Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Titles: You Thought This One Had a Point, Didn't You?

So I read the White House Blog. It's an interesting read because of the fact it gets information out so promptly about what the Obama Administration is doing. Plus they post the Weekly Address, which I think is great because we should know what the President has to say. So recently I ran into a couple of interesting posts that mostly what I found a little odd were the titles and their relation to what was actually being said. The first was entitled "$100 million there, $100 million here". Now when I saw that I just kind of scratched my head, because with all of the spending that the government has participated in, it seemed like that was just a terrible endorsement of handing out even more cash. Really what it was about is President Obama's budget because he is seeking to slim it down by $100 million or so, which is a great thing and I hope they can accomplish such a task. Being more efficient with money is certainly praiseworthy and I applaud the administration for taking on such a task. However, this really didn't seem like a good title for this blog post. I'm all for clever, fun, witty titles but you have to make sure they convey proper messages and this particular one seemed to fail a bit with that.

The other post I found of interest was entitled "What Makes the United States Special". In this post they discuss President Obama's recent release of the "torture memos" and quote him in a speech he gave to the CIA. I found this title to be interesting; it drew my eye immediately when I saw it on the list of my RSS feed. However, I wasn't expecting it to be about the memos first of all and secondly, I didn't think their way of jumping into their post was necessarily wise. This post begins by acknowledging the release of this information, so my first thought was "So they're saying the U.S. is special because we release this kind of information," which is somewhat of a special thing so I was able to buy it. However, then it proceeds to talk about how the memos spoke of interrogation techniques, which really sent my head for a spin, because it almost seemed like they were saying "The U.S. is special because we torture people." The eventual outcome was speaking of how we're special because we don't resort to the same level as many of our enemies. However, yet again, it didn't seem like a wise use of title to text.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Quick Vids

A couple of videos I came across recently and found entertaining.

A really creepy Lionel Richie music video. Enjoy!

Mythbusters rocket sled. This is freaking awesome!

Friday, April 17, 2009

Tool Time

So maybe I should just start going by Tim "The Tool Man" Taylor. Lately I feel like a tool, straight up. Of course it's really a funny circumstance. So roughly a month or so ago, it started becoming pretty apparent that very few individuals seemed to really care all that much about anybody in my apartment. Yes, I know that's a rather cruel and harsh way of phrasing it, but it's largely true (and yes, I realize if you're reading this, you probably care about me [unless you're some random person who stumbled onto my blog] and believe me, I greatly appreciate it). Frankly it just seemed like people stopped contacting us for a large part. And this was kind of midsemester, so I understand people start getting busy and such. But it's the persistence that's concerned me. It seems like this has been a continuing theme.

Around this same time I started noticing that a certain person I had at one point considered a friend only would call me if this individual needed something (I'll remove gender to blur the identity of this person a bit more, even though if you're reading this blog, it's probably not you I'm talking about). Seriously, it's bad. This person doesn't seem to hesitate and only comes in contact with me when they need something. I've printed documents,  given the person a ride, invited them to different events, and other random things. Basically I've done a lot of the things that I figure friends should do. Well, as I said, it became apparent that this individual really doesn't seem to care all that much, which makes me sad. We have had some decent history and decent conversations, but there's just been so few instances I can think of that really fit this person extending a hand of friendship. When I finally came to this realization, it peeved me a bit. And look, I mean no ill will toward this individual, that's why I'm trying to keep identities secret, a lot of this is me: a) venting and b) trying to analyze some sort of potential flaw in my own character.

