Sunday, October 18, 2009

Everything is illuminated in the light of the past.

I went to Washington D.C. recently and was filled with new-found respect and admiration for the founders of this, the United States. For colonists who had the strength to win independence from a king and grant us popular sovereignty and, with it, popular responsibility. For people who, though imperfect, stood up for freedom and human dignity. For men who had respect and admiration for God; who built our nation on ideas of religious principles; who placed religious freedom first in the First Amendment of the Constitution.
The 'separation of church and state' was never about quashing religion - any religion, but avoiding one that was federally mandated - a repeat Church of England.

On the wall of his memorial building, Thomas Jefferson is quoted thus: "God who gave us life gave us liberty. Can the liberties of a nation be secure when we have removed a conviction that these liberties are the gift of God? Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just, that his justice cannot sleep forever."

Let's go back to the days when freedom OF religion didn't mean freedom FROM religion; when "an opinion is no more disqualified for being ‘religious’ than for being atheistic, or psychoanalytic, or Marxist, or just plain dumb;" when the people of this nation stood behind the phrase, "In God We Trust." I don't pretend to know much about political justice or the rhetoric of what's termed political justice now, but I will pretend to care. Let's go back.

Let's bring it back.

I highly recommend this talk by Elder Oaks given just 5 days ago: Religious Freedom. Taste it, love it, crave it.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Get it while he's hot!

I just wanted to draw your attention to the free song on eMusic today.

I don't know how you could resist: those baby browns, that hairy...everything... Indiana Jones has his whip and a universally understood hatred for snake Nazis. James McMurtry's just got his song.

Sunday, October 11, 2009


If you ask your teacher a question during a test and he tells you how to set up your problem, is it cheating? What if you went up there with the explicit hope that he would do just that?

If you got a long group email from another teacher inviting you--in the midst of other personal updates--to the Red Iguana over Fall Break with other students, graduates, and the secretary of the College of Engineering...would you go? What if he started talking in third person and discussed his horoscope?

If a voice in the bathroom stall next to you politely asked you for an unmentionable (named thus because of mixed-gender readership), and you gave her one, would you wait to emerge until she left the bathroom or would you brave the seemingly inevitable face-to-face encounter?

If, while studying for a test, one of your classmates came up to you and asked if you'd be interested in dinner sometime and after stating, "Oh, wow..." you ran through every excuse in your head including, "I'm dating someone," because you weren't at all interested in dinner sometime but didn't know how to say no; and eventually you just said, "...sure..." because he was just standing there waiting for an answer and thankfully, instead of getting your phone number he handed you his business card...what in the world would you do? It's just, I know someone...who has a friend in this situation so...they'd, uh, like to know.

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Island Park -- Land of opportunities.

Island Park, located in Targhee National Forest, Idaho, has become something akin to a fairytale to anyone who's been there - an adventure of mystic proportions. It's spoken of in reverently hushed tones, generally followed by a moment of silent reverie. I first had the opportunity to cross into this mythical ether a couple of winters ago. We rode on sleds behind 4-wheelers, daring to perform dangerous feats of gymnastics, we played football on the frozen lake, had dance parties in the kitchen, and drank hot chocolate 'til we preferred coffee. Truly, it was magical.
I went back for another repeat winter but kept hearing rumors of something grander, something better:


I wanted it. I wanted it bad...and I got it. I got it so good. An accumulated week and a half of blissfully lazy Idaho potato days.

Floating the river, reading to my heart's content, laying in the hammock...
Instead of sleds and 4-wheelers we had a trampoline and an...air burrito. The goal of which is something like this:
Not this:

Most importantly, however, I went water skiing for the first time. Slalom. Exciting stuff. I've never experienced anything that's hurt so good. I just wish someone had told me that I wasn't actually modeling for a 1980's magazine ad for ultra-slim cigarettes (Thanks Garred).Ah, Island Park. You can be sure I'll be back.