"I don't mind stalkers. As long as they're socially-responsible stalkers." - Yellow
Question #91240 posted on 05/12/2018 9:24 p.m.

Dear 100 Hour Board,

Let's say, hypothetically, that I'm employed by BYU as a full-time benefited individual.

Let's also say (hypothetically) that I have about a week's worth of sick time that I've accrued during my time here.

Lastly, let's say--hypothetically--that I will be leaving my job shortly and have no legitimate use of 40+ hours of sick time.

All that assumed, what happens to that sick time if it's not used? Does it pay out as a lump sum when I'm terminated? Does it disappear into the ether? Does the same thing, whatever the answer, apply to vacation time, too?

Bob Saget


Dear Sagacious,

Well, BYU has a page dedicated to basic facts about sick leave/vacation time here. According to this page, sick time is meant to only be used by an individual when either they, or one of their immediate family members living in the individual's house is sick. Judging from this, I'd say that your sick leave will probably disappear into the ether. However, if you want to be more certain, I'd suggest calling the number at the bottom of the page I linked to: 801-422-4092. The actual office of compensation will be fully equipped to inform you about what will happen to your hypothetically unused sick leave.



Dear 100 Hour Board,

What should you do when your problems are all your own fault and you can't go back and undo them? I've been a terrible student all year for basically no good reason despite being blessed to have so many opportunities others don't. I desperately wish I could use a time turner and do it differently but I can't. So now what? When I have other problems that are partly caused by my own earlier stupidity how do I pray about them? I realize that we need to be sorry for doing the wrong thing, not sorry for having problems, and that being sorry isn't really sorry enough if you aren't changing. But then what? At this point I can't change retroactively. Is it inappropriate to ask for God's help in getting out of problems you knowingly caused yourself? I was sorry for making my mistakes all along, but didn't change much, so is it possible to be truly sorry now that I can't change those actions? Do you have any advice on what to do after you've permanently messed some things up and lost opportunities you could and should have pursued? Because it's my academic record and I'm going to lose a scholarship I feel like this is going to hang over my head for a really long time.



Dear Aziraphale,

My first thought upon reading your question was the parable of the prodigal son. In the parable, the son knew full well that he was squandering his father's wealth and wasting his own time. All the bad things that happened to him were squarely his fault. And then it was only once he had reached such a low point that he was envying pigs for their food that he decided to go back to his father. Notwithstanding the fact it was the negative consequences of his own actions that prompted him to return, the prodigal son was sincere in his desire to change his ways and honor his father. He was truly sorry for how he had lived, and knew he wasn't worthy to even be called a son anymore. But the father's reaction upon seeing his son return wasn't rancor or anger; it was pure love and joy to have his son back.

This parable applies to you. Even though the situation you are in may be directly caused by your own actions that you willfully made, God still wants to help you with your current problems. He will still welcome you back.

As far as redeeming your academic record goes, talk to an academic adviser about what the best course of action is for you. And even though it's hard right now (believe me, I know), even if you end up taking out student loans, the world won't come to an end.

Good luck, my friend.



Dear Tristeza,

First of all, I'm sorry that you're going through a hard time right now. I've messed up scholarship opportunities and it always feels like like I'm making the same stupid mistakes over and over again. It's not ever fun to have to deal with that, but you'll get through it I promise. I'd just like to touch on two little parts of your question.

When I have other problems that are partly caused by my own earlier stupidity how do I pray about them?

Now, this is just my personal opinion, but I feel like the best way to pray about problems caused by our own stupidity is to pray about them like we pray about pretty much everything else. It's important to feel sorry for what we've done, but we shouldn't beat ourselves up. If we're sincere about our forgiveness we don't have to dwell on it all the time in our prayers. God knows our hearts perfectly and knows whether or not we're trying. He knows better than anyone else that we're human and that we make mistakes. Sometimes if I keep dwelling on the same mistakes then I create a feeling of distance and shame. If the only thing I pray about is my stupid mistakes, I'm not going to want to pray. Remember to talk about other things in your prayers such as things you're doing well, how you feel, expressing gratitude, and praying for other people. 

