Tuesday, January 22, 2008

What we can deduce about Mitt

According to wikipedia Mitt Romney was once a bishop and a stake president in the LDS (Mormon) church.

"So what?", you ask?

Quick background -- a bishop is the leader of a congregation (ward), and the stake president is the leader of a group of wards called a stake. Nearly all issues faced by members of the church are dealt with at the ward or stake level.

A few months back I was sitting in a bishopric training meeting where someone from the LDS Family Resources center was giving a presentation on addiction recovery and support. The lady mentioned that they had encountered all kinds of people dealing with pornography addiction, including bishops, high counselors, etc. -- everyone, that is, except patriarchs, and stake presidents. I immediately understood that the position of stake president is unique -- that the caliber of person called into that role is much higher than your average church member. It also lines up with my experience with stake presidents.

Note, Mitt didn't run for the office of stake president -- in fact, anybody lobbying for a position like that is more likely to have their sanity called into question than get it. Neither stake presidents nor bishops get paid, and their workload is tremendous!

His story sounds good, but I wasn't ready to believe that Mitt was sincere until I found that out.

More facts for those who don't know:
  • Stake presidents serve from 8 to 12 years -- Mitt served for 9.
  • They likely spend 12-20 hours a week on stake business
  • They oversee and work closely with dozens of the best individuals in the church in the area, interacting regularly with sharp, dedicated men and women who've managed to get their lives in order and keep them there for years and years -- then, they regularly go to trainings with church leaders, an impressive group, to learn directly from them
  • Bishops and stake presidents are called to hear confessions of people who have committed serious sins -- they spend hours and hours with individuals pouring out their hearts -- listening to things that normal people never get to hear -- people being fully honest about their innermost weaknesses and sins. Mitt has been in this role for probably 15 years! He knows what goes on in the hearts of men, and I bet he knows more about how to read individuals than any of the other candidates, just based on that alone.
  • Bishops and stake presidents oversee an organization that's the most perfect of any one I know -- that oversees dozens of ongoing activities and group structures, that takes care of the individuals and the group at the same time. He's been at least indirectly responsible for the religious instruction and care of toddlers, children, scouts, young men and women, young adults, adults, all the way up to the elderly. He probably feels as comfortable teaching a group of 18-month old kids about sharing as he does playing basketball with the old guys. He's been a part of an organization that really works from top to bottom.
I could be wrong of course, but all we have on a person is what they've been and done, and his record, both in church and in politics, is quite impressive as far as I'm concerned.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Windows annoying

"The simple truth is that Windows users are more accustomed to being annoyed by their machines." - John Gruber

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Rules of Thumb

It doesn't take many entries for a site about Rules of Thumb to be useful.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Myths vs. Reality

A nicely professional attempt to address the myths vs. reality of the LDS church -- starring Steve Young and 1985 Miss America, Sharlene Hawkes.

They only have clips of President Hinckley in General Conference where his tone is formal and serious -- which might seem to corroborate the comment of one of the first guys in the video about the Mormons being "sad people". Sad? We're certainly not happy in a giddy sort-of way -- I think maybe what he's seeing is what our mix of reverent and usually-joyful looks like?

I don't feel sad.

(... just maybe a little homesick for the desert.)

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

First forays into "Art"

A common thing to hear out of Regan these days goes something like this: "If I clean up the kitchen table, can I earn some money?" I'm still trying to decide how I feel about this -- I'm glad she wants to work... but why is she so concerned about money at 5 years old?

It's probably because we always tell her she can't have things because we don't have money for them. Come to think of it, she's doing exactly what I think a little kid *should* do if they wanted something. It's starting to make sense...

Anyway, I want her to work for her money, but I don't want to pay her for chores around the house -- that's part of being a citizen of the house. But I don't want her out interacting with the public selling things or services door to door either (which she has offered to do, by the way) -- too many unknowns. So what's left?

About a month back it came to me -- she loves to draw, so why not sell her art on eBay? She's not Picasso's-younger-sister yet, but she's not trying to make thousands of dollars either. She'll get to improve her skills, all the business goes through me, and if some mysterious unknown bidder picks up her latest piece for a few dollars she'll be thrilled, her skills will improve, and she'll have a good experience with it. Oh, and if a friend or family member happens to take interest in one, even better.

Experience has taught me that my favorite ideas are often those that don't work in practice. But I sure hope this one does.

Does anyone read this thing?

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