Blog Archives

Gays and the Church: Whose Ox is Being Gored?

October 14, 2009 | 165 comments
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When people talk about Prop 8 or gay-Mormon relations generally, a common theme is that a smaller, less powerful group is the victim of an unfair attack from a larger and more powerful aggressor. This theme is used repeatedly on both sides of the debate. It was a central theme in Elder Oaks’ recent talk about religious liberty. And it was immediately raised in criticisms of that talk, with church critic Fred Karger telling the Associated Press, “They are trying to be the victim here. They’re not. They’re the perpetrators.” It’s clear that this basic framing is employed by... Read more »

The awesomest youth object lesson ever

September 17, 2009 | 17 comments
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Want to really knock the socks off of your youth with a fun and very different object lesson? Then try out miracle berries. Read more »

Religion as Friendship

September 15, 2009 | 28 comments
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Yesterday in Elders Quorum I taught Lesson 40: “How Glorious are Faithful, Just and True Friends.” It was a lot of fun — it’s a great set of discussion materials. Today, I read a fascinating article in the New York Times about the science of human friendship and connection. I love the idea of Zion as a community. Most of our most rewarding experiences come in the context of interaction with other people. And when the church community is functioning right, it can not only provide a setting but also facilitate the building of those kinds of bonds of... Read more »

Sportsmanship dead at BYU?

September 9, 2009 | 24 comments
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Writing about the punch after the Boise State-Oregon game, Gene Wojciechowski at ESPN notes, (emphasis added) Sportsmanship isn’t dead in Football Bowl Subdivision programs, but it’s on a respirator. I covered the Minnesota-Syracuse game Saturday, then watched large chunks of the Charleston Southern-Florida, BYU-Oklahoma and Alabama-Virginia Tech games. On Monday night I watched the Miami-Florida State game. You know how many times I noticed a player helping an opposing player off the ground? Zero. Is good sportsmanship dead in college football? Is it dead at BYU? And if so, what can or should we do about it? Read more »

Walk and not faint

September 3, 2009 | 12 comments
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According to scripture, what ought one do in order to run and not be weary, walk and not faint? That’s easy, right. The answer is set out in plain view, in the Book of Isaiah. Wait — Isaiah? Read more »

Rough Dawn Breaking

September 1, 2009 | 30 comments
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The marble skin of Joseph’s perfectly-muscled chest sparkled like diamonds in the Palmyra sun. Emma stared, captivated by the velvet tones of his voice, the intoxicating scent of his tousled bronze hair. “You should stay away from me,” he had warned her moodily. “I’m too dangerous.” But he couldn’t seem to stay away from her . . . My masterpiece will be available at fine bookstores everywhere, just as soon as I get it all written. I expect you all to purchase copies for home and office, and as Christmas gifts for nieces, and open-minded nephews. Read more »

Battle of the Bands: A chat

August 26, 2009 | 32 comments
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me: okay, apropos of nothing who rocks more – mormons in bands, or evangelicals? Read more »

Hitchens on the conundrum of female religiosity

August 25, 2009 | 34 comments
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From his book review of Elizabeth Edwards’ new memoir, in this month’s Atlantic: Read more »

Bugged?

August 22, 2009 | 10 comments
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Bugged?

We’ve all heard of Mormon crickets. But did you know that there are not just one, but half a dozen types of Mormon butterfly? They’re named for their practice of polygamy (heh), and they’re beautiful. The Great Mormon butterfly (Males are blue or black, females have striking speckled patterns of red, black and gray). Read more »

Online teaching resources

August 15, 2009 | 6 comments
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I’ve put together a list of sorts of online lesson aids (thanks in part to the very useful help of many T&S commenters) which I’ll be using in my talk. I’ve grouped them by category as follows: Read more »

Tired-blogging from Sunstone, Day 3

August 15, 2009 | 5 comments
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It’s early, and I’m still recovering from karaoke, but I’m at the Sonia Johnson panel. I’m sad to miss Kristine singing this morning, but this panel has a distinct advantage — I can sit with a laptop and write my talk for next time. I’ll try to type up some notes on this session (and not get them mixed up with my talk). Read more »

Live(ish)-blogging Sunstone, Day 2

August 14, 2009 | 25 comments
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I missed out on the morning, because I had to finish grading papers. I’m now at D’Arcy’s session on virginity. I’m not true live-blogging it, I’ll post some summary notes as we go along. Read more »

