Friday, January 27, 2012

Interesting enough to be my 50th blog post

So, as I was already so close to the time I was to leave on my mission, I was figure my last post would be my fiftieth and we'd have a nice celebration about it all. But, things have changed, and the change is cool enough (at least to me) to qualify for my fiftieth post.

Last Tuesday (I know, old news. But I haven't been online as much as I used to), I had a nice chat with my stake president, President Score. During our conversation, he mentioned that he had received a call from Salt Lake that morning about me. Specifically, Salt Lake was curious if I was interesting in helping them by joining the pilot group for  anew MTC program geared to get missionaries through the MTC quicker. So, after some conversation about what that would entail, I accepted.

The short of it is, I will be entering the MTC three weeks later than originally planned and leaving it at the same time originally planned. Meaning I will be there for six weeks instead of nine. It sounds like a great experience and a cool opportunity. Plus, I won't be stuck there for fourteen weeks like my brother. Yeah!

Also, this does mean I'm here for three weeks more than planned. So, I guess I'll have to disappoint all who were hoping to get rid of me. But just a bit more, and on the twenty-ninth, you (and I) will get your wish.

Oh, by the way, happy fiftieth to me.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

On symbolism and being who you need to be

So, in Elder's Quorum meeting today, we were talking about a parable told by Christ (where a man comes to a wedding feast not dressed properly and is sent out). This led to a discussion about what each part of the parable meant. Some of the discussion seemed directed to establish a firm meaning (that the feast was the second coming, that the man was unprepared because he hadn't received the covenants of the gospel, etc.). During this, I brought up the idea that I've come to believe through classes at BYU and through my own study, which is that the symbols in parables and in all our church are really just tools for receiving revelation. By this, I mean that the symbols mean different things at different times to different people. And it's ok. We are to interpret for ourselves with the help of the Spirit so we can know what God wants us to know.

I love the gospel, and that it really is personal. Some people hear about standards in the church and think that everyone is held to the exact same standard and are just cookie cutter copies of each other. This is only partially true. Some standards are expected of all members of the church, but as we progress, the Holy Ghost will bring to our minds new commitments that we need to live up to. In this way, we all find ourselves with our own sets of standards. This is amazing. I know of no other church that can fully internalize this ideal. And it's only possible through personal revelation, for everyone. Every one of us can be as Nephi and learn of the truth for ourself, even if we have a prophet for a father who can already tell us everything. Revelation is the key, and the Holy Ghost provides that.

I am so grateful to my Father in Heaven, who provides a way for me to know, personally, what it is that I need to do to become who I need to be. I know that we're all on our own stage of development, and I hope we can all be a little more understanding of that. As we go forth, let us remember the differences between us, that we may strengthen our brothers and sister, regardless of where they are in their personal development.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

This is my Christmas Post

I realized that your life would not be complete if I didn't post a Christmas post for you. So, here goes what comes off the top of my head. As usual, it's likely to be rather rambling.

Well, I first want to say that my family is great. One cool thing that happened recently is that my family came down to pick me up from Provo. While there, my parents spoke in my brother's sacrament meeting. I thought their talks were some of the best I've ever heard. It reminded me that my parents are great. My mom is so smart and is always seeking for the truth, and my dad has a poise and attitude about him that just shows he knows the gospel is true and he will do all he can to come closer to God and bring others with him. Also in my family are my siblings, who may not have been mentioned here before. My sister Alyssa is in high school still and she's such a fun person to be around, always willing to serve and always just bouncy enough to get you excited. My brother Evan is serving as a marine in Afghanistan and he was able to call today. The call reminded me of his great story telling ability and the ability to enjoy himself even amid the harshest of conditions. My sister Chae has been able to stop by many times so far this break, which has been fun. Her sense of humor and kind words are always welcome. And my brother Chris I've always looked up to, even if I'm taller than him now.

Another amazing thing that happened recently is I was able to go through the temple to receive my own endowments just a couple days ago. This experience has caused me to look back again to see what I've been through to get there, and I'm grateful again for those who have helped me. I've also realized how much being at BYU really has prepared me for a life in gospel service and living. The professors really know how it is to be a dedicated member and how to life life according to the gospel plan. This has encouraged me to do likewise, and their advise will help make it possible. I'm so grateful for the opportunity I've had and will have to attend that wonderful university.

