Saturday, October 21, 2006

Goodbye, Blogger!

Well, Blogger has finally failed to meet my expectations. I suppose I should have expected it sooner, but oh well. The specifics aren't important, and I still recommend Blogger to those who have more technical knowledge.

If you still wish to read my blog, it is being continued at I think you'll like it better. There will already be a few entries there, so happy reading!

Friday, September 22, 2006

Sooooo. . . coold. . .

OK, Summer as I have known it went up in a puff of smoke Saturday last. My roommate, who is from North Carolina, and I looked out the window. What did we see? SNOW! IN SUMMER! What the heck is going on??

Now, it's not like we're complaining. In fact, we were both extremely pleased, and we rushed out to try our snow gear out. The people who had lived in snow looked at us with open contempt as we went about jabbering about the snow. Their loss. I must say, though, it's been pretty wet (it's only been raining lately, no snow). I definitely enjoy it, since my hometown would routinely combust during the summer, so this is quite the change.

Aside from the weather, things have been pretty exciting. I am, however, going to stop giving multi-day recaps, since it bores me. I will merely focus on specific events that entertained me.

On Monday, we got our papers back in Civ I. The TAs bled all over my paper, and gave it a "C." My outrage soon turned to embarrassment as I read their comments. What was I thinking!? Oh well, it just gave me inspiration to blow them away on my next paper, which I turned in yesterday. That paper was a bit of a panic, as I went to the Writing Center (WC), and the consultant completely tore apart my logic. I quickly fixed it, printed it out, and arrived at class right as it started. Oy! I'll be going to the stress lab next week, that's for sure!

In other news, I got a Honors Writing consultation with the professor, who told me, in no unclear terms, that I just wasn't a story-teller. . . yet. He gave me some exercises to do, and I went away feeling surprisingly uninsulted, even with the fact that he insisted on listening to my voice mail when my phone rang during our conversation (it's his rule).

Yesterday, my friend bought three pounds of galvanized wire. He says he's going to build a six foot Eiffel Tower statue out of it. He's the first to crack.

There's so much to tell, but I can't bore you all. I just wish everybody could have access to education like this, and I intend to make it my life's work to work toward that ideal. Until then, I'm just grateful!

Right now, I hear the marching band practicing our fight song. My floormates are throwing a football against the wall, and I'm going to a poetry-reading in the mountains in an hour. My life is so much fuller than it has ever been, and I intend to keep it that way! I thought this would be the prime of my life, but my Comparative and International Development professor, who is in his fifties, says that his life has just begun! But, more on him later. And, I'll have pictures too; right now, Blogger's having problems.

Here's my qoute of the lifetime:
"Jesus Christ is like the sun: when the world gets in the way. . .

there's darkness."

Friday, September 15, 2006

Die Sonne Scheint Noch

The title is a quote. These words were the last of Sophie Magdalena Scholl, the only female member of the White Rose, which was a non-violent anti-Nazi resistance group in World War II. She was caught distributing the sixth of a series of leaflets criticizing Hitler and the Nazi party. She, her brother, and Chistoph Probst were tried and executed by guillotine within four days of her arrest. I hereby pronounce February 22 to be White Rose Day, as it would commemorate the first of many punishments doled out against members of the movement. To honor their memory, I suggest wearing a white rose, or at least a white boutonniere.
From left: Hans Scholl, Sophie Scholl, and Chrisoph Probst
I just saw a German film called "Sophie Scholl: The Final Days," which shows her crime, arrest, trial, and execution. It was astounding and left one shocked at what evils humans can commit, but at the same time, left me with sure conviction that hope always survives.

Before viewing the film for the second time, today my Civilization I class watched a movie called "The Triumph of Will." It was, in essence, an old Nazi propaganda film reel, and it made me ever so forgiving of the German people. We were watching it to analyse the impact of language. Truly, it would have been so easy to be sold on Hitler's views; it would have been easy to overlook his extremeness. If I was fed fodder like that film everyday, I wonder if I would have been fooled. I was also shocked to see just how American the whole thing seemed. Sans the swastikas and German language, it could easily have been an Army recruitment advertisement of some sort. Heck, the Hitler Youth looked exactly like the Boy Scouts of America!

