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ISSUE 5 JANUARY 2012

DUSTIN TURNS 30 OUR ANNUAL HOLIDAY LETTER THE MACY’S THANKSGIVING DAY PARADE


ISSUE 5 JANUARY 2012

table of contents 18

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COLOPHON Our family Susan Jane Hibdon Joyce Dustin Tyler Joyce Fiona Claire Joyce

18 A visit from Grammy & Papa

By Susan | Susan’s parents drop by.

20 Macy’s + Thanksgiving = A must-see in our new hometown

Photos from the 85th Annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. FOCUS ON FIONA

Sans serif text is set in Hypatia Sans Pro. Serif text is set in Adobe Text Pro.

By Fiona | Fiona wonders about the wonders of Christmas.

The motif color used in this issue is C=0, M=100, Y=100, K=40

22 Why was there a tree in our house?

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OPENING THOUGHTS

I’m 30. How’d I get here?

By Dustin | Dustin reflects on three things that have made him who he is today. MILESTONES

6 July–December 2011 8 A year of tremendous change and upheaval

Our annual holiday letter, 2011 edition.

10 I’m Dustin, and I’m a Mormon

By Dustin | Dustin’s profile at Mormon.org.

12 Tweeting general conference

By Dustin | The October 2011 general conference, in 140 characters or fewer. GASTRONOMY

17 Really good chocolate-chip cookies

On the cover Front: Turkey in Flight, Fiona’s first fingerpainting. Back: Fiona painting Turkey in Flight on 31 December 2011.

FROM OUR ARCHIVES

24 A new flag for Salt Lake City

By Dustin | The design Dustin submitted in Salt Lake City’s 2004 flag redesign contest. OUR TIMES

26 Last convoy of American troops leaves Iraq

By Tim Arango and Michael S. Schmidt the new york times The final American troops in Iraq left on 18 December 2011, after nearly a decade of war. WE BELIEVE IN CHRIST

28 The meaning of sustaining

By Dustin | Sustaining our Church leaders blesses our lives.

This issue was designed on a Dell Inspiron ONE2305 desktop, with 4 GB of RAM, a 1 TB hard drive, and an AMD Athlon II X2 240e processor with a speed of 2.8 GHz. The software used includes InDesign, Photoshop, and Illustrator in Adobe Creative Suite 5.5, as well as Microsoft Word 2010. The operating system was Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit. Dialann—Irish for “journal”—is published quarterly at New York, in January, April, July, and October. dialann@seoighe.net youtube.com/DialannTV Published by Seoighe 646.397.0403 New York 202.643.0403 Washington, D.C. seoighe.net Printed by Blurb | blurb.com

CLOSING THOUGHTS

34 Well wishes

Written by guests at Susan and Dustin’s wedding reception.

Did you know? In the 2011 Macy’s Thanksiving Day Parade, there were 10,000 people marching, 44 midsize and 15 gigantic

balloons, 26 floats, 800 clowns, 1,600 cheerleaders and dancers, 11 marching bands, 1,700 balloon handlers, and 27 drivers. SEE PAGE 20


OPENING THOUGHTS By DUSTIN

9 January 2012 I turned 30. Here I reflect on three things that got me to this milestone.

I’m 30. How’d I get here? In the weeks and months before January—the month I turned 30 and the month I started working on this issue of Dialann—I had grand plans for what I would say here. It would be a masterpiece for the ages, an exposition of the deep, poignant, reflective feelings I felt as I turned a decade in my life, an expression of my hope for the future. January began and with it came and went 9 January, my birthday. Then January ended. Now here I am on 16 February, writing this. (And, yes, still working on this issue. It’s a little delayed. But I’m almost done. In fact, this is basically the last thing that needs to be done on it.) And yet no grand essay. Not a single word. Why? To be frank, because those deep, poignant, reflective feelings never materialized.

Oh, I enjoyed my birthday celebration. Susan, Fiona, and I began the evening by taking the subway to Times Square. We ate dinner at Hard Rock Cafe then headed across Broadway to Toys ‘R’ Us, where we rode the indoor Ferris wheel. We then took the Q train to downtown Brooklyn, where we got desert—chocolate-mousse cheesecake for me, German chocolate cake for Susan, and a nap for Fiona—at Junior’s. Yet I would feel remiss if I didn’t take the time to write something at this juncture in my life. I actually started writing something this morning. But, as expected, it wasn’t what I really wanted to say. So I’ve thought about it some more. Here’s a second take at this.

A  My 30th birthday cake: chocolatemousse cheesecake at Junior’s in Brooklyn.

J A N U A RY 2 0 1 2

lot of things have made me who I am today. My family, especially my mother, my brother Daniel, and my late grandmother and Aunt Linda. My friends—of whom I’m happy to say there are too many to name here. Many of the literally thousands of people I’ve met over the past three decades, ranging from teachers and classmates to those I taught on my mission. And many people I’ve never met: authors of books I’ve read; leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints; the builders of the cities and places I admire most; people I’ve heard about in the news whose examples I admire. But I would like to write about three things from my three decades of life that I feel have made me who I am today. I do not write about these things because they are more important to me than the people or things I was just mentioning, or because I think they’ve impacted me more. Rather, I choose these because I think they each have a direct and measurable impact on who and where I am right now.


My hometown This may seem an odd choice to “honor” in this way on the occasion of my turning 30. But I don’t think I would be where I am today were it not for the place I came from, my beloved hometown, Charlotte, North Carolina. Shortly before I was born in 1982, the 1980 United States Census ascribed to Charlotte a population of 315,473. As of this writing, Charlotte’s estimated population is 772,627, well more than double its population of just 32 years ago. As I grew and matured, so did the city I lived in. I witnessed first hand much of that growth, along with the opportunities and challenges it presented. As the city and its leaders faced and answered tough questions—who we were as a city and what physical form the city should take—I was deeply interested and impacted. Without it, I don’t think I would have my intense passion for urban planning. I don’t know I would appreciate the importance of place and the need for people to care about the communities they live in and the cities they call home. I’m not sure I would understand the impact that thoughtfullyplanned, well-built cities can have on their citizens, on the environment, on the economy, and on the world. That’s not to say that Charlotte is any of those things. It has made a lot a mistakes, and answered a lot of questions the wrong way— or, perhaps worse, not answered them at all. Among its missteps, there are two that I think are particularly egregious. First, it has disregarded its history. It has too frequently, too swiftly, and too recklessly torn down the markers of its past and in so doing torn the fabric that made it what it was and is. It seems like hardly a building built before my lifetime stands in the city center any more. And perhaps that is why it has had such trouble deciding where it is going: it does not always remember where it has been, because the reminders and evidence of its past have been wiped away. That is just as lamentable for a city as it is for a person. Second, it has chosen a physical form that places primacy on the automobile over anything else. The economic, fiscal, and environmental effects of this decision and its impact on the city’s livability and its residents’ health are manifold and deep. But that’s also not to say that Charlotte hasn’t made many good choices. It has built one of the most beautiful skylines in the country and one of America’s liveliest and most walkable downtowns. It has likewise launched one of the nation’s most ambitious transit-building

programs. (The first segment of this plan, the South Corridor light-rail line dubbed the LYNX Blue Line, opened 24 November 2007. My friend Andrea Braswell and I were aboard the first train that ran, with the mayor and a number of other public officials.) The economic turmoil that began in 2008 has deeply impacted the city. Many construction projects in the city center and elsewhere have been delayed or cancelled. The sales tax that supports construction of the transit plan has brought in lower revenues than projected, causing the entire plan to be delayed and leading to debates over whether parts of the plan should be eliminated. In perhaps the most bruising blow to the city’s ego, the nation’s fourth largest bank, Wachovia, a Fortune 500 company headquartered in Charlotte that was one of the city’s largest employers, was purchased by San Francisco’s Wells Fargo. After decades of outcompeting its rivals, Charlotte had to endure the bitter taste of its own medicine. I have learned from both my hometown’s triumphs and its struggles. Growing up there is why I became so interested in urban planning and transportation issues in the first place. It’s why I majored in urban and regional planning at the University of Utah, studies which eventually took me to The Netherlands and then back to America and an internship at The United States Conference of Mayors in Washington, D.C. It was that internship, of course, that led to the job that kept me in D.C. for much longer than just that summer I had expected to stay. And it was in Washington, D.C., that Susan and I met. I am where I am because of where I came from. My mission I entered the Missionary Training Center in Provo, Utah, 11 years ago, on Wednesday, 17 January 2001. During my three weeks there, several general authorities of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints spoke to us. But there is one talk in particular I will never forget. Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve spoke to us on 30 January. I would liken his remarks to a pep talk for missionaries. I think he gives that talk—or similar talks—to missionaries pretty often. In fact, an article by Elder Holland entitled “Missionary Work and the Atonement” ran in the March 2001 Ensign shortly after I left the MTC and entered the mission field. His words in the article were very similar to those he spoke to us in the MTC—but the magazine says that the article is based on a talk he gave at the MTC on 20 June 2000. Yet whether

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his words were spoken just to us that evening or whether they have been repeated again and again to thousands of missionaries is beside the point. Either way, they were meant for us. But there is one thing he said to us that evening that is not recorded in that very similar article that appeared in the Ensign. He said that everything in his life he owes to his mission. Here he was, an Apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ, happily married with three children. The Church’s website lists his other achievements:

“Pull quote.” PULL QUOTE AUTHOR

From 1980 until his call as a General Authority in 1989, Jeffrey R. Holland served as the ninth president of Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah. He is a former Church commissioner of education and dean of the College of Religious Education at BYU. A student leader and varsity athlete at Dixie High School and Dixie College in his native St. George, Utah, he received his bachelor and master degrees in English and religious education, respectively, from Brigham Young University. He obtained master and doctor of philosophy degrees in American Studies from Yale University. Elder Holland was active in professional educational activity prior to his call to full-time Church service. He served as president of the American Association of Presidents of Independent Colleges and Universities (AAPICU), on the board of the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities (NAICU) and as a member of the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s (NCAA) Presidents Commission. For his work in improving understanding between Christians and Jews he was awarded the “Torch of Liberty” award by the Anti-Defamation League of B’Nai B’rith. He has served on the governing boards of a number of civic and business related corporations and has received the “Distinguished Eagle Scout” award from the Boy Scouts of America. He is the author of eight books, one of which he co-authored with his wife, Patricia. (mormonnewsroom. org/leader-biographies/elder-jeffrey-rholland) And yet everything in his life he attributes to his service as a missionary! I decided then and there that I wanted to serve a mission that would make it possible for me one day to attribute everything in my life to my service as a missionary.

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 Susan and Fiona walk across Times Square during the course of my 30th birthday celebration.


