"If you obey all the rules you miss all the fun." - Katharine Hepburn
Question #93573 posted on 05/14/2021 9:54 p.m.

Dear 100 Hour Board,

I guess I'm kind of going through a "faith crisis" right now, which is wild because I never thought in a million years I would doubt my faith... but, well, here we are.

Lately a lot of my friends have had doubts and questions which the church hasn't really been able to answer, and a number of them have left the church completely. All of them are incredibly wonderful and intelligent and thoughtful people, and I 100% understand why they've left, and now I find myself with a lot of similar questions and concerns. I'm in a weird limbo situation, where I can see a lot of justification for doubting the authenticity of the church and leaving but I also desperately want the church to be true and for God to exist and I've had personal spiritual experiences that support that... but I do have big questions and concerns and it's pretty uncomfortable to be a member of a church that you don't have a lot of confidence in. And then it doesn't really help when in conference they say "don't discuss your doubts with doubters" because the alternative is... what... just believe without asking questions and if there's ever not a good answer just smile and pretend the question never existed and trust that everything is fine even when it really isn't? (And sure you could discuss your doubts with believers but in my experience that doesn't often lead to meaningful conclusions, just a vague "pray about it and don't worry about it.")

Anyways, that's kind of where I'm at right now. I have a handful of concerns, but for now I'll just bring up my main one: how are you supposed to have faith in inspired leadership and revelation when there are so many examples of prophets with very deep and problematic flaws? I understand that no one is perfect, including prophets. But so many prophets have been so very wrong about really big issues, such as race and sexuality, that have significantly affected church policies, church culture, and member attitudes. So on one hand, I'm supposed to have faith in what the prophet says because he receives revelation for the church from God, but on the other hand I know that if they've made BIG mistakes in the past, they could also make BIG mistakes now. But also, if you question the prophet too much you get accused of "doubting" and "not trusting God's servants" and "going off the deep end." And this huge pushback against any sort of meaningful questioning of church leaders or policies definitely doesn't help the church look good as I'm trying to figure out what the heck to do or what the heck I believe.

How do you guys navigate this? And do you have any suggestions? (I'm mostly interested in hearing thoughts from writers still in the church, but I'd be interested in input from any of you wonderful people.)

Thank you!

-A Friend


Dear friend,

I'm sorry for the confusion and turmoil you're experiencing. I can't promise that what I have to say will magically resolve your doubts and concerns, but I've gone through a lot of intellectual, spiritual, and emotional work to reach the place where I am, and I hope that by sharing some of the resources and ideas that got me here, I might be able to help you somewhat. I do want to offer a fair warning: this is by far the longest of my already typically long answers. Mark Twain might well have described this, like the Book of Mormon, as chloroform in print. Furthermore, the ideas which I'm going to explore here were not all ideas I understood in a day, and I expect they won't be for you either. I highly encourage you to incorporate the references I've included as well as the excellent answers by my fellow writers in your thinking as you consider your relationship with the Church and navigate the troubled waters of a faith transition, wherever it takes you.

So, without further ado, it's time for a deep dive into inerrancy, hermeneutics, and epistemology in the church.

1. Absolutist thinking in the Church: the prophet said it, therefore I believe it & how we cling to infallibility and a shortcut to Truth

To begin with, I strongly encourage you to read this absolutely phenomenal blog post by Ben Spackman, a Latter-day Saint historian of religion, science, and biblical interpretation (and a BYU alumnus), in which he breaks down what it means to be a prophet and what we mean (or ought to mean) when we describe prophetic knowledge. This is not the only resource I recommend, but it will make up the bulk of this answer. In typical fashion, I'll break down the most important bits, but really, I can't recommend reading the whole thing enough. In the interest of full disclosure, it's Spackman's work which has had probably the single greatest impact on shifting my own paradigm of faith within the Church, and much of what I've said about fallibility, faith, and interpretation in previous answers is heavily informed by his work. So, where do we begin?

[W]hat do prophets know and how do they know it? What can we reasonably expect prophets to know through their prophetic office? And why am I not bothered that prophets don’t know X, or have preached Y which is “obviously” “wrong”?

Mormons put heavy emphasis on revelation, prophets, and scripture… but we’ve never elaborated on what those things mean, hammered out how they work, their limits and mechanics. We don’t have a user’s manual. To our collective detriment, I think, LDS tend to fill in those gaps from cultural osmosis, conservative Protestantism, and inherited assumptions.

See, people want prophets to serve as an immediate shortcut to eternal absolute Truth; this rhetorically elevates revelation completely over human reason, wisdom, and science. And there’s an aspect to that which is accurate enough; God does speak to prophets through revelation. But it does not follow that what prophets speak under inspiration is God’s pure unmediated and eternal knowledge, or that prophetic knowledge constitutes a revealed subset of God’s omniscience.

Examples of this tendency to turn revelation into an eternal shortcut to Truth-with-a-capital-T abound. You may have heard it said in Sunday School or on a mission or in sacrament meeting that "when the prophet speaks, the debate is over"--a very unfortunate reflection of the tendency we have to assume that revelation and prophetic authority are absolute and beyond question. This infamous message was first printed in the June 1945 issue of the Improvement Era. The stir over this message was such that George Albert Smith, then president of the Church, received a concerned letter from a Unitarian leader in Salt Lake who was certain that this could not possibly be the true position of the Church. To that, President Smith responded thusly:

I am pleased to assure you that you are right in your attitude that the passage quoted does not express the true position of the Church. Even to imply that members of the Church are not to do their own thinking is grossly to misrepresent the true ideal of the Church, which is that every individual must obtain for himself a testimony of the truth of the Gospel, must, through the redemption of Jesus Christ, work out his own salvation, and is personally responsible to His Maker for his individual acts. The Lord Himself does not attempt coercion in His desire and effort to give peace and salvation to His children. He gives the principles of life and true progress, but leaves every person free to choose or to reject His teachings. This plan the Authorities of the Church try to follow.

The Prophet Joseph Smith once said: “I want liberty of thinking and believing as I please.” This liberty he and his successors in the leadership of the Church have granted to every other member thereof.

And yet, despite this response by the president of the Church, the expression continued to gain currency in Latter-day Saint circles. Why? Well, aside from the fact that President Smith didn't publicly repudiate the idea before the church body, a desire for the prophetic voice to be a shortcut to certainty and absolute, eternal Truth gave it life. We fill in the gaps in our revealed knowledge, often without realizing that we are doing so, to avoid facing ambiguous, uncomfortable, or unanswerable questions. If the debate is over once the prophet speaks, then we no longer need to do or think anything other than what he instructs us to, and we can follow him blissfully and securely, without having to face any hard moral questions or grapple with anything that might challenge us. The siren song of prophetic infallibility tells us that we can simply push off our moral responsibility onto the one who speaks for God, so the phrase lives on.

I don't know about you, but in my experience, I have heard it repeated that when the prophet speaks, the debate is over. But I have never heard it said that the President of the Church under whose tenure that statement was published explicitly rejected it as an accurate position of the Church. In fact, the original statement was repeated by Young Women General President Elaine Cannon in the November 1978 general conference--a talk which was then quoted to make the rather notorious line the title of a 1979 First Presidency message in the Ensign. This, for a quote which was described by President Smith as not representative of the Church's position! To our collective detriment, we fill in the gaps, and undue certainty, even quasi-infallibility, begins to creep in. Because we don't want to admit of any possibility for error or doubt in the prophetic word, we make absolutist statements like these, with the result that although we always say the prophet is not infallible, in practice, we do not seriously grapple with the notion that he may make mistakes. Even while we adamantly maintain that no one except for the Savior is perfect, we unconsciously treat the prophet precisely the way fundamentalist Protestantism treats the Bible: if we cannot trust his judgment in everything, we cannot trust it in anything.

Take note that tradition and absolutist thinking can impact all of us. Even Young Women presidents and First Presidency members are not immune to gap-filling in the absence of revealed knowledge. 

   b. Theological gap-filling & our tendency to replace uncomfortable "whys" with manmade, nonrevelatory justifications

   c. Manmade justifications ossifying into part of the tradition and the Way Things Are Done

If we implicitly trust that the prophet is our shortcut to the mind of God, then we're left with uncomfortable questions when revelation implemented by the prophet clashes, or seems to clash, with our notions of fairness or equality. Brigham Young restricted priesthood ordination for those of African descent. Why? No one knows for certain, and so, in the absence of revelation from God, we went searching for suitable explanations. Over time, the idea that they were "less valiant" in the premortal existence and therefore barred from priesthood blessings gained such currency that even Joseph Fielding Smith was raised uncritically accepting this justification as doctrine backing the restriction. Not until 1963 in a close rereading of scripture about the question did he realize that he had inherited extrascriptural, non-doctrinal notions which he was then importing into his understanding of the scriptures. Even high-level Church leaders are not immune to this gap-filling, nor are they always aware that they are doing it. And when we are likewise unaware that the tradition we are receiving is filling in some of the gaps with nonrevelatory knowledge, we perpetuate the same myths and mistakes, some of which fossilize into quasi-doctrinal reasons of their own. Why do so many people believe that caffeine is the reason tea is forbidden in the Word of Wisdom? Because nobody wants to say "I don't know why God instructed us not to drink tea" (especially if science appears to suggest that drinking tea is healthy), and so the manmade, non-divine justification of caffeine gains a life of its own, in order to defend the authority of religious claims against the specter of scientific evidence. Why hasn't God ordained women to ecclesiastical office? We don't know--but some people will rush to tell you it's because of motherhood, and so there's no use thinking about any other definition or form of gender equality in the Church. How did Satan intend to destroy the agency of man in his premortal bid to become the Savior? No scripture nor revelation ever actually tells us--and yet everyone knows that he intended to compel us to be righteous. Why can't women be witnesses for baptisms? There actually is no reason, and they can be--but it wasn't until very recently that the Church at large examined its practices critically enough to become cognizant of that fact.

Why do all of these things happen? Why do we invent explanations for doctrinal questions, and why do they live so long if they aren't doctrinal? Because not every idea and tradition we inherit in the Church is part of our revealed body of knowledge, but we tend to absorb everything as though it is. Ambiguity and unanswerable questions make us uncomfortable, so we look to any explanation we can to fill in the blanks.

2. Accommodation in revelation: why prophets are fundamentally men of their time and place

Let's press on. If prophets aren't infallible, what does that mean? What do prophets know, and how? Spackman again:

1. A prophet is a human, reliant upon human culture, worldview, and knowledge like everyone else. ...

Among others, President McKay taught numerous times that when God makes the prophet, he does not unmake the man.

Which implies that the prophetic mantle doesn’t automatically undo or override the humanity of the prophet and all that humanity entails: his personality, language, knowledge, cultural assumptions, etc. ...

Elder Ballard talked about how his life, experience, and training allowed him to answer some kinds of questions, but “other types of questions… require an expert in a specific subject matter.” He singles out human expertise in ancient history and Biblical studies as something he lacks, but which can be very useful in answering certain questions. He consults those experts when he has those questions.

Stepping back a little, Elder Ballard is acknowledging that his prophetic calling is not an automatic shortcut to human knowledge.

To take another example, although Joseph Smith was The Prophet of the Restoration, when he wanted to learn Biblical Hebrew, he had to hire a teacher and buy a grammar and lexicon, and buckle down and study, just like any first-year Hebrew student at BYU. ... Where God does not send revelation, inspired writers and prophets must rely on their inherited cultural assumptions, worldview, and human knowledge ... just like everyone else. They have to gain knowledge the same way everybody else does. ... Human prophets are dependent on their human cognitive inheritance except where God speaks to them, i.e. revelation.

2. Revelation is always accommodated. Revelation, even so-called “direct revelation” (whatever people intend by that) is always mediated to and through human knowledge, culture, and language. God accommodates his revelation to our state. It’s impossible for it to be otherwise, as its necessity is built-in to the system. Because of accommodation, we shouldn’t expect inspired statements by prophets to reflect that absolute perfection of knowledge that we attribute to God. Revelation is not a purely-divine information dump.

   a. Practical effects of accommodation in the Church & what happens when we mistake accommodated revelation for timeless, absolute Truth

Accommodation is why prophets, even the especially visionary ones, are still fundamentally men who are shaped by the time and place in which they lived. Prophets do not somehow completely transcend the circumstances, traditions, and culture into which they are born, even when God reveals to them new and exalted truths. And absent revelation, we tend to (say it with me!) fill in the gaps with the practices, beliefs, and thoughts of the traditions we absorb growing up. That's why, for instance, the 1968 edition of the For the Strength of Youth pamphlet states that "Pants for young women are not desirable attire for shopping, at school, in the library, in cafeterias or restaurants" (a view shared, incidentally, by President Kimball). I think we can safely say that we no longer hold women to that standard. But if the only dialogue you've ever heard with respect to modesty is that the Lord's standards are eternal and unchanging, and this must be the Truth, then this passage spells trouble for Latter-day Saint women everywhere. Did the Lord's standards change from 1968 to 2021?

The reality is that while we can safely say that the Lord is, in fact, unchanging, our understanding of His standards is constantly being accommodated to our level of understanding and moral preparation. Unfortunately, we tend to ellipt that second part in the Church, or remain ignorant of it entirely. The result, for some particularly conservative church members and leaders, is that our standards, whether in 1900, 1968, or 2021, simply are God's eternal and unchanging standards; moreover, all revelation is eternal, unchanging Truth, downloaded straight from God's mind, which cannot contain error or contradiction. It should become clear by now how this is a vicious circle which feeds into and is in turn fed by an implicit faith in the infallibility of prophets. This brings us to Spackman's #3:

3. Divine revelation is progressive, iterative, and line-upon-line. If God’s intent is to help humans progress, but must temper his revelation to the human condition, then it follows that God’s revelations will build on each other. He will start with a, and move on to a’, then a”, then a”’, and eventually b. Perhaps revelation can’t represent the absolute divine ideal now, but successive revelations will grow closer to and approximate it. (I like the mathematical idea of approximation here, that as x goes to infinity, you draw infinitely closer to a particular point that, for all practical purposes, means you are at that point.)

This doesn’t always mean revelation will give us a straight line of continuous progress, or that new revelation will seem like logical progression or mere expansion; sometimes new revelation can seem very discontinuous or even contradictory to the status quo. Many early LDS really struggled with the Three Degrees of Glory in D&C 76. One branch actually went apostate over it, because it seemed so contradictory. And of course, there’s the example of the New Testament decision that becoming Christian and accepting the Jewish messiah did not require accepting the requirements of the Jewish law (i.e. circumcision or avoiding pork and shellfish), even though it too was divinely given and had hundreds of years of tradition and devotion behind it. In retrospect, these make fine sense to us, but that’s the comfort of hindsight. To believers at the time, they are ground-shaking and challenging. And sooner or later, new revelation will challenge us.

Personally, when I was a missionary, I hated how cavalier some missionaries could be about how Elder McConkie or Brigham Young said some weird, off-the-rails things; Mormon Doctrine and the Journal of Discourses were, not infrequently,  topics of casual humor and lighthearted mockery. The obvious implication, of course, was that we were smarter than that, and President Nelson or Elder Holland would definitely never say anything so bizarre. If that's how we smugly conceive of revelation--as something that only challenged the believers of the past because they just weren't up to our 21st-century understanding--then we don't get it. In comparison to God's omniscient glory, we see through a glass just as darkly as the ancient Israelites did, and sooner or later God will see fit to challenge us just as He challenged His followers in the past. We should never forget that possessing some eternal truths, including some that were lost to the ancients, doesn't mean that we possess all of them. A little epistemic humility goes a long, long way in reconciling perceived problems in the gospel and in maintaining faith in the face of new revelation that seems unexpected, troubling, or even contradictory to what has come before. 

Revelation will thus always be a collaborative human-divine process, and this is what we find both from ancient AND modern scripture. (On the latter, see e.g.  hereherehere…) As time goes on and humans progress, divine revelation will more closely approximate divine ideals. But measured at any given moment, it can seem far from it.

Now, what makes a prophet a prophet is that God chooses to speak to them. That’s the way the prophetic causality flows. The nature of prophethood, then, is not an ability or super-power that works at the whim of the prophet. Prophethood is not an all-access backstage pass to God’s knowledge, or on-demand access to the mind of God. That door swings open from the other direction, when God chooses to speak and insert himself. Similarly, the label of “inspired” or “revelation” on certain content doesn’t guarantee the exclusion of all human aspects from that content; rather, it guarantees the inclusion of some divine aspect among those other, human aspects.

   b. The compromise of accommodated vs. absolutist revelation: trading infallibility for fallibility & certainty for faith

I'll stop here, because I think Spackman's last point is the most significant, and probably the most relevant to your larger question. The prophetic mantle is not a guarantee of infallibility (a "guarantee [of] the exclusion of all human aspects" from revelation). It is a guarantee that an otherwise human product contains genuinely divine elements even if it also contains error. We pay lip service all the time to the idea that we don't believe in infallible prophets, but when the rubber meets the road and people are forced to actually grapple with the implications of that statement (i.e, prophets might have actually made mistakes or said something you disagree with), almost invariably people begin to squirm. On my mission, I often made a point of explaining to other missionaries that the Book of Mormon acknowledges frankly on its own title page that errors are possible, and that we should take away from them evidence of man's weakness and the great condescension of God in choosing to speak to us anyway:

And now, if there are faults they are the mistakes of men; wherefore, condemn not the things of God, that ye may be found spotless at the judgment-seat of Christ.

The Book of Mormon says it itself: if there are flaws, they're merely mortal mistakes. Don't spurn real, divine truths just because they may be mixed in with flaws from mortal prophets trying their best to imperfectly transmit their experiences with the true and living God. Yet invariably, when I raised this point, there would be someone who would push back. And I understand why. By opening the door to error in canonized scripture or a conference talk or "direct revelation" (whatever that's supposed to mean), you appear to jeopardize things about which we want to be absolutely certain. If there are errors in the Book of Mormon translation, how can we be certain of its witness of Christ? If the prophets said incorrect things once (as Elder McConkie put it, quite directly, in the aftermath of the 1978 revelation on the priesthood), who's to say they aren't saying the wrong things now? Are we to be hopelessly set adrift in a sea of uncertainty and doubt? 

   c. The roots of absolutist thinking in Latter-day Saint tradition

This cuts to the real heart of your main concern, I think, and also brings us to the last part of Spackman's post.

Faith built on ideas of absolutist revelation is faith that is easily undermined and broken. Evangelicals are certainly having problems with it. And Mormons are too, I think. Fortunately, as I hope is obvious from above, absolutist revelation is not native to Mormonism. And so the question, how did we get to thinking that way? ... 

The perception that prophetic authority is threatened by or in competition with “secular” knowledge led to reconceptualizing and elevating revelation beyond its natural limits; there’s a sense that the authority of religion is under siege (which perhaps it is, somewhat) and so people respond by making it far more absolute than it really is. For example, one book on creationism argues that "creationism is ultimately about the status of the Bible in the modern world. Creationism as a modern ideology exists in order to defend the authority of the Bible as a repository of transhistorical truth from the challenges of any and all historical sciences." 

If “truth” means “scientific facts,” then for scripture to be “truthful,” it must be scientifically factual, in an absolute manner. Creationists make the validity of scripture dependent upon the authority of science; scripture is true because it is scientific. Scripture is thus “sanctified” by science, modernity’s highest and most authoritative form of knowledge, thanks to the Scientific Revolution and Enlightenment.

