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Going from Zero to One: Early Missionary Work in the LDS Church

The following is an address I gave in my congregation today. I will come back through and add my references shortly. Enjoy!

"And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. And God saw the light, that it was good... and the evening and the morning were the first day." (Not bad for a Monday, eh?)

This famous verse of scripture does not simply evoke the wonder that we all feel when we stand on the precipice of unchartered territory. It also quietly stands as a witness to God's power, dominion, creativity, Priesthood, devotion, and faith in and for His plan and in and for His children. It typically takes a great deal of energy to take effectively nothing and create something out of it or to bring chaos to order, and the creation of the Universe was no exception. :)

God's first creative act in our temporal continuum which, according to scientists, expands to 48.5 billion light-years in any direction, defies comprehension.  It has nevertheless been pondered by the …
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Teaching Work and Personal Responsibility to My Kids

A couple of weeks ago, I observed that the dishes had been piling up more than usual for the past while (Dad isn't always the most observant, so who really knows how long this had been happening? Mom probably knows, but doesn't blog, and so the point remains shrouded in mystery). What typically happens in our home is that, using our divided sink, we rinse off dirty dishes in the right-hand sink, and then place them either in the dishwasher if there is room or into the left-hand sink if not. Needless to say, this day the right-hand sink was full to overflowing with dirty dishes all over the counter for lack of space. This, of course, is my children's thought process with regard to where they play in the house as well. "Why are you guys playing with toys in the family room?" "Cuz the play room is too dirty." "Ah, thank you, that clears things up."

I digress, though. In our family, we have a weekly family meeting--every Sunday at 2pm, at least f…

Senate Seat 10 - Vetting the Candidates

I've spent the last three weeks listening to and reading about the 9 Republican candidates for Senate Seat 10. I am going to list them in the order that I currently prefer them, last to first:

#9 Susan Pulsipher - Depth without breadth. Susan has been serving as the President of Jordan School District for the last five years and during that time has done a lot of good. When the subject is education, she brings a great deal of hindsight and understands the pain points of educators and parents alike. You know what that means for me? That she should keep doing that at least until her term is over. Keep up the good work, Susan!

I won't be voting for her for Senate Seat 10 because she does not have any coverage in really any of the other issues. Her most common statement to me when I asked her questions was "I'd have to research that issue more before making a comment."

#8 Hon. Rich Cunningham - More of the same. Rich has several endorsements from heavy hitters in the p…

Tribute to a Favorite Teacher

A few days ago, on a whim, I decided to seek out an old teacher of mine, Mrs. Roberts.

Mrs. Roberts was one of my teachers during the 4th, 5th, and 6th grade. At that time in my elementary school, we had a pull-out program for accelerated learning. The full-time teacher would recommend a few students from her class and a couple of times a week, Mrs. Roberts would come collect those students and we would attend a class together with her.

This class was the highlight of my week. For better or worse, school always came easily for me--the first time I hit a real challenge was when I jumped from a Geometry in 1994-95 to Calculus in 1995-96 when I was 14. In this class, though, Mrs. Roberts had a way of getting me to think bigger about learning, education, and achievement.

I remember most of the class being about experiments. One time, she gave us each a washer on a string. She had us hold the string at the loose end between our thumb and pointer finger high enough in the air that the wash…

How Many Teeth Does The Tooth Fairy Pick Up Each Night in Utah?

Somebody asked me a question about my Tooth Fairy post the other day that got me thinking. How many baby teeth are lost every day in Utah?

I began with Googling. Surely someone else has thought of this and run some numbers, right? Lo, there is a tooth fairy site that claims that the Tooth Fairy collects 300,000 teeth per night.

That's a lot; however, when I ran the numbers, it started to seem awfully low.

Let's assume that the Tooth Fairy collects all baby teeth regardless of quality and we assume that all children lose all their baby teeth. The world population of children sits at 2.2 billion, with 74.2 million of them in the United States. Of those, approximately 896,961 of them are in Utah. This means that somewhere around .04077% of the world's children are in Utah.

If we assume that kids in Utah lose teeth at the same rate as all other children in the world and that each day in the year is just as likely as the rest to lose a tooth, then we have that of the alleged …

A Letter From Tooth Fairy Rita

Our Tooth Fairy is very forgetful. And since she only gives 50 cents per tooth, we've learned over the years that she is also very "frugal" compared to other families' fairies.

Still, the kids seem to accept our Tooth Fairy in stride with all her idiosyncrasies. Sometimes the Tooth Fairy will forget to pick up the tooth for a couple of days and then bring money and some candy to make up for the delay. Sometimes she will leave a note under the children's bed explaining that she is "in training."

This time around, it was very interesting. Isaac, our second child, lost a tooth in May over Mother's Day weekend and proceeded to lose it. We were in Boise at the time. Isaac looked for the tooth everywhere, but to no avail.

We explained that if he would write a note to the Tooth Fairy, all would be well. He, like his father, promptly forgot about this for the next three months.

Then, three days ago, Isaac remembered and he wrote a note to the Tooth Fairy, …

Deacons, Minecraft, and the Purpose of Life

Each Sunday, about a dozen individuals, myself included, volunteer to teach teens about life and choices in the context of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Somehow, this idea works on occasion. My area of responsibility is boys age 12-13, and I have between 12 and 15 of them that come to our weekly meeting, which means that it works less often for me than it does for those working with the slightly more mature strains of the species. I've been volunteering this way for four year now, and while the discussions are probably relatively typical of other groups of chaperoned 12-13 year old boys, every once in a while--like two Sundays ago--they surprise me.

What is the purpose of life? Minecraft, of course.
In these meetings, a boy moderates the roughly 45-minute discussion centered on a particular theme. This particular day, the boy moderator asked a question about what our purpose is in life. The boys quietly answered various things like the steady trickle of a leaky faucet. The answers,…