Thursday, December 25, 2008

I just wanted to clarify some confusion that could arise from my last gigantic post, over something I mentioned concerning the Book of Mormon. I said (honestly) that I don't hold it infallible, but I want to make sure every one understands how I feel about it.

If there was a list of things I hold important, God, my beautiful wife, and my amazing boys would be at the absolute top. Then my family in the larger sense. Then my friends. But very next in line, the first material thing on that list, is the Book of Mormon. That book is above anything else. Education, security, my own physical well being, and everything else that is still pretty important to me falls below. If there was a nuclear holocaust and my family had to choose one physical thing other than food or water to take into our underground cement box, I would choose the Book of Mormon. I definitely wouldn't choose an ipod (barf on ipods), or a playstation 3, or a fancy watch... I wouldn't choose my wife's guitar, my laptop, or even a journal to write in...I wouldn't choose a jar of curry spices, or a huge brick of chocolate, no photo albums, no family heirlooms....

Anyhow, I'm just trying to say that I value that book very highly. Although I feel that it is probably imperfect, and that there may still be editorial errors to be corrected in the future, as there were in the past, whether put there by Granden, Cowdrey, Joseph Smith, or maybe even Emma Smith during the translation process, (although I doubt she made any errors) I know that the Book of Mormon will bring a man closer to God than any other book. It is truely the keystone of my religion, and I am grateful that it is attached to a church which permits my attendance.

Perhaps I could also have said, more to the point, that I don't hold my own interpretation of the book infallible. If I got into some argument with an anti-mormon preacher, I am fairly sure that I would mess up the meaning of a few of the passages within the book. Although I read it frequently, I have not mastered it, and therefore for me to say "such and such is true because the Book of Mormon said so" has the significant risk of error that the book may not actually say such and such.

I know that Christ lives, and I know that the Book of Mormon contains His words. I know that the Book of Mormon is another testament of Christ, to accompany the witness given by those of the old world. I am grateful to those who sacrificed to bring the Book of Mormon forth, both in ancient and modern day, and I'm grateful to my parents for placing it in my life. I'm sorry that I don't share it more often in a more intense way... but we all need to grow in a few areas, right? A few of us need to grow in all areas, but everyone knew that about me already...

Anyhow, the Book of Mormon is a true record of a real people unto whom the Savior personally ministered after His resurrection. I love the book as much as a person can hold material objects dear. I guess I ought to show that more by sharing it with others.

Merry Christmas.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

We just arrived in CO yesterday night after a pretty harrowing adventure of a drive. Actually it wasn't the craziest drive I've ever done (ask Michelle about the time we braved the closed Blue Mountain Pass to get to BYU in 2004) but there was a part that was ridiculous, through a little state called Iowa...

One of my best friends at Ave, Stefan Knudsen, is from Iowa, and when he found out our trip plans, he volunteered his parents house just in case we needed to stop. He did so about a week and a half before the trip, so there was no way he could have accurately predicted the conditions we encountered. Yet I think his gut instincts were that we had no idea what an Iowa winter could produce, and so he did everything possible to protect us...

Anyhow, the storm actually hit us in Illinois, with a pretty decent amount of snow slowing us down a little bit. But I distinctly remember that the second half of the bridge over the Mississippi River, as its slope began to arc downwards to the distant shore, felt like an icy luge designed for bobsleds. And thus began something amazing. Thereafter, the road was literally covered in ice, perhaps from freezing rain, I'm not sure, accompanied by very strong winds that slowed our travel to around 25 or 30 mph. I feel like half our drive was spent in that state. Thankfully, we had no mishap, just extremely slow going.

We counted over 60 accidents from the storm, defining 'accident' as a car that had clearly spun out of control, ending up either in the median facing backwards, or in some farmers field, all of which were either now abandoned, or in the process of becoming such. A decent portion of which involved overturned vehicles, and three were huge jack-knifed/destroyed semi trucks. One of those semi trucks was almost comical in its position, having ended up in some poor farmers grove of cottonwoods. Of all things, I was worried about the farmers barb-wire fence. All of the accidents we saw were current, meaning the tracks in the snow they had created were fresh, not snowed over. In other words, tons of accidents resulted from this one crazy storm.

