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You Have Led Me through the Door

A talk I gave in our Sacrament Meeting on May 20, 2012.

On a cold February Morning in 1910, Vincenzo di Francesca found a copy of a book that appeared to be scripture, but contained names of people he had never heard before.  However, the name of the book was burned from the cover, and the title page had been torn out of the book.  Still his curiosity led him to clean the book and to study its contents for the entirety of that day.

At the end of the day, and after having read the book three times, Vincenzo knelt in prayer to put the promise of Moroni to the test.  As he prayed, he felt a warm gladness come over him, and he knew that the book was true.

As a pastor in the protestant faith this made Vincenzo’s life very difficult.  Knowing that it was true, he felt a great desire to share it with all he could.  Ultimately, his testimony of the book had him censured by his fellow pastors.  The committee advised him to burn the book with no known name, but Vincenzo said that he looked forward to the day when he knew the church that the book belonged to so that he could join it.  This lead the committee to strip the rights of his position in the church and he was barred from preaching.

Eventually, he returned to Italy.  In May of 1930 Vincenzo was searching through the dictionary, and accidentally came across the word “Mormon.”  From this he learned about the Mormon Church, and sent a letter to the Brigham Young University in hopes of learning more. The letter was forwarded to President Heber J. Grant, who replied to Vincenzo with more information about the Church.

Two years later, arrangements had been made for Vincenzo to be baptized by the President of the European Missions, Elder John A. Widtsoe.  But due to political unrest, Vincenzo was unable to make the appointment.  Five years after that, in 1937, the new mission president, Elder Richard R Lyman wrote a letter to Vincenzo to come to Rome so that he could be baptized.  But by the time the letter got to Vincenzo that appointed day had passed.

Due to the World War, Vincenzo was cut off from all communications with the Church.  But in 1949, he started up the communication again.  I will continue this story in Vincenzo’s own words:  “On January 18, 1951, President [Samuel E.] Bringhurst arrived on the island and baptized me at Imerese. Apparently, this was the first baptism performed in Sicily.”

Vincezo continues, “When I came up out of the water, I said, ‘I have prayed daily for many years for this moment.’ As President Bringhurst and his wife left, I shook their hands tenderly and told them, ‘My dear Brother and Sister Bringhurst—you can hardly imagine how sweet those words brother and sister are to me. I say them with a feeling of affection and appreciation that I have never before experienced, for I know that you have led me through the door that will eventually bring me back to my Heavenly Father, if I am faithful.’”

This story has been one of my favorites.  And for the longest time I believed that it was a story of one’s testimony of the Book of Mormon.  And while it is that, it is also a parable for the important work we have before us today.

Forty-one years!  That’s how long Vincenzo di Francesca had to wait before he was baptized. Forty-one years!  He knew that the Book of Mormon was true in February of 1910.  But it wasn’t until January of 1951 that he was able to participate in the blessing of Baptism.

Timothy Carter was born in the late 1700s.  He married Sarah Kemp and became the father of 5 girls, Sarah, Caroline, Frances, Cordelia, and Julia.  He loved his family dearly, and wanted nothing but the best for them.  He felt blessed to live in Boston, Massachusetts.

Eventually time overtook him and his daughters and they were taken from this earth.  He rejoiced as each of his precious daughters were reunited with he and his wife in the Spirit World.  As the years passed in this post-mortal existence, Timothy and Sarah was taught the gospel of Jesus Christ.  His daughters also learned of the atonement and the gospel.  They had accepted the gospel and wanted so dearly to be baptized.  However, he knew that for his work to be done, he needed a descendant to do that work.

He quietly whispered in the ears of his granddaughter Annie Baker to marry Ralph Rollo Grant.  Finding Ralph to be a suitable man for marriage, she followed that prompting.  Annie and Ralph eventually moved to Utah.  Unfortunately, this was not enough to open the doors to baptism.  So, Timothy and Sarah waited patiently.

Eventually, Annie’s grandson, Arthur Grant, married Virginia Buchannan, who was a member of the Church of Jesus Christ.  Timothy, Sarah and their 5 daughters rejoiced to think that they were so close to the day they had been praying for.  But they were disappointed to see that marriage end in divorce. They again found themselves waiting for the blessing they so desired.

At the age of 19 Arthur and Virginia’s son, Richard, was baptized in the LDS Church.  Again, Timothy and Sarah hoped that this was now the time for them to be baptized. And this lead the first of Timothy and Sarah’s daughters to baptism.  They rejoiced when Cordelia was brought to the waters of baptism, for they knew that they would soon be next.  But, the records weren’t available to show the connection between Timothy and Sarah, and the other sisters.  Again they found themselves anxiously waiting.

In 2010, Travis Grant was perked by the request of a Stake President to do family history work.  Travis had dabble in it before, but never had much time for it.  However, with the new technology available today, Travis eventually found the connection between Cordelia and her parents, and a few of her sister.  The family rejoiced at the new baptisms that were happening.

