Three more 2009 books from Jake Parker, Billy Collins and Aldous Huxley


I'm feeling pretty certain I won't get any more books finished this year. So here's the last three.

108) Missile Mouse by Jake Parker, finished December 30
    I sat down with the Big O after throwing a ball around and we reread this as I tried to wrap my head around my upcoming 1000-word review. It's proving surprisingly difficult.

    while at the park

107) Brave New World by Aldous Huxley, finished December 28
    I assigned this book to my students over the break so I figured I had better find out what it says myself.

    I don't find it quite as brilliant in writing as I did upon first reading it about five years ago, but conceptually, this book nails our current trajectory so well that I get dizzy. This is the world we think we want.

    And, frankly, I think a lot of people genuinely do want that world.

    I can't wait to see what my students think.

    under a week

106) The Trouble with Poetry: And Other Poems by Billy Collins, finished December 28
    I like Billy Collins. His book Sailing Alone Around the Room: New and Selected Poems I once thought would remain on my nightstand forever as I cycled through it again and again.

    I didn't have that reaction to this book. And not because Billy Collins is (by editorgirl's assertion) a gateway to better poetry --- at least, I hope that's not it --- but I'm not sure why. Perhaps, as it's not a culling of the best from previous collections, it's just a weaker collection? Perhaps I don't prefer the direction his writing is taking? Perhaps I've figured out his tricks and so they can't surprise anymore? I'm not sure.

    There are a few gems though, notably the titletrack and "Silence" (the last two poems, incidentally).

    And "The Lanyard."

    Because of a post from Darlene Young, I decided that the book containing this poem would be a great Mother's Day gift for my Billy Collins-loving wife. So it became such. And I used the poem as the centerpiece for a gift for my own mother as well. (Never heard back about that.)

    I still love Billy Collins. That's my point.

    a month or more


108) Missile Mouse by Jake Parker, finished December 30
107) Brave New World by Aldous Huxley, finished December 28
106) The Trouble with Poetry: And Other Poems by Billy Collins, finished December 28
105) Blindness by Jose Saramago, finished December 18
104) Hell's Angels by Hunter S. Thompson, finished December sometime
103) The Best of Mormonism 2009 edited by Stephen Carter, finished December 13
102) Missile Mouse by Jake Parker, finished December 11

Previous posts in the 2009 series
the first five, 1-5
the second five, 6-10
the third five, 11-15
the fourth five, 16-20
the fifth five, 21-25
the sixth five, 26-30
the seventh five, 31-35
the eighth five, 36-40
the ninth five, 41-45
the tenth five, 46-50
the eleventh five, 51-55
the twelfth five, 56-60
the thirteenth five, 61-65
the fourteenth five, 66-70
the fifteenth five, 71-75
the sixteenth five, 76-80
the seventeenth five, 81-86
the eighteenth five, 86-90
the nineteenth five, 91-95
the twentieth five, 96-100
the twentieth-first five, 100-105


Svithe: A review of the new Ensign


The Ensign is an official magazine published by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for English-speaking adults in North America. It comes out monthly and serves as an official organ for Church leaders as well a providing a variety of practically-minded and human-interest stories.


The Ensign underwent a major redesign a couple years ago, and the January issue pushes that design aesthetic a little further along. It wasn't until I took it out of the plastic today that I noticed the slight changes in the cover design and the interior, similarly, is more a progression in the previously chosen design direction rather than a new design entirely.

Essentially, the design is now slicker and more attractive. It's looking more and more like something a teenager might be interested in reading.

(Incidentally, I don't get The New Era [the Church's mag for teens] so I can't compare them, but The Friend [for kids] also underwent a design change this month. It's cover design is the most notable change. A brief glance-through didn't reveal any other changes.)

Jan 2010 Ensign

The changes to the cover are slight. Font refinements, the title is now transparent. It's nice. It's not killer. It won't be winning any awards, but I think we can assume that the Church magazines aren't trying to be hipper than thou, just hip enough. (I'm not commenting on the art because in the last few years, we've seen improvement in cover-art selections. This is an image most Mormons have seen many times, so it's a bit tired, but I'm choosing not to whine.)


