Thursday, August 26, 2010

Stars and planets in perfect order

Years ago I met a retired nuclear physicist. We became friends. Although he has since passed on, I still remember how he explained singularity as "a time just before the beginning of the big bang when the universe was compressed into an infinitely high density and an infinitely small space."

In other words, he said: "in the beginning there was a singularity."

I'm still trying to reconcile that with: "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth."

Today, I thought I'd try. Here is a very short story.

As he lit the fuse and ran, he thought, "Never has so much depended on so little." Then fourteen BILLION years later, a prophet named Alma wrote:

"All things denote there is a God; yea, even the earth, and all things that are upon the face of it, yea, and its motion, yea, and also all the planets which move in their regular form do witness that there is a Supreme Creator" (Alma 30:44).

This year all adult Mormons are studying the manual originally written for new Mormons and investigators. It says:

"We can look up at the sky at night and have an idea of what Alma meant. There are millions of stars and planets, all in perfect order. They did not get there by chance."

Perhaps God packed that singularity using immeasurable care, incalculable planning, and incredible foresight. Or maybe Elder Russell M. Nelson was right when he said:

"To me, such theories are unbelievable!"

(read more...)

Sunday, August 08, 2010

Immigration: It's about what?

Today's Deseret News features an editorial by Mark H. Willes, president and CEO of Deseret Media Companies and former publisher of the Los Angeles Times. It is a thoughtful essay about the problem of illegal immigration. The title of the article is embedded in a large graphic.


Two thirds of the width and three fourths of the height of today's Deseret News front page was reserved for this editorial. The above graphic uses half of that front page space.

The dominant feature of the graphic is the Statue of Liberty, not even mentioned in the editorial. Nor does the editorial mention the poem by Emma Lazarus which is excerpted at the top of the graphic. The editorial doesn't even talk about the process, symbolized by the statue and poem, by which millions of immigrants, including my grandparents, became citizens of the United States. What the editorial does discuss has nothing to do with the statue or the poem. The graphic is out of place.

When visitors come to our home, they ring our doorbell. Two families (at different times) have been invited in to find refuge in our home for eight and seven months respectively. Five other individuals have also been invited in to stay with us for periods of from three to eighteen months. In every case, these people came in by invitation through the door. Yet we clearly had the right, at any time during their stay, to ask any of these guests to leave.

Now suppose one or more individuals climbs over our back fence without permission and takes up residence in our garage? Would we not have the right to ask these uninvited trespassers to leave? Of course we would.

The Statue of Liberty and the poem by Emma Lazarus both invite legal entry through the front door, not illegal entry over the back fence. The above graphic quotes four of the last five lines of the poem. The ommitted last line is why I feel the graphic is a mismatch for the editorial. The last line says:

"I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"

(read more...)