It makes one think: How often are we sold on our own propaganda? Do we really think about it? After all, just because this is America does not mean that we won't have our Hitlers. I wonder if a similar fiasco might happen here. What is the common man or woman doing to protect themselves against the lies our politicians will inevitably continue to whisper to us?

I'm currently working on the blog which explains my classes and such, so be patient. It's pretty long. Right now, though, I'm concerned for the welfare of society. The roots for World War III are being laid as we speak. I can't say where they are laid; I can only guarantee that they are. We need to protect ourselves. It would be a shame if, when the thread by which the Constitution hangs finally snaps, America is the chief cause of said war, like the Germany of old.

The title, by the way, means:

"The sun is still shining."

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Some pictures and some commentary

All right, I've got some pictures. I'm going to try and do this chronologically, but it may be off.

This is Y Mountain as I drove into Provo.

This is my dorm room right after unpacking. I assure you, it is no longer this neat.
Here's the sign welcoming one to BYU.

If you can't read it, it says "Enter to learn, go forth to serve."

To the left is one of the coolest hats I've seen worn in public. Where can I buy one?

This is my roommate. In the grand tradition of my life, he is much taller than me. (If you knew some of my friends, you would understand.)

The cheerleaders at the beginning of New Student Orientation. This was a three-day introduction program for new freshman and transfers. The cheerleaders and marching band followed the movie about the very inspiring stories surrounding the founding of BYU. It's very fascinating and can be found here. Let me just say, that Karl Maeser is one of my new heroes.

This is the Maeser Building, which is where the Honors Program is located. More on that later.

This is a statue in the atrium of the Joseph Smith Building. It's very inspiring in there, and I intend to make it one of my study spots. Fun fact: their are baptismal fonts located in the JSB, for those who decide to join the Church while attending BYU.

This bit of hardware is located in front of the Eyring Science Center. Believe it or not, it is the exhaust apparatus of an underground nuclear facility. I'm not joking. BYU has many underground laboratories, such as atom-smashers, etc. At least, so I am told. But this is indeed part of a small-scale nuclear power plant.

This is my Y-Group. They're all in my same area of academic interest. We're all geeks.

This is Professor Sowell. This guy's awesome. He's in charge of the Honors Program. This was taken during a Q&A session at the end of a meeting about the program. We broke the fire code many times over fitting every one into the Varsity Theater. Hundreds of students were interested. I was sold within the first ten minutes. The details and requirements of the program are found here, if you're interested in what I'll be doing for the next four years. Use the links at the left of the screen. After the meeting was a banquet, where a live jazz band played and we were served pork chops and mashed potatoes.

This is from a volleyball match played against Stanford. We crushed them most decisively, with a 15-point lead in the fourth game. It was pathetic. I made the mistake of sitting in the cheering section, where we stood for the whole hour-and-a-half. Then I rode my bike back to my dorm. Not fun. By the way, a moment of silence in grim acknowledgement of BYU's defeat by ASU.

Finally, this is Cosmo the Cougar. He is the single most awesome mascot in all of Athlitismos Kollegioy. I'd love that job! I hope to soon get a picture with him.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Day One

Alrighty! Here's my first day at BYU. Tomorrow I will be taking many pictures of New Student Orientation. For now: visualize!

I said goodbye to my dad at 10:00 AM in front of the dorms. Talk about heart-wrenching! I didn't really expect it to be that hard, but it was. I'm gonna miss that guy. My mom still hasn't gone home, so I can take it one step at a time.

After saying goodbye, I hung in my dorm for a while, then went to lunch. At lunch, in the spacious and luxurious food court called the Cougareat, I sat alone at a table. Then, I remembered: This isn't high school! I'm allowed to talk to anyone I want, now. So, I asked this Black man sitting at the table next to me if I could eat with him. It turns out, he's from Brazil, and is majoring in Public Health. He's married, and his wife is studying Psychology!

Talk about diversity. Don't believe that horse waste about BYU having no diversity. I've met, so far, British, Chinese, Brazilian, Middle-Eastern, and many other ethnicities. What's more, these people are usually from the country of their ethnicity's origin. Awesome!

After that, I showed a friend around campus, which was fun. We pretty much covered the whole thing in the afternoon. Then I dined with another friend at a Greek restaurant off-campus. Then I met my roommate and his friends: all awesome. Finally, a bunch of people met in the lobby for games. This semester's gonna rock!

