Archives for March 2009

Past Pictures: Daniel Campaigns for Student Body Officer

Vote Dan Willoughby poster on a wall of Davis High School

Dan’s poster on a wall of Davis High School

Today in the Past Pictures series I also have moving pictures. In 2007 Daniel ran for Student Body Officer at Davis High School. This is his campaign video which was a big factor in his being elected. If you do not see the video in your feed reader, try here. The inside of Davis High was awash in campaign posters (3.4 Mb image). Dan’s poster is on the railing, 16th from the left.

Elected with Daniel was Danny Anderson, Alex Gerrish, Steve Pitcher, Jon Rose, Mitch Steed, and Cam Turnbow. Notice that these are all young men. The theory goes that the Sophomore girls are the major voting block and so one should produce your campaign video to appeal to them. You also might want a great campaign manager like Daniel had in his older brother Paul.


Previous Past Pictures

Past Pictures: Who’s The Dame?
Past Pictures: Hill Aerospace Museum
Past Pictures: Temple Site
Past Pictures: A Double Blessing
Past Pictures: My Parents
Past Pictures: Richard At Eight
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Missionary Dan Email #8 from Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia

Daniel (left) with companion (right) and Mongon Od

Daniel (left) with companion (right) and Mongon Od

Presented here are portions of Elder Daniel Willoughby’s eighth email from the Mongolia Ulaanbaatar Mission. If anyone wishes to send Daniel a message, write it in the comments and I will make sure he receives it.

Thanks for all the pictures. They are really good to see. I am grateful to hear that everyone is doing well.

Missionary Work

The work here is moving at lightning speed. My companion and I are still running some days to keep up with the busy schedule. We have more referrals than we can contact at the moment. We have an investigator that asked when she can be baptized. Erdenmohx knows that the Book of Mormon is true and has such great desire. We held a fast to help her family accept the Church and not be so against it. Yesterday at church she said her family was OK with the Church. The Lord has greatly blessed us.

Mongon Od, our investigator, came with us to the fireside yesterday. The fireside was so full that maybe 30 people were standing with every seat filled. It was quite the site to see. They are incredible! After the fireside he said he wanted to serve a mission. We will work with him to get baptism first. :)

The Mongolian members are truly amazing. It is hard to imagine that the Church has only been here for 16 years. My branch has 130 members that attend almost every Sunday. All of them are so welcoming to those joining the Church. They are so good at doing their best to magnify their callings. The members are so faithful. For some they have to travel a long way to get to church. I am always learning things from them.

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Problems with Checking Finder Identity Check

My guest writer today is Anonymous who identifies a problem with Checking Finder that I have also experienced. My situation was resolved eventually by the bank to which I was applying when they contacted me directly. Read on to learn how to avoid the potential pitfalls during sign up.

Avoid the Mistakes

I had an interesting experience in trying to sign up with one of the banks on your list. I would like to somehow convey this information (without revealing my identity) to readers out there so that they can avoid some common mistakes that many people (including me) could make when going through the on-line application process.

Checking Finder Logo

Beware because not all identity checks are created equal.

The Problem

Many banks and credit unions use an outside service provided by Checking Finder which goes through a three step process of:

  1. Taking your application information.
  2. Verifying your personal identity.
  3. Passing this information back to the bank or credit union.

Step (2), the identity verification process, has major problems in it that could result in your disqualification at one or more banks.

The Culprit

Checking Finder contracts out to a third party who, based on the social security number and valid drivers license number you provide, looks at your credit report and develops a series of security questions about your financial history. This is done in real-time and appears on your computer screen as you are filling out the application on Checking Finder. If you get any of the questions wrong, Checking Finder notifies the bank or credit union that you are applying to stating that you were unable to answer all the questions accurately.

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Missionary Dan Email #7 from Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia

Presented here are portions of Elder Daniel Willoughby’s seventh email from the Mongolia Ulaanbaatar Mission.