However, It wasn’t until 2011, that Travis was able to finally make the family whole.  All the sisters, their husbands and the parents have been eternally sealed as a family.

While most of that story has been fictionalized, Timothy Carter and Sarah Kemp are my ancestors.  They did have 5 daughters, and they have finally be sealed together as a family.  Much of the rest is just my personal license.  However, I believe that the spirit and intent of the message is true.  A family in my line was seeking the gospel.  I know that.  I have felt it as I have done the work for this family.  I know that they have accepted the gospel, and they rejoice in the ordinances that were performed for them.

Brothers and Sisters, we all have family out there hoping, praying waiting for us to help them come to the gospel.  We just need to do the work.  It has become much easier.  The Church has made it easier with improvements to FamilySearch and to many of the tools we use to research our ancestors, record their information, and to perform ordinance work for them.

Elder Bednar in October 2011, reminded us that “as members of Christ’s restored Church, we have the covenant responsibility to search out our ancestors and provide for them the saving ordinances of the gospel.”  He continues, “We are the Lord’s agents in the work of salvation and exaltation that will prevent ‘the whole earth [from being] smitten with a curse’ (D&C 110:15) when He returns again. This is our duty and great blessing.”

There are blessings associated with this work.  Although he is specifically talking to the youth of the church, I believe that many of these blessings apply to all who will seek out their ancestors.

Elder Bednar promises that “As you respond in faith to this invitation, your hearts shall turn to the fathers. The promises made to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob will be implanted in your hearts. Your patriarchal blessing, with its declaration of lineage, will link you to these fathers and be more meaningful to you. Your love and gratitude  for your ancestors will increase. Your testimony of and conversion to the Savior will become deep and abiding. And I promise you will be protected against the intensifying influence of the adversary. As you participate in and love this holy work, you will be safeguarded in your youth and throughout your lives.”

There are many ways that you can get involved.  One of the best ways is to start Indexing.  This is a nice way to learn about the different things that are important to family history research.  You can learn what a census is, what they look like, and why they are important.  You can learn what information you can find in a birth certificate, death certificate, or marriage certificate.  You can learn how to read a tax record or immigration record.  All of these are important part of family history work.  And it will help to lay a foundation for researching your own family.

Once you feel comfortable with the documents that you might be working with.  Take some time to use the familysearch.org website.  It is free.  Soon, the 1940 census will be ready for us to search on the site.  Most of us have met and relative who lived in 1940.  I personally can’t wait to see my father (who was born in 1936) listed on the Census.  I check on a daily basis to see if the Utah portion of the Census is available.  As these records become available it will be easier for many of us to start.

If you don’t know where to start, don’t think that you must go to the “end of a line” to start.   This is incorrect thinking.  Start with yourself.  I know that seems like you will be redoing a lot of other people work.  But don’t think of it that way.  Rather think of it as preparing to do a big job.  You wouldn’t make and addition to your house without first laying a foundation.  Studying the work that others have done is the foundation you will need to get started on family history.

Also, pray about it.  Seek the spirit as you start this work.  I know that it was through my listening to the promptings of the Spirit, that I was lead to Timothy and Sarah Carter.  My eyes were opened to things that I couldn’t see.  I continue to pray for guidance as I seek out new family members to bring to the temple.  The hardest part is the listening and obeying.  Because often we get ourselves stuck in a rut or a belief that we cannot succeed.

As a final word of advice, get your whole family involved.  Tell them stories of their ancestors.  Invite them to help you seek out new ancestors with you.  Encourage them to index.  Teach them the tools they need to be a good family history researcher.  But also open your heart to learn from them.

Elder Bednar counsels us: “Parents and leaders, please help your children and youth to learn about and experience the Spirit of Elijah. But do not overly program this endeavor or provide too much detailed information or training. Invite young people to explore, to experiment, and to learn for themselves. Any young person can do what I am suggesting… Aaronic Priesthood quorum and Young Women class presidencies can play an important role in helping all youth become acquainted with these basic resources. Young people increasingly need to be learners who act and thereby receive additional light and knowledge by the power of the Holy Ghost—and not merely passive students who primarily are acted upon.”

I have been amazed by the things that my oldest daughters have helped me find as we worked together on Family History.  Their hearts are open to this.  Their minds are better capable for this task.  As we work together, I rejoice to think that this is a work we all can and should be doing.

As I have prepared this talk I can’t help but think of a couple of my favorite missionary scriptures.  The first is Doctrine and Covenants 4:4. “For behold the field is white already to harvest; and lo, he that thrusteth in his sickle with his might, the same layeth up in store that he perisheth not, but bringeth salvation to his soul;”  As we do this saving work for our ancestors, we are also doing saving work for ourselves.

