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Nine Moons : 2005 : May » 2005 » May

When is Minimum wage minimum enough?

Don - May 27, 2005

Minimum wage in Utah is $5.15/hr. which is also the national minimum wage. In Washington state the minimum is $7.35/hr. That means for every two employees I can afford to hire in my business in Washington I can hire 3 employees in Utah. Can a Washington employee produce 50% more than a Utah employee? Can they be 50% more valuable to my company…as a minimum wage employee than one in Utah?

It’s obvious they can’t, I’m getting “screwed” in Washington!

But I’m getting just as “screwed” in Utah. If the minimum wage was even lower I could hire more people…and I would! Minimum wage jobs tend to be entry level jobs. Employment for those who don’t have an education, a trade, or haven’t completed their education. For most that we hire it is their first job. Minimum wage shouldn’t be intended to be enough to keep someone out of poverty. It makes it very difficult for employer’s to pay more than a person is worth just because the government has imposed an artifical minimum.

In Washington summer employment for High School and College kids is projected to be way down again this year. A recent newspaper article stated that only about 37% of them would be able to find summer jobs. Why, because at $7.35/hr. qualified people are sucking up those positions. Even for flipping burgers, would I rather have a high school kid or a 25 year old adult working for me?

Now I’ve had a chance to vent!! As an employer I find the high minimum wage is determental to me and to those entry level, unskilled workers who need a job.

Modesty, who cares?

Don - May 21, 2005

It never ceases to amaze me at the change in modesty standards over the years.

Years ago, far before my day, it was immodest for a woman to show her ankle. Men and women wore long sleeves and skirt/dress/pants to the ground. As hemlines went up and short sleeves became popular the standard changed.

The church accommadated the changes by shortening the garment, from ankle length to above the knee, from wrist length to short sleeves. (and thank goodness they made them more comfortable by making them 2 piece)

Modesty issues have influenced the endowment process at the veil and now the initiatories. As the world becomes more immodest, we are more careful about the issue.

I know it’s more than just a modesty issue, but how far will this continue? How many more changes will take place within the church because of the culture outside the church?

What’s The Most Time-Consuming Calling?

Rusty - May 16, 2005

Life is in flux right now. Two weeks ago I finished my thesis and last week I graduated. Last week I also got a new calling (though I will still be seminary teacher for the remainder of the school year). Naively my wife and I thought/imagined/hoped seminary would end and we’d have a relaxing summer (I said naive, my wife is girl’s camp director). When the calling was extended we were a bit bummed because those hopes were dashed (but happy to serve of course), but we figured I still wouldn’t be as busy as I have been.

I must admit I’m quite naive as far as how much time people spend on their callings. I imagine the bishop spends the most. But seminary teacher has to come in a close second. I figure about 12 hours a week (2 hours traveling & preparation, 1 hour class, 4 days a week). Can anything else top that?

(My dad has said that he spent more time on his calling as Gospel Doctrine teacher than as counselor in the bishopric but I suspect that’s because he enjoys the studying so much, not because it necessarily required that much time.)

(DISCLAIMER: This isn’t a comparison in any way. It’s just a curious opinion poll.)

Frustrated by a Latin Mass Catholic

Don - May 13, 2005

I had a former employee stop by and we got chatting for a few minutes. She is a very conservative Catholic, no Vatican 2, Mass in Latin only….she makes Mel Gibson look like a bleeding heart liberal.

Anyway, the missionaries stopped by and told her how wrong she, and the doctrines of the Catholic church are wrong. I took the president Hinckley approach and talked about common truths inviting her to hold on to the truths she had, but be open to receiving more. We agreed on several truths we share. She then asked me to be specific about doctrines in her church that I felt were in error.

Infant Baptism was my first choice. The conversation led from it not being found in the scriptures, to whether it’s needed or not. What I found interesting was their doctrine provides that in emergencies you don’t have to use “holy water”. And if the emergency is right you don’t even have to be a priest, a lay person can do it.

We also discussed if everyone therefore needed to be baptised. Yes they do, but in special cases no you don’t. Special cases include those who have never heard of Jesus Christ.

I got frustrated with every doctrine we discussed they had a firm belief or doctrine, but then they always had exceptions.

