Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Luke: "Why does everything taste like grape?"

So Luke has the croup, or whooping cough, or something.  He's got medicine for croup (Orapred) which is notoriously bad tasting.  He actually started out with a generic version of the drug that tasted much worse (so they say), and Luke wouldn't have any more after the first taste.  He was quite adamant, using his tongue and teeth to keep us from putting anything in and took more desperate measures when we held his mouth open. 

Apparently the pharmacy can add flavoring to bad tasting medicines, and grape was the recommended cover-up flavor.  Luke likes grapes, so we took it.  It didn't help.

Today Luke even refused unadulterated strawberry ice cream, presumably for fear that we'd tampered with it to trick him into taking his medicine.

So I went down and got the genuine article Orapred, in chewable tablet form, still flavored grape, that's supposed to taste better.  I stuck the tablet in the middle of a piece of Mounds candy bar.  He ate it.  Yay!

Tonight he refused the same technique.  I distracted him as much as I could, and eventually he took it and put it in his mouth.  I thought he'd eaten it.  But several minutes later when I moved him from his place on the couch, I found chocolate mixed into the cushions and his PJs. *sigh*  I'll have to come up with something else to stick the medicine into for tomorrow morning.

I can just hear Luke thinking tomorrow: "Why does everything suddenly taste like grape??!"

Monday, December 08, 2008

A Look Back at 2008 - It was the best of times, it was the ....well, you know..

With the first birthday of our first child in March Luke showed us that cake can be eaten with your toes and that balloons are way more fun than any more expensive toy we may have gotten him.  We have learned that parenthood is a mix of both teaching and learning. Luke has been such a joy and surprises us daily with how smart he is.

Attending Nathan’s wedding in California reminded us that true love comes to those who are patient and if we treasure it, can last forever.

With the discovery of a misaligned tub in our bathroom, a 15-year-old leak, and 60 square feet of mold we learned the luxury of privacy and having our own bathroom. Hooray for nice neighbors and deodorant!We also learned that nice new tile can result from suffering without that privacy and bathroom for a month and a half. 

As we visited the wild bushvelt of South Africa, we learned how wonderful it is to revisit places and people. It is amazing to experience another culture and the beauties of another land, even if it takes more than 24 hours of traveling with a small child on your lap...thank you Benadryl!

We found out we were having another child and felt truly blessed to be parents again especially to a little girl who will no doubt teach us lessons her brother has not (due Feb 23rd).  She had better learn how to wrestle and play with cars really quickly!

When Cheryl finally got her citizenship we were reminded of what patriotism should mean and how many people (including the Mackrory family) sacrificed to come to this great land.

As we attended Andrew Mackrory’s graduation ceremony we were impressed with both his persistence and smarts as none of us had any clue what his thesis was about except that it had something to do with fire.

When we (Cheryl for the first time) voted this year and saw great change in our country, we were reminded that we answer to a higher power and that all things will work together for His purposes.

We put our condo on the market and after 6 months decided we'd given it our best shot.  We learned that the people in the house matter more than the number of bedrooms and bathrooms. We also realized how much stuff we have and how little we need it all, however, we will keep most of it....just in case...

When we attend Sean’s wedding and celebrate our own anniversary of 5 years we will look back and realize that we have learned so much about one another and ourselves. It has been full of the events of life and we have weathered them all by leaning on each other.

As we visited with our friends and family, slept in your beds, used your bathrooms, and strengthened our ties, we learned most of all how much we need and appreciate each one of you. Thank you so much for being there when we needed you and for the light you bring to our lives. As we finish up this year and celebrate the miraculous birth of our Savior, our prayer is that each of us will look back with fondness on the memories of this year and be reminded of the blessings that came from both the celebrations and the trials.

Friday, November 14, 2008

"Gay marriage ban" reprisals

The vandalism and reprisals in California and across the nation against those who have voted to sustain the traditional form of marriage is hateful. Yes, it's those calling Utah and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints hateful who are the hating ones. The "Mormons", who make up only 2% of Californians, didn't define marriage in California. The majority of the people voted to sustain the definition of marriage that thousands of generations have taken for granted for millenia. In the name of 'tolerance', these rioteers are showing great intolerance to those who value traditional marriage. Will these rioteers please take a step back, a deep breath, and ask themselves if they are practicing what they preach?

