Monday, December 5, 2011


about two weeks ago, i was thinking about the many demands on my time and worrying about the end of the semester. as i walked home, the thought came to me: 'there is nothing wrong in your life.' all of the sudden my perspective changed. here i was, worrying about classes and my gpa, while in the rest of the world there are billions worrying about poor health, poverty, and starvation. i sit in my nice desk chair typing at my brand new computer, while hundreds of millions cannot even read, let alone type.

i guess my gpa is important, but compared to the problems of the world, it is insignificant. i am so blessed! i have everything i need to survive and thrive.

since that moment i have been more optimistic. i have very little reason to ever let myself become down. i can laugh a little more at my worries with this more optimistic perspective. things will work out. as long as i have my family, my health, and something to eat, i am well off indeed.

this morning i was a little frustrated. yesterday my national guard unit was mobilized to respond to a disaster in northern Utah. there was a wind storm in Davis County that left a lot of damage, debris, and trash. i missed church, my ward break the fast (that i was in charge of), the first presidency Christmas devotional, the weekly Sunday game night at my home, and worst of all--i didn't get to prepare for my multiple tests, my project, and my oral presentation for today.

after my initial frustration, i had a few thoughts. first i remembered my experience from a few weeks earlier. i thought of that phrase: 'there is nothing wrong in your life.' and with that thought, my perspective changed. i was excited for the opportunity to work in the community, doing the things i had trained to do. i thought of all the soldiers at war, and was glad that i am safe. i also remembered a song.

Believe by Yellowcard

"Believe" celebrates the firemen and policemen on September 11th who lost their lives trying to save people trapped in the towers. their lives were tough. they gave the ultimate sacrifice. i worried about missing an exam.

in the end i was blessed to get off of work today to take my tests and give my presentation. tomorrow i will go back to Farmington to continue helping with the cleanup. even though i was able to avoid missing my tests, i was willing to skip them after i considered the sacrifices of those who have gone before and given much more.

(if you want more info on that song, visit the wikipedia article, it is pretty cool.)

Wednesday, November 30, 2011


what do you find offensive?

i am learning that people take offense at many different things. i don't get offended by hardly anything. if i can think of a plausible reason why someone is doing something, and i don't think that they are trying to offend me, i don't get offended. i can still be unhappy or something, but offense is different.

i suppose that offenses are as diverse as people are.

to some, burning the flag is a demonstration of freedom of speech. to others it is highly offensive.
to some, pornography is a form of entertainment. to others it is highly offensive.
to some, foul language is not foul, but the norm. to others it is highly offensive.
to some, violence is enjoyable, even 'awesome.' to others it is highly offensive.

it is easy to judge others when they do something or enjoy something that we find offensive. and in our opinion, they deserve that judgment. but do we (and should we) consider the motivations behind a person's actions?

i am a sensitive person. in some ways. like everyone else, i have my own set of things that do not bother me and things that offend me. i remember talking one day to a couple of sergeants in the army. as they talked, they incorporated several colorful words into their discussion. this made me a little uncomfortable, and they noticed. one of the sergeants said, 'moore, do you not like it when we cuss?' i told them that i didn't prefer it. one of them apologized immediately. the other said, 'why does it bother you? i understand how it can bother you if i'm yelling at you and cussing, but i was just talking to my friend here.' it was an interesting experience. i think they both did well. the first, with no desire to offend, promptly apologized for doing something i didn't like. the second was less understanding, but he also recognized that there were circumstances whereby his language could be offensive. he was also willing to ask me for clarification to see why it bothered me.

in a similar circumstance while at basic training, the whole company was standing in a formation as a sergeant briefed us with our nightly briefing. at one point he said, 'you are all men, so i want to talk to you like men. is there anyone here that is upset with my language?' i raised my hand, and several soldiers in my platoon called out, 'moore doesn't like it.' they knew me well. the sergeant was surprised. he hadn't expected any response. he asked me if i was religious, and i told him i was. he asked me whether Jesus would be offended with his language, and told me that from his understanding of the Bible, Jesus was always with sinners and with rough crowds. he asked if i thought i was any better than Jesus. interesting question... i don't see how that applied, since i was always with sinners and rough crowds. i told him that Jesus was with those people but he didn't condone their behavior. he was always encouraging people to be better. he asked me why i was offended by language, and i explained to him (in front of the entire formation) that i tried to keep myself a clean vessel where the Holy Spirit could reside. language is just one of many things that can offend the Spirit, and i wanted to keep myself as close to God as I could. he was baffled, but he had run out of arguments, and proceeded with the briefing.