Daniel in Ulaanbaatar
Daniel in Ulaanbaatar

Hello Family

Looks like the trip [to Texas] was fun. Thanks for the pictures. I planned on sending some today but I still have to figure out why my card reader won’t read my chip. Next week I’ll have it fixed. :) [In] all the pictures everyone looks really happy.

Congratulations Byron! It is really exciting that you were called to the same country as your dad. It seems to be a bit warmer [in Argentina] than here probably. Spanish is a good language. I don’t mind not being able to speak it. The Mongolian language is great. The Mongolians speak their language with perfection so everyone is always correcting me. It is a really good way to learn. I have been really blessed to learn the language quickly. I’m starting to understand people when I talk to them.

English Class

My schedule was switched around to a school closer to me now. I am working with the school to get times to teach. On Saturday they were asking me if the material they had for 6th graders was hard enough. I searched deep into my mind and tried to remember what English grammar I was learning in 6th grade but not much to my surprise I couldn’t remember. I said, “I don’t know… looks good…” My classes are great and they talk to me in English. I am trying to learn their names. They like to learn songs from American bands. Today I’m going to prepare more lessons so I can be a better teacher. I am still learning what to do.

Missionary Work

This week my companion and I were very busy. We spent a lot of time teaching. We were blessed with many new investigators. Erden Monx is amazing. She came to watch a baptism before we even taught the first lesson. During church she was taking notes like crazy, writing almost every word and scripture the teacher was saying, and even introduced herself. I was doing my best to give her the scriptures we were reading, but she was helping me more than I was helping her.

Our other investigator, Naram Dorj, my companion was calling to come to church. My companion asked him where he was and he said he was at the church. My companion asked, “Which church?” He said, “Yours.” We both laughed and thanked the Lord for blessing us. He went to church early because he had work at the meeting time. He stayed halfway through the meeting and went late to work. He has three kids which came too. His kids sat on the front row and were well behaved. Insanely well behaved.

Hepgyy came to church as well. She is getting ready to be baptized. She has come to church three times already.

The branch has made huge improvements from since I first got here. They are all getting so good at teaching investigators and asking questions.

To Jake

I have found that the best way to learn is by doing. A concept doesn’t stick until I put it into use. The church is very young here. They are all working towards getting a stake and they just barely got the Doctrine and Covenants awhile ago.

To Mom

Thanks for the great letter Mom.

Love, Elder Willoughby

If anyone wishes to ask Daniel a question or to send him a message, write it in the comments and I will make sure he receives it.
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Our Visit to the Dallas Texas Temple

Today Jill, Sarah, Paul, and I stopped by the Dallas Texas Temple. In the collage of photographs below, click on the individual picture to see a larger version.

Dallas Temple Collage

Dallas Temple, late morning Paul, Jill, Rick, Sarah by Dallas Temple Dallas Temple front view Dallas Temple flowers Dallas Temple sign Dallas Temple flowers Dallas Temple flag Dallas Temple Jill and Rick Dallas Temple and flag

This is the first time for us at the Dallas Temple. We came to take photographs and also went inside to participate in an endowment ceremony. For my readers that are unfamiliar with the temple endowment ceremony I will present a short overview.

The Endowment Ceremony

An endowment is a sacred ordinance. Endowments take place in a dedicated House of the Lord, or temple just like the Dallas temple. Temples were centers of religious worship anciently and Mormons build temples today to administer the ancient ordinances of salvation that have been restored to the earth.

The dictionary defines an endowment as a gift given by a higher power. The temple endowment is a gift of knowledge that helps Mormons understand who they are, where they came from, and where they are going. It helps members like us understand what they should do to prepare to meet God, and how Jesus Christ offers salvation to each of us.

The temple endowment conveys information in a highly symbolic manner. Symbols used in the temple endowment and the meanings of those symbols are sacred to Mormons. Mormons don’t talk about the details of what goes on in the temple—it is too sacred to be discussed, except in the most holy of places.

