Thursday, September 25, 2014

101 Ways to Hasten the Work Online

Hasten-Work-book-coverNeed some good ideas on how to ‪#‎HastenTheWork using the Internet and social media? I've compiled some easy, practical ideas into a book titled 101 Ways to Hasten the Work Online. It is an easy-to-read, 80-page book that has 62 color illustrations. The book has 4 parts:
  1. Introduction. It defines "hastening the work" and explains why is it important. It describes how God has inspired men to invent technologies to assist in the hastening of the work in the latter days. Finally, it provides quotes from our Church leaders about using the Internet and social media to flood the earth with testimonies of the Savior and His restored gospel.
  2. Internet and social media basics. This section gives a brief overview of the Internet and provides a quick tutorial on some of the major social media channels (Facebook, Google+, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, YouTube, Hashtags, and blogs).
  3. Tips on hastening the work online. A few matters to consider about how to interact faithfully and kindly with people online.
  4. 101 Ways to Hasten the Work Online. This is the major part of the book, listing 101 easy, practical things you can do. Each idea is explained simply in a few short paragraphs.
Here's some encouragement to hasten the work online: Elder David A. Bednar at BYU Campus Education Week, August 2014:
Brothers and sisters, what has been accomplished thus far in this dispensation communicating gospel messages through social media channels is a good beginning—but only a small trickle. I now extend to you the invitation to help transform the trickle into a flood….I exhort you to sweep the earth with messages filled with righteousness and truth—messages that are authentic, edifying, and praiseworthy—and literally to sweep the earth as with a flood. ("To Sweep the Earth as with a Flood")
Church's Handbook 2:
Members are encouraged to use the Internet to flood the earth with testimonies of the Savior and His restored gospel. They should view blogs, social networks, and other Internet technologies as tools that allow them to amplify their voice in promoting the messages of peace, hope, and joy that accompany faith in Christ. (Handbook 2, chapter 21.1.22)
Learn more at, including a list of places you can get the book in printed and e-book formats. I've also worked out quantity discounts for wards, stakes, and anyone who wants to get multiple copies.

Read sample pages from the book.

For continuing ideas on hastening the work, follow the Hasten the Work Online Facebook page.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Good E-mail Etiquette

When writing an email:

  • State the subject clearly and concisely in the subject line. This will help your reader understand the topic, focus on the subject, and prioritize his reading order. 
  • Use direct language and summarize. Most of the time emails are not meant to be fine letters or pieces of poetry, they are just tools to exchange information.
  • Use bullet points or bolded/underlined itemized lists or paragraph titles. This is especially useful if there are different items in your email and if answers/action is expected on them. 
  • The recipient in the To: line is the one who should act/respond. Others in the Cc: line are just informed and are not necessarily expected to reply. In case they do reply, they should ask themselves: “Is the content of my reply going to be of interest and useful to all of the original recipients?” If not, he/she should reply only to the original Sender who will then decide if the new information needs to be shared with everyone. This will prevent the need to delete all the subsequent replies from many recipients that we are not really interested in. 
  • When emailing the same message to groups of people, use the Bcc: line for the addresses. This will prevent being included in multiple replies and it will also prevent your email address from ending up in spam lists that will flood your inbox.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Utah Names

Here's a list of the top baby names in Utah through the years:
Here's a list of unusual baby names:
And below is a humorous video about unique Utah names:

Very Different Names

Want an unusual name for your next child? Check out

Here’s another idea: use the name of a type font. Open your word processor and find names like Arial, Cambria, Calibri, Palatino, Goudy, Gulim, Gadugi, Garamond, Gisha, dotum, Corbel, Bodoni, Iskoola, Latha, Kartika, Lucida, Marlett, Nimala, Perpetua, Verdana, or Vrinda.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

USA Has Pervasive Internet Censorship, Filtering, Surveillance

In doing research for a book I'm writing, I found this interesting map showing Internet censorship and surveillance by country.

