Wednesday, October 31, 2012


I linked this blog to a friend's page, and then realized I haven't updated it with the information that would be pertinent. So, without further ado, a musing:

I was hometeaching someone two days ago. For non-Mormon readers, there's a church program where each member is visited monthly by two people assigned to look out for them. Everybody has an assignment, too - it's a way for the members of the Church to support each other and lend assistance. Often, however, the one giving the service or lesson is the one helped most. So it was this week with me.

There is a "stock" lesson material distributed throughout the Church each month, but those who are being taught are encouraged to talk about something they are personally thinking about instead. One of my home-teachees asked me and my hometeaching companion to talk about time management, of all things, and so we changed our lesson plan on the fly, and dove in.

I felt the Spirit strongly, in a peaceful way - but I did not feel like I should talk about daily planning. Home teaching and missionary work are both wonderful experiences for me - I feel the Lord's presence in my mind and heart, guiding me on how to teach more effectively. My teaching still isn't perfect, but I am reminded that the Lord is there and that He cares about us.

Anyway, I felt impressed to talk, not about time management, but success - success from a godly perspective. I am an entrepreneur, and am experiencing all the attendant turmoils of starting a company as a young man. In that, I have often felt like a failure - because I am not making the same amount of money some of my peers earn, or because I do not have steady income, or because some days it is a battle to structure my life effectively. I had been praying, for days, before that lesson about why things were as they were, why I wasn't succeeding, why I was still desperately poor, about why, why, why... and how to move forward.

In the lesson, I heard myself saying, "God's view of success is very different from ours. Following Him needs to be our top priority - and if we're doing that to the best of our abilities, whatever happens IS success. Even if our company fails, and we're out on the street, and we have to declare bankruptcy, if we're doing what God asks of us to do, we are succeeding. God has plans that don't often make sense to us, and so if we're following Him, we'll go through things that we don't understand. But that doesn't mean we have failed."

I was reminded of a lesson from Elder's Quorum the previous week: "God asks each of us to contribute to the Kingdom in different ways - of some, He gives great wealth and expects financial resources, of others, emotional resources - like a someone listening to others who need help. Others, He takes away their job and closes doors, so that they can plausibly serve in the temple. The point is to do the best we can to serve God with what we have, whatever we have - and if we do that, we have success."

My companion brought up some tender personal experiences I didn't know about in that regard; we talked about how triage is not failure.

In all, it answered my questions, and removed my doubts. It renewed my faith.

To my friend who I linked here: if you read this, I don't know that this will help. But I do know that whatever happens, if we keep following God, we have succeeded. You will have succeeded. And I know that God knows each of us personally, and cries with us when we cry, and rejoices with us in our happiness. And I hope that helps, at least a little.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Epiphany Beautiful

     ...The rights of the priesthood are inseparably connected with the powers of heaven, and that the powers of heaven cannot be controlled nor handled only upon the principles of righteousness.
     No power or influence can or ought to be maintained by virtue of the priesthood, only by persuasion, by long-suffering, by gentleness and meekness, and by love unfeigned;
    By kindness, and pure knowledge, which shall greatly enlarge the soul without hypocrisy, and without guile—
     Reproving betimes with sharpness, when moved upon by the Holy Ghost; and then showing forth afterwards an increase of love toward him whom thou hast reproved, lest he esteem thee to be his enemy;
     That he may know that thy faithfulness is stronger than the cords of death.
      Let thy bowels also be full of charity towards all men, and to the household of faith, and let virtue garnish thy thoughts unceasingly; then shall thy confidence wax strong in the presence of God; and the doctrine of the priesthood shall distil upon thy soul as the dews from heaven.
      The Holy Ghost shall be thy constant companion, and thy scepter an unchanging scepter of righteousness and truth; and thy dominion shall be an everlasting dominion, and without compulsory means it shall flow unto thee forever and ever. (Doctrine and Covenants 121:36; 41-45)
The above is a famous scripture in the LDS Church; it describes how people are to interact with each other. For some reason, these verses are usually applied particularly to men who formally bear the priesthood (LDS definition of Priesthood: Power of God delegated to man for the express and exclusive purpose of helping bring about His children's salvation), though I am of the very strong opinion that the instructions given here are not gender-specific or exclusive.

It struck me today, for perhaps the first time, that the scripture above is a description of how God acts towards us when we try and follow Him. He works through the same Priesthood power He delegates to His children; it seems clear to me now that He follows the same pattern He instructs us to follow.

I have written here before about how I have been recently reproved and taught; I had not expected, but can now testify of, the increase of love that the Lord is showing me. His faithfulness is stronger than the cords of death, whether that death is physical or spiritual.

It is and has been a blessed relief.

Isn't it amazing how life is made up of ten thousand, thousand little moments of experience, each and every day?

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Down to earth

And they said one to another, Go to, let us make brick, and burn them throughly. And they had brick for stone, and slime had they for mortar. And they said, Go to, let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven; and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth. (Genesis 11:3-4)
And it shall come to pass, that when they make a long blast with the ram’s horn, and when ye hear the sound of the trumpet, all the people shall shout with a great shout; and the wall of the city shall fall down flat, and the people shall ascend up every man straight before him. (Joshua 6:5)
I have recently been granted a "wake-up call," as a good friend of mine called it, in the form of a number of my sureties and plans unraveling before my eyes. This was initially gut-wrenching and very sad; I was brought low.

In the aftermath of the same, I have realized again the call to application in the Gospel. I had imagined to myself a God of miracles, but, dangerously, also a God of miracles who did not expect me to work at the particular miracles intended. As the above examples perhaps illustrate, miracles do occur - but they occur in process, as we do, and not as we consider.

