Monthly Archives: January 2009

“1 billion people’s Saviour” – Thoughts on swearing

I’ve never been one to use “bad” language. The closest I came was in high school. At the time I didn’t have much of a problem with quoting a song or a movie. I don’t remember which word it was, but one day I said something (again, quoting something), and all of my friends were stunned that I had said it. That was a real wake-up call for me. People really do watch what you do, and if you are going to live a principle, you need to live it all the time.

That happened 15-20 years ago, but I still remember it well. Now that I spend much of my time at work, I have to walk a fine line between letting people be who they are, but also being myself. I don’t like swearing. I don’t like to hear it. Depending on who it is, if I hear someone at work swear, I might gasp playfully or even tell them they have a “potty-mouth” (only for those who I am quite friendly with). As far as I know, no one has ever been offended that I don’t appreciate their swearing, and almost everyone now is careful when they are around me. I think they respect me for my beliefs.

The reason why I am posting about this is because this week I’ve heard or seen several things which are related to this.

The first thing was a report on NPR’s All Things Considered called ‘No Cussing’ Founder: Mind Your Dang Language. It’s about a 15-year-old young man who is trying to discourage people from swearing. You can read all about it on the NPR site. One of the stunning things, is that his campaign has actually brought threats and other hateful pranks. Come on, people! Why would you threaten someone because they don’t want to swear and they don’t want others to swear?!

The next thing was watching the movie Swing Vote. This is a movie starring Kevin Costner where because of some circumstances, he is to cast the vote to decide the next President of the United States. At one point in the movie, his daughter Molly (played by Madeline Carroll), is bothered by the fact he keeps saying “Jesus”, or “Jesus Christ” to swear. She tells him he’d better stop using Jesus as a cuss-word because Jesus was “1 billion people’s Saviour, you know”. Just the way she said it and the way he reacted was kind of cute/funny. Incidentally, I’m often torn with movies. Swing Vote was rated PG in Canada, and overall I thought it was a pretty decent movie. However, there was some casual swearing, which almost made me turn it off. I understand that the type of character that Kevin Costner was playing would have almost definitely been someone who swore in real life (if he were a real person), but it still makes me uncomfortable. My wife commented that there was more swearing than she expected from a PG movie.

Lastly, I also recently watched the terrible 1998 movie Lost in Space. At one point the young Will Robinson swears, and Dr. Smith (played by Gary Oldman), tells him that swearing is only for the weak minded (or something like that). I generally agree with that.

I know some people say that swearing is just a word. It’s no different than saying fudge, flip, shoot, etc. They may be right. I think those words are dumb replacements (although I am not offended by them). I just think that we should all speak a little better. I like what it says in For the Strength of Youth:

How you speak says much about who you are. Clean and intelligent language is evidence of a bright and wholesome mind. Use language that uplifts, encourages, and compliments others.
“Language,” For the Strength of Youth: Fulfilling Our Duty to God, 22

True to the Faith says this:

Foul language harms your spirit and degrades you. Do not let others influence you to use foul language.
“Profanity,” True to the Faith, (2004),128–29

Lastly, President Hinckley once said this:

Conversations I have had with school principals and students lead me to the same conclusion—that even among our young people, there is an evil and growing habit of profanity and the use of foul and filthy language.
I do not hesitate to say that it is wrong, seriously wrong, for any young man ordained to the priesthood of God to be guilty of such…

Brethren, stay out of the gutter in your conversation. Foul talk defiles the man who speaks it….

Don’t swear. Don’t profane. Avoid so-called dirty jokes. Stay away from conversation that is sprinkled with foul and filthy words. You will be happier if you do so, and your example will give strength to others.
Gordon B. Hinckley, “Take Not the Name of God in Vain,” Ensign, Nov 1987, 44

April 1957 Juvenile Instructor – Draw It With Chalk

As I mentioned before, I borrowed a few old Church magazines from a long-time member of my ward. I previously shared some from a May 1958 issue that had a picture of the Romney family (including a young Mitt).

Here is the cover of the April 1957 Juvenile Instructor (note: this and all other pictures are clickable so you can see a larger version):

1957_04_juvenile_instructor_cover

I love the description inside the cover of the picture:

1957_04_juvenile_instructor_cover_inside

Anyway, the main reason why I’m posting about this is because of a fascinating article in it called “Draw It With Chalk”.

