29 June 2012


The Old Testament.

I've read the whole Bible through. But I wanted to do it again. So a few months ago I started it, as a part of the rest of my study, and I got stuck in Numbers. Doh! It really is all. about. numbers. I went through these phases where I was like, "Okay, I want to read the Book of Mormon more." So I started it again (I'm just finishing 3 Nephi, so that's been working out).

And then I started to read General Conference talks from the 70s and 80s and they're fantastic! It's like the Saints needed more doctrinal correction or something, so they are so straight up about things. Not to mention, many Conference talks these days tend to be aimed at a non-members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (which I wholeheartedly condone), so they don't always go quite as deep. And, I think they might be shorter. Anyway, I LOVE THEM. They're like .... cool freshly squeezed orange juice to a thirsty soul in the morning. But my point is, now that I've been reading talks + the B.O.M., I have less time for the Bible every day.


Here's what I wanted to write about today: Sanctification.

And Nadab and Abihu, the asons of Aaron, took either of them his censer, and put fire therein, and put incense thereon, and offered bstrange fire before the Lord, which he commanded them not.
And there went out afire from the Lord, and bdevoured them, and they cdied before the Lord.

Then Moses said unto Aaron, This is it that the Lord spake, saying, I will be sanctified in them that come nigh me, and before all the people I will be glorified. And Aaron aheld his peace.

And Moses called Mishael and Elzaphan, the sons of aUzziel the uncle of Aaron, and said unto them, Come near, carry your brethren from before the sanctuary out of the camp. (Leviticus 10:1-4)

"And Aaron held his peace." What an interesting way to word it.... The first time I read these verses, I thought to myself, "Wow, pretty sure these guys just got devoured by fire. Isn't that a little harsh?" I wonder if maybe Aaron felt the same way. But he held his peace. Why?

I found another scripture in the Doctrine and Covenants, section 101, verse 5.

"For all those who will not aendure chastening, but bdeny me, cannot be sanctified."

In verse 1, it is clear that the Lord commanded them not to offer whatever sacrifice they offered. Some scholar could probably tell you what "strange incense" is (see Exodus 30:9), but I'll assume it was something cheaper or unapproved by the Lord. This will sound morbid, but it does seem appropriate that the Lord used fire to punish them, when fire was their crime.

I feel like the verse could read as follows, including the D&C passage: "And Aaron held his peace, for all those who will not endure chastening, but deny me, cannot be sanctified." That reads so right.
I need to go to work, but I want to write about this for just a second. Joseph Smith said, "a religion that does not require the sacrifice of all things never has power sufficient to produce the faith necessary unto life and salvation."*

The sacrifice of all things .... this often relates to material objects, but so much more it's harder. It's love. It's your heart. It's comfort. Media. Time. Living in the world. Some associations. It's pride. I mean.... it can even be giving in and trusting the Lord in everything, even when we want to sacrifice "anything" but we don't even know what to give. Or trusting him, when you try to fulfill his commandments but it doesn't seem to work out like it should. And that's where time comes in too. How could we possibly hope to be like the Savior, if we aren't willing to endure chastening to become perfected? It's like we don't mind chastening in the big stuff because that's to be expected, but when it comes to the smaller things, it's hard to take. 

Sanctification ...... a cleansing. "To sanctify is literally "to set apart for special use or purpose," figuratively "to make holy or sacred," and etymologically from the Latin verb sanctificare which in turn is from sanctus "holy" and facere "to make." (wikipedia :)) Set apart for a special purpose. We are set apart for a special purpose. This is why we are here on Earth. This is our time to endure sanctification, to become more.

*"Such was, and always will be, the situation of the saints of God, that unless they have an actual knowledge that the course they are pursuing is according to the will of God, they will grow weary in their minds, and faint, for such has been, and always will be, the opposition in the hearts of unbelievers and those that know not God. … For a man to lay down his all…requires more than mere belief or supposition that he is doing the will of God; but actual knowledge, realizing that, when these sufferings are ended, he will enter into eternal rest, and be a partaker of the glory of God. … Let us here observe, that a religion that does not require the sacrifice of all things never has power sufficient to produce the faith necessary unto life and salvation." –Joseph Smith

28 June 2012

Nostalgia for the Darkroom

“I’ve never thought that spending time in a darkroom makes for a better (or worse) photographer. That’s a matter of choice and process…The difference might be that I make distinctions about prints because I have a feeling for them as objects with history. Those of us who have spent time in darkrooms may be more likely to share that experience, but I hope that photographers who haven’t will be interested in what the possibilities of printmaking are before thoughtlessly accepting the standard product. It’s quite easy to make a digital print that looks alright, but it’s still very difficult to make one that is beautiful and expressive.”

