Archives for August 2010

Missionary Dan Email #21 from Vancouver, Washington

Daniel and companion with couple

Daniel (right) and and Elder Hardy with couple

We had yet again another great week. This time its full of exciting things such as baptism! We had one investigator pass an interview and another having her interview this Friday. They should be baptized next weekend.

Stephanie is a investigator that looked up the church online and went to the wrong building and at the wrong time. She remembered going there as a small child and said she enjoyed the services. The bishop there got her information and it was passed to us. I remember her saying on the first phone call she wasn’t interested in converting. I mentioned we would stop by to tell her more about the church so she’d feel comfortable coming and could answer her questions. So she has come to church about four times now and we’ve been meeting with her for that month’s time. We asked her to be baptized a while ago, but since she was living with her boyfriend she didn’t know when she could be. So this week, she is moving out and it opened up the opportunity for her to be baptized. Her boyfriend didn’t treat her with respect so she is relieved to move out. We are so happy that the Lord has helped her to improve her life.

Also we have been working with a less active couple. They had been making their way back to activity and asked us to come over and teach the lessons. We taught them lessons and the Spirit helped them. Now they feel comfortable coming to church. We saw them at the ward BBQ (see picture above).

To top it off four investigators also came to the ward BBQ and they had a great time. We got to play volleyball with them for awhile and they developed friendships with the members.

Daniel on grass painted greenThe weather here has been very dry for about two months now. We hope the rain holds off for a lot longer. It has been nice, but it has had it’s effect on people’s lawns. Since it does rain so much usually they don’t have sprinklers so in the summer it’s common to have a dead lawn. A member’s neighbor wanted to still have green grass so they painted it (see photo below). The member said of the experience, “I went to church in the morning and we both had dead grass, I come home and my neighbor’s grass was green. I thought they don’t go to church and I do, but they get the green grass.” It was funny to hear him talk about it.

All things are well and thanks for all the support. The pictures were great to see, it looks like the festival was fun.

Love, Elder Willoughby

Elder Daniel Willoughby is serving in the Washington Kennewick Mission. If you want to communicate with Daniel, write in the comments or use one of these addresses.
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There is Plenty of Sound in an Empty Barrel: Part 1

Paul standing on ten barrels

Paul has undertaken a number of projects of late. There was the arc welder from microwave ovens (still to be completed); the Halloween costume from a microwave oven; the Arduino AVR High-Voltage Serial Programmer; Green Jell-O Filled Orange Wedges; and Green Jell-O Pineapple Rings.

His latest project has him collecting empty 55 gallon barrels. He spied his first two behind a car wash and asked the owner if he could have them. The next acquisition involved Paul and I taking a trip to South Jordan yesterday and buying eight barrels for $5 each. We transported them home in my Dodge Grand Caravan. Paul needs another four barrels to start his project.

Can you guess what he is going to make with these barrels? If you already know don’t let on.

Go to Part 2
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Apostles on Religion

Elder Dallin H. OaksThe Williamsburg Charter reminds us that despite our constitutional prohibition against establishing a state religion, in many areas of the United States during the nineteenth century there was “a de facto semi-establishment of one religion in the United States: a generalized Protestantism given dominant status in national institutions, especially in the public schools.” In contrast, the Charter continues, “In more recent times, and partly in reaction, constitutional jurisprudence has tended, in the view of many, to move toward the de facto semi-establishment of a wholly secular understanding of the origin, nature, and destiny of humankind and of the American nation.”

Over time, these “wholly secular understandings” have attained “a dominant status,” until there is a “striking absence today of any national consensus about religious liberty as a positive good.” The Charter concludes: “The renewal of religious liberty is crucial to sustain a free people that would remain free.” (Dallin H. Oaks, “Religion in Public Life,” Ensign, Jul 1990, 7)

Elder James E FaustThere seems to be developing a new civil religion. The civil religion I refer to is a secular religion. It has no moral absolutes. It is nondenominational. It is nontheistic. It is politically focused. It is antagonistic to religion. It rejects the historic religious traditions of America. It feels strange. If this trend continues, nonbelief will be more honored than belief. While all beliefs must be protected, are atheism, agnosticism, cynicism, and moral relativism to be more safeguarded and valued than Christianity, Judaism, and the tenets of Islam, which hold that there is a Supreme Being and that mortals are accountable to him? If so, this would, in my opinion, place America in great moral jeopardy.

