Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Mo' Boy - Parenting

Perhaps it's the upcoming holidays, or perhaps it's the fact that I just had the wonderful opportunity to confer the Aaronic Priesthood on my son, but I've been thinking about fatherhood and parenting lately. 

So, I thought I'd pull up some of my past posts on the topic in the last couple of years.  It's been an interesting journey!

Mark has a lifelong testimony of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (the Mormon Church). Mark also has other sites and blogs, including and his Dutch Oven blog.

Mark's Other Blog Posts: Bah Humbug, Cloud Computing,
Dutch Oven Turkey,

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

The Games of Zion - The Armor of God

I know that there are thousands of you out there than hang on my every word here at Mo' Boy, that can't wait for my next keystroke or mouse click, that find my writings so inspirational and powerful that...

...or not.

But, on the other hand, if you're one of two or three people who's been reading Mo' Boy for a while, you'll know of my on-and-off love/hate affair with LDS games.  If not, you can catch up on the discussion of LDS and Mormon themed gaming with these links

So, since I'm both into gaming, and am exploring game design, I follow this blog about mormon gamers and game designers. And Mike, the blogger, wrote about a game he's been working on that he's started self-publishing, called "The Armor of God".

It's fun for me, because, since I joined his email discussion group for LDS gamers and designers, I got to help playtest this game last spring.  That was before he got all those seriously cool graphics that make up the cards now (art done by Tony Peters).

The game had a lot of plusses going for it.

  • It was a lot of fun.  My 11-year-old son, after playing the "print-n-play" playtest version of it with me, immediately asked to borrow the cards and ran off to his friend's house to play it.
  • It learns fast, and it plays fast.
  • It includes some intriguing game mechanics that are very different from existing games.  This game, in fact, is unique and doesn't follow the pattern of simply copying an existing famous game and slapping a Mormon "face" on it.
  • The theme is something positive and scriptural.  You can't go wrong with that, right?

So, this is my unsolicited endorsement.  Mike doesn't even know I'm writing this, yet.  You can check it out at his blog, and even watch a "how to play video", and you can buy it, if you want to.  It's definitely worth checking out.

Mark has a lifelong testimony of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (the Mormon Church). Mark also has other sites and blogs, including and his Dutch Oven blog.

Mark's Other Blog Posts: Brendon Makes Dutch Oven Baked Ziti, Building Blogger Authority

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Digg-ing in the Dirt

Even though I'm an SEO kinda guy, I've not really been all that focused on Digg.  I know it's a cool place to find interesting stuff, and a great way to promote stuff, but I've just been busy in other areas, like Blogging, Twitter and Facebook.

But today, I thought I'd, if you'll pardon the pun, digg a little deeper and see how it works.  So, I went to and did a search for "Mormon".


I clicked through five full pages before I found a posting that was favorable.  And, of course, the ones I saw about the Mormon Church that were favorable had one, two, at most three diggs.

My first thought was to come back here and tell everyone within the sound of my typing (that means both of you) to go to Digg and click to digg any pro-mormon piece you can find there.  Let's get these things ranking higher!

My second thought was that if we all did this, it would mean that a lot of faithful church members would be suddenly looking at a lot of anti-mormon ranting.  Which isn't necessarily bad, but I'm not sure that it's a good thing, either.  It certainly didn't make me smile.  Why make someone else's day miserable...

My third thought was that perhaps we, as members of the Mormon church simply prefer not to use Digg.  Maybe we're all on StumbleUpon, or Delicious.  A part of me is not sure that I want to go there and see.

I guess it's simply a symptom of being who we are.  In a lot of ways, that's good and bad.  I mean, we believe what we believe, and we don't apologize for it.  That means that people who believe otherwise are going to be upset at us.  We do have a reputation for having these "pushy" guys out there knocking doors.  And there is a lot of misinformation circulating about us (contrary to what many seem to be saying, we don't believe it's right for a 45-year-old man to marry six 14-year-old girls).

I guess what frustrates me is that I know there is a lot of material out there that is telling the story from our perspective.  But I guess that it's not cool enough to "Digg".

Mark has a lifelong testimony of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (the Mormon Church). Mark also has other sites and blogs, including and his Dutch Oven blog.

Mark's Other Blog Posts: Dutch Oven Dessert, Connecting to LDS Music, FTC Sets New Rules

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

All Saints Day, Halloween, and Seven Years

I'm gonna cover a lot here...  So if it feels like I'm skipping around, I'm sorry.  There's a lot of seemingly disjointed topics that all seem to converge in my mind.

To start off, I was reading in "A Perfect Brighness" about All-Saints Day and Halloween. Her summary of the whole "History of Halloween" thang is pretty good.  She commented on our unique LDS perspective on "All Saints Day".  So, here are all of my disjointed thoughts:


My kids love Halloween, with the costumes and the candy and everything about it.  I wanted to tie it closer together with some of its more spiritual roots.  So, a few years ago we started a tradition of celebrating Nov 1 as All Saints Day.  Being LDS, however, we re-interpret it and celebrate it in our own way.  We have a special dinner, and after dinner, we talk of the saints in our family that have passed on before us.  Some times we talk about memories of Parents and Grandparents.  Other times we look up our family history and talk of the stories of those ancestors that are a part of our legacy.  It turns into a very fun evening of family bonding.


One thing Jennifer mentioned in her blog post was "According to tradition, November 1st is the time to celebrate the lives of the martyrs."  I thought that was very interesting, since so much of my own study and personal pondering has been focused on the concept of martyrdom, culminating in the completion of the song, "Martyrs".


The whole concept of our celebration of Halloween is a topic that I touched on in a blog post almost 7 years ago.  In fact, it was 7 years ago, tomorrow, that I began the Mo'Boy blog! It all began with a post about Isaiah.

Mark has a lifelong testimony of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (the Mormon Church). Mark also has other sites and blogs, including and his Dutch Oven blog.

Mark's Other Blog Posts: Reciprocating Content, Mountain Man Breakfast,

Friday, October 16, 2009

New Song! "Martyrs"

A while ago, I posted some lyrics here about a song I wrote, called "Martyrs". I'm excited to report that the recording is now done! Jump to the Mark Hansen Music blog to listen! It's this huge, arena rock anthem, kind of like: Guns & Roses meets The Who with a fiddle player...

Pardon the shameless self-promotion. But it IS my blog... :-)

Mark has a lifelong testimony of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (the Mormon Church). Mark also has other sites and blogs, including and his Dutch Oven blog.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Cool to see we weren't left out...

political pictures for your blog
see more Political Pictures

Mark has a lifelong testimony of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (the Mormon Church). Mark also has other sites and blogs, including and his Dutch Oven blog.

