Welcome back to The Convert Files, TWIM Nation! This latest installment of The Convert Files is brought to you by our sponsor, The Oxford Comma Coalition.

Don’t let the grammarians fool you, serial commas are cool. At OCC, we say, “Commas for everyone!”

And now back to our regularly scheduled content and lots of commas.

Acronym Olympics

FHE, YCL, BYC, WYC, BYD, WC, MTC, RSP, EQP, YWP, PMG, JST….hold on I need to catch my breath. CES, BoM, PoGP, AoF, BIC, DI, PPI, YSA, CTR, BYU, D&C, WML….. The list goes on and on. No my friend, you weren’t hired by a clandestine government organization, you’ve just found out that Latter-day Saints love acronyms. In actuality, acronyms are very common in the world. I work in the medical field and we use them all the time, sometimes inappropriately or out of humor. For instance FDGB is Fall Down Go Boom.

When you first join the church, you can hear new terminology and acronyms for a lot of unfamiliar things. This immersion into a new culture can be a bit overwhelming. Okay, very overwhelming. Then again, what those acronyms stand for can be just as confusing to an investigator or a new member.

What’s a Pearl of Great Price and how much is it worth?

A sample conversation

Some of you may have experienced something similar to this.

Elders Quorum President: “Hey, Brother Borders, we need to do a PPI. When would be a good time for you?”

Me: “PPI?”

Elders Quorum President:“Oh sorry, Personal Priesthood Interview.”

Me:“Um, okay, how about 8:30 on Sunday? Right before Church?”

Elders Quorum President:“Sorry, I have PEC then. I also have meeting with the YSA Elders Quorum President right after church. Would 2:00 Sunday work? I can slip it in between the YSA meeting and the BYU Christmas Special.”

A bit over dramatic, maybe, but it demonstrates my point that we have a lot of acronyms.

Okay, why are you obsessed with acronyms?

I do love a good acronym. We purposely made a sign in our bathroom that says ‘XYZ’. We thought it was a good reminder for our boys done in a tactful way. Okay, I really just thought it would be funny because I’m a 12 year-old boy stuck in a 37 year-old man’s body. Not all acronyms are bad. I say it again, not all acronyms are bad. That being said, I do think we tend to overuse them. I’m just as guilty as the next guy, but they do make things easier on occasion.

In thinking about my installments of The Convert Files, I often look back at past presidency messages I sent to the members of the quorum when I was an Elders Quorum President. I knew I couldn’t meet with each of them one on one, so a monthly presidency message was my way of ministering to all of the elders. As I read back through them, I came across one that I sent, that used an acronym from the fire service (yes I work there too, I’m a chronic over-achiever) to build on gospel principles.

So in an effort to add to the already bloated list of acronyms, I offer this. But first a word from our sponsor.

The Oxford Comma Coalition

Pesky editor got you down? He wants you to use AP style? No way, sir!

Look no further than your personal advocates at the Oxford Comma Coalition.

At OCC, we say, “We’ve got your back, and your comma.”

Oxford Comma Coaliton – Better Grammar For A Better Life

And now back to our column.

Bringing forth a new acronym

In the fire serviceĀ  we have an acronym that is usedĀ  on wildfires. The acronym is LCES. We pronounce it laces, just like shoe laces. Each letter stands for something we need to be paying attention to while on the fire line to keep us safe. There is so much that could go wrong. Safety is paramount and everyone, from line worker to incident commander, is charged with making safety the number one priority. By observing LCES, we can mitigate potential hazards so that we can return home to our families. I want to examine the term and apply some examples to our lives.

Firefighter LCES

L – Lookouts – This is a person who is used to specifically watch for, and warn of, dangerous situations or fires that are creeping too close to working fire crews.

C – Communications A reminder to check our radios and make sure that we have good communication with the other crews. If we don’t have verbal, we at least make sure we have visual communication with our own crews.

E – Escape Routes – This is to help us identify which way we need to go to escape. Pre-planning for potential hazards can help us escape safely if the situation becomes unsafe, which it can rapidly become.

S – Safety Zones – No, not the missionary safety videos. These are places that we will be completely safe from the fire.

Great, Jeff, but what does that have to do with anything?

Well I’m glad you asked. I think there are Gospel principles that can be linked to each of these items in the LCES acronym.

The Gospel LCES

L – Lookouts – We have some very good lookouts for us, they are called the Prophet and Apostles. They are constantly on guard, watching for dangers and warning us if those dangers are creeping too close to us. We may not always understand their warnings, but we need to heed their counsel and apply it to our lives. They may see things that we can’t due to the apostolic calling.

C – Communications – This is the open line of communication (prayer) that we have with our Heavenly Father. He is our life line. Our phone a friend if you will. We need to make sure that that line of communication is open by being humble enough to listen to the direction given. Talk to Him. I mean really talk. Tell him about your day, what your hopes and fears are. Talk like you would to your best friend, and then listen.

E – Escape Routes – This is predetermining our actions, so that if we find ourselves in situations that are not good, we know how to react. We teach this to our youth. Let us decide now! If we wait to choose how we will respond to the pressures of the world until they are upon us, we could get burned.

S – Safety Zones – These are our temples and churches, but also let us remember that our homes should be a safety zone as well. A place protected from the dangers of the world. We need to do our best to keep these places sacred and safe. We need to help cultivate the Spirit in our homes, and make it a place of peace and rest.

Conclusion

Who doesn’t want safety in this life? I’m constantly praying for safety for myself, my family, friends, and many others in one form or another. If we want to better prepare ourselves and mitigate potential hazards, we all need to be aware of our LCES. Will it stop every bad thing from happening? Certainly not. Trials and tribulations are essential to our mortal experience, and ones we shouldn’t wish to trade. After all, we shouted for joy at the prospect of gaining mortality, knowing fully well the trials we might face as a result of said mortality. But if we pay attention to our Gospel LCES, then maybe one day, we can safely return home to our Heavenly Father and our families who have gone before us. My guess is that they are praying for our safety and they are eagerly awaiting our return.

Until next time, watch your LCES and we will see you again on, The Convert Files.