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.

Thoughts on having a baby in 2014

This is a guest post by Jamie Huston.

Last fall my wife and I learned we were having another baby. Since I already have three boys and three girls, I don’t have any preference about the new baby’s gender. As the time drew nearer to find out what we’re having, I still found myself having separate worries based on gender.

If it’s a girl, she might have a harder time finding a devout Mormon mate when she grows up. Most of the single adults I know or know of are women, and there seems to be a regular meme out there that laments a young woman’s chances for finding a worthy husband these days.

Of course, she’ll be in good company. If she’s unable to marry, she’ll have plenty of friends with whom to commiserate. She and those friends will most likely also be more educated than the would-be suitors around them. Far more women than men go to college (last semester I taught a college class with seventeen students, only four of whom were male, and three of those young men failed).

In fact, in education generally women now dominate. I also teach at a magnet high school for the arts (we just won our 11th Grammy award), a school where the student body is more than two-thirds female. But that’s an arts school—surely the magnet schools for technology and science are mostly male, right? I just checked the accountability reports for those four magnet schools in my district, and the female population at each ranges from 54% to 59%.

Also on the plus side if the baby is a girl, she’ll get to grow up in a world fanatically devoted to building her up and offering her every opportunity it can dream of. How many TV shows and movies have my current daughters seen where the explicit message is “make your dreams come true?” Everything from tween pop music to the logos on the only shirts available at the major retail outlets coach girls to believe in themselves and do whatever they want to do.
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Church asks OW movement to stand down

Read this story here.

To sum up, the Church has told a movement of dissident Mormon women who say they want the priesthood that their demands are not helping create meaningful discussions for Church members.

From the Deseret News story:

The letter, signed by Jessica Moody, also said the church is unable to fulfill a request made by the “Ordain Women” group for tickets to the church’s semiannual general priesthood meeting next month because the meeting “is designed to strengthen men and boys as they receive specific instruction about their roles and responsibilities.”

“Women in the church, by a very large majority, do not share your advocacy for priesthood ordination for women and consider that position to be extreme,” Moody said. “Declaring such an objective to be non-negotiable, as you have done, actually detracts from the helpful discussions that church leaders have held as they seek to listen to the thoughts, concerns, and hopes of women inside and outside of church leadership. Ordination of women to the priesthood is a matter of doctrine that is contrary to the Lord’s revealed organization for His church.”

Members of Ordain Women (OW) were told that they should keep any demonstrations against the Church to the “free speech zones” outside temple square, which is a subtle but pointed message to the group that their demands force them outside of the mainstream within the Church.

“Your organization has again publicized its intention to demonstrate on Temple Square during the April 5 priesthood session. Activist events like this detract from the sacred environment of Temple Square and the spirit of harmony sought at General Conference. Please reconsider.

“If you feel you must come and demonstrate, we ask that you do so in free speech zones adjacent to Temple Square, which have long been established for those wishing to voice differing viewpoints. They can be found on the attached map.

“As fellow Latter-day Saints and friends of the church, we invite you to help us maintain the peaceful environment of Temple Square and ask that you please follow these details in your continued planning. In addition, consistent with long-standing policy, news media cameras will not be allowed on Temple Square during General Conference.

The OW movement is also being told to refrain from propaganda efforts similar to those used at past conferences where the movement tried to use public media to show themselves as oppressed martyrs. Despite their efforts, almost no women in the Church show much sympathy. Recent polls have shown that more than 90 percent of Church women do not want priesthood ordination.

After months of agitation, the OW movement has garnered a total of 2,076 “likes” on its Facebook page. A counter-movement started last week called “Mormon Women Stand” already has 2840 “likes” with hundreds being added every day. The “Mormon Women Stand” page says the following: “As we ‘Stand’ together, we…unequivocally sustain the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles…and stand in support of how the Lord has delegated priesthood authority to organize and administer the gospel among all of His children.”

Meanwhile, members of the OW movement apparently believe that the prophets are not as inspired as they are.

The Church has spoken on this issue. Will the supposedly faithful members of the OW movement listen or will they move to direct opposition to the Lord’s Church?

