Sunday, June 29, 2008

California's gay marriage ammendment and the LDS Church

I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, also commonly known as the LDS Church or the Mormon Church. It has come to my attention recently that the LDS Church leaders sent a letter to all the congregations in California supporting a California constitutional amendment seeking to define marriage being between a man and a woman. I read an article on that some members of the Church are upset that the Church is pushing this California Constitutional amendment defining marriage. The full article is found at

I disagree with the dissenters in the KSL article. I agree that the LDS Church has the right and opportunity to defend itself and its beliefs, including supporting a constitutional amendment supporting the definition of marriage to be between a man and a woman. I believe that if the LDS Church does not fight this California Supreme Court decision, it can have negative long-term consequences for the LDS Church particularly and for society as a whole. In order to understand where the LDS Church is coming from and why they are doing this, you need to look at the doctrines and history of the LDS Church and faith.


The LDS Church believes that all humans lived with God before they were born. We were born so that we can receive a physical body and to progress. Thus the power of procreation is a sacred power. Why is it sacred? Because it is the power by which mortals can bring God's children to earth so that they can experience mortality. This sacred power should only be used in the bonds of matrimony (and as marriage defined to be between a man and a woman). The LDS Church does not condone sexual relations outside the bonds of matrimony. This includes all forms of sexual relations, homosexual and heterosexual. In 1995 the LDS Church issued "The Family: A Proclamation to the World".

With this in mind you can see that marriage is not an institution developed by man. It is an institution developed by God to serve His divine purposes. Since it is impossible for two women or two men to become pregnant, homosexual relations - even monogamous homosexual relations - frustrate God's plan.

The LDS Church also builds temples, or places of worship, where men and women can be married for time and for all eternity.


There are several arguments that can be made as to why the LDS Church has become involved in the California Constitutional amendment. I think there are two main reasons why the
LDS Church has done this. They are as follows:

1.) The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is standing up to the world as a beacon of moral values, which happen to be God's values. As the values of the world change, the LDS Church's values (God's values), have not changed. The LDS Church is standing up against these winds of change. It is the LDS Church's duty and obligation to remain fast to the values that God has revealed to their leader and prophet.

2.) If California does not approve of this Constitutional Amendment defining marriage as the union of a man and a woman, then other states can legalize same sex marriages. And if that happens, it will only be a matter of time before homosexual LDS Church members sue the LDS Church to allow them to be married for time and all eternity in LDS temples. And if the LDS Church looses that legal battle, then heaven help us. It is my firm belief and conviction that Church leaders do not wish to ever be faced with that kind of legal action. So they are trying to head that possibility off before it ever becomes an issue.


I am not a homophobe. You are free to do as you want and choose. However, God instituted marriage between a man (Adam) and a woman (Eve) when man was created on Earth. Mankind should not mess with this definition.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Why I like my job

The thing I like the most about my job is the sense of satisfaction I get when I've helped a customer through a problem. In fact today I had a customer pay me a compliment that I've been the best tech support engineer that they've had. Kind of sad since I've only been with the company for a mere 4 1/2 months. But I have some experience that few of my other fellow employees have, and in this particular customer's case, it helped. That customer made my day. The last couple of days have been brutal on the phones. Yesterday I was slammed. Today I was slammed as well until the afternoon. I was feeling a bit down about work and how well I was doing. This customer's comments made my day.

So a word to those out there who call technical support, please don't be shy about saying thank you and being gracious. Especially if you have received good or excellent technical support. It is always better to be nice than a jerk. And if someone goes out of their way to help you out, please pay them a compliment. And if you receive a survey about that person's assistance, please honestly fill it out and send it back in. These little nuggets of kindness reflected back to your helper are priceless. The verbal kudos help for the moment. The positive surveys help when salary review time comes around. I've had several repeat customers. And it is a joy to work with those who are nice to you. Its better than, "Oh crap, I have to work with this person again..."

Working from home

At the end of January 2008 I quit my longstanding technical support job of eight plus years with a software provider to join a much smaller company that was rapidly growing. They were hiring. I needed a change so I jumped at it. It didn't hurt that they also offered me more money than I was making at the job I was at. And I was given the opportunity to work from home. Hey, this is a no brainer.

