Monday, December 28, 2009


I was having a delightful conversation with a Canadian the other day, when we mutually came to an obvious conclusion. The widespread obsession among teenage girls over the obscenely successful Twilight series is most likely a contributing factor in the Young Women presidency's addition of "virtue" to the list young women values listed in the theme. We remembered there being a logical chronology to the two events, and so investigated further. We found that the pinnacle of the first wave of obsession, the first movie release, was in November of 2008. The addition of virtue followed in December of the same year, thus solidifying our belief that the two are related.

So, let's see what our church leaders have said about virtue, and how Bella is not following their counsel:

What is Virtue?

Virtue “is a pattern of thought and behavior based on high moral standards” (Preach My Gospel). Elaine S. Dalton, the Young Women general president, expanded the definition saying, "It encompasses chastity and moral purity. Virtue includes modesty—in thought, language, dress, and demeanor"(Cherish Virtue, March Ensign 2009).

Bella isn't LDS, but Bella's author is. Because we assume that Ms. Meyer, practicing the Latter-Day Saint religion, would wish to create something "virtuous, lovely, of good report or praiseworthy"(Article of Faith 1:13), we then also assume that her book Twilight would indeed be virtuous, ergo the main characters, Edward and Bella, would exemplify virtue in their lives. It had been argued that Bella and Edward indeed ARE virtuous, due to the fact that they did not have sex until they were married. However, that is an antiquated definition of "virtue."

The Young Women Presidency has emphasized that virtue is more than simply being sexually pure, but it is taking the path that leads to chastity, also. Sister Dalton explained, "Sometimes we think we can live on the edge and still maintain our virtue. But that is a risky place to be"(Cherish Virtue, March Ensign 2009). She is not the first to warn us. The Prophet Joseph Smith said, “Happiness is the object and design of our existence; and will be the end thereof, if we pursue the path that leads to it; and this path is virtue” (History of the Church, 5:134–35).

We cannot call ourselves virtuous if we are not even on the path that leads to it. I propose that Bella and Edward, spending all night in Bella's bed together, being alone together for long time periods, and otherwise disregarding their potential to develop a round relationship with each other in favor of focusing on the physical aspects of dating, are not on the path to virtue.

But It's Just a Book!

The church published in 2001 a pamphlet designed specifically for the youth, keeping in mind the common challenges they face, including choices in media:

"Whatever you read, listen to, or look at has an effect on you. Therefore, choose only entertainment and media that uplift you. Good entertainment will help you to have good thoughts and make righteous choices. It will allow you to enjoy yourself without losing the Spirit of the Lord"(For the Strength of Youth, 17).

I do not believe that children reading about the kinesthetic responses Bella experiences while making out with Edward will not "help (them) to have good thoughts and make righteous choices," but rather encourage them to seek out similar experiences themselves.

Youth are prone to obsession. With obsession come emulation. I feel comfortable describing the general reaction of the young women of the church to the twilight series as obsessive.


[uhb-sesh-uhn] Show IPA
1.the domination of one's thoughts or feelings by a persistent idea, image, desire, etc.
2.the idea, image, desire, feeling, etc., itself.
3.the state of being obsessed.
4.the act of obsessing.

Edward dominates many young women's thoughts: he is a persistent image, a persistent desire. Edward and Bella do not live virtuous lives, and because of this obsession, the youth may be compelled to emulate their lifestyle, by living "on the edge," instead of in "the path of virtue." This is concerning. The Young Women Presidency is so concerned, in fact, that they have added virtue to the Young Women's theme!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009


Here are some pictures of my Dad when he came out to visit. We had so much fun together! We went hiking, which I loved, and some other things, too.
On Squaw Peak.
In Rock Canyon.

King of the world!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

I am NOT a Man.

Have I mentioned the paper I'm writing? It compares the world and characters created by Edgar Allan Poe to the world and characters of Batman. So while I was working on it yesterday in the family history library, my mind was understandably elsewhere. I suddenly realized that I would soon be embarrassed if I didn't use a restroom, so I made a quick dash to the lobby and into the bathroom- the men's bathroom. I just walked right in, without even looking at the sign, meaning to do my business and be done as fast as was humanly possible.

Luckily, a concerned young man who entered the room just behind me declared, "This is the men's room," and I soon became painfully aware that he was talking to me.

They say that children laugh grossly more than adults, so I feel comfortable saying that I laughed like a child for the rest of the day. I think the old woman researching her great, great grandma Sarah Beasley in the kiosk beside me worried for my sanity.

Come to think of it, I tried to use the men's room... maybe I should be worried, too!

Friday, November 6, 2009

A Letter to Three Wives

I recently watched this movie with my roommate, Maren.

Here's what happens: three neighborhood friends are out helping with a riverboat/picnic day for the schoolkids. Just before embarking, they receive a letter from a woman who was childhood friends with all three women's husbands. In the letter, she lets the women know that she had run away with one of their husbands. She does not specify which one.

