Snapshots of Life

Sunday, October 31, 2010


In May 2009 The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints started a radio channel with unique LDS programming all day, everyday. Many of you are likely familiar with The Mormon Channel. In the springtime when I was doing a lot of yard work I was looking around for stuff to put on my ipod that I might listen to as I worked. I had heard about The Mormon Channel and decided to look into it. It was a great discovery! I thought they might just have songs from the Tabernacle Choir and conference talks, which they do, but they also have a lot more. I found several programs that are exclusive and unique to The Mormon Channel. The home page ( shows the current schedule and you can listen live online. You can also find the station on the radio in several U.S. markets (though Cache Valley is not one of them :( ). All of the programs can be downloaded as MP3 files and put into itunes, and I believe most of them are also podcasts. You can also look up individual episodes and listen to the file without any downloading.

There is a program called Conversations that is particularly interesting and uplifting. In these episodes members of the church with an "interesting story or unique perspective" are interviewed by Sheri Dew and Ruth Todd. Many of the episodes are interviews with members of the Quorum of the Twelve, the Seventy, and Auxiliary presidencies. These interviews are typically conducted by Sheri Dew and they usually involve the Church leader and their spouse, though in the case of Elder Scott and Julie Beck they are interviewed with their children. The other interviews consist of people such as Susan Easton Black (BYU professor of Church History), Michael F. Moody (participant on the church music committee for many years), and Gary Ceran (lost his wife and several children in a tragic car accident). Most of these other interviews are hosted by Ruth Todd. The interviews are largely informal, which provides a view of the general authorities that we don't often get. Being a lover of biography, it was especially fun for me to hear of their childhood, the way the Lord shaped their life, and their own family life with spouse and children. All of the episodes have provided great insights and an opportunity to be edified by the Spirit.

Other programs that I find especially entertaining are Mormon Identity and Into All the World. Mormon Identity is a program hosted by Robert Millet (professor of religious education at BYU). He engages in conversations about gospel doctrines or practices with another person, usually a professor, author, educator, or expert. These episodes, which are about 30 minutes each in length, are very meaningful in giving perspective on doctrines and other concepts. Some of my favorites are the episode on "the only true and living church", "justification and sanctification", and "Emotional Health of Latter-day Saints".

Into All the World is a program hosted by an audio-visual guy that works for the Church. He interviews currently serving and recently released mission presidents and stake presidents in all parts of the world. The first episode features Massimo De Feo, who is the current stake president in Rome. This program is great in recognizing the growth, progress, and spirit of the Church in all corners of the globe.

After I discovered all that The Mormon Channel had to offer I downloaded several programs and subscribed to podcasts. It was awesome to listen on my ipod as I ran (when I was running) and as I mowed the lawn or worked in the yard. I really enjoyed the time to learn, to be edified, and to ponder the course of my own life and my attempts at discipleship. I think The Mormon Channel is one of the greatest media forms the Church has produced! It offers an uplifting and unique spiritual feast. I highly recommend it to all.

Monday, October 25, 2010

To Anonymous

I attempted to reply to comments posted by anonymous on my recent series of posts, but I got way too long-winded and it wouldn't let me publish a comment that long! Apparently there is a limit of 4,096 characters (random number!) and this response is 4,812. If you're interested, please see the comment feed from the previous post to follow the dialogue.


I obviously know who you are. Again, I appreciate your feedback and have thought deeply about what you have shared. Please know that my recent posts have not been directed at any one individual. They have been the result of observations in the world around me over the past numerous months. I sincerely love you. The plain fact is, I miss you.

