Sunday, February 27, 2011

Good Things to Come

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland's talk, "An High Priest of Good Things to Come" talks about the role of the Savior as the One who grants us blessings during trials in our lives. He says, "For emotional health and spiritual stamina, everyone needs to be able to look forward to some respite, to something pleasant and renewing and hopeful, whether that blessing be near at hand or still some distance ahead. It is enough just to know we can get there, that however measured or far away, there is the promise of 'good things to come.'"

Sometimes, the blessings we seek don't come instantly or in the time or manner in which we wish, but they do come. "Don't you quit. There is help and happiness ahead." 

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Things I am Grateful For

This list may seem somewhat puzzling to some. However, as of today, these are some things I am grateful for.
1) Snowboarding -- It helps me escape from Provo every once in a while which helps my sanity.
2) Computers that work.
3) BYU -- Last semester this wouldn't have made the list. True story. I am grateful for BYU because I have learned that I don't have to hide who I am in a politically and socially suffocating environment. I have come to the point that I can proudly say, "I am a Democrat because of my religion, not in spite of it," and truly mean it. Thanks BYU.
4) Temples -- The Provo Temple has become a place of refuge and hope. The Kansas City Temple is coming along beautifully.
5) Senator Ben McAdams -- A freshman senator in the Utah Legislator who is both a Mormon and a Democrat AND lives both. See? They aren't mutually exclusive.
6) Music -- It's my escape.
7) Sociology 300 TAs -- They help me understand SPSS.
8) Sociology -- It never ceases to amaze and perplex me. People are interesting creatures.
9) Independence, Missouri -- The greatest place on earth.
10) The Serenity Prayer -- Because sometimes, a lot of times, I need courage to change the things I can.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

What to Do?

So, I'm trying to decide about internships for next year. Quite possibly, this could be the hardest decision I've had to make in a while. There are two really great opportunities here at BYU that I am trying to decide between. One is in Washington DC and the other is in Romania. Both seem like incredible opportunities and I hate trying to make this decision.
I am torn between the two. I feel like Romania satisfies a desire to be beneficial in the world and DC satisfies my political obsession. I think it's like trying to decide between mint chip ice cream and double chocolate fudge. I think this would be more beneficial to my career goals, but also that DC could potentially turn into countless networking opportunities.
My greatest fear is that I'm under-qualified for either internship. I feel like these experiences are things Heavenly Father would want me to have. I don't know what to do. Romania or DC? That is the question. What do I gain from Romania? What can I gain in DC? What are the potential life consequences here? I hate trying to make decisions where both options are good. It makes my life hard. What should I do?

Friday, February 11, 2011

Sliding on the Ice

One of my favorite TV quotes is, "What's living if you don't pull down your shorts and slide on the ice once in a while?" I like that idea. Every once in a while we've got to do something crazy or adventurous. I think that it helps us keep our sanity. I know it does. I call these things my "Get Out of Provo Cards." They are my excuse to do something I've never done and have an adventure.
This year, my "sliding on the ice" includes running the Utah Valley Marathon in June, skydiving in July, running the Red Rock Relay (187 miles), and learning Romanian in preparation for an internship there next winter.
These are new things to me. Some would say that they are crazy. They don't know what it's like to go sliding on the ice.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

On Being a Mormon and a Democrat

Yes. That is correct. I said it. I am a Democrat AND a Mormon. It's possible. I promise that I have a testimony. Don't worry about that. This is something I have struggled with for a while since coming back to BYU. To most people it seems mutually exclusive, especially here in Utah. Harry Reid came and spoke at BYU in 2007 and said, "I am a Democrat because of my religion, not in spite of it." That's how I feel. I'm not writing this to discuss policy or platform. This is a forum for explaining my feelings.
  The Gospel is all about change -- change in the individual, change in the world. We seek to bring others to Christ by helping them accept the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ, exercising faith, repenting, being baptized, receiving the Gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduing to the end. That's change. BIG change. Being liberal means wanting big change, not just small incremental change. Christ told people, "Go and sin no more." That's big, instant change. Why can't we expect that from ourselves? From our government? It means that I am not willing to hold still, but that I want to move perpetually forward and do so quickly.
  In 1843, Joseph Smith taught the Three Fundamentals of Mormonism. They are 1) We embrace truth wherever we find it, 2)Brotherly love, and 3) Relief for the poor and needy. In the Book of Mormon, King Benjamin exhorts the people to give freely of their substance when they have sufficient for their needs. "I would that ye should impart of your substance to the poor, every man according to that which he hath, such as feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, visiting the sick and administering to their relief, both spiritually and temporally, according to their wants" (Mosiah 4:26).
  That is a fundamental idea of liberalism. That idea led to things like Social Security, the GI Bill, and Health Care among other things. You see, it's not mutually exclusive. It's inclusive. The Church has Welfare Programs, equalization of missionary funds, the Law of Consecration. These are not conservative ideas. These require us giving something up to benefit the rest of mankind. These require (to use a phrase conservatives hate) redistribution of wealth. Don't believe me? Go read about the Law of Consecration in the Doctrine and Covenants.
  I don't mean to sound dogmatic or to come across saying that conservatives are inherently wrong or evil. Not at all. I'm not going to tell you conservatism is wrong. I consider myself conservative on some issues. But, please don't try to tell me that I am going against counsel of prophets or that I can't be a good member of the Church. Not true. Just like the idea that Mormons have horns. We don't and I can be a liberal. That's all I have to say.