I really don’t like the new LDS logo. I was fine with the old one, the angel Moroni blowing his horn.
The new logo is a framed illustration of Christus, a 11-foot marble statue originally sculpted by Bertel Thorvaldsen in 1820. An exact copy is now displayed prominently by the LDS Church. And is an important feature of Mormon kitsch.
Unfortunately, the new logo looks like a nook in a Catholic church. Not exactly the image I would like to see the Church project.
As has been pointed out on the boggernacle, the logo also looks a lot like bathtub Jesus, a shrine placed in front of homes.
According to the Urban Dictionary:
Decorative lawn ornament, popular through much of New England, where an old cast-iron bathtub is buried standing up, halfway into the ground, and a statue of Jesus is placed inside. Frequently seen near or with a lawn ball. Associated with white trash.
The last sentence is way too judgmental, but you get the point.
In April, my grandson Thomas and I were in Kampala, Uganda. Thomas, who was recently released from his LDS mission, wanted to attend a Church meeting. So we headed off to Sacrament Meeting. As we entered the church foyer, on a long white wall were individual head shots of the First Presidency and 12 Apostles. Remember, we’re in Africa; Uganda is probably about 98 percent Black.
How tone deaf do you have to be to realize that this display is problematic? Fifteen old white guys, dressed like American business men, adorning the entry to an African church building (with apologies to Elder Gong). Couldn’t they put up photographs of the local Bishopric, Stake Presidency, and or Area Representative? Does the LDS Church leadership really look like a global organization? Or does this represent neo-colonialism?
In May 2020, my grandson, granddaughter, son, my grandson’s friend, two Ugandan friends, and I crossed the border from Uganda into Kenya to install a playground. Getting across the the border in the age of COVID turned out to be a bit of a chore, both directions. Once in western Kenya, we were stopped every few miles for a informal COVID check. Travel by road proved slow.
When we arrived in Oyugis, we were met by Daniel Simba, director of Anna Wallin Academy (a school for young orphans). The academy is located just outside of Oyugis. Daniel had organized a crew to assist.
While our crew assembled the swing set, locals dug 6 holes in very rocky soil. Once these tasks were complete, the swing frame was dropped in the holes. Hand-mixed concrete was used to anchor the legs, a task performed by locals. Then the children tested their new playground piece. Lots of smiles and a few goodbye photos.
Subsequent to our departure, Daniel arranged to have monkey bars fabricated and installed. Both the swing set and monkey bars were painted.
This Spring, my grandson Thomas and I were in Uganda. Our stay in Kasese was a bit frustrating. We weren’t able to get as much done as we had hoped. We did install climbing towers and money bars at 2 primary schools located near a crater lake east of the Rwenzori Mtns.
But after we had to leave because of scheduling issues, Ugandan friends were able to install 4 swing sets. The first 2 were installed at schools located at the crater lake schools by Gabriel, a friend and a helpful installer.
The last 2 were installed at mountain villages located in the Rwenzori Mtns above the town of Kyarumba by Chrispus, who coordinates our activities in the region, and Eddy.
The disposition of Minerva Teichert’s mural in the Manti Temple is currently a hot topic in Mormondom. The original proposal was to document it and then destroyed it. Church officials have since decided to preserve the mural but relocate it to a different location. I don’t think that is a good solution either.
I occasionally have the chance to travel to Madrid, Spain, and when I do, I visit the Prado (art museum). My favorite room contains the “Black Paintings” of Goya. I stare at them, and wonder what the hell was he thinking or imagining. In his later years, Goya drifted into madness. He covered the interior walls of his house with the “Black Paintings.”
They were eventually removed from the walls, and transferred to the Prado. At the museum, they have a graphic that illustrates where the paintings were situated in the house. I wish they would have left the paintings in the house just as Goya painted them, and then allowed visitors access. Separated from their original location, they lack Goya’s feelings and obsessions. Setting is important. Or as they say in real estate: Location, Location, Location.
My point is that the setting of Teichert’s mural is important. The mural needs to stay in the Manti Temple. It was created for a purpose specifically for the temple. I’m glad the Church is preserving it, but a better solutions is to leave it where it is. And make it available to the public.
Even though I find the temple ordinance unfathomable, it an important component of Mormon history and cosmology. Making the Manti Temple into a living museum would seem like a very viable option. It could trace the history of Mormon endowment ceremony, and preserve the current version of the live session. There must be an alternative to gutting the Manti Temple. Time for some creative thinking.
I love Murchison Falls National Park. There is a lot to like. A wide variety of African animals. Some observable by vehicle, others by boat. The falls themselves are impressive for their raw power. And Red Chilli Rest Camp is a fun place to sleep and eat.
