Christmas at the Lauritzens was excellent. Dan indulged my penchant for bright, shiny objects and craptastic adolescent literature, and I pretty much killed our marriage by getting him a box set of computer games. After all the festivities, I read about teenage vampires, and Dan played a computer game involving Einstein coming back to life in order to murder Hitler, thus allowing the Communists to take over the world. We are going to have inevitably wierd children. Not that I am anywhere near pregnant. (Whenever I say something about how wierd our kids are going to be, everyone always looks at my abdomen like I'm already nine months prego and they just didn't notice. I also can no longer say "Guess what?" without someone assuming I'm incubating a spawn.)
All joking aside, Dan and I spent the day together and with family. For the Nielsons, it was a good holiday as well. The cops were only called once, and only one person went to the emergency room. Not bad for a family of klutzy lawyers. (For those curious, the cops were called because some dumb teenager crashed his expensive SUV into my grandpa's front yard. Later my aunt slipped on the ice and sprained her wrist. We have yet to become the Soprano's family.)
I'm so happy Dan and I got to share our first Christmas together. I'm so lucky to have a husband and best friend to spend every Holiday with. I hightly recommend marriage. It makes the holidays one hundred percent better. (love you, Dan.)
I am now leaving to read more about bloodsucking teenage angst and to remind my husband that Hitler is, in fact, dead.
I also love it because old ladies love love love to talk. Relief Society meetings are almost always open forum. Today's lesson was called "Enduring Together," and lots of ladies got up and talked about how living in the ward helped them endure. My favorite was Sister McGee.
"What I've learned by living in this ward is that I can love anyone. They don't always love me, but Jesus never said we have to be lovable. He just said we had to love everyone else. Anyway, people can't hate you for long when you love them. They eventually realize that you have absolutely fabulous taste, and so you can't be all bad."
This same woman, upon finding out about my engagement last year, asked me, in a very loud voice, if my relationship with Dan was a "Sexual attraction, or a spiritual one."
I told her it was both. I think she approved.
Thank you, birth control.
Today's phrase. "She'll make a good wife." I don't know, but whenever I hear a guy say this I am tempted to ask him if he is sure he's talking about cookies or his future spouse. Women are not made into wives. Men are not made into husbands. Marriage does not instantly transform a woman from one "thing" to a another. It's not like cookies, which start out as dough and are later "made" into delicious and fatty goodness. I'm okay with the idea of developing into a good spouse, via mutual growth and negotiation, but I hate the idea of "making" a good wife. It makes the role of wife sound almost inanimate. I'm fine with someone using an active verb, i.e. "She'll BE a good wife," but "make" is a word for model cars, and, well, cookies.
The phrase also seems to imply that there are certain, universal, characteristics to being a good spouse. To continue the cookie metaphor, it's like saying that there are a few "ingredients," probably along the lines of domestic and scrapbooking skills that instantly render a woman a good candidate for marriage. If your spouse doesn't come with cinnamon, nutmeg, and three cups of flour, she won't bake well. She won't make a good wife.
If I'm completely honest, I can trace my hatred for this phrase back to an ex boyfriend, who told me he didn't think I'd make a good wife because I was a liberal Democrat. He thought that when he was made a Stake President, it would "look bad" to have made a Liberal wife. I have spent many years wishing to go back in time and saying something like "I wonder if President Faust makes/made a good Apostle? He's a Democrat too, you know." But oh well. We are now both happily married. Me to a wonderful man who loves me for me, not what I can be made into. And him? He's married too, ostensibly to someone perfectly suited to be made.
I am pleased that Romney has decided to talk about a very difficult political subject. I still think he'd be better managing a reunion tour for the Osmond family, but I respect someone who is brave enough to say "Some believe that such a confession of my faith will sink my candidacy. If they are right, so be it." That is impressive.
But I, like Peggy Noonan of the Wall Street Journal, are less impressed with what was not said in Romney's speech. Romney praised the fact that America is comprised of many forms of religious faith, but, deliberately excluded those who are agnostic or atheist. As Noonan puts it,
"There was one significant mistake in the speech. I do not know why Romney did not include nonbelievers in his moving portrait of the great American family. We were founded by believing Christians, but soon enough Jeremiah Johnson, and the old proud agnostic mountain men, and the village atheist, and the Brahmin doubter, were there, and they too are part of us, part of this wonderful thing we have. Why did Mr. Romney not do the obvious thing and include them? My guess: It would have been reported, and some idiots would have seen it and been offended that this Romney character likes to laud atheists. And he would have lost the idiot vote.
