Sunday, January 23, 2011

Thoughts on Home Teachers

I've had some really positive experiences with the home teaching program. Well, let me rephrase that. I've had some really positive experiences with being on the receiving end of the kind of love that all Christians should have, and some of these experiences were facilitated by the home teaching program.

That said, I haven't had a home teaching visit in over a year, and I'm perfectly fine with that. I go to church every week. (Well, almost every week. Sometimes I'm too sick to go.) I have a temple recommend and a testimony. Scarce home teaching resources could be better used elsewhere.

Monday, January 17, 2011

The Ten Commandments - Part 2

This is the second in my Ten Commandments series. Part 1 can be found here. Today I'm taking on the third commandment.
Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain: for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh His name in vain.
Exodus 20:7
The common interpretation of this commandment is to avoid using the name of God as a curse word. While this is definitely part of it, I think the commandment is more expansive than that.

There are people who do terrible things in the name of God. Using God's name this way is surely taking it in vain. On a more personal level, in the waters of baptism and each week when we take the Sacrament, we covenant to take upon ourselves the name of Christ. What are we doing with His name?

Another personal way I implement this commandment is in my decision to take affirmations instead of oaths. An oath is the typical "I solemnly swear that ... so help me God." An affirmation is "I solemnly affirm that ..." Oaths and affirmations have the same legal effect. I'm a notary, so I had to take an affirmation to uphold the Constitution, and when I become a lawyer, I will have to take another one.

My reasoning for this comes from the Sermon on the Mount.
Again you have heard that it was said to those of old, 'You shall not swear falsely, but shall perform to the Lord what you have sworn.'
But I say to you, Do not take an oath at all, either by heaven, for it is the throne of God,
or by the earth, for it is his footstool, or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King.
And do not take an oath by your head, for you cannot make one hair white or black.
Let what you say be simply 'Yes' or 'No'; anything more than this comes from evil.
Matthew 5:33-37 (English Standard Version)
Although the text doesn't explicitly connect this command to refrain from taking oaths to the command to refrain from taking the name of God in vain, I see them as related. It seems to me that taking an oath would be an improper use of the name of God.

This is supported in the Doctrine and Covenants.
Behold, I am Alpha and Omega, even Jesus Christ.
Wherefore, let all men beware how they take my name in their lips—
For behold, verily I say, that many there be who are under this condemnation, who use the name of the Lord, and use it in vain, having not authority.
Doctrine and Covenants 63:60-62
While a notary, judge, or other government official has the secular authority to bind people to obligations, s/he does not have the spiritual authority to use the name of God in that situation. This is contrasted with the ordinances of the gospel, which are done in the name of Jesus Christ (or in the case of baptism, in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost) by someone who holds the priesthood, i.e. the authority to act in God's name.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

What You're Searching For

I've recently discovered the statistics feature in Blogger, and I'm fascinated with the interesting ways people find my blog. Usually people click on a link from some other blog that I've commented on or that links to me. Sometimes, however, people use search terms to find me.

This past week, people have used the following search terms to find The Posts of My House:

dating ethics lds - I'm assuming this person found my post Ethics and Dating in the LDS Context.
favorite old testament scripture - I'm assuming this person found my post My Favorite Scriptures.
francincense - That probably led to Gold, Francincense, and Myrrh.
god qualifies the called - I conveniently have a post with that very title.
no more strangers - I also have a post with that title.
paper sacrament cups and trays - This person probably found Paper or Plastic?
scriptures favorites - Most likely another hit for My Favorite Scriptures.
cdaph or unapei or fmh or cncph - I have no idea where this search string would have landed. I hope you found what you needed!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

My Calling in Life

In a recent comment, CJ asked me why I want to be a professor. Here's my (rather lengthy) response.

As a teenager, I envied people who knew what their calling in life was. I didn't know mine. My father is an engineer, my grandfather is an engineering professor, and I showed early aptitude in math and science. Naturally, everyone assumed that I would become an engineer as well. My parents never pressured me in that direction, but my extended family and teachers at school did. There was just one problem with this: I hate math!

I joined the debate team in high school and I loved it. I also joined the mock trial team and I loved that, too. I decided to major in political science and then go to law school. I figured I would be a litigator. I thought it would be fun, but I still didn't feel any sense of a calling.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Are you considering law school?

Kevin Barney at By Common Consent wrote a post entitled All About Law School. He discussed his experiences in law school and invited the commenters to do the same. As regular readers of my blog know, I've had a rather difficult and atypical law school experience. That has colored my response to the questions asked. I've reproduced my comment below.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

The Ten Commandments - Part 1

I've decided to do a series of posts on the Ten Commandments and what they mean today. When deciding to write these posts, I was confronted with a few challenges. First, what would I have to say on the topic that's new? I mean, these words have been around for a long time. The second challenge is that there are several versions of these commandments. Do I take the list in Exodus, the list in Deuteronomy, the explanation and expansion in the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew, etc.

I've decided to take the lists in both Exodus and Deuteronomy to illustrate the similarities and differences between them. I'll use other verses as appropriate to explain and expand upon them. I'll be sticking with the King James translation unless otherwise specified. Although it's not always the most clear of translations, it's the one I'm the most familiar with, and I love the beauty of the language.

With that said, on to part 1. I'll be taking the first two commandments (1. No other gods, and 2. No graven images) together in this post because they're conceptually related. It's hard to mark where one ends and the other begins. (In fact, a quick glance at Wikipedia shows that Jews, Catholics, and Lutherans view these as one commandment, not two.) For this segment, there is no meaningful difference between Exodus and Deuteronomy, so I'll just use the text of Exodus.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Come, Let Us Anew!

I had intended to write a new year's post on Saturday, but I've had a bit of a flare-up with my adrenal problems, and I wasn't able to muster the energy to write. I'm feeling much better today, so here it is.

I love the start of a new year. It's a new beginning and a chance to start fresh. 2010 was a really rough year for me. I started out with roommate drama that took up the first three months of the year. Getting out of that situation wiped out my savings so I had to work extra hours while juggling school. I started to get sick in May, and in July I was diagnosed with adrenal problems. The diagnosis came with a stern admonition to avoid stress. The very next day, the company I work for got acquired. I managed to keep my job, but stuff got crazy at work. Then I had the most insanely intense and busy semester of my entire education, all while working and doing an internship. I finished up my internship on New Year's Eve. So much for avoiding stress!