Friday, July 31, 2009

BYU announces a new class for Fall '09- Bishop Prep 101

In a follow-up to BYU's continuously-full GA-Prep classes, they decided to expand their Church-prep series and add a class for those destined to be Bishops. Sorry, Ladies - until the Word comes down from The Brethren, it's a male-only class.

Topics covered will include:

  • What to expect during your first month in office
  • Delegation essentials
  • How to encourage successful YW activities on $5/week
  • Testimony meeting filler - a.k.a. How to turn every day events into faith-promoting stories
  • Pantyhose - Spiritual requirement for Sisters, or old-men fetish?
  • How to prioritize the 2 hours of free time that you'll enjoy each week while serving as a Bishop
  • Planning YM's activity on only $125/week
  • How to shake hands like a man, but cry like a woman
  • How to convincingly insinuate that you may know something about an interviewee through supernatural means
  • How to break the news to neighbors that they're going to have to work at Deseret Industries in order to be eligible for Church canned stew mystery meat
  • Accessorizing with a dark suit and white shirt, a.k.a. - The tie is your best friend
  • Climbing the Church ladder - Lessons in sincerity and humbleness
  • Shooting for the stars - Tips for getting called into the Stake Presidency
  • Monday, July 27, 2009

    Ward Suggestion Box

    To make this week's suggestions more interesting, I'm going to try using my Bishop Intuition to guess at who made the suggestions:

  • In-Church supply of dry ice for home-made root beer.
    -I'm guessing either Brother Barrows, or Brother Mark.

  • All primary-age kids should be required to wear diapers, so that they don't have to be escorted to the bathroom by the Primary Presidency.
    -Sister Turner - I know this was from you!

  • 'Hall of Shame' area on hall bulletin board listing any man caught looking at Internet porn.
    -My guess is this is from Sis Werner, Sis Gartner, or Sis Hendry. Perhaps I shouldn't have guessed on this one...

  • Release that creepy Brother Hicks from being a Primary Teacher.
    -Ok, I'm guessing this is from Sister Williams. Note to Sister Williams: your boy is terribly behaved and I'm sure that Brother Hicks having Stephen sit on his lap was for disciplinary actions only. Well, I'm fairly sure.
  • Thursday, July 23, 2009

    “There’s (no) China in Them Thar Temples”

    There’s a story that I’ve heard repeated many times concerning the sacrifices the early Saints made in building temples. One of the more dramatic stories for me was the one where Saints broke their good china and mixed it with the stucco for the exterior of the Kirtland Temple so that it would shine in the daylight.

    I easily imagined all of these poor people sacrificing some of their family heirlooms and greatest possessions, just to beautify this building. If only that was actually the case.

    At the website,, this and many other Mormon legends are put to rest, and others are verified as historical. As it turns out, there is not a single contemporary account of members breaking their china for the Kirtland Temple. “Old glass and crockery,” was requested and gathered for the temple, but no use of china in the Temple construction turns up in written accounts until talks given in the 1940’s.

    Well, other than being a bit bummed by this revelation, the site is actually really interesting to browse through. Just select the category on the left-hand side of the page to start debunking/verifying those legends and rumors.

    This seems to be a hot topic today! I just noticed that the Salt Lake Tribune is running a different story about Mormon Myths and a guy that created an archive that now totals over 50,000 stories at BYU. Read this story here.

    Friday, July 17, 2009

    Ward YM/YW Activities Calendar July Update

    All I can say it, “Wow!” Our youth leaders are the best. Here is what the Young Men and Young Women can look forward to in the second half of July.

    Tuesday, July 21st

  • Deacons – Swimming Merit Badge – Bring a towel; we’ll be heading to the pool for some fun!

  • Teachers – Pizza, homemade root beer and a movie at Brother Johnson’s house

  • Priests – Hiking to Stewart Falls. Don’t forget your permission slips. We’ll be riding the ski lift up at Sundance, and then hiking into Stewart Falls. Wear a pair of shorts, or a swimsuit!

  • Young Women combined activity: Review of the new addition to the Young Women’s Personal Progress program – Virtue!

