Saturday, October 28, 2017

Russell M. Nelson studying

I love this picture: An apostle of Jesus Christ studying the good word of God, outside, alone, practicing what he preaches.

Friday, October 13, 2017

You can control nobody. You can influence everybody.

You can control nobody.
You can influence everybody.

Tuesday, October 03, 2017

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Technology Use -- a Two-edged Sword

Dear family and friends,
For better or for worse, my family and I are in many ways addicted to technology. Our phones seem to be the last thing we consult before going to bed, and the first things we look at it when we rise. Our daughters live and die on social media. We are often in the same room together, all looking down at a screen and not really together in any sense of the word. I check emails, social media, news, calendar, Church sites, coin websites, shop for stuff, and do crossword puzzles all through technology. It is completely interwoven in my job as well. It's in our phones, cars, computers, watches, etc.

While technology can bring us together (such as in this email) it often divides and isolates me from my wife, and us from our children.

I readily acknowledge that technology will only become more prevalent in the world, but I am wondering how my family and I can strike a healthy balance between the cyber world and real-world experience and relationships.

I would love to hear your thoughts: 
  • How do you monitor your children and yourself to use technology wisely?
  • What rules or guidelines do you use?
  • Do you ever have technology "fasts" in your home?
  • How do you stay grounded with humans?


Insightful reply from my brother:

My first reaction: I hate my cell phone; I hate Social Media. Then it occurred to me: this new technology is also powerful and good. 

Like anything (and I mean anything) if used incorrectly, it become a vice. If used properly, it becomes a tool.

I teach the stake missionary preparation class. In one of our lessons, we talk about sharing gospel.

This ain’t your father’s mission. In the old days, we would go out finding people. Now, people are finding us.

In my opinion, the days of searching for investigators will diminish as investigators search for us. In other words, using technology will be better than going door to door. For example, see how these missionaries are using technology in Japan to get people to attend English classes at

After my mission prep class on finding people, I send them the links below. I also give them the attached handout. I am really pro-technology when being a member missionary. 

I know this really does not answer all of your questions. Bottom line: make technology something that strengthens real relationships!


P.S. These are the links I send my mission prep class. 


•  Watch the video “Developing the Faith to Find” (2:55), The District 1.

• Watch the video “The Lord of the Harvest: The Adams Family” (4:41).

• Watch the video “Sharing Your Beliefs” (2:02).

• What the video about the missionaries teaching the plan of salvation at Union Park using chalk (3:49).


“Sharing the Gospel Using the Internet” by Elder Russell M. Ballard Adapted from a commencement address given at Brigham Young University–Hawaii on December 15, 2007.

“To Sweep the Earth as with a Flood” The following is the text of the address Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles delivered on August 19, 2014, during Campus Education Week at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah.

• Explore the website and explore the site’s resources, such as videos, articles, and profiles posted by members of the Church. Share a video, article, or other page with others using social media.

• Create your own profile on Share your profile with others using social media.

• Share a Mormon Messages video and your feelings about it using social media.


The Church has many websites about harnessing the power of the Internet. 

Social Media Helps for Members 

Use of Online Resources in Church Callings 

Using Media for Sharing the Gospel. 

Sharing the Gospel Online 

Sharing via 

Sharing via Social Media

Sharing via Blogs

Social Pages








This is a website where you can answer questions about the Church. 

Japanese English Classes
See how Japanese missions are increasing baptisms through free English classes using technology. 

Saturday, September 16, 2017

The World is Full of Contradictions

The world is full of contradictions. 

 The world favors allowing adults to drink alcoholic beverages. Alcohol is considered essential at parties and other social functions. On the other hand, we readily acknowledge how harmful alcohol is:
  • Fetal alcohol syndrome
  • Alcoholism
  • Drunk driving and countless automobile accidents and deaths
  • Unwanted pregnancies
  • Humiliating and embarrassing behavior in public
  • Frequent accompanying violence and abuse
  • Contributes to obesity
  • Teenage drinking
I just don't understand why our society so fiercely defends the use of such a harmful substance. 

