Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Life, Games, and the Gospel: Rules

I remember wishing I could do this a lot back when I played Dad at chess.  How great would it be to have any piece be able to do whatever it wants?  Just think, you'd be able to have a check-mate from the first move!  Starting move: QxKe8#  Unless of course, the opposing team is able to do the same thing, in which case they just take your queen and you go on until every piece is gone.

Why are rules so important?  In Dungeons and Dragons, apparently they're important enough for someone to have published an entire book just about the rules. (It's called the Rules Compendium, and I understand they've published a new version for D&D4.0)  In chess, each piece has a specific way that they move, in order to achieve a specific end.  It's the same, although in a more limited sense, in Checkers, Life, and even Monopoly.

But why are rules so important?  Why can't we just take all the Monopoly money from the bank, put houses whereever we want?  Why not just move the chess pieces to the other side of the board?  Why put ourselves into these mental straitjackets?

Quite simply, it's because it's the only way life will work.  Let's just stick with Monopoly.  If everyone were to take what they wanted from the bank, charge five thousand dollars rent, build whenever they wanted, not pay rent to anyone, what would be the point?  There would be no progress.  It would be complete anarchy, and noone would have fun.

A bit the same way, God has given us rules called commandments.  We are allowed to follow these rules if we choose, or to disobey and try to find our own way.  He gives us these rules for one purpose, and one purpose only: He wants us to be happy. 

There are many things, such as premarital sex, drugs, pornography, gangs, crimes, cigarettes, that promise us happiness, or that appear to. 

 However, on trying them, we find them nothing but cheap illusions, put there by someone who wishes us nothing but harm.  Satan places them there in order to deceive us.  Embittered by his loss in the war in heaven, he will stop at nothing to destroy us.  There is no depth to which the father of lies will not stoop.

The rules are to protect us, and to make us happy.  Disobedience, while it may bring passing pleasure, will bring no lasting happiness.  I promise that God will help you to be happy if you follow his rules.  Obedience is always the best option.

As James E. Faust (1920-2007) said, "Obedience leads to true freedom. The more we obey revealed truth, the more we become liberated."

Monday, August 29, 2011

Hurricane Irene aftermath

Well, we survived Hurricane Irene.  Salisbury, the area that I just left, got hammered by Irene, but we were almost untouched.  We had a bit of rain, but nothing to really be afraid of.  I'm almost disappointed.

I understand that there were 24 deaths during the hurricane, most of them involving being out in the hurricane.  There was one who died because he was trying to surf during a hurricane. 

I don't understand this.  People know tht it's a hurricane, that it's a big hurricane, that it will most likely cause a lot of damage.  When I think this, the first thing that comes to mind is not surfing.  It's potential death.

So often, people try to play around with serious things.  Teens often get their start on drugs, alcohol, or cigarettes because of curiosity.  Pornography claims its share of people playing around.  Others start to rob or break other laws because of the rush it gives them, the feeling of power that they have.

Just like the people who died because of playing with Mother Nature, many people die because they're playing with Satan.  The teenager starts on drugs, saying that later on he'll quit.  Later on comes and goes, and he cannot. 

Let me give you some very simple advice.  Don't play with Satan.  He doesn't want you to be happy.  He promises you happiness in very attractive packages, but on tearing open the gift wrap you're left with only pleasure, a cheap imitation whose afterscent reeks of quick choices, shortcuts that lead nowhere.

The road to heaven is not easy.  It wasn't easy for Him.  It will not be easy for us.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Worst comes to worst...

This is one of my favorite sections in the Doctrine and Covenants.  Given while Joseph Smith was enduring an illegal imprisonment in a jail not much better than a basement,  it covers pretty much everything.

