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Topics - Roper

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Crafts / Card Making
« on: January 05, 2021, 10:29:58 pm »
My wife, Michelle, makes greeting cards. We received a Christmas card from the Netherlands (thanks Jana!) As soon as Michelle saw the card she said, "Oooh. That's really good. Do you know how long it takes to cut out all those little pieces and position them?" Sam was reading over my shoulder and said, "I miss Oma!" So, You have a card making colleague from across the pond, Jana!

General Discussion / Merry Christmas!
« on: December 24, 2020, 11:13:27 pm »
May you receive an increased measure of joy and peace from the Baby in a manger, the Teacher on a hillside, the Son in a garden, the Savior on a cross.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iO7ySn-Swwc Another version of my favorite Christmas song.

Politics / The Insurrection Act? Really?
« on: December 19, 2020, 04:01:09 pm »
Man, I really hope this doesn't gain any more traction. Let's just make it one more month without all hell breaking loose.

And now, with the Electoral College confirming Biden’s win, recounts failing to change the results and courts at every level swatting down lawsuits challenging the outcome, some MAGA figures have latched on to the specific Insurrection Act clause granting the president authority to use the military to quash a “rebellion against the authority of the United States.” In their strained interpretation, the clause gives Trump the power to go after the Democrats and deep state actors conspiring to remove him from office. It’s a reading of the law experts immediately rejected.

It seems nearly impossible Trump would actually invoke the law in this manner. But that hasn’t stopped prominent Trump supporters like Wood, one of the lawyers pushing unsubstantiated lawsuits through the courts, from suggesting Trump send the military into Georgia to break up a meeting of electors.

And over the weekend, after the Supreme Court rejected a Trump-boosted lawsuit from Texas asking to overturn the election results in four other swing states, MAGA supporters took to the streets to demand, among other things, that Trump use the Insurrection Act to force an election do-over, or at the very least, stop Biden from taking office.


Moroni 1: Moroni records how he wanders alone, avoiding capture by the Lamanites. He knows they will put him to death because he won't deny Christ.
Moroni 2: Moroni teaches about the gift of the Holy Ghost.
Moroni 3: Moroni teaches about the Priesthood.
Moroni 4 & 5: Moroni teaches about the Sacrament.
Moroni 6: Moroni teaches about baptism and fellowship.

It struck me how profoundly alone Moroni must have felt. In the time he had left, he taught about being together.
- The Holy Ghost is a constant companion.
- The Priesthood binds us together and seals us in the family of God.
- The Sacrament gives us a frequent reminder that we are together in the Church of Jesus Christ.
- Baptism is our formal adoption into God's church and family.

Doctrines & Scholarship / What the Bible teaches about conspiracy theories
« on: November 24, 2020, 12:01:48 am »
There's a good podcast series called "Quick to Listen." Some of the episodes--you have to take with a grain of salt. Many are really good. A recent really good one is about conspiracy theories. You can read the transcript at Christianity Today. The guest is Rev. Dru Johnson, the director of the Center for Hebraic Thought.


There's a kind of a soft Gnosticism that goes on with conspiracy theories, where we just want to know because we think knowledge is power in and of itself. But scripture would say doing what God has commanded is actually the power part.

In Scripture, as in science and everywhere else, it values that “knowing” is fully actuated through embodied actions. So if you think about learning math or learning how to read x-rays or any kind of technical skill, it's always embodied. It always involves time, history, coaching, an authority who can help you understand what's going on, etc.

What does Gnosticism do? It says, “You're going to get access to this secret knowledge and that's going to open up salvation, rescue, or another world for you.” For me, the message from scripture from beginning to end is that the world around you is real and has the right to teach you and you submit to it.

Music / Indie Bands
« on: November 06, 2020, 09:15:10 pm »
On the drive home from work, I was listening to election coverage on NPR. Then I realized, "I'm done with this for today. Time for something else." So I hit the search button on the radio, and the next station was KRCL out of Salt Lake. The DJ was playing music from Indie Bands, and I heard a song I really really liked. I tried to remember lyrics so that I could look them up when I got home. Found them! The band is Okkervil River and the song is "Unless It's Kicks." It's been around for about ten years, it seems. I really like the singer's voice, and the lyrics are filled with imagery and they're clever without seeming overwrought. Anyway, here's a link. I'll be listening to some more from the band.


Politics / I voted!
« on: November 03, 2020, 02:15:10 pm »
I did my best this time to really learn about all the candidates on the ballot. I voted for candidates which most closely represent my position on policies I care about, and who are ethical public servants. I ended up mostly voting for Republicans at the local and state level. I'm in Utah, and there were a number of unopposed Republican candidates. I voted for a candidate from the Constitution party, and one from the Libertarian party. They really have no chance of winning. They still best represent my positions. I voted for the sole Democrat in Utah's congressional delegation. And, while it was super tempting to vote for Kanye West for POTUS  ;) , I voted for Biden. I just can't imagine how far our country will sink if we have another four years with the current administration.