More than a third of my life has passed since then. I was by no means a perfect missionary. Toward the end of my mission, I was seeking confirmation from the Lord that I had done what he had wanted me to do, in spite of my foibles. That answer came in December 2002, a month before the end of my mission. It was the last transfer (what we called the six-week period between transfer days) of my mission. It happened during the Saturday evening leadership session of the stake conference of one of the stakes I was serving in, the West Jordan Utah Stake. Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin (1917–2008) of the Quorum of the Twelve was the visiting general authority. Throughout most of the session, my companions and I had been sitting up on the stand, as we often did in our mission so members would realize that, yes, even in Utah there are missionaries. But when Elder Wirthlin was speaking, he presented some things on the screen using an overhead projector. So we could see better, my companions and I moved down to the front row with the rest of the congregation. Then Elder Wirthlin said that he wanted to ask the missionaries a question. Since we had moved, he wasn’t sure where we were, and everyone pointed to the three of us in the front row. He said, “Would the senior companion please stand?” Since I had been on my mission the longest, I stood. He then asked me a question, and I gave my answer. I don’t remember his inquiry, or even the subject (I assume it had to do with missionary work), and I don’t remember my response. But I will never forget what he said next. He announced, “Brothers and sisters, that is a great missionary!” After two years of service as a full-time missionary, an Apostle said that I was a great missionary. The Lord had given me my answer. I had served him well. Four months after coming home from my mission, I returned to Salt Lake to attend the University of Utah. My first summer back in Utah I stayed with a family I had met in one my areas, the Fausetts in the Kearns Utah South Stake in Taylorsville. I never would have gone to the University of Utah had I not served my mission in Salt Lake first. It was through the University of Utah’s Hinckley Institute of Politics that I found my internship in Washington, D.C., which led to the job that kept me in D.C., which led me to Susan. I can now say that everything in my life—my wonderful wife, my lovely daughter, my temple marriage, and where I am today because of those things—is the result of my mission. Just as Elder Holland said was the case in his life.

My marriage Four years ago this month (remember, I’m writing this on 16 February) I married Susan Jane Hibdon for time and all eternity in the Manhattan New York Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. (Indeed, since we got married on Leap Day, 29 February, this month is the first time we will be able to celebrate our anniversary on our actual wedding date.) After three decades of life, I remain far from perfect—the five and a half weeks that have passed since I turned 30 have reminded me of that and shown me that simply turning a decade older doesn’t magically make me a better person. And yet Susan stands by me. I owe everything to her. I am better simply because she is in my life. And any improvements I make as a human being in the decades to come will be a result of my marriage to her. And the little girl that has come into my life as a result of this marriage—Fiona—has changed me forever. I have been able to be the father I never had, and I have grown and changed in ways I never thought I could. I love you, Susan and Fiona. The first 30 years of my life were complete only because you were part of it.

 With Fiona in front of the first destination for my 30th birthday celebration, Hard Rock Cafe Times Square.

So, now I’m 30. Maybe one these days I’ll start acting that way. d

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July–December 2011

MILESTONES

holidays events in our lives

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travel events in the Church

birthdays world events

Canada Day Independence Day Space shuttle Atlantis lifts off for the 12-day final mission of NASA’s space-shuttle program Britain’s 168-year-old News of the World, the most-read newspaper in the English-speaking world, prints its last issue in the wake of a phone-hacking scandal Dustin speaks in the Washington DC 3rd Ward’s sacrament meeting (see “To always remember Him,” Dialann 4.24) Fiona’s birthday (1) Family to Virginia Beach for Fiona’s birthday (see Travelog, Dialann 4.6) Fiona’s birthday party Space shuttle Atlantis touches down for the final time (see “End of an era,” Dialann 4.20) A series of coordinated assaults by a lone gunman/ bomber in and near Oslo, Norway, kills 77 and injures 96 After months of trying and walking as Susan and Dustin held her hand, Fiona walks—really walks—for the first time Fiona gets her first skinned knee (now that she’s walking, of course) Elder Marion D. Hanks, emeritus general authority, dies at age 89. We note his death because he provided the quote that appeared in Susan and Dustin’s wedding announcements and their wedding photo album: “Marriage is a friendship that blows away the chaff and takes the grain; that says I accept you as a unique person, and I love you and respect you in your personality, and I will protect you, and I’ll listen” (see “More Than We Imagine,” The New Era, June 1971, page 4) Standard and Poor’s downgrades the United States government’s credit rating from AAA to AA+ for the first time since it began rating countries’ credit scores in 1941 Family to Donner Lake, California Fiona attends her very first professional sports match: a game between Major League Baseball’s Washington Nationals and Cincinnati Reds at Nationals Park in Washington, D.C. The Nationals beat the Reds 6-4 San Salvador El Salvador Temple dedicated by President Henry B. Eyring, first counselor in the First Presidency East Coast earthquake (see “5.8 earthquake rocks D.C. and our home,” Dialann 4.8) Hurricane Irene skirts past the Washington, D.C., area (see box, Dialann 4.9)


September 1 Our family moves to New York City 5 Labor Day 6 Susan starts her new job 14 Ground broken for the Trujillo Perú Temple by Elder Rafael E. Pino of the First Quorum of the Seventy 16–18 Susan and Fiona to Washington, D.C., to sell Susan’s car 17 Ground broken for the Philadelphia Pennsylvania Temple by President Eyring with Philadelphia mayor Michael A. Nutter participating 17 Occupy Wall Street protests begin in New York City 18 National bookstore chain Borders closes its last remaining stores. In the wake of changes in the publishing world—especially the introduction of e-readers—Borders found it couldn’t compete and filed for chapter 7 bankruptcy. Dustin remembers fondly the hours he spent perusing the shelves at Borders locations around the country 21 The State of Georgia executes Troy Davis, a man who was very possibly innocent of the murder for which he was convicted and sentenced to death October 1–2

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181st Semiannual General Conference; President Monson announces new temples for Barranquilla, Colombia; Durban, South Africa; Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo; and Star Valley, Wyoming. The Paris, France, temple was confirmed (rumors about it had been persistent among both Church members and the French press), and President Monson announced that the tabernacle in Provo, Utah—which was gutted by a fire on 17 December 2010—would be restored as a temple Ground broken for the Payson Utah Temple by Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi assassinated Ground broken for the Sapporo Japan Temple by Elder Gary E. Stephenson of the First Quorum of the Seventy Dustin sustained and set apart as branch clerk in the Bushwick 1st Branch

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Dustin and Susan give talks in the Bushwick 1st Branch’s sacrament meeting (see “The meaning of sustaining,” page 28) 26 Dustin and Fiona to Hartford, Connecticut, to visit the state capitol 28 125th anniversary of the Statue of Liberty 30 Susan sustained as visiting teaching supervisor 30 Dustin confirms Alfred Martinez a member of the Church 31 7 billionth person born 31 Halloween November 5 Susan’s birthday 13 Dustin participates in Cha Cha Martinez’s confirmation 15 Ground broken for the Fortaleza Brazil Temple by Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve 15 Occupy Wall Street encampment in Zuccotti Park in Lower Manhattan cleared out in a surprise earlymorning raid by the New York Police Department 24 Thanksgiving December 11 Dustin confers the Aaronic Priesthood upon Alfred Martinez and ordains him to the office of priest 11 Quetzaltenango Guatemala Temple dedicated by President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, second counselor in the First Presidency 18 Susan released as visiting teaching supervisor and sustained and set apart as first counselor in the Bushwick 1st Branch’s Primary presidency 18 Last American troops, crossing the border into Kuwait, withdraw from Iraq (see “Last convoy of American troops leaves Iraq,” page 26) 19 North Korean dictator Kim Jong Il dies 25 Christmas 29 Filene’s Basement and Syms close their doors forever; Syms is where Dustin got his first suit 31 New Year’s Eve, which Dustin celebrated at Times Square with college friend Matt Hickenlooper; Susan and Fiona stayed home with Matt’s wife and Dustin’s friend Rhiannon Longstaff 7


OUR ANNUAL HOLIDAY LETTER

A year of tremendous change and upheaval In 2011, we continued the tradition we started in 2010: a letter to loved ones updating them on our lives over the past year. Many of our friends and family received this letter in the mail, accompanied by one of two lovely Christmas cards that Susan’s had for years and that we were trying to get rid of. Everyone else was able to read this letter on Facebook.

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NEW YORK CITY DECEMBER 2011 Dear friends and family, his has been a year of tremendous change and upheaval, and not just for Muammar Qaddafi/Gaddafi/Gadhafi/ Qadhafi/Gathafi. (Susan says that the word “upheaval” might be hyperbole, and Dustin claims that she must not have upheaved very many boxes during our move.) First, the big news: we moved to Germany! … Well, almost, but that didn’t quite work out. We had our hearts so set on moving to a foreign country that we decided to move to New York City, which is pretty much the same thing. We live in the Bushwick section of Brooklyn, a neighborhood with a Dutch name that is now full of Puerto Ricans. (We know: Puerto Rico isn’t actually a foreign country, but it might as well be, since we don’t speak the language.) Some highlights of our new neighborhood: our friendly neighbors, Mike and Milta, who are the very definition of New Yorkers; the live poultry shop up the street, which we quickly learned to avoid due to the smell; and a Laundromat on every corner. (That still doesn’t make laundry very convenient.) It’s really a nice, safe, friendly place— gritty and charming all at once. Our apartment is lovely as well. It’s brand new, with three bedrooms. We live on the second floor of a rowhouse. Our landlords are originally from China—which is occasionally a language and cultural barrier, but in a fun way—and live downstairs. Fiona has become good friends with their three children: Wendy, Windy, and Wesley. We’re enjoying exploring New York together. Fiona was already a pro at taking the subway and buses, but now she’s getting lots of experience with ferries and aerial tramways. For Dustin, New York is a magical land of soaring skyscrapers and rumbling subways. For Fiona, New York is a magical land of amazing playgrounds and enough carousels to make her head spin. And for Susan, New York is a magical land of farmers markets that don’t gouge you. Susan is teaching 9th-grade history and Dustin is continuing his freelance work. At church, Dustin is the clerk/secretary of our

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congregation, while Susan … well, they haven’t quite figured out what to do with her yet. Fiona seems to have become the official baby mascot of the congregation: every time she walks into a room, the other kids come running over shouting “Fiona!” We’ve done some traveling this year. In the spring, we took a trip to the Deep South. First, we rode Amtrak’s Crescent, a sleeper train, to Birmingham, Alabama. It was Fiona’s first overnight train trip, and she did a great job. She loved crawling around in our compartment and she slept remarkably well on a regular bed (shielded by a wall on one side and by Susan, who did not sleep so well, on the other). We visited the Birmingham temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and saw a few sights. Then, on 15 April 2011, at the age of exactly nine months, Fiona reached another milestone: her first ride in a car. She hated it, as we hoped she would. Fortunately, she discovered that the car ride to Montgomery was a great time for a nap. Alabama was followed by visits to Jackson, Mississippi, and New Orleans and Baton Rouge, Louisiana. That seems like a pretty good trip, but we decided to take the train home via Chicago. That meant two more nights on the train—one on the City of New Orleans, the other on the Capitol Limited—and an eight-hour layover in the Windy City. There was plenty of time to take in a few sights, such as the glass-floored Skyledge on the 107th floor of the Sears Tower, which didn’t faze Fiona at all. (We can’t say the same for Susan, who stood on terra firma sobbing.) Over the summer, we flew to Reno, Nevada, to visit Susan’s family at Donner Lake, California. This is the very place where the Donner Party got stuck in the snow and resorted to … well, no one is really certain, but they had a hard time finding food. Today, though, it’s a beautiful lake with a nice little railroad town next to it, where Susan’s family has been vacationing for many years. We went kayaking, wading, and hiking, and ate some delicious meals and generally had a relaxing week. Unfortunately, Fiona got her first cold while we


PHOTO TAKEN 12 DECEMBER 2011

were there, but even she still had a good time. The rest of the year was mostly spent checking items off our bucket lists. During our trip to the South, Dustin visited state capitols number 26, 27, and 28; on our trip to Nevada, he crossed off number 29; and he recently visited Albany and Hartford, Connecticut, which gets him to number 31 on his quest to visit all 50 state capitols. Fiona’s achievements were mostly in the areas of mobility and communication and include learning to crawl and walk and making up her own sign language. And Susan made it through another year without creating a bucket list. In the end, our lives together are rich and full. We continue to be blessed not only with the basic needs of life but also the opportunity to travel and explore and show Fiona what a wonderful world we live in. Fiona is a beautiful little girl who is growing up too fast—but we are grateful we can see her every step of the way. We are blessed to have each other, and we are blessed to count you among our friends and family. Merry Christmas and a happy new year to you all! Always, Susan, Dustin, and Fiona

 This photo accompanied our letter, both in the mail and on Facebook. We were standing on the pier—which, as you can see, offers a great view of the Midtown Manhattan skyline—at the end of North 5th Street in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Over Dustin’s right shoulder is the Empire State Building, and the spires over Susan’s left shoulder are, left to right, 4 Times Square (also known as the Condé Nast Building) and the Bank of America Tower at 1 Bryant Park.