Sexual Practices
Much of the world condemns the Mormon Church for our past practice of polygamy, yet casually condones all sorts of sexual practices, including adultery, fornication, cheating on others, multiple lovers, pornography, and homosexuality.

In a previous post, I elaborate on the abundant contradictions of racism.

The USA believes in God. We pledge allegiance to our republic as one Nation, under God. Our motto is, "In God we trust" (this saying is on all of our coins and currency, and it is a federal law to have that motto posted in all schools). The current year indicates how many years it has been since Jesus Christ came to earth. 

Ironically, nowadays most people seem to be afraid to mention Gods existence for fear of public disdain. There are almost no movies that openly tout the existence of God. We have eradicated the practice of prayer or the mentioning of God from our public schools. We seem to be speaking out of both sides of our mouth.

Thoughts on Racism

The world at large generally condemns racism, but turns a blind eye when it come to some forms of racism:
  • The existence of Black Entertainment Television (BET). If there were a White Entertainment Television, the world would freak out and call it racist.
  • The campaign for Black Lives Matter. Of course black lives matter, as do brown lives, yellow lives, red lives, white lives, etc. But if there were a counter-campaign promoting White Lives Matter, people would attack it as racist.
  • The existence of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). Again, if there were an association for the advancement of white people, society would go nut on its being racist.
  • Awarding scholarships to students based on race. Martin Luther King said we should base our judgments of others on the content of their character, not the color of their skin. I agree with King. 
  • The social acceptance of allowing black people to call each other a "brother." This happens all the time on television and in music. It is a subtle reminder that, if I am not black, I am not accepted by you. On the other hand, if I have black skin, I am automatically considered a part of your family.
  • The widespread practice of denominating Americans into subgroups with hyphenations. If we don't want racism to be at the forefront of our minds or mouths, why call anybody an Asian-American, Native American, or African-American (especially if they're not from Africa)? How would the world react if I were to insist on being called a Caucasian-American, or a Welsh-Dutch-American? (If I was born in the United States, shouldn't I be considered Native-American then?)
  • The social acceptance of allowing black sings to use the "n" word in their music, whereas condemning its us everywhere else as the most heinous, abominable word in existence.
If we truly want to eradicate racism in all its forms, we cannot tolerate it in any direction, toward any population -- large or small.

The Way Homosexuality is Changing (in) Society

Over the past decade the promotion of homosexuality continues to gain popularity. It is strange. In my youth there was indeed a homophobia in society, and almost nobody was (openly) homosexual. There was a general disapproval for those who practiced homosexuality.

Nowadays things have changed dramatically, and continue to do so. It almost feels like it is against the law to disapprove of homosexuality. I fear sharing my opinion publicly, for fear of attacks. Even people in my church, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, many of whom claim to be believers, are speaking in favor of accepting homosexuality and going against the doctrines on the family. I live in fear that my career may be threatened because of my stance on this issue, and hence fear to speak out about my feelings and position. It is as if I am now the one in the closet.

Questions I would like to address:

1) Am I against the practice of homosexuality? Yes. Why? Because:

  • Homosexuality threatens the traditional family where one man is married to one woman. It blurs and confuses gender roles. Homosexuals often adopt the mannerisms and dress of the opposite gender. Homosexual women often act like men, and homosexual men often act like women. I often wonder nowadays what it is to be (and look like) a man. Kids need a mother and a father, each of whom provides vital modeling and nurturing to the child. 
  • Homosexuality impedes the propagation of the human race. Homosexuals cannot procreate; however, legislation allows them to adopt children of heterosexual parents. 
  • The acceptance of homosexuality promotes more homosexuality. Society's promotion of homosexuality, and the allowance of homosexual couples to adopt children open children's minds to considering homosexuality as a viable alternative. Conversely, it reduces the likelihood that children will envision a heterosexual family, where one husband and one wife are parents who raise their children.

