K.C. and Michelle Woolf

Family blog

Sunday, March 29, 2009

My Daughter the Democrat

My Daughter the Democrat

Last month I took my 5 year old daughter with me to get my truck serviced. It was a Saturday so it was busy. We sat in a large room with about a dozen people while we waited for my car to be done. ESPN was on the TV and I was too timid get up and change it to the Disney Channel for Whitney, so she got board quickly. She picked up a magazine she thought was going to be a picture book because it had a cartoon on the cover, but it ended up being a Newsweek with a goofy cartoon of Obama on the cover. (I think it was this one.) “Look Daddy,” she said loudly, “it’s a cuckoo man!”

There are a couple things you need to know before I go on. First, we don’t have a television in our house and we don’t discuss current events for family home evening, so as far as I know this was probably the first time Whitney ever talked about or heard anyone talk about Barack Obama. Secondly, she is in the pre-operational stage of development, so she still more or less sees the world in black and white - everyone is either all good or all bad. So when she pointed at the picture of President Obama and asked me “Is he a good guy or a bad guy,” I tried to phrase my answer carefully (especially considering I was in a public place and in mixed company).

I told her, “Well, mommy and daddy don’t really like him, but there are a lot of people who do.”

“Why don’t you guys like him?” she asked.

I knew it was would be impossible for me to explain the difference between the Keynesian economics and Friedman economics, so I just said, “Well, he wants to take more of Daddy’s money.”

“He wants to steal from you?”

“Well, kind of. I guess he wants to legally steal from me, yeah. He’s also very pro-abortion.”

“What’s ‘pro-abortion?’”

“Well, he thinks it’s OK for people to kill babies when they’re still in their mommies’ tummies.”

She gasped and actually made a scene by starting to cry. “Is he going to try to kill a baby in Mommy’s tummy?” she sobbed. I gave her a hug and tried to reassure her. I even tried to explain to her the controversies about when human life begins and the relative value of human life vs. the women’s reproductive rights, but I don’t think she really got it. When we got home she told my wife, “Mommy, the Cuckoo Man is going to try to kill the babies in the mommies’ tummies.”

For the last month, whenever Whitney sees Obama in the newspaper or on TV (at grandma’s house) she runs and hides. Also, when she plays super heros (she’s Icy Girl) she freezes and beats up the “Cuckoo Man”, trying to stop him from stealing from people and killing babies.

As much as I had to admire her simple understanding of complex issues, I was still a bit disconcerted. After all, I didn’t want people to think that we were brainwashing our children into hating and fearing America’s first Hawaiian president.

But this morning Whitney said something that should reassure my Obama-supporting friends, who are probably fuming at me right now. A few months ago Michelle made Whitney a sticker chart - rewarding her for the days she practiced reading, practiced dancing, cleaned her room, helped with Dane and ate her dinner. When she filled her chart after 2 weeks we took her to Chuck E. Cheese’s. I decided that if a sticker chart motivated Whitney maybe it would motivate me too. So I made a chart for myself and put stickers on it for the days I exercised, read the scriptures with the family, read a medical journal article, studied Hebrew and spent less than 45 minutes on the internet. This evening, after spending a half hour on Rosetta Stone, I’ll have my month long chart filled with stickers, and next week I'll get to take the family to Famous Dave's for dinner as a reward. Michelle made a sticker chart for herself too, but soon lost interest in counting calories, exercising ext, so she only has about 2 days worth of stickers on hers. After exercising this morning I proudly showed Whitney how full my chart was. But below it she also saw how vacant Michelle’s chart was. With sweat loyalty to her mother she said, “Daddy, it’s not fair. You should give some of your stickers to Mommy.”

And thus a Democrat was born. In the short time Reid, Pelosi and Obama have been in power they have somehow gotten their redistribution of wealth message to my daughter. She now knows that industry should be punished and lack of industry should be rewarded in the name of fairness. At the tender age of 5 she is already a collectivist and will surely have a D after her name for the rest of her life. There is hope for the future America!

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Books I Can Remember I've Read - March Update.

I read Hugh Nibley's Mormonism and Early Christianity this month. Dang, that guy was smart. Particularly interesting are his chapters on prayer circles and baptism for the dead in the early Christian church. I talked about this a bit in another posting.

I just finised Our Mutual Friend, Charles Dicken's last novel. I didn't like it as much as his other stuff. I guess his point was that artificial class distinctions make everyone unhappy.

