Blog Archives

Enough, already!

February 15, 2012 | 111 comments
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Enough, already!

I was a little annoyed to hear it on the radio again yesterday. The Church was apologizing because apparently over-enthusiastic members had performed temple ordinances for recently-departed Jews, AGAIN! This time the situation was particularly egregious because the Jews involved are the parents of the late Nazi-hunter and war-crimes expert Simon Wiesenthal. Can those who keep submitting these names stop already? Read more »

Literary BMGD #8: Twas on that dark, that solemn night

February 13, 2012 | 5 comments
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Literary BMGD #8: Twas on that dark, that solemn night

Active Mormons hear poetry about the atonement each Sunday in the sacrament hymn, so finding a poem to go with Jacob’s discourse on the atonement in 2 Nephi 9 isn’t too much of a burden. The hard part is finding something that isn’t already well known and is unique to Mormonism, which I’ve generally tried to do in this series. There are 28 sacrament hymns in the current hymnal, most of which are probably familiar. However, there have been a number of other sacrament hymns that are no longer in our current hymnal. Most of those are not by... Read more »

Literary BMGD #7: Joseph, From Out of the Dust

February 8, 2012 | 2 comments
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Literary BMGD #7: Joseph, From Out of the Dust

Lehi’s final counsel in the Book of Mormon is to his son Joseph makes an interesting literary link between Joseph in Egypt, Joseph the son of Lehi and Joseph Smith, Jr. But, LDS authors have largely ignored this link, especially before 1900, when any mention of Joseph was usually a reference to Joseph Smith, Jr. But I did manage to find an exception in Orson F. Whitney’s epic, Elias. As far as I can tell, other than general righteousness, the only real link between these three is that they happen to have the same name. Their histories aren’t really... Read more »

Conference Report: 3rd Brazilian Mormon Studies Conference

February 2, 2012 | 3 comments
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Conference Report: 3rd Brazilian Mormon Studies Conference

I returned yesterday from attending the 3rd annual conference of the Associação Brasileira de Estudos Mórmons (Brazilian Mormon Studies Association) inspired with the fascinating subjects covered during the conference and ready to dive into another year of research in preparation for next year’s conference. In particular, one presentation was groundbreaking, changing the perception of Mormonism in Mexico before WWII. Read more »

Literary BMGD #6: Man’s Free Agency

January 30, 2012 | no comments
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Literary BMGD #6: Man’s Free Agency

One of the fascinating things that happen in Lehi’s fatherly advice to Jacob in 2 Nephi 1 and 2 is that he tries to put together an overall philosophical basis for the gospel. Here the war in Heaven is related to our ability to choose, the fall is related to the atonement, and our choices are related to the very nature of existence, which, Lehi says, requires that there be an “opposition in all things.” Read more »

MLB Hall of Fame and Soccer Draft Updates

January 25, 2012 | 6 comments
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MLB Hall of Fame and Soccer Draft Updates

I’ve been a bit remiss in keeping up with my interest (OK, perhaps mania) with Mormons in sports. Baseball selected the newest members to the Hall of Fame early this month, and both men and women’s soccer have had their drafts, but I’ve missed them both. So, its time to catch up. Read more »

Literary BMGD #5: Trials

January 23, 2012 | 2 comments
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The story of Lehi’s family and their travels to the promised land perhaps reaches its height in the crisis point during the storm while they are on board the ship they built. The internal divisions within the family have lead to yet another dispute, and the Lord puts them through a trial to help them work it out. In fact, this is just the last of three stories in this lesson, all showing a similar pattern — and  in each case showing faith and diligence (as the lesson describes it), leads to the Lord’s assistance in resolving the trial. Read more »

Literary BMGD #4: On the Latter-day Dispensation

January 16, 2012 | one comment
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From a literary point of view the second part of Nephi’s vision, his vision of the future, is very like an epic. It covers a broad sweep of human history and mentions the actions of a series of heroes and heroic groups who have an impact on the fate of humanity. Unfortunately, the broad nature of this epic vision is difficult to cover in a short form, like a blog post or something you might share in a Gospel Doctrine lesson. Read more »

Times and Seasons’ 2011 Mormon of the Year: Jimmer Fredette

January 15, 2012 | 13 comments
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Times and Seasons has selected Jimmer Fredette as Mormon of the Year for 2011. James Taft “Jimmer” Fredette began 2011 leading BYU’s basketball team to the NCAA championships, leading many to expect that the team might make the later rounds of the playoffs. While those hopes were unrealized (in part due to the sudden withdrawal of BYU’s next most important player, Brandon Davies), BYU’s performance in the tournament set a high point that hasn’t been rivaled by a BYU team since 1981, and Jimmer earned every major National Player of the Year honor, including the Wooden Award, the Naismith... Read more »

Literary BMGD #3: Hymn of Praise

January 9, 2012 | 5 comments
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While perhaps not the most important symbol in the Vision of the Tree of Life (1 Nephi 8-11), the Iron Rod may be the one that has received the most attention, at least in recent decades. But I think I was able to find something that kind of fit with the whole vision instead of just mentioning the Iron Rod. I like this hymn for not just (vaguely perhaps) invoking some of the imagery of the vision, but also for placing an emphasis on the Lord’s role in assisting us. Read more »

Literary BMGD #2: The Pilgrims’ Hymn

January 2, 2012 | 8 comments
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In looking for a literary work to go with the second Gospel Doctrine lesson this year, I was struck by some of the parallels between what Nephi experiences in the first few chapters in the Book of Mormon and what the early Mormons went through in traveling to Utah. Many of those we call the pioneers left comfortable homes, like Nephi and his family, and traveled to a “promised land” “into the wilderness.” And perhaps half or more of the pioneers also had to travel over an ocean to reach the promised land. Read more »