My feeling is we've bowed too far to the idiots. This is true in politics, journalism, and just about everything else."
The idiots of the world like to paint the atheists as evil, horrible, people whose sole purpose in life is to destroy Christianity and Christa in values. People are boycotting The Golden Compass film because it is critical of "The Church." This is an overly simplistic, and quite frankly, dangerous way to view what is essentially just another belief system. Atheists believe differently than Christians. That does not render one person better than another. There are wonderful atheists in the world, and, as the books The Golden Compass is based on notes, horrible things have been done in the name of Christianity. Wars. Genocide. Death.
In 1492 was not just the year Columbus sailed the ocean blue. In 1482 all of Spain's Muslim Population was eradicated. Some fled to other countries. Many were tortured. Muslims who had converted to Christianity were hunted down and killed as heretics. This was all accomplished under the instruction of the Catholic Church and in the name of Christianity.
I am a Christian, but I know that often times people who share my beliefs abuse their religion as a means of gaining power. I also know that people who share my beliefs have done, and will continue to do, wonderful things in an attempt to follow Christ's example.
The same goes for those who adopt an agnostic or atheist world view. Many do wonderful things. Some do not.
I think it is time for people to start thinking more critically. I think it is the idiots of the world who believe that seeing a film made by an atheist who is critical (and rightfully so,) of the crimes organized religion has committed, will somehow destroy their faith. I think it is only an idiot who will brand all members of a particular belief system as "evil" and "anti-Christian" solely because they do not believe in a divine deity. It is foolish to assume that someone who does not believe in Christ is automatically anti-Christian.
And it is foolish to ignore an entire demographic who will soon claim the right to vote for you, or not.
These are some of the ornaments on our tree. The USS Enterprise is Dan's, and he bribed me into letting him hang it by gifting me these cute little bird ornaments.
"I prefer to see Charmed as truly quality television. Truly quality television that is terribly misunderstood. It's how I justify this and sleep at night."
Ahh marriage. An institution based on compromise. I refuse to watch Star Trek and he refuses to watch In Her Shoes over and over again. With Charmed, we both win.
Ok. Just had to get that out.
Dear Everyone Else,
As some of you may know, I am in the wonderful, life-sucking process of applying for Graduate School. In the process I have had to deal extensively with Brigham Young University in an attempt to get transcripts, records, ect. It is like dealing with an ex boyfriend you dumped years ago who hasn't gotten over it yet. Let's recap.
I started dating BYU in 2004. BYU was hot. BYU had dorms and I could stay out past my parents curfew and BYU had boys. BYU also accepted me. Accepted me and begged me to come to his campus and chill with his crew.
Even though I was still in High School, I dated BYU for a long time. I think I even "scrapbooked" my acceptance letter. I signed the honor code. It was fine, I could give up mini-skirts, BYU was such a great guy.
But then there was the U. The U's history teaching program was actually accredited (wowzers.) The U's campus had trees and old buildings and didn't resemble the potential set if 1984 was ever made into a movie. The U had professors who actually cared and answered my questions. My academic advisor wasn't so busy looking at her engagement ring to help me with my schedule.
Needless to say, it was love at first sight.
I dumped BYU. My parents were heartbroken. My grandmother (yes, that grandma,) told me that if I just spent more time on my knees, I would see the error of my ways. But the U was so much hotter.
BYU never stopped calling. Two semester's into my relationship with the U he was still calling. Should I hold your dorm? You haven't paid your tuition yet, or signed up for student health insurance, we really need you to do that. Things got heated when BYU called my mom demanding that I pay tuition to a university I never attended. It took my mother screaming "MY DAUGHTER DOES NOT GO TO BYU!!!!!" for the phone calls to stop.
I relapsed in 2006. BYU told me they would take me to London. The U was hot, but even I have a price. The U and I got back together after Study Abroad.
A few months ago BYU sent a collections agency on me. Seriously. I got a letter in the mail stating that if I did not pay the bill for BYU's student health insurance policy, they would come after me and ruin my credit. I had to get my Dad (a lawyer) to defend my honor. Apparently BYU thought that because I went on Study Abroad for one semester in 2006, I was secretly attending and needed to pay for 2007's health insurance.
