Blog Archives

The Election and SSM

November 3, 2004 | 44 comments

I have generally avoided posting on same-sex marriage, and I am not attempting to initiate another debate on the merits. But I believe that one of the huge stories of the presidential election will be the importance of this issue. While most people I know thought this election would be a referendum on the war in Iraq, it now appears that the tipping issue may have been same-sex marriage. More on my other blog. Read more »

Mormon Senator Harry Reid

November 3, 2004 | 290 comments

One of the so-far-untold stories of the election is that Mormon Senator Harry Reid will almost certainly assume leadership of the Democratic Party in the United States Senate. Senator Tom Daschle appears to be going down in South Dakota, thus providing an opening for Reid. Of course, the Democrats are a minority in the Senate, but they are far from irrelevant. I assume this makes Reid the most powerful Mormon politician in the United States. (Will he be the most powerful Mormon politician ever?) Ironic, in light of the recent dominance of the Republican Party among Mormons, that our... Read more »


November 1, 2004 | 13 comments

We had an excellent discussion of reverence in our combined Priesthood-Relief Society meeting yesterday. At the end of the meeting, I made a comment which provoked mixed reactions after the meeting, and now I am wondering about that comment. Read more »

Teen Apathy

October 20, 2004 | 25 comments

Now that I no longer teach Seminary, one of my biggest challenges is getting my daughter to Seminary on time. She has a driver’s license and would be happy to go on her own, but we can’t spare the car. So I am up at 5:30 (or so) every morning, just like last year. This morning she was stressed because we were running a little late. Not late for class, mind you, but late for her. She likes to arrive a early to write messages (jokes) on the Seminary chalkboard. These jokes often become a topic of conversation with... Read more »

The Nauvoo Printing Office

October 11, 2004 | one comment

I went to Nauvoo this weekend and found this, which reminded me of all of you. Read more »

Prayer Rolls

October 10, 2004 | 21 comments

Did you know that you can add a name to the Salt Lake Temple prayer roll by calling an 800 number? Our priesthood instructor mentioned this today, and it started me thinking again about the nature of prayer. And I admit, I am stumped by the prayer roll. Read more »

Open Thread on General Conference

October 2, 2004 | 15 comments

Want to discuss General Conference? Use this thread, but please remember that the T&S Comment Policies still apply. Read more »

New Apostles: Uchtdorf & Bednar

October 2, 2004 | 94 comments

Dieter F. Uchtdorf and David A. Bednar (President of BYU Idaho) were just called as the new apostles. Read more »

Political Discourse

September 29, 2004 | 157 comments

During this election season in the U.S., I have been troubled repeatedly by the tone of political discourse among my friends, in my community, on the internet, and in the mainstream media. I have been astonished by the extent to which the dominant motivation for political action has become hate. Most people I know are voting against a candidate for president, not in favor of ideas that might improve our country or the world. Last night, while reading in Alma 43 with my family, I perceived in the portrayal of Zerahemnah elements of both major candidates for president, and... Read more »

Sweet Boldness

September 29, 2004 | 3 comments

The first part of this post is taken from a comment that I posted just after Elder Maxwell’s death. The story that follows those thoughts is new. During my mission, while serving in the office, I found notes of a talk that Elder Maxwell had delivered to missionaries in Vienna about a decade before. The title of the talk was “Sweet Boldness.â€? At the time, still early in my mission, I was struggling to find my own style of missionary work, and this concept appealed to me. (It was easy to become either hostile or reserved in a country... Read more »

Withdrawal of the Spirit

September 19, 2004 | 6 comments

Here is a very simple question on which I have no priors: is there a difference between withdrawing from the Spirit and having the Spirit withdrawn? On the former, see Mosiah 2:36. On the latter, see Helaman 13:8. I can visualize us withdrawing from God, but I have a harder time visualizing the circumstances under which God withdraws from us. Read more »

Confronting Religious Bigotry

September 15, 2004 | 13 comments

This evening I was having dinner with a well-known professor of sociology from Stanford. Near the end of the dinner, he was discussing genetic research in Utah. He said the only problem is that the research is entirely focused on the men because the Mormons don’t care enough about women to keep their genealogy. Read more »

Jewish Standard Time?

September 15, 2004 | 10 comments

I was running late for a meeting today when I encountered a staff member at the law school. When I explained quickly that I was 10 minutes late, she commented, “No problem. Jewish Standard Time.” Well, I thought it was a strange comment to make to me, a conspicuous Mormon, but I was also intrigued by the comparison to the expression, Mormon Standard Time. Do all religions have an expression like this? I have never heard of Catholic Standard Time or Muslim Standard Time. Read more »

So, what did you do today?

