100 Years Ago: Leading You Around The Gallery

The following was adapted from the Improvement Era magazine of 100 years ago.

In the spring of 1894, Elder Squires was serving as a missionary in Leipsic, Germany. He welcomed a new companion, fresh to the mission field, and showed him around the city. After touring the great market-hall and the library, they went to the art gallery.

On the inside the pictures had been placed in a series of rooms each connected with the other in such a way that you may pass from the first room into the next, and so on through all of the others and back again to the first. The new elder—I will call him Elder Green—did not know that they could thus move from room to room, and at last return to their starting place.

Improvement EraThe walls of the different rooms were crowded with the master-pieces of German and Italian artists. In one room was a life-sized portrait of Napoleon which Elder Green admired very much.

They passed on around through the different rooms, chatting and admiring the paintings, as they went, and had returned to the portrait of Napoleon.

“My goodness!” exclaimed Elder Green, “there is another portrait of Napoleon!”

Elder Green was not aware that they were on their second trip around. Elder Squires quickly led him from the portrait—he was curious to see how far he could lead Elder Green—before he discovered that he was looking at pictures for the second time. He kept up his interest until they returned again to Napoleon. “Well, well, another picture of Napoleon!” he exclaimed, as he viewed the great warrior for the third time.

They left the gallery. Elder Green had not discovered that he had seen all of the pictures twice, and some of them three times. As they walked away Elder Green wondered that the Leipsic gallery contained such a vast number of fine paintings, so many more than he had seen in the art gallery in London.

Elder Squires told him he had not yet seen the London gallery, and did not know how it compared with the gallery in Leipsic, but he ventured the assertion to Elder Green that London could not produce so many fine portraits of Napoleon.

Elder Squires never told his companion how he had led him around. The new elder had such confidence in him that he hated to let him know how he had played upon his confidence.

Leading You Around The Gallery

Do you have an acquaintance showing you how much greater and better and grander your opportunities for advancement, work and progress will be if you leave your good home and people to go there or yonder?—beware lest he is leading you around the gallery!

Have you a friend who tells you that the people of the world are so much freer than you are, and that your religion tends to make you narrow and one-sided, and then invites you to come out into the open and see the big world?—take heed that he does not lead you around the gallery!

Have you a so-called friend who tells you of the pleasure and freedom and manliness you may gain in the club room, at the gaming-table, in the saloon, in the pool-room, with up-to-date companions, as compared to the hum-drum of home and school, and the Church ward organizations?—set it down, he is leading you around the gallery! Every time, too, that you express surprise at a new Napoleon, he laughs in his sleeve at your ignorance and credulity.

Adapted from: Edward H. Anderson, “For the Development of Character”, Improvement Era, Vol. XIV. January, 1911. No. 3.
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Christmas Letter 2010

Mexican cruise

Hi Friends and Family,

This is our third annual Christmas Letter blog post. We will send the URL to this page to friends and family with their Christmas cards. It has been a great year for our family. Here are a few highlights:

Steven and Adelaide welcomed a new baby, Cassandra Ruth Willoughby (Cassie) in June. Aurora had her first birthday party in February and is a good big sister. They are enjoying their new home. If you go on over to Ada Shot Me there is a fun video to watch about Cassandra.

Derek was able to obtain employment in Utah so he and Sarah loaded up the U-Haul and moved back home. Grandparents are so happy that Bryson is able to visit more often and play with all the toys and cousins. We enjoyed his second birthday party by building and racing balloon cars.

Paul and Jake graduated from the University of Utah in Computer Engineering. They are both working for Hill Air Force Base and have traveled to Texas twice already for a project they worked on.

Paul, working on one of his many projects, made use of some empty barrels.

Robert and his 80th Birthday Cake

Robert and his 80th Birthday Cake

Jake announced his engagement to Rachel and they will be married December 15th in the Bountiful temple. Rachel is a beautiful young woman and is attending Weber University in Family Studies. After a cruise honeymoon to the Bahamas they will live in Roy.

Rick and Jill celebrated 30 years of marriage in August. Earlier in the year they visited Sarah’s family in Texas and toured the Cowboys Stadium, Battleship Texas, San Jacinto Monument, and the Johnson Space Center.

In March Rick and Jake visited all the California and Nevada temples during Spring break. They did a year’s worth of temple work in less than a week. One of Jake’s photographs that he took on the trip was used by the Church on its temples home page at lds.org.

Daniel, our youngest, is coming home after serving his mission in three different missions — Alabama, Mongolia and Washington. He will have served 2 years and 47 days (not that we are counting). Daniel will come home December 14th just in time to attend his brother’s wedding.