How does it feel to be ranked with countries like Russia, China, and North Korea in terms of Internet censorship, filtering, and surveillance?

Source: Wikipedia

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Skechers GoRun - Best Shoes Ever

Seriously. The. Best. Shoes. I've. Ever. Owned.

My feet tend to ache and tire easily. But not with these. They are so light, it feels like you're walking barefoot, but you get the support you need.

I just bought 4 pairs of these Skechers GoRun shoes at the Skechers outlet store for less than $25 a pair. They make my feet feel like heaven. Support and comfort. Breathable.

These  are the best shoes I’ve ever owned in my life. Seriously worth any price.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Don't Ruin Your Vacation

Summer is here and the living is easy. Or it should be. Many of you will travel this season for fun and relaxation. The last thing you need to take home from your vacation is the nightmare of losing your money, credit/debit/ATM cards, and other forms of identification because any or all of those were lost or stolen.

Here are some tips for holding on to your things:

1. Take only what is necessary in your wallet or purse. Remove extra cash, credit cards, checkbooks, and identification (especially your Social Security card) beyond what you need for your trip. That will minimize your losses if your wallet or purse is lost or stolen.

2. Use a credit card and leave your debit card at home. If your debit card disappears, its unauthorized use could result in your checking account being emptied very quickly.

3. Keep your wallet or purse and its contents in a place on your person where you can easily make sure it is with you at all times. That usually means somewhere on the front of your body—not in a back pocket which can easily be picked, especially if you are distracted.

4. Don’t leave extra cash and valuables in your hotel room. Store them in the hotel safe.

5. Don’t leave valuables in a rental car. Keep them in the hotel safe.

6. Make photocopies of your credit/debit cards, financial documents, and other related information that you plan to take with you. If your cards or information are lost or stolen, you can refer to these copies when contacting your credit card company and financial institution.

7. Keep an eye on your surroundings. If something looks or feels suspicious, go with that feeling and protect yourself accordingly.

8. When you return from your vacation, check your accounts online to confirm your transactions are legitimate and were made by you—not someone else.

By taking some simple precautions, you can reduce your chance of being victimized and can enjoy your trip.

Information courtesy of Deseret First Credit Union.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Make a Life by What You Give

"We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give." Winston Churchill

Watch the video "60 Seconds That ange How You Think."

9/11 Airplane Account in Gander, Newfoundland

The following is a great story of what happened to passengers and planes who were reroute to the US when airspace was shut down immediately following 9/11.

This is a true account. Read the story below and then check the Snopes website for additional info.

It is almost 12 yrs since 9/11 and here is a wonderful story about that terrible day. It is an amazing story from a flight attendant on Delta Flight 15, written following 9-11.

On the morning of Tuesday, September 11, we were about 5 hours out of Frankfurt, flying over the North Atlantic.

All of a sudden the curtains parted and I was told to go to the cockpit, immediately, to see the captain. As soon as I got there I noticed that the crew had that "All Business" look on their faces. The captain handed me a printed message. It was from Delta's main office in Atlanta and simply read, "All airways over the Continental United States are closed to commercial air traffic. Land ASAP at the nearest airport. Advise your destination."

No one said a word about what this could mean. We knew it was a serious situation and we needed to find terra firma quickly. The captain determined that the nearest airport was 400 miles behind us in Gander, Newfoundland.

He requested approval for a route change from the Canadian traffic controller and approval was granted immediately -- no questions asked. We found out later, of course, why there was no hesitation in approving our request.

While the flight crew prepared the airplane for landing, another message arrived from Atlanta telling us about some terrorist activity in the New York area. A few minutes later word came in about the hijackings.

We decided to LIE to the passengers while we were still in the air. We told them the plane had a simple instrument problem and that we needed to land at the nearest airport in Gander, Newfoundland, to have it checked out.

We promised to give more information after landing in Gander. There was much grumbling among the passengers, but that's nothing new! Forty minutes later, we landed in Gander. Local time at Gander was 12:30 PM! .... that's 11:00 AM EST.