2011 holiday stamps

“Holiday baubles” These are the stamps we used to mail our holiday cards. The United States Postal Service’s website provides some background information on them: “William J. Gicker art directed these stamps using illustrations by Linda Fountain [of Hilton Head, South Carolina]. Drawing on styles popular during the 1950s, she first sketched the ornaments then rendered them using cut paper. These renderings were scanned and turned into digital files. The actual objects are slightly larger than a sheet of typing paper.” These stamps were first issued at New York, NY 10199 on 13 October 2011. Over 1 billion of these stamps were printed! That’s a lot of cards!

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I’m Dustin, and I’m a Mormon The latest iteration of Mormon.org invites members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to create personal profiles that share their testimonies describe their own experiences living and learning the gospel of Jesus Christ. Here is mine.

 I used a cropped version of this photo as my Mormon.org profile image. Here, Fiona and I stand in front of the Capitol Columns—which originally encircled the East Portico of the United States Capitol—at the National Arboretum in Washington, D.C. To my left in the photo is Joel Glassett, the son of one of my mission companions, David Glassett. 10

Hi, I’m Dustin

I love cities and subways and learning about the world. I work from home as a freelancer and look after my daughter. I’m a Mormon. About Me I’m first and foremost the husband of a wonderful woman and the father of a lovely daughter. I look up to both of them very much; they make my life complete. I’m a freelancer who works from home, which means that I have the blessing of looking after my daughter every day. She and I are best chums. We love going to the playground and sliding down the slide together. We love riding the subway and making friends with people from all sorts of different places speaking all sorts of different languages and with all sorts of different beliefs. We love looking up at the buildings of the city we live in, hearing the sounds and seeing the sights and smelling the smells of its streets. But I think our favorite moments are just before bed, sitting quietly in my daughter’s bedroom with her in my arms, totally safe and cozy and warm. I think the world is an amazing place. I pause daily to look at the colors of the sunset, sad that it’s so short but grateful it will happen again the next day. I have had the opportunity to travel to many different places. (Of course, I always want to see more.) I marvel at humankind’s creativity and ingenuity. It is a thrill to see New York’s skyscrapers, to feel the rush of France’s TGV, to admire the grace and beauty and San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge. In my professional work, I work to build great cities, cities that benefit our planet and, more importantly, those who call them home. But my greatest work will always be in the walls of my own home. Why I am a Mormon This is the faith I grew up with. My mother was baptized a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints when I was four years old. After she was baptized, we moved around the United States a bit. We finally ended up back in

my home state. I still remember our first day at church there after we moved back. It was long, and it was tough for me to stay awake (I was 9). But I felt something; I felt that my family and I were in the right place. On the way home, I asked my mom if we could never miss church again. And I pretty much haven’t ever since. I realize now that what I felt that day was the Holy Ghost. He was testifying to me that what I was doing was right and that what I was learning that day at church was true. I have felt that feeling often at church and when reading the Bible and the Book of Mormon. It’s never been loud or flashy. Rather, like the ancient prophet Elijah felt (1 Kings 19:12), it has always been “a still small voice.” That’s not to say I’ve never had any doubts. I think we all have occasions in our lives—or looking at events in the world—to ask tough questions. Does God really exist? If so, does He really care about us—about me? In a world of so many conflicting messages—religious, scientific, PHOTO TAKEN 30 APRIL 2011


political, philosophical—who, if anyone, is right? In The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I have found my answers. I certainly don’t know everything—and my church and its leaders don’t claim to know everything, either. But we know what we need to know: that God exists, that Jesus Christ is His Beloved Son, and that They love us. I know that Jesus Christ is my personal Savior, that He lived a perfect life that I strive to emulate in my life every day—and that I always fall short. I know that His Atonement and His gospel make it possible for me to overcome my mistakes and my shortcomings and get through the pains and trials of life. I love my Savior; I know that He lives and that this is His Church. How I live my faith I strive to live my faith every day. It begins in the morning; before my family and I leave our home each day, we gather in a circle and pray. Throughout the day, we strive to follow the example of Jesus Christ in our interactions with others. Before each meal, we bow our heads and thank our Heavenly Father that we have food to eat and we ask Him to bless it. We try to read the scriptures together each day as a family and individually. (In our family reading we are currently studying the Old Testament; in my personal study I’m reading the Book of Mormon again.) Then, before we go to bed, we kneel, usually in my toddler daughter’s room, and thank our Heavenly Father for the day we’ve had and ask Him to keep us safe through the night. In our evening prayer, we also try to remember others— sometimes people we know, but often people we don’t know but have heard about in the news. Once a week, usually on Monday evening, we set aside as a time to spend together as a family. We usually have a brief lesson on a topic related to Jesus Christ and His gospel, followed by an activity or game together and a treat. Each Sunday we go to church. I was just asked (or “called”) to be a clerk for our congregation. The job is basically just like it sounds: I help my congregation’s leaders handle many of their administrative functions, including recordkeeping and finances. Though at first glance this job may not appear to be “spiritual” in nature, it is still an essential part of the Lord’s work: the spiritual work of the Church is strengthened by making sure its practical affairs are in order. Beyond that, I rely upon the guidance of the Holy Ghost in fulfilling this job. The fact that I receive this spiritual guidance tells me that my job is important to the Lord. It also gives me experience in obtaining and following this spiritual guidance that I can use in other areas of my life, especially in my most important roles of father and husband. d

“Pull quote.” PULL QUOTE AUTHOR

 Dustin’s profile, at mormon.org/me/1B9V

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Tweeting general conference By DUSTIN

1–2 October 2011 uring the 181st Semiannual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints last October, I joined the “Twitter Stake” in using Twitter to record and convey my thoughts, impressions, and experiences during each session of conference. (“Twitter Stake” is a term coined by Mormon blogger Kathryn Skaggs, who tweets under the handle @LDSNana, for the growing number of members of the Church who share the gospel and their testimonies via social media, especially via Twitter.) By using the hashtag #ldsconf, my short messages (“tweets,” as Twitter messages are called, are limited to 140 characters, including spaces) joined a stream of tens of thousands of other tweets in reporting, as the Deseret News put it, “almost every quote from general conference live and in real-time.” Throughout the five sessions of general conference, I sent 166 tweets—22 during the Saturday morning session, 11 Saturday afternoon, 61 from the priesthood session, 35 Sunday morning, and 37 Sunday afternoon—totalling 15,777 characters, including spaces. Which isn’t bad, considering that I sent tweets during the priesthood and both Sunday sessions using mobile Web access on our cell phone, with a pull-out keyboard smaller than the size of my hand. I “retweeted” three tweets sent by others. I tweeted under the handle @LDSWeekly, which I had set up earlier in 2011 to create an online newspaper called The Latter-day Saint Weekly. While like many others I summarized speakers’ remarks, I tried to distinguish my tweets by providing the references for scriptures cited and the numbers for hymns sung. This was the result. d 12

My general conference tweets are presented here in chronological order, exactly as they appeared on Twitter, including a few spelling and typographical errors, missing words, and the straight quotation marks and apostrophes most commonly used online (" and ' instead of “” or ‘’). Speakers’ names are bold in the first tweet in which they are mentioned, to make it easier to see which tweets refer to which talks.

Saturday morning session Mormon Tabernacle Choir opens 181st Semiannual General Conference with "The Morning Breaks" (Hymns, #1) #ldsconf President Henry B. Eyring, first counselor in the First Presidency, is conducting Saturday morning session #ldsconf Choir singing "With Songs of Praise" (Hymns, #71) #ldsconf Invocation to be offered by Elder Gary J. Coleman of the Seventy #ldsconf Elder Richard G. Scott of the Quorum of the Twelve is the first speaker #ldsconf @LauretteIAm Yes, where is President Monson? #ldsconf Choir singing "We Ever Pray for Thee" (Hymns, #23 and #312) #ldsconf Sister Barbara Thompson, second counselor in the Relief Society general presidency, is the next speaker #ldsconf

Have ye inquired of the Lord? (1 Ne 15:8) I have always found that one of the most simple yet profound verses in Book of Mormon #ldsconf Elder L. Whitney Clayton of the Presidency of the Seventy is the next speaker #ldsconf Choir and congregation singing "Redeemer of Israel" (Hymns, #6) #ldsconf President Thomas S. Monson will be the next speaker #ldsconf This conference marks 48 years since President Monson was called to the Quorum of the Twelve by President McKay in October 1963 #ldsconf Pres Monson announces new temples in Provo (!), Barranquila Columbia, Durban South Africa, Kinshasa DRCongo, Star Valley WY, Paris #ldsconf Elder José L Alonso of the Seventy is the next speaker #ldsconf We don't need a planning meeting to serve or to go out and look for those that are lost. #ldsconf Boyd K. Packer, president of the Quorum of the PHOTO OF CONFERENCE CENTER: THE CHURCH OF JESUS CHRIST OF LATTER-DAY SAINTS


Twelve, is the next speaker #ldsconf Choir is singing "I Am a Child of God" (Hymns, #301) #ldsconf Concluding speaker in the Saturday morning session is President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, second counselor in the First Presidency #ldsconf Choir singing closing hymn, "Press Forward, Saints" (Hymns, #81) #ldsconf Elder Lowell M. Snow of the Second Quorum of the Seventy giving benediction #ldsconf Saturday morning session concludes; Saturday afternoon session begins at 4p EDT/2p MDT #ldsconf

The Saturday afternoon session has concluded; the priesthood session begins at 8p EDT/6p MDT via satellite #ldsconf Music and the Spoken Word begins tomorrow at 11:30a EDT/9:30a MDT, followed by the Sunday morning session at 12 noon EDT/10a MDT #ldsconf Priesthood session And the priesthood session has begun! #ldsconf Music by a Melchizedek Priesthood choir from Pleasant Grove, Utah #ldsconf President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, second counselor in the First Presidency, is conducting this session #ldsconf Choir singing "Rise Up, O Men of God" (Hymns, #323) #ldsconf Elder Richard G. Hinckley, released this afternoon from the Seventy, to offer invocation #ldsconf Choir singing "I Need Thee Every Hour" (Hymns, #98) #ldsconf Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve is the first speaker #ldsconf What every man and young man needs to remember: 1.. Satan is real #ldsconf

Saturday afternoon session

You know SOMEONE in the Conference Center just put Angry Birds away #ldsconf Choir and congregation are singing "Praise to the Man" (Hymns, #27) #ldsconf ) Elder Carl B. Cook of the Seventy is the next speaker #ldsconf LeGrand R. Curtis of the Seventy is the current speaker #ldsconf Elder D. Todd Christofferson of the Quorum of the Twelve is the next speaker #ldsconf

