Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Crandall Printing Museum

This week for my Doctrine and Covenants class, we went to the Crandall Printing Museum to learn about the process for the printing of the Bible, Book of Mormon, and important American historical documents. I wasn't really sure what to expect out of the tour, but it ended up being one of the coolest things I've done/seen while I've been here at BYU. The tour was about two hours long, and basically they took us through several different rooms in which there were various printing presses. The first room was about Gutenberg and the invention of the printing press, and they showed us how each part of the printing process worked before culminating that presentation with actually printing some pages. The second room was about the role of the printing press in the formation of the United States and how essential it was for the colonists to have the capabilities to print things in order to bring about the independence of the nation. The man who led that presentation dressed up as Benjamin Franklin and taught us quite a bit about his life and role in the American Revolution as a printer. Finally, the third room was where we learned about the printing and bringing forth of the Book of Mormon. That presentation was truly amazing--I learned that because of the number of copies they were printing (5,000 copies, which was more than almost any other book that had been printed at one time in that day) and the short amount of time they had to complete the printing process, they had to have averaged two pages per minute. And after all the things we had learned in the previous rooms about the work involved in the printing process, that number was staggering. I agree with the men who were giving the presentations: they asserted that angels were helping to speed the printing process. It was a miracle that the Book of Mormon was printed in the short time that it was. That couldn't have happened without heaven's help. I don't remember the exact statistics of the starting and finishing date, but I'll try to look into that and post that next week.

I guess overall, I was just extremely impressed with how much the Lord has His hand in what happens here on earth. He truly does inspire men and women to do the things that will help bring to pass His work. Both historically and now, God knows what is going on in our lives and on this earth. He wants us to succeed and to fulfill the things He has in store for us, because those are the things that will bring us the most happiness anyway.

Here is the link to the museum. It was pretty cool--I highly recommend it to anyone who might be in the area, whether living here or just passing through.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Bits of wisdom, seven days a week

It's always interesting to me to follow our discussions in my Doctrine and Covenants class, because on the very first day of class, my professor said that he wouldn't be focusing on teaching us how to apply the scriptures in our lives, but rather on the historical context of them. However, as I look through my notes later after class is over, my notes seem to be more similar to the way I would write in my scripture journal--full of thoughts, impressions, and applications to my own life. Sure, I also have the historical context of what we talk about in class, but my teacher is right: once we learn the how's and why's and what's of the historical aspects of the text, applying it becomes that much easier.

Last Tuesday, my notes for the day consisted mostly of these applications--bits of wisdom to help me in my life. I know we actually discussed some of them in class, but I think others of them were just things I decided to jot down. One of the things that I've thought a lot about recently is the idea of being a Sunday-only member of your faith--whether Catholic, Lutheran, Mormon, Jewish, Muslim, or whatever. I guess it basically just comes down to living up to your convictions. We were talking about how in the early days of the church, a lot of people were angry with Joseph Smith for being a prophet who influenced the way they lived their lives on the other days of the week besides just Sunday. I think this is more common than just an issue in the early days of the Latter-day Saints--I think it's present in every religion, all throughout history. I'm certainly guilty of it at times. Though I have very specific, certain things that I believe and I believe in them wholeheartedly, there are times where in the moment I don't want to act like I believe the things I do.

Technically speaking, I believe that being messy isn't a very good thing, that procrastinating is kind of lame, and that it's important to really study the scriptures every day--more than just reading them. However, I am sitting in a messy room, I procrastinated beginning my homework for quite a while earlier tonight, and I haven't studied scriptures yet today. So why do I do this?

I'm not perfect. I mess up. I don't always live up to my convictions. And you know, even though I believe very strongly in the values and standards that my church espouses, just like those early Latter-day Saints, I too have a hard time living them every day of the week. I guess that's why I'm here. I have to learn to do the best I can with what I have. I need to learn to live my religion seven days a week, as best as I possibly can. Even though I mess up, I'll just keep trying. Though the early Saints sometimes got angry with Joseph Smith for telling them things that the Lord wanted them to do that were "too hard," I'm going to try harder not to do that. I'm going to try harder not to grumble, mumble, and inwardly rebel against my beliefs and convictions that I know to be true. Hopefully one of these days I'll actually be able to tell a difference.