Friday, August 25, 2006

Yet Another Post

Okay, the reason I'm posting again, is that my previous one was somewhat of a touching, personal one; one that had to be written in the spirit of the moment. You know?

No, you don't. Whatever. I probably didn't mean any of it, anyway.

Anyhoo, I Googled "advice for freshmen," and it came up with a message board chock-full of advice. I want to list the points of advice, with a bit of my own thoughts. Please pay attention if you're pre-college or even in your first few semesters. This is important to me, so you must pay attention.

(not in any particular order)
1. Take electives outside your major. I think this is important, because it will broaden you a bit. No matter how "open-minded" you think you are, actively looking at new interests will definitely challenge that.

2. Join clubs. I wish I did this at my junior college. I didn't really feel connected to my school, and maybe that's why my experience was a little sour.

3. DON'T BE A DRUNK!!! I don't drink. Period. I get along fine. There's a lot of people out there who don't drink or who drink in moderation. You don't have to get smashed every weekend to be popular. You shouldn't get smashed at all. It only takes that one time to absolutely destroy your life. Be responsible.

4. Study abroad. Practically everyone said this. Mormons have an opportunity to leave the country for a time on their missions. If they "go state-side" (serve in America), I think they should take a semester abroad. It's the cheapest opportunity you have to leave the country, see some (foreign) sights, get some perspective, and earn some college credits all at the same time. Live outside your silly box. Everyone who didn't go abroad seemed to regret it.

5. Take every class you want to. This is important, as well. Your major has very little, for the most part, to do with your career. Don't believe all that "career-oriented" learning stuff. My dad majored in Sociology, and is now a sales engineer for a company that builds water wells. Don't be afraid to take Physics if your major is Art History.

6. Find diversity. This is for the same reasons as studying abroad. I don't think people really understand what they think they hold dear until they've met someone with different experiences, culture, or beliefs who shares a common idea.

7. Be yourself. You probably weren't yourself in high school. I still know college students who simply want to conform, refuse to be different. You're liars. I'm sorry, but you're telling us you're something other than what you really are. You don't need to feel pressured into being someone besides yourself. If it means you'll have less friends, then good for you! A loner who's himself is better than a popular poser.

8. Network. Learn to make connections.

9. Declare a minor. I totally believe this. The more distant from your major, the better, especially if your preprofessional (med-school and the like). This will give you guidance for your electives and interests.

10. Don't be afraid of hard classes. Challenge yourself! Don't be a wuss! Don't be afraid to take "the hard professor." That's dumb. It'll give you a greater sense of accomplishment, trust me. I took some classes that were so easy I felt they were a waste of time even though they boosted my GPA. (No one looks all that much at GPA anyway.)

11. Know your professors! This, also, is important. Take advantage of office hours. You don't need to be the fan club. Come with questions regarding the material, your standing in the class, your career decisions, or just go to talk. Professors detest lecturing to a bunch of clearly-bored people; they'd much rather teach you one-on-one, or at least get some feedback. If you don't understand, tell them!

12. Know your professors some more! Professors have connections. They are excellent entries to any kind of network. They sign your letters of recommendation for post-graduate schools, they hire research assistants, they know internship opportunities, and, well, grades are veeerrrrrry flexible in college. If you meet with your professors, they attach a face to your name, and participation points can go a long way in the grading system.

13. If you get a job, work on campus. These jobs can lead to internships. They also tend to give you lots of time to study on the job. What's better than getting paid to do homework?

14. Shun social cliques. Be a floater. You don't need to join a fraternity, or be part of the "cool" crowd. Generally, their influence crashes and burns in college anyway. Be diverse, and you'll get better friends. Just because you were "a stoner punk" in high school doesn't mean you have to be one in college. Loners of the world, that can end right after graduation! There is hope!

15. Don't waste time. I've made it clear how valuable time is. Don't waste time playing those addictive games like WoW! or being hung-over. Make the most of your short four years.

16. Study well. Do the work. GO TO CLASS! Don't ever miss class, unless you absolutely have to! Everything on tests tends to be covered in class. I've been to classes where the textbook was unneeded (but, I wish I had read it, because maybe then I'd have learned more). Also, it's generally accepted that the dorm room is like Dilbert's "anti-productivity pod." Nothing useful was ever accomplished in the dorm or apartment. If you want to study, find a secret place to do it and don't tell your friends where you're going.

