Blog Archives

Linguistic answers to theological questions

February 19, 2007 | 25 comments
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The southern German and Austrian greeting Grüß Gott! ‘may God greet ‘ is perceived by many local members and American missionaries as a too-frequent or otherwise inappropriate use of a divine title. Read more »

Does coffee make you unclean?

February 12, 2007 | 31 comments
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In the Pentateuch, we find two ways of doing wrong. There is the more familiar sequence where a person sins by violating divine law and must atone for the guilt, but also the sequence where a person becomes unclean through contact with a tabooed person or object and must be ritually cleansed. Read more »

Colligite fragmenta ne pereant

February 8, 2007 | 14 comments
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In a manuscript I’m looking at right now, I’m trying to find what verses two or three biblical citations refer to. Before I declare them to be hopeless cases, do any of the three sound familiar to you? Read more »

The problem with “liberal Mormon”

February 5, 2007 | 54 comments
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The problem with “liberal Mormon” is not the liberal Mormons, whoever they might be, but rather the term used to classify them. It seems to me that the term is used as a catch-all for at least five mostly unrelated things. Read more »

The King and Us

January 28, 2007 | 8 comments
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Today my wife visited a ward conference in Grafenwöhr, representing the stake YW presidency. As of today, Grafenwöhr is a US servicemen’s ward; until now it’s been a branch. For a meetinghouse, the ward rents a local hall. Before it was used as a church, the building was a bar, and then a strip club. Also, Elvis once performed there, approximately where the young women now have their classroom. Some LDS meetinghouses have longer and nobler histories, but I would guess few have had such close brushes with fame. Read more »

Cars, Buses, and Suicide Bombing

January 25, 2007 | 14 comments
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Going without a car means giving up some control over the safety of yourself and your family, or the illusion of control. Read more »

Cars, Buses, and the Von Trapp Family Singers

January 12, 2007 | 110 comments
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Public transportation is a wonderful thing. Read more »

Orthoglossy

January 8, 2007 | 11 comments
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The people of Zion were of one heart and one mind and dwelt in righteousness. Our goal is to be like them. Are we? It’s hard to be sure, since we can’t easily know what’s in another person’s heart. Read more »

Mitt, the Mormons, and the Democrats’ Mountain West Strategy

December 29, 2006 | 27 comments
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The Democratic electoral strategy for 2008 and Mitt Romney’s candidacy might just give Mormons more political influence than they will ever have again in a presidential election. The combination of the two will certainly give the McCain campaign a bad case of indigestion. Read more »

When bad things happen to good music

December 14, 2006 | 30 comments
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You purists can scoff, but I think Christmas with the Cambridge Singers is a great Christmas album. “What sweeter music” never fails to bring me back to the first time I heard it: December, fifteen years ago, when I was broke and desperately unhappy Read more »

Never look at the trombones

December 6, 2006 | 50 comments
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I largely agree with Kaimi’s thoughts on how the Church is usually content to let teachings and statements of earlier authorities fade into obsolescence through silence, rather than through any kind of formal pronouncement. But I think that the opposite, that the silent treatment is intended as an informal repudiation, might not be true in all cases. I don’t think that any general authority will provide a clear answer on nineteenth-century polygamy any time soon, but I don’t think their silence will provide any guidance, either. Read more »

Wave theory

November 29, 2006 | 22 comments
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Family trees are familiar and similarly dissatisfying models in historical linguistics and in the history of religion. Read more »

Bill Shrives

November 23, 2006 | 2 comments
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For forty years, Bill Shrives was a train signal supervisor for Southern Pacific Railroad. Every day, the lives and livelihoods of thousands of people depended on his doing his job conscientiously and correctly. As with nearly everyone who plays an important part in keeping the economy humming, it is safe to say that nearly no one thought about Bill Shrives when their train sailed safely past the signals he inspected. Read more »

I am thankful for my appendectomy

November 20, 2006 | 13 comments
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One night last March, I went to bed feeling fine but woke up four hours later with abdominal pain that wouldn’t go away. I finished the ensuing day in the hospital recovering from an appendectomy, for which I am very grateful. Read more »

Slovakia!

November 14, 2006 | 9 comments
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The government of Slovakia granted the Church official recognition on October 18. Read more »

St. Martin’s Day

November 10, 2006 | 33 comments
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Or, Notes from a modern theocracy Continuing the periodic series on Holiday Envy, November 11 is St. Martin’s Day. Read more »

The Shape of Things to Come

November 3, 2006 | 29 comments
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For many years, northern Bavaria had a duplicate Church geography, with a stake for American servicemen sharing the boundaries of a German district. Read more »

Relic area

October 31, 2006 | 24 comments
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Once when I was a missionary district leader, one call to my zone leader went particularly badly. I was trying to get permission for my district to take a hike in the woods, essentially. (The difference between a hike in the woods, and essentially a hike in the woods, was the sticking point Read more »

Wal-Mart, McDonalds

October 27, 2006 | 31 comments
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How do you transplant an American institution to Europe and make it work? Read more »

Isogloss

October 20, 2006 | 16 comments
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One way to think about religious difference is with isoglosses. Read more »

Why study old books?

October 13, 2006 | 10 comments
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Most German classes taught by most German professors have little to do with the professor’s academic specialty and a lot to do with teaching college students to speak and write better German. Read more »

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas

October 6, 2006 | 20 comments
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This post is not two months early. It’s two weeks late. Around here, Christmas cookies and candy and multiple varieties of Stollen have been available in grocery stores since the last week of September, and the local hypermarket has a whole aisle devoted to Christmas decorations. Read more »

Substrate : Superstrate

October 4, 2006 | 10 comments
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Contact between religions is a lot like contact between languages. One way for two language communities to interact is through invasion. Read more »

Second-language acquisition in children; or, This life is a school

September 26, 2006 | 26 comments
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I’ve enrolled my two oldest children in a German elementary school. They have until Christmas to learn German and catch up to the rest of their first- or third-grade classes before the risk of flunking out gets to be too high. Read more »

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Times and Seasons is a place to gather and discuss ideas of interest to faithful Latter-day Saints.