I have, for some time now, sown a life of pondering and wishing for things beyond my control, with various doctrinal and experiential justifications. I now am reaping, to some degree, a harvest of air and wishes.
it shall be unto them, even as unto a hungry man which dreameth, and behold he eateth but he awaketh and his soul is empty; or like unto a thirsty man which dreameth, and behold he drinketh but he awaketh and behold he is faint, and his soul hath appetite... (2 Nephi 27:3, quoting Isaiah 29)

By miraculous aid and the assistance of wonderful family and friends, I have been allowed to come thus far. I have tried to pursue a life of holiness and energy, of purity and of being "unspotted from the world," but, to some degree, I have pursued this task with detachment from the world, seeking an escape. I understand the Grecian yearning for the perfect world of Platonic forms; perfection disembodied and unattached, abstract.

The circumstances and experiences of the past month at least, both good and bad, reveal to me that such is not God's ideal. Indeed, the Savior walked in a mortal form, along dusty roads. He spent His time with sinners and publicans, and washed the feet of his disciples. His purity is not the purity of abstract perfection, but the purity of applied truth: love in action.

Indeed, the most abstract principle of Christianity - the Atonement - is itself the ultimate application of Christ's love - both in His taking upon Him all of our sins and infirmities to answer the demands of justice and "that his bowels may be filled with mercy, according to the flesh, that he may know according to the flesh how to succor his people according to their infirmities" (Alma 7:12), and also in the application each of us must make to our individual circumstances, guilt, and memory. It is an infinitely personal process of making "all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose" that each of us must undergo to receive the benefits  of the same. The Gospel and Atonement of Christ is a Gospel of the personal application of eternal and infinite truth.

It has been impressed upon me too, of late and by necessity, that it is so also with my discipleship. I am so much more in His hands, and I suspect in His eyes, when I befriend and serve the men and women around me, the child next to me, the outcast, the arrogant with whom I have personal difficulty. In retrospect, I am shocked by the incredible difference in my own life and psyche between the kind actions of one friend, and hours of personal agonizing and introspection. I am earnestly grateful for friends who have helped me - imperfectly, but personally, real-ly, rather than waiting for some type of perfection.

And so yes, this blow has been a wake-up call. I have been to large degree knocked from my intellectual pedestal, and I find that I am not privileged, not unique, not protected from the trials and irregularities of life. I have been reminded that,
“If a man has any greatness in him, it comes to light, not in one flamboyant hour, but in the ledger of his daily work” (Beryl Markham, 1936).
I do not regret my intellectual exercises or striving for perfection. "Where there is no vision, the people perish" (Proverbs 29:18), but I am reminded also that "To the engineer [applicator, the applied actor] falls the job of clothing the bare bones of science [or religion] with life, comfort and hope" (Herbert Hoover, Memoirs, "The Profession of Engineering." Comments added). A similar quote, discovered while searching for the exact quote given immediately prior, extends the point:

No mathematical formula, however exact it may appear to be, can be of greater accuracy than the assumptions on which it is based, [with the] conclusion that experience still remains the great teacher and final judge. (James Kip Finch, Engineering Classics, commenting on Sejourne's Grandes Voutes)

And so, I choose for this blow to set me back on a path of engagement, of creating light in murky darkness, of being in the world even if I am not of it. I can accept and chart my limitations. I can intellectually accept and embrace my mortality. And I can do so while striving to live a Celestial life. Indeed, I give the Lord greater opportunity to show me that, while I am weak, "in His strength I can do all things" (Alma 26:12). As I do so, I can better assist the Lord in making my life something unique, beautiful, and extraordinary.

(Thus concludes the intellectual portion of my post.)

These thoughts lead me to expand my personal definitions of what is acceptable on this blog. While reading a collection of essays by Wendell Berry, (What Are People For?) I was surprised to find that many of his essays are book reviews. After I pushed through my initial objections, I realized that the substance of Berry's reading provided a framework for his thought and positions in very effective and sincere ways. It supports my previous theme: knowledge is inseparable from experience, depends upon it, cannot be divorced from it.

Normally, I would not share the rather plebian or mundane experiences and sources of inspiration that lead to some of my personal discoveries; today, as I hope the previous post explains, I believe I will do so. Additionally, in the future, I will be providing some more of my applied thoughts - such as book  reviews and descriptions or analyses of experiences, etc. - in addition to the more abstract musings I have generally posted. Hopefully, this process will provide more posts, greater opportunity for personal development and growth, and encourage more, and better, photography.

I thought, in preparing these experiences in my mind for publication, about two pieces of music which use a similar low, almost percussive bass sound for dramatic effect. Perhaps because of the change in frequency, I have felt that this particular bass sound is musically comparable to my experience of being brought metaphorically low.

The Main Theme of Mass Effect 3, embedded below, uses the motif in a wistful mood of ending. As the game story requires, the protagonist is nearing the end. It is a game, and a music, of conclusion. Though I thoroughly enjoy this music, I feel that the emotional arc of the piece is a melody defeated by the motif.

In contrast, the following piece - Bach's magnificent Prelude to the Unaccompanied Cello Suite in G Major, as performed by Mischa Maisky, - uses the low note as a source of energy and correction or change for the progress, drive and momentum of the piece.

So too do I decide to let this lesson be for me. It has improved and sharpened my leadership abilities. It has refined and clarified my planning. It has drawn my priorities and necessities back into alignment. It has required me to be more honest with myself and the Lord. It is, most paradoxically, a blessing, and I am grateful for it. 

