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30 April 2008

Smell a RAT Much?

This whole FLDS polygamous ranch thing stinks. It seems more and more than the whole thing is just persecution of an unpopular religious group. I can't say that I much care for the whole fundamentalist Mormon movement, and it's a pain that the media has such a hard time telling fundamentalists from members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, so we get all sorts of odd things said about us. But the FLDS folks should get the same protection under the law that everyone else gets. If those phone calls were a hoax then they should get their children - and an apology. At the very least, they should be able to see their lawyers!

If they can do it to the FLDS, they can do it anybody.

Here's a blog with some interesting commentary on what's going on.

29 April 2008

Goofy Human Tricks

One of my piano students tried this, and then Monkey had to do it, and of course he had to get his parents to do it as well. You'll have to use your imagination if you want to see what Mommy & Daddy look like with a slinky on the nose!!

28 April 2008

On Wisdom

We pray for wisdom, but God will as soon as put bread and meat in our cupboard without any endeavor of ours, as he will give us wisdom without our trying to get it. If a man wants a farm, let him make it; if he wishes an orchard he plants it; if he wants a house for his family to live in, he must gather the materials and build it. He will give us wisdom in these things, but he will not come down to do the manual labor.
-Brigham Young

27 April 2008

Wherefore I put thee in remembrance that thou stir up the gift of God, which is in thee by the putting on of my hands.

For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.

Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God;

Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began,

But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel:

Whereunto I am appointed a preacher, and an apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles.

For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.
2 Timothy 1:6-12

25 April 2008

Teaching the Trivium

I borrowed a copy of Teaching the Trivium (Harvey & Laurie Bluedorn) from a homeschooling friend of mine, and it's been a very interesting read thus far. I'm going to throw out some thoughts here, and I'd love a little bit of conversation on this, some feedback, and even some holes poked where I'm not quite thinking straight. I'm sure that'll happen here and there. One thing that I wonder about is if there aren't some communication gaps because of the difference between the words that "Protestant Christians" use when talking about their faith and the words that "Mormon Christians" use. I've noticed that in other conversations and I wonder if that's not causing some of the troubles that I'm having with this book.

Some sections have some great ideas - I'm currently setting up a notebook for my Japanese study based on the book's ideas, as well as mulling over the idea of teaching Greek or Hebrew. But there are some other things in the book that I find a bit disturbing, most particularly the suspicion that the authors seem to have toward academic excellence.

Consider the following quotes:

"The Scripture is sufficient to educate us in all necessary areas of life." (page 37)

Maybe I'm missing the point, but my first thought upon reading this sentence was "what about laundry? and cooking?" I love the scriptures, and I can't begin to define the value they are to me in my life, but I don't think that I learned any of my practical daily "life skills" from them. And that's just one area. There are whole fields of information that are useful, good, and true, that are not included in Scripture. As I understand it, Scripture's job is to help us to remember God, to remember His covenants, to teach us how to return to Him, and to point our minds and hearts to Christ. In essence, Scripture teaches us to live "after the manner of happiness," which is in compliance with God's laws. I'm just not convinced that everything we need to know to conduct our daily lives, practically speaking, is in there. Nor do I believe that ALL truth is in there. There's just not that much Scripture, and it's a big universe full of all sorts of truths!

I like what the Bluedorns have to say about the family being the intended place for children's education. They have some really great Bible verses that make a lot of sense to me. But after they establish the importance of family in a child's training and education, they go on to say,

"There is more to life than what is styled 'academic education.'" (Page 39)

This statement is true. But the way that the authors make it seems to betray a distrust of a strong academic education, or a the very least an uncertainty of the value of strong academics and higher education. By itself, it's not a bad statement at all, but in the context of their book it becomes part of a pattern of thought that I'm not able to agree with at all. This suspicious approach to academic excellence is more apparent here:

"Why Follow a Classical Model and Method?
Academics. Certainly, some parents choose a classical style of schooling because they are attracted by the academic achievement. They want their children to achieve high academic goals in classical languages, in logic, and in communication skills. They want them to study a very high level of material. Perhaps some of this is driven by a sort of academic snobbery, but much of it is driven by a sincere desire to see their children challenged and excel for the glory of God." (Page 41, emphasis mine)

I'm not finished with the book yet, and in spite of the fact that I've picked on this one aspect of the book, I'm finding a lot that is useful in the book. Not the least of which is the way that it makes me think about the goals of education and ponder what is the Lord's method of education. Teaching the Trivium approaches a Classical Education from a different direction than The Well-Trained Mind. I plan to stick with TWTM as my main reference, but TtT is certainly an educational read which I am enjoying!