Anyhow, pioneers rock. I'm proud to be from American Stock, and I'm grateful to Heavenly Father for all of my blessings, especially the noticeable things like a car heater that works. Here are some pictures, only a couple of the last, more mild ones:

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

I took a civil procedure test yesterday, it blew my brain. Then me and John and Stefan went to Buffalo Wild Wings, and I got some Blazin' wings...yummy. Then I came back to school till 1PM and studied torts. I don't really like that class. Then I did some fun spins in the parking lot, take out some frustrations...

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Ben Gunn, a manly manWho is this crazy cat who is wearing my wetsuit, and floundering through the icy depths of Echo and Keyhole Canyons ? He has such nice biceps, and some sweet pecks, but we'll need to work on that unruly hair...

Ben Gunn is a manly man
I dunno, maybe he's related to me or something, otherwise why the heck would he willingly step over the 100 meter ledge of Englestead Hollow and then come back for more?

Or why else would he drag his kids through the Northern Backcountry of Zion NP in the middle of January...Granted, the steamy swimming pool was so super afterwards, don't you think Ben?

Welcome to MBHC, Ben.

Thanks to Brendan Turner, here's a fun little snippet of me last winter...

Can anyone say "I wish I wasn't buried in law school craziness and had a season pass to snowbird!!" five times fast?

Saturday, November 01, 2008

A while ago I admitted to my friends at Ave Maria School of Law that I have a bad habit of assuming, wrongly, that everyone is a mormon. I thought I would expound on that a little. Its not that I think everyone believes specifically that the book of mormon is true, or has been baptized, or anything like that. Instead, my assumptions are on more of a fundamental, paradigm governing level. And even the mormons who read this post will quickly realize that most mormons themselves don't fall into my assumed personality. I want to apologize if I offend anyone...

Its like this: I assume that all physics geeks have at some point in their lives tried to wrap their head around the chronology of the big bang, or the nature of a photon, or the beauty of relativity, and have come up short. I assume that everyone has at one point flipped on a light switch and realized the incredible amount of trust they put in that simple mechanical device. I assume that in a time since past, every person has watched a sunrise and sensed how profound the constant motion of earth really is, and how much rain, blue sky, and daylight are taken for granted every day.

I assume that everyone has at some point doubted every single fundamental that they have ever known, and come out realizing that at the most fundamental level we ALL live by faith. For example, does 1 + 1 = 2 ? Here is a thought experiment to chew on, if I can make it clear:

Let's suppose that after the first week of Math 315 at BYU, you decide to count all of the numbers between 0 and 1 that can be written as a fraction, like 1/3, 1/8, or 3,456,345/67,585,608...You just learned in class that they are called "rational numbers." Your amazing professor, Christopher Grant, gives you a magic meter stick that has infinite precision so you can mark each number on the stick. Soon you get tired and realize that there is actually an infinite amount rational numbers between 0 and 1, because you can set up a series like 1/2, 2/3, 3/4, 4/5, 5/6, 6/7, 7/8, 8/9,... that will go on forever but will never reach 1. A minute later and you realize that there is an infinite amount of rational numbers between 0 and 1/2. Then the thought hits, there is an infinite amount between any two numbers you might pick, despite how close they are on your meter stick. Its kind of neat, but not that extraordinary. You also realize that taking out every other number from that series, making it 1/2, 3/4, 5/6, 7/8,... still leaves it infinite. In fact, leaving only every billionth number still gives you an infinite set of numbers between 0 and 1.

Then comes the wierdness... You are staring at the meter stick and you realize that this device has an actual application: determining distance. If something is twice as long as this stick, you would say it two meters long. In other words 1 + 1 = 2. Right?

Yet on the stick itself there are an infinite amount of numbers, even if you remove every other number leaving a space between them. If you you think that space is too tiny, then make it bigger by leaving only every trillionth number from your series, or every septendecillionth number, or every Skewe's number, or every Graham's number, it doesn't matter. There is still an infinite amount of numbers left over, and there is still space on your meter stick in between them. An infinite amount of anything finite, no matter how small, is infinite. As long as its not zero, if you infinitely keep adding something to your pile of septendecillimeters, you are going to end up with a length that stretches forever.

In other words, 1 + 1 = infinity + infinity = infinity.

But the meter stick doesn't look infinite, and you used to run the 400 meter in 54 seconds, so you know it is not impossible to cross this "infinite" distance. Something must be wrong with your magic meter stick.

