Wednesday, February 29, 2012

On Accountability

Head on over to Everything for the Love if you want to read a quick guest post I wrote On Accountability.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

On Onties and Such

I am currently studying the Book of Alma, and thought I would share something that I put together a couple of years back when I was clerking for a Superior Court Judge.

In Alma 11, Alma (and later Mormon) spent quite a long time recording the system of money used by the Nephites anciently. I always kind of thought of this section as novelty, or maybe some evidence that could be matched up with ancient Mayan practices eventually, but I didn't really think about what it meant in the context of the rest of the chapter.

The story being told is that of Alma and Amulek's public debate again Zeezrom, who was a lawyer and who attempted a hearty cross-examination of the missionary duo. At one point he tries to bribe Amulek to deny Christ and everything he had taught, offering him six onties of silver. This is where my calculations come in:

A judge receives a senine of gold or a senum of silver for one day's work.  (v. 3)

Taking a senum as the basic unit for silver, here is how the money system goes (v. 5-13)

1 senum = 1 senum
1 amnor = 2 senum
1 ezrum = 4 senum
1 onti = 7 senum (the sum of them all, v. 13)

Therefore 1 onti is equivalent to 7 days' pay for a judge, making 6 onties worth 42 days' pay.

The current approximate annual salary for a Superior Court Judge in Orange County, CA is $178,789. Dividing that by approximately 250 working days per year, that makes a daily salary of $715.16. So the approximate salary for 42 days would be $30,037.

No wonder Zeezrom wasn't really intending to pay Amulek!

This is kind of on the side of fun facts as opposed to spiritual insights, but it really gives an appreciation for the dedication and conviction of Amulek, who was essentially a new convert. Amulek then goes on to see all of the women and children believers martyred (Alma 14:8-11). Undoubtedly they included friends and loved ones, and possibly even his own family, as his whole house had been blessed and instructed by Alma (Alma 10:11). That is some amazing faith, but I trust that his reward will be much more than $30,000.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

A House of Order

I have been focusing a lot lately on fixing up our house, making it feel more homey (every single wall is currently bare), organizing, and being more disciplined in keeping it clean. It is slow going.

The other night as I was washing the mound of dishes that had accumulated over the couple of days previous, I got to thinking about something our bishop mentioned last Sunday: the more clean and organized our homes are, the more the Spirit will be able to dwell there.

If I were to get a letter telling me that a member of the Godhead were to come to my home for a visit, how would I want my home to look? How would I prepare, both physically and spiritually? I know that even when a friend drops by I try to tidy up and at least hide the clutter.

But in my prayers I frequently ask that the Holy Ghost to be in our home every day. When I leave things a mess, surely that doesn't seem like a very sincere invitation, and doesn't reflect how much I value His presence.

So, once again, I am recommitting to make our house "a house of prayer, a house of fasting, a house of faith, a house of learning, a house of glory, a house of order, a house of God." (Doctrine & Covenants 132:8)

p.s. I like this talk by President Monson. A good reminder that we ourselves are temples, too, and we must build up our house.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Learning who we are

When I was going to Long Beach State, I went to a fireside in Irvine with Sheri Dew. I was amazed and inspired. The contents that stuck with me were very similar to this address that I ran across today while working on a guest post for a friend's blog. It brought back a flood of good feelings and inspiration.

Read. Bask. Enjoy. 

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Women and the Priesthood: thoughts lately.

A friend of mine posted a link recently to a group of LDS feminists. It seems that a lot of similar groups are popping up on the internet--people who are displeased with a particular aspect of LDS doctrine or culture, and then focus in on it incessantly. I find myself in an interesting position; I understand a lot of the points, and have even thought about and struggled with some of them. I don't agree, but I have a hard time conveying how I feel about it in an articulate and effective manner.

So when I came across this post this evening, I was grateful. The author hits the nail on the head for me; the world can't understand that the patriarchal order is not inherently unequal because it doesn't understand the nature of the priesthood (or of womanhood, for that matter). Read for yourself:

I know there are plenty of people who disagree (that seems to be all I come across lately). But it is refreshing for me to read a coherent explanation of the priesthood, which is meant to exalt women (and men), not debase them.