(The story I'm about to tell you is hearsay, but my source is excellent. I may have a some of the details wrong, but I have full confidence in the gist of the story.)

Once upon a time, the Church paid a research company to find out how the members were using the magazines. One of the findings was that the Ensign is the most-subscribed-to-/-least-read magazine in America. Or, in other words, considering the size of its subscription, no one was actually reading the thing.

The editor made big plans to fix this problem but no one liked his plans and so they stuck with producing a boring magazine that no one actually read.

I heard this story in connection with fiction, but I can't remember now if the editor wanted to bring fiction back for this reason, or if taking fiction out was part of the seemingly deliberate attempt to make the magazine even more boring and less read.

(If you think it's boring, then you're obviously not worthy enough to read it anyway.)

Clearly, the magazine department now desperately wants people to read the magazine. As we will see.

They're also making a serious effort to bring people online. They offer mp3 readings from the magazine, it's available in forms easily accessed by handheld whatsits, etc. They've even finally got a web address you can easily type to get directly to the magazine's site: ensign.lds.org (although once you type it in, it switches to http://lds.org/ldsorg/v/index.jsp?vgnextoid=a6246a008952b010VgnVCM1000004d82620aRCRD&locale=0 and the First Presidency Message is http://lds.org/ldsorg/v/index.jsp?hideNav=1&locale=0&sourceId=81be47a27a2b5210VgnVCM100000176f620a____&vgnextoid=2354fccf2b7db010VgnVCM1000004d82620aRCRD, neither of which are particularly pleasant to link to).

Jan 2010 Ensign

The table of contents offers teasers (their word, see page eleven) to tell you more about an article before you waste all those calories turning to "Prophets of the Old Testament" only to discover it's just a buncha lousy pictures. (Incidentally, I am overall happy with the quality of art that's been appearing in the Ensign of late, though I was a bit disappointed with this set.)

The ToC also has a goodly amount of whitespace which I am always in favor of and which, for a table, I think is necessary for readability.

In all, the ToC is inviting. It's not something just to skip over, it's something to read. My favorite general-interest magazine, Wired, always has an engaging ToC and it often significantly alters the order in which I read things. The Ensign's teasers are a step in that direction, though they're still a bit hermetic at present.

But I suppose they sorta hafta be. Mormons don't fit a narrow demographic and they need to be as worried about pushing people away as drawing people in. Most magazines make inroads with their overall audience by being occasionally outrageous (Sarah Palin in shortshorts! Obama as jihadist!) --- this risks losing some subscribers, but their is the chance of gaining some as well. Being controversial is not a luxury the Ensign has however. Heaven forbid they should promote pipe-smoking. I would love to see them do it, but the closest they've come to controversy was the painstakingly anticontroversial take on Mountain Meadows.

Anyway. Let's move on by skipping to the end, with my favorite new feature.

As any magazine reader knows, it has become expected for the final page to be a standalone thing for readers to turn to first. It may be a cartoon or humor column, it may be an essay from someone famous, it may be a compelling personal experience. The Ensign is now doing this as well with a final-page department called "Until We Meet Again" --- "a brief personal essay offering spiritual insights.

Jan 2010 Ensign

I give this change high marks. I think it has a good chance of becoming a destination for people as they first open up their new Ensign. I think not having a General Authority write the first one was wise --- in fact, I think it's an opportunity to get great writing from outside the Church Office Building. I don't think the Church should get into celebrity culture, so probably Orson Scott Card or Donny Osmond would be a bad idea, but great writers and thinkiners like Angela Hallstrom or Mahonri Stewart or Gideon Burton? I would imagine that even knowing it's not an opportunity to plug their new project, even knowing that they'll need to be perfectly orthodox, even then, you could get a lot of Mormondom's best writers to participate. Sure, most Ensign readers won't know who Ardis Parshall is, but that doesn't mean that they can't appreciate a well-written essay. And who knows --- maybe they'll remember the name, or google it, and that's good for everyone. And unless the page said "Author of People of Paradox", the author's essay on thinking during the sacrament cannot reasonably be understood as Church-approval of the author's other work.

