Blog Archives

Inoculation for Mormons Behaving Badly

April 14, 2011 | 44 comments
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Last June Dave Banack discussed the idea that LDS Church members should be inoculated for troubling LDS doctrinal and historical issues. I don’t think that idea has been completely explored, but I do think inoculation might be useful in one area where our (i.e., Mormon) sub-culture doesn’t use it: the news. Read more »

The Implied Statistical Report, 2010

April 5, 2011 | 16 comments
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The Implied Statistical Report, 2010

A couple of years ago my post The Implied Statistical Report, 2008, looked at what can be learned from a detailed examination of the data the Church releases each April Conference. This conferences’ data includes an additional statistic not found in earlier reports, the number of Church Service Missionaries, which led me to look again at the statistics to see if I might find something else. Read more »

Sunday Morning Session

April 3, 2011 | 2 comments
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Sunday Morning Session

President Henry B. Eyring conducting. Discourses by President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, Elder Paul B. Johnson, Bishop H. David Burton, Sister Silvia H. Allred, Elder David A. Bednar and President Thomas S. Monson. Perhaps even more so than previous sessions, the theme of this session was the Church Welfare program. President Eyring mentioned the 75th anniversary of Church Welfare in his opening remarks, and the remarks of both Bishop Burton and Sister Allred focused on Welfare. Read more »

Saturday Afternoon Session

April 2, 2011 | 5 comments
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Saturday Afternoon Session

Pres. Uchtdorf conducted again, and following the customary audit report and statistical report, talks were given by Elder Boyd K. Packer, Elder Russell M. Nelson, Elder Russell J. Maynes, Elder Cecil O. Samuelsen, Elder Dallin H. Oaks and Elder M. Russell Ballard. Read more »

A tool for Conference analysis

March 30, 2011 | 17 comments
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A tool for Conference analysis

While we know that gospel principles are eternal, we must also admit that the language used to describe them changes over time. And now we have a tool for discovering and analyzing how Church leaders have changed their descriptions of the gospel over the past 160 years. Read more »

Balancing Political Positions with the Church and the Gospel

March 29, 2011 | 106 comments
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Balancing Political Positions with the Church and the Gospel

My earliest memory of conflict over Church decisions came because of a local stake division and boundary changes.I remember my mother venting about how one high councilor in one stake prevented the boundary change from following local political boundaries, which would have, in my mother’s view, give Church members a more unified voice in local politics. Read more »

Major League Mormons

March 24, 2011 | 60 comments
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Major League Mormons

Last year was major for Major League Mormons—or at least for one of them. This makes the third year that I have looked at what those of us who follow these Mormons want to know each April, and I’m wondering if I should look at this information more often. Read more »

Tribute to Richard Daines: Health, Sugar & Taxes

March 18, 2011 | 22 comments
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Tribute to Richard Daines: Health, Sugar & Taxes

When I learned that Richard Daines, a fellow New York City Mormon, passed away last month, I knew I wanted to write something about him for several reasons. First, I like writing about Mormons outside of the Wasatch-front bias of Mormon culture. Second, I have my own bias towards New York City, and third, I admire his political achievements. Read more »

Applying the Golden Rule Collectively

March 15, 2011 | 39 comments
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Applying the Golden Rule Collectively

Christian religions, in general, believe in what is widely known as the golden rule: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. In fact, as I understand it, most belief systems have some version of this idea. It seems to me that it is usually understood individually. But I have to believe that we should also apply it to groups — other countries, other peoples, other races, other sports teams… and other religions. Read more »

Misunderstanding or Malice?

March 11, 2011 | 22 comments
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Misunderstanding or Malice?

I came across an interesting reaction to LDS missionaries recently. A letter to the editor of an English-language Thai paper suggested that the presence of LDS missionaries there is an insult: “Why do Mormon missionaries in particular always travel thousands of miles on the ‘mission’ when Mormonism was entirely founded in the United States over a century ago, yet the US is 98 per cent non-Mormon?” Read more »

International Bibliography 2010

February 28, 2011 | 16 comments
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International Bibliography 2010

With the growth of the LDS Church worldwide, I think few academics of Mormonism disagree that the Church’s international progress deserve more attention. Even so, I was surprised when I compiled a list of international publications from last year. The list is substantial. Read more »

Peace

February 20, 2011 | 20 comments
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Peace

Sometimes unintentional mistakes lead to interesting lines of thought. A few weeks ago I misheard a speaker in an LDS meeting. The speaker was quoting John 14:27, and either because of the speaker’s mispronunciation or my imperfect hearing, I heard the word “live” instead of the word “leave.” This lead me to think about what it means to live in peace. Read more »