I'm about 3/4 the way the Crime and Punishment. I wanted to start reading something lighter, so I also started The Valley of the Horses, the sequel to Clan of the Cave Bear. We'll see how that goes.


Books I Can Remember that I’ve Read (In no particular order)

I'm only counting text books if I read the entire thing.
I'm counting books that I read more than half of but stopped because I couldn't stomach it (Lolita) or hated (Moby Dick). I'm not counting books that are mostly pictures (The Cat in the Hat) although they are still some of my favorite books. I'm counting books twice if I read them in English and in Spanish. Also, I have not counted all the Bathroom Readers, mostly because I'm ashamed of how much time I spend on the pot. I've read almost all of them though.

***** - I really liked
**** - I liked
*** - OK
** - I didn’t like
* - It sucked.

1. The Great Gatsby - F. Scott Fitzgerald****
2. A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man - James Joyce**
3. Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen****
4. Walden - Henry David Thoreau**
5. Claudius the God - Robert Graves*****
6. One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez***
7. A Clockwork Orange - Anthony Burgess****
8. As I Lay Dying -William Faulkner***
9. Animal Farm - George Orwell****
10. The Book of Mormon - Written by the Hand of Mormon. Translated by Joseph Smith Jr.*****
11. The Holy Bible - King James Version*****
12. The Doctrine and Covenants - Joseph Smith, others****
13. The Pearl of Great Price - Moses, Abraham, Joseph Smith****
14. Travels with Charley (In Search of America) - John Steinbeck****
15. A Series of Unfortunate Events. The Bad Beginning - Lemony Snicket***
16. A Series of Unfortunate Events. The Reptile Room - Lemony Snicket***
17. A Series of Unfortunate Events. The Wide Window - Lemony Snicket***
18. Les Liaisons Dagereuses - Pierre Choderlos de Laclos****
19. Tom Sawyer Abroad - Samuel Clemens***
20. The Monkey Wrench Gang - Edward Abbey****
21. The Hero With a Thousand Faces - Joseph Campbell***
22. The Faith of a Scientist - Henry Eyring****
23. The Power of Myth - Joseph Campbell****
24. What are People For - Wendell Berry***
25. The Miracle of Forgiveness - Spencer W. Kimball****
26. The Greatest Salesman in the World - Og Mandino***
27. 1984 - George Orwell****
28. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn - Samuel Clemens*****
29. On the Road - Jack Keroac****
30. David Copperfield - Charles Dickens****
31. Catch-22 - Joseph Heller****
32. Don Quixote - Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra****
33. Uncle Tom’s Cabin - Harriet Beecher Stowe***
34. Deliverance - James Dickey****
35. The Best of Edward Abbey***
36. Rosaura a las Diez - Marco Denevi****
37. Ragtime - E.L. Doctorow****
38. Tom Sawyer Detective - Samuel Clemens***
39. The Iliad -Homer****
40. The Hobbit - J.R.R. Tolkein*****
41. Notes from the Underground - Fyodor Mikhailovich Dostoyevsky***
42. The Double - Fyodor Mikhailovich Dostoyevsky***
43. The Trial -Franz Kafka***
44. Moby Dick - Herman Melville**
45. Invisible Man - Ralph Ellison***
46. Principles of Surgery Companion Handbook - Schartz, Shires, Spencer*
47. Standing for Something - Gordon B. Hinckley***
48. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe - C.S. Lewis*****
49. The Sound and the Fury -William Faulkner**
50. The Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck****
51. Slaughter House-Five - Kurt Vonnegut****
52. Tender is the Night - F. Scott Fitzgerald****
53. Under the Volcano - Malcolm Lowry**
54. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer -Samuel Clemens*****
55. Darkness at Noon - Arthur Koestler*****
56. The Call of the Wild - Jack London****
57. Kim - Rudyard Kipling***
58. A Tale of Two Cities - Charles Dickens****
59. Howards End - E.M. Forster****
60. Sons and Lovers - D.H. Lawrence***
61. Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad***
62. Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance -Robert M. Pirsig****
63. The Stranger - Albus Camus****
64. To the Lighthouse - Virginia Woolf***
65. The Lonely Men - Louis L’Amour***
66. Sacred Clowns - Tony Hillerman***
67. The Covenant - James A. Michener****
68. Prentice Alvin - Orson Scott Card****
69. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy -Douglas Adams****
70. The Quick and the Dead - Louis L’Amour***
71. To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee*****
72. The Gift of the Jews - Thomas Cahill****
73. The Last Battle - C.S. Lewis****
74. The Christ Commission - Og Mandin****
75. Ender’s Game -Orson Scott Card*****
76. People of Darkness - Tony Hillerman****
77. The Horse and His Boy - C.S. Lewis****
78. The Silver Chair - C.S. Lewis****
