Global Warming

This week, swamped with tests and homework, the trumpets sounded and the cavalry arrived with reinforcements. A beautiful box from the Bach’s.

For FHE, we went to a giant corn maze and wandered around trying to find our way out.

I visited the Tabernacle replica, and have included some pictures. Like Uncle Zach, I found it fascinating that there was no light besides a potential heavenly figure to light up the Holy of Holies. Also, there is a rabbinic tradition that the High Priest who entered in, would first tie a rope around his waist, in case he was unworthy and smitten dead upon entering. Being the only authorized person, if someone else entered to pull his body out, he would also die. thus, the rope around the waist to prevent body buildup.

   Standing next to a replica of a high priest.

I went and listened to McKay Coppins speak; I honestly went because Tanner wanted me to, as well as to network a little, but I ended up thoroughly enjoying his speech. He talked about the changing face of journalism and how it is nigh impossible to find neutral reporting without the journalists using something to promote an agenda, and often in a way that is false. And, on the other side, when they do tell the truth, the public often doesn’t believe it, as especially since Trump became president, media bashing has become something of a national hobby.

I took three midterms this week, doing really well on two and not so hot on the last one.

There was another BYU football home game which I worked on Saturday. One more to go. It was nice to see the team pull out a win.

  Ark of the Covenant

 

Church was special today. Sacrament was fantastic all around, I taught family history class, and 3rd hour was a combined meeting where social services came and talked about dating for an hour. Their presentation was very well done, and I walked away having learned. Also, with family history, I stumbled across this website, http://geogen.stoepel.net/

Plugging in the name Schenewark, you can tell that the name must have been changed. Schenewerk likewise yields nothing. However, Schoenewerk does, and provides a rough estimate of where are ancestors came from. The website shows where modern day germans live, based on telephone records.

Today, I went to Uncle Ben and Aunt Joy’s house. Like usual, dinner was fabulous, nevertheless, the highlight was seeing Grampy and Mimi. The always lively conversation included discussing possible family reunions being on a cruise, and how the various couples assembled became engaged. That was enlightening. I knew Tanner’s, and most of Grampy’s, but had never heard Uncle Ben’s nor Bro. Tenney’s. Mimi told of being chased by countless suitors, and rejecting proposals by Grampy many times, and even fleeing to Connecticut for a time and changing her name there to have some peace. Of course, while working there at a restaurant, “Kim” was proposed to by some patron. She was offered a hefty monthly payout not to marry Grampy; I knew all this, however, it was new hearing about Mouhmed Ab????? apparently another suitor and son of the Iraqi ambassador to the USA. Wild times I tell you. Uncle Ben proposed after dating for two weeks before summer break, and two weeks after. But hey, when you know, you know. He proposed at Thanksgiving Point, Aunt Joy having picked him up at the airport, and as he kneeled, the sprinklers rotated and sprayed Aunt Joy in the face while Indiana Jones escaped with his head (and a fiance). Like nearly all good relationships, Sister Tenney rejected Bro. Tenney many times before accepting. He met her the same night he was released from his mission. He asked to go out many times, but she rejected each. She was studying at San Diego St. and he left to return to BYU. However, at Christmas break, she finally accepted, having seen he wasn’t leaving what he learned on his mission behind him. They also moved quickly, dating from December and getting engaged in February.

I read all of Bruce R. McConkie’s biography this week; I know, now you are thinking obviously this week wasn’t too hard after all. Well, there might be some truth to that, but more than that, this book was spellbinding. I could write much about what I learned from the book, but for now, I’ll include only one brief quote. When asked to define greatness, he said “true greatness is found only in the family.” Think about that. For all who are reading, I am thankful you are part of my family.

Rebellion to Tyrants is obedience to God

That title comes from Thomas Jefferson. It was his suggestion for the US Motto.

This weekend has been the church’s annual indexing push, so if you haven’t done a batch, now is the time.

When I started using Porter’s phone, once or twice a week, I would receive an  automated call from some place in Chicago. Tired of this, I tried unsuccessfully to figure out how to block the number or get off their list. In desperation, i entered my number into the national do not call list the government operates. Mistake. They say it can take up to one month for my request to take place, and apparently in the meantime, my number is openly circulated. I’ve been repeatedly called and called and have thus placed my phone on silence for at least the near future. Only outgoing calls. The best was when some guy called with a number out of New Brunswick saying he was stranded in Puerto Rico and wanted to wish my Dad happy birthday, but didn’t have his right number and asked me to call back.