    Tuesday July 28th

  • YM combined activity – Water slide and BBQ at Peteet Neet in Payson. Tons of fun! We’ll be laying down the big plastic tarp again to slide down the steep slopes at Peteet Neet. Wear a swimsuit! Anyone that can stay on their feet the whole way down gets a steak, instead of a hot dog!

  • Young Women combined activity: Create “I’m virtuous – hands off!” T-Shirts as a reminder to all of the Young Men with non-virtuous thoughts.
  • Tuesday, July 14, 2009

    Advice to YM on Supporting Other YM

    In my years as a Bishop and Young Men's President, I've over heard many lessons and discussions from Young Women leaders about how the Young Women need to behave and dress in order to support the Young Men as Priesthood holders in the Ward.

    Well, I think it's only fair these days to also offer advice to the Young Men in how they should support other Young Men in staying on the straight and narrow. Gone are the days of innocent frolics in the country swim holes and nightly "tick-checks" by Scout Masters. What seemed so innocent in the halcyon years of the early '70's has long-since past.

    So, here's my list of suggestions to help Young Men in areas that I've noticed cause the most wandering thoughts among their tent mates:

  • While it may seems like innocent fun, playing 'steamroller,' 'hide the bacon,' and 'spanking line' is discouraged at Scout over-nighters
  • While swimming with other Young Men, please use modest swim attire. Speedos, short-shorts, and skinny-dipping are the Devil's playground
  • A firm hand shake should always be used in place of a hug between fellow Young Men
  • Wear loose, cotton pants to church services instead of tight-fitting polyester/rayon slacks that have to be zipped up by your Mom as you "suck it in"
  • When playing basketball at the Church, a 'high-five,' or a simple, "good job," should be used instead of slaps to a teammates backside
  • Scout shirts and white church shirts should be kept buttoned to the top, and a neck tie or Scout neckerchief should be worn. Avoid showing chest area as much as possible
  • Modest footwear should be worn, whenever possible. Shoes with holes that show toes poking through are no-no's, no-back shoes should be avoided, and as far as flip-flops are concerned - one word: Hippies
  • Friday, July 10, 2009

    Ward Suggestion Box

    Another week, another group of suggestions. Ok, it's been a few weeks, but here's what I found in the suggestion box yesterday:

  • Call a couple as the bathroom facilitators - similar to fancy restaurants and hotels, this person would assist the younger children from primary do their business. They could also hand paper towels to the adults. (Shoe shines were also suggested, but that's just taking it too far, in my opinion.)

  • Plan an adult-only trek this winter from the top of Deer Valley ski resort, to the lodge at the bottom of the mountain (this can be repeated a few dozen times), and then continue the trek to the outlets.

  • Substitute breath mints instead of bread for the sacrament. (Note: At first I thought it was a terrible idea, but if we've already swapped the wine for plain water, it may not be too big of a stretch. The positives are very obvious - especially to those sitting next to Brother Harold. I may have to run this one by The Brethren.)

  • Along with handicapped parking, add 'Especially-Blessed' parking for the family with the most expensive car in the Ward. (Note: I know this was your suggestion, Brother Morgan).
  • Thursday, July 9, 2009

    20 Reasons to Be A Mormon

    Just the other day I was thinking to myself, "I am so blessed to be a Mormon!" How was I selected to be one of the lucky 0.001% of the Earth's population (not counting the neanderthals) to know The Plan? I'm sure that it most likely has to do with my valiant efforts in the pre-existence, or my uncommonly-good looks. If only everyone understood the blessings of being Mormon, I'm convinced we'd have a landslide of people investigating the Church. Okay, except for the gays. I think that door is pretty much closed for now.

    Well, to feel good in my proselyting efforts (and in lieu of talking to my non-Mormon neighbors directly) I decided to put together a list of 20 reasons to be a Mormon.