BYU finally seems to have gotten the message. Too much, in fact. Now when I ask for my transcripts they're all "Do we know you? Are you sure you attended a Study Abroad program with us?" They're all pretending that what we had never happened. That hurts, BYU. That hurts.
P.S. And it is so not ok that you are dating my sister. So not cool.
This is probably the most wonderful thing to me. Whether you agree or disagree, I think it is wonderful for women in the LDS church to engage in safe, meaningful, dialogue. I really respect the women responsible for articulating their thoughts in such a respectful, Christ-like manner.
Enjoy. I sure did.
Pause. Laura JUST FELL OFF THE TREADMILL. THIS IS HOW PEOPLE DIE EARLY.
...anyway, previous generations of Nielson/Wright women have shunned traditional exercise* for years and lived to be 101. Don't mess with success, Laura.
*Shopping is exercise. As is wandering aimlessly.
Anyway, speaking of the London roomies, I recently went to a very fun reunion with them. And their long-suffering spouses. I told my super awkward story to them. While I was telling them the awkwardness, I found myself wondering, "Why am I telling people this? This is horrible!" Then I realized
1. My London roommates have heard/seen worse from me.
2. It is very cathartic to tell awkward stories after the fact. It's like group therapy. For Free. Which is a big deal to me because therapy for the uninsured is expensive.
On that note, I will share another story that reveals my penchant for awkward and/or extremely stupid. Proceed.
Once upon a time I had to do a Senior Thesis, a big scary paper the History Department makes you produce in order to graduate. I wrote the very long thing last summer, with the aid of 30 or so books from the Marriot Library. I turned in the paper, got the A, and forgot about the books. They were hidden in a huge purse from my grandma and shoved in the corner of the room.
Last week I got a very nasty letter from the Marriot Library charging me approximately 100 dollars per lost book.
Yeah. You did the math right. That much.
Panic ensued. My first thought was to hide the letter with the books. (Honestly, first thought, hide and deny, I have got to apply for a position in the Bush administration.) My second thought was to pawn off my wedding ring, because that's about how much the fine was for. Then I thought that Dan would for sure notice that, and with that parting thought, I finally had a moment of reason.
Call the library. Beg for forgiveness. I did, and a very nice lady told me that if I returned all the books, they would forgive me and reduce the fine to 10 dollars. (Which, yeah, is a pair of Old Navy flats on sale, but at least it is not my wedding ring or my first born spawn.)
I returned the books immediately (Evil! Poisonous books!) And the very nice man told me that my fine was nothing. Grad students usually ring up a mutli-grand fine just before graduation. And some sadist at the Marriot Library thought the best way was to scare the offenders sh**less and then charge ten dollars. Because it is funny to watch some one's blood pressure go through rapid, drastic, fluctuations.
It is just one of the reasons I love the University of Utah. That, and I never feel compelled to exercise when I'm there.
So I know that ever since my husband asked the question "What is Mitt short for anyway, Mitthew?" we've all been wondering what Mitt's real name is.
Behold, the power of the Internets:
WILLARD. Mitt's first name is Willard. It confused me for a moment, until I remembered that (sadly) Mitt is Mormon. Mormons do this all the time to their kids. They name them Nephi and call them Moroni for short. Or they name them Skylar and add ninety-two a's. Skylaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaar. Emileeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee. or names with "Mc" randomy inserted. McEmilee. McKelsey.
I really wish I could like Mitt Romney. I really do. It would get me written back into my Grandmother's will and that would be awesome. She has about ten years worth of home-made jam to her name and I would like to be a part of it. My back-up when pressed about Mitt has always been "Well he did a really great thing for health care in Massachusetts." Because he did. Mitt made Massachusetts the first state in the nation with universal health care. Imagine it people, if you lived in Massachusetts, you could go to a doctor and not sell your soul in return. I would love to live in Massachusetts. What upsets me is that Mitt has now changed his mind. He recently called Hillary Clinton's Health care proposal, which ironically enough, is startlingly similar to Mitt's Massachusetts plan, "European-style socialized medicine plan."
In interviews he refuses to discuss his achievements in Massachusetts. Mitt apparently rethought the whole "created equal" thing and decided some people just shouldn't be able to see doctor's when they are sick. It's a shame, because if Mitt still supported his actions in Massachusetts, he would be the first truly "compassionate conservative" I've ever seen.
This leads me to a broader topic. In the course of writing this blog, lots of people have asked me how I reconcile being Mormon and a Liberal. To me there was nothing to reconcile. I based my decision on my very Christian values. Help the sick. Aid the needy. For LDS readers, I am always reminded of Mosiah 4, where King Benjamin tells his people to help the poor, even if they
don't necessarily deserve it.
