Blog Archives

Student Review, Redux

August 1, 2011 | 33 comments
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Student Review, Redux

The announcement this week that a group of BYU students is starting a new Student Review raised a lot of memories for me. Twenty-five years ago I was one of the group “tired of the universe” which was doing the same thing—starting an off-campus student newspaper for BYU students. Read more »

Pioneer Meaning

July 25, 2011 | 52 comments
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I’ve always felt quite ambivalent about Pioneer Day, although in recent years I’ve spent it in Utah rather frequently and am descended from the gentleman who proclaimed “this is the place.” In my case, I’m not only separated from the Mormon pioneers by more than 125 years, but also by 2,200 miles (I live in New York City). Read more »

Handbook 2, Chapter 3: Leadership

July 17, 2011 | 18 comments
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Handbook 2, Chapter 3: Leadership

The LDS Church emphasizes leadership like no other. Because of the requirement that the Church be run by lay leaders who are frequently changed, leadership is a regular part of the curriculum, especially in priesthood classes. And, despite these efforts, the quality of leadership often varies. Inspiration, it seems, can only make up for  a portion of a lack of leadership skill and talent. Read more »

Two Mormons in Baseball’s 2011 All-Star Game

July 11, 2011 | 8 comments
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Two Mormons in Baseball’s 2011 All-Star Game

While 13 Mormons are among the 750 active players on Major League Baseball rosters at this point, just two (of 68 players) are on the rosters for tomorrow’s All-Star game. And with one player in each league, there is no clear team to root for in tomorrow’s game. Read more »

A Patriotic Chosen People?

July 4, 2011 | 58 comments
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Yesterday in the Sacrament Meeting I attended, we closed singing the Star Spangled Banner (I managed to suppress the urge to yell “Play Ball” at the end). While going through the typical sacrament meeting in the U.S. before the July 4th Independence Day holiday, I couldn’t help thinking about what role patriotism should play in my life. Read more »

Handbook 2: Chapter 1—the Plan

July 3, 2011 | 15 comments
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Handbook 2: Chapter 1—the Plan

Last week I began a series of posts that will examine Handbook 2, the policy handbook that the Church put online last Fall. Since so many local leaders are urged to read and study the handbook as part of their callings, I hoped to provide an interesting forum to do that. Chapter 1 of the Handbook is an overview that tries (I believe) to put the Handbook’s policies in procedures in the context of the plan of salvation. I encourage you to read the chapter before commenting, since you may have more topics to discuss: Read more »

defining ‘Oh My Heck’

June 27, 2011 | 39 comments
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defining ‘Oh My Heck’

So, is “oh my heck” really a Mormon term? If you hear someone use it, can you assume that they are Mormon? Do Mormons use it more than others? And where did it come from anyway? Read more »

Handbook 2: Introduction

June 25, 2011 | 29 comments
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Handbook 2: Introduction

After the Church posted the text of the 2nd volume of its administrative handbook (formerly known as the Church Handbook of Instructions—CHI) last fall, a few bloggers looked at the handbook, including our own Dave Banack. Read more »

Objective Measures

June 20, 2011 | 14 comments
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Objective Measures

Yesterday’s priesthood lesson opened with what turned out to be a provocative question: How do you measure obedience? How do we know when we are being obedient?And, perhaps most difficult, how do we know that we aren’t fooling ourselves? Read more »

Mormons Drafted

June 15, 2011 | 8 comments
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Mormons Drafted

Last week Major League Baseball held its most important annual draft, indicating interest in more than 1,500 possible players. As far as I can tell, just two of them are Mormon, down from 6 last year. Read more »

Immigration Where?

June 13, 2011 | 20 comments
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Immigration Where?

When I was on vacation a few years ago I picked up a local paper and found a number of articles about the problems that area was facing because of illegal immigration. Predictably there was crime committed by the illegal immigrants, and a lot of hate towards them. For an American nothing there was unusual–except that I was in South Africa. Read more »

Where are the Mormon Community Leaders?

June 6, 2011 | 46 comments
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At the end of a recent White House meeting with a Mormon focus group White House officials asked an illuminating question: Who are the LDS Community leaders that the White House should try to recognize? Read more »

Personal and Community Responsibility

May 30, 2011 | 37 comments
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Personal and Community Responsibility

Yesterday in priesthood we discussed President Monson’s October 2010 Conference address on the Three Rs of Choice. One of the three Rs is ‘Responsibility’ — which led, of course, to discussing personal responsibility. In the discussion it occurred to me that personal responsibility is very closely connected to community responsibility. Read more »

Who reports crimes confessed to a Bishop?

May 23, 2011 | 61 comments
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Who reports crimes confessed to a Bishop?