Vote for Mormon of the Year 2011

January 1, 2012 | 34 comments
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Vote for Mormon of the Year 2011

This post opens the voting for Mormon of the Year. Votes will be taken until midnight Eastern Time on Saturday, January 7th, at which time the voting will close. The voting mechanism will attempt to restrict votes to one per person. The order of the choices is set at random, and is different each time the form is presented. THE WINNER OF THE ONLINE VOTE IS NOT NECESSARILY THE MORMON OF THE YEAR!!! Read more »

Literary BMGD #1: Address to the Book of Mormon

December 27, 2011 | 3 comments
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I’m pleased that Julie has begun a series of posts that cover this year’s lessons on the Book of Mormon. With this post I will begin a kind of companion series: Mormon poetry and literary texts that can accompany each week’s lessons. Since Mormon literature often gets short shrift (usually from those who haven’t actually read what they dismiss), I think that connecting this literature to a regular part of our worship may help members become more aware of and familiar with our culture. Read more »

An Argument for Huntsman

December 22, 2011 | 33 comments
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An Argument for Huntsman

With the impending vote, most Mormons may assume that Mitt Romney is the clear favorite. He has been the most consistent front runner for the Republican nomination for President this year, and his views may be most consistent with those of most Mormons. So why vote for Jon Huntsman, Jr.… Read more »

The Literary, Linguistic and New York City Life of Pratt

December 20, 2011 | one comment
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The Literary, Linguistic and New York City Life of Pratt

The first Institute class held in our upper Manhattan apartment in 1988 explored Mormon philosophy and intellectual life. The readings included a 1969 Dialogue article by Leonard Arrington, “The Intellectual Tradition of the Latter-day Saints,” (pdf) which mentioned a questionnaire Arrington had sent to 50 Mormon intellectuals asking them to list the five most eminent intellectuals in Mormon History. I was then surprised to find Parley P. Pratt on that list. Read more »

Mormon of the Year Nomination Update

December 18, 2011 | 39 comments
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We opened nominations for Mormon of the Year 2011 on December 9th. To keep everyone up to date, here are the nominations so far. Nominations remain open through December 31st, and a public vote on the candidates will begin January 1st. Feel free to make additional nominations or second any of those that have not yet been seconded, if you think they are worthy. Read more »

Is Fredette only Mormon in the NBA?

December 12, 2011 | 48 comments
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Is Fredette only Mormon in the NBA?

The long-delayed NBA pre-season starts Friday, much to the delight of the nation, and, of course, the Jimmer Fandom (Jimmermaniacs?). And as I reviewed the information I’ve clipped about Mormons in basketball, I faced a surprising conclusion: Jimmer is the only Mormon currently playing in the NBA. Could that be right? If it isn’t, I’d love to know. And if it is, perhaps that is a reason for Jimmer to be named Mormon of the Year? Read more »

Nominate the 2011 Mormon of the Year

December 9, 2011 | 48 comments
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Its that time of year again. The media will soon start reviewing the important news stories of the year, Time will soon select its Person of the Year; so we should get busy selecting the Mormon of the Year. For those who don’t remember, T&S selected Mitt Romney as the Mormon of the Year for 2008, Harry Reid for 2009, and Elizabeth Smart for 2010. As in the past, the choice does not mean that the person is a good Mormon or even a good person. This designation is solely about the impact the person has had. Note: We have... Read more »

Times & Seasons Looks at Parley P. Pratt: The Apostle Paul of Mormonism

December 7, 2011 | 4 comments
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Times & Seasons Looks at Parley P. Pratt: The Apostle Paul of Mormonism

Starting tomorrow and extending for several weeks, several of my co-bloggers and I will post reviews of Parley P. Pratt: The Apostle Paul of Mormonism by Terryl L. Givens and Matthew J. Grow, which was published a few months ago by Oxford University Press. Read more »

Boston’s Mormon women’s organization, 1844

December 5, 2011 | 12 comments
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Nauvoo had its Relief Society, but the “society of sisters” in Boston was instead the “Sewing and Penny Society,” or so the Church’s New York City newspaper reported. Despite all that the Relief Society has become in the nearly 170 years since it was founded, it apparently only existed in Nauvoo. In other areas, women were left to their own devices. Read more »

Interruption and Restoration

December 3, 2011 | 30 comments
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Regular T&S readers will have noticed that our site has not been available for much of the past couple of days. Its not our fault. On Thursday morning, Bluehost.com, our now former host, shut down our site without warning and without providing any specific information that might allow us to solve whatever problem had arisen.We are not pleased and, frankly, we expected more of a company based in a heavily Mormon area. So we have taken the opportunity to switch hosts, and we are upgrading our software in the process. All of our content has been recovered and all... Read more »

Aunt Em on Thanksgiving

November 24, 2011 | one comment
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Aunt Em on Thanksgiving

For Thanksgiving, I’m posting this essay, written by one of the principle figures of 19th century Mormon letters and perhaps Mormonism’s first prominent feminist. While not a particularly insightful essay, this is somewhat interesting for its understanding of the Thanksgiving holiday in the first few decades after it became popular. I suspect much of Amethyst’s understanding of the holiday’s history is wrong, but its hard to dispute her claims of what Thanksgiving was like in New England “Forty years ago” Read more »

Mormons in Politics Update: Arizona

November 9, 2011 | 23 comments
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Mormons in Politics Update: Arizona

While off-year elections, like yesterday’s U.S. elections, are usually almost irrelevant, there was an interesting, if not important, race for those following Mormons in Politics—and the result appears to be the election of Jerry Lewis. Read more »