The Doctrine and Covenants

Section 122
The word of the Lord to Joseph Smith the Prophet, while he was a prisoner in the jail at Liberty, Missouri, March 1839 (see History of the Church, 3:300–301).
1–4, The ends of the earth will inquire after the name of Joseph Smith; 5–7, All his perils and travails will give him experience and be for his good; 8–9, The Son of Man has descended below them all.
 The ends of the earth shall inquire after thy aname, and fools shall have thee in bderision, and hell shall rage against thee;
 While the pure in heart, and the wise, and the noble, and the virtuous, shall seek acounsel, and authority, and blessings constantly from under thy hand.
 And thy apeople shall never be turned against thee by the testimony of traitors.
 And although their influence shall cast thee into trouble, and into bars and walls, thou shalt be had in ahonor; and but for a small bmoment and thy voice shall be more terrible in the midst of thine enemies than the fierce clion, because of thy righteousness; and thy God shall stand by thee forever and ever.
 If thou art called to pass through atribulation; if thou art in perils among false brethren; if thou art in bperils among robbers; if thou art in perils by land or by sea;
 If thou art aaccused with all manner of false accusations; if thine enemies fall upon thee; if they tear thee from the society of thy father and mother and brethren and sisters; and if with a drawn sword thine enemies tear thee from the bosom of thy wife, and of thine offspring, and thine elder son, although but six years of age, shall cling to thy garments, and shall say, My father, my father, why can’t you stay with us? O, my father, what are the men going to do with you? and if then he shall be thrust from thee by the sword, and thou be dragged to bprison, and thine enemies prowl around thee like cwolves for the blood of the lamb;
 And if thou shouldst be cast into the apit, or into the hands of murderers, and the sentence of death passed upon thee; if thou be cast into the bdeep; if the billowing surge conspire against thee; if fierce winds become thine enemy; if the heavens gather blackness, and all the elements combine to chedge up the way; and above all, if the very jaws of dhell shall gape open the mouth wide after thee, know thou, my son, that all these things shall give thee eexperience, and shall be for thy good.
 The aSon of Man hath bdescended below them all. Art thou greater than he?
 Therefore, ahold on thy way, and the priesthood shall bremain with thee; for their cbounds are set, they cannot pass. Thy ddays are known, and thy years shall not be numbered less; therefore, efear not what man can do, for God shall be with you forever and ever.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Hurricane Irene: ETA Sunday.

This is a video from a musical group I discovered here in the mission.  The Moleni Brothers, raised in Tonga, New Zealand, and America, are all members of our church, having served missions.  They're actually fairly incredible.  They have the sound right, and can do a capella just as well, if not better, than rap.  (Just in case anyone was thinking of getting me Christmas gifts, this album, Always There is pretty good.  Moosebutter is good too.)

I just thought I'd send up a little plug here and say a few words.

This has been quite a month.  We've had three severe thunder-and-lightning storms, a mild earthquake, and sometime from here to Sunday, Hurricane Irene is supposed to make landfall.  It's a bit scary.  Well, really scary.  All around, people seem to be going about their lives.  I predict mass rushes to the grocery stores to buy some last needed supplies sometime soon. 

Doing some research indicates that Hurricane Irene is a category three hurricane, with wind speeds of around 114 miles per hour.  It's currently moving at around 14 miles per mile north towards us.  By the time it reaches us on Sunday, it should have calmed down to about 100 mile per hour wind-speeds.  (I mean, as calm as 100 MPH winds can be.)  Church will probably be canceled.  If it were not, I'm still not sure I'd risk the two miles to the church.  Google indicates that it will most likely pass right over us.  The Weather channel plots us as in the extreme danger zone.

Wow.  Assuming none of this kills us, I'll have a heck of a story for when I get home.  So far as I see it, we have a win-win-win situation here.  Option A) The storm misses us.  I like this option.  Option B)  Hurricane Irene hits us, and none of us is hurt.  Even if we lose a few material possessions, I think this is a good option.  We get the story, and afterwards we're able to find some new people to teach while we help clean up.  I'll finally be able to wear the yellow Mormon Helping Hands jersey.  Option C)  Hurricane Irene hits, and we die.  Hopefully it won't happen;  I'd like to go home and not traumatize my family, if at all possible.  Buuuut, if it were to happen, I think I'd be alright with it.  After all, chilling with God in Heaven is not the worst way for things to work out.