So this kind of got me to realizing that I'm a bit too much of an enabler for these kinds of people. Now I will say, I can't really think of pretty much any other time that I've run into this kind of situation, at least not to this degree. Maybe I've been used before, but if I was it wasn't quite so blatant and/or repeated. But seeing the way this has played out has definitely helped me see that I do put myself out there too much. I really will do just about anything for just about anybody that asks me. It's kind of a funny quirk of mine, especially since I usually abhor asking others for anything. A perfect example of that is the fact I walked to my job early on a couple of Saturday mornings last summer because I didn't want to trouble anybody by asking for a ride. It wasn't a short walk either, probably 7 miles and I had to get up quite a bit earlier than my 7 AM shift for that reason. But I really do bend over backwards for people when they ask me to. It's kind of interesting. I don't know where I got it either, but for as long as I can remember I've had it. On the plus side, I think I'm pretty good about following King Benjamin's admonition to "not suffer that the beggar putteth up his petition to you in vain." (Mosiah 4:16)

So I guess it's time for some spunk as far as this. I don't know, it's a hard thing to reconcile. I know King Benjamin admonishes us to wisdom in how we help the beggar. But then again if we have the ability to help we should. I guess that's why I continue doing what I do. But frankly "I'm as mad as hell, and I'm not going to take this anymore!" I guess I probably picked that up at the Tea Party. So I guess the key is though, I really don't know what to do. I mean it's not like I can demand a person be my friend since that would be the most ideal outcome. And frankly I don't know that this individual realizes this is going on. But if I call the person out or start refusing I just don't know how much I can stand that on my conscience. Such an interesting dilemma. I do know I was having a conversation recently with a friend about a different circumstance and I brought up an old Albert Einstein quote. It says, "Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results."

So I guess I have some related background stories to this situation but aren't necessarily directly involved. Basically they're some other ventings that I wanted to get out but with the flow of this post being what it is, I couldn't really express it except in this way:
  • So I've started joking with my roommates quite a bit "Hey you remember when we used to have friends?" Look I don't mean this as a plea "I'm a friendless loser, please be my friend!" But it is sad when people aren't sincere friends maybe or you seem to fall out of touch for silly reasons. The sad part is, this is a bit of a standing joke around the apartment because it rings so true. We used to get visitors to our apartment, but now, not so much.
  • The other day I had a friend come over asking me to print something (different friend than the original circumstance). Unfortunately nobody in this person's apartment was able to help this individual out, but without hesitation one of the roommates says "Go ask Scott." To some degree this is a bit flattering, but at the same time it is a bit disconcerting that there's no hesitation to ask me to help them so promptly. Nevertheless, this reminded me of my feeling of not having real friends (no offense to this person who asked for my help on the off chance you read this post and realize it is you I'm talking about, I really think no ill of you, you're a very kind person) outside of my roommates and a few select other individuals. And it reminded me of my feelings of being a tool. This friend did promise to repay me in some way immediately after the exchange which is far more than I can say about the original person.
  • There is a certain young lady that we had a bit of something more going on at one point. She's a wonderful individual and I think the world of her. I've often considered her one of my best friends. However, ever since things kind of fell apart it's been an interesting experience since she stressed so heavily she wanted to keep me as a friend. I'll be honest, I don't feel like we're even friends anymore. I feel like I'm the tool in this case too. I pretty much am not contacted at all anymore, which I guess isn't quite the typical tool circumstance. But it seems like if I am, it's because something is wanted. Frankly, the things that made us such good friends aren't there anymore and we don't do the things friends do. I guess part of the reason this vexes me so much is because it seems like if there is such a stressing of keeping a friendship alive, there should be some real effort to do such and it just hasn't seemed to be there to me. Of course I understand, she's in a hard circumstance as far as that. But as one of my friends recently said to me, friend is a verb. Just talking to somebody in mostly empty ways in passing isn't really being a friend. Guess we'll see where things go from here shortly. And on the off chance that this young lady does happen to read this (and realizes that it's her I'm speaking of), I'm sorry if this offends you. I don't feel like I've put out any personal attacks and I feel like I've been pretty mature in my discussion about it. Don't hesitate to talk to me if for some reason you feel like this might be overstepping some bounds. (Sorry, I often defer to these kinds of disclaimers because while I don't necessarily feel like my speech is inappropriate, it doesn't mean others don't. I ran into a problem with that once before so I figure it's safer to just put these kinds of things in here because I would like to still be able to really express myself and my circumstances.)

