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.

The contrast between the on-line Mormon world and the real Mormon world

I don’t spend much time reading many Mormon blogs.  The primary reason is that it is a depressing exercise.  Don’t get me wrong — even some of the worst Mormon blogs have occasional pearls from people extolling their positive church experiences.  But such jewels usually receive few comments and little traffic.

The three primary themes of the Mormon blog world are 1)the writers are smarter/better informed/more moral/more up-to-date than the leaders of the Church or 2)the writers are much more righteous than “conservative” or “TBM” Mormons 3)Most Church members are  judgmental hicks (unlike the blog writers, of course, who are tolerant and understanding and filled with love for everybody — except for the people they really hate, ie, the other Church members).  And, really, if I wanted to spend my time reading that I could always go to some anti-Mormon web site someplace and read the same thing.

I am sadly forced to report that many Mormons who write on Mormon blogs appear to be obsessed with the faults of their fellow Saints and show no real charity toward people they should love.  The examples are too numerous to mention, and I am not going to give links to any of these blogs because I don’t think people should be reading them.  But in researching this post I looked up the most recent output from about a dozen on-line Mormon blogs, and I found out that people who go to Church are “country club Mormons” who hate gay people, want to oppress women and are overly concerned with what other people wear.  In addition, the prophets are old and out of touch, and the Church used to be better a few decades ago.  And the Church is really, really bad these days because it does not agree with all of the secular trends that the cool people like.

Sigh.

My advice is:  don’t read these blogs.  But if you are one of these people who do read those blogs I would like to give you another perspective.  This perspective comes from somebody who converted to the Church almost two decades ago, and has gone to church in Brazil, Miami and Colorado, where I live now.  I have also visited wards literally all over the world when traveling.  Because of my callings over the years, I have gotten to know hundreds of people who were inactive or who left the Church for one reason or another.  And I have obviously gotten to know thousands of members.  Please keep in mind that as a member of a bishopric and a high councilor, I have had detailed discussions with people about many different issues.

  • I can’t recall ever meeting at Church a latter-day Saint who ever expressed a serious concern over the “patriarchy” or the Church’s position on same-sex attraction.  I have met people who had questions about polygamy or the Church’s position on blacks and the priesthood.  I have met people with questions about the all-male priesthood and the Church’s position on same-sex issues, but none of these people had serious concerns.

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New study destroys myths about gender identity and same-sex attraction

The prophets and the Proclamation on the Family are correct once again.  A major new study that you can read HERE destroys many of the myths about gender identity and same-sex attraction.  Among the findings of the study:

The belief that sexual orientation is an innate, biologically fixed human property—that people are ‘born that way’—is not supported by scientific evidence.

Likewise, the belief that gender identity is an innate, fixed human property independent of biological sex—so that a person might be a ‘man trapped in a woman’s body’ or ‘a woman trapped in a man’s body’—is not supported by scientific evidence.

Only a minority of children who express gender-atypical thoughts or behavior will continue to do so into adolescence or adulthood. There is no evidence that all such children should be encouraged to become transgender, much less subjected to hormone treatments or surgery.

Non-heterosexual and transgender people have higher rates of mental health problems (anxiety, depression, suicide), as well as behavioral and social problems (substance abuse, intimate partner violence), than the general population. Discrimination alone does not account for the entire disparity.

 

The 143-page report discusses more than 200 peer-reviewed studies and documents what scientific research does and does not show about sexuality and gender.  The report was authored by two of the nation’s leading scholars on mental health and sexuality.

The major takeaway, as the editor of the journal explains, is that “some of the most frequently heard claims about sexuality and gender are not supported by scientific evidence.”

Go see Ben-Hur

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The remake of Ben-Hur is easily the best of the recently produced biblically themed epic movies. It may be the best of that genre ever made. It is better than the 1959 version, and I am a big fan of that epic movie with Charlton Heston.

The acting is excellent. Jack Huston plays the title role with surprising range, handling all of the vicissitudes of Ben-Hur’s life with a believable quality. Morgan Freeman is great as the chariot owner who helps redeem Ben-Hur, and Nazanin Boniadi does excellent work as Ben-Hur’s wife Esther.

You may or may not know that the movie is the fifth film adaptation of the 1880 novel “Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ.” The story centers on Judah Ben-Hur, a wealthy Jew from Jerusalem in the first century AD. His adopted brother Messala (Toby Kebbell) is a Roman who ends up becoming an officer in the Roman army. The Romans have occupied the Holy Land, and Judah Ben-Hur is caught in the middle between the Jewish people who oppose Roman rule and Messala’s desire to pacify Judea for the glory of Rome.

