be your
    master. You must obey. Flee from it
    and it will follow you ; you cannot escape
    it. Insult it and it will chastise you with
    burning shame, with stinging self-
    reproach from day to day." The sternness
    faded from the beautiful face, the
    tenderness crept back. He laid his hand
    upon the young girl's shoulder." You
    will marry your lover," he smiled."
    With him you will walk the way of
    sunlight and of shadow."

    And the girl, looking up into the
    strong, calm face, knew that it would be
    so, that the power of resisting her Better
    Self had passed away from her for ever. "
    Now," said the stranger, " come to
    the door with me. Leave-takings are
    but wasted sadness. Let me pass out
    quietly. Close the door softly behind

    She thought that perhaps he would
    turn his face again, but she saw no more
    of him than the odd roundness of his
    back under the tightly buttoned coat, before
    he faded into the gathering fog.

    Then softly she closed the door.

...........................from the short-story version of Jerome K Jerome's "The Passing of the Third Floor Back"

Question four: Why can't a funny guy write something serious now and then?


I said unto them that I knew that I had spoken hard things against the wicked, according to the truth; and the righteous have I justified, and testified that they should be lifted up at the last day; wherefore, the guilty taketh the truth to be hard, for it cutteth them to the very center. And now, if ye were righteous and were willing to hearken to the truth and give heed unto it that ye might walk uprightly before God, then ye would not murmur because of the truth, and say: Thou speakest hard things against us.

Question five: Heh heh heh. Thanks, Nephi, for demonstrating my point in sort of an opposite way.
    Um....you were kidding, right?

this svithe on thmusings
last week's svithe