17. Go to functions. Go to plays, movie-nights, sporting events, seminars, etc. Use them as dates. You've paid for a lot of them, and there might be free food. Besides, you'll be able to put that down as something you did, rather than as something you missed.

18. Take care of your body. Ever hear of the "Freshman 15?" It's true, and it could be a lot more than fifteen pounds. Exercise regularly, don't just eat the fatty food in the cafeteria, shower daily, get good sleep (try, at least), and watch the snacks. You'll study better. Along those lines, it's harder to retain information and take tests when you're on caffeine. Just saying. . .

19. Look for good teachers. Don't look for easy teachers, but good ones. Ask older students, or check a professor-rating site. I've had some really crappy professors, some who were pretty simple. I wish I had asked.

20. Finally, love school, but don't make it your life. DO VOLUNTEER WORK! That's a great way to unwind, find opportunities, and have fun. Not everything you do has to revolve around school.

That's the advice of many people. I think I've covered the best bits. The site is here, if you want to read the full, unmediated version. Thanks for reading!

So Long, And Thanks For All the Fish!

Yes, that time has come. Time for me to look behind me, and say goodbye. Leaving is hard, but I'm moving on.

My friends are great. I just threw myself a "going away" party. I think people had fun, and I'm surprised that so many people came! I'm pretty happy about it. If I didn't invite you, please don't feel bad. The list was written kind of hurried, and I think I may have forgotten to invite some really good friends. I'm dumb. . .

Anyhoo, my friends are great. They've all been great: putting up with my extremely hard-core strangeness all these years (upon years, upon years). Some people are taking my leaving pretty harshly. This kind of shocked me, but I felt all the more loved.

I just want to say, to everyone I've ever met, if I've offended you, or done anything for your damage in any way, "I'm an idiot." I've made dumb choices, but if you think it hurt you, I can guarantee that it hurt me all the worse. Please forgive me.

To all those who I considered friends: "I'm going to miss you all. Real bad. Right here [thumps chest]." No, don't cry. You'll get over me.

"Tell all my friends I'm dead.
I'm leaving you; this time, it's for good.
Tell all my friends that I'm dead.
It won't be long before you forget my name." (A New Found Glory, "Forget My Name")

I've got another post to write. One that's not as personal.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006


OK, I'm trying to use this (theoretically) cool feature on Blogger called "Audioblogger." It will allegedly allow me to post an audio post by phone. But, I've recorded three posts this way, to see if it works, and they aren't there.

Monday, August 21, 2006

It's me!

All right! I just got a digital camera! Now my avid readers (all five) can find out what I look like! Now, for those of you with weak stomachs, I suggest you hit the "Back" button on your browser. Otherwise, feast your eyes on Me! In other news, I realize that one of my past entries was very morose. I'm sorry, but I was feeling really isolated that day. All better now! I'm totally jazzed about college, and I've already started packing. I leave Saturday!

Sunday, August 13, 2006


I get to give a talk in Sacrament meeting next Sunday, and I've had a bit of trouble deciding what to speak on. It's my last Sunday in this ward, so I thought that I'd give a bit of a farewell speech, which is a little commonplace in Sacrament meeting (a little too commonplace, I think).

Then, I started thinking. The entire meeting is called Sacrament meeting. Shouldn't it all be connected to the Sacrament? Now, to those not of my faith (and, probably, to many within the fold), the Sacrament is a many-faceted and complex topic itself, and is connected to almost every other part of our religion. It symbolizes our remembrance of Christ's sufferings, His body, His blood. It symbolizes the Atonement, grace, etc. It is enacted by the authority of the Priesthood. In fact, just being connected to Christ connects it to all aspects of our religion, as our religion is centered entirely on Christ.

So, why do I hear so many Sacrament talks that are essentially: "Well, I met my husband on such-and-such a date at such-and-such a place, and we were married in such-and-such a temple for time and all eternity." I'm not saying it's a bad thing to introduce yourselves when speaking, but I hear many talks that have little to do with the Sacrament. Sometimes, also, people give long winding talks about fantastic miracles they may have witnessed, and all I have to say after that is "Wow! God must like you a lot! What's wrong with me? Is there anything I should be doing differently?" Personally, I think miracles are very personal experiences that are usually meant only for the witnesses. I don't think we should be flaunting our spiritual experiences all over the place. It is sufficient, I believe, to simply say "I believe." It's a statement that shouldn't require too much explanation. Think of how many people could speak in testimony meetings if people simply got up, confessed their belief, and sat down? That's how it's done at EFY!