In the meantime, I guess I just beg the rest of the world to remember that I'm still trying. Please remember that I'm human too and I'm just trying like everyone else to do the right thing..and that I'll mess up every now and again.

I feel kind of like the Little Engine that Could: I think I can, I think I can, I think I can...

Friday, February 6, 2009


It's official. The big one. The one I've been waiting for since I was nine and ten years old.

Are you ready?

It might be too big to handle.


I'm going to study in LONDON for Fall semester 2009!!!!!!


Ever since I was Mary Lennox in The Secret Garden at age nine, and ever since my sister did a study abroad in London in the year 2000, I have wanted to go to Great Britain. I didn't want to just visit there, mind you. I knew visiting wouldn't be long enough. In fact, when I was considering which London program to apply to, I didn't even really want to apply to the summer or spring terms, because then I'd only be there for six weeks. Fall. That was the right semester. I'd be there while the weather was still nice for a little bit, I'd see autumn and Christmas in England, and I'd be able to do and see and take in more while I was there. (Hm. I'm speaking in future past tense. Odd.)

As it turns out, my interview with my professor to determine whether or not I would get into the program must have gone pretty well, because they (the faculty in charge of the program) offered me a position as the student facilitator for the program. That means I'll be kind of like a TA/secretary for the program; any questions students have in preparation to go have to go through me, all passport/travel/financial arrangements have to go through me, and I'll be helping some (I think--as far as I understand) with planning and helping with the preparation class that everyone takes in order to get ready to go. Sweet. And once we get there, I'll do those same kinds of logistical and administrative things. The nice thing is, it is another job, so I will be making some extra money, but it's only 5-10 hours a week, so it won't keep me from having a lovely time in Britain. I was really surprised that they asked me--I didn't think the interview went that well, but I guess they're nice, and so is God. Good grief, this world is full of good people. Hope I do okay.

All in all, I'm stoked. Beyond all reason. And it's only going to get better from here, folks. Look out, Queen Elizabeth...here I come! :)

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

That's the way it is. Now what are you going to do about it?

This weekend, my sister Sharon came to visit me. It was so, so fun to have her here. And as fun as it would be to give a travel log of everything that we did, I'm actually not going to do that. But while she was here, we had some really good conversations about a plethora of different things. (Yes, I did just say plethora. I like that word.)

In one of these conversations, we were discussing how often people get upset at situations that are less than ideal. We tend to blame other people for a situation that we don't like or are uncomfortable with, and a lot of times, we aren't willing to do anything about it to change it. Then we looked at people who seem to be in control of their lives, who don't get angry about stupid little things, and what the difference was between the two. And you know, the difference is just in the attitude. Having an attitude of complaining or criticism about people or things does not do any good. The people that I know that are most in control of their lives don't get wrapped up in their little frustrations. They seem to take the attitude of, "Well, that's just the way it is. Now what am I going to do about it?" It seems so simple. And really, everyone knows that it doesn't do any good to complain and whine. Taking the proactive attitude and refusing to let yourself be acted on is so much better--but we all do it from time to time anyway.

We talked about this the other day in D&C. We were talking about when to give and receive advice, and in the course of the conversation, someone said, "You know, it's easy to serve people you like. What about when you rub against people?" Since no one is perfectly happy with anyone else all the time, we just kind of have to figure out that disagreements and frustrations and annoyances are going to arise. The key is, what do we do when we do rub against people like that? What do I do when I'm starting to be critical of other people? It's an interesting thought. And what we do in these situations is extraordinarily revealing about our character, I think.

That's just the way it is. Now what are we going to do about it?