Archives for October 2008

My Experience with Lending Club

Lending Club

Getting Started

Ten days ago I funded my Lending Club account with a few spare dollars. On Monday the transfered money was available for use. Lending Club connects those seeking a loan with lenders. Risk of default from rickety borrowers can be spread out by investing only $25 per loan. Unlike Prosper, the interest rate is determined by Lending Club and remains fixed during the funding process. Lending Club sets the interest using a base rate and adds to it an adjustment for risk and volatility.

A few months ago I opened a Prosper account but the company is currently in a quiet period. Hence I moved my Prosper earnings over to Lending Club. I was able to invest in several notes without any difficulty. The software did present two procedures that were a little awkward at first but I readily adjusted. I will detail them below. Also remember that I am showing you how easy the process is but I am not telling you which loans to choose.

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How Many Toys Does It Take To Entertain Bryson?

As many as you can possibly find! This evening 24 days old Bryson came to visit his grandparents. So we got out a few toys to occupy him.
Bryson checks out the toys that surround him.
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Daniel Enters The Missionary Training Center

Daniel and the family at the MTC entrance

Daniel and the family at the MTC entrance

We took Daniel to the Missionary Training Center (MTC) today. All the family came along so we needed two vehicles. Daniel had his parents, siblings, in-laws, and nephew to say good-bye to him at the MTC. Well, Bryson didn’t say anything, he was asleep. In the photograph above, taken by a passing missionary at the entrance to the MTC, are (left to right): Derek holding Bryson, Sarah, Jake, Daniel, Rick, Jill, Adelaide, Steven, and Paul.

But first we took some photographs at home and then headed for the California Pizza Kitchen in Provo. This was our last meal with Daniel so of course I took some more photographs. We entered the MTC on time and Daniel received his missionary badge. We took our last photographs before entering the chapel where taking pictures is off-limits.

No chalk messages to missionaries on the sidewalk

No chalk messages to missionaries on the sidewalk

We began by singing Called To Serve and having a prayer by one of the new missionaries. A counselor conducted, telling us that couple missionaries arrive at the MTC on Mondays and elders and sisters on Wednesdays. He told the parents of a few rules, specifically to not to try and visit your missionary. No chalk messages on the sidewalk, and don’t try to “accidentally” run into your missionary in the Provo temple. He advised that we keep our letters to our missionary upbeat, don’t tell him you’ve given his car and his room away. At least not all in one letter.

Sister Boone, wife of the mission president, spoke next. She told the new missionaries that your role is to invite others to Come Unto Christ. There will be a lot of changes for the missionaries. Changes in walking, talking, thinking, and dressing. We have 800 instructors, all of them returned missionaries that have been carefully selected so that you get the best teaching. We have a lot of volunteers that you get to practice teaching to. They pose as Christian and non-Christian investigators. Our 56 Branch Presidencies will look after you as you are:

…faithful and diligent in keeping the commandments of God, and I will encircle thee in the arms of my love. (Doctrine and Covenants 6:20)

President Joseph Boone began by saying that missions should start at 16 because:

  • They know everything.
  • Their mothers would not cry when they left.

Daniel's missionary badge

Daniel's missionary badge

He cautioned missionaries not to be offended by our repetition. Imagine if the Prophet Joseph had said, “Now Moroni, you’ve already told me that twice.” Elders and Sisters you need to be careful.

President Monson has said that whatever you write home your mothers will read it all in Relief Society. President Boone wanted to put a plug in for missionary work so he warned about the three sins of senior couples: Sins of Omission, Commission, and No Mission.

He mentioned that the most significant publication of the Church in the last 50 years was Preach My Gospel. He said he liked the giant mural that is on a wall at Church Headquarters that depicts Christ before his apostles saying:

Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost (Matthew 28:19)

We continue that commission. Now, after the movie “Called To Serve” I recommend that you say your goodbyes like removing a band-aid — do it quickly.

And so we did. After a few hugs Daniel was gone and we left to go home. In the parking lot we discovered that one of my sons had left the keys in the van ignition. Jill went to get some help in opening the van. Oliver Nielsen of the BYU Police came to our rescue. It took him about fifteen minutes to trip the door latch and we were on our way. A big thank you to Brother Nielsen from all of us! And wherever you are resting tonight Elder Willoughby, sleep well, for tomorrow they are going to work you to death.

