Wednesday, September 19, 2012

So, What is Ward Date Night

For those new in the ward, which is many, you may be a bit leery about the concept of Ward Date Night. Well, let me put your minds at ease by providing mock dialog regarding this frightening (and somewhat required) event.

To make this more realistic, this dialog is between Elder Oaks, the Apostle most expert with dating and marriage, and Jeremy Struk, the ward member most likely to be concerned about this event.

imageElder Oaks, it is good to meet with you. My ward has this thing called Ward Date Night and I am a bit worried about this. Can you help me understand this scary concept?



imageJeremy, you have nothing to fear. Your wise Bishop and his great Relief Society President have invented this most inspired program to promote greater unity in your ward. Ward Date Night is nothing more than a ward activity that you all attend together only this time you come, stay, and leave with a date. You do know what a date is, right Jeremy?

imageHmmm… I heard about dating, but the whole concept is foreign to me. So, do I have to actually ask a girl out to attend this event?



imageTry not to stress over this. The Date Night Committee will gather a list of all those wishing to attend and they will determine who goes with whom. Yes, it is “randomly” assigned. This helps remove the awkwardness of the event. But, yes, you may have to actually contact a girl and ask her out. Sterling Scott is really good at this and is currently gathering information on this very topic. So you can ask him for advice.



What if I am in an exclusive relationship?



imageFirst of all, I don’t think you are, but I know there are people in your ward who have elevated their relationship to this level. Rest assured that the Date Night Committee will be sensitive to their needs. If you are in such a relationship, simply note it when you sign up and make sure you include the name of the person with whom you are exclusive. It would be best if you both put each other’s names on the list. Otherwise we will categorize it as a “wishful thinking” exclusive relationship.

imageWhat if I think I am in an exclusive relationship?



imageWell, you do have faith... But, as we know, faith without works is dead. This event can help you supply the work that is lacking. But don’t worry. It is a randomly assigned date and there is no hint of romantic entanglement. So if you are not in a real exclusive relationship, just accept the random assignment and you will be fine?

imageCan I invite people from outside the ward?



imageDo you know people outside the ward? This can be accommodated, but I would coordinate that with the Date Night Committee. Remember, they need to make sure that all ward members have dates. Let’s not make it so confusing.


imageWhat if I happen to develop a relationship with my assigned date after Date Night?



imageJeremy, isn’t that part of the reason why you are in a singles ward? Wake up and smell the pheromones….



Wow, I never thought I would see the day when a Apostle told someone to wake up and smell the pheromones.

So, I hope this mock dialog provided you enough information about Ward Date Night. I know Elder Oaks would have mentioned it, but I will remind you now. D&C 139:1 clearly states: “Thou shalt attend Ward Date Night.”

Look it up!

Those “Wonderful” Heber Valley Beds

image In a shameless effort to keep the pending Ward Campout foremost in your minds, I want to remind you that while the facilities are top-notch, the beds…. well, the are somewhat of a challenge. What they lack in comfort they make up in … well, nothing. They are just hard and uncomfortable.

image So, to have the best chance of getting any consistent sleep, which may not even happen regardless of the beds, I strongly encourage you to bring whatever you can to mitigate the Spartan nature of the beds.

Remember, do all you can to leave Provo early enough to make the most of our time up there. I do hope that only a small handful plan to leave Provo at 8:00 p.m.

image It is going to be great and we have worked with upper management to insure great weather.

Monday, September 17, 2012

It’s Going to be Cold, Bring a….

image So, it has been a fairly warm pre-Fall but don’t let that fool you. When you come to the Ward Campout, this Friday and Saturday, it will be cold. So, bring blankets and, of course, bring a jacket. Now about that jacket….

image Well, I can’t share my jacket with you. But there are lots of jackets in the ward. Great jackets. Perhaps the best jackets in the world. Now, you can’t bring two jackets. We don’t do that any more. Besides, let’s just focus on one jacket. One jacket for everyone on the ward.

image Well, some of us may be a bit young for a jacket. Others are preparing for a mission so really shouldn’t be focusing on a jacket. I know, they can bring a coat, or a thick sweater. But jackets for the rest of you!!!

Hope to see you all there.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

The Ward Cabin Out



As you should all be aware, the ward “Cabin Out” will be this Friday and Saturday, September 21 and 22. I want to make sure you are all aware of how totally awesome this event will be.


imageThe food is most amazing. (No hot dogs or other familiar camping food.)