Because they're on this field trip, and this is during the pre-cell phone era, they have no way of finding out who's husband it is until the end of the day. They spend the day pondering memories they have with this woman that may indicate that it is their husband who's left with Addie.

Without spoiling the movie too much, I must say this was not what I expected from a movie of this time period. It was a movie about women, and for women. It wasn't just a comedy, or just a drama. It had legitimate statements to make about marriage.

I liked how very realistic it was. It talked about the difficulties men and women face together after marriage, like: shyness, finances, continuing to fall in love, getting along with each others' friends, and raising children. Ironically, it didn't really address trust. It was perfectly logical that these women wondered whether it was their husband: not because their husbands gave them copious reasons and histories to lead them to mistrust them, but because it was logical, and no one questioned their right wonder.

Conclusion: I recommend it.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Mr. Maeser

All I did was increase the contrast for this one. You know, people are like pictures. Sometimes they are very uninteresting, because of how they photograph their lives. They neglect the contrast, they dwell in dolor. When you ask them, "What are you like?" They may even begin their reply with, "OH! I'm very boring."

That's not necessary.

I like the lines, simplicity, and contrast this black-and-white photo has. I've noticed that I often try to make my life fit into a line, or set of lines: I'll compare my life to a book I've read, or a movie I've seen, or the life of a friend or family member. The picture gets messy. It's a bad idea.

Making common things abstract is a fun goal in photography. It's also a life perspective valued by the transcendentalists.

This is a leaf on a willow tree.

Karl G. Maeser said that if you drew a chalk circle around him, and made him give his word of honor not to leave it, he would die before stepping out of the circle. I say: what a moronic thing to promise.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Evolution of a Photo.

This is the "Final Product," so far.

One step behind....

Just trying to find the sublime cropping. I used to be such a purist- HA!

I wonder what black and white would look like? This one is another photo I took about the same time. I think it looks better as a whole black and white- especially Naomi's face compared to the other children's. It also has a color enhancement, it sort of makes the sun look REALLY bright. I sort of like it, but I like what I did later better.

Here's the original, "untouched" photo.

This photo was originally taken with my 3-year-old, 6.0 mega pixel cyber-shot camera. I decided that it would look better in black and white. Then, I saw that I really liked the two sisters' faces, and there was room to frame them right. Then I wanted better contrast. When I was in high school doing dark room black and white photography, one goal I had was to have a true white and a true black in each photo. So that's why I amped up the contrast, and I like it.
I also like the light right around Brynn's chin. I didn't plan for that, it just came out.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Small Things

I went to the temple the other day, and after taking stalker-type pictures of someone else's two adorable children, I took some ridiculously nerdy pictures of small things.

Like this yellow flower.

I've been oddly fascinated with bugs lately. I really wanted to get some good bee pictures to add to my collection.

I liked how this flower became abstract up close. I felt like Georgia O'Keefe.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

The Killers

This summer, I happened to have a Delta flight from Minneapolis, Minnesota to Salt Lake City, Utah. There was no in flight movie, so I first contented myself with watching the five stations of TV available. However, I soon found the music on the Delta kiosk more enjoyable, and stumbled upon this album: the killers, day and age.

I wasn't sure if my ardent love for this album was born of the extreme boredom I was experiencing when it blossomed into my life, or if it were genuine virtuosity that impressed me. Imagine, then, my trepidation when opening the cd package(I don't think I've bought a cd since high school), and put it in the player. I pressed play. The sound began to reverberate from the machine, and I was genuinely relieved. Apparently, I love the Killers.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Radical Eclecticism

Sometimes, you just need to get out of the house.

For me, that also means "off campus," and the other day, it also meant, "away from my roommates and friends." So I went shopping.

I walked to the store; it took about fifteen minutes. I thought it was worth it. I wanted to take my time. I needed shampoo, so I decided to leisurely peruse the hair products. As I was looking, a large woman in a moo-moo dress started looking for shampoo, too. Her husband/boyfriend/victim was with her. He seemed to enjoy listening to her, but I know that she couldn't be a friend of mine.

"Do they have it? Where is it? This isn't it. I'd have to do my hair every day if I used this. Who does their hair every day? I know I don't. Look at my hair, does it look like I did it this morning? Well, I didn't. Here it is. Oh, they've raised the price. That's ridiculous. They're going to regret that, because we aren't going to buy it anymore. It's too expensive now, you might as well buy it at the salon. Can you believe? The other day, I was at the salon, and someone actually asked them if the shampoo was safe on pubic hair. Isn't that awful? The clerk just looked at them, disgusted. We all were mortified."

I didn't want to hear it, but once I started listening, I couldn't stop. Her companion seemed to genuinely agree with her on everything she said. I don't expect everyone to agree with everything I say, but obviously, there's someone, somewhere who will.

I'd like to thank that person in advance for their validation.