You can see this clearly in the writings of Joseph Fielding Smith, who felt the authority of human knowledge was competing with the authority of scripture, and defended it in very Protestant ways. “These theories [of evolution, old earth, etc.] are man-made deductions but the testimony of the prophets are actual facts.”

To add some context to this, Joseph Fielding Smith, if you didn't know, was a very committed young-earth creationist. He and other General Authorities, such as B.H. Roberts, James Talmage, and John Widtsoe argued for decades with respect to evolution and the age of the earth. Why? Because Joseph Fielding Smith read the scriptures differently than they did, and because he didn't recognize his readings as interpretations of the scriptural text, but rather as the plain or "literal" meaning of the scriptures. For him, he was not interpreting one of several possible meanings of the scriptures, but simply reporting the Actual Facts as given to him by the testimony of the prophets, in defense of religious authority against competing knowledge which he believed endangered that authority.

A more timely example may help demonstrate how this tendency persists in the Church today. I mentioned earlier the various non-doctrinal reasons we've invented to explain why the Lord has commanded us to refrain from tea and coffee. On my mission, depending on who was teaching, the "why" of this was that tea contained caffeine, or that it contained some other harmful substance we weren't supposed to ingest. Some missionaries would argue (unconvincingly, in my view) that even if they didn't know exactly why these substances were bad for us, the Lord wouldn't have prohibited them if they weren't, and so even if the science of moderate tea and/or coffee consumption didn't back us up now, it would in the future, once science caught up to God.

Just as Joseph Fielding Smith resolved the question of "why don't the scriptures and ancient prophets seem to know about evolution and an old earth?" with an absolutist appeal to the supremacy of religious knowledge (that is, the earth isn't old, and evolution is a false philosophy of man), we are often posed the question "If tea and coffee are bad for us, why isn't that empirically demonstrated by science?" And some of us, feeling perhaps that the Word of Wisdom's authority is endangered by this question, choose to uphold an absolutist notion of religious authority that supersedes all other forms of knowledge. Tea and coffee must be bad for us, and the science simply hasn't found it yet.

This is fallacious reasoning, and it misses the point of the Word of Wisdom, I think. Is the revelation a health code? Yes. Are many of its guidelines intelligent and valuable commonsense elements of healthy living? Yes. But it doesn't follow that every single restriction put in place must therefore be empirically demonstrated to be strictly beneficial for our health and that the revelation is false if they aren't. Tea or coffee or wine can be shown by science to be associated with health benefits, even if the Lord has asked us to abstain from them as a demonstration of faith and willingness to set ourselves apart from the world. But for particularly conservative readers, it can appear as though science is jeopardizing the authority of the Word of Wisdom.

I should note here that if that framing works for you, it's not my intention or my place to blow holes in your faith. I offer this analogy as a means to help the submitter of this question, and any other readers who may be struggling, come to grips with a framework of faith that is comfortable with asking questions like these. 

Back to Joseph Fielding Smith. It is primarily his uncritically absolutist leanings with respect to revelation, scripture, and inspiration which I think came to prevail in the broader culture of the Church. The consequence of this is that we have a strain of thought within the Church which clings to a naïve literalism of the scriptural record and, in Spackman's words, rhetorically elevates revelation over every other source of knowledge, leading many people who have uncritically inherited this mode of interpretation to subject our current leaders (and, I would add, our scriptures) to something akin to hero worship and blind obedience. The problem, of course, is that revelation isn't absolute, which means the scriptures and prophets aren't either:

... So there were cultural pressures and competition that led to a conception of revelation and prophets as being absolute and entirely of a factual nature. The desire to preserve the authority of revelation lead to the counter-productive strategy of making it absolutist. But, again, as humans, even prophets inherit worldviews and make assumptions, and the inspired revelation they receive is not absolute, but accommodated and mediated.

Author's note: an interjection on the faithfulness of an accommodated perspective

In the preceding section, I was directly critical of President Joseph Fielding Smith's views with respect to geology, the age of the earth, and the hermeneutic he used to understand scripture and revelation. I want to make absolutely clear lest I be misunderstood that I am not casting aspersions on President Smith's testimony of Christ, his witness of the restored gospel, or of his role as one of God's leaders of the Church. In a previous Board answer, I discussed how one of my mission companions received very poorly what I intended to be an innocuous and practically-minded criticism of the Church's slowness to undertake and release the Saints project. In a similar vein, lest I be misunderstood, it is emphatically not my intention to place myself above President Smith, nor to cast aspersions on his character, calling, or faith. But insofar as he equated his understanding of scripture with the falseness of modern geology, and insofar as those uncritically absolutist assumptions have prevailed within Church culture, I think he erred, and such error needs to be corrected.

With that said, and any concerns hopefully assuaged, let's press on to the reader's concerns.

3. The problem of accommodation & crises of faith

So, if revelation isn't absolutely secure, where does this leave us? There are people who find this reframing of prophetic knowledge unacceptable, who don't see how or why they should continue to trust the prophet or the Church if we accept the model of accommodated revelation and the real, genuine possibility of error in our inspired and canonized body of scripture. I'm sympathetic to that. I understand the hesitation. Not that many years ago, I would have felt the same way. But the reasoning, while initially worrisome, is ultimately fallacious. If it can be demonstrated that divine revelation contains human, erroneous elements, it would seem to jeopardize eternal convictions. But it does not follow that because a prophet or book of scripture or conference talk erred on one issue that it therefore cannot be trusted on any issue. Modern printings of For the Strength of Youth no longer tell women that it is inappropriate to wear pants in public, but we still consult it as a valuable resource for teaching our youth about moral values. In fifty years, standards for clothing and media will probably have changed even more, but we'll still teach the law of chastity and tithing.

Simply put, the fact that some aspects of our tradition turn out to be flawed, human products of our time does not necessarily imply that every part of our tradition is flawed, human, and therefore not grounds for faith. 

But a personal question deserves a personal answer, so let me respond to you a little more personally and a little less clinically. How do we determine which is which?

How are you supposed to have faith in inspired leadership and revelation when there are so many examples of prophets with very deep and problematic flaws?

What you're describing here is not faith. If we only trust the prophets or the scriptures because we are absolutely 100% assured that they cannot possibly lead us wrong, then we don't really have faith or trust in them at all; what we trust is our sense of logic and certainty. To place trust or faith in someone is to allow the possibility of your trust being betrayed or your faith broken. If the other party is physically incapable of violating that trust, you aren't really exercising faith at all.

I don't say that to sound overly critical of you in particular. This is a completely understandable and I think horribly regrettable way that faith plays out for too many people in the Church. We speak so cavalierly of truth, of having the truth, and of receiving revelation directly from God, without ever really being specific about what any of that means, that it's no wonder people run into culture shock when they start to encounter flaws from local leaders, unkind ward members, or odd, speculative, or even dated or offensive comments in Church history. 

The point of the gospel is not, and never has been, that our leaders and our scripture speak infallibly and that we can trust them to never once steer us wrong in any regard, even though our culture has tenaciously clung to the idea. The notion that prophets should not, are not, and cannot be fallible is completely incompatible with any robust notion of moral agency. The point of the gospel is to seek, do, and be good in the circumstances which we are placed, and this holds true for every person on earth, from the youngest nursery child all the way up to President Nelson. Just like us, our leaders are not perfect. Sometimes, God does not speak and they're left to work out solutions to the best of their knowledge. Sometimes, He does, and they're left to implement that revelation to the best of their ability to understand it--which assuredly won't be perfect. And just like us, our imperfect leaders sometimes pass on inherited ideas, traditional readings, and commonly repeated beliefs which they also don't recognize are manmade and not divine. Thus it is that ideas such as a ban on caffeine, motherhood as a substitute for priesthood, or Heavenly Mother not being spoken about because she's simply too sacred to be discussed all persist within the Church with zombie-like immortality, even though none of these notions is doctrinal or accurate. We are not logically, perfectly guaranteed that the Church will always get it right; we are guaranteed, should we exercise the faith to believe it, that the Church will iteratively, progressively improve until we do get it right, and "till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ." 

So why have faith? For some, this ambiguity in prophethood--allowing the human element to remain in inspired declaration and revelation--is paralyzing, and it calls into jeopardy eternal convictions. To me, this is, in its most robust sense, the essence of faith. It is true that, given the model of accommodation, I don't know precisely which truths are eternal and unchangeable, and which are not--but it does not follow that opening that door must necessarily upend every doctrine I've come to believe, only that I be willing to receive more light and knowledge in accordance with revelation. For some, this possibility is too much. For me, this is the real essence of faith, and the real force behind Article of Faith 9:

We believe all that God has revealed, all that He does now reveal, and we believe that He will yet reveal many great and important things pertaining to the Kingdom of God.

I, too, believe all that God has revealed, then and now. And it is because I have reframed my expectations of what His servants know and how they know it--and how, sometimes, even they are blind to their own all-too-human frailties, just as I am--that I am open to many great and important things being revealed in the future, just as they were in the past. I trust God's servants because I trust the God who has called them in spite of their flaws, even if they do make mistakes or say things they probably shouldn't have. I trust that inspired scripture, general conference talks, and other declarations from church leaders both local and distant contain genuinely divine and inspired elements, even if the contents remain fundamentally human and prone to possible error. I can accept that the Book of Mormon and the Bible are not infallible, and still trust with faith that they bear real witness of Christ as the Son of God and Savior of the world. I remain in the Church because, for all its cultural oddities and foibles, I believe that it is iteratively and progressively approaching the kind of exalted and absolute perfection that God wishes each of us to attain. I find it terribly tragic that malformed notions of inerrancy, mortal perfection, and blind loyalty have damaged or irreparably broken the faith of people (among them many of my friends and family) who might have otherwise remained in the fold, had they not been led to believe that the organization ought to have been a perfect, absolute reflection of God's will on earth.

Here's what Spackman says in conclusion to his essay:

For all of these reasons, which have shaped my expectations of what inspired prophets know and do, I do not find my faith severely challenged when inspired pronouncements of Church leaders (whether today or in the past) do not match up to my view of divinely absolute knowledge, ethics, ideals, or science; as I wrote elsewhere, it’s perhaps ironic that my personal relationship to the institutional church and my faith are much more resilient because I regularly expect that most of Church administration, hierarchy, and teaching is largely human. I believe God can and does speak to prophets, and I don’t think that belief is incompatible with the idea that the vast majority of day-to-day things that come from Church HQ consists of humans doing the best they can. In that sense, I’m grateful that Church leaders have much practical knowledge and expertise in things like law, finance, and organization. (Imagine a 15-million member church with leadership trained solely in Greek grammar, ancient history, and exegesis.)

I expect that revelation guides the Church in the right direction in the long run, but that even “direct revelation” will inevitably have human aspects to it. I find that to be both realistic and believing, and I suspect teaching our youth tempered notions of revelation instead of absolutist ones will help people stay active and believing. That, at least, is my hope and my goal.

I share his hope. I have dived deeply in this answer into questions of faith, interpretation, and prophetic knowledge and offered some answers that are probably somewhat heterodox. My intention in so doing is not to create the impression that we can, or should, become cynical faultfinders who dismiss everything prophets say as human and uninspired unless proven otherwise. Nor do I think we can, or should, become cafeteria Saints who pick and choose which counsel to follow based on our preexisting biases. Rather, it's my intention to share with you a framework for faith that, in my view, is more realistic about shortcomings and flaws within the Church while allowing ample room for spiritual experience and encounter with the divine. I believe God's prophets are truly called and chosen, and that He speaks to them. I also believe that much of what they do and say is, absent revelation, a product of their best judgment and the culture in which they live, and that we should be neither surprised nor alarmed to see conference talks, manuals, and media that participate in the cultural dialogue of the time, even if it means occasionally falling victim to human error.

Where does this leave me? To borrow part of Anathema's excellent answer above, I have used these principles to optimize where I feel I may be wrong within the gospel and to center my faith on those ideas which are actually essential to the truthfulness of the restored gospel. I offer these principles to you because that optimization does not necessarily lead everyone to the same conclusions about questions and common concerns within the Church--nor should they, I think. I disagree, for instance, with Anathema, guppy of doom, and other current & formers writers with respect to the inspiration or lack thereof in polygamy. But they do allow us to grapple with questions and confusion when interpreting ancient and modern scripture, as well as the words of the prophets, in ways that I think are both more realistic and believing than simply relying on inspiration to flatly settle the discussion and to do our thinking for us.

Wherever your faith takes you, I hope some of the ideas and concepts I've shared here will help you navigate the journey somewhat. I'll end with an exceptionally good FairLDS conference presentation by Patrick Mason which touches on, among other things, the place of doubt in faith & belief and coming to grips with a testimony that doesn't, in his words, load too much into the Truth Cart by filling in blanks with bunk explanations.

Lastly, I want to add that whatever you may come to feel, I believe there is always room for you in the Church, should you choose to seek it. Ultimately, precisely which ideas you believe to be eternal and which you do not is not nearly as important as your commitment to God, to truth, and to being and doing good. The cultural pressure to interpret scriptures one particular way or to hold a certain opinion--in short, to practice "orthodox" Mormonism--can be immense. The Church needs more people who can make articulate, thoughtful defenses for their beliefs, whether or not you are entirely orthodox in what you've come to believe.

If you'd like clarification or to talk more, please reach out and send me an email. I am far from perfect, but I am happy to listen, and to offer whatever meager advice I might be able to, wherever you might be with your faith.



Question #93570 posted on 04/18/2021 9:06 p.m.

Dear Tricky Tricksters,

I had a sad moment of self-realization--- I may be too desperate in my dating life. I was rickrolled not once, but thrice thanks to Board Question #93527 and also Board Question #93527. I was going to ask how you put one url and had it go somewhere else, but I think I just learned that... So new question:

How do I show interest in someone I have never met, but I would like to get know without seeming creepy? (think FB recommended friend or something)

-d̶e̶s̶p̶e̶r̶a̶t̶e̶ Hopeful

Ps. On a totally unrelated note; Anathema, an application may be coming your way...


Dear Saw That Coming,

I agree with the advice given by all our lovely writers. My advice is: 1) Introduce yourself and how you came to know this person 2) ask them about something they like 3) talk about their interests. I've found this to be a pretty good method.


Dear 100 Hour Board,

So this question has turned into a history of Rick Rolling, and other writers have mentioned my "affinity" for Rick Rolling. I have been very proud of my reputation and take it to be part of my Board Identity. I included a Rick Roll in my writer application, so I felt like it has always been a part of me.

However, Goldie Rose has insisted that she is responsible for my Rick Rolling. I have categorically denied these allegations for months yet she insisted. In an attempt to prove her wrong I searched every answer I have ever written to prove I was a fan of Rick Rolling long before Goldie "inspired me".

It turns out-GOLDIE WAS RIGHT!?!?!?! In my first ~400 answers I only Rick Rolled 1 time. Since Goldie shared her story with me I have Rick Rolled 8 times. Pre-Goldie if my answer had a link there was a ~1% chance of a Rick Roll. Post-Goldie if my answer has a link, there's a ~10% chance of my answer having a Rick Roll. Goldie has increased my Rick Rolls ten fold. Who's been pulling all the tricky strings? It's been Goldie Rose all along.

I feel foolish for being so wrong. However, this has only motivated me more to prove myself in sneakier, more devious ways. Be warned Goldie! I will get you.

And since I went to all the work looking through my answers, here is an complete list of my answers containing Rick Rolls (Up to now):

As you can see, when I strike I tend to Rick Roll 2-3 times in a week, and then lay low for several months. I like to mix it up to keep readers (and writers)  on their toes and then get them when they least expect it.

Since we've shined a light on the Rick Rolling I'll probably lay for while. Don't worry readers, I'm never gonna give this up. And I'm never gonna let you down.

Question #93569 posted on 05/15/2021 3:29 p.m.

Dear 100 Hour Board,

How much does Mt. Timpanogos weigh?



Dear People,

I'm gonna go big and say at least 11 pounds. You're welcome.




Alright now you've been sufficiently trolled, here's a somewhat more accurate answer. From the trusty inter-webs, we know that Mount Timpanogos is made of limestone and dolomite. An additional google search tells us that one cubic foot of limestone weighs 165 pounds and dolomite weighs 181 pounds per cubic foot. (Which means Tipperary, Goldie Rose and I are all correct!) I couldn't find the exact ratio of limestone to dolomite for Mount Timpanogos, but according the Wikipedia article I linked to above, it's mostly limestone. So I'm just going to assume a 2:1 ratio which gives us ~170 pounds per cubic foot. Now we need to figure out the size of Mount Timpanogos. It has an elevation of 11,752 ft, but a topographical prominence of 5,270 ft. Personally, I consider mountains to start from the relative height of their surroundings instead of from sea level so I'm going to with the topographical prominence for its height. Which just leaves getting the area of the base. 

Oh readers, trying to search for the area of the mountain's base is ridiculously obfuscated. Like, detailed topographical maps exist, and so the size MUST be known. But all searches for size only bring up results for the elevation (an inaccuracy that plagues my meticulous soul). And so I had to resort to a few different methods to get a gauge on the base of our lovely mountain. There's a Mount Timpanogos Wilderness that is a protected area and spans 10,518 acres or 4.58164e+8 square feet, which gives us a nice solid upper bound for the base area. I attempted to use GPS coordinates of the trailhead for Mount Timpanogos versus the summit, but the distance between these coordinates gave me 62 feet, which is very obviously wrong. So instead I found this apparently very accurate miniature and to scale model of Mount Timpanogos. It lists the height of the actual mountain at 11,752, so I'm going to assume that was the scaled height they were mimicking in their model. Given the highest point of this miniature is 1.75'' and the base has a 3'' diameter, we can rescale that to get an estimate of 10,073.14 feet for the radius of the actual mountain. Just using the formula for a circle gives us a total base area of ~318,771,774 which is less than our upper bound (yay!). But of course, this would the base assuming a height of 11,752 feet and I already said I wanted to use the height of 5,270 feet for my calculations. Luckily we can just use a little multivariable calculus to get a new radius of 8,027.22 feet going off that height. Because mountains are roughly conical shaped, I'm going to use the formula for the volume of a cone to estimate the volume of Mount Timpanogos. Plugging our numbers into that yields a size of 355,606,377,964 cubic feet.

Combining the size and weight of materials gives us a final estimate of 60,453,084,253,905.805 pounds for Mount Timpanogos. 

But what if instead of estimating the size of Mt Timp to get a gauge on its weight, all us writers decided to keep on summing previous answers to give bigger and bigger "At least [blank] pounds"? How long would it take us to finally be wrong? Great question!

Alright, all the answers would follow this pattern:

answer_1 = 5
answer_2 = 6
answer_3 = answer_1+answer_2 = 11
answer_4 = answer_1+answer_2+answer_3 = 22
answer_n = answer_1+answer_2+...+answer_{n-1} = something bigger than 60,453,084,253,905.805

What we want to know is the minimum n where answer_n > 60,453,084,253,905.805. Another way to write the formula for the nth answer is answer_n = 2^{n-3}*answer_3. This formula makes it easy to use some simple algebra to get the number of answers required before finally being wrong: 46 answers (n = ceiling_function(ln(60,453,084,253,905.805/11)/ln(2) + 3)). 

So there you have it. You have a weight estimate for Mount Timpanogos that could have been roughly as accurately gauged by 45 snarky writer answers.


