Monday, July 30, 2007

Movie Review: States of Grace.

I finally got around to watching States of Grace. I bought a legitimate copy on eBay. I liked it so much I bought another 14 copies from the producer, Richard Dutcher's company, Main Street Movie Company, 287 East 100 North, Provo, UT 84606.

It is a good movie. It's a great Mormon movie. Some of the secondary characters are weak, but you'd expect that in a non-Hollywood film. The only negative that sticks out is the final scene, which I thought was protracted, and perhaps a bit forced.

This is not a kids' movie. It's rated PG-13. It's not something that would have been rated R a few years ago, so I'd say PG-13 is an accurate rating. There are three murders in the movie that are essential to the plot. Except for one guy getting wounded in the second scene, the violence is like Hitchcock's "Psycho" (and Rogers' "Book of Mormon Movie") you see the blood and the aftermath but you don't see the actual knife entry or bullet entry. The second scene from the start is a drive-by shooting and is pretty-intense, but still falls within PG-13.

I recommend this movie to adults. But I think parents should watch it before allowing their children under 16 to see it.

This movie is not for someone who wants their spiritual movies to be all "sweetness and light". But yes, it is a spiritual movie.

And this is not for someone who wants to think of all LDS missionaries as totally Ned Flanders and Dudley Do-Right.

You do not have to be LDS to enjoy this movie. I think people of all faiths will "get it."

Nationally syndicated film critic Michael Medved gave it 3-1/2 stars. Eric Snider gave it an "A-".

Running time is 128 minutes.

You can buy the States of Grace movie here, for $19.59, plus $3.50 shipping.
Or a two-pack of States of Grace and the original God's Army, for $25.59.
Or a three-pack of States of Grace, the original God's Army, and Brigham City, for $39.99.

You can also get States of Grace on eBay for as low as $17.00 including shipping, from seller "brentscard". I've bought from that seller before, and have always got a good deal.

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Chinese at restaurant. Mon, Jul 30, 2007.

07/20/2007. 856. I took our ward's two full-time elder missionaries to a Chinese buffet restaurant for their lunch. The mission recently altered the standard missionary schedule so that their "lunch/dinner" hour is 3 pm to 5pm. They are supposed to be out of their apartment from 10 am (or 11am?) to 3 pm, and from 5pm to 9pm. I suppose the reasoning is that they will be able to find more people home during normal meal hours and be able to make more contacts and have more missionary presentations, lessons, etc.

It was a nice buffet, with a decent price for lunch. I chose a table, we got food, sat down, and I put out some material: a simplified script and a traditional script Chinese Book of Mormon, an English Book of Mormon, a Chinese/English bilingual New Testament (from the Int'l Bible Society), a "Finding Happiness" DVD, and a Chinese Liahona magazine.

The waitress didn't say anything about them. She seemed to come by to take away our plates while we were back at the buffet. One of the elders struck up a conversation with her at one of the buffet tables, and they came back to the table.

She said she already had a simplified script Chinese Book of Mormon given to her by other customers. But she didn't have an English. She accepted an English copy for herself, and an additional simplified script Chinese copy for the people in the back. She also accepted the Chinese Liahona magazine, and the Finding Happiness DVD.

I think the elders mentioned it was their first experience in giving out foreign language copies of the Book of Mormon. I also explained to them the difference between the simplified script for mainland Chinese, and the traditional script for those from Taiwan, Hong Kong and Indonesia, and some of the exceptions.

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Saturday, July 28, 2007

Book of Mormon DAY at festival. Sat, Jul 28, 2007.

07/28/2007. 855. Some missionaries and I had a joyful day contacting people and providing at least 22 people some joy in finding reading material in their native non-English languages. I let the missionaries do most of the talking, but I helped a little when they took breaks to eat.

I rented a booth at the local African Festival, in order to display and give out copies of the Bible, Book of Mormon, church videos, and Gospel Fundamantals (Sunday school manual) in various languages. I exhibited at this festival three years ago, in 2004.

I went through the missionary Zone Leaders (who are the missionaries assigned to the ward that shares a chapel with my ward) to get missionaries to staff the booth. The Zone Leaders took the first shift from 9:30 to 3:00pm, and the full-time missionaries in the ward whose boundaries include this venue took the 3:00pm to 8:30pm shift.

Two missionaries are generally enough to cover the booth, but there were some times when we were so busy that we could have used four. Festival booths are usually 10 feet across, and the organizers provided the tables and chairs.

The 15 African language copies of the Book of Mormon, some English and French Bibles plus some videos fit on the 10 foot-wide table. However, we used a collapsible shelf to hold the Gospel Fundamentals (aka Gospel Principles Simplified) and Joseph Smith Testimony pamphlets off to the side.

