Blog Archives

Teaching and Sentencing

January 25, 2008 | 17 comments

Teaching is like sentencing. After all, we all know that sitting though Sunday School can seem at times like cruel and unusual punishment. Also, in both areas, we see the same sorts of arguments in play, about the appropriate balance between predictability and flexibility. Read more »

Teaching the very familiar

January 23, 2008 | 85 comments

The Elder’s Quorum this past Sunday was Lesson 1 from the Joseph Smith manual. It consists almost entirely of direct quotes from Joseph Smith-History, and it’s material that everyone in Elders Quorum has seen several dozen times. How do you go about teaching the very familiar? Read more »

From the Archives: Is it okay to be a pro-choice Mormon?

January 22, 2008 | 122 comments

Are church members required to be pro-life? (That is, opposed to legal availability of abortion). Or may they be pro-choice — (in favor of allowing abortion under the law)? Read more »


January 21, 2008 | 15 comments

Today is a good day to point out that the documentary Nobody Knows: The Untold Story of Black Mormons will be playing in the next few weeks at film festivals in Dallas and San Diego. And possibly more places, depending in its success at those festivals. This very worthwhile project is the product of lots of effort by Darius Gray and bloggernacle regular Margaret Young. Keep us all posted on the progress of your film, Margaret. Read more »

A humane approach to immigration

January 19, 2008 | 116 comments

One thing that church leaders said in their recent meetings with state lawmakers: Let’s take a humane approach to immigration. The Deseret News reports that: Read more »

The best article on Mormonism and politics that I’ve read all year

January 8, 2008 | 172 comments

That’s faint enough praise for January 8th — but Noah Feldman’s recent New York Times article is strong enough that it would be a contender for that title, even in December. I already described the piece as “remarkable” in my sidebar link. I was surprised, though, to note the negative reaction the article has garnered in some Mormon circles. Read more »

An unfortunate typo

January 2, 2008 | 16 comments

All of this to-do about Jesus and Satan being brothers is unfortunate, really. As far as I can tell, it’s all a misunderstanding based on a simple typo. Mormons don’t really think that Jesus and Satan are brothers. We think that Jesus and Santa are brothers! And what could make more sense than that, really? Look at all of the similarities: Read more »

José Smith

December 27, 2007 | 55 comments

The Spanish-language scriptures use the name José Smith. This raises interesting questions: Which names do we choose to translate and which do we choose not to translate, and why? Read more »

Unsung II

December 25, 2007 | 10 comments

The poem Stille Nacht has six verses, though we typically only sing three of them. Read more »

Silent Night

December 24, 2007 | 9 comments

Son: Was the night when Jesus was born really silent? Me: No, not really. Read more »


December 21, 2007 | 9 comments

Christmas Bells, by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. I heard the bells on Christmas Day Their old, familiar carols play, Read more »

Mormonism Q&A I: Race issues; Jesus/Satan issues; some sources

December 18, 2007 | 105 comments

There have been some interesting discussions of Mormonism in the media lately. Commenters like Lawrence O’Donnell, Maureen Dowd, Frank Rich, and others have made statements about the church in highly public places. What are we (or others) to make of these? In this post, I’ll try to address some of the questions that I’ve seen in various media contexts lately. Read more »

Turkey: The Poll

November 21, 2007 | 37 comments

What’s going to be on your plate tomorrow? Read more »

Three Statements

November 18, 2007 | 111 comments

In 2004, the church issued True to the Faith, a First Presidency-approved booklet discussing many points of church doctrine. The booklet includes a discussion of birth control. How does that official, First Presidency-approved discussion compare to both President Beck’s recent talk on Mothers Who Know, and to the anti-Beck statement at the What Women Know website? Read more »

Replenish the earth

November 17, 2007 | 37 comments

Is “multiply and replenish the earth” one commandment, or two? Read more »

Wackiest attempted priestcraft, Google version

November 15, 2007 | 12 comments
Wackiest attempted priestcraft, Google version

Check out these wacky ads, straight off of today’s Gmail sidebar. Read more »

After this manner

November 13, 2007 | 33 comments

After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Read more »

Book of Mormon stories

November 8, 2007 | 117 comments

A recent change in the wording of the Book of Mormon may suggests a shift in the church’s view of the relationship between Lamanites and American Indian tribes. The prior introduction, written just 26 years ago by Elder McConkie, stated that the Lamanites were “the principal ancestors of the American Indians.” Read more »

Minding our P’s and Q’s

November 5, 2007 | 77 comments

A Evangelical classmate of mine discovered an easy tactic for bothering his Mormon classmates, that often required him only to occasionally omit the letter B or W from a sentence. In discussion about the church, he would conspicuously mention the name “Spencer Kimball,” or “Gordon Hinckley,” or “Ezra Benson.” This drove many of my Mormon classmates batty. It seemed to be a great moral wrong to refer to “Gordon Hinckley” without the intervening B. Read more »

Mormonism and American Politics conference, November 9-10

November 5, 2007 | 5 comments

This weekend, Princeton will host an interdisciplinary conference to discuss the contested intersection between religion and American politics. Speakers include Richard Bushman, Richard Land, Kathleen Flake, Philip Barlow, Marci Hamilton, Alan Wolfe, Helen Whitney, Mark Silk, Noah Feldman, Sarah Barringer Gordon, Stephen Macedo, Thomas Griffith, Melissa Proctor, Robert George, Russell Arben Fox, Chris Karpowitz, David Campbell, John Green, and Francis Beckwith. Read more »

Painted Skies

November 3, 2007 | 20 comments
Painted Skies

My God paints the skies for me. Read more »

Tea Party

November 2, 2007 | no comments

Don’t forget, this weekend is Sunstone East, organized by blogoddess Kristine Haglund. Read more »

Two-Question Poll

October 30, 2007 | 98 comments

Which of the following statements would you agree with? 1. A school voucher system should be put into place, to more easily allow parents to remove their children from sometimes-deficient public schools and place them in more appropriate, parent-selected educational environments. Read more »

Of Heavenly Dads and Heavenly Dyads

October 30, 2007 | 33 comments

Are all of us praying to Mother in Heaven, unawares? Read more »