There were already about 20 other airplanes on the ground from all over the world that had taken this detour on their way to the U.S.

After we parked on the ramp, the captain made the following announcement: "Ladies and gentlemen, you must be wondering if all these airplanes around us have the same instrument problem as we have. The reality is that we are here for another reason." Then he went on to explain the little bit we knew about the situation in the U.S. There were loud gasps and stares of disbelief. The captain informed passengers that Ground Control in Gander told us to stay put.

The Canadian Government was in charge of our situation and no one was allowed to get off the aircraft. No one on the ground was allowed to come near any of the air crafts. Only airport police would come around periodically, look us over and go on to the next airplane. In the next hour or so more planes landed and Gander ended up with 53 airplanes from all over the world, 27 of which were U.S. commercial jets.

Meanwhile, bits of news started to come in over the aircraft radio and for the first time we learned that airplanes were flown into the World Trade Center in New York and into the Pentagon in DC. People were trying to use their cell phones, but were unable to connect due to a different cell system in Canada. Some did get through, but were only able to get to the Canadian operator who would tell them that the lines to the U.S. were either blocked or jammed.

Sometime in the evening the news filtered to us that the World Trade Center buildings had collapsed and that a fourth hijacking had resulted in a crash. By now the passengers were emotionally and physically exhausted, not to mention frightened, but everyone stayed amazingly calm. We had only to look out the window at the 52 other stranded aircraft to realize that we were not the only ones in this predicament.

We had been told earlier that they would be allowing people off the planes one plane at a time. At 6 PM, Gander airport told us that our turn to deplane would be 11 am the next morning. Passengers were not happy, but they simply resigned themselves to this news without much noise and started to prepare themselves to spend the night on the airplane.

Gander had promised us medical attention, if needed, water, and lavatory servicing. And they were true to their word. Fortunately we had no medical situations to worry about. We did have a young lady who was 33 weeks into her pregnancy. We took REALLY good care of her. The night passed without incident despite the uncomfortable sleeping arrangements.

About 10:30 on the morning of the 12th a convoy of school buses showed up. We got off the plane and were taken to the terminal where we went through Immigration and Customs and then had to register with the Red Cross.

After that we (the crew) were separated from the passengers and were taken in vans to a small hotel. We had no idea where our passengers were going. We learned from the Red Cross that the town of Gander has a population of 10,400 people and they had about 10,500 passengers to take care of from all the airplanes that were forced into Gander! We were told to just relax at the hotel and we would be contacted when the U.S. airports opened again, but not to expect that call for a while.

We found out the total scope of the terror back home only after getting to our hotel and turning on the TV, 24 hours after it all started.

Meanwhile, we had lots of time on our hands and found that the people of Gander were extremely friendly. They started calling us the "plane people." We enjoyed their hospitality, explored the town of Gander and ended up having a pretty good time.

Two days later, we got that call and were taken back to the Gander airport. Back on the plane, we were reunited with the passengers and found out what they had been doing for the past two days. What we found out was incredible.

Gander and all the surrounding communities (within about a 75 Kilometer radius) had closed all high schools, meeting halls, lodges, and any other large gathering places. They converted all these facilities to mass lodging areas for all the stranded travelers. Some had cots set up, some had mats with sleeping bags and pillows set up.

ALL the high school students were required to volunteer their time to take care of the "guests." Our 218 passengers ended up in a town called Lewisporte, about 45 kilometers from Gander where they were put up in a high school. If any women wanted to be in a women-only facility, that was arranged. Families were kept together. All the elderly passengers were taken to private homes.

Remember that young pregnant lady? She was put up in a private home right across the street from a 24-hour Urgent Care facility. There was a dentist on call and both male and female nurses remained with the crowd for the duration.

Phone calls and e-mails to the U.S. and around the world were available to everyone once a day. During the day, passengers were offered "Excursion" trips. Some people went on boat cruises of the lakes and harbors. Some went for hikes in the local forests. Local bakeries stayed open to make fresh bread for the guests.

Food was prepared by all the residents and brought to the schools. People were driven to restaurants of their choice and offered wonderful meals. Everyone was given tokens for local laundry mats to wash their clothes, since luggage was still on the aircraft. In other words, every single need was met for those stranded travelers.

Passengers were crying while telling us these stories. Finally, when they were told that U.S. airports had reopened, they were delivered to the airport right on time and without a single passenger missing or late. The local Red Cross had all the information about the whereabouts of each and every passenger and knew which plane they needed to be on and when all the planes were leaving. They coordinated everything beautifully.

It was absolutely incredible.

When passengers came on board, it was like they had been on a cruise. Everyone knew each other by name. They were swapping stories of their stay, impressing each other with who had the better time. Our flight back to Atlanta looked like a chartered party flight. The crew just stayed out of their way. It was mind-boggling.

Passengers had totally bonded and were calling each other by their first names, exchanging phone numbers, addresses, and email addresses.

And then a very unusual thing happened.

One of our passengers approached me and asked if he could make an announcement over the PA system. We never, ever allow that. But this time was different. I said "of course" and handed him the mike. He picked up the PA and reminded everyone about what they had just gone through in the last few days. He reminded them of the hospitality they had received at the hands of total strangers. He continued by saying that he would like to do something in return for the good folks of Lewisporte.

"He said he was going to set up a Trust Fund under the name of DELTA 15 (our flight number). The purpose of the trust fund is to provide college scholarships for the high school students of Lewisporte. He asked for donations of any amount from his fellow travelers. When the paper with donations got back to us with the amounts, names, phone numbers and addresses, the total was for more than $14,000!

"The gentleman, a MD from Virginia, promised to match the donations and to start the administrative work on the scholarship. He also said that he would forward this proposal to Delta Corporate and ask them to donate as well.

As I write this account, the trust fund is at more than $1.5 million and has assisted 134 students in college education.

"I just wanted to share this story because we need good stories right now. It gives me a little bit of hope to know that some people in a faraway place were kind to some strangers who literally dropped in on them.

It reminds me how much good there is in the world."

"In spite of all the rotten things we see going on in today's world this story confirms that there are still a lot of good and Godly people in the world and when things get bad, they will come forward.

"God Bless America... and God Bless the Canadians."

Monday, July 14, 2014

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Have a Safe 4th of July

The Fourth of July weekend is coming up! This means baseball, parades, and lots of fireworks! In the midst of fun and games, it is important to also be safe. A basic sparkler can easily reach 2,000 degrees--hot enough to melt some metals.

In the month surrounding the 4th of July, an average of 240 people go to the emergency room EVERY DAY with firework-related injuries. 22% of those injuries were to the face or ears.


  • Never use fireworks in brown paper packages. This is often a sign that the firework was made for professional displays and not consumer use. 
  • Never carry fireworks in a pocket. 
  • Never stand directly over fireworks when lighting the fuse. Back up to a safe distance immediately after lighting fireworks. 
  • Never try to re-light or pick up fireworks that have not ignited fully. 
  • Never point or throw fireworks at another person. 
  • Never allow young children to play with or light fireworks. 
  • Never shoot them off in metal or glass containers. 

  • Always have an adult supervise fireworks activities. 
  • Always keep a bucket of water or a garden hose handy in case of fire or other mishap. 
  • Always light fireworks one at a time, then move back quickly. 
  • Always douse the spent device with plenty of water from a bucket or hose before discarding it to prevent a trash fire. 
  • Always make sure fireworks are legal in your area before buying or using them. 
Have a safe, patriotic weekend! For more information on fireworks safety, visit

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Friday, June 6, 2014

Overpopulation Isn't as Big a Problem as a Shrinking Population

Overpopulation is not the problem we should be concerned about. Birthrates in much of the world have sunk below the roughly 2.1 children per woman that is considered replacement level. Even in the developing world, where birthrates remain high, they are shrinking. As a result, the world is headed for a period in which populations will be graying, followed by a time when the world’s population may begin to shrink.