2. Satan is eternally opposed to God's love, the Savior's Atonement, and the work of peace and salvation #ldsconf Looking for men young and old who care enough to sign up and speak up #ldsconf Young men: to play in this match, some of you need to be morally clean than you currently are #ldsconf The Lord has drawn lines of cleanliness for those called to engage with him in this work #ldsconf I am asking you young men to be active in the Church and be clean, or to get active in the Church and get clean #ldsconf

Elder L. Tom Perry of the Quorum of the Twelve is the concluding speaker at the Saturday afternoon session #ldsconf

We publicly and proudly salute those who want to serve missions but cannot for health or other reasons #ldsconf

By Common Consent (@ByCommonConsent) tweeted Woot! Elder Perry's up---it's Talk-Like-A-Pirate Time! #ldsconf retweeted by @ldsweekly

The Church needs senior missionaries #ldsconf From every man, young and old, whoo holds the priesthood, I ask for a louder and stronger voice #ldsconf

@ByCommonConsent More like it's talk-likeyou're-from-narthern-Utah time #ldsconf

Bishop Keith B. McMullen, second counselor in the Presiding Bishopric, is the next speaker #ldsconf

Primary choir singing "My Heavenly Father Loves Me" (Children's Songbook, p. 228) and "I Know My Father Lives" (p. 5; Hymns, #302)

Whenever I hear the song of a bird... Is that an Angry Bird? :) #ldsconf ANGRY BIRDS PHOTO ILLUSTRATION: 9TO5IPHONE.COM

 Since someone reading this decades from now may not know what “Angry Birds” is: it’s an iPhone app. From the source of all truth, Wikipedia: “In the game, players use a slingshot to launch birds at pigs stationed on or within various structures, with the intent of destroying all the pigs on the playfield. As players advance through the game, new birds appear, some with special abilities that can be activated by the player.”

Aaronic Priesthood holders are as reliable and capable of fulfilling their duty as we expect they are #ldsconf Aaronic Priesthood held by Levites anciently, Savior sought John the Baptist to be baptized by

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that power, and it has been restored #ldsconf Aaronic Priesthood holders should live to receive the power of the Holy Ghost in their lives #ldsconf Bishop McMullen calls upon young men to strive to be born again #ldsconf If you do this, the young woman will admire you and become better because of you #ldsconf Bishop McMullen's overall message: as we do our duty, Holy Ghost will be our companion and magnify our efforts #ldsconf Elder W. Christopher Waddell of the Seventy is the next speaker #ldsconf Great story about missionary from Madrid, Spain, who served in Arizona and found the man, then less active, who baptized his father #ldsconf

Welfare is the essence of our religion -- let's put the priesthood to work #ldsconf President Henry B. Eyring, first counselor in the First Presidency, is the next speaker #ldsconf Speaking on priesthood preparation, both our own and that with which we help other priesthood holders #ldsconf We may ask, "Am I prepared for this" The answer is yes, you have been prepared since you were taught at Heavenly Father's knee #ldsconf To qualify for eternal life, we must work with our heart, might, mind, and strength to help others prepare for eternal life #ldsconf

2. Arrive worthy of the Holy Ghost; 3. Arrive ready to work #ldsconf

Great story about his being asked, as a priest, by his bishop to accompany him on a visit as his companion #ldsconf

President Uchtdorf is the next speak; opens with speaking about benefiting from Church welfare after World War II #ldsconf All our actions should spring from our love for God and our love for our fellow man #ldsconf Enoch built a Zion through the spiritual process of making a people of one heart and one mind ... #ldsconf ... and the temporal process of making sure there were no poor among them #ldsconf Experience of President Kimball as stake president in Arizona during flood in 1940s #ldsconf President Kimball asked Church headquarters for a large sum of money, but instead they taught his stake self-reliance #ldsconf In the Lord's plan, there is something everyone can contribute, both rich and poor are obligated to help one another #ldsconf While there's nothing wrong with experts, let's face it: there will never be enough of them to solve all the world's problems #ldsconf

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Whether we are rich are poor, wherever we live on this globe, we all need each other #ldsconf

Counsel to future missionaries: 1. Arrive on your mission with a personal testimony of the Book of Mormon #ldsconf

Choir and congregation singing, "Rejoice, the Lord Is King"

NOTE 1. President Eyring really said that, even if it’s not recorded in the Ensign.

President Uchtdorf provides a number of reasources to learn about Lord's way of selfreliance, including June 2011 Ensign/Liahona #ldsconf

How does the Lord call priesthood holders 1. He calls those who may appear to be plain and simple #ldsconf

This is the third time you've heard this scripture; repetition isn't boredom, it's inspiration #ldsconf1 1 Timothy 4:12 "Let no man despise thy youth" #ldsconf I can't be a perfect servant every hour, but I can give more effort than I thought I could #ldsconf President Thomas S. Monson is the concluding speaker #ldsconf The powers of the priesthood are inseparably connected with the powers of heaven D&C 121 #ldsconf My strenth is as the strength of ten, because my heart is pure Tennyson #ldsconf Can't do President Monson's story justice; just read it in the Ensign or Liahona #ldsconf We represent some of our Heavenly Father's strongest children #ldsconf Whether you are 12 or 112 or anywhere in between, you can know for yourself that the gospel is true #ldsconf

Any successful welfare or relief effort will rely upon the talents of Relief Society sisters #ldsconf

Be ready always to give answer to the man who asketh the reason for the hope that is in you #ldsconf

We need to familiarize ourselves with the Lord's revelations; we should not assume we already know #ldsconf

President Monson concludes his talk with 3 Nephi 18:24 #ldsconf

That's 1 Peter 3:15 #ldsconf


Choir singing "Come, Ye Children of the Lord" (Hymns, #58) #ldsconf The priesthood session has concluded. See you tomorrow at 12 noon EDT/10a MDT! #ldsconf Sunday morning session Choir and congregation singing "We Thank Thee, O God, for a Prophet" (Hymns, #19) #ldsconf

I can't help but feel that the last verse of "We Thank Thee, O God, for a Prophet" should be rewritten to end on a happier note #ldsconf Sister Elaine S. Dalton, Young Women general president, is the next speaker #ldsconf The best way for a father to raise a daughter: love her mother #ldsconf It was only after Nephi built a temple that he wrote, "and we lived after the manner of happiness" #ldsconf That was 2 Nephi 5:27 #ldsconf You are your daughter's guardian in more than a legal sense -- be involved and an active part of her life #ldsconf If your daughter is late coming home from a date, go get her! #ldsconf You will bless your daughter's life for years to come if you find time to spend with her and ways to share your testimony with her #ldsconf Daughters and young women: be loyal to the royal that is within you #ldsconf Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve is the next speaker #ldsconf Members of the Church should tell the world that the Church is called after the name of the Lord Jesus Christ #ldsconf Every word in the name of the Church clarifies what and whose it is #ldsconf The word "The" indicates the Church's unique position among the churches of the world #ldsconf Church of Jesus Christ indicates that this is his church and not someone else's #ldsconf of Latter-day indicates that this is the same church Christ established during his mortal ministry, restored in the latter days #ldsconf

Polygamist groups calling themselves "fundamentalist Mormons" or derivatives of our name have nothing to do with our Church #ldsconf Remember that there is only one church in all the world that by divine command bears the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ #ldsconf Choir singing "I'll Go Where You Want Me to Go" (Hymns, #270) #ldsconf President Thomas S. Monson is the concluding speaker at this session #ldsconf We're delighted to have Elder Robert D. Hales with us again and in improved health #ldsconf President Monson was born the same year as Charles Lindbergh's first trans-Atlantic flight #ldsconf

BY T H E N U M B E R S

Tweeting general conference Larry Richman, director of product awareness for the Church’s curriculum materials and a blogger, provides these stats on tweeting trends during the 180th Semiannual General Conference in October 2010.  The conversation using #ldsconf was ranked as high as #2 on Twitter in the United States.

Technologically and morally, society is changing rapidly #ldsconf

 More than 24,600 individual tweets were sent by over 2,000 different Twitter users.

President Monson just quoted a Beatles song in general conference! Is that a first?! #ldsconf2

 These tweets reached over 1,123,500 people (the sum total of all the followers of those 2,000 Twitter users).

All you need is love ... That's the song President Monson quoted #ldsconf

 The most discussed session was Sunday morning with more than 6,100 tweets

The Ten Commandments are just that -commandments. They are not mere suggestions, and are as valid today as they were anciently #ldsconf There is nothing that can bring us more joy than the Spirit, which we can invite into our lives by following the Savior #ldsconf That was Isaiah 32:17 #ldsconf

Saints indicates that the Church's members strive to follow the example and teachings of Jesus Christ #ldsconf

It is important to be worthy to receive inspiration and then trust it and follow it #ldsconf

Our church is The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints #ldsconf

Choir singing "I Believe in Christ" (Hymns, #134), which happens to be my favorite hymn #ldsconf

We should avoid and discourage the use of the term "Mormon Church" #ldsconf

 @LDSWeekly on Twitter.

That was Isaiah 41:10 #ldsconf

 In addition to the United States, top countries participating were Canada, the Philippines, Mexico, Chile, the United Kingdom, and Guatemala. And Deseret News reporter Trent Toone noted:  At one point, #ldsconf accounted for .14% of the total tweets on Twitter (which at the time averaged 70 million per day). NOTE 2. President Monson did, more or less. See Ensign, November 2011, page 82.

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Sunday morning session concludes; next and final session at 4p EDT/2p MDT #ldsconf Sunday afternoon session President Henry B. Eyring, first counselor in the First Presidency, is conducting this session #ldsconf Choir is singing "Arise, O God, and Shine" (Hymns, #265) #ldsconf Elder Michael F. Watson of the Seventy is offering the invocation #ldsconf Choir singing "I Feel My Savior's Love" (Children's Songbook, page 74) #ldsconf Elder Russell M. Nelson of the Quorum of the Twelve is the next speaker #ldsconf Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve is the next speaker #ldsconf What do you believe about Jesus Christ and what are doing about that belief #ldsconf We should consider what Jesus Christ taught about himself and his mission #ldsconf Jesus that his appearance was the same as the father's #ldsconf When you consider all the things Jesus has done for us, don't you have many reasons to come back to church and serve him #ldsconf That was John 14:6 #ldsconf

No matter how hard I try, the afternoon session always becomes nap time for at least a few minutes #ldsconf

It is necessary to bring three things with you on your mission #ldsconf 1. A desire to preach the gospel; 2. Develop your testimony and a willing heart and mind; 3. A love for others #ldsconf Elder Randall K. Bennett of the Seventy is the next speaker #ldsconf Is he talking about a ... rip tide? All of us who live near the ocean are quite aware of those and their danger #ldsconf We have only two true choices: to follow Christ and thereby choose eternal life, or follow the world and cut ourselves off from God #ldsconf Elder J. Devn Cornish of the Seventy is the next speaker #ldsconf Our Heavenly Father loves us so much that the things that are important to us become important to him #ldsconf By Common Consent (@ByCommonConsent) tweeted Cornish: "He will not infringe upon our agency, we must ask for His help. This is generally done through prayer. " #ldsconf #patentlaw retweeted by @ldsweekly

It is contrary to the economy of heaven for God to do for us what we can do for ourselves #ldsconf That's the second talk in a row that that principle has been taught #ldsconf Elder Quentin L. Cook of the Quorum of the Twelve is the next speaker #ldsconf

After all these years, I still feel like my mission was the bext two years FOR my life #ldsconf