So there it is. I guess now I get to figure out what on earth I'm going to do to not be such a tool. But I know one thing, something has to change because the "insanity" is going to be too much.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Provo Tax Day Tea Party

So I went to the big Tea Party today. It was an interesting experience. The rally was decent sized, they announced an estimate of 500 but the guy said he figured it had to be well over a thousand (which I think was probably more to accurate). I could definitely tell people were coming and going regularly. There were plenty of entertaining signs and interesting speeches. My roommates and I just kept giggling regularly at all of the terrible logic that was thrown out. So many things were just about getting the crowd going and motivated. I honestly think most people weren't listening hardly, they just waited for the proper moments to clap or cheer. I wish I could recall some of the good sings or had pictures of my own to show, but alas, I do not. Here's some photos my sister took:

Some of the random signs and such. "Caesar Obamius you're taxing my patience"

"Tired of paying too much in taxes? Become an Obama cabinet member"

"My piggy bank is not your pork barrel"

I must say it was a pretty entertaining experience, not only because of my satirical nature, but it was just interesting to see people rally like that. One of the funny things was the fact that there was a lot of praise for "our troops" (meaning the actual military) which I can't imagine happens too often at your typical protests. But I think the thing that really disappointed me was when they started praising Glenn Beck. I have voiced before that I am definitely not a Beck fan. Frankly I think he's kind of a moron. I know that sounds awful. I recognize he's a member in full fellowship with my Church and he's highly revered by many different individuals. However, he just seems to do things in such a dumb way. He does a great service for a lot of people and such, but I just don't get his logic in how he does pretty much anything. It's sad really and just a downright shame. I just don't get why he masquerades as a journalist but is so biased in everything he says. I realize there are plenty of others out there that are similar and some that I could go off on more (e.g. Keith Olbermann) but a lot of these individuals at least know how to separate the fact from the opinion. Beck doesn't seem to know how to do this (neither does Olbermann, he would be my liberal "news" guy I'd pick on). Anyway, I don't mean for this to turn into a rant about Beck, but it just really disappointed me because they were so highly touting him and his 9/12 thing.

I don't know how I feel about the whole Tea Party thing and such. I'm glad that individuals are voicing these concerns because my concerns are similar at the very least. I really enjoyed Rick Santelli's tirade when it first occurred. However, I didn't like some of the scope of the protest since it seemed to go to avenues that I didn't enjoy as much. For example, I don't like Obama hating. Sure, I didn't want the guy in office either. However, I'm willing to accept that he's the President and try to work with what we've got. He isn't destroying the world and there are certain things we need to take a stand on, but we'll be okay. Being that kind of extreme (and hating in general) is just going to make you look ignorant. I hope some change can come about from these protests. At the very least I hope consideration for the voice of this portion of the population is given. However, I'm a bit more cynical than that and I don't think this is really going to amount to much of anything. The money will keep pouring out of Washington and I'm not sure there will be nearly the accountability there needs to be. Either way, I'm going to keep my hope.

Here's an article from Slate about the national movement.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Movie Review: The Creature From the Black Lagoon

So I have an interesting quirk about me: I love classic horror movies. And when I say classic, I mean classic. Vincent Price* is my favorite, by far. I don't know what developed this fascination, but I really do enjoy it. Now I don't do modern horror porn or anything really at all like that, that's for sure. So most really new horror movies I don't see. I'm not a huge slasher kind of guy, although stuff like the original A Nightmare on Elm Street, Halloween, and Friday the 13th are all classic in their own manner (with TV edits of course, since I don't do the whole R-rated thing). But when it comes to real passion, it's more about older horror flicks. Like I said, I love Vincent Price's stuff and things like Hitchcock, Lon Chaney, or the original monster movies: Dracula, The Werewolf, and The Mummy. Well another one of these classic monster movies is The Creature From the Black Lagoon.

