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Archive for May, 2009|Monthly archive page

142nd Ask Josh – Abortion

In Uncategorized on May 31, 2009 at 9:59 am

singer_chick463 said…

hey josh,

i feel like this question needs to be heard by others and what they think? if murdering people is a crime, then would it be a crime to kill a baby by having an abortion?

……..

Dear Charity,

First, let me start out by answering your logic question: if murdering people is a crime, then would it be a crime to kill a baby by having an abortion?

Well, first we need the legal definition of murder. At dictionary.law.com it says murder is “the killing of a human being by a sane person, with intent, malice aforethought (prior intention to kill the particular victim or anyone who gets in the way) and with no legal excuse or authority.”

If you examine that legal definition in bits and pieces you can see why people try to make a case that abortion is murder and others make the case that it is not.

Let’s take another look at the pieces:

  • the killing of a human being – Understand, Charity, that some legal systems do not consider a fetus a human being. Therefore, an abortion would not be considered murder in the legal sense that you’re asking because it may be argued that no human being is being killed. There may be exceptions to this, especially if the unborn child is “quick”, meaning the fetus is moving.
  • by a sane person – If I felt like making jokes about this topic, I may argue that a person who has an abortion is not sane, thereby precluding them as a murderer. But this is not the time for jokes.
  • with intent
  • malice aforethought
  • no legal excuse or authority – where abortion is legal, barring other stipulations and limits, an expectant mother technically has the authority and/or legal excuse to terminate her pregnancy. Where this is the case, abortion is not murder.

Thus, an abortion may not be murder per se, but you’re question was whether it is a crime if murder is a crime. If murder is a crime, and abortion were murder, it would follow that abortion is murder. Legally, abortion is not considered murder and therefore is not a crime in the sense that you ask.

However, this does not mean that I condone abortion, nor does it mean that I believe its legality makes it right.

To borrow Elder Neal A. Maxwell’s words, I, as a Latter-day Saint consider abortion to be an awful practice, even if such practices are legally and constitutionally protected.

In Elder Russell M. Nelson’s article titled “Abortion: An Assault on the Defenseless” [Liahona. October 2008, 14-19], he said, “Man-made rules have now legalized that which has been forbidden by God from the dawn of time! Human reasoning has twisted and transformed absolute truth into sound-bite slogans that promote a practice that is consummately wrong.”

In the light of the restored Gospel, we see that it is “forbidden by God” and “consummately wrong.”

As Elder Nelson points out in his article, we stand with God’s commandment that says “thou shalt not kill,” then added, “nor do anything like unto it” [D&C 59:6].

I fully endorse the Church’s and Elder Nelson’s position. I suggest that you read Elder Nelson’s article in its entirety, you can find it here or by searching www.lds.org using the title of the article as written above.

Luckily, my Church does not stand alone in this stance. I love what Mother Teresa said on the subject, “If we accept that a mother can kill even her own child, how can we tell other people not to kill each other? . . . Any country that accepts abortion is not teaching its people to love, but to use any violence to get what they want” [“Mother Teresa Has Anti-Abortion Answer,” Salt Lake Tribune, February 15, 1994, p. A­11].

Later on, quoted in the same article, I admired her bravery in her proposed solution. She said, “I am willing to accept any child who would be aborted and to give that child to a married couple who will love the child and be loved by the child” [Ibid.].

I could go on on about many of the arguments for both sides and the implications of each. But none of that will change God’s stance, nor mine. While I do not approve of abortion, I sympathize with those who are confronted with such a heart-wrenching decision. I’m glad it’s not my call to make. It would be tough for me to imagine in my head the thought process that would lead anyone to think that abortion is a desirable act when compared to all possible alternatives.

Be good.

Sincerely,

Josh Guest

141st Ask Josh – Finding Time

In Uncategorized on May 25, 2009 at 12:04 am

Emily said…

Dear Josh,

How do you find the time to do all that you do?


…..