First Presidency Urges Respect, Civility in Public Discourse

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Luke's favorite songs

Recently I discovered lala.com, which is a really cheap way of listening to any of six million songs. Luke has his own account where we keep his music. Here's his favorite.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

The many "loves" of Luke

Due to popular demand, we have created a slide show of Luke's latest and greatest shots.  The little girl in the pictures is his best friend, Makenzie who is a month younger.  She is all girl and he is all boy, so it's fun to watch them interact.  Mak makes sure he is fed, and that he's got toys to play with (she's the woman taking care of the needs of her man) and he gives her hugs and occasionally roars like a dinosaur in her face - okay, so he's a boy - the energy's gotta go somewhere!  They are very sweet together.

Aside from playing with Mak he also has some other hobbies.  Mostly they involve either a slide, a plunger, or something with buttons, lights, or wheels.  He loves books very much and has finally kicked the habit of eating them - hooray!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Luke: primary and his crib

Our luck with Luke in nursery ended very quickly.  Within a couple weeks he was crying when we left him and I've spent most of nursery time with him lately.  We hope that improves soon.

On the positive side, we recently exchanged his crib rail with a shorter rail that has an opening where he can crawl in and out without our help.  Although he seemed to love the change and crawled into his crib the first night, it was scary the first night as we weren't sure whether he'd wake up in the middle of the night, forget about the change and end up flipping head first over the shorter railing.  He did great though, in part due to my running in as fast as I could that first night when I heard him crying to help him notice the shorter rail.  Since then he has been an angel.  He almost always goes to bed willingly at his bed-time anyway, but now he occasionally comes to us in our bedroom in the middle of the night if he needs attention -- very often without crying at all. It's so exciting to have a son in our home that is feeling so grown up!

Monday, October 06, 2008

NEVER give away your email password

Do you realize that your email password is probably your most sensitive piece of information?  With your email address and password, I could manage to log into almost every web site you have an account on.  Even if you use different passwords on all those other sites.  I just have to click "I forgot my password" on those other sites, read your email for the 'reset password' link, and I've stolen your identity.  Even credit card and bank web sites often have this "easy" password recovery feature.  In fact since I have access to your email I could very likely discover most of the web sites you have membership on by searching through your email archives and get them all in just a few minutes.  Have I got you thinking twice about giving away your email password to some site that wants to download your address book yet?

Never, never, never give someone or another web site your email password!  It's just about the worst thing you can do.  Facebook, LinkedIn, and other otherwise "reputable" sites love to ask you for your email address and password so they can offer you the convenience of spamming all your friends by looking up their email addresses from your email address book.  All they ask for is your email address and password.  Don't give it to them.  Whether they are reputable sites or not, any person working at that company, in a moment of compromised integrity, could steal your password even long after the fact and rip off everything you own. 

Do you still want to use Facebook, LinkedIn, or these other social networking sites and have them spam your friends?  Fine (I hope I'm not in your address book!).  Most of these sites also offer an option for you to manually export your address book to a .csv file which you can then upload to these social networking sites yourself without giving away your password.  That's definitely a safer option.

It's less convenient than just typing in your password, true.  There are upcoming technologies that will help solve that and make it safe and convenient for you to share your address book.  But for now, do it the 'hard' way and save yourself a lot of trouble in the long run.

So protect your own identity by not sharing your password.  Give away all your friends' privacy without asking them by giving away their email addresses to a social networking site that they may not want to join anyway.  But that's an etiquette issue at least, rather than a hard-core security issue.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Global Warming

Check out what the National Center for Policy Analysis has to say about one of our society's latest fads:


While the earth has warmed between 0.3 and 0.6 degrees Celsius and carbon dioxide (CO2), has increased more than 30 percent over the last 150 years, scientists still debate the extent to which human activity is the cause of global warming. NCPA scholars believe that while the causes and consequences of the earth’s current warming trend is still unknown, the cost of actions to substantially reduce CO2 emissions would be quite high and result in economic decline, accelerated environmental destruction, and do little or nothing to prevent global warming regardless of its cause.

Read the rest at the NCPA web site: Global Warming

Sunday, September 14, 2008

What REALLY was Satan's plan?

The traditional LDS Sunday School version of Satan's proposed alteration to Heavenly Father's plan (henceforth referred to as Satan's plan for brevity) tends to be that Satan wanted to force us all to be good.  This interpretation is not based in canonical scripture, and I believe actually contradicts scripture.  There is an interpretation that (to me anyway) seems to bring everything into agreement -- both scripture and personal experience.