79. Memory of Earth - Orson Scott Card***
80. The Odyssey - Homer****
81. The Source - James A. Michener*****
82. The Catcher in the Rye - J.D. Salinger****
83. The Story of England - Christopher Hibbert****
84. A Farewell to Arms - Ernest Hemingway****
85. The Changed Man - Orson Scott Card****
86. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl****
87. El Milagro del Perdon -Spencer W. Kimball****
88. Frankenstein - Mary Shelley****
89. A Marvelous Work and a Wonder - LeGrand Richards****
90. A Treasury of Classical Mythology - A.R. Hope Moncrieff****
91. The Lord of the Rings - The Fellowship of the Ring - J.R.R. Tolkien****
92. Pure Drivel - Steve Martin***
93. Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens****
94. Great Expectations - Charles Dickens****
95. Harry Potter and The Sorcerer’s Stone - J.K. Rowling*****
96. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets - J.K. Rowling*****
97. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban -J.K. Rowling*****
98. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire -J.K. Rowling*****
99. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix - J.K. Rowling*****
100. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince - J.K. Rowling*****
101. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - J.K. Rowling*****
102. The Screwtape Letters - C.S. Lewis*****
103. The Magician's Nephew - C.S. Lewis*****
104. Out of the Silent Planet - C.S. Lewis****
105. Prince Caspian - C.S. Lewis*****
106. The Voyage of the 'Dawn Treader - C.S. Lewis*****
107. Mere Christianity - C.S. Lewis****
108. That Hideous Strength - C.S. Lewis****
109. The Sun Also Rises - Ernest Hemingway***
110. Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov**
111. Brave New World - Aldous Huxley****
112. I Claudius - Robert Graves*****
113. Anthem - Ann Rand***
114. Lord of the Flies - William Golding****
115. As I Lay Dying - William Faulkner***
116. The Secret Agent - Joseph Conrad***
117. Starship Troopers - Robert Heinlein****
118. A Room With a View - E.M. Forster****
119. Lord Jim - Joseph Conrad***
120. Citizen of the Galaxy - Robert Heinlein****
121. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest - Ken Kesley****
122. Tunnel in the Sky - Robert Heinlein****
123. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz - L. Frank Baum****
124. Speaker for the Dead - Orson Scott Card****
125. Xenocide - Orson Scott Card****
126. Songmaster - Orson Scott Card**
127. Saints - Orson Scott Card****
128. Red Prophet - Orson Scott Card****
129. Cruel Shoes - Steve Martin***
130. The Great Brain - John Dennis Fitzgerald****
131. Me and My Little Brain - John Dennis Fitzgerald****
132. Jesus the Christ - James Talmage*****
133. The Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas****
134. Dracula - Bram Stoker****
135. The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown***
136. Angels and Demons - Dan Brown****
137. Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West - Gregory Maguire****
138. Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator - Roald Dahl**
139. How the Irish Saved Civilization - Thomas Cahill***
140. Fundamentals of Family Medicine - Robert B. Taylor***
141. Medical Physiology - Rodney A Rhoades and George A Tanner**
142. D'aulaires Book of Greek Myths - Ingri and Edgar Parin D'Aurlaire****
143. El Libro De Mormon - Un Relato Escrito por la Mano de Mormon. Traducido de las Planchas por Jose Smith, Hijo*****
144. Generation X - Douglas Coupland***
145. Robinson Crusoe - Daniel Defoe****
146. Interview with the Vampire - Anne Rice****
147. The Picture of Dorian Gray - Oscar Wilde****
148. Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen****
149. History of the English-Speaking Peoples - Winston Churchhill****
150. A Guide to Physical Examination and History Taking - Barbara Bates**
151. Complete History of the World - Richard Overy****
152. The American Religion - Harold Bloom***
153. The Good Earth - Pearl S. Buck****
154. In Cold Blood - Truman Capote****
155. A Rumor of War - Philip Caputo****
156. Religion in the New World - Richard E. Wentz***
157. The Moon Is Down - John Steinbeck****
158. The Pearl - John Steinbeck****
159. Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck****
160. The Spy Who Came in from the Cold - John le Carré****
161. The Education of Little Tree - Forrest Carter*****
162. The Chosen - Chaim Potok****
163. The Work and the Glory, Pilar of Fire - Gerald N. Lund*****
164. The Work and the Glory, Like a Fire if Burning - Gerald N. Lund*****
165. The Work and the Glory, Truth will Prevail - Gerald N. Lund*****
166. The Work and the Glory, Thy Gold Refine - Gerald N. Lund*****
167. The Work and the Glory, A Season of Joy - Gerald N. Lund*****