Dear Emily,

In a recent job interview a man asked me, on a scale of 1 to 10, how do I manage my time. I told him 10. And he asked me how do I do it. I had a technical answer and a philosophical answer.

The philosophical answer was like this:

I do what I have to do, then what I need to do, then what I want to do.

The technical answer was shorter:

Google calendar and a free iPod Touch.

But you don’t want to hear that. You want to know how I manage to keep myself in so much trouble at a time.

Thomas More said in his book Utopia that the two biggest wasters of our time were meat and sleep, “wherein almost half the lifetime of man creepeth away.”
Which leads me to my first two items: live off little sleep; never just eat.

1. Live off little sleep.

I rarely sleep a full 8 hours in a day. I get bored sitting in bed that long. I read a book to help me fall asleep at night, and I get up and read a book in the morning. I have found that 5 hours a night and two ten-minute naps inserted within the day keep my blood pressure just as low as any other healthy human being.

By sleeping less, I save about 2.5 hours a day compared to the average sleeper. That’s 15 hours a week. Over a year it saves 32 1/2 days. A whole other month to do what you want. Imagine what you could do with an extra 15 hours in a week. Or if you had an extra month each year just to do whatever you wanted. Over a lifetime it really accumulates.

I liked this anecdote from Douglas Callister’s speech Your Refined Heavenly Home. He said this:

“President David O. McKay was inclined to awaken at 4:00 a.m., skim read up to two books each day, and then commence his labors at 6:00 a.m. He could quote 1,000 poems from memory. We knew that whenever he stood at the pulpit. He referred to the grand masters of literature as the ‘minor prophets.’ He was a living embodiment of the scriptural admonition to ‘seek ye out of the best books words of wisdom.'”

Maybe he went to bed extra early. But I doubt it. If he can wake up at 4:00 a.m., then I can get up at 6:00 every day, and like it.

2. Never just eat.

This is why I hardly ever cook. If I am cooking, then that is all that I am doing. Boy that irritates me. Whenever I eat, I find something else to do. Over my morning cereal this year I read Life of Pi; Wendy Kopp’s One Day, All Children…; Mark Twain’s A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court; The Lord’s Way by Dallin H. Oaks, two Neal A. Maxwell books and countless LSAT problems.

I don’t just sit down and eat lunch. I have to do something meaningful, sometimes that includes getting to work, reading, or talking to someone.

I love going out for dinner dates on weekends if for no other reason then to talk to somebody, anybody, while I eat. The food or the bill don’t even matter. The food is just an excuse to have a conversation.

3. Have something meaningful to do, always.

There is so much time to be gained from using up little cracks in time. I keep in the side pockets of my car pocket-sized copies of Aristotle’s Nichomachean Ethics and Herman Hesse’s Siddhartha. When I am at a red light or picking someone up or if I am running an errand where I will likely be waiting in line, I have a book to read. Even when I am spending time with friends. I don’t complain if they want to play video games, I play when it’s my turn and read when it’s my turn to sit out because I came in last place in Mario Kart.

The last time I went out to a movie with friends we had an hour to wait in line for the midnight showing of X-Men Origins: Wolverine. We had another half-hour to wait for the movie to start. While I love talking to my friends as we wait in line, I also happened to have my laptop with me and I managed to code several pages of Supreme Court transcript as I was waiting outside and in the theater.

The key is not wasting time. I love what Elder Neal A. Maxwell said about Jesus’ use of time. He said, I thank [Jesus] for his marvelous management of time, for never misusing a moment, including the moments of meditation. Even his seconds showed his stewardship.” – Neal A. Maxwell [Conference Report, May 1976, 26]

Never misusing a moment. Having stewardship over the seconds. I love that.

