Updates, Fixes, More

Elder J Ballard Washburn

I just wanted to give a quick update on some things. First, this is still the right place. I changed the skin/theme to one that I felt was more professional and less busy. The old one had that cool “ancient scrolls and scripture” feel, but I just didn’t like it as much as I wanted to. This new theme is much better on the eyes and... Read More

Iconography – Powerful Political Symbolism


OptumismNancy, who comments here, pointed out to me a very interesting and well-made video about iconography in politics today. It explores powerful iconography in use in American politics today. It a great video about symbolism used in the propaganda of our time. “Iconography” in particular, is essentially the same type of symbolism I employ in the design of this blog: using pictorial symbols or icons to convey meaning.

In fact its the same kind that we use a lot in computers and the internet, but its just so common, we don’t think about it much. For example, the little orange icon under the “Sacred Symbolic” title–at the top of this blog–with the white circle and a couple curved lines that appear to radiate out from it, mean “you can click here to subscribe or follow our RSS or Atom Feed” to anyone who uses Feeds. These “Feeds” are ways that websites update other sites and anyone who wants to subscribe by feed reader such as Google Reader, of any news posts or other changes that have been made to them. If you use facebook or Twitter but are not familiar with feeds or feed readers, its kinda like following another person on those sites, but instead you’re following the blog or website through your feed reader. Continue Reading…

Recommitment & the Washington Bible

C S Lewis


This blog has seen far too few updates of recent. I’ve been extremely busy starting a couple small businesses, while working two other jobs, all while serving as an assistant stake clerk, a husband, and friend.

I recently stopped working on another blog, and expect to shuffle up the job situation in the near future (hopefully Heavenly Father agrees).

C S Lewis

C S Lewis

On top of this, a friend I haven’t been in contact with for several years, asked me about a quote I used once in a lesson in church. I found it after a little searching and was surprised and intrigued to become reacquainted:

“Vice is a monster of so frightful face, as to be hated needs but to be seen; but seen too often, familiar with her face, we first endure, then tolerate, then embrace.” – Alexander Pope (An Essay on Man)

Then just the other day I ran across a related quote from C.S. Lewis:

Continue Reading…

New World DNA

Tevya at Monte Alban
Tevya at Monte Alban

Tevya at Monte Alban

This last weekend I was at my parents home. I ended up not feeling well for a day or so. I looked around for stuff to watch (they don’t have regular TV and I forgot my laptop’s power cord) and happened across the documentary Journey of Faith: The New World. Having spent five weeks traveling through Mesoamerica studying the peoples and history there, it was my first pick. I’d already watched the original Journey of Faith and was very impressed by it. Continue Reading…

“Things as They Really Are” – Elder David A. Bednar

Elder David A Bednar of the Quorum of the 12 Apostles

Elder David A Bednar of the Quorum of the 12 Apostles

I think it’s a shame that sometimes the CES firesides, which are addressed to young single adults, often go unnoticed by the rest of the Church. When given by an Apostle, they are frequently among the most direct and instructional talks that our modern Prophets give to a large audience. Luckily, they’re available on the Church website, for the rest of us.

Last Sunday Elder David A. Bednar was at BYU-Idaho and gave the CES YSA fireside. I’ve sat there in the Hart building and listened to him speak many times when he was the President of BYU-I. As awesome and powerful as those devotionals were, ever since he became an Apostle, there is definitely something different, more powerful in his teachings of the gospel and witness of Christ.

Elder Bednar spoke on the importance of our physical bodies in God’s great plan of salvation. In my opinion, he taught these doctrines with great clarity.  After doing so, he warned of Satan’s methods of trying to get us to misuse or minimize (or both) our bodies. He touched upon the age-old warnings against the misuse of our bodies, but then issued warnings that might be new to many, related to minimizing the importance of our bodies by spending too much time online, watching TV, playing video games, etc., where we forget our physical body and life is lived completely through the computer or some medium other than our God-give senses.

Characteristic of just how in-touch these great men are, he even specifically named some of today’s most popular virtual worlds and online social networks such as Second Life. Its interesting too that he speaks to both ends of the spectrum: those who spend too much time at a computer, as well as those who are overly conscious of their body and/or are adicted to their own body’s drug of adrenaline.

You can listen to or watch his entire talk here: Continue Reading…

The Most Important Chapters in Scripture? Part: 3

Elijah rebukes Ahab for turning from worshiping Jehova to Baal.

The title of this series of articles suggests that there might be scriptures that are “most important.” I don’t pretend to be capable of knowing what, of all God’s revealed scripture is the most important. However, Malachi 3 must be of great importance because, like many chapters of Isaiah it is given to us twice, and was given to the ancient Nephites by Christ himself. Malachi 4, in turn, must also be hugely important to us, because we have it many different times in the Latter-Day cannon of scripture. Of all things that Moroni could have told Joseph that night in his bedroom, he repeated Malachi 4, something Joseph already had in his Old Testament, and Moroni knew he would translate those verses from the plates that Moroni was there to announce to Joseph. Yet he gave them again. Why?

The Return of the Prophet Elijah

Elijah rebukes Ahab for turning from worshiping Jehova to Baal.

Elijah rebukes Ahab for turning from worshiping Jehovah to Baal.