For those who believe in God, this new civil religion fosters some of the same concerns as the state religions that prompted our forefathers to escape to the New World. Nonbelief is becoming more sponsored in the body politic than belief. History teaches well the lesson that there must be a unity in some moral absolutes in all societies for them to endure and progress. Indeed, without a national morality they disintegrate. In Proverbs, we are reminded that “righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people.” (Prov. 14:34.) The long history and tradition of America, which had its roots in petitions for divine guidance, is being challenged. (James E. Faust, “A New Civil Religion,” Ensign, Oct 1992, 69)

Elder M. Russell BallardIndeed, some people now claim that the Founding Fathers’ worst fear in connection with religion has been realized; that we have, in fact, a state-sponsored religion in America today. This new religion, adopted by many, does not have an identifiable name, but it operates just like a church. It exists in the form of doctrines and beliefs, where morality is whatever a person wants it to be, and where freedom is derived from the ideas of man and not the laws of God. Many people adhere to this concept of morality with religious zeal and fervor, and courts and legislatures tend to support it.

While you may think I am stretching the point a bit to say that amorality could be a new state-sponsored religion, I believe you would agree that we do not have to look far to find horrifying evidence of rampant immorality that is permitted if not encouraged by our laws. From the plague of pornography to the devastation caused by addiction to drugs, illicit sex, and gambling, wickedness rears its ugly head everywhere, often gaining its foothold in society by invoking the powers of constitutional privilege.

We see a sad reality of contemporary life when many of the same people who defend the right of a pornographer to distribute exploitive films and photos would deny freedom of expression to people of faith because of an alleged fear of what might happen from religious influence on government or public meetings. While much of society has allowed gambling to wash over its communities, leaving broken families and individuals in its soul-destroying wake, it reserves its harshest ridicule for those who advocate obedience to God’s commandments and uniform, inspired standards of right and wrong. (M. Russell Ballard, “Religion in a Free Society,” Ensign, Oct 1992, 64)

Elder Russell M. NelsonThe dismal dusk of today’s spiritual drift provides a rare opportunity for the radiance of religion to light the way to a new tomorrow. This can happen only as we proclaim eternal truths that have the power to engender spiritual strength. Human nature cannot be changed by reforming public policy; that kind of change comes by exposing the human mind and heart to the transforming teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ. I have learned that when we teach His correct principles, people govern themselves appropriately.

We at this world parliament represent many religious persuasions. Because there is much that is praiseworthy in each of our faiths, it is important for us to maintain the integrity of our religious institutions and to preserve tolerance of each other’s sacred beliefs. These factors are essential to the strength of a pluralistic society. Tolerance and understanding are enhanced as we teach clearly and courteously the tenets of our religions. (Russell M. Nelson, “Combatting Spiritual Drift—Our Global Pandemic,” Ensign, Nov 1993, 102–8

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Cedar Breaks National Monument

Cedar Breaks National Monument

Between the Backstage Tour and Pride and Prejudice we visited Cedar Breaks National Monument. There was construction going on at the visitor center with areas roped off. I last saw Cedar Breaks over 25 years ago and it was bigger than what I remember it. We didn’t have much time there but it was worth the drive. I did get a few photographs which you can click to enlarge.

Cedar Breaks National Monument

Cedar Breaks, according to Wikipedia, is a natural amphitheater canyon, stretching across 3 miles, with a depth of over 2,000 feet. The elevation of the rim of the canyon is over 10,000 feet above sea level. The eroded rock of the canyon is similar to formations at Bryce Canyon National Park, but has its own distinct look. Because of its elevation, snow often makes it inaccessible to vehicles from October through May.

Cedar Breaks National Monument

The canyon-rim visitor center, tiny compared to the visitor centers at nearby and better-known Bryce Canyon and Zion National Park, is open only from June through October, although park headquarters at a lower elevation in Zion is open the rest of the year. It is not as popular as some of the nearby National Parks, but several hundred thousand people do visit annually.