being in the Army has taught me a lot about myself. in basic training i didn't want to be a prude, always being haughty and judgmental. but i also didn't want to participate in the same kind of conversation and behavior as the typical army guy. i wanted to be separate and apart from those things, being in the world but not of the world. i found that exposure to the evil in the world softened me to the Spirit. rather than becoming more hardened and accustomed to crudeness and vulgarity, i came to see these things as a way that i could be different. i have resolved not to use such language, not because it is the worst thing in the world, but because doing so keeps me strong and close to God. it is another way i set myself apart from the world. as Christians we are to be a "chosen generation, . . a peculiar people."

i think that it is important to consider the feelings of others in our everyday interactions. things that are no big deal to us may offend others. things that offend us may be very unimportant to others. the key is to respect others. as you do, others will want to respect you.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

mr. adam droge

adam is a guy that i have grown quite fond of in the short time we have been acquainted. he is a good man and a good friend. i wrote a short poem about him that i will now recite. (imagine me reciting it in a soft british accent):

there was a man of quickly wit
who never lost and never quit
he was a man of surpassing wonder
who never made a single blunder
in life

quick as a fox and fast as a cat
he lived in a box and slept on a mat
there was no other quite the same
indeed i'll rather envy the dame
that gets him

a man of courage and intellect
he always gets what he sets out to get
healthy and cheerful and jovial too
he knows his math, like "two plus two
isn't five"

yes i'd say he is like no other
not like his dad, not like his brother
he has a way of doing things
a lot of peace and joy it brings
his friends

at the age of twenty-two
he took a trip to Hogle Zoo
monkeys and zebras and lions, yes,
he even saw a rhinoceros
with a horn

quite a silly whippersnapper
he once dreamed of being a mapper
then he heard the word 'cartographer'
quit right there and became a stenographer
(he writes quick)

once as a child but two years old
he crawled into the street i'm told
sat in the road without a clue
a man took him home without ado
no babies in the road!

cuz of a horrible traffic accident
a dog named duke is tragically absent
his brother cried, and you would too
if you lost your man's-best-friend to
a hit and run

continuing our saga of road rage
a nice man of elderly age
broke adam's leg with a car

green cast, purple cast, wheelchair too
followed by a stint in a walking boot
adam broke his first bone ever

but don't you worry-the story's not over
you see, adam is no lame-brain loafer
he hit a girl with a car on his mission

the moral of the story is:
be careful of cars.

adam: the man, the hulk, the beast
his clothing well pressed, with creases all creased
a striking figure, stalwart and bold
above and beyond an earthly mold
fit and dashing, a man among men
oh the places he'll go, the places he's been
always we'll know him as one of great worth
a jovial smile, his heart full of mirth
long may he live, and full be his life
with a loving family and a home free of strife

good work adam--think road safety

for more information about mr. droge, please refer to the soon-to-be-published autobiography that is posted in the comments section. it is like 12 pages long... (it is a good read, i assure you)

Wednesday, October 26, 2011


what is most interesting?

based on traffic to my blog, there are some things that my readers tend to find more interesting than others. this is not surprising. also, i tend to be nearly equally interested in thousands of topics, so i want to write about things that you find interesting. solution: this questionnaire

that took like 45 seconds. easy, right? thanks for doing that.

now a few thoughts and an anecdote before i depart.

i was talking to some friends the other day, and i was complaining about how it is difficult for a guy to let a girl know that he likes her. if a girl likes a guy, the worst she gets in return is, 'oh sorry, i don't like you like that.' which can hurt a lot, but at least it is straightforward and honest, and she can move on. but when a guy likes a girl and she doesn't like him... that is a different story. some girls give all kinds of excuses why they can't go out with a guy, or they just complain about the guy to their friends and call him a creeper. i never understood that. i mean, i understand that guys can be creepy, but i never understood how a guy who genuinely cares about a girl gets labeled as a creeper. my friend gave a fitting anecdote:

i don't know the girl's name, so i will call her suzie. suzie had two prospective suitors. she was really interested in one and not at all interested in the other. since she was aware of their interest, she would often talk about how much she liked the first boy, and how great he was. she would complain about the other boy to her friends and called him a creeper. the interesting thing was, the two boys showed their interest in her by doing the very same things. they would both write suzie notes, ask her on dates, come over to her place and talk to her, and basically let her know that they were thinking of her. the two boys were not consulting with each other, they just did what they thought was best to let suzie know that they were interested. they boys were not very different, the difference lay in her opinion of them. the first boy could do no wrong. anything he did for suzie was appreciated and praised. suzie was so happy whenever he contacted her. but the other boy, despite all of his affectionate gestures, was a creeper. none of his actions meant anything to her. and the worst part is, she didn't even realize the similarity between the two boys. her preconceptions of the situation blinded her to considering them equally.

i'm not trying to blame suzie, i just think it is interesting. there is a fine line between being exactly what a girl wants, and being a creeper. i guess there are similar difficulties girls face. there is also a fine line between getting out there and showing that you are available, and looking desperate.

as usual, i don't have the solutions. but i hope i have given you something to think about.