  • Funeral potatoes served without the need of a deceased
  • Believing that you still need to fruitfully multiple to replenish the Earth in 2009
  • Encouragement to use all your favorite names starting with 'B' for your children - all 12 of them!
  • The unanimous vote - each time, and every time
  • Xanax - more common than aspirin
  • Access to enough raw wheat supply to feed bread to every child in Africa for 5 years
  • No visible panty lines
  • An afterlife without hell and harps (but it will cost you the wings)
  • All-paid treks in Utah's scenic deserts in the middle of the summer
  • Vastly increases your chance of appearing on a talent or reality show
  • Women only need to shave their legs from the knee, down
  • Elimination of all that wasted free time, especially on Sunday
  • Other than the Forbidden-Four, it's everything-goes for diets. Red meat every night? Bring it on!
  • Limited money spent on teenage tattooing and piercings
  • Jello styles as diverse as hair style
  • Free dinner and movie any Friday night at the temple
  • Acceptable use of, 'moisture,' to identify a very wide-range of water forms (rain, dew, snow, etc)
  • A whole book full of unique kids names like, 'Nephi,' 'Sariah,' and 'Lemuel'
  • We can bless Krispie Kreme doughnuts to, "nourish and strengthen our bodies"
  • Last, but not least, eternal sex with many, many wives - and, you don't have to blow yourself up to get there! Granted, this may not be as big of a draw for the ladies.
  • Monday, July 6, 2009

    Handcart Trek Report

    As many of you know, our youth went on a handcart trek in the Southern Utah desert last week. I was invited to go along as a 'parent' for one of these handcarts and couldn't think of an excuse fast enough to get out of it. I'm still confused as to the purpose of making people suffer like this during this day and age, but I'm sure there's a lesson to be learned somewhere, like, "Thank the Lord I wasn't born in the 1800's!"

    So, here's my take from the adventure:

  • We didn't have to eat any of our own
  • I dropped those 15 pounds that I've been working on for a year
  • Seeing Tommy Ginther (a.k.a The Bully) cry like a baby the third day on the trail. "I want my Mom!" Boo-hoo!

  • 30 miles in 100 degree heat - Who the heck thinks this is a good idea? Next year, I'd support a modern trek where we emphasize how far we've come from pioneer times. We'd drive in air-conditioned cars to California, camp on a beach for a few days, catch and eat some fish, and drive back. Now that's a trek I could get into.
  • Blisters on 50% of my body
  • Listening to 'Pioneer Children,' 50 times - I have a sneaking suspicion that most of the children reported as missing on the plains, were actually just left behind after singing this song too many times
  • Food - Who's bright idea was it to get the 'true' pioneer experience of eating only grits, jerky, and hard bread? I thought those guys at least had pancakes and bacon.

    Oh, and it was a real testimony-building experience. I now have a solid testimony that indoor plumbing is truly a modern miracle and that the price of an air-conditioned Tahoe is worth every dime.

    (If anyone is interested in some used handcarts, I'd be willing to pay to have them taken away just to lessen the chances of every having to do this again.)
  • Wednesday, July 1, 2009

    J. Golden Kimball on the WoW

    As I was reading some additional information about last Sunday's Gospel Doctrine lesson on the Word of Wisdom, I found this really funny story from the always-colorful J. Golden Kimball, written by his nephew, James N. Kimball.

    "Uncle Golden's struggles with the Word of Wisdom sometimes forced him into ironic circumstances. On one occasion, he was asked to go to Cache Valley where the stake president had decided to call all the Melchizedek priesthood holders together for the purpose of emphasizing the importance of the Word of Wisdom. Uncle Golden didn't realize this was going to be the theme until he got there. As a matter of fact, he didn't know what he was to speak about until the stake president announced it in introducing Uncle Golden: 'J. Golden Kimball will now speak to us on the subject of the Word of Wisdom.'

    Uncle Golden didn't know what to say. He stood at the pulpit for a long time waiting for some inspiration; he didn't want to be a hypocrite and he knew he had problems with this principle. So finally he looked at the audience and said, 'I'd like to know how many of you brethren have never had a puff on a cigarette in all your life. Would you please stand?'

    Well, Uncle Golden related later that much to his amazement most of the brethren in that audience stood. He looked at them for a long time and then said, 'Now, all of you that are standing, I want to know how many of you have never had a taste of whiskey in all your life. If you have, sit down.'

    Again, to Uncle Golden's amazement, only a few of the brethren sat down. The rest of them stood there proudly looking at him and then there was a long silence. I guess Uncle Golden thought they looked a little too self-righteous, because his next comment was, 'Well, brethren, you don't know what the hell you've missed.' "

    For an interesting (non-correlated) overview on the development of the Word of Wisdom, here's the complete article from Life On Gold Plates.