The war on boys

If you turn on the news these days, one of the first things you will discover is that “being a boy” will very often get you thrown out of school, suspended or even arrested.

Consider, for example, this 10-year-old boy who was suspended for pointing his finger like a gun. Or this eight-year-old boy who used his finger as a gun. Or this six-year-old boy

You know the slogan, “point your finger, go to jail.”

The very fact that there exists one school administrator, not to mention many, who does not understand that this is simply how boys play is alarming enough.

But this is only the beginning of the war on boys. Matt Walsh goes into great detail in this excellent post.
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Perspective on Ukraine

In December 1989, under the first Pres. Bush, the United States invaded Panama and deposed the thuggish leader, Manuel Noriega. I was a reporter for the Miami Herald at the time and flew to Costa Rica to cover the invasion (flights to Panama were shut down during the invasion).

I crossed the border into Panama right before Christmas on a bus filled with other journalists. As we drove into the northwest Panamanian city of David, people surrounded our bus and cheered. They apparently thought we were part of the invasion force, and the people hated Noriega, and they were ecstatic to see the U.S. get rid of him. We watched as U.S. planes and helicopters landed in David and peacefully took control of the western part of the country. I went with a U.S. general to inspect a barn where Noriega allies had stored thousands of AK-47s.

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I then took a taxi to Panama City, stopping along the way at one of Noriega’s homes, which had been attacked by U.S. special forces looking for Noriega. It was a massive mansion, left empty as Noriega fled. I roamed around the house, looking at pictures of Noriega skiing in the Alps with his family, riding horses and boating, an intimate portrait of a wealthy dictator in his personal moments.

Noriega found his way to the Vatican Embassy, where he holed up for several days. Eventually, he surrendered to the U.S. military. He has spent all of his time since then in jails, first in the U.S., then in France and finally back in Panama, where he is incarcerated today, a sad, sick aging tyrant.

I thought of Panama over the weekend as I considered the Russian invasion of Ukraine. U.S. Sect of State Kerry claimed that Russia was acting in a 19th century fashion, invading sovereign countries on trumped-up charges. The hypocrisy of Kerry, who voted for the invasion of Iraq before voting against it, claiming that Russia is acting in a unique way, is absolutely laughable. The United States is launching drone strikes unilaterally in several Middle Eastern countries and is currently occupying Afghanistan. The United States has unilaterally invaded many countries over the years, including the invasion I witnessed with my own eyes, Panama. And by the way, at least 1,000 civilians were killed during the Panamanian invasion, many of them in the fire shown in the picture on this post, which took place in the slums of Panama City and may have been the result of a U.S. bomb.

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The sins of Sodom

Those who believe the sins of Sodom were exclusively sexual sins need to consider this scripture:

Ezekiel 16:49: Behold, this was the iniquity of thy sister Sodom, pride, fulness of bread, and abundance of idleness was in her and in her daughters, neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy.

It is clear from reading the account of Abraham and Lot that Sodom was not all about sexual sin. Lot “pitched his tent toward Sodom,” (Genesis 13:12) a symbol that he favored the things of the world over spiritual matters. Abraham, on the other hand, went to Hebron and immediately built an altar to the Lord (Genesis 13:18).

Over time, it has become clear that Abraham was known for his generosity, his charity and his humility. Lot pitching his tent toward Sodom showed that he did not care that the people of Sodom were unwelcoming, haughty, prideful and uncharitable. We cannot discount the fact that Sodom was evil precisely because the people did not care about the poor and were prideful (just as people in the Book of Mormon were often guilty of the same sin).

But those who would like the sins of Sodom only to be about lack of charity face a conundrum: the scriptures and the teachings of modern-day prophets make it clear that the sins of Sodom were also sexual in nature.

Consider the verse that comes right after Ezekiel 16:49, Ezekiel 16:50:

And they were haughty, and committed abomination before me: therefore I took them away as I saw good.

Yes, the people of Sodom were prideful, but they were also guilty of sexual abominations. The Church Topical Guide references these sins.

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