Thursday, March 25, 2010

YM & YW April Activity Calendar

In the past I've taken some heat from parents of the Young Women who, for what ever reason, feel that there's a discrepancy in YM & YW's activities and funding. So, I'm happy to point out that in April we're going all-out and paying for a professional, EFY-certified speaker for the YW!

YW/YM Calendar for April:
April 6th
  • YW – Combined activity: “Quilting for Haiti”
  • YM – Combined activity: Soccer and hot dog BBQ at the Spanish Fork Sports Complex

    April 13th
  • YW – Baptisms for the Dead
  • YM – Due to the one year temple ban for our YM from issues during the last visit, the YM will have to unfortunately go swimming at the Springville pool.

    April 20th
  • YW – Combined for guest speaker from EFY program, Carol Barksith, “Charity Suffereth Long”
  • YM
    Deacons – Shotgun merit badge
    Teachers – Archery merit badge
    Priests – Guest speaker from Electronic Arts, Mark Spitzer, “Exciting Career Opportunities in Video Game Design”

    April 27th
  • YW & YM Combined – Service project TBD
  • Wednesday, March 10, 2010

    Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve

    I was perusing the Church News yesterday in some free time between Oprah and American Idol, when I came upon this talk by Elder Glenn L. Pace addressing students at BYU earlier this week. In his address, Elder Pace pointed out the obvious: Women’s sacred role and destiny is to complete men. It made me think of the line in the edited version of Jerry Mcguire, where Jerry (Tom Cruise) tells Dorothy, ‘You complete me.’ Truly inspired.

    Well, instead of using Jerry Mcguire, Elder Pace furthered his example using Adam and his need for “an helpmeet.” I’m not sure how this goes over in your family, but I know the last time I called my wife “an helpmeet,” well, let’s just say it was the last time… For others, perhaps it’s perceived as more endearing?

    Elder Pace said that, “men have the priesthood and women have been given the blessing of procreation.” I’ll be the first to admit that whenever I hear that, I immediately think, “Yeah, baby! Did I ever get the good end of the stick on that one!” I just always think that, but never say it out loud unless I’m in High Priest Group (the circle of trust).

    The Elder concluded with the following:

    "Sisters, I testify that when you stand in front of your heavenly parents in those royal courts on high and you look into Her eyes and behold Her countenance, any question you ever had about the role of women in the kingdom will evaporate into the rich celestial air, because at that moment you will see standing directly in front of you, your divine nature and destiny."

    He went on to say (but for some reason it was cut from the print version), “And lucky for you Sisters (and luckier still for your husbands), this divine destiny may very well include sharing your celestial home with a few dozen sister-wives, and into the billions of children. Endless, infinite child bearing! It brings a tear to my eye just thinking of all those little ones scampering around.“


    Friday, March 5, 2010

    Noah and his Ark, or, “Swim, Lemur, Swim”

    One of the stories that stands out from my tender years is the story of Noah and the Ark. I was taught this story a dozen times in my youth, and always had a lot of fascination about the technical details of such an enormous endeavor. I’ve had some of my more ‘liberal,’ or, ‘learned,’ (and probably Democrat) friends from Provo point out the horror of the idea of a Heavenly parent literally choosing to drown millions of His children to purge them from evil, and how we feel today when we learn of mothers (why are they almost always mothers?!) drowning their own children using the same excuse.

    In the LDS church, we never mention the possibilities of Bible stories being a metaphor in our correlated teachings. While many Christians gave up a long time ago on the literalness of the story of Noah and the Ark, and just interpret it allegorically, not us Mormons. And, why would we? It’s fun to imagine all those tiny lemur arms paddling their way towards the Ark all the way from Madagascar. They must have figured out the back stroke early into their 4,000 mile swim. Their determination to reach the Ark is truly inspirational and miraculous.

    While we’re not really given many of the details in the Bible that went into building the Ark, recent archeology (in Jackson County, Missouri, no less!) turned up some writings with previously-unknown details from Noah and the Ark, written in reformed Egyptian by Noah himself on papyri. The writings provide tremendously-valuable insight into some of the solutions to the technical issues that are nothing short of amazing. Here are just some highlights from this newly-found source:

    To water the thousands of animals on the Ark required an unbelievable amount of fresh water (millions of gallons). Come to find out, the water issue was resolved by God floating down some large icebergs to Noah, who then just had to tie them to the Ark once adrift. The process used to chip off and melt the tens of thousands of pounds of ice into water daily, however, still remains part of the mystery. This, not by coincidence, also solved the mystery of how the Arctic animals stayed alive in the temperate climate of the Middle East – they just burrowed into the icebergs.

    Feeding the thousands of animals and insects, many with special-needs diets on the Ark, has always been a head-scratcher. It’s enough to make a nursing home food preparation seem like heaven in comparison. As it turns out, Noah was instructed in how to build a few thousand acres of floating gardens and then attached these to the Ark to provide the thousands of pounds of grains and specialty foods required daily for the animals on the Ark. Koala bears had their eucalyptus leaves, silkworms had access to their necessary mulberry leaves, bees had blooming flowers, giraffes had everything they needed (except head-room). Brilliant!

    Another requirement of Noah’s family that is not well publicized, or commented on, was the requirement that between the eight humans, all human-specific diseases had to be carried by at least one person in order to keep these diseases intact for the post-flood humans. Noah had to decide who would carry the human-specific diseases, including: measles, pneumococcal pneumonia, leprosy, typhus, typhoid fever, small pox, poliomyelitis, syphilis and gonorrhea. Talk about taking one for the team! Poor Ham, it appears, drew the short-stick and was stuck with syphilis, gonorrhea and small pox. I guess poor Ham’s wife, as well. No wonder those two were fed up with Noah and took off on their own after that ordeal.

    On the topic of Ham, these writings from Noah provide some more personal notes that are not included in the Bible about the day-to-day management problems on the Ark. One piece of interesting news that we didn't hear about previously was the ten or eleven species that went extinct on the voyage due to Ham’s insatiable appetite for meat. According to Noah, hardly a week passed without Ham being caught in an illicit barbeque of some large, meaty animal that we’ll now never enjoy. And the big shocker for Book of Mormon students: Ham’s favorite meat just so happened to be roasted cureloms! Fortunately for the cureloms, Noah caught Ham while there were still a couple left, leaving a few examples of these marvelous creatures in the world that were then miraculously found by the Nephites. Sadly for us, they must have been very tasty indeed, and no traces are left to sample today.

    Hopefully this newly discovered information was as helpful to you as it was for me in clearly up some lingering doubts about the literalness of this story. With luck, some similarly-helpful information about that Towel of Babel will be discovered...