Also at the end of the book are various new departments, some of which are new and some of which have already been seen in the Liahona (the Church's non-English or non-NAmerican magazines, which combine the adult, teen and kid mags into one). These too will be quickly looked at, just as "Latter-day Saint Voices" long has been.

My favorite of this portion is "Small & Simple Things, which contains subdepartsments such as a temple spotlight.

Jan 2010 Ensign

But now we're running into a point where we need to consider possible unintended consequences.

Everything I've talked about so far is good and I like it. But can this streamlining and simplifying and shortening result in a dumbed down magazine? Of course it can. But is it?

Well. I'm not sure.

There seems to be an about par number of longer articles, but one of my problems with the Ensign is it's general shortage of high-interest articles for me. I like the historical articles and the deeper doctrinal delvings. Most of the articles are either too practical or too feelgoody for my taste. Which isn't to say they are awful and I hate them, but I'm getting more articles like that than I strictly require and not enough of the other.

In discussing the redesign, the editors make an valid point:

    Often at the Ensign we receive letters asking, “Would you please do an article about __________?” We consider and respond to those requests because our job is to serve the spiritual needs of readers. But sometimes we find that the magazine has recently run an item or items on the requested topics, and readers, for one reason or another, may have missed those articles....

    One of our challenges is to serve a wide range of readers, from young single adults to elderly widows or widowers, married couples, and readers from different ethnic and cultural backgrounds. The magazine, as directed by Church leaders, supports the family in its divine, eternal design—father, mother, and children—as outlined in “The Family: A Proclamation to the World” (Ensign, Nov. 1995, 102). Yet we know that a significant portion of adult Church members are not married, and many do not live in a family that matches this model.

    Although we are not able to address each segment of our readership every month, we believe that a majority of the articles in the magazine apply to every member, single or married, old or young. We seek articles that teach universal gospel principles.

A couple good points here. 1. The articles I want still exist and if I really want to read them, I can find them. (Although, it's worth mentioning, I probably won't.) 2. With such a broad demographic (all English-speaking NAmerican Mormons), not everyone can be perfectly served. (This I recognize. And I don't feel the Church is obliged to do so. But goshdarn it, this is me we're talking about!)

Well. That's probably more review than you wanted to read.

Take a look at the pdf if you don't subscribe (be warned: it's big) and leave me your thoughts in the comments.


last week's svithe


Twenty-first Five Books of 2009


Warning: This is one of those book posts that's at least as much about me and my life as it is about the books.


105) Blindness by Jose Saramago, finished December 18
    I saw the tv ads for this movie when it was about to come out. Here's something from the same advertising campaign:

    I saw that it was based on a book, saw that the book was written by a Nobel Prize winner, saw that it had an awesome cover, I saw I saw I saw.

    Ah, how seeing seems to natural, like such a given.

    How lucky we are.

    Of all the postapocalyptic fiction I've read this year, the epidemic of blindness felt most like something that could happen to me.

    I added this book to my wish list last year shortly before Christmas and Ceila and Matt bought it for me. Then I lost it (which is to say, Lady Steed stuck it on a shelf somewhere) for about half the year.

    Had I picked this book up in a bookstore, I probably would not have bought it. Long long paragraphs with minimal punctuation tend to turn me off as obnoxious pretentious and hard to read. And it did slow my reading, to be sure. But, it ends up, Saramago had a solid reason for writing the book this way (though you're unlikely to guess the reason until about fifty pages before the end) and even without that solid reason, the uncertainty it gives accurately echoes the characters' blindness --- without proper tags and paragraphing it can be very hard to tell one voice from another,

    I've heard pretty middling things about the movie (and it certainly wasn't in theaters very long), but this clip has made me put it back on my to-see list:

    The book, however, should be on your to-read list no matter what. I can see why there is this love for this writer. Which thing I did not know before I started carrying around one of his books. It's a good way to meet people. You should try it.

    half a year, give or take

104) Hell's Angels by Hunter S. Thompson, finished DATE

    The back of the bookmark.

    This is the back of the bookmark that was in Hell's Angels. I've read all those books since we moved here. And as I think about it, I realize that I read the first five the summer of 2007, finished the sixth (I had just been using the dustjacket flaps, but when i got serious about finishing it, hello bookmark), and started this book. This book I picked up free at a library giveaway and I enjoyed Thompson's tales of hanging with the Hell's Angels in my town. Fascinating account. Good read and I recommend it.

