Youth encouraged to gain mastery and self-respect

The Los Angeles Times reports in a story titled Study links TV and depression that every hour of TV watched as a teenager adds about 8% more risk of developing depression as an adult. Dr. Brian Primack recommends positive social, academic, and athletic activities that can give youth a sense of mastery and self-respect. He goes on to suggest that TV teaches kids to be passive, and to judge themselves against fictional characters whose looks and accomplishments seem out of reach.

Now why would I post something like this while I am talking about Mormons? Well, the answer is quite simple really. Mormon youth participate in weekly activities called Mutual. Mutual is what some other religions call the Youth Ministry, World Assembly for Youth or Institute for Youth. The term Mutual comes from the original name of the Youth organization created by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The organization was called the Mutual Improvement Association and focused on providing youth the opportunity to develop positive social, academic, and athletic activites. I found this image from a play produced by the Mutual Improvement Association in 1920 quite funny. Great costumes and J.R. Sorenson sure looks the part of an old timer. Notice the M.I.A. Dramatics title as well.

Anyway, I simply found this interesting. I hope TV and video games don't consume so much time that no one has time to reach out and help others. It's pathetic when people sitting right next to each other would rather text each other instead of talk. Interpersonal communication is a fading skill, it's a good thing the LDS Church encourages home teaching, church attendance, mutual and service. Somebody's got to be out and doing.

That We May Be One

By Appreciable Goodfaithpoet

When we write the tune, that forms our short life,
We observe all too soon, that there will be strife.

In a choir and band, there must be music players.
Yet, though the piece is grand, it may be played by music slayers.

For, even if we plan the most beautiful thing,
We’ll loose our best fan, if it’s flat when they sing.

I now clearly see, it is God that I should trust.
If our duet becomes off-key, then MY tuning I'll adjust.

Yes, that's the key to life, to trust in God above,
And overcome all strife, with harmony and love.

Is the Wasatch Front the Mormon Zion?

Today in Sunday School we talked about Zion. A few people seem to think the Wasatch Front centered around Salt Lake City is Zion. Simplistically, some say in days of old Mormons were encouraged to gather to Zion in Salt Lake City. While I do not dispute that many were encouraged to moved to Utah, I think the idea that Salt Lake City is Zion gradually came about over time. I discuss a few ideas about Zion and the gathering of Israel and explain why I think Salt Lake City has always been a place of Zion, but not the Zion.

Simplified historical perspective: Joseph Smith, the Mormon Prophet, and his brother Hyrum Smith, the Mormon Patriarch, had been murdered June 27, 1844 while supposedly being protected by the government of Carthage, Illinois. Mormons had been harassed and pushed out of New York, Ohio, Missouri, and now Illinois. With their Prophet dead and understanding that the government of the United States at the time did not uphold it's constitution or bill of rights with respect to freedom of religion, Mormon leader Brigham Young January 14, 1847 (just two and a half years after Joseph Smith's murder) issued "the word and will of the Lord" found in Doctrine and Covenants Section 136. The section describes the preparations for the westward migration that ultimately took the Mormons out of the United States and into the territory of Mexico in 1847. Incidentally, most maps of the United States in 1847 go no further west than Iowa, Missouri, Arkansas, and Louisiana. It should also be noted that the concept of Manifest Destiny had only been spoken of by John L. O'Sullivan in 1845. President James K. Polk, along with congress, precipitated the Mexican-American war that in 1848 brought the Salt Lake Valley back into the United States as a territory.

Brigham Young in Section 136 of the Doctrine and Covenants provides a lot of organizational information for the westward migration of the Mormons and specifically calls some of his people "pioneers" (verse 7). The most telling item with respect to the Zion is found in verse 10 that states: "Let every man use all his influence and property to remove this people to the place where the Lord shall locate a stake of Zion" (emphasize added). In January of 1847 the Mormons where off to create a stake of Zion, not create the Zion. On July 24, 1847 the Mormons first entered the Salt Lake Valley and Brigham Young declared, "This is the right place." Utah as a state still celebrates July 24th as Pioneer Day. The Days of '47 website describes a yearly theme.

Once the Mormons began arriving, Brigham Young would send out groups of pioneers to settle surrounding areas (in other words, to build more stakes of Zion). I don't think the Wasatch Front is the Zion, so members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints should focus on Zion as the pure in heart, those that fear not thine enemies; for they shall not have power to stop my work, keep your pledges one with another, don't swear, cease to fight and gossip, cease to be drunk and use edifying language, return things you borrow, be a good steward of your materials possessions, sing, dance, and pray, and finally, you're being prepared to receive the glory of Zion.

Where is Zion for you? Is the Wasatch Front a special kind of Zion?


By Appreciable Goodfaithpoet

This life is like a courtroom,
And we have a role to play.
Like the pattern in a weavers loom,
We’ll leave our mark today.

Some pass sentence very early,
And from their stance don’t budge.
Yet, we’re to be a witness purely,
Letting Jesus be the judge.

You see, we'll all be weighed,
In the balance that is just,
Using good works we have made,
While clothed with mortal dust.

We’ll be judged by the way that we love,
How we’re loved doesn't mater so much.
As we follow the Savior above,
He can heal us with his gentle touch.