Monday, October 24, 2011

what is attractiveness?

a few thoughts...

one thing that i hate the most is when people (especially girls) think that they have little or no worth because they think that they are not attractive. i don't hate the girls, i hate our materialistic and perfectionistic society that tries to define beauty as something so shallow.

i think i can honestly say that i find all girls attractive. i find them attractive for a variety of reasons. sometimes physical appearance makes an impact, but it is not a deciding factor in my evaluation of an individual.

unfortunately, it has become all too common for a person to be judged by their looks. it is understandable, to an extent. after all, the first impression you get of someone comes from seeing them. whether we like it or not, it is impossible to understand a person after a first impression. when we try to make a judgment of an individual after seeing them for the first time, or perhaps after only a short conversation, the only judgment you can make is based on physical appearance.

while it is understandable that physical appearance is used as a basis for judgment, it is not a good indicator of a person's beauty or worth.

when i say that every girl is attractive, some have raised the criticism that i am doing the same as those that say 'everyone is special.' apparently if everyone is special, that means that no one is actually special. i disagree. in his book Ender's Game, Orson Scott Card writes about Ender's character as he studies his alien enemy. Ender says, "In the moment when I truly understand my enemy, understand him well enough to defeat him, then in that very moment I also love him." i agree with Card. it is impossible to truly come to know someone, even an enemy, without loving them. and in the case of members of the fairer gender, finding them beautiful.

perhaps there are many others that feel as i do. but sometimes girls' don't feel appreciated because they aren't told that they are beautiful. and perhaps they don't feel beautiful when they aren't asked out but the next girl is.

as usual i feel like i have few answers. but this much i know--we should treat all people with love. we should also treat all people as equals. no one is "better" or "cooler" because they have certain physical features. we don't get to decide how we look, so we should not let it affect who we are or how we treat others. nothing is more sad than a person who has allowed themselves to become limited because of their looks or because of the way they have been treated because of their looks.

additionally, we should treat ourselves like we are beautiful. we might not look like the "perfect" guy or girl, but who does? i have big ears and i'm balding. who cares? we are all blessed with life, and we are created by a perfect God. any imperfections we have are a part of us, and who am i to complain about what i have been given?

i am glad to be who i am, and i am grateful for all of the beautiful and amazing people around me. i hope that we can look for and find beauty in all people, and treat each other as we should be treated.


i like the following video. i don't know if many billboards are made this way, but this is an interesting insight into our world. we are obsessed with physical perfection, but none of us are perfect in this way.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

dating difficulties

as a semi-unsuccessful dater, i have discovered some problems with dating that i have been unable to find solutions for. these problems may be specific to lds people living in utah valley, though they could probably be applied in some limited or altered way to other situations.

what i am looking for: a lds girl who is (a) serious about her religion, (b) has goals and dreams, (c) thinks highly of herself and others, (d) takes care of herself spiritually and physically, and (e) has a good mix of intelligence, humor, and sobriety.

my situation: i am from a small town in arizona where there is one singles ward for two stakes. to people from the east, that sounds like a big mormon area, but to me it was normal; not big or small, just the way life was.

in my small town with its small ward, there are lots of opportunities to get to know each other. i love my little singles ward, and it is easy to know everyone. if i never left my hometown, i could have dated a girl in that ward and married. there were several attractive girls, and knowing all of them, it would have been fairly simple to narrow down my interests and choose between three or four girls (assuming they would choose me in return :)

since january 2010 i have lived in provo, where there are hundreds of singles wards and thousands of single women. it is hard to quantify exactly, but if you exclude all of uvu, and ignore all of the other singles outside of provo/orem area, i’m still looking at a lot of options. According to their website, byu has 32,947 full time students (2010). with 48% female, this gives me 15,815 female students. if we assume that an equal number of married students are female as are male (which is inaccurate, but close enough), we have 26% married, leaving me with 11,703. since i want a lds girl, i will further exclude the 1.5% nonmembers (again assuming that we have an equal number of male nonmembers as female nonmembers), leaving us with 11,527 single lds girls. now this is the extent of my statistics, because this is the info that byu actually records. that is a lot more than the three or four i was thinking of from my home ward in arizona.

if i wanted to get more specific i could make further assumptions, that are not at all grounded in statistics but are pure guesswork. out of the 11,527 single lds girls at byu, i could assume that 40% are engaged or dating someone exclusively (i’m trying to estimate high rather than low, but i really have no idea). now i guess i could go around trying to break people up, but that isn’t my thing, so i’m left with 6,916 girls. then if i wanted to be really extensive i could try to split this group down into subcategories; e.g., girls that go to the gym, girls that go to institute, girls that want to have a family, girls that have nunchuck skills, etc.

