Monday, December 16, 2013

Follow the prophet?

It has been interesting the past weeks, what with the Church's recent post of a study aid on Race and the Priesthood.

All kinds of people struggling to make sense of it. A few having full blown Crisis of faith experiences.

Me, I found it to be a relief. First it was nice to get some of the information brought together to a single location. It was nice to have the Church officially correct a few misconceptions regarding the churches position on heritage and "pre-mortal worthiness". I feel I am able to breathe a little more easily when it comes to people talking about Brigham Young too, which is nice. I feel a little less concern about discounting some of the things he has said, that I questioned the validity of.

Of course that is probably the source of many of the Crisis of Faith experiences others have mentioned. "He said something that wasnt' true! He must not be a prophet! My world is collapsing! etc..."

I didn't experience that. Prophets saying/doing stupid things is nothing new.

Look at Jonah. god told him to go preach in Nineveh and he ran for it.

Moses, tried to get out of speaking for the Israelites who were in Egypt, claiming a stutter (That's why Aaron went along as a spokesman).

Then in 1 Kings 13 there is this really messed up story about a young prophet going to call the King to repentance, with strict instructions to say his piece and get out of the country, only an old prophet heard about the young prophet, chased him down, Lied to him and told him the God told the old prophet to invite the young prophet to dinner, then chastised him for accepting the dinner invitation, after which the young prophet went on his way and was eaten by a lion.

Peter denied knowing Christ three times in one night.

Dig around, you will find more. (No, I don't think King David counts, he was a King, not a prophet).

Prophets aren't perfect. Just because they are prophets doesn't mean they suddenly stop saying or doing stupid things. That is why we are expected to develop a close personal relationship with our Savior. That is why we are supposed to study the scriptures, especially those that present the life the Christ, so that when we receive new revelation, we can by comparison determine if it is in harmony with Christs teachings, and so that we can through prayer, receive a direct, personal confirmation.

<joke> If there had been room for an 11th commandment it would have been "Thou shalt Think" </joke>

The second crisis is "I thought the God wouldn't allow a prophet to lead the church astray!". Well, first of all, I have never actually found a scriptural reference to confirm that statement. I can find a few statements where Prophets express that sentiment as an opinion, but no firm scripture, or prophetic utterance.

There is an interesting scripture here, which suggests that God want all of us to be prophets (making a distinction between position of prophet and position of church leadership). Clearly, if all church members had a sufficiently close personal relationship with God they could not be led astray.

If you recall the Story of Moses post-egypt. God presented 10 commandments to the children of Israel. They botched that, and thus wound up with the more specific Mosaic law. It included all this detail about  if your neighbor cut your hand off Justice required that his hand be caught off... eyes for an eye, tooth for a tooth, etc... because apparently "thou shalt not kill, thou shalt not steal, thou shalt not lie,... were somehow not clear enough. In fact, the ten commandments were themselves a more detailed version of the prior two commandments (1. Love God and 2. Love thy neighbor as thyself. Seriously it isn't obvious that is you love your neighbor you won't kill him? rob him blind? take his stuff? Well, clearly it isn't, look at the volumes of law we have created on those subjects).

In other words, what I am suggesting is that maybe Brigham Young's pronouncement of a limitation on priesthood worthiness wasn't what God wanted, nor was it that Brigham young led anyone astray, but rather the congregation in whole or in large part, wasn't ready to accept what God wanted, Just as the Isrealites were given the Mosaic Law because they weren't ready to accept the higher law. What if the membership of the Church had been more in harmony with the Saviors vision?

In other words, I am suggesting the Blacks had to wait for the priesthood because the members of the church were operation under an incorrect belief system.

So that begs the question. What blessings are we missing out on today... what blessings are others missing out on... because of our misperceptions... Our attitudes, values, beliefs and behaviors which are not in harmony with the gospel of Jesus Christ?

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Passwords on Paper

In a previous post, I said I would show you a way to safely write passwords down...

You should never write passwords down, right? There are few things worse than leaving your password on a sticky note attached to your monitor , or under your keyboard.

Let me show you a way around this....

First, you need to create one good password of length of 8-10 characters, which you will commit to memory. This needs to be a good password. It should not contain a dictionary word, it should ideally have letters, numbers, and symbols. But it needs to be easy to remember. Since it is the only one you are going to have to commit to memory, that shouldn't be too difficult.

For this example, I am going to use M2bh@fn4. 
I built that from the phrase "My bologna has a first name". Using the first letters of every word gives Mbhafn. I then counted the letters in the first and last word(My=2, Name=4), and put that number after the respective letter (M2bhafn4). Finally, to get a symbol in there I replace the 'a' with '@'.

Now, as a matter of good security practice, you would write this password down on a piece of paper, seal it in an envelope, and put it in a locked file. That way it is recoverable in the event of a tragedy (memory loss, or an incapacitating illness or accident, requiring a close relative or friend to access your systems for one reason or another). But apart from that, this password DOES NOT GET WRITTEN DOWN ANYWHERE!

Okay now we get to the individual systems. For each individual account, create a 8-10 character password, which you will write down on a slip of paper. You will keep this slip of paper in your purse, wallet, or planner...  Something that you already carry with you and protect because it contains credit cards, cash, and other important items which you don't want stolen. This slip of paper will look something like this...

Chase bank - 1whD6&fk
gmail - rej8(fhkl
facebook - weh903Ldm

Again, for reason of security, you should make a copy of this, and lock in in a file. Now here is the trick. What you have written down is only half of the password. The part you have memorized is the other half. SO your password for Chase bank would actually be:


and gmail would be


Those are 16-20 character random passwords. They are unique for each account due to the part you have written down, and easy to remember due to the part you have committed to memory.

What if someone steals your slip of paper? They will only have one half of your password. They will still have to brute-force guess the other half. And since you will quickly become aware that your password slip is missing, you will be able to go home, get your backup copy,  log in and change all your passwords within a day or so, rendering the old list useless.

Pretty cool huh? There is still one point of risk to consider. What if someone were to steal your password slip, copy it, and return it without your knowing? Then they gain more time to try cracking your password. The ways to reduce that risk are as follows:

1. Take extra special care of that piece of paper. Never let it out of your site.
2. Make the memorized part longer, say... twelve to twenty characters long (the longer the password, the longer it takes to guess).
3. Continue to follow the best practice of changing your passwords frequently (every 90 to 360 days. This isn't so painful, since little to no memorization is involved).

And there you have it, your passwords: unique, complex, safely written down... managed.