For a more complete visual presentation, or to accomodate a larger crowd that would attend a larger festival, I would recommend a double booth of 20 feet in width, and four missionaries on duty.

We tried to keep track of the number of people we gave material too, and what we gave out. We gave material to a total of 42 people, 33 of whom received one or more copies of the Book of Mormon, with the rest receiving Bibles, videos, or Gospel Fundamentals. 16 people requested further contact and gave their contact information.

The elders seemed to be impressed at the number of contacts that were made. The elders also noted the look of pleasant surprise that many people had when they saw something in their native language.

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Wednesday, July 25, 2007

French at fast food drive-through. Wed, Jul 25, 2007.

07/25/2007. 854. I was on my way to a friend's house and stopped for lunch at a fast food restaurant, and ordered at the drive-through. As I paid, the cashier saw the mess of Liahona magazines scattered on the back seat of my car. He asked if I sold magazines. I said no, that I gave them away, and that the magazines were from my church and in foreign languages. The young man didn't speak with a foreign accent, and when I asked, he said he didn't speak any foreign languages. But I took a guess and asked him if he took any French classes in school. He said he did take French when he was in High School. So I offered him a magazine in French, and he agreed to accept it. So I reached back and quickly found a French copy of the Liahona, still in it's mailing wrapper, and handed it to him. There was another car behind me, so there wasn't time to chat any further. I don't think I had the same issue of the English Liahona, otherwise I would have tried to find it and offer them as a pair.

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Hindi at gas station. Wed, Jul 25, 2007.

07/25/2007. 853. On the way to a late-nighter at the laundromat I noticed that a new gas station had opened, so I stopped there on the way home after doing laundry. I bought a newspaper and some food for a snack. The cashier and I chatted a bit, and I found out what languages he spoke. I didn't make an offer of any material, and went back to my car. I was going to drive away and offer material on a future visit, but I felt impelled to offer something on this trip. I went back in and purchased something to drink, and made an offer to show him some stuff, and he agreed to see it. So I went back out to the car and retrieved copies of the Book of Mormon in the languages he spoke, and maybe a couple other Indian languages. He wanted the Hindi translation, and flipped through it, but he declined the English. As I drove away I could see through the glass store-front that he was still reading the book at the front counter.

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Saturday, July 21, 2007

Nephi's prophecy of the Book of Mormon going to world.

Here is one of my favorite scripture passages where Nephi prophesies about the Nephite record going to every nation, kindred, tongue, and people.

2nd Nephi, Chapter 26, verses 12 - 17:

12 And as I spake concerning the convincing of the Jews, that Jesus is the very Christ, it must needs be that the Gentiles be convinced also that Jesus is the Christ, the Eternal God;
13 And that he manifesteth himself unto all those who believe in him, by the power of the Holy Ghost; yea, unto every nation, kindred, tongue, and people, working mighty miracles, signs, and wonders, among the children of men according to their faith.
14 But behold, I prophesy unto you concerning the last days; concerning the days when the Lord God shall bring these things forth unto the children of men.
15 After my seed and the seed of my brethren shall have dwindled in unbelief, and shall have been smitten by the Gentiles; yea, after the Lord God shall have camped against them round about, and shall have laid siege against them with a mount, and raised forts against them; and after they shall have been brought down low in the dust, even that they are not, yet the words of the righteous shall be written, and the prayers of the faithful shall be heard, and all those who have dwindled in unbelief shall not be forgotten.
16 For those who shall be destroyed shall speak unto them out of the ground, and their speech shall be low out of the dust, and their voice shall be as one that hath a familiar spirit; for the Lord God will give unto him power, that he may whisper concerning them, even as it were out of the ground; and their speech shall whisper out of the dust.
17 For thus saith the Lord God: They shall write the things which shall be done among them, and they shall be written and sealed up in a book, and those who have dwindled in unbelief shall not have them, for they seek to destroy the things of God.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Punjabi, Swahili at gas station. Thu, Jul 19, 2007.

07/19/2007. 851, 852. I was heading home on the Interstate after meeting friends for dinner on another side of town. Right as I passed a certain exit, it occurred to me to stop at a certain gas station down the road from that exit. It was too late to take the exit, so I went to the next exit, and turned around and went back. I had been to that gas station a few weeks ago, but didn't have an opportunity for a book placement as I had someone else with me.

The gas station was several blocks down the road. As I approached a certain store along the way, I wanted to stop there and check it out. Not with a book placement in mind, but because I hadn't been there in a long long time. I got to the front door, but they had already closed for the evening, so I proceeded on to the gas station. There were several other gas stations between it and the Interstate, but I wanted to go there because the last time I was there, the cashier appeared to be from India.

I got there and purchased a soda, and asked the cashier if he was from India. He was, and said he spoke Punjabi. I offered him the Punjabi Sunday school manual "Gospel Fundamentals" and he agreed to see it.

