The Slightest Challenge

In our time -- when so much of what we desire is so easily within our reach--it is tempting to turn aside or give up whenever the road ahead seems a little bumpy or the slope tends to rise steeply before us. In those moments, it might inspire us to reflect on those men, women, and children who did not allow sickness, hardship, pain, and even death to deter them from their chosen path.

Pres. Dieter F. Uchtdorf

Happy Birthday!

Happy birthday! Here's to a year with you and new adventures ahead.

new horizons

It's Good to Be Alive

Pres. Eyring on the Pioneers

Fun interview with Pres Eyring on KSL

grand marshal

Much Like Peter

So many of us are so much like [Peter]. We pledge our loyalty; we affirm our determination to be of good courage; we declare, sometimes even publicly, that come what may we will do the right thing, that we will stand for the right cause, that we will be true to ourselves and to others.

Then the pressures begin to build. Sometimes these are social pressures. Sometimes they are personal appetites. Sometimes they are false ambitions. There is a weakening of the will. There is a softening of discipline. There is capitulation. And then there is remorse, self-accusation, and bitter tears of regret.

One of the great tragedies we witness almost daily is the tragedy of men of high aim and low achievement. Their motives are noble. Their proclaimed ambition is praiseworthy. Their capacity is great. But their discipline is weak. They succumb to indolence. Appetite robs them of will.

President Gordon B. Hinckley in And Peter Went Out and Wept Bitterly

When Love Becomes Virtuous

Marriage is a divine institution precisely because it pressures us away from self-centered love toward mature love—love freely offered, love as the choice to care for and invest in another person, even when they disappoint us.

Self Reliance: Having a Healthier Marriage

Beautiful Indiana Temple

terrestrial room

Beautiful interior and exerior shots now available on mormon newsroom.

BSA Leadership Policy Changes

From the BSA blog:

This change allows Scouting’s members and parents to select local units, chartered to organizations with similar beliefs, that best meet the needs of their families. This change would also respect the right of religious chartered organizations to continue to choose adult leaders whose beliefs are consistent with their own. The 2013 youth membership policy will not be affected and remains unchanged.

From Mormon Newsroom:

As a chartering organization, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has always had the right to select Scout leaders who adhere to moral and religious principles that are consistent with our doctrines and beliefs. Any resolution adopted by the Boy Scouts of America regarding leadership in Scouting must continue to affirm that right.

Robert Gate's talk in May that served as a catalyst for the change (start at 8:39 for relevant remarks):

Interesting outtakes:

We must deal with the world as it is, not as we might wish it to be. The status quo in our movement's membership standards cannot be sustained.

There is much truth here. We have to work with what we have. But that means that we start where we are. The direction that we go is totally up to us. We chose to move one way or the other.

Perhaps I'm misinterpreting what he means here, but I'm saddened by the statement. Maybe it's because I most often associate "standard" with a moral fiber standard in terms of one's duty to God and teachings of Christ. And to consider striving for less than the high bar that I feel that Christ has invited us to follow is a saddening thought. Per the Scout Oath, it seems that the very purpose of scouting is to help one fulfill that high potential and responsibility.

We can expect more councils to openly challenge the current policy. While technically we have the authority to revoke their charters, such an action would deny the lifelong benefits of scouting to hundreds of thousands of boys and young men today and vastly more in the future. I will not take that path.

It is hard to lead an organization where the members of the organization openly rebel against its stated policy. And this desire to share the benefits of scouting with as many as possible is certainly to be lauded. I think that the possibility that what benefits and meaning scouting currently provided to the many remaining true to the Scout Oath and Law are placed in great jeopardy if the scouting organization bends to vocal desires of the crowd.

The country is changing and we are increasingly at odds with the legal landscape at both the state and federal levels. And, as a movement, we find ourselves with a policy more than a few of our church sponsors reject -- thus placing scouting between a boy and his church.

It is surely impossible for any person to truly serve two masters. If the teachings of a church and another organization part ways, we only successfully cling to or abandon one or the other. We can not have it both ways. If the two organizations align in purpose, teachings, and practice, they compliment each other. If they are contrary in their designs, dual membership is likely to cause either confusion or empty association with at least one party.