First let us review the basis for our understanding of Satan's plan.  This quotation is from Moses 4:1,3-4 (emphasis added)

And I, the Lord God, spake unto Moses, saying: That Satan, whom thou hast commanded in the name of mine Only Begotten, is the same which was from the beginning, and he came before me, saying—Behold, here am I, send me, I will be thy son, and I will redeem all mankind, that one soul shall not be lost, and surely I will do it; wherefore give me thine honor.


Wherefore, because that Satan rebelled against me, and sought to destroy the agency of man, which I, the Lord God, had given him, and also, that I should give unto him mine own power; by the power of mine Only Begotten, I caused that he should be cast down;

And he became Satan, yea, even the devil, the father of all lies, to deceive and to blind men, and to lead them captive at his will, even as many as would not hearken unto my voice.

Not only does "Satan wanted to force us all to be good" not appear anywhere in scripture, it actually contradicts the above passage.  Satan said "I will redeem all mankind."  But if Satan was going to force us to be good, there would be no one to redeem because no one would have sinned.

For him to redeem all mankind, all mankind would have to sin.  What is more, nothing would be required of us to be redeemed or else Satan could make no guarantee that every person would qualify.  This is a deviation from Heavenly Father's plan, which required His children to individually accept the atonement of the Savior while we are here on this Earth.  It seems then that Satan wanted to allow everyone to do anything we wanted and still be saved.

But the Lord explained that Satan sought to destroy the agency of man.  Doesn't that mean he will take away our choices by forcing us to be good?  Let me explain this with an analogy.  Suppose you and I walked into a hat shop of red and blue hats.  You were allowed to choose between a red and a blue hat, but regardless of your choice, you only got to walk out with a blue hat.  No matter how many times you went back into the shop and asked for your choice of a red hat, you only walked out with a blue one.  Did you really have a choice in this scenario?  Sort of.  Did you have agency?  No.  For agency to mean anything, you need freedom to choose and have those choices actually take effect.  Satan sought to destroy the agency of man by ensuring that no matter what we chose on Earth, we would end up 'walking out' with Eternal life.  Maybe, if the idea of doing anything you want and getting Eternal Life sounds a little more enticing than you first thought Satan's plan was, you can begin to understand why one third part of the host of heaven thought so too. 

We are here on Earth because we understood the wisdom in Heavenly Father's plan and accepted it.  We knew that some would choose evil, and for that we were sorry, but we knew that agency (our freedom to choose our own destiny) was too important to sacrifice.

One interesting fallout of this understanding of Satan's scheme is that Satan's scheme hasn't changed.  Now that Satan is thrust out of heaven, he is lying to us by telling us that his own ideas are the correct ones.  We see Satan's thoughts, for example, in some of the beliefs of Evangelical Christians, who believe they are saved regardless of what they choose to do... which was Satan's platform in the pre-Earth life.  Frivolous lawsuits from plaintiffs who do not want to accept the consequences for their own stupid actions grow progressively more ridiculous -- another sign that Satan is convincing people that they should not be held responsible for what they choose.

Please help curb false doctrine by teaching straight out of Church publications (the ones with the Church logo prominently printed on the cover).  Keep the doctrine pure.  You won't hear me preaching my interpretation of Satan's plan in Sunday School until I can find a church publication to back it up -- but I won't be teaching that Satan wanted to force us all to be good either.  Until I can find a publication directly addressing this, you can bet I'll be teaching about Satan and the war in heaven directly out of the scriptures to avoid throwing in any "extra bits" I may have picked up while growing up.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Luke's first day in nursery

Tuesday Luke turns 18 months, so today was Luke's long awaited first day in the nursery at church.  We've learned that when we leave him with babysitters that rather than try to sneak out when he's distracted, the best thing to do is actually wave goodbye to him until he finally waves back.  That's his way of coming to accept our departure, and he always agrees, although sometimes it takes a minute or two.

But today in primary we did not have to do even that.  I dropped him off and he took a few steps, just wondered at the many other children and stared.  He never turned around at all to see his mom and dad leave.  And two hours later a very happy toddler was returned to us.  Luke is truly a darling.  We anticipate many more easy drop-offs at nursery in the future.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Global Warming - Latest Excuse for the War on the Family

Read the entire article, it's great.  Choice snippets below.

"...If Global Warming didn't exist, the left would have to invent it. In fact, they did. ... A February 18, 2008, story in the London Daily Express notes that Arctic ice levels, which had shrunk from 13 million to 4 million sq. km., between January and October 2007, are now almost back to their original levels. In the meantime, according to the paper, "Figures show that there is nearly a third more ice in Antarctica than is usual for the time of year."

