Blog Archives

Effects of the Ex-Mormon Lunatic Fringe

August 1, 2004 | 25 comments
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A few weeks ago, Jeff Lindsay posted a humorous discussion of the “Exmo” computer virus that turns otherwise sane people into spiteful, obsessive anti-Mormons. In the comments on his blog, many ex-Mormons offered thoughtful and reasonable discussion, and objected (politely but firmly) to his apparent characterization of all ex-Mormons. This in turn led to a revision, where Lindsay suggested that perhaps a better title would be the “Rare Former Mormon Who Becomes a Raving Anti-Mormon Quite Unlike Most Ex-Mormons Who Are Really Nice and Intelligent People virus.” I agree with the comments on Jeff’s blog, to the extent that... Read more »

Zelph Examined

July 27, 2004 | 142 comments
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John Hatch has a not-to-be-missed examination of Zelph over at By Common Consent. (For those not familiar with Zelph, the very short version is that Joseph Smith, on finding a burial mound in Illinois, stated that the remains were of Zelph, a great Nephite general, and scholars, critics, and apologists have been writing reams on Zelph ever since). New DNA evidence makes Zelph look potentially problematic. John concludes that there are five reasonable possibilities for interpreting the Zelph story. His post is very interesting, and highlights some of the tensions and questions relating to Joseph Smith’s prophetic calling, modern... Read more »

LDS-themed Bloggers Need Not Tolerate Anti-Mormon Google Ads

July 27, 2004 | 18 comments
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Jeff Lindsay has the scoop: When I first started this blog at Blogger.com, I was surprised to see ads for anti-Mormon sites appearing at the top of my page. I sent a complaint in to technical support. Wonderfully, they listened and upgraded my account to an ad-free blog. I have noticed some other LDS folks with blogs have anti-Mormon ads showing up. Don’t settle for that kind of abuse, brothers and sisters. It’s a route that Orson’s Telly (current ad: “Out of Mormonism: Tools for Reaching LDS Mormons with the True Christian Gospel”), By Steve’s Consent (recently graced with... Read more »

Mormonism and Quetzalcoatl in Court

July 27, 2004 | 9 comments
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While we’re on the topic of court decisions about the church, it’s always fun to mention the Ninth Circuit’s ruling in Alvarado v. City of San Jose, 94 F. 3d 1223 (1996). The plaintiffs in that case sought to enjoin the installation (and later, force the removal) of a Quetzalcoatl statue, on the grounds that, inter alia, it violated the California Constitution because it promoted Mormon beliefs. The court dismissed the claim, noting: While Mormons are clearly a recognized religious group, the evidence presented by the plaintiffs does not support a First Amendment argument. The writings suggest that, according... Read more »

Can a Good Mormon have a Drinking Game Named After Him?

July 27, 2004 | 6 comments
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I just noticed that Dana Stevens at Slate.com has created a set of rules for the Ken Jennings Jeopardy drinking game. (Scroll down, it’s the second item on the linked page). Among the rules: 1) If KenJen misses a question, everybody drinks once. If one of his opponents gets that same question right, drink again. 2) If KenJen misses a Daily Double, drink twice. . . Everybody drinks once whenever: a) Alex Trebek mentions Ken’s affiliation with the Mormon church . . . This creates some fun questions. Can Ken get in trouble for any drinking that he inspires?... Read more »

A Guest Blogger

July 26, 2004 | 7 comments
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We’re very excited to welcome our latest guest blogger: Ben S. Ben is a Ph.D. student in near Eastern Languages and Civilizations at the University of Chicago, with a specialization in Comparative Semitics. (What is that? Ben explains on his web site, “Comparative Semitics is a broad language approach to the Near East. That is, I focus on no particular geographical region or time period. I study the major languages from each, more as a philologer than a linguist.”). Ben teaches institute in Chicago, sometimes writes for FAIR, and has his own moderately quirky web site which includes some... Read more »

Utah and Massachusetts

July 26, 2004 | 15 comments
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I’ve noticed a few interesting statements linking the two states lately. The Boston Globe notes that: In Massachusetts, 16 percent of poll respondents said that they belong to “no religion,” only slightly above the national average of 14 percent (and below Utah’s 17 per cent). (Link via Philocrites). Meanwhile, Danithew notes John Kerry’s recent statement of how Mormonism is mainstream (and how that affects Massachusetts): “I think that over the course of this convention, people are going to see a Massachusetts that’s very much like America,” he said. “It’s interesting: the last four governors of our state have all... Read more »