21 April 2008

This is Scary

This evening's headlines on MSN.com are as follows:

1. A Slate piece on what to do if your mother-in-law comes to your wedding wearing too little clothing.

2. An article on the fashion sense of fundamentalist polygamist women.

3. Commentary on a children's book about plastic surgery for Moms.

Very serious reading here, wouldn't you agree? Those are the articles that rate big print and pretty pictures in their little revolving trio there at the top left of the page. Tucked away to the right of that, small type, unremarkable, not terribly important, was this:

Clinton warns Iran of U.S. nuclear response

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton confirmed Monday that as president she would be willing to use nuclear weapons against Iran if it were to launch a nuclear attack on Israel.


Oh. My.

Come on, this is a serious comment from a serious candidate for the highest office in the nation?!? Why isn't this a top story? Is it somehow less important than the fashion statement made by unusually modest clothing of some very religious women? Why isn't she being booed out of the race? My husband tells me that he studied those nuke bombs a bit in physics classes. Apparently the little "firecrackers" they used in Hiroshima and Nagasaki are what they use to get a nuke going. And while she's at it, she'd like to get NATO in on the fun.

Is she TRYING to start World War 3?

I wasn't going to vote for her anyway, but this is just scary.

Incidentally, Barack also says he wouldn't rule out the use of a nuke. They mention it at the bottom of that same article.

20 April 2008

Relaxing Bear

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Sunday Scripture

I say unto you, my brethren, that if you should render all the thanks and praise which your whole soul has power to possess, to that God who has created you, and has kept and preserved you, and has caused that ye should rejoice, and has granted that ye should live in peace one with another—

I say unto you that if ye should serve him who has created you from the beginning, and is preserving you from day to day, by lending you breath, that ye may live and move and do according to your own will, and even supporting you from one moment to another—I say, if ye should serve him with all your whole souls yet ye would be unprofitable servants.

-Mosiah 2:20-21

17 April 2008

Contemplating Colors

While we were reading this evening Monkey pointed to the last page of the book, the inside of the back cover. I told him about it:

Me: That's red. Can you say "red?"

Monkey: Yellow!

12 April 2008

Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in Heaven is perfect.
-Matthew 5:48

One of my favorite scripture study resources is scriptures.byu.edu. Some of the folks out at BYU have taken the time to cross-reference all the scriptures used in General Conference with the talks that use them going back to 1942, and fixed it up so that you can look them up by either speaker or (my favorite) by chapter and verse to see who has used the verses that you're studying in their Conference addresses and what they said about it.

As I was using this site tonight to get ready for my Sunday School lesson I realized that the New Testament is the most-often quoted from the standard works, even more than the Book of Mormon, so I went and browsed around in there. Turns out that Matthew is the most quoted book in the New Testament, and chapter 5 is Matthew's most used chapter. That seemed reasonable to me: the Sermon on the Mount is some good reading. Today's verse is the most quoted in chapter 5. I think it would be fair to say that it's one of the most commonly used verses (at least in the LDS faith) in all of scripture.

Be ye perfect. It's a huge goal. Even with the Greek sense of the word perfect meaning "finished or fully developed," it's a big job. But I find the fact that the Lord has commanded us to become perfect it encouraging: He always provides a way to accomplish the things He asks us to do! Perfection is possible! Not today, not tomorrow, and certainly not without a *whole* lot of help, but it is possible!

11 April 2008

Climbing Exploration

Monkey's been trying out his new climbing and exploration skills: sometimes it works better than others. (And he only briefly waited for me to take his picture before I rescued the poor little guy!)


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