4. Multitask. Focus.

Most of the time you can accomplish a lot of stuff at the same time. When I am working, I usually have speeches going, talks, or I have Pandora radio play songs about a genre of music I am not very familiar with so I am always learning. As far as this blog post goes, while typing this I have managed to chat with Derek and others, write another blog post, schedule some appointments, video chat with Zack in New York, watch a movie, eat breakfast, brush my teeth twice, shave, leaf through several books, and balance my checkbook all while listening to talks.

I recognize that some activities and assignments require your full, undivided attention. A paper may end up taking hours when it only required 15 minutes of your undivided attention.
So when you have little time to finish a task, work hard and finish it already so you can get on with your life.

5. Know when to stop. Know when to keep going.

You can’t do everything. I tried it. It doesn’t work. And sometimes trying to do everything will cost you time with people you care about. When I was a teenager my father once quoted Bill Cosby saying, “I don’t know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everybody.” I have since heard that quote attributed to him in other ways but I have never found the actual source. Whether Bill Cosby actually said it is irrelevant. The principle stands: the key to failure is trying to please everybody. You have to cut some stuff out.

A few things I have learned to live without: a TV, Facebook applications, cell phone and iPod games.

There will be various demands upon your time which will become more and more valuable as you become increasingly productive and knowledgeable. I get paid about $9 an hour but I consider my time to be worth about $20 an hour for all the other things that I accomplish in a given moment including just the thinking time I get while I am engaged in tedious tasks. If I become a champion litigator my time may be worth as much as $400 an hour to a future client who needs my help. But I digress. Your time is valuable no matter how much you’re getting paid to spend it on someone else. And sometimes you have to follow Nancy Reagan’s motto during her anti-drug campaign: “Just say no.”

While it is important to say no, it is equally important to know when to say yes and find a way to make things work. In Gary Chapman’s book The Five Love Languages, one of the five primary ways to show your love is what he calls “quality time.” And so it is. I am never more flattered when someone is willing to spend their time on me. I am most humbled when I receive a hand-made card or a hand-written letter that I know someone must have spent a lot of time on. What you do with your time to help others speaks volumes of how you feel about them.

6. Intentional forgetfulness.

It’s not what it seems. I don’t mean that you can save time by intentionally forgetting your commitments and just not showing up. Though, in reality, that may actually work now that I think about it.

Funny enough, I attribute more of my availability of time to this than anything else. Efficient scheduling saves time. Hard work saves time. But intentional forgetfulness is what facilitates all the other things by allowing me to focus on scheduling and working hard. The things I intentionally forget are things that I deem are of no worth. These include insults, grudges, offenses against you, and other common cares that really just don’t matter. Think of someone you know who spends all their time talking about how life gave them the short end of the stick, or how someone done them wrong, or complaining about something that was said that has long since passed. They are wasting their breath and their time, not to mention yours.

I had a recent lapse in judgment in this regard in the last week that I had to reconsider. You know about my campaign against the cleaning check ladies? Well I was going to make a big stink about how they shouldn’t be in my apartment if I am leaving the apartment to work elsewhere for the summer. I went on a little tirade for a while and I spent a considerable amount of my mental energy thinking of how I was going to get out of cleaning checks. I wrote letters, consulted others on how to write the letters, went over my contract and studied housing rules. I even arranged to have a news camera man come in to observe the cleaning checks. I spent a lot of time fuming over the injustice of them checking my apartment without my presence or permission. Then the epiphany came, I could just clean my apartment and then it wouldn’t even matter. I wouldn’t have to worry about it anymore. So I just let it go and went swimming. And I was happy again.

Yeah, maybe that means other people will get the last word in a battle of wits. Or you may be thought a coward for not returning fire. But you’ll have time to attend to more important matters. I never said having time meant having your way.

Conclusion

In the end, you can’t make the day longer. Even after taking care of all the things over which you have control, time will always be limited. The day will always be twenty-four hours long. If you don’t waste time and work and play as best you can, each day can be the best it could have been. I take great pleasure in telling people that my day yesterday was the best ever and being right most of the time.

