Thursday, January 23, 2014

Masters Thesis

I met with an incredibly pleasant man today. Let's call him "Bill". I had spoken to him over the phone a few times while working at the library, and he came in today to pick up some printing that we did for him.

The print job was Bill's Master's Thesis - published in 1971 - where he had lost the original. BYU had recently digitized his thesis and sent him a letter informing him of that fact. He called me to ask how to find it online, and then asked if we could print it out for him.

I was so happy to do so.

I am going to link to his Thesis here:

"A comparative study of the relative levels of physical fitness of male L.D.S. missionaries who are commencing and those just concluding their missionary service"

Apparently he worked with Ezra Taft Benson on the project as President Benson was a member of the twelve at that time, and he needed his permission to do research on missionaries.

Apparently this thesis came about as Bill had two sons in the mission field. One of them had a mission president who didn't want the missionaries to "waste" time by exercising. Bill decided that he would test the missionaries going out, and the ones coming home and determine if missions were hurting missionary health.

His results are the reason why missionaries now have mandatory exercise time! How cool is that?

He was a bright and friendly man, who walked in pushing a wheeled-walker. He thanked me for my help, and told me that I seemed to know a lot about the library. I told him that I tried hard to learn about the library, and that learning is a lifelong pursuit. I pray that I will be together as him in my old age. He really was such a sweet man.

My boss gave me a binder to put the print job in, and we made it look very nice. I had it waiting for Bill when he walked in.

Read his Thesis if you would like. 



Also, not all old people are mean or losing it. It is really nice to see that from time to time.

God bless you all.

-Sheff

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Satan's Plan

Let me tell you all a personal story.

When I was on my mission in Taiwan, I had two zone leaders who were not obedient. One was known for disobedience, the other was not. The one known for disobedience had helped many people join the church through the saving ordinance of baptism. I thought that he was the coolest. I was young, inexperienced, and I only knew failure. I saw his success and his happiness in stark contrast to what I had earlier known. 

Then, the Assistants called around on a "witch hunt" trying to find out his disobedience.
They asked me if I knew anything.
I lied.
I said "no."

I didn't want them to hurt my friend. The assistants were foreign figures to me, my friend was not. He worked hard, but he didn't follow all of the rules. I didn't get it.

Well, I focused on that memory and found myself resenting mission leadership. I did it so much that I wrote my mission president a letter saying that my Zone Leader belonged in a cubicle in a dead-end job somewhere, or in a Dilbert comic strip.
My president called me after that one.

What I -THANKFULLY - later realized while on the mission, was that my emphasis on hate wasn't righteous indignation, it was a ploy by Satan to keep me from having all of the Love, Charity, and Happiness available to me.

Why do I bring this up?
Let me explain.


Recently, I found myself involved in a discussion about the honor code.
As the sexy librarian that I am, I decided to research some of the wild claims that were being made. I ended up reading previous versions of the Honor Code that were kept in Special Collections. It was nothing new or shocking.

Then I found a Thesis called "Brother Brigham's New Shave: Folklore of the Brigham Young University Honor Code".
I checked it out and began to read it.

It was a thesis submitted for University Honors, so it wasn't saying anything. There were no statements or an overall thesis, it was just a collection of Folklore.

And there was a reoccurring theme here. These stories were never first-hand accounts, they were hearsay, and those who bought into the idea of a "cruel" and "judgmental" BYU were all worse off.

To quote one of the authors: 
( and I am going to add the emphasis here)
"It really hurt her, I think, being judged by her hair, which she didn't consider extreme. And it really hurt me. I was disillusioned right away here at BYU. With Christianity, with what are we really about here, what is the Honor Code's purpose. I didn't think it was about how long or short your hair was, I thought it was about being honest and -Christlike attributes. And I quickly learned that there is more to it than that here at BYU. [quietly] I don't agree. [normal} But I understand it. But it upset me. It made me want to leave. But I didn't. And that wasn't my hardest semester, that was my easiest year."

She was on the outside looking in, and it seems as if she took it harder than the girl in question. She THINKS that it hurt the girl, but it did hurt her. It turned what should have been a great and easy year of college into one where she was hurt, upset, wanting to leave, and disillusioned. All over a story where she didn't fully know the details.

If we let anger and other things get caught in our hearts, then WE have lost the purpose of BYU, and of Christianity. She is talking about Christlike attributes, and yet here she is harboring these bad feelings. I am imperfect - this I know - but this book of Folklore really makes you reexamine the honor code and your feelings towards it. You can be embittered, and become more so from this "supposedly" true stories, or you can see the good the code does, and realize that it - just as all institutions on this earth - has flaws.

please people, to quote Weezer "let it go, the damage in your heart"


Just as with all grudges, they eat you alive and never hurt the honor code. If you want something to change, then put forth your energy and efforts into doing something constructive.

C.S. Lewis got it right:
“If you don’t forgive, you will not be forgiven.  No part of [Jesus’] teaching is clearer, and there are no exceptions to it.  He doesn’t say that we are to forgive other people’s sins provided they are not too frightful, or provided there are extenuating circumstances, or anything of that sort.  We are to forgive them all, however spiteful, however mean, however often they are repeated.  If we don’t, we shall be forgiven none of our own … To be a Christian means to forgive the inexcusable, because God has forgiven the inexcusable in you.  This is hard.  It is perhaps not so hard to forgive a single injury.  But to forgive the incessant provocations of daily life – to keep on forgiving the bossy mother-in-law, the bullying husband, the nagging wife, the selfish daughter, the deceitful son … how can we do it?  Only, I think, by remembering where we stand, by meaning our word when we say in our prayers each night: ‘Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.’  We are offered forgiveness on no other terms.  To refuse it means to refuse God’s mercy for ourselves. There is no hint of exceptions – and God means what He says.”

Update#1
In the end, I think that people are so sensitive and passionate about the honor code due to the universal sin of PRIDE! The Honor Code is about US! When someone questions if we have been breaking it, we think "They are attacking ME! ME! How dare they!" Seriously, it is our pride. I figured it all out.

Update#2
Okay, the more that I read, the less sad it makes me and the more I realize how hilarious these stories are. Okay, this book is worth a read in how amazing ridiculous these stories are! HILARIOUS! I just read one about how a prostitute was caught because she was paying tithing on her dirty money. The bishop - at tithing settlement - then decided to tell her that she had no way of making so much money (because bishops do that, and prostitutes pay tithing on that money) and it all came out. I couldn't stop laughing.