Thursday, September 27, 2007

Chill Pill

A few weeks back I moved into a new apartment. There was a long line in the office to get keys, parking passes, pay rent, etc. As I stood in line there were probably around half a dozen parents who came in livid because the apartments their kids moved into weren't perfect and they wanted them fixed that very instant. I was left wondering how they could be so oblivious to the situation. 1) It's the start of the semester so everyone is moving in and they have a million things to do. 2) One look at the employees tells you they aren't the owners, they are just college kids trying to make a few bucks. 3) A faulty light bulb or dirty bathtub is not the end of the world. These parents weren't just in there letting them know about the problems, they were angry and upset, demanding to see the managers and spouting out threats. Now I understand about making sure you get what you pay for, but you also have to be realistic. If you were shelling out a thousand dollars a month for rent then you could expect your apartment to be perfect, but we're paying 250, what do you expect?

It makes me think that, at least here in America, many of us tend to think the world revolves around us. I came across a website with a collection of dumb lawsuits from the past few years. From suing coaches because you warmed the bench all season to suing department stores because you got injured in a fight over one of their products, Americans have done it all. I think it all stems from a selfish desire to not be accountable for our actions. Combine that with the fact that we are so wrapped up in ourselves that we are blind to the situations of others, and you have the type of society we live in today. The type of society with page after page of legal documentation attempting to keep your money in your own wallet. Sometimes we might just need to take a chill pill and realize we're not the only ones with problems.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Mitt Romney

Interesting editorial about Mitt Romney and the new challenges he faces as a Mormon running for President. It mentions the influence of books ("Under the Banner of Heaven"), television ("HBO's "Big Love") and movies ("September Dawn") in casting a bad light on Mormonism. Much of the opposition that Romney faces is because of false or incomplete information. Emphasizing what I said earlier about using what we have, it is important to spread correct information. A few months back I heard a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles speak about the revised Church websites and how one of the reasons for the changes was that the Church wanted to be the first source of information with regards to its teachings. They do not want someone to google "mormon" and have the first website that pops up be anti-Mormon. It is easy to get your message out on the web, but this ease should make you question the validity of what you read. With so much false information on the web and in the media it is vital to get your information from reliable sources. For people like Mitt Romney the battle against false information could be one of the key factors to success.

Anxiously Engaged

Last week Joel Dehlin, the CIO of the LDS Church came to class and spoke to us about the Church's use of technology. The biggest thing I got out of it was the desire to use the technological talents I've been blessed with. The Lord said to the Prophet Joseph Smith that members of the Church should use the talents they have to move forward the work of God. The blessings promised them were that they would not only improve the talents they had, but gain new talents, even an hundred fold. This year I am helping to translate the LDS Church's General Conference into Hmong. It is a powerful experience to witness a simultaneous translation into over 80 different languages and to realize that it is done largely by volunteers who receive no benefit other than knowing they are using their talents to move forward the work of God. When we feel passionately about something we should be willing to give something of ourselves to that cause. I felt that in my life this past week as I realized my shortcomings in using my technological talents to further God's work. For those who are tech-savvy members of the LDS Church I think we could be doing more. Joel Dehlin encouraged us to get involved in the Church's online community at And for all of us, let's use the talents and skills we possess to benefit the causes we care the most about. The world needs fewer people who just talk the talk and more who walk the walk.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Drowning in Information

The past day I spent some time thinking . Novel idea eh? I ignored the googles and the wikipedias of the world and faced my own thoughts and feelings. In doing so I realized how much the way we live out our lives parallels the frenzied pace of the world around us. When I was two years old my family made the 10 hours drive from Salt Lake to Phoenix. I was content to spend the whole time giggling as I played with a simple Sesame Street toy. Fast-forwarding twenty years finds me barely able to make the 10 minute walk to campus without headphones plugged into my ears or to eat dinner without flipping through dozens of tv channels. What happened? In part I've gotten so wrapped up into doing "something" that I replaced the actual "somethings" in my life with a bunch of inconsequential "nothings." Honestly, five years down the road I won't be thanking my lucky stars that I was able to listen to Miss Teen South Carolina's ramblings on Youtube or that I found out from ESPN about the latest athlete to be involved with steroids. Instead I think I'll be wishing I had spent more time discovering who I am and what I feel about life. We need to get better acquainted with the newest stranger in town, ourselves. Information is a liability until we start to do more than run to and fro picking up and dropping the nuggets that abound in the "Golden Age of Information."