Friday, October 09, 2009

Some Thoughts on Revelation and "The Word of God"

A friend of mine (who isn't a Christian, BTW) had this to say on his blog:

"Was this really a problem that the Bible isn't conservative enough? I have to confess to not having heard of Conservapedia - The Trustworthy Encyclopedia before. Apparently they have decided the Bible is too liberal in its language and so on. So they are instituting a "retranslation" effort of the Bible to purge it of its liberal bias. Apparently they are starting with the KJV to remove anything they assume to be too liberal in terms of language, ideas etc.

"So now, if you are looking for the actual, unvarnished literal Word-O-God, you will have even more "literal translations" to choose from!

"Someone tell me again which literal translation is
literally the Word-O-God?"

I made a few comments, which you can read if ya wanna.

But, here, in Mo' Boy, I want to talk about some of the other thoughts his comment inspired. Some of these thoughts, by way of disclaimer, are *MY* thoughts, and not necessarily canonized doctrine of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. But then, most of what I write here in Mo' Boy is such, anyway...

We get our scriptures through our prophets. And that makes for a very interesting circumstance, because that means that everything that God says to us comes to us through another human. God, for some reason, doesn't directly write us messages. I, personally, would really enjoy reading that particular Twitter Feed, but He doesn't choose to work that way.

So, partly to clarify my own thoughts, and partly for the benefit of my non-Mormon, non-Christian friend, I'm gonna think out loud for a few minutes.

There are several ways that we get our written scriptures:

Taking Dictation

I read once that sometimes when Joseph Smith was receiving revelations he would just begin writing, in a sort of "automatic writing" kind of way. When you read chapters like this, it comes across very much in a sort of "Word of God" kind of Tone. It's often in (if you'll pardon the pun) first-person omniscient point of view. A really good example is the first section of the Doctrine and Covenants.

Another good example, off the top of my head, is the whole Book of Malachi, in the Old Testament.

Go Tell it on the Mountain

Another method is when God gives a marvelous spiritual experience or a vision to someone, and then tells them to go write about it. One good example of this is the story of Nephi's Vision(That originates as Lehi's Dream), which starts in Chapter 11 of 1 Nephi and goes on for a number of chapters after that.

The experience that we Mormons all know as the "First Vision" of Joseph Smith is another good example, as is the entire Book of Revelation.

This method is different from the first because, although I firmly believe that the experiences the prophets experience are no less divine, the words themselves are not directly the "Words of God." This means that the word were written by a flawed human being, sometimes days, sometimes even years after the fact.

It's All History

The last bit of scripture we get are the stories. These are tales, stories, and histories written by an archivist using his own (albeit often inspired) insight. Another flawed human is choosing which histories to include, and writing them into the text. Almost the entire Old Testament is this kind of writing. The four Gospels were written this way.

The whole story of the conflict between Nephi and his brothers, Laman and Lemuel, is colored, I believe, by the fact that it was written by Nephi, from his point of view, many many years later. Is it any wonder he comes off as the good guy?

The whole reason we name the Book of Mormon after that ancient American prophet is that he compiled and abridged all of the records of his people.

I don't mean to diminish the spiritual nature of the scriptures, nor to imply that I don't believe that they're inspired. But I think that God allows us to learn from each other, often centuries or even millenia later.

The Title Page of the Book of Mormon, which was actually translated from the Golden Plates themselves, carries this clarification: "And now, if there are faults they are the mistakes of men; wherefore, condemn not the things of God, that ye may be found spotless at the judgment-seat of Christ."

And none of these things even take into account how often the book of scripture has been translated from one flawed and human language into another, in the hope that it can be understood by people of a totally different background and culture..

So, the sooner we get past all that, and not stress out over the details of the words, and get to the real messages that are underlying, the better off we'll be.

Mark has a lifelong testimony of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (the Mormon Church). Mark also has other sites and blogs, including and his Dutch Oven blog.

Mark's Other Blog Posts: More Work on "Martyrs", Healthy Dutch Oven Recipes,

Monday, October 05, 2009

General Conference

LDS General Conference was very interesting for me this time. It was very personal. I'm reading a lot of the sum-ups and the play-by-plays of the bloggernacle, and a lot of them are bringing up some very interesting points.

But still, for me, the talks were very personal.

See, for a long time, now, I've been dragging along in my own personal life, as if I had a dark cloud over my head. It's been so long that in a lot of ways, I've accepted it as the normal way of life.

I'm an active member of the LDS Church, with what I feel is a strong testimony. But I realized this weekend where the dark cloud is coming from, why it's there, and how to get rid of it.

It's there because I've been cultivating this general feeling of worthlessness, and unworthiness for years. Intellectually, I know all the verses about the worth of a soul and how God loves the sinners and the saints. I even know that they're the same people. But integrating that intellectual knowledge into deep personal belief has been difficult.

I mean, really, what difference do *I* make in the world?

Well, in order to get out from under that cloud, I need to refocus my life on the steps of personal spirituality. I need to get connected back to my Heavenly Father. I need to feel that love again.

I'm going to start with my personal prayers. Then, I'll renew my personal scripture study. Fasting will come next. Through it all, I'm going to pay attention to opportunities to serve. I have already begun, and I'll keep posting about it as I go.

Pray for me, folks. A brighter day is coming!

Mark has a lifelong testimony of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (the Mormon Church). Mark also has other sites and blogs, including and his Dutch Oven blog.

Mark's Other Blog Posts: Rockin' with the Family, Andy J and the cookoff,

Thursday, September 17, 2009

An Epiphany in the Temple

One of the funny, odd, and even cool things about going to the temple is that you learn things you've known all along, but you learn them on a deeper level. You "get it" better than you did before, or you see that something you've always know is more important than you thought it was.

That last one is actually what happened to me last night.

My wife and I went with our ward to do sealings on assignment. As we were in there, listening to the ceremony, I just got overwhelmed with the Spirit and I suddenly realized just how connected the family is to everything in the Gospel. In fact, the family is at the very core of the Gospel. Everything that we do is related to our family. Our temporal family, our eternal family, our extended spiritual family. Everything comes back to that.

And everything about humanity is drawn from that core. Our relationships. Even our genders, sex and genetics. It all comes back to family.

We are all created into a big, vast spiritual family, as children of God. It's his purpose to bring about our exaltation. To that end, we're born into physical families. As a core part of bringing us back, those families need to be made eternal, and not just temporary.