Monday, August 6, 2012

Livet - Life

These past two weeks, I have been astounded by how much a single healthy relationship can change everything. I've begun to pursue a young lady, and even in these early stages of pre-official relationship, things are changing rapidly. I feel so much better, happier, more enthusiastic, more hopeful, less lonely.

The last few days especially have impressed on me that a search for truth is something that is lived more than something that is pondered; experienced rather than elucidated. I have come further living in two weeks than I had thinking in three and a half years.

There is a place and time for meditation and reflection. But that place and time is not the place or time for action and the leap of faith. There is also a place and time to do, to become and be rather than to plan and prepare.

A leap into the dark does not become easier by thinking about it, nor can it be accomplished by anything other than the jump itself. This is true in business, love, work (especially bitter work), exercise, singing, and in spiritual matters. The value is in the doing of it. The change comes from the doing of it; contemplation is insufficient.

It is a sweet and focusing revelation - to live.  

Saturday, July 21, 2012


Every day opens new horizons. Every dawn brings new light, every hour new hope, in a sky that keeps getting brighter and brighter.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Twelve. On passion.

Iver: Swedish. Passion, enthusiasm, zeal.

Enthusiasm- en-theo-as-mos: God within us.

I love the movie, Chariots of Fire. The Christian character of Eric Liddell (sp) presented there is one of my heroes. However, I must disagree with one of the quotes as it is presented in the movie. Drawing from the verse, "The Kingdim of God is within you," Liddell goes on to say, "Where doed the power come from, to see a race through to its end? From within." 

That may be true, but it is only by God working in us, and in no other way.

Eleven: "No."


"No, in answer to your previous question. In the collision of two heavenly bodies, there will always be damage of a collateral nature." - Sherlock Holmes, Game of Shadows.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Ten. Strange service.

As I journey on my way,
ere the sun goes down -
There are kind words I may say,
ere the sun goes down!
There are cries I would be heeding,
for the injured interceding...

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Nine. Rainbows

I do set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a token of a covenant between me and the earth. - Genesis 9:13.

For this is as the waters of Noah unto me: for as I have sworn that the waters of Noah should no more go over the earth; so have I sworn that I would not be wroth with thee, nor rebuke thee. - Isaiah 54:9

It's been that kind of day.

Eight: God Speed the Right!

God has a way of confirming to us that which is right, and rejecting that which He would not have us do. I cannot give a definitive list of how He does so, as God doesn't play by my rules, nor do I know all of His. However, He has said:
Yea, behold, I will tell you in your mind and in your heart, by the Holy Ghost, which shall come upon you and which shall dwell in your heart. (Doctrine and Covenants 8:2)

There are some things I feel the Lord has asked me to do; building this company is among them. Note that I am indeed mortal, and divine approval is not the same as divine substance; God is perfect, I am not, and neither will my company be. But having "received my errand from the Lord," to borrow a scriptural phrase, is I think the best preparation I could have for this work.

In that vein, for all who pursue the path that God has set for them, believing in God and following His will in faith - following those things He tells us in our minds and hearts - is not arrogance. Indeed, it is humility, or the recognition that God is the source of all our strength.

With that recognition comes the assurance that whatever God asks of us, we can do, because it is really He that does it anyway. We only make ourselves available to be instruments in His hands; He does the work, with us or without us. It is our choice and privilege to participate, but we do not ultimately determine any outcome except our own allegiance to Him and whether we are found on His side at the last day, or not. He has already seen the end from the beginning and ordered existence such that "all things work together for good to them that love God". (Rom. 8:28)

Again, to quote Joseph Smith:
Therefore, dearly beloved brethren, let us cheerfully do all things that lie in our power; and then may we stand still, with the utmost assurance, to see the salvation of God, and for his arm to be revealed. (Doctrine and Covenants 123:17)
And that is as true in the spiritual things He asks us to do - believe in Jesus Christ, keep His commandments, love one another, serve our fellowman -as it is "other" things He asks us to do - like starting a company that publishes clean literature.
All things unto me are spiritual, and not at any time have I given unto you a law which was temporal; neither any man, nor the children of men; neither Adam, your father, whom I created. (Doctrine and Covenants 29:34).
So, I say: God Speed the Right! Let us go forth in our righteous endeavours, whatever they are, with the assurance that the Lord's hand will be revealed in our lives as we do so, and that indeed all things shall work together for our good.

I have appended here, as a footnote, an interview I had on May 26th, at a writer's convention in Salt Lake City, with UGeekTV. The interview deals mainly with publishing, but there is a discussion of how my faith affects my business ideas at 16:44 which fits nicely with this post, I believe, and provides a segue into the post for tomorrow. I would appreciate any feedback in this regard; I am considering putting the video on the company website. Thank you, in advance.

Tomorrow's (non) fiction: Lime-ing couplets, courtesy of my sister.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012


Six days thou shalt work, but on the seventh day thou shalt rest: in earing time and in harvest thou shalt rest. - Exodus 34:21.
Rest: to cease from the usual pattern of activity; to find relief or freedom from worry, fear, pain, anxiety, etc.

Sabbath, day of rest: Cessation from worldly activity in order to pursue spiritual/religious activity.

Today, I found rest in temple work; it was marvelous.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Six. Concerning friends.

One of the most hopeful scriptures in the Bible, I think, is this promise:
For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.   (Matthew 18:20)
I have experienced many times the blessing of being with friends - not only for the sake of companionship and friendship, but also because gathering together in the name of God allows the Spirit to speak to us in different, and sometimes clearer ways.

