A Review of LDS teachings regarding a Heavenly Mother.

September 29, 2009    By: Matt W. @ 7:59 am   Category: spirit birth,Theology

Next year’s manual for Relief Society/Priesthood will be Gospel Principles, and chapter 2 begins with the following quote:

“All men and women are . . . literally the sons and daughters of Deity. . . . Man, as a spirit, was begotten and born of heavenly parents, and reared to maturity in the eternal mansions of the Father, prior to coming upon the earth in a temporal [physical] body” [1]

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3-1, or, Cougars dine on Rams

September 26, 2009    By: Geoff J @ 6:37 pm   Category: Sports

BYU came out and looked pretty good against Colorado State today. The final score was BYU 42, CSU 23. BYU started very strongly getting a couple of interceptions and blocking a punt in the first quarter, with the offense punching in touchdowns on all three.

Just a few thoughts:

- Harvey Unga is really good. Man is it great to have him back.
- Max Hall has thrown more interceptions than touchdowns this season. He has a nasty habit of throwing high risk passes over the middle. A lot of his INT’s happen when he anticipates wrong the direction a receiver will break. Those end up going right to defenders.
- Brian Logan is a really good tackler but at 5’6″ he is going to get abused all year long at his cornerback position. BYU probably needs to figure out how to get someone bigger in there on occasion — especially in the red zone.
- BYU is not a top 10 team right now but they could be later this year if they keep improving.
- Todd Christiansen is a deeply annoying color commentator. I want to pull for him because he is a BYU guy but man is his commentary painful.
- Andrew Rich is a beast. He obliterates people with his tackling every week.
- Basketball coach Dave Rose looked good in the interview today. Cancer-free, less overweight, and more gray hair. I couldn’t be happier for him. Plus, I am calling it right now: BYU makes the Sweet 16 this year. I expect this year’s BYU hoops team will be the best in decades.

Congratulations to the Cougars. Utah State is coming to Provo this Friday in a pre General Conference tilt.

Of Grandparents and Dying

September 25, 2009    By: Jacob J @ 1:08 am   Category: Ethics,Life

Of my wife and my five remaining grandparents, four of them are nearing the end.
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Good Theology

September 24, 2009    By: Geoff J @ 9:18 pm   Category: Theology

What constitutes good theology?

One might assume that good theology always equals true theology. But based on D&C section 19 I am not sold on that assumption. When I read section 19 I am reminded of the movie line “You can’t handle the truth!” . Further, I gather from section 19 that God has somewhat of a utilitarian view of good theology. That is, the revelation seems to indicate that God is more interested in our actions than our beliefs and if believing something that isn’t entirely accurate leads to right behavior God doesn’t mind the incorrect belief flourishing. If that is true, the best theology is the theology that leads to the best behavior in humans.

But even if the best theology is the theology that leads to the best behavior in humans, we must deal with the problem that people are not all alike. While theology X might be optimal for leading you to right behavior in your life, I might behave best by believing theology Y. So within Mormonism perhaps God goes with as close to a “one size fits all” theology as he can? That might explain the complete lack of a formalized and systematic theology in Mormonism too…

What do you think constitutes good theology?

The core of an unassailable testimony of the restored gospel

September 20, 2009    By: Geoff J @ 7:48 pm   Category: Personal Revelation

I have been thinking about the core of a sure testimony of the restored gospel. It seems to me that a truly solid testimony of Mormonism must be based on personal revelation from God confirming a couple of things:

1. That God exists and is worthy of worship and emulation, and
2. That God inspired the founding of Mormonism and is currently guiding the church

That’s it. I submit that all the other stuff people focus on in publicly expressed testimonies is less core than these two.

I reckon that if one can personally communicate with God and have God convince them of those two things, one should be sufficiently anchored to handle anything that might otherwise shake their faith in the gospel. Further I think that if one can at any time turn to God and confirm 1 and 2 above one should be permanently inoculated against any surprises one comes across.

Of course if one cannot break through and receive any revelation from God at all then there are bigger problems to deal with than any other issues one has with Mormon culture/history/practices.

Seminoles hand Cougars their hides

September 19, 2009    By: Geoff J @ 6:10 pm   Category: Sports

It was a fun two weeks. Back to the reality that speed kills. (Well actually it probably wasn’t the speed that killed us in this game (though the speedy QB was real trouble). It seems like execution, size at receiver, and overall desire from FSU led to this result.)

The temporarily vaunted BYU defense was completely and utterly smoked by FSU. The first FSU punt was in the third quarter. Every time FSU got the ball they scored a touchdown. Max Hall tried too hard (as he tends to do when the Cougs get in trouble) and as a result melted down and threw three INT’s (as he tends to do when the Cougs get in trouble).

Harvey looked great. Unfortunately he may have re-injured that hamstring. Ugh.

Simple Rules For Using Social Media

September 16, 2009    By: Matt W. @ 6:00 am   Category: Life

I recently had the opportunity to attend some Social Media training where I work. I thought it was interesting in light of church work. The gist of the training was that if you affiliate yourself with the company online, you are representing the company, and yes you can be fired for representing the company in a bad light. (There are hundreds of examples, but I thought a good one was the example of the two employees that caused Domino’s Pizza stock to collapse after getting a million views of them doing gross things at work on a youtube video). I think the church suffers a similar risk as I, with all my good intentions, am out here shooting my mouth off. On top of this, I also suffer a great risk, as I, in a flight of fancy, forget the very public and unalterable nature of the internet. (Think of the Fedex employee who got fired for tweeting how much he hated where his customer lived). My reputation can be damaged forever based on one blog comment which I can never delete because I don’t own the blog I commented on, and google snatched it up and archived it, etc.