Repenting on any level is hard and it requires sincerity, humility, patience, love, and hope. Several other writers recommend studying the Atonement and I wholeheartedly agree with them. Learning more about the Atonement will help you feel the love and help of God. I recently re-read the talks "Even as Christ Forgives You, So Also Do Ye" and "Until Seventy Times Seven" from this last General Conference and they reminded me of how willing God is to forgive us and how making mistakes is part of the Plan of Salvation. I highly recommend them! I also really enjoy listening to well sung hymns before or after praying to help me feel the Spirit.

What to do after you've permanently messed some things up and lost opportunities you could and should have pursued?

The best thing to do is learn from your mistakes and use them to help you you find new opportunities. The beginning of last semester my study habits were pretty bad and the first round of midterms kicked my butt. It was so bad that despite working super hard for the rest of the semester, my grades were low enough that it dropped my cumulative GPA by 0.14 points. Thankfully I kept my scholarship, but there were several scholarships that I was applying for that I just barely missed due to my GPA. It was hard to swallow, but I used it as motivation to be a better student this semester and find new opportunities. 

I've applied myself really hard this semester and my GPA is on the up and up again. I've also found new opportunities to help pay for school. It takes hard work to fight back from any difficult mistake, but it can be done. You might not have access to the same opportunities, but the world is full of opportunities for those that go out and search for them.

I hope this helps. I'm sorry that you have to go through this, but if you keep doing your best things will turn out okay. Don't be afraid to ask for help from your friends and family either. You don't have to do this alone; you'll have plenty of help along the way. Just keep on keeping on. You've got this!




Dear you,

(General disclaimer that my opinions are personal and not representative of official Church opinion or anything)

Is it inappropriate to ask for God's help in getting out of problems you knowingly caused yourself?

Nope! As proof: consider the existence of the Atonement. Our sins separate each of us from God when we commit them, and that's pretty much the biggest problem we can possibly have. Furthermore, it's one that is always committed knowingly, because to my understanding without knowledge there's no sin (only transgression). If God set up the Atonement to help us out of the biggest problem that our knowing mistakes cause us, I doubt he's unwilling to help us with the smaller problems they create.

I was sorry for making my mistakes all along, but didn't change much, so is it possible to be truly sorry now that I can't change those actions?

Yep! Sounds like before you felt guilty and now you're trying to feel actually sorrowful. Now, I think our repentance probably needs to be commensurately greater when we've ignored the need to repent for a time period, but I'm confident we can still repent. 

Do you have any advice on what to do after you've permanently messed some things up and lost opportunities you could and should have pursued?

I'd suggest some personal study and reflection on the grandness of the plan of salvation as a way to encourage yourself to move forward and seek new opportunities. It's true that some things have passed you by, but we know that someone who finally gets their life together right at the end of it is STILL eligible to inherit all that God has, even though they will have lost a lot of opportunities during their life. The parable of the Laborers in the Vineyard, expounded by Elder Holland in this talk seems particularly appropriate. We never want to disrespect the Atonement by following the mindset given in 2 Nephi 28:8 ("Eat, drink, and be merry; nevertheless, fear God—he will justify in committing a little sin...and if it so be that we are guilty, God will beat us with a few stripes, and at last we shall be saved in the kingdom of God.") However, it's clear that for those who are truly penitent - and it looks like you're trying to learn how to be - it's not too late to repent just because you knew you should've done it sooner. Repent and then seek for the opportunities that you do still have, which are many and great.

Because it's my academic record and I'm going to lose a scholarship I feel like this is going to hang over my head for a really long time. 

It's true that this may impact your future for quite a while. However, as Elder Andersen assures us, "Repentance always means that there is greater happiness ahead."

I'm sorry that you're facing some difficulties, but I want to congratulate you on wanting to do better. There's a long time ahead of you in eternity for things to become more and more awesome.


~Anne, Certainly


Dear Sad,

Whether your problems are your fault or not, you still deserve help, and you're definitely still allowed to ask God for it. The point of repentance is asking for help with problems that we actively caused ourselves, and we're counseled to repent ALL. THE. TIME. in scriptures and Conference talks, so I would say Heavenly Father isn't too bothered when we ask Him to help us get out of the pit we dug for ourselves.