That, I think, is one of the important reasons for activities and events and meetings in the Church; our unity allows the grace and Spirit of God to flow into our lives in ways it otherwise could not. So too today; my family home evening group, small and informal as it is, was a significant blessing to me in enabling the Spirit to come more into my life.


Sunday, July 1, 2012

Five. Momentum


Atrophy: degeneration, decline, or decrease, as from disuse.

It had been six years since he had sung with any degree of professionalism. For a former vocalist, that period felt like a lifetime, and he was no longer "in voice." He no longer truly remembered how to be in voice. The first practice session had been intensely painful - not due to vocal damage, but from the stark realization that he could no longer produce the rich, vibrant tone he assumed of himself; rather, he was forced to confront the fact that the shallow, breathy tones he heard were his own.

That first practice session almost discouraged him from singing at all, but with an application of will  - and the spectre of a performance looming - he kept at it. The tone did not return to its former beauty; his timbre had changed, apparently forever. But the notes smoothed; breath control returned - painfully slowly - and he began practicing proper posture with fewer conscious reminders.

Today, this day, he sang. When he opened his mouth, the notes were flat and shake. His voice was unsupported. His pallet wasn't raised.

He didn't care - it felt like he was singing again, and that was all that mattered; for the first time in years, he was again a vocalist.

Afterward, the audience applauded and thanked him for being willing to sing. Then, they asked him to sing again.

Four. Brief

Evidence of God's hand:

I was put in a place where I could talk to someone about hard experiences - and discovered that they are going through now that out of which I have just come. It made my previous struggles more meaningful as a preparation to serve others, and it gave me a chance to put that preparation into use.

Best of all, God blessed me through this to gain a new friend, for whom I am most grateful. God sets the beautiful pattern for our lives, and pain is part of the pattern, too. I see that more clearly now.  "All things work together for agood to them that love God" (Rom 8:28).

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Three. Spiritual, failure.

Once ,when speaking with a very attractive woman, I found all of my social ability draining from me, in a most frustrating way. Before you dismiss such as standard male experience, first allow me to accuse you of accepting current female chauvinist cultural tropes suggesting that men are generally buffoons. Shame on you for being so insensitive.

Now that we have that out of the way, I will also relate that this was a particularly frustrating experience because the girl was not someone I of whom I am afraid. Indeed, we are good friends and have enjoyed spending time relaxed time together; falling apart should not have occurred whilst I spoke with her.

In something like exasperation, I said a prayer to the effect of, "Sheesh, please help me out here."

The response was quick, but friendly: 'I AM helping you out here."

And, in the intervening weeks and months, I have seen what He meant; the person is happily involved with someone else, and we would have made a very poor couple had I convinced her to pursue a different route.
One of the few works by MC Escher in the public domain, but
I think it shows what I mean.

Viewing God's hand is perhaps simplest in the positive spaces: we pray for a blessing and we receive it; we see it, and we give thanks.

Yet, there exists an entirely different, and equally important line of blessings in the negative space, in the things the Lord does not let us do; the things He prevents us from experiencing, the times He removes our abilities for our benefit.

This was my experience today. I saw God's hand many times, but primarily in keeping things from occurring; though I do not entirely know  why.

It is a trial of faith, I suppose, to wait for the hand of the Lord to be revealed. Once, I had an opportunity to go to Paris. I had purchased my ticket, a large group of my friends were going, and I was excited to join them. Unfortunately, when I arrived at the ferry station, I discovered that I had left my passport in my apartment... an hour's train ride away. Needless to say, I missed the trip and was rather sad about it. But, I had felt previously that the Lord did not really approve of my going, and so I chalked it up to His action and assumed things would work out.

Missing Paris was a major blessing. My friends experienced criminal negligence and consumer abuse at the hands of the Parisian agents of the travel company; it made my blood boil just to hear about it after they had all returned safely (some of them days later than intended). I would not have kept my composure had I faced such treatment, I think. Moreover, I would have missed several important academic, emotional, and spiritual experiences I had while everyone else was gone.

In sum, the Lord knows what He is doing - and His actions to prevent and protect are just as merciful, and important, as His actions to prosper and provide. It is good to know that when the positive space in my life does not seem to be what I want it to be, there is probably design in the negative, in the lack.

(Non) Fiction:

There are treasures
to be found
in the forgotten pockets
of suitcases.

We publish books. On
our website, see text, not pics.
Buyer verdict? Lame.

Photo-sites, theme sites:
Graphic design makes crazy.
Programming does too.

(And no, the first is not and was not intended to be haiku; the haiku were inspired by the eighteen syllable couplet, not the other way around.)

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Two. On miracles.

I witnessed a miracle today. Experienced it, in fact - a breakthrough in my corporate endeavours that came as a direct result of my prayer for a miracle. It was a breakthrough in sales - which, honestly, is the first thing that has gotten me nauseatingly scared in some time. Half the miracle was working through the fear, and the other half was being blessed with success. Not a big deal to some. In my life, this was roughly the equivalent of someone parting a personal Red Sea.

I've heard a cliche'd quote that one can go through life either viewing everything as a miracle, or nothing as one. I'm not sure that's true, but it does bring up a good point: a miracle is a personal experience, not just an objective, transcendental lifting of natural or social or psychological or neurological laws. In this regard, the most powerful miracles are not ones in which mountains depart, but ones in which things we thought impossible are brought to pass.

In the musical, Fiddler on the Roof, the tailor Motel (MOTT-uhl) sings it perhaps better than I can write it.

Of all God's miracles, large and small,
the most miraculous one of all is the one I thought would never be...

 - whatever that thing is.