Jill places on Daniel his new missionary badge in the MTC foyer

Jill places on Daniel his new missionary badge in the MTC foyer


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Daniel is Set Apart as a Missionary

Bishop Facer, Daniel, and President Thredgold.
I completely forgot about Daniel’s setting apart until my neighbor, Andrew, reminded me. Talk about my brain getting rickety! Daniel was set apart as a missionary by his stake president. While Daniel sat on a chair in the Relief Society room President Thredgold laid his hand on Daniel’s head followed by the Melchizedek Priesthood holders in the room. After the setting apart we took a few photographs and then left so that Daniel can finish packing. In the photograph below is Adelaide, Steven, Jill, Daniel, Rick, Jake, and Paul. Sarah, Derek, and Bryson were not able to attend. The black box above Daniel’s head is an exit sign, which I think is rather appropriate.
The family at Daniel's setting apart.

Related Posts and Articles

Mail Call
Mongolia
Mongolia Specifics
Daniel Speaks In Sacrament Meeting
What Exactly Does it Mean when we are Set Apart?
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Family Home Evening With Teenagers: Just Wing It

At FHE: Rick, Paul, Daniel, Jill, and Jake.

Just Wing It

My advice for Family Home Evening with teenagers is to just wing it. If you get to fussing about it you may never start. Just get up and go and make it up as you go along. If you can plan ahead then that is great but don’t let lack of structure hold you back.

Lighten Up

When our children were young we held reasonably structured Family Home Evenings. They went well and our children learned a lot, especially as we gave them responsibility for a portion of the proceedings at the earliest possible age. As they became teenagers we moved to a loose program which went over just as well.
Family Home Evening Assignment Tracker.

This Evening

For example, consider tonight’s Home Evening. We only have one teenager left but the relaxed approach works just as well with our returned missionaries. Sometimes we use our little wooden rickety house to figure out who is on what assignment but most times we go from memory — that is one advantage to holding Family Home Evening every week. Daniel is on conduct so he tells me to start on the music. I distribute the hymn books and pick the hymn. I choose “Count Your Blessings“, hymn number 242, which Paul plays on the piano. Jake gives the prayer. Jill teaches the lesson which will turn into an activity (Jill loves to have an activity). To begin she quotes a well-known Book of Mormon scripture:

And behold, I tell you these things that ye may learn wisdom; that ye may learn that when ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God. (Mosiah 2:17)

She continues: The September Ensign has an article about how service can be done in quiet and simple ways. For example one person purchases unstained baby blankets at yard sales, washes them, and donates them to charity. Another member gives the extra items from her buy-one-get-one-free coupons to the sisters on her visiting teaching route or to families with children. Another sister has gorgeous rose bushes and shares a vase of them with the sisters in the ward during the summer.

Jill told how when she was single and had some time to spare she would spend two hours a day at a school helping the teacher. She would grade tests and help in small ways to keep the classroom running. A few years ago my wife and children went to a nursing home and sang for the residents. Our daughter Sarah played the accompaniment.

Jill then had each us write our names on a piece of paper along with something we would like done in the next 15 minutes. Here is what we wrote:

  • Rick: Clean the garage for five minutes.
  • Jill: Put all the winter clothing in the closet and remove all the summer stuff and put in boxes.
  • Paul: Put the blue basket of laundry in the washer.
  • Jake: Make me two sandwiches.
  • Daniel: Vacuum my room.

I ended up with Daniel’s service request. Jill went to the garage while Paul made sandwiches for Jake, providing an extra one for Jill. Daniel put the laundry in the washer and then helped Jake fulfill Jill’s request, which no-one wanted to draw.

We came back for the lesson conclusion. Jill asked that we share our feelings about our service. Now that is one losing request — ask four males to share their feelings. Jill said that she didn’t know that the boys had so many roller blades. Paul commented that we should do it again next year. Jake said it was a good lesson. Daniel mentioned that his was easy so he was able to help Jake. I said that I knew it would take a long time to vacuum Daniel’s room because it is the first time in five years I have seen the carpet. It seems that departing for a mission on Wednesday was incentive enough for him to pick up his room. Jill finishes with this quote by President Monson:

Along your pathway of life you will observe that you are not the only traveler. There are others who need your help. There are feet to steady, hands to grasp, minds to encourage, hearts to inspire, and souls to save. (Thomas S. Monson, “How Firm a Foundation,” Ensign, Nov 2006, 62, 67–68)

The most important item of all was furnished by Paul — FatBoys for the treat.