Why was Elder Cornish's prayer for fried chicken answered, but the prayers of those on the sinking Titanic were not? #ldsconf

1. The Holy Ghost teaches individuals in a very personal way #ldsconf

That is an interesting camera angle they keep showing between speakers #ldsconf

While the Holy Ghost teaches the truth of all things, it does not teach all truth at once #ldsconf

President Thomas S. Monson is the concluding speaker at the 181st Semiannual General Conference #ldsconf

Brother Matthew O. Richardson, second counselor in the Sunday School general presidency, is the next speaker #ldsconf

2. The Holy Ghost teaches by prompting, encouraging, inviting. It will not do for us what we can only do for ourselves. #ldsconf

We are all in this together, and every man, woman, and child has a role to play #ldsconf

The Holy Ghost is unrestrained as individuals use their agency appropriately #ldsconf

Choir singing "Lord, We Ask Thee Ere We Part" (Hymns, #153) #ldsconf

You can parent and lead after the workings of the Spirit. Align the manner of your teaching after the manner of the Holy Ghost #ldsconf

Elder Gregory A. Schwitzer of the Seventy is offering the benediction #ldsconf

Choir and congregation singing "Now Let Us Rejoice" (Hymns, #3) #ldsconf 16

next speaker #ldsconf

Elder Kazuhiko Yamashita of the Seventy is the

Ariel M. Panga (@ riyel27) tweeted Thank you #twitterstake! You made #ldsconf experience more alive, meaningful and exciting. See you in six months. retweeted by @ldsweekly


Really good chocolate-chip cookies

Yields 21/2 dozen cookies 10 minutes active time + 10 minutes cook time = 20 minutes total time Ingredients 1/2 c softened unsalted butter 1 c brown sugar 3 Tbs sugar 1 egg 2 tsp vanilla 1/2 tsp baking soda 1/2 tsp baking powder 13/4 c flour 11/2 tsp crushed instant espresso powder 8 oz chocolate chips

Directions 1. Preheat oven to 375°F. 2. Cream butter until smooth. 3. Add sugars and cream until smooth. 4. Add egg and vanilla. Beat well. 5. Add baking soda, baking powder, flour, and crushed instant espresso powder. Mix thoroughly. 6. Stir in chocolate chips. 7. Place generous gobs of dough on ungreased cookie sheet. 8. Bake for 8–10 minutes. Cool on rack, or enjoy warm. 375°F

:8–:10

GASTRONOMY

Tips A non-coffee alternative, such as Pero, can be used in place of espresso powder. Use an additional 1 Tbs softened unsalted butter in step 2 for extra-moist cookies.

J A N U A RY 2 0 1 2


A visit from Grammy & Papa By SUSAN

7–10 November 2011 Susan’s parents stop by.

 At Junior’s, Grammy pretends to feed Peter while Fiona looks on in delight.

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S

ince moving to New York, we have had quite a few visitors stay in our lovely living room/guest quarters. In early November, we hosted the first family members to visit us in our new home: Mama and Daddy, a.k.a. Mary and David, a.k.a. Grammy and Papa. They flew into LaGuardia the evening of Monday, 7 November, and Dustin and Fiona went to the airport to pick them up. It was a rather harrowing experience due to a delayed flight combined with Dustin’s lack of information about their arrival, but all arrived safely in our apartment by about 21.00. We gave them a tour and some dinner, and then everyone went to bed, especially Fiona. On Tuesday, I had to go to work—it was a professional development day, and it would have been bad form to miss. Dustin set off to Albany to see the state capitol. Grammy, Papa, and Fiona struck off on their own adventure: riding the Staten Island Ferry. Fiona, who is super tough, walked several blocks on the way to the subway station; but unfortunately, the adults got a little lost, and eventually Fiona reached her limit and had to be carried. Fortunately, they finally found the subway station. The subway ride, we hear, was uneventful. On the ferry, Fiona walked all around and made friends, as well as climbing right up onto a seat. Grammy and Papa were greatly impressed at her socialization. I had a getting lost story of my own. After school, I went to Manhattan to get some chicken from Trader Joe’s in order to make some tasty stew for her adventurous family, but Manhattan is confusing. I was determined not to give up, however, and after much wandering and frustration, I bought some chicken and got home. Much to my surprise, no one else was

there. Dustin arrived shortly, but there was no sign of the ferry group. We later found out that this was due to their delayed start. But I have every confidence in Grammy and Papa’s ability to navigate a subway system, so I was not concerned about their being stranded someplace in the city. Sure enough, I soon heard footsteps outside and opened the door to see Fiona climbing the steps almost horizontally, supported by Grammy. Hurrah! Dinner was eaten, stories were shared, babies were put to bed. One of the best stories was that, as they were arriving home, Papa and Grammy were a little confused about which house was the right one. The people next door, recognizing Fiona and the lost look on Papa’s face, said, “It’s this one!” On Wednesday, I again had to go to school. Dustin, Fiona, Grammy, and Papa tried to go to The Jewish Museum to see the Ezra Jack Keats exhibit, but it was closed. Then they came to my school, where, it turns out, my fourth-grade teacher, Rita Elman, did her student teaching long ago. There was some discussion of riding the tram to Roosevelt Island, but it was getting rather late, and everyone was hungry, so we headed to downtown Brooklyn for dinner at Junior’s. The most remarkable thing about Junior’s is the small bowls of pickles and beets that they put on the table for you, and we did sample the little delights. By this time, Fiona was sleeping in my lap, and there she stayed until our food came. The bus ride home was quite crowded at first, as it often is. When people started to clear out, Fiona sat with Grammy and Papa, and Papa played with her and tossed her all around, much to her delight. She was pretty pooped out, but she still managed to walk the block from the bus stop back to our apartment. Grammy and Papa left the next day to take the train to visit Karen, Bob, Michael, and Charlotte. Although they were not here for long, we all enjoyed having them—especially Fiona, who certainly thrives on attention, particularly attention from someone other than her own parents. d  Fiona with her Papa on the B52 bus.


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Macy’s + Thanksgiving = A must-see in our new hometown Photos by CORBRETT HODSON*

Thanksgiving Day 24 November 2011 With our friends Corbrett and Kerri, who were visiting us from the Washington, D.C., area, and Alfred and Cha Cha, members of our branch who had recently joined the Church, we went to West 74th Street and Central Park West on a chilly fall morning to watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade in person for the first time.

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Susan, Dustin, and Fiona Fiona on the subway The crowd Alfred, Kerri, Dustin, Susan, Cha Cha, and Fiona E Fiona patiently waits for the parade to begin

* Except for the photo of Corbrett and Kerri, which was taken by Dustin


F

G H

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F G H I J K L

SpongeBob SquarePants Pillsbury Doughboy Buzz Lightyear Kool-Aid Man Mickey Mouse (sailor) Po from Kung Fu Panda Snoopy (World War I flying ace) M Fiona catches sight of the balloons. “Hey, everyone! Look! There’s something strange up there!” N Spider-Man O Energizer Bunny P Hello Kitty Q Kerri and Corbrett

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FOCUS ON FIONA By FIONA

Why was there a tree in our house?

Fiona wonders about the wonders of Christmas.

 Fiona plays with a string of lights as we take down our tree on 7 January 2011.

EDITORS’ NOTE We actually introduced Fiona to this tradition last year; she just doesn’t remember. J A N U A RY 2 0 1 2

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his December, my parents introduced me to some very strange practices that our family apparently follows. One evening, I got into my stroller, and the three of us took our grocery cart to Ridgewood. It was a nice evening—cold, but there were these funny-shaped, multicolored lights hanging over the street, and there were lots of people out, so I enjoyed the trip. The strange part happened toward the end, when we stopped near a bunch of trees. You might think I’m talking about a park, but this was definitely not a park. The trees were just right there on the sidewalk. They picked one out, handed a lady some of those greenish papers, put the tree in our cart, and we went home. As if that whole exchange wasn’t weird enough, when we got home, they brought the tree—the entire tree!—into our house, where they leaned it up against a wall for a little while. The next time I saw it, it was in some kind of holder, standing in our living room. It smelled good, but I still didn’t quite know what to make of it. A few nights later, I started to think it was kind of cool. Mama and Daddy got out a big box of stuff that we put on the tree. I watched them put these strings of lights on the branches, and they were so lovely. Then they got out some little toys, most of which I wasn’t allowed to touch, and hung them up on the tree. There were a few that I really liked. One of them was a beautiful blue glass fish. They put it way out of my reach, unfortunately. There was another one that looked like a little furry polar bear, which is one of my favorite animals. For a few days, it seemed that every time I woke up from my afternoon nap, there


 Fiona eats a cookie as she prepares to open her presents on Christmas Eve.

was another box under our tree. Mama and Daddy said something about “presents,” but I wasn’t really sure what that was. They also found some really big socks and hung them up on the bookcase. Then, one night, we read a story about the Baby Jesus being born a long time ago, and looked at some pictures. That was all pretty familiar, since we had been talking about it for a few weeks. We also read a cool pop-up book about some guy coming down a chimney. Then we sang a song and I went to bed. In the morning, when I got up, Mama and Daddy brought me into the living room and showed me that I could open up one of the boxes. There was a toy in it! A toy I had never seen before! It was great. There were some other boxes, too, and Mama and Daddy opened some of them, but I wasn’t paying much attention because I was playing with my new toy. Then we went to church, and we sang some more songs about Jesus being born. The next day, I went into the living room and Mama and Daddy gave me another box to open up. There was another toy in it! I couldn’t believe my good fortune. I got right to work playing with that toy, then remembered the one I had found the day before. It was a busy day. Little did I know that all of those boxes under the tree had toys in them. By now, I’ve opened them all up, and it’s so nice to have all these options for playtime. Mama gave me some cards and crayons so I could say thank you to the people who sent the toys to me. I wasn’t sure at first, but now I think I like this “Christmas” event. Next time I notice that there’s a tree in our house, I’ll get started finding things that I can put in boxes to give to other people. d

TOOTHTRACKER Teeth as of 31 December 2011:

11

24 September 2011* 25 September 2011 28 December 2011 20 November 2011 12 December 2011

UPPER

right

left

LOWER

22 September 2011 20 November 2011 19 November 2011 * Date tooth was confirmed; it was first sighted 14 or 15 September 2011


FROM OUR ARCHIVES By DUSTIN

In fall 2004 the public was invited to submit designs for a new Salt Lake City flag. This was my proposal. No, it didn’t win.

A new flag for Salt Lake City EDITORS’ NOTE One of our goals in creating this magazine was to publish and archive permanent records of our lives, not only looking forward but also looking back to before the magazine or even our family was created. This is the first in a series of articles we will publish over the coming years of items in our individual and family records.

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 Salt Lake City’s old flag, designed in the 1960s. The phrase “This is the place” appears under a covered wagon pulled by oxen, while the banner reads “Salt Lake City.” According to the Deseret News, thenmayor Rocky Anderson “likened the mostly white flag to a bedsheet blowing the in wind that endears only the LDS faithful.”