So I travel to California and work at company HQ for three long months. I'm married with six kids. And my wife is my best friend. It is hard to leave your lovely wife and best friend home alone with six kids. I missed them. They missed me. But now the time is over and I'm now home. And what doesn't kill you makes your stronger, right?

I've been home for about six weeks. And I've been working out of my home for those six weeks, never touching foot inside an office once during that time. So how has it been? It hasn't been too bad. There have been a few challenges and speed bumps along the way, but I'm getting the kinks worked out. I work in technology. As long as I have electricity, high speed internet and some peace and quiet, I can work anywhere. So far, here are the pros and cons of working from home:

  • Short commute (I have to walk downstairs into the basement to "go to work")
  • Huge savings in gasoline because I'm not driving into work
  • Eat lunch with my wife and kids every day
  • I can go to more of my kids' activities because I don't have to come home from the office
  • I am more productive because I don't have co-workers coming by to chit-chat with me
  • I am more self-reliant because I have to learn to search and dig for answers. That searching makes me a better at what I do.
  • The kids are sometimes noisy and people can hear the kids in the background
  • I miss the interaction with my co-workers, although proximity also increases the chances of office chit-chat, which I don't really miss all that much.
  • A little bit harder to bounce ideas off of co-workers. A lot of that has to be done via IM or IRC, which can be painful.
  • I don't have the commute time to decompress from the stresses of the job
  • Having adequate resources to work with
  • Work is only a few steps away. You just can't leave work at the office. It is always there. Ever present.

One speed bump that I had is that my wife would come and ask me to do something, such as watch the kids while she leaves to go somewhere. I can't do that. I can't take care of the kids. If I were at the office, I wouldn't be able to watch the kids. And just because I work from home doesn't mean I can do that any more than I was able to before. The first couple of weeks I had those requests. But now she realizes that I really can't do stuff around the house, unless it is on my lunch hour. I feel that it is extremely important for me to be honest to my employer and work my designated time. They are giving me an opportunity and privilege to work from home. I don't want to mess with that opportunity. I want to work from home as much as possible and not be forced to commute 100 miles round trip on a daily basis. Even though I own a Toyota Corolla that gets 30 - 40 MPG, with gas prices around $4/gallon, that is $10 - $13 of gasoline burnt in a day. That is $260+ in gasoline a month. I would rather keep that money and use it for something else. Besides that's just one less car on the road. Less pollution. Less oil that has to be imported. Less maintenance on my car. Overall, its good to work from home.

I am fortunate to have a job that allows me the opportunity to work from home. I think more employers should allow their employees the opportunity to work from home. It will help reduce our oil dependence. It will let people keep more money in their pockets so they can weather the economic storm that is raging. Employees need to be responsible enough to give their employer an honest days work. Employees need a room in their house that is their office. They need to keep interruptions to a minimum. They need to focus on their job and take a few short breaks. They need to remember that if they don't perform, they can be gone. Or their employer may ask that they come into the office.

So, do I work in my pajamas? Do I take a shower in the morning? The answer is no and yes respectively. I get up in the morning like I would for my job. I get in the shower. I get dressed. I eat breakfast. I go to work. I break for about an hour for lunch. I go back to work. And then at the end of the day I turn off my computer and go back "home". I think it is important that we prepare ourselves for a day of work. I don't want to work in my pajamas. But then again I don't wear slacks and a shirt either. Getting up in the morning and going through a routine helps me become prepared to work. I think it makes me a more effective employee at home.

I hope that employers give their employees an opportunity to work from home. Work with them. Spell out what is expected. Give them some boundaries. But in tough economic times where employers can't give raises but they want to keep good employees, letting people work from home will give people a raise. Because they won't need to spend money on gas to commute. Employees, be honest. Work hard. Be productive. Don't watch TV or waste your time. Give your employer what they need.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

More on the effects of high oil

I saw this article about the cost of high oil:

I totally agree with the author of this article. As oil increases in price, there will be more and more resources spent in developing more oil resources. Eventually there will be an over abundance of oil and price will need to fall. The problem is that we need to survive this oil shock long enough for the new sources of oil to emerge.

We will see what happens. If I had the money, I would purchase a CNG car, or purchase a CNG conversion kit for my van. I'm still thinking about the CNG conversion kit for my van. If I can fill up my van for $25 instead of $100, I'm all over that. And it probably would not take too long to pay for itself. However, we need to get the car and van paid off before we can do that.

