Category Archives: My Ideas

These are my ideas

Statistics of Missionaries in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints During the Missionary Boom

After a lot of searching, I was surprised to not find any graphs with the information I wanted, so I decided to make them myself.

Below you will find graphs displaying data about the number of missionaries and missions of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (formerly nicknamed “the Mormon church”) from 2009 to 2019. In particular, this time range includes the 2012 announcement lowering the age limit for when men and women can go on missions. This announcement resulted in what is often called “the Missionary Boom,” a large increase in the number of missionaries serving missions and the number of missions that they are serving in. All data was collected from statistical reports published in the year following the year being reported on (e.g., data for 2013 was collected from the Church’s April 2014 statistical report).

What is a Friend?

Earlier today, I saw a post on Facebook. It asked “what is a friend” or in other words “what qualities/behaviors makes someone a real friend”?

Here is my response:

I’d say the two main qualities of a friend are lovable and loving. The more of each quality you have, the more of a friend you can be.
 
Because “lovable” is dependent on you, not the other person, anyone or anything can be your “friend.” You can befriend an unhappy grouch, a bird, even a rock, because you can love them and they can fill a need in your life. However, these things aren’t very loving back, so the friendship can only ever go so far. Even dogs, as loving as they are, can’t love you the way you need sometimes. They can’t give you a compliment or wash your car for you. So while a dog can be a friend, even your best friend, it can’t be The Best friend.
 
On the other hand, someone can be very loving, and in that way be your friend, but if you don’t find them very lovable, they won’t be as much of a friend in your mind as they could be. Think of caring parents who help their rebellious teenager, or an anonymous donor to a charity. God, our Heavenly Father, comes to mind as well. He may be the best friend we could ask for, but, if we don’t love Him, to us He won’t seem to be.
 
So to answer the question you didn’t ask, I think the best kind of friend is the one who is very lovable and very loving. How that love may manifest, or why they seem lovable, both of those may change, but so long as they are there I think there are good grounds for a friendship.
 ~ George

English Pronunciation: A poem by G. Nolst Trenite (With Pronunciations and Definitions!)

I have found what is definitely one of my new most favorite poems. To quote the original site:

“If you can pronounce correctly every word in this poem, you will be speaking English better than 90% of the native English speakers in the world. After trying the verses, a Frenchman said he’d prefer six months of hard labour to reading six lines aloud.”

Of course, I don’t think those numbers are anything but made up, but it is still a great description of the poem. Also, instead of just copying the poem and pasting it over here, I’ve provided footnotes that allow you to look up the definition and pronunciation of the words I didn’t understand and/or didn’t know how to pronounce when I first read the poem. Some were very surprising. Enjoy! (Note: Unless you read it out loud, IT DOESN’T COUNT! 🙂 )


 

