Author: J Washburn

Why I Don’t Read the News

After visiting the actual Walden, I read Thoreau’s book of the same name, in which he says, “To a philosopher, all news, as it is called, is gossip, and they who edit and read it are old women over their tea.” C.S. Lewis, a hero of mine, was also known for being notoriously aloof from the major social events of his time. Personally, I’m not entirely opposed to keeping up with world events. I have a few hangups with the news though. And so, in the style of Thoreau, I’ll try to explain: First, news is always filtered through...

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DEAR JEFF: Straightforward LDS Temple Prep

Because the temple is a sacred topic, we Mormons often hesitate to discuss it. But sometimes that means we neglect one of the most important parts of the gospel. Just over a year ago, I posed a question to you MormonLifeHacker readers. And it’s been one of our most popular posts. I wanted to know what was good and what was lacking in your temple prep. And the conversation was enlightening. I’m a writer, so that discussion soon turned into a book, which I want to tell you about: DEAR JEFF is a letter to my younger brother giving him...

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Easy and FREE Family Internet Filter (for PC, Mac, Android, iPhone, iPad, and everything else)

THE PROBLEM AND THE SOLUTION You can install an internet filter on your family computer. But that’s not going to affect your kid’s iPod. Or your exchange student’s tablet. Or any other device that’s connecting through your router. It will only filter the one device it’s installed on. Well, I just discovered that there’s a better way to help protect your family from the worst parts of the internet. It’s not too hard to set up. And it’s free. It’s called OpenDNS. HOW IT WORKS Let me explain, from one layman to another. I usually imagine that the internet...

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Republic Wireless Review: Cheapest Smartphone Family Plan

I originally posted this on my personal blog ( ), but I’m cross-posting here because I know many of you will be interested. A couple weeks ago, I signed up for Republic Wireless. If you haven’t heard, they’re a cellular provider that offers unlimited calling and texting for just $10/month. Also, it’s not a contract, so you can quit at any time. How do they offer such ridiculously low prices? Republic Wireless uses a new hybrid service that makes calls on WiFi when possible. And most people make about 95% of their calls (I made that stat up) while...

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LDS Symbol Cards on Kickstarter

  These make me excited—like I’m risking my life on an adventure with Robert Langdon (the hero of The DaVinci Code) and the ancient secret we’re after lies hidden beneath layers of cryptic symbols. (But I like to let my imagination run wild.) It’s actually a Kickstarter project called LDS Symbol Cards (being put together by my new friend Steven Reed). I was given a complimentary set, and I’d like to tell you what I think. They’re basically study guides or flash cards that teach about symbols in temple architecture and ceremony. There are two sets: The Building Blocks is...

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