I do not understand how a political party which clings to ideas such as "Family Values," the "Christian Right," and "National Morality," can be against universal health care. I do not understand the thinking that allows someone to decide that sick people should be rendered helpless by a bureaucracy.
I do not understand how someone reads the Bible, and at the part where Christ says "Suffer, the little children," interprets it to mean "Suffer, little children." **Because in America the Republican Party will vote down laws that will give you health care. Republican administrations will cut the funding for WIC (health care for underprivileged INFANTS.) They will vote against SCHIP but fund a war we have no hope of winning. They will cut funding for public education, thus widening the gap between the rich and the poor.
I do not understand it.
I do understand this-
"The uninsured are sicker, suffer more from chronic disease, and rarely get rehabilitation after an injury or surgery. They also die sooner-knowing that, with insurance, they might have lived." (Newsweek, September 07)
I also understand numbers-4.6 million Americans are uninsured. 46 million people die earlier because the Republican Administration says that government-run health care is socialism. Forget the fact that we've had government run health care for decades. (It's called Medicare, and oh, they cut funding for that too) What I want to see is some more 'Compassionate Conservatism." I want more "Family Values" that care less about what Americans are doing under the sheets and more about what sick kids, elderly people, and veterans are doing when they can't see a doctor. I want a type of Morality that knows the difference between good- health care for children, and bad-depriving infants of pre and post natal care.
Where are the Christians in the Republican Party? Where are the good Samaritans who help their sick and uninsured neighbors and their underprivileged kids?
I guess I just can't think that way. I guess I just can't vote that way. That is why I'm a Liberal. That is why I'm a Christian.
** That's a reference to Nancy Pelosi's speech after Bush vetoed SCHIP.
Ps. I got a hair cut.
Dad: Me too! I voted against the vouchers too!. Except my ballot was special, do you know why?
Dad: Because on my ballot, it asked, "Do you wish Dick Cheney would die of a fatal heart attack?" And I said, "Yes." And then it said, "Do you wish George Bush would die?" And I said, "Yes." And it was at that moment, that I realized I was having a delusion, right there in the voting booth.
1. Every Time I Find out a Cute Boy is Conservative A Little Part of Me Dies.
2. Vote Against Referendum One.
Yes. Yes. Yes.
(ps. Voting day is November 6. Let's take down the Voucher freaks!!!!)
Look. I know. I know I promised to share my most awkward story today. I lied. I'm an awful nasty democrat who lies. And thinks progressively.*
There are a couple reasons why I am choosing not to tell the story today-
1. I related what I will now and forever more refer to as the "Incident" to a close friend a few days ago. She is in awkward-moment shock. She told me that if said Incident had ever happened to her, she would lock herself in a closet and never speak to anyone again. I figured that if the Incident generated this response in someone who didn't even experience it, I'd better think twice before sharing it with the Internet.
2. Yesterday I read possibly the most depressing adolescent lit. novel of all time. Horribly depressing. So instead of writing about my Incident, I'm going to do a little short book review. And then we're going to talk about SCHIP. POLITICS ARE COMING. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED.
The offender: Catalyst, by Laurie Halse Anderson.
Now don't get me wrong. Anderson is a brilliant, thoughtful, and significant writer. When I read her book Speak, a few years ago, I was put in complete shock. I've never read an adolescent novel so provocative and beautifully written. I still cry every time I read it. If I am ever in charge of school curriculum, I will make Speak required reading for everyone in the district, teachers included. I also recently read Twisted which is equally stunning.
My problem with Catalyst concerns the complete lack of hope throughout the novel. One of the things Anderson excels at is depicting the struggles of today's teens while maintaining the idea that somehow, her characters will prevail in the end. Catalyst suffers from a complete lack of hope, or even catharsis. I went to high school. I know that there is not always a happy or satisfying ending to life or novels. But there usually is some sense of catharsis, a closure, or some hint that redemption is still possible, however far off. Catalyst's conclusion may have attempted this, but I'm afraid it was too little too late situation. The writing was true to Anderson's fluid, skillful style, but I just couldn't get attached to the protagonist without wishing to slit my wrists. I'm very sad. I had to take one of my candles off my Anderson shrine and move it back under the one I built for Chaim Potok. I hate it when I have to rearrange my literary shrines.