English Pronunciation by G. Nolst Trenité

Dearest creature in creation,
Study English pronunciation.
I will teach you in my verse
Sounds like corpse, corps*, horse, and worse.
I will keep you, Suzy, busy,
Make your head with heat grow dizzy.
Tear in eye, your dress will tear.
So shall I! Oh hear my prayer.
Just compare heart, beard, and heard,
Dies and diet, lord and word,
Sword and sward*, retain and Britain.
(Mind the latter, how it’s written.)
Now I surely will not plague you
With such words as plaque and ague*.
But be careful how you speak:
Say break and steak, but bleak and streak;
Cloven, oven, how and low,
Script, receipt, show, poem, and toe.
Hear me say, devoid of trickery,
Daughter, laughter, and Terpsichore*,
Typhoid, measles, topsails, aisles,
Exiles, similes, and reviles;
Scholar, vicar*, and cigar,
Solar, mica, war and far;
One, anemone, Balmoral*,
Kitchen, lichen, laundry, laurel*;
Gertrude, German, wind and mind,
Scene, Melpomene*, mankind.
Billet* does not rhyme with ballet,
Bouquet, wallet, mallet, chalet.
Blood and flood are not like food,
Nor is mould like should and would.
Viscous, viscount*, load and broad,
Toward, to forward, to reward.
And your pronunciation’s OK
When you correctly say croquet,
Rounded, wounded, grieve and sieve*,
Friend and fiend, alive and live.
Ivy, privy, famous; clamour
And enamour rhyme with hammer.
River, rival, tomb, bomb, comb,
Doll and roll and some and home.
Stranger does not rhyme with anger,
Neither does devour with clangour.
Souls but foul, haunt but aunt,
Font, front, wont, want, grand, and grant,
Shoes, goes, does. Now first say finger,
And then singer, ginger, linger,
Real, zeal, mauve*, gauze, gouge and gauge,
Marriage, foliage, mirage, and age.
Query does not rhyme with very,
Nor does fury sound like bury.
Dost, lost, post and doth, cloth, loth.
Job, nob, bosom, transom*, oath.
Though the differences seem little,
We say actual but victual*.
Refer does not rhyme with deafer.
Foeffer* does, and zephyr*, heifer.
Mint, pint, senate and sedate;
Dull, bull, and George ate late.
Scenic, Arabic*, Pacific,
Science, conscience, scientific.
Liberty, library, heave and heaven,
Rachel, ache, moustache, eleven.
We say hallowed, but allowed,
People, leopard, towed, but vowed.
Mark the differences, moreover,
Between mover, cover, clover;
Leeches, breeches, wise, precise,
Chalice, but police and lice;
Camel, constable, unstable,
Principle, disciple, label.
Petal, panel, and canal,
Wait, surprise, plait, promise, pal.
Worm and storm, chaise*, chaos, chair,
Senator, spectator, mayor.
Tour, but our and succour, four.
Gas, alas, and Arkansas.
Sea, idea, Korea, area,
Psalm, Maria, but malaria.
Youth, south, southern, cleanse and clean.
Doctrine, turpentine, marine.
Compare alien with Italian,
Dandelion and battalion.
Sally with ally, yea, ye,
Eye, I, ay, aye*, whey, and key.
Say aver*, but ever, fever,
Neither, leisure, skein*, deceiver.
Heron, granary, canary.
Crevice and device and aerie*.
Face, but preface, not efface.
Phlegm, phlegmatic*, pass, glass, bass.
Large, but target, gin, give, verging,
Ought, out, joust and scour, scourging.
Ear, but earn and wear and tear
Do not rhyme with here but ere.
Seven is right, but so is even,
Hyphen, roughen, nephew Stephen,
Monkey, donkey, Turk and jerk,
Ask, grasp, wasp, and cork and work.
Pronunciation (think of Psyche!)
Is a paling* stout and spikey?
Won’t it make you lose your wits,
Writing groats* and saying grits?
It’s a dark abyss or tunnel:
Strewn with stones, stowed, solace, gunwale*,
Islington and Isle of Wight,
Housewife, verdict and indict.
Finally, which rhymes with enough,
Though, through, plough, or dough, or cough?
Hiccough* has the sound of cup.
My advice is to give up!!!

 


 

