Sunday, October 26, 2008

From Cumorah's Hill

This past week, on Thursday October 23 and twice yesterday, the 25th, our stake youth performed Steven Kapp Perry's "From Cumorah's Hill." It is a wonderful and inspirational testament to the coming forth of the Book of Mormon and its message to the people of our day. Our youth had been working on this production for well over two months. Rehearsals were first held weekly at each Mutual night. As the performance dates approached, rehearsals were added on Saturdays. Then this past week they were held each night.

The performances were held at the Bountiful Regional Center of the Church (the former Valley Music Hall). Ironically, we had to hold it there because the other venues in Sandy were either booked or too expensive. The work is a mix of music and the spoken word with a little dance thrown in. The costumes were first rate and came from the official pageant properties of the Church in Salt Lake.

We were particularly proud of our Peter, who had a small solo singing part toward the end of the performance. Peter and Parry were both also in the chorus. Our nephew Chandler Paulsen also had a role and got to wear a cool costume for it.

All the local Paulsens attended one or more of the performances. Dad Riggs was also in attendance on Saturday night. We thank you all for coming! It was a very spiritual and touching event.

Click on the heading of this entry to go to a website to download the music. My favorite song from "From Cumorah's Hill" is "Great Things and Small Things." I got to sing it with our ward youth in Sacrament meeting on Sunday in a combined youth and adult choir. It was wonderful!

After having seen our youth at their best, I have a lot fewer worries about the future of our country.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Dancing with the Stars

I knew this election was getting weird, but this is ridiculous . . .

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Straight Talk on the Economic Crisis

Orson Scott Card, famous award-winning science fiction writer and Mormon, has written a very insightful and to-the-point article about the fundamental failure of our media to get the story of the economic crisis correct. I believe he is spot on. Click on the heading of this entry to link to his article.

BTW, he is a life long Democrat, lest anyone think he is writing as a Republican political hack.

Haunted Village

Continuing our Halloween theme over UEA weekend, we went to the Haunted Village up at This is the Place Heritage Park last Saturday night. It was very well done! It was so scary that while we started with Erik and Lenice and their family, after just the first encounter Ellie and all the Paulsens except Lenice and Chandler left and went home with Erik - it was just too intense for them.

The whole thing is like an outdoor spook alley. You start at Brigham Young's home then wander on marked trails through stands of trees and cornfields and through most of the pioneer-era buidings. It takes about 45 minutes to walk through it all. In every venue there is a very scary character who says strange and scary things and/or jumps out at you or approaches you on the trail. Most of the characters wore the obligatory white death-like makeup and played like they were dead or zombies or something like it. At one point we got some comic relief from a character dressed up to look like and who talked like Beetlejuice, from the movie of the same name. Other comic relief came from Parry, who carried on a running commentary throughout, mainly to keep himself from being too scared, kind of like whistling in a graveyard. It may have helped some get through it but it was mostly annoying.

Anyway, we highly recommend it to anyone who likes being scared. Be warned: there is no blood or gore but a lot of startling jumping out by scary looking characters. Not for anyone under 12.

Friday, October 17, 2008


The family attended a great little dinner / musical theater event last night called "Witch-a-Palooza" at the Gardner Village in Midvale. What a treat! The entertainment was a great little band of witches and warlocks, including my good friend and Sterling Singers leader, Kelly DeHaan, on piano, Merrilee Webb on keyboards, and Clive Romney (of Enoch Train) on guitar. The plot (such as it is) involves a lovelorn warlock (played by Kelly) reliving in flashback mode all his prior loves. The time travel journey features music from prior decades: the 60's all the way through today. There are a lot of witches who wander through the audience getting patrons to get up and dance. Trish and Ellie both actively participated in this part of the fun while the menfolk stayed seated at the table. It was all a lot of fun. I would recommend it to anyone.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Slippery Slope of Gay "Marriage"

In the efforts of the LDS Church to fight for passage of Proposition 8 in California I note a greater sense of urgency than just taking a political stand. As soon as we begin to allow the government to define a religious ordinance (such as marriage), then we are on a slippery slope to allowing the government to continue to place restrictions on other ordinances and practices. Before you know it, the tax exempt status of the LDS Church will be forfeit the first time an LDS bishop refuses to perform a gay marriage.

Remember, marriage was a religious ritual long before it was subject to state licensure. If we allow marriage to be nothing more significant than a license to sell real estate, then we are not far from having the government tell us what we can and cannot do within the walls of our own chapels, what we can and cannot teach in Sunday School, and what marriages we can and cannot perform within the walls of our temples.

Think about that.

Some great thoughts on the matter were posted by my nephew, Clayton Hess, on his blog yesterday, here:

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Ruby & Annie's Halloween

We are coming up on Ruby and Annie's first Halloween where they will understand candy, even if they don't know the reason for dress up. JP and Peter found these fun lion costumes for the girls at the Deseret Industries(!)

Thursday, October 9, 2008

General Conference w/ the Riggses and Hesses

What a wonderful conference we just had!

We got tickets to attend the Saturday morning session at the Conference Center and just as we were walking in I heard a voice yell, "Robin!" I turned and it was Jayson Hess with his lovely wife Celeste, sitting there with Zachary Hess, a couple of rows away from our seats. We chatted a while and then invited Zach to attend the priesthood session with Robin and his Riggs nephews, Micah and Matthew, that night down in Utah County. He agreed.

Conference started off with a bang, of course, when President Monson announced five new temples! The crowd "ooohed" when he announced the one for Rome (I am not sure why). I was more interested in the one slated for Kansas City, which is Clay County, Jackson County, Liberty, and Independence, Missouri. I was also pleased to hear about the one in Philly. I am convinced that the growth of the Chucrh is really going to get moving again in the big eastern cities and in Europe. The Lord has said many times that gathering occurs in stages. For example, the British Isles in the early days of the Church provided the foundational populations for the growth of the Church, followed by more immigrants from Europe. After a few generations of strengthening those peoples, then came the Latin American nations. After that, Africa. Then I think we will see Asia, and then a second round of growth in Europe.

The rest of the Saturday conference talks were magnificent. Elder Perry's reference to Thoreau and Walden Pond were a perfect way to emphasize the importance of simplifying our lives. Being a ward mission leader I was particularly thrilled by Sister Allred's emphasis on missionary work. I loved Elder Andersen's talk about knowdelge and whether it "is enough." Elder Oaks was superb, as usual, in his discussion about the Sacrament. That afternoon we vowed to follow Elder Wirthlin's counsel and fill our lives with more laughter. Elder Bednar's talk on prayer was hugely insightful. I also loved President Uchtdorf's remarks on hope and then on service at the priesthood session ("lift where you stand").

After priesthood we gathered at Micah and Amanda's for ice cream and then took Zach back to Jayson's apartment, where he was stayig the rest of the weekend.

Sunday's conference was every bit as good as Saturday's. We especially enjoyed President Eyring, Elder Ballard, Sister Dalton, Elder Nelson, President Packer, Brother Oswald, and Elder Cook.

It was a great conference weekend.

Blind Faith

Obama asks the nation to take on faith that he will somehow become something completely different than the machine pol he has been throughout his brief political career. Meanwhile, he also asks voters to take on faith that John McCain will somehow become a carbon copy of George Bush despite a decades-long history of fighting wasteful spending. He wants Americans to take on faith that he has the superior judgment to solve our financial crisis, to lead us in time of war. At the same time, he asks them to forget that some of the same people who drove Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae into the ground were advising him on his campaign and that John McCain got the surge right and he got it completely wrong.

You decide.