As I was leaving, a lady came into the gas station. I retrieved the Punjabi and English Gospel Fundamentals books from my car, noticed a man sitting next to a baby in the back seat of the car next to me, and went back inside the gas station. The lady was asking for directions. The cashier asked me to help explain. She had come from out of state, and was travelling through Indianapolis to a city about another hour away. The directions she had printed out from Yahoo Maps were not too clear at one point. She thought this was her exit, but she needed to keep going on the Interstate to another exit.

I figured out the directions from her printout, and explained where to go. And I gave the cashier the books I had for him. I forget which order things occurred here, but this is the jist. The lady spoke with an accent, so I asked where she was from. She said East Africa, Tanzania. I asked if she spoke Swahili, and she said yes. I offered her the Swahili Book of Mormon, but I think I just referred to it as a free book in Swahili from my church, and that it was Christian. She agreed to see it.

I also told her that I'd be willing to drive to the exit that they needed, and they could follow me there, and I'd take the exit and get them headed in the right direction, since that highway was a straight shot to their destination. It was opposite the way I was going, but I had time.

We went back outside, and she explained something to the man she was travelling with. He seemed to be a native-born American. I retrieved Swahili and English copies of the Book of Mormon from my trunk, presented the Swahili to her, and explained that we used both the Bible and this book. She was curious and very happy to see it and to receive it. I then offered her the English, and she was grateful for that too, and said something about using it to teach her husband Swahili.

Her husband then drove while she got in the back seat with the baby, and she started to flip through the Swahili Book of Mormon. They followed me back to the Interstate and to their exit. I took the exit, headed the direction they needed to go, and continued on that highway past some construction to make sure they got on their way.

At a convenient point, I got into the right-hand turn lane, and we waved to each other as they passed me and went on. I turned around and headed home rejoicing in the opportunity for a good deed as well as a fortuitous placement.

She didn't take the wrong exit after all.

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Chinese at restaurant. Thu, Jul 19, 2007.

07/19/2007. 850. The Elders' Quorum president works at an office close to where I live. We've been intending to have lunch some time, and finally meshed schedules today. We went to one of his regular spots, a Chinese restaurant, where they know him. I set some material (the two editions of the Chinese Book of Mormon, a bilingual Chinese/English New Testament, a Chinese Liahona magazine, an English Book of Mormon, and a "Finding Happiness" DVD, on the table while we ate.

As the staff came by to clear plates, a couple of them noticed the material, but didn't say anything. We got there during the lunch rush, so they were busy. But we ended up leaving shortly after the rush subsided.

On our way out, as the EQ president paid, he offered them some material, and engaged in a bit of conversation, with both the husband and the wife who own the restaurant. He offered, and they accepted a Simplified Chinese Book of Mormon, the Chinese Liahona magazine, and the Finding Happiness DVD. The husband mentioned having visited Salt Lake City.

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Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Indianapolis North Stake Pres interviewed in newspaper.

Indpls North stake pres and lawyer Paul H. Sinclair was interviewed in the Indianapolis Star, July 7, 2007.


Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Korean at restaurant. Tue, Jul 17, 2007.

07/17/2007. 849. I was hungry and just had to eat, so I stopped at a fast food restaurant for supper on the way home. I didn't have enough cash for a regular restaurant.

I ordered, paid and went to get my drink. Near the self-serve soda machine were sitting two Asian ladies speaking what sounded like Korean.

I sat at the next table over from them, and watched the news on the TV on the wall while I ate.

Before I finished eating I put my glasses on the table, and went out to the car to retrieve a couple copies of the Korean Liahona magazine.

(The reason you leave your jacket or your glasses at the table is so that the servers won't clear away your food thinking that you've left.)

After I finished eating I stopped by the ladies' table on my way out, and offered the magazines. Both were pleasant and accepted the magazines. One of them became kind of chatty and continued the conversation by asking more questions. She was very sweet. I also gave them a couple pass-along cards that have the local mission office phone number on them. I probably could have stayed longer to chat, but I didn't want to be too intrusive.

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Sunday, July 15, 2007

Indianapolis Genealogy conference, Sept 15, 2007.

Indianapolis Genealogy conference, Sept 15, 2007.
777 Sunblest Blvd, Fishers, IN. 9am to 4pm. Just 2 blocks north of 116th Street, off of Allisonville Road.

Free. Open to the public. 30 workshops, plus displays. Put on by the LDS church: Indianapolis Stake, Indianapolis North Stake, and Muncie Stake.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Wolof at store. Thu, Jul 12, 2007.