Full Article Here

Learn to Live With What You Are

:) Ben.

24 June 2012

Helping people

Helping people is seriously the BEST FEELING EVERRRR. Even when it's something silly and little, it means so much to them sometimes! Yay, if my stomach and heart could smile, it would be smiling.

23 June 2012

"Because I said so," children, and.... truth.

I don't think that you should ever (as a default) tell a kid "because I said so" as your reason for not letting them do something.

You totally lose your credibility. They're going to think, even subconsciously, "that's just the aa-dult cop out for 'I don't have a good reason'" and even if they do what you say, they're going to lose |------| this much respect for you. |------| much respect x 100 is a lot of respect.

Here's the thing. Just tell them the reason. Tell them exactly why you don't think it would be a good idea to do something, or why you wont let them climb on the counter, or why you wont buy them something, or why you need to go somewhere. Just tell them. [last time you fell off, we don't have enough money, I want you to earn it, there are spiders over there, it will make you sick, you need to wash away the germs...] At least you have a reason. And if you suddenly realize that your reason isn't good enough, just let them do it! If your reason isn't good enough, it's your turn to get over it and stop doing things because you want control.

I feel like that is legitimate.

I also believe that you will be teaching your kids SO much if you explain things to them, instead of writing them off. Even 3-year-olds are incredibly intelligent and pick up on little habits, phrases, and even logic of adults. So explain yourself to them, and maybe they'll avoid mistakes in the future. Maybe they'll learn something that will stick with them forever.

And you'll never lose credibility, because you will become someone that has a reason for everything he/she does, and recognizes when it doesn't matter either way, and allows for agency and responsibility and personal control on the part of the children. Remember that the fact that you're an adult does not equal logic. "Because I said so" is a black hole of a reason.


And on to truth. Can I please escape the responsibility of this post actually being all about truth? It will only be a little fragment..... the truth-post would go on for days! And weeks!

But here's a lovely thing:
There is great comfort in the knowledge of truth, for truth has the quality of certainty and authority. It has been said that "'no pleasure is comparable to the standing upon the vantage ground of truth' (a hill not to be commanded, and where the air is always clear and serene), 'and to see the errors and wanderings, and mists and tempests, in the vale below': so always that this prospect be with pity, and not with swelling pride. Certainly, it is heaven upon earth, to have a man's mind move in charity, rest in providence, and turn upon the poles of truth." (Francis Bacon, "On Truth") [as quoted in 1974 by John H. Vandenberg]
Is that not beautiful? I love the comparison of rising upon a hill to see below errors and wanderings... Like the children's book "Mumkin" a personal favorite of my sister and I :) about the horse who was selfish and blocked off the best part of grass so he could eat it all himself... and then the other horses followed suit. And when he finally got to the top of the hill, he looked down and saw that they had destroyed the beauty of the land by piling it up with branches and fences.

Then he called for change.

It's such a silly parallel. I'm doing a horrible job doing justice to truth. Please know... it's sacred to me. I need to write more about it one day.

14 June 2012

F. Scott and Mr. White

(Note: Mr. In and Mr. Out are extremely hung over and perpetually drunk. It was the party of the century!)

He removed his overcoat and hat and was hanging them up when his roving glance was caught and held magnetically by two large squares of cardboard tacked to the two coat-room doors. The one on the left-hand door bore the word "In" in big black letters, and the one on the right-hand door flaunted the equally emphatic word "Out."

"Look!" he exclaimed happily--

Peter's eyes followed his pointing finger.


"Look at the signs. Let's take 'em."

"Good idea."

"Probably pair very rare an' valuable signs. Probably come in handy."

Peter removed the left-hand sign from the door and endeavored to conceal it about his person. The sign being of considerable proportions, this was a matter of some difficulty. An idea flung itself at him, and with an air of dignified mystery he turned his back. After an instant he wheeled dramatically around, and stretching out his arms displayed himself to the admiring Dean. He had inserted the sign in his vest, completely covering his shirt front. In effect, the word "In" had been painted upon his shirt in large black letters.

"Yoho!" cheered Dean. "Mister In."

He inserted his own sign in like manner.

"Mister Out!" he announced triumphantly. "Mr. In meet Mr. Out."

They advanced and shook hands. Again laughter overcame them and they rocked in a shaken spasm of mirth.


