Blog Archives

Ivan Karamazov Rebutted

September 7, 2004 | 20 comments
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I rarely devote much time to the poetry in the New Yorker. Sad to say, if I don’t recognize the poet’s name or the subject matter doesn’t immediately draw me in, I move on. But this poem from last week’s issue grabbed my attention, and I thought it worth sharing. It was written by Nobel Prize-winning poet Czeslaw Milosz, who passed away three weeks ago. If there is no God, Not everything is permitted to man. He is still his brother’s keeper And is not permitted to sadden his brother, By saying that there is no God. –Czeslaw Milosz... Read more »

12 Questions for Rodney Smith, part two

August 27, 2004 | 3 comments
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Here is the second half of President Smith’s responses to your questions (for part one, click here). We thank him for his participation and extend our best wishes to both him and Southern Virginia University. 7. If the Church offered to take over SVU and turn it into BYU-Virginia, would the trustees go for it? Or does the institution value its independence from the Church and wish to maintain that independence? Read more »

12 Questions for Rodney Smith, part one

August 25, 2004 | 4 comments
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We are pleased to present the first half of our 12 Questions for President Rodney Smith of Southern Virginia University (for part two, click here). For more information on President Smith and SVU, click here. 1. What were the driving forces behind the creation of SVU? Truthfully, SVU was created as a matter of inspiration, not to the church or its leaders but to a few very able and faithful members of the church, who saw the need for a university in the LDS tradition in the East. I encourage you to visit campus and you will come to... Read more »

Movies About the Afterlife

August 17, 2004 | 41 comments
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There have been some particularly heavy discussions here lately, so I thought I’d offer up something ultralight. Now I like books as much as the next person, but I’m not one of you bring-a-book-on-a-date-so-I-have-something-to-read-while-she’s-powdering-her-nose guys. I will, however, admit to viewing some 37 movies in the last six months (according to my Netflix records). Anyway, I was ruminating this morning about the best movies about the afterlife. Read more »

Cutting Out Middle Management?

August 13, 2004 | 13 comments
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The Deseret News reports a “profound change” coming to Church administration. Beyond the substance of the changes, I find it somewhat interesting that this article centers on statements from a non-PR Church employee speaking at the Sunstone Symposium. Is this more evidence that the early-90s chill is thawing? Read more »

Happy Birthday Kaimipono!

July 21, 2004 | 69 comments
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Our omni-benevolent admin and blogger extraordinaire, the “seeker after righteousness,” turns 30 today. All the best, Kaimi. I hope you get some time today with Mardell, Sullivan, Kace and Indigo and not just Cravath, Swaine and Moore. Read more »

Mormon Punk Rock Pioneer Dies

July 16, 2004 | 20 comments
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Arthur “Killer” Kane, the original bassist for the New York Dolls, passed away this week in Los Angeles from leukemia. He had joined the Church in recent years, and according to the New York Times obituary, he worked in his stake’s family history center. Read more »

12 Questions for Rodney Smith

July 13, 2004 | 62 comments
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Rodney Smith, the president of Southern Virginia University, has agreed to participate in our next installment of 12 Questions. Smith took over as president of SVU in June 2004, after serving at the Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law (University of Memphis) as the Interim Dean and Herff Chair of Excellence in Law. Among other positions, he has been a law professor and administrator at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, the Capital University Law and Graduate Center, and the University of Montana School of Law. He was also the City Attorney in Bishop, CA for two years.... Read more »

Where is God?

July 13, 2004 | 18 comments
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Some of you are probably tired of retellings of conversations with putatively precocious toddlers that are supposed to elicit some great insight or something. If so, I apologize in advance. But last night my 2.5 year old son stumped me pretty well. Read more »

A Dynamite Testimony

June 15, 2004 | 4 comments
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I’m so grateful that one of our ex-guest-bloggers, greg.org, gratefully took the opportunity to bear his testimony about Napoleon Dynamite, a Rushmore-esque indie film by Mormon writer and director Jared Hess. Check out greg.org’s remarks here. Read more »

12 Questions for Sarah Barringer Gordon, part two

June 4, 2004 | 2 comments
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Here’s the second half of our dialogue with the esteemed Professor Gordon. I’m sure everyone joins me in thanking her for such intelligent and provocative responses to our questions. If you haven’t already, be sure to check out her landmark book, The Mormon Question. Again, our questions are in bold and her responses follow in plain text. Enjoy! 7. There has been some discussion here at Times and Seasons about the apparent analogies and disanalogies between the nineteenth-century antipolygamy movement and the current battles over same sex marriage. To what extent do you think... Read more »

12 Questions for Sarah Barringer Gordon, part one

June 2, 2004 | 6 comments
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Without further ado, we are pleased to present Professor Gordon’s responses to questions submitted by the T&S community. Questions are in bold; her preface and responses are in plain text. Look for the second half Friday. (For background on Professor Gordon and her work, click here.) * * * First and most important, I would like to thank Nate Oman, Greg Call and other member of Times and Seasons for your interest in my work and for the opportunity to participate in the forum. I will try to keep my answers short, but the questions you all have posed... Read more »

Moroni over Modernism

May 31, 2004 | 23 comments
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Moroni over Modernism