The second scripture that comes to mind is Doctrine and Covenants 18:15. “And if it so be that you should labor all your days,… and bring, save it be one soul unto me, how great shall be your joy with him in the kingdom of my Father!”  I am deeply touched by the words of Vincenzo di Francesca to President Bringhurst after he was baptized.  “I know that you have led me through the door that will eventually bring me back to my Heavenly Father.”

As I have done the temple work for my ancestors.  I have felt that phrase in my heart.  I have felt the spirit testify to me, that my ancestors are saying, “I know that you have led me through the door that will eventually bring me back to my Heavenly Father.”  You too can experience this joy, if you will labor in the vineyard. I humbly testify, in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

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Establish a House

A talk I gave in our Sacrament Meeting on March 18, 2012.

In His infinite wisdom, our Father in Heaven sent each of us here to earth to live in families. The idea of a family was no mistake. It wasn’t just some random set of coincidences that led man into families. Since the beginning of man, Adam and Eve lived in a family. Their children were married and had families of their own. The House of Israel is a family. Lehi left Jerusalem and sailed to the Promised Land with his family. Even Jesus Christ was born into a family. “The family is the basic unit of society.”

It is in families that relationships are first experienced. It is in the family that children learn their first words. It is in families that ideas, thoughts, and expressions are first learned and expressed. The family is God’s way of helping humans to reach their full potential. Because of this as a parent, it is important that I make sure that my family has its sights on the big picture. It is important that my family lives and acts with one goal in mind. That goal is the Celestial Kingdom.

In order for our family to prepare to one day live in the Celestial Kingdom, we must first practice the principles that pertain to that kingdom. Sure we will make mistakes and sure we will often have our own trials and problems. But as we work together we will come closer to the goal that we are earnestly reaching for. And through the atonement of our Savior, Jesus Christ, we will one day reach this eternal goal of a celestial life.

A Home Can Be Like a Temple
While our homes are to be a sanctuary from the world and a place where the Spirit can be felt, it often falls short of our goal to make it a celestial place on earth. The closest place we can come to the celestial kingdom here on earth is the temple. So, I often look to the principles that we learn relating to the temple to help me understand how our homes should be.

In Doctrine and Covenant 88, we read about the purpose of the temple. We learn that, “as all have not faith, [we must] seek … diligently [to] teach one another words of wisdom; yea, seek … out of the best books words of wisdom; seek learning, even by study and also by faith.” (D&C 88:118). We should “organize yourselves [and] prepare every needful thing;” even we should ”establish a house, even a house of prayer, a house of fasting, a house of faith, a house of learning, a house of glory, a house of order, a house of God;” (D&C 88:119). Finally, we are instructed that in the house of the Lord our “incomings [should] be in the name of the Lord; that [our] outgoings [should] be in the name of the Lord; that all [our] salutations [should] be in the name of the Lord, with uplifted hands unto the Most High” (D&C 88:120).

Teach One Another Words of Wisdom
If we are to liken our homes to the temple of the Lord, then our homes too should abide by these principles of the temple. Our children come into this world with no understanding of the world, the gospel, or life. It is our duty as parents to teach our children these things. Sure we often use schools friends and other family to help. But we must remember that the books and other forms of instruction and entertainment that we provide for our children are teaching them.

Not only is it teaching them important information about life, history, science, or art. The books or media we bring into our home also teach our children values and standards. Are we allowing too much undo influence of worldly things into our children’s lives with materials that tear down faith or uphold immoral values? If so, we have taken the temple out of the home. We have not allowed it to be a safe haven from things of the world.

Establish a House of Prayer
The principles relating to the temple continue as the Lord lists several “houses” that the House of the Lord should be. The first of these is that our home should be a “house of prayer.”

Thanks to the tender suggestions of my dear wife, we have regular family prayer. This isn’t often easy to do. As our children get older, we often find them at a dance or away from home for many reasons during our regular family prayer time. However, as we have made it our goal to have prayer together as a family and as we pray regardless of who is home, it has been a blessing to our family. It is nice for me to know that even though I may not be home at prayer time. One of my children or Sandy is praying for my safe return. And I hope that my children, who may be getting home late, know that we are praying for them and their safe return.

Prayer also teaches our children about our reliance and trust in the Lord. Our children come to know of our testimonies of the Savior as we pray to the Father in our Savior’s Name. They “hear” our testimony through our actions of calling upon the Lord we have faith in.

Establish a House of Fasting
While not something we do with our younger children, fasting is one way that we also teach our children about our faith in the Lord. Often before we begin our fast, I try to ask our children to think about the purpose of our fast. On a rare occasion, I may suggest a purpose for their fasts as well. Perhaps a family member is sick or a friend is in need of a special blessing. If so, we invite our older children to join us in these special opportunities of love and service.

It is difficult to fast. But as we show our children that we can put our spiritual needs before our physical needs, we teach them that the Lord comes first in our lives. And that although most days of the month we take care of our physical bodies, once a month we make sure that our spiritual body is taken care of.