J A N U A RY 2 0 1 2

y most accounts, the city’s current flag is a little dull. It features an all-white background with a very small decal in the middle that’s almost incomprehensible when viewed beneath a large flag pole. The decal includes images of Salt Lake City’s pioneer life.” That’s how the Deseret News described Salt Lake City’s flag on 19 September 2004 in an article on a contest held by then-mayor Rocky Anderson and the city council to design a new flag for Utah’s capital. That flag, which dated from the 1960s, had outlived its usefulness to a modern, progressive—if not yet cosmopolitan—city that had recently hosted the Olympic Winter Games. I was in my second year at the University of Utah. I figured I’d throw my hat in the ring and give it a try. Who knew—maybe I could even win? The winner would receive a framed copy of his/her submission signed by the mayor and city council, an actual flag using his/her design, and a $100 gift certificate to a local framing shop. That sounded like a pretty good prize to me. My friend Matt Homer came with me as I hopped on UTA TRAX to the City and County Building to hand-deliver my proposal to the Office of the Mayor shortly before the contest’s deadline of 17.00 on 30 November 2004. For the next couple of months I eagerly awaited the results of the judging. It turns out that no one really won the contest. Of the over 50 entries received and the 3 finalists selected by a panel of judges, the city council didn’t like any of them, the Deseret News reported on 4 February 2005. The contest took a political tone (as most things connected with Rocky Anderson did) when Mr. Anderson directed that the seagull—which apparently was associated too exclusively with the city’s Mormon

heritage—in one finalist’s submission be replaced with an eagle. In the end, on 4 October 2006 Salt Lake City adopted a new flag that was “influenced” by a design submitted by Steven R. Jerman. Even though my submission didn’t win— it wasn’t even selected as a finalist—I’m still proud of it. It’s not the most beautiful flag ever designed, but as I look back on it now it has a remarkable depth of symbolism. Here is my description of its symbolism, as related in the “written description of the meaning & symbolism contained in the design” required by the contest rules to accompany each submission. Colors This design consists of four colors. Three of the colors—red, white, and blue—are taken from the American and Utah flags. The fourth—gold— while present to a limited extent on the Utah state flag, is emphasized on this flag. Together, these colors represent the rich diversity of races, nationalities, religions, and peoples that make Salt Lake City. Individually, each color has a unique meaning: Red Red represents life. It represents the lives of those who gave their all to make the desert blossom like a rose. It also represents the life given to us by this land. White White represents purity. It is a pure color, just as this land was a pure land—a wilderness—when the first settlers arrived. It is a reminder that the responsibility to protect this land and use it wisely is a stewardship we still have. White also represents the purity of our citizens and our children as people who believe in the value of each individual, the power of democracy, and the security afforded by our cherished rights and responsibilities as individuals and communities. Blue Blue represents water. Water holds a special status in our world and in our culture. In this particular case it represents the defining geographic characteristic of the city, the


 Dustin’s submission to the contest to design a new city flag held by Salt Lake City in fall 2004.

 This is the new flag that was eventually adopted by the Salt Lake City council on 4 October 2006.

Great Salt Lake. Water in a desert represents a resource that, though scarce, is invaluable to us. In the wintertime, water, in the form of snow, also covers the valley and the mountains that surround us. Blue, as the color of the sky, further represents the lofty goals and aspirations of this city and its people. Gold Gold represents wealth. This is a place of great natural wealth, with spectacular scenery, minerals and precious metals that have made us rich, and land that has produced in abundance. But this color also represents what truly makes us rich—the value of all those who live here and who make this city the unique and special place it is. Each of us is already wealthy because of the blessing we have to live in this place. Shapes and symbols Seagull and beehive The historic symbols of our state and city have been preserved, updated, and given a position of prominence in this new flag. Checkerboard pattern The checkerboard pattern on the left side of the flag has two primary meanings: 1. It represents the grid pattern of blocks and fields laid out by the city’s founders, for which Salt Lake City is still famous today. This grid pattern has enormous meaning as a representation of an orderly, beautiful city carved out of the wilderness by the sacrifice and bare hands of persecuted pioneers. 2. It creates a sort of patchwork quilt effect on the flag, representing the mosaic of

people of all races, ethnicities, religions, and cultures who live here and who make this place what it is. Blue field The blue background on the right side of the flag represents the Great Salt Lake. And just as this city has been built on the threshold of the lake, the checkerboard pattern representing the city is on the threshold of the blue representing the water. Stepped/zigzag pattern As stated above, blue also represents the snow that covers our mountains, so, in effect, the blue field on the right side of the flag also represents our other defining geographical characteristic— our spectacular mountains. The zigzag pattern in the center of this flag represents the mighty slopes of the mountains around us. Symbolically it also represents the aspirations of this city and its people—a city and a people who are not satisfied simply to be complacent with things as they are, but are constantly and consistently working to make their city all that it can be. This is a city with an illustrious past and a bright future. The two come together in this flag. d

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OUR TIMES By TIM ARANGO and MICHAEL S. SCHMIDT

18 December 2011 The nearly decadelong war in Iraq— considered by some to be our generation’s Vietnam—drew to a close as the last troops left the country.

A version of this article appeared in print on 19 December 2011 on page A6 of the New York edition of The New York Times with the headline “Last Convoy of American Troops Leaves Iraq, Marking a War’s End”. Minor edits and typographical changes have been made to times, capitalization, and abbreviations. J A N U A RY 2 0 1 2

Last convoy of American troops leaves Iraq BAGHDAD he last convoy of American troops drove into Kuwait on Sunday morning, punctuating the end of the nearly nineyear war in Iraq. As an indication of the country the United States is leaving behind, for security reasons the last soldiers made no time for goodbyes to Iraqis with whom they had become acquainted. To keep details of the final trip secret from insurgents—or Iraqi security officers aligned with militias—interpreters for the last unit to leave the base called local tribal sheiks and government leaders on Saturday morning and conveyed that business would go on as usual, not letting on that all the Americans would soon be gone. The crossing brought a close to a final troop withdrawal drawn out over weeks of ceremonies in Baghdad and around Iraq, including a formal if muted flag-folding ceremony on Thursday, as well as visits by vice president Joseph R. Biden Jr. and defense secretary Leon E. Panetta, and a trip to Washington by prime minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki. The last troop movement out of Iraq, which included about 110 vehicles and 500 soldiers, began in darkness. Around 2.30, the convoy snaked out of Contingency Operating Base Adder, near the southern city of Nasiriya, and headed toward the border. As dawn approached on Sunday, the last trucks began to cross the border into Kuwait at an outpost lighted by floodlights and secured by barbed wire. “I just can’t wait to call my wife and kids and let them know I am safe,” said Sergeant First Class Rodolfo Ruiz just before his armored vehicle crossed over the border. “I am really feeling it now.” Shortly after enterng Kuwait, Sergeant Ruiz told the men in his vehicle: “Hey, guys, you made it.” Then, he ordered the vehicles in his convoy not to flash their lights or honk their horns. Many troops wondered how the Iraqis, whom they had worked closely with and trained over the past year, would react when they awakened on Sunday to find that the remaining American troops on the base had left without

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saying anything. “The Iraqis are going to wake up in the morning, and nobody will be there,” said a soldier who identified himself only as Specialist Joseph. He said he had emigrated to the United States from Iraq in 2009 and enlisted a year later, and refused to give his full name because he worried for his family’s safety. The reaction among Iraqis was muted, as it had been for weeks as the Americans packed up. Live images of the last convoy arriving in Kuwait were not shown on local television, as they were around the world. Some Iraqis were unaware on Sunday that the last of the American soldiers— aside from a vestigial force at the embassy—had left. “I just heard from you that they’ve withdrawn,” Mustafa Younis, an auto mechanic in Mosul, said to a reporter. “We’ve been waiting for this day since 2003. When they invaded us, we carried our machine guns and went out to fight them. We decided to do suicide operations against them. They committed many crimes, and we lost a lot of things because of them.” Some celebrated even before the final departure. On Saturday evening, Ahmed Haider, a teacher in the Khadimiya district of Baghdad, took his family out to a restaurant for a meal of pizza and sandwiches to mark the occasion. “I feel so happy,” he said. “This is the real happiness for all Iraqis, and I do not know why people are not making a big deal of it.” Of course, many Iraqis fear what comes next, and the withdrawal came against the backdrop of political crisis in Baghdad. A large group of mostly Sunni lawmakers announced a boycott of Parliament on Saturday in protest of a wave of arrests by the Shiite-dominated government that swept up a number of their aides and security guards. Several guards who work for vice president Tariq al-Hashimi, a top Sunni leader, have been arrested, and the government is said to be preparing a case against Mr. Hashimi on terrorism charges. Fearing that insurgents would try to attack the last Americans leaving the country, the military treated all convoys like combat missions. As the armored vehicles drove through


UNITED STATES ARMY VIA FLICKR

the desert, Marine, Navy and Army helicopters and planes flew overhead, scanning the ground for insurgents and preparing to respond if the convoys were attacked. Colonel Douglas Crissman, one of the military’s top commanders in southern Iraq, said Friday in an interview that he planned to be in a Black Hawk helicopter over the convoy with special communication equipment. “It is a little bit weird,” he said, referring to how he had not told his counterparts in the Iraqi military when the Americans were leaving. “But the professionals among them understand.” Over the past year, Colonel Crissman and his troops spearheaded the military’s efforts to ensure the security of Tampa, the long highway that passes through southern Iraq, which a majority of convoys passed through on the way out of the country. “Ninety-five percent of what we have done has been for everyone else,” Colonel Crissman said. Across the highway, the military built relationships with 20 tribal sheiks, paying them to clear the highway of garbage, making it difficult for insurgents to hide roadside bombs in blown-out tires and trash. Along with keeping the highway clean, the military hoped that the sheiks would help police the highway and provide intelligence on militants. “I can’t possibly be all places at one time,” Colonel Crissman said in an interview in May. “There are real incentives for them to keep the

highway safe. Those sheiks we have the best relationships with and have kept their highways clear and safe will be the most likely ones to get renewed for the remainder of the year.” All American troops were legally obligated to leave by the end of the month, but president Barack Obama, in announcing in October the end of military operations here, promised that everyone would be home for the holidays. Still, the United States will continue to play a role in Iraq. The largest American embassy in the world is located here, and in the wake of the military departure it is doubling in size—to roughly 16,000 people, most of them contractors. Under the authority of the ambassador will be fewer than 200 military personnel, to guard the embassy and oversee the sale of weapons to the Iraqi government. History’s final judgment on the war, which claimed nearly 4,500 American lives and cost almost $1 trillion, may not be determined for decades. But as the last troop convoy crossed over, it marked neither victory, nor defeat, but a kind of stalemate—one in which the optimists say violence has been reduced to a level that will allow the country to continue on its lurching path toward stability and democracy, and in which the pessimists say the American presence has been a Band-Aid on a festering wound. “Things will go worse in Iraq after the U.S. withdrawal, on all levels—security, economics and services,” said Hatem Imam, a businessman in Basra. “We are not ready for this.” d

History’s final judgment on the war, which claimed nearly 4,500 American lives and cost almost $1 trillion, may not be determined for decades.

 Kuwaiti border military police and soldiers from the 265th Movement Control Team close the gate at the Khabari Crossing on 18 December 2011 after the final convoy crossed the border from Iraq. Distinguished guests, service members, and media from around the world came to see the last few convoys of service members cross over the border into Kuwait. The 3rd Brigade Combat Team, “GREYWOLF,” 1st Cavalry Division was the last unit out of Iraq.

Duraid Adnan contributed reporting from Baghdad, and an employee of The New York Times from Mosul.

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WE BELIEVE IN CHRIST By DUSTIN

Sustaining our Church leaders means more than raising our right arm to the square. It is an action verb that will strengthen our testimony and help us realize the blessings the Lord has in store for us.