The core of the family is the husband and the wife. Everything rests on them. The responsibility of bringing their family back to God is on their shoulders. That's why the sealing of the husband and wife is such a powerful ceremony. Pay attention to it the next time you do a sealing, and maybe you'll see the same epiphany I did.

OK, so I'm not doing badly as a husband and father, but I'm not doing my best, either. Bit by bit, I'll step it up, though.

Mark has a lifelong testimony of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (the Mormon Church). Mark also has other sites and blogs, including and his Dutch Oven blog.

Mark's Other Blog Posts: Martyrs and Anthems, Invoking the Mo'Boy Doctrine, Again, Dutch Oven Whole Wheat Bread

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

I'm in Trouble

OK, so I took this quiz. My wife will not be surprised by the results...

Serious ADHD Likely!

My score was 76 out of 100. The quiz said:

"It is highly likely that you are presently suffering from adult attention deficit disorder, according to your responses on this self-report questionnaire. You should not take this as a diagnosis of any sort, or a recommendation for treatment. However, it would be advisable and likely beneficial for you to seek further diagnosis from a trained mental health professional immediately."

I suppose I'm supposed to seek the help immediately (and the emphasis was theirs, not mine) because if I don't do it now, I'll forget...


For those of you who know me, this will explain a lot, won't it?

Mark has a lifelong testimony of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (the Mormon Church). Mark also has other sites and blogs, including and his Dutch Oven blog.

Book of Mormon Stories Go Social?

So, this morning, I was at reading the scriptures. That's how I do it in the morning: I wake up, check my emails, read my webcomics, and read my scriptures. Today I also checked the going price on my son's Yu-Gi-Oh cards on eBay, but that's a whole other blogstory...

I got to thinking how cool it would be to be able to do all of my Book of Mormon reading and scripture studying online. I can really do it anyway, but imagine along with me, a website where:

  • I could read and bookmark my place, for linear, start-to-finish reading.
  • When I have an insight on a verse that I read, I could open up a "stickynote" window and write my thought down. That stickynote would be "stuck" to that verse.
  • While I'm writing in my sticky note, I could jump to another window, search for a different scripture and add that reference to the initial sticky note. That connection could appear in both verse A and verse B.
  • I could tag both verses with keywords that help me to identify the topics and thoughts on them.
  • In the stickynotes, I could even include external links to net resources, like articles, documents, blogs, videos, etc...

Pretty simple stuff, so far. But what if I'm not reading from Genesis to the Articles of Faith? What if I'm studying a topic? Or preparing a lesson?

  • I can access scriptures from the existing Topical Guide. Those could be tagged with stickynotes, just like the others.
  • I could look up scriptures based on keywords in the verse itself, based on topics like the topical guide, and based on keywords and tags in my stickynotes.
  • I can create my own "Topical Guide" lists of scriptures around topics of interest to me.
  • I can connect and interweave all of these lists, tags, and stickynotes to the myriad of publications of the church
    • The scriptures
    • Conference Talks
    • Magazine articles
    • Lesson Manuals
    • Church History Documents
    • (with proper security) My own Patriarchal Blessing

Still pretty simple. There are possibly existing software packages that do things like this. But BaBAM, let's kick it up a notch! What if we take this whole thing social!?

  • I can have a profile page that shows things like:
    • Where I'm currently reading
    • My most recent stickynotes
    • Some of "Topical Guide" lists
    • blogs, lessons, and articles I've written
    • My written testimony
  • I can make any of these and more bits be public, or shared.
  • I can have a list of friends and see some of the study points that they've made public.
  • While I'm reading, or looking up scriptures, I can have access to the stickynotes my friends have left on any particular verse, maybe I can even comment on them.
  • I can message (via email, internal messaging, or even internal chat/IM) any of my friends and ask them questions or talk about any of their stickynotes, blogs, or lessons.
  • I can make any of my stickynotes, lessons, or blogs even more public by sharing them in twitter, facebook, digg, delicious, or any of a number of other social networks.
  • There could be moderated topical forums and groups formed that would discuss certain topics from a scriptural point of view.

It'd be, like, the ultimate Mo' Social Network! More than just hangin' with friends in the ward, or playing Mafia games on facebook! This is like a Book of Mormon Book Club!

Whatdya think? It would take some serious back-end programming. Any programmers out there willing to take on a project like this one? I'd be all over promoting it!

Mark has a lifelong testimony of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (the Mormon Church). Mark also has other sites and blogs, including and his Dutch Oven blog.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Godwin's Law!

A friend of mine posted this on his Facebook page. It was so appropriate to how I feel, I had to add it here.

Mark has a lifelong testimony of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (the Mormon Church). Mark also has other sites and blogs, including and his Dutch Oven blog.

Mo'Boy Strikes Again!

OK, it's been a while...

...But it's time to dust of the Mo'Boy Doctrine again.

Here's the story. At an elementary school, the PTA showed a video clip where various stars (half of whom I didn't even recognize - a sign of old age) pledged to be of service to their neighborhoods, their country, and the world. While most of them said things like they pledge to turn out the lights they're not using and to not bring home their groceries in plastic bags, or to get to know their neighbors and be kind and nice people, there were a few that pledged to support stem cell research and one who specifically pledged "to serve Barak Obama".

Now the Utah Eagle Forum is up in arms about it. Such horror. Left-wing propaganda being shown to our impressionable children.

Once again, it's time for us to not get so bent out of shape.

First of all, for the record, out of "the horse's mouth" so to speak: Here is the video in question:

Now, having watched it, I, personally have a few thoughts.

1--The principal should have previewed it before showing it. Whoever is in authority, and responsible (a classroom teacher, the principal, etc...) should preview EVERYTHING they show. They should then decide if it's appropriate or not, and then stand by their decision.

2--I think this video is pretty innocuous, myself. Most of the people said pledges that I think everyone should take to heart: caring for neighbors, not being so wasteful, etc...

3--However, I do think it probably shouldn't have been shown. I pledge allegiance to the flag, and to the republic for which it stands. In extension, I believe that every American should show a certain amount of support for the president, at least the office. I refuse to pledge allegiance to any one mortal man. I voted for Obama. I voted against Bush. They have both made policy judgments that I have agreed with and disagreed with. I do have a certain amount of respect for both of them.

So, my point is, the guy pledging to serve Barak Obama was over the line for me. That's just me, though.

4--Parting shot: I wonder, if the video had been of Glenn Beck and other conservative talk show hosts pledging their support for conservative causes (even moderate ones), would the Eagle Forum have complained about the "overt politicizing of our children"?


