About Geoff B.

Geoff B has had three main careers. Some of them have overlapped. After attending Stanford University (class of 1985), he worked in journalism for several years until about 1992, when he took up his second career in telecommunications sales. In 1995, he took up his favorite and third career as father. Soon thereafter, Heavenly Father hit him over the head with a two-by-four (wielded by the Holy Ghost) and he woke up from a long sleep. Since then, he's been learning a lot about the Gospel. He still has a lot to learn. Geoff's held several Church callings: young men's president, high priest group leader, member of the bishopric, stake director of public affairs, media specialist for church public affairs, high councilman. He tries his best in his callings but usually falls short. Geoff has five children and lives in Colorado.

First Presidency message for September urges preparedness

I have heard people say that the Church is not emphasizing preparedness as much these days as it has in the past. The September First Presidency message says being prepared and out of debt is urgent.

We urge all Latter-day Saints to be prudent in their planning, to be conservative in their living, and to avoid excessive or unnecessary debt. Many more people could ride out the storm-tossed waves in their economic lives if they had a supply of food and clothing and were debt-free. Today we find that many have followed this counsel in reverse: they have a supply of debt and are food-free.

I repeat what the First Presidency declared a few years ago:

“Latter-day Saints have been counseled for many years to prepare for adversity by having a little money set aside. Doing so adds immeasurably to security and well-being. Every family has a responsibility to provide for its own needs to the extent possible.

“We encourage you wherever you may live in the world to prepare for adversity by looking to the condition of your finances. We urge you to be modest in your expenditures; discipline yourselves in your purchases to avoid debt. Pay off debt as quickly as you can, and free yourselves from this bondage. Save a little money regularly to gradually build a financial reserve.”1

Are we prepared for the emergencies in our lives? Are our skills perfected? Do we live providently? Do we have our reserve supply on hand? Are we obedient to the commandments of God? Are we responsive to the teachings of prophets? Are we prepared to give of our substance to the poor, the needy? Are we square with the Lord?

We live in turbulent times. Often the future is unknown; therefore, it behooves us to prepare for uncertainties. When the time for decision arrives, the time for preparation is past.

Elder Bednar calls for using social media to spread the Gospel

Elder Bednar, speaking during Education Week at BYU, called on members to use social media to spread the message of the Gospel. Here are some key excerpts from his talk:

“Approximately 40 percent of our worldwide missionary force soon will be using digital devices as tools in the work of conversion, retention, and activation,” he said. “I am confident all of us also recognize how technology has accelerated family history and temple work, our individual and family study of the restored gospel, and made it possible for us to learn about, see, and experience the world in remarkable ways.”

Elder Bednar pointed to recent social media efforts by the Church and its members, including an Easter video, Because of Him, which was viewed more than five million times in 191 countries and territories around the world during Easter week.

He cited other examples, such as the hundreds of people who used the #didyouthinktopray hashtag to share a photo with a placard telling when they pray, which led to more than 40,000 conversations about the need for prayer.

And this:

“I now extend to you the invitation to help transform the trickle into a flood. Beginning at this place on this day, I exhort you to sweep the earth with messages filled with righteousness and truth — messages that are authentic, edifying, and praiseworthy — and literally to sweep the earth as with a flood,” urged Elder Bednar. “I pray we will not simply participate in a flash flood that rises swiftly and then recedes just as rapidly.”

Elder Bednar encouraged listeners to be authentic and consistent when using social media and to only share content that uplifts and edifies. “We should not exaggerate, embellish, or pretend to be someone or something we are not. Our content should be trustworthy and constructive. Anonymity on the Internet is not a license to be inauthentic.”

“We and our messages should seek to edify and uplift rather than to argue, debate, condemn, or belittle,” explained Elder Bednar. “Be courageous and bold but not overbearing in sustaining and defending our beliefs, and avoid contention. As disciples our purpose should be to use social media channels as a means of projecting the light and truth of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ into a world that increasingly is dark and confused.”