"Every newborn baby in Australia represents a potent source of greenhouse gas emissions for an average of 80 years, not simply by breathing but by the profligate consumption of resources typical of our society," Walters writes. The left is incapable of viewing individuals as anything other than polluters, never as producers or innovators — let alone seeing them in spiritual terms, as manifestations of God's goodness. "

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Average flight time: 15 minutes or 15 seconds?

So I finally broke down after 19 years and bought myself a radio-controlled (RC) airplane.  I wanted to get something in the intermediate skill level so I could learn on it with help, and not grow out of it so quickly.  But the HobbyTownUSA man I talked to assured me that I would crash it, and the newer ones are a bit gentler to learn on.  So I bought the "for newbies" model.  It's an electric motor whose battery has an expected flight time of 12-15 minutes between recharges.

It turns out it was a good thing to buy the one for flyers with no experience.  My first flight lasted less than ten seconds and ended in a nose dive crash.  My second flight lasted several minutes and was much more exciting--it even ended with a proper glide landing.  My third flight lasted only a couple minutes and ended with another dive-bomb crash.  By now I still had a bit of battery left, but the front-end of my plane was so mashed up that I was afraid another crash would damage the motor.  So we packed up and went home.

Monday I will have to buy a few parts to replace those that I broke.  I'll leave my plane at Microsoft so I can fly it at lunch times. 

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Our family trip to South Africa

Well, we're finally over our jet-lag, we've unpacked all our goodies and now it's time for a look back on the adventure of a lifetime!  We took lots of pictures, which Andrew has categorized and included in this post below.  But first, check out our 3D fly-by movie of the major places we visited.

We spent lots of time with extended family and enjoyed a landscape and culture that although is in a developed country, is quite different to the United States.  We went to visit Cheryl's grandparents and Aunt Sheilagh and Uncle James.  But while there we also went to the game reserve and the beach.  We spent just over two weeks there.  Below we'll tell stories with photos depicting each activity.

Beautiful vistas

There is an energy and rhythm in Africa that is alive in the people, the art, and the sunrises.  We went from Johannesburg's busy market places through the plains and farmland of the Orange Free State to the gorgeous beaches of KwaZulu Natal.   

Cheryl hasn't seen her Aunt, Uncle or Grandparents since she was 11 - if you're smart you'll work out that that's 15 years!!!  It was wonderful to catch up and introduce them to Andrew and Luke - both of whom were an instant hit!

Game reserve

We spent a few days in a game reserve to see the animals.  We had a lot of fun.  We saw giraffe, antelope, lots of cheeky warthogs and rhinos and yet, it seemed as though 433 elephants were successfully hiding...until on the way out of the reserve, Cheryl spotted several in a row at a great distance.  We went on an early morning walk in the bush with an armed guide and a night safari drive too.  One night we even heard hyenas outside our chalet while we lay in bed! It was amazing!

Andrew's beach accident

There were several days that we spent near the beach and I got to boogie board every day -- until I had an accident.  A storm was on its way, and the waves were much larger than they had been the previous few days.  No one else was swimming.  Still, the waves were only about as big as a good day in California, so I decided to go for it.  Although Cheryl was napping, her dad, aunt and uncle were with me at the beach to watch.  It took a long time to even get out into deeper water because the waves kept pushing me back.  When I finally got out there, a side current swept me quickly away from the safe beach so that when I caught the next wave, I was smashed into some underwater rocks.  Ouch!

Luke moments

Luke had a blast.  He ate sand, tried some local delicacies like biltong and rusks, and dance any chance he got.  Even though we are well stocked with great pictures of this kid, we captured several shots of Luke being really cute.  Here are a few:

Stunt show

We saw a very impressive show while at a flea market:

Cultural differences

South Africa is a developed country, but there are issues.  Theft and violent crime are much more common there than it is in the US.  Luckily we weren't personally affected by either of those.  Mostly what we noticed were just unexpected subtle (and not so subtle) differences.  Here are some of the pictures we took that captured unexpected things:

Monday, February 18, 2008

I'm published

MSDN Magazine cover, sporting an article written by Andrew ArnottI'm published in MSDN Magazine!  I wrote an article on writing a .NET Compact Framework application that uses WCF (the Windows Communication Foundation).  Yes, this magazine comes in a print edition as well.  Awesome.