This text is adapted from a talk Dustin gave in the sacrament meeting of the Bushwick 1st Branch on 23 October 2011. J A N U A RY 2 0 1 2

The meaning of sustaining

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n 2005, after two years of studying urban planning at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City, I was a little bored and in need of a different perspective on the subject, so I went to The Netherlands to continue my studies at Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen. Though my time there was short, I fell in love with The Netherlands. It is a beautiful country with a complex, intriguing society, which offered me a lot to learn, see, and experience even in just a few months’ time. But one of the most endearing things about Holland1 is that all the things one might traditionally associate with the Dutch really do represent the way the country actually is. Wooden shoes—they actually use them (they say they’re great for gardening). Tulips. Cows and cheese. And windmills. My branch president in Nijmegen, President Van Rooij, was obsessed with windmills. He planned someday to build one in his backyard. He also said that, among other things such as the scriptures and testimony, any good talk will refer to windmills. I am putting his counsel into practice today. I figure this is also appropriate in this branch, with a name that originates in Dutch (Boswijck, meaning “little town in the woods” or “heavy woods” in 17th-century Dutch), in a city that was once named New Amsterdam. Why does Holland have so many windmills? The country wouldn’t exist without them— literally. Much of it, anyway. See, about 25% of The Netherlands lies below sea level. A full 50% of it is less than three feet (one meter) above sea level. A lot of it is man-made land. These man-made portions of land are called polders; the embankments or levees that surround these polders are called dikes (from the Dutch word dijk). Windmills harness the wind’s power to pump water out and help the dikes in keeping the polders and other low-lying areas dry. Windmills sustain polders, just as we sustain Church leaders Now you’re probably asking, what does this have to do with general conference, other than the fact that one of the Apostles has the last name Holland? In the Saturday afternoon session, President Henry B. Eyring, first counselor in the

First Presidency, stated: “It is proposed that we sustain Thomas Spencer Monson as prophet, seer, and revelator and President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints; Henry Bennion Eyring as First Counselor in the First Presidency; and Dieter Friedrich Uchtdorf as Second Counselor in the First Presidency. “Those in favor may manifest it. “Those opposed, if any, may manifest it. “It is proposed that we sustain Boyd Kenneth Packer as President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and the following as members of that quorum: Boyd K. Packer, L. Tom Perry, Russell M. Nelson, Dallin H. Oaks, M. Russell Ballard, Richard G. Scott, Robert D. Hales, Jeffrey R. Holland, David A. Bednar, Quentin L. Cook, D. Todd Christofferson, and Neil L. Andersen. “Those in favor, please manifest it. “Any opposed may so indicate. “It is proposed that we sustain the counselors in the First Presidency and the Twelve Apostles as prophets, seers, and revelators. “All in favor, please manifest it. “Contrary, if there be any, by the same sign” (Ensign, November 2011, page 23). We, as members of the Lord’s Church, were asked to sustain the leaders the Lord has called to lead and guide his Church and his work in our day. We all raised our right hands in a sustaining vote. But what does it mean to “sustain” our Church leaders? That’s where windmills provide a great metaphor. Windmills do not by themselves create polders. Windmills are not simply constructed in the middle of water and turned on while everyone sits back and waits for land to appear. Dikes are pushed up first. Without them, there would be nothing to hold the water back. Windmills assist in the process of pumping the water out to create the polders and the land on which people live and buildings are constructed. Once that process is complete, windmills continue to pump out any water that may seep in. In short, windmills sustain the polders. Likewise, we by ourselves do not call our leaders and others who serve in the Church. They


are first called by the Lord. Without the Lord and his priesthood authority, there would be no leaders or others called and, indeed, no Church.2 We are asked to sustain the Lord and those whom he has called work, just as windmills sustain the polders and dikes. Remember our fifth Article of Faith: “We believe that a man must be called of God, by prophecy, and by the laying on of hands by those who are in authority, to preach the Gospel and administer in the ordinances thereof.” We don’t choose our leaders, but we do choose whether or not we will follow them This leads us to three questions about sustaining and its role in the Church. We offer a sustaining “vote,” so is the Church a democracy? The answer is, not exactly. The Institute manual for the Doctrine and Covenants explains: “Is the Church a democracy? This question is different from asking whether it is democratic. A democracy is a system of government in which the majority rules, especially ‘a government in which the supreme power is vested in the people’ (Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary, s.v. ‘democracy’). In other words, an organization can be said to be democratic if the will and the rights of the people or the membership are always the primary concern and if force is never exercised. By such criteria The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is democratic, though not a democracy, for a fundamental element of the government of the Church is the exercise of the law of common consent. This law allows Church members the privilege of voting to sustain or to refuse to sustain any person called to preside over them” (Doctrine and Covenants Student Manual, page 439).

“Pull quote.” PULL QUOTE AUTHOR

Can we vote no? President Joseph Fielding Smith taught: “I have no right to raise my hand in opposition to a man who is appointed to any position in this Church, simply because I may not like him, or because of some personal disagreement or feeling I may have, but only on the grounds that he is guilty of wrong doing, of transgression of the laws of the Church which would disqualify him for the position which he is called to hold” (Doctrine and Covenants Student Manual, page 54). What happens if we do vote no? Elder Orson F. Whitney, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve from 1906 until his death in 1931, described what would have happened if the first members of the Church had failed to sustain Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery as their PHOTO TAKEN 12 MAY 2010 BY ALBERT DE BRUIJN, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 FLICKR.COM/PHOTOS/51652977@N00/4836196807

 Windmills on the Kinderdijk in the western Netherlands. The 19 old windmills here are the largest concentration of historic windmills in the country and were declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1997.

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THE FIRST PRESIDENCY

had called? What if we today fail to sustain our prophet, President Thomas S. Monson? Let’s take a quick walk through Church history to see the fruits and blessings that came—and that we still enjoy today—from following the prophet. •

Thomas S. Monson president

Henry B. Eyring Dieter F. Uchtdorf first counselor second counselor •

THE QUORUM OF THE TWELVE APOSTLES

• Boyd K. Packer

L. Tom Perry

Russell M. Nelson

Dallin H. Oaks

M. Russell Ballard

Richard G. Scott •

Robert D. Hales

Jeffrey R. Holland

 The current members of the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. Our family joins with the rest of the membership of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in sustaining these men as prophets, seers, and revelators and as the Lord’s chosen servants— those the Lord has called to lead and direct his Church and work in our day.

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David A. Bednar

Quentin L. Cook

D. Todd Neil L. Christofferson Andersen

leaders: “But if the vote had been unfavorable, this would have resulted: The brethren and sisters who were waiting to be admitted into the Church would have closed the door in their own faces, would have cut themselves off from a most precious privilege, would have deprived themselves of the inestimable benefits flowing from the exercise of the gifts and powers possessed by the men divinely commissioned to inaugurate this great Latter-day Work” (Doctrine and Covenants Student Manual, page 440). In other words, in failing to sustain Church leaders and other members, we don’t stop the Lord’s work from going forward. The Lord’s kingdom will proceed regardless of what we do. When we choose to sustain others, we affirm that we want to continue to be a part of this work as it advances. If we fail to sustain Church leaders and others, we cut ourselves off from blessings the Lord has in store for us. Our agency or choice in sustaining lies in this: while we do not choose our Church leaders, we choose whether or not to follow those whom the Lord has called—and whether we’ll receive the blessings that come from doing so. Church history shows the fruits and blessings of sustaining Church leaders What if the Church members who came before us had failed to sustain the leaders the Lord

What if early Church members had failed to sustain the Prophet Joseph Smith? Would we have the revelations that gave us blessings such as the Word of Wisdom, temple ordinances, and the organization and keys of the priesthood? Where would members of the Church have been had they failed to sustain President Brigham Young in the chaos, confusion, and persecution that followed the Prophet Joseph Smith’s death? In the news today we see reports of those refuse to sustain President Wilford Woodruff and his revelation on plural marriage, including one of their leaders who just started a life sentence in prison for horrific crimes. President George Albert Smith guided the Church-wide implementation of welfare; many of us—including my own family on at least a couple of occasions when I was growing up—have been blessed by Church welfare. Imagine if Church members hadn’t sustained President Spencer W. Kimball and his revelation extending the blessings of the priesthood to all worthy male members of the Church, regardless of their race. President Gordon B. Hinckley guided the establishment of the Perpetual Education Fund and the construction of temples that has given us 135 operating temples (note: as of the date of this talk). Would we have a temple so close in Manhattan? President Thomas S. Monson continues to move the Church forward, and his leadership has given us temples in places such as Rome.

On this last note, let me say that I grew up with President Hinckley as the head of the Church. I remember presidents Ezra Taft Benson and Howard W. Hunter, but I really remember President Hinckley—so much so that when he passed it was almost hard to imagine having another President of the Church. But I remember that general conference when we all for the first time sustained Thomas Spencer Monson as “prophet, seer, and revelator and President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints” (Ensign, May 2008, page 4). I particularly remember the Sunday morning session of that general conference. I felt the Spirit confirm that President Monson is indeed the Lord’s chosen


prophet in our day. After the session, I turned to Susan to express what I had felt, and she turned to me and shared the same feeling. Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve described what we all felt. As he began his talk at the start of the Sunday afternoon session, Elder Holland turned to President Monson and said: “President Monson, may I claim a moment of personal privilege? As the first of the Brethren invited to speak following your singular message to the Church this morning, may I say something on behalf of all your Brethren of the General Authorities and indeed on behalf of all the Church. “Of the many privileges we have had in this historic conference, including participation in a solemn assembly in which we were able to stand and sustain you as prophet, seer, and revelator, I cannot help but feel that the most important privilege we have all had has been to witness personally the settling of the sacred, prophetic mantle upon your shoulders, almost as it were by the very hands of angels themselves. Those in attendance at last night’s general priesthood meeting and all who were present in the worldwide broadcast of this morning’s session have been eyewitness to this event. For all the participants, I express our gratitude for such a moment. I say that with love to President Monson and especially love to our Father in Heaven for the wonderful opportunity it has been to be ‘eyewitnesses of his majesty’ (2 Peter 1:16), as the Apostle Peter once said” (Ensign, May 2008, page 91). Because of that experience, I know that President Thomas S. Monson is the Lord’s prophet and the one the Lord has chosen to lead his Church in our day. To sustain is an action verb There is at least one characteristic that windmills have in common with all other machines: they do nothing unless they are turned on. Likewise, to sustain is an action verb. It goes beyond the action of simply raising our hand to the square. Two Church leaders explain further. Elder Loren C. Dunn of the Seventy3 explained: “When we sustain officers, we are given the opportunity of sustaining those whom the Lord has already called by revelation …. The Lord, then, gives us the opportunity to sustain the action of a divine calling and in effect express ourselves if for any reason we may feel otherwise. To sustain is to make the action binding on ourselves to support those people whom we have sustained. When a person goes through the sacred act of raising his arm to the square, he should remember, with soberness, that which he has done and commence to act in harmony with his sustaining vote both in public and in private”

(Doctrine and Covenants Student Manual, page 54). John Taylor, the third President of the Church, taught: “What is meant by sustaining a person? … For instance, if a man be a teacher, and I vote that I will sustain him in his position, when he visits me in an official capacity I will welcome him and treat him with consideration, kindness and respect and if I need counsel I will ask it at his hand, and I will do everything I can to sustain him. That would be proper and a principle of righteousness, and I would not say anything derogatory to his character” (Doctrine and Covenants Student Manual, page 42). Is it sufficient alone to raise our hand in sustaining support? Can windmills alone keep the water out of Holland’s polders and low-lying areas? No, they can’t. As I mentioned earlier, dikes are an essential part of that infrastructure. But even dikes and polders working together are, at times, insufficient to protect the Dutch and their land from floodwater. On Saturday, 31 January, and Sunday, 1 February 1953, The Netherlands experienced the worst flooding in its modern history. A storm combined with an unusually high tide caused the North Sea to inundate the country. The sea rushed over the dikes, flooding over 500 square miles (1,300 square kilometers) of land, including 9% of Dutch farmland. The floodwater damaged 47,300 buildings, completely destroying 10,000 of them. An estimated 30,000 animals drowned, and 700,000 people were evacuated from their homes. A total of 1,836 victims died, including a baby who was born that night who drowned in the floodwaters. This disaster led The Netherlands to undertake the Delta Works, a project to help protect the country and its polders and lowlying areas from the North Sea to prevent such an event from ever happening again. It was expensive, costing billions of Dutch guilders, and it took a long time to complete: from the North Sea flood of 1953, the Delta Works were largely completed in 1997, though the very last portion of them—a retaining wall near the city of Harlingen—was completed on 24 August 2010. These barriers are viewed the world over as a model for protecting similarly low-lying areas from flooding—including parts of New Orleans that were severely damaged by Hurricane Katrina in 2005 as I began my studies in Holland. It took additional action for the Dutch to protect their homes and their country, and it takes additional action from each of us to move beyond simply going through the motion of raising our hand to the square to truly sustaining the Lord’s chosen servants. It took additional action for the Dutch to protect their homes and their country. Raising our right hands to the

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square in a sustaining vote is a sacred act, but more is required of each of us to really express its deeper meaning through our actions.

