I don’t think I have ever had to defend the state of Utah as much as I have had to this past week. Arizonians seem to think their state is better than mine. Although I gave my best effort to shut them down by talking up the great state of Utah, I don’t think I got through to anybody. And now I am sitting here at the airport wondering why I booked such an early flight home.
Sunday night I arrived in Phoenix and got to see Arizona’s version of Temple Square. I was wearing a short sleeve shirt, freezing, wondering if Quinn lied to me about the temperature. I soon figured out he didn’t lie, he just didn’t tell me about the chilly nights. After the temple, we went back to Quinn’s place where I was introduced to his family, and quickly learned about one of Brother Garner’s passions – board games. We had a pretty big group together and played a couple games. By the end of the night I had made a number of enemies en route to my title as the “Best Bean Trader.” I woke up the next morning to an invitation to go to dim sum with the Garners. With the exception of Quinn’s knack for ordering way too much of the same dish, the meal was great.
The rest of the day was a blur. It was New Year’s Eve, so naturally, we watched football and partied. In fact, we went to the Insight Bowl which also got us into the “biggest party in AZ,” the Tempe Block Party. The highlight of the night had to be the Bare Naked Ladies concert; not because we knew the music, because we didn’t, but because we were by far the biggest idiots in the crowd. That’s quite a feat considering that there was a lot of booze there, and we were some of the few not drinking. The next day, after losing half of it because I had to get caught up on sleep, was a good encore. We went to see I am Legend, which I loved (although I recommend going with people who don’t laugh when they get scaredJ) and then packing as many people into Quinn’s hot tub as we could. To finish off the week, I got to play some golf and go to the Mesa Temple with Quinn and Cameron for a session.
After my week with the Garners, I realized that his family is quite different than my own. In fact they are unlike any family I know. Then again everybody’s family is unique in their own right. The thing that struck me was that despite all the differences between our families, the feeling I had in their home was one of love, respect, faith, compassion, work; basically all the qualities found in the “The Family: A Proclamation to the World,” a document put out by the leaders of my church on the importance of families. With the world deemphasizing the importance of the family, with divorce rates increasing, and with fewer kids having a set of parents to raise them, this document becomes increasingly more important. Regardless of a family’s situation, the proclamation outlines many key principles that if applied will bring great blessings of peace and unity to a family. And so as I finish this post from my home in Utah, I realize that although we are watching basketball instead of playing board games, although I’m the only child home, although my parents are from two cultural backgrounds we can have the same feeling and spirit within our home by trying our best to live the principles taught by today’s prophets.