Then, there's my personal blind spot: The Tirade of Thought. These people (I'm one of them) get up and spew forth very complex perspectives on doctrines such as: The Godhead. Now, I admit that understanding The Godhead is important to our religion, but it's in the missionary discussions! We know it! And my long-winded explanation of it probably won't change your perspective much, because it's something that, in day-to-day living, is often inconsequential.

Now, how persuasive would I be if I didn't offer a solution?

I think that our Sacrament talks should follow after the styles of persons such as Joseph Smith and C. S. Lewis, two great teachers from very different backgrounds. According to Daniel C. Peterson of Meridian Magazine, "he wrote about everyday realities of human behavior, of prayer and moral struggle, rather than about bloodless abstractions." Joseph Smith was the same way, when he wasn't proselytizing. Our Sacrament talks should offer a bolstering-up: perhaps advice on living righteous lives, new perspectives that helped us do so, or maybe a rehashing of the very basics of the doctrine, such as faith.

So, to that end, I want to make my Sacrament talk centered around a goal. That goal should always be something along the lines of "Impress upon the members a new desire to endure to the end." Because that's what the Sacrament is all about, isn't it? Endure to the end. For non-members, enduring to the end occurs after a person has been given faith, has repented, and has received the baptisms of water and Spirit. At that point, we're "saved," but only to the point that we remain true to the faith, and that is enduring to the end. We try to obtain Christ-like attributes, keep the commandments, and stand as witnesses for Christ.

I want my talk to be practical, not theoretical. I want to talk about those things that are so essential to endurance: prayer, fasting, study, things that we do to make it easier to keep strong against the adversary.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Time Flies By

In two weeks, I'll be at the dormitory at BYU, unpacking what few belongings I will be taking. Everything else I will leave behind, useless. It's humbling, Time. Time has ultimate control; it is the one thing we cannot fight.

Looking back on my short eighteen years of mortal existence, I wonder, "What could be different?" If I could go back and do it all over again, what would I change? Because I'm leaving, and there's no going back. There never was. But, now, that's all made painfully clear to me: that the past is written in stone, unchangeable, and forever gone. I see all my mistakes, my missed opportunities. Why was I so afraid? Why didn't I think? Fool!

I'm sorry if I seem morose, but it's how I feel right now. My family, my friends, and my youth are being left behind, for the most part. I can't go back; I can't fix the damage I've caused. Yes, I've done good. I've accomplished a lot. But, I know I could have accomplished a lot more.

Now, all I can do is look at this as a new beginning. I have so much potential, so much to live for! I can change my world, or I can break it. I've learned some very hard lessons in my childhood, lessons that I plan to protect my children from (or, perhaps, find some medium besides suffering with which to teach them). I've had experiences and trials that most people never will, and never would have suspected of me. But, I've had them, and I plan to leave them all behind.

This is the way baptism should be. We should leave it all behind: offer up the animal within us as sacrifice and burn it whole. We should be able to enter the fold of Christ completely, giving Him our burden, unconditionally. I've seen it done, but I didn't do it. I didn't understand, and I caused myself a lot of pain.

To the rising youth: Your generation will see more pain and suffering than any other. You, yourselves, will live amongst some of the most depraved this world has ever seen. Don't run away from it, don't hate it, and whatever you do, don't become a part of it! Decide in your youth to keep the commandments of God, to serve Him alone, and, I swear, you will have peace all the days of your life.

Take advantage of every passing moment, because once it passes, you will never see it again. Time is our most precious commodity, and there is no way to buy more. The clock is ticking. . .

Sunday, July 30, 2006

"I Didn't Know There Was Toilet Paper in the Bag!"

I arrived home yesterday, broken and disheveled, from a three-night camping trip. I had a lot of fun and some very interesting experiences. As I relate them, keep in mind that I have replaced my acquaintances' names with pseudonyms, to protect our privacy.