We ended the last article with the indication that there were further ordinances that allow us to experience the things of Godliness. Clearly these ordinances are very important, perhaps most important. I personally believe that this is the reason we are given Malachi 4, several different times. Moroni even gives us different wording in the latter-day reciting. There are probably many reasons for this but I think two are very important: first, to help us better understand a scripture we may have become too familiar with, and therefore have stopped trying to extract deeper meaning from; and second, to help us take notice of it and ask the questions that will help us delve beyond the surface meaning. Lets go to the scriptures. In. 3 Nephi 25 we read:

5 Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord; 6 And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse. Continue Reading…

Our Divine Potential

chronicles of narnia the lion the witch and the wardrobe

I’ve been working on a couple different posts for this blog for the past week. The third article in the “Most Important Chapters in Scripture?” series needs special attention due to the power and sacredness of the subject. Because of the time required to give that attention, I haven’t been able to get it completed. The following is a talk I gave several years ago in as a student in a student ward. Its one of the few talks that I ever wrote completely before giving. It is also a great preparation for the third article in the “Most Important Chapters in Scripture” series.

I have chosen to speak on Our Divine Potential.  I pray that the Spirit will permit me to deliver this message in accordance with God’s will, and that everyone here will be able to feel of that Spirit and receive the message by the Spirit who is the ultimate teacher.  I also hope you understand that this message is taken from the scriptures and the words of our church leaders.  It is not my message, and I need to hear and understand it as much as any of you.

Kings and Queens

chronicles of narnia the lion the witch and the wardrobeI hope everyone here has seen the new movie The Chronicles of Narnia.  If you haven’t, I highly recommend it, and here’s why:  This movie (and the book it is based on) is a great Christian allegory of our divine potential.  Throughout the movie various characters keep telling the three children–who are the protagonists of the story–that they were meant to be Kings and Queens, leaders in the fight against evil.  Every time someone tells them this, they say essentially “no, you must be mistaken, there is nothing special about us, we’re from some place in England, we’re not important or great.”  They can’t see their potential.  They don’t know that they really were meant to become Kings and Queens.

I love this theme of Kings and Queens because it is the same one Heavenly Father uses to teach and remind us of our potential.  Psalms 82:6 reads: “I have said, Ye are gods; and all of you are children of the most High.”  And D&C 76:56, 58, 62 says: “They are they who are priests and kings, who have received of his fullness and his glory….  Wherefore, as it is written, they are gods, even the sons of God….  These shall dwell in the presence of God and his Christ forever and ever.”

narnia children frightenedToo often I think we take the same attitude as the children in the Chronicles of Narnia.  We say “who am I to shine, to lead out, to be righteous and deserve blessings?”  “What makes me so special that I should discover the mysteries of God, or perform great acts of service, or become pure and spotless before God?”  We doubt ourselves, we doubt our God.  This is what Satan wants us to do.  If he can get us to forget who we are, and what our purpose is, then we will never achieve it.  We can’t work toward what we don’t know.  The Prophet John Taylor said it this way:

“Have you forgotten who you are, and what your object is? Have you forgotten that you profess to be Saints of the Most High God, clothed upon with the holy priesthood? Have you forgotten that you are aiming to become kings and priests to the Lord, and queens and priestesses to him? Have you forgotten that you are associated with the Saints of God in Zion, where the oracles of truth are revealed, and the truths of God are made manifest, and clearly developed; where you and your posterity after you can learn the ways of life and salvation; where you are placed in a position that you can obtain blessings from the great Elohim, that will rest upon you and your posterity worlds without end?” (The Gospel Kingdom, p.229-230) Continue Reading…

Practical Guide: How to deflect firey darts & HBO


I usually don’t post about popular media, or even current events or other things that might be related. I feel strongly that the purpose of this blog is to focus on learning doctrines, not keeping abreast of all the scholarship, events, attacks, etc that goes on in the world around us (partly because I don’t have time to post that often... Read More

Church as an Aaronic Priesthood Temple – Part 1: Structure & Ordinances

Rendering of Solomon's Temple

In the last general conference, Elder Oaks gave a talk titled “Sacrament Meeting & the Sacrament.” In this powerful talk he specifically addresses various behaviors related to the sacrament and church. He also speaks of the importance of the sacrament in making the Atonement a part of our lives. This is the most important part of his message. However, he repeatedly hinted at the power and sacredness of the sacrament and sacrament meeting:

  • “The ordinance of the sacrament makes the sacrament meeting the most sacred and important meeting in the Church.”
  • “Its like going to the temple.”
  • “This is a very sacred act.”
  • “All who officiate in this sacred ordinance stand on sacred ground.”
  • “For sacred ordinances… we often use ceremonial clothing, and a white shirt could be seen as… an anticipation of the white shirt you will soon wear into the temple….”
  • “I sense that some in the rising generation and even some adults have not yet come to understand the significance of this meeting and the importance of individual reverence and worship in it.”
Rendering of Solomon's Temple

Rendering of Solomon’s Temple

As suggested by several of these quotes, I believe that our church on Sunday is meant to point us to the temple. The Lord intended it to be a weekly reminder of the covenants we make in the temple, as well as encouragement to return often to learn the “weightier” things of the gospel.  I hope that I can help those mentioned in the last quote (probably all of us) to better “understand the significance” of church and the sacrament.

I believe the Lord has setup church as a temple in the pattern of the temple in Jerusalem: An Aaronic Priesthood, lesser law, or Levitical temple that points us to the higher ordinances of the Higher Law. Continue Reading…