Last Friday a blog post I wrote was featured on MSDN's This Week on Channel 9.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Thursday, January 24, 2008

New job with Visual Studio Platform & Ecosystem

I have accepted a new position within Microsoft with the Visual Studio Platform & Ecosystem team.  Rather than working on the .NET Compact Framework I will be working on "VS10".  I'll start work at my new office in a few weeks.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

"If" by Rudyard Kipling

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:
If you can dream - and not make dreams your master;
If you can think - and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build ‘em up with worn-out tools:
If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’
If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings - nor lose the common touch,
if neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And - which is more - you’ll be a Man, my son!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

What a horrible way to start a morning

So I got up this morning at around 6:05 AM as I usually do.  I got dressed, putting on my new .NET Compact Framework coat that I got yesterday, ate breakfast, and headed out the door at 6:40 AM.  I unlocked my bike and headed toward the bus stop.  This is my usual routine.  I aim to catch the 277 bus that shows up near my condo anywhere from 6:42 to 6:50, hoping that it's in the earlier of that range so that I can make a connection with the 644 bus in time to get to work by 7:30 AM, and before traffic on the freeway slows my 15 minute ride to 40 minutes.

Before my bike got around the first curve in our parking lot, my wheels lost traction on ice that I forgot I was supposed to be watching out for. My bike immediately slammed me to the ground.  Ouch.  Fortunately I didn't have my laptop in my backpack today so I didn't have to worry about that damage.  A quick inspection (in the dark) didn't show any damage to bike, limb, or clothing, so I continued, walking and slipping, to the bus stop. 

The 277 bus, on the 6:43-6:50 schedule, is driven by a very new bus driver, who has tended to be a few minutes late.  But she never showed up.  This was unusual but not unheard of.  I find the 277 to be unreliable.  I waited until around 6:55.  I knew I completely missed the connecting bus by now, and deliberated going back home and coming out again in 20 minutes to catch the 277 on the next scheduled stop, but decided to just wait it out.  It was very cold out, probably below 32 degrees, but I still had my nice new coat on and imagined I could bear waiting for the next route outside.   Going back inside risks my missing another bus, and the pain from the accident wasn't that severe.  Bad idea.

Eventually another route (not the 277) came by and I just took it to where my connecting bus would be driving by.  While on that first bus I took the opportunity to remove my coat and just see if there was any damage to coat or limb.  The first thing I noticed upon pulling out my left arm was that there were two huge bloody spots on my arm.  Wow.  I guess my coat hadn't protected me as much as I had thought.  Upon completely removing my nice new NetCF coat I found black tar marks all over one side of it.  Rats!  What's worse, I knew that the bus I was on was taking me to where I'd get off into the open, freezing air to wait 30 minutes for the next 644 to go by.  I'd either freeze in my short-sleeve shirt, or bleed inside my new jacket to keep warm. 

Now it happened that the bus stop where I got off to wait for the 644 was on a bridge directly over the freeway that the 644 would be getting onto.  As I waited for the next 644 to come, I watched as the freeway got slower and slower with building traffic -- traffic I had meant to get in front of by leaving at such an early hour.  And all the while I'm freezing even though I decided to wear my coat, bleeding and all.  There weren't active drops of blood coming out of my wounds, so I hoped the damage to the internals of the coat wouldn't be too bad.

I'd been waiting for 30 minutes now, and the 644 hadn't shown up yet.  "Great!", I thought sarcastically, "now the 644 won't show up, or will be late."  Then I saw not one, but two 277's go by in a row.  That's right, that new driver was apparently 30 minutes late on her route, so that she was now only a minute or less ahead of the next scheduled 277.  My gosh!  Here I am trying to be a good citizen and take public transportation in Seattle where traffic is so bad, and the bus gets away with being 30 minutes late.  !!!

The 644 bus that I was waiting for ended up being 8 minutes late.  More time to freeze outside.  By now the carpool lane (which the 644 uses) was almost at a standstill.  I boarded, inspected my wound again to find that it hadn't been actively bleeding in my coat, for which I was thankful. 

We actually got to Microsoft in surprisingly good time considering the traffic.  Once there I had to still ride my bike the few blocks from the bus stop at Microsoft to my office building.  I used the first aid kit at my building to bandage myself up.  I'm going to look great today in my interviews for my new job at Microsoft.