Watch the talk: http://www.byutv.org/watch/event/852b379b-54c5-468b-97b2-ea221b4a56c1

From Mormon Newsroom: http://www.mormonnewsroom.org/article/apostle-calls-for-social-media-messages-sweep-earth?cid=social_20140819_30077876

Promo for new Church movie “Meet the Mormons:” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yOEA3nVMngA

Elder Maxwell’s prophecy

Church members will live in this wheat-and-tares situation until the Millennium. Some real tares even masquerade as wheat, including the few eager individuals who lecture the rest of us about Church doctrines in which they no longer believe. They criticize the use of Church resources to which they no longer contribute. They condescendingly seek to counsel the Brethren whom they no longer sustain. Confrontive, except of themselves, of course, they leave the Church, but they cannot leave the Church alone (Ensign, Nov. 1980, 14). Like the throng on the ramparts of the “great and spacious building,” they are intensely and busily preoccupied, pointing fingers of scorn at the steadfast iron-rodders (1 Ne. 8:26–28, 33). Considering their ceaseless preoccupation, one wonders, Is there no diversionary activity available to them, especially in such a large building—like a bowling alley? Perhaps in their mockings and beneath the stir are repressed doubts of their doubts. In any case, given the perils of popularity, Brigham Young advised that this “people must be kept where the finger of scorn can be pointed at them” (Discourses of Brigham Young, sel. John A. Widtsoe [1941], 434).

This prophecy seems more and more relevant all the time.

(h/t to Brian Duffin.)

Here is the source:

https://www.lds.org/general-conference/1996/04/becometh-as-a-child?lang=eng

Church disaffection and the parable of the urban park

There once were two men who lived near an urban park, Tom and Henry.

The two were friends who had met while walking their dogs in the park. As they walked they would talk about the joys of the park, which was filled with hidden glades, brooks and special areas away from the crowds. They were pleased with how the park was maintained. The grass was cut nicely in some areas and new flowers were regularly planted. In other areas, nature was allowed to flourish untouched by human hands. In short, the park was a marvel for them and they loved it.

Both Tom and Henry joined a “Friends of the Park” group in which they would volunteer once a month to help clean up the park, plant flowers, dispose of fallen trees limbs, etc. They would work for several hours on Saturdays with dozens of other friends. They both felt they were doing good and part of something useful. Parks administrators would of course help with such efforts, but the success or failure of the volunteer efforts depending mostly on the work of the volunteers.

One day Henry was walking through the park and he noticed that a rather large tree limb had fallen due to a recent storm. It was blocking one of the paths. He called the park administrators, but the director was on vacation and the message got lost. So the tree limb was left there for several weeks. Every time Henry walked by he got angrier and angrier. “Why aren’t these people doing their jobs?” he would fume.

He would mention the problem to Tom, and Tom would say “I’m sure they will get to it. Isn’t it a beautiful day?”

Henry was beginning to get a bit annoyed with Tom. What a Pollyanna he is, Henry thought. But Henry did not say anything.

The next day Henry noticed that a lot of people in the park were not cleaning up after their dogs. He mentioned this to Tom and he said that he actually thought more people were cleaning up after their dogs, not less. “Boy that guy is annoying,” Henry said to himself. “Doesn’t he see that this park is beginning to fall apart?”
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We interrupt the usual doom and gloom to bring you some good news

I wanted to highlight a fascinating story in the Economist that shows that young people these days are…healthier and less sexually active than past generations.

This trend appears to be consuming the United States and much of Western Europe. As the Economist says:

In America, the proportion of high-school students reporting “binge-drinking”—more than five drinks in a single session—has fallen by a third since the late 1990s. Cigarette smoking among the young has become so uncommon that more teenagers—some 23% of 17- to 18-year-olds—smoke cannabis than tobacco. Over the past ten years pot-smoking has increased, a bit, among these older teens; but even though now legal in some states (see page 35) its prevalence is still far lower than in the 1970s, when Barack Obama was a member of his high-school “choom gang”. Use of other recreational drugs has fallen sharply. Dr Wilson Compton, the deputy director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, says that perhaps the most worrying trend in young Americans’ drug habits is the increasing abuse of attention-focusing pills such as Ritalin by students keen to improve their performance.

Teenage kicks of other sorts also appear to be on the decline. “Teens are waiting longer to have sex than they did,” according to a report on young Americans from the Guttmacher Institute, a think-tank. America’s teenage pregnancy rate is half what it was two decades ago (see chart 3). Britain has experienced a lesser decline. Most mainland European countries never saw the high rates of teenage pregnancy that America and Britain saw in the 1980s and 1990s, but they too have fewer expectant youngsters than they did.

Teenagers appear not just to be waiting longer for sex, but also by-and-large to be being careful about what they get up to once they get started. According to data from the European Centre for Disease Monitoring and Control, across the European Union (EU) they are the only age group to be diagnosed with fewer sexually transmitted diseases in recent years.

What is causing this newer generation of healthier habits?

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