If you have seen the Charlton Heston version, you may know that Judah gets ruined by the Romans and sent to work on a slave galley ship for five years. He is kept alive by hatred of his adopted brother and his desire for revenge. There is an epic battle scene (one of the most thrillingly realistic and gruesome battle scenes ever in the movies) and Judah survives. He ends up washing ashore and being saved by Morgan Freeman, who takes advantage of Judah’s knowledge of horses. Soon he is training for the chariot races, where he will face Messala in a climactic showdown.

The Savior is in the background in this story. Judah first meets him when he is a well-spoken carpenter in Jerusalem more than five years before his crucifixion. The Savior helps Judah when he becomes a slave by giving him water and helping him stand up when he is weak. The spiritual high point of the movie comes during the Savior’s crucifixion, which is portrayed extremely well.

Ben-Hur is a movie about forgiveness, family and the power of love and sacrifice. It is a spiritual movie without being preachy or corny. It has some of the best action scenes I have ever witnessed in the movies. Good acting. Great cinematography. I plan on watching it again soon.

Some of our biblical scholars may be bothered by the fact that the movie has Christ working as a carpenter in Jerusalem five years before his crucifixion, which contradicts the scriptures. Hey, it’s a fictional account, and the authors took a few liberties.

Another warning: the two action scenes on the galley and in the chariot races are too overwhelming and bloody for children. These scenes are why the movie has a PG-13 rating. I would not recommend that any children under 14 see this movie.

But otherwise, this movie is a rarity in a day when so many horrible movies are being made. Go see it.

Fort Collins temple open house officially starts today

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The Fort Collins temple open house starts today Aug. 19. I had the pleasure of volunteering as a parking attendant at the temple a few days ago (for the pre-open house opening to neighbors of the temple), and I was able to tour the building. It is spectacular.

I have been inside dozens of temples, but two things stand out at the Fort Collins temple. The first is the incredible wood work. The doors and chairs and much of the frames of the art work includes beautiful carvings. The second is the art work in the endowment rooms. There are two endowment rooms before you get to the celestial room, and they have sensational original art work from the Colorado mountains on the walls. One scene is of a meadow in the Rocky Mountain National Park, which is less than an hour drive from the temple.

We live just 25 minutes away from this beautiful building, the closest I have ever lived to a temple since I joined the Church.

Another story that readers might find interesting: one of the designers of the temple attended our ward for a year before the temple opened. The word went out that he was working on the temple, and nearly every Sunday people would ask him for details. He never disclosed a single detail except to give his testimony that it would be a beautiful temple. He has since moved on to another temple being built in the U.S. (I can’t remember which one). Anyway, it was great to see him at Church every Sunday and to observe the temple grow from empty field to House of the Lord.

The temple will be dedicated in October, and we hope to go at least once a month after that.

Please check out photos of the Fort Collins temple here.

McMullin on same-sex marriage and the Supreme Court

Several of my friends appear enamored with Evan McMullin, the newly announced presidential candidate. I would like to bring to readers’ attention this article from the National Review, which includes these paragraphs.

After I scoured Evan McMullin’s Facebook page, I went to his website, wherein he says he’s very pro-life, but the only policy he commits to is no taxpayer financing of abortion; he boasts of support for adoption; and he commits to virtually nothing concrete on any issue, much less religious liberty, trying, I suppose, to be a unifier through vagueness, as many consultants would no doubt advise. This may or may not help you win (I think not, in this instance, as voters are onto this game), but it definitely makes it almost impossible to have a victory worth winning, as the GOP majorities in Congress have proved time and time again.

A few days later, consistent with his desire to be the new face of the Republican party that existing Washington GOP power players are longing for, McMullin was asked by Mark Halperin about gay marriage: “As a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I believe in traditional marriage between a man and a woman, but I respect the decision of the Court, and I think it’s time to move on,” McMullin said, according to Lifesite News.

When Halperin asked if a President McMullin would at least appoint Supreme Court justices who would overturn the Obergefell decision, he replied, “I wouldn’t.”

He could have evaded. He could have said he would look for constitutionalists like Justice Scalia. But he didn’t. He instead said its time to accept that the Left gets to decide what is in our Constitution and move on.

No one who cares about or understands constitutional conservatism would answer that way.

Readers can make their own decisions about McMullin, but he is definitely not getting my vote.