Question #93458 posted on 01/12/2021 8:50 p.m.

Dear guppy of doom,


-guppy of doom


Dear, well, everyone,


I've absolutely loved being a part of the 100 Hour Board community. I've loved reading your questions, spending (sometimes unsuccessful) hours looking up answers or trying to put my nonsensical thoughts into words, and getting to know the absolutely amazing humans who dedicate so much time to writing serious, funny, and caring answers. 

But alas, the time has come for me to move on.

To those of you who read the Board and wonder if you could ever be a writer - do it! Apply! I'm only a writer because one day I woke up brimming with confidence and managed to do the one thing I'd thought about for months but never worked up the guts to do. And somehow, the current writers decided there was something in my application that caught their eye and you, dear readers, accepted me while I was wondering if I was smart enough/funny enough/talented enough to write for the Board. It's an incredible journey, full of fantastic friends and interesting questions, and you should take it.

And now, for some parting wisdom: don't be a jerk, say three things you're grateful for each day, and learn to be at peace with who you are.

You got this.

-guppy of doom

Question #93379 posted on 03/23/2021 7:22 a.m.

Dear 100 Hour Board,

At the height of the practice of polygamy by Mormon settlers, how many families had how many wives? That is, I understand a majority of families consisted of one wife and one husband. But what percentage had 2 wives? 3? 12? Bonus points if it's in a graph, but a table would also be nice. And I understand if historians don't know exactly—I'm just curious what info is out there.



Dear El,
First off, I'd like to profusely apologize that this took so long for me to finish. I was going strong for about 2-3 weeks with this answer, but then my postpartum depression hit pretty hard at the end of November and December. I finally got on Zoloft in January and now I'm finally trying to get back into writing which is something that I used to love. 

Now onto talking all about polygamy! I checked out all of the polygamy books at my library, and all of the sources I've found mainly say the same thing. Figures. 

I went to the trusty archives and stumbled upon Board Question #63395. Mico reported that a "Doctrine and Covenants professor gave these statistics about polygamy in the early Church:

  • At the height of polygamy being practiced among the saints, 15-20% of members of marriageable age practiced polygamy. That is definitely not a majority.
  • 66% of those who practiced polygamy had two wives (that is one more than normal). 
  • 21% of those who practiced polygamy had three wives.
So, only a little more than 10% of those who practiced polygamy (which was a portion of the population anyway) had more than three wives. I just give these numbers because, honestly, sometimes we think that polygamy was practiced by everyone, and all the men had a ridiculous number of wives, but that just wasn't the case."

When I was taught about polygamy in my family history classes, I learned that many of the prominent men in leadership had multiple wives. Sometimes the woman's husband wasn't a member, so she wanted to be sealed to the prophet. It was hard to get a divorce back then, so many women believed being sealed to Joseph Smith "would give them blessings they might not otherwise receive in the next life." (source, source) Joseph Smith had about 31-35 wives. (source, source

On the Church's official stance on polygamy, they teach that "by June 1844, when Joseph died, approximately 29 men and 50 women had entered into plural marriage, in addition to Joseph and his wives. When the Saints entered the Salt Lake Valley in 1847, at least 196 men and 521 women had entered into plural marriages." (source) "Although some leaders had large polygamous families, two-thirds of polygamist men had only two wives at a time. Church leaders recognized that plural marriages could be particularly difficult for women. (...) At its peak in 1857, perhaps one-half of all Utah Latter-day Saints experienced plural marriage as a husband, wife, or child. The percentage of those involved in plural marriage steadily declined over the next three decades." (sourceBy 1870, 25 to 30 percent of the population lived in polygamous households, and it appears that the percentage continued to decrease over the next 20 years. (source)

I was trying to figure out what the number of the 'two-thirds' and 'one-half' were, but I came up unsuccessful. It didn't really help that they included the 'child' experiencing polygamy in their household in the statistics. I would have much preferred if they only included men in this statistic for this question's sake.

But it makes more sense that this statistic isn't super clear because those who participated in polygamy were asked to keep their actions confidential. "They did not discuss their experiences publicly or in writing until after the Latter-day Saints had moved to Utah and Church leaders had publicly acknowledged the practice. The historical record of early plural marriage is therefore thin: few records of the time provide details, and later reminiscences are not always reliable. Some ambiguity will always accompany our knowledge about this issue. Like the participants, we “see through a glass, darkly” and are asked to walk by faith." (source) When I was being taught about polygamy from a genealogy viewpoint, it was really hard to see polygamy in the 1880 census because they juggled the households around to hide the fact that they were practicing polygamy.

Then an article not written by the church found that "the number of participants in Mormon polygamy during the nineteenth century was quite low considering it was the church's "ideal" marriage form. Smith and Kunz found that 28 percent of the males in their sample of nineteenth-century Utah Mormons had more than one wife. Of these polygamous males, 68 percent had only two wives, 20 percent had three wives and the remaining 12 percent had four or more wives.Other studies show a somewhat smaller level of participation in polygyny. Ivins found that among the 6,000 Mormon families in his study, only 15 to 20 percent of the families were ever involved in polygamy."

Number of wives Percentage
2 68%
3 20%
4 or more 12%

(A little homemade table for you)

"Further, there were geographical variations in level of involvement in polygyny, Embry found incidences of polygamy among nineteenth-century Mormons to vary between 5 and 67 percent across different communities. It is not clear whether this reflects total involvement, male and female populations, or simply male involvement. Though in a review of such studies, Altman and Ginat indicate that the likely number of Mormon polygamous families in the nineteenth century was probably between 15 and 25 percent, discounting the variations geographically and temporally." (source)

FairMormon.org has a LOT of information about polygamy as well.

"'Although some leaders had large polygamous families, two-thirds of polygamist men had only two wives at a time.

Although some leaders had large polygamous families, two-thirds of polygamist men had only two wives at a time. Church leaders recognized that plural marriages could be particularly difficult for women. Divorce was therefore available to women who were unhappy in their marriages; remarriage was also readily available. Women did marry at fairly young ages in the first decade of Utah settlement (age 16 or 17 or, infrequently, younger), which was typical of women living in frontier areas at the time. As in other places, women married at older ages as the society matured. Almost all women married, and so did a large percentage of men. In fact, it appears that a larger percentage of men in Utah married than elsewhere in the United States at the time. Probably half of those living in Utah Territory in 1857 experienced life in a polygamous family as a husband, wife, or child at some time during their lives.

About 15-20% of families were polygamous, and most had only two wives.

Most polygamists in Utah had only two wives. About 15-20% of families were polygamous, though the impact on the LDS experience was profound:

Excluding inactive men, "over a third of all husbands’ time, nearly three-quarters of all women-years, and well over half of all child-years were spent in polygamy before 1880.”

G. D. Smith provides considerable statistical information, but he exaggerates even there. Benjamin F. Johnson, “representative of the mainstream in LDS practice,” he tells us, “eventually married seven wives—a few short of the model of ten talents”. Is seven wives really the “mainstream” for the Latter-day Saint practice of polygamy?

Both Stanley Ivins and Kathryn Daynes have made estimates of the number of plural wives with Utah polygamists. Their data are summarized in the table below:"

Number of wivesIvins (%)Daynes (%)
2 66.3 66
3 21.2 21.3
4 6.7 8
5 3 4.7
6 or more less than 3 Included in "5"

(Not a homemade table, source)

If you want to learn more about what's said after this table about how the claim that seven wives represented some types of "mainstream is erroneous, click here and scroll down to the bottom.

Lastly, I was curious to see who practiced polygamy and if there was some list about how many wives each man had, Wikipedia had an incomplete list. Some of the men are on there twice, but still cool.

Here's also a list of Joseph Smith's wives and a list of Brigham Young's wives from them too.

-Goldie Rose

Question #93340 posted on 10/21/2020 11:56 a.m.

Dear 100 Hour Board,

I was meeting a blind date in front of the Provo City Library the other day and spent a couple min looking the Beehive fountain while waiting for my date to arrive. Each corner of the fountain base has a diffrent symbol on it. I wanted to see if you guys could find out why each symbol was placed on the fountain?

-History Nerd


Dear Provo Historian,

Before I start my answer, I should give guppy of doom a lot of credit, since she helped me get started on research and we were able to talk and research together about the symbols. I took some pictures of the statue and will show those, then I can go through them.

This is the statue, for reference:


Here are the symbols on the corners of the statue and plaques on the front and back, starting from the southeast corner facing north (the back right corner facing left, in the picture), going counterclockwise. I gave them names of things that they remind me of, though those may not prove to be the true meaning:

IMG_20200926_183307_1.jpg (1, eagle)

IMG_20200926_183313.jpg(2, "96")


(back of fountain, "BYU Beehive Foundation - 1914 / Wallace A. and JoAnn A. Raynor Family")

MVIMG_20200926_183923.jpg (3, spiral)

IMG_20200926_183934.jpg (4, stairs)

IMG_20200926_184024.jpg (5, faucet)

IMG_20200926_184032.jpg (6, sun)


(front of fountain, "BYU Beehive Fountain - 1914 / foundation in Memory of the / John Lycurgus Johnson Family"


IMG_20200926_184049.jpg (7, menorah)

IMG_20200926_184118.jpg (8, hourglass)

Okay, now that we have all eight of the symbols, we can start to decipher them. Guppy of doom found this article from the BYU High School website, which seems to be the best website on the subject. The article doesn't cite its sources except for this one about the artist Andrew Brimhall's life (of which I've read just the first section), but seems to have gotten that pretty first-hand. Originally, the statue was actually a fountain, but, just like the fountain built there a few years previous, it had problems especially in the winter months, and in the 1950's was drained and made into a planter with flowers, and then more recently filled with nice rocks. The article also says that the fountain's symbols are Aztec symbols. Because of this, the fountain was sometimes even called the  "Aztec Fountain". Also, originally, there was an Aztec symbol that was a backward swastika, and that was removed during a renovation in the year 2000.

I can actually go through each symbol and show a similar Aztec sign for the ones that I think are Aztec.

The eagle and hourglass shapes appear here as the lime green bird and brown bettle.. Looking at it, I don't think that is an hourglass, and I would guess it is an approximation of two beetles, based off of what I have looked at.


The Hanab Ku is a Mayan symbol that looks similar to the spiral and stairs. Although similar steps and sometimes spirals are found in Aztec culture, some of these symbols may also just be mayan.



The sun is a pretty obvious symbol in Aztec culture, but the faucet symbol was kind of confusing me until I realized that there is a part that is a little bit rubbed off on the top (the left side of the used-staple shape on top), and it is actually symmetrical, making it look like the symbol for the sun god. Both the sun (middle ring) and sun god (center) are shown in their calendar:


(source: Wikipedia)

The sun god is a little clearer here:

Screen Shot 2020-10-21 at 8.37.17 AM.png


Also, if you're wondering what the old swastika symbol looked like, it may have looked like the Aztec swastika (pictured here) or the Navajo one. There's a lot of information of religious use of the swastika on the Wikipedia page.


Now the ones that remain are the 96 and the menorah.

The 96 is likely a tribute to the original fountain before the beehive fountain which was completed in 1896. For the menorah, I would imagine the menorah that it just represents Judaism. Guppy of doom and I were talking about the possible reasons why Andrew Brimhall would have designed it this way, and it seems to pay tribute to the Native American and Jewish heritage of Utah. Now, going beyond that, I think would mostly be speculation on meaning, and my thought is that the fountain displays a sort of New Zion/Old Zion theme, with the fountain and beehive springing up from Jewish and Book of Mormon roots.

Thanks for the question!

Spooklings and guppy of doom

Question #93290 posted on 10/19/2020 1:30 p.m.

Hey Alta,

It's time. I get extra free pizza points for extra MOD visits this week.

Can you send my wife (Goldie Rose) your address?

Can we have it?



PS: In case you forgot... Board Question #93201


Dearest Carl,

You already know how this turned out--after all, I sent pictures to Goldie Rose as soon as I got the pizza. But for the sake of our other dear readers, let me regale you with this tale.

I was SO excited when I saw this question come in--I had misunderstood your previous question and knew I had to make things right eventually, so this question seemed like a great chance to finally figure out what the heck Mod Pizza does if you select every single option possible, including "No Sauce," as well as every single sauce listed, and "No Cheese," as well as every single cheese listed. Shortly after you submitted this question, Goldie Rose messaged me to ask, "So, what toppings would you like for your pizza? Besides all the sauces and cheeses, of course." I decided to go with my tried and true favorites--pepperoni, mushroom, and roasted red pepper--just to see how they would hold up against this monster pizza. 

After several more messages were exchanged to hash out the details, a date and time was decided upon for me to pick up the pizza. Before I could go pick it up, a very confused employee called Carl to verify that this is what we wanted, and you, dear reader, can read that hilarious exchange below in Goldie Rose's answer. 

I drove up to Mod Pizza at the appointed time, with both apprehension and excitement bubbling away in my stomach. I was doing curbside pickup (because of responsibility during a pandemic, yo), and shortly after pulling up an employee came over to ask for the name on my order. "Uh...Carl..." I said in what, in retrospect, was probably a very suspicion-inducing way. "OH. Yeah, that order is ready," said the employee immediately, with recognition flooding his face. And let me tell you, I've done curbside pickup a few times at Mod Pizza, and usually the exchange goes like this:

Me: "Hi, I'm here to pick up an order for Alta."
Employee: "Uh, okay, let me check if we have it for you."

In other words, they don't usually immediately recognize orders just by name. But this order had clearly been the subject of much consternation at my local Mod Pizza, and they were probably just waiting to see what sort of unhinged person would order such a thing. The employee quickly returned with my pizza and a slight smirk on his face, told me to "Enjoy!" and off I drove.

Dearest readers, if you've ever been to Mod Pizza you know they put a list of all the requested ingredients on a receipt taped to the front of the box. Usually this receipt is a pretty short itemized list--not so with this one.

 pizza (2).jpg

I was expecting this monster pizza to smell horrific, but strangely enough it just smelled like normal pizza. I could hardly wait to open the box and see what they had done, but waited until I got home. When I could finally commence with my unboxing, this is what I found.

monster pizza.jpg

Apparently they decided to just ignore the "No Sauce" and "No Cheese" options, and instead just piled everything on. The random green patches gave me pause until I remembered it had pesto, and despite the anxiety I felt about this, I decided it was finally time to try it. I naturally was forcing my husband to try this with me, so we each got a slice and dug in. The taste was...not terrible. I was pretty nervous about trying it, imagining what horrors could be unleashed upon my tastebuds, but it honestly wasn't as bad as I was expecting. I couldn't really taste the pepperoni, mushrooms, and red peppers at all though, as they were overpowered by the cacophony of other strong tastes and pungent smells. After this experience, I can say with utter conviction that I truly do not recommend ever mixing pesto and barbecue sauce. It's not a winning combination. Also, one of the cheese options was gorgonzola, which is a blue cheese, and hooo baby was it strong. At the first bite it wasn't so overpowering, but by the end of the slice it felt like all I could taste was barbecue-y blue cheese, with a hint of pepperoni. Which, again, is not a combination I can recommend in any sort of good faith. I've heard it said that, "You can't ever add too much cheese to pizza!" but I think those people should try this and then reconsider their stance.

My husband and I each ate a full slice, but after that decided to just cook a frozen pizza and have that for dinner instead, so I suppose that gives you some idea of what we thought of it. In some sort of deluded optimism I insisted on saving the rest of it in the fridge "so we can eat it tomorrow!" but of course that didn't happen. The smells ripened overnight and then the whole fridge smelled like gorgonzola until I finally gave up and threw away the rest of this monstrosity.

Overall, this was for sure an adventure. That day will probably live on in infamy in the annals of my local Mod Pizza, but it was worth it so Carl could finally get his answer! I truly can't thank you enough, Carl and Goldie Rose, for sending me on this adventure. As I type that out it sounds snarky, but honestly this was so fun to try.


Question #93244 posted on 08/21/2020 6:26 a.m.

Dear 100 Hour Board,

I've got a challenge for you. I want you to list a chain of songs that are connected by artists.

For example, the first song might be "Everything Has Changed" by Taylor Swift and Ed Sheeran.
The next song would have to have either Taylor Swift or Ed Sheeran, plus another artist. Maybe I'd choose "I Was Made for Loving You" by Ed Sheeran and Tori Kelly.
The next song would have to have Tori Kelly and somebody else besides Ed Sheeran, and on and on.

You may use the internet.

Who can get the longest chain?

-the Goose Girl


Dear Goose Girl, 

Story Time! I spent like 6 hours on this answer the other day and then the STINKING BOARD didn't autosave it and then logged me out and I lost all my progress! So I came back and tried to put it back together, and I ended up getting to the same number of songs (200) but I know this list isn't identical to the one I made two days ago. All this to say, I understand why I'm the only person to do this, because it was rough. I think I could have gone farther than 200 songs, but once I got past like 150, it got really difficult to not re-use the same artists to make connections. I hope you accept my offering. 

* Also, fun fact, Snoop Dogg is the artist featured on the most songs (not in my list, but just in general), with upwards of 500 features. 