September 13, 2004 | 3 comments

This is a 911 call in which one of my former colleagues at Lewis & Clark, Jack Bogdanski, is receiving instructions for assisting his wife in the delivery of their baby. This is absolutely incredible, and I dare you to make it through the whole tape without crying. Read more »

A Matter of Taste

September 8, 2004 | 3 comments

I just received an announcement for a talk next week in our business school. The title is “Practicing Polygamy with Good Taste: The Evolution of Inter-organizational Collaboration in the Life Sciences.” The paper on which the talk is based has a different title, but the reference to polygamy has me wondering about this person’s perception of polygamy. Given the implicit contrast, I assume that he views polygamy negatively, but I have never thought of polygamy as being a matter of taste. Then again, last week in priesthood meeting, the subject of the Church’s website was raised by the teacher,... Read more »

Fairies & Ectoplasm

September 7, 2004 | 12 comments
Fairies & Ectoplasm

Over the past few weeks, I have been listening to a biography of Houdini as I drive to and from work. Among the many things that I have learned is that Houdini was acquainted with Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, creator of Sherlock Holmes. In his later years, Doyle became interested in Spiritualism, a religion of sorts that involved communication with the dead. Doyle attended seances and expressed an interest in other spiritualist phenomenon. Doyle was attracted to Houdini, whose powers seemed to have a mystical dimension. During the early years of their acquaintance, while they were still on good... Read more »

Racist by Association

September 2, 2004 | 21 comments

More than once in my career, I have been told by colleagues that they had me wrong. They had assumed, because of my religion, that I had unkind feelings toward racial minorities. After observing me in various settings, however, they had concluded that their initial assumption was unfair. These moments are always bittersweet. On the one hand, I am pleased to have gained some measure of approval, even if I have not consciously sought it. On the other hand, I wonder how many other people never get past the initial assumption. When I was an undergraduate, a marketing professor... Read more »

Countering Pornography

August 25, 2004 | 47 comments

My impression is that pornography is a widespread problem among members of the Church. While women sometimes fall prey to its enticements, the overwhelming majority of pornography consumers are men. The perils of pornography are of particular concern for those who work with the young men, but many Elders and High Priests also suffer from a so-called “pornography addiction.” As I have encountered members of the Church who are dealing with this problem — whether as Church leaders or as parents — one thing has become depressingly clear: we are not very effective at countering the magnetic force of... Read more »


August 23, 2004 | 19 comments

Last week I had an interesting conversation with a young father in my ward about hobbies. He was lamenting the fact that he has none. He used to have hobbies, but the press of family, work, and Church has squeezed all self-indulgence from his schedule. I was interested to hear this because I had said almost exactly the same thing to my wife about five years ago. I had completely given up my youthful passion for golf. I rarely watched television, and certainly didn’t have any regular shows. Reading? Forget about it, unless it was related to a paper... Read more »

Are you embarrassed?

August 23, 2004 | 23 comments

Many of you have heard about the latest sex scandal associated with BYU’s football program. For those who haven’t, four members of the football team are being investigated in connection with the following events: The 17 year old told detectives she met the men at the mall on Sunday August 8th, and willingly went to their off campus apartment. Inside she claims she was accepted their offer to drink vodka, a pornographic DVD was playing on a TV, and that she later passed out and awoke to find herself undressed. She says she was raped by three or four... Read more »

Scouting v. Personal Progress

August 19, 2004 | 183 comments

My son — with significant prodding from his mother — has been an inspired Boy Scout, and he just completed his Eagle Project. Actually, this is not unusual in our neck of the woods, as almost all of the young men in our ward attain the rank of Eagle. Having missed the scouting experience myself, I have been amazed at how much he has learned through the scouting program. Indeed, I was so impressed with the program that I recently offered my 16-year-old daughter a deal: fulfill all of the requirements for Eagle Scout (slightly amended to meet her... Read more »


August 17, 2004 | 11 comments

In the thread on suicide below, several comments have raised this idea from 1 Cor. 10:13: “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.” What does this mean? When BRM states, “Persons subject to great stresses may lose control of themselves and become mentally clouded to the point that they are no longer accountable for their acts,” isn’t... Read more »


August 16, 2004 | 20 comments

Not long ago, I sat in an emergency room with a friend who had been musing about suicide. My experiences with such matters are limited, but I wasn’t taking any chances. This man had lost his job and was being evicted from his apartment. He was at risk of losing custody of his children to his former wife. And he has a history of depression and bi-polar disorder. He claimed not to be suicidal, but I was worried for him. Read more »

Dead Man Walking

August 12, 2004 | 67 comments

Sister Helen Prejean, a Catholic nun, published Dead Man Walking in 1993. I am just finishing the book, which reinforces my long-held disdain for the death penalty. I have not seen the movie, but the book is a powerful accounting of Sister Helen’s experiences counseling death-row inmates in Louisiana. Read more »


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