Thursday, April 27, 2006

Things You Don't Think About Until You Have To:

1) I don't know of one person that would say the thought of starvation is pleasant. Here at BYU-I, our lives revolve very much around the functional hours of the Galley. I came out of the bathroom once, and they had closed the Galley doors. They were open when I went in, and closed when I came out. I pulled on the knob, realized it was open, walked in and got myself some breakfast... hey, I paid a lot for those unlimited meals, I plan on getting my money's worth. And then there's the possibility of getting there and having all the good food gone and you just have to live off the scraps the other dogs left you. Moral of the story: don't cut your meals close.

2) Toilet paper - we Americans are a blessed people. The entire nation of China lives in uncertainty of if they will have something clean to wipe their bums with tomorrow morning. But we are able to be fairly sure that the longest we will ever go without TP is a few hours, while Mum runs to the store to get some. At least, that's how it is until you wake up one morning and realize that Mum is not there to restock the rolls. The end of the semester is here and everyone refuses to buy more toilet paper. Angela and I have been sharing the last two rolls of her secret stash for the past two weeks. Let's just say, things have been getting pretty thin.

3) It's a good idea to have clean checks in the dorms and apartments. I mean, some people are just naturally clean, but I don't care who you are, living with five other girls, all with busy schedules, makes a constantly clean crib something you hear of, but never witness. Most clean checks are easily passable. It's really just the basics: vacuuming, bathroom, mirrors, windows, clutter... that's about it, and you pass with an excellent. However, at the end of every semester, in every dorm and apartment complex, there is the clean check of all clean checks - "White Glove." Taylor Smith put it well when she said, "That sounds evil." Well Taylor, that's because it is evil. If you just make sure you dust everything, move some furniture around to vacuum under them, detailing things like that, then really it's not that big a deal. But there are those that simply cannot deal with the stress of it and eventually just go into shock.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

The Song of the Righteous is a Prayer Unto Me...

Katie had left without me, thinking that I was asleep. I had been, but after Andrea woke me up I couldn't regain the fitful sleep I had been half-enjoying half-enduring. I quickly climbed down from my mattress. I pulled on some jeans off the top of my suitcase, threw on my hoodie, stuck a piece of gum in my mouth, and grabbed my hymnal on my way out the door.

I headed down to the track and field stadium. I had wanted to go stadium singing ever since I'd heard of it, but I didn't know what it was exactly. Katie just said it was singing under the stadium. I guess I was trying to read too far into it, 'cause it was literally singing underneath the stadium.

I was a ways off when I first heard it. A sound rising up so beautiful it can only be described if you read "The Grinch Who Stole Christmas." The voices reverberated off the steel walls of the stadium. There were probably two hundred people under those seats. The conductor stood on a stage in the center and held up the numbers to different hymns. People sang parts. It was all a capella.

I couldn't help but think of two things: a) how happy I was to being singing on Sunday evenings again; and b) how cool it would be to sit on that stadium during that hour and a half.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Easter Thoughts

Church today was fantastic! In fact, it was so good, I'm going to transcribe some of my notes and put them on here. I have some good quotes, some excellent points, and some touching stories. The other two speakers were excellent, but I'm going to be focusing on the third speaker.

Brother Ross Baron, a professor of religion here at BYU-Idaho and a high counselman in my stake. (Not to mention my personal goal for a religion teacher for Fall semester!) He gave a fantastic talk!

Bro. Baron was raised in a Jewish family in southern California. So, naturally, he was raised under Judaism. When he was about 9 he asked his parents what happened to one after death. They said that "your memory lives on, but other than that, we don't really know." When he reached his teen years he began to look into other religions such as Buddism, Hinduism, Taoism, Shinto, and Confucianism. He never considered Christianity because they were those "Sunday morning preachers on T.V. that we'd watch if we got bored one Sunday." However, he did eventually end up looking into it (I can't remember how exactly that came about, but it did, obviously) and he asked a friend about Mormonism. The kid (he was 17 at this time) layed out the Plan of Salvation for him 5 minutes before class, then referred him to his dad (who was a bishop) for all other answers.

So, this is what Bro. Baron said that I loved so much. First of all, he said that "The Plan of Salvation, with Christ and His Atonement at the center gives us life, hope, and a purpose. ... Maybe we don't appreciate the Atonement enough." He also said that he used to feel a little bitter towards Peter, James, and John for falling asleep when Christ asked for them to watch with him one hour. Just one. The only time Christ asked them to do anything for Him, and they let Him down. Until he realized, Christ has asked each of us to "watch with Him 10 minutes" [in Sacrament] every week, and what do we do? "Our minds wander. 'Oh, she's cute.'"

He told a sweet story about a young boy in Primary with Down's syndrome. The teacher gave each of the kids a plastic egg and asked them to go out and find something to put in the egg that reminded them of Christ. The little Down's boy came back with nothing in his egg. The other kids laughed at him, and the teacher asked how that reminded him of Christ. "Because Jesus wasn't in the tomb. It was empty, wasn't it?"

"Why seek ye the living among the dead? He is not here. He is risen!"

