Saturday, June 11, 2005

WE'VE MOVED!!

That's right. We're finally leaving Blogger. Please visit us at our new home at:

http://www.nine-moons.com

Hope to see you over there.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

The Most Like Christ

In our American culture we like to rank things. Top 100 small businesses, top 5 greatest movies, New York's best doctors, all-time worst sci-fi movies, etc. I think that even within our Mormon culture we rank things. Top 5 scriptures on faith, favorite three mission companions, worst bishop, etc. I'll bet some of us even rank each other on such silliness as arrogance or humility. "He's the most arrogant person I've ever known." has often left my lips.

If the ultimate goal is to become Christ-like, then wouldn't it follow that that characteristic could be ranked as well? I would imagine the first name that we think of is President Hinckley. But is that the case? Is he really the person most like Christ that is living on this earth?

I don't think so for two reasons.

First of all these men are called because that's who God wants in those positions, not because they are the most righteous in the world. This same principle is applied to our home wards, the bishop is often not the humblest, most faithful, or most loving person in the ward, but he's called because God wants him there. And lemme tell ya, administration skills are a valued asset in this Church, and there are some devilish people with incredible admin skills.

Secondly, if this were the case then you could effectively say that no woman has ever been the most Christ-like person living, an idea which I wholly reject. As far as Christ-like attributes, I'd say I know many more women who posses these than men (though I think generally men are better at administrating).

I believe President Hinckley is the Prophet and I believe his words. I do not, however, believe that we can project our man-made ranking system on something such as our likeness to our Savior. Besides, I know too many wonderfully righteous people to automatically put him above them.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

To shave or not to shave, is that the question?

In priesthood meeting we were discussing various "doctrine" when facial hair came up....again.

Just three weeks ago the Stake President gave a talk at the Single Ward's conference telling them that they were to be clean shaven. Something to the effect that just because they are home from their missions didn't mean they were to change or let down their standards. It has been the policy in some Stakes at least to not allow men with facial hair to serve in certain callings. (I guess women with facial hair, it's ok).

A member of the Stake high council from our ward was in our priesthood meeting. He told us that our Stake President just receive a letter from Salt Lake telling them that facial hair is ok. They are not to keep someone from serving because of facial hair.

Sometimes well intentioned Stake Presidents - Bishops etc. prove the divinity of D&C 121. Every once and a while the Brethern have to step in and straighten things out.

I for one, say it's about time!

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Whining About Wine

A couple days ago my wife and I returned from Italy, where we were celebrating our 5th anniversary and my finishing grad school. Rome was cool, Florence was nice, but nothing came close to the countryside of Tuscany. We rented a car and took day trips to the little medieval towns that dot the landscape. The views were gorgeous. The houses and hillsides were straight from fairy tales. But the vineyards, it was the vineyards that took our breath away. We pulled the car over right as the sun was setting and hiked down through an olive grove into a vineyard and just sat there taking in the beauty that God has created. It was wonderful.

I've never in my life had a difficult time with the Word of Wisdom... until then. We were in the absolute heart of one of, if not the greatest wine-making region in the world. Wine is a way of life for these people. It's almost a religion. Wine is not just something to quench thirst, rather it interacts with the food that is served. Its taste depends on what was in the soil and air of that particular year and how it reacted to the barrels it was aged in. I am having a difficult time thinking of any other food that is more poetic and has been treated with as much reverence as wine. I have a feeling that God is saddened by the fact that He's had to prohibit us from enjoying it.

I told my wife that the minute the Word of Wisdom is repealed we'd buy tickets to go back and fully experience one of the most beautiful regions in the world. Anyone else wanna join us?

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Your Neighbors Have Been Seeing The Cockroaches...

Over at the BCC Bob has posted about a humorous run-in he had with a home security salesman. This doesn't surprise me as all the home security and pest control salesmen of the world hail from Provo, Utah. What is it about door-to-door and pyramid selling schemes that attracts the LDS populace? I'll tell you: the sexy combo of polo shirt and khakis.

And money.

I must confess, I sold pest control for a summer and a half. Eclipse Marketing selling for Orkin Pest Control. My first summer ('99) was in Phoenix and my second ('00) was in Spokane, Washington.

Did I make good money? Sure.

Did I make good friends? Yes.

Did I learn a lot? Yes.

So why did I hate it so much? Because I didn't really believe in the product, I hated knowing how much BS salesmen shovel, it was too dang hot, and I hated bothering people at their homes (I also hated tracting. Just because I'm selling the Gospel doesn't mean I enjoyed the method of finding people).

What did I learn? The subtleties of selling. That Phoenix is no place to spend a summer. That gift incentives really do work as a form of motivation (even thought they are stupid). That when a salesman tells you his truck is going to be in the area (so is willing to give you a discount) that he's full of crap. And most importantly, that it's much more important to do what you like to do and make a little bit of money than do what you loath to make a little bit more than a little bit of money.

Is anyone else out there willing to confess their lost summers to sales? How was your experience? What did you learn?

Friday, May 27, 2005

When is Minimum wage minimum enough?

Minimum wage in Utah is $5.15/hr. which is also the national minimum wage. In Washington state the minimum is $7.35/hr. That means for every two employees I can afford to hire in my business in Washington I can hire 3 employees in Utah. Can a Washington employee produce 50% more than a Utah employee? Can they be 50% more valuable to my company...as a minimum wage employee than one in Utah?

It's obvious they can't, I'm getting "screwed" in Washington!

But I'm getting just as "screwed" in Utah. If the minimum wage was even lower I could hire more people...and I would! Minimum wage jobs tend to be entry level jobs. Employment for those who don't have an education, a trade, or haven't completed their education. For most that we hire it is their first job. Minimum wage shouldn't be intended to be enough to keep someone out of poverty. It makes it very difficult for employer's to pay more than a person is worth just because the government has imposed an artifical minimum.

In Washington summer employment for High School and College kids is projected to be way down again this year. A recent newspaper article stated that only about 37% of them would be able to find summer jobs. Why, because at $7.35/hr. qualified people are sucking up those positions. Even for flipping burgers, would I rather have a high school kid or a 25 year old adult working for me?

Now I've had a chance to vent!! As an employer I find the high minimum wage is determental to me and to those entry level, unskilled workers who need a job.