So I had never seen this movie before, but I knew of it's classic nature in American Monster movie history. I found a copy at the Provo Library (thank goodness for free rentals). It was really great. Now I don't think you can go into these kinds of movies thinking you're going to be scared much. First of all, the scare tactics weren't so refined for the most part back then. I think the most common scare tactic of any movie is the sudden "jump out of nowhere with a really loud noise" tactic (if anybody cares to give me an official name for that I'd be most impressed and I'll give you a hat tip for it). Undeniably that's a pretty weak tactic itself, but it's effective. However, I don't really recall it being in there, at least not to the drastic degree it is in so many movies. The "freak you out" tactics used in this movie are: lurking, eerie music, and the classic damsel turns and screams (yet again, hat tip to anybody who can get me official names). It's amazingly cheesy and fun at the same time.

 I definitely understand why this made its way into the American pop culture and the classic monster movies. The creature is something so poorly understood that likes to run off with pretty ladies for no apparent reason. Thus, for doing what it is meant to do, it does a great job. It fits its role to a T. Now I wouldn't say it's one of the best monster movies I've ever seen, but it's fun in its own way. The Creature was so popular that they made a few sequels (which were also included on my DVD so I will be sure to watch them as well, but I'm pretty sure I won't be reviewing those unless one of them knocks my socks off). But seeing as how this movie isn't necessarily a work of art in most ways, I won't dive into too heavy of an analysis on most things. The script is terribly cheesy (in a most delightful way), the acting could definitely use a little bit of help, the scenery is fantastically fake (mostly anyway), and don't expect much in the way of special effects (sorry, this isn't Transformers). The storyline is rather minimalist, but you get what you want out of it: an epic battle with some hideous, unknown creature. It's only a little over an hour so it keeps it short (now if Transformers had stuck with these dynamics or just worked on developing a real plot that might have actually been a decent movie [yes, I am going to take my shots at Transformers in this movie review]). The cinematography is really pretty good. They have some really cool underwater scenes and it was originally shot for 3-D so that's something to take into account as well. Overall, I think this is definitely a fun movie worth the watch and it is sure to provide a good time. Worse case scenario, I'm sure you could make a great Mystery Science Theater night out of it. Look for the release of a new edition of The Creature From the Black Lagoon in theaters in 2011.

Official Trailer

*Random side note, turns out Vincent Price once played Joseph Smith in a movie called Brigham Young done in 1940. Go figure.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Book Review: Band of Brothers

"And Crispin Crispian shall ne'er go by,
From this day to the ending of the world,
But we in it shall be remembered;
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
For he today that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother; be he ne'er so vile,
This day shall gentle his condition:
And gentlemen in England now abed
Shall think themselves accursed they were not here,
And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
That fought with us upon Saint Crispin's day." (Henry V, Act IV, Scene iii)

Recently I completed reading Stephen Ambrose's non-fiction book Band of Brothers : E Company, 506th Regiment, 101st Airborne from Normandy to Hitler's Eagle's Nest (Yes, that's the complete title) and it was absolutely wonderful. For those of you uncultured swine out there who may not have realized where the title came from, yes, it's Shakespeare. In the play Henry V, King Henry prepares his troops for battle at Agincourt. The troops were sorely outnumbered and sorely fatigued, but King Henry rallies the troops with his rousing speech (an excerpt is found at the beginning of the post). Really it speaks to the brotherhood that established in war between those men who fight valiantly side by side. In the case of Easy Company, they developed this brotherhood as well. The fierceness of battle and the ability to develop a profound trust and love for those they endured combat with was what helped them to form this brotherhood.

I will admit I was first introduced to Band of Brothers by my little brothers and the HBO series. And in all honesty, if I was to pick one, I would say watch the series instead of reading the book (Of course I will also warn that the series is not for the faint of heart. The language is strong and the violence is not for the faint of heart, so viewer beware). The book was interesting because I think it helped to see more insights into what really occurred. It was such an interesting thing as I read to follow the experiences of these soldiers and their tour through Europe during World War II. These men went through some of the most trying circumstances of the war and lost a number of their friends along the way. But I think this book has value in being read because it teaches: a profound appreciation for those who have served in the military in the past and those who continue to serve today, about leadership, and about unity and brotherhood. I do highly recommend the read.

