Time Well Spent & Not So Much

Last Friday I jotted down some notes after work, to help make the best of my weekend.  They’re worth recording.  The idea was to reflect on what activities are most fulfilling to me in the long run–what makes me feel best in the hours and days afterwards, and provides the best memories–and which ones end up being a waste of time.

Making a list like this is highly recommended.



  • reading books and magazines
  • playing outside the house with my kids
  • writing (journaling, sometimes blogging)
  • exercise (jogging and yoga are longtime favorites)
  • talking to my wife about our day/week / whatever
  • cleaning / organizing the house
  • temple work
  • scripture / gospel study
  • taking a bath
  • alas, grading papers



  • idle online surfing (including Facebook)
  • some blogging, especially @ politics
  • most TV
  • anything that doesn’t measure up to standards endorsed by my church
  • eating junk food / fast food



State of the Bloggernacle

Increasingly, the “bloggernacle” looks like a place that says, “Of course the church is true!  It’s just that it will be even more true when those awful old white men finally let women use the priesthood to seal gay couples directly to Heavenly Mother in the temple.  Then God’s work will really get started!”

If Mormon liberals actually believe in separation of church and state, then why do they often seem so eager to remake the church into the same mold they love for civil government, i.e. capitulating to the whims of trendy special interests, existing in a state of perpetually rootless apology, and using its authority to promote fiscally socialistic policies for everybody else?

Why should any private institution, much less one that they say is already divinely guided by inspiration, conform to any progressive zeitgeist, much less one that only amounts to a current party platform?


Why I Disabled Comments

A few weeks ago, I read this great post from Eric D. Snider, and was inspired.  I knew exactly how he felt.  This blog has often been cluttered by comments that typically say little more than, “I disagree with you!  Hooray for me!”  Though not usually so polite or so succinct.

For the first year or two I wrote this blog, I blocked a lot of people, but they still found ways to post, and deleting them all was too much of a chore.  Besides, I did get lots of great comments that I enjoyed, including form people who disagreed with me.

But most of them have stopped posting, and I wonder if it’s because of the trolls.

And I really hate getting the same kinds of critical comments in a thread after those same thoughts have been thoroughly discussed in earlier comments.  Don’t post a comment if you’re not going to read the ones before it first!

So, ultimately, comments have become more of a pain than a blessing.  Since ending them, I’ve started to enjoy this hobby a bit more again.  I feel more comfortable writing in my own online journal.



One Thing Matters, In Science and Religion

As the world continues to scrutinize the LDS Church during this election season, there are plenty of would-be experts ready to share some weird and scary nuggets of what Mormons “really” believe.  Besides almost always being bizarre, disingenuous distortions, these “shocking secrets” never seem to be considered by those who “reveal” them—or by those who reads them—with the only important question in mind: are they true or not?

Secular America prides itself on being scientific, a bastion of the reason bestowed by the Enlightenment; only an extreme irony can account for this myopia.  Yes, a lot of the supposed facts out there about Mormons are, as Christopher Hitchens put it, “weird and sinister.”

But why stop at pointing that out?  Plenty of things that are weird and sinister are also true (any number of strange historical occurrences and scientific findings).  If those who would criticize the LDS Church have any real intellectual honesty, why not definitively expose the errors in its claims?  Or, more objectively, investigate those claims to see if they’re true or not?

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A Universal Mission Statement

For believers or skeptics, atheists or theists of all stripes, might this function as a call to arms that everybody could support?

Discern the nature of reality as accurately as possible and, as far as any facts have practical applications, bring ourselves into alignment with them and exercise them habitually.  

Sure, that’s just a draft, but I think it gets at the point clearly: we all just want to learn things that are true, and act on them accordingly, to the benefit of ourselves and the larger world, whether those things are secular or spiritual, artistic or scientific, or all of the above.

Yearning for Pastoral Restoration

It’s the driving force behind Thoreau’s Walden, one of my favorite books, and Yeats’s “The Lake Isle of Innisfree,” which I was just shown in an English teacher training meeting a couple of weeks ago, and which is now one of my favorite poems:

I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree,
And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made:
Nine bean-rows will I have there, a hive for the honey-bee,
And live alone in the bee-loud glade.
And I shall have some peace there, for peace comes dropping slow,
Dropping from the veils of the morning to where the cricket sings;
There midnight’s all a glimmer, and noon a purple glow,
And evening full of the linnet’s wings.
I will arise and go now, for always night and day
I hear lake water lapping with low sounds by the shore;
While I stand on the roadway, or on the pavements grey,
I hear it in the deep heart’s core.



The poem also reminds me of Loreena McKennitt’s “Bonny Portmore,” another story of yearning for a pastoral restoration.  Is it a coincidence that both “The Lake Isle of Innisfree” and “Bonny Portmore” are Irish?  Here’s a video for the song, with an appropriate scenery and landscape montage:


Buster Keaton’s Steamboat Bill, Jr.

Although I didn’t like this quite as much as The General and The Cameraman, I did think this movie had some of his best physical comedy.  The athleticism evident here is just astounding–some of those pratfalls rise to the level of elegant acrobatics!  And his stunt of quickly descending four stories of a ship–and then scrambling back up!–is simply breathtaking (starts at around 1:09 in the second video).  It’s easy to see why Jackie Chan said his career was inspired by Keaton.


Fifteen Favorites: Religion


  1. Jacob’s Temple Sermon
  2. What Was the Mark of the Curse in the Book of Mormon?
  3. A Homily on Helaman: Choosing Faithfulness in a Changing Church Culture
  4. Defending Internal Book of Mormon Evidence: The Lesson of Proto-Indo-European
  5. Ironic Rhetoric Advances the Book of Mormon’s Thesis
  6. God’s Unrequited, Unconditional Love
  7. The Pattern Of Our Spiritual Journey
  8. Temples, Abortion, and Becoming Saviors
  9. The Condensed Book of Mormon, In 15 Verses
  10. The Book Of Mormon and the Heart On the Window
  11. The Purpose of Astronomy In the Book of Abraham
  12. No One Can Establish Zion Alone
  13. Fireproof: A Great “Mormon” Movie
  14. A Fireside With Joseph Smith’s Great-Great-Great-Grandson
  15. On The Virtue Of A Soft Heart, Despite Discouragement

Fifteen Favorites: Politics & Society


  1. A Conservative Case for Amnesty
  2. Evaluating the Arguments For and Against Gay Marriage
  3. The Global Genocide of Baby Girls
  4. Irrational Anti-Christian Hatred Is Real
  5. Demography Redux
  6. Yet More Research Shows That Cohabitation Hurts Kids
  7.  “Forcing” Beliefs on People
  8. The Atlas Shrugged Quote Book
  9. Myth: The Constitution Is Racist
  10. Rules By Which a Free Republic May Be Reduced To a Socialist One
  11. Relative Savings
  12. Fascism of the Left and Right
  13. You Are Not a Gadget…Or A Passive, Vacuous Techno-Consumer
  14. Ask The Founders
  15. Bailout Metaphor From The Simpsons