Rick planned a fun 30th anniversary trip for us to the Shakespearean Festival in Cedar City where Jill got to see Pride and Prejudice and other plays.

Jill has been on two fun trips with her extended family. In June we traveled on the Skunk Train in the California Redwoods. In October we celebrated our Dad’s 80th birthday by going on a cruise to the Mexican Riviera on the Carnival Cruise line Splendor. We enjoyed the Extreme Canopy Zip Line in Puerto Vallarta, a city tour in Mazatlan, shopping and snorkeling in Cabo San Lucas and tons of great food and fun. We were joined at a family dinner at Maddox by other family members for the historic 80th birthday.

We hope you have a very Merry Christmas,

Rick and Jill

Salt Flats, Utah

Christmas Letter 2009

Merry Christmas from Rick and Jill

Merry Christmas from Rick and Jill

Hi Friends and Family,

Here is our second Christmas blog post. We will send to friends and family the URL to this page with their Christmas cards. It has been a very busy year and here are a few highlights:

Steven and Adelaide had a baby girl, Aurora, born in February. They just bought their first home in Layton. It was good timing as they announced the arrival of baby number two due June 26th.

Jill, Kent, Susan, Melissa, Shauna, Scott, Connor and Ashley took our dad on a trip to Nevada’s Virginia City to ride the historic steam-engine on the Virginia and Truckee Railroad. Some of us went on a river raft trip while the others rode across Lake Tahoe on the Emerald Bay Sightseeing Cruise.

Sarah and Derek moved to Keller, Texas. Rick, Paul and Jill drove down to visit in March. We enjoyed the sights in Dallas and Fort Worth and Rick published a book about the historic water park there. Jill flew down in October to help Bryson celebrate his first birthday. We enjoyed a mini vacation visiting the Alamo in San Antonio.

Adelaide graduated in May with a Bachelor’s degree in English. She managed to finish school while being pregnant and having a baby so they graduated together.

Daniel is serving in the Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia mission and has helped construct a ger, taught English, and helped baptize the good people there.

Aurora starred in “All Things Bright And Beautiful

Paul is graduating this month in Computer Engineering from the University of Utah. He hopes to work at Hill Air Force Base or maybe stay where he is, working for Avalon Care Centers. Jake is studying in the same field and will graduate in May.

And Jake went skydiving.

We hope you have a very Merry Christmas,

Rick and Jill

Rick, Jill, Steven, Adelaide, Aurora, Paul, Sarah, Bryson, Jake, and Derek at Alexandra's wedding.

Rick, Jill, Steven, Adelaide, Aurora, Paul, Sarah, Bryson, Jake, and Derek at Alexandra's wedding.

Paul Brushes With Skippy Toothpaste

Paul made this video while on his mission. His mother had sent a parcel with various items that included a lot of different flavored Crest toothpastes. Another item included was a tube of Skippy peanut butter. Paul put them altogether and came up with this video.

The official title is Real Creamy Delicious Toothpaste. Paul says:

After unwrapping flavor after flavor of toothpaste, the last one surprised me.

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Christmas Letter 2008

Bryson after his blessing Derek and Sarah with Bryson at home

Hi Friends and Family,

Instead of mailing a Christmas letter, we decided to do something different this year and post it to our blog. We will send to friends and family the URL to this page with their Christmas cards. It has been a very busy year and here are a few highlights:

Steven and Adelaide were married in the Salt Lake temple March 11th.

Jill, Susan, Shauna, Scott, Connor and Ashley took our dad on a trip to Colorado to ride the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad in April.

Flower shop at the base of our tree.

Mike, Rick, Jill, Steven, Adelaide and Paul took a trip to Zion National Park in May.

Daniel, our last child, graduated from high school after helping win the State Track Championship.

Rick and Jill celebrated their 28th wedding anniversary in August with a trip to Cedar City and the Shakespearean Festival.

Jake returned home from the Mexico City North Mission August 27th.

Sarah and Derek had our first grandchild, Bryson Henry Moss on October 6th.

The boys took a Utah Temples Tour of all thirteen Utah temples in October. Follow the story on Day 1 and Day 2 and continue through Day 3 and Day 4.

Daniel left for a mission to Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia October 29th. He will be in the MTC for twelve weeks and will leave for Mongolia January 19th.

Derek got a job in Texas where they will be relocating next year. Know anyone that wants to buy their house in Kaysville?

Paul and Jake are studying for Computer Engineering degrees at the University of Utah.

Steven and Adelaide announced a baby girl is expected on Valentine’s Day.

We hope you have a very Merry Christmas,

Rick and Jill

Family photograph 2008.

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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Epic Excerpts: Bjarne Stroustrup on Management

Bjarne Stroustrup.