  1. Maroon 5 ft. Rhianna - "If I Never See Your Face Again" 
  2. Rhianna ft. Justin Timberlake - "Hole In My Head" 
  3. Justin Timberlake ft. Jay-Z - "Murder" 
  4. Jay-Z ft. Kayne West and Rhianna - "Run This Town" 
  5. Kayne West ft. John Mayer - "Bittersweet Poetry" 
  6. John Mayer ft. Taylor Swift - "Half of My Heart" 
  7. Taylor Swift ft. Ed Sheeran and Future - "End Game" 
  8. Future ft. Nicki Minaj - "You da Baddest" 
  9. Nicki Minaj ft. Ariana Grande - "Bed"
  10. Ariana Grande and Lady Gaga - "Rain on Me" 
  11. Lady Gaga ft. Beyonce - "Telephone" 
  12. Beyonce ft. Chris Martin (not a solo artist so we'll count the band) - "Halo" (for Hope for Haiti Now) 
  13. Coldplay ft. Tove Lo - "Fun" 
  14. Tove Lo ft. Alma, Charlie XCX, Elliphant and Icona Pop - "B***hes" (edited for Board appropriateness) 
  15. Charlie XCX ft. Kim Petras and Slayyyter - "Click (No Boys Remix)" 
  16. Kim Petras with Kygo - "Broken Glass" 
  17. Kygo ft. Selena Gomez - "It Ain't Me" 
  18. Selena Gomez and Marshmello - "Wolves" 
  19. Marshmello ft Khalid - "Silence" 
  20. Khalid ft. Disclosure - "Know Your Worth" 
  21. Disclosure ft. Sam Smith - "Latch" 
  22. Sam Smith with Calvin Harris - "Promises" 
  23. Calvin Harris ft. Frank Ocean and Migos - "Slide" 
  24. Migos ft. Drake - "Walk It Talk It" 
  25. Drake ft. Kanye West, Lil Wayne, and Eminem - "Forever" 
  26. Eminem ft. Gwen Stefani - "Kings Never Die" 
  27. Gwen Stefani and Pharrell Williams - "Can I Have It Like That" 
  28. Pharrell Williams and Camila Cabello - "Sangria Wine" 
  29. Camila Cabello ft. Swae Lee - "Real Friends"
  30. Swae Lee and Post Malone - "Sunflower" 
  31. Post Malone ft. Justin Bieber - "Deja Vu" 
  32. Justin Bieber ft. Ludacris - "Baby" (lol) 
  33. Ludacris ft. Usher and David Guetta - "Rest of My Life" 
  34. Usher ft. will.i.am - "What's Your Name" 
  35. will.i.am ft. Britney Spears - "Scream & Shout" 
  36. Britney Spears ft. Kesha and Nicki Minaj - "Till the World Ends"
  37. Kesha ft. Big Freedia - "Raising Hell" 
  38. Big Freedia ft. Lizzo - "Karaoke" 
  39. Lizzo ft. Missy Elliot - "Tempo" 
  40. Missy Elliot ft. Ginuwine and Tweet - "Take Away" 
  41. Ginuwine ft. Missy Elliot and Timbaland - "Get Involved" 
  42. Timbaland ft. Pitbull - "Pass At Me" 
  43. Pitbull ft. Jaaaason Deruuulo and Juicy J - "Drive You Crazy" 
  44. Jason Deruuulo ft. Snoop Dogg - "Wiggle" 
  45. Snoop Dogg with Wiz Khalifa ft. Bruno Mars - "Young, Wild & Free" 
  46. Wiz Khalifa ft. The Weeknd - "Remember You" 
  47. The Weeknd ft. SZA and Travis Scott - "Power is Power" 
  48. SZA ft. Kendrick Lamar - "All the Stars" 
  49. Kendrick Lamar ft. Dr. Dre - "The Recipe" 
  50. Dr. Dre ft. Snoop Dogg and Akon - "Kush" 
  51. Akon ft. Becky G - "Como No" 
  52. Becky G ft. French Montana and Farruko - "Zooted" 
  53. French Montana ft. Liam Payne - "First Time" 
  54. Liam Payne ft. Jonas Blue and Lennon Stella - "Polaroid" 
  55. Lennon Stella ft. Charlie Puth - "Summer Feelings" 
  56. Charlie Puth ft. Meghan Trainor - "Marvin Gaye" 
  57. Meghan Trainor ft. John Legend - "Like I'm Gonna Lose You" 
  58. John Legend with David Guetta - "Conversations in the Dark" 
  59. David Guetta ft. Sia and Fetty Wap - "Bang My Head" 
  60. Sia ft. The Weeknd and Diplo - "Elastic Heart" 
  61. Diplo ft. Ellie Goulding and Swae Lee - "Close to Me" 
  62. Ellie Goulding ft. Lauv - "Slow Grenade" 
  63. Lauv ft. Troye Sivan - "I'm So Tired..." 
  64. Troye Sivan ft. Alessia Cara - "Wild" (fun fact, Alessia Cara was the opening act for Coldplay during the Western US AHFOD tour) 
  65. Alessia Cara ft. Bastille - "Another Place" 
  66. Bastille with Seeb - "Grip"
  67. Seeb with OneRepublic - "Rich Love" 
  68. OneRepublic ft. Logic - "Start Again" 
  69. Logic with Lil Wayne, Wiz Khalifa, Imagine Dragons, Ty Dolla Sign, and X Ambassadors - "Sucker For Pain" 
  70. X-Ambassadors ft. Machine Gun Kelly and Bebe Rexha - "Home" 
  71. Machine Gun Kelly ft. Hailee Steinfeld - "At My Best" 
  72. Hailee Steinfeld with Alesso ft. Florida Georgia Line and Watt - "Let Me Go" 
  73. Florida Georgia Line and Bebe Rexha - "Meant to Be" 
  74. Bebe Rexha with Martin Garrix - "In the Name of Love" 
  75. Martin Garrix with Dua Lipa - "Scared To Be Lonely" 
  76. Dua Lipa ft. J Balvin, Bad Bunny, and Tainy - "Un Dia (One Day)" 
  77. Bad Bunny ft. Cardi B and J Balvin - "I Like It" 
  78. Cardi B ft. Megan Thee Stallion - "WAP" 
  79. Megan Thee Stallion ft. Nicki Minaj and Ty Dolla Sign - "Hot Girl Summer" 
  80. Ty Dolla Sign ft. Lil Wayne and The-Dream - "Love U Better" 
  81. Lil Wayne ft. Big Sean and Lil Baby - "I Do It" 
  82. Big Sean ft. 2 Chainz, Kanye West, and Pusha T - "Mercy"
  83. 2 Chainz ft. Kanye West, Gucci Mane, Big Sean, Travis Scott, Yo Gotti, Quavo, and Desiigner - "Champions" 
  84. Travis Scott with Young Thug ft. Quavo - "Pick Up The Phone" 
  85. Quavo with Lil Yachty (Quality Control) - "Ice Tray" 
  86. Lil Yachty with DaBaby ft. Drake - "Oprah's Bank Account" 
  87. DaBaby with Lil Nas X - "Panini (DaBaby Remix)"
  88. Lil Nas X ft. Billy Ray Cyrus - "Old Town Road (remix)" 
  89. Billy Ray Cyrus ft. Miley Cyrus - "Ready, Set, Don't Go" 
  90. Miley Cyrus with Ariana Grande and Lana Del Ray - "Don't Call Me Angel"
  91. Lana Del Ray ft. ASAP Rocky - "Groupie Love" 
  92. ASAP Rocky ft. Rod Stewart, Miguel, and Mark Ronson - "Everyday" 
  93. Mark Ronson with Bruno Mars - "Uptown Funk" 
  94. Bruno Mars ft. Gucci Mane and Kodak Black - "Wake Up In the Sky" 
  95. Gucci Mane ft. Soulja Boy and Waka Flocka Flame - "Bingo"
  96. Waka Flocka Flame ft. Nicki Minaj, Tyga, and Flo Rida - "Get Low" 
  97. Flo Rida ft. Jennifer Lopez - "Sweet Spot" 
  98. Jennifer Lopez ft. DJ Khaled and Cardi B - "Dinero" 
  99. DJ Khaled ft. Justin Bieber, Quavo, Chance the Rapper, and Lil Wayne - "I'm the One" 
  100. Chance the Rapper ft. Jeremih and Francis and the Lights - "Summer Friends"
  101. Jeremih with Ne-Yo - "U 2 Luv" 
  102. Ne-Yo ft. Juicy J - "She Knows"
  103. Juicy J with Marshmello ft. James Arthur - "You Can Cry" 
  104. James Arthur with Anne-Marie - "Rewrite the Stars"
  105. Anne-Marie with Doja Cat - "To Be Young"
  106. Doja Cat with Tyga - "Juicy"
  107. Tyga ft. Young Thug - "Hookah"
  108. Young Thug ft. Chris Brown - "Go Crazy"
  109. Chris Brown ft. Jordin Sparks - "No Air"
  110. Jordin Sparks with Whitney Houston - "Celebrate" 
  111. Whitney Houston ft Enrique Iglesias - "Could I Have This Kiss Forever" 
  112. Enrique Iglesias ft. Nicole Scherzinger - "Heartbeat"
  113. Nicole Scherzinger ft. 50 Cent - "Right There"
  114. 50 Cent with Dr. Dre and Alicia Keys - "New Day" 
  115. Alicia Keys with James Bay - "Us"
  116. James Bay ft. Julia Michaels - "Peer Pressure"
  117. Julia Michaels ft. Niall Horan - "What a Time"
  118. Niall Horan ft. Maren Morris - "Seeing Blind" 
  119. Maren Morris with Hozier - "The Bones"
  120. Hozier ft. Mavis Staples - "Nina Cried Power"
  121. Mavis Staples with Aretha Franklin - "Oh Happy Day" 
  122. Aretha Franklin ft. George Michael - "I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me)" 
  123. George Michael with Elton John - "Don't Let the Sun Go Down On Me" 
  124. Elton John ft. RuPaul - "Don't Go Breaking My Heart"
  125. RuPaul ft. Todrick Hall - "Deck the Halls" 
  126. Todrick Hall with Tiffany Haddish - "Dripeesha"
  127. Tiffany Haddish featured on Jason Mraz - "You Do You" 
  128. Jason Mraz and Colbie Caillat - "Lucky" 
  129. Colbie Caillat ft. Common - "Favorite Song" 
  130. Common ft. Ice Cube - "Real People"
  131. Ice Cube ft. Pusha T - "In the Late Night Hour" 
  132. Pusha T ft. Tyler, the Creator - "Trouble on My Mind" 
  133. Tyler, the Creator ft. Frank Ocean - "She"
  134. Frank Ocean ft. Earl Sweatshirt - "Super Rich Kids" 
  135. Earl Sweatshirt ft. Casey Veggies and Vince Staples - "Hive" 
  136. Vince Staples with Gorillaz - "Ascension" 
  137. Gorillaz ft. Schoolboy Q - "PAC-MAN"
  138. Schoolboy Q ft. Miguel and Justine Skye - "Overtime" 
  139. Miguel ft. J. Cole - "All I Want Is You" 
  140. J. Cole ft. TLC - "Crooked Smile" 
  141. TLC ft. Lil Jon and Sean P - "Come Get Some" 
  142. Lil Jon ft. Offset and 2 Chainz - "Alive"
  143. Offset ft. Metro Boomin - "Ric Flair Drip" 
  144. Metro Boomin with 21 Savage ft. Future - "X"
  145. 21 Savage ft. Summer Walker - "Secret"
  146. Summer Walker with Chris Brown and London on da Track - "Something Real"
  147. London on da Track with Saweetie ft. G-Eazy and Rich the Kid - "Up Now"
  148. G-Eazy with Halsey - "Him & I"
  149. Halsey featured on BTS - "Boy With Luv"
  150. BTS ft. Zara Larsson - "A Brand New Day"
  151. Zara Larsson ft. MNEK - "Never Forget You"
  152. MNEK with Years & Years - "Valentino"
  153. Years & Years with Jax Jones - "Play"
  154. Jax Jones with Demi Lovato and Stefflon Don - "Instruction" 
  155. Stefflon Don with Mabel and Raye - "Cigarette"
  156. Mabel with Tiësto - "God Is a Dancer"
  157. Tiësto vs. Diplo ft. Busta Rhymes - "C'mon (Catch 'Em By Surprise)"
  158. Busta Rhymes ft. T-Pain - "Hustler's Anthem '09"
  159. T-Pain featured with Jessie Reyez on Jacob Collier's - "Count the People" 
  160. Jessie Reyez with Normani and Kehlani - "Body Count (Remix)" 
  161. Kehlani with Zedd - "Good Thing" 
  162. Zedd ft. Aloe Blacc - "Candyman"
  163. Aloe Blacc with Avicii - "SOS" 
  164. Avicii ft. Rita Ora - "Lonely Together"
  165. Rita Ora with Jonas Blue and Tiësto - "Ritual"
  166. Jonas Blue with MAX - "Naked"
  167. MAX ft. Quinn XCII - "Love Me Less"
  168. Quinn XCII ft. Jon Bellion - "Life Must Go On"
  169. Jon Bellion ft. Illenium - "Good Things Fall Apart" 
  170. Illenium with Gryffin ft. Daya - "Feel Good"
  171. Daya with the Chainsmokers - "Don't Let Me Down"
  172. The Chainsmokers ft. Phoebe Ryan - "All We Know"
  173. Phoebe Ryan ft. Kid Ink - "Dollar Bill"
  174. Kid Ink with Tyga, Wale, YG, and Rich Homie Quan - "Ride Out"
  175. Wale ft. Kid Cudi - "Focused"
  176. Kid Cudi ft. Too Short - "Girls" 
  177. Too Short ft. Puff Daddy - "It's About That Money"
  178. Puff Daddy/P Diddy/Sean Combs ft. Busta Rhymes and The Notorious B.I.G. - "Victory"
  179. The Notorious B.I.G. ft. Aaliyah, Faith Evans, and Mary J. Blige - "One More Chance (Stay With Me Remix)"
  180. Aaliyah ft. DMX - "Come Back In One Piece"
  181. DMX ft. Swizz Beatz - "We In Here"
  182. Swizz Beatz ft. Eve - "Everyday (Coolin')" 
  183. Eve ft. Faith Evans - "Love Is Blind"
  184. Faith Evans ft. The Notorious B.I.G. and Jadakiss - "NYC"
  185. Jadakiss ft. Mariah Carey - "U Make Me Wanna" 
  186. Mariah Carey ft. Boyz II Men - "One Sweet Day" 
  187. Boyz II Men ft. Charlie Wilson - "More Than You'll Ever Know" 
  188. Charlie Wilson ft. T.I. - "I'm Blessed"
  189. T.I ft. CeeLo Green - "Hello" 
  190. CeeLo Green ft. Patrick Stump, Brendon Urie, Travie McCoy and Janelle Monáe - "Open Happiness"
  191. Janelle Monae with Solange - "Electric Lady"
  192. Solange ft. B.B. King - "The Thrill is Gone" 
  193. B.B. King with U2 - "When Love Comes to Town"
  194. U2 with The Black Eyed Peas - "Where is the Love?/One"
  195. Black Eyed Peas with Maluma - "Feel the Beat" 
  196. Maluma with J Balvin - "Qué Pena"
  197. J Balvin with Rosalía ft. El Guincho - "Con Altura"
  198. Rosalía with Ozuna - "Yo x Ti, Tu x Mi"
  199. Ozuna ft. Daddy Yankee, J Balvin, Farruko and Anuel AA - "Baila Baila Baila"
  200. Anuel AA with Daddy Yankee - "Adictiva"
Question #93191 posted on 11/15/2020 2:20 p.m.

Dear Tipperary,

What would be the lamest possible way to retire from the board?



Dear Board,

Okay okay, I really wanted to make that joke, but I can't leave without getting all mushy gushy for a second.

I have loved writing for the 100 Hour Board. It's been a great hobby. I've improved my writing skills, learned a lot about the world around me, and I even counted all the glass in the Life Science Building. Good times.

I have the 100 Hour Board to thank for some of my best friends and wackiest adventures. Without  the board I would have never accidently caused a bomb threat, explored the depths of campus, or eaten potato ice cream. A shout out to all the 100 Hour Board Homies. Hopefully we can still hangout sometimes because there ain't no party like 100 Hour Board Party.

It's been real, it's been fun, it's been really fun. But I gots to go. I might be peacing out, but I'll see y'all next alumni week!

See you around!



Question #93125 posted on 06/14/2020 12:14 p.m.

Dear 100 Hour Bard,

Do you have a song to describe Quarantine?

-GG ;)


Dear GG,

For songs, the other answers must suffice
While I indulge in plagiarism's vice:

Coroneo, coroneo, where art thou corononeo?
I pray thee keep thee far away!
Or if thou wilt not, I'll take those I love
And the entire house of Capulet
Shall quarantine ourselves from our enemy:
E'en thou, o Romeo of Montague.
What’s Montague? 'Tis those who put
Their immune systems within six feet
Of each other. The orient I will not blame.
What do I blame? Our foes are those
Who readied not masks or tests mete,
Though warned they were. Of this I am appalled.
Though isolated, Romeo, I propose,
To Zoom with you, though tis not the same
As eloping. Remember—sanitize
All of thyself. The mask's the thing
Wherein we'll not catch the virus of COVID-19.
-Love, 100 Hour Bard

Dear 100 Hour Board,

Which majors at BYU best correspond to the four houses of Hogwarts?

Joseph L. Doob


Dear Dooby,

I present to you....the Board Certified Sorting Hat Extraordinaire: BYU Majors Edition! 

Please note, some majors have multiple emphases within them. For the sake of simplicity, we elected to combine emphases under one major. Additionally, we combined all of the languages into one general major, and the "cultural studies" majors as well, because we felt they could be generalized. Is Germany different than Italy different than Korea, and learning Spanish different than learning Arabic? Of course! But we found that at the end of the day the types of people in those majors tended to end up in the same house and therefore we have combined them. If you disagree, too bad. We are omnipotent and you don't get a say. If you want to share your opinion, apply to be a writer. Or rant at me in an email, that's fine too.


Best representative major: Elementary Education

  • Elementary Education
  • Early Childhood Education
  • Human Resource Management 
  • Geography (and its emphases)
  • Wildlife & Wildlands Conservation
  • Environmental Science
  • Family Life (Family Studies / human development)
  • Family & Consumer Sciences Education
  • General Studies
  • Theatre Arts Education K-12
  • Art Education K-12
  • Illustration
  • Psychology
  • Food Science
  • Biodiversity & Conservation
  • Music Education
  • German Literature, Film, Culture
  • Photography
  • Media Arts Studies
  • Certain Teaching Majors (Spanish, Social Science, History, English, French, German, Latin) 
  • Dietetics
  • Nutritional Science
  • Biological Science Education
  • Biology
  • Special Education: Mild/Moderate Disabilities
  • Math Ed
  • Language Majors 
  • Geology
  • Landscape Management
  • Communication Disorders 


Best representative major: Neuroscience or Philosophy.

  • Family History - Genealogy 
  • Economics
  • Engineering
  • History 
  • Comparative Literature
  • Editing and Publishing??
  • Philosophy
  • Music Composition
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Neuroscience
  • Cybersecurity
  • Mathematics 
  • Art History & Curatorial Studies
  • Genetics, Genomics & Biotechnology
  • Biochemistry
  • Spanish Translation
  • Animation
  • Art
  • Biophysics
  • Design
  • Graphic Design 
  • Industrial Design
  • Linguistics
  • Medical Laboratory Sciences 
  • Civil Engineering 
  • English 
  • Interdisciplinary Humanities


Best representative major: Business Management and Entrepreneurial management.

  • Mathematics: ACME
  • Actuarial Science
  • Business Management
  • Entrepreneurial Management
  • Marketing
  • Physiology & Developmental Biology
  • International Relations
  • Chemical Engineering
  • Physics Ed
  • Physics
  • Accounting 
  • Applied Physics
  • Finance
  • Political Science
  • Global Supply Chain Management
  • Bioinformatics
  • Computer Science
  • Chemistry
  • Chemistry Education
  • Information Systems
  • Information Technology
  • Physical Science Education
  • Statistics
  • Strategic Management
  • Microbiology 
  • Molecular Biology 
  • Technology & Engineering Studies 
  • Communications 
  • Computer Engineering


Best representative major: Exercise Science (because we looooove going purely by stereotypes)

  • Exercise and Wellness
  • Exercise Science
  • Nursing
  • Theatre Arts Studies
  • Music Performance majors
  • Anthropology
  • Sociology 
  • Music Dance Theatre
  • Dance
  • Commercial Music
  • Public Health (Environmental/Occupational Health, Epidemiology, Health Promotion, Health Science
  • Acting 
  • Dance Education K-12
  • Physical Education Tchg/Coaching
  • Earth & Space Science Education
  • Physics and Astronomy
  • Athletic Training
  • Music
  • Experience Design and Management
  • Cultural Studies Majors (things like Classical Studies, Ancient Near Eastern Studies, etc.) 
  • Construction and Facilities Management
  • Electrical Engineering
  • Manufacturing Engineering



Question #92909 posted on 02/06/2020 4:18 p.m.

Dear Sheebs,

Isn't it about time you retired?

-Also Sheebs


Dear person,

Yes it is!

Thanks for the memories, everybody. Thanks for the science hypotheticals, opportunities to tell jokes, and the friendships. I wish I started writing earlier during my time at BYU. The Board is the best secret club and if any of you readers have been thinking about becoming a writer, I hope you apply today.