Next week, after you've recovered somewhat, your professor shows you a switch on the back of the meter stick that shows all the numbers that can't be expressed as fractions, called irrational numbers, like Pi and the square root of 1/2, etc. He also assigns you a few proofs showing that there is an infinite amount of irrational numbers between any two rational numbers, no matter how close... So your meter stick just became infinitely longer than the rational infinity that it previously had. Calmly, you set the stick aside, and realize that the world is still turning, even though you don't know how that doesn't violate the fundamentals of math. You also remember that you have a date with your wife tonight. There are more important things, and one day you will return to the stick and realize the answer...

OK, if I lost anyone, I'm sorry. I take the blame, maybe I could explain it better in person, maybe not. Its not that conundrum-ish of a question, being weakly solved. I have an answer to that paradox, but it's not satisfying to the palate, and that's not the point of this post. Don't email me about any Max Planck length, trying to show me how to avoid the paradox, because that is definitely not the point. Its just a long-winded illustration.

The point is that I assume people's response to things like paradox is largely similar to my own, not avoidance or assumptive rebuttal, but acceptance by faith that one day all things will be made known from the rooftops, while for the moment I just don't know. To add to this ridiculousness (me assuming way too much), I assume that my own thought pattern is a good representation of what mormons think. Permission to be offended granted.

Of course I don't represent other people very well, and how could I? I am a weirdo from another planet among good, sane people. And how could I assume that I know how people think, or feel? I barely know them at all. My wife is the person I am closest to, and I still feel like everyday I am gaining more insight into her personality, and discovering who she really is. What about random strangers? nope, I've got noth'n.

The magic meter stick thought pattern exists for me everywhere, not just in math, or physics, or science. In different places it takes on different forms. I look at alot of things and am puzzled at the fundamentals behind them. I just assume that everyone else is too. I take such in stride, realizing at a pretty constant rate that I know barely anything, and definitely don't know everything. I assume that everyone else sees that about themselves as well. I look at the knowledge of others and take it all with a grain of salt, because while they may know more than I, they still don't know everything. I just assume that everyone else does the same.

I take nothing on this earth as infallible. Even the Bible, and even (que more mormon offense) the Book of Mormon, was translated by imperfect men, and handled by imperfect printers, etc. I assume that deep down, everyone not only does, but must see weakness in mortal things.

I treat spiritual things in a manner parallel to the scientific method. I gather evidence, form a hypothesis, test it, and draw a conclusion. Sure, I haven't tested every single possible hypothesis that exists out there, and I never will. But I have tested two pretty major ones: that God lives, or that he does not.

The fact is that I have never "seen" God, and probably would not "infallibly" believe it even if I had. Perhaps touching the prints of the nails, and feeling the wounds in His side would bring absolute knowledge, but I don't know because it has not happened. I don't mean to be light about that.

I have no "absolute" evidence one way or the other. But I have plenty of convincing evidence that God lives, and not vice versa. In fact, that evidence is stronger than any other evidence I have ever been given. I have seen all my life that Newton's laws are true, that gravity is real, that when I flip the light switch, the light will come on. But I know more unquestionably that God lives than I "know" any of those other things. There is not a doubt in my mind that the sun will rise tomorrow, but I am more firmly convinced that God lives. I know God lives, and I am less sure in my knowledge of all other things.

I have had too many prayers answered to even count. I have asked directly for an answer about things like the nature of God, the necessity of baptism, scripture, and my purpose in life, and have recieved powerful answers from the Spirit of God that, to me, are more convincing than anything I have seen, heard, or touched.

Also, I have had too many external manifestations of the Hand of God operatin in my life to ever deny. After a year of missionary service in Japan, I was diagnosed with Leukemia, despite my extended efforts to ignore it and continue working. The situation was such that my doctor was afraid that I may not survive the plane ride home. I reicieved a priesthood blessing from a righteous man properly ordained with the restored authority of God. I spent alot of time in the hospital, and had unique experiences. I survived, and gratefully went back to finish another year of missionary service. My body had been destroyed systematically on a cellular level in order to cure the disease, and yet I came out healthy. You can ask my doctor, Fred Ey, what he thinks. You can come run a marathon with me this coming summer if you want. You can come meet my two sons who came into this world against all probability and reason considering the chemotherapy I went through. I find much supporting evidence concerning the Hand of God in that experience.

