Equal and Opposite Sins?

At college (Ricks College, which really dates me!), one of the oddest controversies I encountered dealt with students complaining that the DJs were playing a filthy, dirty song about sex at every dance.  Now, I have no complaints about people actually complaining about songs that are actually and explicitly about sex, but this one was a bizarre one:  “Life is a Highway” by Tom Cochrane (this also dates me, since most people are more familiar with the recent Rascal Flatts in the Pixar Cars movie).

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Guest Post: Another Baja California Book of Mormon Model

book-mormonAfter making a post on a Baja California Book of Mormon model, I was contacted by Beau Anderson who has put together his own Baja California model. I told him I’d let him do a guest post to present his own theory. I am not sure what to make of the model itself, but I could appreciate the accessibility of his approach, which involved marking in Google Earth where he thinks the various landmarks fit so that you can easily compare it to the Book of Mormon and decide for yourself if this is something you’re interested in or if you want to discard it.

The Book of Mormon has been in print for nearly two centuries now and during that time, many people who believe that the book is true have put a lot of effort into finding out where the events described in the book actually took place. These efforts have resulted in a large number of theories and claims about evidence supporting the history described in the book, but none of these theories or claims has created a consensus among believers regarding where events in the Book of Mormon took place.

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General Conference talks to be given in languages other than English

According to this story.

Church spokesman Dale Jones announced that speakers “whose primary language is not English now have the choice to deliver their talks in their native tongue.” He went on to explain that English subtitles will be shown on screens in the Conference Center and a live English interpretation will be provided for all other English-language broadcasts including staellite, cable, television, and the internet.”

This will be a great opportunity for speakers and members whose native language is not English to share and understand messages more powerfully, and will coincidentally give English-speaking members a little glimpse of what conference has always been like for non-English speakers.

Logistically, this announcement will mean some tricky changes for conference translators, who will now need people who can translate between, for example, Spanish and German instead of English and Spanish and English and German.

I think this is a great change.

Using Joy to Overcome The Pain Narrative

2 Nephi 2. 25More often than not, these days on the Bloggernacle there is a narrative among LDS people where pain is the central theme. I don’t want to diminish anyone’s trials or hardships. I also do not want to make light of the legitimate struggles we all have on a daily basis. However, when I see the subject of “pain” come up again and again as a narrative for how to live life, I am troubled. Life is hard and there are painful times, but I don’t think Heavenly Father meant for life to be an unrelenting painful experience.
The Book of Mormon teaches us that we exist and live so that we might have joy, from 2 Nephi 2: 23-25 we read,

“23…wherefore [Adam and Eve] would have remained in a state of innocence, having no joy, for they knew no misery; doing no good, for they knew no sin.

24 But behold, all things have been done in the wisdom of him who knoweth all things.

25 Adam fell that men might be; and men are, that they might have joy.”

Joy and pain go hand in hand, and we have to experience pain to understand and know what joy is, but today I want to focus on three ways we can use the Joy to overcome the pain narrative.

Finding Joy Amid Trials

As was just stated, life is meant to be joyful. Elder Richard G. Scott, in his talked called, Finding Joy In Life, said, “Sadness, disappointment, and severe challenge are events in life, not life itself. I do not minimize how hard some of these events are. They can extend over a long period of time, but they should not be allowed to become the confining center of everything you do.”

In other words, we cannot let our trials consume us to the point that we have nothing left of ourselves and our testimonies. Many times this is not easy, and is what Elder Bruce C. and Sister Marie Hafen termed, “severe mercy” (1). Severe mercy is when the Lord pushes and stretches us so that we can more fully take part in the grace of the atonement. Sister Hafen reminded us, “Reaching deeper into the heart of the Gospel is exactly what we should be doing when the storms are beating us down.” (2) Continue reading

Study: men need love and healthy relationships to be happy

I want to highlight a fascinating study of Harvard graduates that is discussed in this article. The study, which has taken place over 75 years, looks at the lives of 268 men and studies how their lives have turned out.

The conclusions?

When Vaillant crunched the numbers, he discovered no significant relationship between a man’s level of flourishing and his IQ, his body type (mesomorph, ectomorph, endomorph), or the income and education level of his parents.

The factors that did loom large, and collectively predicted all ten Decathlon events, had one thing in common: relationships. This rubric included:

*A warm, supportive childhood
*A mature “coping style” (being able to roll with the punches, be patient with others, keep a sense of humor in the face of setbacks, delay gratification, etc.)
*Overall “soundness” as evaluated during college years (resilient, warm personality, social, not overly sensitive)
Warm adult relationships between the ages of 37-47 (having close friends, maintaining contact with family, being active in social organizations)
*Vaillant found that the men who had the best scores in these areas during their youth and mid-life, were the happiest, most successful, and best adjusted in their latter years. This is the finding of the Grant Study that has emerged most prominently: “It was the capacity for intimate relationships that predicted flourishing in all aspects of these men’s lives.”

There are people reading this who are saying to themselves, “duh, nothing could be more obvious.” But hold on a second. I want you to stop and ponder how many General Conference talks over the years have emphasized these features. How many times have prophets and other speakers emphasized the importance of family, of giving time to your children, of loving your children? How often have they emphasized being patient and keeping a sense of humor during rough times? How often have they talked about the importance of doing your calling and your home and visiting teaching (which is, at the end of the day, about maintaining relationships)?

Indeed, if there is a primary message from General Conference it is: love God and Jesus Christ and love your fellow man. And it turns out that the people who actually do this are the happiest and most successful in real life.

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