Blog Archives

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 »

Birthday of the New Colossus

October 28, 2011 | 51 comments
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Birthday of the New Colossus

The New York Public Library posted on Facebook this morning that today is the 125th anniversary of  the dedication of the Statue of Liberty. While intended and generally thought of as an icon of freedom, its place in New York harbor, through which much immigration to the United States has passed, has meant that it is also considered a symbol of immigration. Read more »

The Forbes Shuffle

October 24, 2011 | 16 comments
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The Forbes Shuffle

Forbes’ annual look at the 400 richest Americans was released last month, so I thought I would again take a look at the Mormons on the list, and was surprised to find a different Mormon on top of the list. Aaron B. claimed last May that Steven Udvar-Házy is LDS, and I have been able to verify that at least his wife is from an LDS family. Udvar-Házy now tops the Mormons on the Forbes list. Read more »

Is the ‘Mormon Moment’ larger outside the U.S.?

October 17, 2011 | 18 comments
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Is the ‘Mormon Moment’ larger outside the U.S.?

I’ve been looking at Google’s ngram viewer this weekend, at the instigation of my fellow blogger, Wilfried Decoo, and what I came across implies that the “Mormon Moment,” starting in this case with Mitt Romney’s first run for the presidency, may have had a larger impact in places outside of the U.S. than it has had in the U.S. Read more »

Making Mormon Documents Available

October 12, 2011 | 23 comments
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Making Mormon Documents Available

Following each General Conference I prepare a list of “Conference Books”—the works cited by speakers in the printed version of their talks. The list is always fascinating. But this time I noticed something that led me to rethink one aspect of the Church’s manuals: availability. Read more »

Technology and Genealogy

October 10, 2011 | 18 comments
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Technology and Genealogy

I think I was 12 or so when, in rummaging around my father’s home office, I discovered the family genealogy. Over time I was hooked, visiting our local branch genealogy library and, when we visited Utah during a family vacation, I spent hours and days at the Genealogical Society library, then installed in the new Church Office Building, simply collecting the work that had already been done, copying family group sheet after family group sheet. All this was possible because, as the descendant of early Mormon pioneers, huge amounts of research on my ancestry has already been done. Read more »

About Jobs

October 6, 2011 | 32 comments
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About Jobs

I should probably be responding to General Conference, given the timing and what I’ve been reading recently. And I still plan to respond to a couple of Conference issues. But the many recent news stories about Jobs has got me thinking about that instead. As I’ve pondered Jobs I think there is an important distinction that we are missing. Read more »

So what should the Provo Tabernacle/Temple be called?

October 1, 2011 | 78 comments
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So what should the Provo Tabernacle/Temple be called?

With the announcement today that the Provo Tabernacle will be reconstructed and made into a Temple, I wondered what its official name will be? Or in other words, how will its name be different from the other Provo Utah Temple? Read more »

‘Bouncing the Baby’ syndrome

September 28, 2011 | 42 comments
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‘Bouncing the Baby’ syndrome

Why is it that when blessing infants men always bounce the baby up and down? If you’ve seen many baby blessings, you know what I mean. The father or whoever will pronounce the blessing holds the infant on its back in his outstretched hands while the rest of those invited to participate circle the child, adding their outstretched hands underneath the baby. Often before the blessing even begins and without regard to whether or not the child has uttered the merest hint of a whimper, the men slowly rock the baby up and down, usually gently. Read more »

Desperately Seeking Seniors

September 19, 2011 | 78 comments
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Desperately Seeking Seniors

I was surprised a week ago when a senior missionary serving in our ward said that the Church is struggling to get senior missionaries, something that an article in the Deseret News last week confirmed. But my senior missionary friend went further than the article did, saying that the number of senior missionaries has declined by 40% in the past decade. Read more »

Mormons and Meaning on September 11

September 11, 2011 | 50 comments
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In the comments to Pres. Monson’s article on the Washington Post’s On Faith blog one Church member claimed that “Not one single LDS employee working in the Twin Towers was at work that morning.” This is, of course, incorrect. In fact, one of the LDS employees working in the towers died in the attack, as did two more on planes and two in the Pentagon. Read more »

Mormon Studies Courses

September 5, 2011 | 22 comments
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Mormon Studies Courses

A few years ago I came across a list of Mormon Studies courses complied by BYU professor Gideon Burton in 2008, the same year that the Claremont Graduate University started their Mormon Studies program and a year after Utah State started its program. Since it has been a few years, I thought Gideon’s list should be updated. I believe it gives a sense of how Mormon Studies is developing. Read more »

H2 Chapter 5 Part 1: Missionary Work and Convert Retention

September 3, 2011 | 14 comments
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H2 Chapter 5 Part 1: Missionary Work and Convert Retention

While to some it may seem like “the work of salvation” is about missionary work, the Church takes a much broader view. In this chapter of Handbook 2, the work of salvation is defined as including “member missionary work, convert retention, activation of less-active members, temple and family history work, and teaching the gospel.” Clearly salvation doesn’t end with baptism. Read more »

Mormons and “violence punctuated by committee meetings”

August 31, 2011 | 39 comments
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During the fall, Sundays after Church are reserved, among a not insignificant but mostly male portion of Church members in the United States, as a time for enjoying a traditional American pastime—what one commentator described as “violence punctuated by committee meetings.” And the number of Mormons who are paid to participate in these meetings has approached 40 this year. Read more »

The Look of Temples

August 22, 2011 | 33 comments
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The Look of Temples

This weekend I got to drive past the Ogden Utah Temple, which is currently surrounded by a high fence as it undergoes a major renovation. While there is nothing new with renovating a Temple, as far as I can tell, this is the first time that the outside appearance of a Temple has had such a significant change. What does this mean? Read more »

Call for Papers: 3rd Brazilian Mormon Studies Conference

August 15, 2011 | no comments
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3rd Brazilian Mormon Studies Conference Annual Conference of the Associação Brasileira de Estudos Mórmons (Brazilian Mormon Studies Association –ABEM) January 28, 2012 São Paulo, Brazil Call for papers “Mormonism and its relationship with other denominations” The Mormon religious tradition is based on the concept of an apostasy by all Christian denominations and their consequent lack of divine authority, hence the claim to be the “only true and living church.” In contrast, this same tradition emphasizes its members’ broader religious freedom, and even their need, to recognize and seek the whole truth from any source, including other religious traditions. This... Read more »

USF: A Tribute

August 15, 2011 | 14 comments
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USF: A Tribute

Last week I took my family to the Utah Shakespearean Festival for our annual visit with friends. For those who don’t know, the performances and presentation at the festival are first rate (we frequently go to the theater at home in New York City and we have often found the plays at the festival better than those both on and off Broadway). But what is even more impressive to me is that the festival exists because of the vision of a returned missionary fifty years ago. Read more »

Affiliation and the Good Cause

August 8, 2011 | 16 comments
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Affiliation and the Good Cause

Earlier this year I decided I wanted to put together a list of charities and other “good causes” that were either founded or run by Mormons. Of course, it shouldn’t matter at all the religious background of a charity’s founder or management. If they are doing good work, then they deserve support regardless. But in reality affiliation matters to many people. Read more »

Handbook 2, Chapter 4: Ward Council

August 6, 2011 | 32 comments
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Handbook 2, Chapter 4: Ward Council

In the last post on the Handbook, I noted that Church leadership seems to me to have emphasized collaborative leadership in recent decades. For the issues that face most Church members on a weekly basis, the Ward Council is where that collaborative leadership actually happens. Read more »

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