I love you all.  Stay safe.

Now, I need to hard-boil a few eggs in case the gas fails.  Hard-boiled eggs and Monopoly ought to last us through the storm.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011


So, in case you didn't know already, yesterday there was an earthquake on the East Coast.  It actually happened right as I was talking about Sauron yesterday.  I thought it was pretty cool.  Everything in the library started to sway, and the earth undulated about an inch and a half.  This all went on for about thirty seconds, wherein the library staff told people to leave the stacks, and step away from the windows.  People seemed to be pretty shaken up by it.

I wish I'd gotten a better start on my emergency kit like President Schaefermeyer told us.  At zone conference two weeks ago, he told us that we should have a backpack with enough food and supplies for three days.  It's part of something our church has done for a long time; prepare.

You see, we remember a series of prophecies that the Lord made shortly before his death.  (If you care to follow along in Matthew 24, you'll see what I mean.) The Apostles were worried about when he would come again, and when the end of the world would happen.  Jesus began by making a series of prophecies, saying that there would be many wars, rumors of wars, famines, antichrists, and earthquakes.  These would be only the beginning, for the apostles themselves would be killed.  After that, there would be many people offended, falling away from the church.  There would be false prophets.  Basically, he was prophesying of the apostasy.  Then, he touched on the restoration and prophesied about how the Gospel would be taught to all the world.  He told the Apostles about how they needed to be prepared for all of these things.

Nowadays, we have a lot of things to worry about.  Down here on the DeMaVa peninsula, I think we have a maximum elevation of something like 100 feet, so if a big enough tsunami were to come in, it could probably take out most of us.  Let's not forget the nuclear power plants across the river in New Jersey.  Or how about the big Nor'Easter rain storms that come in every so often?  I think we've had three in the past two weeks, complete with thunder and lightning about a mile from our house.  (Woke me up, too.  On the order of light and sound at the same time.  It took me about half an hour to get back to sleep.)

Anyway, we need to be prepared.  That's why the brethren of the church have counseled us to have food ready.  Get out of debt, buy enough food to last for three months, and make sure that you're ready.  My family has a set of shelves full of ten pound cans, and we rotate them out to make sure that we always have a current supply.  The fridge and freezer are always full of food.

Like the Lord has stated in modern times, "If ye are prepared, ye shall not fear." (D&C 38:30)

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Life, Movies, and the Gospel: Sauron

Now, I've read the Hobbit.  I've read the Lord of the Rings.  But I've never read The Silmarillion all the way through.  I've only ever read up to the song of creation, and what happened afterwards.  Here's the basics.
Way back when, Eru decided to create some stuff.  The first things he created were the Ainur, incredibly powerful people.  However, during the creation of the world, one of the Ainur named Melkor decided that he knew better than Eru, and changed a few things.  All through the history of this world, Melkor was working on destroying things.

Fast forward a few thousand years.  Sauron, apprentice of Morgoth, apprentice of Melkor, is now a very powerful man.  He's been taking care of things, even now that both Melkor and Morgoth have been destroyed.  He appears to the elves, appearing as a fair character, and teaches them magic.  He creates the one ring, and invests it with most of his malice, power, and evil.  Now incredibly powerful, but at the same time with a crucial culnerability, he takes on the elves.  Fortunately, he is defeated, despoiled of the one ring, and loses most of his physical form.

Sauron in all his Battle Gear.
I wonder how much the helmet weighs.
Much later, he is now ready to take on the world again.  However, he really can't do much.  His physical body is much to weak now to actually do anything, so he has to depend on others.  The Nazgul, the nine men corrupted by the power of the One Ring, do his bidding.  In addition, he corrupts Saruman, the most powerful wizard in the land, and has him create armies of orcs.  Though he himself can do nothing, his armies can do quite a bit.

At the end, for all of his power and armies, Sauron is defeated.  The One Ring is cast into Mount Doom, any remnant of a physical body is destroyed, and he is left as a powerless spirit, defeated and cast into the Void.