Overall it is a very well written book. Ambrose is very readable, which extends to all audiences. The storyline is rather flowing and certainly engaging. Because of the fact it follows such a chronological history you can immerse yourself in the context of the story. The characters (and yes, I use that term loosely since clearly these are real people, such as Major Dick Winters pictured left probably the main character of the story) are very likable and you grow attached to them during their journey. As far as weaknesses, I feel like there are so many different characters that it is often hard to keep them straight. I had a similar problem with that while watching the show, even though I think even fewer characters are in the show but it was hard to keep names straight. A lot of the characters in the book are so briefly introduced that you aren't sure who to expect to keep track of or not. I did appreciate the photographs included of many of the main characters to help put a face to the names. I also feel like the flow and continuity of the story really breaks down often times. I think Ambrose seeks to throw so many different aspects into the story to keep it more historical that it somewhat discounts the actual flow of the story and sometimes these inclusions seem a bit out of place.

Of course my critiques notwithstanding, I highly recommend you take the opportunity to read this book. It will give you a very different outlook toward those who have served in World War II. Here's a couple of clips from the actual show (I'll give an overall advisory here that a lot of this is strong content, I'll give a specific advisory with each clip):

The official trailer (Suitable for most audiences)

Drop on D-Day (Moderate language and violence)

Clip of the taking of Carentan (Strong language and heavy violence)

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Deadliest Catch

So anybody that knows me pretty well, knows I love the Discovery Channel. So I was pretty darn excited when I saw this the other day:

The Catch returns April 14th. Yeah, I'll be watching.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Winning the War Against Evil

So I spoke in Church a little while back and I figured I would post my talk on here. So here it is:

I’m really excited to speak today. As you know, yesterday was Valentine’s Day so the Bishopric gave me the obvious topic to speak about today: War. No, this isn’t a talk about dating, even though I’m sure most of you have likened dating to war at one point or another. And I definitely won’t be speaking about Ex-Boyfriends or Ex-Girlfriends, sorry to disappoint you. But I really was excited about this topic because if you know me pretty well, I am very much a “guy”. I’m into much of the stereotypical guy things: sports, cars, action movies. So war is a topic that fascinates me and I fueled that fire by taking a variety of courses relative to it in Political Science. Of course the war I’m speaking of today is actually the war between good and evil. My remarks today are based upon the talk given in the November 2008 Conference Report entitled “Winning the War Against Evil” by Elder James J. Hamula of the Seventy.

My objective in speaking to you today is threefold. First, I seek to help you understand the significance of the war against evil. Second, I wish that you might understand you have powerful allies to assist you in this war. And third, I want to give you an understanding of how to win the war against evil.

The war between good and evil started long before we came to this earth. The book of Revelation gives us some insight into the foundations and history of this war.
“And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon and his angels,

“And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven.

“And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.” (
Rev. 12:7-9)
The book of The Doctrine and Covenants also gives us some insight into this war in heaven. During Joseph’s vision of the glories of heaven he was also given vision of the great war in heaven. We read,
“…an angel of God who was in authority in the presence of God, who rebelled against the Only Begotten Son whom the Father loved and who was in the bosom of the Father, was thrust down from the presence of God and the Son,

“And was called Perdition, for the heavens wept over him—he was Lucifer, a son of the morning.

“And we beheld, and lo, he is fallen! is fallen, even a son of the morning!

“...[F]or we beheld Satan, that old serpent, even the devil, who rebelled against God, and sought to take the kingdom of our God and his Christ—

“Wherefore, he maketh war with the saints of God, and encompasseth them round about.” (
D&C 76:25-29)
The seriousness of this war is communicated in the punishment given to those who rebelled against God at this time. Satan, one of God’s greatest children, was fallen and in retaliation he sought to make war against the people of God. War is not a word to be taken lightly. In today’s society we see war so much in the media whether it be news or entertainment that we sometimes take it as something far lighter than what it is. However, war is destructive and cold. Satan seeks to assure your destruction, I can think of no simpler yet stronger way to state it. Joseph’s vision continues to explain the consequences of losing your soul to the forces of Satan:
“And we saw a vision of the sufferings of those with whom he made war and overcame, for thus came the voice of the Lord unto us:

“Thus saith the Lord concerning all those who know my power, and have been made partakers thereof, and suffered themselves through the power of the devil to be overcome, and to deny the truth and defy my power—

“They are they who are the sons of perdition, of whom I say that it had been better for them never to have been born;
“For they are vessels of wrath, doomed to suffer the wrath of God, with the devil and his angels in eternity;” (
D&C 76: 30-33)
Might I draw special attention to some of the more poignant punishments that await such individuals. They are sons of perdition, it would have been better for them never to have been born, they are vessels of wrath, doomed to sufferin eternity, and these individuals will receive no forgiveness. This is a very serious war and Satan seeks to turn you into soldiers for evil that will receive terrible punishments. In my emphasis I seek to help you understand that this war is like any war that has occurred in the history of the world, it is not something meant to be taken lightly and the consequences are most dire indeed.

The prophet Joseph Smith once stated,
"Before you joined this Church you stood on neutral ground. When the gospel was preached, good and evil were set before you. You could choose either or neither. There were two opposite masters inviting you to serve them. When you joined this Church you enlisted to serve God.
When you did that you left neutral ground, and you never can get back on to it. Should you forsake the Master you enlisted to serve, it will be by the instigation of the evil one, and you will follow his dictation and be his servant."
Clearly the seriousness of this war is grave indeed. We have left that neutral ground, brothers and sisters, and we must, therefore, endeavor to do our all to promote righteousness and fight the war against evil.

In political science, there are a variety of theories that I feel can be applied to this war in heaven to help us understand more fully our part in the war against evil.

One of the most basic theories of political science, as far as war, involves a tradeoff analysis. Basically one must simply understand the costs versus the benefits of fighting the war. In the case of the war against evil, I think the terms are rather simply laid out before us. By fighting against Satan, we can receive the blessings of eternity: exaltation and eternal glory crowned upon our heads and endless joy. By not fighting in this war or becoming one of his minions, we will forfeit these blessings and can potentially fall to such serious consequences as those that befall sons of perdition. Thus, it behooves us to ensure that we are willing to fight this war, that we understand very much what is at stake and practice the ways of righteousness to receive eternal glory.

Another theory is that of the power of Great Men. The leaders of nations have a great influence in the causing, development, and outcomes of wars. In the war in heaven, Satan’s evil influence caused many to fall very early on. So on this earth he seeks to do the same. However, our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ are very much righteous leaders and they seek to lead us to fight for righteousness. That is why they have given us so many righteous leaders on our earth. Our bishopric are perfect examples of righteous leaders that our Heavenly Father has sent us to provide us with inspiration and guidance in how to win this fight against evil.

The great writer William Shakespeare understood the power of leaders profoundly. In the play Julius Caesar we see the rising of many great men as powerful leaders. Early in the play, Cassius persuades the noble friend of Caesar, Brutus, toward a plot of sedition through the use of his rhetoric. Cassius brings to attention the power of Caesar and the way that power is undoing the republic of Rome. Thus, Caesar is painted as an evil and power hungry leader. Of course Cassius is not necessarily much better. In his persuasion of Brutus he states, “Men at some time are masters of their fates./The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars,/But in ourselves, that we are underlings.” (Julius Caesar I.ii.93-95) Cassius points very clearly that men can be the masters of their own choices and destiny, but his hunger for power is apparent in his remorse of being an underling. Fate does not control our actions and neither do the power of our leaders, but undoubtedly they do influence our actions and whether they are a good or evil leader can make all of the difference.

Later in the story, Marc Antony speaks at the funeral of Caesar. He seeks to persuade the people of the injustice committed against Caesar in his murder, but he gives this profound insight into the actions done by men, which rings more profoundly in the case of leaders, such as Caesar whom he speaks of. He states, “The evil that men do lives after them;/The good is oft interred with their bones.” (Julius Caesar III.ii.77-78) The evil influence of leaders can often be left behind but the good is often quickly forgotten. Pay close heed to righteous leaders and follow their counsel. Make sure to surround yourself with the words of righteous leaders and that you heed their call.