By Appreciable Goodfaithpoet

There is a law to follow,
With a punishment affixed.
There’s poison you can swallow,
Though with truth it may be mixed.

If we break the rules in life,
While knowing what is right,
We find sorrow, guilt, and strife,
And weep through lonely night.

Yet, suffering comes to everyone,
Resulting from the fall.
We conquer this through God’s own son,
Who has endured it all.

The devil wants to cloud our mind,
So we'll think God’s love is lacking.
He distracts us from the perfect plan.
As his demons are attacking.

Remember the message that has been sent,
While sin does bring grief and sorrow,
All suffering is not punishment,
And, in God’s time, gets fixed tomorrow.

New Mormon Apostle Set Apart Elder Neil Lindon Andersen April 2009

Elder Neil Lindon Andersen newest Apostle in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, April 2009

Elder Neil Linden Andersen, 57, was named the newest apostle of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints today during the morning session of the Church’s 179th Annual General Conference.

The announcement was made by Church President Thomas S. Monson to 21,000 people seated in the Conference Center and to hundreds of thousands more watching the broadcast throughout the world. Elder Andersen will fill the vacancy left in the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles by Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin, who passed away in December of 2008.

Elder Andersen was serving as the senior member of the Presidency of the Seventy prior to his calling to the Quorum of the Twelve. He was named a member of the First Quorum of the Seventy in April, 1993, at age 41. He previously led the work of the Church in southern Brazil and, again as a member of an area presidency, oversaw the Church in Western Europe. He has also assisted in supervising the work of the Church in Mexico and Central America. In addition, he supervised Church audiovisual production, including the filming of “The Testaments: Of One Fold and One Shepherd” and managed construction of the broadcast facilities in the Conference Center as the Executive Director of the Church Audiovisual Department. He speaks French, Portuguese and Spanish in addition to his native English.

Prior to his call as a General Authority, Elder Andersen served as a mission president in the France Bordeaux Mission, and as president of the Tampa Florida Stake.
Elder Andersen was born in Logan, Utah, and raised in Pocatello, Idaho, on a dairy farm where he remembers, "typical Idaho farm work, from morning to night.” In high school, he excelled in student government, serving as governor of Idaho Boys State.

He graduated from Brigham Young University, where he was a presidential scholar, and earned a Masters of Business Administration from Harvard University. After completing his education, he settled in Tampa, Florida, where his business interests included advertising, real estate development, and health care.

Elder Andersen and his wife, Kathy Williams Andersen, are the parents of four children and twelve grandchildren.

Members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles serve under the direction of the First Presidency. In addition to their primary responsibility to be special witnesses of Jesus Christ throughout the world, apostles have administrative responsibilities as they oversee the programs and development of the global Church.

Here is a video of the announcement by President Thomas S. Monson:

It's Best to Know and Do

I drink all of it quickly down,
I cannot get enough.
It seems to me a golden crown,
The best of worldly stuff.

I learn all knowledge that I can,
I’ll take as much as I can get,
I am learning’s greatest fan,
And so right here I’ll sit.

Though many tasks now call to me,
I can’t tear myself away.
I have too many books with me,
I must learn the things they say.

Yet, is it right to learn and not apply?
To build up, and knowledge merely store?
While suffering persons pass us by,
And we leave closed our door?

Knowledge sometimes puffs us up,
Until compassion dies.
While love will fill the beggar’s cup,
Yes, Charity edifies.

It’s different with a Scripture feast,
They have a great message that’s true,
They help the selfish hand release,
To know, and also do.

Loving God Far More than Life

Loving God Far More than Life
By Appreciable Goodfaithpoet

It is uncommon for people to think,
Of their upcoming death.
Our spirits are troubled and start to sink,
For, time will stop all breath.

I must think about all this,
For, I’m condemned to die.
It is my family that I’ll miss,
They’re the reason that I cry.

And I will die an innocent man,
For, I’m wrongfully accused.
And so I pray and wait and plan,
For God’s love to be infused.

While I have no bitterness today,
And my heart is free of hate.
There are some things I want to say,
Before it is too late.

When a person faces death with hope,
Faith grows and comfort comes.
Even while a noose is made from rope,
And the ticking clock still drums.

Faith and love both conquer fear.
A clear conscience, great peace brings.
Yes, even as my death draws near,
My heart, with joy still sings.

I wish that I were able to live,
And raise my children up.
There’s so much that I could give,
To overflow, with joy their cup.

I know the Lord is truly pleased,
When his children wish to stay.
I know our sorrows can be eased,
Though skies are cold and grey.

We all should LIVE upon this earth,
As long as life can last.
For, from the moment of our birth,
The time runs out so fast.

I will not die in a prison yard,
For a crime that I’ve confessed.
But this death, for me is just as hard
For, my cancer has progressed.

The death that soon will come to me,
Isn’t something I desire.
Yet, even so, I clearly see,
God’s love must cleanse like fire.

Though death is absolute, and frightening,
I know that God will take me home.
The word of God is so enlightening,
As through this valley I roam.

Yes, while I wish that I could stay,
Spending time with my sweet wife,
I’ll trust the things the scriptures say,
And love God, far more than life.