While the church cannot fire its lay ministry for putting the church in a bad light, and I don’t think any of us can afford to hire our own PR firm to filter our public statements, I thought I’d highlight the 1 Do and 3 Don’t Dos from the training I got at work.

1. Do be genuine, authentic, and honest.

2. Do not bash the competition ever.

3. Do not say mean or unkind things to anyone.

4. Do not disclose private information.

Good rules to live by anyway, but especially good rules as we represent the church online (whether we want to or not). I am going to try harder in the future to follow these rules. If you catch me getting out of line, let me know. For the times I have been out of line in the past, I apologize.

The Johnston Brothers Stache Bash 2009

September 13, 2009    By: Geoff J @ 7:43 pm   Category: Life

I need to be clean shaven on September 15th. That is the first day of the mustache growing contest my brothers and I are starting. The contest ends November 15 so we get two months to grow the most awesomely awesome mustaches we can muster.

Lest you think the competition will be easy, there happen to be six Johnston brothers and one brother-in-law in on the contest ranging in age from 25-45. I am not sure what sort of mustache I will bust out. The first couple of weeks will be spent growing a base mustache or Van Dyke and from there I will see what I can do. I’ll probably post a few pictures of the contestants at some point.

The amusing part about the timing of this contest is that my boy Q-dog is getting baptized in October so the family pictures will have his dad and several uncles sporting sweet mustaches.

A family with six boys does what it can to bond after everyone grows up, no? (Feel free to fire up a mustache growing contest among your brothers too if you wish)

BYU takes care of business in week 2

September 12, 2009    By: Geoff J @ 3:44 pm   Category: Sports

Final score BYU 54 Tulane 3.

Harvey Unga played a little so he may be back at full strength soon. Kariya looked good in relief for Harvey though and JJ DiLuigi looked quite good too. The Cougars may have lost starting offensive lineman Braden Hansen to injury which is bad. Overall BYU did what a top 10 team is supposed to do. Florida State comes to Provo for another big game next week. So far so good on the 2009 season.

Boom! Go the Cougars

September 5, 2009    By: Geoff J @ 7:49 pm   Category: Sports

The #20 BYU Cougars took down the #3 Oklahoma Sooners 14-13 tonight. It was a HUGE win for BYU and the first win against a top 10 team since Ty Detmer’s Heisman season in 1990.

Things looked grim when it became clear that star running back Harvey Unga was too injured to go. There were no proven backup tailbacks but sometimes-fullback Bryan Kariya stepped up big to fill Harvey’s shoes. Max Hall made his critics who say he didn’t play well in big games eat crow. Max went 10-10 to end the first half and then was 9-10 on the long game winning drive.

The defense was extremely impressive. They look faster, meaner and the hitting was so violent that Heisman trophy winner separated his shoulder on a clean stick by OLB Coleby Clawson.

Rise and Shout Cougar fans. Now, not only is a BCS bowl possible, there is a slim chance of BYU making the title game with an undefeated season and some lucky breaks. No, seriously.

BYU Football 2009 — make your predictions here

September 4, 2009    By: Geoff J @ 10:16 am   Category: Sports

Alright I admit it. I watched most of three college football games last night. It had been so long since last season and I was Jonesin’ alright?

Anyway, as most BYU Cougar fans know, the season opener for the #20 Cougs is tomorrow in Dallas at the brand-spankin’ new Dallas Cowboy stadium (aka JerryWorld). The opponent is the venerable Oklahoma Sooners in a quasi home game for the #3 ranked team in the country. Most everyone in the know thinks Oklahoma will run away with this game and that is not an unreasonable prediction. This Oklahoma team (who played in the the BCS championship game last year) is returning most of its defense, most of the skill players on offense, and its Heisman trophy winning QB as well. Sure the offensive line is mostly new (same with BYU) and the star tight end will be sitting this game out with a recent knee injury, but BYU winning this game would be a major upset.
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2010 – SMPT Call For Papers

September 1, 2009    By: Matt W. @ 8:08 pm   Category: Uncategorized

2010 – Call For Papers

Society for Mormon Philosophy and Theology Seventh Annual Meeting
March 25–27, 2010
Utah Valley University
Orem, Utah

The Society for Mormon Philosophy and Theology invites papers on any aspect of Mormon belief, including its philosophical ramifications. We particularly encourage submissions on this year’s theme.

Theme: “The Measure of Their Creation—Theological Anthropology”

Christians generally share the belief that humans are children of God, made in his image. However, this belief takes a distinctive and radical form as it is understood by Latter-day Saints. On the one hand humans are much more like God, in several important respects, than on the traditional Christian view. On the other hand, Mormons take a more positive view of human embodiment and finitude. We will explore LDS teaching on the nature of human beings, with its implications and questions it raises, including comparison with other Christian views. We will also consider how human nature’s various aspects reflect a divine intention or purpose, “the measure of its creation” (D&C 88:19). Possible topics falling under this theme include: (more…)