Cooking, Food, and Food Storage / What are your favorite kitchen things?
« on: October 31, 2020, 08:51:46 pm »
A month ago, I got a heavy carbon steel frying pan. I absolutely love cooking with that pan! Sure, it requires a bit more maintenance. I only wash it by hand, and then only with water and a brush. I coat it with a thin film of canola oil after each washing. It has transformed so many different foods! Meat, chicken, and fish now have a delicious crust on the outside. Vegetables have blackened edges. And, I can cook with high heat. I've been slowly getting rid of all my non-stick cookware over the last few months. I have a few stainless steel pots, now. I have a porcelain coated cast iron dutch oven. I have a cast iron deep skillet with a cover. And now, I have a carbon steel frying pan. Cooking for my family has become so much more joyful!

What are your favorite things in your kitchen?

General Discussion / White Privilege
« on: October 29, 2020, 11:05:31 am »
I have treated the phrase "White privilege", and the ideas around it, with skepticism since I learned about it last year. I've watched the PragerU video which attempted to explain it away. I've listened to friends and extended family members who say it's part of a movement to force everything from slavery reparation payments to hiring quotas, and that it's aim is to make white people feel guilty about their skin color, which they can't change.

My own life experience shows me that I have benefitted from white privilege, but not in the way I first understood.

I grew up in rural poverty. My dad didn't graduate from high school. He was a barber sometimes, a truck driver sometimes, and unemployed sometimes, until he got a steady union job when I was in middle school. My mom had a one-year certificate in office management from Ricks College. She worked as a part-time receptionist at the school district office. After I turned 12, I started working Saturdays and summers on our neighbor's dairy. I made $1 / hour mucking out calf stalls. When I turned 16, I was able to work in the milking barn and earn minimum wage.

I earned a 1-year scholarship to college. When that ran out, I joined the military to pay for the rest of college. I was enlisted for 5 years, and then I became an officer. While I was working full time, I completed the courses I needed to become a teacher when I got out of the military. After another nine years, I went back to school again while working full time and earned a Masters degree so I could become an administrator, which is where I am now.

With the exception of two years of missionary service (which I saved for), I have always had a job. When I learned about "White privilege," my first response was, "Well, that's not me. I certainly didn't have any special privileges. I worked hard to get to where I am."

I understand now that is the privilege. People around me gave me opportunities because to them, I represented American grit--the "pull yourself up by your bootstraps" mythos which is so powerful in our culture. I was the kid who grew up in poverty and became successful because of determination and hard work. Here's the thing: Nobody ever expected anything different from me. They encouraged me and gave me opportunities to succeed.

Raymond, one of my friends in middle school, didn't have the opportunity to work at the dairy. His dad did. My boss at the dairy hired undocumented Hispanic migrant workers because he could pay them below minimum wage. Ray's dad was one of those workers. When the "Mexicans" weren't around, the boss and the white workers talked about how all those Spics would bring up their wives and pump out kids as fast as possible so they could stay in America and get on welfare. Ray was one of those kids. My boss hated Mexican kids. He wouldn't even let them on the property. I was given the opportunity to work because I'm white.

When I was in the military, I received a lot of encouragement when I decided to switch from enlisted to officer. In every new leadership position, there was recognition of how hard I had worked to get there. There was always underlying talk, in hundreds of places and situations, about how black people in similar leadership positions were there because the military had to "fill a quota." I received encouragement to advance. My colleagues who were not white received resentment.

When I became a teacher, I had an outstanding mentor who became my closest friend. He had grown up in an upper-middle class home. His first car (a Mustang) was a gift from his parents while he was in high school. College was paid for. He's tall, thin, educated, and well spoken. He also has brown skin. Whenever he goes into an upscale department store, a security guard or other employee will follow him around (at a discrete distance, of course.) That has never happened to me, and I usually wear old jeans, a tee shirt, and a ball cap. I probably fit the profile of a potential shoplifter much better than my friend does. I don't arouse suspicion because I'm white.

Acknowledging this, that white privilege has played out in my life in the form of opportunities and encouragement, doesn't change my history. It doesn't lessen the fact that I have worked hard for 40 years to get to where I am. It helps me to be grateful for what I have been given. It helps me to understand that others, friends and colleagues in many instances, didn't receive opportunities and encouragement. They received suspicion, resentment, and even hate, because their skin isn't white like mine.

3 Nephi 27:10 - 12

"And if it so be that the church is built upon my gospel then will the Father show forth his own works in it. But if it be not built upon my gospel, and is built upon the works of men, or upon the works of the devil, verily I say unto you they have joy in their works for a season, and by and by the end cometh, and they are hewn down and cast into the fire, from whence there is no return. For their works do follow them, for it is because of their works that they are hewn down; therefore remember the things that I have told you."

I highlighted "works" because it jumped out at me this morning how important works are in the church. The scriptural passage and the associated study guide are focused on the name of the church, and why it is called by Christ's name. So, this isn't a discussion of faith vs. works in our individual salvation. It is a discussion about the purpose of the church.

... Gotta head to work. More to come...

