K.C. and Michelle Woolf

Family blog

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Mexico Trip

Whitney and her friend.

A note reporting on our vacation to the Yukatan last week. We arrived in Cancun on Thursday, March 20th and spent one night at the Fiesta Americana Resort. Then we drove down to our rental house and bed and breakfast at Bahia Solomon just north of Tulum, Mexico where we stayed for the rest of the week. We had fun snorkeling, kayaking, and mostly just relaxing and taking walks on the Beach. We went to church at a small branch in Tulum on Easter Sunday. Michelle played the organ and Whitney made some Mexican friends at Primary. We visited the ruins at Tulum , Coba and Chitchen Itza. We ate some great food, met some great people and bought some great crap. None of us got diarrhea or a bad sunburn. It was a good trip and I hope we get to go back someday.

We highly recommend the Dolce Vita bed and breakfast. It is right on a secluded beach over looking Solomon Bay. We felt like we were vacationing on Gilligan's Island. It is also very reasonably priced for the area. (The people renting the house next door were paying $10,000 a week. Believe me, we payed much, much less.) Be sure to book far in advance because they fill up quickly. By the way, Dane was the only one who took advantage of Dolce Vita's "clothing optional" feature.

Our next vacation will be to Oceanside, California in July.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Book of Mormon Lesson 11

Book of Mormon Lesson 11
“Press Forward with a Steadfastness in Christ”

I. Introduction.
A. Today we will be finishing 2nd Nephi. These are the last words that Nephi writes for his posterity and to us. If you knew that you were writing you last words and that they would be read by you children and posterity and by millions of people, what would you talk about? I thought it was interesting what Nephi chose to write about. He basically goes back to the first principles and ordinances of the Gospel: Faith in Jesus Christ, Repentance, Baptism and the Gift of the Holy Ghost.
B. Last week I had one of my patients come in to see me in the IC. About 6 months ago this gentleman’s wife brought him in for a physical. He hadn’t been to a doctor for 30 years, and he was proud of that. He seemed to think that not seeing a doctor meant he was healthy. Well, I did some tests on him, and he had diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and emphysema. He smoked 1 ½ packs a day. When I presented him with this information he was incredulous. He just did not believe a word I said. He thought I was making the whole thing up to try to get money out of him. But I finally convinced him, showing him his blood sugar, BP readings, cholesterol readings and pulmonary function tests, that he needed to take medications for these conditions. But he wasn’t happy about it. Last week he came to the IC (once again forced there by his wife) with SOB. His oxygen level was 83%, he had changes on his EKG like he might be having a heart attack. I called the ER and called 911 and got the patient, almost kicking and screaming, into the ambulance. A few hours later the ER physician called me and told me that he had ruled him out for MI (heart attack) but that he wanted to admit him for the lung disease ext, but the patient completely refused. He got him set up with some O2 at home, started him on some steroids and told him to f/u with me in 2-3 days. The next day his wife called in tears. Her husband wouldn’t use the O2, wouldn’t take the medications he was prescribed and was huffing and puffing again. I got him on the phone and he got really mad at me, claiming that all his medical problems were because I was stressing him out and that he refused to see me anymore. I told him that if he didn’t want to see me anymore, to please see someone soon, and that his medical problems were real. He hung up on me. This was a frustrating experience for me. This gentleman will probably die in the next year because of his stubbornness. I can see the same feelings of frustration in Nephi’s last words to his people, trying to convince them about the “straight and narrow path.”

II. Nephi speaks in plainess.
A. Read 2 Nephi 31:1-3. What does Nephi mean here in vs 3, that “his soul delighteth in plainness”. Remember, he has just gone through a bunch of chapters of Isaiah, which was not very plain. What is plain to Nephi is not necessarily plain to his audience. Why is this?
B. Read 2 Nephi 32:4-5. (I think I am going to use this as an excuse whenever something in class isn’t clear - it’s your fault for not having the spirit.) It is by the Holy Ghost that things will be made plain to us.
C. Read 2 Nephi 32:8-9. It is by prayer that we receive understanding of the scriptures and the gospel.