Thinking about the experience I wondered if we do the same thing?

Stump the Christians

Don - May 10, 2005

I was talking with a non-member friend and posed a question I love to ask. “Why did God create us?”

I have yet to find anyone outside the church that has an answer to this that makes any sense at all. This friend told me “Because God wanted fellowship.” I’ve had several tell me that “God wanted to give us a chance.” These and many other answers just don’t cut it.

What does a perfect God need? Does He need someone to worship Him? I don’t think so, in fact that sounds like someone else’s plan. Did God decide He was lonely so He created some “army men” to play with – like we did as kids? These creatures He created, why give them a spirit – whatever that is – because He had to create that too, and why a body? What good would His creation have been if they had remained in the Garden of Eden forever…even if they could have had kids? Did the Garden provide a place for this God to come and visit His creations…what so He could “play” with them. Why not create them in heaven instead, and “play” with them there?

Maybe I just haven’t found the right Christian to talk to. Have any of you gotten any good answers to this question from your Christian friends?

Book of Mormons

Rusty - May 6, 2005

When I was a kid I said, “…a box of Book of Mormons…” Then my smart sister taught me that it’s the “book” that’s plural, not the “Mormons”. So then I thought I was smart to go around saying, “…a bushel of Books of Mormon…”. With this supreme intelligence in hand I once tried to correct a Mormon journalist when he printed “…an bundle of Book of Mormons…” He promptly corrected me and explained that “The Book of Mormon” is a title of a book, the word “book” is a part of the title. Therefore, it is correct to say, “…a billion Book of Mormons…”

Is he right?

What’s This? Annie, a Mormon? You, a Southern Baptist?

Rusty - May 3, 2005

First off, thanks for the warm welcome, I appreciate it. And thanks for asking me to post, I feel special. I hope you enjoy and that much exciting discussion ensues. Though I’d like to note that I wouldn’t be caught dead at a math & science fair unless there was mucho free food, and that I’m a poor college student, ergo I have about 40 cents, which I’m not giving to anyone, ‘cause I’m saving up for a Coke from the vending machine downstairs. But now, I say on with the post.

Alright, let’s face it. There are two things that every person living in a house fears the most. One is door-to-door salesmen. The other is Mormon missionaries. There’s nothing worse than just sitting down for a nice day of rest and relaxation and being interrupted by two boys trying to convert you from your heathenish ways.

Now perhaps there are a few people who just might go along with the whole idea, there are hundreds of thousands of conversions to the LDS church every year; Mormonism is the fastest growing religion in the world, so just maybe someone has opened his door with a sigh of relief and not contempt. Just maybe.

But there are quite a few others who have opened their door, had a look, and slammed the door in the poor boys’ faces. Now we shouldn’t take this to be simple general hatred of any kind, at least not in every case, but instead as a mixture of agitation and fear. Agitation at being interrupted in the day’s activities, and fear of the unknown. The unknown? Yes. The unknown. ‘Cause no one knows exactly what might happen if you sit down and let two Mormons get a hold of you. They just might take you down.

Even a person extremely set in their own beliefs, whatever those may be, has the irrational fear of allowing someone else to make them question those beliefs they think so highly of. Perhaps nothing will happen if you sit down and discuss religion, its perfectly likely, but perhaps something will happen, something that could start a chain reaction that leads you to question, doubt, waver in your own beliefs and begin agreeing with these missionaries. And that, my blogger friends, is a scary thought for anyone.

So the question I’m posing is: what would it take for me, a strong Southern Baptist, to be converted into the LDS church? And what would it take for you, a strong Mormon to be converted into the Southern Baptist church?

It’s a question that many don’t like to answer. It’s that fear of “if I talk about it, it could happen,” the fear that if you give certain points that would make you doubt your own faith, then you’re doubting it already. But just for discussion sake, let’s give it a try.

Ah, the Mormon church. So similar to, yet so different from the SBC. The LDS church has extra scriptures, a differing explanation of Creation, a different idea of the Trinity, a different Heaven and Hell, special lifestyle rules, prophets, revelations… and the list goes on. A mighty leap for anyone. But seeing as how mostly all of these “extras” of the Mormon church are due to a somewhat well-known man, you may have heard of him, named Joseph Smith, I think the first step (in my conversion process at least) would be to believe the big JS was an actual prophet of God, revealing revelations to the world that came directly from the Father Himself. What would it take to make me believe Mr. Smith to be a prophet? Well, we brought that up in the previous post’s comments and I don’t think we ever really got to a conclusion.