now lets make some assumptions about these 6,916 girls that are lds and actually single. we’re going to assume that they are serious about their religion. they should be, right? they are at a lds owned and operated school, and they have to regularly get endorsement from their ecclesiastical leader. we will also assume that they are at least moderately intelligent, because they should be--they are university students, and with a God-given mandate to seek knowledge (D&C 131:6, D&C 88:118). we should also be able to assume that girls at byu will be taking care of themselves. we have all been commanded to care for our bodies and our spirits. (For some great talks and info, see this talk by Boyd K Packer about the importance of the body, or this lesson on the Lord's commandments regarding health, or this info on personal testimony from Spencer W Kimball)

am i assuming too much? probably. but these are sound assumptions to make about byu students, because this is what is expected of us, male and female.

now all of this puts me in a quandry. and now i get to my point--as you increase the number of choices, the choice becomes increasingly hard to make. i find nearly all of these 6,916 girls attractive, and they all are (or should be) intelligent, goal-oriented, spiritual, incredible girls. so what do you do? i see only two options:

  1. hang out with a whole lot of people until you find someone you like, then ask them out.
  2. ask someone out without knowing whether you like them, and then evaluate your time with them.

let me discuss these options briefly:

  1. if you hang out with a lot of people while trying to get to know them, you will find yourself having lots of acquaintances and few friends. you will also find so many impressive people that you will be unable to date them all. this leads to a constant state of wondering whether you have met the right (or best) person yet. if each girl is incredible, but each has her own faults (as we all do), it is hard to decide to pursue any specific individual. result: you keep looking forever, thus developing few lasting relationships, and never marrying.
  2. if you ask someone out just because they are attractive, you will go on a lot of first dates that do not lead to second dates. this isn’t surprising, but it is a problem--if you don’t know someone well, you can only base your decision to ask them out on general, shallow appearance. is it bad to ask someone out because she is cute? no. but someone’s appearance has very little bearing on who they are, what their potential is, and what a relationship with them could be like. result: you waste time and money on lots of people that are not actually compatible with you. and since you are dating people you don’t know well, it never works out.

sorry for the bleak picture. i am not really that pessimistic, i promise. but this is how i feel. also i feel like you ought to be friends with someone before you date, and i think it is hard to move from friendship to relationship successfully.

now the positive note: the wonderful news is that it only has to work once. that should give us all hope. if every relationship you have ever had has failed, that is okay. dating teaches us who we are and what kind of person we want to be with. some of these dating failures we have experienced were necessary for us, and we should be grateful for them.

nevertheless, my questions remain: what do we do? how do you narrow it down? how do you know when you’ve found someone that is worth all of the time and attention i want to give to an eternal companion?

if you have ideas and opinions, comment below!

Monday, October 17, 2011

purple tape and like stickers

we had a housewarming party at our house on oct 14th, which was really fun. the theme for our party was 'facebook in real life.' Here is a photo album from the event.

we had a lot of people come by, and it was a lot of fun. i even had a good time, though i don't generally enjoy parties very much. also i was pleased with the many clever things that were either planned by the committee or created by our partygoers. Here were some of the better ideas:

1) everyone had a white t-shirt that was their wall, with name, relationship status, comments, likes, etc.
2) pin the 'like' sticker on the mark zuckerburg
3) throwing darts at a google+ logo
4) happy birthday wall posts irl w/Erin Wright
5) relationship requests and drama
6) poking irl with a foam hand
7) facebook 'layout changes' where everyone had to turn their shirts around
8) mark zuckerburg masks
9) dance party
10) smores

here are a few of my favorite pics from the event:

i don't know if they really hate google+, or if they really like knives

this really creepy mask was a big hit.
my favorite: staring contests while wearing the mark mask


dance party in the back! i think this was a line dance...

everyone was issued 'like' stickers when they arrived and were encouraged to 'like' comments, statuses, and photos. people also 'liked' the fridge, our cutlery, my iPod, our doorbell, my forehead, and all over mark zuckerburg:

i don't know where we were supposed to put the like stickers,
but he got them all over his body...

we also got attacked by the color purple. in addition to the ubiquitous 'like' stickers, our house was purplified by Carissa Mills. i keep finding new pieces of purple tape as time goes on. just this morning, i saw that there is a piece of it on the front door handle. i must have walked through that door 20 times since friday, but i never saw it until today. thank you carissa . . .