One of our righteous leaders today gave great insight into the severity of the war against evil this day. President Boyd K. Packer stated, “I know of nothing in the history of the Church or in the history of the world to compare with our present circumstances. Nothing happened in Sodom and Gomorrah which exceeds in wickedness and depravity that which surrounds us now.” So we live in some rather scary times, the war is more vicious than ever before, but that does not mean we are helpless in this battle.

Elder Hamula teaches us quite plainly about how to win the war against evil. He states,
“…there is only one way to win the war against Satan, and that is to win it in the same way it was won in the beginning. When victory was finally achieved in the War in Heaven, a loud voice was heard to declare: ‘Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ…For they [referring to Michael and his angels] have overcome him [referring to the devil by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; for they loved not their own lives, but kept the testimony even unto death.’

“Do not miss the significance of this declaration. Satan was overcome in the beginning by (1) faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and His atoning sacrifice, (2) Testimony of Him that was steadfastly kept to the very end, and (3) consecration of oneself to the Lord and His work. If this was the means for defeating him in the beginning, you can be sure that this is the one sure way to defeat him now.”
Our faith, testimony, and consecration are the keys to winning this war. This is the same solution that was given in the beginning and it will be the same solution in the end. Thankfully, Elder Hamula also gives us instruction as to how we might develop these gifts. Speaking of faith he states,
“…do as young Joseph Smith did. Find a quiet place and pray to your Father in Heaven. Do so regularly and earnestly. Prayer is a precondition to revelation. The more regular and earnest the prayer, the more frequent the revelation. When received, revelation provides the evidence or assurance of things unseen, which is the foundation of faith.”
I find it powerful that he mentions prayer as the precondition to revelation. We often speak of not receiving a witness until after the trial of our faith, this is a perfect example of that. He also assures us that as we pray more regularly and earnestly we will receive more revelation. That is a marvelous gift to have and this all collectively strengthens our faith.

Elder Hamula also spoke of developing testimony.
“…learn to hear the voice of the Lord. His is a still, small, and whisper-like voice. It is one that is felt more than it is heard. It comes in the form of thoughts, feelings, and impressions. To hear such a voice, you must be still and quiet in your own soul, laying aside your excess laughter and light-mindedness. While it may not seem easy to so discipline your life, hearing the precious, loving voice of the Lord will sustain you in every circumstance and is therefore worth every effort.”
It is interesting that he makes no specific mention of testimony, but this is clearly instruction for building of testimony. To bear witness, which a testimony is, we must have a witness born unto us. The ultimate witness is through the Holy Ghost. We must always find ways to renew that witness, strengthen the witness, and new truths to witness of. It is through the voice of the Spirit that we will achieve this.

Finally he instructs us how to consecrate ourselves to the Lord.
“….obey the word of the Lord as it is given to you. His word will not only love and comfort but invariably instruct and correct. Do as He bids you to do, no matter how hard it may seem to you, and do it now. It is in doing the will of the Lord that knowledge of Him and love for Him accrue to your soul, which leads you to be ever more willing to lay down your own life and follow Him.”
I think this was an interesting realization for me to see that really consecration is about obedience. The Lord asks to us serve Him with all our heart, might, mind, and strength but I think so often we have an attitude of thinking of consecration in the form of the United Order, a group in which all members have all things in common. Really consecration reaches far higher than that. Consecration is a setting apart of your life in its entirety for God. That does not mean all of our focus must be solely upon Church. It does, however, mean that we are always focused upon the ways of God and righteousness. We will do all we can to always do the right thing and enrich our own lives as we enrich others.

The war against evil can be won through our love of the Savior. When we put Him first, all of the other pieces will fall into place and we will be happy. The Savior knows the way to righteousness and conquering Satan, as we trust in Him we will be blessed in receiving these things.

Talk given February 15, 2009 in the BYU 122 Ward.