Bjarne Stroustrup

Bjarne Stroustrup is a computer scientist and the College of Engineering Chair Professor of Computer Science at Texas A&M University. He is most notable for developing the C++ programming language. Stroustrup also wrote what many consider to be the standard text for the language, The C++ Programming Language, which is now in its third edition.

Management

I came across the name Bjarne Stroustrup while I was learning to develop C++ and using his book The C++ Programming Language (Second Edition). One of the most interesting sections of the book is Chapter 11, Design and Development. The sub-section entitled Management was a real gem, filled with statements that are perfectly obvious once you think about it. Although his words are geared towards a programming environment, much of what he writes has general application.

In the following excerpts a few sentences have been altered slightly to maintain the original meaning.

Provided it makes some minimum of sense, most people do what they are encouraged to do. (page 382).

On re-use of code: Most organizations reward individuals and groups that choose to re-invent the wheel. (page 382).

An organization that treats its programmers as morons will soon have programmers that are willing and able to act like morons only. (page 382).

If an organization has no mechanism for promoting and rewarding cooperation and sharing, cooperation and sharing will be rare. (page 383).

Common sense can be the first victim of a genuine and often ardent desire to improve the way things are done. Unfortunately, once common sense is missing there is no limit to the damage that can unwittingly be done. (page 384).

Managers often forget that organizations consist of individuals. A popular notion is that programmers are equal and interchangeable. This is a fallacy that can destroy an organization by driving out many of the most effective individuals. Individuals are interchangeable only if they are not allowed to take advantage of skills that raise them above the absolute minimum required for the task in question. (page 385).

Quality is far harder to measure than quantity of output, yet individuals and groups must be rewarded based on the quality of their output rather than by crude quantity measures. (page 386).

It is essentially impossible to judge the performance of an individual on the basis of a single year’s work. (page 386).

Naturally, there is often a fear of change among individuals. This can lead to an overestimate of the problems involved in a change and a reluctance to acknowledge problems with the old ways of doing things. Equally naturally, people arguing for change tend to overestimate the beneficial effects of new ways of doing things and to underestimate the problems involved in the change. (page 387).

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Jake’s Missionary Meeting

Jake outside the church where he spoke today.

As is customary for departing and returning LDS missionaries, Jake spoke in sacrament meeting today.
Here is what he said, taken from my rickety notes:

Testimony

I will speak about testimony today. Preach My Gospel defines testimony as a spiritual witness. A priest is a lot different than an elder. On a service project priests have there hands in their pockets and lean against the wall. They have to be told what to do. An elder works through the spirit.

Graciela didn’t want to be baptized even though she had been to church. I like to baptize everyone I take to church. She didn’t recognize the need to repent.  My testimony wasn’t good enough to convince her. After seven months of teaching her my testimony was finally sufficient. She got baptized. She didn’t care about all my knowledge, just my testimony.

[Read more…]

Epic Excerpts: Horatio Nelson

Vice Admiral Horatio Lord Nelson, by Lemuel Francis Abbott
Vice-Admiral Horatio Nelson, born in 1758, was a British flag officer made famous in the Battle of Trafalgar. In this decisive British victory he lost his life. Nelson had the ability to inspire and bring out the best in his men and would heroically cut through the enemy’s lines. He ranks as one of the greatest naval commanders in military history. Many consider him to have been one of the greatest warriors of the seas. By the time of his death in 1805 Nelson had become a national hero, and he was given a State funeral.

Victory

Westminister Abbey, or victory!
(In the battle off Cape St. Vincent, giving the order for boarding the San Josef. Life of Nelson Vol. I, Ch. 4)

A Glorious Victory

May the Great God, whom I worship, grant to my Country and for the benefit of Europe in general a great and glorious victory; and may no misconduct in anyone tarnish it; and may humanity after Victory be the predominant feature of the British fleet. For myself, individually, I commit my life to Him who made me, and may His blessing light upon my endeavours for serving my Country faithfully. To Him I resign myself and the just cause which is entrusted to me to defend. Amen. Amen. Amen.
(Dispatches and Letters of Horatio Nelson: a diary entry on the eve of the battle of Trafalgar)

England Expects

England expects that every man will do his duty.
(Life of Nelson: A signal to the British fleet at the battle of Trafalgar)

Gain the Victory

First gain the victory and then make the best use of it you can.
(Before the battle of the Nile)

Ship before the Enemy

When I am without orders and unexpected occurrences arrive I shall always act as I think the honour and glory of my King and Country demand. But in case signals can neither be seen or perfectly understood, no captain can do very wrong if he places his ship alongside that of the enemy.

Further Reading