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Showing posts from 2010

Come Unto Christ

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What a wonderful day it is to consider together our Savior and Redeemer, Jesus Christ.  I’m grateful to partake of the sacrament with you and to renew my covenant to remember him and to follow him.  I’m not sure that I really understood the significance of that covenant when I first took it upon myself at age eight.

I’m still trying to understand what it means to really keep that covenant each day.  Some days I do better than others.  Sundays are a joy to me because I spend them in activities that are centered on the mission of the church – to invite all to come unto Christ.  It’s during the week that I sometimes struggle to remember Him.

I suppose it’s a life-long pursuit, isn’t it? - To figure out how to really come unto Christ as we have been commanded to do. As Moroni taught, “Yea, come unto Christ, and be perfected in him, and deny yourselves of all ungodliness … love God with all your might, mind and strength …” - Moroni 10:32

Another Book of Mormon prophet taught, “And now, my…

Just what was Portnoy’s Complaint?

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Be forewarned: This essay contains references to masturbation and other sexual acts.  Once again by assignment, I examine the social impact of a controversial book first published over forty years ago, at the height of the sexual revolution.  I’ve noticed a trend among most of the short stories and books that we have considered this year in our American Literature classes: many of them contain material that would be considered to be shocking or offensive to more conservative readers.  Portnoy’s Complaint is no exception.  In fact, if Ginsberg hadn’t broken the indecency barrier with his poem Howl a decade earlier, I am certain that Philip Roth would have been charged with breaking some sort of obscenity law.  As it was, attempts were made to prohibit the distribution of the book in some countries and many U.S. libraries banned the book as too vulgar.  Of course that was in 1969.  Today it is considered an American classic.

I would like to address in this essay just what it is that ma…

Walt Whitman, the First Great American Poet

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Walt Whitman left a legacy as an American poet that cannot be ignored.  Yet, nearly 120 years after his death, polarization of opinion about his work and his influence is still strong.  It seems that you either love him or you hate him, and in most cases that view depends upon your moral convictions.  There is no doubt that his work was controversial in his day, evidenced by the labels of “obscene” and “pornographic” given by some reviewers.  For those who have seriously studied his work, the general consensus of opinion is that Walt Whitman was a great American poet and in fact, is considered the first great poet of America.  However, to many in this great nation, instead of singing the body electric, Whitman’s poetry demeans and degrades the human spirit.  And while his works may have shocked the sensitivities of some readers in his day, it is tame by today’s standards, giving us an early preview of America as the land of porn.

A Short Biography

Walt Whitman was born in 1819 in New …

Getting Past Prejudices with the Musical Rent

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The warning signs outside the theater were ominous: “Adult content not suitable for children.”  Looking around as we entered, I had to remember that the college-age students there were not children.  That’s hard to do when you have offspring older than most present, including the actors performing the show.  Carol and I were there by assignment to see the musical “Rent,” the Tony and Pulitzer award winning rock-opera drama about life in New York’s Lower East Side in the late 1980’s.  It takes place in the neighborhood known as Alphabet City, an area primarily inhabited by bohemian young people wanting to break into theater, TV or music.  Sadly, the area also had high levels of illegal drug activity, violent crime and HIV/AIDS.

Undoubtedly the themes of homosexuality, AIDS, drug addiction and homelessness prompted the warnings about the adult content.  The characters include a gay male couple in which both partners have AIDS, an on-again/off-again lesbian couple, and a straight couple…

My Interview with Mormon.org

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On this Pioneer day, I decided to answer all the personal questions that you are asked when you fill out the profile on Mormon.org.  There are a whole lot more under the FAQ section (about 80) but that will have to wait for another day when I have more time.  I thoroughly enjoyed the process of answering these questions and felt like I was being interviewed, thus the title of this blog post.

01. Please explain the part prayer plays in your life?

Having grown up with daily prayer, I can’t imagine a day go by in which I don’t communicate with my Heavenly Father in prayer.  We start the day in prayer as a family asking for the Lord’s blessing upon us as we work.  We end the day in prayer the same way, usually kneeling by the bed, reporting our activities to God and thanking him for his help.  We give thanks for the food we eat at mealtimes and participate in public prayers in our weekly worship service.  It is through prayer and reading scriptures that I feel close to God and directed in…

Add your profile to Mormon.org

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I haven't been this excited about something the church has done in a long time.  Don't get me wrong.  I love the blessings of being involved in church activity each week, especially as I watch the young single adults grow and develop (I serve in the Bishopric of a YSA ward).  But for me, this is probably the single most exciting development I have seen come from Salt Lake City in many years.

I'm talking about the new Mormon.org, a complete redesign of the companion website to lds.org, the two main websites of the Mormon church.  Since I make a living with computers in IT support, I have been watching the church embrace and use technology for my entire adult life.  In the early nineties I wondered for a long time when the church would finally get a website.  When they did, it took me a while to not think that it was just a little bit behind the times even when it was new.  I felt the same way when Mormon.org first came out.  But with release 4.0 of the site, I confess that…

The Personal Power of Hester Prynne

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As created by Nathaniel Hawthorne in The Scarlet Letter, the character of Hester Prynne is a powerful woman.  She interacts impressively with those around her in the epoch that the story takes place – Puritan America of the 1640’s.  If she had lived in the days of Nathaniel Hawthorne (1804 – 1864) it is certain that she would also be looked upon as an influential woman of that time.  In fact, if she had lived in our day, there is no doubt that she would be a leader among women in our society.

The source of Hester’s power is her moral integrity.  Now, that may be a fantastic claim for the main character of a novel that addresses adultery.  But I am confident that you will at least understand the thesis, if not agree with it, once the evidence is presented and considered.

We will first review the social structure that prevailed in Puritan America, including the roles of men and women.  We will observe how Hester related to the male hierarchy and especially how she dealt with the auster…