I've changed a lot during my time on the Board and I am sorry for my previous crappy advice, homophobia, transphobia, and benevolent sexism. Those things aren't cool. If I've said anything that hurt you, please email me at sheebs@theboard.byu.edu. I will continue to check it occasionally and would love to personally apologize to you.

Keep in touch, friends. 


Question #92852 posted on 01/06/2020 5:57 p.m.

Dear 100 Hour Board,
Could a person survive on a large bag of dog food for a while on an emergency.

No 24 hour kit yet.


Dear Unprepared,

Sure! And it'll last you a lot longer than a 24-hour kit. You just have a couple things to be aware of, and we're all set! Dog food, here you come. Maybe you shouldn't even buy a 24 hour kit; dog food is way cheaper than human food, after all. So actually, you've just discovered a genius way to circumvent food storage. Excellent.

First, I'll clarify a few things: For the purposes of this question, I'm going to assume that "a large bag of dog food" means a 40 lb bag of dry kibble. I'm also going to assume that you're the only one that will be living off of dog food, and that you'll be eating a maximum of about 2-3 cups of this stuff per day. 

Okay, so here are some facts about your brand new emergency survival plan:

  1. A 40 lb bag of dog food yields about 160 cups of kibble (source). Based off of quantity alone, you would be able to live off of a large bag of dog food for about 50-80 days, depending on how much you ate. That means it's winning against a 24-hour kit so far; it will last 50-80 times longer!
  2. Some people have tried eating dog food, and the reviews aren't stellar. But haters gonna hate, right? It's not supposed to be gourmet, you're SURVIVING here. And doing it cheaper than all those smug dog food nay-sayers.
  3. If the bag has been ripped, the kibble could easily pick up germs like e. coli that could make you sick (source). But hey, human food can make you sick too, right? So it's on par with everyone else's plan. Plus, if your alternative is dying, diseases are a step down from that. Dog food is still better.
  4. It turns out that dogs are not humans, so they do not have the exact same nutritional needs as humans. For example, dogs make their own vitamin C, and so their food rarely contains it (source). The danger with not having vitamin C in your human diet over prolonged periods of time is that you may get scurvy. Now, if you're thinking like every other 24-hour-kit-buying, crowd-following mindless sheep out there, this may seem like a downside compared to human food. But we both know that you are no sheep! Do not fall into their thinking traps and incorrect arguments! Think about it this way: with dog food, you'll be deprived of vitamin C for 50-80 days, or until you can find other food. The people using a measly 24 hour kit will die of starvation long before then, causing them to be deprived of vitamin C for the rest of eternity. So, who's winning here? Obviously, you.
  5. Dog food is usually marked as "not fit for human consumption," which means that if you do happen to get sick from eating dog food, you can't really do anything about it, legally speaking. But my guess is that both you and the lawyers will have something else on your minds if you're in the middle of an emergency that necessitates eating dog food. So, this one isn't much of a problem. Just don't plan to sue anybody.
Congratulations on your new, cheap, better-than-human-food emergency kit! Wishing you the best of luck in your next emergency.

Dear Tipperary,

Do you want to tell the board that you just got engaged?!



Dear me,

Um, yes!

Okay, does everyone want the whole story? Oh good, I was gonna tell it anyways, but I appreciate that y'all want to hear it. First I'll catch y'all up on my relationship up to proposing, and then I'll tell the proposal story.

---Our Relationship---

Okay, so London and I started dating back in June (Also my fiancee finally has a Board Nym!). She is basically the most amazing person ever. She had just graduated from BYU with her Master's degree in Social Work, and was about to move to SLC for work, so I'm glad we started dating when we did!

Our first date was pretty much a disaster, and when I asked her out again she said no. But, she asked me out a few days later so I was really excited to get another chance to go out with her. So our second date went really well, and at the end we kissed, but we felt like it was going too fast and she suggested we just be friends. I was so upset because not only did I ruin the first chance, but I ruined the second chance as well!

So, after the 2nd date, I wrote her an apology for giving into the moment and kissing her without asking her first. Apparently, she thought it was really sweet that I was being responsible and caring about her feelings, so she asked me out on a 3rd date. We played UNO for our 3rd date and it was really fun. After the date I said goodnight and she kissed me! At this point I was confused. So I decided we should DTR, and after I did that in the most awkward way possible (too awkward even for the board) we decided we were officially dating!

The first month of dating was great, but we both had insecurities and stuff, and it lasted forever because we were both worried we were gonna get broken up with. After we survived that, it has been amazing! We complement each other so well. She is so sweet, and funny, and smart, and organized, and cute and basically everything!

In August we were spontaneous and decided to plan a trip together so we booked some flights out to New England to visit family. It was super fun, and on the trip we talked about marriage for the first time! (We talked about it on the 2nd month anniversary of dating) We decided that we didn't want to do a winter wedding, or a wedding in the middle of the semester, so we settled for May (for those counting at home, that's 10 months out from when we first talked marriage). For the last 4 months of being "unofficially engaged" we basically planned most of the wedding. 

---The Proposal---

Since we had been unofficially engaged, I figured that I should do something really cute for the actual engagement. I asked London what she would like, and she gave me a few guidelines:

  • It had to be a surprise
  • She had to be wearing nice clothes so the pictures would look good
  • I didn't propose on a holiday
  • It had to come from my heart
  • She did not want to go on a hike

So I came up with a plan that matched all those criteria. The first part of the plan was the surprise part. Mid-November we went ring shopping and we found a beautiful ring that she absolutely adored. We put it on layaway, and I asked London if it would be okay if I couldn't pay off the ring until January. I brought up  not being able to pay for the ring until January a few times a week so she wouldn't expect it when I proposed in December.

London was going to spend Christmas with her family, so we decided to do our own Christmas. That morning we went to the temple, and afterwards we went up to the base of Y Mountain to exchange gifts (That's where we had our first kiss, where we talked about our future together the first time, where we read each other's patriarchal blessings). She got me a new laptop, and I got her a scrapbook with pictures from our relationship and a Polaroid camera.

After she opened the camera, I suggested we go out and take a selfie for our first Christmas together. Thankfully, she thought that it was a cute idea and didn't say it was too cold. After we snapped the selfie, while she was waiting for the picture to develop I got down on one knee and pulled out the ring. She turned around and laughed out loud because she was so surprised I kept it a secret (I like to talk). She said yes! And now we're officially engaged!

So basically being engaged is great and I can't wait to get married!




Question #92771 posted on 01/15/2020 2:24 p.m.

Dear 100 Hour Board,

How many books/ tv shows/ movies have a title that is simply the good (blank)

-the good question


Dear ...you,

I love and hate you for asking this question.

So before I get to the numbers we need to set up some rules. For a book/tv show/movie to qualify, it had to be "The Good [one word]." While there may be some titles that I wanted to qualify (like "The Good Bad Girl" (an actual movie)), I was worried this would snowball into accepting books like "The Good Luck of Right Now," which didn't seem to match your criteria. 

Second, I ignored subtitles. So "The Good Neighbor: The Life and Work of Fred Rogers" would qualify. 

I know some will disagree with these rules and I too began to dislike my rules, but at that point I was on page 58 of 100 from Goodreads' search results and I'd be darned if I had to go through all those books again. So if you disagree with the first rule, multiple the results by 1.75 and that is closer to your results. If you disagree with the second rules, multiply the results by 0.8. Yes, these are relatively random numbers, but after going through 32,230 book titles this is my estimate of how many of them broke either of those rules.

Now onto the search.

When it came to books, I was an idiot. I vastly underestimated how many books started "The Good" and thought I could do a search through Goodreads and count them up myself. There were a total of 32,230 results and, good questioner, I looked through every single title. For you. 

That got me a total of 491 books that matched our criteria. I kept a list of all the books and authors so none would repeat (I'll include it below). So this meant 1.5% of all the results matched our criteria. But with a sinking heart I realized I had to expand my search beyond Goodreads. Why? As I was looking through Goodreads I realized most of them were more modern, popular books - exactly what the average reader would be reading and reviewing online. This completely leaves out more academic books, older books, books in other languages, etc. So to try and account for the books Goodreads didn't include, I turned to Worldcat.

I quickly realized it would be foolish to repeat my methods on Worldcat, as searching for "the good" lead to 229,135 results. So instead I decided to use some fun statistics. At first I was just going to predict that the same percentage of correct titles in the first few search result pages would apply throughout the entire search history, but you and I know that isn't the way search results work. You get the most accurate first, and then it becomes more sketchy and less accurate as you go on. I saw this in the Goodreads archives - in the first few search pages nearly 80% of the books fit our criteria, but towards page 50 it was slowing down to 10% or less, until we got a grand total of 1.5% correct. So if we apply that to Worldcat, with 229,135 results to "the good" books (boy, am I glad I didn't have to go through all of those), we get 3,437 books. And that doesn't even include really old books or books in other languages or books that have never seen the light of the internet, so to account for those I would multiply the results by 1.5.

I might be completely wrong and there may be a super easy way to find this out, but from my best approximation there's probably around 5,000 books that are "The Good [blank]".

And because I know you so desperately want to see this list of (some honestly horrifying) book names, here it is for your reading pleasure:

The Good...

  • Angel (Wodehouse)
  • Apprentice (Murdoch)
  • Assassin (Vidich; Gramer)
  • Assistant (Sax)
  • Atheist (Barker; Manto)
  • Audit (Aiden)
  • Bacteria (Thesen)
  • Badman (Brand)
  • Black (Barrett)
  • Bloke (Staunton)
  • Body (Etter; Ensler; Gaston)
  • Bohemian (Holroyd & John)
  • Book (Multiple; Grayling; Gomes; Redhead; Blauner; Spoo; Young)
  • Boss (Hildreth)
  • Boy (Henry; Schwegel)
  • Braider (Farish)
  • Bride (Brandy)
  • Brother (Offutt; Arthurs; Chen)
  • Byline (Orr)
  • Campaign (King)
  • Chase (Martine)
  • Child (Xu)
  • Children (Wilhelm; Farooki)
  • Citizen (Schudson; Batstone; Dalton)
  • Citizens (Lee)
  • City (Hiestand; Jacobs)
  • Communist (Pieke)
  • Companions (Priestley)
  • Company (Girling)
  • Comrade (Silberrad)
  • Conscience (Fuentes & Hileman)
  • Cook (Hopkinson; Time; Time; Time; Olney)
  • Cookie (Boyle)
  • Cop (Ford; Steiner; Grey)
  • Creative (Jarvis)
  • Cripple (Rosa)
  • Dad (Daly)
  • Dark (Van Wrinkle)
  • Daughter (Slaughter; Burt; Darznik; Layne; Porter; Pajalic; Brown; Lee; Shoemaker)
  • Daughters (Maynard)
  • Death (Neumann; Brooks)
  • Deed (Perrault; Nason; Buck)
  • Demon (Cajoleas)
  • Detective (McMahon; Keating)
  • Diamond (Moody)
  • Dictator (Dias)
  • Dinosaur (Disney)
  • Divide (White)
  • Divorce (Leonoff; Ahrons)
  • Doctor (Lerner; Lee; Mates; Paterson; Galgut; Simon; Audette; Kula; O'Sullivan; Jaxon; Clarkson; Carson; Renard; Smith; Michelsen; Butler; Agro; Paterson; Groom)
  • Doctors (Dittmer)
  • Dog (Avi; Kessler & Olson)
  • Don (Mancuso)
  • Dream (VanLiere)
  • Earth (Buck; Gregerson; Bertozzi; McConnell & Steer)
  • Eater (Saxen)
  • Echo (McAuliffe)
  • Egg (John & Oswald; Simmons)
  • Explainer (Vonnegut)
  • Father (Chamberlain; Hawley; Husband; Quinn; Lennox; Sutherland; Wilsher)
  • Fear (Rentz)
  • Fight (Steel; Grey; Bachmann et al; Quezon; Keyes; Reid & Warren; Chisholm; Ambrose; Nader; Parrott; Mondale; Holmes; Matera; Robinson; Hicken; Smolan; Williams; Horn; Quirk & Baddeley; Beinart; Ahern; Hart; Davey)
  • Foot (Eba)
  • Friend (Baldwin; Sabom)
  • Friends (Bianco)
  • Funeral (Long & Lynch)
  • Game (David)
  • Garden (Milway)
  • German (Kanon)
  • Girl (Kubica; Robertson; Neill; Silver; Nichols; Barritt; Reed; Cohen; Quinn; MacLeod; O'Sullivan)
  • Girls (Shepard; Dickson; Barlett)
  • Goblin (McElroy)
  • Goodbye (Buckley)
  • Groom (Hart)
  • Ground (Barclay)
  • Gut (Sonnenburg et al)
  • Guy (Koontz; Beale)
  • Guys (Bonanno et al; Gideon)
  • Hawk (Elliott)
  • Heart (Dalai Lama; Pratt; Halme; Eldrege et al)
  • Herb (Hurley)
  • Hike (Keenan)
  • House (Leary; Due; Smith)
  • Immigrant (Shukla)
  • Immigrants (Hsu)
  • Inn (Francis & Frank)
  • Italian (Burke)
  • Jihadist (Shepherd)
  • Journal (Shukla)
  • Journey (Gilchrist)
  • Kill (Brindley)
  • Killer (Dolan)
  • King (Long)
  • Kiss (Bilgere)
  • Knight (Woodbury)
  • Land (Erdman)
  • Lawyer (Linder & Levit; Totowa; Benigno)
  • Leader (Thayer)
  • Leviathan (Boulle)
  • Liar (McKenzie; Searle; Maguire; Caldwell; Elwood; Frye)
  • Librarian (Dominguez)
  • Lie (Brande; Bailey; Rosenstiel)
  • Life (Fischer; Amos & Mears; Abalos; Bishop; Music; Beau; Bennett; DiCaprio; McInerney; Wallop; Cole; McCabe; Fletcher; Rubin; Smock; Livingston; Baritz; Tuan; Porter; Buckley; Jordan; NY; Knoop; Kietzman; Mackay; Lee; Thurm; Dewey; Nearing; DeRicci; Colson & Fickett; Guignon; Merrick; McGraw; Osborn; Redford; Tuan; Michael; Abalos; Gomes; Wheeler Jr; Hamilton & Hirsheimer; Mendelson; Brady; Colson; Howland; Brown; Esmonde & Larbey; Morrison; Cran; Fajardo-Anstine; Quinn; McCarthy; Richardson; Gula; Winter; Wallop)
  • Life! (Calimeris & Jones)
  • Lieutenant (Terrell)
  • Lion (Markham)
  • Listener (Hardin; Sullivan; Johnson; Fisher)
  • Man (Faulkner; Scroggins; Kelly; Lee)
  • Marriage (Wallerstein & Blakeslee)
  • Master (Seredy; Zelig)
  • Mayor (Nicoll)
  • Men (Craig; Turner)
  • Millionaire (Eker)
  • Mistake (Lovell)
  • Mom (Parry)
  • Mood (Simon)
  • Mother (Miller; Osman; Bird; Moriarty; Lock; Galloway)
  • Mothers (Perry)
  • Muslim (Siddiqui; Anam)
  • Nanny (Cheever)
  • Nazi (van der Vat)
  • Nearby (Moser)
  • Necromancer (Wallace)
  • Negress (Verdelle)
  • Negro (Wilson)
  • Neighbor (King; Stuckey; Black; Banner; Nathan; Grant; Quinn; Kowalski; Bettes; Grant; Hudson; Mahendra; Brewster)
  • Neighbors (Multiple; Modglin; Mignerey; Pangborn)
  • Neighbour (Miller; Burnside)
  • Nurse (Graeber)
  • Oak (Etchart)
  • Occupation (Carruthers)
  • One (Nichols)
  • Ones (McKinlay; Weinstein)
  • Parents (London)
  • Partner (Robinson)
  • Parts (Blair; Foster)
  • Patient (Duisberg; Duisberg)
  • People (Kent; Narvaez; Harpur)
  • Pharmacist (Patchell-Evans)
  • Physician (Harrington)
  • Policeman (Charyn)
  • Priest (Galbraith; Beattie)
  • Project (Krause)
  • Provider (Stirling; Salonen)
  • Psychologist (Shpancer)
  • Race (Mahler)
  • Rain (Egan)
  • Rat (Breslin; Steele)
  • Reaper (Butler)
  • Religion (Flowers)
  • Remains (Power)
  • Rider (Hough)
  • Room (McWilliams)
  • Sadist (Thorn)
  • Sam? (Thorsen)
  • Samaritan (Marrs; Boldt; Miller; Witkowski; McDonough)
  • School (Tyre)
  • Servant (Lucas)
  • Shabti (Sharp)
  • Shaman (Lorin)
  • Shepherd (Forester; Gunnarsson & Kaufman; Greene; Sanganyado; Bailey; Fleming; Smith; Roth)
  • Shufu (Slater)
  • Silver (Dunn)
  • Sinner (Schmeidler)
  • Sister (Diamond; Campbell; Staub; Ryder; Davis; Kain; Christensen; Bolan; Jones; McAllister; Stone; Crane; Stewart; Jones)
  • Sisters (Phifer; FitzGerald)
  • Sleeper (Kennedy)
  • Society (Galbraith; Lippmann)
  • Soldier (Ford; Dawson; Finkel; Ryan; Robi; Bilbrey; Gallix et al; Steffy; Mead)
  • Soldiers (Finkel)
  • Son (Ober; Butler; Nova; Gurian; Jeong & Kim; Gruber; Stevens; McVeigh; Anderson; Strasser; Nova; McLean; K'wan; Fleet; Kriegel; Derr; Furst; Sands)
  • Sport (Webster; Brown; Awdry)
  • Spy (Bird; Layton; Griffiths)
  • Stepmother (Rudolph et al)
  • Story (Coetzee & Kurtz)
  • Stranger (Butterworth & Inkpen)
  • Struggle (Badaracco Jr)
  • Student (Espino; Moody)
  • Stuff (Stimpson; Cunnington; Posnanski)
  • Suicides (Hill & McGloughlin)
  • Table (Warner)
  • Tarot (Baron-Reid)
  • Teacher (Moore; Sargeant; Kelly; Anderson; Carey)
  • Tempe (Smith & Neuwirth)
  • Terrorist (Lessing)
  • Thief (Tinti; Buchanan; Howe; Newman; Holtry; Leon; Connolly; Daigneault)
  • Thieves (Rundell)
  • Times (Baker; Kelman)
  • Traitor (Quinn)
  • Turn (McTiernan)
  • Twin (Green)
  • University (Connell)
  • Visit (Multiple)
  • War (Terkel; Fairweather)
  • Widow (Fenton)
  • Wife (o'Nan; Porter; Flame; Harris; Saiph; Carson; Richmond)
  • Will (Paton)
  • Wolf (Burnett; Russell; Boyd)
  • Woman (Porter)
  • Years (Lord)
  • Yeoman (Williams)


Onto the good TV shows! This one was A TON easier. I just searched on IMDb.

The Good...

  • Bandit (2019)
  • Cop (2015, 2018)
  • Doctor (2017)
  • Fight (2015, 2017)
  • Guys (1968, 1992, 2010)
  • Life (1971, 1994, 2017)
  • News (1997)
  • Place (2016)
  • Son (2017)
  • Vibes (2018)
  • Wife (2009, 2016, 2019)
So in total we have 19 TV shows entitled "The Good [blank]," which I'd round up to 20 in case IMDb is missing one.