My False Dichotomy is Better than Your False Dichotomy

July 24, 2004 | one comment
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Over at Sons of Mosiah, Bob Caswell criticizes the popular labeling dichotomy of “Chapel Mormons versus Internet Mormons.” (Which, by the way, is the topic of an upcoming Sunstone symposium panel reputed to include at least one dazzlingly brilliant bloggernacker). To replace that outmoded framework, Bob suggests using his own recently invented dichotomy: Internet Mormons and Magazine Mormons. So, are you an Internet Mormon? Are you a Magazine Mormon? Do you think Bob is nuts to give us yet another useless dichotomy? Weigh in over at SOM, where the conversation has been quite interesting. Read more »

Meat

July 23, 2004 | 47 comments
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The baptismal interview was proceeding smoothly. “Do you drink coffee?” asked Elder Jones. “I quit,” replied Janey with a smile. “Alcohol?” “No, I don’t.” “Do you use tobacco?” “I haven’t done that for years.” “Do you use any illegal drugs?” “Hmm, not since Monday — just kidding. No, I don’t.” “Okay, just one more Word of Wisdom question. Do you eat meat sparingly, and only in time of winter or famine?” Read more »

Highway Bloggery

July 22, 2004 | no comments
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“Highway bloggery” is just another way of saying “Around the Blogs” since the same title gets old after a while. (It does sound vaguely immoral, but I’ll stick with it rather than repeat myself yet again in a title.) So: -Jan Lynn puts her own unique spin on foreordination, predestination, and why God lets bad things happen: It’s “Puppets in the Hands of a Sociopathic God.” -Jeff Lindsay continues to sparkle, with a post titled “Warning: EXMO Virus alert.” Among the effects of this nefarious computer virus are “Alteration of logic processing, such that the writings of Ed Decker... Read more »

Elder Maxwell

July 22, 2004 | 51 comments
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Elder Maxwell

Last General Conference, Elder Neal A. Maxwell’s talk was a collection of friendly reminiscences. Last night, the church’s wordsmith passed away. The leader who provided us with the wonderful imagery of straightening deck chairs on the Titanic, and who always seemed to spin off gems like “If we entertain temptations, soon they begin entertaining us!”, is now smithing words with the smith of worlds. We’ll certainly miss him here on Earth. Read more »

Humanitarian Crisis

July 21, 2004 | 25 comments
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In 1994, to the everlasting shame of the Clinton administration and the then-Democratic congress (which would be replaced later that year), the United States stood by and watched as three-quarters of a million people were killed during a three-month period in Rwanda. After the fact, the whole world was willing to call this an act of genocide, but while the killing was actually taking place, we did nothing to stop it. A similar tragedy is taking place today, a decade later, in the Darfur region of Sudan. It is being brilliantly documented by New York Times correspondent Nicholas Kristof,... Read more »

A Quick, Technical Post to Help Our Friends the Jews

July 20, 2004 | 8 comments
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I first noticed through Eric Stone’s blog that some website owners are now setting up links intended to influence search engines in a particular positive way: Previously, the top search engine result for the word Jew was an anti-Semitic site. This unfortunate result was due to search engine technology, which uses algorithms that count the number of links from web sites based on the word searched for (see explanation). Because search engines use these algorithms, results can be changed if enough site owners create links to different targets. (Indeed, results for searches for “Jew” are already changing; I checked... Read more »

The Glory of Defeat?

July 16, 2004 | 28 comments
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I know I’m risking starting yet another SSM war, but I wanted to point out an interesting op-ed in today’s New York Times. Thomas Frank writes that the constitutional amendment movement was designed to fail: They went with a constitutional amendment, the one method where failure was absolutely guaranteed — along with front-page coverage. Then again, what culture war offensive isn’t doomed to failure from the start? Indeed, the inevitability of defeat seems to be a critical element of the melodrama, on issues from school prayer to evolution and even abortion. Failure on the cultural front serves to magnify... Read more »

Do Unitarian Universalists have Morals?

