Friday, June 26, 2009

Mormon Patron Saints

Having served a mission in a predominantly Catholic country, I came to find out that we LDS were missing out on one of the most popular aspects of that religion: Patron Saints. The variety of Patron Saints for Catholics number into the thousands, and can be found for any category - sore feet, Taxi drivers, butchers, etc.

Well, I thought it would be interesting to create of list of LDS pseudo-Patron Saints. Leave your ideas in the comments, and if they pass the qualifications, they'll be added to the official list that I'll be submitting to The Brethren.

  • Mitt Romney - Patron Saint of Mormon Republicans
  • Marie Osmond - Patron saint of the Arts
  • Thomas S. Monson - Patron Saint of Widows
  • LaVell Edwards and Steve Young - Patron Saints of LDS Sports
  • Emma Smith - Patron Saint of Stay at Home Moms and Community Organizers
  • Lorenzo Snow - Patron Saint of LDS ZZ Top fans
  • J. Golden Kimball - Patron Saint of Swearing
  • Porter Rockwell - Patron Saint of Bodyguards and people in the car towing business
  • Brigham Young - Patron Saint of Civil Engineers and Fundamental Polygamists
  • N. Eldon Tanner - Patron Saint of CPA's and Financial Managers
  • Eliza R. Snow - - Patron Saint of Veterinarians
  • BH Roberts and Thomas Stuart Ferguson - Patron Saint of Closet Doubters
  • Ezra T. Benson - - Patron Saint of ultra right-wing conspiracy buffs
  • Barbara Thompson, Patron Saint of Social Workers
  • Harry Reid, Patron Saint of closeted Democrats and moderate Republicans
  • Glen Beck - Patron Saint of the mentally challenged
  • Hyrum Smith - Patron Saint of Brotherhood and Loyalty
  • Joseph Smith - Patron Saint of Inspiration, and Indian Leg Wrestlers
  • Wednesday, June 24, 2009

    What to Expect When You're Expecting in Spanish Fork 401st Ward

    Sister Wheeler, our wonderful Relief Society President, has come up with a great get-to-know-you idea that she's started to implement at all Ward baby showers. The contest is to see who can keep their hand over the expecting mother's stomach the longest.

    While in this close proximity, the Sisters enjoy some great bonding time, can share casserole recipes and provide pointers for coping with discontinued Xanax use during a pregnancy. The winner of each contest gets a gift certificate for Cold Stone. Let the touching begin!

    Monday, June 22, 2009

    Satan-o-Meter iPhone App

    From our Ward Blog Sponsor:

    Finding yourself unsure whether you just make bad decisions on your own, or if The Evil One (or one of his billions of minions) is actually present? Have an accident, and you're confused whether Lucifer may had his hand in it?

    Well, wonder no more! This handy iPhone app will indicate the presence of any evil supernatural beings up to 25 feet. The app does get confused when used within the proximity of Ouija boards, decks of playing cards, stereo's playing The Rolling Stones and certain vampire books.

    Know when it's the real-deal!

    Friday, June 19, 2009

    The 'M' Word

    This week Brother Nielson and I took the opportunity to clean out the Ward Clerk's office. This office, as well as the library, are Church time-capsules stocked with some really 'interesting' items from the past. My favorite find was instructions provided as part of a 1970's Missionary Guide, written by Mark E. Peterson, on overcoming the 'M' word. I've copied some of the content, just in case you, 'have a friend,' that's having some, 'issues.'

    I'm especially fond of item #19 under, 'Suggestions,' - sound advice indeed. I wonder if the publisher of Dale Carnegie's classic, 'How to Win Friends and Influence People,' would consider a Forward added to a special anti-masturbation edition by Mark E., in light of suggestion #7.

    This fixation with the 'M' word by The Brethern includes Boyd K. Packers famous, 'Little Factory' talk on the subject given at a General Conference Priesthood session in 1976. Combine these sources on the 'M' word for a fun-filled and fascinating FHE! I'd nearly guarantee the children will be silent for this one.