    At first, I was going through the book quite quickly. It was the latest book to be kept in the Lapper's door pocket. And then the Lapper's health plummeted. Then we bought a new car. And so the book-I-read-in-the-Lapper became neglected. In fact, if the Lapper hadn't refused to start last Monday after a union meeting in Richmond, it might still be unfinished. As it ended up though, I had some time.

    One aspect of keeping track of books, for me, is the journalistic component. And while I could say much more about this book, for me, it's story is the story of the paperback's life with me. (Question begged: the book was forty years old when it got to me --- where else has it gone, what else has it done?)

    about two and a half years

103) The Best of Mormonism 2009 edited by Stephen Carter, finished December 13
    My earlier review still basically holds now that I've finished the book. I did love the essay on nothing, but my overall impression of to many essays holds. Not because they weren't good, but because I get tired of essays. Read also my interview with the editor.

    couple weeks

102) Missile Mouse by Jake Parker, finished December 11
    Incredibly, I haven't written my Fob Comics review for this. It's percolating. And then I intend to write a longer version for Fantasy Magazine. But for such a seemingly simple story, I'm having a hard time getting my mind around what I need to say. I have a mental outline, but that is all. The main point is that it's good and enjoyable and I recommend it highly if you're looking for an adventure comic for your kids. I'll post links when I get more indepth elsewhere.

    about three days

101) The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum, finished December 3
    When I was in high school it seemed like the high-fantasy illustrations of the Hildebrandt brothers were about the hottest thing around. But based on these illustrations, I don't really get it.

    I also don't get what the big deal is with Baum's text. There must've not been much competition back in the day because it's not that great.

    We read it because a house around the block does a big Wizard of Oz display for Halloween each year so the Big O asked to read it. I read probably 75% and Lady Steed the other 25 and the kids enjoyed it. In fact, the Big O remembers it far better than most stories we've read. So maybe its weak literary merit and problematic ethos matter less than being "fun" and "exciting".

    Anyway, now he wants to read A Christmas Carol again, so that'll be fun. Maybe he's old enough to sit still for it this year? He did for Baum. Dickens shall be the test.

    twenty-three days



the first five, 1-5
the second five, 6-10
the third five, 11-15
the fourth five, 16-20
the fifth five, 21-25
the sixth five, 26-30
the seventh five, 31-35
the eighth five, 36-40
the ninth five, 41-45
the tenth five, 46-50
the eleventh five, 51-55
the twelfth five, 56-60
the thirteenth five, 61-65
the fourteenth five, 66-70
the fifteenth five, 71-75
the sixteenth five, 76-80
the seventeenth five, 81-86
the eighteenth five, 86-90
the nineteenth five, 91-95
the twentieth five, 96-100


Svithe: Notes for today's Sunday School lesson, "The Family is Ordained of God"
(ergo, this is a little sloppy)


Love this job.
Love sticking with the scriptures.
The D&C ones though give few scriptures. (read)
Lesson about “The Family Ordained of God”
Good intro to OT as
Genesis will be the story of families: Adam's Noah's, Abraham's

(What forces sought to “attack” those families?)


I ask because that was what the GA quotes in the manual were about.


Let’s move to the NT and Jesus’s birth family and the strains upon them



 Jesus born in an oppressed land to poor parents

Consider the poverty of Jesus’s own family at the time of his birth; a shamed mother and stuck sleeping in a smelly old stable (haw many of our families torn by money issues?)


WITH THAT IN MIND, I want to talk about a few things that have been in the news lately and then use those items to discuss this idea of protecting and promoting families:





Rich young man


When Jesus announced himself to his townsfolk, this was the scripture he read:


Luke 4

16 ¶ And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up: and, as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and stood up for to read.

  17 And there was delivered unto him the book of the prophet Esaias. And when he had opened the book, he found the place where it was written,

  18 The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised,

  19 To preach the acceptable year of the Lord.

  20 And he closed the book, and he gave it again to the minister, and sat down. And the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were fastened on him.