Last week the Pinal Arizona County Attorney decided not to charge two LDS Bishops with failing to report the sexual abuse of a minor in the case of LDS Church member Susan Brock, who is now serving a 13-year prison sentence for the crime. While I tend to agree with the county attorney’s position on the bishops, I have to ask the question, who should have reported the crime and when? Read more »

A memory of youth draped in black

May 17, 2011 | 8 comments
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A memory of youth draped in black

I was saddened to hear today that a central part of one of my fondest childhood memories is no longer here. Baseball great Harmon Killebrew died this morning following a six month battle with cancer. He was 74. Read more »

Who is the World’s Wealthiest Mormon? Should We Care?

May 16, 2011 | 33 comments
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Who is the World’s Wealthiest Mormon? Should We Care?

A decade ago I compiled a list of the world’s wealthiest Mormons, based on the annual Forbes lists of the World’s Billionaires and of the 400 Wealthiest Americans. At that time there were 7 on the list, down from 8 the previous year. Now only 4 of these are left on the list. If there are fewer Mormons on the list of the World’s Wealthiest, I think it might be a good thing. Read more »

Elder Andersen’s Sid Going example was timely

May 13, 2011 | 16 comments
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Elder Andersen’s Sid Going example was timely

In the first talk given during the Priesthood session of this past General Conference, Elder Neil L. Andersen told the story of New Zealand rugby player Sid Going, who, in 1962, was poised to become a major Rugby star. But Going instead chose to serve an LDS mission, and became a star anyway when he returned two years later. Now, less than six weeks after Conference, Australian LDS Church member Will Hopoate has chosen to follow Going’s example, forgoing interest from 6 teams and at least one offer worth USD $1.6 million. Read more »

Can institutions repent?

May 9, 2011 | 21 comments
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Can institutions repent?

A recent news story about the beatification of John Paul II mentioned that the late Pope had led the Catholic Church to “repent” for its anti-semitism. The use of the word “repent” stuck out in my mind, and made me wonder, “Can an institution, such as a Church, repent?” Read more »

Persecution or Freedom?

May 6, 2011 | 81 comments
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Persecution or Freedom?

Just a week after he was named chef de mission of the U.S. Olympic Team for 2012, Peter Vidmar has resigned because of objections to his beliefs—specifically his opposition to same-sex marriage. Vidmar, an LDS Church member and a member of the gold-medal winning 1984 U.S. Olympic gymnastics team. He is also the highest scoring gymnast in Olympic history. But in 2008 Vidmar publicly campaigned for Proposition 8 in California. Read more »

Called to Play

May 5, 2011 | 7 comments
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Called to Play

This past week three Mormons were called to spend their Sundays during each fall in pursuit of goals quite different than those of most other Church members. In their battles they will face “violence, punctuated by committee meetings.” But none of these three hail from the traditional preparation centers for Mormons. Read more »

Is there a hierarchy of service?

May 2, 2011 | 26 comments
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Is there a hierarchy of service?

To start out I should say that I like parks. My wife and I are raising three children (1 down, two to go) in a New York City apartment, so instead of a back yard, we have the park. But unlike the backyard, we have to escort our children to the park. So, I’ve spent quite a bit of time in parks. And how clean they are does make a difference. But I’m not sure that cleaning the park should be our first choice for service projects. Read more »

Influence, Reflecting Badly and Mormon Culture

April 29, 2011 | 34 comments
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Influence, Reflecting Badly and Mormon Culture

The news yesterday that artist Jon McNaughton had pulled his artwork from the BYU Bookstore led me to ponder once again the influence that Church-owned businesses and institutions have on Mormon Culture. While these institutions seem focused on how what they carry and produce reflects on themselves and, ultimately, the Church, I worry that the variety of books, art, music and other Mormon cultural materials aren’t as available as they should be. Read more »

Heller is Senator: Appointment makes 6 Mormons in U.S. Senate

April 29, 2011 | 6 comments
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Heller is Senator: Appointment makes 6 Mormons in U.S. Senate

Yesterday, Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval named LDS Church member and current member of the U.S. House of Representatives Dean Heller to replace Senator John Ensign, who has resigned effective May 3 rather than face an ethics investigation. The move increases the number of Mormons serving in the Senate to 6 while decreasing the number serving in the House to 9. Read more »

Mormon Funerals

April 25, 2011 | 80 comments
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Mormon Funerals

How different are Mormon funerals than those done by other religions? For some strange reason I actually enjoy funerals (at least Mormon ones), despite the sadness of losing a loved one. We’ve had a couple of memorial services in our ward in the past few months, and while sitting through the most recent I wondered how our funerals are different from those of other religions. Read more »

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