    1. Never touch the intimate parts of your body except during normal toilet processes.
    2. Avoid being alone as much as possible. Find good company and stay in this good company.
    3. If you are associated with other persons having this same problem, YOU MUST BREAK OFF THEIR FRIENDSHIP. Never associate with other people having the same weakness. Don't suppose that two will quit together, you never will. You must get away from people of that kind. Just to be in their presence will keep your problem foremost in your mind. The problem must be taken OUT OF YOUR MIND for that is where it really exists. Your mind must be on other and more wholesome things.
    4. When you bathe, do not admire yourself in the mirror. Never stay in the bath more than five or six minutes - just long enough to bathe and dry and dress AND THEN GET OUT OF THE BATHROOM into a room where you will have some member of the family present.
    5. When in bed, if that is where you have your problem for the most part, dress yourself for the night so securely that you cannot easily touch your vital parts, and so that it would be difficult and time consuming for you to remove those clothes. By the time you started to remove protective clothing you would have sufficiently controlled your thinking that the temptation would leave you.
    6. If the temptation seems overpowering while you are in bed, GET OUT OF BED AND GO INTO THE KITCHEN AND FIX YOURSELF A SNACK, even if it is in the middle of the night, and even if you are not hungry, and despite your fears of gaining weight. The purpose behind this suggestion is that you GET YOUR MIND ON SOMETHING ELSE. You are the subject of your thoughts, so to speak.
    7. Never read pornographic material. Never read about your problem. Keep it out of mind. Remember - "First a thought, then an act." The thought pattern must be changed. You must not allow this problem to stay in your mind. When you accomplish that, you soon will be free of the act.
    8. Put wholesome thoughts into your mind at all times. Read good books - Church books - Scriptures - Sermons of the Cistern. Make a daily habit of reading at least one chapter of the Scripture, preferably one of the four Gospels in the New Testament. The four Gospels - Matthew, Mark, Luke and john - above anything else in the Bible can be helpful because of their uplifting qualities.
    9. Pray. But when you pray, don't pray about this problem, for that will tend to keep in your mind more than ever. Pray for faith, pray for understanding of the Scriptures, pray for the Missionaries, the General Authorities, your friends, your families, BUT KEEP THE PROBLEM OUT OF YOUR MIND BY NOT MENTIONING IT EVER - NOT IN CONVERSATION WITH OTHERS, NOT IN YOUR PRAYERS. KEEP IT OUT of your mind!