  • Corps – “Core,” a main subdivision of an armed force in the field, consisting of two or more divisions.
  • Sward – I know of no other word pronounced like it, so here’s the link: http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/sward.
  • Ague – “Ay- gyoo,” malaria or some other illness involving fever and shivering.
  • Terpsichore – “Terp (like burp) – sick – or – ee,” one of the nine Muses and goddess of dance and chorus.
  • Vicar – “Vick – er,” (in the Roman Catholic Church) a representative or deputy of a bishop.
  • Balmoral – “Ball – more – ell,”  Balmoral Castle is a large estate house in Royal Deeside, Aberdeenshire, Scotland.
  • Laurel – “Lore – ell,” an evergreen tree or bush with shiny pointed leaves.
  • Melpomene – “Mell – poe – (something like) money,” the Muse of Tragedy.
  • Billet – “Bill – it,” a place, usually a civilian’s house or other nonmilitary facility, where soldiers are lodged temporarily.
  • Viscount – “Vy (like cry) – count,” a man who is a member of the British nobility and who ranks below an earl and above a baron.
  • Sieve – “Siv,” a utensil consisting of a wire or plastic mesh held in a frame, used for straining solids from liquids, for separating coarser from finer particles, or for reducing soft solids to a pulp.
  • Mauve – “Mov (the “o” is like in top),” a light or medium purple color.
  • Transom – “Tron (like the movie) (or, American way, it’s “tran,” like “man”) – tsum (pronounce the “ts” like the “ts” in “bats,” then the “um” like “yum”),” a bar of wood or stone across the top of a door or window.
  • Victual – “Vid – le (rhymes with “little”),” food usable by people.
  • Foeffer – Feoffer, “Fe (like “bet) – fur,” one who makes a feoffment, one who makes the granting of a fee.
  • Zephyr – “Ze (like “bet”) – fur,” a soft gentle breeze.
  • Arabic – “Air – uh – bick,” of, belonging to, or derived from the language or literature of the Arabs.
  • Chaise – “Shaze (rhymes with “blaze”),” a horse-drawn carriage for one or two people, typically one with an open top and two wheels.
  • Aye – “I,” an affirmative vote or voter, especially in British Parliament, corresponding to yea in U.S. Congress.
  • Aver – “Uh – vair (like the “v-e-r” in “very”),” state or assert to be the case.
  • Skein – “Skane (rhymes with rain),” a length of thread or yarn, loosely coiled and knotted.
  • Aerie – “(Pronounced a variety of different ways, but in the poem rhymes with “berry”),” a large nest of a bird of prey, especially an eagle, typically built high in a tree or on a cliff.
  • Phlegmatic – “Fleg (like “beg”) – ma (as in “math”) – tick,” not easily excited to action or display of emotion.
  • Paling – “Pail (like the bucket) – ing,” a fence made from pointed wooden or metal stakes.
  • Groats – “Grotes (rhymes with oats),” grain without the covering, such as wheat or oats, broken into fragments.
  • Gunwale – “Gun – ull (as in “dull”) (rhymes with “tunnel”),” the top edge of the side of a boat.
  • Hiccough – “Hih (as in “hit”) – cup,” a hiccup, or “an involuntary spasm of the diaphragm and respiratory organs, with a sudden closure of the glottis and a characteristic sound like that of a cough.”

Beatles Songs Cell Phone Conversation

(Everything in bold is the title of a song the Beatles recorded)

Hey Jude, how’s it going? I feel fine, but I haven’t seen you since, like, yesterday! How’s the farm?… Good, good, I’m glad it’s going well, Strawberry Fields Forever! Ha ha ha, yes… What’s that? Oh, you want to come together soon? Sure, in my life, I always have time for my friends, anytime at all, so I’ll be on my way as soon as this rain clears up…. Hey, it’s not my fault you work eight days a week, you should try to be more like me. I don’t care too much for money, because, as I always say, all you need is love, and we all know that money can’t buy you love…. Yeah… mhm… Sure, of course I live in a yellow submarine, we all do…. What do you mean you don’t?!?! That’s like that time you said that Lucy isn’t in the sky with diamonds…. Well, what else do you think all those little sparkly things across the universe are, stars?!?! Seriously, you’re getting better, but this boy is getting a bit frustrated… Fine, with a little help from my friends I can let it be, just don’t let me down again, all right? Speaking of friends, a random blackbird just came out of nowhere, man, and started messing with my new pet… Yeah, it was scary, but I ran at it, yelling “Leave my kitten alone!” and it flew away. Anyhow, here comes the sun, so I’ll drive my car over to help clean up some of that junk that has accumulated in moonlight bay, as you like to call it.  See you soon! Bye.”

Fun Group Games: The game should be easy for someone to join mid-game

I gave a brief overview of the top ten things a group game should have in my earlier post, but now I want to explain why those are the top ten. Over the next few days I will be posting those explanations.

The game should be easy for someone to join mid-game

Whenever you have a large group of people, chances are that not all of them join at once. If it’s not possible to join a game that has already started you leave several people bored, which is what you are trying to avoid while playing a group game. Even if they can join, but it takes forever to get started again, the game is less fun.

An example of a hard to join game would be Ninja, because once the game has started no one is allowed join until the end of the (often long) game. Two examples of easy to join games would be Tag, for hopefully obvious reasons, and Gaga Ball (or Biscuit Ball, as it is often called), because even though no one is allowed to join once the game has started, the games are usually so fast that you won’t be waiting long before you can get in.

 ~ Ruficalix

Fun Group Games: The game should be easy to get started.

I gave a brief overview of the top ten things a group game should have in my last post, but now I want to explain why those are the top ten. Over the next few days I will be posting those explanations.

The game should be easy to get started.