The most interesting point Bro. Baron made was about the Fall of Adam and the Triumphant Entry. It says that Christ cursed the fig tree upon entering Jerusalem. The only record we have of Him cursing anything and having it immediatly destroyed. In the Old Testiment, after the Fall of Adam and Eve, it says that they tried to hide their nakedness from the Lord with the help of the serpant. They did this by covering themselves with fig leaves. This is a false covering. When the Lord came, the first thing He did was cover them - but with skins. It was a direct foreshadow to what was to come. They could not cover themselves completely with leaves, an innocent animal had to be sacrificed in order for them to be covered properly for the Lord. The fig tree represents Satan's false covering, and the cursing of it and the killing of the animal for the skins represents Christ's triumph over Satan, and His sacrifice for each of our sins.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Gospel Values Essay

For FA-100, we have to attend the Gospel Values Lecture, given by a Brother Call. Since I put it off until the last one, I also had to write a Gospel Values summary essay. I think it came out pretty good. See for yourself.

It is obvious that te Gospel of Jesus Christ has certain standards we are all expected to live up to. These standards canjust as easily be called values. They are what set us apart from the rest of the world and draw us ever closer to God and Jesus Christ.

God's goal is to keep His Spirit with us at all times. In order to fulfill the goal, He gives us commandments - or His standards - that lead us to live righteously. We renew our baptismal covenants each week as we take the Sacrament. These covenants state that as long as we are consciously striving to live worthily, by keeping our values, than the Lord will keep His Spirit with us. If, at any moment, we are not living righteously, the Spirit withdraws and leaves us vulnerable to Satan's power.

In contrast with the Lord, Satan's main objective is to keep us separated from the Holy Spirit at all times. It is during these separations that he can put into action his specialized plan to destroy each of us individually. It is inevitable that we will once in a while fall victim to his plotting. It may seem at these times that we are left solely at his nonexistent mercy, but we must remember this: we have power over Satan, and by turning back to the standards set for us by the Lord, we may come again into the presence of His Spirit and fully repent.

We, as believers and partakers of this Gospel, have three main principles. First of all, we have the gift of the Holy Ghost. This means that as long as we are maintaining the values, we not only have th privilege of His Spirit, but a right to it as well. In order to keep ourselves as far away from sin as possible, it is important that we learn ways in which we can stay close to the Lord. Constant prayer is of the utmost importance. As long as we are praying, our thoughts are "garnished with virtue." Doctrine and Covenants 10:5 tells us to "pray always that you may come off conqueror; yea that you may conquer Satan, and that you may escape the hands of the servants of Satan that do uphold his work."

The next principle is the line. There is a line between good and evil, but it is not easy to see. the extremes, white and black, are clearly decipherable, but the gray is enormous, and its murky darkness ever so subtly bleeds into the white. Brother Call says that "Satan's biggest lie is that the line is somewhere in the middle. I think the line is as a soon as the gray touches the pure white. ... It's easy to distinguish black from white, but it's pretty hard to distinguish off-white from white."

The third principle is that we must judge wisely. These values were given to us not only for the purpose of bringing us closer to His Spirit and to help us to stay on the right side of the line, but also that we may judge where that line is. Every day we are confronted with choices that may contradict our values. If we choose wrong, we commit sin. If we choose right we gain in spirituality. This happens in every decision we make - our spirituality is not standing still, it is either decreasing or increasing. This is why it is so important that we make righteous choices.

Possibly the most common decisions we make are media-based. The mdeia is always in our face; in movies, T.V., music, and magazines. There are two criteria we should take into consideration when making a decision based ont he media. Ifrst is the content. Is the material virtuous? If not, we should choose right then not to have anything to do with it. If so, the second criterion is style. If the style and content are both good, it's certainly worth participation in. It's praiseworthy, lovely, of good report, and virtuous. If the content and style are both bad, there is really no temptation. If the content is good, but the style is mediocre, it's probably not harmful, but also not worth much. The most dangerous zone is when the style is good and praiseworthy, but the content is filth. this can deceive some into believing it is appropriate, interesting, "worth it," and sometimes even as beautiful as that which is truly virtuous.

Satan is subtle in his snares. It is up to each of us to realize our dependence upon the Lord and grasp hold of the principles He so caringly gives us. Sometimes we will fall, but through the grace-filled Atonement of Christ, we may repent. Through these things and by continuously raising the bar just a little higher for ourselves each time, we will one day become perfect in the Lord and He will welcome us into His home.

To view the Gospel Values Powerpoint Brother Call uses in his lecture, click on, go to "Students">"Academics">"FA-100"

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Fun and Funny Quotes from...

Steven Wright - Comedian

*On Ambition: "I'd kill for a Nobel Peace Prize."
*On Being Realistic: "When everything is coming your way, you're in the wrong lane."
*On Gaining Experience: "Experience is something you don't get until just after you need it."
*On Self-Worth: "If you think nobody cares for you, try missing a couple of payments."

Jerry Seinfeld - Comedian

*On Common Sense: "Sometimes the road less traveled is less traveled for a reason."
*On Ageism: "My parents didn't want to move to Florida, but they turned sixty and that's the law."

Angela Breiding - Roommate

*On Movies: (During X-Men) "So, which one is X-Man?" (During Batman Begins)"Where's Batman?" (During The Pink Panther) "Is there gonna be a panther in this movie?" (During King Kong) "Oh! The sticks keep the monkey out!"

Joshua Cole - Brother From Another Mother

*On Fashion: "I used to be a terrible dresser, then my mom took me to Old Navy, and, well, I've been irresistible ever since."

Andrea Membreno - Roommate

*On the US Postal Service: "Hi, we were just wondering if the Saturday Mail will be delivered tomorrow or not." Res. Assistant: "Ummm... tomorrow's Thursday." [PAUSE] "Soooo.... is that a no on the Saturday mail?"