I wonder what my ride home on public transportation holds in store for me.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Food storage for $5 a week

The best source of food storage information is probably www.providentliving.org.  But here's a useful schedule that a nearby ward put together.  With it you should be able to accumulate food for two adults for a whole year -- in about a year spending $5/week.

Week 1 6 lbs salt
Week 2 5 cans cream of chicken soup
Week 3 20 lbs sugar
Week 4 8 cans tomato soup
Week 5 7 boxes macaroni & cheese
Week 6 50 lbs wheat
Week 7 10 lbs powdered milk
Week 8 8 cans tuna
Week 9 6 lbs macaroni
Week 10 50 lbs wheat
Week 11 6 lbs yeast
Week 12 20 lbs sugar
Week 13 5 cans cream of chicken soup
Week 14 1 bottle 500 multi-vitamins
Week 15 50 lbs wheat
Week 16 10 lbs powdered milk
Week 17 8 cans tomato soup
Week 18 20 lbs sugar
Week 19 5 cans cream of mushroom soup
Week 20 50 lbs wheat
Week 21 5 lbs honey
Week 22 7 boxes macaroni & cheese
Week 23 5 cans cream of mushroom soup
Week 24 20 lbs sugar
Week 25 50 lbs wheat
Week 26 20 lbs sugar
Week 27 10 lbs powdered milk
Week 28 20 lbs sugar
Week 29 5 lbs peanut butter
Week 30 8 cans tomato soup
Week 31 7 boxes macaroni & cheese
Week 32 50 lbs wheat
Week 33 10 lbs powdered milk
Week 34 8 cans tuna
Week 35 6 lbs macaroni
Week 36 50 lbs wheat
Week 37 6 lbs shortening
Week 38 20 lbs sugar
Week 39 5 cans cream of chicken soup
Week 40 1 bottle 500 multi-vitamins
Week 41 50 lbs wheat
Week 42 6 lbs salt
Week 43 8 cans tomato soup
Week 44 20 lbs sugar
Week 45 1 bottle 500 aspirin
Week 46 50 lbs wheat
Week 47 5 lbs honey
Week 48 8 cans tuna
Week 49 5 cans cream of mushroom soup
Week 50 20 lbs sugar
Week 51 50 lbs wheat
Week 52 8 cans tomato soup

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Excellent article on Mormon political unacceptance

In Doug Robinson's Deseret Morning News article on Tuesday entitled "Better duck -- if you're a Mormon", the tendency of the public to disparage Mormons in a way they wouldn't dare to disparage the black and the female who is running for president is exposed and analyzed.

And if you like it, visit sustaind.org and sustain it there to give it more visibility.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

The problem with the keystone analogy

arch“I told the brethren that the Book of Mormon was the most correct of any book on earth, and the keystone of our religion, and a man would get nearer to God by abiding by its precepts, than by any other book.” - Joseph Smith, emphasis added.

That Joseph Smith used the keystone as an analogy to the role the Book of Mormon plays in our religion is fine.  But the way Sunday School teachers tend to expound on that analogy is what I take exception with.  Here are some points I often hear in Sunday School:

  1. The keystone bears the weight of the entire arch.
  2. If you remove the keystone the whole arch will fall.
  3. You may be able to remove any other piece of the arch, and while it may look crooked, it may still stand.

This is one of those things where it sounds good, but if you stop to think about what you're saying (or hearing), you'll see that the opposite is true for each of these points.  We'll take them one at a time.

arch diagram

First, the keystone (D) bears the least weight because it is on the top.  In this diagram, the stones labeled C bear the most weight.

Next, if you can imagine quickly removing the keystone (like whipping a tablecloth off a table with plates still on it), one can easily imagine that the two sides of the arch (B stones) would fall toward each other and stop each other's fall.  So removing the keystone does not necessarily cause the arch to fall.

Finally, I can't prove this, but imagine pulling out one of the lower B stones.  I'm pretty sure there's no safe way (quickly pulling or otherwise) to remove the lower B stones without causing the whole structure to fall. 

So what are we left with?  Nothing from what I typically hear in Sunday School.  I'm sure there are remaining pieces of the keystone analogy that Joseph Smith had in mind when he said it.  Perhaps it's that the keystone is at the center of the arch, or that a lot of weight from above the arch rests on the keystone.  Who knows?

Here's another point to thinking before you repeat what you hear--especially if you are in a teaching setting.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Dispelling Mormon myths

Mormons are not polygamists. Learn that and dispel other myths by watching this 10 minute video: