Friday, November 18, 2011

That was a family, according to your religion

I loved this excerpt from a recent Daily Universe (BYU's student newspaper) letter to the editor. It begins by describing a quote from the director of a Swedish nursery that tries to be 100% gender neutral that put the author "over the edge":
“…When they’re playing ‘house’ and the role of the mom already is taken and they start to squabble … we suggest two moms or three moms and so on,” she said. 
It isn’t the action that bothers me — I know plenty of little kids who play house with multiple moms because everyone wants to be the mom. I’m bothered because the director’s goal is to make them feel as if a house should have two or three mothers. 
It shouldn’t. 
I want the world to remember what is right, what is good. Some things in this world should remain sacred; the family should always be sacred.
Because heaven knows no Mormon family ever had two (or--gasp!--three!) mothers! Wow...

Friday, November 11, 2011

My pre-mission Wikipedia time capsule

I was an early adopter of Wikipedia since I was a geek my freshman year of college (2003-04). Back then, nobody knew about this weird encyclopedia anyone could edit, and there were still plenty of red links to create! It was heady stuff, let me tell you. I created, for example, the article on Pearls Before Swine! Compare my original entry with what it has become today :)

Anyways, I loved Wikipedia, so much so that one of the last things I did before getting set apart* as a full-time missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in September, 2004, was to create a "time capsule" of predictions about Wikipedia and the world for when I got home two years later. You can view it here. I'm happy to say that my first prediction (that "Wikipedia will have grown in reputation and size to be a serious source of information for the average websurfer. We're talking Wikipedia as a household name.") absolutely came true while I was gone. However, one of them (cough cough my prediction that the Red Sox still would not have won another World Series cough cough) crumbled in under a month of my leaving for the MTC...

Fun stuff, eh? What are your predictions about what the world (or Wikipedia) will be like in two years?

* I created the bulk of the page on September 25, 2004--the day before I was set apart. However, you'll notice that the date at the bottom of the page says September 27 2004: I snuck online the day after I was set apart (when I wasn't supposed to be using the internet), made one more prediction (which didn't even end up coming true), and even had the gall to change the date on it to make my crime more obvious! My guilt must have been immense! :)

Thursday, November 10, 2011

What makes a prophet a Prophet? Or: How I learned to stop worrying and learned to love repetition

What makes a prophet a Prophet? Well, a lot of things. But I think that our support, sustaining, and hope play a vital role in it.

This is related to the scriptural reminder "seek and ye shall find." If we have faith and look for God's word in the teachings of the prophets, we will find it. The collective power in thousands of people coming to the Conference Center in SLC twice a year, and of millions more watching and listening around the world, create an atmosphere of faith in which godly counsel can reverberate in and increase in volume. And that's part of what makes our modern-day prophets Prophets. The expectations coming in and the ensuing discussion and study improve the whole experience.

This approach also helps me cope with the fact that--let's face it--a lot (almost all?) of what we hear from modern-day prophets is not new or groundbreaking in its substance. We already know we need to have faith, study the scriptures, love and serve one another, pay tithing, etc. But the expectation that we can hear God's voice in their words helps us get to a deeper level: we see old things in new ways that are more personal, a phrasing sticks out at us as more clear than previous explanations, our hearts are open to (sometimes completely unrelated) personal revelation from on high, and so forth.

I'm not explaining this very well. But I'm very grateful for modern-day prophets, seers, and revelators. I know that they speak for God and help us more fully understand and live Christ's gospel. Part of what gives them such strength and power is the sustaining votes you and I give them. So thank you!