In Poor Richard’s Almanac, Benjamin Franklin said, “Dost thou love life? Then do not squander time; for that’s the stuff life is made of.” While I agree fully with Mr. Franklin in theory, in practice I still hold with Edgar A. Guest’s poem about the best of moments I can enjoy after a day of hard work. I get to experience it perhaps two or three times a year. He said this:


The happiest nights
I ever know
Are those when I’ve
No place to go,
And the missus says
When the day is through:
“To-night we haven’t
A thing to do.”

Oh, the joy of it,
And the peace untold
Of sitting ’round
In my slippers old,
With my pipe and book
In my easy chair,
Knowing I needn’t
Go anywhere.

Needn’t hurry
My evening meal
Nor force the smiles
That I do not feel,
But can grab a book
From a near-by shelf,
And drop all sham
And be myself.

Oh, the charm of it
And the comfort rare;
Nothing on earth
With it can compare;
And I’m sorry for him
Who doesn’t know
The joy of having
No place to go.

Alright, I’m off to bed. I got work in the morning.

Love,

Josh

140th Ask Josh – Why an Editor?

In Uncategorized on May 24, 2009 at 1:08 am

Mel wrote on my Facebook wall…


why do YOU get to be the master gansta editor?:(


Dear Mel,

I am the Master Gangsta Editor because I know how to spell Master Gangsta Editor.

Love,

Josh

139th Ask Josh – Where in the World is Dave Robinson going?

In Uncategorized on May 20, 2009 at 9:13 am

Dear Josh,

My mission papers are in and in lieu of this fact Kristen bought a world map and is taking bets on where I am going. Shes up to fifty dollars. Is this wrong? Where do you think I'm going? Are you going to place a bet?

D-Rob.

….

Dear Dave,

Congratulations on getting the mission papers in.

Is it wrong that Kristen is taking bets? Hmmm, can't say I approve of that. I'm generally not a gambling man, and if I do it's usually when I'm in a situation where the winner won't make me pay even if I do lose. Nevertheless, I do believe I would be willing to wager all the eggs in my freezer and put them in the North Carolina basket.  Whenever I have to bet on anything, whether it's mission location, NCAA tournament, city most likely to host the next Olympics, location of Lenin's tomb, location of the brass plates, where the next season of Survivor will be filmed, where the studio used to fake the moon landing was located, I always bet on North Carolina.  Just like James Taylor, in my mind I'm gone to Carolina. And you know what? In my mind, you're going to Carolina, too.

Keep us updated, man.

Love,

Josh

138th Ask Josh – A Series of Unfortunate Questions

In Uncategorized on May 20, 2009 at 8:51 am

Josh,
I have a series of questions for you. Why do you park on a driveway and drive on a parkway? Do you think that teenage pop sensation Chili Davis will ever make a triumphant return? What are the requirements of an around the world trip? And if you could visit 5 places on earth, where would you go and why? Oh and if you have time, could you address the timeless question of which came first, the chicken or the egg?

Thanks,
Derek

Derek,

I have a series of answers for you. Since you have the MCAT this week and the LSAT is looming right in front of me, I’m going to be brief for both our sakes.

Question 1: Why do you park on a driveway…?

You park on a driveway because it’s right in front of your house. Parking any further away would cause you to have to walk a long distance.

Question 2: Why do you … drive on a parkway?

You drive on a parkway because sometimes that’s the only way to drive from where you are to where you want to be.

Question 3: Do you think that teenage pop sensation Chili Davis will ever make a triumphant return?

No. I think Chili Davis, both the band and the Jamaican Sensation/baseball player, are not making comebacks. The man has been retired for some 10 years. And all the band members are married and thus have fulfilled the reason for which they started the band in the first place.

Question 4: What are the requirements of an around the world trip?

That all depends. If you’re a satellite of the earth still at the apogee, you need only just sit there. If you’re the moon, you just sit there and let gravity do its thing. Getting into orbit is going to set you back about $120 million.

Question 5: And if you could visit 5 places on earth, where would you go and why?

