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.

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'...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.

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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?

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I know that grammar is proof of intelligence....


Testimony meetings are some of the best meetings in the [Church] in the whole month, if you have the spirit. If you are bored at a testimony meeting, there is something the matter with you, and not the other people. You can get up and bear your testimony and you think it is the best meeting in the month; but if you sit there and count the grammatical errors and laugh at the man who can’t speak very well, you’ll be bored . . . .

Boredom is an inborn state. Boredom is a reflection only of the person being bored. Don't you find it so? I'm never bored. Never. Not that boring people are bad!


And I really think it's good to, um, be nice to people?


“I know it is true.” Because those few words have been said a billion times by millions of people does not make it trite. It will never be worn out. I feel sorry for people who try to couch it in other words, because there are no words like “I know.” There are no words which express the deep feelings which can come from the human heart like “I know.”

It's a brave thing to claim knowledge. I'm iffy about claiming to know who the second president of the United States was. I think I know. I'm pretty sure, in fact. I would be really surprised if I was wrong. But what if I am wrong? What then? What is the worth of my soul then?

I think I know exactly how you [feel], for I went through the same experience in my mission. I wanted to be very honest with myself and with the program and with the Lord. For a time I couched my words carefully to try to build up others without actually committing myself to a positive, unequivocal statement that I knew. I felt a little hesitant about it, too, for when I was in tune and doing my duty I felt the Spirit. I really wanted to say that which I really felt, that I knew, but I was reticent. When I approached a positive declaration, it frightened me and yet when I was wholly in tune and spiritually inspired, I wanted to testify. I thought I was being honest, very honest, but then I decided that I was fooling myself . . . . While you were in the Spirit . . . you felt it deeply, but after you were 'out of the Spirit' and began to reason with yourself and check yourself and question yourself, you wanted to back out . . . . I have no question in my mind of your testimony. I am sure that you (like I did) have countless golden threads of testimony all through your being only waiting for the hand of the Master Weaver to assemble and weave them into a tapestry of exquisite and perfect design.

Yeah, it seems like testimony fluctuates according to how well and how often I express it. It never dies, exactly, but--

[A testimony] is a little like a rose. Just keep the rain off it; just keep the irrigation water off it for a little while and what happens to your rose? It dies. Your testimony dies. Your love dies. Everything has to be fed. You feed your body three times a day. The Lord says to keep your testimony, to keep your spirit alive, you have to feed it every day . . . .

That reminds me of something President Lee said.


I know my wife is totally hot


A testimony is not an exhortation; a testimony is not a sermon (none of you are there to exhort the rest); it is not a travelogue. You are there to bear your own witness. It is amazing what you can say in 60 seconds by way of testimony, or 120, or 240, or whatever time you are given, if you confine yourselves to testimony. We’d like to know how you feel.

But there's nothing to that! There's no artistry! There's not room for surprise!

Some of our good people get so terrified at triteness that they try to steer around and away from their testimonies by getting out on the fringes. Don’t you ever worry about triteness in testimony. When the President of the Church bears his testimony, he says, "I know that Joseph Smith was called of God, a divine representative. I know that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God." You see, the same thing every one of you says. That is a testimony. It never gets old, never gets old! Tell the Lord frequently how much you love him.

But there's nothing to that! What good does duh do anyone? I can do better than that!

You know this testimony is a tremendous thing, a most important thing. Any minister or priest can quote scripture and present dialogues. But not every priest or minister can bear his testimony. Don't you sit there in your fast meeting and cheat yourself and say, "I guess I won’t bear my testimony today. I guess that wouldn’t be fair to these other members because I have had so many opportunities." You bear your testimony. And one minute is long enough to bear it.


Every month the First Presidency and the Twelve meet with all the General Authorities in the temple. They bear testimony and they tell each other how they love one another just like all of you. Why do the General Authorities need a testimony meeting? The same reason that you need a testimony meeting. Do you think that you can go three, and six, and nine, and twelve months without bearing your testimony and still keep its full value?


I thank thee oh God that I have a testimony and am all set, good to go


The Lord says in the 60th section of the Doctrine and Covenants, “With some I am not well pleased for they will not open their mouths” (D&C 60:2). What does he mean? He says that if they do not use it, they will lose what he has given them. They lose their spirit. They lose their testimony. And this priceless thing that you have can slip right out of your life.

I wouldn't let that happen--

Don’t forget it! You have to fight for a testimony. You have to keep fighting!

But I'm a lover, not a fighter. Haha!

What are you going to do with your testimony? Are you going to keep it sharpened like the knife with which our mothers cut the meat? Are you going to let it get dull and rusty?


You have a testimony! It needs building and lifting and enlarging, of course; and that is what you are doing. Every time you bear your testimony it becomes strengthened.


So.... I know that Jesus loves me and that if we follow the teachings of the Bible and the Book of Mormon and President Hinckley, we will have the Holy Ghost with us and we'll be able to take full advantage of the Atonement and if all you schmucks out there----


Just tell how you feel inside. That is the testimony. The moment you begin preaching to others, your testimony ended. Just tell us how you feel . . . .

I feel good.

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