III. Baptism.
A. Read 2 Nephi 31:4-7. Why was Jesus need to be baptized?
1. To fulfill all righteousness
2. To humble Himself before the Father.
3. To show complete obedience to the Father.
4. Read 2 Nephi 31:8 - Did Christ himself need to be baptized in order to receive the gift of the Holy Ghost?
5. Read 2 Nephi 31:9 - To set and example for us.
B. We usually think the reason for baptism is for the remission of sins. Apparently this is not the only reason, since Christ, who was without sin, also needed to be baptized.
1. What other purposes are there for being baptized? It says in this chapter that it is necessary for our salvation. It is more than just some aquatic ritual (which reminds me of the Holy Grail: “Listen, strange women lyin’ in pounds distributin’ swords is no basis for a system of government. Supreme executive power derives from a mandate from the masses, not from some farcical aquatic ceremony.”)
2. Read 2 Nephi 31:13. A few reasons to be baptized.
a. to witness you are willing to take upon you the name of Christ. What does that mean? Some have asked us, if you think that all the other Christian churches are wrong, and they don’t want to call Mormon’s Christians, why do you insist that you are Christians. Because we are taking upon us the name of Christ.
b. the beautiful imagery of “following your Lord and your Savior down into the water.” Shows we are willing to follow him.
c. To receive the Holy Ghost.
C. Read 2 Nephi 31:14. Speaking with the tongue of Angels. What does this mean?
1. Angel was a messenger. Once we have been baptized and received the Holy Ghost, we are messengers of the Gospel.
2. Read 2 Nephi 33:1.

IV. Straight and Narrow Path.
A. Read 2 Nephi 31:17-21.
1. He is talking about this gait, and straight and narrow path in regards to baptism. Some people have criticized the church for requiring converts to be re-baptized when they join our church. They also think that us doing baptism for the dead is arrogant. But it is because of these scriptures. There is only one way to God, by baptism by those who have the authority.
B. In an article in the Daily Herald of Provo, Utah, on Feb 8, 2003, Richard N. Ostling reviewed the newest edition of the encyclopedia of American Religion y J. Gordon Melton. There are 2,630 US and Canadian Churches and faith groups described in the edition. In his article, Ostling observes: “There’s a denomination for practically everyone. If the Episcopal church won’t do, worshipers can move leftward into the Metaphysical Episcopal Church or Free Episcopal Church, or rightward into dozens of breakaways like the Anglican Mission in America. Does Unitarianism seem too conventional? The denomination offers a subgroup of Unitarian Universalist Pagans. Moving further from the mainstream, there’s always the Church of God Anonymous, the Nudist Christian Church of the Blessed Virgin Jesus or the Only Fair Religion.”
1. I don’t quote this article to make light of other’s faiths, but to make a point that this does not sound like “one gate” or a “straight and narrow path.”

V. Feasting upon the Word of Christ.
A. In 2 Nephi 32:20 it says we should, “feast upon the word of Christ.” What does this mean?
1. A few years ago when Gordon B. Hinkley challenged the church to read the whole Book of Mormon in a year, I did it. But I have to admit that I did not “feast upon” the Book of Mormon. I read it to get through it, and didn’t get much out of it. In fact, I was a little disappointed in my experience. I was not even really looking forward to teaching the BoM this year. But as I have read it this year, planning on teaching it, it has forced me to ponder and pray about what I have read, and read it over and over again. I have feasted on BoM and my experience has been completely different from when I was just trying to follow the letter of the law so I could say that I was following the prophet.