London – because everybody who is anybody is going there for study abroad anyway.
Macchu Picchu – because I really want to have an excuse to go to Peru and have an Inca Kola. They just aren’t as good in the United States.
Beijing – because I want to see the place where Conan O’Brien pulled his hilarious Olympic prank on Matt Lauer.

http://www.hulu.com/embed/JZ85w63cokMzD4-64_KgvA

Venice – because I really want to see the Colosseum (I know, I know. Please don’t comment to tell me. I know it’s in Florence).
Athens – because I already visited London.

Question 6: could you address the timeless question of which came first, the chicken or the egg?

Yes. And I will. The chicken clearly came first. For behold, a chicken egg, left un-incubated, would surely stand no chance against the elements. BOOM! Timeless question resolved.

Cheers. Chicken & Cheers.

Josh

137th Ask Josh – Blog Envy

In Uncategorized on May 15, 2009 at 10:50 am

Anonymous said…

does it embarrass you that i have as many followers of my blog as you do…and i'm not one of them?

….

Josh said…

No, Zack.

Senator’s Response

In Uncategorized on May 15, 2009 at 8:20 am
Thank you for contacting me via my website.
I created this webform because I was concerned that important comments, questions, and requests would get lost in the immense flood of e-mail correspondence. The new system categorizes and organizes my incoming mail more efficiently, enabling me to respond more quickly and without the risk of losing messages in the shuffle. If this new format does not suit your needs, you are more than welcome to call, fax, or mail a letter to my office in the future.
If you provided me with the contact information requested on the webform, I will reply to your message by mail. As you might expect, the convenience of e-mail has significantly increased the volume of correspondence I receive, and I regret that I am unable to respond personally if you are not a Utah resident. Again, thank you for sharing your views.
Sincerely,
Signature
Orrin G. Hatch
United States Senator

136th Ask Josh – Male Capris

In Uncategorized on May 10, 2009 at 9:39 am

Stefi said…

what are your thoughts on man capris? and the new and growing fad of “euro mullets” for guys?

….

Dear Stefi,

What’s more powerful than words? No words. Here’s a picture, so I guess that’s more like a thousand words. So sorry.

While much of the world has turned its back on the males who sport Capris out there. I stand by them. You want to know why? Because my little brother also likes Capris. He once asked my mother if he could buy some Capri pants. My sister and I laughed at him and poked fun at his desire to sport clothing typically worn by women only. But I have learned that Capri pants are not only fashionable, and comfortable, they show off my ankles and lower calf muscles that I have spent a lifetime cultivating and beautifying. A good-looking lower leg (or as I like to call it, a foreleg) is a terrible thing to waste.

Notwithstanding my enjoyment of wearing Capri pants, I am not a fan of those who wear them. And it is for this reason: they won’t let me into their Facebook group. The pro Capri group has only seven members, they are very exclusive. Looking for an alternative, I found the Anti-capris group. They had only six members. So I joined them. Seven strong as of this writing, we are ready for the Capri kids whenever they want to rumble.

Well, ever since those jerks kept me out of their group, I started joining all the movements against Capri pants. These groups include:

Capris Are For Women
I HATE MAN CAPRIS!
Ban on Man Capris
In that last one I saw that there was only one remaining member. I joined it and have since become the administrator. Then I made myself an officer as well. My title: Flar Buck & Hoose Willy.
The Anti Man Capris League
men united against men capri pants

Surprisingly, one of the biggest clubs in the Anti-Capri coalition was the “End the Reign of Man Capris.” They are 45 members strong. They did not have an administrator. Being the concerned citizen that I am, I joined and also commandeered it. If you look at it now, you will see that our cause is now, “Sergio Mendes Rock My Munho!” I already have an event planned for Mother’s Day, May 10, 2009, from 1:00 to 4:00. It is the “Sergio Mendes Capris Fun Run – Run For the Swinger from Rio.” I would go, but I have Church during that time. So I can’t make it.