Friday, June 6, 2008

New oil record - $138.54 / barrel

I've been home from California for about five or six weeks. I've been watching oil climb in price over the past little bit and this is just plain and absolutely ridiculous. Oil jumped on the following news:

"Oil jumped following a Morgan Stanley analyst's forecast of $150 oil by July 4, and in response to a drop in the dollar and fresh tensions in the Middle East."

( )

Because some bozo at Morgan Stanley said that it will go to $150 by the fourth of July, the market jumps. What kind of crap is that? Who is this guy? What is going on here? I don't buy into the whole oil shortage argument. I see the price pressure being caused by speculators. People who are dumping their money into oil. Just like houses, this bubble is going to pop. And I'll be glad when it does indeed pop. And I'm sure the rest of the world will also cheer when the oil bubble bursts.

Last Sunday I did something that I've never done before. I sat down and wrote a letter to President Bush. You might ask, why send a letter to the President of the United States about the price of a barrel of oil? What are you thinking? He can't do anything about it? Or can he? Maybe he can. Maybe he can't. But he needs to feel the heat that the common American is feeling about the increase in gas prices. I wrote the letter because I feel part of the problem is that the United States does not have a comprehensive energy policy. If the US had a comprehensive energy policy, then I think the price of oil would go down. Why? Because here is what I suggested in my letter:

The US needs a three tier energy policy. Short-term goals, mid-term goals and long-term goals to help get the price of oil down.

Short-term goals:

  • Open up drilling for oil and natural gas in ANWR (Alaska)
  • Open up drilling in other locations that are currently prohibited from drilling
  • Create incentives so that people will convert their vehicles to compressed natural gas (CNG).
  • Encourage businesses to allow people to telecommute
  • Create incentives for people to car pool

Mid-term goals:
  • Research alternate fuels
  • Build more mass transit
  • Build geothermal power plants
  • Build solar power plants
  • Build wind power plants

Long-term goals:

  • Build nuclear reactors
  • Use fuel cells in automobiles
  • Move away from the use of fossil fuels and more to renewable fuels
  • Etc., etc., etc.

Biofuels (ethanol) are a mistake. They are driving up the price of corn in American and the world. The amount of corn it takes to fill one SUV's gas take can feed one person for a year. That isn't a very wise use of corn. I'd rather eat it than burn it in my car. Fuel made from things we can't/won't eat are OK. But don't use my food to propel my car.

Why will this work? Because if the President can sell the idea that there will be more oil out there on the market in a fairly short amount of time, the price of oil will drop. It has to. People are freaking out about oil. They are dropping money in it. In my opinion, the price is frothing. It is insane. People are going crazy. You drop a comprehensive energy policy on top of that stating that we will have more oil shortly and now the nation as a whole will move away from oil, that will cause these guys to lock in their profits and sell like crazy. The price will have to drop. But the comprehensive energy policy needs to be implemented or the whole feeding frenzy will reoccur at some future time again. And in all honestly, we should probably start moving away from oil quickly. The faster we move away, the better off we'll be. Why? So that we aren't dependent upon foreign oil. So we can quit funding terrorist nations like Iran. So we don't get screwed again by a major oil increase.

You'll notice that I put nukes here as something we should use. The US Navy uses nuclear power to power their submarines and aircraft carriers. Those are safe and efficient. Let's use nuclear power to split water molecules so that we can use the hydrogen to propel our fuel cell cars. If you are opposed to nukes, then use solar power. I really don't care. But use something to power the water molecule splitting so that we can use hydrogen.

Anyway, that's my proposal to President Bush. I think it would be a great thing for him to do. He's a lame duck President anyway. It would push the whole energy crisis into the 2008 election as a campaign issue. I don't know what Senator Obama's plans are for energy. Senator McCain's solution is to repeal the federal tax on gas. Ooooohhh. That's original and exciting... NOT! C'mon guys!! Let's get real here. Suspending the federal gas tax is like putting a band-aid onto an amputated person's leg right after surgery. It just won't help solve the underlying problem. Someone needs to take the energy bull by the horns and tame it. And it sounds like a great job for the President. So Mr. President, we're waiting....