Packing for the trip, I had to waterproof everything because we would be wading through water at times. I waterproofed obsessively, putting everything in "Ziplock" bags, and then double- and triple-bagging everything. My stuff could have survived low-grade ammunition at close-range. Anyway, I was prepared.

Wednesday morning, I went into a panic making sure I had everything and picking up a few last-minute items. We drove to Brother Perry's house before six: right on time. Others arrived, and we set off.

After an interesting drive, we arrived in St. George, Utah. There we witnessed a strange phenomenon: an unusually high percentage of the women around my age were extremely attractive. We concluded, during lunch, that it is a result of all that nuclear dumping. Perhaps there's something to be said for it (I'm kidding. Please don't attack me.).

We arrived at our campsite after a stretch of hick-town. Along the way, we were stopped by a construction worker for about five minutes to make way for a large truck. The worker was obviously of Native American descent and Corey, always quick to cause controversy, asked, suddenly, "Are you Indian?" I'd like to take a moment to note that Corey is about seventeen years old. The man didn't seem too offended, but he did make it clear that he "didn't run around with a feather in [his] hair." [Sigh]

Anyway, we played a few games of football at our campsite, then went to bed. Now, I say "went to bed," and most of you may assume that we slept on the ground in tents. True, some were sleeping on the ground, but there were no tents. Myself and Jim, who are Eagle Scouts and therefore always prepared, requested the pleasure of sleeping in the cab of Brother Perry's pickup. It was at about two in the morning, I believe, that we realized that the seats in the pickup did not recline sufficiently to facilitate comfortable sleep. Needless to say, then, we were tired to an extraordinary degree the next morning. (It drizzled that night, so maybe being in the truck was a good thing.)

So it was that I, sleepy and not a bit happy, began the "12 mile" trek. After the trek, we found out that we had been told wrong. The trek was 16 miles! The Department of the Interior needs to be notified that one of it's park rangers is a sadistic lunatic.

The first three miles, we were generally on dry ground, with a few river crossings. This was good, because the cold water kept our body temperature low. Then we entered the actual canyon. The walls were sheer, and the river generally took up about half the width. Because of the way water erodes rock, the trail traveled on the opposite side of the river's path. In other words, if the river turned, we had to cross it. And boy did it turn! We spent probably half of the next six miles trudging through water, praying that we wouldn't slip and fall into it. We all would eventually. In fact, I did so rather comedically. There was a log in our path, partially submerged. I put one foot over it and, as it was pretty big, rocked forward waiting for my foot to land on the rocks under the water. It never did, so I rocked, confidently, face-first into the water. It was refreshing, though.

I should mention that I was wearing skate shoes. I have done several hikes successfully in such shoes, and have never had a problem. These hikes have always been on relatively flat and steady terrain. Zion Narrows is made up of river rocks, generally jagged, and all of them oddly shaped. After about four miles, I felt that I might as well have been barefoot. I was intimately aware of every detail of the rocks I was stepping on, and all of them were painful. Luckily I (my father) had the foresight to pack hiking boots, which I wore the next day.

That night we camped in someone else's campsite, which was all right, because they never showed (perhaps they died). We would receive a reprimand from the park ranger the next day (we dubbed him "Ranger Roy," or something like that). The food all tasted like Top Ramen, including the brownies, and we all slept on the floor.

The next day was much easier, what with my boots, although the ankles were a bit stiffer so I lost my balance a few more times. There were points during the day when we were full-on swimming with our hiking packs on. At one point, we slid down a rock slide (as in: a slide made of rock), which was the most singularly adventurous thing we did on the trip. It was fun.

We stopped at a spring. The spring itself was covered in poison ivy, but most of it was out of reach. We did have some fun with Corey, though. I wonder if the story is appropriate for print. Yes! It is!

Here it is. At the beginning of the trip, we were issued a "Silver Bag." The Silver Bag was, essentially, a disposable toilet. It was part of the Pack It Out program enforced by the rangers. Anyway, the bag had some sort of substance in it that would transform your poo into a biodegradable, odorless gel, which you would throw away when you got out. It came with toilet paper and comical instructions.

Corey apparently didn't realize that there was toilet paper. We saw him at the spring, scrubbing his behind with moss. He said "I didn't know there was toilet paper in the bag!" which we all found riotously hilarious. However, we were also able to convince him, for a short time, that he was scrubbing his bum with the roots of poison ivy. Ah! What a tasteful reaction. I'll let you envision that one.