168. Stepen King On Writing, A memoir of the Craft - Stephen King***
169. Me Talk Pretty One Day - David Sedaris****
170. Book of Mormon Authorship Revisited, The Evidence for Ancient Origins - Edited by Noel B. Reynolds. **** (March '08)
171. The Millionaire Next Door - Thomas J. Stanley and William D. Danko****
172. Naked Ape : A Zoologist's Study of the Human Animal - Desmond Morris****
173. Johnny Tremain - Esther Forbes****
174. Mormons and Masons, Setting the Record Straight - Gilbert W. Scharffs* (March '08)
175. San Manuel Bueno, mártir - Miguel de Unamuno****
176. Critiquing the Critics of Joseph Smith - Hartt Wixom**** (March '08)
177. Mormon Country - Wallace Stegner****
178. The House of God - Samuel Shem**
179. The Way of All Flesh - Samuel Butler****(March '08)
180. The Clan of the Cave Bear - Jean M. Auel**** (April '08)
181. Religions of the World - A Latter-day Saint View - Spencer J. Palmer, Rober R. Keller, Dong Sull Choi, James A. Toronto****
182. Julius Caesar - William Shakespear****
183. Romeo and Juliet - William Shakespeare****
184. Hamlet - William Shakespeare****
185. Macbeth - William Shakespeare****
186. One Minute Answers to Anti-Mormon Questions - Stephen W. Gibson*** (May '08)
187. Jay's Journal - Beatrice Sparks**
188. Blueprints in Obstetrics and Gynecology - Tamara L. Callahan, Aaron B Caughey and Linda J Heffner***
189. Clinical Microbiology Made Rediculously Simple - Mark Galdwin and Bill Trattler****
190. Prescription for the Boards USMLE Step 2 - Radhika Breaden, Charyl Denenberg, Kate Feibusch, Stephen Gomperts***
191. The Instant Exam Review for the USMLE Step 3 - Joel s. Goldberg**
192. Appleton & Lang's Review of Pediatrics - Martin I. Lorin**
193. Pathology - Arthur S. Schneider and Philip A Szanto**
194. Internal Medicine - Edward D. Frohlich**
195. The Lord of the Rings - The Two Towers - J.R.R. Tolkien****
196. The Lord of the Rings - The Return of the King - J.R.R. Tolkien****
198. The Mountain Meadows Massacre - Juanita Brooks****
198. A Thief of Time - Tony Hillerman****
199. Naked Pictures of Famous People - Jon Stewart**
200. La Casa de Bernarda Alba - Federico García Lorca***
201. Why Things Are and Why Things Aren't - Joel Achenbach****
202. Why Things Are - Joel Achenbach****
203. Why Do Clocks Run Clockwise? And Other Imponderables - David Feldman****
204. First Aid for the Family Medicine Boards - Tao Le, Christine Dehlendorf, Michael Mendoza, and Cynthria Ohata*** (May '08)
205. Why Don't Cat's Like to Swim - David Feldman****
206. The Naked and the Dead - Norman Mailer**** (June '08)
207. Encounters with the Archdruid - John McPhee***
208. Desert Solitaire - Edward Abby***
209. Family Medicine Board Review - Robert L. Bratton, MD*** (July '08)
210. View of the Hebrews - Ethan Smith** (August '08)
211. A Wrinkle in Time - Madeleine L'Engle****
212. A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens****
213. The Book of Mormon and DNA Resarch - Edited by Daniel C. Petersen**** (Sept '08)
214. The Great Divorce - C.S. Lewis**** (Sept '08)
215. Treasure Island - Robert Louis Stevenson**** (Sept '08)
216. The Great Angel - A Study of Israel's Second God - Margaret Barker**** (Sept '08)
217. The House of the Seven Gables - Nathaniel Hawthorne**** (Sept,08)
218. The Scarlett Letter - Nathaniel Hawthorne**** (Oct, '08)
219. Twilight - Stephanie Meyer** (Oct, '08)
220. Sophie's Choice - William Styron*** (Nov, '08)
221. Revolt of 2100 - Robert Heinlein****
222. Farnham's Freehold - Robert Heinlein****
223. Between Planets - Robert Heinlein****
224. The Giver - Lois Lowry****(Nov, '08)
225. History of Joseph Smith by His Mother Lucy Mack Smith****
226. Stranger in a Strange Land - Robert Heinlein** (Nov, '08)
227. Joseph Smith - Rough Stone Rolling - Richard Lyman Bushman**** (Dec, '08)
228. The Work and the Glory - Praise to the Man - Gerald N. Lund**** (Dec, '08)
229. Tinkling Cymbals and Sounding Brass - The Art of Telling Tales about Joseph Smith and Brigham Young - Hugh Nibley****(Dec, '08)
230. The Happy Prince and Other Tales - Oscar Wilde***(Dec, '08)
231. The Tales of Beedle the Bard - J.K. Rowling****(Dec, '08)
232. A High Wind in Jamaica - Richard Hughes*** (Dec, '08)
233. Celsus on the True Doctrine - A Discourse Against the Christians - translated by R. Joseph Hoffmann**** (Jan, '09)
234. Brigham Young: American Moses - Leonard J. Arrington**** (Jan, '09)
235. Atlas Shrugged - Ann Rand***** (Jan, '09)
236. Sophie's World - Jostein Gaarder*** (Feb, '09)
237. Silas Marner - George Eliot**** (Feb, '09)
238. Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte*** (Feb, '09)
239. Mormonism and Early Christianity - Hugh Nibley**** (March, '09)
240. Our Mutual Friend - Charles Dickens*** (March, '09)