Part of the experience used to be crossing the Nile River on a small ferry. Unfortunately that part of the experience has been obsoleted by a recently constructed bridge. And the 40 access road from Masindi is being improved. As are roads inside the park. The park’s isolation is disappearing.
Also, oil has been discovered in the regions surrounding the northern areas of the park. This is likely to have a negative impact on the park.
Poaching is a problem, as it is in many African parks. But there is a NGO working the mitigate the problem: Snares to Wares. Snare are a preferred method for trapping the animals.
Since 2015 [Tutilo] Mudumba, [Ugandan wildlife biologist], has participated in snare-removal operations in the park as the co-director and co-founder of Snares to Wares, a nonprofit that engages community members to transform recovered snares into intricate sculptures of African wildlife. In addition to developing skills as artisans, Snares to Wares employees earn an income that allows them to afford other protein sources, as well as basic needs such as medicine. The program currently employs 620 artisans and typically sells more than 800 sculptures a month, mainly through gift shops in the United States.
Using donated metal legs, volunteers from Playgrounds Everywhere in St George assembled 5 picnic tables for the Navajo Mtn Chapter, Navajo Nation. Each is 6′ in length. We selected 2″x10″ douglas fir for the table top and benches. The cost for materials was $233/table with powder coating and $108 without.
Wood (Douglas Fir)
Nuts and Bolts
Cost Break Down with and without Powder Coating
Powder coating the legs was over half of the cost. Given this expense, I’m not sure we will chose to powder coat again. It didn’t seem to add enough value.
This week we finished all 5 tables and delivered them to the Navajo Mountain Chapter. The project was spearheaded by a St. George friend–Bret Berger. But a lot of people helped including Bret’s spouse (Robin) and neighbor (Tim) and by mother’s caregiver (Sherrie) and her spouse (Craig). But Bret did the heavy lifting.
Because we could only get 4 tables on the trailer we rented, we still have one in St George.
Located in the foothill of Rwenzori Mountains above Kasese, Uganda, is a small Batwa Pygmy community. They were relocated there in an alleged attempt to protect mountain gorilla habitat. They have struggled in their new location. In an effort to improve sanitation, Playgrounds Everywhere and Rwenzori Children’s Initiative are constructing a latrine.
Work continued on the housing over the latrine and toilets.
In the above photograph, the Batwa Latrine is approximately 80 percent complete. It is now completed, and all that remains is the turnover ceremony.
I’m always interested in doing something different. This is frequently frustrating for my colleagues. They often like continuing with the status quo for a time, stopping to smell the roses. My continual dreaming is sometimes off putting.
To date, we at Playgrounds Everywhere, with our cooperators, have fabricated and installed a variety of playground equipment including: swing sets, monkey bars, monkey rings, seesaws, tire climbers, 2-bar slides, combination soccer and basketball goals, tether ball standards, elevated forts, and outdoor musical instruments. The majority have been installed in isolated locales in Peru and Uganda.
Andean Quechua Children’s Organization has been working on two prototypes for potential future projects: an animal rocker and a new design for a seesaw. The new products can be hopefully be fabricated in-country, by local artisans and fabricators.
Rockers used to be a popular item on playgrounds in America. They consisted of a metal sculpture of an animal attached to a large coil or spring. Modern versions are more stylized and frequently less interesting. Returning to the days of yore, we are looking at animal designs. Animals found in Peru. Our first idea is a puma.
A prototype made of fiberglass and resin by a Cusco artisan is nearing completion.
We currently install seesaws. But we are looking at a slightly new design. One that was inspired by East Africa Playgrounds. It involves using a tire as the support for the arm.
We are continually looking for useful ways to incorporate old tires into our playground designs. The world is awash in old tires.
We are also looking for new designs for swing seats. Based on a spider web design popular in the United States, Asnake (in Ethiopia) has come up with the design shown below.
In the last couple years, we have been working on the design for a playground elevated fort. Our initial try was at Queen of Peace Junior School in Mbale, Uganda. This fort has a climbing wall, 2 double-rail slides, and stairs. The slides, in particular, proved to be wildly popular.
The materials for fort are wood, pipe, metal, and plastic handholds. It was recently repainted, as seen above.
Our most recent effort is at Byana Mary Hill Junior School and Orphanage in Masaka, Uganda. It has 5 2-rail slides, a climbing wall, and 2 slopped ladders. Construction was recently completed by Gabriel Arahi, a Ugandan colleague. It is made of the same materials as the elevated fort in Mbale.
Unfortunately, Gabriel ran out of handholds, so I will take more on my next trip to Uganda.
Since school is out in Uganda, we haven’t been able to observe the popularity of the second elevated fort.