That period only represents a small part of my life, but even based on that year and a half of illness alone, I must conclude that I know God lives! More than that, I know that he is my literal Father, and I know that I am created in his image. I know that he desires every one of his children to return to his presence as resurrected beings, united as familes for eternity. I know that He sent His Son, Jesus Christ to redeem mankind, and through a perfect Atonement, Christ removed the chains of death for all, and hell for all who come unto him. I know these things more than I know anything.

But let's say I did not have all this external evidence. Let's erase the profound, quite moments under the stars in the remote San Rafael desert. And let's remove the overwhelming infusions of humility recieved from the many times during my senior year of high school that I went surfing before the sun was up, watching a symphony of light start from almost nothing, gaining momuntem until a final blinding climax. Let's wipe away the vistas of the North Cascades that in reality unalterably shaped my teenage years. I feel strongly that even without those additional factors to help my decision of knowledge, I would still know God lives.

The fact is, the witness of the Spirit of God is more powerful than any earthly thing. It is stronger than mere emotion or physical sensation. It is irrefutable, and I hold that witness as the one infallable thing that all other knowledge can be based upon.

So you can see why assuming that everyone is similar might lead to a few confused people...

God lives, my friends.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

OK, hold everything. I have neglected something pretty important in this blog, and I just wanted to correct it before I go any farther. See, the original purpose of this blog was to dedicate space to what MBHC truly is. I have tried to at least mention adventures, but really, of almost 50 expeditions in the last 5 years (Sierra argues that its more like 60, but she exaggerates) I have posted only like 5 times. maybe a few more, you can count if you want.

This happened because the real purpose I have is not to document fun frivolity, but to help me convince myself that an extraordinary type of person exists, and also that I am surrounded by them, and maybe even that I am a part of them.

I was convinced a long time ago that extraordinary people are really out there, and one of the supporting facts came from my brothers and sisters. Except for Sierra, Eli, and Wesley (and of course I'm not biased), I DO NOT KNOW OF ANY MORE EXCELLENT PEOPLE THAN WAYNE, PHILLIP, GAYLEEN, and oh, yeah, MICHELLE (formerly called) BROWN. Anybody who has looked through the blog knows know my problem. WHERE THE HECK IS A POST ABOUT MICHELLE?

Somebody shoot me. I am such an idiot. Seriously, anybody who knows this family knows that Michelle is by far the brightest star in our family. She is top on the list of EXCELLENT. Dan Myers, I love ya, but I am the biggest loser and ignorant craphead for posting a long time ago about you being cool, and then remaining silent on the issue of my sister Michelle. Ben Gunn, I think your awesome too, but I am the biggest fart for considering a post of you on this page before my sis. Michelle really HAS been to Mount Baker, dangit! She is more official MBHC than anybody. Don't worry Ben, your time is coming.

Anyhow, I hope that somehow I can one day remedy this massive mistake and be forgiven, but for now I'll have to just post some pictures and say Michelle is really amazing, and definitely belongs on this page. Sorry I don't have any glamor shots. Instead here are some pictures of when Michelle went hiking with her crazy older bro in the desert when she was like 8 months prego. Crazy! Most women can't even get off the couch at this point let alone trapse around in 110 degrees for 8 hours.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

I looked again
aching for dream and life,
humble student to unwritten song,
and saw a subtle warmth,
burning eyes midst fallen snow,
loving smiles to thaw the fountain.
An epic past seemingly gone
carried away by empty, drifting canoes
was unveiled anew by belated sprout
through mud and grime.
Futures yet unknown float beyond
realm of feeble sight, barred
by curving, crumbling canyon walls.

Saturday, October 18, 2008


If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or, being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or, being hated, don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise;

If you can dream - and not make dreams your master;
If you can think - and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with triumph and disaster
And treat those two imposters just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to broken,
And stoop and build 'em up with wornout tools;

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breath a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: "Hold on";

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with kings - nor lose the common touch;
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you;
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run -
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And - which is more - you'll be a Man my son!