VI. “I pray continually for them by day, and mine eyes water my pillow by night.”
A. Read 2 Nephi 33:3.
B. Read 2 Nephi 32:7
C. Hugh Nibley once said that the Book of Mormon was written by a bunch of worried men. I’d never thought of that before, but these scriptures exemplify that well. What was Nephi worried about? Why did he cry at night?
D. A few things these verses got me thinking about. First, that I don’t worry about you guys as much as Nephi worried about the people he was teaching. I don’t cry at night worrying that you didn’t understand what I was talking about. Second, being righteous and obedient (like Nephi) does not necessarily guarantee us peace or happiness in this life.
E. This last week I had a friendly but heated exchange on an LDS website with some people. The topic on the blog was the recent study that allegedly showed Utah to be the “most depressed state” in the Union. The people were talking about what is it about Mormonism that makes us so depressed and what the Church should do about it. I spent the time to actually look at the studies. One was the study that showed that Utah was #1 in anti-depressant prescriptions, which I dismissed right away. You can’t tell how depressed a community is by how may prescriptions for anti-depressants the doctors there write. The second study looked at 4 different measures of depression - number adolescents who reported a major depressive episode in the last year, number of adults who had a major depressive episode in the last year, number of adults with a diagnosis of a serious mental illness in the last year and number of days missed from work. Utah was actually number one only in number of adults with a major depressive episode. So I looked at those numbers - Utah had 10% and the national average was 8%. I argued that in a state that is now less than 70% LDS, and where the activity rate is now about 50%, to argue that the extra 2% is all because Utah is full of Mormons was kind of ridiculous. I could just as easily argue that the extra 2% came from non-Mormons who were depressed because they had to live around Mormons or Jack-Mormons who were depressed because they had to drink watered down Utah beer. But then someone came back and said, “well why isn’t Utah the least depressed state then.” I said, I have no idea, but this study didn’t address that. But just for the sake of argument, lets say that extra 2% depression rate in Utah is all from active Mormons. Does that hurt your testimony? Then I started thinking, is there anywhere in the scriptures where it says that you are guaranteed happiness if you follow the gospel. I looked under happiness in the topical guide, and almost every scripture talked about happiness in the next life. Like Malcom X, they are talking about “pie in the sky.” (Quoting Monty Python and Malcom X in one lesson might get me fired.) We often quote the scripture Alma 41:10 that says “wickedness never was happiness”, but it does not say the converse is also true “righteousness is always happiness.” Although we say wickedness never was happiness, there are a lot of obviously wicked people out there who are putting on a pretty good act of being happy. Also, this scripture actually is talking about the resurrection. So I got to thinking about the prophets in the scriptures. Very few of them had really happy lives. Moses didn’t. Noah watched almost everyone he knew die. We see here that Nephi had a hard life and was stressed out. Joseph Smith had a very difficult life. President Kimball and Gordon B. Hinkley were pretty happy I think. Does having or living the gospel guarantee us perpetual bliss? I would say that I know having the gospel has protected me from some things that could have made my life much more miserable (drugs, alcohol, promiscuous sex ext). But the righteous have trials also. Knowing what we know may even make us a bit more somber. (Am I bumming anyone out here.) But ultimately we also know that the only true, lasting happiness come through the atonement of Jesus Christ.

VII. Conclusion
A. I testify that the narrow gait and the straight path that leads to Eternal Life with our Heavenly Father is Faith in Jesus Christ, Repentance of our sins, Baptism by one who has the authority, the Gift of the Holy Ghost and enduring to the end.




Saturday, March 8, 2008

Poop report

Update 5/4/08: Yet another good Poop Report. This one from my brother Dallas. A Rocky Breakfast

Update 4/30/08: Here's a new Poop Report. Try to guess who Kenny is based on.

My Friend Kenny

Enough of these spiritual gospel doctrine lesson posts. Here's Michelle's story, originally posted on the Poop Report in 2006.


While many of you may have some very memorable poop stories, I had a poop experience that directly affected the entire course of my life and my choice of professions.
In 1998 I had decided to pursue a career in nursing. But before I invested too much time and money in nursing school, my aunt, who is a nurse, suggested I work as a certified nurse's assistant for a while to see if I really had the stomach for medicine. So I got my C.N.A. license and found a job at a community hospital near my home. It didn't pay much, and I had to do all the thankless jobs even nurses wouldn't do. But I didn't complain.

After I had been at the job for about a year, I started applying to nursing school. Little did I know, when I showed up to work that cold morning in February of 2000, that I was about to have a close encounter with caca that would change my life forever.

If you ask anyone who works in the medical field what type of patient they most hate to take care of, I'd bet ninety percent of them would say the morbidly obese, barely-mobile patient. These patients are particularly hard on C.N.A.'s because we have to get them out of bed and up to the shower, and change their sheets, and turn them frequently so they don't get bedsores. I was assigned one of these patients that fateful day. She was a sixty-six-year-old female weighing around 450 pounds, admitted with diabetes and an infection in her leg. Walking into her room, I was overwhelmed with the aroma of mildew and what smelled like rotting food.

During her first sponge bath I found out where the smell was coming from. This woman had folds of fat on her stomach into which I could -- and did -- stick my entire arm. With the help of another C.N.A. I was able to lift these folds to clean out goop she probably hadn't been able to get to in years. Hidden within her flesh we found mold, potato chips, a small remote control, and an entire piece of American cheese. So I was already pretty grossed out by this patient. But then the doctor called to tell us the patient had not had a bowel movement in over a week, and that we were to give her a Golytly bowel prep.

Golytly -- ironically pronounced "go lightly" -- is a bottle of clear liquid we give to patients to completely clean out their colon, usually before a colonoscopy. Within an hour of drinking it most people will be cemented to the toilet seat, losing every ounce of excrement in their body until only crystal clear water trickles from their butthole like a pure mountain stream. I wasn't excited about giving it to this patient because I was worried about getting her up and into the bathroom in time for the fireworks. But to my surprise, after I had her drink the entire bottle and waited two hours, nothing happened. We gave her another bottle an hour later; but by the end of my shift still nothing had come out.