"Now, what do we hear in the gospel which we have received? A voice of gladness! A voice of mercy from heaven ... giving us consolation by holding forth that which is to come, confirming our hope!

Brethren, shall we not go on in so great a cause? Go forward and not backward. Courage, brethren; and on, on to the victory!"
(D&C 128:19-22, emphasis added).

You may wonder why I am titling each of these daily posts with a number, or, indeed, why I am posting daily now at all when my wont has been to post once a week or less. The number is an expression of faith in another miracle I am hoping for; I am sharing the number with the denizens of the ether as an added incentive for me to keep it increasing.

More importantly, it follows a hometeaching message from Pres. Eyring, a prophet of God: as we seek to see the hand of God, in our lives and working through others, we will be blessed to see it increasingly often. These daily posts, the daily count, and the fiction, are part of my record of that.

As with today, I will only record those evidences in appropriately vague terms; I cannot describe the complete effects of my experiences to you, nor am I inclined to try.* But I would be remiss in my duty to my fellowman were I to hide the record of my experiences with God.

This is my search for truth and my associated musings about it.

*(For a more thorough psuedo-secular explanation of this, see Kierkegaard's discussion of man's subjective relationship with the divine. For a more accurate explanation: oversharing things that should be kept personal can offend the Spirit.)

Wednesday, June 27, 2012


Thus begins a daily post series for the immediate and forseeable future. Though I generally despise fiction writing on blogs, I have decided that I may subject you all to some of it. Excoriating, defenestrating, exfoliating (yes, that was intentional) remarks concerning my writing are welcome, of course.

I will, however, promise one piece of non-fiction to help make the fiction more palatable. A piece of non-fiction a day keeps the shrink away, as they say, so I shall pave the way for my fiction with a brief musing today.

Today: I gained a testimony of Institute. I have not always attended Institute consistently, but today- late, under-dressed, and hungry - I decided to go. I am very glad I did. I missed more than half of the lesson, but the parts I did hear were exact answers to several very intractable-seeming problems with which I've been grappling over the past few days. Scripture study, temple service, and prayer had not been able to dislodge these issues; forty minutes of Institute did. The Lord moves in mysterious ways, indeed.

And now, for fiction:  (repeat: the following is not true in anything but a literary or metaphorical or symbolic sense. Think of it as a thought experiment, or skip reading it altogether.)

I've decided to start a new diet. I know from experience that avoiding meat leads one to feel lighter, happier, etc. ... so, meat is out. I've decided to follow my friend's advice and change my diet for moral reasons. Animals deserve not to be eaten unnecessarily - it's painful for them, and painful for us.

Anecdotal evidence: several vegetarians I know look young for their age. Several vegetarians I don't know and have never seen claim to look young for their age. Advantage: Being vegetarian, coupled with exercise, may help me look and feel better.

Problem: Exercise is difficult to perform on a vegetarian diet.
Solution: Stop exercising. Wait a minute...

Problem: Exercise is necessary for good health. Protein is necessary for exercise.
Solution: Eat ... scratch that, - choke down non-meat protein.

Problem: Eggs are really gross.
Solution: Barbecue sauce.

Expected result: Short term: Meat withdrawal: stomach ache. General grumpiness. Heightened frustration during mealtimes. Sluggishness.

Mid-term: Gastro-intestinal complications. Reduced food expenditures. Social adaptation leading to positively-altered friendships.

Long term: Lean muscle mass. Heightened mental alacrity (if sufficient fat is ingested). Decreased reaction time. Psuedo hipster-hippy-earth-love status.

Very long term: Nirvana. Possible levitational powers.  

Yeah, this will be good. No problem, really.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Purpose of blogging

I had occasion to ponder recently the purpose of this blog. The title is accurate; musings, and a search for truth. I haven't posted much of the truth I've found recently, and I wish to remedy that.

I know with all my heart the only way to lasting happiness is through God, through His Son Jesus Christ. Nothing else even comes close. His teachings and His path are the only way to successful relationships, friendships, careers,  and families, in the eternal scheme of things. No other way even comes close.

I am grateful for parents - and today, on Father's Day, a father especially - who gave me the chance to know that.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Picture preface post

Sunset over Utah Lake, from the Y-hike my ward conducted recently.

Vader is in the process of bailing on this photo.
Careful, Vader - some fans are not as
forgiving as I am.
After a brief blogging hiatus, I will be returning to this project shortly. Prepare, in the next post, for a critique of astrophysics. Also, I may review a critique of feminism.

An update: the magazine and company are coming along swimmingly. The new website is up - thank heavens - at There you can also find a link to an interview I had at CONduit 2012. Unlike other writing conventions I've attended, this one was more fan based. It was incredibly geeky, and a lot of fun.

I had a video interview which will soon be posted on that website as well; I may embed a copy of the file here when the gentlemen at ugeektv put up the video.

I do not have a picture of my new facial hairstyle, though I really like how it is coming along. After another week or two, when I am secure in the idea that I will continue to wear a beard, I will perhaps post a photo.

From April: Graduation

I have also begun to read again, which has been a  wonderful blessing. In the past month, I was able to steam through I am Not a Serial Killer, which was excellent Young Adult fiction, and Eventide which was excellent fantasy. Serial Killer provides an accurate view of a sociopath, as a sociologist would define him, in a supernatural crime/thriller story. Eventide, by contrast, was described to me by the author as "a bedtime story for adults." Both succeed very well as light fiction.

