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Krista Cook

Latter-day Saints

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Flagship LDS School

Friday April 18, 2014

Sunrise over Y MountainSince colleges and universities seem to be everywhere, why should you go to Brigham Young University (BYU), the Church's flagship school?

Well, as it so happens, I am a graduate of BYU and I can give you a number of reasons.

It has terrific academics, language training, sports, arts and culture, spiritual emphasis and more.

I could go on and on.

If you are looking for a large research university with LDS standards and values, then BYU is the best choice.

Otherwise known as the "Y," if you look closely you can see a white "Y" emblazoned on the mountain in the above picture. Sunrise over Y-Mountain, as it is called, is a nice perk of attending BYU.

Photo courtesy of 2005, Brigham Young University. All rights reserved. Photo by Jaren Wilkey/BYU. Sunrise south of Harris Fine Arts Center, Brigham Square, Y -Mountain.

Handel's Messiah in April?

Monday April 14, 2014

Mormon Tabernacle ChoirNormally a Christmas offering, Handel's Messiah was intended for Easter.

Part of the Church's Because of Him emphasis, this Easter season marks the first time the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra will present the Messiah in its entirety.

Originally a limited and exclusive affair, ticket and popular demand has expanded the viewing options. Besides in person over two nights, it is available in real time and on demand viewing, as well as a future recording. The Choir's official website lists all these options, plus the extensive official program in pdf.

Read more about Handel, his life, the Messiah and read selected lyrics and excerpts in anticipation of the program.

Photo courtesy of 2013 Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved. Mormon Tabernacle Choir and the Orchestra at Temple Square in the Salt Lake Tabernacle.

30 Converts Per Year!

Monday April 14, 2014

Native Fijian Missionaries

Some news articles this week have highlighted online missionaries:

One of the astonishing facts underscored by the above articles is that online missionaries average 30 converts per year for each missionary! It far outdistances regular proselyting statistics.

Aside from the medium they use, some things won't change about how missionaries share the gospel. They will still be in white shirts and ties, but not necessarily pants, at least in Fiji.

Photo courtesy of 2012 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved. Native Fijian missionaries.

How Church Schools are Similar

Monday April 14, 2014

WSC-Wilkinson-Center1.jpgThe Church operates several colleges and universities, but they are all very different from each other.

On the flip side, they share a number of important things, especially how religion and values infuse campus events, activities and life.

What Makes Church Schools Similar identifies all these similarities. They include a uniform admissions process, an Honor Code, ecclesiastical endorsement requirement, religion course requirements and more.

Before pointing out the differences between them, I thought I'd emphasize the similarities among them!

Photo courtesy of BYU-Provo. All rights reserved. Brigham Young University-Provo campus with the Wilkinson Center in the background.

Interpretation and Translation

Monday April 7, 2014

Interpreting to MongolianInterpreters and translators are not the same thing.

Interpreters verbally change a speaker's words into that of another language.

Translators change the written word into that of another language.

During General Conference, extensive use is made of interpreters.Interpreting into Swahili

An interpreter has a tough job. He or she must pay attention to both verbal and non-verbal clues in order to properly convey not only the speaker's words, but also their intent. Inflection and tone are also important to an interpreter's job.

The gift of the interpretation of tongues and the gift of translation are both Gifts of the Spirit.

There are many gifts of the spirit and the article above only includes a standard list. There are others.

Photo courtesy of 2010 Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved. Chuluun Walker prepares to interpret a meeting into Mongolian.

Photo courtesy of Geoffrey McAllister. Andrew Zillale provides real-time interpretation of general conference sermons for Swahili-speaking attendees at the meeting and others watching by satellite in Africa and elsewhere.

The Semmelweiss Reflex

Saturday April 5, 2014

Elder Nelson, April 2014Two powerful sessions of General Conference are now complete. However, I want to draw your attention to one talk.

Elder Russell M. Nelson's talk was unusually well-crafted.

He made a reference to something he has addressed before, how medical knowledge wasn't consistent with Biblical knowledge for over 3,000 years. However, he didn't explain it fully in today's address.

If you are unfamiliar with it, go back to October, 1992, to his talk, Where Is Wisdom and read starting at the subheading, "Beware of Unbalance." His reference is to a man called Semmelweiss.

Elder Uchtdorf gives a short history of Ignaz Semmelweiss in his talk, Where is Truth? Look for the subheading of his name. Also see this short bio of him and his work.

Howard Sackler's play, Semmelweiss is hard hitting. I saw it at BYU, directed by Edwin Sherin, a guest director who also directed it when the New York Times reviewed it.

