Monday, October 13, 2014

To Know God (Para conocer a Dios)

So a major theme of this semester for me is knowledge, and how some types of knowledge are different from others (specifically, science and religion).

I was catching up on the Bible Videos, when 1 Corinthians 13:12 really struck me.  Paul says "now I know in part; but then shall I know even as I am known." In Spanish there are two different words for knowing: saber and conocer.  

Saber is to know a fact, to know how to do something, to know something thoroughly, whereas conocer is to know a person or to be familiar with something (see this online spanish lesson for further grammatical instruction).

As I have been thinking about knowledge this semester, I have mainly been thinking about saber, or factual knowledge.  But when Paul is talking about it as he is known, the "I am known" part seems to imply conocer.  Just to check I looked it up in Spanish, and every time Paul uses a form of the verb "to know," Paul uses the word conocer

And then I remembered John 17:3, "And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent," and I wondered what type of knowledge eternal life, or knowing God, is, and so I looked that up in Spanish as well, and it is also conocer.  

For me saber is the cold, hard facts, while conocer is more intimate and personal.  Saber is the experiments and data; saber is what can be taught in a classroom.  But conocer is personal experiences, and more importantly personal relations.  Learning about God, and the gospel isn't enough.  The facts aren't good enough for eternal life.  Eternal life will come by personally knowing and developing a close relation with God.

It appears that I have been looking at knowledge incompletely.  I would now say that for the most part Scientific Knowledge is the things that can be known (saber) and that religion is the things that can be known (conocer).

What do y'all think?


Una tema mayor de este semestre para me es el conocimiento, y como son algunos tipos de conocimiento diferente de otros (especificamente, la ciencia y la religión).

Estaba mirando los Videos Biblias, cuando dí cuenta de 1 Corintios 13:12 (lo siento, solamente está en Inglés).  Pablo dice, “Ahora conozco en parte; pero entonces conoceré como fui conocido.”

En Inglés, solamente hay una palabra para saber y conocer, y estaba pensando del conocimiento (y tal vez la sabiduría) en inglés, que son el mismo.  Pero con está escritura, pensaba que la diferencia entre saber y conocer es muy importante.

Y despues, pensaba de Juan 17:3, “Y ésta es la vida eterna: que te conozcan a ti, el único Dios verdadero, y a Jesucristo, a quien has enviado.”

De acuerdo con estás dos escrituras, parece que lo más importante para la vida eterna es conocer o sea desarollar una relación personal con Dios.

Entonces, parece que estaba pensando de sabiduría incompletemente.  Creo que el Conocimiento de la Ciencia es lo que uno puede saber y religión es lo que uno puede conocer.


¿Qué piensen ústedes?

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Christmas Wish List

Here is my wish list for my Christmas.  I will add to it as I think of things.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Romance de Matemáticas

Uno, dos, tres, once y doce
Más equis, i griega y zeta.
Funciones, patrones, límites,
Algoritmos, y teoremas.
Para mí numeros son
De un mundo de orden y reglas.
Pero son hermosos y
Bellos, parte de una cuenta,
Una axioma de mi vida,
El problema y la respuesta.

One, two, three, eleven and twelve
Add x, y and z.
Functions, patterns, limits,
Algorithms, and theorems.
For me numbers are
Of a world of order and rules.
But they are handsome and 
Beautiful, part of a count,
A axiom for my life,
The problem and the answer.

(There is a lot lost in the translation, like rhyming)

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Science versus Religion

I am taking three entry level science classes this semester, and we are talking a lot about some of the fundamentals of science.  What is science?  What is observation?  What is a theory? etc.

The class that has gone into this the most is my weather class.  On the first day of class the professor gave a pop quiz.  (We didn't turn it in, however, we did discuss the answers as a class).

  1. What are atoms?
  2. How is hair color passed on from parent to child?
  3. What causes earthquakes?
  4. What causes the ocean tides?
  5. What causes the seasons?
  6. Does the Earth orbit the Sun?
  7. Which is bigger:  Earth or Jupiter?
  8. What causes polio?
  9. Does God exist?
After the pop quiz, we discussed a lot about how we know what we know and what are the fundamental differences between the first 8 questions and the last question.

The next class period, our professor defined science as a description of nature based on observation (measurements).  It continues to define itself as we practice it.  It is rarely revolutionary, predictive and falsifiable (testable with an observation.)

I have been thinking about this a lot.  For me I view my scientific knowledge and my religious knowledge as the same thing:  Knowledge based on observation and experimentation.  