  • The facilities are are awesome. (Running water! Electricity!! Bathrooms!!!)
  • Company is incredible. (You will really get to know all the ward members.)


So, please do all you can to arrange your schedule to attend.

image There will be three caravans heading up there. They will leave at 4:00, 6:00, and 8:00.

I would see the 8:00 departure time for the smallest minority of ward members, You really want to be there as soon as you can.

I will be posting more about this activity throughout the coming days.



I promise this will be great. There is even a chance you will meet your eternal companion there. They did!

Friday, September 7, 2012

On Being Civil

For those new to the ward, I want to send out a quick reminder of what I feel is acceptable in regards to the looming Presidential elections.

image 1. The Church is very clear on its official stance of complete political neutrality. The church will not endorse a candidate, party, or platform. I feel this MUST apply to us. Please do not use Sacrament meeting talks, Sunday lessons, or any other ward forum to espouse your political beliefs. We must respect the Church's position – both the spirit and the letter of the law.

2. God has not ordained any candidate over the other. Neither does one party have God’s endorsement over other. God is not an American. He is not voting. You are not voting on His behalf. Never assume that your political position is His.

image 3. We are a diverse ward. We do not all support the same candidates, policies, or issues. Do not accuse or demean others because they do not agree with you. I encourage dialog, even political dialogs, so long as all parties can remain civil. Do not seek to lecture those who view the world differently than you do.

image 4. We must remain civil in all our conversations regarding policies. This is especially important in our usage of social media. It is inappropriate to demean a candidate, party, or those supporting an issue. True, you can disagree, that is your right. In fact, I encourage political disagreements. But we must not let those who espouse hatred influence our participation in the the American conversation. I strongly discourage name calling, blatant disrespect, sweeping judgments, or public rants. Be very careful in the tone and content of what you post.

image 5. Never assume that your vote doesn’t count. Millions have died to provide us the opportunity to vote. The importance of your vote is not if your candidate, party, or issue  wins. Rather, the importance of your vote is in your willingness to take advantage of the sacrifices countless others have made to provide you this great opportunity. Just Vote!

Please take the time to review President Hinckley’s official position on proper political discourse and do your best to comply to this inspired counsel.

image "This is an election year, and there are many strong and strident voices incident to political campaigning. It’s a wholesome and wonderful system that we have under which people are free to express themselves in electing those who shall represent them in the councils of government. I would hope that those concerned would address themselves to issues and not to personalities. The issues ought to be discussed freely, openly, candidly, and forcefully. But, I repeat, I would hope that there would be an avoidance of demeaning personalities. - Gordon B. Hinckley"

As always, I am open for and strongly encourage your input.

Monday, September 3, 2012


What could DAP stand for?

image Well, of course, it is the abbreviation for the Drama Abatement Program. Now, if your are unclear what the word abatement means, I added the link.

One of the biggest threats to ward unity is apartment or inter-apartment drama. The chief cause of such drama is the lack of clear communication. So, I feel if we focus our attention on clear communication then we will see success with the DAP.

image So, how can we all participate in enhancing communication and eliminating drama? The best tool I know of is regular apartment inventory. Those who served a mission are already familiar with this concept as they had companionship inventory or a weekly basis.

I am convinced that if it is good enough for the Lord’s missionaries, then it is good enough for each apartment. But apartment inventory is not exactly the same as companionship inventory. Here is what I suggest:

1. Set up a time, most likely on Sunday, when you can all sit down for no more than 15 minutes.

2. Make sure there is food because food makes everything easier (except losing weight).

3. Go around the room and let each roommate have an opportunity to express any concerns.

4. Never gang up on other roommates. Talk about the issues and not the people.

5. Never accuse. Accusation ends dialog. No dialog, no communication.

6. Be open minded. The minute you think you are guiltless is the minute you have made a mistake.

I challenge each apartment to hold their first apartment inventory on or before Sunday, September 9. Please share with me how things went and any ideas from which other apartments may benefit. 

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Help Thou Mine Unbelief

image One of the more touching stories of Christ earthly ministry is when the bereft father brought his epileptic son to be healed (see Mark 9:14-27) At the time, Christ was on top of the Mount of Transfiguration with Peter, James, and John. The remaining Apostles were in the local town and many had gathered to seek healing from them.

