Blog Archives

In Praise of Heavenly Mother

October 6, 2010 | 141 comments
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In Praise of Heavenly Mother

I had a rather formative and utterly unique experience in Elders Quorum a few years ago. I taught the Mother’s Day lesson and at the end, after bearing my testimony, not one soul said “Amen.” Read more »

Let Zion in Her Beauty Rise

October 2, 2010 | 4 comments
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I got that familiar little thrill we all feel when one of our favorite hymns is sung in General Conference, as our first session this morning opened with “Let Zion in Her Beauty Rise.” (I was especially happy to have caught it since we experienced significant technical difficulties getting the conference to stream, causing us to miss both the intro and Pres. Monson’s subsequent talk – in eight years of internet streaming conference, I’ve never not had technical troubles, except one time, in the middle of the night, in a smoke filled internet cafe in Alexandria, Egypt). This is... Read more »

Reforming the Church – A Response to Nate

July 23, 2010 | 20 comments
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Nate has written a very articulate and worthwhile post that I think cuts to the heart of a common problem in how we emotionally respond to issues we have with the church. It goes together well with this other post of his which is similarly worth (re-)reading. I’m responding not because I particularly disagree with the things he has said (though I think he has mis-framed the issue a bit), but because there’s so much more to say on the subject that I fear Nate’s characterization may threaten to cover up rather than shed light on the issue. Read more »

Adventures in the Journal of Discourses

June 26, 2010 | 16 comments
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Adventures in the Journal of Discourses

I’m going to briefly argue for the general importance and contemporary relevance of the Journal of Discourses. But first, let me say: My grandpa (Max Olsen) is a very good man. Read more »

A Reading of President Packer’s “Presiding in the Home”

May 25, 2010 | 58 comments
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A Reading of President Packer’s “Presiding in the Home”

During a great discussion of our most recent general conference, one very bright young woman in my class sincerely asked, “President Packer said that ‘the father presides at the table’ – and I just want to know what that means.” Read more »

What If the Rank & File Really are Stupid?

April 6, 2010 | 25 comments
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What If the Rank & File Really are Stupid?

That is, what if they really are perniciously ignorant or uneducated or immature or tenuous neophytes or fragile (speaking of both intellect and testimony)? What if they’re as hopeless as some in and out of the Church so often say and treat them as being? Read more »

Reviving the Hebraic

January 25, 2010 | 15 comments
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Reviving the Hebraic

Every four years we have a celebrated ritual during the second hour of church: it is the discussion by all members present on the topic of being uncomfortable studying the Old Testament.  Read more »

Actions for Haiti

January 15, 2010 | 10 comments
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Actions for Haiti

I think that viewing the magnitude of human trauma in Haiti right now is similar to trying to mentally envision the difference between a 1000 and a 2000 sided object – we can’t really do it. Read more »

Ring Out Wild Bells

December 31, 2009 | 16 comments
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Ring Out Wild Bells

Following up on Kaimi’s post concerning “It Came Upon a Midnight Clear,” I thought we ought to take the opportunity to read over the full text of Lord Tennyson’s “Ring Out Wild Bells,” another frequently sung hymn whose lines concerning injustice, social inequity, political divisiveness, and faith we never sing! Read more »

December and Magic

December 30, 2009 | 4 comments
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December, like childhood, is an opportunity for us to experience an enchanted world, and regain some of the understanding we too quickly lose – and often anxiously jettison – after childhood. Read more »

Under Intellectual Condemnation

November 7, 2009 | 31 comments
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Let me begin by saying that I not only believe in the historicity of The Book of Mormon, I feel a deep and passionate commitment to our narrative. But this is a point on which I think Mormon historicitists, believers in a divine or human fiction, or any other type of good Mormon ought to be able to agree: The Book of Mormon is rich far beyond our nascent attempts to uncover. Read more »

Diapers, Dishes, and Dusting

October 2, 2009 | 25 comments
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Yesterday, a Mormon Times article began with this opener: “For Finnish music star Mervi Hiltunen-Multamäki, trading in exotic concert locales, a prime-time TV show and platinum records for diapers, dishes and dusting was an easy decision. Maybe that’s because following the prophet has never been hard for her.” Read more »

Let Them Praise His Name in the Dance!

September 17, 2009 | 16 comments
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I went on one of the best dates I’ve been on in some time tonight – my daughter and I went to BYU’s World of Dance. Read more »

Alienated in Zion

August 17, 2009 | 23 comments
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“I say unto you, be one; and if you are not one ye are not mine (D&C 38:27).” And then comes the uncomfortable experience of sitting in Sunday School (or in the midst of some other group of Mormons) with the persistent, anxious thought, “I really don’t fit in here…” Read more »

The Question of Pacifism

July 17, 2009 | 55 comments
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I’m not, by nature, a pacifist. Read more »

Grassroots-Style Dispensations

July 7, 2009 | 18 comments
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Are Mormons exclusivists or universalists? Read more »

The Revisionist Reformation

June 9, 2009 | 30 comments
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A favorite perennial topic of discussion is the ever-elusive distinction between church culture and doctrine (or officially sanctioned practice or attitude).  Read more »