Sunday, March 15, 2009

The World and the Kingdom of God - How Great the Contrast

The World and God’s Kingdom - How Great the Contrast

This week my dear wife Michelle hasn’t slept well. Part of it has been that our 1 year old son Dane has been sick and we’ve been taking turns waking up with him as he coughs and vomits. But it’s also because she has been upset that a cable network has chosen to portray LDS temple rituals as part of a storyline in its popular anti-Mormon series. I would not describe her mood as “angry”, as the national media has portrayed the LDS response, but as hurt that they would cast these sacred pearls at the alter of the false gods of “storyline”, “artistic integrity”, “entertainment” and, most importantly, “ratings”. The producers of and actors in this show have been very open in disdain of Mormonism and Mormons (See executive producer Tom Hank's here and Larry O'Donnel's, an actor playing a Mormon bishop, here). If they had the vengeful goal of making people like my wife cry, then they succeeded. (See the Church's reaction to the program here)

This weekend I had a very different experience than those who chose to watch this program tonight will have. Our stake conference was held and we had the opportunity to listen to one of the apostles of Jesus Christ, Elder Richard Scott, speak to us. I got to the stake center about an hour early to get a seat and read Hugh Nibley’s book Mormonism and Early Christianity while I waited for the conference to start. In this book I was reminded that the first apostles and early Christians always realized that they would be rejected by the world. They knew that the “church could not be Christ’s unless the world hated it.” Latter-day Saints should not be surprised to find out that the world still hates us and is ready to malign us in anyway they can. I have tried to reassure Michelle that at least they aren’t burning down our houses, shooting at us and running us out of the state like they did in Missouri and Illinois. (See also my comparison of early anti-Christian writings and modern anti-Mormon writing here)

I then listened to Elder Scott and other inspired men and women speak to us and bare testimony of Jesus Christ and the restoration of the gospel. Elder Scott specifically bore his personal, apostolic witness of the Living Savior. He said that his was a “perfect knowledge; not a hope or a belief in others' testimonies, but a knowledge of Jesus Christ that came through experiences too sacred to relate in public.” In addition to their testimonies, the speakers gave us practical, yet inspired, advice about living through difficult financial times, studying the scriptures with our families, and living “in the world, but not of the world." Our closing hymn was “Let Us All Press On”, which ends with the chorus: “Fear not, though the enemy deride; Courage, for the Lord is on our side. We’ll not fear the wicked nor give heed to what they say, But the Lord, our Heav’nly Father, him alone we will obey.”

I pity those who will never have the experience of hearing one of the Lord’s anointed speak, and whose only experiences with the Church of Jesus Christ are its negative portrayals in the media. Their lives will be like that of an eagle who decides early to go through life walking. At the end of their lives they may think they have had a good experience, but they will have never known how it feels to fly. As the world becomes more “worldly” the saints should be prepared for more attacks on their beliefs and values in many different forms. We should not be cowed by these affronts, but instead see them as evidence that we are still on the right track.