Matthew had prearranged to meet with his parents at Carl's Jr. in St. George. Myself and John accompanied him and Brother Perry ahead of the rest, who remained behind with the bishop, who had twisted his ankle and was walking pretty slowly. We eventually finished our hike. It had taken a total of about sixteen hours of hiking time. It was very exhausting, and I felt a great sense of accomplishment.

We finished the hike about an hour-and-a-half before the rest and took Matt to Carl's. There we were secretly treated to some very nice hamburgers by Matt's parents. On our way back, however, a short-lived, but very powerful, monsoon swept through the area. It was amazing, accompanied by lightning and powerful winds, but it only lasted about an hour. When we arrived back at the campsite it had subsided. But where was the rest of the troop? The site looked deserted except for Brother Ross's van. You guessed it! Boy Scout Venture Team 53, half of which were Eagle Scouts, complete with their leaders, some of whom had been in Scouting for years and years, were huddling in the van. The bishop finally declared it: They had no intention of camping that night. We went to a Travelodge in Hurricane (pronounced HUR-i-cin; don't ask why).

I thought we were camping! I was prepared to sleep outside in the pouring rain if I had to! Imagine my surprise when we left the campsite for a motel with beds and a continental breakfast. Not that I'm complaining.

As a postscript, I will mention that I endured bitter hardships in the motel. One of the people sleeping in my room, I won't say who (whom?), had a snoring problem. Nay: "disorder." In fact, I think that his particular form of snoring could be given a name that would have a sense of fear attached to it, like "smallpox." Nose strips were no good for him. He needed a full team of doctors from Harvard Medical in full medical regalia with multi-billion-dollar equipment monitoring him while he slept. They would need earmuffs, lest they suffer permanent hearing damage. They would stand, listening in awe behind a glass shield and layers of sound-proofing, as this man emitted sounds so loud they could bring down military aircraft. One of the doctors would cry "Get the President on the phone!" It was that bad. In fact, he had the habit of changing snoring "styles." At other times, he would seem to wake up, thrashing around and moaning, but, it was too good to be true. He kept on sleeping.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

"Say Moosey Fate!"

Okay, kids, today's blog has nothing to do with moose (mooses?). That is a quote from Invader Zim, quite possibly one of the funniest cartoons I have ever seen. I understand that it's off the air, but available on Toon Nick, or something along those lines. You should watch it. If it disturbs you, then you're normal. That's all I can say about that.

In other news, I'm going on a four-day camping trip tomorrow [cheering heard from my parents]. We're going to Zion Narrows, in Zion National Park. For those of you who are not Mormons, I'd like to clarify that it is named after Zion, not Zion itself. Of course, chances are you don't care, anyway. The scenery's beautiful, and I hope to get lots of pictures. If I don't, you can see a picture to your left. <--- (For those of you who have trouble knowing your right from your left.) We're going to have a lot of fun, and, frankly, I ought to be packing right now, but as you can clearly see, I am typing. Thanks to all those who read my first blog. If you like the material enough, you can go to Blogarithm, type in my blog's URL and your email address, and you'll receive an email every time I update my blog. Yayyy! Doesn't that sound like fun? Actually, it would annoy me after a while, but if you like it, then go ahead.

Anyway, let's get spiritual before I sign off until Sunday. I'm picking a random verse from the Bible. . . aha! Interesting. Okay: Acts 19:40. Some background: the silversmiths in Ephesus are angry with the success of Paul's missionary work, because they have lost business. They make idols to Diana, a Hellenist goddess, and the newly converted Christians no longer have a need for them. So, under the guise of religious vigilance, they begin persecuting Alexander, a Christian and possibly a missionary, until the townclerk calms them down. He is speaking in this verse, saying that the rowdiness of the people is unacceptable, et cetera, and that they have no real accusation against the Christ-followers.

A similar occurence happened in this dispensation. Certain preachers in the areas in which Joseph Smith lived felt threatened by this "new" religion, as it drained their pews (and by consequence, their livelihood). One in particular, a Campbellite preacher, organized several mobs, including, I believe, the mob that tarred and feathered the prophet, an event which resulted in the death of one of his children. This same preacher tried for years to have Joseph killed under the law, while at the same time trying to stir up the people to lynch the prophet. So we see that often the offenders of the work are in it more for the money, rather than out of "moral indignation."