The conclusion to Starship Troopers by Heinlein was far less satisfying. Although Heinlein does an excellent job of imagining and describing a moral world based on exchange theory, the story arc of the book itself doesn't really progress. I know Troopers is considered a classic of science fiction. I don't care. The story was flat, and the main character doesn't resolve his character arc. He doesn't appear to learn anything from his experiences, and the greater storyline itself is left unfinished; we don't know if the troopers win at the end, and even the description of the war itself is more like an extended "year in the life of" snapshot than a narrative. The book is well-written in individual elements, but insufficient as a novel.

The cover of the anthology in which my story will appear,
probably in July or August of this year.

Unfortunately, my writing has taken a backseat to publishing. Now that I have had another gum surgery and I am no longer allowed to work out (for a few weeks' time) I shall schedule more time for my own written work. That said, my first published short story, "Indigo Ocean," comes out in a few weeks from Alliteration Ink in the anthology, Crimson Pact, vol. 4.

Speaking of writing, my next post will include a discussion of astrophysics (seriously!) and, perhaps, a plug for a new power generation method which I think could change the world. I may also include a description of company progress. I planned my next entrepreneurial venture recently, and it has gotten me far, far into a technical mindset; please join me as I search for applied truth as well.

Life is advancing and I feel I am making progress in many ways. Best of all, I feel my relationship with my God is deepening and strengthening. In that, as in the rest, I am blessed - and happy.

Sunset in the Midwest. Dec 2011.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Next project

As a Drupal step-by-step guide to creating fantastic, responsive, websites quickly, using any of the base themes, does not appear to exist, I believe I will create one myself. But first, I have to get my site out of the water again.

I never thought I would become a programmer, but the Lord has a strange way of taking us where we need to go.

Monday, May 7, 2012

A happier update

My last post, of some time ago, was not particularly happy. To combat that, and before I post something I feel strongly about again, I will post a brief description of the good things that are happening in my life.

LDStorymakers was a huge success. I met and interacted with a number of authors, had a blast, and (I think) helped promote a general good impression about our company. Apparently, we are getting noticed; several authors mentioned to me that they had been in discussions about us beforehand, and many authors told me they had heard positive buzz.

I am now, officially, in my new apartment/office. It's twice (or thrice) as roomy as my last single bedroom, and I no longer have roommates. It is exhilarating to finally have a place of my own.

I recently re-connected with some old friends, which was wonderful; I intend to cultivate those relationships over the coming months. I realized recently how much I value deep friendships; several of my best friends are going on missions very soon, and it has caused me to ponder and re-appraise my approach to friendships and relationships.

Although I missed Saturday, I finished five of the six days of my new workout program. When I get working out, eating correctly, sleeping sufficiently, and working effectively down - hopefully in the next two weeks - look out; I am going to be unstoppable.

In all, there are many things for which I am grateful; many new changes, new beginnings, and new experiences at the moment, but life is moving forward in a positive way.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

A Dissenting Opinion

A disclaimer: this post is perhaps surprisingly more candid and negative than I usually reveal. I apologize in advance if my positions offend you, but I will not recant them. I hope that those of you reading this who were involved in the events I have described - some now good friends - will not find my dissenting opinion sufficient reason to take serious offense.

I recently learned from a friend of mine that the BYU Field Studies Program is being shut down. My friend and several others have raised a protest; they value their field studies experiences highly, and are sad that the program is to be no more.

Allow me to voice a dissenting opinion: a BYU Field Study was my single most miserable BYU experience, and one I would not wish on any student, ever. It has been a continuing source of pain and frustration, rubbed raw again recently by briefly re-encountering the contempt I feel from former Field Studies' staff concerning my experiences and myself. How dare I dislike field studies!

If you examine my blog - this blog, in fact - during the summer of 2010, you will find that my experience was not all bad. Indeed, I limited my blog posts to uplifting experiences, of which there were many. In the words of a man I respect very much, "it's always good weather [when you are abroad]"; people at home should probably not hear about your personal struggles (until they are resolved) unless 1.) you need their assistance, and 2.) they can assist you somehow. My experiences did not meet these criteria, so I tried to be exclusively uplifting.

The Field Studies program focuses very much on cross-cultural experiences; I was told the program would help me better understand my fellow human beings. Additionally, I was told that it would help me better appreciate other's viewpoints. We were taught that, rather than trying to fix or help others, we should try to serve them - an other-centric philosophy that adapts to the local conditions, customs, and norms.

Unfortunately, the Field Studies program did not, in my experience, extend the same philosophy to its own participants. I felt, often, that the program - or, rather, my leaders, facilitator, some of the other students, my host mother, and the administrative policies of the program - were trying to "fix" or "help" me when I neither needed nor wanted correction. Indeed, I found the efforts offensive, painful, damaging and counter-productive.

Field Studies was the most culturally relativistic program I experienced at BYU. We were carefully instructed not to judge other people, especially the native people with whom we would be interacting. Unfortunately, cultural relativism is itself an absolutist doctrine: either you believe that anything (culture, people, set of behaviors) is as good as anything else, or you do not. I do not, and so my "non-judgmental" peers judged me as less than correct or good.

I have strong opinions about who I am and where the Lord would have me go in life. These establish a strong sense of right and wrong in my personal conduct. I do not now, and did not then, apply these standards to others, but I claim the right to act according to the dictates of my own conscience and to suffer the consequences, good or bad, of such behavior. My philosophy, and attendant life goals, were consistently and repeatedly denigrated or dismissed by Field Studies staff, both before and after I arrived in South Africa. It was a source of pain, frustration, and conflict for me during my entire experience that I was apparently expected to apply different standards to those around me than I was allowed to expect them to apply to me. Note that I am not talking here about native South Africans (with one exception), but about the members of my field studies group and the staff of the Field Studies program after I returned.