A thriving population is necessary to sustain and to improve the world’s standard of living. For example, human ingenuity has been the key to reversing the trend on global poverty. Since the 1980s, the number of people in extreme poverty has dropped by half.

Population growth leads to innovation, invention, and conservation—things a shrinking population may not be able to enjoy.

What can the world do about this trend? The best solutions involve policies that encourage marriage and families.

Read “Overpopulation isn't the world's concern — the problem is too few births

Friday, May 23, 2014

Memorial Day: Death is Not the End

Memorial Day is a holiday in the United States wherein the men and women who died while serving in the Armed Forces are remembered. The holiday, which is celebrated every year on the final Monday of May, was formerly known as Decoration Day and originated after the American Civil War to commemorate the Union and Confederate soldiers who died in the Civil War.

By the 20th century, Memorial Day had been extended to honor all Americans who have died while in the military service. It typically marks the start of the summer vacation season, while Labor Day marks its end.

Many people visit cemeteries and memorials, particularly to honor those who have died in military service.
Many volunteers place an American flag on each grave in national cemeteries.

Memorial Day often is used to honor not just those who died in military service, but any loved one or kin who have passed away.

May we use this weekend to honor everyone who has gone before us and appreciate their service and what they have taught us. May we also be thankful for the gospel of Jesus Christ that teaches us that death is not the end. Learn more about eternal life and God's plan of salvation for us.

Parts of this article were adapted from

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

LDS Media Talk

If you want to follow LDS Media Talk via Facebook, here are the steps to be sure you get notifications of new posts:

1. Go to Click to Like the page.

2. On the pull-down menu under Liked, click Get Notifications.

3. Click Follow.

4. Keep interacting with LDSMediaTalk posts you see.

If you don’t Like, Share, or comment on posts, over time you’ll see fewer and fewer of them. Here’s why:

Because there is so much content on Facebook, they can’t show you every post from every page you’ve liked. Therefore, they filter the posts and only show you what you interact with the most. So, if you like, comment, or share the posts you enjoy, you’ll see more of that kind of content. If you don’t, you’ll see less and less of it.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Marriage Isn't for You: It's for the One You Love

See my earlier post about the article "Marriage Isn't For You" by Seth Adam Smith. That article was read 30 million times.

Seth has now published a book based on that article: Marriage Isn't for You: It's for the One You Love.

Within a day of its release, the book rose to Amazon’s Top 100 (#34 for Love & Romance and #29 for Marriage). It would make a great Mother’s Day gift.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Eich is Out and So Is Intolerance

Brendan Eich invented the programming language Javascript and co-founded Mozilla. He has made a profound contribution to the Web and to the entire world.

However, because he donated $1,000 in 2008 in support of California's Proposition 8, gay advocates pressured Mozilla and now Eich has resigned as CEO.

Everyone lost. It's an example of intolerant bullies who ask for tolerance, but they bully other people because of their beliefs.

Read more:

Thursday, April 3, 2014

The Difference Between Men and Women

From Dave Barry's Complete Guide to Guys

Let's say a guy named Fred is attracted to a woman named Martha. He asks her out to a movie; she accepts; they have a pretty good time. A few nights later he asks her out to dinner, and again they enjoy themselves. They continue to see each other regularly, and after a while neither one of them is seeing anybody else.

And then, one evening when they're driving home, a thought occurs to Martha, and, without really thinking, she says it aloud: "Do you realize that, as of tonight, we've been seeing each other for exactly six months?"

And then, there is silence in the car.

To Martha, it seems like a very loud silence. She thinks to herself: I wonder if it bothers him that I said that. Maybe he's been feeling confined by our relationship; maybe he thinks I'm trying to push him into some kind of obligation that he doesn't want, or isn't sure of.

And Fred is thinking: Gosh. Six months.