I pledge to serve my country in the way I see best, no matter who leads it. And that includes exercising my own personal rights to speak out in my blog and in the halls of my state legislature and any other forum that I can.

In the meantime, let's all try and work together, and make a nicer place, like the vast majority of the pledgers in the video said.

Mark has a lifelong testimony of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (the Mormon Church). Mark also has other sites and blogs, including and his Dutch Oven blog.

Mark's Other Blog Posts: Dutch Oven Bread - Ciabatta

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Oquirrh Mountain Temple Dedication

Today, I got to take my family to the Oquirrh Mountain Temple dedication. That was a very special occasion, and very spiritual. I found it very interesting, however to notice what touched me the most.

There were probably five speakers before the dedicatory prayer, and even though they were excellent speakers, I honestly don't remember a thing any of them said. I do know that they all talked about the temple.

What got to me was the music. There was a small choir (they couldn't fit many people into the temple chapel), but they sang well, and with real enthusiasm as well as reverence. And, at the end, after the Hosanna Shout, when we sang "The Spirit of God", I choked up a couple of times, and couldn't go on singing. It's a powerful hymn, for a powerful setting.

Mark has a lifelong testimony of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (the Mormon Church). Mark also has other sites and blogs, including and his Dutch Oven blog.

Mark's Other Blog Posts: Dutch Oven Mushrooms Bellagio at my Birthday DOG, Riffz iz cool,

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Socialism? Mormonism?

I'm getting bombarded by lots of emails, facebook postings, etc. decrying the evils of socialism. They are warning me of the downfall of this great nation and end of the constitution.

That may well be. I'm not fully convinced, but I'm not decided yet, either.

What worries me is some of the rhetoric being thrown around by a lot of the church members I'm hearing. They're all supported by this quote, or that wise and pithy saying.

I know I'm going to catch &@%$ for saying this, but I think that every Mormon should take a moment, open up their Book of Mormon, and their other scriptures, and read these verses:

Alma 30:17 The gospel of Self-Sufficiency, as taught by Korihor. That's right. The BAD guy.

Moses 7:18 In Zion, there are no poor.

And here's the really scary one: How about reading the entire book of 4th Nephi? I put particular emphasis on verses 3, and 25 (well, really 24-26).

Now, if you want to, you can all post angry comments, and tell me how that's not what those verses mean, and that's not what's happening in today's world, and you may even be right. Honestly, I think there are serious problems with socialism, capitalism, and communism. All I'm asking is that before you scream about welfare states, and before you vote to cut funding for the poor and the disabled and the elderly (they don't really need it anyway), read those verses. And then read them again.

Then you can come back and flame me.

Mark has a lifelong testimony of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (the Mormon Church). Mark also has other sites and blogs, including and his Dutch Oven blog.

Mark's Other Blog Posts: New Song! "The Third Time"

Thursday, August 13, 2009

The Best of Mo' Boy: Music, Arts

Anyone that knows me knows that I'm pretty passionate about music, and LDS music (and other arts) in particular. I love to follow LDS popular culture and see what we can create. Sometimes it's great, other times, not so much. But I don't even mind. We need it all, and we all need to participate to the extent that we can.

The Songs of Zion: Reviews of some of my favorites

Mark has a lifelong testimony of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (the Mormon Church). Mark also has other sites and blogs, including and his Dutch Oven blog.

Mark's Other Blog Posts: Blogging Ideas, Dutch Oven Chile Verde, Mixing "The Third Time"

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Family and Priesthood

So, ever since I wrote that song, I've been thinking a lot about martyrs. I finally got my copy of "The Zeezrom Syndrome", and I've started reading it. I've noticed that there are a lot of other Book of Mormon stories of martyrdom, like Abinadi.

I don't know what's driving me to be thinking about these things at this stage in my life.

Then, I pick up the Ensign this month, and there's a whole article on martyrs.

One thing in the article struck me as really interesting. It wasn't about martyrs or the Book of Mormon, though, but about the Priesthood and about family. The article was talking about how in most cases the martyrs of scripture aren't killed until after they've completed the tasks that God has in mind for them to do. In some cases, their lives are constantly threatened, but they are protected. Then when the task is done, and the Lord is ready to bring them home, he allows them to be killed.

That brings in a whole bunch of questions about the nature of freewill and things, but that's not what I wanted to go into today.

In any case, in this article it said:

"The Prophet’s father, Joseph Smith Sr., gave his son a blessing in September 1840, telling him, “‘You shall live to finish your work.’

“At this Joseph cried out, ‘Oh! Father, shall I?’

“‘Yes’ said his father, ‘you shall. You shall live to lay out all the plan of all the work that God requires at your hand.’” (Lucy Mack Smith, History of Joseph Smith by His Mother)

For me, it was one of those moments when I take it off on a tangent. Instead of thinking of the message at the moment, it occurred to me that it was interesting that Joseph Smith, Sr, would be giving his son a blessing. I mean, here is the founder of the church, and the one that restored the Melchezedek Priesthood to the earth, and he's receiving a blessing at the hand of his father. That shouldn't be interesting. It just occurred to me that it's very likely that Joseph, Jr, may well have been the one to give the priesthood to Joseph, Sr. Joseph, Jr, talked with God Himself, and angels. And yet, he also asked his earthly father for priesthood blessings and guidance.

And that's totally normal. I've done it myself many times. I've also given blessings of comfort and guidance to my own children.

It just struck me as interesting.

Mark has a lifelong testimony of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (the Mormon Church). Mark also has other sites and blogs, including and his Dutch Oven blog.

Mark's Other Blog Posts: Getting Ready for the Birthday Dutch Oven Gathering

Monday, August 03, 2009

Mo' Boy on Mormon Church & Church Culture

The Mormon Church definitely has a culture all of its own. We are, as the scriptures declare, "a peculiar people", to be sure.

Since my blog here has been in the fringes of the bloggernacle a long time, I've recently been going through old posts and I thought it would be cool to share some of those again. One of the things I like to do here in my blog is to comment on our Mormon Church popular culture. Often that includes commenting on popular arts, like music and movies. I'll save those for another post, because they're sort of in a category of their own.

So, I got to thinking about the social aspects of church service, church attendance, and overall membership in the Mormon Church. Here are some of the gems I came up with.

Feel free to let me know if you think I'm way off base on any of these. Sometimes I'm so far off base, I've been mistaken for an outfielder...

Mark has a lifelong testimony of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (the Mormon Church). Mark also has other sites and blogs, including and his Dutch Oven blog.