2) Do I think we should persecute homosexuals? Absolutely not. They are my brothers and sisters. I do, though, view homosexuality as a sexual sin, in that it goes against God's intended purposes for the family and for the way the body procreates. I also view extra-marital, pre-marital, and adulterous sex as serious sins, all because they tinker with the powers of procreation. In addition, I would be uncomfortable allowing homosexual adults to tend my son, out of fear that their lifestyle might permeate into my son's mind as an acceptable alternative to consider.

3) As an administrator at a public school, how do I treat homosexual students? I love them! I strive to treat them just the same as all other students, by showing them kindness, courtesy, acceptance, enthusiasm for life, and encouragement in their academic progress.

4) What is my position on transgender bathrooms? I don't know. Maybe we just need gender-neutral, individual bathrooms.

5) What about people who are born with homosexual tendencies? That is a sensitive subject. I am sympathetic to those who have those tendencies. I view it in the same light as anyone born with any sort of tendency: look to God and give it your all to keep His commandments.

The widespread acceptance of homosexuality is an untried experiment. There are future we may not now foresee, and I fear the destruction of a stable society.

Conversation with Elder Holland and my Dying Father

The following is a transcript of a telephone conversation between my father, Samuel Brooks Jr., and Apostle Jeffrey R. Holland, while my father was living at the Legacy Village of Provo. The conversation took place on November 1, 2016, at 1:20 pm.

JRH: Carolyn, Carolyn, is Sam there? 

Mom:  Yes.

JRH:  Sam are you there, can you hear me?

Dad: Yes, can you hear me?  

JRH: Yes, I can hear you loud and clear.  Well, I love you Sam and wanted you to know I've been thinking about you.  I want you to know that the Brooks flag is flying high.  It boosts my spirit just to hear your voice,  Sam. Are you doing okay today?

Dad: I'm doing okay.
JRH: I hear you're sick, Sam, and wanted you to know how much I love you. I love you Sam, and I just got home last night from being overseas.  Not only do we have the tie of Southern Utah, we also have the tie at BYU.  Thanks for all you did as a great leader at BYU. You are a world class colleague. Thanks for being a great, great colleague. You did a wonderful job. I love you like a dear friend. I love you like crazy. I want you to know that I will put your name on the prayer roll in a prayer circle that is specifically for general authorities and the Quorum of the Twelve. It will be on the prayer roll led by Thomas S. Monson and that's not so bad! I love you, Sam. Your whole family will be on the prayer roll for just the general authorities and Quorum of the Twelve. You are a dear friend. Carolyn, keep me posted, please and tell me how he's doing. Carolyn, keep in touch and tell me how my boy is doing. Carolyn, make sure you keep in touch. Stay in touch.

Take care, Sam. I sure love you.


Letter to the Former Believer

To the man who formally believed in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints,

Where did you stray? Do you no longer study the scriptures, and offer sincere prayers?

Why the nit-picking on little things? You overlook the big picture. Do you not remember how you once felt? Do you not remember those calming moments when the Holy Spirit enveloped you, and you both felt and knew it was true, real, beautiful, and good?

Where does the real issue lie? Perhaps your concerns are decoys from the real concern. Are you struggling with a commandment, such as the Word of Wisdom or chastity? Do you struggle with pornography?

Or is some aspect of Church history gnawing at you? Can you put that concern on hold until you understand more, or are you going to throw out everything and denounce the Church as false on account of one or two hang-ups? Don't forget: One cannot judge 19th century behavior with 21st century eyes. It simply isn't fair. I have found that there is usually more to the story, and that eventually it will all make sense.

I would invite you to reflect on where you have been, and what you have learned and known. All is not lost. Give the doctrines a chance again. Try again. And sincerely repent.

Your friend

Saturday, July 15, 2017

1849 $5.00 Mormon Gold Coin

Check out this beautiful coin, which is available at the Rust Coin and Gift shop in Provo, Utah. 