Temple Covenants

When presenting the endowment, Church members are required to make very specific covenants with God. A covenant is a two-way promise. In religious terms, a covenant is a sacred promise made between an individual and the Lord:

The ordinances of the endowment embody certain obligations on the part of the individual, such as covenant and promise to observe the law of strict virtue and chastity, to be charitable, benevolent, tolerant and pure; to devote both talent and material means to the spread of truth and the uplifting of the race; to maintain devotion to the cause of truth; and to seek in every way to contribute to the great preparation that the earth may be made ready to receive her King, the Lord Jesus Christ. With the taking of each covenant and the assuming of each obligation a promised blessing is pronounced, contingent upon the faithful observance of the conditions. (James E. Talmage, The House of the Lord, p. 84)

Also be sure to view Why Mormons Build Temples.

About the Dallas Temple

Announced: 1 April 1981.
Number: 30.
First President:
Ivan L. Hobson.
Location: 6363 Willow Lane, Dallas
Site: 6 acres.
Exterior finish: Faced with light-colored marble tiles and topped with a dark gray slate roof.
Rooms: Baptistry, celestial room, five ordinance rooms, four sealing rooms.
Total floor area: 18,000 square feet. After remodeling: 46,956 square feet.
Height: 95 feet.
District: 50,000 members in North Texas, and parts of Louisiana.
Groundbreaking: 22 January 1983 by Gordon B. Hinckley.
Open house: 7-26 September 1984. 88,000 visitors of which approximately 56% were non-members.
Dedication: 19-24 October 1984 by Gordon B. Hinckley. Rededication: 5 March 1989 by Gordon B. Hinckley.

Major source: 2008 Church Almanac

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Bryson Picture Book of Fort Worth Water Gardens

Fort Worth Water Gardens Photo

Bryson, Your Guide

Are you all set for an adventure? Today we will be going into Fort Worth to tour the Water Gardens. You will need to stick close to me so that you won’t get lost. I will be your guide. Call me Bryson.

Fort Worth Water Gardens Photo

A Cooling Oasis in the Concrete Jungle

We are headed to the south end of downtown Fort Worth. Next to the Fort Worth Convention Center are the 4.3 acres of the Water Gardens, built in 1974. It was designed by New York architects Philip Johnson and John Burgee and was dedicated to the City of Fort Worth by the Amon G. Carter Foundation. Now stay close, Fort Worth can get messy.

Fort Worth Water Gardens Photo

Hungry Work

Being a guide in the city is hungry work. After Gerber Bananas this Sirloin Burger Combo from Jack In The Box is my favorite meal. I was planning on showing you the zoo afterwards but there are so many people headed there that the traffic is horrible. Now eat up and we will be on our way.

Fort Worth Water Gardens Photo

Fort Worth Water Gardens

This is a good sign, there’s not many people in the park so maybe we’ll be able to dip our feet in the cool water. The people here are my assistants, Jill and Rick. They are also my grandparents visiting from Utah. It’s as well that they are with me or they would really get lost. Grandpa says he checks his GPS but all it does is talk incoherently back to him. Annoying.

Fort Worth Water Gardens Photo

The Active Pool

The first of three pools is the active pool that you see here. The water cascades 38 feet down the terraces and steps into the pool at the bottom.

As we roam about the park be sure to notice the over 500 species of plants and trees.

Fort Worth Water Gardens Photo


The active pool was originally built for people to be able to walk down the terraced steps and experience the water tumbling around them. It was closed to the public after four people died there on June 16, 2004. Two children and one adult tried to save a child that had gone swimming in the pool. All were drowned. The water was unusually deep due to a recirculating pump malfunction and heavy rains.

Fort Worth Water Gardens Photo

Step into My Pool

The park was reopened in March 4, 2007 after being made safer by reducing the depth of the main pool from 9 feet to 2 feet. I’ll have my assistant Jill lead the way down the steps. It is quite safe now. There is just enough room to get past those people coming up, especially if you are my size.