    1. Pray daily, ask for the gifts of the Spirit, that which will strengthen you against temptation. Pray fervently and not out-loud when the temptations are the strongest.
    2. Follow a program of vigorous daily exercise. The exercises reduce emotional tension and depression and are absolutely basic to the solution of this problem. Double your physical activity when you feel stress increasing.
    3. When the temptation to masturbate is strong, yell _STOP_ to those thoughts as loudly as you can in your mind and then recite a pre-chosen Scripture or sing an inspirational hymn. It is important to turn your thoughts away from the selfish need to indulge.
    4. Set goals of abstinence, begin with a day, then a week, month, year and finally commit to never doing it again. Until you commit yourself to _never again_ you will always be open to temptation.
    5. Change in behavior and attitude is most easily achieved through a changed self-image. Spend time every day imagining yourself strong and in control, easily overcoming tempting situations.
    6. Begin to work daily on a self-improvement program. Relate this plan to improving your Church service, to improving your relationships with your family, God and others. Strive to enhance your strengths and talents.
    7. Be outgoing and friendly. Force yourself to be with others and learn to enjoy working and talking to them. Use principles of developing friendships found in books such as _How to Win Friends and Influence People_ by Dale Carnegie.
    8. Be aware of situations that depress you or that cause you to feel lonely, bored, frustrated or discouraged. These emotional states can trigger the desire to masturbate as a way of escape. Plan in advance to counter these low periods through various activities, such as reading a book, visiting a friend, doing something athletic, etc.
    9. Make a pocket calendar for a month on a small card. Carry it with you, but show it to no one. If you have a lapse of self control, color the day black. Your goal will be to have _no black days_. The calendar becomes a strong visual reminder of self control and should be looked at when you are tempted to add another black day. Keep your calendar up until you have at least three clear months.
    10. A careful study will indicate you have had the problem at certain times and under certain conditions. Try and recall, in detail, what your particular times and conditions were. Now that you understand how it happens, plan to break the pattern through counter activities.
    11. In the field of psychotherapy there is a very effective technique called _aversion therapy_. When we associate or think of something very distasteful with something which has been pleasurable, but undesirable, the distasteful thought and feeling will begin to cancel out that which was pleasurable. If you associate something very distasteful with your loss of self-control it will help you to stop the act. For example, if you are tempted to masturbate, think of having to bathe in a tub of worms, and eat several of them as you do the act.
    12. During your toileting and shower activities leave the bathroom door or shower curtain partly open, to discourage being alone in total privacy. Take cool brief showers.
    13. Arise immediately in the mornings. Do not lie in bed awake, no matter what time of day it is. Get up and do something. Start each day with an enthusiastic activity.
    14. Keep your bladder empty. Refrain from drinking large amounts of fluids before retiring.
    15. Reduce the amount of spices and condiments in your food. Eat as lightly as possible at night.
    16. Wear pajamas that are difficult to open, yet loose and not binding.
    17. Avoid people, situations, pictures or reading materials that might create sexual excitement.
    18. It is sometimes helpful to have a physical object to use in overcoming this problem. A Book of Mormon, firmly held in hand, even in bed at night has proven helpful in extreme cases.
    19. In very severe cases it may be necessary to tie a hand to the bed frame with a tie in order that the habit of masturbating in a semi-sleep condition can be broken. This can also be accomplished by wearing several layers of clothing which would be difficult to remove while half asleep.
    20. Set up a reward system for your successes. It does not have to be a big reward. A quarter in a receptacle each time you overcome or reach a goal. Spend it on something which delights you and will be a continuing reminder of your progress.
    21. Do not let yourself return to any past habit or attitude patterns which were part of your problem. Satan Never Gives Up. Be calmly and confidently on guard. Keep a positive mental attitude. You can win this fight! The joy and strength you will feel when you do will give your whole life a radiant and spiritual glow of satisfaction and fulfillment.

    Wednesday, June 17, 2009

    Looking Forward to the Good Life

    In past posts I've pondered on some of the questions that remain as to the logistics of the afterlife experience. As I found myself pondering upon this topic again while watching, 'So You Think You Can Dance,' I realized that no matter what it's like in the celestial realm, there will most certainly be some positive changes:

  • Home teaching - If God's capable of reading the minds, and hearing/sorting through prayers from seven billion people speaking 1,000+ languages and dialects simultaneously here on Earth, surely he has a grip on the status of everyone in the afterlife. And after all, isn't it only blue skies and crying babies anyway? So, I'm guessing that the monthly calls that everyone tries to avoid will be a thing of the past.

  • Moving - There was a time when we were moving 2-3 families a month into and out of our Ward. I'm nearly moved-to-tears at the idea of not moving anyone in the eternal abode. They'll catch their own ride to their assigned home planet and start the procreating without any boxes, U-Haul, etc. Wahoo!

  • Church Welfare - I'm not sure how many of you would enjoy sitting across a desk from a neighbor and telling them to dump cell phones, cars, RV's, etc., to reduce monthly expenses, but I dread it. With the celestial streets paved in gold, welfare shouldn't be an issue. Although it brings up further questions: is the gold only in the Celestial Kingdom, or do all three come equally-equipped in this area, and more importantly, if a resource isn't rare anymore, is it really worth anything? But I digress...

  • Church Meetings - Now here's an interesting one to me. After we've 'made it' will we have to go to any Church meetings anymore? Since we'll already know everyone else's thoughts, I assume that we'll know what that person would give a talk about, before the talk is even given. I think I'm safe to say that Sunday may turn out to truly be days of rest in the hereafter. Don't get me wrong - I suppose that sitting in a chair for twelve hours every Sunday could be considered resting to a guy that works in construction, but...