Movies and TV Movies proved a bit trickier. I first search on IMDb, but they faced the same problem Goodreads has - they primarily have more modern, popular movies. So I turned to allmovie.com. It wasn't a ton better, but here's the results of those searches:

The Good...

  • American (2009)
  • Bad-Man (1916)
  • Beginning (1953)
  • Boy (2005, 2016, 2018)
  • Boys (2014)
  • Breast (2016)
  • Catholic (2017)
  • Companions (1933)
  • Cop (2004)
  • Death (2019)
  • Dinosaur (2015)
  • Doctor (1939, 1978, 2009, 2011)
  • Earth (1937)
  • Egg (1939)
  • Fairy (1935)
  • Father (1985)
  • Fellows (1943)
  • Fight (1983, 1992)
  • Friend (2017)
  • Gay (2014)
  • Girl (2002, 2017)
  • Girls (2018)
  • German (2006)
  • Ground (2018)
  • Guy (2009)
  • Guys (2009)
  • Heart (2009)
  • House (2015)
  • Indian (1913)
  • Intentions (2016, 2019)
  • Liar (2019)
  • Lie (2012, 2014)
  • Life (1994, 1997, 2007, 2008, 2012, 2013, 2013, 2015, 2017, 2019)
  • Lot (2004)
  • Man (2012, 2013)
  • Mistress (2014)
  • Mother (1988, 2013)
  • Nanny (2017)
  • Nazi (2018)
  • Neighbor (2010, 2016)
  • Neighbour (2011)
  • Night (2007)
  • North (2010)
  • One (2011, 2015)
  • Pope (2003)
  • Postman (2016)
  • Road (2013)
  • Sam (2018)
  • Scout (1934)
  • Seed (1986)
  • Shepherd (2004, 2006, 2014)
  • Soldier (1982, 2009)
  • Son (1993, 2001, 2011, 2012, 2012, 2013)
  • Student (2006)
  • Thief (1980, 2002)
  • Voice (2006)
  • Waiter (2016)
  • War (2002)
  • Wife (1987, 2009)
  • Wifey (2013)
  • Witch (2008)
That leaves us with 93 movies. Since this doesn't include foreign films and there's likely some old movies that haven't made it to the internet, I'm going to guesstimate there's about 120 movies entitled "The Good [blank]."
So, good questioner, while I don't have any exact numbers, I would estimate that there's about 5,000 books, 20 TV shows, and 120 movies that have a title that is simply the good (blank).
-guppy of doom
Question #92721 posted on 10/27/2019 9:23 a.m.

Dear 100 Hour Board,

What in the world is this thing that's being built what looks to be in the same parking lot as the Draper aquarium?

Jenni Miller-lite


Dear City of Blinding Lights,

The answer to your question is answered in full by a Salt Lake Tribune article,"Metallic giant once called ‘The Claw’ goes up at Draper’s Loveland Living Aquarium" and which I will quote almost in its entirety, and which you should check because they actually researched this article.

Officials at the Loveland Living Planet Aquarium hoisted the 190-ton steel structure once known as “The Claw” into position in its outdoor plaza, atop what will be the facility’s new Ecosystem Exploration Craft & Observatory Command Center, a high-tech instruction center focused on the environment...

The structure served as a traveling stage for U2’s “360° Tour” 10 years ago, which included a stop in Salt Lake City. The 165-foot-tall behemoth is one of only two that remain from the stadium tour and is billed as the largest stage ever constructed.

(Source. This isn't the Salt Lake Concert.)

Heck yeah, it was. I was there, when the claw bestowed us with its pointy grace in Salt Lake! I done seent it from the nosebleeds! Actually a decent concert, regardless of whether or not you like U2, they're capable of putting on quite the show, and quite the tour, which I think had as many as three of these going from place to place. Each giant claw was reported to cost "between £15m and £20m."

"But Ardilla," no one whines, "that's in British-moneys from the past, and that means nothing to me, because I live in a broom closet called Moon Apartments, and I only have one shiny nickel, which my roommate tells me is worth more than a dime, because it is bigger, (which makes sense!), anyways, I wish I had some frame of reference for what you're telling me."


While it was probably designed, paid for and built even earlier, we'll say that initial purchase went down in 2010.
Using British Pound-US Dollar historic exchange rates from nine years ago and then depressingly converting that into Now-Money, that comes out in the range of $22,607,829 to 30,143,772.

For a frame of reference useful to a human being, that's enough money to purchase a lifetime supply of squid,
end up on the radar of the sea otter cartels, and end up losing it all in a massive miniature mammalian-managed cephalopod heist

How much squid is no one talking, here? Assuming best market prices for the Argentine short-fin squid: 9134 metric tons.

This, if you were wondering, is also the plot of the forthcoming Oceans 14. Don't ask me how I know, but know this much: You otter watch out.

But the Claw.

Aquarium officials bought it in 2016 “for a few million,” according to Andersen, with visions of making it part of a broader expansion at the Draper site that will also add a host of outdoor art installations and interactive plays areas.

The stage was shipped from Pennsylvania last winter and has required extensive structural re-engineering to match it to the location and to help it withstand Utah’s weather and potential for earthquake, Andersen said.

Crews spent Tuesday lifting the visually striking structure 16 stories off the ground and securing its legs. A central pylon goes in Wednesday.

Sixteen stories, 165 feet. That's actually taller than the SWKT, which lurks as campus's loftiest structure at 162 feet. But wait, there's more.

Workers will then add a spire, lighting system and custom fabric coverings. Soon, the aquarium’s million-or-so yearly visitors will be able to use the command center beneath to take virtual-reality tours “anywhere in the world,” Andersen said.

“They can use it as an exploration craft to discover rainforests, oceans, all the ecosystems around the planet, all the animals that live there and understand that they're actually all just one global ecosystem: the living planet,” he said

It's a craft? It's a craft! An exploration craft?! A teleportation pylon? A summoning portal to the Midwest, so its bored denizens may flee it from the nearest abandoned Kmart with minimal effort? Only time, and the Claw, will tell, for the Claw decides who will go and who will stay.

I'll leave you with this final quote.

“It looks fantastic,” the aquarium’s founder and CEO Brent Andersen said of the four-legged steel titan. “But it’s bigger than I recalled.”


--Ardilla Feroz

P.S. "A few million" could net you a cozy, clammy 909 metric tons of squid... just saying.

Question #92711 posted on 11/05/2019 2:04 p.m.

Dear 100 Hour Board,

I suppose you’ll be getting a few questions about this....

How can I reconcile the fact that the LDS church is ok with homosexuality conversion therapy when it’s been proven to be ineffective and harmful? And how can I reconcile the fact that BYU/the church has not apologized for aversion/shock therapies done to students in the 60s/70s?

-My Name Here


Dear reader,

These are good questions. I think they point to some deeper assumptions about the function of the Church as an institution which bear further investigation.

Before we get to that, though, let's clear up one critical misunderstanding. Despite what the misleading headlines on this issue have recently suggested, the Church today emphatically and explicitly does not support conversion therapy in any sense comparable to what was considered acceptable half a century ago. The objections to the bill raised by Family Services, which comprise about 26 pages, have been made publicly available online, and the objections raised are unrelated to the practice of conversion therapy, which is not endorsed or offered by Family Services. Since I started this answer, the Church has responded this past week with a clear reaffirmation of its opposition to conversion therapy and other abusive practices. (Family Services' comments are also directly available at that link.) "LDS church asks for clarification on bill set to ban conversion therapy" isn't quite as sexy and attention-grabbing of a headline as "Mormon church opposes ban on conversion therapy," but the former is a much better description of what's actually happening than the latter--the contention is about religious protections and the freedom to counsel people who want to live a life consistent with their religious values (e.g. "I'm religious and I want to stop acting out on my feelings of sexual attraction; please help me do that"). The concern seems to be that the current bill doesn't offer that. A previous bill banning conversion therapy, with stronger religious protections, faced no objections from the Church, but it died in committee, which is how we got here.

Now, granted, the Church does take positions that are often controversial. It also takes positions that cause particular groups of people pain--sometimes considerable pain. How do we reconcile that? Do we need to reconcile it? What does that look like?

Personally, I've never liked the common shibboleth that "the church is perfect but the people aren't." How can an organization being run by imperfect people from top to bottom really be perfect? What does a perfect church even look like? I'm not that old and the Church has changed considerably in my lifetime--my children and grandchildren will hear stories of three hours of church, home teaching, and missions without smart devices without ever experiencing them, and I have no idea what more will change by the time they're old enough to hear stories from grumpy old 9S about sitting through three hours of church on a hard-backed chair and only getting to call home twice a year. I think this phrase has set far too many people up to fail by leading them to equate the church as an institution or even as a culture with the gospel. The gospel is not the church, and it's not the culture. It's not funeral potatoes or weird Jell-o or the weird stuff your high councilor said one time over the pulpit that definitely doesn't square with the scriptures. The church, on both an individual and institutional level, can (and has, and still occasionally does) fail to live up to its divine mission to represent Jesus Christ--just like we struggle as individuals to do the same thing. That's not a bug, it's a feature. I can't tell you how many members I've talked to who seem to think that we suddenly get a blanket guarantee of infallibility when we move beyond the level of individuals in the church. That's not how it works.

I could go on for much too long, but I'll settle for loudly seconding what Josefina already said: nowhere are we guaranteed a perfect church. I don't know how it entered our cultural consciousness or why it's stayed for so long, but it's nowhere in the scriptures. Talking specifically about church history and the release of Saints, Elder Devn Cornish said much the same thing in the September 2018 Ensign.

"The impressions one gets from reading the history of the Church depend largely on what one expects to find in that history. We read the Lord’s own statement that this Church is “the only true and living church upon the face of the whole earth” (D&C 1:30). So it may seem reasonable to expect that the history of the true Church portray unerring leaders successfully implementing a sequence of revealed directions progressing to a perfect organization that is widely welcomed and embraced. But that is neither what the scriptures describe nor what our history represents, because the perfecting of the Church as an organization was not the Lord’s primary purpose."

"Nowhere in our scriptures, our doctrine, or the teachings of latter-day apostles and prophets is it taught that the purpose of the Lord is to perfect or to save the Church. Rather, the purpose of the Church is “for the perfecting of the saints … till we all come in the unity of the faith … unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ” (Ephesians 4:12–13). The Lord’s primary purpose is to perfect His Saints. The Church serves to support that objective."

If that's how the Church worked then, it surely works the same way today. The Church sometimes does wrong. Sometimes serious wrong. You might be personally hurt by a ward member or a mission companion, or dismissed by a bishop who should be listening to you, or marginalized by a policy decision that directly impacts you negatively. The Church made up of imperfect mortals, from the youngest nursery child all the way up to President Nelson. It's only natural that the Church learns and grows along with its people.

One last thought to help expand this a bit, on the topic of revelation. Often we speak of revelation as something totally apart from--something wholly other than--human reason. In the sense that only revelation can make the things of God known to us, this is accurate. But in the broader sense we seem to use it in the church--in the sense that this somehow transcends and obliterates our cultural expectations and assumptions, and getting revelation means we download infallible, perfect pages from God's celestial, timeless Wikipedia--this is horribly off-base. Revelation comes when we ask questions. Our culture inescapably shapes our expectations and the questions we ask. All revelation is inextricably embedded within our cultural and moral framework--because how can God communicate with us any other way? All of us are products of the time in which we live and the experiences we have. Personally, I don't feel a need to reconcile the fact that Paul was okay with the practice of slavery or that Brigham Young believed in the curse of Cain or that BYU once practiced electroshock therapy--all notions that have rightly fallen out of favor today.  But--and this is the important part--all of these practices and beliefs were in alignment with the common beliefs and practices of the time, and that is as it should be, because all of us are shaped by the time in which we live. Certainly God could throw the curtains back and simply blast us with new and advanced moral knowledge. But that seems rather like God attempting to reveal to Abraham that e = mc2, or perhaps explaining to John the Baptist how to use a computer. 

For better or worse, the process of revelation is deeply introspective; it's a dialogue not just with God but with ourselves, forcing us to examine what we believe and why, and only when we're ready to challenge our own assumptions and really listen to what the answer might be--even if it means abandoning something we cherish--does God speak. When we fail to do that because of pride or complacency or apathy, we fall into error--emphasis on we; the onus is on us, not God, to be willing to receive the great and important things pertaining to the kingdom of God as they are revealed.

God can, when absolutely necessary, simply deliver to us knowledge that is totally new and alien, but such occurrences (think Nephi building a boat or Moses building a portable tabernacle) are extremely rare, and unlikely to come when we're complacent in what we know and not willing to look for further light and knowledge. Revelation is an invitation from God to actively involve ourselves in our own spiritual growth, not just an event that happens to us when we push the right set of spiritual buttons at the heavenly reward dispenser. Church culture has done us a deep disservice in cultivating a notion that revelation is little more than downloading the mind of God and infallibly transmitting it through one speaking as a prophet (whatever that means). God is infallible. Revelation, because it is always delivered to (and through) imperfect humans with mistaken assumptions and imperfect modes of expression and understanding, cannot be infallible, and thus it is that even the Church finds itself sometimes making mistakes. For all this, there is the Atonement of Jesus Christ. The Atonement covers not only the mistakes you and I make, but also all those who suffer because of them (and thank heavens for that). Nothing I can do will change the fact that many people have suffered because of what was formerly considered a potentially legitimate form of therapy, but Christ has borne that burden and can succor those who suffered as surely as He can for anyone else.

I hope you find something worthwhile in this answer, and that it helps you reconcile the discomfort you've felt. Feel free to email me if you'd like to talk more.



Question #92681 posted on 01/31/2020 6:39 p.m.

Dear 100 Hour Board,

Let's say the government goes completely totalitarian on us and suddenly we live in a repressive state like North Korea or Panem. If I'm the rebel leader, which US city (or area) should I focus on taking over first, as a central base from which to launch our revolution? Some things to consider:

---Hopefully, this area will have combat assets like military bases or munitions plants - but remember that I have to capture them before I can use them, so they can't be places where the evil government's forces are already highly concentrated.

---Defensive geographical features, like mountains, gorges, rivers, etc. are a plus. The more self-contained the city, the easier it will be to put up blockades and defend our keep.

---Size is a delicate balancing act: it would be nice if there were enough people in this area for me to rouse a rebel army, but the bigger it gets, the harder it will be for me to capture it in the first place.

I'm sure there are many other factors I've overlooked, too, but I know that you guys are smart and thorough and will help me spot them. Which city is my best shot?

Help me, 100 Hour Board - you're my only hope!


P.S. Take as long as you need on this question. I don't expect full-blown totalitarianism until at least 2024.


Dear Risky,

The geographer in me would never let myself live it down if the answer to this question didn’t include some maps. So I decided to whip some up.

First, I mapped all the military bases and munitions plants in the United States, based on information from these Wikipedia articles.


Then, I added a layer for urban areas in the United States and limited it only to urban areas that are above average in population and square mileage.


Lastly, I only kept urban areas that had at least one military base and at least one munition plant. What we’re left with is nine areas to choose from. I’ve listed them here as cities, but keep in mind that I was actually working with the metropolitan area associated with these cities, so the area could extend into several states.

City Military Bases Munitions Plants Population (2010) Square Miles
Albany, NY 2 1 594,962 283.7
Chambersburg, PA 1 1 50,887 35.1
Dallas, TX 1 2 5,121,892 1726.0
Davenport, IA 1 1 280,051 137.5
Fayetteville, NC 2 1 310,282 189.5
New York, NY 5 1 18,351,295 3435.4
Philadelphia, PA 1 1 5,441,567 1908.8
St. Louis, MO 1 2 2,150,706 879.7
Virginia Beach, VA 8 1 1,439,666 555.3


From here, there are pros and cons to all of them. New York and Philadelphia might be too big to handle or too close to high concentrations of government forces. Likewise, Virginia Beach has a LOT of military presence which could be dangerous, but it's also right on the ocean, which could be good protection. And speaking of geographic defense, Davenport and St. Louis are both on the Mississippi River and Albany is on the Hudson River, but being on a river could actually end up making the city more vulnerable. Plus Davenport often floods, so that seems like a bad idea. Dallas could be good because it's sort of in the middle of the country, but it doesn't really have a lot of defensive geographic features. Chambersburg is really small, but it is right up against the Appalachian Mountains, which could be good. Lastly, Fayetteville is also on the small side, but it does have a pretty solid military presence with Fort Bragg. Plus, you could slowly expand to larger metro areas like Raleigh and Charlotte.

In the end, I think I would either go with St. Louis or Fayetteville, but I've given you some maps and a table, so you can come to your own conclusion!



Question #92576 posted on 09/15/2019 10:58 p.m.

Dear 100 Hour Board,

I found the following map of diaper changing stations on campus. https://wsr.byu.edu/campus-nursing-map
Super helpful for the upcoming semester with a baby. But I want to know, are these all women’s restrooms? What men’s restrooms on campus have changing stations?

-Pushing a Stroller


Dear Pushing A. Stroller,

Here is a list with all the bathrooms from the Women's Services map categorized as female, male, or family. For the most part, all the men’s restrooms are specifically indicated as men’s restrooms on the map, but there are a few exceptions. I’ve marked these exceptions with one asterisk.

Two asterisks indicate a restroom not included on the map. However, even with a few added restrooms, I can’t promise that these are all the restrooms on campus with a changing station. We (Inklings and I) used these maps to check whether the restrooms listed on the map were men's or women's and then did some field work to check the ones that we couldn’t do with the maps. Along the way, we just happened to find some extras.

Also, TLRB 251 is listed on the map as a men's restroom with a changing station, but it does not have a changing station.

And, without further ado, here you are!

ASB B135
BYUB 1013C
CONF 2291A
CTB 222
ESC S203
HBLL 1010
HBLL 2010
HBLL 4602
HFAC E319 (The map says B319, but I don’t think that exists. I think they meant E319 because it does exist and has a changing table.)
JFSB 1079
JFSB 1121
JKB 1019A
JKB 3021
JKB 4091D
JRCB 2nd Floor Library
JRCB 330
JSB 127
LSB 2103
LSB 3102
LSB 4115
LSB 5118
MC 3210
MC 3410
MLBM 2004
MLBM 2022
MOA Main Floor
MSRB 111 (It is not marked as MSRB 111 anywhere, but this is the mother’s lounge attached to MSRB 107.)
RB 114
RB Locker Room
SHC 1056
TMCB 1101
TMCB 248
WSC 1183
WSC 2080
WSC 2624
WSC 3212

CB 201
CONF 2271A
JRCB 266
JRCB 332
MLBM 2008**
MLBM 2020**
MOA Main Floor
SHC 1054
TLRB 146*
TMCB 1105*
TMCB 272**

Cannon Center Family Restroom
EB 212
EB 347
HBLL Family Study Area
HCEB 222**
HCEB 120A**
HCEB 218A**
HCEB 318A**
HCEB 418A**
HRCN 130
KMBL 1121
KMBL 1131
KMBL 224 (The map says 2226, but I’m pretty sure there’s no 22nd floor, so I think they meant this bathroom on the second floor. It’s pretty new.)

Hope this helps! Good luck!



P.S. If you are unfamiliar with any of these building acronyms, just type it into the search bar at map.byu.edu!


Dear 100 Hour Board,

In response to Question #92448 on reparations, Guesthouse stated:

As far as policy goes, I would like to see some specific reparations acts, but will also be glad to see housing reform, educational reform, and welfare reform that will help the poor Black community.