In the same way, Satan himself can do almost nothing.  A mighty and powerful spirit of God, he aspired to be even greater, to become God himself.  He essentially stated that he knew more than God, and that people should worship him.  Thrust out of heaven, he will never have the privilege of having a body.  He can do very little to us.  However, he can tempt us to commit sin, to rebel against God.  He can convince other people to see the world his way, and to act as he would like.  We can withstand his temptations, though.  Only when we are vulnerable and distracted does Satan try to thrust in some tentacles.    He wants us to be miserable, as he is.  I imagine that he knows he'll lose eventually, but he's determined to take as many of us as he can with him.

Let's show him what for.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Life, Movies, and the Gospel: Gollum

Next, we have Gollum.  A pitiful creature, Gollum was once normal, a hobbit like any other, named Smeagol.  However, at a chance encounter with the One Ring, and attracted by it, he demanded it of his friend, Deagol.  When Deagol refused, Smeagol snapped and killed his friend.  Banished by friends and family, he becomes a shadow of what he once was.

Gollum is a simple creature, really.  He wants the One Ring, his 'precious,' his 'birthday present.'  He's completely self-centered, lying, cheating, and stealing to accomplish what he wants.

Holding him somewhat in check, later, is Smeagol, the original personality being dominated by this latter deterioration.  While Smeagol is somewhat in control, Gollum is always there in the background, trying to get his way.

Eventually, after Frodo has met Smeagol, and to a certain extent helped him out, things come to a head between Gollum and Smeagol.  Realizing that he doesn't really need Gollum anymore, the following exchange takes place.
In the same way, I think we all have a bit of this inside ourselves.  We have two desires inside ourselves.  We each have our Gollum: the base instincts, the desires to get ahead, pride, all the things that are bad.  On the other hand, we have Christ.  He lifts us up, makes us want to do better, help others, and generally be good people.  On our own, we are helpless.  However, with Christ we can do all things.

I know that through Christ, we can become perfect.  Let's get rid of Gollum.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Life, Movies, and the Gospel: Frodo Baggins

Next in a series of articles about the Lord of the Rings, we have the main protagonist, Frodo Baggins.

 As an adopted son of Bilbo Baggins, he inherits the Ring found by Bilbo many years before.  Some time later, Gandalf returns to tell Frodo that this ring, apparently of no consequence, is actually the One Ring, needed by Sauron to take over the world.  Fleeing the Shire with his friends, Merry, Pippin, and Sam, he is soon caught up in a quest to take the One Ring to Mordor, and throw it in Mount Doom to be destroyed. 

(If you've not seen the movie nor read the books, this is a highly condensed synopsis.)

Joining him in this quest are Gimli the dwarf, Legolas the elf, Merry, Pippin, and Sam, Boromir, Aragorn, and of course, Gandalf.  They are the Fellowship of the Ring, a group of allies dedicated to this task.  Frodo is the Ringbearer, the one who must bear the burden of the Ring from that point on.

As in life, Frodo is surrounded by friends, and is constantly in danger.  If we see the Ring as sin, something introduced by the evil one, then Frodo's quest is to bear sin until he can destroy it.  It's not quite a perfect match, but I think it's a good one.  Just like Frodo, we all have sins.  We all need to be rid of it, to be clean.  We can't do it by ourself; we need some help.  We all need, in a figurative sense, to go to Mount Doom, to suffer, to repent of our sins, and be clean. 

It's a long and difficult process.  Luckily, we all have our friends surrounding us.  We have a lot of help from God.  We can, and if we're willing, will be rid of sin through Jesus Christ.

And now, "How it should have ended: Lord of the Rings"
(Seriously.  Why did noone think of this?)

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Life, Movies, and the Gospel: The Lord of the Rings

Today, I'm going to talk about what is arguable one of the best movie series of our days: The Lord of the Rings.
I'm not sure which I like better, the movies or the books.  Don't get me wrong, both are awesome.  I just don't know how they can possibly be compared.  I love them both, but the two really don't mix.