Cedar Breaks National Monument

I like this photograph, click here for a full resolution version (3 MB). The golden-mantled ground squirrel is a type of ground squirrel that lives in all types of forests across North America. It eats seeds, nuts, berries, insects, and underground fungi. It is preyed upon by hawks, jays, weasels, foxes, bobcats, and coyotes. A typical adult ranges from 9 to 12 inches in length. The Golden-mantled ground squirrel can be identified by its chipmunk-like stripes and coloration, but unlike chipmunks, it lacks any facial stripes. It is commonly found living in the same habitat as Uinta chipmunks.

Cedar Breaks National Monument

Cedar Breaks was established in 1933. A small lodge, designed by Gilbert Stanley Underwood and built and operated by the Utah Parks Company once existed near the south end of the monument, but it was razed in 1972. The Cedar Breaks Lodge was the smallest of the park lodges in the Southwest. It was deemed “uneconomical to operate” by the Park Service, but protests associated with its demolition caused the Park Service to re-examine its policies concerning lodges in other parks, contributing to their preservation. The monument includes Cedar Breaks Archeological District, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1978.

Cedar Breaks National Monument
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Utah Shakespearean Festival: Adams Theatre Backstage Tour

Adams Shakespearean TheatreSo far I have written about The 39 Steps, Much Ado about Nothing, Pride and Prejudice, The Greenshow and the Randall Theatre Backstage Tour. The Adams Shakespearean Theatre Backstage Tour is just a continuation of the Randall Theatre Backstage Tour. The whole tour takes 90 minutes.

The Festival website states:

The Adams Shakespearean Theatre, dedicated in 1977, was designed by Douglas N. Cook, Festival producing artistic director, along with Max Anderson of the Utah State Building Board, and is patterned after drawings and research of sixteenth century Tudor stages. Experts say it is one of a few theatres that probably comes close to the design of the Globe Theatre in which Shakespeare’s plays were originally produced. It is so authentic, in fact, that the British Broadcasting Company filmed part of its Shakespeare series there. It is named for Grace Adams Tanner, a major benefactor of the Festival, and her parents, Thomas D. and Luella R. Adams. It seats 819, plus 66 gallery-bench or standing-room seats.

I took a few more photographs on this last leg of the tour. Backstage there is less room and little storage space compared with the Randall Theatre. There are plans for the New Shakespeare Theatre with a goal of completing the fundraising campaign in time to celebrate the Festival’s fiftieth anniversary season in 2011.

The new theatre, including the lobby, will be enclosed in a glass “shell” with a retractable roof to bring the outdoors into the theatre. I have included a photograph of a scale model of the theatre below.

Adams Shakespearean Theatre

Fog producing machine

Fog producing machine

Adams Theatre trapdoor

Adams Theatre trapdoor

Model of the New Shakespeare Theatre

Model of the New Shakespeare Theatre

Next: Cedar Breaks National Monument
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Utah Shakespearean Festival: Randall Theatre Backstage Tour

Randall Jones TheatreAfter The 39 Steps and Much Ado about Nothing but before Pride and Prejudice and The Greenshow, Jill and I toured the Randall L. Jones Theatre backstage. The building was built completely with private funds. It was named after a former Southern Utah University shop professor whose family donated funds for the theater.

The Festival website states:

The Randall L. Jones Theatre, dedicated in 1989, was designed by the firm of Fowler, Ferguson, Kingston, and Ruben, with theatrical design by the California firm of Landry and Bogan, as well as Cameron Harvey, Festival producing artistic director. It was built at a cost of $5.5 million, to expand the Festival’s offerings, especially in the area of world classics, and was featured in the August 1990 edition of Architecture magazine. The theatre is named after a Cedar City native known as the father of tourism in southern Utah. It seats 769.

On the Backstage Tour we got to see what it really takes to produce a major dramatic production. We learned about theatre sets, costumes, and lighting and the designers and technicians who bring it all to life. Our tour guide was one of the costume technicians and she was able to knowledgeably answer our questions.

Jill asked for permission to take a few photographs and it was granted. Click on the images to enlarge.

Randall Theatre backstage

Randall Theatre backstage. In the far corner is the set for Great Expectations.