Mark's Other Blog Posts: Dutch Oven Beef Ribs, Humor: How High School Sports Prepare You for the Workplace,

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The Zeezrom Syndrome

Since I wrote that last blog post on the Book of Mormon story of Zeezrom, I thought it would be interesting to see if there were any other bloggers/writers out there who had shared some insights into the man and his life.

I found that one man, Rod J Vessels, had actually written a whole book about him, called, "The Zeezrom Syndrome"

Immediately I was fascinated, and I started to look up some of the references there in the Google search. Even though there were a lot of mentions of the book at various sites, there was precious little information about it. A few pages gave me some basic hints, but none of them actually told me what "The Zeezrom Syndrome" actually IS.

I was, however, intrigued. I love the story (I mentioned it's one of my all-time favorite Book of Mormon stories). It turned out that I had some Affiliate money stored up in my account over at Amazon, so I went ahead and bought it. When it arrives, I'll read it and review it here.

In the meantime, here are some other references which I found interesting:

Based on my brief encounters with second and third hand information about the book, I'm guessing that the Zeezrom Syndrome has something to do with being caught up in pride and materialism, bringing on lessened spirituality.

But that's just a guess.

More to come on this great Book of Mormon Mystery!

Mark has a lifelong testimony of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (the Mormon Church). Mark also has other sites and blogs, including and his Dutch Oven blog.

Mark's Other Blog Posts: A Birthday Dutch Oven Gathering, and Keyword Analysis Research,

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Book of Mormon Story - Save the Lawyer!

"Martyr", the song I wrote and posted last week, was inspired by the story of Alma and Amulek, from the Book of Mormon. As I was reading it, researching the song, I was reminded of the story that bookends that one. It's one of my all-time favorite Book of Mormon story. That's the conversion of Zeezrom.

Zeezrom starts out, in chapter 11 of the book of Alma, as a lawyer trying to trip up Alma and Amulek. He tries a few strategies to try and trick them in their words, and at one point, even tries to buy them out of their testimonies.

But Alma and Amulek can sense, by the Spirit, his trickery and they call him on it. And this catches him off guard. Before long, his questions start to get sincere. Pretty soon the crowd is getting more and more angry at Alma and Amulek, and as Zeezrom starts to stand up for them, they get mad at him, too. Pretty soon they haul the two missionaries off to jail.

In what I imagine is their "trial" they are accused. Because Zeezrom is a lawyer, I imagine that he was working for their defence. Who knows what the Nephite due process was at that time in the Book of Mormon, but there must have been some set order to things. In the end, the bad guys run Zeezrom out of town. At that point, he's pretty much a believer.

He travels to another town, where another family of believers takes him in, feeds him, and cares for him. It turns out that he's so wracked by guilt over all the things he'd done over the years, persecuting and (I imagine) prosecuting the righteous, that he's in bed, sick with a fever.
I wonder if he was there at the scene of the martyrdom, of the burning. For him to see the righteous being burned a live, with their scriptures, and knowing that he'd played a role in inciting the people to that point must have eaten away at his soul. Small wonder he lay in bed.

Then, after Alma and Amulek tear down the walls of the prison the come to the town where he is. When Zeezrom hears that they're alive, he takes courage and sends for them. He must've wondered if they'd harbour any resentment for him. It must've taken some courage for him to send for them.

They come to Zeezrom, and with no recrimination or anger at all, bless him and heal his illness. Zeezrom jumps to his feet, praising God, and "...went from that time forth, to preach unto the people."

So many of the stories of the Book of Mormon are about armies, generals, leaders, and history. This is one of my favorites because it's very personal. One man makes a complete turn around. It just gives hope for me, too.

Mark Hansen

More by Mark: Mark's Black Pot: Dutch Oven Swirled Bread

Sunday, July 19, 2009


It's not a very common thing for me to write a new song these days. But the muse started smacking me upside the head tonight. I know that sounds painful, but it's cool.

In Alma, Chapter 14, in the Book of Mormon, it tells the story of Alma and Amulek witnessing the burning of the scriptures and the believers in a horrific place of martyrdom. At one point, Amulek suggests they use the power of God to stop the carnage, and Alma says that the Spirit of God is holding him back, saying that they're being welcomed up unto God in Glory. That thought always stuck with me. From our point of view, here on earth, these scenes of humans mistreating and murdering other humans is terrifying and saddening. From God's perspective, he's welcoming them home, knowing that they held firm to their beliefs.

So, I wanted to write a song about the martyrs in and for the Book of Mormon, but more from that more joyful perspective. I'm imagining that I'm one of the angels called up into the choir to welcome them back.

It's a work in progress. The middle verse, about Haun's Mill, needs some work. I did some research, but it's tough to sum it all up in six lines. I'll keep redoing it all and gel it all together.


By Mark Hansen

The fires rise high on a moonless night
Marked by shouts and cries of fright
The scriptures burning up in ash and smoke

As they throw the scared believers in
Two men think to stop the din
But a still voice whispers, "No", to let them go

They've stood up to the last
Their sorrows now have past
Their souls are rising fast
And I'll join with the choirs and sing
And sing the martyrs home

It's just about 4:00 when the men ride in
The time for the truce was at an end
In the blacksmith's shop they ready their final stand

The riders surround and open fire
And in the end, when they retire
The blood of eighteen souls is on their hands

Who stood up to the last
Whose sorrows now have past
Their souls are rising fast
And I'll join with the choirs and sing
And sing the martyrs home

In an Illinois Jail, four men wait
For the end of the story brought by fate
One man sings a hymn in the evening sun

A shouting mob rushes up the stairs
Bullets fly and bullets tear
And a prophet and his brother's lives are done

And they've stood up to the last
Their sorrows now have past
Their souls are rising fast
And I'll join with the choirs and sing
And sing the martyrs home

Mark Hansen

Friday, July 10, 2009

Zelaya and Micheletti, The Fight of the Decade?

Since I was a missionary in Honduras many many years ago, I've been watching the current crisis between "former president" Manuel Zelaya and "interim president" Roberto Micheletti in Honduras. I put those titles in quotes for a reason. Zelaya is the "former president" because, right or wrong, he's not in power. He can't even get back into the country. I also think calling Micheletti an "interim" president is also a bit laughable. Will he give up power when elections happen? Meantime, both men are claiming that the other is a criminal and a traitor, and now talks in Costa Rica have broken down.