There was also a lone man who was neither for nor against Capris. This middle-of-the-road, middle-of-the-lower-leg guy stands alone in merely asking the question: “Whats wrong with Capri’s?” I didn’t have the heart to tell him that his apostrophe situation was all out of whack. Nevertheless, I joined his club, too.

Seeing all these clubs, and so many without administrators, I decided to take the movement into my own hands. I knew that in order to bring male Capri pants either to the zenith of their stylishness or to the abolition of their existence we would need the support of men of wealth, power, and affluence.

I decided to write my Senator, Orrin Hatch. It went like this:

May 10, 2009

Orrin G. Hatch
United States Senate
104 Hart Office Building
Washington, DC 20510

Dear Senator Hatch,

Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Josh Guest. I am a college student living in Provo. I have lived in Utah for a total of 8 years. I love the Beehive state and I appreciate the work you have done to help our state and the entire United States. I fully supported you when you voted against our President’s proposal to have a $3.6 trillion budget. I also agree with your vote against Governor Sebelius heading up the nation’s Health & Human Services. As far as I can tell, you represent my viewpoints quite well.

However, I would like to call to your attention an issue far surpassing any of these other matters. I realize you have very little time to spare, so I’ll be brief. I have an increasing amount of concern for the men of the Blue Spruce state who choose to wear pants that don’t fit them. I’m not talking about high-waters. I still wear those. My concern lies in what are referred to as Capri pants, not like the delicious fruit drink without any artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives that moms can feel good about, but more like the island of Capri off the coast of Italy.

While we Utahns are trying to move away from the image of intolerance frequently imputed upon us, I don’t see how we can allow our children to be born into a state where men are showing off their ankles and lower calf muscles as if they were women. These pants are like dresses for men, only in pants form. But not like dress pants. We can’t afford not to have this removed from our society. I believe the citizens of the great Sego Lily state should be pioneers once more in removing this most abominable fashion faux pax from the forelegs of our fifty states and four commonwealths.

I wish not to push the matter any further. I leave it in your hands.

Industry. Industry. Industry.

Respectfully Yours,

Joshua C. Guest, esq.

Anyway, I’ll let you know of his response as soon as I get it.

I am going to have to answer the Mullet question in a second post. So this post is to be continued…

Now, here’s a little something from the man who makes Capris and Mullets worth wearing: Sergio Mendes singing Never Gonna Let You Go, featuring the host of The Biggest Loser back when she was still on Days of Our Lives.

Love,

Josh

135th Ask Josh – BYUSA Revisited

In Uncategorized on May 1, 2009 at 3:18 am

by Cici

Josh Guest,
So we’ve had about eight or so encounters, I’ve read your entire blog and was convinced to subscribe by our dear friend Nat. I’ve pondered and have this question: With all your involvement with BYUSA of late, do you still hate it with a burning passion or has the organization grown on you. Like the hokey-pokey, what is BYUSA all about? Thank you very much and I look forward to your response.

Cici,

Your first question, a multiple-choice question, a dichotomous one at that, is difficult to answer. To say “do you still hate it with a burning passion or has the organization grown on you[?]” is like asking me if I absolutely detest asparagus or if it is my favorite ice cream flavor. I would like to pick an answer somewhere betwixt the two extremes, but since you leave me no choice. I will, for, consistency’s sake say that I hate BYUSA with a burning passion, just as I detest asparagus-flavored ice cream.

Next question: What is BYUSA all about?

I decided to keep my passions out of it and answer as objectively as I can, the merits of Brigham Young University Student Association as an organization itself, based on the expertise I acquired while taking three fourths of the Organizational Behavior class as part of my Management minor.

Using the textbook, “Creating Effective Organizations”, fifth edition, by David J. Cherrington and W. Gibb Dyer, I went page by page when I should have been studying for finals. At the end we’ll tally up the score to see if BYUSA is good or evil. Sound good? Sound evil? Okay then.

