Hapless BYU squeaks by even more hapless Wyoming

October 23, 2010    By: Geoff J @ 5:17 pm   Category: Sports

The good news is BYU football won a game today. The bad news is that BYU is fielding a painfully inept offense still. Baby steps I suppose. I expect the cries to fire offensive coordinator Robert Anae will only get louder.

The good news is quarterback Jake Heaps connected with Luke Ashworth for a touchdown. The bad news is Jake connected with a Wyoming linebacker for a TD as well. He seriously lobbed the ball directly to the Wyoming player. The further bad news is that BYU has tossed a grand total of 4 TD passes through eight games this season placing BYU near last in college football in touchdown passes. Yes, you read that correctly.

But through it all BYU is 3-5 now and if BYU can beat even more hapless UNLV and New Mexico then take down CSU, the Cougs could still get to a bowl game this year. Hard to believe but still true.

At this pace the whole earth should be converted in just 180,000 years

October 22, 2010    By: Geoff J @ 9:31 am   Category: Mormon Culture/Practices

In hard numbers The Church is growing at a pretty healthy pace. But how is the growth rate relative to the population of the earth? Here are some back-of-the-envelope numbers:

Number of people on earth: Approximately 6 billion
Number of “active” Mormons: Roughly 6 million (I think there are about 14 million Mormons on record so I cut that a little more than half to make things clean here)
Active Mormons as a percentage of the population: 0.1% (Thus 99.9% of humans are not active Mormons)
Age of the church: 180 years

So at a growth pace of 0.1 % of the population per 180 years we should hit 100% in just under 180,000 years. (999×180).

Yes I know these are nonsense projections. But the fact that restoration has made such a tiny dent in the population of the earth is food for thought. It seems to me that for 99%+ of the population there is no significant religious difference between living now vs living in the “Great Apostasy”.

What say you?

To my brother-in-law, the new missionary, on my 12th anniversary as a member.

October 11, 2010    By: Matt W. @ 2:52 am   Category: Life

I actually mailed this to my brother-in-law a few weeks ago, but thought it was worth posting here.

Hi M.:

Before I go into anything else, let me first tell you how proud L. and I are that you are out there serving a mission. You are involved in one of the most important roles in the church, and from your letters I can tell you are taking it seriously and working hard.

This month marks the 12 year anniversary of my baptism, oddly enough, not too long (7 months) before you were baptized as a child of record. I will never forget Seth and Taylor, my missionaries, who completely changed my life. You will now have that same opportunity to find people who are ready to enter into discipleship. One of the greatest lessons I learned from missionary work, I learned while being taught. I don’t know if you know this, but 2 weeks before my baptism, your sister told me she didn’t like me and didn’t want to see me again. You see, she was afraid I was joining the church for her, and not out of sincere conversion. Frankly, after she left me, I wondered if this in fact was true. Was it possible I was just deluding myself, and that it was merely for a pretty face I was joining the church? Was I confusing romance for the spirit? Anyway, with the romance shattered, I got down on my knees and asked the Lord for guidance, only to discover the missionaries moments later knocking on my door, out past curfew, following a spiritual prompting to come see me. Seth and Taylor sat down and Seth told me he didn’t care if I was baptized or not, as he only wanted me to make the choice that would make me happy, and that we would be friends forever. It was having that release from the pressure to make a decision that allowed me to ultimately feel the confirming power of the Holy Ghost which allowed me to acknowledge that yes, the spiritual promptings I had experienced up to that point were not artificial, but that God really did want me to become a member of the church. As a missionary, when you genuinely care about people as individuals rather than as potential converts, that’s when you gain the ability to show the love, and it is love (charity) which never fails.

Having served a mission myself, I know it can be a challenge to always think about people as individuals with real lives and needs and feelings. Missionaries attract crazy people and crazy people are exhausting. I’ll never forget the guy on my mission who swore he had found the stone of Coriantumr’s people that King Benjamin translated and then was brought to the Philippines by Hagoth’s ships. It was a small boulder with a crack down one side which looked absolutely nothing like any form of writing. While it was hilarious, dealing with people like that day in and day out can have a sort of numbing effect on you. You can’t worry about it too much, but don’t miss the forest for the trees, and forget why you are there while you are racking up baptisms. I remember at one point on my mission being in district meeting after a stent of 10 weeks straight of baptisms in my area, when it occurred to me that there I was, gloating about the numbers I was hitting to my fellow elders when I realized that no one else in my district had any baptisms for months. Heck, no one in my zone had baptisms. Suddenly convicted of my sin of pride, I desperately wished there was something I could do to help the other missionaries have success in their missionary service, as I was having. To me, that is the next level of missionary service. It’s not just about helping people who aren’t members of the church find the Gospel and be converted, but it’s about helping the other missionaries have an incredible experience with Christ and helping the members to feel the power and love of God in their local congregations. I don’t mean lording over them as “one above them all” but loving and serving to and with them as Christ did.