Can you elaborate? What reforms? What reparations? How would you do it?

Be as specific as possible.




Dear Watcher, 

Well, I told you I was TA-ing for the Race and Ethnicity class this fall, so ya gurl dug up her old textbook and supplemental materials and read UP! Sit down and buckle up kids, we're going for a ride. {Shameless plug here, for the love of everything, PLEASE TAKE SOC 323 IT WILL MAKE YOU A BETTER PERSON AND CHANGE YOUR LIFE.}

First of all, I think we should talk about feasibility, right? Because I have a feeling that I'm going to make my personal recommendations for possible reparations and reforms, and people are gonna be like "Yeah sure, but we will never be able to do this" or "Why should we care." 

So you should know: The United States has done reparations before. Other countries have too. Remember that crappy thing called Japanese Internment? President Reagan passed the Civil Liberties Act of 1988 that payed over 800,000 victims or family members of victims $20,000. This required $1.1 Billion, but it was carried out. We also (rather pathetically) have *tried* to pay some reparations to Native Americans, often in terms of settlements and land allotment. Honestly, there's a lot to be done there, but that's not specifically what we're focusing on here. The point is, reparations are not a foreign concept to the U.S. Government. They are not unprecedented, and we can - and have - handled it in the past. Also, Reagan was a Republican, so don't try to tell me that reparations are a 'Liberal' issue. Because it's not. 

Also, think about the reparations that Germany paid for years following the Holocaust! That's a very large-scale tragedy, but the point is - they acknowledged the atrocity and tried to do something about it. That's a sore spot in their history, meanwhile, the United States still does not acknowledge or confront the wrongdoing of slavery in a systematic — or government-based — way.  

Granted, the U.S. did try (again, rather pathetically) to offer reparations with General Sherman's  (unfulfilled) promise of "40 acres and a mule" (as if that's sufficient payment for decades - nay, centuries, of enslavement... AND ANYWAY, stupid Andrew Johnson vetoed it very shortly after Lincoln's death, and all the land was returned to its original owners. In other words, massive failure.) For several decades, there has been a House Bill #40 (named after the previously mentioned phrase) that calls for the creation of a reparations commission to begin sorting out the who, how, and what of slave reparations. Unfortunately, it has never been successful, stalling year after year. 

If you think that the 13th Amendment or the Civil Rights era count towards 'reparations' you're also fooling yourself. Giving people the rights of basic humanity isn't paying them back for the lifetimes that were stolen and abused, or the repercussions of the systematic racism that came about in the years after freedom was won. 

Additionally, the demand for reparations is not one that is specifically against the 'white people' of America. The case for reparations is one against the government and the country itself, and is not, in its entirety, about the individuals who were taken advantage of. REPARATIONS IS ABOUT THE SYMBOLIC ACT OF ACCEPTANCE OF OUR HISTORY AND RECONCILIATION WITH THOSE WE HAVE HURT AS A NATION. It is meant to be a way to say "Wow, we feel so bad that we did this. Here is how we are trying to make it better." It's about America getting over its stupid pride and nationalism and acknowledging a hideous past, and trying to repair things! 

Alright. Before we get into my ideas, allow me to remind you that I am a student of sociology. I am not an expert, but I do have relevant information and pretty substantially research-backed opinions. However, if you are really deeply interested in learning more about this for yourself, besides the Te-Nehisi Coates article we mentioned in the previous question, there are plenty more resources you can turn to. Ones that I particularly enjoyed reading can be found here, here, and especially here. (they're big because I want you to read them.)

On we go. Let's talk about current policy reforms first, because those are a little bit easier to get. 

Housing Reform:

I hope that it's not unknown to you that there is discrimination in housing in the United States. It's manifest in a lot of different ways. Higher rent payments, less forgiveness for late payments, higher rates of eviction, worse options for loans, higher interest rates, or, being only shown homes in neighborhoods with known minority populations, even if the client could afford to live elsewhere. I care about housing reform, and I'll give what my suggestions are below, but you'll note that the core issue of all of this tends to be the racialization and criminalization of poverty... so that's where I think we should probably focus. That's where the discussion about the severe lack of subsidized and/or affordable housing comes into play. Housing is exceptionally expensive, and as the cost of living price continues increasing while wages stagnate, a greater percentage of families are paying more than half of their money into rent and utilities. That's debilitating.  Regardless, a few things I would like to see: 

  • Legislation that officially closes loopholes allowing for discriminatory practices in loaning based on race particularly, or at the very least, greater legal power for people that go against corporations for discrimination 
  • Certifiable training for real estate agents about racial politics and housing discrimination. Get certified so minorities can go with agents they can trust to cater to their needs and understand their unique position. 
  • Affordable housing acts like the one that Kamala Harris is pushing - the Rent Relief Act, which is designed to give an income tax credit to families who spend 1/3 or more of their income on housing. That's not a handout. It requires employment and tax-payer status, but helps people keep a roof over their head with more stability. And that's crucial. 
Again, this isn't my area of expertise. I'm interested in learning more about it, but for the sake of timeliness on this answer, that will have to suffice. 

Educational Reform:

Everything in society is tied together. So, education is very strongly linked with poverty and housing discrimination. Therefore, any changes to those other two aspects will change what the education experience looks like. I'm not totally sure which things should be done first, or which will have the biggest impact, but one thing I would like to see with educational reform is changing the way schools and districts are funded. It's pretty messed up that the best schools are the ones that have funding, because that means it's the people with more money that get better schooling. We're just compounding privilege on privilege. Those kids already have support systems and advantages that will help them succeed. But then we also give them better teachers, more extracurriculars, more opportunities... it's kinda ridiculous. The families where parents are working two or three jobs to put food on the table are the ones that need schools with good afterschool extracurricular programs. They need the extra support of good teachers and potentially free or cheaper tutors. Instead, it's all organized in a way that makes life ever harder for people who already have it hard. I think school funding should go through the state taxes instead of local, and the state can allocate according to need based on their own research. We also should focus on integrating high- and low-income areas. High-income families obviously have more choice to opt-out of this in favor of privatized education, but all research that I studied in my Sociology of Education class seemed to suggest that the best possible option was to have people from all backgrounds together. This allows for the communities to come together and help each other grow in ways that homogeny simply can't. It raises graduation rates for everyone and the community ensures that those who didn't have opportunities before are given those opportunities. It doesn't hurt the privileged in any way. They still get a quality education with essentially identical academic scores and whatnot, meanwhile, it helps the disadvantaged in monumental ways. 

Criminal Justice Reform: 

Honestly, there are so many things needed here I could make a new question about it specifically. Here's a few ideas:

  • Seriously decriminalize marijuana and make charges for minor drug charges much less severe, and pardon those who are in there for things that aren't even illegal anymore, since they were stupid in the first place. 
  • Erase the difference between 'white drugs' and 'black drugs'. You can't incarcerate people for different lengths of time for doing essentially the same crime just because you're racist. That's not how the law is supposed to work and I'm tired of it being this way.
  • Get rid of the death penalty. 
  • Investigate into misconduct like the Ferguson Police Department intentionally and systematically charging minorities excessive fines for minor traffic infringements to fund the city, because surely more places are doing it. 
  • Body cams should be in use, especially if responding to a potentially dangerous situation. People who's behavior is questionable need to be fired, not kept just to prove a point. That being said, people also need to be willing to listen to both sides of the story. I listened to an enlightening podcast episode that made me think about police brutality in a different way, and I really encourage you to listen to it as well: Revisionist History Season 4: Episode 7 - "Descend into the Particular" 
  • I'm not sure specifically how to fix this, but there are lots of POC - especially young boys - who will plead guilty to crimes they are not guilty of just because the cost of a trial that would likely acquit them is too much for them or their family to handle. That's just sickening to me. There are people in jail that don't belong there, just because they don't want to deal with the fight. That's stupid. The Innocence Project can't save everyone, we should just be doing a better job. I know trials can't be free, because people have to be paid and compensated. I will look more into this in the future, but I've already held this question over long enough that I will let this be the last point here. 

I haven't learned as much about criminal justice as I would like to. I'm not sure how to fix everything that's wrong with it, but I hope by the end of this next semester, I'll have some more information to better answer this question. Sorry I can't be more specific here, I just need to learn more before I can feel justified in having a strong opinion. 

Welfare Reform:

Like I mentioned, the core issue of all of this is money. The history of discrimination and oppression has most substantially affected the economic wellbeing of Black families. So, even if nothing else can be done in any other area, I really think that targeting economic inequality will make the most substantial difference. This is part of why reparations are important to me. Poverty is rampant because we have NEVER STOPPED DISCRIMINATING AGAINST THE BLACK COMMUNITY. They are so heavily overrepresented in the poor community because they have been dealt - and KEEP getting dealt - the literal crappiest hand of cards on the table, because the card dealer (not God, but society) is rigging the deck, and everyone knows it, but isn't stopping it! 

I started talking about this is an earlier question, but not enough that I think it counts as suggestions. It's also hard for me to get super specific, because I'm not the person that's designing things. I have opinions, and I'm trying to be educated about them, but I certainly don't know everything - or how best to implement the ideas that I do have. In any case, here's what I think: 

  • Keep the work requirement, obviously. Something over 70% of welfare recipients have at least one job, and a large majority of the remainder are incapable of working due to age or health limitations. I think encouraging work is good, and the purpose of welfare is to help people get back on their feet... especially if other systems are the ones pushing them down, it's fair. 
  • Eliminate penalties for wage increase and marriage. As is, if a person's income grows to 150% of the poverty level, they experience, effectively, a massive jump in taxes. 150% of the poverty line is still not that much (and the poverty line measurement is problematic as is, which I'll talk about next), so it's a vicious cycle where suddenly when you start doing the things that are supposed to help get you out of poverty - making more money - You lose the benefits far too quickly and you just get put right back where you were in the first place. Similar limitations apply to getting married - regardless of whether or not that means there will be two incomes. In other words, some of the current arrangements in the welfare system are creating problems instead of helping solve them. The way the program is organized right now is incredibly ineffective for the way that poverty actually functions in the United States. We need to change the rules in how long you can be on welfare to make sure people have support for long enough after they switch jobs or get married that they actually get a boost in the right direction. People don't want to stay on welfare, but sometimes doing the things to get off of it will just put you right back in. Super stupid. Here's a decent Fox News article on this topic (me? reading and citing Fox? I know! It's like I do research on all sides of the issue!) and an interview with Mitt Romney (watch at about 45:40 for the relevant content) So how, more specifically, can we fix some of these issues? First, taper benefits more gradually so there aren't 'cliffs' that you can fall off as soon as you make a certain amount. This should help ease people out of the programs without leaving them helpless when they're still finding their way back on their own two feet. Second, literally just get rid of the marriage penalty. Welfare policy should be purely neutral to relationship status. Why is this even a question? 
  • Find another measure of the poverty line, or at the very least, update it. Measuring based on how much food costs is stupid because that changes from place to place, doesn't take into account those who live in food deserts and therefore have to travel (additional costs) or the fact that unhealthy foods may be cheaper, but the health costs they entail are not cheaper. It also is a 'general' line, not adjusted for the varying costs of living expenses (especially housing) in densely populated urban areas, where many poor Black families have to live. Therefore, some families make more than the poverty line and don't qualify for benefits, but due to specific circumstances, like geographic location, still should technically qualify. I think that one potential solution would be to make welfare distribution and laws more state-based so there can be organization at a closer level. 
  • Make the process simpler!!! Welfare is dead in large part because the bureaucracy of it is so complicated that it almost feels like it isn't worth the hassle. You have to jump through hundreds of hoops, and it makes people frustrated. So, instead of trying to get the assistance that they need and benefitting from it, they just stay stuck in their current situation. Getting more people off welfare is good, but if that means that you just stop giving it to people, that doesn't actually solve the poverty problem. Sure, there are fewer people on welfare, but that means there's just more poor people who need assistance that don't get it because it's just too hard to do. Paperwork should be easy to understand and fill out, and people should have a good, accessible place to get information about qualifications that, instead of trying to shove them away, will welcome them and give them help in a way that is compassionate instead of despiteful. 
  • Combine the current 15 systems into something unified and consistent, because as is, the whole thing is a mess. There needs to be a committee that reviews the administrative goings-on, paperwork, requirements, usage, etc. of all of the different parts and coherently glue them together into a single effective welfare program that people can turn to and apply for the things that they need. There should be counselors available to go over a person's circumstances and determine what kind of assistance would be most beneficial for them. 
  • Offer free classes through said welfare system buildings on topics like budgeting, smart shopping, cooking, parenting, relationship building, interview skills, etc. Things to help people build the skills they need to make them more successful in the future. I guarantee you have people in the community that would be more than happy to volunteer to teach that kind of thing, or be paid very little. Heck, I'd totally do it. That's basically what 4-H was for me. 5$ for an annual membership and I learned SO MUCH stuff, mostly from volunteers. 
  • Say it with me: affordable healthcare.  It doesn't have to look the same as Canada's or Germany's or whoever else. But there needs to be a way to subsidize the cost of healthcare in the U.S. and guarantee that people who need it can get care. There are literally people dying because they can't afford their insulin or other medications, or who don't go to the doctor to get diagnosed for things because they can't afford it, only for once-small issues to become fatal. I wish I could be more specific about how I think the U.S. can do healthcare, but I really don't know the answer. Personally, I don't think that socialized healthcare exactly like Canada is the solution for our country. We're just different, so we need systems that function for us. Regardless, I think there should at least be healthcare benefits offered with welfare because environmental factors that tie with poverty have a big impact on health. Think about it... if the cheapest food is processed carbs, you're going to have a lot of health problems due to that. Or, you have to live close to work because you can't afford a car... so you live in the city, where there is more pollution, and your kids are more likely to be asthmatic... those kinds of things. So, there should be health assistance available for the people who really are going to need it more since  it's already hard enough for them to be healthy. 
  • Job placement services available to people who sign up for welfare! If we care so much about people working, why not ensure that there are resources available - or at least make sure people are aware of where to find them? Simple solution. 
  • Work to end stereotypes like the 'Welfare Queen' and welfare dependency, which just aren't true. The stigma is what makes people vote in ways that make things worse, not better. Educating people about the reality of welfare in America instead of letting people like freaking Charles Murray feed everyone misinformation that scars the country's policies for decades and keeps us from making progress because it just confirms biases in people's racist hearts that just aren't true! (*deep breath* Sorry, I seriously think Charles Murray is the worst.) 
Anyway, those are just a few of the ideas that I have researched and think might be a good idea. Honestly, the welfare system is so broken it might be a good idea to trash the whole thing and start over. And by that I mean, keep it until we put the new one in place, but the new one shouldn't be any form of "improvements" on the current system. We just need a good group of people of all different political alignments to get together, do a LOT of research on poverty in America, and welfare systems in this and other countries (or just freaking listen to the sociologists who are already doing the research, sheesh) and then discuss options and move forward from there. We know what kinds of things work well, and instead of trying to fix the dishwasher that keeps breaking, maybe it's just time to buy a new one... you know? Anyway. I care about this topic a lot. I'm going to be taking more classes in the future that should help me some more in my understanding of welfare, but this is what I've got. I hope that was specific enough for you. 
Now let's get to the big one. 


Perhaps the reason that people don't like the idea of reparations is that they think that things are already fair and squared away. The Blacks were granted their freedom, were they not? But giving people back the basic rights that they deserved does not mean that you have made things right for abusing them for centuries. That literally just doesn't make any sense. Plus, it's not like after the slaves were freed, everyone treated People of Color like they were actual worthwhile human beings. They had to fight for their right to vote - something that should have been a given from the beginning- their right to marry whomever they chose (That one wasn't even fixed by the supreme court until 1967. That's insane!) and every day they still fight for their lives and their basic humanity in hundreds of ways. We talked about a bunch of them already above, so I won't go over them again. 

What needs to be understood is that sometimes saying "Oh, sorry" isn't enough, especially if you keep hurting the person/group of people. People used and abused Black men, women, and children for over a century. They were never compensated for their work, and sometimes would be punished horribly without reason. That disrespect for human life is a scar on the American past that needs to be reconciled, and there is a debt to be paid. The Government didn't have the right to "give" people something that should have been theirs in the first place. The Gettysburg Address, 13th, 14th, 15th, and 19th (I include the 19th because it gave Black women the right to vote, though more generally just women...) did not fix things. 

Since money seems to be a tangible concept, let's think about it this way: Something like 600,000 slaves were brought to the United States from Africa. This number seems low to me, but that's what Wikipedia says so we'll use it as a base number. Now, many of those slaves had children, who also had children... and so forth. All would have been deemed property and been made to work. These people were literally sold as objects. What I'm about to calculate is in no way whatsoever trying to place a value on their lives, but rather is an attempt to estimate how much they should have been paid in the first place, so we can see how deeply indebted we are. Let's say that total we've got about 8,000,000 people who at one point or another were slaves. (By about 1790 the number was around 600,000, and in 1860 there were about 4,000,000 in the population that were slaves)  Surely the number is much higher, but for our purposes, let's stick with it. Okay, so slaves have at least a 12-hour workday. The average wage for a simple laborer in 1860 was about 10 cents an hour. I'm not going to do inflation calculations because that's complicated and it's not going to be that different. Stick with me here: 

$0.10 per hour * 12 hours * 7 days (they didn't really get weekends off) * 360 days a year (we'll say. Surely many never got days off.) * 32 years average life expectancy [lots of different measures from this, I took an average of several averages I found.] * 8,000,000 lives spent in slavery = $24,192,000,000. Twenty-four billion, one hundred ninety-two million 1860 dollars, low estimates. You want to know how much that is in 2019 dollars?

 ****$747,827,184,578.31**** (thanks, Inflation Calculator) 747 BILLION DOLLARS. Do you think those people were ever compensated? NO! They died in agony, sickness, malnourishment, and torture. They died separated from their families and loved ones, seen as objects. Bought and sold like they were nothing. This doesn't count for the emotional damages, health problems, or anything else. That's literally just the pricetag for the unpaid slave labor. You know what it doesn't count? Unpaid or minimally compensated prison labor that took advantage of millions of Black male prisoners. That's just a new version of slavery. That's going to put us over a trillion dollars. And that's just my estimate. I can't promise perfect accuracy there, just a disclaimer. Regardless, the total is baffling.

Tack on the emotional and physical damages (lynchings, murders, harrassment, housing discrimination, loan discrimination, housing discrimination, hate crimes, microaggressions, Jim Crow laws, voting restrictions, educational discrimination, criminal prosecution of innocents, police brutality, environmental discrimination leading to disproportionate representation of asthmatic children, heart disease, and cancers with little to no ability to seek treatment, and MORE!) and the numbers are so astronomical they may actually be more money than the U.S. is currently indebted to other countries! 

And what, do we think that saying "Oh, well I guess slavery is illegal now..." is going to just make that go away? Do we think that we can just shrug our shoulders and all will be forgiven?

But we can do better than empty apologies. We can do better than just saying, "Well, we'll keep trying to give you your rights." That stuff is important, and we need reforms and progress for sure. But let's think about that in terms of our debt calculator... Reform policies aren't chipping away at the damage that has been done, they're just trying to stop it from happening more in the future. Granted, it does make it seem better. And maybe we can say that it counts for enough that the amazing citizens of color would agree to forgiving chunks of that debt. They already don't ask for much, some don't ask at all. But I think we really ought to be honest about the damage that has been done and how we can REALLY try to make it right. 

