Review: Gospel Principles (revised) Chapters 1-10

July 24, 2009    By: Matt W. @ 10:49 pm   Category: Mormon Culture/Practices

For those unaware, The Juvenile Instructor broke the news this morning that the church will be taking a break from Teaching of the Presidents of the Church for at least 2010-2011 to return to basics with the publication of a new edition of the Gospel Principles manual. Finding this out, I acquired a copy, and perused the first 10 chapters. Here are my impressions.


Well hell, I reckon I ought to be baptized too

July 22, 2009    By: Matt W. @ 7:31 pm   Category: Life

While I don’t consider myself much of a storyteller or very good at historical work, I really do try to take Pioneer day as an opportunity to look back at people in my pioneer heritage worth honoring. So consider this bit of family history part of the upcoming pioneer day celebration.

When Bill’s brother, Jim Ed, went away to college at Stephen F. Austin, as part of his hazing, a man held him down and shaved his head. Jim Ed went home humiliated, and said he’d had enough of school and these sorts of shenanigans. Bill got the boy’s name and then took off. He got in his car [1] and drove to the school and began asking around for the young man who’d held his brother down. The man, not knowing who Bill was, came out extended his hand to Bill, and said “What do you want to talk about?” He took the man’s hand, breaking his finger, and said “I’m not here to talk boy, I’m here to whoop your ass.” Jim Ed had no more problems with hazing at school. [2] However, Jim did have some trouble with his brother.

Some Advice on Foreclosures

July 19, 2009    By: Geoff J @ 5:24 pm   Category: Life

In a career twist I would not have predicted, I have somehow become somewhat of an expert on the subject of mortgage refinances, loan modifications, and foreclosures over the last two years. Anyhow, odds are that you or one of your family members or friends is facing foreclosure on their home right now. I figured I could write some general advice about this subject in the hopes it might help someone.

Here is a scenario:

An LDS family in California is facing foreclosure. They bought their home at the height of the market in 2005 and now the home has dropped in value by more that $200,000. So between their first and second mortgage they owe $200,000+ more on the home than it could sell for right now. In the meantime the income of this good family has significantly decreased with the contracting U.S. economy. The upshot is that this family has no chance of being able to make their current mortgage payments over the long run. They made the full payments as long as they could, draining most of their savings in the process but now are up against the wall.

This is a fairly common situation these days. My advice to this family would be as follows: (more…)

R.I.P. Copper Rocket (2006-2009)

July 17, 2009    By: Geoff J @ 4:22 pm   Category: Life,Rock 'n' Roll

Those of you who have been around a while may remember this post from three years ago where I was seeking suggestions for the all-Mormon cover band I had joined at the time. There were some really funny band names there so that thread is worth re-reading. Anyhow, the band eventually settled with the largely meaningless and safe name “Copper Rocket“. We practiced a lot and gigged a little over the next few years. When we did gig we mostly ended up playing outdoor events like block parties.

Copper Rocket was a fun band but we never really achieved liftoff. First, we could never settle in on a genre so the set list ended up being all over the place. The bigger problem was that we all have grown-up lives to lead and no one was able or willing to get out there and find us gigs. So we held on for a quite a while because we became friends but a few months back our drummer had to quit and that gave the bass player an out to call it quits too. At that point Copper Rocket finally crashed to earth for good.

But since we did slap together a quick demo I figured I would immortalize our little all-Mormon cover band in Arizona here at the Thang by posting those songs. (As usual I played sax in this band and handled most male lead vocals) Here they are in MP3 form:

Secret Agent Man (The band joked that we should call it Secret Asian Man because I slurred the title line. Over time the joke kinda stuck)
Back on the Chain Gang
Obladi Oblada
Video Killed the Radio Star (We sort of morphed the orginal version with the The PotUSA version)

Rest in peace Copper Rocket.

I may get the itch and start a new band again some time, but then again maybe I won’t…

The Myth of Restitution

July 12, 2009    By: Jacob J @ 11:13 pm   Category: Atonement & Soteriology

“Sorry” doesn’t put the Triscuit crackers in my stomach now, does it Carl? (Eric, Billy Madison)

If restitution is required for true repentance to take place, then we are all screwed. Sure, there are some sins for which restitution can be made. Stolen stuff can be returned. A relationship can be restored. But, for the vast majority of sins, it seems to me that robust restitution is really an impossibility. (more…)

I’ve never liked the Niblets

July 8, 2009    By: Geoff J @ 10:27 pm   Category: Bloggernacle

Ok, I’ll come out and say it. I never really liked the Niblets and was disappointed to see them claw their way out of their rotting grave again this year.

I have some right to say such a thing since if I remember correctly it was my Mormon Archipelago pals and I who started and named the stinky little awards at the end of 2005. (You can mostly blame Ronan).

To me the Niblets are like another tradition I don’t like — white elephant gift exchanges. The odds of hurt feelings (especially when there are desirable gifts) makes the risks of ruining the party higher than the potential fun of the game. See this thread to decide for yourself how the latest iteration is panning out.

What say you? Do you love the Niblets or are you with me on this one?

Mormonism and Patriotism

July 3, 2009    By: Matt W. @ 7:42 am   Category: Mormon Culture/Practices

One thing I have never really understood in my short little life as a Latter-day Saint (trying to be!) is the intersection between patriotism and mormonism within the church. Does it just go back to the Utah’s long hard road to statehood? Did it come before or after the nigh-canonization of the U.S. Constitution, or is that an out-growth of the hyper-patriotism? Is it because the Gospel was restored in the US, and so the US law was the only set up where the government could prosper, or is that just after-the-fact justification for our love of country? I suspect it does relate to the Book of Mormon’s praise of this land as a “Land of Promise”, but wasn’t that Mexico/Peru/Patagonia/Panama/Wherever? (Are their other limited geography spots?) Maybe it’s because we believe in being subject to Kings/Rulers/Magistrates, and honoring and sustaining the law, but I don’t see this translating over to other nations as much.

Anyway, what do you think? Why are we so danged Patriotic?

(Happy 4th of July, don’t blow your fingers off)