"Here's health, Mr. In."
"Here's same to you, Mr. Out."
The waiter withdrew; the minutes passed; the champagne became low in the bottle.
"It's--it's mortifying," said Dean suddenly.
"Wha's mortifying?"
"The idea their objecting us having champagne breakfast."
"Mortifying?" Peter considered. "Yes, tha's word--mortifying."
Again they collapsed into laughter, howled, swayed, rocked back and forth in their chairs, repeating the word "mortifying" over and over to each other--each repetition seeming to make it only more brilliantly absurd.

Need I say more? If it wasn't absolutely absurd, I would post the ENTIRE short story here. Or maybe just this portion about Mr. In and Mr. Out. You have to go find it and read it. Now, if I remember correctly, the overall theme and conclusion of May Day is terribly depressing and tragic. However, this chapter about Mr. In and Mr. Out is a treasure that is a delight to partake of. Please experience it, as soon as possible. This is the reason that Mr. Scott is one of my favorite authors. I can't quite understand it, because drunkenness, death, sarcasm, etc., are hardly the fabric of my life, however, this man is a brilliant author.

Now, let me continue on to the great man of a man, Mr. White. (see photo - Caleb and I visit him every year)

I had this fellow for English 3 Honors and AP English in high school, and I could say that he is still one of the most influential teachers of my life (Madame Galbraith is a close-ish 2nd). I don't know how to express his hilarity and intelligence, but he was a fantastic teacher. He didn't care one smidgen what anyone thought of him, which is why he made such a great teacher. He is so passionate about English, but that's the completely wrong way to describe it. He is eloquent, he appreciates eloquence, he lives with a subdued ironic smile on his face, he teases endlessly, yet always respects those who live up to that which they profess to be. I love this man. This is his favorite movie, and I made a poster for him with quotes from the class. I am delighted that it still holds a place on his wall.

Mr. White... English 3 Honors, my junior year! 2004-2005. I made this poster for him, with his quotes and quotes about him from people in the class. Reads as follows:

ACHOO! “congratulations!”

I’ve never seen such beautiful shirts!! (great Gatsby)… Mr. White rewinds it: “wait you guys, this is the best part!”

Daisy! Daisy! Daisy! *SLAP*

“How many of you think there could be some sexual connotation there?”

*PSH* “Quit letting the air out of my bike tires.”

“Please cover your answers so you don’t ruin someone else’s test score by having them copy down the wrong answer.”

“I’m not saying that’s WRONG, but….”

“The force is not with you, Minobe-one.” (when Greg Minobe would give a bad analysis of something)

“…which, of course, because it’s dirty, I’m going to point out to you.”

“Correcting quizzes is not supposed to be this fun. You need to suffer!”

“Please move your desks back into annoyingly neat and perfectly straight rows.”


“May I go to the bathroom?”
“Is it something you feel strongly about?”

“That’s an excellent point….. but you’re wrong.”

“I know you all think I’m a dirty scoundrel. I know I am. It’s what I live for.”

About Mr. White:

He was my favorite teacher in high school!

You are my inspiration Mr. White! (reference to the tagline on the DPS poster)

He taught me how to chew gum more carefully, yet he still caught me. He brought out the debater in me and every time I came into this class I got all riled up and wanted to argue. I’ll never forget the day he called me a cheerleader.

Eggs are cool, I’ve seen him running. He runs a lot, kind of like a monkey.

He’s probably the corniest guy I know, but that’s what makes him so enjoyable. He makes me laugh every single dingle time!

All of his witty lines come from Dead Poets Society.

He puts interesting stories from his past into his teaching in class. It makes the fact that we actually have to work this year a little more bearable.

He can be kinda creepy and weird, yet somehow he’s still my favorite teacher. It doesn’t make sense, but hey!

Don’t anger him by emptying your bowels on his stump in the forest.

He’s always been a CRUEL, SICK, TWISTED individual, and he belongs in an asylum.

He showed me there was more than one way to say “shut up.” (beep boop)

Mr. White has a sick affection for weird scenes in books…

It is considered a virtue at sea for a certain English teacher to stop using the “virtue at sea” quote.

Mr. White is a great teacher; he always makes class interesting even if it is inappropriate or stories of his childhood chasing people with knives.

His use of hip slang frightens me.

He more than admired Lance Armstrong…..

He never says your quotes and notes suck, he just says, “good effort.”

There’s a forest growing on his chest.

How the heck did he catch me with gum EVERY time?

I don’t think you liked me very much; that or you liked me too much.

He keeps us all laughing, by just being himself
All of this describes him so well. I miss you, Mr. White! But I will be back with Caleb to visit soon! 

“I know you all think I’m a dirty scoundrel. I know I am. It’s what I live for.”