I've been following the follies of Zelaya and Micheletti mostly on the BBC, and usually, I find them to be pretty fair in their reporting. I can't seem to find any real sense in any of it. Zelaya wanted to ammend the constitution to give him another run at the presidency. That seems fair. Let him try it. If it's really that big of a deal, he'd have been voted down. The referrendum was supposedly non-binding anyway. Judging from the mixed reactions in the public, I'd say he probably didn't have a lot of popular support.

But instead of letting him just fall flat, his "successor" decided to have him arrested at gunpoint and deported. Seems to me that he's really the one who's messing with the constitution, here. But then, especially in central america, constitutionality has often been decided by which end of the gun barrel you were on.

Here's my take: This seems to be a lot of petty bickering between two guys who want to be in charge.

These two guys are really coming across like a couple of snotty-nosed kids trying to kick each other out of the sandbox. It's not even like the mess in southern africa a while back, where one guy was clearly evil and the other guy was good, but defeated. Zelaya and Micheletti both need to stop and look around and see what the world is seeing.

But one guy who's really showing what an idiot he can be is Hugo Chavez. He's criticizing Obama for not intervening strongly.


Did I just hear that right?

Chavez is mad because the US isn't meddling in Central American sovreignty enough?

That's what I thought I just said. It just doesn't sound right.

I love the Honduran people, and I'm sorry they're going through such a mess. Between this and Mitch (the hurricane), they've had a tough decade. I'm honestly not sure that this is something that the US SHOULD get involved in, though. I guess it's one of those situations where we're &^$%*&$ if we do, and (^%*&*#^@ if we don't. (Don't try to figure out what those words are. I just hit random keys with the shift key held down)

Mark Hansen

Saturday, June 20, 2009

My Weird Father's Day


The day before it, actually

It started out very early, as I got Jake ready for his day and Cub Scout Day Camp. It was kind of a landmark day for Jake, as we spent time together, shooting BB guns, making rope (he and his powered wheelchair were the hit of the day when he helped them win the Tug-of-War), and doing Archery. Even though it drizzled and rained most of the day, he had a great time.

I, of course, came home exhausted.

...Only to find out that a couple of neighborhood boys had broken into our home while we were out a couple of days ago and stolen a camera and our two boys' laptop computers. So, we had to confront the boys with their parents.

I approached that with a certain amount of trepidation. One boy is constantly over at our house playing with Brendon, and another is one we don't know. With the first boy, we knew the news would be very hard on his father. With the other boy, we didn't know how his family would react. We'd never met them before.

We were relieved to find that both sets of parents were upset at their kids, but in what we felt were the right ways. They were eager to resolve the issue and to put harsh enough consequences in place so that the boys actually learned something from that. Without going into detail, I left the experience saddened for the families, but encouraged that there's still a lot of examples of what I feel is good parenting in the world.

Typically, when a kid breaks the law, people are quick to judge the parents and label them bad. After all, if they were good parents, the kid wouldn't have strayed, now would he? Well, keep in mind that Lehi's kids weren't exactly the best, and Alma's son went around actively harming the church. Yet no one would accuse those fathers of unrighteousness.

I mean, the kids just made some mistakes. Now they have to deal with them.

Then, later, as we were driving home from my Father-in-law's Father's Day BBQ, my kids spontaneously started singing primary songs in the back seat. I suddenly noticed that they were singing, "Love is Spoken Here."

They got to the second verse: "Ours is a home where every hour/Is blessed by the strength of Priesthood power..." I just cried. Literally, tears were rolling down my cheeks.

I can't say what helps the other families run their homes, but I can say what a great strength the Priesthood and the Church has been in mine.

Happy Father's Day...

Mark Hansen

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Dinrist, My Guitar

Sometime around 1980 (memory fuzzes after all those years), I was at the used rack in a music store in my hometown of Terre Haute, Indiana, and I saw this absolutely incredible guitar. It was a natural finish maple, a "beautiful blonde". It had the coolest shape I'd ever seen on an electric guitar. It was like a mandolin with a scroll. An absolutely beautiful guitar. The price tag was $300, a huge sum for me in those days.

At that particular moment, I had my then-current guitar (a no-name or small-name strat copy) in to have an intonation done or some such minor stuff. I had paid about $75 for it and a reall bad amp from a friend in my ward.

Kind of off-the-cuff, I asked him how much he'd give me for it in a trade-up toward that Epiphone. I kind of remembered trying to play down my interest in the guitar that had caught my eye. I didn't want him to think I wanted it TOO bad.

He looked over the two guitars and hemmed and hawed, and finally pronounced, "Ohhhhhhh, I guess I'd give you a hundred fifty for it."

"Okay!" Done. I put it on layaway, with my old guitar as a down payment. I had absolutely no idea how I was going to pay it off. But over the course of that summer, I managed to earn the remaining $150, and it was mine.

Right away, I named it. I was big into fantasy literature, and I morphed a couple of elvish words into it's name: "Dinrist" The Silence Cleaver!

I soon found "my sound". By using the coil tap and the pickup selector, and tweaking the settings on my amp, I could make it sound pretty much like Brian May. It was a sweet axe. I used it in garage bands, and once, when a poetry writing class assignment was to write a romantic poem, I wrote to it.

I can still clearly remember playing that guitar when I had my epiphany that I needed to set it aside and go on my mission. When I realized that music, as important as it was to me, wasn't as important as my burgeoning testimony.

When my mission in Honduras neared its end, people started teasing me about going home to my girlfriend. Like so many others, she and I had parted ways about half-way through my adventure. Instead, I told them, "La unica q' me espera es mi guitarra!" (The only girl waiting for me is my guitar).

I've bought, sold and traded many guitars since then. I've played in many failed and floundered bands. I've recorded songs with it and other guitars. But this one has been with me, faithfully, the longest of them all.

So, the other day, my son picked it up, and I showed him how to make a rock power chord shape, and play "Tom Sawyer". A few days later, he's got it pretty much down.

So, all those years that I played this guitar, and all the years that I'd hoped for a son suddenly converged. Here was my son playing my guitar, and making it sound good.

Here's to you both!

Mark Hansen

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Chapter and Verse, Revisited

A long time ago, I put together a big long post about LDS games. I expressed my frustration with a lot of the methods that people were using to put LDS games together. They were either basic trivia games, or repackaging an existing successful game model with an LDS face. From time to time, as I've encountered them, I've reviewed some of the LDS games I've encountered here in the pages of Mo'Boy.

And, of course, at one point, I decided to stop just grousing about other people's efforts and put forward my own, and I called it Chapter and Verse. It's a collectible card game based on the scriptures. Each card is a verse of scripture, and you're gathering verses together into chapters to make books. Many verses have a set of special rules, so that most cards allow you to change the play of the game just a little bit.