This may be old news to Manhattanites, but I see that the Church has recently announced that the temple there will be getting a steeple and Moroni. I have somewhat mixed feelings about this. Certainly the changes will help with “branding” (for lack of a better word). But I always liked the building’s fairly pure modernist bent, which blends in well with the surrounding neighborhood (especially Lincoln Center), and has become somewhat rare in Mormondom. Moroni comes, I think, with no small aesthetic cost, but perhaps one worth paying. For more on Mormon architecture and aesthetics, see this thread. Read more »

Feminist Agitation, Mormon style

May 28, 2004 | 2 comments
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Julie’s post on the daughters of Zelophehad and the ensuing comments reminded me of a story I read in a locally-published book called An Ensign to the Nations: History of the Oakland Stake. It seems that in the late 70s, the Church’s opposition to the ERA caused a bit of an uproar in the Oakland Stake, particularly in the Berkeley ward. During an especially tense period, Paul H. Dunn of the the First Council of the Seventy came to town to speak at a missionary program in the Interstake Center auditorium. Because of previous protests involving the ERA, there... Read more »

12 Questions for . . . Sarah Barringer Gordon

May 7, 2004 | 7 comments
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12 Questions for . . . Sarah Barringer Gordon

Just a reminder — please submit questions for Professor Gordon by Monday, May 10. For more information on Professor Gordon, here is an article she wrote in Legal Affairs on polygamy and gay marriage; here is an interview she did on NPR on a similar topic; and here is a Tribune article about a speech she gave at Weber State. Read more »

An Open Letter to the Blue Planner

May 3, 2004 | 9 comments
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Dear Blue Planner, So it has finally happened. You’ve gone the way of Mr. Brown and projection films. I suppose I knew that someday you’d be gone, but I’d hoped against hope that you were somehow less transient than other proselyting aids that have fallen by the wayside. To me, you were nothing less than the platonic ideal of Planner. Read more »

Walter Kirn, golden contact

May 2, 2004 | 7 comments
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In today’s New York Times Magazine, critic and novelist Walter Kirn uses his family’s conversion to Mormonism as a hook for his (dare I say stale) riff on Christianity as pop culture: “I remember my own family’s Great Awakening back in the Jesus-haunted 1970′s, when President Carter was advertising his piety and ”Godspell” and ”Up With People” were packing concert halls. In the same way that it does now, three decades later, religion seemed to be everywhere back then — except in our house. We were secular suburbanites, prone to all of the usual middle-class miseries, and when one... Read more »

12 Questions for Armand Mauss, part two

April 27, 2004 | 30 comments
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As promised, here’s the second half our our “interview.” Thank you, Brother Mauss, for your willingness to lend your unique voice to the bloggernacle, and thanks to all our readers who submitted questions. (Again, the questions are in bold and his responses follow in plain text.) 7. In April conference, Elder Hafen discussed the “misconception” that the Church is “moving toward an understanding of the relationship between grace and works that draws on Protestant teachings.” Any reaction? This is truly an interesting development. The “misconception” Elder Hafen is referring to might not be exactly... Read more »

12 Questions for Armand Mauss, part one

April 26, 2004 | 38 comments
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We are pleased to present our first installment of “12 Questions,” with sociologist and Mormon Studies scholar extraordinaire Armand Mauss (here is a mini-bio). Thanks to everyone who sent in questions. As you will see, they generated a wide-ranging and thoughtful set of responses. Questions appear below in bold, and Brother Mauss’s responses follow in plain text. 1. You have spent your academic career largely outside of church-affiliated schools. As a Mormon studies scholar, what are the advantages and disadvantages taking this route from your perspective? How does it inform and/or impede your work... Read more »

A Mormon Image: The Vault

April 16, 2004 | 7 comments
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A Mormon Image: The Vault

The Granite Mountain Vault lies hidden away on the north face of Little Cottonwood Canyon in Salt Lake City. Built by the Church in the early 1960s, the Vault lies under 700 feet of stone, and was meant to withstand a nuclear blast. Contrary to the ramblings of your crazy uncle, it safeguards mainly genealogical microfilm. There is an manmade lake inside that keeps humidity at the optimal level. Alas, it is no longer open for public tours. Read more »

A new old voice in the Bloggernacle

April 14, 2004 | 2 comments
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Ever wonder what Brother Joseph was up to on this very day, 170 years ago? Here’s hoping that Dave can carry us all the way through to 2014. Read more »

William James’s Mormon correspondent

April 13, 2004 | 6 comments
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This is just a little historical thing that I have been curious about and I thought that the collective knowledge that gathers here could produce a definitive answer: Read more »

The Meadow on the Roof

April 11, 2004 | 4 comments
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I just returned from a quick trip to Salt Lake. My father was sealed to his wife in the Salt Lake Temple early Saturday morning and it was a beautiful occasion. I had an hour to spare after the celebratory breakfast, and Sister Hinckley’s funeral was nearly over, so I headed north to the Conference Center for a tour. The tour included the impressive 21,000 seat arena, Arnold Friberg’s original Book of Mormon paintings series, and several interesting examples of Mormon folk art. It was the roof, however, that I found most interesting. Read more »

Reminder: 12 Questions for Armand Mauss

April 9, 2004 | one comment
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As I posted earlier in the week, Mormon sociologist extraordinaire Armand Mauss has graciously agreed to be interviewed by the T&S readership. For those that may not know his work, Mauss has studied and written extensively on issues such as the priesthood ban, the international growth of the Church and the challenges it poses, and Mormon assimilation and retrenchment in the 20th century. You can get the flavor of some of his interests and views here, here, and here. Please send any questions for Brother Mauss to greg@timesandseasons.org. The... Read more »