Friday, July 9, 2010

Lessons From Alma 43

Micheala has some good insights at in her new post on Alma 43.

I would add that Alma 43 exhibits what the Sunzi described as "fatal terrain": Throw [soldiers] into a place where there is nowhere to go and they will die rather than flee. When they are facing death, how can one not obtain the utmost strength from the officers and men? When soldiers have fallen in deep they have no fear.

So as Micheala points out, the inspiration of God and love of family can motivate a soldier just as much as "fear". Great points Micheala.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

What I'm Doing

Since I haven't posted in awhile I thought I should update everybody on what I'm doing.

Editing for publication

I've already posted previews of my analysis of the Jaredite Civil War. I have been carefully working through this paper to get it ready for publication. If no journal wants to publish this piece (and there aren't that many publishing outlets for Mormon themed articles), I will save it for the book for which I am working towards.

This paper has special meaning for me, as I started it the day before my personal life fell apart. So finishing this (and getting it published) has a been a personal goal for the last six months. To give you a little perspective, when I was semi homeless earlier this year I still carried the notes for this paper in my pocket.

A Book You Say?

Yes. There were many publishers at the recent Society for Military History Conference. After looking at some of their books I thought to myself, "I can write something better than this crap." While that may not have been the most charitable reaction to the works I read, it did make me believe that despite the challenges associated with publication I have what it takes. So I've been working on an outline and how to have a coherent piece on warfare in The Book of Mormon that addresses relevant historiographic topics while engaging a wider academic audience.

Xuexi Hanzi Hanyu

I have been studying Chinese diligently. This is in pursuit an eventual Phd. My personal problems sidetracked this goal, but I have been using a method of associating primitives in characters with stories that become a mnemonic device. For example, there is a pictograph of a women next to the pictograph for few. Since few women are wonderful, this makes the character for wonderful easy to remember. I plan on emailing a couple of the contacts I made as the SMH conference to see how much of this I need to pass a graduate language exam.

Babies, Houses, and a Life

The rest of my time is spent in personal pursuits. I have started a new blog called "The DL", which stands for Daddy and my daughter Lorraine. I intend to post pictures of me and my baby girl and describe what I'm doing in my personal life. I also have several jobs teaching online. This has boosted my income to the point where I feel able to rent my own place. Since I have moved across the country to be closer to my daughter, I thought this met my needs in several areas. In so many figurative ways I have to rebuild my life and family, so this is a rather literal representation of that. If my income picks up further and I can pay down some debt I hope to buy a small home in the next year or so.

Finally, I'm involved with the local Institute of Religion. One of my friends mentioned how that scene can often feel like the special Olympics. But since I'm in a new town and I'm getting off the worst experience of my life it still meets my needs.

Thanks for reading.