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.

What is the Church’s motto?

According to a 1838 document from the Joseph Smith papers, the motto is:

The Constitution of our country formed by the Fathers of liberty. Peace and good order in society. Love to God, and good will to man. All good and wholesome laws, virtue and truth above all things, and aristarchy, live forever! But woe to tyrants, mobs, aristocracy, anarchy, and toryism, and all those who invent or seek out unrighteous and vexatious law suits, under the pretext and color of law, or office, either religious or political. Exalt the standard of Democracy! Down with that of priestcraft, and let all the people say Amen! that the blood of our fathers may not cry from the ground against us. Sacred is the memory of that blood which bought for us our liberty.

JOSEPH SMITH, JUN.,

THOMAS B. MARSH,

DAVID W. PATTEN,

BRIGHAM YOUNG,

SAMUEL H. SMITH,

GEORGE M. HINKLE,

JOHN CORRILL,

GEORGE W. ROBINSON

(March, 1838).

Here again is the source.

Note 1: “aristarchy” means “government by good people.”

Note 2: I am unable to find context for this quotation. M* welcomes input from anybody who may provide insights regarding the Church’s motto.

Poll: growing appetite for religion in politics

Every once in a while a poll comes along that surprises you, and the Pew polls have done that once again. It turns out that a growing number of Americans are not happy with a trend they see against religion in politics.

Nearly three-quarters of the public (72%) now thinks religion is losing influence in American life, up 5 percentage points from 2010 to the highest level in Pew Research polling over the past decade. And most people who say religion’s influence is waning see this as a bad thing.

Perhaps as a consequence, a growing share of the American public wants religion to play a role in U.S. politics. The share of Americans who say churches and other houses of worship should express their views on social and political issues is up 6 points since the 2010 midterm elections (from 43% to 49%). The share who say there has been “too little” expression of religious faith and prayer from political leaders is up modestly over the same period (from 37% to 41%). And a growing minority of Americans (32%) think churches should endorse candidates for political office, though most continue to oppose such direct involvement by churches in electoral politics.

religion losing influence

support for religion in politics

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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.

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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