Tuesday, December 16, 2014

My Response to Greg Trimble

Below is my response to Greg Trimble's blog post: "Well... Maybe the Book of Mormon is true after all."

"Faith" would not be "faith" if it were obvious and apparent to everyone. One of my favorite scriptures is Isaiah 45:15: "Verily thou art a God that hidest thyself, O God of Israel, the Saviour."

There are many who will only believe in what they can readily see and observe, and who believe that humankind is on the verge of knowing, understanding, and explaining everything. It is indeed exciting to hear of new technologies, new research, and new discoveries that broaden our view of our world/history/galaxy/universe. But in my opinion, all the knowledge that we as humans currently have doesn't even begin to scratch the surface of what we do not understand and know.

As members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, when we say, "I know the Book of Mormon is true, that Joseph Smith was a true prophet of God, and that Thomas S. Monson is His living prophet today," the word "know" means that we know spiritually, rather than know because of undisputed evidence and scientifically proven facts. I suppose you could say we believe in a different kind of "knowing." This may sound like a cop-out, but we should remember that at one time people "knew" that the world was flat, "knew" that the Sun revolved around the Earth, and "knew" that our Galaxy was the only one in the universe.

I love these passages from the Book of Mormon. To me they are inspiring, and I do not believe they were made up by men, except a man inspired by a God who loves us as His children.

While God has hidden Himself, He does not leave us without strong evidences which must be dealt with, among which are the Testimony of Three Witnesses, and the Testimony of Eight Witnesses found at the beginning of the Book of Mormon. Of course arguments can be made against these witnesses, but they do have to be made. (And it gets more interesting when you find out that every one of the Three Witnesses turned against Joseph Smith and left the Church, yet none of them ever dared deny their testimony of the Book of Mormon, even at risk of great personal humiliation.)

Also, the rise of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints beginning with Joseph Smith is similar to what Paul says to Agrippa in Acts 26:26 about Jesus' ministry, "This thing was not done in a corner." Much historical research has been done and will continue to be done surrounding the history of this church, and while some surprising things have been uncovered, nothing conclusive has come forward showing it clearly to be a fraud (the "Salamander Letter" in the 1980s purported to be such proof, but turned out to be fraudulent).

As for me, I choose to believe. I appreciate Greg's courage in sharing his thoughts and feelings.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Microsoft Word Mail Merge Tricks

I only do this once a year, and every year I have to re-learn how to do this. This year I'm using Microsoft Word 2010.
  1. To create a new mail merge document, don't try to create the new document by clicking 'New'... and selecting labels and choosing a template. Just create a new, generic blank document, then click the 'Mailings' tab, then 'Labels.' The dialog below will be shown.
  2. This isn't a basic tutorial on how to insert mail merge fields. You can search elsewhere for that. The screenshot below shows conditional code, which must be started by typing Ctrl-F9, which will insert the special curly code braces you will type your code in (those aren't just normal curly braces). For code braces nested inside code braces, you must type Ctrl-F9 again each time to insert them. The particular code shown below, looks at the value in field 'International,' and if it is not nothing ("") then it inserts a line break and then the value of the 'International' field, ELSE it inserts the value of field 'UnZip' without a line break. Note that to include the line break, we must enclose the 'true' portion of the IF statement in double quotes.
I can't take credit for figuring this out on my own, I'm just a persistent googler. One helpful YouTube video is here.