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That people of principle are asked to make choices and choose association and a way of living consistent with their conscience seems only fitting. Else why have the principles? There would be nothing of consequence to distinguish their living from any other. Only in the opposition and peculiarness of the principle does the holder really make a choice distinct from the other choices present. Precisely because of the difficulty in making a choice and standing for a principle do we find value in it. And if that choice is made in the pattern that we believe God desires, we will additionally gain confidence in His approval.

Sen. Lee's Tribute to Pres. Packer

Utah State Senator Mike Lee paid tribute to the apostle on the floor of the U.S. Senate in Washington D.C., where he said, “Experiences such as tuning an old radio, getting his boys to stop wrestling in the living room, visiting a small church in Denmark, carving and painting birds, learning about crocodiles in Africa or observing the pleadings for help from an orphan boy while a serviceman in Japan — all emerged as foundational stories from which to teach life-changing principles.”

The Drawing Disease

“If drawing is a disease, then all the children were exposed. The others had mild cases, while it seems that I was seriously afflicted.”

Boyd K. Packer, in article about his art

Dissenting Excerpts

Excerpts from the dissenting opinion in the SCOTUS decision legalizing same-sex marriage in all states.

"But for those who believe in a government of laws, not of men, the majority’s approach is deeply disheartening....The majority’s decision is an act of will, not legal judgment. The right it announces has no basis in the Constitution or this Court’s precedent. The majority expressly disclaims judicial 'caution' and omits even a pretense of humility, openly relying on its desire to remake society according to its own 'new insight' into the 'nature of injustice.'"

Chief Justice Roberts

"The [majority's] opinion is couched in a style that is as pretentious as its content is egotistic. It is one thing for separate concurring or dissenting opinions to contain extravagances, even silly extravagances, of thought and expression; it is something else for the official opinion of the Court to do so...The stuff contained in today’s opinion has to diminish this Court’s reputation for clear thinking and sober analysis."

Justice Scalia

"Our Constitution—like the Declaration of Independence before it—was predicated on a simple truth: One’s liberty, not to mention one’s dignity, was something to be shielded from—not provided by—the State. Today’s decision casts that truth aside. In its haste to reach a desired result, the majority misapplies a clause focused on “due process” to afford substantive rights, disregards the most plausible understanding of the “liberty” protected by that clause, and distorts the principles on which this Nation was founded. Its decision will have inestimable consequences for our Constitution and our society."

Justice Thomas

"Today’s decision usurps the constitutional right of the people to decide whether to keep or alter the traditional understanding of marriage. The decision will also have other important consequences.It will be used to vilify Americans who are unwilling to assent to the new orthodoxy. In the course of its opinion,the majority compares traditional marriage laws to laws that denied equal treatment for African-Americans and women. The implications of this analogy will be exploited by those who are determined to stamp out every vestige of dissent."

Justice Alito

Read the majority and dissenting opinions in whole

14 Fundamentals in Following the Prophet

  1. The prophet is the only man who speaks for the Lord in everything.

  2. The living prophet is more vital to us than the standard works.

  3. The living prophet is more important to us than a dead prophet.

  4. The prophet will never lead the church astray.

  5. The prophet is not required to have any particular earthly training or credentials to speak on any subject or act on any matter at any time.

  6. The prophet does not have to say “Thus Saith the Lord,” to give us scripture.

  7. The prophet tells us what we need to know, not always what we want to know.

  8. The prophet is not limited by men’s reasoning.

  9. The prophet can receive revelation on any matter, temporal or spiritual.

  10. The prophet may advise on civic matters.

  11. The two groups who have the greatest difficulty in following the prophet are the proud who are learned and the proud who are rich.

  12. The prophet will not necessarily be popular with the world or the worldly.

  13. The prophet and his counselors make up the First Presidency—the highest quorum in the Church.

  14. The prophet and the presidency—the living prophet and the First Presidency—follow them and be blessed—reject them and suffer.

President Benson, in 14 Fundamentals in Following the Prophet, an address at BYU in 1980

Kaboom!

News story

Watch out for blue microwave lights!

Trust

"Deciding whether or not to trust a person is like deciding whether or not to climb a tree because you might get a wonderful view from the highest branch or you might simply get covered in sap and for this reason many people choose to spend their time alone and indoors where it is harder to get a splinter."

Lemony Snicket, The Penultimate Peril (A Series of Unfortunate Events, #12)

Bear Lake 2015