July 16, 2004 | 2 comments
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Over at Philocrites, Chris Walton, a knowledgeable UU and a sometime T & S visitor and commenter, discusses that very interesting question. Read more »

Times and Seasons: Disaster Compliant

July 16, 2004 | 4 comments
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A quick administrative note here. We’ve had occasional technical difficulties, though nothing too debilitating so far. Still, I was concerned that a technical problem could potentially bring the site down, and there would be no way to notify anyone as to what was going on. Our host had a brief service disconnection on Sunday — about an hour, as far as I could tell — and I was a little worried at the time, wondering how long it would last, and how to notify readers about what was going on. It belatedly occurred to me that our original blogspot.com... Read more »

Recent Happenings in the Bloggernacle

July 16, 2004 | 17 comments
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The bloggernacle is buzzing. Over at Wump Blog, frequent commenter and bloggernacle evaluator Danithew (also our resident chupa-cabra specialist) has created a list of the top ten Mormon blogs. (Full disclosure: His assessment is that T & S is number one; and yes, I should really be trying for a tone of false modesty here, but I don’t know if I could pull it off). Meanwhile, Danithew’s ranking is very interesting and has kicked off some debate over in his comments. Who was included? Who was omitted? Were there any egregious slights? Take a look at who the top... Read more »

It’s not easy being wearing green

July 14, 2004 | 29 comments
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Over the the-blog-that-dare-not-speak-its-name, Aaron B. has some interesting observations about the (lack of) righteousness of green-wearing missionaries. Straight from the mouth of his mission president, we have it: Elders who wore dark pants were “dignos de ser representantes de Cristo.” . Elders who wore green pants were most definitely NOT “dignos de ser representantes de Cristo.” The moral dividing line between the colors was completely black and white (green). . . . We got treated to a fire and brimstone lecture (I exaggerate, but not by much) meant to inculcate... Read more »

Church Growth in Latin America

July 13, 2004 | 50 comments
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“Clutching the Book of Mormon and dressed in a white starched shirt and neatly pressed charcoal colored slacks, Willy Guzman walked across the cracked sidewalks of Zona 6 in Guatemala City to the shiny, white church that rises above the modest and mostly shanty flats of the neighborhood. As it neared 8:00 a.m. Sunday morning, the streets were bustling with men dressed in Western-style suits and women in skirt suits pushing baby strollers, all making their way towards the church. ‘Everyone walks to church,’ Guzman explained, ‘so as not to make anyone work on this day of worship.'” Sound... Read more »

Limits of the Law of Chastity

July 9, 2004 | 85 comments
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Wendy’s comment in the latest SSM thread provoked an interesting discussion between my wife and I yesterday. Wendy wrote: Is same-sex kissing a sin? What about same-sex flirting and dating? Can a same-sex couple live together, love each other, come to church holding hands and sit together in the chapel, hold callings and be okay church-wise, as long as they don’t have sex? This comment relates to the broader issue: What exactly does the law of chastity prohibit? Read more »

“And if so be that he find it . . .

July 9, 2004 | 11 comments
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. . . verily I say unto you, he rejoiceth more of that sheep, than of the ninety and nine which went not astray.” Matthew 18:11-13. Read more »

Still More “Around the Blogs”

July 8, 2004 | 39 comments
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Jeff Lindsay is up to it again, explaining about the use of occult symbols (or are they? cue scary music) in LDS temples. (Next up: Do church members really sacrifice goats inside the temple? Or is that only done in stake centers?). Mormon Wasp has some interesting history about church statements on government regulation of marriage. There are more statements than you thought, and they make fun reading. Finally, the unsinkable Aaron Brown has a new post up at BCC. The title: “More MTC Antics.” Need I say more? Read more »

The Nature of Satan, as Explained by a Seven Year Old

July 7, 2004 | 11 comments
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Seven-year-old: Satan doesn’t have a body. Me: That’s right. 7-YO: So he’s a Spirit. Me: Yes. 7-YO (getting more excited): That’s kind of like a ghost. Me: Yep. 7-YO (who has been playing a lot of pac-man lately) (very excited): So if you eat a power pill, then Satan turns blue, and then you can EAT HIM! Me: (trying very hard not to laugh) Umm, not quite . . . Read more »

Around the Blogs, July 7

July 7, 2004 | 7 comments
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I’ve noticed a few items recently: The Baron has a series of posts explaining why you don’t really have to burn all of your Metallica CD’s (or tapes, as the case may be) to prove that you’re a good Mormon. Can Mormons really listen to (gasp!) “heavy metal”? Read the Baron’s post on “Evil Music” to decide. Also, Jeff Lindsay is on a roll. First, he notes a recent announcement by that well-known group, Saints Alive Total Anticult Network about a surprising (?) new cult. Then, he delves into a subject near to my own heart — the threat... Read more »