And Martha is thinking: But, hey, I'm not so sure I want this kind of relationship either. Sometimes I wish I had a little more space, so I'd have time to think about whether I really want us to keep going the way we are, moving steadily towards, I mean, where are we going? Are we just going to keep seeing each other at this level of intimacy? Are we heading toward marriage? Toward children? Toward a lifetime together? Am I ready for that level of commitment? Do I really even know this person?

And Fred is thinking: that means it was...let's see...February when we started going out, which was right after I had the car at the dealer's, which means...lemme check the odometer...Whoa! I am way overdue for an oil change here.

And Martha is thinking: He's upset. I can see it on his face. Maybe I'm reading this completely wrong. Maybe he wants more from our relationship, more intimacy, more commitment; maybe he has sensed - even before I sensed it - that I was feeling some reservations. Yes, I bet that's it. That's why he's so reluctant to say anything about his own feelings. He's afraid of being rejected.

And Fred is thinking: And I'm gonna have them look at the transmission again. I don't care what those morons say, it's still not shifting right. And they better not try to blame it on the cold weather this time. What cold weather? It's 87 degrees out, and this thing is shifting like a garbage truck, and I paid those incompetent thieves $600.

And Martha is thinking: He's angry. And I don't blame him. I'd be angry, too. I feel so guilty, putting him through this, but I can't help the way I feel. I'm just not sure.

And Fred is thinking: They'll probably say it's only a 90-day warranty...scumballs.

And Martha is thinking: Maybe I'm just too idealistic, waiting for a knight to come riding up on his white horse, when I'm sitting right next to a perfectly good person, a person I enjoy being with, a person I truly do care about, a person who seems to truly care about me. A person who is in pain because of my self-centered, schoolgirl romantic fantasy.

And Fred is thinking: Warranty? They want a warranty? I'll give them a warranty. I'll take their warranty and stick it right up their...

"Fred," Martha says aloud.

"What?" says Fred, startled.

"Please don't torture yourself like this," she says, her eyes beginning to brim with tears. "Maybe I should never have...oh dear, I feel so..."(She breaks down, sobbing.)

"What?" says Fred.

"I'm such a fool," Martha sobs. "I mean, I know there's no knight. I really know that. It's silly. There's no knight, and there's no horse."

"There's no horse?" says Fred.

"You think I'm a fool, don't you?" Martha says.

"No!" says Fred, glad to finally know the correct answer.

"It's just's that I...I need some time," Martha says.

(There is a 15-second pause while Fred, thinking as fast as he can, tries to come up with a safe response. Finally he comes up with one that he thinks might work.)

"Yes," he says. (Martha, deeply moved, touches his hand.)

"Oh, Fred, do you really feel that way?" she says.

"What way?" says Fred.

"That way about time," says Martha.

"Oh," says Fred. "Yes." (Martha turns to face him and gazes deeply into his eyes, causing him to become very nervous about what she might say next, especially if it involves a horse. At last she speaks.)

"Thank you, Fred," she says.

"Thank you," says Fred.

Then he takes her home, and she lies on her bed, a conflicted, tortured soul, and weeps until dawn, whereas when Fred gets back to his place, he opens a bag of Doritos, turns on the TV, and immediately becomes deeply involved in a rerun of a college basketball game between two South Dakota junior colleges that he has never heard of. A tiny voice in the far recesses of his mind tells him that something major was going on back there in the car, but he is pretty sure there is no way he would ever understand what, and so he figures it's better if he doesn't think about it.

The next day Martha will call her closest friend, or perhaps two of them, and they will talk about this situation for six straight hours. In painstaking detail, they will analyze everything she said and everything he said, going over it time and time again, exploring every word, expression, and gesture for nuances of meaning, considering every possible ramification.

They will continue to discuss this subject, off and on, for weeks, maybe months, never reaching any definite conclusions, but never getting bored with it either.

Meanwhile, Fred, while playing racquetball one day with a mutual friend of his and Martha's, will pause just before serving, frown, and say: "Norm, did Martha ever own a horse?"

And that's the difference between men and women.