Junior Ganymede
We endeavor to give satisfaction

The Honest Man

May 23rd, 2017 by G.

More and more, honesty is not a virtue our society prizes but fails to live.  More and more, it is a virtue that we reject as for dupes.  And more and more, it is.

What I failed to realize when I was younger is that honesty is a societal virtue.  It is a virtue whose purpose and sense is in relation to society at large. (more…)

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May 23rd, 2017 07:30:10

The Truth of Nostalgia

May 22nd, 2017 by G.

I have nostalgia for lives I’ve never lived.

I was just driving through a tiny foothills Spanish colonial landgrant.  There are a few small adobes, willows and cottonwoods by the streams, a twisted apple tree, a few cattle, stacks of firewood, everyone related.  And I felt a strong sense of the distinctness and value of their life.  And an attraction, like nostalgia.

That’s what the best tourism usually is.  Nostalgia for unlived lives.  Imaginative communion with them. (more…)

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May 22nd, 2017 10:20:35

Notes towards a definition of freedom, part 3

May 15th, 2017 by Vader

In the first part of this series of posts, I proposed a definition of freedom as the ability to make meaningful and consequential choices. I offered some explanation of the three elements of this definition, namely: ability, meaningfulness, and consequence. In the second part of this series of posts, I reflected on the significance of freedom as a gift from God, pointed out that there is strong opposition to freedom, and described liberty as the set of social and legal constructs we are duty-bound to erect and sustain to protect and enhance freedom.

In this post, I will discuss some of the aspects of liberty that support the second element of freedom, namely, meaningfulness.


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May 15th, 2017 05:19:17

Arguing with Satan

May 11th, 2017 by G.

Here is a temple thought.

Satan has more than a bit part in the creation story.  But basically all he does is talk.  No one takes what he says seriously. No one enters into discussions with him.   They all just defy him or command him or condemn him.  No one converses with him.  Except Eve–and with all due respect for the recent Mormon trend of affirming the consequent, I am not altogether convinced that she was altogether prudent to do so.

I wonder how much our taste for reasoning with people is just a cultural thing.  Not that there is anything wrong with cultural things.  But they do not convert directly into eternal things.

God reasons some in the scriptures, but mostly not.  Mostly He just offers glory or misery.  He doesn’t offer logic, he offers a choice.  Christ debates the Pharisees and Sadducees–but mostly he ignores their logic with rhetoric and jumps over the conversation they are trying to have to a higher truth.

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May 11th, 2017 08:48:41

And Given in Marriage

May 10th, 2017 by G.

The scriptures like to point out–it happens more than once–that on the verge of some catastrophic punishment for their gigantic wickedness, the people are going around “marrying and giving in marriage.”  Which is odd.  Getting married doesn’t seem so awfully wicked. (more…)

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May 10th, 2017 08:31:15

Free Pigs

May 08th, 2017 by G.

In a storm, one part of a pigsty fence was broken, leaving a gap.  When the pig saw it, he thought, “freedom!” and trotted out, determined to live or die, survive or thrive, depending on his own choices and fortune.

A passing wild pig saw the gap and trotted in.  “Freedom!” he thought.  “No more worries, no more cares.  I hope somebody fixes that fence.”


The first freedom is choosing what freedom is.

See also the Garden of Eden.

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May 08th, 2017 10:20:20

Notes towards a definition of freedom, part 2

May 08th, 2017 by Vader

The first part of this series of posts proposed a definition of freedom: Freedom is the ability to make meaningful and consequential choices. There I suggested that ability implied a free will, understood as a first cause capable of initiating new causal chains. Meaningful choices are ones which can be made rationally between distinguishable alternatives. Consequential choices are ones that have lasting significance. I further proposed that, in the divine scheme of things, lasting significance implies an eternal Judgment of those choices. Reconciling these attributes of freedom with the omniscience, omnipotence, and benevolence of God requires that the causal chains generated by choices exist in a sphere significant to God, but in which He chooses not to exercise His full omnipotence, and which is bounded by His taking the causal chains arising from evil choices into Himself, in the person of the Son, via the Atonement.