07/12/2007. 848. On my way home from a meeting, I was kind of hungry and wanted a snack. I pulled into a little shopping center, looking for a store that would be open where I could buy a small snack. There was a major chain store, open 24 hours, there too, and it occurred to me that I could also stock up on some items for my "year's supply" that might be on sale.

This was one of those cases where I thought, but wasn't sure that I was slightly impressed or prompted of the Spirit to stop there.

The items were on sale, but I didn't have enough cash, so I just bought a quick snack.

When I paid for my item, the cashier spoke with an accent, so I asked where he was from. He said Senegal, so I asked, in French, if he spoke French and Wolof. He did. I offered the Wolof Sunday School manual (Gospel Fundamentals), and he agreed to see it, so I said I'd bring it in from the car.

I took my purchase to the car, and brought in the Wolof and English Gospel Fundamentals, and a "Together Forever" multi-lingual DVD which includes a French audio track.

He seemed pleasantly surprised and enthusiastic about the material. The other cashier was curious too. There were no other customers in line when I went back in so we didn't delay anyone.

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Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Persian. Wed, Jul 11, 2007.

07/11/2007. 847. I was at the lobby of a public building, and happened to leave right after a man who had been speaking in a foreign language on his cell phone. He hung up just as he left. Outside I asked what language he spoke, and he said Persian.

I offered and he accepted a Persian (Farsi) Book of Mormon. He declined to receive the English. He stood around while I retrieved it from the trunk of my car. He seemed pleased, and said he worked with some Mormons. If he ever wants to get an English copy, there are phone numbers in the book I gave him, or he can ask his co-workers.


Wolof at an office. Wed, Jul 11, 2007.

07/11/2007. 846. I stopped by a local office to conduct some business. I had previously telephoned that office, and knew from talking to the receptionist that she was from Senegal, and that she spoke English, French, and Wolof.

I needed to see someone else in the office, but since I knew I'd also be dealing with the receptionist, I took in Wolof and English copies of Gospel Fundamentals, as well as a couple copies of the Book of Mormon in foreign languages.

In the course of speaking with the other person in the office, I gave a very brief explanation of my foreign language book placement project. The receptionist was very interested when she learned I had something in Wolof, and she accepted both the Wolof and the English Gospel Fundamentals.

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Friday, July 06, 2007

Pass-along card at gas station. Fri, Jul 6, 2007.

07/06/2007. Journal Entry. On my way to lunch I stopped at a gas station that I don't think I've been to before. If I have, I don't believe I've attempted any placements here. I bought a newspaper to read during lunch. The cashier spoke with an accent indicating he might be from India. I asked if he was from India, and he said his family was from there, but he was born here. He grew up speaking Punjabi and English here in the states, but didn't read Punjabi.

I said the reason I asked was because my church had free books in Punjabi and English. I offered him a customized pass-along card with a hand-written "Hindi / Punjabi" on it, and suggested to pass it along if he knew anyone who might be interested. At some point I also mentioned that the material is Christian religious material. He accepted the card.


Thursday, July 05, 2007

Summary of road trip. Jun 19-22, 2007.

I finally blogged the main placement experiences from my road trip June 19th through 22nd. Oh, and I also spent time with family, but that's for the private journal, and not the public blog.

I date the entries when they happened, not when I write them, so they won't show up on the Bloggernacle aggregators, and, as recent posts.

I'll summarize here:

Tues, June 19th, started out late in the afternoon.
Hindi/English, and "Ya Snooze Ya Lose."
Chinese DVD at restaurant.
Hindi declined.
Chinese declined.
Bengali/English, excellent encounter!

Wed, June 20th, all day drive.
English pass-along card, but I messed up.
Another "Ya Snooze Ya Lose" story, wherein I screwed up last year, and couldn't repent this year because it was "everlastingly too late."
Chinese/English x2 at a restaurant.

Fri, June 22, all day drive.
Missed opportunity, same place, same person as last year.
Chinese Bible at restaurant.
Hindi/English, Missed Op, Chinese/English; 3 places at one exit.

402309220002, or 4-02309-22000-2 ...

is the UPC number on the back of the hardcover Missionary edition of the Book of Mormon.

I wondered why the church started putting UPC stickers on the back of the Book of Mormon. I looked up the UPC number at the UPC database, and got this:

Dummy UPC

Dummy (number system 4) UPCs are for private use. This means anybody (typically a retailer) that needs to assign a UPC to an item that doesn't already have one, can use any number system 4 UPC it chooses. Most importantly, they can know that by doing so, they won't pick one that may already be used. So, such a UPC can and does mean something different depending on who you ask, and there's no reason to try to keep track of what products these correspond to.


The sticker uses a permanent adhesive on the back. So if you try to take it off, it will leave a gooey residue, and you'll need Goo Gone, or isopropyl alcohol to remove the residue, which will also remove the blue ink in the cover. So I've learned to just leave the stickers on.