-Rudyard Kipling

laus deo

Spreading afar and unfenced o'er the plain; and away to the northward
Blomidon rose, and the forests old, and aloft on the mountains
Sea-fogs pitched their tents, and mists from the mighty Atlantic
Looked on the happy valley, but ne'er from their station descended.
There, in the midst of its farms, reposed the Acadian village.
Strongly built were the houses, with frames of oak and of chestnut,
Such as the peasants of Normandy built in the reign of the Henries.
Thatched were the roofs, with dormer-windows; and gables projecting
Over the basement below protected and shaded the doorway.
There in the tranquil evenings of summer, when brightly the sunset
Lighted the village street, and gilded the vanes on the chimneys,
Matrons and maidens sat in snow-white caps and in kirtles
Scarlet and blue and green, with distaffs spinning the golden
Flax for the gossiping looms, whose noisy shuttles within doors
Mingled their sound with the whir of the wheels and the songs of the maidens.

-Henry Wadsworth Lonfellow (Evangeline)

Sunday, October 12, 2008

I miss my friends in Utah. Thankfully I have found amazing people here too. For example, John Watson, Ryan Cadwallader, and Stefan Knudsen. I feel dang privileged to be in the study group of the most upstanding and bright individuals at this school. And I'm workin' a deal that if I learn to golf with them, they'll come to the desert and learn about all that with me. Haven't quite got the consideration worked out...

OK, John Asked another question: basically, how does the mind work? Is it governed by a single central processor, or are there thousands of "central processors" throughout. See post.

Here was my answer:

Well, I'm pretty sure that my mind has no single CPU to govern everything. To illustrate, I have a real difficulty listening to music sometimes because later, like when I go to bed, thoughts will be racing around with that same song playing in the background. It happens with everything from REM to Arcade Fire to The Dimes...not so much with Ben Arthur or Classical music. The music is somehow lodged in my stream of consciousness in a strong way, apart from everything else that is going on... In those situations it takes alot of mental effort to "unplug" whatever cable got stuck in there. The frustrating result is that I am kind of an insomniac.

I often tell my wife that I think my brain is just a ton of loose cables floating around in a sea of memory and imagination, sprinkled here and there with strong determination. I do my best to keep a good amount of cables near that determination part. All the time cables are connecting two points and I have a stream of thoughts as a result. Simultaneously another cable might make a connection, adding to the flow of thoughts. Like a flute adding to the music of a violin, except my thoughts are way more garbled, and less pretty. Its more like playing CNN at the same time as CSPAN. Maybe. Then when the thoughts slow down a little the cable will disconnect and float off to be of use somewhere else. Sometimes with music it doesn't disconnect.

The REAL problem is that there are way too many cables going around, and whne lots of them randomly connect all at once, my mouth tries to fill in the gap of being THE central processor. While a kamanjah might sound good in a proper setting, it doesn't belong in the Turkish March.

Maybe I should also compare it to a partly cloudy city powered by photovoltaics. All the time sunlight is peeking through in spots and powering up different stuff, which in turn interacts with the other parts of the city in all sorts of ways. Like through email, cell phone, even the neighbors AC, or whatever you can do with the burst of electricity. Those interactions are what I'm talking about with "cables." The people (or "things") on each end of the connection are memory and imagination, etc. I feel like my thoughts result from those interactions.

So the question is, why do I not have complete control over those clouds? Or the people in the city for that matter? I know I have some, even possibly alot, of control. I can focus pretty heavily on what I'm learning, especially if it excites me. Or get me to tell a snowboarding or climbing anecdote and my thoughts are nearly 100% focused. No sunlight on any other part of the city, just that fun memory and a little bit of exaggerative imagination. But most of the time other stuff will pop in unexpected. Sometimes alot of it. That is kind of a stinker, like when I am noticeably distracted from a one on one conversation.

Anyhow, I am somewhat proud of my city. I try and keep it clean, and I try and keep it growing in a good way. Unfortunately there are too many parts out of repair, Like my Japanese section. Or Arabic. I've got a ton of Japanese people in my city, all throughout making connections to a lot of things. But the "Little Tokyo" branch of the city library is in complete shambles, not having seen even a new magazine in years, let alone good attractive reading material. Same with the restaurants and even the homes. Sadly most of the good folks that used to live there have up and left. One day I hope I can renew that neighborhood, and get things poppin again. But in the meantime they have spreac out, and now they have neighbors who love mountaineering in the North Cascades, or who can recite the Restatement (second) on Contracts like nothin. (I wish there were more of those guys... actually, I wish there was even one of those guys.) When those neighbors have electrical interactions, interesting things happen.