Fort Worth Water Gardens Photo

The Pool

This is a pretty sight as all the water flows into the pool. Did you know that part of the film Logan’s Run was filmed here in the active pool in 1976? The pool is also featured briefly at the end of the 1979 television adaptation of The Lathe of Heaven. Before my time of course.

Fort Worth Water Gardens Photo

The Vents

Here is a close up of one of the vents that discharges water into the pool. I’m tempted to cool my feet but we need to move on.

By the way the coordinates at the Water Gardens are 32°44′52″ North 97°19′36″ West.

Fort Worth Water Gardens Photo


This is a great place to take photographs. The cascading water makes a great backdrop. I like how there is enough moving water to give a great effect but not too much spray that moisture gets in my camera. For this photograph of yours truly I had my Mom lift me up.

Fort Worth Water Gardens Photo

The Quiet Pool

Here you will experience the sensations of growing bigger and smaller. I can only grow bigger. The small stairway leading to the pool will make you feel bigger than your surroundings. After entering the pool area, you will suddenly feel smaller; any objects of human scale have been removed, giving you the feeling that you have suddenly entered a giant’s house.

Fort Worth Water Gardens Photo

The Trough

This trough that my feet are in is 650 feet long and releases 450 gallons of water a minute down the 22 foot high wall and into a moat at the bottom.

If you are going to put your feet in the trough I recommend that you have your mother hold you.

Fort Worth Water Gardens Photo

The Aerated Pool

The pool is a visual illusion, giving you the impression that you can walk across the pool on tiles made of spraying water. I don’t recommend that you try it. The nozzles spray at the same height as the walkway, without spraying you, so that the water collapses on itself, looking ultimately like panels. The pool is 40 feet below ground with 40 nozzles spraying 871 gallons of water per minute.

Fort Worth Water Gardens Photo

The Mountain

The mountain is designed to give you the sense of the real thing. Its twenty inch steps cascade into one another, creating the sensation of mountainous topography. The mountain rises twenty feet off the ground.

Now listen up, if you fall off of this mountain it will feel like the real thing.

Fort Worth Water Gardens Photo

High On The Mountain Top

At the top you can wave to all the world. That’s my grandma looking up at us.

You know it is interesting that the mountain is 20 feet high using 20 inch steps. The aerated pool is 40 feet below ground level and has 40 nozzles. I’m 5 months old and it’s been 5 hours since I last ate. Let’s move!

Fort Worth Water Gardens Photo

The Stage

Sit down for a few minutes on the grass. Good. I have been pleased to be your guide today around this interesting park where 19,000 gallons of water flow every minute through 10 miles of pipe and flows past seven miles of retaining walls. Now that you have your feet wet you can go exploring Texas by yourself. And remember — If it’s big, It came from Texas!

The Book

You’ve just read the blog post Bryson Picture Book of Fort Worth Water Gardens. How about the real picture book Fort Worth Water Gardens by Bryson Moss? No need to buy one, the book is exactly the same as the blog post. Lulu is my publisher. Click on my nose to get a high resolution version of me (1.5 MB).

Water Gardens Video

Some have asked for video of the Water Gardens. One would think my book would be quite sufficient. Really, the young people today are very demanding.

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Assassination on Elm Street

Window from where Kennedy was shot

Window from where Kennedy was shot

Elm Street

On Monday I asked what significant event in history is marked with an X in the road. The X is located on Elm Street in Dallas and marks the location where President Kennedy was shot. Just before 12:30 p.m., Kennedy’s limousine entered Dealey Plaza and slowly approached the Texas School Book Depository. When the Presidential limousine turned and passed the Depository and continued down Elm Street, shots were fired at Kennedy.


As I was looking at the X a woman and her companion came up by me. The woman took a really good look at the X. As she turned away she remarked to her companion, “This is really morbid, all these people looking at where President Kennedy was killed.” To me it was history. I was excited to be at this famous spot. I made sure I had some photographs. Years ago when I visited Gettysburg, where 50,000 men were killed in three days, I didn’t think it was morbid. Lessons can be learned from Little Round Top and Pickett’s Charge. History is a great instructor if we will listen.