  • Travel - There were few things that I hated more while raising my kids here on Earth than long car trips with children under five. With all the child-rearing that will be going on eternally in the netherworlds, I'm really hoping that there aren't celestial maxi-vans and that travel will be more-or-less instantaneous, like what we see on Star Trek, but with much larger teleportation pads that can facilitate a few thousand kids at a time.

  • In-Laws and Extended-Family Reunions - Since we're all, 'brothers and sisters,' will we still be expected to visit in-laws in the hereafter? I can't imagine having extended-family reunions either, since a gathering of tens of billions would take some massive coordination, and that doesn't even include the Neanderthals. On that note, are the Kingdoms going to be species-segregated, or will we all get lumped together? I enjoy the thought of seeing Fido again, but not so much being chased by the saber-toothed tigers and velociraptors.

    So, what are the to-die-for changes that you're most looking forward to in the afterlife (other than the return of the halcyon days of polygamy)?
  • Tuesday, June 16, 2009

    Angel Louis, Is That You?

    As most of you know, the angel on top of the new Oquirrh Mountain Temple in South Jordan was struck by lightning this weekend and left Angel Moroni looking more like Louis Armstrong blowing a trumpet. See story and pictures here.

    Well, we just received the official word from The Brethren, that this was not a sign from God, and should not be taken as such. Lightning, as it turns out, is just very attracted to large, metal objects sticking high into the sky and no judgments need to be made by its being blackened by lightning.

    Tuesday, June 2, 2009

    Our Refined 1950's Heavenly Home

    Today as I was preparing for my afternoon meditation session by reading the new June 2009 Ensign, I ran across the article by Elder Douglas L. Callister (Our Refined Heavenly Home) which he previously gave as a talk at BYU and was printed in BYU Magazine.

    The talk/article is about appreciation for fine art, music, literature, etc. Then comes a whole section on the importance of physical appearance, which I found extremely interesting and insightful. Here's a sampling (taken from the BYU Magazine version, which differs only slightly from the Ensign article):

    "Many years ago an associate of mine decided he would please his wife by sharing with her a very specific compliment each night as he arrived home. One night he praised her cooking. A second night he thanked her for excellence in housekeeping. A third night he acknowledged her fine influence on the children. The fourth night, before he could speak, she said, “I know what you are doing. I thank you for it. But don’t say any of those things. Just tell me you think I am beautiful.

    She expressed an important need that she had. Women ought to be praised for all the gifts they possess that so unselfishly add to the richness of our lives, including their attentiveness to their personal appearance. We must not “let ourselves go” and become so casual—even sloppy—in our appearance that we distance ourselves from the beauty heaven has given us. Every man has the right to be married to a woman who makes herself as beautiful as she can be.

    Some flippantly say, “How I look has nothing to do with how God feels about me.” But it is possible for both earthly parents and heavenly parents to have unspoken disappointment in their offspring without diminished love."

    Elder Callister provides wisdom beyond his seventy years by painting a vivid picture of every forward-thinking man's dream:

    1. The Dad is at work and his wife is at home

    2. The wife is cooking and housekeeping (this one even achieved "excellence in housekeeping"!)

    3. Mom influences the children for good (making up for Dad's example?)

    4. Women really need to be praised for their beauty. Never mind her wit, charm, humor, intelligence, wisdom, etc. It's the beauty (and not to be confused with 'internal' beauty) that really counts. Cooking and housekeeping can come in a distant second.

    5. Man has the "right" to be married to someone who makes herself as beautiful as possible. (This precious point was left out of the Ensign article)

    6. God is disappointed when our beauty is not up-to-par

    I'm already planning the next Young Women's activity around this eternal advice! We'd kick off the evening with a talk about man's expectations for a woman's appearance, provided by a High Priest - perhaps Brother Hamm. Please, Sisters, do not be offended if you're asked to provide an example of someone that has, "let themselves go," or is, "casual - even sloppy." It's for the good of the Young Women as they seek to present the best face possible to their future mate.

    For the activity part, each Young Woman could then cook a home-made pie, and clean up afterwards. We'll invite the Priests in to judge the homemaker abilities, awarding a, "Future Homemaker of Excellance" medallion.

    If there are any suggestions on what to include in this YW's activity, I'm all ears!