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01 June 2017

Commonplace Book: May

A commonplace is a traditional self-education tool: as you read, grab a notebook. Write down things that embody Truth, Goodness, and Beauty. Write down notable quotes, with or without your own thoughts about them. Write down the questions you have as a result of the text you are reading. You will find the book becomes a record of your own growth, and it becomes a touchstone for memory of things you have studied in the past. These are a selection of the passages that I've included in my commonplace book this month:

Zina Diantha was deeply stricken by her mother's death on 8 July  1839. Months later,  her mother's words came into her mind and spoke comfort to her: "Zina, any sailor can steer on a smooth sea. When rocks appear, sail around them."Zina Diantha took comfort in these words and prayed, "O Father in Heaven, help me to be a good sailor, that my heart shall not break on the rocks of grief."
-Women of Nauvoo, 42

A testimony of the gospel is a personal witness borne to our souls by the Holy Ghost that certain facts of eternal significance are true and that we know them to be true. Such facts include the nature of the Godhead and our relationship to its three members, the effectiveness of the Atonement, the reality of the Restoration.

A testimony of the gospel is not a travelogue, a health log, or an expression of love for family members. It is not a sermon. President Kimball taught that the moment we begin preaching to others, our testimony has ended.
-Dallin H. Oaks, Testimony, April 2008

In the first place, I should like to remark that it is a mistake for any human being, and especially for a branch secretary, to be content with what he can get! He who aims at getting what he wants is pretty sure to be successful. The very thing you want is there, somewhere, most likely in your close neighborhood. ...in other words, determine to have a lecture on a certain subject, think of the people in your neighborhood whose thoughts are likely to have turned in that direction, ask for a lecture with a given title, and most likely you will get it. It should not be forgotten that one of the objects of the Union is to draw forth the educational thought of workers & thinkers who would not otherwise give expression to the lessons of wisdom which life and reflection have brought them.
-Charlotte Mason, Teaching in the Branches

This reminds me of the Church and our lay clergy: we take turns teaching. Somebody -- or one of their friends -- probably knows the thing you want to have a class or fireside about. And asking them to take a turn as the teacher gives both listener and the teacher a chance for growth.

"None of the communication technologies involved human touch; they all tend to place us one step removed from direct experience. Add this to control-oriented changes in the workplace and schools, where people are often forbidden , or at least discouraged, from any kind of physical contact, and we've got a problem," she says. Without touch, infant primates die; adult primates with touch deficits become more aggressive. Primate studies also show that physical touch is essential tot he peace-making process. "Perversely, many of us can go through and average day and not have more than a handshake," she adds. Diminishing touch is only one by-product of the culture of technical control, but Dess believes it contributes to violence in an ever more tightly wired society.
-Last Child in the Woods, 66

Frank Wilson, professor of neurology at the Stanford University School of Medicine, ... says "We've been sold a bill of goods -- especially parents -- about how valuable computer-based experience is. We are creatures identified by what we do with our hands." Much of our learning comes from doing, from making, from feeling with our hands; and though many would like to believe otherwise, the world is not entirely available from a keyboard. As Wilson sees it, we're cutting off our hands to spite our brains. Instructors in medical schools find it increasingly difficult to teach how the heart works as a pump, he say, "because these students have so little real-world experience; they've never siphoned anything, never fixed a car, never worked on a fuel pump, may not even have hooked up a garden hose. For a whole generation of kids, direct experiences in the backyard, the tool shed, in the fields and woods, has been replaced by indirect learning, through machines. These young people are smart, but they grew up with computers, they were supposed to be superior -- but now we know that something is missing."
-Last Child in the Woods, 66

As a champion for outdoor play, Moore has written that natural settings are essential for healthy child development because they stimulate all the sense and integrate informal play with formal learning.
-Last Child in the Woods, 85

You see, many people love bamboo. They love the bamboo trees, and they love the bamboo wood, but very few people understand the process of growing bamboo. You dig up the soil and make sure it is good soil, and then you plant a bamboo seed. You must then faithfully water it every day. After three months, guess what starts to happen?

Nothing! You see absolutely nothing happening. You keep watering it and watering it, but you continue to see nothing happening for one year, then two years, then three years. Do you know what happens after three years?

Nothing! You see absolutely nothing.

What you don't see happening is what is taking place beneath the surface. Beneath the surface, a massive, dense foundation of roots is spreading all throughout the ground to prepare for the rapid growth that the bamboo will experience. So you keep watering it and watering it, and eventually, after five years of seeing nothing at all happen above the surface, the bamboo tree shoots up to over ninty feet tall in just six weeks!

Most people want the ninety-foot-tall bamboo tree without the five years of the process. They want the bamboo to grow to ninety feet tall in six weeks, but without the five years of invisible growth, the bamboo wouldn't have a solid foundation, and it could never sustain the massive and rapid growth that occurs.
-Chop Wood, Carry Water, by Joshua Medcalf, quoted on a Facebook group.

Twenty froggies went to school
Down beside a rushy pool.
Twenty little coats of green,
Twenty vests all white and clean.

"We must be in time," said they,
"First we study, then we play;
That is how we keep the rule,
When we froggies go to school."

Master Bullfrog, brave and stern,
Called his classes in their turn,
Taught them how to nobly strive,
Also how to leap and dive;

Taught them how to dodge a blow,
From the sticks that bad boys throw.
Twenty froggies grew up fast,
Bullfrogs they became at last;

Polished in a high degree,
As each froggie ought to be,
Now they sit on other logs,
Teaching other little frogs.
-George Cooper

Unless I am convinced by proofs from Scriptures or by plain and clear reasons and arguments, I can and will not retract, for it is neither safe nor wise to do anything against conscience. Here I stand. I can do no other. God help me. Amen.
-attributed to Martin Luther

A complete cure fora  terrible disorder of the mouth commonly called "Scandal":
Take a good nature, one ounce; of an herb called by the Mormons "mind your own business", one ounce, to which add of the oil of benevolence, one drachim of brotherly love, two ounces. You must mix the preceding ingredients with a little charity for others, and few sprigs of "keep your tongue between your teeth". Let this compound be allowed to simmer fora short time in a vessel called circumspection, and it will be ready for use.
Symptoms: The symptoms are a violent itching in the tongue and roof of the mouth when you are in the company with a species of animal called "Gossips".
Applications: When you feel a fit of the disorder coming on, take a teaspoonful of the mixture, hold it in your mouth, which you must keep closely shut till you get home.
 -quoted in Women of Nauvoo, 115-116

To a person uninstructed in natural history, his country or seaside stroll is a walk through a gallery filled with wonderful works of art, nine-tenths of which have their faces turned to the wall.
-Thomas Huxley, quoted in Last Child in the Woods, 133

Man's heart, away from nature, becomes hard; [the Lakota] knew that lack of respect for growing, living things soon leads to lack of respect for humans too.
-Luther Standing Bear, quoted in Last Child in the Woods, 123

My heart was made to rejoice in the privilege of once more commemorating the death of him whom I desire to behold. Roll on ye wheels of time! Hasten thou long anticipated period when He shall again stand upon the earth!
-Eliza R. Snow, quoted in Women of Nauvoo, 169

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