“Organizations provide the essential goods and services that benefit society.” [Cherrington, 4]

This year, with BYUSA, I joined the Service Squad a couple of nights and emptied trash. Sounds like a service that benefits society. GOOD

BYUSA had a Safety Week where I received a box of baking soda and I won a mini-emergency kit. Essential good? GOOD

“Ineffective organizations can damage the self-esteem… can be especially abusive by destroying feelings of self-worth, cheating customers, or wasting resources.” [Cherrington, 4]

I played with BYUSA on their College Democrats & Republicans v. BYUSA soccer game. In order to do so we had to kick Max Hall off the field on a Saturday. BAD [In BYUSA’s defense, Democrats & Republicans challenged them and scheduled the field themselves. Plus I have a personal vendetta against Hall due to something he said to me while I was an employee at Subway. So I change my vote to GOOD]

I also played quite poorly and was wont to weep on that field of shattered dreams. BAD

I joined a focus group that was offered lots of pizza in exchange for helping BYUSA evaluate their advertising. Focus on customers? GOOD. I was the only one that showed up. They had nobody else there. While it is not their fault if some didn’t show up, what would have happened if I hadn’t stumbled upon that room by accident? They would have spent nearly $50 just to eat all by themselves. Wasting Resources: BAD

“Organizations are expected to contribute to the quality of life and the betterment of society.” [Cherrington, 21]

I went to the “Knight Games” held on campus where I got to watch the play Everyman and I got a free roll and apple. Everyone was having a good time, small groups like Quill & the Sword club were represented. GOOD, GOOD, GOOD.

Culturally, it did set us back six or so centuries. BAD

“The hierarchal authority structure in organizations creates a natural opportunity to adversely influence employees, because they tend to develop a distorted concept of authority. When a person is promoted to a higher-level position, the promotion somehow seems to imply moral superiority, innate goodness, or some other virtuous quality. As a result, employees do not question the decisions of upper-level managers, and they give too much relevance to managers’ opinions.” [Cherrington, 22]

I have no knowledge that would give me any sort of a qualified opinion on the matter (much like the rest of this post). Therefore, my official comment is: No comment. GOOD/BAD

“Effective organizations usually have a written mission statement that defines success for the company.” [Cherrington, 40]

BYUSA’s website has both the vision and mission of BYUSA right here. Written mission statement: GOOD.

“Effective organizations are able to attract sufficient job candidates with the requisite talents to help the organization achieve its objectives.” [Cherrington, 77]

Let me preface this next part with the disclaimer that I have no personal quarrel against BYUSA. I have mentioned in an earlier post that my feelings were hurt once because I applied for a position in BYUSA and was not considered. Those scars have since healed and I find myself much happier with my current job, school, and money situation which I deem highly preferable to what I likely would have been in had I been selected.

Nevertheless, I have to point out that due to the bureaucratic nature of the system, ascent to the BYUSA presidency is, in fact, more difficult than becoming president of the United States of America.

Qualifications to become President of the United States of America:

a. Be 35 years old.
b. Be a natural born citizen
c. Win enough votes in the electoral college.

Here are just a few of the rules you must abide by to become president of BYUSA (running mate must also meet the same requirements):

a. Ecclesiastical endorsement [Elections Handbook, 10]
b. 3.0 GPA [Ibid.,10]
c. full-time student status (12 credits or more) [Ibid.,11]
d. Either two semesters of leadership experience with BYUSA or one semester outside BYUSA and one semester with BYUSA. [Ibid., 11]

Now this is the part that worries me. If BYUSA is at all cliquish, it is in this policy. According to this rule, President Monson would not be allowed to run for BYUSA, even if he became a full-time student and kept his nose clean and his grades up.

The paid advisors in the BYUSA office have at stake their jobs if the elected president and those he appoints to be area vice-presidents go awfully and wretchedly sour. Therefore, they have an interest in who makes them look good more than they have an interest in the public good. That’s not to say that the advisors themselves are corrupt, the system is just set up in such a way that they need to exert control to save their own skin.