Establish a House of Faith
While prayer and fasting will help us to establish a house of faith. There are other things that we can do to help our children see that we are a house of faith. One thing I feel our family could improve on in our home is to make our home one of greater gospel discussion. Sure we have our formal meetings where we talk about our beliefs. But I would love to spend more time talking with my children about the different principles of the gospel. I would love a home where we, the parents, learn from them, the children, as we work together to understand the principles of the gospel more fully.

We can also exercise faith in our homes as we seek out priesthood blessings. While a blessing of comfort, healing, or counsel may be a wonderful thing to experience. It takes faith to know that the promises of those blessings will come true. I remember once being called upon as a home teacher to offer a blessing to a sister who was near giving birth. After 9 months of waiting, her patience had worn thin and she became increasingly concerned for the well being of the baby. She had asked for and received several blessings from her husband, but felt that she needed one from someone else. I gladly assisted in giving her a blessing. She was comforted to hear the same reassurances and blessings that her husband had blessed her with. Shortly after she gave birth to a baby boy and she was greatly relieve that he was in good health.

Establish a House of Learning
Perhaps the greatest way we can establish a house of learning in our homes is by having regular Family Home Evening. A Family Home Evening doesn’t need to be some complex production that entertains the children. Rather a simple lesson on a topic appropriate for the children of the home is often sufficient. Following up that lesson with a fun game and delicious treat are also good additions to a family home evening.

Again thanks to the loving insistence of my dear wife, we have held Family Home Evening almost every week since Amanda (now 16) was two years old. We are not perfect at this. We miss more than our fair share of Monday Night Family Home Evenings. However, I know that the children miss it when we are unable to have Family Home Evening. Actually, shortly after establishing the pattern in our home, I recall Amanda frequently remind us on Monday night, that it was Family Home Evening night and the we needed a lesson, before she could go to bed. But that might have been because she was looking forward to the treat afterwards.

Establish a House of Glory
For as long as I can remember one of my favorite hymns has been “Love at Home.”

There is beauty all around
When there’s love at home
There is joy in every sound
When there’s love at home
Peace and plenty her abide,
Smiling sweet on ev’ry side.
Time doth softly, sweetly glide
When there’s love at home.

While it might be a stretch to say that establishing a house of glory is equivalent to establishing a house of love. I can’t imagine myself being in the present of God’s glory without feeling his love. And so, I liken glory to love. We need to make sure that our children know that they are loved. As they feel of our love for them. The can be better prepared to feel of the love of the Father and his Son in their lives.

If they live in a house of fear, anger, resentment or hate, they will have a tougher time knowing that their Father in Heaven loves them. While the may feel it on occasion, they may not recognize it. It is important as parents that our children know that we love them, so that the too can know that their Father in Heaven loves them.

Establish a House of Order
Going hand in hand with this house of love that we establish, we also need to establish a house of order, or a house of rules. While children may sometimes feel that rules are only there to make them angry. If we show our children love and understanding, they will eventually come to know that rules are there to protect them like the iron bars at a zoo keeping them a safe distance from a hungry lion.

As I think about my role as a father in a family of our Heavenly Father’s Kingdom. I cannot separate that role from the priesthood. In Doctrine and Covenant Section 121, we read about the duties and responsibility of a priesthood holder. As part of those responsibilities, we read how discipline and love work together to build the kingdom of the Lord. We read, “Reproving betimes with sharpness, when moved upon by the Holy Ghost; and then showing forth afterwards an increase of love toward him whom thou hast reproved, lest he esteem thee to be his enemy;” (D&C 121:43). This teaches us that while we need to correct our children, and to do so immediately, we must not forget that they need to know that we love them. Because it is that love that will help them understand that our corrections are to help them and not to hinder them.

Establish a House of God
If we live by these principles of establishing a house of the Lord then our homes and our families can become like the Temple. They can become the Celestial places we want them to be. We will all make mistakes. We cannot be perfect parents. However, through the love of our Heavenly Father, and through the Atonement of Jesus Christ, we can achieve a house of God by abiding by the teaching of the gospel. I testify of these things in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

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webOS:open source::BYU:independence

First, I should probably apologize for taking back to your high school days and the horrid exams that we force upon your young children.  But frankly, I loved these logic questions.  I don’t know if I was any good at them, but I thought that they were a lot of fun.

In the unlikely even that you don’t remember how to read the title, it says, “webOS is to open source as BYU is to independence.”  The point is to say that I wish to make a comparison between BYU’s decision to make their football program independent from any conference, and HP’s recent decision to make webOS open source.

Most software is “closed” source.  That means that you can’t see the internal workings of the software.  Almost everything made by Microsoft and Apple is closed source.  There are many other closed source programs as well, it is a very common way to produce software and protect your intellectual property.  The only way to see how Windows works is by hacking into the software, which isn’t ethical or legal.

However, there is a large body of open source software that is starting to catch hold in the popular society.  If you have used Firefox, Chrome, Android, Open Office, GIMP, or Audacity.  Then you have used an open source product.  Even the software used to help manage this site is open source.

