Svithe: 教長祝福


Today, stake conference.

Our stake has been given permission by (then Acting) President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles to call two additional patriarchs, one to give blessings in Spanish, and one in a medley of Chinese dialects.

The church is true.

this svithe on thmusings
last week's svithe


On entering my third year of svithing


It's appropriate that my third anniversary of official svithing is Tuesday because I've been reflecting lately on just what my svithing is all about. Not all svithes are created equal.

Of course, I predicted this when I started, but some of the svithes have been throwaways or utter nonsense. And some nonsvithe posts have been more religiousy than my svithes--SpongeBob comes to mind.

So what is the purpose of this blog?

I'll be posting the next installment of Books Read soon, and in the next list is a book by Jeffrey R. Holland. In the book is a speech he gave at BYU not long after I arrived there (pdf). I quoted that speech to myself constantly for months. Or, more accurately, I quoted that speech's quotation of Paul constantly for months: "Cast not away therefore your confidence"---

Paul is telling the Hebrews that when times get hard, do not forget that once you knew, that once you were instructed, that once the Holy Spirit spoke and, to quote another, "if ye have felt [before] to sing the song of redeeming love, I would ask, can ye feel so now?"


I don't meant to suggest that I am having some sort of crisis of faith over the true and everlasting principle of svithing or something. Haha. No, wiping tear from eye, no; it's not that at all.

It's just a matter of self-assessment.

Svithing is supposed to be a tithe of my blogging, the Sabbath of my writing. If I write one-offs that take no heart or reflection, what am I in fact saying? If I pay my tithing with the rotten egg, what sort of egg am I?

Now that I am with the grownups again, during church services, I am trying to keep up on my reading. I'm doing too well with the Book of Mormon--Lady Steed and I are a book ahead, which is sort of missing the point. But I'm right on with Joseph Smith.

It's a very easy thing to remember weekends when single when I could enter a minicloistering in my bedroom. It's much easier than finding time to remember God as a parent & high school teacher & fulltime student & Cub Scout leader &c.

But making excuses isn't what this is about.

And here's the crux for me. If svithing becomes an excuse for not being who I should be, then I have failed. But if it takes part of making who I should be, then it is a success.

I think about, for instance, the new prophet, and where he was at my age (or, for that matter, Samuel or Mormon or Joseph Smith), and think, what about me? Am I ready to take care of nearly ninety widows? Probably not.

And although I have no aspirations to be either a bishop or prophet in the coming weeks, were that to be required of me, I should be prepared.

So. Need to work on that.

Which may seem tangential to svithing, but it had better not be.

It had better not be.

this svithe on thmusings
last week's svithe


The Sustainable Svithe:
crafted from recycled pieces of others' blog posts

Green Moroni.

The same issue of Collegiate Post I was published in way back in . . . 2002? saw publication of an excellent little article from a BYU professor about all those scriptures re: dominion over the earth and describing it as stewardship and a responsibility to do a good job rather than as permission to screw things up as badly as we please. And I knew it was true.

Similarly, I'm currently acquainted with a fellow who has a really hard time with the lights at the Oakland Temple being on all the time--the bright outside lights (which can be beautiful) and the visitor-center lights left on even when no one's in the room.

The first, symblolic. The latter, convenient. But the points are good.

Several weeks ago, I found this issue addressed by a blogger named Green Mormon Architect. Here's a fellow interested in the greening of Mormonism--an idea with a long heritage, as I'm sure you know. If you don't, read this post. Or the links in his sidebar.

I sometimes think the curious link in so many people's minds (including many Mormon minds) between AM-radio conservatism and the Church has led to instant reactions against any brand of thought that smells ever so slightly of hippy.1

Anyway, GMA is not the only sustainable blogger. Take this guy. And Lady Steed was meaning to write a post on those reusable bags today. So be expecting that soon.

(Lady Steed is actually something of a pioneer here. I'm hoping she finds the paper she wrote during her BYU days on this exact topic, viz. Mormon doctrine demands environmentalism.2)

Anyway, back to the lights on the temple. I don't feel capable of saying judging between the physical good of turning them off and the spiritual good of leaving them on, but I think it's great whenever we look towards treating the Earth as the God who gave it to us no doubt wishes we would.

A local paper ran an article a couple months ago on clubs that give up buying anything new for a year. Other than food, I suppose. And perhaps toilet paper? I can't remember. I loved the article and wanted to do it, but it was impractical. The amount of time that would be required to find everything we need used locally is prohibitive. Getting it shipped is no more earth-friendly than buying new, it would seem to me. And us poor people can't afford not to buy new and super-processed.

What a weird world we live in.

Now, we're ethical enough to stay out of Wal*Mart and we'll fork out a bit more for decent bread and so forth, but the economy is still aimed at white flour, white sugar--- Oh. Did you hear? I forget where, but this week, the cops found out that the panhandlers outside Wal*Mart were making more than the employees inside? And as was pointed out on Wait Wait, they probably had about the same health plan as well.

But I think the market's headed in a good direction. I believe in Clorox's good intentions, for instance, and I believe in the general good nature of humanity. Also, in self-preservation. And although I am highly suspicious of big money, moths are white again.

As we were out today, we saw a woman just toss a bag of trash on the sidewalk. I can't believe she views the Earth as a good gift from a great Creator. Or even that she is functioning on a fully human level.3

It comes to gratitude. And on that topic, I bring in the dearly departed:

    Gordon B HinckleyGratitude is a divine principle. The Lord has declared through revelation: "Thou shalt thank the Lord thy God in all things . . . .

    "And in nothing doth man offend God, or against none is his wrath kindled, save those who confess not his hand in all things." (D&C 59:7, 21.)

    Our society is afflicted by a spirit of thoughtless arrogance unbecoming those who have been so magnificently blessed. How grateful we should be for the bounties we enjoy. Absence of gratitude is the mark of the narrow, uneducated mind. It bespeaks a lack of knowledge and the ignorance of self-sufficiency. It expresses itself in ugly egotism and frequently in wanton mischief. We have seen our beaches, our parks, our forests littered with ugly refuse by those who evidently have no appreciation for their beauty. I have driven through thousands of acres of blackened land scourged by a fire evidently set by a careless smoker whose only concern had been the selfish pleasure gained from a cigarette.

this svithe on thmusings
last week's svithe


Svithe generis


I have so many ideas and so little desire to write any of them just now. Thus they wait.

But what to svithe instead?

I'm trying to think what the quintessential thericonian svithe might look like.

Plain platitudes?

Strange and fevered similes?

Random quotations vaguely spiritual?

What I hope the quintessence of a thericonian svithe to be is love: love for deity, love for you. I also fear that the quintessence of a thericonian svithe is love--or, perhaps more accurately, self-congratulation.

The risk of being visibly religious of course is becoming proud. Ask any little-p pharisee.

I don't know how one avoids this. And I don't think it is possible to avoid the appearance of such. Note all the former Mormons who complain about General Authority grandstanding. Some of them no doubt have. Some are utterly incapable. All are judged guilty.

So doing it for people is bound for misinterpretation. Or, when I write something like this, nearly impossible to interpret at all.

So all I can hope is that God will accept my offering. And for someone as purely self-centered as me, that is a pretty good aim indeed.

this svithe on thmusings
last week's svithe