  21 And he began to say unto them, This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears.


Note especially verse 18





Family is a curious thing given how important it is to us. Because it’s hardly mentioned in scripture at all. It’s certainly not clearly defined, nor is it clearly suggested why it’s important or how to strengthen it. Plain and precious things, dontchaknow.




We often treat the idea of families being “under attack” as not being terribly literal --- as referring more to primetime television and the pansexual leanings of certain college professors




Afghanistan's been in the news lately, what with President Obama's new plans, so let's use them as an example:

1.5 million widows out of an estimated 26.6 million people in Afghanistan (>5%)>

(the fighting started long before 9/11)



Focus on Jesus teaching about supporting the poor, the widows, the fatherless.



From Bishop Edgley (re: change in handbook language):


"Caring for the poor and needy is one of the ongoing purposes of the church," said Bishop Edgley of caring for the poor and the needy. "Including language about caring for the poor and needy as one of the purposes of the church recognizes the long-standing practices of the church. I don't think you're going to see anything change, but we're always trying to be sensitive to the needs of others and to be better at delivering relief."


"What we're trying to do is fulfill what the Savior has taught us," he said. "We've been trying to do it forever, and we'll continue to do it."


"It's so tender when you see the needs out there and so gratifying to play a part when we reach out to those whose suffering most of us don't even understand," he said.



Pr Monson (hard to do a two-paragraph bio of Tommy w/o mentioning widows) in Oct 2009 GC:


"It's so tender when you see the needs out there and so gratifying to play a part when we reach out to those whose suffering most of us don't even understand," he said.



An almost identical article appeared in the SL Trib but, well, this is Sunday School.

(but imagine for a moment, that this was not far away in Africa, but where you life --- would it feel like your family was under attack?)

Violence and crime in Aba, Nigeria, this summer caused The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to closed its Aba Nigeria Temple indefinitely and evacuate temple workers in mid-June.

"The safety of our temple visitors and workers is always our first concern," LDS Church spokesman Scott Trotter said. "Incidents of violence in recent months in the area where the temple is situated are not necessarily related to the temple but could put church members at risk. As a precautionary measure, temple workers have been moved to other areas, and the temple has been closed while the situation is being addressed."

The closing and evacuation followed in the wake of mid-June gunfire in the area around the temple. Also, the city of Aba and its Nigerian state of Abia have seen a marked increase in reported kidnappings this year.

In an e-mail to the Standard-Examiner reported in the Ogden newspaper's Wednesday edition, a Nigeria temple worker reported the mid-June incident in which four gunmen were seen carrying AK-47s, with shooting reported in the area around the temple, located on the outskirts of Aba, a city of about 900,000 on the Aba River in southern Nigeria

Bullets from the shooting struck the guardhouse on the temple grounds. The complex also includes an LDS stake center and administrative office. The temple has been closed since mid-June, with foreign temple workers reassigned to other areas.

The Aba Nigeria Temple — the only one in the country and one of only two in the church's Africa West Area — was dedicated Aug. 7, 2005, by President Gordon B. Hinckley.

Two years ago, the LDS Church was the target of an earlier round of violence in northern Nigeria when four missionaries were kidnapped near Port Harcourt. The kidnappers released the four Nigerian missionaries after local church leaders arranged to pay $810 total to compensate the kidnappers for the cost of housing and feeding the missionaries during their capture.

Scores of foreign oil company employees were kidnapped for ransom in early 2007. The spate of kidnappings has since moved from north Nigeria to south Nigeria.

While interest by Nigerians in the LDS Church dates back to the 1950s, the church first began proselytizing in Nigeria in 1978. Membership approached 10,000 in 1987. Ten years after that, as the church was approaching 100,000 members on the continent, Nigeria's LDS membership was 30,300.

The church's latest statistics for Nigeria include 88,374 members, five missions, the one temple and some 260 congregations throughout the country.


LDS NEWSROOM: water-reaches-end-of-the-row-in-congolese-villages (18 Miles for water)

What challenges would such parents have in teaching their children?

