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


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