(Just as a side note, my parents, about five years ago, got me the complete trilogy, extended edition, on DVD.  It's about 12 whopping hours of incredible.  I've never watched it all at once.  Maybe once I have a worthy set-up.)

Anyway, this is probably one of the easiest movies with which to draw a parallel with the gospel.  I am not the first, and probably not the last, to suggest this.  Let's start with one of my favorite characters: Gandalf.

Gandalf.  The very name conjures up an image of a mysterious wizard, beloved by all and known by none.  Noone ever seems to know anything about him, except that he's doing what is best for you, even if you don't know it.  He dies to save his friends, and then comes back to save them again.  In a very real way, you could say that Gandalf is the mastermind behind the entire saving of Middle-earth.  If it had not been for Gandalf, no doubt Bilbo would have kept the ring, been caught by the Nazgul, Sauron would have won, and so much for Middle Earth.

In the same way, Jesus is the mastermind and worker of our salvation.  He was sent here to help us all out of our problems.  Basically, we are all trapped by two problems: Sin, and Death.  By ourselves, we can do nothing.  If it were not for Jesus Christ, all of our existence would be painful, pointless, and would end in oblivion.  However, because he died for me, we all will live again.  I know this to be true, and I will testify to my dying day of the same.

Should you so desire, go check out The Baggins Daily Report, another excellent blog about the Lord of the Rings and the Gospel.

Friday, August 12, 2011

On Garfield and Homer Simpson

I've tried to avoid letting people know this, but once you meet me, it becomes pretty obvious.  

I am very fit, and keep in good shape.  After all, round is a shape.

Lately, I've been gaining more weight.  When I entered Wilmington about a two months ago, I weighed about 270 pounds.  Yes, I know that that's a lot.  However, when you consider that this is 20 pounds less than when I started my mission, I thought it was pretty good.

Maybe I ought to inform you about a bit of LDS culture.  I am what is called an Elder, which is a title for missionaries.  Every so often, the members of our church invite us over to their houses for a spiritual message.  Most often, this takes the form of an invitation to eat.  I mean, what better way to do it?  Dinner and a show!

Anyway, since I've gotten here, I've realized that everyone, and I mean everyone, gives us something to eat.  It might be small, an apple here, a soda there, a plate full of rice and beans there, tostadas with soda, juice... It's all made so much harder by Hispanic culture, which says, "if you reject my food, you reject my hospitality and my friendship."  Very rock-and-a-hard place deal.
I've tried the "What people give you" diet, which is to just eat breakfast and what people give you.  I've counted the calories, and they all add up to more than 2000 calories per day.

I think the only option that I have left is to stop eating with people, and learn to say no.  There's just some things that aren't good for you.

It's all a matter of choice, really.  I have the option of not eating, which though harder, would help me to lose weight.  Why is it always so hard to eat right?

A king named Benjamin tells us the answer in a sermon to the Nephites.  He said, 
For the natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be, forever and ever, unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and putteth off the natural man and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord, and becometh as a childsubmissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father.  (Mosiah 3:19)
As a natural man, I want what pleases me.  I want to be lazy, not work, and have the world delivered to me on a silver platter.  What a pity that this doesn't seem to work.  It won't get anyone to heaven, either.  We have to work hard, trust in Christ, and allow Him to help us.

Now I just have to figure out what I'm going to tell the Hernandez family tomorrow.

(Also, this is a link to a post from a blog I stumbled upon.  It has one of the best diets I've ever found.)
The Zombie Diet

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Life, Gaming, and the Gospel: Genesis

When I say the word Genesis, what does that call to your mind?  It has the potential to be the first book in the Bible, or perhaps a failed attempt by Sega to keep up with Nintendo and Sony.

In my case, it summons images of creating worlds, of new life, of incredible power.

In other words, it sounds to me like the spell, Genesis, from Dungeons and Dragons.