Joseph W. Sitati is the first African General Authority. He is from Kenya and thus, it seems to me, more apt to know about things like we are discussing than, say, me. From his GC talk last October:


I have seen the good fruit of the gospel blossom in my home continent of Africa. After just 30 years, there are 300,000 Saints. In the doctrines and principles of the restored gospel, many are finding a sure anchor for their faith. Families uprooted from their rural communities in search of a better future in the towns and cities have found a new way to hold on to the strong family traditions which have come progressively under attack in this era of globalization. The Spirit of the Lord is moving powerfully among the people.

A new celestial culture is developing in homes, nurtured by the ready hearkening to the counsel of the living prophet to have daily prayer and scripture study and to meet once a week as a family in home evening. As a result, many are able to break free from the shackles of traditions that restrict the exercise of their agency.

As an illustration from personal experience, three of our children were recently married in the temple without the encumbrance of dowry, a traditional practice that drives many young men and women to live together without any legal commitment to each other. The opportunity for a temple marriage in the three temples now established in Accra, Ghana; Aba, Nigeria; and Johannesburg, South Africa, is helping to instill a fresh hope in the sanctity of marriage.


If we want to convert families, then those families must be intact to start with. Ergo, if Satan is attacking the so-called strongest families, he must also be attacking those that might join those ranks.













The Fourth Fold


"Caring for the poor and needy has always been a basic tenet of the Church," said LDS Church spokesman Scott Trotter. "The language reference is simply a description of the purposes of the church to be included in the next edition of the Church Handbook."

The three-fold mission of the LDS Church was first taught at the April 1981 General Conference by then-President Spencer W. Kimball, who said it was the inspired product of the church's First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve.

As stated, the aspects are:

* "To proclaim the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ to every nation, kindred, tongue and people.

* "To perfect the Saints by preparing them to receive the ordinances of the gospel and by instruction and discipline to gain exaltation.

* "To redeem the dead by performing vicarious ordinances of the gospel for those who have lived on the earth."

Caring for the poor and the needy has long been preached in the LDS Church. In the same April 1981 General Conference, President Kimball said, "We all have opportunities to render service to others. That is our calling and our privilege. In serving the needs of others, we are mindful of the words of the Savior: 'Verily I say unto you, inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.'"



Elder Ballard, Oct 2003

If we do not make good choices, the media can devastate our families and pull our children away from the narrow gospel path. In the virtual reality and the perceived reality of large and small screens, family-destructive viewpoints and behavior are regularly portrayed as pleasurable, as stylish, as exciting, and as normal. Often media’s most devastating attacks on family are not direct or frontal or openly immoral. Intelligent evil is too cunning for that, knowing that most people still profess belief in family and in traditional values. Rather the attacks are subtle and amoral—issues of right and wrong don’t even come up. Immorality and sexual innuendo are everywhere, causing some to believe that because everyone is doing it, it must be all right. This pernicious evil is not out in the street somewhere; it is coming right into our homes, right into the heart of our families. ..... The new morality preached from the media’s pulpit is nothing more than the old immorality. It attacks religion. It undermines the family. It turns virtue into vice and vice into virtue. It assaults the senses and batters the soul with messages and images that are neither virtuous, nor lovely, nor of good report, nor praiseworthy.


Let me say again that the family is the main target of evil’s attack and must therefore be the main point of our protection and defense. As I said once before, when you stop and think about it from a diabolically tactical point of view, fighting the family makes sense to Satan. When he wants to disrupt the work of the Lord, he doesn’t poison the world’s peanut butter supply, thus bringing the Church’s missionary system to its collective knees. He doesn’t send a plague of laryngitis to afflict the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. He doesn’t legislate against green Jell-O and casseroles. When evil wants to strike out and disrupt the essence of God’s work, it attacks the family. It does so by attempting to disregard the law of chastity, to confuse gender, to desensitize violence, to make crude and blasphemous language the norm, and to make immoral and deviant behavior seem like the rule rather than the exception.


We have the good fortune to fret about such things. Our brothers and sisters in other parts of the world have much more dire concerns and immediate and physical attacks upon their families that must be dealt with first. And what can we do to help?