I was told that my Field Studies group and host family would be there to help me manage the difficult times I would have concerning those with whom I worked. My experience was precisely the opposite: I loved the people with whom I worked, and had it not been for the churches, religious leaders, students and teachers I was interviewing and serving, I would not have survived the experience emotionally.

Do not misunderstand: I learned an amazing amount during my time in South Africa, but the things I learned are not lessons I am sure I am glad I have gained. For example, for the first time in my life, I understood what it meant to use my race, consciously, to my advantage. When I was near my breaking point, I understood for the first time that I had power in South African society because I was white, and that I did not need to fear or tolerate some of the events occurring as a result of that fact. For the first time, I understood my racial privilege viscerally. It was one of the low points in my life, and one of which I am still ashamed. I believe in the family of man. I do not believe in racial superiority, and I do not want to ever again consider using my race like a weapon, even in self-defense.

But, for all that, I would support Field Studies and protest for its continuation except, for one fact. The rest I could chalk up to experience and an unlucky draw, but there is one aspect of the program I cannot tolerate, and that element makes me not only un-surprised, but partially grateful that Field Studies is leaving BYU.

Namely, this: the Field Studies personnel and policies were either neutral or derogatory concerning my faith in God. I was never attacked directly on religious grounds; rather, I was "instructed" that my beliefs were insufficient or incomplete because they were not culturally relativistic.

The Gospel is not a relativistic path of life. There is right and wrong, and though I may not always understand what those rights and wrongs are in a given situation, my heart is still either becoming more like God's, or less.

I wish, I long, for a field studies program that is as difficult and painful as mine was, but that asks and suggests and encourages the students to turn to God in their extremity. I wish that the pain - emotional and physical - that I experienced had been necessary and improving, and that I could claim the program itself had helped me to be a better person. I wish that I had found a "community of saints" in my study, that I would have had good experiences generally with the other members of my program, that we could have "strengthened each other in the Lord," that I could give a good report of my experiences overall. But I did not, and it was and has remained a source of pain for me, even two years later. I have found greater camraderie, espirit de corps, respect for my religious beliefs and empathy - from complete strangers - all over the world in my subsequent travels, than I found in my Field Study with fellow BYU students.

There are facilitators - friends of mine, still, I hope, if they have continued reading - who will dismiss my experiences even now. Others did not experience their Field Study as I did, so surely what I have said is not valid. To them I return the standard Field Studies argument: why is your positive experience more valid than my negative one?

Those who dismiss me and mine are welcome to do so. But I do not weep that BYU Field Studies is dying, and I hope its replacement does a better job for its students than I feel Field Studies did for me.

Yours truly,
Brett T.M. Peterson

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

One job, two job, old job, new job...

"Life has been a whirlwind - of shifting, myriad colors..."

I have officially broken the surface of the writing world and breached, gasping, into my career as a professional writer. That whale imagery is intentional - my first fictional short story to be accepted is all about whales. I'll keep you posted here with more updates as the time of publication gets closer.

I have also - today! - secured an advertising job as a writer: I'll be writing copy for an internet marketing company. I'm also looking at a second, similar position with another firm. These jobs are entirely flexible, which will allow me to pursue them while I also pursue my own company.

That company - TM Publishing, LLC. ( has been consuming most of my time - but it is a thrill ride. We have had a lot of success; submissions are coming in, and I believe we will be profitable in May or June or this year. It's a heady feeling - exciting, and historic times for me.

So - thank you all for your love and support! I wish you the best... and if you don't see me for the next few months, know simply that I am working, and loving it. 

Monday, February 6, 2012

Heartening Realization

If "love is a battlefield," as the 80s song suggests, then I have recently suffered a rather crushing defeat. Off balance, I and my subsequent attempts at romance have been... awkward.

I was feeling down about this; it became the preoccupation of my prayers and the subject of my most recent fast. It has prompted a paradigm shift and a serious review of my character, spirituality and focus.

Against this backdrop, I was watching an "I'm a Mormon" video today, the one for Athelia (fashion designer, business woman, former dancer.) It resonated with me - perhaps because I am also an entrepreneur, and a former singer, and because I harbor a hidden dream of one day designing attire myself.

Her comment, though, about worth struck home: "God sees me as a soul with worth, even when I can't accomplish anything." She was referencing an illness which rendered her unable to do many things, but I find it applies to my situation: no matter how compelling a young lady may be, my value is independent of her opinion.

Moreover, I have value and, despite my current lack of success, am an attractive individual. I am an entrepreneur. I speak two languages, understand a third, and am learning a fourth. I am a writer, a photographer, and a visionary. I am intelligent, well read, and very well-travelled.

I am chaste. I respect people. I do not steal kisses, and I don't usually need to. I have been told many times that I am very romantic, and (irony aside,) one former girlfriend described me as (I quote) "the perfect boyfriend." I have loved intensely, and have been loved just as intensely in return.

Nor am I ugly. I have elicited romantic interest from women of every description and profession: models, dancers, singers, actresses, doctors, engineers, and athletes, from every race and from many nationalities. I have been whistled at by women on multiple occasions (though I admit this may only be a half-compliment), and I have been told that I have beautiful eyes.

In sum, I was reminded of who I am, and of the fact that I like very much the man I have become. I am happy the Lord has led me here. Though I have not been perfect, the Lord has yet made my life beautiful.

And, perhaps best of all, He will continue to do so.

I was reminded that "what you see and experience now is not what forever will be. You will not feel loneliness, sorrow, pain, or discouragement forever. We have the faithful promise of God that He will neither forget nor forsake those who incline their hearts to Him" (President Uchtdorf, "You Matter to Him," October 2011 General Conference).