I know God exists because I have preformed the experiment of the Book of Mormon several times and I have always gotten the same answers.  I have read the Book of Mormon (research), especially Moroni 10:3-5, which outlines the experiment, and I have prayed (experiment), meeting the conditions that Mormon puts forth, and I have felt the Spirit confirming to my soul that the Book of Mormon is true, and therefore that God exists, and so forth(results).  And I have had many personal encounters with the spirit, in which I have felt God's love for me (observation)


I know that the Earth orbits the Sun, because I have seen the sun rise day after day (observation), I have been taught and understand the physics of gravity (research), and I have performed many experiments with gravity, such as dropping a rock to see if it will fall.  Likewise, I have also gotten the same results every time--the rock falls.


However I also understand that there is a fundamental difference between science and religion.  I have been trying to figure out what it is since the start of this semester, and today while I was sitting in Fast and Testimony meeting at church, the spirit illuminated my understanding, and I have an answer to what is the fundamental difference between science and religion: measurements. 


Just how do you measure God's love for you?  What scale would you even use?  How do you measure the Spirit?  Where is the quantifiable way to measure any of this?  As of right now, I don't believe there exists any way to measure the things of God.

In science, we use thermometers, scales, rulers, etc to give numbers and measurement to our observations.  This makes the experiments repeatable, such that any person in any lab in any place can compare their results with the results of any other person.  It is quantifiable and measurable.  

Now that I have identified the fundamental difference between science and religion: measurements, I believe that it is even more important to understand their similarities.  They both teach truth, they both have knowledge, and they both answer fundamental questions of understanding (such as where do we come from?)  I think I have learned as much about the Creation this week in my three science classes this week, as I did yesterday when I went to the temple.

My favorite video: We Lived With God on this subject talks about how science and religion are like have two eyes.  Each eye sees something slightly different, and with both of them, there is depth and perspective.  

Sunday, August 17, 2014

"Derramaré Sobre Vosotros Bendición"

Siempre sabía que Dios guarda sus promesas, pero este primavera y verano, he tenido la oportunidad para tener evidencia muy real de esté.

Cuando regresé de mi misión, tuve la decisión para trabajar y ganar suficiente dinero para ir a la universidad en el otoño y estudiar.  Por fin, sabía lo que querría estudiar (las ciencias fisicas) y sabía que todo sería perfecto.  Por que era ex-misionera y por cuenta de mi servicio, pensé, tendría muchas bendiciones.

Pero, la vida no es perfecta, y mis planes no pasaron en la manera que pensaba.  6 semanas despues de regresar a mi casa a la fin de mi misión, no tuve trabajo.  He tenido muchas entrevistas, pero no tenía ningún trabajo.  Muchas veces en mis entrevistas, el jefe dije algo sobre la importancia de trabajar los fines de semana.

Y yo, sabiendo los mandamientos de Dios, siempre, dijo que no trabajará los domingos.  Sabado, sí, pero no en los domingos.  
 Seis días trabajarás y harás toda tu obra, mas el séptimo día es reposo para Jehová tu Dios; no harás en él obra alguna, tú, ni tu hijo, ni tu hija, ni tu siervo, ni tu criada, ni tu bestia, ni el extranjero que está dentro de tus puertas. (Éxodo 20: 9-10)
Y, siempre despues de esté la entrvista llegarán de ser muy mala.  Sabías si estaba disponible de trabajar los domingos, no tendré dificultad de obtener un trabajo.

Pero, confié en Mi Dios y en sus promesas.  Una tema muy común en el Libro de Mormón es que si guardemos los mandamientos, prosperamos en la tierra.
Y él ha dicho: Si guardáis mis mandamientosprosperaréis en la tierra; pero si no guardáis mis mandamientos, seréis desechados de mi presencia. (1 Nefi 1:20)
Entonces, estaba un poco preocupada sobre dinero y el colegio, pero no bastante.  Y continuaba buscando trabajo, confiando en el Señor.

Tuve otra entrevista con Kneaders, una restaurante y panadería que no está abierta los domingos, y gané un trabajo.  No era lo que esperaba, pero era un trabajo y necesitaba dinero.

 Mi jefe dijo que despues de 2 semanas, tendría un aumento.  Pero despues de 2 meses, no tenia un aumento, y solo trabajaba 25 a 30 horas para cada semana (mas o menos).  Calculaba que con esté trabajo, tendría suficiente dinero para pagar mi renta pero no tendría suficiente dinero para pagar por mi comida.

Pero todavía confiaba en Mi Dios, y sabía que Él guaraba sus promesas.

Despues de 3 meses, empezaba buscar otro trabajo.  Tuve solo una entrevista con Discover y pensaba que sería como todas las otras entrevistas y cuando ellos sabían que no trabajaré los domingos, sería el fin de la entrevista.  Pero, aun que ellos están abierto los domingos, no era necesario que yo trabajo los domingos.