Lastly, I want to take a moment to talk about our Savior. He truly is amazing. Guys, the Atonement is real and complete. I encourage you all to learn as much about it as you can, by study and prayer, letting the spirit tell you what He wants you to know. The true power of the Atonement to change our lives completely is staggering, and we will never stop receiving blessings. I love my Father in Heaven and what he has done for me, and I look forward to dedicating two years of service to him.

I hope you've all had a most wonderful, happy Christmas, and I look forward to when we'll meet again.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Hard to say goodbye

There are many posts I've been wanting to write. One of them was a true thanksgiving post, as the one I had was... well, lacking. So, while much of this post will express gratitude, I'm writing now not as a Thanksgiving post, but as a goodbye post.

Provo, you are definitely the high point in my life so far. It is here that I became a new creature in Christ. It is here that I started college. It is here that I met the wonderful people who I have come to count as my guardian angels and guiding stars. It is here that I became a missionary.

This post is to thank all of you who have helped me in the past two and a half years, whether or not you remember or even knew you did. Thank you for the inspiring words at the right times, both in and out of church meetings. Thank you for the listening ears, sometimes as late as four in the morning. Thank you for the chance to enjoy being a Mormon nerd. Thank you for the high standards, especially in dating. Thank you for helping me see more clearly the worth of every single son and daughter of God.

It's hard to say all I'd like to, and I know it would just become boring and repetitive. So, I'm going to close with this. Thank you, so much, for the pure, Christ-like love that you have. Never have I felt as accepted and as loved as I have here. You've put up with all my crazy antics, and loved me just the same. For this, I cannot express even a hundredth part of the thanks I have.

I wish you all the greatest couple years, and I look forward to the time we can see each other again. Until then, parakeet.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Just a little gem from Linux's fortune program

Brief History Of Linux (#1)
Re-Inventing the Wheel

Our journey through the history of Linux begins ca. 28000 B.C. when a
large all-powerful company called MoogaSoft monopolized the wheel-making
industry. As founder of the company, Billga Googagates (rumored to be the
distant ancestor of Bill Gates) was the wealthiest man in the known world,
owning several large rock huts, an extravagant collection of artwork (cave
paintings), and a whole army of servants and soldiers.

MoogaSoft's unfair business practices were irritating, but users were
unable to do anything about them, lest they be clubbed to death by
MoogaSoft's army. Nevertheless, one small group of hobbyists finally got
fed up and starting hacking their own wheels out of solid rock. Their
spirit of cooperation led to better and better wheels that eventually
outperformed MoogaSoft offerings.

MoogaSoft tried desperately to stop the hobbyists -- as shown by the
recently unearthed "Ooga! Document" -- but failed. Ironically, Billga
Googagates was killed shortly afterwards when one his own 900-pound wheels
crushed him.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Modest is not Hottest

The phrase "modest is hottest" has been getting to me recently. If you take a step back, you realize that that is not it at all. As I've thought about this phrase more, I've realized that it is inherently a contradiction.

Let me explain. I've been asked before about what I consider immodest on a girl or a guy. For girls, there are many fashions we easily recognize as immodest. Guys are a little harder, but we know there are immodest styles for men, too. In response to such questions, I've given lists, but they always include a disclaimer, "I'm not entirely sure, but I know it when I see it." The phrase "modest is hottest" has brought to my attention exactly what I "see" that lets me know something is immodest.

For men and women, I give this idea as a standard: if what you are wearing/doing/acting is "hot", you are probably being immodest.

That being said, I think the phrase reveals an underlying problem with our society. Men and women are too concerned with being "hot". While being attractive, handsome, beautiful, comely, or presentable are all great goals, I think aiming for "hot" is putting our sights in the wrong place. I admit that I like beautiful girls (surprise, surprise). I enjoy being around them and even just looking at them. But if a girl starts to feel "hot", the situation is no longer what I want to be involved in. Men and women need to step away from the fire, because we can so easily get burned.

So, I repeat. Modest is not hottest. Modest is best.