Politics / Which Republicans do you support?
« on: October 17, 2020, 04:00:39 pm »
On a different thread, Sparky made the observation that the majority of posts were against Donald Trump. So, I thought we could "bring balance to the Force" with a discussion about Republican officials we support.

I'll start:

I support Senator Mitt Romney. I voted for him in the 2012 Presidential election. I voted him for him to represent Utah in the Senate. Out of all elected representatives at the national level, Romney most closely aligns with my own values as a citizen.

I approve of Amy Coney Barrett for Associate Justice on the Supreme Court. Unless the direction changes in the next few weeks, we will likely have a liberal majority in the House of Representatives, maybe a liberal majority in the Senate, and probably a Biden White House. I'm grateful for a conservative balancing force in the separation of powers. Like Romney, Barrett's values around family and faith issues most closely align with my own.

On the state and local level, there's not much to say. I received my ballot by mail yesterday. Many positions have unopposed Republicans running. In the Governor's race, I'm supporting Spencer Cox (Republican.) His Democratic opponent, Chris Peterson, has some good ideas about education. Spencer Cox has actual plans to improve public education. And, Cox's commitment to supporting families and to preserving religious freedom are crystal clear.

Locally, I support our very Republican mayor. He's probably the busiest person in Santaquin. He has a fulltime job. He serves as Mayor on Fridays for the paltry sum of $6K per year. He's a Stake President. He has a family. And, with all of that, he worked shoulder-to-shoulder with me volunteering to dig post holes at the Girls Camp. 

So, with the whole picture in the frame, I support Republicans the vast majority of the time. It's interesting that because I won't be voting for Donald Trump, I'm suddenly a baby-killing Socialist who wants to take away free speech and destroy America.  ::)

Setting aside Donald Trump, which Republicans do you support and why?

General Discussion / I'm beginning to understand New Yorkers
« on: October 15, 2020, 10:34:37 pm »
I've been to NYC three times. Each time, I was there for workshops and stayed for a couple of weeks. I rode the subway and walked. A lot. Each time, I came away thinking that New Yorkers are incredibly rude. They don't smile. They avoid talking to other people. When they do talk, it's to say something like, "Move over," or "Back away," in an abrasive tone.

The Covid-19 protocols are helping me to understand why New Yorkers act the way they do in public. Here's an example: I went to Costco today. There is a big sign at the entry stating, "Employees and customers are required to wear masks at all times and to maintain 6 ft distance." The employee at the entrance gives everyone a verbal reminder, and has extra masks available to give to customers who don't have one. I checked my mask, showed my card, and walked through. There was a woman and her teenage daughter a few steps in front of me. We rounded a corner. The woman looked back to make sure she was out of eyesight of the employee at the front door. Then she nodded to her daughter. they both took off their masks. The mom said, "If anyone says anything, tell them we have a medical condition." I glared at them and shook my head. The woman mouthed "F*** you" to me then they turned and walked off. I have a pretty good idea of how things would have worked out if I pursued it--a man harassing a woman, etc. So I let it go and went about my business. About 10 minutes later, I was getting wiper blades for my truck. I was using one of those little reference books tethered to the shelf to find the size I needed. A man came up and grabbed the book next to the one I was using. He was standing so close that his shoulder touched mine. I said, "I'm almost done. Would you please back away six feet?" He replied, "No. I need to get these." So, I put my book down, backed away, and waited until he was finished. When he was done, he turned to me and said, "Got a problem?" then walked away.

If this happens in little Spanish Fork, Utah, then I imagine it's multiplied by a million times in NYC. I'm done being nice when somebody puts me or my loved ones at risk in public. I'm gonna be rude.

Politics / The Deal is Done
« on: October 14, 2020, 09:05:53 am »
Thank you, President Trump. You promised that if conservative Americans voted for you, you would put conservative judges on the Supreme Court. Many Americans held their noses and voted for you. You made good on your promise. The deal is done.

Now, it's time to elect a leader who can collaborate with other world leaders to end a global pandemic. That's not your deal. It's time to elect a leader who can work with other elected leaders in congress to recover from economic devastation. That's not your deal. It's time to make America great again in working with our allies to ensure security. That's definitely not your deal. Your deal now is to figure out how to pay the personal creditors you've avoided for four years.

Thank you, Mr. President. The deal is done. Good luck.

Politics / Judge Barrett's Confirmation
« on: October 12, 2020, 10:21:14 am »
I'm listening to the hearings this morning. Sen. Mike Lee from Utah's speech was absolutely incredible. He put things into constitutional perspective about politicizing the role of the Supreme Court.

General Discussion / LEOKA
« on: October 06, 2020, 11:32:09 pm »
No nationwide protests. No endless media coverage. Just a statistic on a government web page: 39 Law Enforcement Officers have been feloniously killed so far in 2020. 8 were victims of an ambush.

They didn't sign up to be murdered. They left behind grieving spouses and devastated children. Where are the protests and national outrage? Where are the unconnected masses claiming to be traumatized by their deaths? I occasionally see a flag with a blue stripe flying in front of a quiet residence, a silent memorial to their sacrifices.


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