I’m not in any way trying or meaning to be offensive at all, but in my opinion Joseph Smith was not a prophet of the Lord. He was simply a man who started his own church. To really believe his claims, to really believe him to be the authentic, real deal, I think I’d have to have Divine intervention. I think nothing short of the voice of God would lead me to see any of Smith’s revelations as true. But I want to make clear that if I did receive a command from God, I would follow it. I’m not one to disobey my Creator so easily in matters so important.

So let’s say, for argument’s sake, that I did receive a message from God in some way. So, now I believe Joseph Smith to be a servant of God, sent by Him to deliver messages, translate some scripture, lead the flock, etc. Well, then it’s pretty easy after that to believe everything he says, isn’t it? Joe translated the Book of Mormon, so I’d believe it; he wrote the D&C, I’d go for that too; Word of Wisdom, Pearl of Great Price, idea of Heaven, temples, marriage, salvation, on and on: if he said it, I’d believe it. But the point is, I’d have to believe him first.

So for me, becoming Mormon would rely upon one very important thing: being convinced of the validity of Joseph Smith. After that everything would pretty much fall into place. And what would make me believe Smith is God’s prophet? God Himself. I don’t think I could be convinced by one little meeting in my house with two young missionaries. But if God sent a message, a sign, the Holy Spirit, anything that made me stop and say, “Wait a second, maybe, just maybe we could all be wrong about the whole ‘Joe Smith is a quack’ thing. Maybe he really is who he claimed to be,” and if I knew without a doubt that it was the Almighty speaking to me and not my own skewed misconceptions or misinterpretations, then I’d listen to God; who am I to claim Him wrong?

So now I’ll pose the question outward to all my new Mormon friends, well, my only Mormon friends really: What would it take for you to be convinced that the LDS church got it wrong and that the SBC is the way to go? Would it simply take you considering JS to be a false prophet, would it take a sign from the Most High, would it take my very convincing persuasive writing skills (winkwink), or should the SBC jump on the door-to-door bandwagon and send a pair of strapping young Baptist boys to knock on your door with a Holman Christian Standard Bible? (Seriously, lock up your daughters, there’s something to be said for the Southern Baptist boys.) It’s a tough question that may need a while to think over; I’m asking no simple thing: for you to question everything you’ve been taught about what’s true. But it is interesting to think about, isn’t it?

But maybe you don’t know very much about the SBC (shame on you!)? Well, check out the SBC website: sbc.net and look up the Baptist Faith and Message at the top on a scroll down menu. It gives the overview of the SBC doctrine. Or you can check out the comments of the previous post; I discuss some SBC doctrine there too. Or just ask in a comment and I’ll explain as best I can. It wouldn’t be fair to ask you to answer a question about converting to my faith if you don’t know enough about it to answer fully.

So the question is: what would it take for you good, devout Mormons to cross over to the *ahem*sideof goodandtruthandlight*ahem*, to reject your LDS faith in return for SBC faith? What would you learn, hear, discover that would cause you to question your church and turn to mine?

I hope this sparks a little LDS/SBC discussion (this isn’t an actual conversion attempt, just a curious question) and maybe some new insight into my (yes, that’s right, the SBC? I own it) religion.

Introduction To Guest Blogger: Annie

Rusty - May 2, 2005

Without further ado we introduce you to Annie, our newest guest blogger (um, well, she’s only our second…) Annie is 19 and will be a sophomore the University of Alabama in the fall. Her interests lie in history, English, art and right’n, though you might find her on Saturday at the local math & science fair.

Annie is a Southern Baptist. Here at Nine Moons we are an equal opportunity blog, allowing those of all faiths to participate… as long as they get baptized. As the first non-Mormon to have a temporary blogging position here at the Moons, we need to make her feel welcome. But also make fun of her for being Southern Baptist!!

We hope her sojourn here will bear fruits of insight, knowledge and a lot of cash for all of us.

Welcome Annie!