Asking price: $30,000

Friday, July 14, 2017

Responsibilities of Parents and Children

Responsibilities of Parents:
  • Proverbs 22:6 - "Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it."
  • Ephesians 6:4 - "And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord."
  • Mosiah 4:14-15 - "And ye will not suffer your children that they go hungry, or naked; neither will ye suffer that they transgress the laws of God, and fight and quarrel one with another, and serve the devil, who is the master of sin, or who is the evil spirit which hath been spoken of by our fathers, he being an enemy to all righteousness. But ye will teach them to walk in the ways of truth and soberness; ye will teach them to love one another, and to serve one another."
  • 3 Nephi 18:21 - "Pray in your families unto the Father, always in my name, that your wives and your children may be blessed."
  • DC 68:25 - "And again, inasmuch as parents have children in Zion, or in any of her stakes which are organized, that teach them not to understand the doctrine of repentance, faith in Christ the Son of the living God, and of baptism and the gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of the hands, when eight years old, the sin be upon the heads of the parents."
  • DC 83:4 - "All children have claim upon their parents for their maintenance until they are of age."
  • DC 93:43 - "And now a commandment I give unto you—if you will be delivered you shall set in order your own house, for there are many things that are not right in your house."
  • DC 121:41-44 - "No power or influence can or ought to be maintained by virtue of the priesthood, only by persuasion, by long-suffering, by gentleness and meekness, and by love unfeigned; By kindness, and pure knowledge, which shall greatly enlarge the soul without hypocrisy, and without guile Reproving betimes with sharpness, when moved upon by the Holy Ghost; and then showing forth afterwards an increase of love toward him whom thou hast reproved, lest he esteem thee to be his enemy; That he may know that thy faithfulness is stronger than the cords of death."

Responsibilities of Children:
  • Ephesians 6:1-3 - "Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right. Honour thy father and mother; (which is the first commandment with promise;) That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth."
  • Colossians 3:20 - "Children, obey your parents in all things: for this is well pleasing unto the Lord."

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Catholic "Relics of the Passion" program, Riverton, 2017-05-19

Last night my friend Ed McCarthy took my wife and me along with some other friends to the St. Andrew's Catholic Church in Riverton to attend a presentation entitled Call from the Crucified Heart: A Program with Relics of the Passion. The nine-part presentation chronicled the last days of Jesus Christ's life, and each part (or "meditation") featured a relic from His life, as follows:
(click on each image to enlarge it)
Mediation #1: The Last Supper (relic = a piece of wood from the table at which Christ ate the Last Supper)

Mediation #2: Scourging at the Pillar (relic = a piece of wood from the column of the flagellation)

Mediation #3: The Crowning of Thorns (relic = a piece from the crown of thorns that Jesus wore)

Mediation #4: The Way of the Cross (relic = the veil of Veronica, which is the cloth that Veronica used to wipe the face of the Savior as he made his way to Calvary)

Mediation #5: Crucifixion (relic = a replica of a nail used to nail Jesus to the cross, and which was made with some filings from the true nail)

Mediation #6: The Cross (relic = piece of wood from the cross on which Jesus was crucified)

 Mediation #7: St. Longinus and the Piercing of the Side of Jesus (relic = fragment of bone from St. Longinus' skeleton)

Mediation #8: The Burial Shroud (relic = piece of the coverlet used to wrap the shroud that covered Jesus' body)

Mediation #9: Epilogue (relic = fragments of bone from each of the original 12 Apostles as well as a couple of other New Testament disciples)

Each piece was displayed by a member of the Knights of Columbus:

Activist Critical of Police Undergoes Use of Force Scenarios

Powerful message:

Generations Rediscover Nature

Powerful message:

Monday, April 17, 2017

Painting of Brigham Young in St. George Home

Painting of Brigham Young, which hangs in the annex building of the Brigham Young Home in St. George, Utah. I like how the portrait depicts the reddish quality of his hair, which our tour guide affirmed to be historically accurate:

Toothpick sculptures I made

Fish Lmap Instructions

My sister owns a cool fish lamp:

It has useful instructions to help you stay safe:

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

My Mom as a Young Girl

Three great pictures of my mother, Mary Carolyn Van Tussenbroek Brooks, as a young girl (click on each photo to enlarge it):

Picture for the Deseret News for Valentines Day (Staged). Carolyn Van Tussenbroek and Nathan Winters. Approximately 8.5 years old, 1945. Probably De Soto Street in Salt Lake City.