The idea behind open source is that anyone can get into the source to fix a problem or bug.  They can also help to make an enhancement in the software.  The concept of many hands make light work.  Open source is also typically offered as free to the public.  It doesn’t mean that someone can’t charge you to use it, it just means that if they are, then you are getting ripped off.

So, what does open sourcing webOS have to do with BYU’s independence.  They really have nothing to do with each other, but I think that is a lot of analogies that can be made between the two decisions that were made almost a year from each other.

The first is the concern that many are expressing about the decision.  When BYU announced that it was going to take football down the independent road, many people were either afraid for the future of BYU football, or they mocked the decision.

The same can be said about webOS going open source.  I have read anything from outright ridicule to thoughts of fear.  But just like with BYU’s decision, this fear and ridicule are really just a sign of something else.  It is a sign of lack of understanding.  Many people didn’t understand BYU’s motivation.  Very few football programs have made the “independent” decision.  And the same is going on with webOS.  People who don’t know what open source means, are confused, lost and scared.

But just like BYU. I believe that webOS has a tough year ahead, of itself, with a lot of work.  But if the right amount of effort it put into it, by both the employees of HP and the many webOS loving developers, that webOS could be better than even iOS (don’t get me started on siri, what a joke).

This is really my second point in the comparison.  It will not be an easy road.  Fortunately, webOS has the backing of HP to go down this road.  And HP professes to be fully invested.  Time will only tell.  I believe them.  I think that Meg Whitman is the CEO who is needed to make up for the mistakes that HP has made in the recent past.

I look forward to seeing what happens with webOS, and more specifically webOS product (because that is really the big gaping black hole in this whole mess).  I am excited to see webOS become fully open.  I believe that it will do better than what many of the pundits are predicting.

I am holding on to my TouchPad, and I look forward to seeing it advance.

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Occupied

Here’s a little Utah news that you might not know about, but hopefully find interesting.

A company with a large employee base in Utah will be protested by Occupy LA, Occupy Oakland, and maybe even Occupy Seattle.

Who are they protesting? SSA Marine

When? Today.

Why? Because the Occupy movement claims that SSA Marine is owned by Goldman-Sachs.

I know this in part because I work for SSA Marine.  I have worked with them for 8 years now and it has been a great company to work for.

But the point of this piece to show how ill-informed the Occupy movement is.  First, SSA Marine is not owned by Goldman-Sachs.  About 6 years ago, Goldman-Sachs purchased 49% of the shares SSA Marine’s parent company, Carrix Corporation.  The other 51% is owned by the Smith-Hemingway family.  The family has and always will maintain controlling rights of Carrix Corporation, because it is a family business.

That’s right, a family business.  Occupy isn’t protesting a big corporation, but instead they are protesting a family business, that hires people to get a job done and thus supporting other families.

That is just one of the many lies that Occupy is operating under.  If they do know the facts, then they are lying.  If they don’t they are operating under a false premise.  I could share other examples of misinformation in the protest, but I think this is a good enough example of the lies being told.

One other important note.  Occupy is only protesting SSA Marine.  Not any of the other ports along the west coast.  If you are in the ocean shipping industry then you probably know that SSA Marine is the only terminal operator in the United States that is owned by a United States based company.

So, in my eyes, Occupy isn’t protesting for a better America.  They are protesting the heart of America.  Home-grown American business, with American employees who are working hard to feed their families.

Prior to this incident, I didn’t give much thought the Occupy than an annoyance.  Now, I know full well that they aren’t for the America that I believe in.

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Balance the Budget but Don’t Amend

I support a balanced budget.  I have balanced my budget.  My wife have been living a debt free lifestyle for over 3 years now.  It was a tough road, but well worth the effort.  We have to cut back.  I can’t buy all the toys that I want, and our children don’t wear the most fashionable clothing.  However, we manage to rough life with some nice things, and we are happy.

I support our government living with a balanced budget.  We need to get our government back in line, and we need to stop the excessive spending of money that we do not have.

If you follow the Republican Party in Utah, the phrase of the day is Balance the Budget.  It’s a great theme to run a campaign on.  It’s something that most of us can agree on.  I admit I agree with it.  However, most politicians, included my most favored candidate for the new 4th district, likes to add another word to the phrase balanced budget.

And that word is amendment.  Balanced budget amendment is the real catch phrase in Utah Republican politics, and problem in other parts of the United States as well.

However, As I have expressed in the past, I am not a big fan of amending the Constitution.  That isn’t to say that I am opposed to any amendment to the Constitution because it is fundamentally wrong.  I don’t believe that.  There are reasons and times when an amendment is necessary.

The question is now the right time? And is a balanced budge the right reason?

It sure looks like the right time.  It sure seems that if we don’t do this now it will never get done.  However, the bigger of the two question is whether this is the right thing to do.

Sure, I would love to hold our legislators accountable for their actions.  Arguably they are the one’s that got us into this mess.

