Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Why Should We Learn to Write Well?

"I learned why during a religion class I taught once at Ricks College. I was teaching from Doctrine and Covenants 25:8 [D&C 25:8]. That tells Emma Smith she should give her time to “writing, and to learning much.” About three rows back in the class sat a blond girl whose brow wrinkled as I urged diligence in developing writing skills. She raised her hand and said, “That doesn’t seem reasonable to me. All I’ll ever write are letters to my children.” That brought laughter. I felt a little chagrined to have applied that scripture to her. Just looking at her I could imagine a quiver full of children around her and even see the letters she’d write, in purple ink, with handwriting slanting backwards, with neat, round loops. Maybe writing powerfully wouldn’t matter to her.

"And then a young man stood up near the back. He’d said little during the term. He was older than the other students and shy. He told in a quiet voice of being a soldier in Viet Nam. In what he thought would be a lull, he’d left his rifle and walked across his fortified compound to mail call. Just as he got a letter in his hand he heard a bugle blow, and shouts and mortar and rifle fire came in ahead of the swarming enemy. He fought his way back to his rifle, using his hands as weapons. With the men who survived, he drove the enemy out. The wounded were evacuated. And then he sat down among the living, and some of the dead, and he opened the letter.

"It was from his mother. She wrote that she’d had a spiritual experience that assured her he would live to come home, if he were righteous. “That letter was scripture to me,” the boy said quietly. “I kept it.” And he sat down. You may have a child someday, perhaps a son. Can you see his face? Can you see him somewhere, sometime in mortal danger? Can you feel the fear in his heart, and does it touch you? Would you like to freely give? What sacrifice will it take to write the letter your heart will want to send? You won’t do it in the hour before the postman comes. Nor will it be possible in a day or even a week. It may take years. Start the practice this afternoon. Go back to your room and write, and read, and rewrite that paper again, and again. It won’t seem like sacrifice if you picture that boy, feel his heart, and think of the letters he’ll need someday."

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Four Cornerstones Upon Which To Build A Home

“Except the Lord build the house, they labour in vain that build it.” (Ps. 127:1.)

Respect for One Another
Companionship in marriage is prone to become commonplace and even dull. I know of no more certain way to keep it on a lofty and inspiring plane than for a man occasionally to reflect upon the fact that the help-meet who stands at his side is a daughter of God, engaged with Him in the great creative process of bringing to pass His eternal purposes. I know of no more effective way for a woman to keep ever radiant the love for her husband than for her to look for and emphasize the godly qualities that are a part of every son of our Father and that can be evoked when there is respect and admiration and encouragement. The very processes of such actions will cultivate a constantly rewarding appreciation for one another.

The Soft Answer
  • It was said of old that “a soft answer turneth away wrath.” (Prov. 15:1.)
  • The voice of heaven is a still small voice; likewise, the voice of domestic peace is a quiet voice.
  • There is need for a vast amount of discipline in marriage, not of one’s companion, but of one’s self.
  • “A father can do no greater thing for his children than to let them feel that he loves their mother.” (President David O. McKay)
  • How much greater the peace in the homes of the people, how much greater the security in the lives of the children, how much less divorce and separation and misery, how much more gladness and joy and love there would be if husbands and wives would cultivate the discipline of speaking softly one to another, and if both would so speak to their children.

 Honesty with God and with One Another
I am convinced that there is no better discipline nor one more fruitful of blessings than for those who establish homes and families to follow the commandment given to ancient Israel through the prophet Malachi: “Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, … and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.” (Mal. 3:10.)
As you discipline yourselves in the expenditure of your means, beginning with your obligations to your Father in heaven [tithing], the cankering selfishness that leads to so much strain in domestic affairs will go out of your lives, for if you will share with the Lord whom you do not see, you will deal more graciously, more honestly, and more generously with those whom you do see. As you live honestly with God, you will be inclined to live honestly with one another.  (emphasis added)

 Family Prayer
God then will be your partner, and your daily conversations with him will bring peace into your hearts and a joy into your lives that can come from no other source.

A summary of a talk by Gordon B. Hinckley entitled, “‘Except the Lord Build the House …’,” from the Ensign, June 1971.  

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Quick Tips: Alot

Alot: a town and a nagar panchayat in Ratlam district in the state of Madhya Pradesh, India.  (

Incorrect: I passed through alot of bushes.
Correct: I passed through Alot.  There were bushes.
Also Correct: I passed through a lot of bushes on my way to Alot.

What I hope you remember from today's lesson:

"A lot" is two words.  (Unless referring to the nagar which case it should be capitalized).

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Grammar Answer

I know it has been forever-and-a-half since I posted the grammar geek quiz on my blog and I apologize to the millions of avid readers who have been biting their nails in anticipation of the answer.  (If only that were true...)  So here goes my sad attempt to explain it. 
"That is one of the many qualities that make him the man we love to celebrate."

It's a simple case of subject verb agreement. You know, "the dogs eats" verses "the dog eats." If you take out all the extra words, you will discover that the subject of the sentence is "one" and the verb is "make." Obviously "one make" sounds funny. It should be "one makes." Right?

Wrong.  If you followed that logic and believed it, then you are equal to me in grammar prowess because that is what I thought to be the case and it is incorrect; we got nothin'.  In fact, the reason it has taken me so long to post an answer is because it really doesn't make sense.  I mean, the subject is really about the qualities, but that appears to be in a prepositional phrase, which often tricks people into thinking it is the subject when it is merely describing the subject.  The average Joe would read that sentence and not even consider it to be grammatically problematic...and Joe would be correct.  That's what I get for over-analyzing everything; problems created out of nothing.

Yes, I am telling you that I lied.  There is nothing wrong with the sentence.  I quote to you from the book ACT 36: Aiming for the Perfect Score.  (Yes, I read such books in my spare time...don't ask).

"Words indicating amount, like the word none [or in our case, one], when used as the subject of a sentence, do not hang out in the Singles Club.  They are married to one word--the word of.  The noun at the end of an "of" phrase [qualities] dictates the verb status [make]."

So there you have it. The sentence is actually grammatically sound. Psych.