Era milagro, y gané el trabajo con Discover. :D

Y he tenido muchas horas para trabajar y estoy ganando mas dinero cada hora.  Y tengo sufiente dinero para comer este semestre y mas que este también.

Sé que Dios es un Dios de milagros y que guarda sus mandamientos.  Para mi en esta ocasión, aun que no sabía por muchas meses como, Dios proveó la manera que prodria ganar sufiente dinero para ir a la universidad.



Sunday, July 20, 2014

Stories That Bind Us Together

As we approach Pioneer Day (June 24th, a Utah State Holiday where we celebrate the Mormon Pioneers, for all my friends who live outside of Utah), we remember the pioneers, we watch videos, see pictures and tell stories of the Pioneers crossing the plains.



These stories inspire us.  I love to hear stories about the early pioneers and all of the miracles they had while crossing the plains.  I love to read about how they overcome hardships.  I love the courage and the bravery.  They had a strength that I desire in myself.  They were great examples for me.

But I often forget that the stories didn’t end when they entered the Salt Lake Valley.  In fact, that was really only a beginning.  They went on to build a great city, and then build more great cities, and temples.  They farmed, they built, they worshipped, they loved and they lived.

Their story lives on in me.  I don’t mean that I have a pioneer spirit, and that I continue to be a pioneer like them.  In fact, I don’t think that I would have made a great pioneer.  I am a city girl through and through.  I don’t really like hiking (expect on the rare occasion), and I camp very little.  I really don’t have Pioneer/wilderness survival/trek across the plains skills.

But the city that I love, my city, is the city that they built.  I am a direct descendant from Pioneers.  My Mom’s ancestors came across the plains in covered wagons, and my Dad and his family came across in a Volkswagen.  :D My Dad loves this joke, and I have heard him tell it thousands of times.  My work and my legacy and my life are part of what they started.



The stories don’t end. They had children, who grew up and had children.  But it is all the same story.

My story didn’t begin when I graduated high school, nor when I was baptized.  It didn’t begin when I learned to walk and talk.  I didn’t begin when I was born.  It didn’t begin when my parents met.  But where did my story begin?

William Shakespeare described our stories in one of his poems:

All the world's a stage,
And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances,
And one man in his time plays many parts.

So it is all just one big story.  The end of one chapter just leads to the next chapter.  My exits and entrances are different than the other actors in the play, but it is all the same play.

In movies, books and stories, we are accustomed to endings and beginnings.  After all you have to enter and exit the theater sometime, or you would never do anything else.  Books have to begin somewhere, and they have to end, or we would run out of paper.  We live in a finite world, and it is hard for us to understand something, even a story, that has no ending or beginning.  Yet that the very story in which we find ourselves.

Elder Boyd K Packer talked about the story that we are in, and also compared it to a play like Shakespeare.

“In mortality, we are like actors who enter a theater just as the curtain goes up on the second act. We have missed act 1. The production has many plots and subplots that interweave, making it difficult to figure out who relates to whom and what relates to what, who are the heroes and who are the villains. It is further complicated because we are not just spectators; we are members of the cast, on stage, in the middle of it all!” (The Play and the Plan [CES fireside for young adults, May 7, 1995], 1–2).

So the story that we are in is really just act 2 of some bigger play.  Act 2 has a definite beginning.  It began with the Creation of the Earth (See Genesis chapter 1).  We know that it will end at final judgment. 

The stories of our ancestors aren’t just good stories to tell.  They are my story.  They are your story.  My story is theirs.  We all have the same story.  I think that is why we, as a people, are so drawn to these stories of Pioneers, because it is really just our own story.

“And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.” (Malachi 4:6).  These stories bind us together.  They link us in ways that I don’t fully comprehend.

Share your story today at familysearch.org in the Memories tab of one of your ancestors.



The stories of our ancestors will bind us together as we turn our hearts to our fathers.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

What do you think of the lady who got excommunicated from the church for wanting equality?

I was recently asked a question on Facebook, a question that deserves an answer.  I have been thinking about how to answer this for awhile, and I am sorry about not answering immediately.

The question is: "What do you think of the lady who got excommunicated from the church for wanting equality?"  

First, I want to share a mission experience.  Someone asked us a specific question about another controversial issue in the church-- gay marriages.  We answered the best we could, told her that we didn't have all the answers, but that we would look up and learn what we could and get back to her later.  Then the conversation moved on, and during the course of the lesson, I felt inspired to give her a specific commitment -- write down everything you know.  Think about everything you have ever been told, and write down everything that you personally actually know for yourself.