The next day I found out the night shift had given her yet another bottle of Golytly and one brave nurse had even reached in to give her a Fleet enema. A few flecks of feces came out with the enema, but no real bowel movement. They finally gave up.

I was again assigned to take care of her that day. Again I needed my friend's help to clean her. My friend was pulling from her anterior while I was pushing from the back to get her over on her side so I could clean her back and change her sheets. Suddenly we felt and heard a foreboding rumbling. I instinctively stepped back about two feet from the patient. What happened next was so sudden it took me several minutes to comprehend. I first noticed being hit -- with great force -- with something warm and wet. I slowly opened my eyes and looked down at my body -- now covered with brown butt paste. I stood like a virtual poop monster, my front half frosted with waste like a chocolate cake. I felt it dripping from my hair onto my face. I dared not open my mouth to scream for fear of ingesting some of it. I looked up at my friend, safe on the other side of the patient but still looking horrified. She let go of the patient with a flop and ran to the sink to throw up. I then turned around and looked at the wall. It was at least four feet from the patient, but was almost entirely spray-painted with poo.

There was a white patch where I had blocked the projectile; and if you squinted your eyes you could see my silhouetted figure stenciled there on the wall.

People rushed in to see what had happened -- I later learned that people two rooms down had heard the explosion. The nurse I was working with was sympathetic, but not enough to let me go home and recover. She did let me take a shower and got me some clean scrubs to wear. But then I had to go back to the scene of the crime to help clean it up.

Needless to say, any dream of going to nursing school ended that day. I continued to work as a C.N.A. to pay the bills, and I stayed at the hospital long enough to meet my future husband, a resident physician at the time. I am now a very successful doctor's wife and I've never regretted abandoning nursing.

There is one benefit from this whole experience. Whenever my husband comes home and complains about what a long, hard, stressful day he has had, I can always say, "Oh yeah! Did anyone spray your entire body with human excrement today? I didn't think so. Now shut up and do the dishes."