I have to choose my classes for next semester in one week, and therefore need to decide if I want to keep my job (and the resulting Tuesday-Thursday class schedule) or not. Honestly, I still don’t know. Its a good job, but I’d like to spend more time on campus and have the opportunity to attend more events. I was elated to find out the BYU entrepreneurship contest has grown significantly in my two years absence. BYU now offers 8 teams/individuals $15,000, mentoring, and office space to start a company. There are also cash awards given out, which enabled two of the aforementioned 8 companies to walk away with $55,000 and $22,000. These are completely free grants; no equity is given away. I’ve been salivating since finding out, and am working on ideas right now. I have a couple possibilities, but nothing I can say I’m truly passionate about. So, don’t have free time, but want to see your idea put into action? Talk to me! Deadline is February.

Cajoled by Tanner, I attended a lecture by Robbie George on Thursday. He is one of the leading individuals on religious liberty in the nation. He paraphrased Benjamin Franklin saying that a people who lack virtue can always be counted on to trade freedom for protection.

Friday morning, I took a day off of work and left before dawn to head to Colorado Springs for an ISI conference. Five other students from BYU went, but had already arranged carpooling before I RSVP’ed for the conference, so I went with some students from Utah State University, making the 9 hour drive to Colorado Springs. Its been an interesting and enlarging experience; I must admit, however, that academia simply is not for me. We discussed and learned about “Liberty and the Declaration of Independence.” I realized I currently feel much more comfortable discussing business than philosophy. That will be a  shortcoming I look to remedy. The conference is set up to allow many opportunities to network with other students. Try as I might, I couldn’t say I succeeded. Besides from a music performance major from Univ. of Colorado at Boulder, I did not really connect with anyone from outside of BYU. (I did not know them before, and did really enjoy conversing with them.) Not to step too high on the soapbox, I must admit that much of the difficulty in connecting can be traced to choice of drink. While not ignorant of the general college atmosphere, I was nevertheless surprised by the alcoholic intake. In a conference themed around the Declaration of Independence, Sam Adams was celebrated in the hospitality room, and neglected to an afterthought as a founding father. One professor who spoke defined the pursuit of happiness  as having a keg on a weekend. My roommate for the weekend is a student from USU, and came in around 2 am, both nights seemingly hammered by Thor himself. Drinks being free, freely flowed. Needless to say it was a reminder to be thankful for the though imperfect, utopian by comparison setting of BYU. Overall, there was 45ish students from 20 universities. One insightful comment was made mentioning that it was roughly the same size group that drafted the Declaration. I am confident that they produced a much better result than what we could have. The keynote address was on the religious sympathies of the founders. The case was well argued and proven that besides for a small number of deists or heretics, the vast majority were orthodox christians and founded our nation with that in mind.

I’m back

This week has been delightfully balanced. I’ve been able to keep up physically, spiritually, mentally, and socially.

PHYSICALLY

I was able to return to working out a couple days. But, the real highlight was on Wednesday when  Josh (another intern, from the U of U, and I left to go to the driving range nearby. We paid five bucks each and hit 40 balls each, renting a 7 iron and a PW. It was wonderful to be outside and enjoy some beautiful weather.

While in possession of Annemarie’s car (see dating life below) I ran to DI for a cookie sheet. Of course, I then strolled past the organs. They were tempting, but I resisted (where would I put an organ anyway?) Then I meandered into the outdoor section and that is where I saw it. Love at first sight. Hidden in the corner, red metal jutting out. Yes, it was my grill. MTB. $15, like new, and one of my best all time purchases. Of course that necessitated charcoal and matches, but hey, you do what you gotta do. And what did I do? After getting everything ready (and having been inspired to pick up rump roast on sale at Macy’s grocery store earlier) it was cookout time this weekend. Brazilian style. Complete with a plantain to be grilled. Deeelicious. I’m back. After some rocky moments in the last few weeks including as previously reported pumpkin pie without sugar, and corn chowder a la carrot chowder as I had no corn and substituted carrots, it was time to get down to the real important stuff. Meat. Turned out fantastic. This might have to be a weekly occurrence, at least bi-weekly right? Might I add that all ward members were  incentivized to come to family history class with oatmeal chocolate chip cookies? I realized that I’d been neglecting to add ice water to my crust, and I also bought measuring cups, so my apple pie turned out heavenly.