I hadn't really worked on it very much for the last year or so.

But lately, I've been "resurrecting" it, if you'll pardon the pun. My son and I printed and cut out three full sets of the basic cards (they're prototype, and don't have any fancy graphics), and made some decks just to get back into it and try it out. He kicked my trash, but I didn't mind. I was reminded of two things:

  1. First of all, just how much fun this game can be. I really had a blast playing with him. It was fun to work out the decks (even though neither of us really put a lot of effort into it), and it was fun to make combos in play with the cards. This one has this special ability, and so that makes it so I can play this one!
  2. Second, there are a few of the abilities that direct one's focus to the scripture on the card itself. Rather than just reading the effect or the topical icon, you have to actually read or interact with the verse on the card. Watching my 11 year old son do that, and engage eagerly with the scriptures like that was fun.

So, I got this idea for a deck, and I think I'll make it tonight before I go to sleep, then maybe we'll try it out tomorrow after school and after work... Hmmmm...

This first set was all made from verses throughout the four standard works. I'm thinking that, over the next months or so, I'll also make a set specific to the Book of Mormon.

Mark Hansen

Friday, May 15, 2009

How to Get Through Almost Anything

I had a really grueling day at work. It wasn't particularly difficult, nor stressful, but it was long, and filled with back-to-back phone appointments. I literally started at 1:00 this afternoon, and I got off the phone at 8:15 tonight. No dinner break. Only a couple of short potty breaks.

Fortunately, this kind of day is not typical. Not unheard of, but definitely not typical.

And I knew it was coming. For two days, now, I've seen the calendar, and I was praying that someone would cancel their appointment. They did yesterday. But not today. Straight through.

It reminded me of other times where I knew something would be difficult. For example, once when I was asked to watch our neighbor's kids. They're great kids, but they're very active and energetic. I knew it was going to be a long, long evening, filled with chasing and other futile attempts at keeping these kids entertained. It was exhausting. But I managed to keep my cool.


I knew that it was going to end.

Today, I knew that it was going to be a long and straining day. That night with the kids I knew would be difficult. But I also knew that the clock would march on, and that eventually, no matter how trying things became, it would reach an end. And I would have rest.

I should be able to extrapolate that into the larger arena of my life. Eventually, I know that these difficulties will end and I'll have some respite. I do know that there will be more difficulties, just like I know that there will be more dredging days at work, and other opportunities to give my friends and neighbors a break. But I know that it will pass, and I can get through it.

Mark Hansen

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Here's a personal musical thing..

Remember way back when my Mom gave me her bass?

Well, it took me long enough, but I finally have my music studio in a place where I can keep it out of its case and ready to play. And so, this morning, I did.

I had stopped by a music store and bought this thin little book on scale studies. I opened it up to the first page, C Major, and started playing. I played the various rhythms with the bow, I practiced playing pizzicato (with and without a slapped backbeat), and really had a good time.

I was surprised by a couple of things.

One, I was surprised how much of my old 'cello technique has stayed with me all these years. I haven't played a cello in well over 20 years. But the bowing and the fingering is not that foreign to me. I was able to produce a reasonable tone. Cool.

Two, I was surprised (but not that much) how often I thought about Mom as I was playing. I can remember her dragging her bass out and practicing her symphony parts. I can still remember this one solo she used to play. I don't know the name and I can't quote the notes here. But if I heard it again, I would know it in an instant. I don't know if I'll ever be able to play it. It's pretty tricky.

But anyway. Here's to Mom, a little after Mother's Day!

Mark Hansen

Saturday, April 04, 2009

Fatherhood - What is it to be a Man?

I went to the Priesthood session of general conference tonight, with my father. It was a very powerful evening, and especially since I got to share it with family. Some people criticize us for having meetings that separate the men from the women, but there's great strength and unity in meeting with and sharing a spiritual time with hundreds of other guys, all of whom are striving to make a better life for their families.

One of the speakers tonight talked about the nature of the priesthood and about how the covenant of the priesthood was basically one of service. It got me to thinking about what it means to be be a man in today's world.

You look at popular culture, and there are lots of conflicting and confusing opinions of what "being a man" and being a "good man" really are. There's the tough guy, the loner, the ladies' man, the intellectual, the powerful man-in-charge. None of those seem to "get it" for me. Yet I see examples all around of people trying desperately to fit into one or more of those molds.

I'm finally beginning to see that, really, the key element of being a good man, truly the essence of Christian masculinity, is pretty simple, really: It's all about taking care of other people's needs above your own.

If that means you go to work daily to a job that's miserable because it keeps your family fed, you do it. if it means driving your kid for a late-night, three-hour wait in an ER because he needs a lung X-ray, you do it. If it means that you do something special for your kids instead of sleeping in on a Saturday, you do it. If it means interrupting your own time to go next door and give a sick neighbor a blessing, or to help someone move, you do it. You take care of the kids for a night, so your wife gets a much-needed break.

And somewhere in it all, you still manage to find a little time to blog, to cook in your dutch ovens , play a little MTG , or write a song or two .

That's all that stepping up and taking responsibility is, really.

Mark Hansen

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Parenthood - Common Uniqueness

My good friend Marc had his little girl, his first child, blessed today. I was lucky to be there. As he, and I, and others stood to bear our testimonies afterward, it occurred to me just what an interesting ride parenthood is.

I mean, it's like the ultimate in shared human experiences. Almost everyone at some point in their lives will experience it. Many who don't experience it biologically will still be able to do it socially. It truly is one thing that almost everyone does.

But for all of it's common ground, shared experiences, and universality, it's still unique with every child and every parent. I interact differently with Brendon than I do with Jake. I know that I interact differently with their friends who come over to play, because they are someone else's child. Even though I do make them follow the rules of our house while they're here, and I'm the responsible adult while I'm here, I'm still not their dad.

If fate had touched someone else with the task of being the parent to Brendon or Jacob, their shared experience would be vastly different (possibly even better) than what we've shared.

I don't really know where I'm going with this, other than that I find it interesting that God has set up our lives in such a way that we can be so unique. We all do it, but we all do it our own way.

Mark Hansen

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Praying & Singing & Drumming

It was kinda cool to post up that song the other day, but even cooler to get this response:

Subject: I just read your blog...

and I thought the lyrics were amazing. So, I listened to the music and thought it could use a bit more fill-in-type drums - just for fun.

Here's what I came up with.