This historic situation has given rise to a phrase called, the Semmelweiss Reflex. It means that people tend to automatically reject new knowledge because it contradicts already entrenched knowledge, custom or tradition.

It's always worthwhile to reflect on how much we suffer from the Semmelweiss Reflex ourselves.

Photo courtesy of 2014 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved. Elder Russell M. Nelson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles speaks at the Saturday afternoon session of general conference, 5 April 2014.

Speaker Intervals Explained

Friday April 4, 2014

Crowds at ConferenceSemi-Annual General Conference is upon us.

I want to explain a Conference custom and how it came to be.

The custom of leaders addressing the congregation between featured speakers was begun so that any errors in doctrine could be corrected.

This does not seem to be a problem anymore or else the Church has found different ways of handling it.

Before the talks are printed, sometimes little alterations in the text are made. Generally, these changes are to more carefully capture the concept the speaker was addressing.

These little alterations are generally minor.

Photo courtesy of 2010 Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved. Mormon General Conference -- Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints worldwide gather twice yearly for what they call "general conference." This is in addition to their weekly worship services each Sunday.

Holy Fetch!

Wednesday April 2, 2014

So, did you fall for an April Fool's prank yesterday? I almost did.

My nephew, may he rest in peace, announced on Facebook that he had received his mission call and would be opening the envelope later that evening.

It didn't take long for people to react. Some asked if it was a joke, others congratulated him.

He fessed up to me in a text message but led his Facebook friends along for a while longer.

I told him he was dead. However, I'll let his friends in closer physical proximity carry out their own death threats.

The mission call to Antarctica, speaking the Emperor Penguin language, still gets my vote for best mission call prank.

Meanwhile, urban legends, hoaxes and other pranks will continue to occur outside of April Fool's day.

Use About.com's Urban Legends site and Snopes to debunk them.

If it is LDS-related, then Holy Fetch is a valuable resource. But, that's only if you really want to know the truth...

General Authority Pay

Wednesday April 2, 2014

Outsiders often speculate that when the Church entices people away from their secular careers and salaries, Church salaries must be comparable.

Elder Oaks and WifeWithout having definitive proof, we know this is false. Occasionally, we can pick up hints from comments that are made.

A recent article provides some clues. It covered Elder Dallin H. Oaks remarks after receiving a secular award:

"When I was on the Utah Supreme Court," he said, "I had taken a significant cut in salary from BYU president. My dear wife June said to me, 'Do you realize every job you have taken since you got out of law school, you have taken a cut in pay to move from one job to another. Some husbands get an increase in pay.' "

He was subdued, he said.

When he was called to the Quorum of the Twelve, he received a living allowance. He spoke about it to his wife, who said, "Well, it's happened again. But at least it won't happen again."

"Then, a few years later, President Hinckley took all the general authorities off corporate boards, and it happened again!" Elder Oaks said.

The Church does not release any information on living allowances. From Elder Oaks remarks above, we know it was less than what he made as a Utah Supreme Court Justice.

By not being allowed to sit on boards, this cut his ability to make money from outside sources, further reducing his income.

Current Utah Supreme Court Justices earn between $219,000 and $229,000.

We don't know much about living allowances in the Church, except that they are minimal.

Moreover, some leaders don't take them because they don't need them.

Photo courtesy of 2013 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved. Elder Dallin H. Oaks is applauded following his speech as his wife Kristen looks on. [Photo was taken at a prior speech.]

British Pageant in Nauvoo!

Monday March 31, 2014

Nauvoo PageantIf you are planning on making a pageant pilgrimage to Nauvoo, Illinois this year, you are in for a treat.

The regular Nauvoo pageant titled, Joseph's First Testimony, will play on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays and the new British pageant that debuted in Preston, England last year will play on Wednesdays and Fridays.

The British pageant entitled, "Truth Will Prevail" chronicles the difficulties the new saints had joining the Church in Britain and then emigrating to join the main body of saints in Nauvoo.British pageant

Further details seem yet to be worked out. The official website of the Nauvoo Pageant doesn't yet reflect that the British pageant will also play, although the Nauvoo Pageant Presidency has announced it.

Meanwhile, you can visit the official UK Pageant website for more information on Truth Will Prevail or this recent news article.

You can access the Church official website for information on all pageants in the U. S.

[Left] Photo courtesy of 2009 Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved. Nauvoo Pageant: Joseph's Final Testimony.

[Right] Photo courtesy of 2013 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved. Truth Will Prevail is the new British pageant.

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