Genesis is a ninth level spell, which translates into being about the same amount of power as calling down meteors, totally reprogramming someone's mind, summoning a controllable black hole, or changing reality.  (You could say that that's what all D&D spells do, is change reality, but that's beside the point.)  Basically, Genesis gives you the power to create your own miniature universe, 180 feet in radius.  Inside that sphere, you can do whatever you want. 

Should you so choose, you could fill that 360 foot sphere with pure gold, and single-handedly solve a good chunk of the national debt.  (If we crunch the numbers, let's see what we get. The volume of a sphere with Radius of 180 feet= (4/3)Pi(180*180*180)=24429024.47 cubic feet of gold.  Google informs me that a one-foot cube of gold would weigh 1206 pounds.  So, that mass of gold would weigh... 29461403516.02 pounds.  Since gold prices are usually done by ounces, we need to multiply by 16 to get 471,382,456,256.36 ounces of gold.  Assuming that the market were not to crash because of the amount of gold, and taking the price of gold today at about $1700 dollars per ounce, we have a staggering $801,350,175,635,812 dollars worth of gold, enough to dig the US out of its ~$10 trillion dollars of debt, and perhaps buy the country on the side.  Even were the gold to sell for just a dollar per ounce, you'd still be able to pay for the country's debt and still be fantastically rich.)

You could make it so that for every six seconds that passes in this world, eight hours pass in your mini-universe. (Helpful when you need to cram for tests, or perhaps a bit of vacation.) 

You could make it so that those annoying telemarketers would never find you again.  Of course, you'd also make it impossible for us missionaries to teach you the gospel, so let's not do that.

This single spell would make the smart user thereof invincible.  Nothing could defeat him.  Anything he needed, he could create in his mini-universe, and then use.

Think of that next time you're trying to outthink God.  He has his own universe.  Best of all, he's willing to share it with us because he loves us and wants us to be happy.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Life, Gaming, and the Gospel: Dungeons and Dragons, part 3

Click on the links to read Part one and Part Two of a series of articles about Dungeons and Dragons.

So, I've just been thinking a bit lately about Dungeons and Dragons.  A guy has to think about something, after all, and I've had a lot of practice thinking about D&D.  (I first got started in a library near my house when I saw a copy of the Dungeon Master's Guide on a shelf and figured, why not?  After all, I had seen some of my dad's old AD&D figurines, so I was kind of curious.)

Once I got my start, I was hooked.  What were these tables of feats, dice charts, adventures, characters, options, prestige classes, sourcebooks, weapons, character traits, flaws, monsters... Oh yes, lots of monsters...  From there, I branched out at the library.  I knew from the internet that I'd need the Dungeon Master's Guide (DMG), the Players Handbook (PHB) and the Monster Manual.  I couldn't find the PHB, so I got the Player's Handbook II.  (Yes, there's a second PHB.)  Since I couldn't find the PHB anywhere, I got really frustrated.  After all, the PHB is the only book of the main three that is absolutely indispensible; everything else revolves around it, since it explains the character rules the most clearly.

Imagine trying to play Monopoly without the rules.  Imagine playing any game without the rules.  It would become chaos, everyone trying to get their own way, trying to get all they can grab, and with noone really being sure when they've won or not.

It kind of sounds like today, now doesn't it?  Everyone's running around like a chicken with their head cut off, trying to scratch all the money that they can out of life.  All the times, they've lost the point of life.  Just like the point of D&D is not to get rich, in-game or out, the point of life is not to get rich but to be happy.  Certainly, having enough money to get by is healthy and good, but we just need to focus on being happy.  Christ is the best way to achieve that.  I know this to be true.

Next time you need to know what to do, try reading the scriptures. They're the instructions for life.

(A Postscript: I still don't actually own any of the PHB, MM, or DMG.  They're very hard to find in the thrift stores I shopped at.  I haven't gone on Amazon yet. Maybe when I get home from my mission.)

