Launching an all new

The time has finally come.  As those of you who have followed along for a while now know, I’ve been working on moving over to a self-hosted WordPress blog.  Today will be the last day for the site as you see it now.  Beginning tomorrow, the new site will launch.

What does that mean?

You won’t do anything different!

You’ll still get here the same way you always have – you can go to any of the following:

They’ll all now lead to the new blog.

Everything is already there!

All the content, posts, pages, and even comments that are here are already over there.  You can even check it out right now…

It’s still a work in progress!

I’ve still got several things I’m working on to make it a much better (more interactive, more engaging, more easy to use) blog.  I’ll update you as I make important changes and add important features.

I’d love your feedback!

My first post there will be a “What’s New” post, where I explain the various parts of the new interface and introduce the new blog design.

Please feel free to leave me comments on what you like and dislike.  What you’d like to see added.  I finally have all control!!! So we can do some great things.  Just let me know what you think, and I’ll make changes accordingly.

Bigger, better content!

Now that I’ve got a self-hosted blog, I can begin some of those terrific projects I’ve been craving… like the Plan of Salvation presentation, and much more. 

Invite your friends!

MormonConversations, will be a place where all faiths are welcome.  We’ll have terrific, doctrinal discussions about Mormonism, our beliefs, and our church.  I’ll answer any questions anyone may have about Mormonism.  And, of course, I’ll provide a steady stream of coverage about things that I feel are important – things that inspire, motivate, and enlighten.  It’ll be the same thing you’ve found here in the past… only better.  So please, share. 

I look forward to a lot fun and engaging conversations in our future.

Kindest regards,


WordPress problems, missing posts

There was a problem tonight with WordPress, where many WordPress users, using the system during a certain period of time, had all of their custom sidebar code dissapear.  Unfortunately, I was a beneficiary of that bug.

I’ll work to restore that code as quickly as possible, since it is what granted access to all my past posts.

The post links will be there, but the categories are going to be messed up, and it won’t look pretty.  But I was intending to switch to TypePad anyway, but dreaded the ammout of work I’d have to do.  I guess the silver lining in this is that it gives me a good reason to just make that move now, instead of later.


UPDATE:  Okay, it’s now 2:00 a.m. and I think I’ve restored links to all my posts in the same categories they were in before (although not necessarily in the same order, or location).  If you find missing links, please let me know by commenting here on this post.  Otherwise, I’ll get started moving and redesigning.

I look forward to much more discussion today!


Straining toward achievement

This morning I was at the gym, sweating, hurting, thinking I was an idiot, and wondering what in the world I was doing.  I’ve got a goal to bench-press 400 lbs, which is about 25 lbs over my prior max.  Now I know 25 lbs doesn’t sound like a lot, but when you’ve already reached your limit, no matter what it is, expanding that limit even by as little as 5% (as in this case), is extraordinarily difficult.

As I was sitting there reflecting on the ridiculous amount of pain, effort, and perseverance you have to endure to increase by such a meager margin (only 5%), I realized that this is a nearly universal principle.

Any time you want to push yourself well-beyond what you have done before (particularly when you were pushing yourself then), the amount of effort required will be dramatically disproportionate to the increments in which you increase.

I learned a couple things then, as I pondered this principle while pounding out as many reps as my tired muscles could bear.

Character development

First, what matters most is not the end result from pushing yourself so far.  At least in this case, the ends do not justify the means.  Such proportionately unimpressive increases do not justify the disproportionately gargantuan effort they require.  But what does matter, is the character development inherent in the process of pushing yourself farther and harder than before.  It’s about the value of setting goals, the ethic of hard work, the principle of perseverance, and the inner-strength you get by simply sticking to it.

In my limited observation, those individuals that are the strongest, and who achieve the most, are those who have learned to push themselves, who have learned to be passionate, and do not quit when everyone else does.

The cost/value principle

Second, those things in life that are of the greatest value are not free.  And usually the level of value associated with the achievement is directly proportional to the amount of work required to achieve it.

I pondered how this applies across the broad panorama of life, from the physical, to the mental, to the spiritual.  “For the Son of Man shall come in the glory of His Father, with His angels, and then He shall reward every man according to his works.”  Even the very level of our eternal exaltation shall be determined by how diligently we endeavored to work the works of righteousness.

Dealing with failure

Third, and finally, to be good at something, really good, you’re going to have to get used to failure.  The better you want to at something the more failure you’ll have to endure to get there.

A good sales person, for instance, will be rejected 9 times out of 10 (or more).  In baseball, a batting average (your ratio of “hits” to “at bats”) is considered excellent if it’s higher than a .300, and .400 is nearly impossible.  A “.300” batting average means that you’re going to miss seven out of ten times at bat.  The last time I ran a marathon, I had to run about 325 miles over the three months prior just so that I could run 26.2 miles the day of the race.

In short, “failure” (which is really a misnomer) needs to become a part of your life, you need to be able to look at failure for just what it is, the temporary inability to achieve what you meant to, and a guide on what to change so that in the end, you succeed.

If you’re not currently pushing yourself at something, and feeling the pain that happens when you do, then I’d encourage you to find a part of your life in which you’d like to improve, make sure it’s of value (see the worth of your pursuits), and work to achieve it.