 

SPIRITUALLY
Roommate service notes: one of them broke my pie plate. He felt bad, but honestly no one here is very rich, and he contributes a lot to the apt, so I bought another one.
And another totally clogged the toilet. He used it then shortly afterwards left the apt. I went in, saw the disaster and left to go to byu to study and practice the organ, and do some homework. When I came back 5 hours later, the problem had not been resolved, but he was home. So I let him know, and he said, “yeah, I keep forgetting to fix it.” Thinking it would then be resolved, I waited for another two hours. Nothing. So, I unceremoniously plunged it. You are welcome. I have been praying for ways to serve, so can’t really complain. I just hope it doesn’t happen again.

I watched the replay of Elder Hales funeral. Inspiring of course, and needless to say a life well lived, worthy of emulation, full of purpose, and reaching for perfection. I love the story of how when he was at Harvard and called to be Elders Quorom President, and not knowing how he would fulfill the time obligation, his wife said,  “I’d rather have an active priesthood holder than a man who holds a master’s degree from Harvard. We’ll do them both.” LOVE IT!

Sort of reminds me of what Elder Claudio Costa’s wife told him concerning time away from home concerns, (to translate and paraphrase) “I’d rather have 10% of a 100% priesthood holder, than 100% of a 10% priesthood holder.”

I’ve had the goal of following Pres. Nelson’s challenge and

  • Study everything Jesus said and did as recorded in the Old Testament.
  • Study His laws as recorded in the New Testament.
  • Study His doctrine as recorded in the Book of Mormon.
  • Study His words as recorded in the Doctrine and Covenants.

He promised, “I promise those listening that if they would proceed to learn all they can about Jesus Christ, their love for Him and for God’s laws would grow beyond what they could currently imagine.” He also said “my wife asked me what impact it had on me. told her, ‘am different man!'” This week I started. 

On Tuesday, my 5-7:30 pm class was cancelled which allowed me to participate in our ward’s temple trip. 

MENTALLY

Thursday I returned to campus at 7 to listen to an interfaith panel, of a BYU professor and a Baptist theologian from the Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. They talked over various aspects of Christ’s ministery, showing how the LDS and Baptists views are similar and different. It was quite enlightening. One of my favorite parts was when Dr. McKinion from SBTS shared how Christ was born, coming out of Joseph’s virgin, womb (Joseph’s as mary was legally betrothed to him) and later would rise from the dead, coming out of the virgin (unused) tomb of Joseph of Arimethea. Good stuff.

SOCIALLY 

First, let me say that Tanner and Annemarie earned saint status. St. Tanner brought me back home from work on Wednesday, and St. Annemarie dropped off her car for me to use on my date. And St Tanmarie dropped off pumpkin chocolate chip cookies with the car. Yes!

Friday night I picked up a certain Jane, a blind date (and to quell the inevitable jokes from some unnamed readers *cough* dad *cough*) I confirmed that she has 20/20 vision. And is not blind. She is a roommate of a former sister in my mission, who set this up. The only thing I knew was that she lived in Saudi Arabia for a couple years, so I invited her to see “The Saint and the Sultan”https://www.sultanandthesaintfilm.com/ with me. We drove to the JSB, conversed, and then enjoyed the film. Interestingly, she was born in Boston, I’m guessing when her dad was going to school. And recently returned from serving a mission in Tallahassee Florida. In any case, I’ll just say that Jane is a fantastic person who has a bright future ahead of her, but….. it was like I was dancing the waltz and she was doing the foxtrot. Both great, but just seemed off when put together. And I never even told her any metaphors to be confusing. There simply wasn’t any real sparks or chemistry and everything seemed sort of forced. Forced yes, but it never was awkward, and we even hugged at the end of the night, after I walked her up to her door. So, a job well done and I’m going to add an entry in the “Valuable Dating Experience” ledger.

Happy Columbus Day!

Quick recap of the week:

Monday- Homework tried to smash me. I won, but it wasn’t easy.

Tuesday- Our dance teacher filmed us practicing and provided feedback, in preparation for the championship in November. But the video is too big to post…

Wednesday- We had a practice dance tournament. Unfortunately, I didn’t make it as far as I thought I could or should. But, getting out earlier than anticipated allowed me to go to the annual Texas party for BYU texans. It was a blast, and especially memorable as walking in, two friends from the MTC saw me and we were able to catch up.

Thursday- I elected to write a recreational essay, answering the prompt, “In the age of “doing what feels right,” are there moral absolutes? How can you tell?” This Friday they will announce the finalists, who are competing for $3500 in prize money.

Friday- After working at GPS Capital, I went straight to my job at the BYU football game. BYU lost to Boise State, their fifth straight loss, and I made it home at 1 am to finish 17 hours of work.