I don't know if I have main processors for certain things, maybe more like somewhat thicker cables that are harder to move around so they generally stay in the same area. Like typing. My fingers are moving over the board repetitiously, and they've been doing that alot lately. But to me its not like a processor operating off of files pulled into the RAM. Every once and a while I use my pointer finger to hit the "p"...Where the heck does that come from? I think it is my cable drifting a little bit. That cable is pretty heavy, but not impossible to move.

Consider my Japanese population, interspersed everywhere. Is each person a processor, because they can make connections in all their various ways? Or are they physically all in the same spot inside my head, so that area of grey matter "is" the central processor? I dunno.

If I had to subscribe to one of your two views, I would choose the blue pill. I mean number two, the "many CPU" theory. But that is entirely based on my own thought patterns.

Crazy question, and an even crazier answer. haha. Since you just came over and released me from the obligation of writing more I'll end. Hope this journey "through the looking glass" was along the lines of what you were thinking.


Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Off topic of the MBHC theme of this blog, here is a "comment" that I posted to a fellow Ave Maria 1L's blog. see The picture hopefully helps generate some more mbhc flavoring. (Can anyone guess where specifically it was taken?) The post is in line with how intensly the mbhc are supposed to be pondering... Just some thoughts:

If we had a perfect faith would we sin? Could we sin truly knowing the dire consequences involved with acting against God?

In short, if faith then no; if knowledge then yes. Perfect faith would imply action completely aligned with the will of God, and therefore sin would be irrelevant. But if we were just acting on knowledge, then

To clarify that answer, I was going to try and distinguish between what I take "perfect faith" to be, and what "knowledge" is. But after a week of trying to wrestle it out, I still feel like I haven't wrapped my head around it. But that's OK, these are just off the top of my head thoughts, right.

OK, first, by knowledge I do not refer to the “Knowledge of God” (Prov 2:5, Hosea 6:6, Eph 4:13, Col 1:10) which is too much akin to perfect faith. Yes, I am clearly deviating from scripture here. Luther would probably not approve, but bear with me.

Let me define knowledge in a very basic way, like simply external, physical experience. Like “I watched that tree fall,” or “I saw that tree fall on TV,” or “I was hiking in the forest, and a ways off I saw a movement that could be reasonably interpreted as a falling tree, and the noise I heard strengthens that conclusion,” or even “I was told by a man that I respect greatly that trees can fall.” These kind of stimulus outside of your own thinking are what I consider knowledge. Like seeing words in a book, or watching a graph on a computer screen change while you are conducting an experiment in the underground lab at BYU, or feeling the pull back into your seat as you push on the gas pedal. This is knowledge.

Faith, on the other hand, involves the decisions we make, sometimes based on knowledge, and sometimes not based on knowledge. For example, Faith would be my decision that vanadium dioxide does in fact exhibit a phase change with hysteresis induced by temperature. I base that faith, that decision, on the countless hours I spent in the underground lab (at BYU) watching a computer screen display data from an experiment that I built on a program that I wrote. The knowledge came from seeing the data, the faith came from deciding on what I had seen.

Faith is the decision about whether or not you are accelerating based on what you see, hear and feel as you punch the accelerator. Faith is your decision that trees are mortal and can die and fall over, based on what you have seen, or have been told, etc.

Faith can be good or bad. Obviously one can decide on a principle correctly or incorrectly based on a number of factors. To me, the good version of faith is when a CORRECT conclusion is reached, according to Heavenly Father's judgment. “Bad” faith isn't necessarily immoral or evil faith, just incorrect in some way. To illustrate, consider the person flipping on the light switch. Maybe in the past they have flipped the switch thousands of times, and every time the light has come on. Based on that, they may conclude that every time the light is switched on, the light will “automatically” turn on. In this they would be incorrect, and the faith would be “bad.” There conclusion needs to account for the possibility of a lack of electricity in the circuit that may prevent the light from going on even when the switch is flipped. Good faith would be a conclusion that flipping on a light switch has the possibility of turning the light on.

Maybe the persons lack of knowledge influenced the incorrect decision, and also it really wasn't that far off, because most of the time the light does come on. Those two points are, however, irrelevant. Their conclusion was not correct. Only correct faith can be good.