Wednesday, October 12, 2011


words are so funny! when i talk, i like to do funny things with words. i pluralize things that should be singular, make superlatives out of everything (even superlatives), and use made-up words as if they were real. one of my favorite made-up words is the word 'stunbucket.' let me share with you the etymology:

stunbucket (pronounced stun-bucket) is a compound word originating from the usage of the word 'stupid' with the word 'bucket.' perhaps this harks back to the historical phrase 'stupid as a bucket,' but i am not certain. as recently as 2001, the word 'stupid' was (quite logically) shortened to 'stun.' the genius of this excellent linguistic innovation is unknown. however, this quickly resulted in compounds such as 'stunface' and 'stunbucket.'

i use the word stunbucket to mean just about anything. some people, when looking for a word just beyond their grasp will say, 'can you hand me the... the... thingy?' i just ask for the stunbucket. stunbucket is also useful when referring to individuals (disclaimer: this does not mean that usage of the word implies any amount of unintelligence). for example, 'hey stunbucket, did you give the stunbucket to stunface at her birthday party?'

unfortunately, this very useful word is unappreciated, unvalued, and unknown. when used around people familiar with the term, stunbucket is accepted, applauded, and encouraged, but in some settings stunbucket can cause confusion.

to help you understand stunbucket, i ask you to watch this excellent video produced by our favorite news network:

there you are. with your newfound knowledge and skills, you will be able to discuss things far beyond your vocabulary by using the words stunbucket and pronk.

you're welcome.

p.s. the congressional discussion of HR 766 has resulted in further linguistic permutations such as, but not limited to, pronkface, pronkbucket, and somehow, stunbucketeer.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011


have you ever stuck your foot in your mouth? i have. both literally and figuratively. actually just the other day i found out that i am capable of sucking on both of my toes simultaneously. it isn't comfortable or tasty.

in an earlier post, i mentioned something called a BMSF. this is a feature that most civilized, socially appropriate people seem to develop on their own. not me. when i was 16, i took part in the eagle project of one Eric Campbell. his project involved building a trail in the Prescott National Forest in Arizona. it was a pretty sweet project, and a lot of fun to be involved in. as we tried to make a flat, smooth path, we met with many obstacles. like icebergs, these rocks and roots only showed a small percentage of their actual size above the soil. rocks that looked like you could just pick them up turned out to be large boulders that took considerable effort to remove. after some time and effort, i commented to those working around me that my back hurt. one of the men standing right next to me said, 'well, if you need it, i know a really good chiropractor.' being the idiot i am, i responded, 'oh, no thanks. i went to a chiropractor as a kid, and it didn't help me at all. i don't trust chiropractors.'

(at this point, insert foot into mouth)

he responded, 'oh, i'm sorry to hear that. i'm a chiropractor.' yeah... way to go jeremy.

my best friend growing up often complained about my apparent lack of a BMSF. i am really good at saying funny things that range from scatological humor to politically incorrect racial and gender jokes (for one of my great gender jokes, see my post on gender equality.) it is pretty immature, and i enjoy it. i guess there is a time for professionalism and a time for being silly, and i like to have those silly times where i can just say what comes to mind.

so how do we avoid the embarrassment of accidentally calling a chiropractor a lier? i guess we all have those times where we regret the words we speak as we are speaking them. sometimes we wish we could reach out and grab those words in midair before they reach the ears of those around us. i don't know the answer. but if we are careful, and make use of a BMSF we can avoid giving offense or receiving embarrassment. just be wise. that's what jacob said.

if you want to share an embarrassing foot-in-the-mouth story, post it below!

Sunday, October 2, 2011


i like anecdotes. i also like traffic lights. no matter where they've been. but only when they're green.

today i want to share with you a few short stories from my interactions with other people.

there is this old guy i work with at the temple. old people say the funniest things sometimes. he was telling me about his son in law who is 6'7". Apparently he is considered tall, and people ask him about his height all the time. Rather than responding with the traditional, 'oh i'm six foot seven,' he responds by saying, 'i'm five foot nineteen.' i just thought that was so clever. i could be five foot fifteen you know . . .

this same old man was telling me about his nephew. he is married and has 8 kids, 2 girls and 6 boys. when talking about his family, people often ask how many kids he has. he responds by saying, 'oh i got two and a half dozen.' clever.

the other day i was at headstart where i work with a class of four year olds. after snack time, one of the kids was leaning up on the counter with his feet off the ground balancing his weight in order to reach the faucet (and this is a sink that i can use while on my knees). he was doing such a good job balancing that i asked him if he was a gymnast. he said 'no.' i said 'are you sure?' and he said, 'yes! i'm not a gymnast, i'm a kid!'

in mafikeng south africa, the first city i lived in on my mission, i arranged for my follow-up trainer to be mugged during his first week. we had a meeting with the branch mission leader to discuss the missionary work in the branch, and i told him beforehand what route we would take. i asked him to meet us on the corner and call to us. being the nice missionaries we were, of course we were going to stop and see what he needed.