Friday, August 5, 2011

Life, Movies, and the Gospel: The Emperor's New Groove

Okay, let's start with the fact that I love movies.  Movies in general.  I especially love Disney movies, and I lean more towards animated movies than live action.  Comedy, especially satiric and smart-aleck, has a special place in my heart.  (By the way, if you ever need to identify a stand-up comic, I've probably listened to all of them.  Eddie Izzard and Jeff Dunham are some of my favorites, in case anybody was interested.)

Anyway, if you put all these facts together, you'll probably arrive at a movie called The Emperor's New Groove.

I just love this movie because it doesn't take itself too seriously.  It's got an obvious family flick turn to it, mixed with teenage sarcasm, goofy animation, and a good message.

Enter Kuzco.  He's that brilliantly smiling guy in the picture above.  Also, he's the Llama in the video.  Yeah, long story.  As you can see in the picture, this movie is all about HIM  He's the emperor, and his way goes.  Incredibly self-centered, he doesn't really care about anyone else.  After all, why should he?  He can do whatever he wants to whoever wants on the slightest whim.  Unfortunately, his ex-Vizier, Yzma, doesn't exactly see it that way.  After he fires her, she turns him into a llama in an attempt to kill him.  He's lost in the kingdom, and is found by Pacha, a peasant whose land Kuzco tried to seize to build his summer house.  He agrees to lead Kuzco back to the palace, on the condition that his land is not seized.  With Yzma and her muscle-bound assistant Kronk in hot pursuit, comedy ensues.  Along the way, Kuzco learns that he really isn't all powerful.  He can't do everything himself.  What's more, his heart is softened a bit, and he really learns the value of friendship.

As the movie goes on, one message stands out.  We're not really important. Sure, we all have problems, but with the power of friendship, we're able to defeat them.  With our friends, anything can be defeated.

However, I think there's an even more important lesson to learn, that of humility.  Instead of being stuck-up and full of ourselves, being proud, we should just let go and be humble.  If Kuzco had not been so proud in the first place, he would have had no problems. 

But then again, if he hadn't been proud, we wouldn't have a lesson.  Or, for that matter, one of my favorite Disney films.

Monday, August 1, 2011

The Three Pints PDF Print E-mail

By Thomas Cathcart & Daniel Klein   
An Irishman walks into a Dublin bar, orders three pints of Guiness, and drinks them down, taking a sip from one, then a sip from the next, until they're gone. He then orders three more. The bartender says, "You know, they'd be less likely to go flat if you bought them one at a time."
The man says, "Yeah, I know, but I have two brothers, one in the States, one in Australia. When we all went our separate ways, we promised each other that we'd all drink this way in memory of the days when we drank together. Each of these is for one of my brothers and the third is for me."
The bartender is touched, and says, "What a great custom!"
The Irishman becomes a regular in the bar and always orders the same way.
One day he comes in and orders two pints. The other regulars notice, and a silence falls over the bar. When he comes to the bar for his second round, the bartender says, "Please accept my condolences, pal."
The Irishman says, "Oh, no, everyone's fine. I just joined the Mormon Church, and I had to quit drinking."
I told that joke to Elder Bingham last night, and it made him bust out laughing.  It kind of reminds me of some times back in Redmond.  I used to work at a grocery store called Top foods, in Redmond.  People always used to invite me to drink with them, assuming that I was an adult.  (That only happened a few days ago.)  I'd have to explain to them that not only was I a minor, I was a Mormon.

There's a lot of evidence for why people shouldn't drink.  It doesn't really do anything for a person, it slowly kills a person's liver, and it makes you do things that no sane person would.  As Elizabeth Swan puts it, "It is a vile drink that turns even the most respectable men into complete scoundrels." 

However, the biggest reason why I don't drink alcohol is because God has told us not to.  In section 89 of the Doctrine and Covenants, God revealed that " inasmuch as any man drinketh wine or strong drink among you, behold it is not good...again, strong drinks are not for the belly."  I know that so long as we obey this law, we will have fewer health problems.  I've yet to drink alcohol, and I don't plan on changing this fact.

Wouldn't you think about it?