As anyone knows who’s tried to get a bunch of people to try a new game, the longer it takes to get the game started the less likely you are to actually play it. Also, the longer it takes to get the game started the longer people are bored. Between the two, the games that work best are often rather easy to start compared to games which don’t.

An example of a hard to start game would be Signs, because it needs everyone to choose a sign and show it to everybody else (for those who haven’t played, this takes a very long time, especially with the large groups that the game is best played with). An example of an easy to start game would be Ninja, because all you need is for everyone to get in a circle, do a countdown, and start.

 ~ George

The Top Ten Things to Consider for a Fun Group Game

There are many games, but some work better in group situations than others. By group situations I mean situations in which you have lots of kids (or teens, or adults…) and want them to all start playing a game, like at a birthday party. So, having played and directed a lot of group games, I thought I’d come up with ten things to look for in a good game for your group. To clarify, a good group game should keep as many people continuosly entertained as long as possible. This is what I was looking for when I put together this list:

  • The game should be…
  • Easy to get started
  • Easy for someone to join
  • Easy for someone to leave
  • Fun even for those who aren’t very good at it
  • Fun even for those who are very good at it
  • The game should Not be…
  • Too rough
  • Easy to cheat in, or even easy to accuse people of cheating in
  • Boring for those who are playing
  • Boring for those who are temporarily not playing (tagged, substituted, etc.)
  • Full of “losers” at the end, or at least those who lose shouldn’t feel like “losers”

Of course, a game can still be fun (and usually is still fun) without all of these factors, but I’ve found that the more of the 10 factors a game has the more likely a group I’m playing it with will want to play it again. More on that in a later post. There are probably other factors that would affect how fun a game is to play with groups, but as of now I can’t think of any others. There are so many things about this that I want to elaborate on, but for now I’m going to post this so that I can get this started.

~ George

Pi Day, 3/14/15 at 9:26

This post will be posted automatically 3/14/15 at 9:26 EST 🙂

For those who don’t know the significance of that time and date, here are the first digits of pi:

3.1415926

Also, here’s something else:

I <3 π

That’s internet for “I heart pi”, but it’s actually also the equation 1 < 3×3.14…, which is a true statement. Hooray for double meanings! Hooray for math! Hooray for Pi!

When is it okay to lie?

Note: sorta like To Be A Hero, this post is a bit of a brain dump. Usually I do a lot more to organize it, but in this case, because it’s sort of an argument with myself, I just want to give a bit of a glimpse of how my thought process on this went. Also, this post was written several weeks ago.


Recently in a book discussion (with the same group mentioned in To Be A Hero) we were discussing the book Number The Stars in which a family hides escaping Jews from Nazis. The question was brought up asking whether it was okay for the family to lie about hiding the Jews, and we ended up getting into a whole discussion on it. This is what I got out of it along with my follow-up of it. Just to be clear, just because I say something doesn’t mean it’s true.

So when is it okay to lie? In the case of the Nazis and the Jews, would it be better to lie or tell the truth? We probably would tell the truth, but why? After talking a while, I had the thought that maybe when considering the situation, you should see which is the greater sin: to murder someone (or let someone die) or lie? Obviously the latter. There, we have a solution.

However, someone brought up the excellent point that it wouldn’t actually be your fault. That is, even if you knew that the man standing in front of you would kill someone unless you lied, it still wouldn’t actually be you murdering someone if you tell the truth. It’s that man’s choice to kill, not yours. Even if it might feel like you were the murderer, the man didn’t have to kill that person. With that in mind, you can’t really compare two sins because it’s either you sin and lie or they sin and murder someone.

Maybe instead of comparing two sins you compare the two ends: someone dies or you sin. You compare the outcomes and choose the one that is more important to you. You could maintain your integrity and tell the truth or you can sin and save a life. Unfortunately, this has it’s faults as well. What would be better is asking what is more important to God, you obeying His commandments or the other person living.

What if you were told to deny your faith or someone would die? Denying your faith is a much greater sin than merely lying, at least in the opinion of most people I’ve talked about it with. We are told to never tell lies, but there are always possible exceptions like the situation in the last few paragraphs. We are also told to never deny our faith, but unlike merely lying we are often told that it is better to die than deny your faith. But what if it is someone else who will die? We can go back to the weighing priorities, which is worse, which would you rather, which would God rather, which is the right way to determine it, etc., but it doesn’t really help. It’s a conundrum.