Liveblogging Sunstone, Day 1

August 13, 2009 | 30 comments
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I’m going to be live(ish) blogging Sunstone, at least some. The level of effectiveness will depend on a lot of factors, including access to wireless (which seems to be a little spotty). If you’re here (or just here in spirit), please weigh in in comments with your own thoughts. Read more »

Your favorite online resources (or, crowdsourcing my Sunstone talk)

August 12, 2009 | 29 comments
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Apparently, I’m speaking on a Sunstone panel about online resources for LDS teaching. (I’m not quite sure how this happened, but it’s probably Kristine’s fault.) The panel is populated with familiar faces from the blogs, and the abstract is this: Read more »

Wednesday Conference Talk: Finding Joy in the Journey

August 12, 2009 | 2 comments
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I really liked President Monson’s recent talk, Finding Joy in the Journey. President Monson talks about enjoying life and focusing on our relationships with the people around us, especially family: Stresses in our lives come regardless of our circumstances. We must deal with them the best we can. But we should not let them get in the way of what is most important—and what is most important almost always involves the people around us. Read more »

Mormon Studies on a Kindle?

July 29, 2009 | 22 comments
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I was kind of excited when I got my Kindle a few weeks ago. I liked the idea of having lots of books in one place, not having to haul the usual load around. I liked the idea of searching a book easily, of highlighting text and copying it out. Other features, like mailing in my own papers, also sounded intriguing. Unfortunately, the Kindle doesn’t deliver particularly well for Mormon studies. Read more »

Rainy Day Panels # 12 & 35

July 17, 2009 | 6 comments
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Oh, they’ll stone you when you speak about the blogs They’ll stone you over feminists and God They’ll stone you when you say “September Seven” Or if you talk about Mother in Heaven But, I would not feel so all alone Everybody must Sun Stone. Which panels are you looking forward to at Sunstone next month? Read more »

Wednesday Conference Talk: Joseph B. Wirthlin, Concern for the One

July 15, 2009 | 8 comments
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One of the last talks that Elder Wirthlin gave, Concern For the One is one of my favorites in recent memory. Elder Wirthlin focuses on reaching out to individuals. The talk includes this remarkable passage on individuality: Read more »

Speculation

July 12, 2009 | 29 comments
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Questions without solid answers, from teaching Elders’ Quorum today: 1. Did Jesus get His endowments during life? If so, how and where? If not, why not (and what does that say)? Read more »

Misguided faith?

July 10, 2009 | 63 comments
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There was a lot that I liked about this month’s Ensign; but one of the short articles bothered me.  It was the tithing article where the writer, a single mother of six, compared utility and mortgage bills to tithing, and then stated that: I would rather lose the water source to my house than lose the living water offered by the Savior. I would rather have no food on our table than be without the Bread of Life. I would prefer to endure the darkness and discomfort of no electricity than to forfeit the Light of Christ in my life.... Read more »

Edits have never been so cool

July 6, 2009 | 29 comments
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This month’s Ensign features a ground-breaking discussion of the nuances in the Doctrine and Covenants creation process — and it’s all about edits, like you’ve never seen them before.  Elder Marlin K. Jensen of the Seventy, who is the current church historian, writes at some length about the general process, including the fact that there were later changes and edits made to earlier manuscripts: Read more »

The participatory nature of salvation for the dead

July 3, 2009 | 25 comments
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Last Sunday, I taught the EQ lesson on salvation for the dead.  We covered all of the usual ground:  Joseph Smith’s personal sadness at Alvin’s funeral where the preacher informs the family that Alvin is going to Hell; the various statements critical of the then-popular idea among New England Protestants that the unbaptized would be condemned en masse (Jack, I believe that many modern Protestant faiths give much more flexibility on this concept — is that correct?); the shoemaker story designed to highlight the artificial line between the two groups; and so on.  I’ve heard all of this a... Read more »

How Wide the Divide . . . and can we ever Bridget?

June 25, 2009 | 27 comments
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We’re pleased to welcome Bridget Jack Meyers as a guest blogger. Read more »

Mormon Studies on a Budget?

June 23, 2009 | 38 comments
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A few years ago, Armand Mauss advised our readers that an essential texts list for Mormon studies probably included a dozen books (including Shipps, Bushman, Arrington, and Givens) as well as regular reading of four major periodicals. That remains a very good recommendation; however, for many Mormon studies newbies, that level of depth may not be an option. This post addresses the question, how should someone on a limited budget begin to explore Mormon studies? Read more »