I'm somewhat straying from the topic with that analogy, but it exemplifies soooo many different situations where people are questioning God because their own faith turned out to be incorrect.

Faith can also be developed not on knowledge, but also by reasoning or spiritual prompting. I think every Christian, Muslim, or Jew must admit at some fundamental level one or the other. Somehow we have to bridge the gap from the mortal to the immortal. Excepting theophany, we have to at some point say, “I have no direct knowledge of this,” and either go on our reasoning or some kind of spiritual prompting that God exists. In the underground lab, I didn't put my hand on the VO2 and “feel” its change in temperature and resistivity, or watch it with my eyes. I would not have been able to see or feel any of it. All I could do was watch my computer screen, and then reason about what all the data meant.

There is a difference, in that faith based on reason is rather weak, easily overturned. As reasoning skills get better, it gets stronger, but it can never match the impenetrable nature of faith based on spiritual prompting. I say “prompting,” but I mean a spiritual experience apart from the physical “seeing, hearing, touching,” etc. I won't go into why reasoned faith is weak, but I hope everyone can see clearly that it is true.

SO back to the main point, “Perfect Faith” means to me an all encompassing correct faith derived from a spiritual experience. Consider the one who is taught every single doctrine possible, learns it inside and out, gains external knowledge about all of it by observation, experiment, etc, and reasons completely and correctly about everything. This person would know it all, and even have a correct faith, but because he lacks in the spiritual aspect, his faith would not be perfect. I believe this person could still go against the will of God, and fall away.

I'm not sure how the adversary falls into this picture. I'm sure his knowledge of eternal law is complete, and he knows physics through and through. He knows the dictionary of heaven by heart, etc. But I think somewhere along the line his conclusions about the mind of God went astray (Moses 4:6), therefore his faith started developing holes and inaccuracies, which distinguishes him from the know it all. Clearly satan doesn't know it all. This “bad faith” continued building until a moment of massive error, and now we say: “How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning!” (Isa. 14: 12)

Perfect faith does not need to involve 'knowledge' of everything. Nor does it require any amount of reasoning. It must simply be correct, encompass everything, and be based in the spirit. Simple...haha. This person would still have moral agency to choose for themselves, but they would never choose anything contrary to the will of God. I want to mention pride as a big factor in ruining it, but correct faith regarding humility is encompassed in “perfect” faith.

So I've explained the “what” of my thoughts without really touching the “why.” Sorry it took over a week to write this, and its probably still all wrong. And double sorry that it probably took a week to read this because its so long. Thanks for asking the question, Mr. Watson:)


September 30, 2008 12:42 PM

Here are some pictures of the family... I ain't braggin', but my family is awesome.

Eli had his dreams fulfilled when randomly an ambulance driver invited Eli and Wesley to see the inside of an ambulance. Needless to say, such recruiting practices are sure effective in this group.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Here are some nostalgic pictures I took while living here in Provo. Just remembering...

Sheesh. I really am feeling sentimental. Different pictures that I took of BYU campus, from the mountains:

Inspired by Matt Beatty, I decided to post a picture of my own earth art. Its a little "grim reaper"-esque, and its definitely not an Andy Goldswothy, but I thought it was cool.

Frogs and Sunflowers

I am headed to Ave Maria School of Law, and I realize I am going to miss this beautiful place that I live in right now. Here are some pictures from just around our house:

Knotted Rope Canyon
I did this canyon once after a storm, and it was fun but easy to just swim across all of these great pools. Only spanned one narrow gap. This time it was dry as a bone, and I was amazed at how deep some of those potholes were. We spanned tons of stuff. Nothing difficult, but it was a taste of how canyons can bring unexpected surprises no matter how many times you've done it before. We brought a 100m rope for the ultimate alternate finish, but opted against it for time sake. Its a beautiful hike.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Got down and did Heaps a second time, with five other guys, only two of whom had ever done it before...I was worried that it would be another "struggle to survive" experience, but everyone was extremely capable, and we had a GREAT time. Different experience altogether compared with last time. Water was a little bit higher which made things nice, and I did not let anyone borrow my wetsuit... Its amazing what twice as much neoprene will do to keep your body feelin' comfy. Here are some pictures...