Clayton Lake, July 2007

In July 2007 I took a trip up to Oklahoma's Clayton Lake State Park for a day of off-roading with the Loan Star Land Cruisers. The trip took a few hours, and it was late at night, so I didn't get any pictures of the drive up. However, after staying the night, sleeping in the back of Negro, the beautiful scenery was all around me. We had breakfast, got organized and headed out on our trip.
The area we were haded to was known as the "Honobia Creek/3 Rivers" Wilderness Management Area (WMA) and a permit is required to use the area for any kind of recreation. I had purchased and printed mine on-line earlier that week, but some hadn't, and I needed some fuel anyway after the long trip, so we made a quick stop at the small town of Clayton, OK. Before long we where on the trails.
We spent most the day driving a long a trail that was a bit rougher, and over-grown then we had expected, but we were all able make it through fine for the most part. I did get stuck in one spot, but with the A-TRAC and rear Locker, I was able to work my way out. The All-Terrain tires had a little trouble getting a grip on the slippery bolder, especially since they had already collected a fair amount of mud. I'll have to get some over-sized mud-terrain tires when these ones finally ware out (that will be a while though, as BFG's tend to last a while).
By latter that afternoon, we where heading back to camp on paved roads, and after some dinner in town, I headed home. The other guys stayed behind, planning for another day of wheeling the next day, but being a good little Mormon boy, I had to get home in time to get some sleep before Church the next morning.

- Posted by Spaldam

Mormons in Politics

It's amazing that even in today’s society of "political correctness" and tolerance, that so many people would make such a big deal about Mitt Romney (see for more information about him). I guess when you running for president, everything about you becomes a big deal, but the last time a presidential candidates religion became such a big deal was with JFK, one of the most beloved presidents in recent history.

Why do evangelicals feel so threatened by the "Mormons"? Is it the approximately 6 million of them within the United states, making up less than 2% of the population? Obviously Mitt will need a much larger portion of the population on his side then that to become president (I even know a handful of politically active "Mormons" that aren't supporting him). Is it the fact that His church has grown significantly is less than 200 years? Probably not, since many evangelical churches in America got started around the same time, and have grown to be much larger.

I have another theory. People are afraid of the unknown and things that are very different from what they are used to. Satan also loves it when we fear things that are good and true, and will do all he can to encourage such fears. One of the biggest differences is that "Mormons" have a different view of the Godhead that most other Christians consider blasphemy. Mainly that God is not some incomprehensible being, but rather our Heavenly Father with an immortal body of flesh and bone, similar in appearance to our own. This belief comes from Joseph Smith's own testimony about God and Jesus Christ.

To contrast this most evangelicals get their view of the Godhead from the traditional Catholic beliefs developed threw debates had during the First Council of Nicaea, and First Council of Constantinople. It has also since been updated from time to time.

My purpose here really isn't to depute religious theology, but rather to understand why a nation founded on freedom, and especially religious freedom, would disqualify someone because of their faith. Mitt Romney himself said that his religious convictions and beliefs will not interfere with the role of government. He understands the importance of keeping them separated, and stated that when his oath to the office, performed with his hand on the bible, will become is number one top commitment to God. He also rightly stressed the importance of religious tolerance and promised that he would not focus on particular beliefs, but rather the moral convictions that America has traditionally upheld.

So the real question is, would you vote for a candidate who best represents you, and just happens to be a "Mormon"? Many people apparently have as “Mormons” have been involved in government for a long time, and not just in Utah but in almost every state in the Union to varying degrees, within Congress, and even within the White House in a number of different capacities. Not to mention “Mormons” in other countries; especially since there are now more “Mormons” outside the US then in it.

The first woman state senator elected in the United States was Dr. Mattie Hughes Paul Cannon (UT) in 1896, and the first woman elected to the U.S. Senate who was neither the wife nor the daughter of a politician was Paula Hawkins (FL) in 1980. Both where "Mormons"!

"Mormons" have served as governors of California (Culbert Olson and Goodwin Knight) and Michigan (George W. Romney). In 1952 two "Mormons" were serving in the U.S. House of Representatives and two in the U.S. Senate. In 1991 there were nine "Mormon" representatives and one nonvoting territorial delegate in the House and three Latter-day Saints in the Senate.

Prior to 1952, no Latter-day Saint had served as a federal judge. Since then, eleven have been appointed to federal district courts and four to appeals courts.

Ronald Reagan's administration also included over a dozen "Mormons".

In 2004 more than 5% of elected representatives in congress were Mormons, including the Democratic leader Harry Reid.

Negro - '07 FJ Cruiser

Early Saturday morning my wife and I flew out to Albuquerque to pick up my new 2007 Toyota FJ Cruiser [that I've since named Negro (Spanish for Black), because my wife likes to give our cars Spanish names]. Now that I was starting to feel settled down in Texas, in the Winter of 2007, I was missing my old '97 Tacoma. Thanks to my wife and her Uncle (who has some connections) I was able to get one of the last remaining of only 3200 that came with the TRD Special Addition package. I then sold my GTI shortly there after.

Adventures I've had with Negro:

Things I've added to Negro:

Parabolic side Mirrors
CB Radio - Cobra 75 WXST and Bandi Mount Install
HAM Radio
Factory Sub-Woofer
Factory Passenger Arm Rest
Rock/Undercarriage Lights w/ "factory" switch
Electrical wiring to power radios, extra outlets, GPS, etc.
MAF Skid Plates Install

And now it has been sold. It'll be missed...

- Posted By Spaldam