Sunday, July 23, 2006


Yes, this is my blog. I think I started this blog (which blog I will use for the purpose of blogging in the manner of bloggers) simply because I like to say the word "blog." I could be wrong, but I believe "blog" to be one of the funnest ("most fun?") words in the English language, like "onomatopoeia."

Anyhoo, my blog will be a repository of my thoughts, kind of like how a stomach is a repository of food. However, whereas some people's thoughts could be compared to caviar and other expensive and relatively gross food products, mine are comparable to Cheez Puffs: cheap and unhealthy. But, they sure taste good! (Can I get an "Amen?")

You've probably realized that I try to be funny. If you haven't realized this, you don't speak English or you've got one too many doctorates and no longer recognize humor, no matter how flimsy that humor may be. You should probably leave my page now before you start laughing like the common folk who only have master's degrees. Anyway, I try to be funny; it puts a healthy spin on reality. At the same time, I like to think long and deeply about matters ranging from world events to religion (not that big a range if you think about it). So, at times my blog will be riotously funny, depending on your taste in humor, or it could be an in depth discussion on topics such as Zoroastrianism, which will bore most of you stupid.

In reality, I started this blog for my benefit: as a place to gather my thoughts, examine my week, express my creativity, evaluate ideas, or share my feelings on topics that are important to me. You are free to comment and ask questions, but I ask you not to attack. Why would you attack? Because there are people in this world who hate simply for the sake of hating, and there are many aspects about me that you could find abhorrent ("hateable"). So please, keep it nice, because I'm expressing my very self, and that is something that no one has a right to attack.

I suppose I should explain my title. Certain of you have probably heard or read the question "Can ye look up?" here and there. This probably means that we share a demographic: namely "Mormon." Yes, I am a "Mormon," although I prefer to be called "a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints," but I understand why I cannot insist on that. You could go with "LDS" or simply "Christian" (try it, it won't hurt), but I still prefer the other title. Perhaps I'll explain why in a later post.

Anyway, my title: It comes from the Book of Mormon, which is a book of scripture that I hold dear. The verse is in the Book of Alma: "...can ye imagine yourselves brought before the tribunal of God with your souls filled with guilt and remorse, having a remembrance of all your guilt, yea, a perfect remembrance of all your wickedness, yea, a rememberance that ye have set at defiance the commandments of God? I say unto you, can ye look up to God at that day with a pure heart and clean hands? I say unto you, can you look up, having the image of God engraven upon you countenances? (Alma 5:18-19 italics added)" I highly recommend that you read the entire chapter; it isn't that long. You can find it

The reason that the title is important to me, is that it shows the reality of the judgment. While we can assume that we can simply coast through life, we are going to have to stand accountable before Christ's judgment bar. Don't you think you'd kneel? Imagine yourself, right now, kneeling before Christ, a perfect Being Who has purchased you with His suffering, and He says, simply "Look at Me." And then what? Can you look up? With your perfect knowledge of all the occasions in your life when you took Christ's gifts for granted, can you actually look Him in the eye? I don't know if that's exactly how it's going to go down, but it's a good gauge to me of how well I'm living my life. I ask myself the question "Would I feel comfortable being in Christ's presence right now?" Quite often, the answer is "NO! I "would fain be glad if [I] could command the rocks and the mountains to fall upon [me] to hide [me] from his presence. (
Alma 12:14)" And it is at that point when I dedicate myself to be more diligent, because I know that I must live in accordance with Christ's teachings if I want to have His gracious forgiveness.

So, you can clearly see why the title is important to me. It shows my quest in life. My mission in life it to be able to "look up" at that great and terrible day. When I am called before Christ, my Maker and Savior, I want to be able to look up and hear what C. S. Lewis calls "the divine accolade:" "Come unto me ye blessed, for behold, your works have been the works of righteousness upon the face of the earth," or, "Well done, thou good and faithful servant." This goal is what makes up who I am, and although I will stumble and fall on my way, I know that my garments can be purified until they are cleansed from all stain, through the blood of my Redeemer. I write these things, testifying that they are true, in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.