Wednesday, March 26, 2008

The Mo’ Boy Doctrine

A good friend of mine, after reading my commentary on Monroe, and recognizing his legacy as the creator of “The Monroe Doctrine”, said that I should create “The Mo’ Boy Doctrine”.

I thought it was a great idea. And I started thinking about what the overall message I want people to get from Mo’ Boy. And it came to me in a flash, literally flowing off my fingertips onto my Word screen. It is thus:

  1. Everyone should just not get so bent out of shape.
  2. If that bothers you, read it again.

See, most of the problems I see in the church (that’s the small-c church, meaning the social network it provides, not the Big-C Church, meaning the true Gospel of Jesus Christ), is that too many people make and take too many opportunities to get all bent out of shape about this opinion or that idea or this policy or that concept. When in reality, much of it doesn’t deeply impact us all that much.

Someone in Hollywood makes a movie based on an atheist’s novel. When was the first time THAT happened? Someone does a study of DNA that “disproves” the Book of Mormon. It might be a fresh theory, but ultimately, it got piled on the heap of the other attempts to shatter our faith. Someone makes a movie/book/music CD and is now practicing priestcraft because they’re “making money off the gospel.”

I mean, let’s get real, here. I love blogging as much as the next guy. I love sending out my ideas and my opinions. But I’m not arrogant enough, yet, to assume that I’m always (or even ever) right, nor to assume that my opinions are going to work in your life. I’m just spouting off my own opinions.

Now, the irony of this statement is not lost on me. In ranting about this very topic, I am, in fact, getting bent out of shape over other people who get bent out of shape. And you know, I can live with that irony. I enjoy it, in fact. I enjoy it because in doing so, I’m lightening up about my own getting tense. We all do it, the point is to learn to do it less.

So, feel free, as the occasion requires (even directed at me) to invoke the “MoBoy Doctrine” when letting someone kindly know that he or she is getting bent out of shape over something that really doesn’t matter.

And let’s all take a deep breath and not get so bent about what other people do or say. Life’s too short to spend it in a twist like that. And if that upsets you, then go get bent.

Mark Hansen

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

The James Monroe Dollar

Just got my James Monroe Dollar. This one was a long time comin. Not sure what’s goin’ on at the mint, there, but it looks like they’ve gotten things on a more regular schedule, now.

Madison’s presidency is interesting. There are a lot of presidents that I don’t know that much about, but as I read up on them as each coin comes out, I’m discovering that none of them are insignificant. You can’t lead a country like America and not have an impact on history. Well, unless you’re only in for a month, like Harrison.

Anyway, here are some of the interesting things about Monroe:

  1. The Dwindling Power of Political Parties

During his time, both of the current parties, the dominant Democratic-Republicans and the Federalists, found their influence diminishing. Monroe himself acted in non-partisan ways, and was more practical in his dealings.

  1. The Era of Good Feelings

Partly because of his approach to politics, and partly due to good economic times, the first part of his administration was referred to as “The Era of Good Feelings”. There were some things later, in 1825 that brought back some of the political contention that he’d managed to avoid for so long.

  1. Ceding of Florida

Early on in his administration, Florida was ceded to the United States from Spain. I found this interesting once I’d noted that he’d traveled to France under Jefferson to help negotiate the Louisiana Purchase. He’d also been a diplomat to Britain.

  1. Monroe Doctrine

I think that all of that foreign contact led him ultimately to the bit that is probably his biggest legacy, that being what later became known as the “Monroe Doctrine”. This was a speech to Congress that basically told Europe and Asian nations to stay away from further colonization in America. In some ways, in my eyes, that’s kinda arrogant of us in the US to say what can and can’t happen in other countries. But then, in a lot of ways, that’s set the tone of our foreign policies for centuries to come. We’ve always felt like we were the ones to keep order in the world.

  1. Missouri Compromise

During his administration, the question of slavery was getting some hot debate. Missouri wanted to become a state, and there were many debates as to whether or not it should be admitted as a slave state or free. Finally, a compromise was reached. Missouri could decide for itself what it wanted to be (probably allowing slavery), and Maine would be admitted as a free state. That solved the issue at the moment, but continued the process of setting us all up for the civil war.

  1. Church History

It was during the Monroe administration, of course, in 1820, that Joseph Smith, in a forest in Palmyra, New York, knelt to pray and saw God, the Father, and His Son. This began the process of the restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and all the challenges and blessings that followed.

Mark Hansen

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Come, Come Ye Saints, a Trip Through the Net

Today’s blog entry started for me when I thought about the movie “New York Doll”. It’s a great, inspirational movie. It really got to me.

But I’d heard about how at the end of the show was a clip of David Johansen singing “Come, Come Ye Saints”. I’d heard how sincere and emotional a tribute it was, for his now dead friend, Arthur Kane (the subject of the movie). I’d really wanted to see it, and suddenly thought, “Well, duh—Youtube it!” So, I searched and found it.

And it was every bit as inspiring and beautiful and gruff as everyone had described it to me. Anyone who follows rock music history needs to check it out

Then, I noticed a whole bunch of other renditions of the hymn from a lot of different people.

This was one of the first I checked out, a violinist:

Next was this one, a little more traditional. A lady playing the song on her hammered dulcimer. I’ve always loved the sound of a hammered dulcimer and the harmonies she gives to the hymn are beautiful.

Then from the sublime to the ridiculous, these guys are just a bunch of BYUI students lip sync-ing to the version from the Singles Ward soundtrack. I do love this version of the song, but these guys didn’t really bring anything new to it.

I don’t know this guy’s name, but WOW, his version is incredible and very inspiring. Especially toward the end.

Last of all, but not the least, is the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. Nobody does “Come, Come Ye Saints”, like the MoTab!


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