I'm going to try and segue this to some thoughts I had on a slightly different subject. In Catalyst, one of the things Anderson does succeed at is using words to evict a very emotional reaction.
In the media, especially the political media, people manipulate words in a similar manner, often hoping to evict very emotional response that takes away from the facts and logical thinking. No where have I seen this applied more accurately than in the current debate about SCHIP (children's health care program.)
In order to take away from a very good idea (Can anyone really truly believe that children do not deserve health care? Truly?) Conservative Republicans start throwing out some very scary, very inaccurate emotion-words. Let's call them emotowords. I like making up words.
The following is some emotowords used against SCHIP and the actual facts I found with a little bit of research. And by research, I mean an excellent article by Jane Bryant Quinn of Newsweek magazine. The title of her article is "The Kids Aren't All Right." Read it.
1. ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS. SCHIP helps illegal immigrant children! Oh No!
Fact- SCHIP doesn't even cover legal immigrants until they have lived in the U.S. for five years.
2. SOCIALISM!!! If we give all the children health care, we'll have to insure every American! That's socialism! Bad! Hitler was a Socialist!
Fact- SCHIP works a lot like Medicare, government funded but privately run. States contract with insurance companies, and patients can usually choose their own doctors, programs, co-pay situations, ect.
3. IT ACTUALLY HELPS RICH ADULTS!!!! Lots of people claim that SCHIP is manipulated to cover adults far above the poverty level, as well as their not-starving-yet children, those little smucks.
Fact- Only 10 percent of people covered my SCHIP are adults. They are insured under waivers APPROVED BY THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION, You know, back when he cared about kids. The remainder are pregnant women. The conservative-right is always rambling about the lives of the "unborn." If they want those unborn children to actually make it through labor and delivery, they may want to reconsider their stance on insuring their mothers.
4. EXPENSIVE! 35 billion is too much for our kids!
Fact- We just spent 200 billion on a war that is clearly not working. And Bush wants 40 more this year. 40 more could keep SCHIP running for 5 more years. Five years of children getting the health care they need.
Next time you hear emotowords, ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS, SOCIALISM, EXPENSIVE, ect. consider what those words are hiding. In this case, their hiding a bunch of underprivileged kids who can't see a doctor when they get sick.
(Well not really, After the event my brain stopped functioning and withered into a little raisin under Grandma Marige's laser-beam glare.)
((Actually, that isn't true either. After the event I realized I'd made an unforgiviable error and simply got up, left the room, left the house, got in my car, and drove away. In the middle of a family party. No one has ever mentioned the event again.))
This week, In honor of a former London roomate who will remain nameless, (except for not, Catilin McNally,) I'm sharing my two most awkward stories ever. This was one of them. Stay tuned.
Grant- "Oh no! Steph, I do not think the internet is ready."
10:24pm Wednesday, Oct 24 Edit Note Delete
Sheesh. I just like Dumbledore ok, you'd have thought I told people that funeral potatoes were against the Word of Wisdom. Lots of people got all off topicy and snappish.Man I want this to be over. I want people to stop telling me that "Gay members cannot be good members of the church, they can be good people, but not good members of the church. They won't be excommunicated, but they cannot go on missions, serve in higher church callings or attend the temple."Now I'm willing to let a lot slide, but when people write me with such incorrect and ignorant assumptions about the church, I feel inclined to be helpful. Gosh, I wish the church would give talks, make statements, publish articles in the Engisn, and maintain a church website so my questions about members who have same-sex-attractions. OH SNAP. THEY DO!!!!!!!!!!Brought to you in this months Ensign, a talk by our friend Elder Jeffery R. Holland, Of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. I will quote directly, but if you want to double check, well read the Ensign or visit lds.org. context- A gay young man visits Elder Holland telling him he is no longer worthy to remain a member of the church because he is gay. Elder Holland asks if he has acted on his feelings. The young man says no, and Elder Holland responds,"As long as your life is in harmony with the commandments, then you are worthy to SERVE in the church, ENJOY FULL FELLOWSHIP with the members ATTEND THE TEMPLE, and recieve all the blessings of the Savior's Atonement."Ok, so I may have gotten a little caps-happy, but the wording is all word-for-word.So. I think that settles that little mind-teaser. I think somebody who felt inclined to comment on my notes repeatedly needs to sign up for the Ensign. Oh, and it's this months, so it seems like even after Pres. Hinckley "raised the bar," gay people who obey the commandments can still go on missions.I feel inclined to say "OH SNAP" right now. I don't know why. Wierd. I don't want to go into all sorts of nonsense about when a person with same-sex-attractions "crosses the line" and makes a bad choice. That's between that person, their church leaders, and the Lord. I just wanted to clarify that what I said in my initial posting is still true. You can be homosexual and a good member of the church.I'd like to end with Elder Holland's message to the young man he interviewed, he quoted President Boyd K. Packer,"We do not reject you, We cannot reject you, for you are the sons and daughters of God. We will not reject you, because we love you."Isn't our church great? Isn't the Ensign Great? Isn't wonderful how the church encourages it's members to be well educated by producing all sorts of wonderful reading material. I think so. Now if this makes you angry, please write Elder Holland and Packer. I'm sure they would love to hear from you. As for me, I am officially done discussing this matter. I want to go back to the important stuff. Like my hair color, and the chickens invading my yard.