NOTES 1. Though you will often hear that many of the Dutch will be offended if you call their country Holland— since that is the name of only two of the country’s 12 provinces—it’s not true. They themselves call their country Holland all the time. Their language, however, they generally call Nederlands, though on at least one occasion I did hear it called Hollands. 2. Remember, that’s what the Great Apostasy was all about. 3. Elder Dunn was a member of the Seventy from 1968 to 2000; he was given emeritus status in 2000 and called as the first president of the Boston Massachusetts Temple, where he served until he passed away in 2001. 4. I had been sustained earlier in the sacrament meeting as clerk in the Bushwick 1st Branch.

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Sustaining the prophets prepares us for the future The Delta Works have also helped position The Netherlands to face the future challenges of climate change and rising sea levels. In our lives, our sustaining the prophets and other Church leaders will equip and prepare us for the future. One of the things that Presidents of the Church and other Church leaders have persistently counseled us to do to prepare for the future is to live within our means, pay off debt, and set money aside in savings. Susan and I have tried to follow this counsel throughout our marriage. Early on in our marriage, we set a goal of how much we wanted to have set aside in savings after three years. We were pretty well on our way to reaching that goal when in April 2010 I had a feeling that we should shift where we put our extra money each month. Rather than setting it aside in savings, I felt we should use it to pay off our student loans as quickly as possible. When I mentioned that to Susan, she said she had the same feeling. So that’s what we did. We finished paying off all our students loans later that year, with a payment of $4,363.10 on 15 December 2010. Within two weeks’ time, some events happened at my job that led to my submitting my resignation on 27 December 2010. Mathematically it should have been impossible for us to live off of Susan’s pay without digging into our savings. But we were able to. We even took a weeklong trip to the Deep South and Chicago for spring break 2011—all without having to rely on our savings. We knew that the Lord was taking care of us, and we knew that we were being blessed because we had sustained the prophet and the other leaders of the Church and were striving to follow their counsel. Sustaining the prophets helps us in other areas of our lives Because much of it is low-lying and flat, The Netherlands doesn’t have a lot of water power, so harnessing wind power through windmills helped power industry and farming in Holland— corn and flour mills, sawmills, and others. Likewise, sustaining Church leaders helps us in other areas of our lives: • • • • •

Fulfilling our own Church callings. Paying off debt and avoiding new debt. Obtaining as much education as possible. Taking care of our bodies, remaining in good health, and avoiding disease and sickness. Raising and supporting our families.

What does the Lord himself say about it? I would be remiss if I did not mention what the Lord himself has said about sustaining those he has called to lead his Church. In Doctrine and Covenants 1:38 the Lord states: “What I the Lord have spoken, I have spoken, and I excuse not myself; and though the heavens and the earth pass away, my word shall not pass away, but shall all be fulfilled, whether by mine own voice or by the voice of my servants, it is the same.” Equally compelling is the oath and covenant of the priesthood, found in Doctrine and Covenants 84:35–38: “And also all they who receive this priesthood receive me, saith the Lord; “For he that receiveth my servants receiveth me; “And he that receiveth me receiveth my Father; “And he that receiveth my Father receiveth my Father’s kingdom; therefore all that my Father hath shall be given unto him.” What can we do to sustain our Church leaders? In closing, what can we do to sustain our Church leaders? There are many things—and I would encourage you to ponder by yourselves and discuss in your families additional ways you can sustain the prophet, Apostles, and other Church leaders. But here’s a short list: • • • • • •

We can magnify our priesthood. We can fulfill our callings and other assignments to the best of our ability. We can do our home and visiting teaching. We can be missionaries to others and support the missionaries in their work. We can fulfill our family responsibilities We can obey the commandments and keep our covenants.

I know that as we do these things and earnestly strive to make sustaining not just a motion we go through when asked to do so in general conference and sacrament meeting but an active part of our daily lives, we will be sustaining the Lord himself. We will be putting ourselves on his side, on his team, saying that we trust him and believe the revelation he has given to our Church leaders. When we sustain our Church leaders, we are choosing to follow our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. And he will bless us for it. Thank you, brothers and sisters, for your sustaining vote for me in my new calling.4 I will strive to fulfill this calling to the best of my ability and will do what I can to sustain you in your callings as well. I know that the Lord lives, that this is his Church, and that he guides it through revelation and the leadership of those whom he has called. d


F

rom the ruins, lonely and inexplicable

QUOTABLE

as the sphinx, rose the Empire State Building and, just as it had been a tradition of mine to climb to the Plaza Roof to take leave of the beautiful city, extending as far as eyes

could reach, so now I went to the roof of the last and most magnificent of towers. Then I understood—everything was explained: I had discovered the crowning error of the city, its Pandora’s box. Full of vaunting pride the New Yorker had climbed here and seen with dismay what he had never suspected, that the city was not the endless succession of canyons that he had supposed but that it had limits—from the tallest structure he saw for the first time that it faded out into the country on all sides, into an expanse of green and blue that alone was limitless. And with the awful realization that New York was a city after all and not a universe, the whole shining edifice that he had reared in his imagination came crashing to the ground. F. SCOTT FITZGERALD “MY LOST CITY” (EXCERPT)

J A N U A RY 2 0 1 2 PHOTO TAKEN 6 JUNE 2010 BY BENJAMIN DUMAS, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 FLICKR.COM/PHOTOS/B00NJ/4909164909


CLOSING THOUGHTS By GUESTS AT SUSAN AND DUSTIN’S WEDDING RECEPTION

Well wishes

Best wishes on your lives together. Megan

We love you! Bethany, Andy & Simone

Amoré, Amour, Per Sempre! Jillian & David

SUSAN’S ROOMMATE

WASHINGTON DC 3RD WARD

JILLIAN & DAVID DUSTIN’S SUPERVISOR AND HIS WIFE

Sup?! This is your brother. Cool Party. Daniel

Have fun! Love, Karen

DANIEL DUSTIN’S BROTHER

KAREN SUSAN’S SISTER

Congratulations! My most amazing friends you are. Best wishes always + for eternity. ♥ Andrada

Congrats - Best wishes for eternity. We love y’all! Andrea & Shawn Das ist wünderbar!

WASHINGTON DC 2ND WARD

ANDREA & SHAWN DUSTIN’S FRIENDS

Good luck on your new life together. ~ Lindsay SUSAN’S ROOMMATE

Congratulations! Ashley WASHINGTON DC 2ND WARD

Dustin + Susan, What a joy it was to be with you tonight to celebrate your Temple Marriage. Fulton and I love you and wish you much happiness. Judy + Fulton

I love you both! I wish you much happiness + love! ♥ Stephanie Congrats Ted and Adriane A COLLEAGUE OF DUSTIN’S AND HIS WIFE

Best Wedding Ever! Love, Bob BOB SUSAN AND DUSTIN’S BROTHER-IN-LAW

You two are the best! May the Lord bless your family! Joseph WASHINGTON DC 2ND WARD

WASHINGTON DC 2ND WARD

Good luck together. Blessings, Ellen

Herzlichen Glückwünsche! Hab’ euch beiden ganz lieb! ♥ Katherine

ELLEN SUSAN’S SISTER

KATHERINE WASHINGTON DC 2ND WARD

Michael your new nephew says HI!!

Congratulations! Here’s wishing you a lifetime of crazy dancing! Martin

MICHAEL DUSTIN AND SUSAN’S NEPHEW

- Take Care Friends Rob WASHINGTON DC 2ND WARD

HEATHER SUSAN AND DUSTIN’S SISTER-IN-LAW

Congrats Scott & Michelle DUSTIN’S FRIENDS FROM HIS MISSION

Buona fortuna con il vostro futuro. Siete bellissima. Matt MATT DUSTIN’S FRIEND

WASHINGTON DC 2ND WARD

FRIENDS OF RANDY AND TANIA BLUE

I love you both so much! Congratulations! Gwen

おめでとうございます! (Congrats!) ♥ Heather

MARTIN SUSAN’S BROTHER

What a fun wedding. Welcome Dustin to the Hibdon household. We love you both. Mama & Daddy MARY & DAVID SUSAN’S PARENTS

My friends - All the bests … the best of times. It’s been a priviledge. Brian Lieutenant, US Army WASHINGTON DC 2ND WARD

Charlotte CHARLOTTE SUSAN AND DUSTIN’S NIECE

Congratulations! Melanie WASHINGTON DC 2ND WARD

Wishing you happiness + love! Matthew DUSTIN’S FRIEND


This photo of us running through Times Square on the way to our wedding currently hangs above our bed, as it has for most of our marriage. Attendees at our wedding reception signed the mat. Their words and names are recorded at left, starting from the upper right-hand corner and going clockwise around the frame.

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LAST LOOK

31 O C TO BER 2 01 1

Halloween Susan and Fiona ride the G train to the Halloween party at church after trick-or-treating in Clinton Hill, Brooklyn. Susan’s dog outfit is an old one she dug out for the occasion, while Fiona’s goat costume was selected after rejecting a number of other choices, including:  Mouse.  Bunny, because that’s what she was last year.  Chris Christie, the governor of New Jersey and a prominent Republican—so that’s two strikes against him. J A N U A RY 2 0 1 2


The artist at work Fiona fingerpaints for the first time, on 31 December 2011. This first masterpiece, Turkey in Flight, is on the front cover.

IMAGE IN COLOR BAR ON NAMEPLATE TAKEN 2 MARCH 2007 BY DANIEL SCHWEN, CC BY-SA 2.5 HTTP://COMMONS.W IKIMEDIA.ORG/WIKI/FILE:GOE_PLATZ_DER_SYNAGOGE_DETAIL_2_NOCA.JPG

Profile for Dialann

Dialann | Issue 5, January 2012  

The January 2012 edition of Susan, Dustin, and Fiona's family magazine, Dialann. Note that some text has been removed from this version, p...

Dialann | Issue 5, January 2012  

The January 2012 edition of Susan, Dustin, and Fiona's family magazine, Dialann. Note that some text has been removed from this version, p...

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