However, forcing their hand will lead to further corruption.

The only way that you could safely pass a balanced budge amendment is to add certain rules of exceptions.  A whole bunch of legalese gobble-dee gook that will mess up the process.

One of those exceptions will surely be for cases of war.

Let’s remember who has the power to declare war.  That’s right, the same people who have control over the budget.  So, if these people want more money.  What is there to stop them from declaring war.

Sound too extreme?  Don’t believe it will happen?  Remember all the promises made when social security was created.  Are any of those promises broken?  Has there been any corruptions from that.

I only use ware as one example of the corruption that could develop because of a balanced budget amendment.  Our best and only bet to prevent further corruption in the government is to elect good citizens.  Men and women whose hearts are in the right place, but also have he will to stand up to the already powerful evils that exist in the government.

Don’t amend.  Just elect the right people for the job.

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HP TouchPad

A month or so back, I bought an HP TouchPad from KSL. Sadly, I did not get one of the great deals back in August. I was literally one weekend away from hitting the go button in the purchase of a TouchPad.  And that weekend managed to be the weekend that HP announced that they were going to discontinue making the HP TouchPad.

Since then, HP has terminated their CEO, and hired Meg Whitman of eBay and California political fame.  While there is no official word from HP it looks like they will soon announce that they are going to bring back the TouchPad or some other tablet.

I hope so,  Because this is an awesome tool.

I know that the iPad is the all rage.  I know that the in crowd has them.  But I have never been a big fan of Apple.  My little nickname for them is crApple.  Not that I think they are a bad product.  They are a really good product.  But they are overpriced, and you still have a lot of the same problems as anything by Microsoft.  And if truth be known, I would only use Linux based products in our house.

So, what do I like about my TouchPad?

First, I love the cards.  If you haven’t heard. On any webOS based system (TouchPad, Pre, Veer, etc.) you can launch a program, then another, and another, and have them all open at once in what they call “cards.”  Then you can swipe back and for between each app.  It is really neat.

I also love the sound quality on this think.  I am amazed at how good my MP3s, Pandora and YouTube videos sound on this.  I don’t know that I have owned anything with better sound quality.

The selection of apps is wide.  Just about everything you find on a criPad (iPad by crApple) you can find something similar for webOS.  That said, I am still looking for a Task Manager that suits my needs, and I haven’t.  But I am sure in time, one will come along.

There are things that I don’t like about it.  But I am sure that if HP renews their interest in this investment, then this will become the best mobile OS on the planet.  If it isn’t already.

Anyway, I just thought I would share my love of my new toy.  I hope you get the change to use one.  You won’t regret it.

As a parting note, this was composed on my HP TouchPad using the WordPress App and the Bluetooth keyboard that you can buy separately.

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Happy Belated Birthday, Dear

Last year I shared with you what I got my dear wife for her birthday. This year due to my overall lack of posting new content. I neglected to share this gem with you on her birthday. So, this being the week before Valentine’s Day, and only a few days after her birthday, I thought it might be appropriate to let you know how much I deeply care for her. Not to mention my general boasting about the great present I bought.

My dear wife does an excellent job cleaning the outside of our windows. It is always a great pleasure to look out of the windows and be able to see the beautiful scenery completely smudge free.

However, in her great efforts to clean our windows, she still struggles. Climbing up on the ladder to reach the second story windows, while endearing, can sometimes lead to folly. Carrying a bucket full of detergent and water, a wash cloth, and a drying towel up and down that ladder several times throughout the day is hard work. Not to mention the few times that she has fallen from way up high, and the hazard that is to the bushes.

As I watch her perform this labor, I couldn’t help but wonder what I could do to help her. Then it came to me. Why does she need to climb up and down that ladder so many times just to wash the windows. There has to be a better way.

So, I decided that this year for her birthday, I would purchase a pressure washer that attaches directly to the hose, and does most of the work for her.

It was sheer joy watching her on her birthday wash the windows for our family. The smile on her face was a picture to only imagine.

The best part of this gift is that the present has many functions. She can use it when she washes the car, the deck, and even the trailer. It’s one of those gifts that just keeps on giving.

Too bad, that after she was done cleaning the windows on her birthday, that she had to climb back up on the ladder to chip off all of those dangerous icicles from the window sills. Oh well, I guess I can wait until the next thaw before she cleans our windows again.

Happy belated birthday, Dear. Oh, and you can be sure that your Vanlentine’s present will be just as thoughtful.

The above is with respect to Walter E. Williams and his dear, departed wife, Connie, and his past Christmas presents he has shared with us on the Rush Limbaugh Show.

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Lonsberry is Back

I really am excited about the latest news. Okay, it isn’t really the latest. Lonsberry has been hinting at it for weeks, and he finally wrote about it on his own website today. So, in this crazy Internet world, I am a little slow in commenting on this. But I must share my enthusiasm.