7:22pm Saturday, Oct 20 Edit Note Delete
Last summer I took Analysis of Argument (Comm 1020) as my final GE class. I took Analysis to get out of Math because it is and always will be my goal never to do math again. I’m on year three of no math and I was not going to let a little QB GE requirement ruin my winning streak. I actually enjoyed the class, thanks to an amazing professor named Aubrey. Aubrey had the remarkable ability to teach in such a manner that every student felt comfortable enough in her class to spill their guts on a myriad of subjects. We discussed everything from healthcare to Iraq, to whether or not the new Diet Coke with vitamins was a good thing. One day Aubrey fainted in class, which led her to explain that she had cancer, and the effects of chemotherapy often made her dizzy. At the time, she was more concerned about her students feeling uncomfortable than about her own health.Aubrey was a liberal, which was one reason I liked her, but she was also LDS, and apart from all the technical things I learned, I also learned that it is possible to be a passionate, caring, Christian as well as a politically active Liberal. She had two small children and an adorably nerdy-sounding husband. Aubrey was everything I wanted to be. I learned to respect Aubrey the day I watched her listen to “that student,” (you know, that annoying one who makes ignorant comments and spews Limbaugh-esque rhetoric) for a half hour without once loosing her cool. She never made the student feel stupid, but she continued to respectfully and powerfully assert her point of view. She did that with every difficult student, even the ones who after every lecture asked “Is this important? Is this going to be on the test?” In my entire life, I do not think I ever met someone so charitable to people clearly less intelligent than herself. (Note: I am not nearly so charitable.) In the middle of class, Aubrey held a class discussion on how everything in life is uncertain, and that effective arguing allows us feel certain about things that we have no business being certain about. She told us how because her doctors told her that her cancer was treatable, she somehow felt like she “knew” she was going to live and watch her kids grow up. She also convinced herself that she would be able to grow old with her husband.Aubrey passed away a few weeks ago. I am incredibly sad for her kids and her husband who clearly lost wonderful mother and wife. I myself feel like I am in some form of grieving Limbo. Aubrey was my professor, who I enjoyed, but never got particularly close to. But she is closer than the various great aunts and uncles whose funerals I attended as a child. Mostly, I feel as if I lost an opportunity to experience a wonderful and fleeting phenomenon. Because despite my lack of in-depth knowledge, I do know that Aubrey was a remarkable person, if only for being able to tolerate someone who actually agrees with Rush Limbaugh. PS. The following is a brief excerpt from a letter to the editor that Aubrey wrote last summer. It concerns the LDS stance on Homosexuality as well as a discussion on how to incorporate both reason and religion concerning how we treat members of the Gay and Lesbian community. Religion and reason are not at odds, and we are well served to consider each in deciding how to treat others. While the LDS religion does teach principles about relationships and families which are important to our faith, an even greater tenet of our gospel is to love one another, exercise charity, and not judge others, especially when we don't understand the particular challenges they face in day-to-day life. Applying reason to religion might recommend that we focus our interactions on these commandments that were prioritized by Jesus Christ as second only to loving God. If we are concerned with the normalization of behaviors that are harmful to society, we should begin with the tendency to say and do hurtful things and use religion, reason, or any other world-view as justification. Faith tells us to love one another. Reason tells us that human beings should be treated with dignity and compassion. Experience teaches us that when we do those things, we are rewarded with multiple opportunities to learn from one another, be a part of fulfilling relationships, and make the world a better place. Let reason and religion stand together. Let's be nice.