Conclusion

Rather than listen to me you may want to check with the experts before you leave tonight. If you are still reading I advise for Family Home Evening to just let your hair down and relax. For the lesson Jill picked up a nearby Ensign and flipped to an article and began. Most teenagers enjoy just winging it. If they are in seminary then they will likely do well with scriptures and quotes from the prophets. At times we would have a seventeen or eighteen year old just lay on the floor and sleep rather than participate. I found it best to leave them alone and in a few weeks they would become involved again. Family Home Evening works in raising faithful members who are not afraid to be involved because it encompasses much of what happens at church: prayer, lessons, teaching, singing, listening, activities, and yes even preparation at times.
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Proposition 8: Where Do Rights Come From?

California State Capitol.

Comment On Proposition 8

The purpose of this post is to examine the merits of one statement among many made in the comments of my post entitled Yes to Proposition 8 — No to Same-Sex Marriage Instruction. The statement is as follows:

Prop 8 is simple: it eliminates the rights for same-sex couples to marry. Prop 8 would deny equal protections and write discrimination against one group of people—lesbian and gay people—into our state constitution. (Rickety blog comment)

All other arguments would seem moot once it is established whether or not there is a right to same-sex marriage. And so with that intent we will proceed.

Where Do Rights Come From?

First let us look at two sentences from the Declaration of Independence, written by Thomas Jefferson and signed by 56 influential men.

We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.
That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just Powers from the Consent of the Governed. (Declaration of Independence)

We can identify from the Declaration that unalienable rights are given to us by our Creator. These unalienable (or inalienable) rights are natural rights which do not depend on laws or beliefs. They are always present and are universal. We also observe that governments derive their power from the governed and are to protect these natural rights. Government also passes laws to give legal rights (also called civil rights) which are not absolute but relative.

Is Same-Sex Marriage a Natural Right?

So is same-sex marriage a natural right? Let us examine these natural rights, those rights that come from God, for any clues. From the following scripture we can see that God meant for man and woman to be one flesh (married) and that man was not to break that union:

And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female,
And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh?
Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder. (Matthew 19:4-6)

Marriage between a man and a woman is a natural law. It is approved by God, is universal, and has been practiced from the beginning. Now consider the following scriptures:

For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature:
And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet. (Romans 1:26-27)

It is obvious from the above scripture that God does not approve of the act of homosexuality. This is not an isolated scripture. In the following scripture “abusers of themselves with mankind” refers to the homosexual act:

Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind,
Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. (1 Corinthians 6:9-10)

“Effeminate” in the above scripture refers to Catamites, adolescent boys in a sexual relationship with an adult male. Obviously in the following scripture “them that defile themselves with mankind” refers to homosexuality:

Knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers,
For whoremongers, for them that defile themselves with mankind, for menstealers, for liars, for perjured persons, and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine; (1 Timothy 1:9-10)

It cannot be said that same-sex marriage is a natural law. It certainly does not come from God.
Arnold Schwarzenegger, 38th Governor of California.

Is Same-Sex Marriage a Legal Right?

As of May 2007, twenty-six states have passed constitutional amendments explicitly barring the recognition of same-sex marriage, eighteen of which, including Utah, prohibit the legal recognition of any same-sex union. Nineteen additional states have legal statutes that define marriage as a union of two persons of the opposite sex. As of October 10, 2008, Massachusetts, California and Connecticut permit same-sex couples to marry. In 1996, the United States Congress passed the Defense of Marriage Act defining marriage as a union between a man and a woman amongst other stipulations.

So whether one likes it or not, in Massachusetts, California, and Connecticut couples have the legal right to a same-sex marriage. We are concerned with California so we will look at a little of her history:

Since 1977 the California Civil Code has defined marriage as:

…a personal relation arising out of a civil contract between a man and a woman, to which the consent of the parties capable of making that contract is necessary.

Here we see that marriage is defined as between a man and a woman hence same-sex marriage was not a legal right. It was non-existent. I will however make an important point: if same-sex marriage was a natural right then we could claim that the government was suppressing a God-given inalienable right. But no such natural right for same-sex marriage exists.