1957_04_juvenile_instructor_draw_it_with_chalk_01

1957_04_juvenile_instructor_draw_it_with_chalk_02

Wow, they are both excellent artists! I can’t imagine talking the time to punch holes in a pattern, put dots on the board, then connecting all the dots. In today’s technologically advanced world, it seems so funny to have someone draw something so elaborate on a chalkboard. Today, you’d find a nice picture online and either photocopy it or maybe even show it on a projector.

The one thing I can say, is that I’m impressed the Church was providing this sort of help to their instructors. If you have a teacher who is willing to put in that much time into preparing their lesson, you definitely have a very dedicated, and most likely good, teacher.

What Church RSS feeds to I follow?

I’m a computer guy by profession. I generally feel that you can never have too much information. I love the Church, so if you mix those things together, I feel that I just can’t get enough information about the Church, or what is going on with the Church. I don’t subscribe to every blog out there, as some of them are just not my style. Here is a list of the ones that I do follow:

20090128_rss_feeds

There are some here that are not active anymore, and I need to clean those up. As I mentioned before, NothingWavering.org has allowed me to eliminate individual blogs. That site provides a feed that collects the feeds from many other sites (including this one).

You’ll see that I have several Google Alerts as well. It’s interesting to read about the Church in the news in various parts of the world. I’m also a fan/student of Church history, so I like to follow a couple of phrases that might have some shared information with our “cousins”.

If you are interested, you can download an OPML file of these feeds here.

You can also find individual links here (remember, some of the links are old):

The Vatican on YouTube

Apparently there has been a Vatican YouTube account since November 2005, but I guess they’ve just started to post about it. I found out about it on the Official Google Blog:

Today we’re delighted to announce that the Vatican has launched a dedicated YouTube channel.

To find out more about why the Pope has taken the decision to interact with YouTube on a regular basis, here is a short introduction from Father Federico Lombardi, S.I., Director of Vatican Radio, the Vatican Television Centre and the Holy See Press Office.

So, for regular updates on the Pope and the Catholic Church’s take on the major problems facing the world today, subscribe to the Vatican on YouTube.

The Globe and Mail had some more information:

“It certainly shows that the church recognizes the value of YouTube and making itself as accessible as widely as possible using whatever means possible,” said Rev. John Pungente, an ordained Catholic priest and executive director of the Jesuit Communication Project in Toronto.

“It shows we’re not stuck back in the Middle Ages, chanting somewhere. Just as we have used radio and television to spread the word about the church, now we should certainly be using something like YouTube on the Internet.”

Of course, this raises the question, of what is the Church doing with YouTube. Well, there is an LDSPublicAffairs channel. Unfortunately, nothing has been posted for over 3 months. The one thing I was impressed with about the Vatican channel, is that Father Lombardi did a personal introduction. This seems like it would be the equivalent of a Seventy doing the same thing. Good idea… go for it! I think the Church’s YouTube channel would be much more useful if there were news items and things done specifically for YouTube. The new temple in Utah has been in the news, but YouTube doesn’t have anything official from the Church about it. President Monson just spoke a couple of weeks ago at a CES fireside, but YouTube doesn’t have anything official from the Church about it. Some members of the Church heirarchy met recently with both Republican and Democratic leaders in Utah, but YouTube doesn’t have anything official from the Church about it. I could go on, but you get the point. I certainly wouldn’t say the Church is “stuck back in the Middle Ages”. They have been very effective at using some newer technology, but I also think that they could do more. Hopefully with some “competition”, the Church will use this resource more effectively.

Mormonopia added to NothingWavering.org!

I’ve had this domain for quite some time, and I had anticipated that I’d be able to blog about quite a bit. However, since I run several other sites, I just haven’t made time for Mormonopia. This year I resolved to change that. To start with, I’m trying to post something every Monday through Friday. This has been challenging, but fun.

One of the main things I’m working on is my list of Official web sites of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. As I come across new sites or sub-domains, I post about them and add them to the list. If you are aware of some, please let me know.

Many months ago I applied to be part of NothingWavering.org. This is a web site that aggregates many LDS blogs (or non-Church related blogs by members) into one place. I used to subscribe to lots of different LDS-related blogs, but I’ve since been able to remove half of them and just subscribe to one of the feeds at NothingWavering.org. It’s quite nice.

If you have never visited NothingWavering.org, check it out:

Nothing Wavering

Anyway, I got an email on Thursday telling me that my site was been accepted. That’s great news, but now the pressure’s on to post regularly, and to post good content. I’ll do my best!