Lafayette School, Salt Lake City, Utah, 16 April 1946. School picture. Carolyn was 9 years old.

Carolyn Van Tussenbroek and Nathan Winters, Winter. Carolyn Van Tussenbroek and Nathan Winters. Probably kindergarten, 1942?.

Monday, December 26, 2016

Samuel and Carolyn Brooks Portrait

This portrait was given to me by my friend Saige Millsap, who is an art teacher, a few weeks after my father passed away:

Church College of Hawaii (BYU) 1950s folder (Laie)

This is the front and back of an old school folder from the Church College of Hawaii in Laie, now known as BYU Hawaii. The inside of the folder has a copyright date of 1953.

(Click on each photo to enlarge it.)

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Brooks Family History: These Are a Few of My Favorite Links

1999 Tim and Karin Brooks Wedding Day by Jeff Roberts
1999-10-05 Tim and Karin's Wedding Day
1999-10-16 Tim and Karin's Wedding Reception

2002 Christmas
2002 Emily's Birth video by Uncle Nate
2002 02 and 03 Brooks family videos
2002-05-25 Grace eating at Redwood Road apartment home #83
2002-05-26 Memorial Day at Salt Lake City Cemetery
2002-05-27 and 06 at Redwood Road apartment home
2002 06 Disneyland trip
2002-06-23 to 11-08 Brooks family snippets
2002-11-11 Emily's birth
2002-11-28 Beehive House tour with relatives

2003 Brooks Family Christmas
2003 01 to 06 Family snippets
2003 07 to 11 Brooks family videos
2003 11 and 12 Brooks family videos

2004-01-22 and 02-16 Emily snippets
2004-02-29 to 04-15 Brooks family snippets
2004-04-21 to 07-07 Brooks Family snippets
2004 Christmas
2004 Silent collage
2004-10-27 Brooks family video

2005 Christmas
2005 02 and 03 Silent collage
2005-02-10 Grace and Emily
2005-03-05 Grace's Birthday Party
2005 04 Disneyland Trip
2005 08-03 to 10-24 Brooks Family Snippets
2005-11-05 Jeff and Claudia's wedding in Draper
2005-11-10 Emily's birthday at Chuck E Cheese
2005-11-28 Grace and Emily and Zoe
2005 Pelican Slide Show

2006 I Like to Move It Move It
2006 Silent Collage
2006-02-16 Snow
2006 03 Disneyland Trip
2006 03 28 Molly ultrasound
2006 04 to 11 Brooks family movies
2006 12 Brooks family videos

2007 Christmas silent collage
2007 Price is Right (edited)
2007 Silent collage
2007 01 and 02 Family Snippets
2007 03 Grace's birthday
2007-03-17 At home in West Jordan
2007-03-19 Temple Square
2007-03-23 Grace and Emily silly at home
2007-05-03 Grace performance at Summit Academy in Draper
2007-05-04 At home
2007-05-27 Memorial Day
2007-06-04 at home
2007-08-07 Molly walks
2007-08-11 Molly's birthday at Schultzes (Yermo)
2007-08-29 to 10-14 Brooks Family Snippets
2007-10-29 Wheeler Farm
2007-10-30 At home in West Jordan
2007-11-10 Emily's Birthday Party

2008 At the Englands
2008 Christmas - Pee pee in the potty
2008 Christmas Grace's Performance at Summit Academy
2008 Brooks Family Christmas
2008 Disneyland and Beach
2008 Emily's Birthday Party at Chuck e Cheese
2008 Silent Collage
2008 Sledding
2008 11 Thanksgiving at Grandma Lela's