The Family: A Proclamation to the World


The First Presidency and Council of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

We, the First Presidency and the Council of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, solemnly proclaim that marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God and that the family is central to the Creator's plan for the eternal destiny of His children.

All human beings—male and female—are created in the image of God. Each is a beloved spirit son or daughter of heavenly parents, and, as such, each has a divine nature and destiny. Gender is an essential characteristic of individual premortal, mortal, and eternal identity and purpose.

In the premortal realm, spirit sons and daughters knew and worshiped God as their Eternal Father and accepted His plan by which His children could obtain a physical body and gain earthly experience to progress toward perfection and ultimately realize his or her divine destiny as an heir of eternal life. The divine plan of happiness enables family relationships to be perpetuated beyond the grave. 
Sacred ordinances and covenants available in holy temples make it possible for individuals to return to the presence of God and for families to be united eternally.

The first commandment that God gave to Adam and Eve pertained to their potential for parenthood as husband and wife. We declare that God's commandment for His children to multiply and replenish the earth remains in force. We further declare that God has commanded that the sacred powers of procreation are to be employed only between man and woman, lawfully wedded as husband and wife.

We declare the means by which mortal life is created to be divinely appointed. 
We affirm the sanctity of life and of its importance in God's eternal plan. (the sanctity of life clearly refers to all living, wouldn't you agree?)

Husband and wife have a solemn responsibility to love and care for each other and for their children. "Children are an heritage of the Lord" (Psalms 127:3). Parents have a sacred duty to rear their children in love and righteousness, to provide for their physical and spiritual needs, to teach them to love and serve one another, to observe the commandments of God and to be law-abiding citizens wherever they live. Husbands and wives—mothers and fathers—will be held accountable before God for the discharge of these obligations.

The family is ordained of God. Marriage between man and woman is essential to His eternal plan. Children are entitled to birth within the bonds of matrimony, and to be reared by a father and a mother who honor marital vows with complete fidelity. Happiness in family life is most likely to be achieved when founded upon the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ. Successful marriages and families are established and maintained on principles of faith, prayer, repentance, forgiveness, respect, love, compassion, work, and wholesome recreational activities. By divine design, fathers are to preside over their families in love and righteousness and are responsible to provide the necessities of life and protection for their families. Mothers are primarily responsible for the nurture of their children. In these sacred responsibilities, fathers and mothers are obligated to help one another as equal partners. Disability, death, or other circumstances may necessitate individual adaptation. Extended families should lend support when needed. (as per Maslow, mustn't physical security precede all the above?)

We warn that individuals who violate covenants of chastity, who abuse spouse or offspring, or who fail to fulfill family responsibilities will one day stand accountable before God. Further, 
we warn that the disintegration of the family will bring upon individuals, communities, and nations the calamities foretold by ancient and modern prophets(is this a self-feeding cycle?)

We call upon responsible citizens and officers of government everywhere to promote those measures designed to maintain and strengthen the family as the fundamental unit of society.




Isaiah 54:13

 And all thy children shall be taught of the Lord; and great shall be the peace of thy children.  


D&C 68:25                   *********************

 And again, inasmuch as parents have children in Zion, or in any of her stakes which are organized, that teach them not to understand the doctrine of repentance, faith in Christ the Son of the living God, and of baptism and the gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of the hands, when eight years old, the sin be upon the heads of the parents.


1 Nephi 1:1

 I, Nephi, having been born of goodly parents, therefore I was taught somewhat in all the learning of my father; and having seen many afflictions in the course of my days, nevertheless, having been highly favored of the Lord in all my days; yea, having had a great knowledge of the goodness and the mysteries of God, therefore I make a record of my proceedings in my days.


D&C 93:40                 *********************

 But I have commanded you to bring up your children in light and truth.


Mosiah 4:14–15

And ye will not suffer your children that they go hungry, or naked; neither will ye suffer that they transgress the laws of God, and fight and quarrel one with another, and serve the devil, who is the master of sin, or who is the evil spirit which hath been spoken of by our fathers, he being an enemy to all righteousness.

 But ye will teach them to walk in the ways of truth and soberness; ye will teach them to love one another, and to serve one another.







No poor in Zion (for next week, so closing and as part of testimony) / fast offerings

last week's svithe