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Book of Mormon Lesson 9

Book of Mormon Lesson 9
My Soul Delighteth in the Words of Isaiah
I. Introduction
A. When reading the Book of Mormon for the first time, most of us have no trouble getting through 1st Nephi. It is in narrative form with a small cast of characters, with good guys and bad guys ext. But somewhere in the middle of 2nd Nephi many of us hit a wall and suddenly lose interest in reading the book straight through. That wall is the Isaiah chapters. And we are going to try to get through all of these chapters today.
B. Bruce R. McConkie said? "It just may be that my salvation (and yours also!) Does in fact depend upon our ability to understand the writings of Isaiah as fully and truly as Nephi understood them." If that is true, then I am in trouble.
C. Isaiah is probably quoted more in the scriptures than any other Old Testament prophet.
1. BoM quotes 433 verses of Isaiah - 32%. Another 3% are paraphrased.
2. New Testament quotes Isaiah 57 times
3. D&C quotes or paraphrases Isaiah about 100 times.
D. If we believe that the Isaiah quoted in the BoM were actually taken word for word from the Brass plates in 600 BC, then the BoM is the earliest (most accurate) reading of Isaiah we have. (Dead Sea Scrolls from about 200 BC).
1. Of the 433 vs quoted 199 are word for word from the King James Version of the Bible. How do we account for the striking similarities in nearly half of the verses and differences in the others?
2. Daniel Ludlow says: "There appears to be only one answer to explain the word-for-word similarities between the verses of Isaiah in the Bible and the same verses in the Book of Mormon. When Joseph Smith translated the Isaiah references from the small plates of Nephi, he evidently opened his King James Version of the Bible and compared the impressions he received in translating with the words of the King James scholars. If his translation was essentially the same as that of the King James Version, he apparently quoted the verse from the Bible; then his scribe, Oliver Cowdery, copied it down. However, if Joseph Smith’s translation did not agree precisely with that of the King James scholars, he would dictate his own translation to the scribe. This procedure in translation would account for both the 234 verses of Isaiah that were changed or modified by the Prophet Joseph and the 199 verses that were translated word-for-word the same. Although some critics might question this procedure of translation, scholars today frequently use this same procedure in translating the biblical manuscripts among the Dead Sea Scrolls,"
3. When I was on my mission I actually read each verse of the Isaiah chapters in 2nd Nephi and compared them to the corresponding chapters in the King James Bible. I remember I was impressed with how much clearer things were in the BoM. I also remember that there was one part of Isaiah that was a chiasmus but that the chiasmus was more perfect in the BoM. I wish I’d taken notes when I did this, because I can’t remember where this was or what specifically was clearer, and I’m sure I will never go through that exercise again.
II. Why did Nephi quote Isaiah?
A. Read 1 Nephi 19:23. That is a good reason for Nephi to quote Isaiah. It is also good advice for us regarding the scriptures in general.
B. Read 2 Nephi 2-5. What reasons does Nephi give here for writing Isaiah?
1. He once again says that he will "liken his words unto my people"
2. Because Isaiah testifies of Christ.
C. Do we delight in the words of Isaiah? Why not.
1. Can take conciliation in the fact that even the Nephites had trouble understanding the words of Isaiah. 2 Nephi 25:1 - For behold, Isaiah spake many things which were hard for many of my people to understand; for they know not concerning the manner of prophesying among the Jews."
III. Isaiah prophesies of the Temple and "Zion".
A. Read 2 Nephi 12:2-3. What is Isaiah talking about here? The temple. Zion.
B. LeGrand Richards: "You just take this temple standing here on this block. Isaiah and Micah were both permitted to look down through the stream of time (3,000 years) to the latter days, and they named the latter days when the mountain of the Lord’s house would be established in the top of te mountains and all nations would flow unto it; and they would say, ‘Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths....’ As far as I know there is no building in the history of this world that has gathered people from all nations like this temple, and many of you who are here today are no doubt descendants of some of those who have been gathered to this land."
C. Harold B Lee: "With the coming of the pioneers to establish the beginning of the Church in the tops of the mountains, our early leaders declared this to be the beginning of the fulfillment of that prophecy. Orson Pratt, one of the members of the Twelve, delivered an oration on that occasion, in which he declared that this was the beginning of the fulfillment of the prophecy that out of Zion should go forth the law and the word of the Lord out of Jerusalem.
(2 Nephi 14:1 - "And in that day, seven women shall take hold of one man, saying: We will eat our own bread, and wear our own apparel; only let us be called by they name to take away our reproach." That always sounded appealing to me when I was single.)
IV. Call evil good and good evil
A. Read 2 Nephi 15:20-23 "Wo unto them that call evil good, and good evil, that put darkness for light, and light for darkness, that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter.
1. In what ways do people today call "evil good and good evil"?
a. Sexual morality as "intolerant" or "closed minded."
b. The traditional family as "backward."
c. Terrorism - suicide and murder for God.
2. Who are the "wise in their own eyes and prudent in their own sight"?
a. The anti-Mormon, anti-religion intellectuals and academics.
3. Who "Justifies the wicked for reward"?
a. Politicians.
V. Isaiah’s call to the ministry
A. Read 2 Nephi 16:1-8
1. Isaiah’s calling as a prophet. A vision.
2. What did Isaiah mean "I am a man of unclean lips?" What was the meaning of the angel laying a live coal on his mouth? His words were sanctified
VI. Isaiah speaks Messianically
A. Read 2 Nephi 17:14
B. Read 2 Nephi 19:6
C. Also 2 Nephi 19:4. If we believe that Isaiah is speaking Messianically, what does this verse mean.
D. Isaiah 21:1-4. What is the "rod out of the stem of Jesse"?
2. Read D&C 113:1-6
V. Exaltation of the Wicked.
A. 2 Nephi 24:12-16.
B. This is talking about Lucifer. In what ways did Lucifer literally try to exalt himself?
C. In what ways do we (the world) exalt Lucifer.
VI. Nephi then gives his momentary on Isaiah - it testifies of Christ.
A. Read 2 Nephi 25:20.
1. Why does Nephi remind the people of the bronzen serpent and the water coming out of the rock and then says "there is no other name given under heaven save it be this Jesus Christ, of which I have spoken, whereby many can be saved."?
a. the serpent represents Jesus (on the cross). Looking to him with faith brings salvation.
b. The water out of the Rock represents Jesus as the Living Water.
B. Read 2 Nephi 25:23.
1. What is the reason Nephi is writing? What is the purpose of the Book of Mormon?
C. Read 2 Nephi 25:26. "And we talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophesy of Christ, and we write according to our prophecies, that our children may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins."
1. I am happy to conclude with this verse. All the prophets from the beginning talked of Christ. That is really the only important message they give to us. I testify the Isaiah prophesied and taught of Christ. I testify that the Book of Mormon testifies of Christ.
1. Bill Beardall - http://beardall2000.com/bm/bom09.html
2. Gordon Smith - http://www.timesandseasons.org/?p=451