Monday, October 12, 2009

Josh's letter Oct 12

First off, so I dont forget: Dad I enjoy getting your letters. They come either Monday after my email or Wednessday. I really like gettting them on Wednessday because It is always fun to have a letter halfway through the week. I might not do a good job at answering your questions though because I read it and then several days go by before I respond. I enjoy hearing about your work. Good job on the summary judgments. I hear David is thinking about going into law...someting I was actually thinking about the other day.

Next in importance come the matters of the heart. I hear Brian and Dia are pretty much...what is it called...oh yeah, falling in love, as it were, if you will. Anyhow Brian expressed to me that she is similar to me in her ability to carry on intellectual conversation and in her which case, if this were true (or even possible) I would have to strongly urge against continuing the relationship. As someone who knows myself, no one deserves such a fate as being married to someone like that... So for what its worth, If you continue the relationship dont say I didn't warn you. But sense that is not possible I have nothing against it. It sounds like there is more passion in this relationship than there was with Arisa and that is probably a good thing. Probably the most important thing in relation to future happiness is her testimony so I'll let you be the judge of that--and maybe he mother. She is fairly young but I have come across alot of people here in Brainerd who are 18 and living together and even have a baby so... If the winter’s cold enough, I guess age isn't as important. We are actually going to be teaching one of these couples. They were very nice and didn't go to church. They seemed mainly courious and missed our first appointment but what can you say, they are only 18. I still have faith that something good might happen with them.

That is one of the real blessings of the mission so far. I have been givin a chance to see intimately different cross sections of people’s lives that have been formed from different choices. I use to think, not to long ago, that I could think hard enough and discover truth. I think we dont realize how influenced our thoughts are by society and family and friends and things that we have taken for granted. An example would be The Bible being the ultimate source of knowlege. This idea was started by some reformer and has become a given in so many people’s minds. They dont even realize that they are putting faith in something that has no substance. Another example is the renaissance that was invented by 17th centry historians in France I believe. Now we assume that the dark ages were dark and then suddenly the renaissance came and everything became modernized and a boom in learning and the arts etc. This is something we don’t realize we have been putting faith in something that someone told us that is not true. So it is with our own development of philosphies. It has been so interesting to me to hear different people’s philosphies of life. I wonder how long their philophies will last them. I talk to people who are doing what too many kids and adults out here in the country do. Smoking, living together, just having "fun" in what can be a boring and cold place. I was talking to a LA last night who says that he doesn't like being told what to do by a prophet who says he talks with God so he can controll people. He says he perfers a freer life style. This is such a sad pittiable statement. Could anyone in their right mind truly imagine the prophet of Christ's church, President Thomas S Monson, trying to gain power over people and control them? Fair is fowl and fowl is fair. The truth is that Christ's way, The prophets way, the church’s way, Mom and Dad’s way have always been the way of freedom not chains. It is the freedom of the rope swing in the back yard. It is the freedom of gravity. It is the freedom of standards, of self respect, of happiness. It is the freedom to choose eternal life rather than giving away your choice to someone who would have you his.
It is a sobering thing to see people put faith in a philosophy that is as insubstancial as the freedom they seek. It is not hard to know that this church is true. It is not hard to see that it is the way to ahppiness. Just look at people around us. Be observers of the world. Be part of others lives and we will easily see who is happy and who is not. The hard thing to do is do it. I dont really know why but I think it must have somthing to do with our greatest fear--that we are powerful beyound meausre.

Last off, Happy Bday David. You’re old. So is Brian and so am I. I don’t like it. You and Brian will probably be all married when I get home. Lame. But I guess I can put my greif behind me for one second and express my gratitude to you. You have always been the frame of the siblings. You held us all together. Who can be mad at David? I could a few times but for the most part David is the Sam-wise-gamgie of the Sabey family. Thanks for being the friend that is the hero behind the scene. If everyone in the world had a friend like David It sure would be hard for people to feel alone and misserable. Let us all strive to be a friend to those who need it. A friend like Mr Scrooge became, (insert the last lines of a Christmas carol--something about he was true to his promise, he became the best friend the best man the world had ever seen.) I glad you'll be with me,dave, there at the end of all things

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Brian's Brimhall Essay


I climb mountains. Eugene L. Roberts did too, and encouraged others to do so, organizing some of the first Timpanogas climbs. In my grandma’s words, he did it because “Mountains are there to be climbed.” This recalls the famous answer George Mallory gave when asked why he wanted to climb Everest: “Because it is there.” Mountains are there and they are meant to be climbed. That is why I climb mountains. Of course, the next question is “Why are they meant to be climbed?” Why is it good to climb mountains? Because of the view? Because of the challenge? For the exercise? For the experience of nature? Because mountains are like temples, sacred and revelatory? Take your pick; none of these answers satisfies me. Yes the view can be incredible, yes the challenge and exercise and experience of nature is enlivening. Yes there is absolutely something about the high places of the earth that commands reverence, and brings us closer to God. But the experience itself is the only complete answer for this and a thousand other “whys” about doing good things. Experience is what we gain on our earthly mountain climb, replete with soul-stilling glory and pied beauty, as well as heart-wrenching suffering and monotony’s deadening trudge. And when a Job or Joseph asks God why, He does not answer. He merely affirms that He is God, we are His children, He is in control, and all these things shall give us experience—“Just keep climbing,” in effect. That we should ask “why” is human. But we must be careful not to value the abstracted, objectified, speakable explanation of reality more than reality itself—which we simply experience.

There is, I believe, value in being able to ponder, put into language, and discuss our experience—it allows us to connect with other people and identify patterns and meanings. But there is a certain point at which this system simply fails. Poetry, art, and music are all languages that greatly expand our ability to express human experience, but even these will never be entirely sufficient. And even if we could find a way to express through some form of language the totality of human experience, still the expression would be no substitute for the experience itself. And reading about climbing mountains will never substitute for climbing them. Those of us who spend a lot of time and energy reading, learning, discussing, classifying, and systematizing need to balance our focus by remembering to experience the indefinable, irreducible world, and to stand in awe. I am not suggesting that we should live unexamined lives. I have recently read Plato’s stunning Apology of Socrates, and as I read, Socrates renewed his status as a great hero of mine. But if he had done nothing more than examine life, his legacy would have been as a tickling cymbal. He was a man of action, and his examination of life was not a merely cerebral exercise. He acted out his philosophy to his death. He also asked difficult “whys” and came to few conclusions. But despite his self-acknowledged ignorance, when his life’s mountain was climbed, he was not afraid to walk into the valley of death—and he had a bright hope that there was another more glorious mountain on the other side of the valley. We should examine our lives, but we should examine courageously and not questioning fearfully; and we should stay planted in the life-giving soil of experience, of the real world. So to those who sometimes get bogged down with difficult “whys,” I would simply respond with a smile: “Go climb a mountain.”