Today, I miss my grandpas. I'm not sure why. But I do.

08 June 2012


Especially today. Haha.

SO UNSEXY - Alanis Morissette

05 June 2012


Lately I have been delighted to read many LDS General Conference talks from the 1980s. They're spectacular. Today, as part of my study, I wish to write about "The Meaning of Maturity" by Derek A. Cuthbert.


King Solomon, in his youth, was called to be king. The Lord asked Solomon in a dream what He should give to him, and Solomon reflected on his greatest need. He says, "I am but a little child: I know not how to go out or come in. ... Give therefore thy servant an understanding heart to judge thy people, that I may discern between good and bad." (1 Kings 3:7, 9)

"And God gave Solomon wisdom and understanding exceeding much, and largeness of heart, even as the sand that is on the sea shore." (1Kings 4:29)

... Wisdom. Understanding. Largeness of Heart.

Do you ever wake up one day and think to yourself, "what have I been praying for all of these years/months/weeks?" Or how selfish and meaningless your prayers are, until you are going through something extremely painful. Sometimes it seems like you don't really know what to pray for until that point. What incredibly gifts to pray for, these three. The gifts of maturity. 

Elder Cuthbert outlines 10 qualities that are necessary to be mature. I love this, because 5 of them are childlike qualities, and 5 are qualities to be developed later in life. It's interesting that we have to be childlike to be mature.

Innocence | Guileless, pure. "Every spirit of man was innocent in the beginning; and God having redeemed man from the fall, men became again, in their infant state, innocent before God." (D&C 93:38)

Humility | "We live in a world where men have largely turned away from righteousness and are self-seeking, gratifying their pride and vain ambition." (Can I just say that I love the phrase "vain ambition" ... just like "vain repetition." What's the point? Where will that ambition lead you? It may be lauded by the world, and may even be somewhat fulfilling to you, but will it make you truly happy? Does it fulfill the plan of salvation? Is it distracting you from your true goals? Is some of your focus and hard work in vain?)

Simplicity | "A child is uncomplicated and expresses himself without becoming devious." I really appreciate the mention of this aspect of maturity. It is a part of integrity to be simple, to be sure that the people you interact with understand you, and especially that you're not "tricking" someone into something. "I fear [that] your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ." (2 Cor 11:3)

Complications can distract us from those pure principles that steady us. The gospel has a simple framework. That simplicity creates the strongest foundation, around which we can pour our mortar of faith. It is only then that we can build the glorious, deep doctrine upon the foundation. Without it, all will crumble. "Life should be beautifully simple. And then it will be simply beautiful." (Elder M. Cowley)

Faith | It is the child who believes in miracles. The child who prays and miraculously finds what he is looking for. The child who is healed so easily, because faith is real power. And they know it.

Love | Love unfeigned, love that doesn't excuse oneself, love that doesn't neglect, love that risks everything. Something happens as we grow older. We're afraid of showing love because it might hurt us, or because it might cause complications down the road (it's easier to not show anything, right?). But people truly need us. I had an experience last night that reminded me of how fragile we really are, and how tenderly the Lord loves us, and how much people need us. We need each other!

I wont have time to write everything that I want to, but I just wanted to mention the other 5 principles.

Wisdom | "Wisdom comes from a realization of true values and priorities." (If we are to attain knowledge, we must also seek wisdom simultaneously.)

Leadership | "Every honorable kind of leadership" (not just in the Church). "It is sobering to realize that, as parents, our children have been placed in our care as a sacred trust by the Almighty God himself." (See Deut. 6:6-7)

Accountability"[Maturity] is realizing that we are accountable, acting accordingly, and being prepared to live an accounting to those in authority over us and eventually to the Lord himself."
Don't drop your guard or compromise the principles of the gospel! Satan is actively distracting us, but we will be accountable for everything that we do, or neglect to do, during this life, day to day.

Dependability | Oh yes, please. I do not consider someone truly mature, unless they are dependable. There are so many people that I truly love, but with whom I cannot share the deepest of myself, my "pearls." Because they simply are not dependable. This virtue first becomes apparent in the smallest things -- phone calls returned promptly, timeliness, reliability. It is later manifest in giving of oneself; I know someone is dependable if I feel comfortable calling them up when I am having a hard time and need someone to be there for me, to be a second rock. It's true friendship as well. Trust is so important.

Self-Mastery | "See that you bridle your passions, that ye may be filled with love." (Alma 38:12) Jesus Christ overcame the world; thus he became our Savior and Redeemer.

His maturity was full.

02 June 2012

I have so much to learn.