I was one of the many people who wrote the various radio station in Utah asking them to put Bob back on the air. I received no response of any of the stations that I wrote, but I wasn’t really expecting any. However, I did get the response I wanted from one of these station. That response was actually airing Lonsberry in Utah.

I have always been a fan of 1430 KLO. I first discovered KLO radio when I was looking for where I might hear Michael Medved in Utah. When I lived up in Washington for three short months many years ago, I enjoyed his commentary and debate. But when I moved back to Utah, there was no place to listen to Medved in Utah. However, KLO came to the rescue. My only dilemma was whether to listen to Medved or Dr. Laura. And slowly but surely, Medved won out.

I also have enjoyed some of the programming of 1430 KLO, specifically Laura Ingraham. While at times she gets a little to heavy in radio antics and rumor mongering. She can still be rather entertaining and definitely informative (if you can sift out the tripe). But I like Ingraham.

With Rusty Humphries in the evening, this makes for a great line up on the radio. I really see little reason to change the radio dial. Sure I will be missing out on some the best radio. But I have gotten tired for Rush Limbaugh, and Glenn Beck never really interested me all that much. He was fun, but I always had questions about him, so I can live without him. And I have never really like Sean Hannity. So, the only reason I can see to leave KLO is to listen to Dave Ramsey, and to avoid Michael Savage.

But that is a major tangent in this discussion.

Utah finally has a conservative voice in Utah, again. I remember the first day that Lonsberry was on the air in Utah. I had been a minor KNRS listener (back then they called it K-News or something like that). Bob Lee was their local radio talk show host, and he was okay, but still didn’t speak to my political views. They took Bob Lee off of the air, and replaced him with a morning talk host name Bob Lonsberry.

When I first heard him with is voice for newspapers, I thought that they had hired an 70 year old gentleman to fill the air for the morning. But I decided that I would give Lonsberry a shot. I mean he couldn’t be any worse than Doug Wleft or any of the other locos (I mean locals).

I was sold on Lonsberry when I first heard him discussing and LDS topic. It was refreshing. It was new. It was something I had never heard on Utah Radio. And then I heard him explain why he discussed LDS issues. And hearing his philosophy that we live in predominately LDS community, so we shouldn’t shy away from LDS issues, had me sold. I became a Lonsberry fan in every sense of the word. I finally understood fully why I liked listening to his show.

Knowing that I heard him on his first day on the air in Utah. I personally claim to be his longest listening fan in Utah. I am glad that I get to keep listening. Because Bob is the only conservative voice in Utah that talks about issues in a way that I agree with.

Now, Bob and I don’t agree on every issue. Don’t get me started about our difference in taste for peanut butter. Chunky is better, and Bob is wrong about creamy. However, if Bob and I agreed on everything, then I would be worried.

Anyway, for all of you fans joining me on Monday morning at 5:00am. Yes, i said 5:00am. Let’s rejoice in this great news for Utah. I plan on listening while I start a new workout program. Another great reason to listen to Bob. He motivates me to exercise.

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FamilySearch Indexing

I have this very heightened sense of self-importance, and I believe that many of you are wondering where I am and what have I been doing. The fact is that many of you are probably glad that you have had one less thing to read on the Internet. And most of you forgot that I even existed.

Despite my understanding that most of you don’t care, i will let you know what I have been doing these past few month. Mostly, I have just been busy. I work in the ocean shipping industry and May to October or November is our busy season. As a result, I have had a lot of work that needed to be done, and not a lot of time for personal pleasures.

That said, I have had some personal time. I just haven’t been choosing to spend it on this site. Intead, I have been speding most of my time indexing. But that is getting head of the story.

Back in May 2010, our Stake President encouraged all members of his stake to get more involved in Family History. He encouraged us to do the research needed so that our Ancestors could enjoy the blessings of the temple.

At the time, I had the privilege and responsibility to attend some classes on family history work. While in those classes I learned about FamilySearch Indexing. It looked interesting, and it looked like something that I could do to help fulfill the Stake President’s request that we get more involved.

So, I remember it was Memorial Day weekend of 2010, that I downloaded the software from the website, and started to index. Since then, I have gotten my family involved in indexing, specifically my wife and one of our daughters, Miss Joe. I have also helped many other people in our ward in indexing as well. But again I am getting a head of myself.

For those of you who don’t know, FamilySearch Indexing is a means to making the worlds records available to the world on the Internet. While many of the records that have been recorded are still available to people. They are usually only in book or image format. Thus making them very difficult for search for them on the Internet. Through the FamilySearch Indexing program. Volunteers from around the world are transcribing this information into a large database so that people can find the records to do their own family history research. Once the transcription is complete for each project, the information is made available at the recently updated FamilySearch website. It is a massive project that is being completed at a great pace because of thousands of volunteers.