Let’s come back to that later. Another topic that was brought up is was about less important, smaller lies. It was said that part of what you should consider is for what type of reasons you were lying, whether you were lying for selfish or unselfish reasons. When someone is lying for selfish reasons, it is usually a bad thing e.g. you don’t want to admit to breaking the vase or stealing the candy, you want to trick someone into doing something wrong, you want to get somewhere you shouldn’t be, etc. These are all associated with lying (sinning) to cover up other sins.

Meanwhile, unselfish lies are generally associated with better reasons, e.g. you don’t want to hurt someone’s feelings, you don’t want to spoil the surprise party, you want to keep an immoral thing from a child, etc. These are usually done with good intentions, even if it is done by sinning (lying).

Having heard this idea of “selfish reasons vs. unselfish reasons”, I decided to apply my “weighing the priorities” idea. I thought, “What is the greater sin? Lying or getting in trouble for something you did wrong?” This would be lying for selfish reasons, and clearly lying to get out of admitting your sins would be sin. On the other hand, what would be worse, lying or insulting a friend? In this case, because we are doing it for someone else, we usually think that lying would be the lesser of the two sins.

But didn’t we decide that weighing which was the greater or lesser sin wasn’t necessarily the best way? So, instead, let’s say which is more important to you, not lying or not insulting your friend? Again, we’d usually think that not being rude would be better than not lying. What about for a selfish reason? Which is more important to you, owning up to your guilt and being punished or simply lying and getting away with it? This is why earlier I said that “which is more important to you” isn’t a good way either.

Which is more important to God? Generally He wants you to learn from your mistakes and take appropriate action to fix them, which pretty much includes telling the truth. So, by this ruling we shouldn’t lie for selfish reasons. What about for unselfish reasons? Which would He rather, you obey His command to be kind or His command to be truthful? Those of us who face this problem generally try to find a sort of middle ground, trying to not actually tell a lie, but also trying to not insult your friend. It’s a narrow path we walk all the time, and it is well-worn by the footfalls of all the indecisive.

Here’s another thing I wanted to mention that ties to two different strings of thought together: what if you had to lie to save your own life? Lying to save someone else’s life is almost always more on the unselfish side, which we decided is more of a gray area, but what about lying to save yourself? Most people don’t live entirely for others, so pretty much no matter what you’d be lying for selfish reasons. Unfortunately, we just decided in the last paragraph that we shouldn’t lie for selfish reasons. So I guess you should tell the truth and die.

On the other hand, going back to the weighing of greater vs. lesser sins (I keep bringing it up because it offers an interesting view), wouldn’t telling the truth in that situation be the equivalent to killing yourself? We are commanded to not lie. We are also commanded to not commit suicide, and considering suicide rates versus lying rates as well as common sense, lying is pretty much universally considered the lesser sin. So does that mean that we should lie to not commit suicide?

But then there was that point brought up a while ago: it’s not you who is killing someone. It’s the fault of whoever is threatening you. You’re not committing suicide, you’re telling the truth and they’re committing murder! Meanwhile, if you lie, you’ve sinned (for a selfish reason nonetheless). So which is more important, to sin and live or tell the truth and die? Which is ultimately the right decision? I don’t know, maybe it’s better to live on and repent than die telling the truth, or maybe it’s better to die opposing sin.

What if you were told to deny your faith or die? Denying your faith is generally considered a greater sin than merely lying, so we have to take that into consideration. Then there is also the fact that God has promised blessings in heaven to those who die in His name, so there’s always that. Perhaps this means that in this situation you should never deny your faith so that when you go to heaven you will be rewarded where it matters more. Unfortunately, even then there’s still the argument that it might be better to live on and repent. Who would have thought this would be so hard?

To conclude, this is a very complicated topic that can be carried on and on. For those who have read this far, I do actually have a solution. Even if it seems like a cop-out answer, it is the truth, at least as far as I can tell as a mere mortal: Ultimately, we must listen to the Spirit. We must ask the Lord and obey His commands. We must live our lives according to His gospel and strive to seek for, listen to, and obey His commands and advice as they are given to us through the Holy Ghost. Only then we will be prepared to make the hard decisions. Only then will we be able to answer the question of when it is okay to lie and know that we got it right. I know this, and I hope that you will too if you don’t already. Thank you for reading.

~ George