and so it went. as we pulled around the corner we heard an excited voice say, 'missionaries!' we moved towards him and stopped our bicycles. my companion spoke next, 'hey man, how are you?' 'i'm good, i just recognized you as the missionaries.' 'oh cool, so you know the church?' all of the sudden, he grabbed my companion by the collar and pulled out a knife. 'give me your phone and your money!' 'alright, take whatever you want.' he took everything from my companion, including the phone and his wallet, american drivers license, passport, and missionary nametag. he then told us to ride in the opposite direction. we went away, and circled the block. my companion was freaking out and said we had to call the cops. i was like, 'how? we just lost our phone!' 'well, lets get to the mission leader's house and then we can use his phone to call.' so we started towards the mission leader's house from a different direction.

at this point, we saw a police truck just ahead of us. it was cruising along slowly, going the same direction we were. my companion was like, 'hey! we gotta stop that police officer and report what just happened!' my jaw dropped. this was the worst turn of events. well, i guess it would have been worse if the mission leader had stabbed my comp, but that is the only worse thing i can imagine. so my companion sped off after the police truck. i grudgingly accompanied him, trying to go as slow as possible while looking like i was peddling quickly. my mind was racing looking for a way to stop him if we got really close to the truck. luckily, just as we were getting close, the truck turned the corner onto a more major road and sped off.

relieved, we turned back towards the mission leader's house. as we arrived, i made sure my companion was standing in front of me at the door. we knocked, and the mission leader opened the door with a bright smiling face. he was wearing a white shirt and tie, and was wearing my companion's name tag. 'welcome to mafikeng elder!'

Wednesday, September 28, 2011


one of my favorite books is Why Nations Go to War by John Stoessinger. if you like history, war, or are interested in the effect individuals can have on society, then you should look it up (also if you live in provo and want to read it, i can borrow it to you). as i read the book, the thing that struck me the most is how each major conflict began, escalated, and concluded with the decisions of either one person, or a very few people. i think it is so interesting to contrast the few decision makers with the thousands or millions of lives that are affected by their decisions. it is so easy to analyze the lives of these great (and in some cases terrible) leaders and see what they should have done.

and imagine-- if not for the mistakes of history, life could be how it "shouldabeen" instead of how it is. who wouldn't go back and prevent WWI--that senseless, horribly bloody war, started by the decisions of a few monarchs and emperors . . . who wouldn't prevent the holocaust? who wouldn't change the continual escalation of the war in Vietnam, if only we could know the outcome at the outset?

(On a side note, Stoessinger's analysis of war seems to draw heavily from the Great Man theory, which basically states that history can be explained by analyzing influential individuals and the decisions they make)

on sept 12th, the Onion published a fascinating article regarding the events that have taken place since sept 11th 2001. knowing the Onion's general insensitivity and horrible political incorrectness, i saw the article title and did not read it. later, with my brother's recommendation, i looked it up. The article is a great commentary on what "shouldabeen." without placing blame on any individual or group, the article covers a broad scope of events and situations that have happened, and using 20/20 hindsight vision, talks about what we all wish would have happened.

in 2001, full of patriotism, all of America stood shoulder-to-shoulder in firm resolve against terrorism. we supported war in Iraq, the search for Osama in Afghanistan, and had no problems with the new security measures at the airports. as time went on, we have been decreasingly patriotic and increasingly dissatisfied with the wars, the long search (finally culminated with Osama's death on may 1, 2011), and the difficulties of establishing democracy in Iraq and Afghanistan.

what i like about the onion article is that it describes what we would have predicted when we went to war ten years ago: a swift capture of Osama bin Laden; the establishment of a stable government in Afghanistan; the completion of the Freedom Tower in NYC; and the maturity of the American people, as evidenced by an increase in mutual respect and understanding between the Muslim and Christian communities.

now it is easy (with hindsight as our guide) to say what could have been done differently to achieve those results. unfortunately, we don't have any idea what would have worked. we only have these ideas of what "shouldabeen." as usual, our society looks for a scapegoat. we throw blame around in some frantic attempt to absolve ourselves of responsibility. but blame doesn't make me feel any better about our failures, and it certainly doesn't change the past!

bringing this a little closer to each of us, i suggest that we consider our own goals and dreams. as an individual, a youth during much of the last ten years, i had little understanding of the implications of an event like september 11th. most of us had little influence on the international events of the last ten years. but while we may be unable to alter world history, we should all make an effort in our own lives to avoid personal "shoudabeens."

we have control of our own lives. sometimes we feel like the external forces around us keep us from being in control, and i admit that some things are beyond us. however, in most situations we are in control of our lives. we can choose what we do, and when we do it. we don't get to decide where we start out in life, but with hard work and consistent effort, we can control where we are at and set the course for where we want to go. since we can control our lives, we ought to be able to prevent "shouldabeens." we can set goals and work towards them. we can conquer our fears, establish peace in our lives, complete the goals that we set, and learn to respect and understand others. with these guidelines, we will look back ten years from now without "shouldabeens" on our lips. we will be able to say, like george w. in our fictional onion world, "These last 10 years could have been divisive, turbulent, sad, hopeless, and grotesque. But instead, they were the exact opposite of those things. And for that we must all feel both blessed and truly proud."