Combating Pornography church web site

The other day I was skimming through the “Let Virtue Garnish Thy Thoughts” booklet. This is a booklet that is to help people who are struggling with pornography. There is a booklet for the member, and another booklet for the Bishop. I’ve flipped through it before, but didn’t notice an LDS.org sub-domain that is reference in the back.

If you visit http://combatingpornography.lds.org/, you will find a link to President Hinckley’s talk on pornography from the 2004 General Conference, a PDF version of the “Let Virtue Garnish Thy Thoughts” booklet, along with a few other resources. Very nice!

I’ve updated the Official web sites of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints page with this sub-domain.

Church leaders at Inauguration and National Prayer Service

I’m sure you’ve seen many reports about this, but President Uchtdorf and Elder Ballard represented the Church at the Inauguration of Barack Obama. They stayed over, and were there for the National Prayer Service as well. The Church Newsroom posted a couple of pictures, and the Deseret News covered it as well:

President Uchtdorf was very kind in his comments:

It was inspiring to be an eyewitness to this peaceful, impressive, transfer of power and the swearing-in of the first African American president. We pray for President Barack Obama’s success in these challenging times and join in his expressions of hope and optimism.

It was interesting seeing the nice picture of President Uchtdorf and Elder Ballard. Here were two Apostles of the Lord, standing in a crowd of over a million people. Probably very few knew who they were, and even fewer knew of their authority and calling.

Church magazine web sites (sub-domains, actually)

Although the Church does have a variety of separate domain names, but it seems like it tries to keep everything on the main LDS.org domain. Many of the separate domains redirect to a section of the LDS.org domain. The same is true for most of the sub-domains. For example, I recently found out that each of the three main magazines have their own sub-domain that redirects to the appropriate section of the LDS.org domain.

I’ve updated the Official web sites of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints page with these sub-domains.

Church Leaders to Attend Inauguration of President-elect Barack Obama

I was going to post something else today, but since it is Inauguration Day, I figured this was more timely. Last Friday the LDS Newsroom released information about their representation at a couple of inaugural events. Here is the entire release:

SALT LAKE CITY 16 January 2009 The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will be represented at inaugural events for President-elect Barack Obama by President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, second counselor in the First Presidency, and Elder M. Russell Ballard, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.

The two leaders, who have been asked to represent the Church by Church President Thomas S. Monson, are scheduled to attend the swearing-in ceremony on January 20 and the National Prayer Service at Washington’s National Cathedral on January 21.

“It is always an honor for the Church to be represented at the inauguration of a new president,” said President Monson. “We send our best wishes to President-elect Obama and pray for the blessings of a loving Father in Heaven to be upon him and his administration.”

I know the events of today will be big news in the United States. I guess here in Canada people are excited, too, as it is expected that Canada-US relations will improve. I’m at work all day, so I’ll read a few things online, but I won’t be watching Obama take the Oath of Office.

Why do bad things happen to good people?

I’ve had a few experiences recently that have brought to mind this question. As I’ve counseled people, sometimes they are suffering because of their own actions and sometimes it is because of the actions of others. It’s a good question, and probably doesn’t have a specific answer. Why do bad things happen to good people? When approaching this question, there are a few things I try to remember/share:

  1. There is always someone worse off than you. Not that we are happy that other people are suffering, but hopefully we can gain strength by seeing how others have coped.
  2. Paul wrote that “God… will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able” (1 Cor 10:13). The footnote for “tempted” says that it means “seized upon”. So we won’t be tested, have challenges, or have outsides forces that will be more than we can bear. My wife was recently telling me that she had heard a talk that explained that we often misquote this scripture. You’ve probably heard people say that God won’t test us beyond what we can handle. There is a difference between “handle” and “bear”. The word “handle” seems to imply that we are doing it on our own, as in “I can handle it”. The word bear seems to imply that we are enduring, that God is giving us strength to bear it.
  3. The last point kind of blends into this one. Since God is giving us strength to bear our afflictions, then it is through our afflictions that we see the hand of God in our lives. It is when we can’t do things on our own that the grace of God takes over. At this point, the Atonement of Christ has effect in our lives. He suffered for our sins and all our pains and sufferings (Alma 7:11-12). We need Him, and our trials help us recognize that.

This certainly isn’t mean to be an exhaustive treatment, but these are some of the thoughts I’ve been having.