In this post, I summarize my understanding of why freedom is a gift from an benevolent God, why it is precious, and  how this understanding informs our approach to liberty, here defined as the social and legal constructs that arise from our understanding of freedom and its worth.


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May 08th, 2017 05:15:20

Notes towards a definition of freedom

May 02nd, 2017 by Vader

A summary of my understanding of freedom and its problems, based in part on things I have long understood and in part on recent insights gained at this blog.


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May 02nd, 2017 13:19:13

Communication beyond Words

April 25th, 2017 by G.

There is a form of communication that transcends the power of words

thus Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin

All that is best transcends the power of words. All that is best goes beyond our descriptions of it. There is always a remainder.

But just as the body can be a vessel for a spirit, words can be a vessel for that which transcends words.

Other Posts from the Sunday Afternoon session of the October 1975 General Conference

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April 25th, 2017 07:30:01

Congratulatory Criticism

April 18th, 2017 by G.

There is something deeply difficult, deeply right, and deeply Mormon about being very pleased with what people are doing but encouraging them to do better still.

God bless all of you who are deeply engaged in this program. And if it isn’t quite up to par, bring it there, will you?—in every ward and branch and stake and mission. And let us come nearer to the accomplishment of what the Lord has given us to do.

-thus President Kimball.

I might say the same for all of you.  You can do better, but you guys are great.

Other Posts from the Welfare Session of the October 1975 General Conference

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April 18th, 2017 07:38:56

The Big Breath

April 16th, 2017 by G.

Consider an object–a corpse. The body of a dead man.

1. In one sense, it is utterly insignificant. It is so small. In its milieu, it is just one among many. Even in life, there was nothing about the construction of this body that made it stand out. And its milieu was just one small portion of the surface of its world, which surface was itself tiny in proportion to the actual earthy, airy, watery mass of the world, which is itself a flyspeck, a nothing, in proportion to the size of the sun that dominates the local area. But even the sun is nothing in comparison with the emptiness of the solar system. And the solar system is nothing in the galaxy, and the galaxy is nothing in the universe.

There is an emptiness called the universe. And within that emptiness, there are unimaginably tiny emptinesses called galaxies. Anything smaller than those smallest of objects are not just small–they might as well not exist.


Image result for empty universe


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April 16th, 2017 07:50:18


April 13th, 2017 by G.

Tonight, Jesus went into a garden and took on alone the burden of the sins and sorrows of the world.

Which suffering caused myself, even God, the greatest of all, to tremble because of pain, and to bleed at every pore, and to suffer both body and spirit—and would that I might not drink the bitter cup, and shrink—

Nevertheless, glory be to the Father, and I partook

And this is the unshakeable claim of his Lordship over us, and the seal of his eternal greatness, and the blazing light of his glory. By being the servant of all, he made known that he was the greatest among us.

He shall deliver up the kingdom, and present it unto the Father, spotless, saying: I have overcome and have trodden the wine-press alone, even the wine-press of the fierceness of the wrath of Almighty God.

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April 13th, 2017 06:41:27

Broccoli Buccaneers.

April 10th, 2017 by G.

On the sweetness of family life.

Two of your younger children ask if they can use your truck. (more…)

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April 10th, 2017 05:21:52

Step 3 General Conference

April 04th, 2017 by G.

Image result for lds general conference

I was looking for Step 3 insights at General Conference. Boy did I find them.



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April 04th, 2017 07:30:24

April 2017 General Conference and Youth Leadership

April 02nd, 2017 by G.

General Conference yesterday was great. Check out Elder Sabin’s talk if you missed. Inspiring and funny. Looking forward to more today.

Something I noticed yesterday was how the gospel synthesizes modern liberalism and conservatism in some ways. For instance, liberalism tells us that youth is great because revolution, the future, reject the dead hand of the past, etc. And because liberalism is all about the latest thing and jumping on fashion trends. Conservatism counsels order, hierarchy, respect for age and wisdom, waiting your turn.

Meanwhile, Elder Brough(?) talked about letting youth lead as much as possible, even though they would be worse at it, because they need the growth.

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April 02nd, 2017 09:10:41