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.

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.

Gary Johnson’s Deseret News piece on the issue of religious liberty and Mormons

Please read this article here.

Here is an excerpt:

Yet there have also been times in our history when religion has been invoked to justify serious harm. In years past, opponents of interracial marriage, desegregation and other efforts to protect civil rights too often cited scripture and religion in making their arguments.

To be blunt, certain politicians have twisted religious liberty and used it as a tool to discriminate.

Thus, in response to a question thrown at me while walking down a street (in the rain), I expressed my reservations rather emphatically — and cited the experience of Mormons as a case-in-point where religious persecution resulted in violent episodes right here in America.

My point was that even a respected, peaceful people experienced tragic harm in the name of religion and was, in fact, persecuted by the government itself by politicians who opposed their beliefs and practices.

And on a personal level, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints came to mind because I had been in Utah the day before, as my campaign is actually based in Salt Lake City. I am well aware of the painful history of government interference with Mormons and the practice of their faith.

In part because of this unique history, I believe Utah has found an appropriate balance in a religious freedom law that serves as an example to the rest of the country that non-discrimination and religious freedom are not opposing forces, but can instead go hand in hand.

I want to be clear. I believe we can, and must, strike a balance between our shared American values of religious liberty and freedom from discrimination. My concerns lie with the possible consequences of politically-driven legislation which claims to promote religious liberty but instead rolls back the legal protections held by LGBT Americans.