I don’t know why I’m getting into all this with you M. Maybe it’s only to remind myself of it so that I don’t forget. That reminds me. 11 years ago, I was not sure I would serve a mission. I really struggled with it, as a convert. I just wanted to marry your sister and get on with my life. I was 22 years old and just starting my senior year of college. My Dad made me promise I’d finish college before I did anything else, and L. had just received her mission call to Italy, so I was reeling, unsure of what the best choice was. I felt like I was being asked to offer up my whole life on the altar of the Lord. We came to Texas after Philmont and visited your family, and went to talk to Bishop Hargrave about the struggle I was having with the choice to serve a mission. What an amazing Bishop! He and I talked and he assured me it was my choice and we frankly talked about how as a convert he had never served a mission, and the culture of Mormonism and how he felt it would be easier for his kids if he had served. Anyway, again feeling that there was no external pressure to make a choice, I went to the Lord on my knees, and asked him if I should serve. In that moment, in my mind’s eye, I surveyed those who would be impacted by my not serving. I saw in my mind’s eye the converts I would have. I saw L. and R. and A. and B., and that serving my mission would benefit them. And I saw you. Little 8 year old you. And so I chose to serve a mission because of you. That choice, though it was so hard at the time, was one of the greatest things I have ever done. So thanks for being a good little 8 year old. Your earnest example of Christlike love meant a lot to me.

Anyway, the girls[ed.-my daughters] ask about you. We love reading your letters. We’re so glad you’re a missionary.

Matt W.

Wow. BYU wins.

October 9, 2010    By: Geoff J @ 6:30 pm   Category: Sports

I guess that’s why you play the games. Two weeks ago SDSU crushed USU. Last week USU crushed BYU. So SDSU should really crush BYU right? Wrong. In a rock-paper-scissors-like twist, BYU beat SDSU this afternoon 24-21.

BYU did it with some really solid defense, a bruising running game, only a few passes, and some lucky calls by the refs. On the defensive side, Bronco’s decision last week to fire defensive coordinator Jaime Hill and take over that role himself looked really smart today. This was easily the best defensive performance of the year by BYU. They were especially effective at stopping the run. On offensive side, the o-line really showed up today and the running back committee of DiLuigi, Kariya, and Quezada pounded and pounded all afternoon. BYU ran the ball more than 70% of the time and completely dominated the time of possession by a 3-1 margin. As for the lucky calls, there was a borderline pass interference call late in the game that was useful to BYU. But the real doozy was the DiLuigi fumble that should have gone to SDSU in the 3rd quarter. BYU somehow was awarded the ball even after an officials review that showed it really was a fumble. It was likely because the line judge blew the whistle really early, perhaps before either team secured the ball. Aztec fans will be angry about that one for a long time (and rightfully so).

The game was as close as it was because of some silly mistakes by BYU. Jake Heaps made a bad pass into the end zone that was intercepted. Chalk that up to him being a freshman. One of the young tight ends had a really silly fumble that BYU lost as well. And the punter Stephenson shanked another 12 yard punt which didn’t help. Nevertheless BYU did just enough to win. Interestingly, BYU’s magic number is 24. When BYU scores 24 or more or holds the opponents to less than 24 BYU normally wins. Both of those happened today.

Perhaps this will be a turning point for this team. BYU fans sure hope so. BYU will face a top 5 team next week at TCU so that one will be very hard to win but there are some much easier games on tap after that. One think is for sure — this season looks better for BYU than it did after the game in Logan. This was a huge win for BYU and dramatically improves the Cougars’ chances of going at least 6-6 and making a bowl game.

BYU Football is Staring a 1-6 Record in the Face

October 1, 2010    By: Geoff J @ 10:06 pm   Category: Sports

After the 31-16 loss tonight at Utah State the Cougars of BYU drop to a 1-4 record and are likely to lose their next two games as well. (Congratulations to the improved Aggies BTW.) Next up is SDSU which has a BYE this week after destroying this same USU team last week. So in all likelihood The Aztecs will handle this anemic BYU team fairly easily. The following week BYU is at #4 TCU and that will likely be a severe beat down for the Cougs.

The BYU defense has been hapless all season, giving up gobs of points every game. To make things worse, the best player on defense, strong safety Andrew Rich, went down tonight with what looked like a pretty serious injury in the first half. Then star linebacker Jordan Pendelton had to be helped off the field in the second half. This follows on the heels of our starting nose tackle Romney Fuga getting his knee blown out on a dirty play by a Nevada lineman last week. The defense runs the real risk of going from weak to awful.

But as bad as the defense has been, the offense has been significantly worse. SDSU put up 41 points on USU; BYU only managed 16. The problem for freshman QB Jake Heaps is that while he is missing some passes, even when he is on target his receivers are dropping the ball way too often. BYU has been spoiled with mature NFL-caliber talent on offense for the last 5-6 years. The offensive talent on the field this year is either not experienced enough to win yet, not NFL-caliber, or both. It makes for a very non-BYU-looking team out there when BYU has the ball lately.

The upshot of it all is that BYU is now probably going to finish 5-7 or even 4-8 this season. Rebuilding year indeed.