Missionary Visas and Political Strategy

February 18, 2011 | 50 comments
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Missionary Visas and Political Strategy

Mexican-American activist Raul Lopez-Vargas letter asking Mexican President Felipe Calderón to hold up LDS missionary visas to Mexico because of proposed illegal immigration enforcement legislation is being called a blatant blackmail attempt. If true, I have to wonder how he could possibly think it would work. Read more »

New Mormon Studies Journal starts in April

February 2, 2011 | 32 comments
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New Mormon Studies Journal starts in April

The Claremont Graduate School’s Mormon Studies program has produced another contribution to the study of Mormonism: a student-run on-line journal. Which makes me wonder, how many Mormon Studies journals can be supported? Read more »

Times and Seasons’ 2010 Mormon of the Year: Elizabeth Smart

January 16, 2011 | 21 comments
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Times and Seasons’ 2010 Mormon of the Year: Elizabeth Smart

Times and Seasons has selected Elizabeth Smart as Mormon of the Year for 2010. Elizabeth Smart has been in the public eye this year in the United States and around the world as the chief witness in the trial of Brian David Mitchell, who abducted her in 2002. And her testimony gave her significant influence, despite her apparent distance from the spotlight while serving on an LDS mission during 2010. In her testimony, Smart showed a poise and decorum that is rarely found among private individuals thrust into the public spotlight. Central to Smart’s impact is her religion. Mormonism... Read more »

Will 3rd Mormon make Baseball Hall of Fame next year?

January 7, 2011 | 14 comments
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Will 3rd Mormon make Baseball Hall of Fame next year?

When I looked at the results of voting for the Baseball Hall of Fame, I was somewhat surprised that two LDS players were still getting enough votes to stay on the list for next year, even though they haven’t yet been selected. And one of the players looks like he may eventually be selected — perhaps even next year. Read more »

Vote for Mormon of the Year 2010

January 1, 2011 | 107 comments
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Vote for Mormon of the Year 2010

This post opens the voting for Mormon of the Year. Votes will be taken until midnight Eastern Time on Saturday, January 8th, 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 »

Apportionment tomorrow likely means more Mormons in U. S. Congress

December 20, 2010 | 13 comments
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Apportionment tomorrow likely means more Mormons in U. S. Congress

On December 21st the U.S. Census Bureau will release the initial results of the 2010 census and indicate which states will gain members of Congress and which states will lose members of Congress. From the estimates made by third parties, it seems likely that the number of Mormons in Congress will increase as a result. Read more »

Nominate the 2010 Mormon of the Year

December 15, 2010 | 126 comments
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Nominate the 2010 Mormon of the Year

Its that time of year again. The media are already reviewing the important news stories of the year, Time will soon select its Person of the Year (one Mormon — Glenn Beck — has been nominated this 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, and Harry Reid for 2009. 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... Read more »

Elected Mormons, 2010

December 14, 2010 | 31 comments
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Elected Mormons, 2010

With the U.S. 2010 elections over more than a month ago, I’ve wanted to put together a summary of the results for Mormon candidates for some time, and finally got around to finishing it this past weekend. There were a few surprises. Read more »

U.S. politics means Brazilians serve missions at 18

December 5, 2010 | 24 comments
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U.S. politics means Brazilians serve missions at 18

A couple of posts on the social network Orkut claim that the age to serve an LDS mission in the Brazil Area has been lowered to 18—and claim that politics in the U.S. has led to the change. Read more »

Is ‘Prized-linked Savings’ Just Another Lottery?

November 17, 2010 | 23 comments
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Is ‘Prized-linked Savings’ Just Another Lottery?

What if you could play the lottery and not lose any money? — You might not win, but you were guaranteed not to lose what you put in. Would that still be against LDS Church teachings? Would you vote against it in a referendum? Read more »

Armistice Day and What We Honor

November 11, 2010 | 33 comments
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Armistice Day and What We Honor

Today is Armistice Day. You were supposed to bow your head in a minute of silence at 11:11 today, the 11th day of the 11th month of the year, in recognition that peace was achieved at that time in 1919, ending what we now call the First World War. Did you do it?” Read more »

Notes on the Priesthood Session

October 2, 2010 | 19 comments
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My summary and reaction to the Priesthood Session of General Conference: Elder Nelson: A very nice complement to President Monson’s remarks of the morning session. Elder Nelson focused on missionaries and missionary work, reviewing why we have missionaries and what members should do to forward missionary efforts. He said that the Church has more than 52,000 missionaries serving in 300+ missions. FWIW, the number of missionaries has fallen for most of the past decade (probably due to the decline in the birthrate among members in the U.S.), and the Church has even had to reduce the number of missions... Read more »

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