The architects of the past 10 years of peace and prosperity drink to their success
from the observation deck of New York's Freedom Tower. (Source:

Wednesday, September 21, 2011


ever heard of perspective? it is that little thing that makes you see things differently than others. some decisions that seem easy to us can be incredibly difficult for someone else. we may see the world as something ugly, while another finds it beautiful. we may respond to situations in a completely different way than another person would. (see Alma 62:41)

i guess perspective is what gives people hope. although our circumstances may not always be under our control, each of us has control of the way we respond to difficulties around us. We can allow our difficulties to make us cranky, or we can respond with patience and humility.

the optimist and the pessimist are both self-made. the difference between the grouchy old man and the friendly grandpa is simply attitude.

at this point, i would like to insert a side note about how much i love africa. not the country, but the person. she makes my head go round and round. she is the peanut butter to my jelly and the flip to my flops. she had my heart at 'hello.' i knew it from the moment that we met. she's everything; she's a falling star, the get-away car, and the line in the sand when i go too far. so africa, tell me that we belong together. dress it up with the trappings of love. i'll be captivated. i'll hang from your lips. instead of the gallows of heartache that hang from above.

back to perspective.

the other day i was climbing the stairs at the Provo temple, trying to get up to the chapel in time for the session. i was kind of in a hurry, as i was running a bit late. an old man was struggling to get up the stairs and blocked most of the staircase. i was pretty impatient, and slipped past him quickly. he said 'hello' and gave me a smile as i ran by, and i muttered a lame 'hi' back at him. when we got to an endowment room, the old man was the last one inside (right behind me). he shuffled in, and i noticed that he was in pain--moving slowly and limping. before he sat, he gave me a big smile and extended his hand. we shook hands, and he thanked me for being at the temple. my opinion of him skyrocketed; his sense of perspective really uplifted me. that man could have been anywhere, sitting around and wasting away the last years of his life. he could have hated his body for the pain it caused him. he could have been cold and dour in his interactions with others. instead, he was at the temple, serving his fellow men and serving the Lord. He lifted my spirits with a smile, kind words, and a firm handshake. what a good man! in his pain and old age he did not shy away from living an active, happy lifestyle. he didn't even take the elevator.

i love the temple. it has such a powerful influence on my mood. as i go there every week my worries and difficulties melt away, and i find myself entirely at peace. just going to the temple grounds or looking at pictures of the temple helps me to feel the Spirit and want to be a little bit better.
To check out some of the temples, click here.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

gender equality

hello internet.

today i am going to talk about a controversial subject: gender equality. it can be a difficult topic to approach, so i am going to start with a great joke:

question: if a tree falls on a woman in the forest, does it make a sound?
response: what is she doing out of the kitchen?

i suppose the first person could tell the joke differently, and say: 'if a tree falls on a woman while she labors in her kitchen-in-the-forest, does it make a sound?' but that sounds far too wordy.

okay, enough silliness. maybe. the fact is, there is a lot of demand for women's rights out there nowadays. most of the demand, i would assume, comes from women. there are too few men advocating for women's rights, and that is totally uncool. i strongly believe that women are in most cases equal to men, and in nearly every other case superior to them. historically, (and currently) men haven't looked at women this way. throughout the years men have prescribed certain actions and behaviors for women, effectively putting up walls around them that limit them from reaching their full potential. women's rights has been a bigger issue on the political field during recent years, and most people would admit that there has been a lot of progress.

none of this is what i want to talk about.

though there has been progress made in the realm of gender equality, i would argue that not all of this 'progress' has been positive. though our society has been breaking down barriers and overcoming obstacles that have limited women for centuries, i believe that if we are not careful, this idea of gender equality could go too far. i am afraid that we may get so concerned with gender equality that we may forget some of the things that make women so much better than men.

in expressing this, i don't intend to demean any woman that has aspirations for excellence in the professional world. i just want to express my feelings that women do not need to be men to be happy. in breaking out from these barriers of limitations, women should not forget who they are or what they have historically done. just because women have historically been confined to childbearing and childrearing does not mean that a woman must now become a lawyer or a doctor to be successful. gender equality means that men and women are equal to choose a profession. in this discussion it should be realized that each gender has areas in which they excel above the abilities of the opposite gender. gender equality also means that men and women deserve (and should expect) mostly equal treatment (note that i say 'mostly'). let me touch upon both of these aspects of gender equality:

1) men and women should be able to choose a profession of their choice.

women and men should take careful consideration of the numerous circumstances surrounding their individual situation as they make career decisions. these changing circumstances may make it impossible to dictate or even suggest what would be right or wrong for a specific individual. here are some thoughts to consider in the meantime.

men and women are different. there are the obvious biological differences and the more subtle emotional and logical differences. these differences are important and beneficial. there may be exceptions, but the crying child doesn't go to mommy for no reason. the child goes to mom because mom is a great comforter. she loves and forgives and is patient with her child. this may have something to do with the fact that mom gave birth to the child, but that isn't the entire story. when science gets 'good' enough (advanced enough?) to allow men to carry a baby in pregnancy, it will not change the inherent differences in behavior and emotion between man and woman. this has great implications for career choices. society is made up of families who are made up of parents with children. the children of today form the society of tomorrow. very simple concepts. someone needs to teach the children, and the majority of the teaching should NOT be done at school, but in the home. so in making career and educational choices, a woman should consider her options carefully. a professional business path may be more appealing (and lucrative) than the option of being a mother. are they mutually exclusive? maybe, maybe not. are men and women equally capable of both? i would say no. both can be successful in business. both can have a measure of success with children, but whether you believe in God or no, the biological fact of womanhood (or maybe more specifically motherhood) involves the care and nurture of children. this should influence a woman's career decisions.

another quick comment. what is culturally seen as 'successful' or 'unsuccessful' should not be a major consideration in a woman's career choices. motherhood used to be the only option for women. now that there are other options, a woman should not leave behind motherhood as if it were somehow as outdated as societies' inequalities. whatever you choose to do, do it well. in this lies success.

2) men and women deserve mostly equal treatment

this is true. remember that women and men are not the same. sometimes we look at events or situations and say, 'ah hah! that was sexist--the man was somehow preferred.' but rarely (if ever) do we look at events from the opposite perspective to say, 'ah hah! that man held the door for that girl, but not for the man behind her! how sexist!' women tend to expect premium treatment from men, and i think that it should be given to them. whether or not they deserve it. women are not men, and do not need to be treated as men, but should be treated with more care and respect. this is sexist. it is also what most women prefer.

a brief story. in high school, i was in a class taught by an older gentleman. he was very good at what he did and everyone loved him. looking back, it was more of a college class format than any other high school class i had. this included occasional side conversations as the teacher lectured. on one occasion, this girl in the front row was continually talking. though the teacher was not angry, he did have to ask her to quiet down a few times during the class period. finally, at one point he interrupted his lecture, walked up to her and asked, "do you believe in equal treatment for men and women?" she responded, that yes, she did. he promptly slapped her in the face as he often did, playfully, to his male students. she didn't say a thing, though she was certainly surprised! i have often thought about that instance, not trying to judge whether it was 'right' or 'wrong,' but just to consider the expectations of women in regard to gender equality.

do women want equality or fairness? are they the same thing? are women already equal?

i would be interested in responses from both men and women.

in conclusion i would like to share with you this horribly politically incorrect demotivational poster. i hope it makes you smile.

with love,

Wednesday, September 7, 2011


so i guess i would like to start this out by talking about the title: RONHIC. it is an acronym.

okay, moving on.

ROTD: there is a certain phrase that people use that kills me. and when i say 'kill,' i mean that i feel murdered when i hear it. there is no other phrase that could possibly be more offensive than this one. it usually comes about because a friend, classmate, or coworker does something nice for you and you thank them. however, instead of responding with a polite and sophisticated 'you're welcome,' they say something like this: 'it's the least i can do.'

oh the horror! the agony! the unfairness of this cold, bitter world!

'the least you can do?' wow, thanks for explaining it to me. you see, from my point of view, you did something of value for me. i was thankful! thankful enough to actually voice my gratitude. but the fact is, two people often see the same situation in different ways. so perhaps i should thank you once more. usually i do not get the pleasure of understanding how others see me, but this is informative. i can imagine exactly how this happened from your point of view:

< wow, he thanked me for trying to help him out. this morning as i ate my corn puffs i pondered, looking for some way to make him mad. i thought of all the things that i could do for him, including some that he is probably expecting me to do, and formed a mental list. eventually i decided to do the very least helpful thing possible. yes, despite all i am capable of, i settled for the thing that would require the very least effort, that would not require me to give of myself in any way. yet somehow i still got a 'thank you.' weird. or wait... maybe that was sarcasm. he was saying 'thank you' to show me that he noticed how little i did for him. perhaps i should respond by saying 'it's the least i can do.' >

perhaps in the future i will talk about the wisdom of installing what i call a BMSF. a BMSF can prevent us from saying stupid things that we will likely regret. a very useful device, i assure you.

that is all for now. until next time,