I will clarify a couple of points and then let my comments and your comments stand for what they are (obviously you can feel free to make any additional comments you wish to make). First, narcissistic personality disorder is a disorder of the character or personality of an individual with a pervasive pattern of traits (mentioned in part I) across various domains of life that cause significant impairment. Nevertheless, as with many mental disorders there is a severity spectrum. Someone with this disorder may actually appear quite functional in many aspects of their life. I used an example of what the disorder may look like to illustrate the meaning of the word, with all of its nuances. Often the word narcissism is used interchangeably with the word arrogant or egotistical in common language, but I think it is really quite a bit more than that. However, in talking about intellectual narcissism I switched and was not talking about a diagnosable condition, which is why I repeatedly referred to traits, tendencies, and characteristics. In fact, I even said that often the person with intellectual narcissism from my observation does not necessarily exhibit that narcissism in other areas of their life. I was using the word to express an attitude and a presentation exhibited by some. If this was, or still is, confusing or unclear, I apologize.

Second, I did not suggest that anyone who "merely" disagrees with "my" prophet is an intellectual narcissist. Nor did I suggest that people who get PhDs, use sophisticated vocabulary, or rely on something other than prophetic authority to find truth are intellectual narcissists. It is important to note that I was obviously speaking to a Latter-day Saint audience. I suggested that people who love and inflate their intellect, their degrees, and their vocabulary and use them to put themselves above the revealed word, the prophets, and sometimes God Himself may be intellectual narcissists. I also suggested people with an excessive focus on the intellect at the expense of the spirit, who then use that gift to tear down others and vaunt themselves may be intellectual narcissists as well.

Third, you have implied in your comments here and in your comments in a previous post that I am somehow opposed to truth discovery in any form other than "prophetic authority". This is not the case. I happen to believe in truth from any and all sources from which real truth may sprout. I find doctrines and practices rooted in truth from science, Buddhism, Native American traditions, Catholicism, and many other sources beautiful, miraculous, and profound. I have no qualms with seeming discrepancies. The world is not black and white. I have personal faith that all truth can be circumscribed into one great whole. What I take issue with is the rejection or criticism of truth, no matter its source and no matter its target. Just because I generally write about truths as expressed in Mormonism does not mean that I reject truth from other sources, as long as it is truth. Each person must find that truth for themselves. I may disagree with their methods and their conclusions (and, I believe, should be able to express that) but that does not mean I do not appreciate their efforts. I may even make judgments about their methods and conclusions but I try hard not to make judgments about them! I admit that this was not expressed well in the posts, thus creating an "us vs. them" feel. I have learned for next time.

Fourth, I love President Uchtdorf too! :)

Fifth, I absolutely agree that perceived righteousness is an invitation to pride. Is there pride in me? I am full of it. I pray daily that I can root it out of me and be truly humble. My faith invites me to a conversion of the heart, to be a true disciple of Jesus Christ. That's what I want more than anything in the world. I do not want to be a hypocrite who self-righteously performs checklists and adheres to "cultural doctrines". I do not just "claim" to direct these posts to me - I DO. Are there narcissistic traits in me? Without question. I'm working on that as well. Is there a beam in my eye? There are probably a few. I do appreciate the reminder (that is not sarcastic - I really do).

Sixth, while I disagree with some of the conclusions you have come to in your life, and it appears that you disagree with some of mine, please give me the benefit of the doubt that I have not "forgotten" that "one must depend on God himself and the spirit to decide what is right despite what that authority figure says". I know and trust that your conclusions have not come from a place of malice or ill intent. I know that there has been significant struggle that has brought you to where you are. Please know that it is also excruciating spiritual and emotional struggle that has brought me to where I am. You suggest it is "easy" to "decide that one particular man speaks for God". But I would like to offer that sometimes it is actually quite difficult. It is ONLY because of God and the Spirit that I have taken the path I have taken, independent of any other. It is the personal witness to my mind and heart that has led me to faith, when it would have been significantly more "easy" to go elsewhere. It is the wonderful comfort, the reassuring grace, the unmistakable testimony that has come from Him in the midst of my own suffering that has brought me to want to follow Him and His servants, imperfectly as I do.

I ask for your forgiveness for any offense I have caused in this discussion. I express my love and my desire for eternal friendship.