I know that it's going to be a hard fight to get money that goes directly to descendants of slaves, so I have a few other suggestions that are perhaps more feasible: 

  • A Legacy Trust/Grant. Besides having the government contribute to it, people can donate to the trust, and those who are descendants of slaves can submit their ancestry. No other requirements. If you apply for the grant, you can get it. I think having it open to the public donation is a vital part, because there are TONS of people who I know would want to contribute (myself included) to stand in solidarity, but currently don't know how to help. That would be a good opportunity for people to show their support. 
  • Along the lines of the first point, a scholarship is also a good idea. College can be a distant dream for disadvantaged students, and one way that we can repay is by paying for some degrees, so that those people then have the opportunity to create their own success in life. It's a relatively small investment that changes people's lives. To me, that is a good effort at restitution. 
  • Tax Credit. This is one of Kamala Harris's ideas for reparations, but qualifying individuals could add the tax credit to ease their financial burden a bit, which over time can be really significant. 
  • Better curriculum in teaching history in the U.S. to include minority experiences and especially a more honest approach to teaching the atrocities of slavery, Reconstruction-era violence, Jim Crowe discrimination, and Civil Rights Era events. Honestly, I think that every single person in the world could benefit from a sociology of Race & Ethnicity class. It helps you learn more about yourself and your friends and peers and see the world beyond just your own eyes. Why they don't offer that kind of thing in high school? I have no idea. But History classes - heck, why not the core curriculum? - need to better integrate racial history into their books. I was in high school less than 5 years ago and I definitely remember having a super white-washed and sugarcoated textbook.  Education is the first step to understanding. 
  • Other ideas I am open to but am yet to study and understand.

The conversation around reparations are incredibly promising, and regardless of how controversial of a topic they are, I do believe that something ought to be done to address institutional racism and the history of slavery in America. Reparations isn't exclusively about paying back a debt, it's about being sincere in our apology as a nation and moving forward. This shouldn't be an unfamiliar concept. When we learn about repentance through the Atonement, we learn that we can never really repay the Savior for the sacrifice he made for us. But when we repent, we are asked to confess and confront our shortcomings, and do what we can to make it right. If a kid breaks a window, he should offer to either pay to have it replaced or mow lawns for the neighbor to make up for the damages. It's about showing your sincerity and Godly sorrow for your mistakes. It's only through that process of genuine penitence that we can make progress and become better. A similar concept applies here; until restitution is something that we can get behind, institutional racism will always persist. It means we don't take it seriously, and we aren't sorry. It means we have chosen to ignore the past, and the past's effect on the present. When this is the case, we condemn ourselves to a future that will never measure up to where we want to be. That is why I think the discussion about reparations and reforms is so significant. That's why I said that reparations also include confronting and being honest about history. 

People need to realize, too, that reparations can mean a lot of things. Right now, only about 25% of voters support the idea of reparations. I think that number is pretty low, and that may be because there is a misconception about it, that people think that it's just an unjustified handout. I think if there was better education about slavery and Black History, people wouldn't think it was such an outlandish idea. I can only hope to help educate people a bit and get them to open their minds and their hearts with compassion to the experiences of their fellow men. That doesn't mean that people have to come to the same conclusions as I have, but I really think people need to not brush off the idea of reparations so quickly without considering the virtue of restitution. 

Here's a really good quote from Reverend Mark Thompson, a member of the National Coalition of Blacks for Reparations in America: 

"For many of us, reparations means spiritual repair, cultural repair, repair through the means of education, health, economics, society, all of those things together. So it’s obviously more than individual checks, but helping to build institutions so that at least African Americans can catch up with white Americans."

And another, from Coleman Hughes [with some paraphrasing, lifted from this article which you should TOTALLY READ FOR A GOOD NUANCED OPINION]:

"Reparations is “something of a misnomer because the wrongs of history are generally too deep to actually be completely compensated.” What reparations should mean, he said, is “a full-hearted recognition that a wrong was committed, that something happened that should not have happened––and more than that, it’s an apology that feels more sincere because you’re attaching something tangible to it, because words are very cheap.”

I hope this has opened your mind a bit to the idea. I certainly don't expect people to agree with me perfectly, nor do I think my opinions will stay the same forever. I am happy to learn more and hear other ideas on the matter, as I know my feelings are not the "right" answer or the only way to think about this. But thank you for allowing me to offer my thoughts and being respectful. I really appreciate it. 



P.S. Thank you for being patient with this answer, I really wanted to do a good job and research it thoroughly so I'm sorry it took longer than promised. I hope you feel that it was worth the wait. 


Dear 100 Hour Board,

Of all our 45 US Presidents, which one had the biggest nose? I know who was the tallest, heaviest, thinnest, etc. But I know several had nice-sized honkers. Whose out-sized all of the others?


-Proboscis Pete


Dear person,

Here are pictures of all of the US Presidents in order. I took them all from this Wikipedia article.

George Washington John Adams Thomas Jefferson James Madison James Monroe
1_george_washington.webp  2_john_adams.webp  3_thomas_jefferson.jpg  4_james_madison.jpg  5_james_monroe.jpg
 John Quincy Adams  Andrew Jackson  Martin Van Buren  William Henry Harrison  John Tyler
 6_john_q_adams.webp  7_andrew_jackson.webp  8_martin_van_buren.webp  9_william_harrison.webp  10_john_tyler.webp
 James K. Polk  Zachary Taylor  Millard Fillmore  Franklin Pierce  James Buchanan
 11_james_polk.jpg  12_zachary_taylor.jpg  13_millard_fillmore.webp  14_franklin_pierce.webp  15_james_buchanan.webp
 Abraham Lincoln  Andrew Johnson  Ulysses S. Grant  Rutherford B. Hayes  James A. Garfield
 16_abraham_lincoln.webp  17_andrew_johnson.webp  18_ulysses_grant.jpg  19_rutherford_hayes.webp  20_james_garfield.jpg
 Chester A. Arthur  Grover Cleveland  Benjamin Harrison  Grover Cleveland  William McKinley
 21_chester_arthur.webp  22_grover_cleveland.webp 23_benjamin_harrison.jpg  22_grover_cleveland_1.webp  24_william_mckinley.webp
 Theodore Roosevelt  William Howard Taft  Woodrow Wilson  Warren G. Harding  Calvin Coolidge
 25_theodore_roosevelt.webp  26_william_taft.webp  27_woodrow_wilson.webp 28_warren_harding.jpg   29_calvin_coolidge.jpg
 Herbert Hoover  Franklin D. Roosevelt  Harry S. Truman  Dwight D. Eisenhower  John F. Kennedy
 30_herbert_hoover.webp  31_franklin_roosevelt.webp 32_harry_truman.webp   33_dwight_eisenhower.webp  34_john_kennedy.webp
 Lyndon B. Johnson  Richard Nixon  Gerald Ford  Jimmy Carter  Ronald Reagan
 35_lyndon_johnson.jpg  36_richard_nixon.webp 37_gerald_ford.webp   38_jimmy_carter.webp  39_ronald_reagan.jpg
 George H.W. Bush  Bill Clinton  George W. Bush  Barack Obama  Donald Trump
 40_george_hw_bush.webp  41_bill_clinton.webp  42_george_w_bush.webp  43_barack_obama.webp  44_donald_trump.webp

There is a clear winner for the Biggest Nose Award: William Henry Harrison, whose nose is undoubtedly colossal. 


Bravo, William! And now for our other award winners.

Next, we have Martin Van Buren winning the Biggest Hair Award:


And for the Biggest Mullet Award, James K. Polk:


And for the Biggest Beard Award, Rutherford B. Hayes:


And for the Biggest Mustache Award, the enviable William Howard Taft:


And the Best-Looking James Award goes to James Monroe, who beat out James Madison, James K. Polk, James Buchanan, James A. Garfield, and Jimmy Carter for the distinction:


I would also like to give Zachary Taylor (1) the Most Unhappy to have his Picture Taken Award and (2) Best Severus Snape Lookalike Award:


In a similar vein, Harry S. Truman is the clear winner for the Most Similarities to Harry Potter Award:

Screen Shot 2019-07-26 at 12.08.04 AM.png

And last but not least, the Most Likely to be Featured On Ancient Aliens Award goes to none other than Andrew Jackson:


We hope you have enjoyed our award show this evening. 


Question #92425 posted on 07/07/2019 5:24 p.m.

Dear 100 Hour Board,

I think of this question every single morning, and I'm glad I finally remembered to ask.

Let's say I'm finishing up my morning shower and I wring out my washcloth to hang it on the inside of the door. If I had unlimited strength, could I wring the washcloth out so hard that, when I was finished, it was totally dry? In other words, could I force every molecule out of the material so that it was bone dry?

Don't know why. I just think of these weird things.


-Washrag Randy


Dear person,

Let's say your washcloth is made of cotton. Cotton is good at absorbing for a couple of reasons. First, water is a dipole (has an electrically positively charged "side" and a negatively charged "side" to the molecule) and cotton's electric charges are distributed unevenly along its cellulose fibers. These uneven charges cause the water and cellulose fibers to be attracted to each other. Second, the cellulose fibers are structured in such a way that it is easy for water to move along and inside the fibers. This makes it very easy for water to "hang out" on and around cotton.

Wringing your washcloth is twisting. Thus, the force we are applying to the washcloth is torsion. Torsion is comprised of both compression and tension. When you twist the washcloth to get water out, what you are doing is using compression to force the cellulose fibers closer together. This reduces the amount of surface area that the water can "hang out" on. However, because torsion is both compression and tension, we cannot increase the compression without increasing the tension. And, eventually, the tension will cause the washcloth to rip. 

I don't know how to do the math to prove it, but I'm certain that the washcloth would rip before every molecule of water will be forced out of the material. If you were going to destroy a cotton washcloth, would you compress it as hard as you could? Or would you pull it tight as hard as you could? The latter, of course. To force every molecule out would mean reducing the spaces between and within the cellulose fibers until they were so small that water molecules are too small to fit inside. That's extremely tiny. 

So no, you could not not wring out your washcloth so hard that all the water would be forced out.

But wait.

Let's say, for the sake of fun, that your washcloth has infinite tensile strength and that your hands are infinitely strong. That is, the cloth could never rip and you won't break your bones, rip or burn your skin, or anything like that. The cloth can only be damaged by the compression part of twisting. Let's say that you, with your infinite strength, start wringing the washcloth. The cotton would give off lots of heat. This would make the water turn into steam at about 212 F. So parts of the washcloth that are touching the air would be dry. However, there is still water at the center of the washcloth, which surrounded by several layers. If you don't unravel the washcloth periodically to allow the water inside to evaporate and instead keep squeezing, the cloth is likely to ignite once it reaches 400-750 F, after which you wouldn't have a washcloth anymore.


Question #92417 posted on 07/29/2019 3 p.m.

Dear 100 Hour Board,

How do you escape a magical library?



Dear Reader,

The way of escape is so easy, you see
You don't have to beg and you don't have to plea.
There isn't a guard there to block you from freedom; 
And don't bring supplies, cause you really won't need ’em.
If you find yourself in a library unique,
It’s likely within there’s a door, so antique! 
“Escape” is a strong word, you really just leave.
Just walk right on out, oh, what a relief!
To find this old door you must solve all the clues
Like our sweet canine friends, Magenta and Blue.
The three riddles solved will reveal the place
(But only if you know my musical taste.)
The Board is a place of such detailed research
You must do your own, or be left in a lurch.
I’ll tell you where to find the riddles you seek 
Be prepared, for they hide in a secret Board technique.
The first question you’ll need regards this great nation. 
What do you think about making reparations?
And what of the imminent nuclear war?
Does that sort of thing frighten you to the core?
And now, dear reader, you've made it this far,
Are you a good dancer or do you play the guitar?
We want something romantic that has a good beat.
Solve this last clue, and your search is complete! 
A quick word of caution, if you take your time,
You may just find yourself stranded online.
Good luck on your journey! We hope you’ll achieve.
Remember to close up the door when you leave.



P.S. A special thanks to Inklings, who is a far better poet than I, and who helped me work out the kinks. 

Question #92342 posted on 06/12/2019 11:46 a.m.

Dear yayfulness,

Did you make an embarrassing mistake in Board Question #91271, and would you like to fix it?

-this is obviously not yayfulness


Dear obviously not yayfulness,

Yes, yes I did. Two embarrassing mistakes, in fact.

(If you’re actually reading this, I’m assuming you’ve already read my answer to Board Question #91271, so I’m not going to repeat myself. This answer probably won’t make too much sense without that context.)

The first mistake is named Tristan da Cunha, and it's a tiny blip of a volcano in the southern Atlantic Ocean with a permanent civilian population of about 250 and a fascinating history which I shamelessly binged about a month ago. It's also about 2,075 miles from the nearest temple in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The African coast is several hundred miles closer, and if a temple is ever built in Cape Town, South Africa, Tristan da Cunha will be evicted from the 2,000 Mile Club. Until then, though, I'd be remiss to deny it its rightful place.

The second mistake is that, in my zeal to find the furthest point from a temple in central Asia, I completely overlooked that the THIRD-LARGEST CITY IN RUSSIA IS THERE, TOO. Novosibirsk (population 1.6 million) is over 2,100 miles from the nearest temples in Finland and Ukraine. It's one of five (!) cities of over a million people in the 2,000-mile zone, the others being Krasnoyarsk, Russia (1.1 million), Almaty, Kazakhstan (1.6 million), Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan (1.0 million), and Urumqi, China (3.6 million). There are seven branches in the Novosibirsk-Krasnoyarsk area plus one in Almaty; two of these branches, at Barnaul and Kemerovo, are 2,205 miles from the Helsinki temple and thus the two LDS congregations furthest from a temple.

Last year, I started working on a list of potential temple sites that could take places off the 2,000-mile list. Exactly one week after that answer got published, a temple was announced for Yigo, Guam, barely 1,000 miles from Pohnpei, Micronesia (formerly the second-most distant inhabited place from a temple outside of mainland Asia). Since then, I've refined the list quite a bit. I really wanted to illustrate it with a map somehow, but I spent the last two weeks arguing with QGIS and so far QGIS has won every time. So instead, here's a table. Temple sites to watch are places which meet three criteria: first, they have a substantial population; second, they have an established Church presence; and third, they are not close to an existing temple.

2,000 Mile Areas Temple Sites to Watch Countries to Watch
Central Asia Moscow, Russia; Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia; Samara/Tolyatti, Russia; Saratov, Russia; Yerevan, Armenia1 Russia, Mongolia, Armenia2, India
Easter Island none none
Rodrigues Antananarivo, Madagascar3 Madagascar4, Mozambique, Malawi
Tristan da Cunha Cape Town, South Africa South Africa
Kullorsuaq and Nuussuaq Glasgow/Edinburgh, UK; Oslo, Norway; Belfast, UK; Newcastle, UK5 UK, Norway
Qeqertat none none
Al-Hofuf Bucharest, Romania; Yerevan, Armenia; Pskov, Bulgaria Bulgaria, Romania, Armenia, Russia, India

I'm reasonably confident that if a temple is announced within 2,000 miles of any of the areas in the first column in the near future, it will be built at one of the sites in the second column. I'm reasonably confident that any temple announced outside of the countries in the third column won't be within 2,000 miles of any of the areas in the first column.


1 All of these would reduce the size of the area, but none would eliminate it entirely
2 I'm using Hungary as my baseline expectation for when a European country receives its first temple: over 5,000 members and 22 congregations, at least some of which are wards.
3 Maputo, Mozambique could technically be on this list, depending on a temple's exact address. Rodrigues is 11 miles wide, Maputo is 14 miles wide, and the westernmost point in Rodrigues is 1,997 miles from the easternmost point in Maputo.
4 As the temple-having country in Africa with the smallest LDS presence, Kenya sets my baseline for the rest of the region: just short of 15,000 members and 50 congregations, at least some of which are wards.
5 Newcastle is within 2,000 miles of Nuussuaq but not Kullorsuaq
Question #92277 posted on 06/07/2019 10 p.m.

Alright Board,

Since you all basically passed on question #91937 when originally asked, I thought I would tee it up again for Alumni Week. I know there are a lot of quantitatively-oriented people in the Alumni group, and I figure they might have fun with it.

----Original Question----

I regularly ride UTA FrontRunner from the North Temple Station to the Provo Station. I do this for lots of reasons, one of which is my perception that I'm reducing the carbon and particulate emission of the trip by taking FrontRunner versus driving. A few days ago, I was looking at the massive diesel fuel tanks on FrontRunner, and it made me wonder how many people have to ride the train in order for the fuel saved from not driving cars to offset the fuel burned by FrontRunner.

Question 1: how many vehicle miles must FrontRunner be taking off the road per FrontRunner mile in order for the train to "break even" in terms of carbon and particulates?

Question 2: Do we have any decent way to calculate, based on FrontRunner trips and ridership data, if FrontRunner, as a whole, is making things net better off in terms of carbon and particulates?

Assumptions: Assume that every vehicle mile is driven by a theoretical "average" vehicle. Assume that nobody is driving to or from train stations.

(I also understand that there are lots of other reasons to have a public transit program. I'm just talking about the pollution aspect here, and am not trying to label FrontRunner as "good" or "bad" on this basis).



Dear Jeepers, 

Hey man, I'm just here to prove that the current writers are still totally capable and awesome. I'm not particularly quantitatively inclined... which is why I didn't answer this the first time. But I'm not going to let this one slip past us. So for this answer, Tipperary and I put our heads together to tackle this question. 

First of all, we need to make an assumption: 1 vehicle mile = 1 passenger mile. Because cars can carry fewer people than Frontrunner can, it's easier to calculate things in terms of individual riders, assuming that each person that rides Frontrunner is one fewer person driving. 

Now for the facts: 

The average car emits 0.89 lbs of CO2 for every mile driven (see data found here.) Using the 1=1 assumption, that means Cars have a "per passenger mile" emission of 0.89 lbs. 

Frontrunner will emit X lbs of CO2, even if it's making its rounds with no passengers. The emissions per passenger goes down the more people that ride (logically. X/n will decrease as n increases.) To find where the point of equality is, we need to know how what n equals that would result in a 0.89 lb per passenger mile emission rate. 

Using data from the 2013 Sustainability Report, we charted the relationship between how many daily riders are on Frontrunner and the emissions per passenger mile reported for that year. Here's that chart: 


The points read from left to right, plotting 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, and the farthest point extrapolating the emissions for 2018. The red point represents the point of equality that we found, indicating how many riders would have to take Frontrunner daily to equal the same emissions per passenger mile as if they were driving. That number is 3775. 

In other words, as long as there are at least 3775 riders on Frontrunner daily, it "breaks even" in terms of carbon emissions. I couldn't find reliable information on particulates, so we're just going to decide it's the same number (even though it's probably more, since diesel emits more PM2.5 than petrol cars do. But, since there isn't specific numerical information about PM2.5 emissions of Frontrunner, I can't answer that for now.) 

So, is Frontrunner really better for the environment? Based on this data, yes. The most recent data shows that Frontrunner hosts 17,600 riders daily, more than quadrupling the necessary ridership to make up for the emissions. Plus, as technology advances, we think of even more ways to improve emissions, and based simply on the fact that Frontrunner can take more people than cars ever can, it will always be more efficient.

Hope this satisfies your query. 


Guesthouse and Tipperary