I also want to share with you this quote from King Benjamin, found in Mosiah 4:

17 Perhaps thou shalt say: The man has brought upon himself his misery; therefore I will stay my hand, and will not give unto him of my food, nor impart unto him of my substance that he may not suffer, for his punishments are just—

18 But I say unto you, O man, whosoever doeth this the same hath great cause to repent; and except he repenteth of that which he hath done he perisheth forever, and hath no interest in the kingdom of God.

19 For behold, are we not all beggars? Do we not all depend upon the same Being, even God, for all the substance which we have, for both food and raiment, and for gold, and for silver, and for all the riches which we have of every kind?

In other words, we're supposed to give to the poor even if we think it's their own fault that they're poor. If we as imperfect humans can do that for others, I think Heavenly Father can do that for us. 


Question #90460 posted on 05/12/2018 10:02 a.m.

Dear 100 Hour Board,

What are your views on independence movements? When should groups be allowed to break away from existing countries and when should they be prevented from breaking away to become independent states?

-Thirteen Colonies, Confederate States of America, Scotland, Catalonia, Kurdistan, the State of Jefferson, my neighbors Joe and Larry.


Dear Joe and Larry's neighbor,

One of my main questions for groups trying to break away is what is their reason for leaving? Is it because there are truly legitimate issues with the government they're currently part of, and that they're systematically facing problems, or because they dislike the current leader? If they've truly been facing oppression from the government, I'm much more sympathetic to their cause than if they just decide they dislike some of the current policies or something. I think it's also important to look at the official reason they give for leaving vs their internal motivation, because they might have some sort of reason that looks good on paper, but their actual motivation for leaving is different. Take the Confederacy, for example. They said they were mad about their states not having enough power/rights, but ultimately they wanted their states to be more powerful so they could continue to practice slavery. So I guess if a group is trying to break away because they're being oppressed, I'm more sympathetic to them than if they're trying to break away in order to become some sort of dictatorial regime, or a country that regularly abuses human rights, or just start a new country with a leader they like more.

Going along with that, I want to say something about what sort of government they're planning on setting up, but I don't think it's very realistic that we would always be able to predict whether they would create an equitable, non-authoritarian form of government after gaining independence. I mean, intentions matter when they make their bid for freedom, but I don't think they should be everything, just because that discounts the process of states evolving over time.

I think another important factor is how many people support leaving. I mean, just from a practical point of view, they need support in order to stage some sort of successful revolution. But I also feel like looking at the number of people who support a certain movement may sometimes be indicative of how valid their concerns are. If a tiny group of people are the only ones who want to break away, they may be overreacting. That's obviously not always the case, because it may be that the vast majority of people are oppressive, but usually if there's actually some sort of systemic problem, it would affect at least a decently sized group.

And finally, for practical reasons, I think that if somewhere is trying to break away from a country that they're still totally surrounded by on all sides, it's less likely that they'll be successful. The pre-existing state could just cut off their access to resources, especially if the independence movement is pretty small.



Dear Erbil,

In the period of about four months last year I visited Transnistria (a breakaway from Moldova), Abkhazia (separated from Georgia), Nagorno-Karavakh (comprising portions of Azerbaijan and historical Armenia), Kosovo (on former Serbian territory) Kurdistan (you know, in Iraq), and Northern Cyprus (Cyprus, lol) Some of these, like Transnistria and Abkhazia, enjoy considerable Russian influence. Others enjoy backing from the United States, the UN, or a nation ethnically and historically related to theirs.

Kosovo currently has 114 diplomatic recognitions as an independent state. Serbia, from which Kosovo was more or less carved, does not recognize it as a sovereign state, but has begun to normalize diplomatic relations with its government per the Brussels Agreement of 2013.

Most of the people I spoke to in Kosovo identify themselves as being Albanian (the nation state of Albania is adjacent to Kosovo's western border) and indeed, 88% of the country is ethnically Albanian. The border passing from Albania to Kosovo was pretty much just a checkpoint with some amiable guards.