As President Kennedy waved to the crowds on his right, a shot entered his upper back, penetrated his neck, and exited his throat. He raised his clenched fists up to his neck and leaned forward and to his left, as Mrs. Kennedy put her arms around him. The final shot took place when the Presidential limousine was passing in front of the John Neely Bryan north pergola concrete structure. As the shot was heard, a fist-size hole exploded out from the right side of President Kennedy’s head, covering the interior of the car and a nearby motorcycle officer with blood and brain tissue.

Kennedy parade route

Kennedy parade route

GPS Coordinates

Within minutes of me asking the meaning of X, Jewel of Layton, Utah wrote in the comments that it is where JFK was assassinated and that the GPS coordinates are 32.77903, -96.80867. Jewel, alias Steven, my son, knew we were in the Dallas-Fort Worth area but so did everyone else.

The Window

Howard Brennan, who was sitting across the street from the Texas School Book Depository, notified police that as he watched the motorcade go by, he heard a shot come from above, and looked up to see a man with a rifle make another shot from a corner window on the sixth floor. In the photograph I took it is the second window from the top on the right. Brennan had seen the same man minutes earlier looking out the window.

The First X

The X where I stood on Monday was the second location where President Kennedy was shot. The first location is a few yards along Elm Street. Jill is standing on the spot in the road. The red building to her right is the Dallas County Annex. In Kennedy’s day it was the Texas School Book Depository where the shots were fired from.

Lee Harvey Oswald

Lee Harvey Oswald, reported missing to the Dallas police by his supervisor, Roy Truly, at the Depository, was arrested an hour and 20 minutes after the assassination for killing a Dallas police officer who had spotted Oswald walking along a sidewalk in the residential neighborhood of Oak Cliff. He was captured in a nearby movie theater. Oswald’s case never came to trial because two days later, while being escorted to an armored van for transfer from Dallas Police Headquarters to the Dallas County Jail, he was shot and killed by Dallas nightclub owner Jack Ruby.

Jill standing on the first X on Elm Street

Jill standing on the first X on Elm Street

Further Reading

Wikipedia has a lot of details in the article John F. Kennedy assassination, which is where I went for information for my post. Perhaps readers of my blog can suggest other sources that they have found interesting. The first official investigation of the assassination resulted in the Warren Commission Report. A multitude of books and articles criticizing the Warren Commission’s findings have been written. We may never know the exact details of that day.
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An X in The Road of History

X marks the location of a significant event in history.

X marks the location of…?

I have for you this evening a small puzzle. In the photograph I took today you see some feet and a large X in the road. The feet are mine and the X marks a significant event in history. The puzzle is to tell me what the event was.

I can tell you that the X is not the site of buried treasure. It is not part of a giant noughts and crosses game. And it isn’t where my cat was run over.

All will be revealed later this week in a post where I will include the best responses.


17 Mar 2009 Here is The Answer.
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Missionary Dan Email #6 from Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia

Presented here are portions of Elder Daniel Willoughby’s sixth email from the Mongolia Ulaanbaatar Mission.

Daniel's district with members
Daniel’s district with members

It sounds like the family is doing great. Great job on the talks, Sarah and Derek, you both have always been good at that kind of thing. It looks everyone is staying busy and happy. :) We are still here as English teachers for our Visas but we are able to talk to people openly about the church. My companion and I still ask about their family and things as we have found that is more effective in getting a referral

This week has been crazy busy. If I didn’t have the Lord’s help it would have been very hard to do. My English classes have increased to 10 hours a week. On Tuesday I teach for 4 hours. We have to run sometimes in order to be on time. I taught probably 6 different classes this week. At one school they have me teach many different levels of English. I don’t teach grammar, the government wants me to get the people speaking English. So depending on how well the class is at introducing themselves I then adjust my lesson accordingly. Most of my students are my around 16-18 years old right now. They are sometimes not very interested in speaking English. So I put a lot of energy in being very energetic and smiling. After awhile they are chatting away in English — it is great! :)

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