At the March 7, 2000 primary election Proposition 22 was adopted by a vote of 61.4% to 38%, thus adding § 308.5 to the Family Code, largely replicating the 1977 enactment. The one-sentence code section explicitly defines the union of a man and a woman as the only valid or recognizable form of marriage in the State of California. With Proposition 22, the majority of voters effectively determined that same-sex marriage was not a right.

On May 15, 2008 the California Supreme Court struck down California’s existing statutes limiting marriage to opposite-sex couples in a 4-3 ruling. The judicial ruling overturned the one-man, one-woman marriage law which the California Legislature had passed in 1977 and also Proposition 22. For more details see Same-sex marriage in California.

Now same-sex marriage is a legal right in California, even though the majority had previously said it was not. And so we arrive at Proposition 8. If it passes, then there will be no legal right to a same-sex marriage. It will be as if the right never existed. Except of course the constitutional amendment will likely not be retro-active and therefore some Californian same-sex marriages will still exist. It was unfortunate, and in my opinion irresponsible, that the judges did not stay the implementation of their decision until after the November election.

Summary

The commenter says that passage of Proposition 8 would discriminate against gays. By definition the state constitution cannot deny equal protections or discriminate because the constitution is the supreme law and defines the rights for the state. As shown, same-sex marriage is not a natural right. It can be a legal right depending on the will of the people. Where the people’s vote decides there is no legal right there cannot be any discrimination. The right simply does not exist, natural or legal.

Related Articles

Same-Sex Marriage and Proposition 8. Includes LDS documents, interviews, video, and links to websites.
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Dow Ten Largest Daily Point and Percentage Losses

When you feed the bears, it can get brutal.

Dow Losses

I find it interesting (and depressing) to look at the all-time Dow Jones Industrial Average largest point and percentage losses. The recent losses have been bad news for most people’s 401Ks. The tables show only the largest one-day losses between a given day’s close and the close of the previous trading day.

Notice that the top point losses all are from 1997 onwards whereas only three of the the top ten percentage losses are from 1987 onwards. As a percentage loss, 2008 only appears in ninth place but takes first, second, fourth, and fifth places in point losses.

Further, the last ten years have claimed eight of the ten highest point losses with half of the top ten taking place in 2008.

Dow Top Ten Largest Daily Point Losses

Click ONCE on column headers to sort.

Rank Date Close Change % Change
1 9/29/2008 10365.45 -777.68 -6.98
2 10/15/2008 8577.91 -733.08 -7.87
3 9/17/2001 8920.7 -684.81 -7.13
4 12/1/2008 8,149.09 -679.95 -7.70
5 10/9/2008 8579.19 -678.91 -7.33
6 8/8/2011 10809.85 -634.76 -5.55
7 4/14/2000 10305.78 -617.77 -5.66
8 10/27/1997 7161.14 -554.26 -7.18
9 8/10/2011 10719.94 -519.83 -4.62
10 10/22/2008 8519.21 -514.45 -5.69

 

Dow Top Ten Largest Daily Percentage Losses

Click ONCE on column headers to sort.

Rank Date Close Change % Change
1 10/19/1987 1738.74 -508 -22.61
2 10/28/1929 260.64 -38.33 -12.82
3 10/29/1929 230.07 -30.57 -11.73
4 11/6/1929 232.13 -25.55 -9.92
5 12/18/1899 58.27 -5.57 -8.72
6 8/12/1932 63.11 -5.79 -8.4
7 3/14/1907 76.23 -6.89 -8.29
8 10/26/1987 1793.93 -156.83 -8.04
9 10/15/2008 8577.91 -733.08 -7.87
10 7/21/1933 88.71 -7.55 -7.84

 

Source

For more tables of the Dow largest point and percentage losses see Wikipedia.

Photo Credit

Bear Market by Mark Rain.

Updates

Added a 679.95 point loss for December 1, 2008.
Added a 634.76 point loss for August 8, 2011.
Added a 519.83 point loss for August 10, 2011.
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Early Voting in Davis County, Utah

Standing by an early voting line outside the Layton Library.

For the information on voting in the current elections go to Vote.Utah.Gov.