2009 (early) Camella opera with Andy
2009 Brooks Family Christmas
2009 Emily's Birthday Party
2009 Friends at the Break of Day (music video)
2009 From Temple Square
2009 Brooks Girls Dancing in the Sun Room
2009 Grace's Birthday Party
2009 Grace's Piano Recital
2009 Brooks Kids Snippets
2009 Molly at Grandpa Hardman's playhouse
2009 Molly's Birthday Party
2009 Neighbor Kids Pose in the Sun Room
2009 Visit to Temple Square collage (August)
2009-12-19 Tyler's Birth

2010 Emily Fun Run Eastlake Show and Reading
2010 Grace's Eastlake Elementary Show
2010 Grace's Piano Recitals
2010 Grace's Birthday Party
2010 Kid Snippets
2010 Tour of Temple Square
2010 Tyler's Greatest Hits and Birthday
2010-08-07 Molly's Birthday and Bounce House
2010 12 Christmas Day and Unsworths

2011 Grace's Birthday Party
2011 Grace's Eastlake Performance and Piano Recital
2011 Kid Snippets
2011 Molly's Herriman Mini-Mustang Preschool Graduation
2011 Tyler Snippets
2011-08-09 Molly's Birthday Party at Chuck e Cheese
2011 10 Colorado to visit Lisa Williams
2011-10-24 Emily's Piano Recital
2011-11-11 Emily's Birthday Party
2011 12 Christmas and Grace class caroling
2011 12 (December) Disneyland Trip

2012 Brooks Family Christmas
2012 Brooks Family Snippets (full screen)
2012 Brooks Family Snippets (narrow)
2012 Emily's Play at Eastlake Elementary

2013 Brooks Family Snippets (full screen)
2013 Brooks Family Snippets (narrow)
2013 Emily's Birthday Party
2013 Emily's Show at Eastlake Elementary School
2013 Hawaii - Everything Else
2013 Molly Performances (full screen)
2013 Molly Performances (narrow)
2013 Molly's Birthday Party (narrow)
2013 Molly's Birthday Party (full screen)
2013 Trip to Disneyland and California

2014 Emily's Recital
2014 Molly's Birthday Party
2014 July - Molly and Tyler Puppet Show 
2014 Molly and Emily's Recital
2014 Tyler's School Performances
2014 Brooks Family Snippets

2015-03-06 Basement finished
2015 Emily's Recital
2015 Tyler's Interpretive Dance
2015 Tyler Performs at School
2015 Brooks Family Snippets

2016 Hawaii Trip in June and July
2016 Hawaii video clips (vertical)
2016 Hawaii trip highlights - Brooks family
2016 Brooks Family snippets (landscape)
2016 Brooks Family Snippets (narrow)
2016 Hawaii Trip highlights by Grace
2016 Molly Performances
2016-02-14 Interviews with the children
2016-02-15 Announcement about Disneyland trip with Unsworths
2016-12-22 Tyler's Christmas performance at Eastlake Elementary
2016 Tyler remix: "Don't Mess It Up"
2016 Tyler's PM Kindergarten class

Sunday, December 04, 2016

Samuel Brooks Jr. (1934-2016)

Samuel Brooks Jr. passed away Monday, November 14, 2016. He is a great man. Here are links to events surrounding his passing:

"In Loving Memory" - a video collage tribute of his life.

Video of display items from his viewing.

Obituary links:

Audio of the funeral, which was held Monday, November 21, 2016, at the Sharon Stake Center in Orem, Utah.

A video clip of "God Be with You" sung at the graveside service, which was held at the Salt Lake City Cemetery.

Pictures of the funeral program (click on photos to enlarge):

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Illustrations of Buildings in 19th Century Salt Lake City

Edward Thomas Parry (1859-1938), one of my great-grandfathers, owned a book filled with old illustrations of buildings and sites in Salt Lake City. The book did not have any wording on the cover, and the title page is missing, so I have no clue regarding the origin of the book. There is a beautiful illustration of old Liberty Park.

Click on the first image, then use the arrow keys to scroll through all the pictures: