30 August 2010


I am currently sitting in Molecular Biology, my first class of the semester.  I'm SO excited!  Dria and I talked about how exciting it is to be back in school as we walked together (she's admittedly more excited than I am since she had a whole term off and I only had 2 weeks).  My teacher is from Ireland!  His accent is awesome, but I think he's lost some of it since he's been in America.

Anyways, I should probably be paying attention to class, but I'm just SO EXCITED to get back in school.

...and maybe, if I keep telling myself that, I won't die before the end of the semester!

27 August 2010

Do you like to laugh as much as I do?

Since laughter is the best medicine, I think we could all benefit from this kind of a sense of humor. :)

25 August 2010

...and I'm a Mormon.

As many of you know, (can I use the term "many" when I know that only two people currently read my blog?) I am Mormon.  That being the case, I suppose I have a particular interest in anything that goes on in the media related to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  Unfortunately for us, most of our media attention has been negative since the Church was first organized in 1830.  The odd thing is that most people who are personally acquainted with a Mormon have a fairly complimentary view of the Church.

I believe that it is for this purpose that the Church recently began a campaign to increase media exposure to "ordinary" Mormons.  Examples can be seen at Mormon.org.  I haven't personally seen any of the TV commercials for this new media effort, but I have learned a bit about it from others.  I think it's a great idea to help people feel more comfortable with the concept that Mormons are regular people and not some crazy cult.

A friend of mine posted a link to a news article about this new media campaign.  I was amused by the writer's apparent opinion that they have something to do with Mitt Romney's hopeful return to presidential candidacy in 2012.  The Church does not, and never has, supported any specific candidates for political positions.  Well, except for when Joseph Smith ran for president, but that was a whole different issue.  What bothered me, however, was the series of hateful and deceitful comments that followed the article.  I am almost just as disappointed with the response of Mormons trying to defend the Church, because there was quite a bit of mud-slinging going on there in place of actual reasoning.  I must admit, however, that the people posting anti-Mormon comments would not have cared whether their Mormon opponents were civil or rude.  Anything would just add fuel to the fire, for the most part.

In any case, it seems clear to me that the main issue in all of those comments comes down to whether we believe that everything the prophets and leaders of our Church say is the word of God.  This is an issue that even many members of the Church misunderstand, and I wouldn't dare say that I have a perfect handle on it myself.  What I can say is that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was established, organized, and is lead today under the direction of God.  His purpose, however, isn't to establish a hierarchy to tell us exactly what we can or can't do; His purpose is to give us the opportunity to know truth and become changed by it.  With that in mind, I would like to share some thoughts as to why I believe that prophets, apostles, and other leaders can sometimes say things that are false and why the Lord allows it.

In the Doctrine and Covenants, we read the words of God saying, “Whether by mine own voice or by the voice of my servants it is the same” (D&C 1:38).  This is commonly interpreted to mean that when a prophet speaks, his words are the same as God's.  This is an incomplete interpretation, however; what this scripture means is not that everything a Church leader speaks is truth.  Rather, it means we believe that those who have been called by God—meaning those who have been given authority and who are serving God—are able to speak, as moved upon by the Holy Ghost, God’s will.

One of the strongest statements in the Doctrine and Covenants pertaining to the scriptural status of the words of the prophets and apostles is the passage in D&C 68:4, which reads, “And whatsoever they shall speak when moved upon by the Holy Ghost shall be scripture, shall be the will of the Lord, shall be the mind of the Lord, shall be the word of the Lord, shall be the voice of the Lord, and the power of God unto salvation.”  One thought that will help the honest seeker of truth interpret this verse is to recognize that the context of this passage is that of missionary work, or proselyting.  When missionaries receive revelation for the people whom they teach, that revelation is to be obeyed by those people as if it were given by the Lord Himself. If they preach without revelation, however, their doctrines are not of the Lord.  This passage may be viewed as more of a warning to missionaries against preaching anything that is not confirmed by the Spirit, or an acknowledgment that although missionaries preach, it is the Holy Ghost that actually does the teaching.  In the context of prophets and apostles, their preaching is given to the church as a whole, rather than just individuals or groups whom they would teach as missionaries.  As Mormons, we must learn to understand when their teachings are truly the voice of the Lord, because there is no established rule in Latter-day Saint theology that can define this for us.

The important factor in recognizing the true voice of the Lord in the prophets’ words is to recognize whether they are given and received “by the Spirit of truth or some other way” (D&C 50:17; see also v. 19).  When both preacher and hearer are “moved upon by the Holy Ghost” (D&C 68:4) and both are “edified and rejoice together” (D&C 50:21), both can be assured that the doctrine being taught is true doctrine, because the Spirit will not testify of anything that is false.  As President J. Ruben Clark, Jr. suggests, this understanding “completely shifts the responsibility from them [the prophets] to us to determine when they so speak [in the words of scripture]” ("When Are Church Leaders' Words Entitled to the Claim of Scripture?" Church News, 31 July 1954).  The Lord expects us to gain a sound understanding of His true gospel, and that can only be done through personal revelation.  We cannot rely on our confidence in others as a substitute for our own personal conversion to the doctrines of the kingdom of God.  Therefore, as we exercise our own agency to gain a personal testimony of the words of the prophets, we can be assured of which of their teachings are scripture, and which ones aren’t.

In summary, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints does not support the idea that everything a prophet, apostle, or any other leader of the Church says is canon.  They are inspired, but not infallible.  Mormonism is the search for all truth, with prophets and apostles as guides and special witnesses of Jesus Christ.  After all, the primary purpose of an Apostle is not to establish doctrine, but simply to testify that Jesus is the Christ.  They establish and correct doctrine as they receive direction from God, but we can also receive direction from God by studying the words of prophets ancient and modern, using our own good judgment, and listening to the Spirit of God to help us understand things as they really are.  This may confuse many people who are accustomed to thinking that religions are established with set doctrines and beliefs to which all followers should subscribe—that seems to be the idea behind most organized religions.  I believe that the Mormon religion is more about our personal quest to come to know and understand God as He is, with the organization and leadership of the Church providing a stepping-stone and support for us along the way.

I bear my own witness that God has spoken to men on earth today; not only has He called prophets such as Joseph Smith and Thomas S. Monson (our prophet today), but He also speaks with each of us as we seek Him.  I have heard His voice, not an audible voice of man, but the voice of one speaking from Heaven, which enters the mind and the heart and assures of God's reality.  I accept Jesus Christ as my Savior.  It is only through Him that we are saved, and no matter how much we do, there is no way we can repay Him.  I believe in the Book of Mormon because it brings the Spirit of God into my heart, and that Spirit edifies me, enlightens my mind, and convinces me of the truthfulness of that sacred book.  I believe the Bible is true, because that same Spirit testifies when I read it.  God loves us; He would never leave us without some way of knowing His will.  I hope that anyone who may read this blog will know what I know and believe, and will seek honestly and sincerely to know God in their own lives, and fashion their lives after His teachings, rather than assuming that His teachings would align themselves with their lives.  We will never know perfectly in this life the will of God, but I promise that you and I can come to know, at least in part, what God expects of us.

...and I'm a Mormon.

20 August 2010

Things Will Be Just Fine

I've always resonated with the lyrics in Green Day's "Basket Case" where it says, "I am one of those melodramatic fools, neurotic to the bone, no doubt about it!"  I worry so much about everything, and seem to think that I can make things be exactly how I want them.  It might even be a little bit of OCD.

The thing is, I realize that life is never the way you expect it to be, and you can't control really all that much about it.  Furthermore, everyone comes from different backgrounds, so we're all different.  I've never completely accepted that fact, although I understand perfectly that life would be boring if we were all the same.  I can chalk it up somewhat to the religious concept of becoming perfect, like God is.  Obviously, this is not possible to do as imperfect humans, but with God's help, I believe we can all one day be like He is.  Now, I'm not trying to be overly religious on my blog, but the point I'm trying to get to is this:

If God is perfect, and we want to be like He is, does that mean we're all going to eventually be the same?

Perhaps this is a null point, since no one will attain perfection in mortal life, but it's nevertheless an intriguing one for me.  I always assumed that we would one day be the same, because we would all understand things the same way and realize that they needed to be one certain way.  Recently, however, I've started to think differently.  Variety is a wonderful thing.  The world is so much more enjoyable when there are so many different people with different beliefs, ideas, and, most importantly, personalities and interests.

So maybe imperfection isn't so much about thinking of things a certain way or behaving a certain way, but it's more about just not understanding things completely.  The Greek word translated as "perfect" in our Bibles today indicates more of a perfect maturity than the kind of perfection we traditionally think of, which is without sin.  That would indicate to me that we'll still be different when we're perfect, but we'll be mature in the way we view the world, ourselves, and God.

I'm still learning, but these are some of my thoughts recently.

18 August 2010

Today is Wednesday the 18th

You know what that means?  That means that anyone who's important enough to ask where I am will know where I've gone.

Actually, it means that Dria and I have been dating for two months.  Happy Anniversary, Dria!

17 August 2010

Life is Beautiful

Dear everybody,

Life is really beautiful right now, and here's why:

  1. School ended last Wednesday.  Actually, finals went until Thursday, but being the overachiever I am, I finished both of my finals on Wednesday.
  2. Said Wednesday, Girlfriend and I performed a series of spontaneous events, including buying a cookbook (which we have yet to open outside of the store), discovering the turkey bacon and avocado deliciousness at the Pita Pit, watching How to Train Your Dragon (which you should watch IMMEDIATELY if you haven't seen it already), and just generally enjoying each other's company.  Ahhh... spontaneity.
  3. Friday, Dria and I (Dria = Girlfriend, by the way) went to her parents' house, where I watched her unpack about 5,000 boxes.  I was very grateful that I didn't have to unpack those boxes.  I enjoyed reminiscing about some of her childhood memories, though.  I was particularly entertained by a little duck toy that resembled a Koosh ball, for which she had created a house out of paper and a pillow and cape sort of thing out of cloth.  It was pretty legit.  We also watched Treasure Planet, which was awesome.  Especially since we cuddled a lot. :)
  4. My brother enters the Missionary Training Center in Provo tomorrow.  Now, that is not necessarily happy in and of itself, because I'll miss my brother a lot.  What is amazing, however, was that Dria and I stayed at my parents' house Saturday and Sunday, took pictures of the family and everything before my brother leaves, had a bunch of food and snacks, heard his "farewell talk" in church, and celebrated the wonderful blessing of having known Jason and the amazing experiences he will have over the next two years.  Also, more cuddling.
  5. You may have figured this out already, but I have the best girlfriend.  Ever.
So my life is good.  Really good.  I hope you all enjoyed the crazy links I posted almost as much as I enjoyed my weekend.  Oh, and one more for the road.


12 August 2010

It isn't such a Bad, Bad World!

I haven't posted in a while, so I thought I'd just share with you something that has made me extremely satisfied with life lately:


I hope this song makes you as happy as it has made me.


03 August 2010

I just keep acquainted

A funny thing happened yesterday. I went through my cell phone and deleted all of the contacts with whom I have little or no contact, or whom I have no intention of keeping up with in the future. So, naturally, about 5 minutes later I got a text from an unknown number, and when I asked who it was, it was one of those people I had deleted. Talk about irony! Of course, she had sent her text to the wrong person, so it was still a pretty valid decision to delete her number from my phone, but... you know. My Life is Average.

PS—The title for this post comes from one of my new favorite songs. Check it out!

02 August 2010

Some people were not meant to use computers

I work as a computer support representative at the school where I attend. This gives me great opportunities to help professors with all of their technology needs, but it also gives me great opportunities to experience firsthand the severe lack of common computer sense that many of them possess.

Case in point: a professor came in, wanting to convert a GIF into a JPEG. Why he wanted to do that in the first place is beyond me, since anything a professor can do with a JPEG can be done with a GIF just as easily. Whatever his motives, this professor wanted to convert a GIF into a JPEG. He at least knew enough to open Photoshop and click "Save As..." After a few steps, I had him ready to save it as a JPEG image on his flash drive. Not sure what to name the file, he just named it "#1."

Let me take a moment to remind everyone that it's generally a good idea to READ WHAT YOUR COMPUTER TELLS YOU. (At least when it makes sense...)

Now back to me... I mean my story. So the professor goes to save his file, "#1.jpg," and a little notice pops up asking if he wants to replace the image. I let out a small yelp of caution for him not to overwrite his old file. This professor goes "Oh!" as if he just realized that something was wrong, and quickly clicked "Replace."

There went his old image!

Moral of this story... I'm not quite sure. I think the moral is that you should pay attention to what your computer says and where you're clicking. On the other hand, maybe the moral of the story is not to startle professors. Apparently, they rush into bad decisions if you surprise them. I can only imagine what effect that could have if they were calculating your grade at the end of the semester.

I'll let you come up with your own moral for this story.