Saturday- Yeah, I slept in. Then, I gave my room a needed organizing and cleaning. Afterwards, it was off to a BYU chess tournament. We I finished tied for 4-5, out of 7, winning once, and losing twice. I expected it, as I haven’t been keeping up with the game. I lost one disappointingly with some errors that can be attributed to rustiness, but lost another getting wrecked and thoroughly outplayed. I spent most of the rest of the day reading.

Sunday- Church, including our first family history class. Tanner and Annemarie came over and we enjoyed some time together. And then I went to SLC to the Cathedral of the Madeleine for an organ concert. The organ was behind us on the second story, so they put up a screen for us to see. It was incredible, especially the last piece. Someone handed the organist (from France) an envelope and he opened it, and it contained only two lines of music. So, using that as inspiration, he composed and played on the spot for the next ten. So impressed were we, that after a rousing ovation, he returned and composed and played another variation on the same theme.

 

This was a crazy busy week. I’m settled down in my work schedule of Monday, Wednesday, Friday. We officially finished training Monday and I worked Wednesday and Friday solo. Its good. Tuesday, I have a class from 5-7:30, but we usually finish at 7:20ish. Havinf a date at 7:30, a miracle happened and the class ended at 7. That left me enough time to sneak over to clubs night, eat some (free!) pizza, and win at chess before making it to my date five minutes early. Oh yeah! We enjoyed BYU’s instrumental showcase which had four different bands, BYU’s wind symphony, philharmonic, symphony orchestra, and symphonic band playing. The best band was the Philharmonic orchestra which wowed with pieces by Bizet, and Tchaikowsky. But my personal favorite was the “Colonial Song” composed by the Aussie Percy Grainger and played by the wind symphony. My date and I both enjoyed it thoroughly, and it was doubly nice as the frequent band switches left plenty of time to talk.

Thursday I had the privilege to hear the CEO of FamilySearch talk. He visited and delivered the keynote for Family History Week at BYU and it was quite inspirational. He talked about how those doing family history are like the computer geeks of 39 years ago, and how familiy history is our way of participating in the plan of salvation.

Due to conference weekend, the testing center was closed Saturday, and thus would be doubly packed on Friday, so I was proactive and took a history and an M Com test Wednesday and Thursday. That left Friday open and I went with my pal Nate to our mission reunion in Salt Lake. Besides getting stuck in traffic for 1.5 hours, and me almost peeing in my pants, the trip up was uneventful. And the reunion truly wonderful. I went up to see Pres. and Sis. Young more than anyone, but it was nice to see lots of missionaries with whom I labored with. Given the small percentage of Americans in the mission, I was surprised with a great turnout of 40 missionaries. At the end, Pres. and Sis. young both briefly spoke, then Pres. Young called on two of us to bear our testimonies. I felt like I would be chosen, and sure enough, got the nod. Afterwards, he thanked me, and finding out where I worked (close to him) invited me for lunch, which I am looking forward to. Nate and I then went with two ex-sisters, one of whom was celebrating a birthday that night, to Waffle Love. Which, although delicious, are not worth $5 for half a waffle (or a quarter depending on which type).

   Cut Nate out. Sorry Nate. Still working on this selfie stuff.

 

Which brings us to conference. Actually, to close the above episode, that mission reunion & waffles resulted in me going to bed after midnight, breaking my streak of before 11pm. And thus sleeping in Saturday morning. And thus staying up late Saturday. And thus sleeping in Sunday morning. The cycle is truly vicious. Good thing I have no choice but to break it tomorrow.

And conference. I watched Saturday morning and afternoon, alone, holed up in my apt. It was nice. Saturday morning brought the guns out early. I had some questions, and before I could even get settled in on the coach, they were all answered!

For priesthood session, Tanner picked me up and we went to the conference center and watched it. Pretty good seats too. Even better was Elder Maynes talk. He spoke at BYU two weeks ago, and after these two talks, he’s on my short list of personal favorites. (Two others, Elders Zwick and Ellis were both released.) And we topped the night off with some needed quality brotherly bonding driving back to Provo, and stopping at Cafe Rio where Tanner treated me to some sweet pulled pork goodness.

Sunday morning, I was again rescued and brought to a place much higher than my own, where Annemarie served up french toast and fresh fruit. We watched the first session, then picked up Stevie and Abby to attend the afternoon session. Hearing of the passing of Elder Hales, brought a tender spirit to the session. We returned to Tanmarie’s house and enjoyed a pot roast and games. And simply time together. And I get to meet Annemarie’s sister Lynndsi. So, all in all, a fantastic week. Looking forward to another one. Hope you have one as well.