Transnistria, or officially the Priendestrovian Moldavian Republic, is recognized only by the partially-recognized states of Nagorno-Karabakh, Abkhazia and South Ossetia. It's the most Soviet place I've ever been, with various Soviet symbols and decorations present throughout. Although it's not officially recognized by Russia, there are most certainly Russian troops and tanks posted on the road from Tiraspol to the Moldovan capital of Chișinău, and are apparently in Transistria as "peacekeepers."


Hey, I'm sorry. This is a really interesting question and one I've been struggling with for months now. But I have significantly underestimated the huge political and historical complexity of many of these places seeking to be recognized as independent nations and I won't be able to do the proper research for a long while, because I have managed my time poorly as of late.

Despite having visited these places, I'm only equipped with a rudimentary opinion of how to address this question. If you re-asked it during Alumni week, you'd definitely get opinions. But don't do that, necessarily, unless you want like, a paskillion answers. Maybe.

But here's a couple of my thoughts (prepare to insert foot in mouth):

I would have liked Kurdistan to have become an independent. Why does the Sykes-Picot agreement of WWI, over 100 years ago, dictate the freedoms of current groups? That's not really that helpful.

I think places like Abkhazia and Transnistria should be recognized as independent entities. Do I condone the bloody wars and, in some cases genocide, that have aided these coming into being? No, but they are currently autonomous, whether or not the Euro-centric European Union for political purposes has decided to recognized them as such. Also, the UN is sometimes viewed as being, like, impartial, but they are punks too in many cases.

It's interesting that Kosovo didn't have much backing from the UN until the USA decided to official-ize them.

Taiwan is totally a country. They don't consider themselves part of the People's Republic of China, regardless of whether or not they are claimed by their powerful neighbor.

For Nagorno-Karabakh, now Republic of Artsakh, I feel they have some legitimate claims to land they occupy. Azerbaijan also has legitimate claims to a lot of that land. Both sides have done some pretty bad stuff trying to get it or keep it, like when Armenian (ethnically) people completely destroyed and depopulated Agdam,  a city once inhabited by 39,000 people, mostly Azeri. It's probably the largest ghost city in the world, twice the size of Chernobyl.

Anyways. I'm just rambling, not really answering. It's really fun to read Wikipedia's list of states with limited recognition and then start delving into the history of each. There's some interesting stuff happening in this world.

Finally, I don't think All People will agree on the political legitimacy of one nation over another. Case in point: the Holy Land. Also, any Facebook or Youtube comment zone about any of the places I have mentioned. There's a lot of strong feelings and the answer is rarely simple.

For some discussions of this that address it better than I, you might enjoy:


--Ardilla Feroz

P.S. Wikipedia's list of ghost towns and cities of the world is another good time.


Dear you,

In reality, at the end of the day, who gets to be independent depends on who can use more force to make others recognize them as independent.

But you didn't ask that, you asked when they should be able to form independent nations. This is tricky, because it requires balancing consistency, law, and order with a people's right to self-determination. The Declaration of Independence says that constantly changing governmental systems is imprudent, but that when a government becomes consistently destructive to the preservation of the inalienable rights of the people (including but not limited to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness), it is necessary alter or abolish it. 

In the case of U.S. states that want to secede, there is nothing that I'm aware of in the Constitution that prohibits or acknowledges the possibility of secession from the Union. Many scholars consider the question of sovereignty to be extra-legal, as it depends (as I said in the first paragraph) on whether a seceding region is successful in establishing a permanent nation.

In the case of Catalonia, secession is clearly prohibited by the Spanish Constitution. However, to what extent do we consider it right that a people should be bound to the system of government established decades or centuries ago, without our consent?

One possible solution that would require some major amendments to our Constitution would be to institute statehood as a renewable contractual agreement between each individual state and the federal government. I haven't thought this through very well; in fact, I only just thought of it when I first put a placeholder on this question. I realize that there would be many practical issues. But I think maybe we could give each state more autonomy and sovereignty and then set up the U.S. like an American version of the E.U.

-The Entomophagist