Now, BYUSA makes it clearly abundant that all students are welcome and symbolically made all students members of their organization upon distributing t-shirts to all students bearing the phrase, “I am BYUSA.” Notwithstanding this gesture of outreach, the exclusion of non-BYUSA-experienced leaders is organizational inbreeding at its best, and nepotistic at its worst.

Drew Ludlow of the Daily Universe wrote this on the same subject:

“Another obstacle that BYUSA has to overcome is the detached, insiders-club image that persists despite a very open door and a standing call for volunteers. This may be far from a universal sentiment, but it’s certainly a common one.

First, BYUSA experience should not be a requirement for the presidency. Paid advisers spend the summer training the new officers – I’m sure they’ll get the gist. The next president should also examine current policies and public relations strategy to ensure that BYUSA is seen as, and is, for that matter, a disarming band of fun-loving service-givers that could never be mistaken for a clique.” [Ludlow “The Road Back For BYUSA”. 6 Mar 2006]

A member of BYUSA will say that their organization is so complex that a member of the presidency could not be effective unless he had a year’s experience, not just simple volunteer work, but experience that can most only be attained by being appointed by a current president or vice-president to be one of their executive directors (the third tier of leaders in the hierarchy). If that is so, than it leads me to wonder why in much larger, much more complex businesses and organizations, outside managers are brought in, not in spite of, but specifically because of their fresh perspective and unfamiliarity with the structure of their new environment. They seem to do just fine. If BYUSA is so set up that an intelligent, motivated outsider who can organize a campaign convincing enough to get elected but they can’t figure out the system of BYUSA itself, the problem, then, dwells within the actual setup of procedure and protocol. BAD

“The interests of society are advanced when everyone has an opportunity to participate without unfair discrimination.” [111]

While BYUSA is almost entirely volunteer-based, it still meets the requirements of Equal Opportunity Employment laws. Organizations with 25 or more members must have racial representation equal to that of the general population of which they are a part. According to yfacts.byu.edu, blacks comprise 4% of the 12.8% minority population of BYU, 0.512%, or 1 in 200. According to those same statistics, at least one out of every 30 or so people should be Hispanic, another one out of thirty should be either Asian or Pacific islander. While looking at Executive Vice-President Chance Basinger’s blog I found this picture.

While it is not always accurate to determine someone’s ethnicity by skin color alone, I believe BYUSA has met the standard of being an Equal Opportunity volunteer organization. GOOD.

“Effective organizations require three basic types of behavior: 1. Attracting and retaining people. … as a general rule, organizations that are more successful in attracting and retaining people are more effective. 2. Dependable role performance. … Organizations are more effective when workers are motivated to do their jobs well. 3. Extra-role behaviors. … Since an organization cannot foresee all contingencies in its operations, its effectiveness is influenced by the willingness of its employees to perform spontaneous and innovative behaviors as the need arises.” [Cherrington, 252]

As far as attracting and retaining me goes, I enjoy going into the BYUSA office. They do a good job of thanking their volunteers with year-end bowling parties and pizza. I always feel like volunteering again after these parties. GOOD

When all is said and done, I’m glad BYUSA is there. While I may rag on it and place it with the League of Miscreants, it’s all in fun. They seem sincere about what they’re doing. I like Wi-Fi on campus. I like wearing shorts and sandals. I enjoy the occasional free meal and party. I like the service opportunities it provides. I like that it gives concerned and talented students a positive outlet for their enthusiasm and love for the campus. I like being able to stay out after midnight. I may mock it whenever it decides to publicly pat itself on the back for the job it does. But if they don’t praise themselves, who will? It’s lonely at the top. Today, BYUSA, at 3:14 in the morning on May 1, 2009, I give you the nod.

Sincerely,

Josh Guest
An ignorant antagonist