Feel free to do whatever you want with it - or nothing at all. I just needed to play to this awesome song, and now I feel *MUCH* better.

Thanks again for sharing.


I decided to leave the full link on there. I really like reading his "I Love My Journal" blog. He's got some real insights into the scriptures. Just don't look at his pictures if individuality scares you!

Mark Hansen

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Church Food

Many of you, who are my friends, know that this last six months have been very difficult for me, especially financially. My parents have had to step in and help us cover what could have been a very big gap in our health insurance, and just recently, we started to get assistance from our ward.

This is probably the second or third time in our 20+ years of marriage that we've had to get what's known to Mormons as "Church Welfare". The most common form it takes is the food order.

You meet with your Relief Society President and determine what food staples you need. The two of you fill out a form called a "Food Order", and then you take that to what's called a "Bishop's Storehouse".

The Church has a vast network of farms, orchards, canneries, and other food-producing resources all over the World, but especially in America. The food is all grown, manufactured, packaged, and distributed to these storehouses all across the country. It also happens across the world, but I'm more familiar with how it works in America.

In a lot of cases, these canneries and distribution networks are managed by paid church members, but much of the staff that does the more menial labor that requires less critical skill is volunteer. Assignments are given out to wards and stakes (local and regional congregations) to fulfill certain days and hours of volunteer labor.

Usually, the first people to fill those slots are the the folks that are receiving the aid. So, when the next assignments come up in our ward, we will be expected to go. Still, there were many times when I helped fulfill these assignments when I was not on assistance. Sometimes you just go to help out.

In addition to all this help, one of the more famous, if not mundane, aspects of the church is its emphasis on prudent living, and a great emphasis is placed on having food storage. This is only partly due to a mild paranoia that arose out of the great depression. It's actually very practical. We don't have any special line on a prediction for the next natural disaster. It just makes good sense to have a supply on hand when you need it.

I mention all this because tonight, I cooked a meal that was provided, in part, by the groceries that were given to us from the bishop's storehouse, and partly from our own food storage. I didn't have to go out and buy anything to make tonight's meal. Technically, it cost money, because we had bought the part that came from storage. But still...

And, since I cooked it in my dutch oven, I didn't even use any electricity or gas!

Here's the fun part: It was incredibly delicious. I made a seafood chowder with garlic, cheese, and butter biscuits. I daresay, it was as good as, if not better than, a restaurant meal.

I'm not sure that I should be bragging about needing help from our ward to make ends meet. I hope it doesn't sound like I am.

But a long time ago, as I was growing in the music industry here, I learned something very important from a friend. You can complain about what you don't have, or you can make some thing good with what you do. I feel like I followed his advice tonight. And I feel a bit richer for it.

Mark Hansen

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Pray & Sing

So, tonight we're doing our family scripture study (thanks to my dear wife Jodi), and it's Jacob's turn to read. He's in third grade, which is tough enough when you're reading scriptures, but he's also been struggling with his reading.

So, he's reading along, and he hits this word that he's having a really hard time with.

Sound it out, Jacob. Start with just the first half of the word.



"R..." He struggles, "Pr..."

Good, good... now what does "ai" sound like?

"AY!" That one he knew.

Put it together, now...


That's it! Great job! Now, you already know the last half of the word.

He thinks for a moment... "Sing!"

That's right! Now put those two together.

"Pray, sing, pray, sing," he chants, just like on Sesame Street. Then he gets it: "Praising!"

It was right about there that the light suddenly hit me. Duh. Suddenly it dawned on me, once again, what it means in the doctrine and covenants, "The song of the righteous is a prayer unto me.." and "Make a Joyful Noise", from the Psalm.

It also reminds me of a song I wrote a long time ago.

I Will Sing This Prayer
Free mp3 Download

The mountains all around me
Are a fortress strong and tall
The pine trees at attention
Stand as sentries on the wall
The evening wraps around me
Like I was never really there
And while the light is fading
I will sing this prayer

The city seems so quiet
Wrapped up in all it's noise
Machines and men in motion
Some build and some destroy
The people rush on by me
Like I was never really there
And while the world is turning
I will sing this prayer

The earth just keeps on moving
Dancing slowly on it's way
Above the blue and green and white
My life just fades away
But there is One who always
Knows that I am there
And while I'm thinking of Him
I will sing this prayer

There are worlds too vast to number
But He knows I am there
And while He's thinking of me
I will sing this prayer

Mark Hansen

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

"...Drifting Along with the Tumbling Tumbleweeds"

So, it was pretty windy on the way to work this morning. This is the time of the year when there's lots of tumbleweeds outside our town, too. They break off in the winter, and then the snow melts, and the march winds come. I looked out across the empty fields and saw the weeds rolling in the wind. It looked like a herd of animals all running along together.

It was kinda odd. I got to think about freedom. I know people who would look at those tumbleweeds and say that they are so free. They would say that there was nothing holding them back, and that they are free to roam wherever the wind would take them.

But that's actually where I have the problem with that as a symbol for freedom.

These weeds have no freedom. They go nowhere as a result of their own freewill. They are at the complete mercy and whim of outside forces, in this case, the wind.

I remember once a songwriting client of mine wrote a song about being as free and wild as the river. Ronnie James Dio did a song (which is a cool sounding song, even though I disagree with it) where he bemoans seeing lightning, because he sees that it's free, as he wishes he was.

Got news for you, they all go along the path of least resistance. The 'weeds, the river, and lightning all go along paths determined by other factors. No freedom here.

Maybe that's why I can relate so well to the 'weeds right now. I'm having a hard time taking a stand and walking against the wind.

Mark Hansen

Thursday, February 26, 2009

More Hymns

So, I got this email today. It's from Shadow Mountain Records. They announced that they're working on a hymn-based project, and asked me to take a survey (basically where they asked me to pick my ten favorite hymns). It's kinda fun to do surveys, and I like to help out when I can. I also really love a lot of the hymns.

Unfortunately, the one question I wanted to answer, they left off the survey. That's the one where they ask if I really think we need another recording of hymns. The one where they ask how they could do this one in such a way that it sounds different from EVERY OTHER hymn project currently on their shelves.

But anyway, if you want to take the survey, too, you can.

Or, we can all join in, here at Mo' Boy. What are your favorite hymns?

Here are a few of mine:

  • How Firm a Foundation - This is one of the few that can actually bring me to tears.
  • Sweet Hour of Prayer - I used to sing this one to my kids as a lullaby
  • If You Could Hie to Kolob - deep doctrine, way cool harmonies!

What about you?

Mark Hansen


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