As you may recall, the Apostles had already been on their missions and had successfully cast out devils and healed the sick. So they were known by the locals as having the gift of healing. Thus, they were sought out even when Christ was not with them.

image Now, let’s turn our attention to this struggling father. We can tell that he loved his son for he sought out the Apostles to find a cure. I can imagine that the father and son started this hopeful journey walking side by side anticipating that they would finally put this awful ailment behind them.

As the came near unto the village, I can imagine the son starting to show those common signs of a pending seizure. They quickened their pace but the seizure ensued before they could make their way through crowd.

I can see this caring father feeling helpless as his son began to tremble, thrash, and foam at the mouth. People around him began to shy away upset by this horrible scene. Undeterred by the reaction of others, the father scooped up his poor son and forced his way through the crowd to see the Apostles.

The Apostles had seen this before and they had confidence that they could heal the son. But try as they did, they could not stop the boy from seizing. Indeed, it appeared as though the seizure increased in intensity. The Apostles looked at each other perplexed as to why they could on heal this boy.

image As the minutes crawled by and the boy’s plight worsened. The father was in a panic. These men were his only hope. If they could not heal him, then there was nothing left to do. The father’s faith was taxed beyond his ability to bear it – or so he thought.

At that moment, when things looked most bleak, the Savior made His way through the crowd. He saw the seizing boy and the desperate father. He also saw his Apostles in a fit of panic. In an instant, Christ took charge of the situation.

He took the thrashing boy in his arms and looked at the father and said: “If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth.”

The boy’s father could sense the calming influence that Jesus brought with him. He desperately wanted to believe. But his faith was so severely shaken that he feared to even hope. Yet he responded: “Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief.” (Fast forward the video to 9:57)

Of course, we all know the child was healed, but embedded in this story is a valuable lesson. We are here on earth to live by faith. This is very hard to do because too often when faced with a difficult situation, we begin to feel doubts where once there was clarity. Then we may falsely assume that our faith was in vain because we have doubts.

image I don’t agree with that. I feel that understanding doubt is a critical part of learning to live by faith. God is not discouraged by our doubts, He expects us to doubt. He will help us overcome our doubts after the trial of our faith.

Look to that father of they epileptic son. He had faith, great faith. But when things didn’t go as planned, his faith waivered. The key to this great story was the humility of the father to say to Christ: “Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief.”

That Crazy Calendar

September will be a crazy busy month. So let me share the list of events so that all can be aware of what is happening when.





Sunday, September 2 Dedication of Multi-Stake building 6:00 p.m. New Multi-Stake building
Tuesday, September 4 Stake Seven Peaks night 5:30-8:00 p.m. Seven Peaks, dinner will be served
Sunday, September 16 Regional Conference 10:00-noon New Multi-Stake building
Friday, September 21
Saturday, September 22
Ward Camp out 4:00 p.m
6:00 p.m
8:00 p.m
Heber Valley Girls Camp
Dinner around 7:30
Plan to spend the night
Sunday, September 23 Brigham City Temple Dedication Different times New Multi-Stake building
Saturday, October 6
Sunday,October 7
General Conference Different times Anywhere you want. Our home if you prefer.

Nike – The Symbol of Victory

image For those well-versed in Greek mythology, you are likely aware that Nike was the goddess of victory. Well, today, my good friend Nike smiled upon me as I faced Kyle Nelson, my nemesis in racquetball. After countless months of stinging defeats, today was a most amazing victory.

Fear not, lest you think I am boasting. While Kyle has joined the rest of us mortals, I have a new nemesis – Mary Culverwell. Now Mary may seem sweet and all, but she is really quite vicious. She “accidentally” struck me with her racquet.

image Sure, she looked all apologetic, but I could tell there was method to her madness. From then on, whenever she swung her scary razor-lined racquet I would cower in the corner expecting her to come after me.

Mary, I am awaiting a rematch. This time I will wear a full suit of armor

But, back to Kyle. Now that I have defeated him, he promised to redouble his effort towards getting married. So, any sister in our ward who may have interest, please come see me on Sunday. I am fully in charge of his social life from now on.

image Thanks to all who came and played this morning. We will do it again in a few weeks after I recover from Mary’s cruel racquet.

Post written from the ER…