I will not be ashamed of who I am or of my (righteous) behavior. I will publish. I will be successful in business, in many businesses. I can admit that I wish to design clothing, and that I will have an art kaleidoscope of my design and production in a museum before I die. I enjoy interior design, and have already designed and built rooms with which I and others are most pleased. I enjoy the aesthetic. I will travel, I will teach, I will learn, I will create. I will make a positive impact on society. I will one day have a family and accomplish all that the Lord would have me do.

And if a woman, or many women, or all women, aren't interested in joining me in those endeavors, so be it. It is their loss at least as much as it is mine. Moreover, someday there will be a woman who finds all of those things incredibly attractive -- who finds ME incredibly attractive -- and about whom I will feel the same way.

Until that day, and after it, I will go forth rejoicing in this wonderful life.
I have embedded the video I found particularly inspiring; another video I enjoyed can be found here. Pictures from the Ice Festival follow below the video.

Rff-wrff; Frwheeee!

I believe this was my vote for the winner, or the cupid and heart above.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Pictures: medicine for melancholy

Winter in Missouri

La Mezquita, Cordoba, Spain



Walls of the Jewish Quarter, UNESCO Heritage site.

Medina Al-Zahra (if I remember correctly), outside of either Cordoba or Granada

The Alhambra


Proof that I really was there. 

An attempt at scale. The place was, and felt, massive.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

100th Post!

My first and biggest announcement: I have launched a new company! Our website is live at, though I intend to change that to very soon. Either way, each address should, in the very near future, take you to the same homepage.

The last two weeks saw me cloistered in my bedroom office, learning how to create such a website. It was definitely a blessing; I didn't (don't) have enough capital to pay for website design, so getting one up was, to me, miraculous. I feel like I had a lot of divine help there.

And, from there, things have kept going more and more quickly! An artist signed onboard as our art director; one of my editors volunteered to be the magazine lead, some local publicity events in St. Louis have come together, we've started editing our first manuscript. The ball is rolling!

My next main event is to go back out to Utah for the LTUE Writing Conference at BYU/UVU, where we'll pitch our publishing house to authors. Hopefully, I'll be able to set up a booth at another Utah Conference as well.

In sum: many blessings, all the time. 

Happy 100th post!

Friday, January 6, 2012


I have spent the past three days in a whirlwind of recruiting personnel, applying for and receiving business licenses, establishing a website, and preparing a company for "launch" - that magical (?) moment when doors officially open for business for the first time.

For those of you who are wondering what I am talking about, a synopsis: my business venture in Ghana became untenable due to unanticipated market conditions (we weren't going to make any money on it). Therefore, I have shifted my focus onto my second idea (Project 2 in my Twitterfeed), which is a publishing house: TM Publishing, LLC. We open for business officially before the end of htis month, and hopefully within the next week. The website still needs work, which is all that prevents us from accepting manuscripts; when I have something professional prepared, I will post a link here.

In this whirlwind of activity - amidst interviews with employees and potential employees, meetings with bankers and government officials, and all the other activities necessary to create a publishing house - I have by far most enjoyed three events only peripheral to my commercial work.

First was an evening spent with family. I had come from another meeting where I behaved much as I often have before - somewhat garrulous, comical but not careful - but not as I would prefer to be. Spending the evening just talking with family members helped me come back to the path of the person I am trying to, and feel God would have me, be. It was edifying.

The second was a corporate meeting, actually, though the corporate aspect of it was not particularly important. What made the interaction so positive and uplifting was that I was starting a professional friendship. The meeting was with my banker, it is true, but, as he is to be my primary contact with the bank and we are to interact often over the life of this business, I felt comfortable getting to know him as a person. As a result, our interaction was human, rather than bureaucratic. I would not invite this gentleman over for social events, of course - ours is a professional relationship. Even so, it was gratifying to develop a friendly professional relationship, rather than simply experience professional interaction. I intend to imitate that example, actually - I have been tempted, as this company has formed, to become increasingly distant in order to appear "professional." I am very glad to know that such is not necessary. One can be human and professional too.

Finally, and best of all, was a conversation with a dear friend whom I greatly respect and admire. Our interaction is, and has nearly always been, very uplifting; I am very grateful the Lord has continued to put us in each other's paths. Without His divine intervention, I believe I would have lost contact with this person several years ago, or one of several times thereafter.

Perhaps these events all seem small to you, and maybe they were. To me, they were an answer to prayer and an imporant reminder that God does lead us in green pastures, that He restores our souls, and that "surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever" (Psalm 23).

Importantly, these interactions all came on the same day, the only day this week when I have not worked for more than eleven hours on a project. I intend to get a full-time job soon in addition to my entrepreneurial and authorial activities; I expect to work twelve hour days consistently for some time into the future. Even so, as I was reminded in the course of these experiences, it is the people, not the work, that satisfies. Relationships are what make life worthwhile.

I work to accomplish things I feel the Lord expects of me; it was at His prompting that I began to explore opportunities in publishing. These three experiences, though, were a divine reminder that in the course of my work, I need to prioritize those people I love. Twleve hour days are still appropriate and expected, especially for the next period of my life, but the rest of my time, I feel, should be devoted to people. There is no time to waste on things that are not of value; every moment spent in idleness is a moment spent not strengthening one of the relationships that make life worthwhile.

 And, as that day demonstrated, relationships -families, friendships, even positive professional interaction, are deeply satisfying, a great contributor to happiness, and a wonderful blessing.