Great Expectations set

The set for Great Expectations

Randall Theatre trapdoor

Randall Theatre trapdoor

Wigs ready for showtime

Wigs ready for showtime

Next: The Adams Shakespearean Theatre Backstage Tour
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Utah Shakespearean Festival: The Greenshow

The GreenshowThere was more to our visit to the Utah Shakespearean Festival than The 39 Steps, Much Ado about Nothing, and Pride and Prejudice. Not only were there more plays but there were such diversions as The Greenshow. The Greenshow is a series of complimentary performances presented six nights a week, prior to the evening theatrical performances. There are also several comely “tarts” selling Elizabethan fare.

The Utah Shakespearean Festival website has this to say:

The perfect mood enhancer for the Festival’s productions can be found each summer evening on the beautiful green and courtyard surrounding the Adams Shakespearean Theatre. The Greenshow features the spirited song, dance, and costumes of Shakespeare’s day, and it’s free! Add storytelling, juggling, and Elizabethan sweets, and you’ll have a fun-filled frolic to prepare you for the main stage performance that follows.

This time I only saw a few minutes of The Greenshow — just long enough to snap a couple of photographs. In prior visits I have watched a whole show for they are very entertaining.

The Greenshow

Next: The Randall L. Jones Theatre Backstage Tour

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Free Books #1

Free booksMy bookshelf is overflowing so I have used books to give away. The guidelines (subject to refinement) are:

  • Request a book in the comments.
  • You must be local to Kaysville, Utah. I will not mail books.
  • Currently requests are limited to those who know me and/or know where I live.

The books:

  1. The Majesty of Books Sterling W. Sill
  2. Mormon Fortune Builders Lee Nelson
  3. Abraham Lincoln Carl Sandburg (softcover)
  4. The Church Years J. Reuben Clark
  5. Gospel Ideals David O. McKay (softcover)
  6. Halo The Fall of Reach Eric Nylund (softcover)
  7. Children of Dune Frank Herbert (softcover)
  8. What To Expect — The Toddler Years Arlene Eisenberg etc. (softcover)
  9. Doctrinal New Testament Commentary (3 volumes) Bruce R. McConkie
  10. Letters From Rifka Karen Hesse (softcover)

Update

Receiving no takers, I have recently donated these books and several others to Deseret Industries.
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Utah Shakespearean Festival: Pride and Prejudice

Pride and Prejudice set

The set of Pride and Prejudice in the Randall L. Jones Theatre

Pride and Prejudice posterHaving already seen The 39 Steps and Much Ado about Nothing, we were looking forward to Pride and Prejudice to finish our two days at the Utah Shakespearean Festival. Pride and Prejudice is a novel by Jane Austen. It was begun in 1796, her second novel, but her first serious attempt at publication. She finished the original manuscript by 1797 in Steventon, Hampshire, where she lived with her parents and siblings in the town rectory. Austen originally called the story First Impressions, but it was never published under that title; instead, she made extensive revisions to the manuscript, then retitled and eventually published it as Pride and Prejudice.

The play is adapted by Joseph Hanreddy and J. R. Sullivan and directed by B. J. Jones. The Utah Shakespearean Festival website has this to say:

Mr. and Mrs. Bennet are desperate. With no sons, they are determined to arrange profitable marriages for their five beautiful daughters. However, when two eligible young men arrive in the neighborhood, excitement and passion begin to rule; and the Bennet household is in danger of being tipped firmly on its end. Fully capturing the spirit of the classic book, this adaptation is delightful, romantic, and fun for the entire family.

My wife owns the notable 1995 television version produced by the BBC starring Jennifer Ehle and Colin Firth. Also the 2005 movie starring Keira Knightley (in an Oscar-nominated performance) and Matthew Macfadyen. She also has the book. So it was destined that she would see the play.

For me, already knowing the plot and the ending, didn’t spoil the play. The interest now is not in what happens but how the story is told. It seemed to me that all the story was covered — I did not notice anything that was left out. But I do not think I would catch omissions anyway as I have not read the book.

Wikipedia has an interesting Pride and Prejudice Character Map showing the relationships between characters.
Pride and Prejudice Character Map

Next: The Greenshow
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