If you ARE feeling pushed and pulled, if you are struggling towards some worthy goal and are feeling the whole-bodied drain that it is having on you, I encourage you to persevere, keep it up, and make it happen.  You’ll be happy that you did.


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Celebrating 50,000 page views

Speaking of setting goals, in January of this year, inspired by a call by Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the 12 Apostles, wherein he encouraged Mormons to take a more active role in building a voice online, I had set a goal to build a blog.

My first post was on Thursday, January 31st (Simple acts of kindness and caring).  It was short and simple, and not very original, but it was a start.

193 days later I have created 152 posts and 5 pages.

My first full month (February), my blog averaged 75 page views a day.  By the third month online, that average climbed from 75 all the way up to more than 350 page views a day. 

This month, the average is 508, and on Friday, we reached 50,000 total page views… and then blew right on by as Saturday we had almost 1,000, and Sunday we had almost 1,200 (1,190 to be exact).

What’s more, there have now been 987 comments.

That’s fantastic.  So, in celebration of reaching 50,000 page views, I wanted to pause and say thank you.  Thank you for helping to make it all possible.  Thank you for your interaction.  Thank you for the many marvelous discussions we have had.  Most of all, thank you for being interested in the gospel.

These numbers represent an ever-increasing consumption of religious views and discussions online, and I’m happy to play a part in that endeavor.  Most of all, I’m grateful for the opportunity, the medium, the time, and the ability to host and promote discussions centered around the gospel of Jesus Christ, and an effort to encourage people to live just a little better, and experience just a little more.

Now, that said, this is still just the start.  If we reached 50,000 page views in just over 6 months, I want to shoot for a total of 150,000 in the next 6.  You can help (find out how).  At the bottom of the blog there’s a little counter that tells you the current number.  I hope you’re here to watch with me as the exposure of these Christ-centered discussions continues to climb.  I hope you play a part.  And for the part you play, thank you.


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Suffering in silence

Last night I struggled through most of the night with a terrible recurring dream.  In my dream, I had gone to the house of someone I knew to help them with something.  I’m not sure who exactly this person was, only that I knew them.

Once I got to their house I found that they lived in total squalor.  The house was dirty and completely unfurnished.  There was a heap of blankets on the floor that made up their bed, and only a few dishes in what should have passed for their kitchen.  They didn’t have a bathroom.  There were no pictures on the eroding walls, nor any other comforts to speak of.  I remember being so emotionally hurt that this person that I had known for so long had lived under such conditions without my knowing.  I was so ashamed that I would be so out of touch.

The numerous times I came to consciousness during this dream, I’d quickly pray for inspiration and search my recollection to see if this was specific to someone I actually knew, who stood in need of such help.  But I could never figure out who it could possibly be, and would drift back to sleep only to have the same dream again.

As I struggled today to make sense of it all, the one thing that stood out above all else, is that there are those around us who suffer in silence.

There are so many people who are part of our daily lives, or with whom we make even the most abrupt and unassuming contact with during our day, that hold hurt and pain behind the mask they wear in public.  Who struggle against all manner of trials and conflicts, and who are in such need of help, love, and support.

I only hope that I might stop being so selfish, remove the blinders before my eyes, and be close enough to the spirit to see beyond the façade and into the true heart of those around me, so that I might not fail to offer that help, love, or support at some critical time.

You just never know when you’re someone’s last remaining emotional supply line.


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Recent Comments, Active Posts

To help facilitate those who try to keep up on the most active discussions going and posts throughout my blog, I’ve now included on the left side (under Recent Posts) two new sections.

  1. Recent Comments – This will show you the most recent comments on any post throughout the blog, and should help you keep up with conversations by showing you where they’re happening.
  2. Active Posts – This will show you which posts are receiveing the highest current activity, both posts and traffic.

Additionally, because there are so many posts now, I’ll be making further refinements to navigation and organization of posts, hopefully to make it easier for you to find things. 

If you have suggestions, comments, or ideas on how to better organize things, please comment here.

And thank you for reading!


So many Mormon blogs

Today as I was looking through the recent search phrases people used to find my site, I found the following, which made me chuckle.

“Is having a blog a Mormon thing?”

I can answer that.  The fact is that it didn’t used to be.  But recently an apostle, Elder M. Russell Ballard gave a speech, an excerpt of which was later published in one of our official church magazines “The Ensign”, wherein he made the suggestion that those who are able, should start engaging in new media, speaking up about Mormonism, and adding their voice to the growing online conversation.

“We cannot stand on the sidelines while others, including our critics, attempt to define what the church teaches.  While some conversations have audiences in the thousands or even millions, most are much, much smaller. But all conversations have an impact on those who participate in them. Perceptions of the Church are established one conversation at a time.”   (See the full article here).

See, Mormons believe in same structure that existed in Christ’s Primitive church, including living prophets and apostles (I explain more here).  These men have been called of God, just as in times of old, and as such, receive ongoing revelation and instruction from the Lord.  They, in turn (and just as in times of old), then endeavor to instruct, counsel, and advise the church.  We take their counsel to be of divine origin, which is to say we take it very seriously (or should).

So, to stumble upon someone out there who has made the astute observation that there sure are a lot of Mormon blogs sprouting up is just plain awesome.  We belong to a church led by inspiration and revelation, and we work together to prepare the way for the coming of Christ.

Something tells me that the momentum of Mormon’s blogging is just getting started.


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