I am accustomed to voting early. The process is not at all rickety and is rather simple. A few days ago I went to Leave Your Print to find a list of the times and locations where I could vote early. Here are all the remaining times left to early vote in Davis County:

Bountiful Library, 725 South Main, Bountiful
Friday, Oct. 24, 7:00am – 11:00am
Saturday, Oct. 25, 12:00pm – 4:00pm
Monday, Oct. 27, 12:00pm – 4:00pm
Tuesday, Oct. 28-30, 3:00pm – 8:00pm
Friday, Oct. 31, 10:00am – 5:00pm

Davis County Courthouse, 28 East State Street #107, Farmington
Tuesday, Oct. 21-24, 8:30 am – 4:30 pm
Monday, Oct. 27-30, 8:30 am – 4:30 pm
Friday, Oct. 31, 8:30 am – 5:00 pm

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Epic Excerpts: Gordon B. Hinckley

President Gordon B. Hinckley.

President Hinckley

Gordon Bitner Hinckley, born 23 June 1910 was the fifteenth president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from 12 March 1995 until his death. During Hinckley’s presidency he dedicated more temples than anyone else. He presided over the building of the 20,000 seat Conference Center, the issuance of the Proclamation on the Family, the creation of the Church’s Perpetual Education Fund and the reconstruction of the historic Nauvoo Illinois Temple. At the time of his death, 27 January 2008, almost one-third of the Church’s membership had joined under his leadership. I can recall many of these epic quotations being spoken:

Stand A Little Taller

The time has come for us to stand a little taller, to lift our eyes and stretch our minds to a greater comprehension and understanding of the grand millennial mission of this, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. (“This Is the Work of the Master,” Ensign, May 1995, 69)

Hard Work

Without hard work, nothing grows but weeds. (“Farewell to a Prophet,” Ensign, Jul 1994, 37–40)

Death

All of us have to deal with death at one time or another, but to have in one’s heart a solid conviction concerning the reality of eternal life is to bring a sense of peace in an hour of tragedy and loss that can come from no other source under the heaven. (“Excerpts from Recent Addresses of President Gordon B. Hinckley,” Ensign, Jan 1998, 72)

Respect For Self

Respect for self is the beginning of virtue in men. (“In Opposition to Evil,” Ensign, Sep 2004, 2–6)

Watch Ourselves

Let us, each of us, watch ourselves. Whenever we have within us a little temper, go outside, breathe some fresh air, and come in with a smile and throw your arms around your companion and tell her you love her. Look to your children and let them know that you love them. Live with them kindly and graciously, as Latter-day Saints should do. (“Inspirational Thoughts,” Ensign, Aug 2000, 2)

Good Parents

[The Lord] expects us to be good parents, fathers and mothers, husbands and wives. He expects husbands to treat their wives with deference and respect. He expects wives to treat their husbands with kindness and helpfulness. He expects us to be good parents to our children. (“Latter-day Counsel: Selections from Addresses of President Gordon B. Hinckley,” Ensign, Apr 2001, 73)

Kindness

Our kindness may be the most persuasive argument for that which we believe. (“We Bear Witness of Him,” Ensign, May 1998, 4)

Houses In Order

I am suggesting that the time has come to get our houses in order. So many of our people are living on the very edge of their incomes. In fact, some are living on borrowings. . . We are carrying a message of self-reliance throughout the church. Self-reliance cannot be obtained when there is serious debt hanging over a household. One has neither independence nor freedom from bondage when he is obligated to others. (“To the Boys and to the Men,” Ensign, Nov 1998, 51)

Mothers

It is the home which produces the nursery stock of new generations. I hope that you mothers will realize that when all is said and done, you have no more compelling responsibility, nor any laden with greater rewards, than the nurture you give your children in an environment of security, peace, companionship, love and motivation to grow and do well. (“Stand Strong against the Wiles of the World,” Ensign, Nov 1995, 98)

Honesty

I think the Lord expects of his people that they will be absolutely honest in all of their dealings. In all that they do, they will be honest with others and honest with themselves. “We believe in being honest, true, chaste, benevolent, virtuous, and in doing good to all men.” (Thirteenth Article of Faith) (“Latter-day Counsel: Excerpts from Recent Addresses of President Gordon B. Hinckley,” Ensign, Apr 1999, 71)

Try Handing Out Compliments

There is a sad tendency in our world today for persons to cut one another down. Did you ever realize that it does not take very much in the way of brainpower to make remarks that may wound another? Try the opposite of that. Try handing out compliments. (“Strengthening Each Other,” Ensign, Feb 1985, 3)

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