Since I started indexing back in May, I was called as one of four Ward Family History Consultants in our Ward. So, I have decided that I need to do more that just indexing to fulfill the Stake President’s request to do more family history work. So, I have started working on my family history. Without going into the boring details, let me just say that I have spent more of my time cleaning up records, and confirming information that I already have in my family records and church records.

But as a Family History Consultant, my responsibility goes beyond just doing my own family research. I am also responsible for helping my neighbors do their research. As part of that I have helped teach classes on family history. But the classes that I have enjoyed the most is the classes I have taught (or co-taught with my wife) on FamilySearch Indexing.

If you haven’t tried indexing, but you have even a small interest in family history research. I would encourage you to visit the FamilySearch Indexing website, and learn more about it. I would especially encourage you to download the program, and give it a try.

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Why Bridgewater Lost

Before I proceed, I must certify that I am not qualified to even broach this subject. My qualifications are this. I have worked on one successful state-level campaign, and several other campaigns that either weren’t successful or ended before the vote. I have never been involved in party politics beyond the precinct level. My best qualification is that I have been watching Utah politics for about 7 years. And I read with great interest the posts at Utah Policy Daily on how to run a campaign. (Sorry no link, but they have started charging a subscription fee.)

Now that I have certified that I have no real expertise on how to win a campaign, I am going to prove it. Because I believe I know why Tim Bridgewater lost in the June primary.

I mean no offense to anyone on the Bridgewater campaign and I don’t wish to offend that the Lee campaign either. That’s in part why I have taken so long to post this analysis. Hopefully, a month has been long enough for most wounds to be healed. But the fact is that Bridgewater lost this race, more than Lee won it.

This is mostly evidenced by the fact that neither campaign managed to drive a lot of people to the polls. It was a terrible turn out, and that was because neither camp managed to motivate their base. Actually, let me reword that. Neither camp managed to build up a solid enough base.

While the lack of a base of supporters is part of Bridgewaters loss, it isn’t the key, because Lee failed there too. There are two keys to Birdgewater’s loss. The first is that the Bridgewater camp started to believe more in themselves, then they did in their message. The second key is that they chose to run a counter-negative campaign.

This is probably going to be very hard to explain, so I hope you will be patient with me as I lay it out. Often times on a campaign it can get easy to start believing that everything that you say and think is going to be accepted by everyone else. This doesn’t happen only in campaigns it happens in a lot of interpersonal interactions. Where you fail to communicate, because you aren’t able to express yourself to the person you are talking to it. If you are married you have probably experienced this.

The post-convention Bridgewater campaign fell into this trap. They failed to see what their campaign or message would look like to those on the outside. They thought that they needed to convince people that they were right, and not let the message do it for them. Many of the mailers came across as we are right, so you have to vote for Bridgwater. Of course that wasn’t the exact message. But it sounded like that to those not involved in the campaign.

I am not saying that they shouldn’t believe in the message (or platform) of their campaign. What they need to do is be careful at how they send that message to the public. To a certain extent the mailers and information that they sent came across wrong. People didn’t come out feeling like they were informed as much as they were coerced. The campaign was too interested in convincing people that they were right, rather than communicating what they stood for.

Let me put this another way. In order to win a campaign you want to tell people what your platform is. You don’t want to try and convince them why your platform is right. You need to let people know what you stand for. Let them convince themselves. If they are going to disagree with you, let them. They won’t vote for you know matter how much you coerce them. Let the message speak for itself.

The second reason that the Bridgewater campaign failed was the move away from being the nice guy in the race to being the attacker in the race. And this is probably more relevant than the first key.

After the convention, I was tempted to write a post predicting who would win and why. I never wrote it, because frankly, the whole Senate Campaign was starting to bore me. The essence of that post would have been that the candidate that came across as the nice guy would win. Based on that, I would have predicted that Bridgewater would win the campaign.

Unfortunately for Bridgewater, they didn’t stick with the nice guy campaign. Instead, they decided to counter attack Lee’s negative messages. Rather than coming across as the victim like the ads were intended, they came across as hypocrites. I know that many people were left scratching their heads. They wondered how to believe that Bridgewater is the better candidate when he tells them not to vote for Lee because he is running a negative campaign, and in the same mailer they throw negative jabs at Lee.

I heard from many people that this is the reason they were hesitant to vote for Bridgewater. Some of them did vote for Bridgewater, but some of them didn’t.

It has caused me to speculate why a campaign might choose to run a negative campaign. And I could only come up with one reason that I felt a negative campaign was justified. Simply put a negative campaign helps to solidify your base. However, while the Bridgewater campaign had several people leaning towards him. They wouldn’t call themselves part of his base. They were just a voter (as opposed to being a supporter). When the campaign went negative, many of these voters were forced to make the decision to become a supporter. And I think he lost a lot of those.

Again, I want to reiterate, that I do not wish to offend either the Bridgewater or the Lee campaigns. I personally think that they were both very poorly run campaigns. I wish the best to Lee for the rest of his campaign. I will most likely vote for him. But I won’t become one of his supporters in 2010.

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