During the week, my companion and I looked up mormonsandgays.org (a link from lds.org) and learned everything that we could.  We both felt very confident that we could answer all of her questions about this topic.

However, at our next visit, we asked about how her commitment went (to write down what she knew).  This woman is a writer, and she wrote something very beautiful that I couldn't even begin to replicate.  However, the jist of it is that she knows that God loves her.  She then told us that the questions that she had asked up no longer mattered.  She knew that God loved her, and she realized that that was enough.  Everything else doesn't matter quite as much, and that she didn't need to be the advocate for people that she didn't know, and we never actually told her everything that we had learned about gay marriages, because she no longer needed those answers.

For me my core testimony is also very simple.  I know that God is real.  I know that He is my Father and my Creator.  I know that He loves me.  I know that there is a living prophet who receives revelation directly from God, and I choose to follow him.  And I know all of this because I know that the Book of Mormon is true.

So very simply, I don’t know the people in Ordain Women.  I don’t know their stories and I cannot even begin to understand their specific circumstances.  I won't argue for or against them.  And because I know what I know, this issue really doesn't bother me.

However, I am also a very logical person, and I try to understand everything and get answers to everything.  I believe that it is important to learn as much as it is possible to learn.  While doing this, I remember that it is important to always remember what I do know, and realize that I won’t receive questions to everything in this lifetime.  President Uchtdorf puts it this way, “please, first doubt your doubts before you doubt your faith.” (Come Join With Us)

So, here is what I can say that I know about this topic in specific, and I don’t have all the answers, but that is ok.

Gender is an essential characteristic.  It existed in the pre-earth life.  It exists know, and it will continue to exist in the next life.  Each gender has different traits and responsibilities and I am ok with that. 

This is something that took some time for me to grow into.  We live in a society where it is expected, demanded and taught that girls should be able to do anything that boys do.  My chosen field of study (math and science, maybe even a little engineering and computers and technology) has always been and still is a field dominated by men.  I don’t like that.  I want to be the best. I like being smarter and better than others, and I am in an area where it is unusual for girls to study and do well in.  I do have some very strong feminist views.

But, putting that aside.  There are notable differences between men and women.  Physically our bodies are different. I wear lots of different cute outfits.  I like wearing nail polish, and make-up.  Somedays, I spend an incredibly long amount of time doing my hair.  I like to go shopping.  I love accessories.  These are all attributes associated with my gender. 

In “A Wrinkle in Time” Meg Murray says that being exactly alike and being equal are not the same things.  This is something that has become part of me in my attempt to understand why there are some assigned-gender roles.  I understand this very well.  An equal’s sign in the middle of a math equation does not mean that the same things are written on both sides.  (If it was, it would make for a very boring equation.)  Rather, it means that both sides of the equation have the same worth, or the same net value. 

Thinking about men and women… According to the Declaration of Independence, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.”  I believe that the authors wrote men, meaning mankind, or men and women.  Therefore Man = Woman.  However they are not exactly alike.  They both have the same worth or the same net value in the eyes of the Lord.  (Just a side note here: that worth or value is very great, because the worth of souls is great in the sight of God)

So, it is ok, that men and women are not the same.  It is ok that they have different attributes and different responsibilities.

If we look at the Family -- A Proclamtion to the World, many of the attributes and responsibilities are laid out.  Essentially, men get to preside, and women are nurturers. 

I don’t understand everything completely, and that is ok, but I know that this is Heavenly Father’s will, and I intend to follow as best as I possibly can.

Another interesting source for this is one of my favorite mormon messages, Earthly Father, Heavenly Father, which gives us a glimpse of our Heavenly Father, but it also portrays the different, yet equal, roles of Husband and Wife.  Check it out.



As to everything I have just wrote, it is just my opinions and my views of the universe.  Remember to hold to true to the faith that you have!

Additional resources:

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Infinite Arithmetic

I love math, and I love relating math to the gospel.

A long time ago, I realized that when talking about infinity, and limits at infinity, we are describing God and his attributes, because God is infinite and eternal.

By these things we know that there is a God in heaven, who is infinite and eternal, from everlasting to everlasting the same unchangeable God, the framer of heaven and earth, and all things which are in them. (D&C 20:17)

So, I started doing infinite arithmetic, and seeing how the results related to God.

Here are two of my favorites, a mathematical poem, if you will.

This is very similar to what Ammon says in Alma 26:12.

Yea, I know that I am nothing; as to my strength I am weak; therefore I will not boast of myself, but I will boast of my God, for in his strength I can do all things; yea, behold, many mighty miracles we have wrought in this land, for which we will praise his name forever.

There was an error in this gadget